WBC 14 Speed Tasting: Ooo, Do We Go With the Bad Boy or The Sensitive One?

Actually, this was from  last year's Wine Bloggers Conference speed tasting event, but it looks the same.
Actually, this was from last year’s Wine Bloggers Conference speed tasting event, but it looks the same.

Speed Dating – we mean Tasting continued. When we left you last week, we had just finished some highlights of a round of white wines – all insanely yummy – while attending last month’s Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton, California.

Today, the Reds. Like speed dating, you’ve got a bunch of folks coming table to table to give you about five minutes to decide if you want a relationship with their wine. Unlike speed dating, in which the objective is to weed out, speed tasting is all about getting as many different wines into your personal portfolio as possible. We got way too many to write about here, but the highlights included:

The Sensitive Evolved One, the 2012 Ferrari-Carano Siena, a red blend with a deep ruby color and a hint of sweetness, making it a great sipper and even better with food.

Cheryl McMillan, who was representing Ferrari-Carano, said that the wine is a blend of sangiovese and malbec, with some petite syrah and cabernet sauvignon. We noted the screw cap and asked about aging (because wine under screw caps supposedly doesn’t age as well), and McMillan said that really wasn’t an issue with this wine.

“It’s made to drink now,” she said. “It’s not going to lay down for very long.”

In other words, a little flirtation, maybe a short fling, but not an extended commitment. Okay. Oh, and another plus – Ferrrari-Carano’s executive winemaker is Sarah Quider, and the gal who actually made it is associate winemaker Rebecka Deike, who does the red wines for the winery.

Next up, consider the attraction of a Bad Boy, one who is all wrong, but so very right in the moment. Now, meet Alexander Valley Vineyards 2012 Sin Zin. And the fact that it’s zinfandel is what makes it so very wrong, at least in Anne’s opinion. Anne doesn’t really like zins, but she liked this one. The Wetzel Family, who own the vineyard and the winery, have been bottling this zinfandel for over 35 years. Michael really liked it as a more subtle zinfandel (making it all the more dangerous), with an excellent balance between fruit and acidity, and a good long finish.

Katie Wetzel, who did the honors of pouring for us, said that the goal is not to make a zinfandel with the heavy jammy notes, but to also keep the fruit character of the wine.

“This zin tends to be in the middle,” she told us.

And where there’s a bad boy, you know there’s going to be a Smooth Talker, and in this case, it’s the Adelaida Touriga Nacional 2010. If any of the wines we tasted were smooth, this one was it, with a nice dark color and an earthy profile. Good luck finding it on the Adelaida website, though. Anne searched and searched and could only find some technical notes buried under the Trade & Media tab. Think this one was trying to slip something past us?

Finally, there’s the one you’ll actually want to make a commitment to, and we are OddBallGrape for a reason – we love those unusual grapes, and the Urban Legend 2010 Teraldego definitely needs a commitment. Why? It won’t be ready to drink for a few years yet. But, oh, the potential!

It’s made by Merilee and Steve Shaffer, a husband and wife team of winemakers.

“I’m the goddess of fermentation, he’s the god of the barrels,” Merilee explained as she poured our wine. Winemaking is not the first business venture these two have had. “We’re serial entrepreneurs. It’s a little like being serial murderers.”

The wine had an inky dark color, a good fruit nose, dense texture, and strong tannins. Yes, give it a few years, then serve with a good steak dinner. Or something beefy and garlicky. This is going to be a very special wine.

And now, back to recovering. Actually, we’re hoping to catch up with several of the above folks in the future to ask them about wines, grapes and winemaking.

1 thought on “WBC 14 Speed Tasting: Ooo, Do We Go With the Bad Boy or The Sensitive One?”

  1. I like this – it reminds me of what I really enjoyed about these sessions (though I only did the white speed tasting). I was torn on the concept – I loved trying so many different wines, but I found it hard to keep up. I’m such a slow, pokey taster, so it was an interesting exercise for me. I would have liked more time to talk to winery reps and really try to learn more about the wines, but at the same time I would definitely not have gotten through so many wines if it was set up that way. It’s nice to see your perspective and your favourites!

Please tell us what you think.