30 June, 2010

The 7 Habits of Slightly Effective Wine Bloggers

I'm just back from the 3rd Annual Wine Bloggers Conference held this year in what locals call W2, that is, Walla Walla, Washington (hell, shouldn't that be W3?) Accordingly, I thought I'd scribe a few of the best kept secrets that I gleaned/overheard/learned/stole from some of the best wine bloggers in the world!

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Start the day out right with a glass of wine at breakfast. If there's not mimosas being served, steal some OJ and bring a bottle of bubbly or 3 down.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Look, there's lots to be done here. We've got parties, tastings, parties, breakout sessions, tastings, parties, and some fine Hors D'Overs marauding as dinner. If you don't pace yourself, you're going be grumpy just like the photog from MutineerMagazine.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

When It's time for lunch, it's time for lunch, not time for monkeying around with your laptop, camera or other iDevice. C'Mon, man! Find a TacoTruck and do a WallaWalla Taco or Burrito from La Monarca or Los Taquitos.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Actually, I just try to win. Period. I almost made it during speed dating. Close but no cigar. My buddy Steve Paolo of Notes From the Cellar did win. Go ask him how and stop bugging me.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

It appears our School Bus doesn't understand where we need to go and I don't understand why. Wait! Why the hell are we going to Touchet when Dry Creek  is to the left...and wait..where are we? Walla Walla?

Habit 6: Synergize

Again, too many bloggers taking too many pics at the same time equals a great deal of dis-synergy. Will you people just relax and drink some wine. Again, what's the deal with all of the Skool Busses? 

Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw

    I have no idea what this means nor do I have a witty analogy or euphemism, but here's a panoramic view from atop the Seven Hills Vineyard. It was truly beautiful, regardless of the 12 pounds of Aphids that took a ride in my camera bag on the way home.

    ..and a bonus tip:
    Most importantly, enjoy your time with the friends you get to see but once a year.

    Photos (c) 2010
    Ward Kadel
    Arianna Armstrong
    chow | studios

    26 June, 2010

    Live Speed Dating (tasting) - Red Wine at #wbc10

    Table TWENTY-SIX is the ShizIT! and we're off to the races.

    12 Red Wines. Hawt!
     (Reverse Chronological Order)..and on twitter -- @20dollarwine

    12th and last but not least is Stepping Stone 1008 Napa Cab Franc.

    Balance. Balance. Like it quite a bit. Most balanced wine of the evening. Nice job, Craig!

    Retail: $30
    Grade: B+

    11th is ANOTHER PINOT -- YES!!!!
    2007 Stoller Dundee Hills Pinot
    Interesting nose of barnyard and bret. (go French!)
    Even, but a bit sweet. Would love a bit more acid, but still a nice example of Oregon Pinot....bordering on RRV, though.

    REtail: $25
    Grade: B

    10th is Ponzi 2008 Willamette Valley Pinot.
    Yumm. Finally some Pinot. Pleasant Pinot with pervasive plums and persimmons.
    Like. That. Is. All.

    Retail: $35
    Grade: B+ (would be higher with better price)

    9th Red is Trio Cellars "Riot" Red blend.
    Sangio, Syrah, Mouvedre
    Delicious. Balanced with good acid. Great with Pizza.
    REtail: $18
    Grade: A-

    8th red is Molly Dooker Velvet Glove 2009 Shiraz
    HEAVYWEIGHT Shiraz with plenty of everything and then some.
    Evident red fruit and strawberry but far to big too drink with any food.
    Retail: $180
    Grade: Are you kidding me?

    OK...halfway home now
    7th wine is @duckpondcellars 2008 Red Blend
    Merlot, Syrah, Cab.

    Not remarkable, but decent. A bit of nice blue on the nose, even finish. good balance.

    Retail: $15
    Grade: B+

    6th is Desert Wind 2008 Ruah Bordeaux Style Blend
    Rich, structured with good solid Cab taste. Nice round finish. Good.

    Retail: $28
    Grade: B-

    5th is "The Crusher" 2008 Petite Sirah from Don Sebastiani
    Clarksburg AVA North of Sacramento, CA
    Rich P. Sirah with great red fruit, round, jammy fruit. Great P. Sirah color - Deep purples
    Mass market - 10K cases

    Retail: 12
    Grade: B

    4th Red is Isenhower Bachelors Button 2007 Columbia Valley Cab
    Vines planted in 1972. Rich, hot Cab. Good example of local Cab.

    Retail $28
    Grade B

    3rd is Louis Martini 2006 Napa Lot1 Cab
    Edged down to drink now. Low in tannin for Cab. Should be uber nice in a few year. A Cab I would drink.

    Retail: $120
    Grade: Not graded - Pricing out of line. (should be 50-60)

    2nd is @ortmanwines 2008 Sangiovese
    Jammy up front with decent structure, spicy with white pepper.
    Very young.

    Retail: $20
    Grade: B-

    1st Up - Magnificent Wine Co - "House Wine"
    Follow them @magnifficentwine
    Cab, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Zin, Petit Verdot, cab franc
    Mellow, nice blend, good QPR. Everyday drinking wine..good with BBQ.

    Retail: $13
    Grade: B

    25 June, 2010

    WBC 2010 - Live Wine Blogging - WHITE

    Let's go..

    Table #13 is rocking! (reverse chronological order - newest wine first)

    12th and final wine is DuckPond 2008 Pinot Gris
    100% P. Gris. Needs more time to open. Like it quite a bit. Even, balanced, nice great P. Gris flavors of green apple (yes, really) soft meyer lemon, peach. Great price point
    Grade A

    11th Wine DeLille Cellars 2008 Chaleur Estate Blanc
    62%Sauvignon Blanc 38% Semillion
    Quite nice..nose has some smoky ham, but mouthfeel is even, balanced. Really like this, but pricing is ??
    Retail: $34
    Grade: B- (would be higher with more aggressive price - suggest $24)

    10th Wine is Dusted Valley Rose
    Retail: $18
    Grade: B

    9th Wine is 2008 Buty Semillon, Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc.
    Nice, Semillon based cuvee', but a bit too cool. Rich, a bit sweet.
    Retail: $25
    Grade: B-
    (would be higher grade with lower price..suggest $18)

    8th wine is 2008 Hogue Columbia Valley Chardonnay
    Interesting. No oak, no ML chard. Even, nice relaxed but nose is tight. Otherwise pretty nice.

    Retail: $16
    Grade: B+

    7th wine is 2009 Maryhill Viognier
    A bit too sweet and rich for me. Nicely made, but I prefer a Viogner that's a bit less sweet and less viscous. Great vanilla on the nose. Nice, but not for me.

    Retail: 12
    Grade: B-

    6th is Big House White.
    3L ...mass market - not recommended.

    5th - Next up is Poet's Walk 2009 Columbia Riesling
    1.3% RS, sweet, event, all hand harvested.
    Nice off dry Riesling. A bit too much for me, but quality made wine.
    Retail: $20
    Grade B

    4th is Desert Wind 2009 Wahluke Slope, Washington Viognier

    100% Viognier - Great fresh nose on a bit cool wine. ..but I like the acid on the front, the front to back balance and the wide finish.

    8.5% in new French Oak, balance in stainless.

    Retail $15
    Grade: B+

    3rd wine is Big Green Box from Pepperwood Grove NV Chard

    Sweet, just not enough acid on the front to balance. 
    Mass market wine

    Retail: $20 (3L)
    Grade: Not Reccomended

    Next up:
    2007 Ortman Edna Valley Chardonnay

    Ortman is a favorite producer of mine from the Paso Robles area. Always a nice time at their tasting room in Paso.

    This Chard (and full disclosure, I'm not a Chard fan) is a nice example with very restrained oak and in balanced quality. The oak is nice that it's not on the front, but strictly in the mid palate.

    10 months on French Oak..definitely would like this with halibut or salmon and beurre blanc.

    Retail: $24
    Grade: B+

    1st one is up
    Pithy Little Wine Company

    2009 Sangiovese Rose
    Paso Robles, CA
    98% Sangio
    2%  Syrah

    Unfortunately, a bit too warm, but this rich rose is colorful on the nose with heavy white cherries and a good balance of acid on the front. Even front to back. Let's have this with some grilled chicken on the patio.

    Retail: $22
    Grade: B