There’s speed dating, speed eating (think hot dogs of Fourth of July) and when wine writers get together there is speed tasting.
The Wine Blogger’s conference, now in its seventh year, has really made a name for itself with the speed round of wine tasting. Winemakers visit tables while pouring and talking about their wine. A new winemaker shows up five minutes later with another wine.
Here is my first attempt at Live Wine Blogging/Tasting:
Aridus Chardonnay – Arizona Heritage Chardonnay, and their first vintage, grapes grown here in Santa Maria region of Santa Barbara County “This is going to be super oaky and buttery, a Chard like we really like to drink,” owner daughter, Leah.
The Wine: straw yellow, rich, 20 percent new French oak, Bit astringent on the finish, not a fan of the acid.
Bianchi 2012 Pinot Grigio – Assistant Winemaker Todd said: “No oak, very fragrant, all stainless steeI – likIte to pair it with Thai food, and a good stand around wine as well.”
The wine: Though not a fan of PG this had a wonderfully fragrant nose, just as Todd suggested. The fruit held up nice across the palate. Very light finish. Nice wine but not much to get excited about.
Taken Wine Company Complicated – “It’s all Sonoma County Chardonnay – around 25 percent oak.”. Josh Phelps from Napa County described the wines. Biz partner grandfather started Sutter Home.
The Wine. For me, this was unbalanced wine with all the characteristics I don’t like about Chardonnay. Todd said it was ‘partial malolactic fermentation – which was too much for me.”
Bandit Pinot Grigio – Package is recyclable. This cardboard wrapped wine was partially started by noted winemaker Joel Gott.
The Wine: You may have seen this bright green cardboard container on shelves. It’s widely distributed. Spokesperson Carissa handled out swag and responded when asked that noted winemaker Joel Gott had a hand in creating this brand.
It was fine Pinot Grigio – sort of a back-handed compliment.
Laetitia Cuvee – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc make up this sparkler, sustainable farming certification, estate cuvee, non vintage, located in Rio Grande Valley, one hour north of Buellton, spokesperson Beth told us. “True cool climate wines – and true sustainability to educating our farm workers and taking care of our people and the planet.”
The Wine: I’m picky about sparklers and this one came across as a bit astringent.
Tre Anelli Consilience Viognier . Local winery, since 1997, the publicist guy Dan told us. “We do have our own estage vineyards but they’re not online yet. But all vineyard sources are within 10-12 miles from where we are now.” Blend of Viognier, Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Sauv Blanc, and Albarino.
The Wine: Nose of Viognier and taste of Roussanne. It was nice wine but I had a hard time focusing on what it was or what it wanted to be. It had a really ‘fresh’ quality I liked. Not sure if it’s a wine I’d buy.
Rios 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – “The idea of this wine was to make something very easy to drink without compromising the variety. No oak here. Everything here is natural,” said winemaker. It’s time to talk about Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. We’re a very little winery. Price of this wine is $8.99,” all from winemaker Vicente.
The Wine: This was delightfully light and crisp wine. The best thing I’ve tasted thus far. This was really well-made wine.
Jordan 2012 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley – “Russian River Valley is a great place to make French-inspired Chardonnay. We make our two wines Chardonnay and Cabernet in very elegant styles,” said spokesperson Lisa.
The Wine: Really well-made wine. I liked the balance better than any Chard poured at Table 20. I’ve always been partial to RRV wines and this just confirmed it. Very clean and crisp, $30 – and worth it!
Buttonwood Z Sauvignon Blanc from 2013 from Santa Ynez Valley. The year was a warm weather growing season. $20 wine.
The Wine: Really nice Sauv Blanc. Grapefruit, lemon – classic flavors of Sauv Blanc, Just like the PR material we’re handed – fair to call it Zingy, Zesty, and Zippy. Seriously, they said that.
Ariidus 2013 — Italian varietal, $28, Malvasia, grown in New Mexico for this Arizona winery
The Wine: Nose of a Viognier, not as balanced as I would like, a bit acidic. Uber dry wine that I liked more as I sipped.