How To Celebrate Int’l Cabernet Day: Cabaret at Burning Man

How will YOU celebrate the 5th annual Cabernet Day the last Thursday in August–this year August 28?

cabernetday2014How about with a Cabaret in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada at Burning Man?

The idea behind Cabernet Day is simple—enjoy any Cabernet based wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet blends) and share your experience on social media sites.

Since I will once again be at Burning Man for Cabernet Day, Jim Morris and I are hosting a Cabernet Day Cabaret Continue reading

Try These $15 Sauvignon Blancs from Touraine, France

Vineyard_in_the_Loire_Valley Getting ready for tomorrow’s Vouvray twitter tasting with Snooth.com (Weds Aug 6 2014 (5:30pm PST; we’ll be trying two dry wines and two sparkling wines  and learning how Chenin Blanc thrives in the region, and the effects of that terroir) made me recall how many great wines from the Loire Valley in France I’ve had the pleasure to meet in the past year or two.

When it comes to white wines of the Loire Valley, people may think of Muscadet which grows along the river closer to the coast or Vouvray’s Chenin Blanc which is further up river.

The Loire River demarcates France’s weather between the northern climate and the south, adding a few degrees of temperature.  Spring is cool with frost while during grape harvest months it may have rain. Hot summers are moderated by the Atlantic breezes.

The Loire’s Sauvignon Blanc grows in the Touraine region even further up the Loire Valley.  There, under conditions too harsh for other white grapes with high winds and freezing temperatures,  its late bud break and early ripening allows it to flourish in the region’s limestone soils.

Last fall, we gathered at Que Syrah Sue’s and tasted five Sauvignon Blanc from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley in France with the TasteLive crew at a twitter event, and what impressed us most about the group was the range of expression in the wines and the great value , with most of them $15 or less.

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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, 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

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 (and here’s a link to all of the wines tasted), 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!)

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#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