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WBC11: White & Rosé Wine Speed Dating…I Mean Speed Tasting

The big joke at the Wine Bloggers’ Conferences is to describe the live blogging wine tasting event as “speed dating” with wine.  Each conference attendee sits at a table, and everyone at each table will taste 20 wines over an hour period.  During that hour, a wine representative (usually the winemaker) has 5 minutes to talk about their wine, while conference attendees ask questions, taste the wine, and take notes before the representative moves on to the next table and a new representative comes arrives to start the process all over again.

White Wine Speed Tasting Kick-off.

White Wine Speed Tasting Kick-off.

The comparison to speed dating is perfect because 5 minutes is just enough time for a quick introduction and a little flirting before being able to make a decision as to whether or not there was enough interest for a follow-up.  At the same time, just like in speed dating, that 5 minutes isn’t enough time to learn everything or to really get a detailed impression.  That all said, I do hope that there is at least one major difference between speed dating and speed tasting—that most people aren’t tweeting during their speed dates!

I really enjoyed the speed tasting.   Unlike the WBC09, this year, the tastings were split into a white speed tasting and a red speed tasting, which meant that there weren’t any reds following whites.  This was definitely a welcome change.  I have to admit, though, that I was overall unimpressed with the white wine speed tasting.  There weren’t any major duds, but none of the white wines blew me away either.  I felt like I spent the hour tasting a lot of average or slightly above average wines, all of which I might have picked up from the store and experimented with myself.  It was a little disappointing.

2009 Decibel Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Decibel Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Decibel Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $16, winery)
Wine from New Zealand
Tart, flavorful, and creamy…not what I’ve come to expect from a NZ Sauv Blanc, but absolutely gorgeous.  For the price, this is definitely a wine to be on the lookout for.
4 corks

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs (SRP $20, winery, @GloriaFerrer)
Wine from California
Nice light salmon color and good bubbles.  Berries and limes with hint of white pepper and bright acidity.
4 corks

Shindig White

Shindig White

Shindig White (SRP $16, winery, @Vino50Wines)
Wine from New York
This Vidal Blanc-Riesling blend is “The ultimate sushi wine.”  It has a lime-like acid and stone fruits…really nice.
4 corks

2010 Veritas Sauvignon Blanc Reserve

2010 Veritas Sauvignon Blanc Reserve

2010 Veritas Sauvignon Blanc Reserve (SRP $25, winery, @VeritasWinery)
Hints of cucumbers and green peppers give crisp, clean feel. Citrusy…mostly grapefruits and limes.
4 corks

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay (SRP $40, winery, @RSVineyards)
Wine from California
Peaches, hazelnut, and cream on the nose. Peaches & cream mixed with wet stone and apricots in the mouth.  Smooth, but a little hot.  Nice, but I wouldn’t pay $40 for it.
4 corks

2009 King Estate Domain Pinot Gris

2009 King Estate Domain Pinot Gris

2009 King Estate Domain Pinot Gris (SRP $25, winery, @KingEstate)
Wine from Oregon
Certified organic
Subtle, good acid, nice balance.  Granny smith apples & Asian pears with a touch of peaches and cream.
3.5 corks

2010 Barren Ridge Vidal Blanc

2010 Barren Ridge Vidal Blanc

2010 Barren Ridge Vidal Blanc (SRP $15, winery, @BarrenRidge)
Wine from Virginia
Almost clear in color.  Super ripe yellow peaches on the nose, but nice peach and pear balance in the mouth.
3.5 corks

2010 Rappahannock Cellars Vigonier

2010 Rappahannock Cellars Vigonier

2010 Rappahannock Cellars Vigonier (SRP $23, winery, @RCellars)
Wine from Virginia
Ginger, stone fruits, pineapple…YUM!  Surprisingly high alcohol content (14.5%, but good balance)
3.5 corks

2010 Artesa Chardonnay

2010 Artesa Chardonnay

2010 Artesa Chardonnay (SRP$15, winery, @Clubartesa)
Wine from California
Spicy.  Baked pears and coconut.  This wine is very velvety and has a medium body.
3 corks

2008 Afton Mountain Vineyards Tête de Cuvée

2008 Afton Mountain Vineyards Tête de Cuvée

2008 Afton Mountain Vineyards Tête de Cuvée (SRP $30, winery, @AftonMountain)
Wine from Virginia
Carmel, crème brûlée, vanilla, citrus, and a little burbony thing going on.  Enjoyable, but a little pricey.
3 corks

2009 Viviana Superiore Cuvée

2009 Viviana Superiore Cuvée

2009 Viviana Superiore Cuvée (SRP $22, winery, @LlanoWine)
Wine from Texas
My first wine from Texas…ever!  The wine is sweeter on the nose than in the mouth.  Nose smells like sugar, ripe stone, and tropical fruits.  Mouth is a little more tart and balanced…pineapple and peaches.
3 corks

2009 Festival Rose Bordeaux blend

2009 Festival Rose Bordeaux blend

2009 Festival Rose Bordeaux blend (SRP $13, winery)
Wine from France
Smells funky…like wet forest and mushrooms.  Tastes bit bitter, like under ripe strawberries, oranges, mushrooms, and a bit of creaminess. Just eh.
2.5 Corks

Question of the Day: What’s the most unusual regional wine you’ve tasted?

Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09: 3 and 2.5 Cork Wines

In Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09 post, I described how wine bloggers at this year’s North American conference had a chance to do a speed tasting of 11 different wines, each within a 5 minute timeframe. I’ve already made two posts outline my tasting notes—one of the 5 and 4.5 Cork wines and another for the 4 and 3.5 Cork wines. This is the last of my notes from the event.

Thanks again to all the wineries who made the event fun and successful!


3 Corks

2007 Lion’s Pride Pinot Noir (website)
$35
The exciting background on this wine is that the Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW) work with students at El Molino High School to cultivate the vineyard where grapes for this wine are grown.

According to the wine rep, El Molino is the only school in the country that has a vineyard and provides hands-on viticulture instruction. Once the grapes are ripe, the RRVWs make the grapes into a good wine.

The wine itself was a light ruby with very berry flavors—strawberry and cherry—and a bit of residual sugar. It admittedly isn’t a great wine, but it’s solidly a good one and certainly helps a good cause, as all of the proceeds from the wine sales go back into El Molino High School’s viticulture program.



2007 Tandem Chardonnay (vineyard)
$54
According to the wine rep, the grapes for this wine were grown in Mendocino County, and the wine was aged in French oak. The wine had nice floral, lemon, and grapefruit characteristics. Overall, I would like to spend a little more time getting to know this one, although, I admit that my first impression left me feeling that while it was a good wine, the price point was a little high.


2.5 Corks


Pinot Evil Pinot Noir NV (website)
$19.99
This is actually a French wine that is imported by a CA company, Underdog Wine Merchants. Pinot Evil is a box wine that the representative said leaves 55% less of a carbon footprint than the average wine. The box holds 24 glasses or about 4 bottles, which would work out to be about $5 per bottle.

Outside of the clever packaging, this Pinot Noir left something to be desired. There were some red fruits—raspberry and cherries—both on the nose and in the mouth, but there was something funky that I couldn’t quite identify (maybe ferns or something foresty?) It was light in tannins, acid, and body. For the price, the wine might be worth it, but it won’t offer anything special.






2007 Line 39 Petite Sirah (website)
$10
This wine was very purple, with big, dark legs. It smelled almost creamy, and there were definite dark fruit aromas on the nose. In the mouth, there were buttery black cherries and vanilla, although there was a slightly funny aftertaste. Overall, I thought the wine was ok.

Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09: 4 and 3.5 Cork Wines

As I mentioned in Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09, the Wine Bloggers’ Conference attendees had a chance to taste 11 different wines, each within a 5 minute timeframe—a speeding date with wine, if you will. Thank you to all of the wineries that participated. We may not have had a chance to spend a lot of time with your wine, but we all certainly enjoyed the time we had.

Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of every bottle; however, these wines are ones that I would definitely like to spend more time getting to know.


4 Corks

For some reason, I felt particularly rushed when tasting both of these wines. I wish I had a few more minutes to really play with them, but my first impressions left me wanting more.

2006 Clif Bar Gary’s Improv Syrah (winery)
$35
It had nice, strong black fruit flavors, good spiciness, and strong tannins.




2007 Cline Ancient Vines Mourvèdre (winery)
$16
This wine was dominated by spice flavors, mostly cloves, that mixed with black cherries and plums. There were good tannins, and the wine had a nice finish.







3.5 Corks

2005 Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Rockaway Pinot Noir (vineyard)
$75
The 2005 is the first vintage of this wine, and although it wasn’t quite there for me at this stage, it has potential. There were nice raspberry and cherry flavors, but the wine was a little too “hot” and a little too young to be worth $75. If you see it at a lower price point, though, don’t hesitate to grab it.




2005 Snows Lake Two (vineyard)
$45
The Snows Lake Two is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and 28% Cabernet Franc grapes. The wine was a deep purple, with big legs, and it tasted of dark berries and cedar, with a touch of plums. The tannins were soft and balanced well with the acidity and the body. Honestly, it felt more Cab Franc dominated than it actually was. Overall, this wine would be a good choice, particularly paired with food.












2007 Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (vineyard)
$13
The wine rep explained that this Cab was trying to be approachable but complex, and I definitely thought it put forward a good effort. The wine was very purple with a nice, creamy berry flavor and a touch of smoke. The body was surprisingly light, and at $13, it seemed like a good wine for a glass after work.











2007 Foggy Bridge Chardonnay (winery)
$18 suggested retail
According to the wine rep, this Chardonnay tries to bridge the gap between oaked and unoaked Chards. 50% of the grapes are barrel fermented, while the rest are put in stainless steel. Additionally, while they don’t have the certification yet, the vineyard hopes to be organically certified by next year. The wine itself had butter, grapefruit, lime, and mineral notes. The woman sitting next to me also mentioned the taste of toasted marshmallow, which I noticed once she pointed it out. Overall, I expected the wine to have stronger flavor characteristics because it underwent malolactic fermentation, but it actually was surprisingly light and crisp. At $18, this is an enjoyable wine that is definitely worth a glass (or two).

Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09: 4.5 and 5 Cork Wines

As I mentioned post about Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09, conference attendees had a chance to taste 11 different wines, each within a 5 minute timeframe. These wines really stood of for me.


5 Corks

2005 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (winery)
$100
I admit it; this was a winery I was hoping to taste during WBC09. I’ve read numerous reviews of their wines, but admittedly have had a little difficulty finding any. When it turned out to be our last speed tasting wine, I was very excited.

The wine is still on the young side, with a deep purple color that is starting to trend towards ruby.
There were good berry flavors that were matched in intensity with fresh cloves and vanilla. Those flavors were followed with a hint of leather. The wine had good, strong tannins. I think the wine has several years worth of aging potential, and if you’re going to drink it now, I recommend decanting the wine, as the wine opened up as I swirl and sipped.






4.5 Corks

Benovia Winery 2007 Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir (vineyard)
$55
Benovia winery focuses on growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel grapes. The Savoy’s Pinot Noir had nice red berry—raspberry and cranberry—flavors that were followed by some vegetal notes. The wine had good acid, low tannins, and a medium body, which all played well together, although there was something different about it. Overall, it provided a nice, smooth, enjoyable experience.




Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09

Someone at WBC09 described the Live Blogging Wine Tasting event as “speed dating” with wine. For each wine, we had 5 minutes to talk with the representative (usually the winemaker), ask questions, taste the wine, and take notes before the next representative was at our table to start the process all over again. I tasted 11 wines total during the speed tasting. The comparison to speed dating was perfect because 5 minutes was enough time for a quick introduction, a little flirting, and a decision as to whether or not there was enough interest for a follow-up, but definitely not enough time to learn everything there was to offer or to really get a detailed impression. For me, though, there were a couple of differences, mainly that I tried to take pictures and to tweet during the event. I would never do (or at least openly do) either of those things during speed dating. That said, although I took a number of pictures, most of them didn’t turn out, and anyone who follows me on Twitter (@Alleigh) knows that I quickly abandoned my attempt to Tweet in order to spend a little more quality time with the wine.

With that in mind, here is a quick overview of how I rated each wine in this post. In an effort to keep this organized and make my notes more searchable in the future, I’m going to put my tasting notes in separate posts that are organized by rating level.

5 Corks
2005 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (
winery)—$100

4.5 Corks
2007 Benovia Winery Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir (vineyard)—$55

4 Corks
2006 Clif Bar Gary’s Improv Syrah (winery)—$35
2007 Cline Ancient Vines Mouvedre (
winery)—$16

3.5 Corks
2005 Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Rockaway Pinot Noir (vineyard)—$75
2005 Snows Lake Two (
vineyard)—$45
2007 Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (
vineyard)—$13
2007 Foggy Bridge Chardonnay (
winery)—$18

3 Corks
2007 Lion’s Pride Pinot Noir (website)—$35
2007 Tandem Chardonnay (
vineyard)—$54

2.5 Corks
2007 Line 39 Petite Sirah (website)—$10
NV Pinot Evil Pinot Noir (
website)—$19.99