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.
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 (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.
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.
2009 King Estate Domain Pinot Gris (SRP $25, winery, @KingEstate)
Wine from Oregon
Subtle, good acid, nice balance. Granny smith apples & Asian pears with a touch of peaches and cream.
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.
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.
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.
Question of the Day: What’s the most unusual regional wine you’ve tasted?