So Friday came with a rude wake up call. No, not the fire alarm. Worse. My body screaming profanities at me at 3 a.m. in the tune of “WAKE UP B***H!”
For whatever reason, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Thank god for my iPhone and Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest apps!!
So needless to say, I was a sleepy girl all day. Give me enough wine and I won’t complain, though! 🙂 *sigh* Okay, okay, wine and breakfast with a good friend of mine.
The conference started off with a trade show and tasting. Wine tasting at 10 a.m.? Don’t mind if I do!
My favorite wine from the morning trade show and tasting was most definitely the 2010 Jacob’s Creek Dry Riesling. The balance of acidity and sweetness was perfect. It was a good way to start the morning.
There was also a brunch with the wines of Argentina. Since I had already ate breakfast, the idea of eating more was not on the agenda…although I did have to at least check and see what they had. The pairing I tried was perfect…the Catena Chardonnay with the empanadas. Yum. I also had a taste of the Alma Negra Sparkling Rosé, even though I didn’t try to the Ceviche (shrimp isn’t my thing, sorry shrimp lovers…).
After the tradeshow, tasting & brunch, we all filed into the ballroom of the hotel for a welcoming/official opening of the conference and a key note speech from Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards. The speech was funny and light hearted, but made a few good points. Some highlights were the following quotes:
“Very, very few of us have figured out how to monetize our efforts; there are clearly much easier ways to make a buck, like flipping burgers or even selling “orange” wines. We blog because in some sense we must, like the salmon around here, returning to spawn. Maybe the desire to blog stems from coming from a slightly dysfunctional family of origin, where we were never properly heard as children (at least, that’s my motivation).”
“So, if there is perhaps an incidental take-away in my somewhat frothy remarks, it may be this: We are living in a time of shattered attention spans, trivial to non-existent bandwidths, and communication with one another generally limited to a sound-bite or a brief text message (often sent just before the stoplight turns green). Customer loyalty, as such, indeed any kind of loyalty these days, can best be charitably described as Commitment Lite. But, the person who, somehow through all of this, can express an allegiance to his customers or, in your instance, to your readers, with a certain generosity of spirit, must gain our attention and, maybe, even respect and fidelity.”
“Rebranding, as they say, is a bitch.”
You can find the full text of his speech here if you want to read further.
After Randal’s speech, we moved on to live wine blogging.
What is live wine blogging, you ask? Imagine speed dating…except instead of meeting a potential love interest, you’re meeting a wine, quite possibly for the first time. You’re introduced to 10 wines and have 5 minutes to make up your mind as to whether or not you like it…and oh, yeah, maybe tweet it.
I’m a talented multi-tasker, but I’m not *that* good. So I went old school with a pen and a pad of paper to take notes.
The first wine we got was the 2010 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay. On the nose, this has bright citrus notes and a slight hint of wet stone minerality. On the palate, there’s a nice, complex balance of green apples, citrus and toasted oak. And with an SRP of $20 (I’ve found it for about $15 on sale in my local grocery stores), it’s definitely a bottle to consider!!
Next up was the 2009 Amity Vineyards Dry Riesling.
On the nose there was bright citrus & peach. Upon hitting the palate, the wine had a nice wet stone minerality with a touch of acidic stone fruit. This is definitely a Riesling that begs for food, and Amity’s website even states that it’s *intended* to be paired with food. If I had to a food pairing with this, I’d be thinking something along the lines of fresh Dungeness crab cakes or a white-fleshed fish like sturgeon or halibut.
Next was the 2009 Brooks Winery Ara Riesling.
Now, I’ve drank from wineries that have had their wines poured at the White House and State Dinners, but I think that this is the first time that I’ve *actually* drank the wine (albeit not the same vintage) that was paired with a dish by a celebrity chef at one of these said White House State Dinners.
Yes…the 2006 vintage of this wine was paired with a Red Lentil Soup with Fresh Cheese at a State Dinner honoring India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 24, 2009.
The celeb chef? Marcus Samuelsson. From my research, I found that he was the consulting chef, along with White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford for that specific State Dinner.
I can see why this wine was paired with a red lentil soup. It was dry, but not too dry, so it could easily cut through any spiciness of a red lentil soup. When I tasted the ’09, my tasting read as follows:
Nose: peach, wet minerals
Palate: peaches, peaches, peaches.
It was definitely a lovely wine and one that I’d certainly like to try to pair with something spicy!!
After a dalliance with Riesling, we headed back to Chardonnay.
Most people know Francis Ford Coppola as a director of a little, unknown film called The Godfather. Yeah, you may have heard of the movie. 😉 But did you also know that he has a winery? And that winery makes damn good wine?
The 2010 Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Chardonnay has citrus zest and grapefruit on the nose. On the palate there’s a wonderful blend of tropical fruity and a vanilla creaminess that makes you want more.
Next was the 2011 Alexana Winery Pinot Gris. This had a solid nose of stone fruit and a very nice balance of acidity, minerality and fruit on the palate.
With an SRP of $26, this is definitely more of a special occasion wine as opposed to a daily sipper.
Wow…I’m only halfway through this and I’ve probably lost a few people by this point. How about we all take a bit, regroup and come back in a bit? 😉
@ Sharon – Thank you!! And to think, I haven’t even gotten halfway through!!!!! I still have our fantastic experience at Garden Vineyards to write about!!
@ Lily-Elaine – I was happy to meet you, too! I feel weird when breaking the ice because I’m the same way, so don’t feel bad! I’ve had to learn to overcome my shyness in the past year thanks to my day job (which is retention & sales within the cable/telecommunications industry), so I felt a little better at the Conference thanks to that experience.
It’s great to see your write up on the jam packed first day of #WBC12. I am happy I got to meet you there too (in the elevator). As out going as people often take me to be, I actually get really shy in group situations so I was really happy to meet you and feeling awkward at the same time. Looking forward to your further posts on the conference, and to seeing you again in the future.
Nice post on quite a 1st day!!