Albarino Day Sat Aug 2, 2014: celebrate this cool white for hot days

Wine Predator Gwendolyn ALley at Old Creek Ranch Winery photo by Pineapple Helen

Inspired byIAD2014_Aug2 the Albariño Wine Festival held during the first week of every August in in the small coastal town of Cambados, Spain,  International Albariño Day 2014 is set for Saturday, August 2.

Traditionally grown in Rías Baixas, a coastal wine region in Galicia in northwestern Spain where over 90% of the vineyards are Albariño, this grape produces aromatic, tart, bright, acidic white wines with citrus fruits and white flowers that pair particularly well with seafood but also works with Asian foods that aren’t too spicy.

Here’s a write-up of Paco and Lola which I opened for last year’s Albarino Day.

While grown in great volumes in Spain as well as in Portugal as Alvarinho, Albarino is less commonly found  in other parts of the world but increasing in popularity.

In California, the Lodi AVA is now California’s leading grower of the grape. If you’re in the Lodi area this weekend, you should head over to Twisted Oak Winery in Murphys, Calveras County, to taste their very limited release Albarino–only 50 cases. (Be sure to visit the Spaniard while you are there too!)

The Central Coast also grows some stunning Albarino, including the Edna Valley AVA in San Luis Obispo.

 

Wine Predator Gwendolyn ALley at Old Creek Ranch Winery photo by Pineapple Helen

Wine Predator Gwendolyn ALley at Old Creek Ranch Winery photo by Pineapple Helen

For Albarino Day, Continue reading

Print Writers Accuse Bloggers of #WordCrimes at #WBC14

Wherein I somehow manage to weave together wine blogging, wine bloggers, and print wine journalists with Weird Al Yankovic, Mark Twain, Fenimore Cooper, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Christopher Walken…

“I may be mistaken, but it does seem to me that “Deerslayer” is not a work of art in any sense; it does seem to me that it is destitute of every detail that goes to the making of a work of art; in truth, it seems to me that “Deerslayer” is just simply a literary delirium tremens.

“A work of art? It has no invention; it has no order, system, sequence, or result; it has no lifelikeness, no thrill, no stir, no seeming of reality; its characters are confusedly drawn, and by their acts and words they prove that they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are; its humor is pathetic; its pathos is funny; its conversations are — oh! indescribable; its love-scenes odious; its English a crime against the language.

“Counting these out, what is left is Art. I think we must all admit that.” Mark Twain commenting on Fenimore Cooper’s literary novel, The Deerslayer.

WBC14-Participation-BadgeThere’s a bit of a controversy brewing over a couple of the panels and sessions at WBC.

And yes, print wine writers on more than one occasion accused online wine writers of various “#wordcrimes” to cite Weird Al.

One panel in particular, the one with three white male print panelists and moderated by Taylor Eason, has drawn a rant from Mary Cressler that has produced livid comments where she has posted it on Facebook as well as on her blog post. Continue reading

#WBC14: Speed Tasting RED #WINE

WBC14-Participation-Badge

 

 Yesterday I explained about “speed tasting” and how it works at the Wine Bloggers Conferences, one of which was held in Santa Barbara County July 2014. As I’ve attended WBC08, 09, 10, 12, 13, and 14, I posted more than a few times about it (and a few links are in yesterday’s post).

While  today’s post gets straight to the red wines we tasted at our table, I do want to mention that I am working on posts about some of the panels and sessions, including the rather controversial one with the professional print wine writers.

Remember, while there are a few links to websites, you can click on the highlighted @followedbywineryname to go to their twitter page which will link to their website to learn more about these wines.

And here’s a pro tip: bring an envelope or folder to put the handouts from the red tasting and another from the white tasting to make it easier when you go to write-up the post! And wineries, be sure to give us some sort of hand out to help us in the those critical 5 minutes about what’s in our glass, price, twitter handle and more so we don’t need to interrupt you for these details while you are telling us your story. Or wineries: be the one to GIVE us a folder with your brand on it and suggest we put all of our notes inside! (Because while I brought the folders to the hotel, I didn’t bring them down to the tastings!)

Continue reading

#WBC14 Built for Speed (Tasting): Roses, White, Sparkling Wines

WBC14-Participation-BadgeOne of the events that people either love or hate at the Wine Bloggers Conference is the Speed Tasting. Similar to Speed Dating, bloggers are introduced to a wine and have five minutes to respond with questions and to make notes and take photos, maybe even get out a tweet too. Some people–well one person anyway, Christopher Watkins of Ridge–can even tweet their notes in haiku–that’s 17 syllables for those of you who may have forgotten your poetry 101.

This year, I didn’t get to sit next to Christopher (because he wasn’t there) but I did get to sit with Wilfred Wong, formerly of Bevmo, as well as some other fun folks as we tried our best during the Speed Tastings. Continue reading

#ArrogantFrog New Releases: Plenty on the Lily Pad for $10

Arrogant Frog $10 French Wine

Arrogant Frog $10 French Wine

I admit that I always have the best of intentions to do a blog post (or two or three) following each twitter tasting I do (and I do 1-4 a month or thirty or more a year), but more often than not, even though I usually have one person dedicated to taking notes, and we usually have some great images of the wines and the food we paired them with from posting them on twitter, too often that’s all it is–best intentions for a dedicated post although I often sneak in a reference or a review into another blog post. I figure I did my “job” of tweeting and I better move on to other writing projects (on this or another of my blogs or poetry or essays or?)

I know of at least one blogger and prolific tweeter, Marcy Gordon, who is cutting back to only six twitter tastings a year so she can focus more on other activities. I know for me sometimes I wonder if my time that I spend on a twitter tasting would be better spent on writing.

However, at this point, I will continue to say yes when I am invited to participate because I always learn something–maybe something new about the region or wine making, or, in the case of the #Arrogantfrog twitter tasting, about the farming and the sustainable practices of the Paul Mas brand which you can watch here on this ustream link: .

We tasted these four wines which all retail for a remarkable $10 a bottle:

  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Chardonnay
  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir
  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot

Notes and other details follow. Continue reading

Tonight’s Twitter Tasting: #ArrogantFrog recent releases

#ArrogantFrog

#ArrogantFrog

Before I get to posting about the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara where I tasted hundreds of Santa Barbara County wines as well as wines from Greece, Portugal and other wine regions of the world (and brought back over  a dozen open bottles of wine to taste and write about!), I’m going to France via a twitter wine tasting tonight with Arrogant From by Paul Mas! If you don’t have the wine, you can

 Join us for a UStream virtual wine tasting of four wines from Arrogant Frog, part of Jean-Claude Mas’s “Domaines Paul Mas” portfolio, on Tuesday, July 15th at 8:00pm Eastern (7:00pm Central, 5:00pm Pacific).

This live tasting features owner and winemaker Jean-Claude Mas and the discussion will be lead by Michelle McCue, McCue Communications who I met for the first time at the Wine Bloggers Conference!

Follow the conversation on twitter by checking out the  hashtag #ArrogantFrog.

You can ask questions too via  @paul_mas, hashtag #ArrogantFrog.  You can send them via me and I’ll forward them or ask them yourself. They will do their best to get all of them answered by Jean-Claude, depending on time.

Here’s the link to the UStream broadcast page at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/domaines-paul-mas-brand-live-tasting.  (Use Chrome & Safari browsers for optimal experience)

Continue reading

Wine Bloggers Conference Santa Barbara July 9-13 2014

WBC14-Participation-BadgeI’m here in Santa Barbara at this year’s Wine Blogger’s Conference. On Saturday night,  we’ll find out where we will go next year! Before the conference officially started,  on Wednesday I spent time with Larry Shaffer at Tercero, learned about the various AVAs in the Santa Barbara region with Fred Swan of the San Francisco Wine School and toured Star Lane winery in Happy Canyon, then checked into the Santa Ynez Marriott in Buelllton for the conference proper.

More to come but here’s the official agenda of events: Continue reading