Friday, October 24, 2008

Live Blogging from First-Ever Wine Bloggers' Conference!

Arrived late to the 1st-ever North American Wine Bloggers' Conference due to horrendous traffic -- my style as usual. :-p Jessica Yadegaran (wine writer for the Contra Costa Times,) and I traipsed in and went to the first person we saw who looked authoritative. Turned out to be the co-founder of the conference, Allan Wright from Zephyr Wine Adventures. Score. Sitting right in front and here we go...

'04 Bonterra McNabb -- 60% Merlot 26% Cab & 14% Petite Sirah. Alcohol 14.1%; 500 cases; $45 retail; all organic and biodynamic. Original rootstock, does have phylloxera but keep orig. stock since like the fruit so much and biodyanmic practices allow vines to resist the phyllox. Cherry, black pepper, spice, good structure -- nice grip on the finish but not overpowering. Would go excellent with roasted meats, maybe rosemary-grilled beef or even chicken.

'05 Clos LaChance Estate Cab Sauv -- 100% Cab; retail $30; 1212 cases; 14.5% alcohol. Family winery started in 1992 with a small vineyard in backyard -- "winery that run amok," went from 100 cases to 60,000 to 80,000. Now in San Martin about 1 hour south of San Jose. Hummingbird is trademark, territorial animal, keeps the bad, grape-eating birds away. Name: "clos" = enclosed area, LaChance is maiden name of matriarch. Leather, stone on the nose, also seems pretty hot. Better on the palate with currants, spicey finish but not quite balanced.

This "speed-dating" version of wine tasting isn't moving quite as fast as I thought. Our table (one of 16) has been neglected 3 rounds -- granted we missed a few before actually sitting down and powering up, but it seems like they need more pourers! We're ready and raring to go, here folks!

Boho Vineyards -- one of first premium-wine box formats; $24 retail ($6/bottle, holds 4 bottles); ecological, efficient, more bang for your buck; easier to ship. Good for the wallet & the planet. Lovely nose, lots of vanilla, stone fruit, oak. Toasty on the palate but not buttery -- the fruit shines through.

Jessica is a star here, tons of people know her through her wine features and her CoCo Times blog. Man I need cards for Wineclubbie and JC Cellars.

'07 Muscat James David Cellars. 14.5%, .17% RS. Very FIRST wine, 105 cases, Paso Robles -- new winery. Going up to 185 then 380 and that will be max. Also going to do a meritage. Tobin James also sources from same vineyard. Honey & apricots on the nose, light, fairly crisp finish. Had to dump out to make room for the next wine, unfortunately. Selling direct from Inertia Beverage Group, distributed in some Sac restaurants -- Nugget markets. Would go lovely with sushi, seafood, Thai food. James David is looking also to foothills for another brand with Cal Poly-grad sister with soil science and viticulture degree.

'05 Bink Weir Vineyards (Yorkville HIghlands of Mendocino) Pinot (blend of 3 diff clones); dusty on the nose not much fruit, but lots of strawberry on the nose and SPICE. Long finish, but think it needs to breathe for a bit.

'06 Twisted Oak The Spaniard; 2/3 Tempranillo, rest Graciano & Grenache. Calaveras County. Clove, big red & purple fruit on the nose; chewy palate, just right touches of oak. Hold up to 10 years -- Jeff Stai (the larger-than-life guy known to most as "El Jefe") says the '02s are tasting great right now.

'06 Small Vines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - 150 cases, out of Graton, released in November. Mailing list only, $65. 3,680 vines per acre, 4-foot tractor row, 3 feet between vines, avg. in CA is l,000 per acre; lower pounds per vine b/c pinot is most yield-senstive grape. Biodynamic -- converted from organic last year, felt better Great, classic nose to this one. Not terribly complex on the palate -- lacking some in the mid-palate. Would drink but not buy at that price point.

'07 Cupcake Chardonnay -- founded on idea of making wines that would make you feel like you did when you were a kid and mom gave you a cupcake. Approachable but layered with different flavors -- not so astute that they intimidate. Central Coast -Mnterey & SLO fruit, whole fermentation to preserve aromatics. 30% ML, 100% into small, premium American oak. Aged 6-8 months. Very typical Chard nose, the diacetol really comes throuhg (some might think that's bad, others good). Good dose of butter and oak, but not overpowering. Want popcorn with this wine.

OK, we're done. Supposed to go 'til 5:15, but it's the first year, there might be some kinks.


jason said...

Thanks for the update, living vicariously! Saw Jessica is doing the live blogging now as well...

B said...

You're always late...

mloagogo said...

It was fun, Jason, glad you were checking in through us. You should definitely go next year!