Archive for October, 2008

Wine Bloggers Conferenece Day 3 Recap!

October 27, 2008

What happened? Where did it all go? Damn that flew by. Day 3, the final day of the Wine Bloggers Conference. Am I awake? Well…sort of.

I enjoyed a nicely greasy IHOP breakfast with the man himself, Joel Vincent, Megan Wannabe Wino, Dirty South Wine and Doug from Able Grape. Nothing like carbs and sugar to cure a hangover! Err I mean an energy slump.

Back at the Flamingo, as tempting as it was to veg by the pool again, I ducked in to the Unconference just in time. The few stragglers that made it to the morning session really deserve extra credit, since it was the end of a pretty intense weekend. Michelle Lentz, my new BFF, led round tables of the hot discussion topics from the WBC. there were mini sessions recapping the breakouts from Saturday, and there were also new topics, such as Twitter / Social Media, Organic Wines, and Most Surprising Thing.

I spent a few minutes at the Should Bloggers Post Negative Reviews sessions and heard some interesting feedback in both directions. Personally, I don’t have the time to post about every negative wine that I taste. That said, I will absolutely post something negative if it was really terrible or really surprising, but I do try to have a balanced approach to my blog. However, my blog is about really terrific wines. I don’t write about mediocre wines, or the mass produced wine I had at a friends party. What do you do? Do you post all reviews? Do you post only good reviews? Do you post negative reviews? Vinquiring minds want to know.

After that, I found myself being drafted in to the Twitter table. Apparently, I have been nominated Twitter Queen of the WBC. Do I get a crown? Please? I have found Twitter and other social media tools to be very valuable in terms of networking and getting to know more wine bloggers. As both a wine blogger and an employee of a wine related business, it is critical that we find new ways to market and get the word out. Some key points of the Twitter discussion were Twitter social etiquette, introducing new members, getting started, and how to separate your business from your personal Twitter life. One of the most important lessons for Twitterers to understand is that it is a tool. I fyou abuse it, you will be unfollowed. If you are not giving as much as you are getting, then you are not going to be a member of the club for very long.

Moral of this speech? Make sure if you meet new wine bloggers, and they are on Twitter already or they are going to get on Tiwtter that you do them the courtesy of announcing them to your followers. This allows them to gain a small following to start with, and they can earn additional followers based on the content they are tweeting.

After the Unconference, it was time for the final tasting and lunch. The final tasting was a Luxe Tasting, where 6 Sonoma vintners of ultra premium wines poured their wares on the hungover leftovers of the WBC. I tasted:

After the final lunch, the conference concluded. What a great weekend! I was so happy to meet so many people that I only knew from the Twitterverse. I would like to personally thank everyone involved in making this such a memorable first Wine Bloggers Conference!

Pictures and thoughts on the rest of my Sunday wine excursion, after the WBC, will be up next!


Wine Bloggers Conferenece Day 2 Recap!

October 27, 2008

After spending the morning resting, eating and blogging, I was finally ready to get back in to the WBC action.

Or so I thought.

After perusing the options of breakout sessions, like Beyond Blogging, Increasing Visitors, and the dreaded Wine Blogger Credibility issue, I decided that I would rather be a fly on the wall and headed to the pool to hang with El Jefe and Sonadora instead. Corey from Inertia Beverage Group came by too!

We managed to create a pretty hoppin’ Anti-Conference, where several of us were enjoying the Twitter conversation regarding the breakouts from afar while enjoying some wine in the gorgeous weather.

By 5, the party was in full swing as the entire conference joined our BYOBG (bring your own bottle and glass) party poolside. After our soiree, we headed in to the Grand Sonoma tasting where many of my favorite wineries were pouring, including Willowbrook and Inman Family, two pinot producers that have stolen my heart. And taste buds. And wallet.

Finally, we got on the bus for dinner at Sebastiani. That’s right, we were on the cool bus, aka bus #2, with our brave driver Gina. Gina successfully guided the rowdy bunch to Sebastiani in Sonoma, where we had dinner and the keynote by Alice Feiring.

After dinner, the Brave, The Proud, The Truely Twisted were invited to an after party in the Oak Room, where Doug Cook from Able Grape let loose with a plethora of amazing and aged Italian wines from his personal collection. Lenn Thompson also brought out the rest of the Long Island and Finger Lakes wine from the previous nights after party, to be enjoyed by any one who could still keep their eyes open.

Unfortuntely, I only lasted through the first 5 bottles of wine before I had enough and passed out in my room. It was only midnight. Eeeesh.

The next day, up WAY WAY WAY too early for my taste, is another story! More to come of course, as the Wine Bloggers Conference has been a great success and great fun for all.

There will be more pictures rest assured, although I have been told I am not allowed to publish some of them 😉

Lest I forget…

October 25, 2008

After being shushed more than once, I have to give a shout out to Table 11 at dinner because we were:

  • The Loudest
  • The Goofiest
  • The Twitterist
  • The Funnest

table at dinner!

Love to El Jefe of Twisted Oak Wines, Sonadora aka Wannabe Wino, Russ The Winehiker, Josh the Pinotblogger, and the new friends made at dinner!

Incidentally, Josh and Lenn Thompson of Lenndevours deserve a massive thank you for a great tasting of Long Island and Oregon wines last night. Palates smashed, I still found some Long Island and Oregon wines to love. Too bad I didn’t push Randy in the pool thought 😉

How much fun did we have? We’ll let’s just say that I was laughing so hard I forgot to take notes and there was nearly a wine spit up accident every 5 minutes.

Now that I am relatively well rested and full of a Bacon Omlette from Hank’s Creekside Cafe,


Wine Bloggers Conferenece Day 1 Recap!

October 25, 2008

Yesterday was the first day of the first ever American Wine Blogger’s Conference, held in Santa Rosa at the historic Flamingo Hotel. You can catch up on the action by using Twitter Search and the hashtag #wbc.

It started out so well, with a welcome lunch at Kick Ranch, a lovely piece of property just east of Santa Rosa, overlooking the valley.
While there, we were given the opportunity to taste several wines grown on the property. Yummy!

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel for the Live Blogging Session. Let me just say, madness ensued! One we got past the technical glitches, 14 wineries played round robin running from table to table. They had 5 minutes to talk, and we had a minute or so to respond via Twitter, our Blogs or some other method. Here is my rundown of the tasting:

  1. Bonterra Organic The McNab Menocino blend 60% Merlot, 26% cab, 14% petite. Dark fruit. Loganberry with chocolate on top! Dusy spice easy drinking.
  2. 2007 Lionheart Roussanne has a very carmellly characteristic. Creamy custard, lemon, tropical fruit…guava and peach
  3. Yellow + Blue = Green Malbec in a Tetrapak 1 liter container. Thin but a lot of spice. Leather dark blue frut.
  4. 2007 James David Dry Muscat honey floral melon with tangerine quite refreshing actually
  5. 2005 Clos LaChance Estate Cab quite a sweet note to the Clos La Chance Cab. This wine could use decanting. Cassis and spice. Only 1200 cases made! Classic cab. Rich velvety. A little dry, needs some time chocolate, coffee
  6. Four Bears Cabernet smoke, tobacco, earth. A little merlot and Petite Verdot blended in. It has a lot of cedar, and menthol to it. but the price point is RIDICULOUS as in CHEAP for this level of quality.
  7. Small Vines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is concentrated deliciousness. Very rich biodynamically farmed, with very limited production. It is concentrated smoky earth, with a healthy Dr. Pepper zing followed by pomegranate…leather…baking spices. Stands on it’s own. Lingering finish that i adore. So named Small Vines because most vineyards are planted 1000 vines per acre but Small Vines only has 250 vines per acre.
  8. Kanzler Estate Pinot Noir as the classic richness of RRV pure cherry cola – fizzes like a wild cherry pepsi! Kanzler Estate Pinot rich style, Russian River / Sebastapol Hills micro AVA.
  9. Cupcake Central Coast Chardonnay is so nice and not overly oaked. 50% new american oak gives it such a light crispness and well balanced acidity on the finish, very French in style.
  10. Dark Horse Zinfandel treborce Vineyard spicy rich raisens
  11. 2006 Twisted Oak The Spainard Smokey deliciousness! I cannot say enough great things about Twisted Oak. Not only am I twisted by nature, I am now addicted. Egads!
  12. Boho Central Coast Chardonnay Bag in Box funk on the nose creamy lemon not very oaky. LEMON.
  13. Bink Pinot Noir Weir Vineyard is not a shy wine. This is a BOLD wine not for the faint hearted. Spicy cinnamon, candied apple, strawberry. Yorkville highlands rich cheery and red fruit.

After the marathon live tasting, some of us went to the New Zealand tasting (not me) and some of us went ot a Dry Creek Zin tasting (me!). While I pretty much knew all of the zins being poured, it is always fun to get ot know the people of Dry Creek.

After the tasting sessions, dinner finally arrived. The Winegrowers of Dry Creek generously provided the wine being poured, and we slurped our way through a very nice Dry Creek Vineyards Sav Fume blanc, Quivera Grenance (mmmmmm), Truett-Hurst Red Rooster Zinfandel, and Michel-Schlumberger Cabernet. There was also a Pedroncelli port. Yowzer!

My only complaint of the entire day was that dinner was…less than satisfying. Dear Flamingo folks, when someone asks for a V-e-g-i-t-a-r-i-a-n option, that odes NOT mean bring them dry overcooked fish swimming in cream sauce! Grumble.

Special thanks to Gary Vay-ner-chuck for taking time out of his crazy schedule for coming to talk to us, FOR FREE. More to come from Day 2 ahead!

After such a full day, I neglected to get up in time for the Vineyard Walks so i am drinking gallons of coffee in preparation for this afternoons lively discussions and tonights tastings.


Live Tasting Session from the WBC!

October 22, 2008

Upon the advice (Ok, not advice, just post) of fellow wine blogger Joe of 1WineDude fame, I am going to give this crazy piece of thechnology a whirl.

Dunno if it will work, but stay tuned for the WBC to find out!

Holy Blogger Failure Batman! What I was trying to say before I was so rudely interrupted was

On Friday October 24th at 3:30pm PT, the attendees of the WBC will be participting in a whacky tasting event where 14 winereis will pour in a round robin tasting.

Bloggers will have 1 minute to respond LIVE to the wines, and then interact with the vintners. Should be fun!

If I can get this toy to work, tune in for live updates!

W! B! C! TTL!

October 17, 2008

What is with all of these letters? WBC? TTL? How is a wineaux to decipher such things!

First things first, let’s talk about TTL. Twitter Taste Live is a live event, where the Twittersphere tastes & types about the same wines, and the same time. it is about connection the bloggersphere around the world, and conducting a giant social experiment about what drives trends in wine, and encouraging us to gain knowledge about consumer tastes.

During the event, we will be guided through 4-6 different wines, and post our Tweets, with the tag #ttl. This will enable our hosts, Twitter Taste Live, to log these directed Tweets on the TTL home page, so we can all follow along. If you haven’t yet registered for Twitter, I would encourage you to do so. There is a large community of wine lovers, bloggers, and professionals who are actively using Twitter as a mass communication tool and you can learn a great deal in new social media.

This month, we will be walking through the wines of Jed Steele. Jed Steele was the founding winemaker, general manager, and VP of Production at Kendall Jackson at its inception, and now makes his own wines out of his facility in Lake County.

For this adventure, we will be tasting:

  • 2006 Shooting Star Aligote (WA)
  • 2006 Steele Pinot Blanc
  • 2006 Steele Chardonnay
  • 2006 Shooting Star Blue Franc (WA)
  • 2006 Steele Pinot Noir (Carneros)
  • 2006 Steele Zinfandel (Pacini Ranch)

For your best source to find these wines, please contact Bin Ends Wine, who is offering this tasting pack for the ridiculously low price of $90. But you better hurry! Time is running out to get your tasting pack before next Thursday. The tasting is on Thursday, October 23rd, at 4pm PT. Yes, I realize this is early for us Left Coasters, but upcoming tastings will be on weekends to accommodate the global nature of this event.

The Twitter Taste Live event is held every month, so please go to Twitter Taste Live and click on the Upcoming Tab for information on the next theme. If you have ideas, please post them! We have the 89 Project tasting, a Blogger’s Pick tasting, suggestion for Walla Walla tastings, and more! This is where the bloggers take over, so please, let’s hear your voice.

The other exciting bit of news is that one week from today, the FIRST EVER Wine Blogger Conference kicks off at the Flamingo Resort & Conference Center in Santa Rosa.

I cannot tell you how excited i am to have the opportunity to meet 159+ other wine bloggers & professionals in this arena. While I have met several of you in person through my wine travels, there are so many that I know virtually and have not yet have the opportunity to meet in real life.

A huge shout out to Joel Vincent and the Open Wine Consortium Team for putting together this amazing event.

Furthermore, this conference will give us all the opportunity to not only taste some amazing wines, but also to have some discussions about where the wine industry is headed in the 21st century, with the advent of Wine 2.0, Web 2.0 and beyond technology, as well as the saavy wine drinker.

Some of the highlights of this event include:

  • Tour of Kick Ranch, one of the most exciting growers in Sonoma County
  • Live Blogging sessions
  • Keynotes with Gary Vaynerchuck & Alice Feiring, two controversial figures in the wine world today
  • Breakout sessions on topics such as:
    • Increasing Visitors to Your Blog
    • Beyond Blogging – New Technologies and Social Media
    • Wine Blogger Credibility
    • Making Money from Your Blog
    • Blogging for Your Wine Business
    • Wine Industry & Blogger Interaction

    Although this year’s conference is sold out, even over sold, this promises to be the first of many in North America.

    I look forward to seeing you there!

Everyone say it with me!

October 13, 2008

Albariño (/ˌal.baˈɾiː.ɲo/Galician) or Alvarinho (/ˌal.vaˈɾiː.ɲo/Portuguese) is a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia (northwest Spain) and northern Portugal, where it is used to make varietal white wines.

I’ve decided recently to refocus my efforts on my Century Club application, and really expand my international knowledge of wine as well as tasting more California varietals.

Last night at dinner, we opened the 2007 Bokicsh Albariño (Mokelumne River), which was a sample provided to me by my friends at Wine Q.

This Albariño is produced in Lodi, a hot growing region in Central Californian which has recently become a hot bed of Spanish varietal production. While Lodi has long been known for producing some of the States most prized Zinfandels, the Spainairds are invading this hot dry growing region, with some amazing results.

Bokicsh also produces another Albariño, as well as Garnacha and Tempranillo, two classic Spanish varietals, among others.

This Albariño was a lovely aromatic white wine that had a lot of citrus aroma. It was a rich golden straw color, that really shone in the glass. I smelled lemons, lime leaves, and a touch of earth. I tasted a burst of citrus flavors, like grown up lemonade, with a twist of lemon rind, followed by an interesting hazelnut character. Because it is 100% stainless steel fermented, you don’t see any oaky or toasted notes like you would in many other California whites. The nutty flavors are a component of the wine itself.

We all really enjoyed the mouthfeel of the Albariño , which was not light but not heavy. It coated the palate with the rich flavors, and had a long finish.

While i really enjoyed this wine, i think it could have been even better if we served it with the spicy Middle Eastern fish dish we were having with dinner. The bright acidity and citrus flavors would have cut through the spiciness nicely, and really complimented the fish.