Census Bureau map of Little Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday I was doing some wine touring in theWoodinville Washington area with two very dear friends who like me, share a very deep passion for wine, and as wine professionals, we don't normally go touring on a weekend. But, one of them, is a very dear friend who moved up to Washington recently and for his birthday, my neighbor and I decided since he no longer can take part regularly in "our Secret Wine Society" events in San Diego, we would bring the "Secret Wine Society" event to Washington with three days of wine to make up for what he's missing.
At the end of the day of tasting and touring using a combination of lifts, limos and Uber Car, we ended up at Sparkman Cellars, a garage winery in the warehouse district of Woodinville. Of the six wineries we visited yesterday, it was the winery that turned me on the most. Much like Margerum Wine Company or Core Wines from friends Doug Margerum and David and Becky Corey, there was a vibe around the people, and the wines. As I was tasting wines I was offered the opportunity to make a donation to help victims of Hurricane Sandy back in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey where a $5.00 donation let's you play a cork toss game. If you got one of the corks in the jar, you win a magnum of the unreleased 2010 Sparkman Cellars Wilderness Red.
The premise was simple. A glass jar had been set up about 10 feet from the ground. You were handed ten magnum wine corks. You stood ten feet back on the charity line, otherwise known as the "free throw" line.
On toss five, after "whiffing" and a rim shot, the cork floated right into the glass jar. Much to everyone's amazement, and yes, even mine. Tossing a cork, that weighs almost nothing, that distance, in a drafty winery, where the lightest breeze can shift where the cork will end up, of course made it no easy feat. But I did it.
And I did it, not for the magnum, but for the cause. I grew up in Philadelphia and drove through Little Egg Harbor and Egg Harbor on my ways to the Jersey Shore. My late uncle Meyer used to call out the township's name as we drove down in the car "E---gg Harbor" with his southern drawl.I used to laugh when I heard that or when my mom would tell us the story, so for sentimental reasons I gladly gave the five dollars because it wasn't for the toss, but for the cause.
So now I have this magnum. My friend, and neighbor, RIta and I cooked up an idea on how to drink the wine, once it arrives.
We are going to toss a party for our friends. I'll cook up some "crack" from Cardiff Seaside Market, various flavors of it ranging from the original Burgundy Tri-Tip to the Chipotle marinade to even the Hanger steak, pork tenderloins and chickens. I'm all in, but I've decided to add a wrinkle.
Let's raise more money from the bottle.
We'll open the wine, and for a $10.00 per taste donation I figure we can raise another $300 dollars or so for the people of Little Egg Harbor. I figure we can easily get 30 tastes or more out of the magnum.
Date and time of the party is TBD.
Oh..and yes, I ended up buying some of the Sparkman 2009 Wilderness too. It was the best red blends of the day I tasted. It will go great with Cardiff "crack" or pizza, or chicken or even turkey. Best of all, it will go great all by itself.