Friday, August 31, 2012

WBC12 Random Thoughts & Tastes

I guess it's time I came out of my stupor and faced a bitter truth. The reality is that there's no chance, whatsoever, of my writing about the 2012 Wine Blogger's Conference in the immediate future if I wait until I've actually caught up on the blog and added all the wines we've enjoyed recently to The List. I'm still posting wines from June and here we are at the end of August. I mean it's already been two weeks since Portland and I'm not exactly closing in on being caught up.

So, here's the scoop. Rather than write about WBC12 in depth, I'll start things off with a recap of random thoughts and highlights. And, then, I'll hope to expand about all the events down the road.

1) There's a lot more to Oregon wine than Pinot Noir. I'd arrived in Portland not knowing much about Oregon wines. The fifty wineries pouring at the Oregon Wine Board's Welcome Reception quickly proved that Pinot may be king but you don't need to be Miles (the curmudgeonly pinotphile from Sideways) to find something you'll enjoy. Care for a little Syrah or Riesling?

2) I think I found out why so few Oregon wines make it across the border into British Columbia. In general, the wineries just don't make enough. Most of the producers I spoke to make fewer than 10,000 cases. Guess I'll have to visit Oregon more regularly than every other decade.

3) The Night of Many Bottles - where participants each brought a bottle to the show for tasting at will - really should have been called The Night of Too Many Bottles. Such choice. Such quality. The only sad part, for me, was to see countless bottles, many full, still remaining at the evening's end. I surely hope those bottles found willing homes instead of a pour down the kitchen sink.

4) Speaking of variety - there were almost as many different approaches to wine blogging as there were bloggers. From specific regions to limited topics like organics & sustainability; from comparing the sexiness of wines to men to working almost exclusively with video, it's clear that I need to find more time to check out what all my fellow bloggers are up to.

5) Do the Argentines know how to throw a party or what? The tapas and wines served up refuelled and intensified my desire to return to Buenos Aires and Mendoza big time.

6) I loved all the "It's Willamette. Dammit." t-shirts that were prominent, but I think my fave slogan had to be "More people have read this t-shirt than our blog." I chuckled when noting that the wearer was kind enough to turn "your" into "our" by taping over the "y."

7) It's going to take quite a feat to top the experience that was our group's dinner in the Rex Hill vineyard - especially when that 9-litre Salmanazar bottle of 1992 Rex Hill Pinot Noir was poured to the willing. Yup, that's right, 9 litres - or a full case of regular 750ml wines - of damned fine wine.

8) I've never seen so many adults doing exactly what they'd never allow their kids do at home - tweeting before, after and during every course of an extravagant dinner.

9) I knew this already, but I certainly rediscovered that there are big personalities to spare in the world of wine - our two keynote speakers, Randall Grahm (Bonny Doon Vineyard) and Rex Pickett (author of Sideways and Vertical), just added emphasis to the point.

10) My taste buds were a'poppin' while sipping the Franciacorta wines being served on opening day. The bubbles were consistently delicious. All those Proseccos in our household may need to look out; there's a new Italian in town. I definitely need to see what Franciacortas are available in local bottle shops.

11) It's going to be hard for anyone at future Wine Blogging Conferences to top the "Breakfast of Champions" served up by des Vins du Languedoc. I've had some interesting starts to the morning in years past, but I'm not sure they rank with Voodoo Doughnuts and a Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois - a sweet vin doux naturel that actually worked with the chocolate icing and vanilla cream. I may never need to go back to bacon and eggs (especially after trying one of Voodoo's Maple Bacon doughnuts later on).

And, finally, 12) as a first timer to a Wine Bloggers Conference, I definitely concluded that there are blogging options galore that I'd never considered. I don't know that I have the ingenuity, desire or time to try and take my little task at hand to another level, but I certainly had my eyes opened to the vast possibilities.

Now to catch up with my odyssey so that I can fulfill those good intentions to flesh out conference activities - after all there are some bottles from the conference to add to The List. Hopefully, I'll have it done before it's time for WBC13 in Penticton and our own Okanagan Valley.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cabernet Day

1233.  2009 Orofino Passion Pit Cabernet Sauvignon (Similkameen Valley)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Teary Sunanga

1230.  2007 Cantavida Riesling (Curicó Valley - Chile)

1231.  2008 Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (McLaren Vale - Australia)

1232.  2007 Vista d'Oro - D'Oro (British Columbia VQA)

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Friend Thomas

1229.  2004 Penfolds - Thomas Hyland Shiraz (South Australia)

After my little bout with disappearing photos from the recent Wine Bloggers Conference, I now find myself simply forgetting to take a picture of the wine while there's any of it left.  Hopefully, it's not a sign of a creeping senility.

Good thing the wine aged very nicely - maybe better than I'm doing so myself.  It's also a good thing that I still have the bottle and can take a picture when I'm finally able to play catch up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

WBC12 - Winding Down

It's true.  I had wanted to attend 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference as a learning experience so that I could get a feel for what might be on the horizon at the 2013 conference - particularly since it's going to be held on my home turf:  the Okanagan Valley.  Little did I realize that it was going to be such a trial for me on the equipment side of things.  Not only did I forget to take either camera on our one winery tour but it would seem that about half the photos I did take on the "number one" camera seem to have disappeared into digital oblivion.  Not sure how or where they vanished to but that's why I'm 1) stuck with no shot (presently) of one of my favourite wines from the weekend and 2) using an iPhone shot of the other bottle at a completely different occasion from when we actually drank a bottle.

Good thing this is only a hobby and not my real job.

1226.  2010 Cowhorn Grenache 58 (Applegate Valley - Oregon)

1227.  N.V. Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois - Les Petits Grains (AOC Muscats de Saint Jean de Minervois)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rex Hill & the Chehalen Hills Gang

Photo Courtesy of Ancient
Fire Wine Blog
Biggest bottle I've ever been a part of!!

1224.  1992 Rex Hill Pinot Noir (Chehalen Hills - Oregon)

The most incredible corn soup!

1225.  2009 Raptor Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir (Chehalen Hills - Oregon)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wine Bloggers' Conference 12

As if I need another distraction to keep me from catching up with all the bottles I still have to blog and add to The List! Here I am spending an extended weekend in Portland to check out all things wine and, hopefully, meet some of the interesting bloggers who's posts I continually run across online.

There have been Wine Bloggers' Conferences since 2007 and I've wanted to attend one ever since I first learned about the one that was held in Walla Walla, Washington, back in 2010. I wasn't able to attend that one, nor last year's in Virginia, but here I am ready to cool off from the heat wave that's currently blasting away in Oregon with a glass or two - whether it's white, red, rosé or bubble.

What with all the "fun" we've been having at home lately, it wasn't even clear that I'd make it down to Portland. I couldn't make it down in time to take in any of the pre-Conference winery tours today, but at least the timing worked out in the end to take in the main weekend - and neither Vancouver rush hour, nor backed up Massey Tunnel, nor zealous border guard or snail paced Seattle Expressway proved enough to prevent my eventual arrival in Portland.

The schedule promises to be jam-packed and it all gets under way in a couple of hours. In the mean time, I thought I'd get started with an initial post over a glass of Oregon winery, Sokol Blosser's, white blend, Evolution. Just a nice little way to start things off.

I just hope that I'm not going to be tested or graded on the number or the quality of my posts. I'd hate to be banned from any future conferences - especially since WBC13 is going to be held in the Okanagan Valley and I can play home-boy to all the folks I meet this weekend.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Life Well Lived

Mom's Memorial Service

Guess it goes without saying that I'll need to come back and flesh this post out a bit.

Funny, I didn't find any pictures of the wine bottles - like I normally have - must have had other things on my mind or something like that. 

1222.  2011 Wild Goose Riesling (VQA Okanagan Valley)

1223.  2007 Hillside Estate Reserve Merlot (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Cousins Come to Dinner

1219.  2008 Alderlea - Auxerrois-Chardonnay (Vancouver Island)
1220.  Seven Stones - Speaking Rock Pinot Noir (Similkameen Valley)

1221.  2007 Forbidden Fruit - Cerise d'Eve (Similkameen Valley)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Celebrating Bronze!

Has a country even been more enthusiastic about an Olympic bronze medal?

1218.  2004 Tantalus Classic Cuvée (Okanagan Valley)

Méthode Champenoise wines are regularly noted for their yeasty overtones.  That was no different with this Tantalus Cuvée, but I'd venture to say that this yeasty profile was more akin to sourdough than it was to the oft-mentioned brioche.  I don't know if that note had developed as the bubble had a bit of age or not, but a hint of lemon made for a tasty twist.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Pride Parade of Wines

Following the Pride Parade, a few cocktails at Mr. D's and some shaking of tailfeathers at the Sunset Beach Festival, we invited some of the boys over for an impromptu BBQ. And the odd bottle of wine or three.

1215.  2004 Grant Burge - Barossa Vines Shiraz (Barossa - Australia)

1216.  2007 Preludio Tempranillo (Mendoza - Argentina)

1217.  2011 Fort Berens Riesling (Lillooet - BC VQA)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Toasting Pride

2012 Vancouver Pride Parade

1214. N.V. Mionetto Prosecco Brut (D.O.C. Treviso - Italy)

Lo and behold, in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, even Liz made a horse-drawn carriage appearance at the Parade.  Well, at least Bill Munroe, in his best known persona, delivered that trademark wave.  

Big Balls & A Big Beaver

Vancouver Canucks and the You Can Play Foundation marched in the Parade for the first time ever.

And, what's a recap of Pride without a gratuitous photo of dancing boys?  Isn't that what everyone looks forward to most at a Pride Parade anyhow?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

BYOW - Via Tevere

Our first foray into the exciting new era of Bring Your Own Wine to the Vancouver restaurant scene.

1213.  2006 La Spinetta - Il Colorino di Casanova (Toscana IGT - Italy)

Looks like I have yet another post to make a big effort to get back to quickly.  I didn't even realize - until after the fact - that Colorino is a grape varietal.  Cheers to another addition to the Wine Century Club tally.

Davie Street Dance Party

It's Pride Week here in Vancouver and a quick trip down to the West End for the Davie Street Party seemed like a festive way to add another bottle to The List.

1212.  2009 Quinta De La Rosa - douROSA - Rosé (Douro - Portugal)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pot Roast

Pot Roast & Cab Sauv.  OK.  That's maybe a bit of a given.  But Red Velvet cake and Kindzmarauli, that's not one I can say that I've run across before.

1210. 2002 CedarCreek Cabernet Sauvignon (VQA Okanagan Valley)

1211. 2008 Tibaneli - Single Estate Kindzmarauli (Georgia [the country, not the state])

Definitely need to get back to update this post since there's no doubt that the grape being used for this wine, Saperavi, is a new varietal for the Wine Century Club.