Posts Filed Under wine industry events

New York, New Zealand, New Sauvignon Blancs (And Pinots)

Tasting Nobilo, Kim Crawford, Monkey Bay and Drylands new releases Or “Big Acid in The Big Apple

Last week, I was the guest of Constellation Brands (good sports that they are!) who trotted me up to New York city for a media tasting of the new releases from their New Zealand portfolio.  A lot of “new” going on in general there.

On deck were winemakers Darryl Wooley and a jet-lag-battling Dave Edmunds to walk me and a few other wine-writing-types through a handful of tastings at the Institute of Culinary Education.  Afterward, we donned aprons and threw back a heap of wine as the ICE staff walked us through cooking our own dinners.  Or, I should say, walked most everybody else through cooking dinner, while I mulled about and chatted up everyone and generally avoided poisoning the food with my sub-par culinary skills.  To be fair, I did pat down a rack of lamb; not only do they need to be dried off a bit before cooking, but it’s NYC and so you never know, that lamb might have been packing heat.

Apologies if this post has a bit too much “weeeee! I was there! check out my blurry cell phone pix!” factor to it – but the approach felt right for recapping the event (and the cell was the only available photographic equipment I had at the time…).

Anyway, highlights for me included catching up with Tish (who was working an event in an adjacent room), and finally meeting the World Wine Guys.  Oh, and watching Constellation’s Rebecca Hopkins perform the most perfect oyster shuck that I’ve ever witnessed (see inset pic).

While not all of the 2010 Kiwi SBs floated my boat, the style is more “me” than the heavier take on SB so prevalent on the U.S. Left Coast, and the 2010 Marlborough harvest has yielded some interesting fruits worthy of note.

The yields in Marlborough were down seven percent vs. 2009, thanks to a slightly cooler end of Summer and a dry harvest that ran three weeks late in some places. This had the effect of raising abv levels to some of their highest points ever, though you’d be hard-pressed to tell when it comes to Constellation’s NZ brands, as the wines on the whole were very well-balanced. There were a few badge-worthy standouts from the festivities, and I found Nobilo generally to be the best brand of the bunch – particularly their Pinot Noir, a grape that, after a rocky-but-promising start in Kiwi land seems to be coming more and more into its own. PN clone selection has been an ongoing experiment, but Marlborough seems to have found the right matches now, and plantings are up 930% since 1996 (no, that’s not a typo).

Badges and the full run of the wines sampled are after the jump…

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Lost Grapes Get Found: Forgotten Grapes VA Tasting Event – August 18

Vinted on August 16, 2010 binned in wine industry events

Doing for Forgotten Grapes what Dancing With the Stars does for forgotten celebrities.”

Thus reads the tag line of Chris Kern’s website ForgottenGrapes.com, the purpose of which should hopefully at this point be glaringly obvious to you.

You’ve got to like a tag line like that.

Chris contacted me to invite me to one of his upcoming events in Arlington, VA, during which five different off-the-beaten-path wine varieties will be poured while Chris will “tell stories, cracks jokes, sings songs, dress up in costume, and relate each varietal [sic] to a pop culture icon as a way to introduce D.C. wine lovers to these exceptional wines that they really should be drinking.”

I don’t promote local events often enough here on 1WD – mostly because as the blog has become more successful, the chances of you not being in my general neck of the woods have increased.  But it feels good to “go local” once in a while.

I can’t make the event, but I really dig what Chris is trying to do in highlighting some of the more unsung grape varieties.  On his website, Chris pulls together fun info. about each grape including trivia and food pairing recommendations from chefs, and thoughts on the wine grape from winemakers (see an example).

According to Chris, “We’ll be pouring a dry Semillon, a Gruner Veltliner, a Carmenere, a Mourvedre/Monastrell, and a Brachetto d’Acqui. A pretty eclectic mix, to be sure, and something I really think the DC wine lovers’ community will enjoy.”

Vital details on the event are below.  If you go, I’d love to hear about the experience!

“First pour for “Getting Friendly with Forgotten Grapes” will be at 6:30 p.m. sharp Wednesday, August 18th, and the cost of the event is only $35 per person, which includes the two-hour show, generous pours of each of the five Forgotten Grape wines, and a cheese plate paired with the wine. Reservations can be made by calling Twisted Vines directly at (571) 482-8581, but please note that seating for the event is very limited and it is expected to sell out, so if you are interested in attending, call Twisted Vines as soon as you can to make your advanced reservation. Twisted Vines is located at 2803 Columbia Pike in Arlington.”

All this got me thinking about “unsung” grape varieties – the “ABC: Anything But Chardonnay/Cabernet” set.  What are YOUR fave “unsung” varieties?  Shout ‘em out in the comments!

Cheers!

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What Do YOU Wanna Talk About? (2010 Americas Wine Bloggers Conference)

Vinted on June 15, 2010 binned in wine bloggers conference, wine blogging, wine industry events

The 2010 Americas Wine Bloggers Conference is nigh upon us (June 25-27 in Walla Walla, WA), and I’m getting excited to attend (despite the major pain in the ass it is going to be for me to even get to Walla Walla from Philly in the first place).

There’s a great deal to be excited about in this case – the sponsors and participating wineries will allow us wine bloggin’ types to get a deeper dive into the WA wine scene; the lovable madness of the live wine blogging “speed tasting” sessions is back (in an expanded format); friend of the Dude and Wine Enthusiast West Coast editor Steve Heimoff will be delivering the keynote; last, but most importantly, there’s the opportunity to meet with friends, old and new.

This year’s conference will be a bit more involved for me than in the past (in other words, I have to be sober on Friday) as I’ve been asked to sit (with Jeff Lefevere of Good Grape and RJ Hilgers of RJ’s Wine Blog) on the “About Wine Blogging” Breakout Session panel, specifically for the “Advanced Bloggers” session.

Which is kind of odd for me, because otherwise that was the session that I’d planned on attending.

I’m totally cool with this – and in fact I’d told the WBC organizers to feel free to consider me to help out or sit in on a panel (though I’d imagined then that it would have been the “Novice Bloggers” track or something similar) because I really wanted to try to give something back to WBC and to other bloggers this year, if I could.

I know that a lot of other wine bloggers read 1WineDude.com, and I’m stoked to go to Walla Walla to meet / catch-up with you, and if there was any chance that I could help make the experience cooler for you (outside of spending my hard-earned cash on you, of course) then I really wanted to be a part of that somehow.  I also had a great time sitting on the Social Media / Monetization panel at the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium, and so I thought I would potentially be bringing some legitimate and useful panel experience to the mix.

But now… the pressure’s on, and I’m hoping that YOU can help ME

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