30 Jun 2010
Some wines just scream summer! The crisp citrus acidity seems to be the perfect pairing for warm weather. Sauvignon Blanc is also a great pairing for light salads, chicken, shellfish and dishes that feature ingredients like bell peppers, olives or spinach. If pairing a Sauvignon Blanc with food, do your best to match the acidity levels with your ingredients (high acid pairs with high acid) and avoid rich creamy buttery dishes (as a rule of thumb).
The three Sauvignon Blanc featured in today’s post are from the southern hemisphere and grow in hot climates with cool evenings that help produce some stronger acidity in the wine. A Sauvignon Blanc that lacks in acidity can often come across as being overly tart on the back of your mouth. The new en vogue Sauvignon Blanc region is Marlborough New Zealand where super crisp, grassy, mineral focused flavors are being displayed. Price points on Sauvignon Blanc tend to range from $10-$20. Great daily sippers can be found for under $10.
2009 Valdivieso Sauvignon Blanc
Update: This wine was previously reviewed as part of the Wines of Chile tasting in May 2010. There was some concern of bottle variation among the reviewers and the winemaker graciously agreed to send out an additional sample. Note: The bottle label is different than the previous one received.
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley; 13.5%abv, wild fermentation with no added yeast. Barrel aged in large French oak for 6 months; cork
- The Swirl: Yellow apple color with hints of pale green
- The Sniff: A dramatic departure from the traditional citrus Sauv Blanc. Strong aromas of herbs and a sweet sherry are present. Mild hints of ammonia and green pepper are on the nose as well.
- The Sip: A wild funk of flavorliciousness and a wild Sauvignon Blanc. This is not your grapefruit pucker sucker. I kept being drawn in by the odd herbs and spice but wouldn’t suggest this to folks who are looking for a crisp boat wine.
- The Score: At $22, this is an out of character Sauv Blanc. I give it a score of 3 out of 5. The flavor may be different than what you would expect from a Sauvignon Blanc but the wine is balanced and doesn’t trick you into thinking it’s something it isn’t.
2009 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc (Octavin)
- The Stuff: Comes in a 3L (equivalent to 4 bottles) Octavin container with a collapsible bladder. 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Stainless Steel fermented; 13% ABV
- The Swirl: Very light, resembles a lemon colored water
- The Sniff: A good power of grapefruit and a hint of herbaciousness. A strong steely minerality also attacks the nose and not in a good way.
- The Sip: The wine has a good mouth feel and is moderately awake with flavors of grapefruit and lemon zest. Slightly one dimensional and the wine lacks any acidity or notable finish
- The Score: No off flavors here and for the equivalent of $5 per bottle, this is definitely a trusty wine to have at a party or out at the cabin. Can give it a value score of 3 out of 5. Average flavors but above average value.
Cellar Tracker Scores: 85.8 (four scores)
2008 Brancott ‘B’ Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough New Zealand; Stainless Steel fermented with only free run juice; 13.2%ABV; Screwcap enclosure
- The Swirl: Subdued honey or wheat color
- The Sniff: Elegant aromas of grapefruit, dirty martini and layers of grass and spice
- The Sip: Fantastic mouth feel with a gentle whisp of grapefruit that is equally matched by stone fruit and river rock. Well balanced acidity keep this wine from feeling tart on the mouth and provides a good medium finish
- The Score: At $25 this is a perfect Sauvignon Blanc to pair well with a good dinner or to impress at a party. I score this wine 4 out of 5.
The Brancott ‘B’ Sauvignon Blanc is an elegant pairing of grapefruit, stone fruit and minerals. A wonderful balance helps this wine feel great in the mouth and provides a crisp stone finish. 4/5
Cellar Tracker Scores: 90 points (3 reviews)
NOTE: All wines were provided as industry samples with the intention to review
29 Jun 2010
Over the weekend I caught a glimpse of the future; something that could truly revolutionize action TV sports. It could be bigger than fishing or hunting TV. It will be more exciting than TV poker tournaments. I’m a little hesitant in sharing for fear that the idea could actually be picked up by a national show.
Speed Wine Blogging!
- 8 wine bloggers / 8 wines / 4 minutes with each wine
- Bloggers listen to the marketing PR blurb then quickly swirl, smell, sip, spit and score the wines.
- Prior to the cowbell ringing the blogger must document their tasting notes with either a tweet or a mini-post consisting of no more than 300 characters (140 character reviews are given an extra 2 points)
- At the end of each round the posts and scores are evaluated and compared to the baseline “Parker Score” to determine those that continue to the next round.
- One blogger is eliminated each round.
- The last blogger remaining wins.
The scene is intense. The room reeks with anticipation…and hints of brett, funk and cherries. The assembled bloggers are cleansing their palates, stretching their tongues and limbering up their nostrils for the event.
Here we are today assembled around the greatest talent in wine writing and reviewing hoping to determine the world champion of Speed Wine Tasting (Red Edition). Our contestants hail from across the US in the hopes to win the coveted @bparkerchuk trophy of a giant nose sniffing a bung hole. “Much love and success to each of you. 100 points *” inscribed on the base.
Our contestants are the formidable Joe Roberts (1WineDude.com), Steve Heimoff (SteveHeimoff.com), Fredric Koeppel (BiggerThanYourHead.net), C. Jason Mancebo (20dollarwineblog.com), Kori Voorhees(WinePeeps.com), Pamela (Enobytes.com), Gary Vaynerchuk (TV.winelibrary.com), and newcomer Steve Paulo (StevePaulo.com).
Round one begins with a fast pace as the winemaker rushes from contestant to contestant pouring and explaining the wine. The camera cuts across each of the blogger/writers serious faces as they begin to examine the wine with vigorous swirls. Thoughts of berries, cherries, cassis, leather, plums, prunes and pencil led come to mind. The camera cuts to Gary V. who spits gloriously in his trademark Jets spittoon. Newcomer Steve Paulo looks perplexed by the mouth feel of the wine and newly crowned blog king Joe Roberts has already submitted his perfectly crafted 140 character tweet and score. The horn sounds signaling the end of round one. What’s this! Gary Vaynerchuk has grabbed the mic and begins talking about the wine’s availability on Cinderella.com and how he met the winemaker back when he sold him a baseball card in the Jersey mall. The side judges quickly regain control and deliberate the outcome of the first round. In a huge surprise, Gary is cited with a black Vinum and ejected from the competition. Gary offers a string of expletives and then reminds folks of the “Thank You Economy” coming out later this year.
The crowd quickly regains composure as round two sounds with the clicking of the 85oz Riedel glass. Everyone gasps at the odd blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise, and Cinsault. This may prove to be a difficult round. In a bold move with only one sip and spit, both Fredric Koeppel and Steve Heimoff confidently submit their post. Let’s watch that again in slow motion…will their haste prove to be a good strategy or will one of them be eliminated? The bell rings and Pamela from Enobytes is having trouble submitting her post. Twitter API is frozen! The judges huddle and extend the time by 30 seconds. Everyone has their entries in and the judges quickly review the submissions to determine the winner. The scoring is close with Heimoff pegging the wine almost to a tee. Missing the flavor profile and the score by just one point, Pamela is eliminated. Damn that fail whale.
The energy in the room continues to rise as the rounds progress.
Kori Voorhees is eliminated after round three. Strangely enough the wine was a Woodinville winery from her backyard. Dejected Kori and Colby rush from the packed auditorium trying to escape the media interview. As Randy and Kaz from WineBizRadio.com try to stop them, Colby takes the camera and smashed it to the ground.
Round four ends with the elimination of Steve Heimoff. He is disqualified for going over the 300 character limit as his post includes a rant against the Republican leadership in California and a dissertation on how no money will ever be made in wine blogging. He’s escorted out of the room by security.
With only four contestants remaining the fifth round begins. The purple tooth stains and barrage of tannin and acid are beginning to take their toll on the contestant’s palates. A strange purple stain had developed on Mancebo’s chin…and oddly enough on his bald head…Joe Roberts has a commanding lead with each review coming in at exactly 140 characters. The contestants battle through the round when out of the corner of his eye, Joe catches a glimpse of Geddy Lee from Rush in the stands. Immediately he faints from excitement and is disqualified. After calming the crowd and reviving Joe, the play continues.
Three contestants remain; Mancebo, Koeppel, and newcomer Steve Paulo. Mancebo’s eyes seem a little bloodshot and he’s struggling to find the keys on his iPad. A bead of sweat drips from his chin into the glass. The wine is the Molly Dooker Velvet Glove. As he stares into his glass his face turns flush and he quickly rises. “No wine should be 16.8%ABV this is a travesty against wi….” In mid-sentence he falls forward onto the table sending purple spit juice everywhere. For several minutes the scene is chaos. The head referee calls for a 30 minute break so the contestants and compose themselves and clean the spit out of their hair. In a post interview, Mancebo says, “I guess the lesson here is to spit. I let the excitement of the day get to me. I’m a professional, I should know better than that. I’ll be back next year.”
The lights dim and the music comes up as the final round begins with perennial award winner Fredric Koeppel and the new kid Steve Paulo surviving to the finish. Intense stares of determination are fired across the table. The wine poured is a 1949 Chateau Ausone. The stage is set and the audience is eerily quiet for the first time all evening. The sound of swishing and spitting can be heard across the room. Both writers deliberate, sketch a few notes and deliberate some more. A commotion arises from the back of the room. Bursting into the room is Joe Powers from AnotherWineBlog.com. “This is a scam, this is a set up! Who are the judges? How the hell did these people get picked to be in the finals! I demand to know!” He overturns the table crushing Koeppel. Paulo attempts to restrain him, but Joe (more crafty than he looks) eludes his grip and rushes off. Screaming toward the exit, “I bet Tom Wark is behind this madness,” Lenn Thompson from NewYorkCorkReport.com dives from the mezzanine level and tackles Joe. Lenn quickly restrains him and stuffs his head in the only remaining spit bucket.
What a night. What a sport. Dazed, the officials and referees head to the replay booth to review the tape. After several minutes of deliberation, they return to declare Steve Paulo the winner by default as he is the last man standing. This new sport is sure to take hold across the country as wine bloggers turn in to rock stars and thousands clamor to the scene.
28 Jun 2010
No doubt hundreds of posts will be written about WBC10. Some will be critical of the timing and lack of Washington industry leader involvement but most stories will be glowing praises of the coordinators efforts (well done). There will be various opinions on the quality of the wine that was tasted but everyone will agree on the amazing hospitality of the city and wineries of Walla Walla (thank you). Posts will debate the effectiveness of the panel presentations but none will decry the power of networking and meeting people face to face. In the midst of all the drinking, tweeting, talking, learning, napping, eating and…did I say drinking…what are you going to DO as a result of the conference? What action are you going to take? This new media is hitting a tipping point. I, for one, want to be a part of the wave that pushes wine blogging to be wine media, wine professional, wine writer, and wine influencer.
Regardless of if anyone reads them, I want to chronicle my experiences from WBC10 (Wine Bloggers Conference) so that I have a record of events, opinions and actions steps to make this blog better. Like a vine I want to prune the shoots, thin the canopy, and provide the proper nutrients to produce the best yield of fruit. What about you? What actions are you inspired to take? Let’s go there together. Let’s succeed as a team! Let’s leverage each other’s strengths to be better together. If you want to share, please leave your thoughts in the comments!
5 Actions Items from WBC10
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization: I know it’s important but it’s an area that I need further help with. If you know of good tools, classes, sites, please share.
- Improve the quality of my video: Starting with video 100 I’ll be moving to HD, investing in better editing software, paying attention to audio quality and planning shots / scripts in a more thoughtful way.
- Improve the quality of my writing: I like to write. I feel I write good engaging pieces. I understand my voice, but I don’t pay enough attention to the mechanics of the writing. I need to start waiting to post and reading out loud. Just because this post is done now, I’m not going to post it until later.
- Reorganize content: I’ve written 200 pieces that include sexual wine 101 courses, social media tips, wine business opinions and wine reviews. Now that I have established a more clear direction I need to better organize the content so it makes sense to the reader and is easy to find.
- Improve wine reviews: Some say wine reviews are dry and boring and don’t get read. Many disagree with the practice of scoring wines. I disagree. Scores help educate consumers and make better informed decisions. It’s my blog, so I’ll do what I want. I’m going to modify my scoring format a hair and create a more reproducible graphic / summary that more succinctly wraps up the review.
I would love your thoughts. Let’s work toward our goals together. Share and we’ll help each other see them through for WBC11 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
COMING TOMORROW: 10 Things Overheard in Walla Walla
28 Jun 2010
The other night I had a dream. It must have been set about 10-12 years in the future. Facebook was still around. HR5034 had failed and wineries were still able to ship directly to consumers. Everywhere I looked wineries were engaging with customers through social tools, conversations were happening and brand loyalty was increasing with each new interaction and conversation. As I surfed the bliss of this new future world from the portable holographic display pad, I stumbled across an amazing feature. I was talking with a winery on Facebook and noticed a mention of new releases. I loved their 2007 Syrah and wondered how the 2017 release tasted on older vines. To my surprise and wonderment a WINES tab led me to a Facebook page where I could learn about the new vintage. I clicked the futuristic “BUY NOW” button and purchased the wine. Approximately 8.4 seconds later the wine materialized at my front door. I used the retinal scanner to verify my age and proceeded to remove the floating argon enclosure with the red atom inversion gas release device.
Wait. Facebook pages where you could directly buy wine. This obviously was a dream.
THIS IS NO DREAM – GAME CHANGING ECOMMERCE FOR WINERIES ARRIVES
June 23, 2010 Cruvee revolutionizes direct marketing for wineries that have their data in the FREE yourwineyourway.com data management service. Participating wineries can now add a “Wines” tab to their Facebook page that describes their wines and directly links to a purchasing opportunity, enriching their presence on the premier social network and significantly increasing their ability to convert their fans to actual consumers.
The future is here for wineries to convert interactions on Facebook to actual sales. Paul Mabray, Chief Strategy Officer of VinTank and digital kung fu wine master, talks on Skype about the importance AND “stupid simple” new feature.
If you’re a winery reading this:
- Go to yourwineyourway.com
- Sign up (IT’S FREE)
- Enter your wine data – it will be syndicated to 50+ wine sites/tools/locations
- Click the “Add To Facebook” button
- Sell wine
25 Jun 2010
What the heck are you up to? Why do you spend so much time blogging? Where is this thing going? These are questions I often hear about my DrinkNectar.com adventure. To be honest with you, I’m going wherever it takes me. I do it because I’m branding a future brick and mortar business (originally intended to be a wine and coffee bar, but now who knows). Today marks the first of three major steps that I’ll take in 2010. Look for other announcements during the summer. I spend so much time at it for three reasons:
- I love it – the connections are cool and the people I’ve met are truly amazing
- It’s addicting – I’m a self confessed addict to stats. The desire to one up, improve, see more traffic, analyze and refine is fun
- Passion – It doesn’t feel like work because I’m passionate about my future, the wine, the Washington wine industry and succeeding!
Today, I’m excited to announce the next step in the mission. I’m a firm believer in niche marketing. It is soooo much harder to be a little voice in a big crowd, but being a big voice in a little crowd can draw attention (as long as people care about your message). I live in Spokane, WA, population 350,000 (give or take). Spokane is the underdog city in the state. Even with the second largest population base in the state we are often overlooked as all the attention focuses on West side. When it comes to wine, Spokane has quietly grown into a community of boutique wineries and medium production reputable companies. I love this town. I think that it’s about time Spokane Washington becomes a destination for wine.
Spokane is known as a host city. We’ve successfully hosted the 2010 Figure Skating Championships and several NCAA basketball tournament games. Spokane is home to one of the largest timed road races in the country (Bloomsday, 50,000 strong) and the largest 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the U.S. (Hoopfest). We know how to throw a party. It’s now time to show the world Spokane Wine.
DrinkNectar is PROUD to launch the first ever dedicated Spokane wine magazine. I hope you’ll join us on our journey to bring attention to Spokane wine.
ON THE WEB: www.spokanewinemagazine.com
ON TWITTER: @spowinemag
ON FACEBOOK: Spokane Wine Magazine
For more information about the magazine email email@example.com or visit the web page and click the Media Kit link on the left.
Press Release: DrinkNectar.com launches Spokane Wine Magazine
Spokane Wine Magazine is a new project from the creators of DrinkNectar wine blog. The magazine tells the story of each of Spokane’s 17 wineries with interviews and high quality photography. The Spokane wine scene is receiving statewide attention with consistent quality wines. As the number of wineries grow, more and more eyes turn to Spokane for serious wine.
The magazine is distributed at each of the 17 wineries, local restaurants, wine bars, hotels, and more. Wine lovers are passionate about wine and love learning about winery history and the newest vintage. This magazine will help bring cohesive awareness to the entire wine scene in Spokane.
Spokane Wine Magazine seeks to be a resource to share the amazing quality of the growing wine region that Spokane is becoming. The magazine will get in the hands of local tourists and business people and will solidify Spokane as a destination for wine. DrinkNectar.com brings national awareness and advertising strength to the distribution.
A single focused magazine with wide distribution provides great awareness and revenue for advertisers. The magazine has an expected 9-12 month shelf life and is written in such a way to not be date sensitive, but to be held as a resource and reference for wine lovers in the Inland Northwest. Accompanying the magazine launch is a web site featuring regular updates on Spokane wineries, events, tasting room activities and wine releases.