Posts Filed Under wine industry events
Last week, I attended an on-line video conference / wine tasting that involved a handful of wine bloggers from around the U.S., as well as eight of Chile’s most talented young winemakers (congregated in Santiago), moderated by Wines of Chile in N.Y. While I’m used to this kind of cross-time-zone, cross-cultural meeting (as well as utilizing video and conference call across the same) from working in IT, I had no idea how this would transpire in the context of wine.
And I’ve never tasted eight samples of Chilean Carmenere wines on an IT conference call.
So… how did it go?
I’m happy to report that I found the event to be great fun and quite well executed. The technology worked well and I only found minor cavils – like wanting the in-conference chat to work like twitter, preferably integrated with twitter – which I think speaks to the professionalism and quality of the event overall if those are my only complaints.
Last week, I’d written that this event could prove to be a seminal moment in my wine-lovin’ days, as it focused almost exclusively on Carmenere, a grape with which I’ve had a troubled history. In summary, I’ve been critical of Chile’s ability to deliver on the potential of the grape as (in my experience) they’d yet to get pyrazine (which imparts ‘green’ aromas of bell pepper and pine) truly under control and balanced with the dark fruit flavors of the grape.
I was placing (perhaps unjustifiably) a lot of pressure on this event, as I was expecting (perhaps justifiably) that Wines of Chile would ‘go big’ and bring some heavy hitters to the party – i.e., really show what Chile was capable of when it comes to Carmenere.
So… how were the wines?
In summary: a mixed bag…
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This week just might mark a seminal event in my personal wine journey. Either that, or a huge, disappointing wine bust served up on a bed of bell pepper and pine needles.
On November 4th, I’ll be taking part with a small group of bloggers in an on-line tasting event with Wines of Chile, the theme of which is “Discover Carmenere: The Lost Grape.” Why is this a boom-or-bust wine moment for me? Because I have what I would call a troubled relationship with Carmenere.
Of course, I love the idea of this grape, the story of Carmenere – it’s the stuff of which wine legends are made.
Carmenere was born in Bordeaux, and thought to be extinct after outbreaks of oidium and then the Phylloxera epidemic in the 1800s, which wiped out a good portion of the wine grape vineyards of Europe. Though widely thought to be able to help produce high quality wines, Carmenere was pretty much abandoned in France in favor of varieties that were less susceptible to disease, ripened more consistently and produced better yields. But, Carmenere was not dead – plantings were transported, from France to South America, along with vineyard workers looking for more gainful employment at the time (just prior to the Phylloxera outbreak). For almost one hundred years, the vine thrived in Chile and was thought to be Merlot; it was discovered to in the mid 1990s to actually be the ‘lost grape’ – Carmenere.
So now we have a legendary Bordeaux grape long considered extinct, thriving in the New Wine World and growing on its own, ungrafted rootstock. The modern wine Coelacanth. The Grape from The Land of The Lost (Sleestaks sold separately).
So what’s the trouble? Well, in my experience, the tale spun about the lost grape Carmenere is a lot more compelling than the wine that Carmenere is actually producing…
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I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is No, 1WineDude has not become a German Wine Blog. It just looks that way because October has (primarily) featured German wines and German wine happs. This is due to TasteLive.com having dedicated the month to featuring selections picked by the organization Wines of Germany (I helped to set this up and might collect a modest “finder’s fee” for that – if I’m lucky). Also, Wines of Germany keeps sending me pictures of the German hotties who were vying for the German Wine Queen title, and I’m just shallow enough that those caught my interest.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be your co-host for the wrap-up German wine event at TasteLive.com on October 22, which is open to the public – that means that you can join us in tasting and tweeting about the following wines live from the comfort of your favorite drinking chair! (TasteLive has partnered with Bacchus Wine and Spirits for those that can’t source the wines locally).
- Selbach-Oster, Riesling, Kabinett, Mosel, 2007/2008
- Leitz, Riesling, “Eins Zwei Dry,” Rheingau, 2008
- Dönnhoff, Riesling, Nahe, 2008
- Darting, Riesling, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Kabinett, Pfalz, 2008
I’ve had the Selbach-Oster and the Leitz, and they’re both really tasty wines, which probably bodes well for the other selections. Those of you who have been following along at home with the previous October events featuring German wines know that the selections have all be very good, so I’m really looking forward to the 22nd.
More detail is available on the TasteLive Blog.
Sign up over at TasteLive.com, get yourself the wines, and join us on the 22nd!
Today, I’m closing the loop and following up on the contest to find the next German Wine Queen, who was officially crowned last week in a final gala event featuring the six finalists culled from Germany’s 13 wine regions. The winner was Sonja Christchurch from the Mosel, who is a recent business graduate and has a day job as a wine journalist (right on!).
It’s interesting to see what the Wine Queen contestants have to go through to get into the finals and then be chosen for the top 3 slots, which includes the following tests:
- A blind tasting
- Describing a wine region (presumably a German one) within 45 seconds (which can’t be easy using long German words that probably take 15 seconds each to pronounce)
- Identify six errors in a film about the Middle Rhine region (this one is my personal fave)
- Stand up to an 80-member jury of wine experts, politicians and journalists
80-member jury? Are you kidding me? Masters of Wine candidates don’t need to do something that difficult, for Pete’s sake…
Anyway, you can check out a (very roughly translated) summary of the event here.
Congrats to the Mosel, and to the new Queen. I may start a petition soon to implement the Wine Queen program in the U.S. In my spare time.