Speed Tasting at the Wine Bloggers Conference – Oh, You Little Flirt!

Getting ready for speed dating, um, speed tasting/live blogging at WBC14
Getting ready for speed dating, um, speed tasting/live blogging at WBC14

You’re in a hotel ballroom, the noise level is rising like the tides, and just when you get to like one, the next one shows up. Is this any way to build a relationship?

Well, the nice folks at the Wine Bloggers Conference thought if speed dating works for singles, it could work for wine. And, really, it did, but it was a challenge.

Oh, wait. What’s the Wine Bloggers Conference? It’s exactly what it sounds like – a conference or convention for people who blog about wine. And if you’ve ever Googled “wine blog,” you know that there are about 50-bajillion of us out there writing about our love of wine, and wine, and what we eat while drinking wine, and more wine. So mid-July, about 350 of us got together at the Marriott in Buellton, California, to talk about writing about wine and, uh, to taste wine. Which we did. A lot of it. Buellton, by the way, is smack in the heart of the Santa Barbara County wine region, kind of between the Santa Ynez Valley and the Santa Rita Hills.

So imagine a couple hundred people in a hotel ballroom, the chatter (and noise) increasing by the glassful, while each winemaker and his or her representative had five minutes to serve six to 10 people and tell us about the wine. We did two sessions over the two days of the conference, one for whites and one for reds. Fortunately, this wasn’t about weeding out because all of the wines were fabulous. But we now have a chance to use all those pretentious descriptors, like flirty, that don’t really mean anything as we bring you some of the highlights.

In fact, we’ll begin with The Flirt, herself – the Yorkville Cellars 2011 Cuvée Brut. A real bubbly personality. Literally, it’s a bubbly, and it was poured by Yorkville’s owners Deborah and Edward Wallo and their son Ben. Michael noted that it had a nice light toast color with good bubbles, bright acidity and a clean finish. It’s made from semillion and sauvignon blanc grapes, which are not your usual bubbly grapes.

“We like to play around with different varieties,” Deborah told us. Or was it Ben?

Then we got to the Cheap Date – Bandit Pinot Grigio, which comes in a one-liter box for $8. Yes, the box is recyclable. Michael noted that it had a neutral nose and tropical fruit taste with some sweetness, possibly making it good with spicy food.

But the white that we were most likely to make a commitment to was the Consilience 2012 Santa Barbara Viognier.

“If they try it,” said Consilience’s PR person Dan Fredman, about when people will buy an unusual wine like viognier. “Once they taste it, then they become evangelical about it.”

Well, we’re evangelical about this one – Michael noted that it had the traditional floral nose, with golden color and a light, clean fruit flavor. Good as a sipper and great as a food wine. Yum.

Next up – The Reds

 

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