Last week saw the continuation of the latest Twitter Taste Live experiment, which has a small number of bloggers tasting a selection of wines from Argentine producers, concentrating weekly on samples from select winemaking regions within that country. Call it a virtual tour of Argentina, lived vicariously through wine (and the 140-character portal-to-the-world that is twitter).
We’ve already been through the dizzying heights of Salta, where vines are planted 5,000-10,000 feet above sea level and Torrontes achieves styles that range from flowery to elegant. Last week, we ventured to Mendoza, the earthly dwelling place of the soul of the dense & dark Malbec.
Most Malbec fans know (and love) it in its tannic, concentrated, dark & lovely (and low-priced) form – an almost perfect accompaniment to hearty, grilled or BBQ meats. But the producers that were highlighted in last week’s TTL (Jean Bousquet, Trapiche, Zuccardi and O. Fournier wineries) showed more complex sides of the stalwart Argentine star performer. Just as the range of what’s possible with Torrontes stole the show in our Salta tasting, what shone through in last week’s event was just how well Malbec can reflect terroir when it’s put into capable hands.
How impressed was I? Let’s put it this way: I declared the 2006 O. Fournier Alfa Crux Malbec to be the best wine that we’ve ever poured for a TTL event, and I’ve participated in nearly every single TTL since its inception over a year ago. You read that correctly – the best wine poured at a TTL, ever. For the record, I was spitting and (mostly) sober.
It’s worth noting that, true to recent form, twitter’s search API puked all over itself just as the event was supposed to kick off. What should have ended in a premature disaster due to twitter’s inaccessibility and slow performance became a memorable and enjoyable tasting – which is a big credit to the TTL staff and participating winemakers who hung in there and rallied the bloggers once things returned to relative normalcy in twitter-ville. TasteLive.com are planning some changes that will help the events to carry on even when twitter isn’t cooperating – more on that in the near future.
Read on to playback a recap of the twitter stream from last week’s event…
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“Who cares what wine bloggers have to say, after all?”
That question has been posed (with full negative connotation) by at least two established wine personalities as recently as a few months ago – one the most influential wine critic in the world, the other a long-standing wine writer and editor.
Well, I have a answer for them. Rather, I should say that the established media has answered their question for me.
The question should probably be amended now to read:
“Who cares what wine bloggers have to say? Aside from two of the most preeminent newspapers in the United States, I mean? Oh… wait a second… Uhmm…”
Last week, wine bloggers were quoted in both the NY Times and the L.A. Times. In the case of the NY Times, two wine bloggers were quoted, actually, in a story about a wine video blogger that was written by someone who likes to think of himself as a blogger (but to be fair is paid by NY Times so some would argue it’s not a ‘true’ blog).
I think that my feelings were summed up best by the character Sydney Fife in the comedy I Love You, Man when he cheered on his best friend at a fencing match, heckling the opponent with the timeless phrase: “Suck it, Gil!!!”
Before I get too gleeful here, I should note that I understand that our place in the wine world, as bloggers, is still small. I’m not too big for my britches just yet. But… the tide is indeed turning, and the flood is indeed coming. Detractors, no matter how well-established, can no longer tell us that the flood is not coming, because the first wave has trickled onto their floor and even their socks are soaking wet…
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Remember Internet chat rooms? Sure you do – those were the simple, on-line places where you could converse, via written text-based messages, with other seemingly like-minded folks about an endless array of topics, ranging from politics to puppy grooming. Well, converse until the person on the other end asked “Are you a chick? are you hot?”
Back in those days, I had two buddies who would frequent on-line chat rooms dedicated to topics about Wars, and strike up a group conversation. Once they thought that they’d earned the trust of the folks chatting on-line, they would say something deliberately inflammatory like “all of the Star Wars books suck!” and start a short-lived but vicious flame-war, during which they would often change sides to try to confuse the poor people who jumped into the fray. It was kind of like an all-out Star Wars chat room ballroom brawl.
Ah, the heady, youthful and poignantly ignorant days of the Internet!
Forums came next, but aren’t real-time, and in the on-line wine world the forums most closely associated with print media (eRobertParker.com and Winespectator.com) have been marred by the negative perceptions of hostility on the part of both members and moderators.
In these more recent days, the chat room and the on-line forum have been superseded. We have seen the future of on-line wine chat, and it’s full of wine twits like me.
There is a place where wineries, media, bloggers, and wine lovers are congregating to chat about wine on-line, and it’s called twitter. And if you love wine, you need to be part of this virtual community.
I’m not going to ‘explain’ twitter here. Mostly because it’s very difficult to explain twitter, and I’m lazy. Instead, I’m just going to try to convince you that if you’re not yet part of the wine community on twitter, then you need to be.
Fortunately for me, that’s actually pretty easy, because it pretty much boils down to one only reason (and even I can explain that one!)…
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