This week is the 10th annual Wine Bloggers Conference, being held this year in Santa Rosa, CA. Yes, even though there have recently been some devastating fires in California’s wine country, the region is open for business again and they want you to visit.
Every year there is a live blogging event which is a speed-dating style wine tasting where attendees can taste and write about those wines in real time. Yesterday we did this for white wines, and today we are doing the same with red wines.
Now most who participate in this no longer actually “blog” during the event, but rather just tweet. I’m old school, and perhaps a masochist, so I’m blogging. One of the secrets to blogging this is to prepare. I actually am writing this intro before the event actually begins, which helps a lot. And once the tasting actually begins it takes relentless focus if you’re going to capture it all. And even then you don’t capture it all.
As I stated for the session yesterday, these are not detailed reviews. Just quick impressions and other random thoughts that come up throughout the experience.
Yesterday I ended up feeling like Charlie Brown (appropriate in Santa Rosa, where Charles Schultz lived and worked) due to the fact that three of the wine producers presenting to my table totally skipped giving me a pour. I hope I have better luck today.
This page will be updated along the way throughout this session. Let’s go!
My first wine today is a zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley. It smells like a zin. Sometimes zinfandel comes out way too jammy for me, but not this one. It’s bright and vibrant with plenty of fruit flavors but those flavors aren’t too heavy. It’s actually an elegant Zin! And it retails for a reasonable $19!
Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir
This producer makes 10 pinots as well as chardonnay and a rosé. This Russian River Valley pinot noir sells for $58 so it’s a little out of my price range, but it’s very nice. Cherry, black pepper, lively acidity, pleasant texture, some mineral notes too. Nice.
Naked Winery, Oh! Sangiovese
Now we have a sangiovese. I like the variety in this tasting. This one retails for $70, so we’re moving in the wrong direction price-wise. But the spicy-lively cherry flavors of this wine are delicious!
O’Vineyards, Trah, Lah, Lah
This is a cabernet sauvignon, merlot blend made by one of my friend’s parents in France. I’ll do another detailed review of this wine later. It’s an awesome wine at a great price, $10.99! It’s available through Naked Wines.
1000 Stories Zinfandel
Back to zinfandel, this one is aged in bourbon barrels. Now I live in bourbon country and I love bourbon, but I’m scared to taste this. OK, here we go. Not bad. Pretty good actually. I misjudged to begin with. It’s a tasty zinfandel with a nice texture. It has good flavors too, although getting a touch jammy for my taste.
Paradise Ridge, Pinot Noir
Another Russian River Valley pinot noir, retailing at $55. This one is fairly herbal and earthy on the nose, with some leaf pile aromas and some cherry on the fruit side. It’s more cherry on the palate. It also has an earthy characteristic that’s nice.
Gracianna, Reserve Pinot Noir
Continuing the RRV pinot theme. Ohhhhh, the nose on this one is spicy and exciting. Hell yes, I like this. Vanilla, leather saddle, nutmeg. The palate is super elegant, offering cherry and spice flavors. Only 150 cases were produced and it retails for $72. I need to win the lottery so I can drink this daily.
Stone Hill Winery, Norton
And now I take a hard left turn to taste some Norton from Missouri. It’s super dark and purple. One fruit I almost never use to describe wine is grape, but this one is super grapey. It’s a bit jammy too. This is grape jam in a glass. Take from that what you will. It’s not all bad though, it has good acidity. It’s more balanced than I expected.
Theopolis Vineyards Estate Grown Petite Sirah
The winemaker pitching this wine describes it as “velvet in a bottle” and she’s not wrong. The mouthfeel is delightful. The fruit flavors are rich, juicy blueberry, blackberry and chocolate flavors. It makes you pucker a bit. It is like candied chocolates. It retails for $39 a bottle.
Donelan, Cuvee Moriah
This one is 87% grenache and 13% syrah. This has a bright vibrancy that’s refreshing. It’s elegant and medium-bodied. Vanilla aromas and cherry on the nose. The palate brings raspberry and cherry flavors with a spicy kick. Deliciousness.
And I’m happy to say I got a pour from all the winemakers today.
Disclosure: All these wines were poured as media samples.