Revel With A Cause

Cati and I threw a wine party a few weeks back to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t ideal for a backyard party as it was a bit cold.  But we fired up the chimenea and made the best of it.  About 35 people showed up and they each contributed (at least) $10 to the LLS.  Here’s the invitation we made for the party:

The invite.

The wine and much of the food was donated by local businesses.  We asked several local wine shops to donate a case of wine.  We asked them to supply us with four different wines (2 whites and 2 reds), and 3 bottles of each (for a total of 12 bottles).  Of course, we provided requisite credentials and explained what we were trying to do.  Some wine shops were unable/unwilling to help, others were willing and eager.  Three wine shops that deserve a big “thank you” are:

These are great wine shops that I would highly recommend you check out (even if they hadn’t helped).   So, next time you are at any of these three places, chatting with their friendly and knowledgeable staff, mention that you read about their kindness here, and say “thanks.”  I know it sounds hokey, but they really are giving back to their communities by helping to improve (and in some cases, extend) the lives of cancer sufferers (and helping their families).  If you don’t buy your wine from these shops, please consider it.  I would also like to thank:

The Honest Weight Food Co-op helped by giving us store credit to buy food.  Cati bought delicious mushroom ravioli along with fixin’s to make pasta a la suegra.  Cardona’s donated a beautiful and (allegedly) delicious fig and apple salad that went so fast, I didn’t even get to try it.  Ah well, I’ll count that among my sacrifices for the cause. 

People milled about the backyard sampling the wines and having a good ol’ time.  Our eloquent and charming friend Gina (of Wine Words) wrote brief descriptions about the wines after having tried them all, at our pre-party, the night before.  We displayed the descriptions of the wines, just to provide a little info about each bottle.    

We collected all the score sheets and headed inside for dinner because it was too cold in the backyard.  All the food was great except for our pasta which was a bit chewey because we left it to ‘warm’ in the oven for too long [oops].

While everyone was eating, the multi-talented Anne (who makes a mean chocolate cake) and I crunched the numbers from the submitted score sheets.  We identified the most-negative palate (the person who gave the lowest average score for all wines), the most “promiscuous palate” (the person who gave the highest average score, and apparently will drink anything), and we also identified “wine-palate twins” (largest positive correlation between any two tasters), and “wine-palate evil twins” (largest negative correlation).

Here’s what the score sheets and certificates looked like:

Here’s the score sheet we used.  Hey, that’s my kind of drinker, eh?  Some winners are more equal than others.

So who won what?  My very own sweet wife won the most negative palate award with her average score for all wines being a mere 4.2.  Interestingly, as some of our guests pointed out, Cati was the only taster who spit every taste.  Being pregnant excluded her from actually drinking the wine, which likely prevented her from “loosening up” her judgement, shall we say.  Hey, let’s face it, after three or four glasses of wine, it all starts to taste better, eh?  The most promiscuous palate award went to our wine-conneseur friend (and certfied specialist of wine) Kathleen Lisson.  Her average score for all wines was a whopping 8.8.  The next highest score was Linda’s- a 7.5 .  Tough crowd, eh?  The favorite wine of the night was a Spanish rioja called Zuazo Gaston donated by Delaware Plaze Liquor Store.  The least favorite was a pinot grigio called Bivio, donated by Empire Wine.  That’s not to say it wasn’t good; it just means our friends weren’t too keen on it (I kinda liked it).  Here’s what the scoring results and correlation results looked like, have a look:

The results are in!

I highlighted the overall faves and least-faves, along with the Guys’ and Gals’ picks too. 

The “wine-palate twins” were our friends Nick and Vaneeta whose scores correlated with an R = 0.83.  I think they had never met prior to that evening, and were surprised to know they had similar tastes.  We awarded them each with an interesting bottle of blush which was generously donated by Niskayuna Wines & Liquors.  Well, however they feel about their prize, I’m sure they’ll agree. 

The “wine-palate evil twins” were our lovely friends Kathleen Lisson and Shavasia.   They had a negative correlation of R = -0.79 between their scores.  Yikes, let’s hope they never have to share a bottle of wine at dinner.  Someone will not be pleased.  So, the correlations aren’t super strong (I don’t know that I’d place too many bets on R2 values of ~0.6), but they are close enough for some wine party revelry.  Have a look:

The R values for correlation. 

I am pleased to say we raised enough money to reach my $4000 goal.  I am done fundraising and now can focus on training for my marathon on June 1st.  Thank you to all of you who have donated to the LLS on my behalf and/or encouraged me with a kind word during my training (so far).  I was repeatedly and pleasantly surprised by the generosity of so many of you.  Here are some photos from the night:

The wines.

The revelers.

Chillin’, literally.

Some of the eats.

They taste, they score!

More discussions.

More tasting and discussing.

Nacho lurks for fallen treats.

The night carries on.

Gabe approves.

Jackets and drinks help us stay warm.

We like.

The awards go out.

We finally got some nice weather a week later.  Cati and I spent a portion of our morning at Tulip Fest in Washington Park.

 Tulip Fest 2008

What a beautiful photo, eh?

Ain’t life grand?

5 Responses to “Revel With A Cause”

  1. celinabean says:

    I am so sorry we weren’t able to make it. It looks like a great time. Please invite us again.

  2. Celia says:

    What a surprise! Cati pregnant! Ok, obviously I already knew it, but I couldn’t see her (just right now, on picture) You look amazing!!! De verdad que te sienta bien el embarazo. I’m glad to see everything is going well for you two, Kisses from Mallorca

  3. alexdimitri says:

    You got it. Too bad you missed this one. There will be more.

  4. Albany Jane says:

    Heeeey! Looks awesome, and I especially love the pink hair. Oenophile, I am not, but I do enjoy holding a cute wine glass.

    I also have to apologize – I didn’t check my email until… well, just a few minutes ago. I didn’t mean to not respond – I would have loved to come! (God, especially if you mention Cardona’s)

  5. renee says:

    mad props to you guys for putting together a fun event for a great cause.

    i really went to town on that cheese, and the photo proves it. looks like i was giving the great cheese speech of 2008!

    seriously though, thanks for being an inspiration to the community. you guys worked hard and it showed!