Rosé & White Wine Live Blogging at the Wine Bloggers Conference

10 Rosé and White Wines – These wines from California and Oregon range from $13-$38. While not every one was a winner, there were a very gems in this group. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

10 Rosé and White Wines – These wines from California and Oregon range from $13-$38. While not every one was a winner, there were a very gems in this group. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

One of the signature events at the Wine Bloggers’ Conference is the Live Wine Blogging. For those who haven’t read my previous recaps or haven’t been to the conference, it’s an hour-long speed tasting where winery representatives have 5 minutes at a table of wine bloggers. The winery representatives talk about the wine while bloggers taste, ask questions, act like the paparazzi taking photos of both the bottles and the reps, and Tweet thoughts or tasting notes. After that, the winery representative moves onto the next table.

The live blogging is like speed dating with wine, and just like speed dating, it’s one of those things that people either love or hate.   Admittedly, I used to find the chaos of it stressful, but over the last couple of years, I’ve learned to really love it. The only thing I would change about the Live Wine Blogging sessions would be to have all of the wines come from the region where the conference is being held. Otherwise, I use the experience as a chance to weed out wines I have no interest in tasting again from wines I think have a lot of potential, are a good quality/price ratio, or that just deserve a little more attention. I then try to taste (and sometimes review), those wines at another time.

Here are the wines I tasted during the Rosé and White Wine Live Blogging:

2015 LangeTwins Family Winery Sangiovese Rosé – At $13, this California rosé wine has a great quality/price ration.  It won’t offer you anything unusual, but it’s reliably tasty and very food friendly Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 LangeTwins Family Winery Sangiovese Rosé

2015 LangeTwins Family Winery Sangiovese Rosé (winery, snooth)
Price: $13
Light-to-medium pink color.
Strawberries and grapefruit rinds on the nose.
Light, but creamy strawberry tart and sour cherries in the mouth.
Bright acidity.
3.5 Corks

2015 d’Art Wines White Barbera – At $20, this white wine from California has a light body and would make a nice summer sipping wine.  Rating: 3 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 d’Art Wines White Barbera

2015 d’Art Wines White Barbera (winery)
Price: $20
Pale straw yellow.
Tart green apples and grapefruit on the nose and in the mouth.
Bright acid with a light-to-medium body.
3 Corks

2015 Michael David Winery Sauvignon Blanc – At $16, this white wine from California is sustainably grown and has nice fruit flavors.  It’s a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc at an affordable price. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Michael David Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Michael David Winery Sauvignon Blanc (winery, snooth)
Price: $16
Grapes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Light straw yellow.
Full of grapefruits, tropical fruit, and minerality.
Good acid, although a tough high on the alcohol in the mouth.
This wine is sustainably grown.
3.5 Corks

2015 Trione Vineyards and Winery Sauvignon Blanc – At $23, this is a whole lot of California white wine for not too hefty of a price.  Think peach, grass, green pepper, and rose petals.  Every sip will having you thinking “wow” and wishing for oysters. Rating: 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Trione Vineyards and Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Trione Vineyards and Winery Sauvignon Blanc (winery, snooth)
Price: $23
White peaches, grass, hints of green pepper and rose petals.
Nice minerality. Every sip had me thinking…wow and wishing for a raw bar!
4.5 Corks

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé – At $15, this California rosé wine is a perfect summer porch sipper with a nice quality/price ratio. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé (winery, snooth)
Price: $15
Grapes: Carignane, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache grapes
Bright salmon pink color.
Lots of grapefruit mixed with hints of tart raspberry and flowers.
Nice acidity and light body.
This wine is a perfect summer porch sipper with a nice quality/price ratio.
4 Corks

2015 Oak Ridge Winery Old Soul Chardonnay – At $13, this white wine from California tastes like pineapple, toasted oak, and baked apples mixed with a lot of alcohol. Rating: 3 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Oak Ridge Winery Old Soul Chardonnay

2015 Oak Ridge Winery Old Soul Chardonnay (winery, snooth)
Price: $13
Pineapple and toasted oak mixed with a hint of baked apple.
Lots of heat.
Lots of other bloggers enjoyed this wine at WBC16, but it was not my thing.
3 Corks

J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé – At $38, this sparkling wine from California is a little pricey, but it’s worth opening on a special occasion or during a holiday like Thanksgiving.  It’s elegant and lingers in the mouth. Rating: 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé

J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé (winery, snooth)
Price: $38
Grapes: 69% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay, & 2% Pinot Meunier
Salmon pink color.
Strawberries and cream with hints of rose petals and apples.
Bright acidity with lingering finish.
An elegant sparkling wine.
4.5 Corks

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay – At $18, this California white wine is very smooth and is a perfect food wine.  Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay (winery, snooth)
Price: $18
Apples, pears, & some chewed on Popsicle stick.
This wine is very smooth. Would be a great food wine.
3.5 Corks

2014 Peirano Estate Winery "The Other" White Blend – At $14, this California white wine has a sexy label, but is not a sexy wine.  It’s soft mouth feel mixed with perfumey taste makes for a flabby wine that’s not worth the price. Rating: 2.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Peirano Estate Winery “The Other” White Blend

2014 Peirano Estate Winery “The Other” White Blend (winery, snooth)
Price: $14
Grapes: 65% Chardonnay, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Viognier
White flowers & apples.
Soft mouth feel & perfumery with hints of bubble gum.
Love the label, but sadly I don’t the wine.
2.5 Corks

2015 Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir – At $24, this white wine from Oregon has a light body, nice acidity, and a lingering finish.  It’s truly a delicious wine.  Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir

2015 Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir (winery, snooth)
Price: $24
Full of stone fruit, pineapple, and grapefruit on the nose.
In the mouth, there were stone fruits, Granny Smith Apples, grapefruits, and pineapple with hints of raspberries.
Light body. Nice acid. Lingering finish. Delicious wine!!
4 Corks

Question of the Day:  Have you ever gone wine tasting?  What are you thoughts on trying multiple wines in one sitting?

Bonus Question: If you’ve been to a Wine Bloggers’ Conference, what are you thoughts on the Live Blogging?

WBC16 Pre-Conference (Part 5): Last Day in Livermore Valley

Las Positas Vineyard

Las Positas Vineyard

The final vineyard stop on the Livermore Valley pre-wine bloggers’ conference excursion was to Las Positas Vineyard. The gracious hosts not only had space for us to taste their wine, but also the wines from several other wineries in the area. There were also several booths from local businesses. Our schedule up until this point had been crammed full and a little rushed (although I wouldn’t have wanted to cut anything off the schedule!), so it was nice to have a little bit of time to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – At $68, this California red wine is very non-intrusive. It has medium body, a mix of fruit and spice characteristics, and is definitely meant for food. Rating: 3 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (winery)
Price $68
Dark ruby color
Plums, cherries, and a hint of spice on the nose
Plums, cherries, tobacco, and hints of clove in the mouth
Medium body and tannins, high acid
I know this wine won the Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition and the Silver at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, but I was really underwhelmed, particularly at such a high price point.
3 Corks

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company – At $48, this California red wine is the epitome of big, bold, and beautiful. Just give it a little time to breath and the wine will be one to spend an entire evening getting to know. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company (winery)
Price: $48
Grapes: 100% Petit Sirah
Cases produced: 100
Dark inky purple
Blueberry, blackberry, and boysenberry syrup on the nose
Add chocolate to that in the mouth
Big, grippy tannins, full body, and good acid
This wine is the epitome of big, bold, and beautiful once it has a little time to breath. There is a lot going on, but its so well balanced that it’s the type of wine I want to spend an entire evening getting to know.
4.5 Corks

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah – At $38, this California red wine is one that is a food-friendly wine that you should feel comfortable ordering at a restaurant or grabbing in the store. Nothing crazy different, but solidly enjoyable. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah (winery)
Price: $38
Grapes: 100% syrah
Cases produced: 115
Medium-to-dark ruby color
Blackberries, smoke, and cedar on the nose
Blackberries, dark plums, smoke, cedar and baking spices in the mouth.
Medium-to-full body, tannins, and acid.
3.5 Corks

And with that, my final thoughts on Livermore Valley…

Collin Cranor, the winemaker for Vasco Urbano Wine Comapny and Nottingham Cellars

Collin Cranor, the winemaker for Vasco Urbano Wine Comapny and Nottingham Cellars

WOW! There is no doubt, I’ve fallen in love with wine from the area. Admittedly, my favorites were Murrieta’s Well, which I reviewed here, and Vasco Urbano Wine Company, which we didn’t visit, although we tasted their wines at a variety of stops throughout the Livermore Valley trip (my thoughts on their wines are here). Vasco Urbano specializes in Rhone styles (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, and the delicious blends that can be made from those grapes), so it’s not a surprise that I enjoyed their wines as those tend to be the grapes I gravitate towards. That said, their winemaker, Collin Cranor, does amazing things with grapes, as I also really enjoyed the wines we tasted from Nottingham Cellars—Vasco Urbano’s sister winery. Nottingham Cellars wines are all Bordeaux-style red blends made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

All that said, if you aren’t drinking wine from the Livermore Valley, you should be. Whether it’s the larger producers or the smaller producers, the wines are mostly reasonably priced and they are ridiculously good.

Question of the day: When you pick wine for yourself, would you go for the Rhone styles or the Bordeaux styles?

WBC16 Pre-Conference (Part 1): Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard

5 Livermore Valley Wines from the Ghielmetti Estate Vineyards – Ranging from $24-$165, these 5 dry wines from California are a nice introduction to the variety of styles in the region. There was one rosé wine, two white wines, and two red wines, and they were all small production wines that are worth checking out. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

5 Livermore Valley Wines from the Ghielmetti Estate
Vineyards – Ranging from $24-$165, these 5 dry wines from California are a nice introduction to the variety of styles in the region. There was one rosé wine, two white wines, and two red wines, and they were all small production wines that are worth checking out. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

5 Livermore Valley Wines from the Ghielmetti Estate Vineyards – Ranging from $24-$165, these 5 dry wines from California are a nice introduction to the variety of styles in the region. There was one rosé wine, two white wines, and two red wines, and they were all small production wines that are worth checking out. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Ghielmetti Vineyards in the Livermore Valley Wine Country.

My first day at the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference (WBC16) was on a pre-conference excursion through the Livermore Valley Wine Country. This trip was the first time that I could remember tasting wines from the Livermore Valley, and I learned a few important things that have made me a permanent fan of Livermore Valley wines:

  1. While I’m always a Petite Sirah fan, I’m absolutely in love with the Petite Sirah coming from Livermore;
  2. Grapes in Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard

    Grapes in Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard

    Semillon never really made a strong impression on me before, but the Semillon from Livermore, whether in a blend or on its own, are worth searching out;

  3. There are some really small producers in the area making limited quantities of the wines…and I loved most of them, which means I’m need to diligently get on their websites and place some online orders directly from the wineries; and
  4. For some unknown reason, I never paid much attention to the two largest producers in the area—Concannon Vineyards and Wente Vineyards—and that was a huge mistake on my part because they are making incredibly good wine at all price ranges.
Looking out at Grapes in Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard

Looking out at Grapes in Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard

And, with that overview in mind, let’s start at the beginning…

Our first stop was the Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard, which is a 64-acre site that provides grapes to wineries in the area, and we tasted wine from a number of them.

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company – At $24, this California rose from the Livermore Valley is light bodied and nicely balanced. It’s perfect for a cheese board or some porch sipping, and it will carry over nicely into the fall. You might even want to consider it for your Thanksgiving table. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company Grenache Rose

Vasco Urbano Wine Company (winery)
2015 Grenache Rosé
SRP: $24
Grapes: 100% Grenache from the Ghielmetti Vineyards
Cases produced: 84
Light Salmon Pink
Strawberries and lime
Bright acid, light body, and very nicely balanced
4.5 corks

2015 “Lola” White Wine by The Steven Kent Winery – At $24, this California white wine from the Livermore Valley is a fantastic summer white. It’s light and refreshing. It would be perfect with oysters, crabs, or other seafood. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 “Lola” White Wine by The Steven Kent Winery

The Steven Kent Winery (winery)
2015 “Lola” White Wine
SRP $24
Grapes: 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon, both from the Ghielmetti Vineyards
Cases produced: 396
Clear, light straw yellow
Peaches, limes, and oranges with a hint of lemon curd and pear
Bright acidity with a light body
Great summer wine. I wished I had some seafood or cheese to pair with this.
4 corks

2015 3 Steves Winery Sauvignon Blanc – At $25, this California white wine from the Livermore Valley is very interesting and would be best paired with food. If you like wines with a bit of funk (think melon rinds and oysters) mixed with luscious peaches and pineapple, then this is the wine for you. Rating 3 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 3 Steves Winery Sauvignon Blanc

3 Steves Winery (winery)
2015 Sauvignon Blanc
SRP $25
Medium yellow with a touch of effervescence in the glass
Something funky on the nose…maybe oysters and melon rinds? Mixed with citrus and pineapple.
The mouth was all peaches and tropical fruits
Very interesting, and probably goes really well with seafood. That said, the funkiness is not my style.
3 corks

2014 Woods Family Vineyards Grenache – At $30, this California red wine from the Livermore Valley is offers something a little different, but is very enjoyable. The aromas are powerful and the taste of strawberries, cherries, a touch of cinnamon and a hint of eucalyptus are delicious. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Wood Family Vineyards Grenache

Wood Family Vineyards (winery)
2014 Grenache
SRP $30
Grapes: Grapes: 100% Grenache from the Ghielmetti Vineyards
Cases produced: 122
Medium ruby color
Wow…that nose! Strawberries and cherries with a touch of cinnamon
On the nose, there is also a hint of eucalyptus at the end
Slight creaminess in though
Medium tannins and body. Different, but enjoyable.
4 corks

2012 “Lineage” by The Steven Kent Winery – At $165, this California red wine from the Livermore Valley is Bordeaux blend that is smooth, elegant, and delightful. Sure…the price point is a little high, but if you’re looking for a food-friendly, yummy wine, you won’t go wrong with this choice. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 “Lineage” by The Steven Kent Winery

The Steven Kent Winery (winery)
2012 Lineage (Bordeaux blend)
SRP $165
Grapes: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot from the Ghielmetti Estate and Home Ranch Vineyards
Cases produced: 300
Medium-to-Dark Ruby
Blackberries, cherries, baking spices, and a hint of prune
Medium-to-Full body, tannins, and acid.
A bit high in price, but very yummy
4.5 corks

Selfie in Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard

Selfie in Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to Livermore Valley, California? Have you ever had any wines from there? What were your thoughts? Do you have any favorites to share?

Bonus Question of the Day: If you went to WBC16, what were your thoughts on the Livermore Valley wines?

A Grandes Vinos Red With My Blogger Group

2007 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Monasterio de las Viñas – At $20 a bottle, this red wine blend is from Cariñena, Spain, which is the country’s leading producer of old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena. The wine is medium bodied and definitely meant to drink with food. Ratings 3 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2007 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Monasterio de las Viñas – At $20 a bottle, this red wine blend is from Cariñena, Spain, which is the country’s leading producer of old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena. The wine is medium bodied and definitely meant to drink with food. Ratings 3 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Two years ago at the Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Santa Barbara, I met a fantastic group of women that are now my “blogger circle” (links to their sites are below).  We regularly discuss all things wine, blogging, and wine blogging on a Facebook group, and then Google Hangout once a month, where we talk face-to-face about a particular topic that’s come up during our Facebook discussions.  I’m constantly learning from them, and I particularly love our Hangouts because I’m able to come home from work and just geek out with blogger friends about something we all enjoy…and we do it over a glass (or several) of wine.

2007 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Monasterio de las Viñas

2007 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Monasterio de las Viñas

During a recent Hangout, I opened the 2007 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Monasterio de las Viñas, which is a red wine from Cariñena, in the Aragon region of Spain.  According to the press information that came with the wine, Grandes Vinos y Viñedos works with 5 winery partners within 14 different growing areas of Cariñena.  These partners collaborate and release a variety of wines as Grandes Vinos.

The 2007 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Monasterio de las Viñas (website) was a blend of 60% Garnacha. 30% Tempranillo, and 10% Cariñena.  The wine’s color was a dark ruby with a purple tint.  On the nose, there were dark cherries with hints of cocoa dust and smoked meat.  In the mouth, there were black cherries, blackberries, and smoked meat with hints of cedar and pepper.  The wine was medium bodied with medium tannins and high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work?  Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass.  At an SRP of $20, this wine is definitely a food wine rather than a “sip and chat” wine.  It’s a little thin and acidic, and while I enjoyed the nose, I just kept wishing for a little more every time I took a taste.  Granted, that didn’t stop be from sipping away while talking online with my blogger friends, but overall, I felt the wine was a little pricey for what it offered.

Check out the other bloggers in my blogger circle:
Allison from Bon Vivant
Anne from Oddball Grape
Becca from The Gourmez
Krista from Upkeep: Wine, Body, and Soul
Lisa from Wine with Lisa

Question of the Day: Are you a blogger?  Do you have a blogger group and, if so, what is the most useful part of the group for you? 

Ruffino’s $10 Chianti

*** I received this wine as a sample. ***

Moleskin wine journalI admit it…even though I love technology and all the apps that make writing a wine blog and being active on social media so fun, there is nothing quite like writing my tasting notes in a journal. Every year, I get a new Moleskine, and at this point, I actually keep wine journal and beer journal. I just love grabbing that black book with its thick off-white pages and my glass full of liquid possibility and entering my zone for a few moments to really think about what I’m drinking. Then, I scribble down all my thoughts and impressions. At the end of the year, I love to look back on the memories on everything I drank.

Inside my 2016 wine journalI get it. It’s old-school.   It’s duplicative, especially since I usually post my thoughts on Vivino or UnTappd and Instagram soon after tasting. I can’t help it. I still love it.

My first wine of the year was the 2013 Ruffino Chianti (winery, snooth), which was made in the Chianti region of Italy with 70% Sangiovese grapes and 30% other undisclosed varieties. The wine was a clear medium ruby. On the nose, there was the classic cherries and violets. In the mouth, there were slightly sour cherries with hints of violets and herbs. The wine was light-to-medium bodied with low-to-medium tannins and high acidity.

2013 Ruffino Chianti - This $10 Italian red wine is nice on the wallet and begs to be paired with a pepperoni pizza. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Ruffino Chianti

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass. At an SRP of $10, is inexpensive and ok with food. Hubby and I made our own little holiday dinner that first weekend in January, so I paired the wine with turkey and mashed potatoes. The pairing worked nicely, although the wine really was screaming “drink me with pepperoni pizza.” After dinner, I continued to enjoy the wine while knitting on the couch and watching trashy TV, which was a nice way to spend the evening even if the acidity in the wine was a bit much. All in all, this isn’t a wine I would search out, but at the same time, it’s also not a wine that I would avoid…especially if I had the right food.

Question of the Day: Do you keep some sort of written journal (either for food, wine, beer, or something else)?

Suggested Retail Price: $10
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3 Corks