One of the signature events of the Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) is something called live wine blogging. Let me tell you – it was INTENSE.
There were two sessions – one for whites and another for reds – and in each session winemakers and wine reps toured around to different tables of bloggers and writers pouring their wine and talking about it. The part where I got to taste new wines and learn something interesting about the maker or the wine or the brand spoke to my little wine-nerd heart.
The intense part? We only have five minutes per wine to taste, listen, make notes and, in my case, send out a tweet. Some bloggers took notes to create content later but I wanted to show some immediate appreciate for these wines and their makers. Plus I was excited by the challenge to come up with quality content that quickly.
What just happened?
Here’s how it went down:
- Sip again (if I’m lucky)
- Dump (heartbreaking!)
- AND ON TO THE NEXT
— Meg Shannon (@palatepractice) November 11, 2017
It was a loud, distracting, disorienting experience. For both sessions I sat down at a table where I knew only one person and was curious to see how each person set themselves up. The conference veterans around me jumped right in, setting up quickly, throwing questions at the wine reps and even cheering when a brand they liked visited our table. They even cheered as each rep brought their wine over. It was like the reps were rock stars! In the moment it made it overwhelming and hard to concentrate on the wine, but looking back I think it was this kind of hilarious and unique experience. I’m glad I pushed myself to take part (I was debating giving into my nervousness and skipping the sessions) and feel like I’d be much more ready to do it if I have the chance to attend another WBC.
Stand out wines and memorable moments
During the white wine session we got to try a wine from Matthiasson. Lots of people were freaking out a little which led me to assume I’m not the only one who remembers seeing them interviewed in Into the Bottle (or maybe they’d actually tried the wine before, lucky locals that they are). I was so primed and eagerly brought my wine up for a sniff, getting…. Cardboard. And slight must. And I wasn’t the only one. The wine was corked! We bloggers timidly talked amongst ourselves for a few moments, confirming with each other what we were smelling and then reluctantly telling the Matthiasson rep about it. To their credit, they immediately poured out the wine and gave us fresh samples. All this in five minutes! PLUS A TWEET! It was crazytown.
One of the wines we tasted turned not to be a wine at all. The offering from Rebel Coast was a wine that had been fermented, then de-alcoholized, and then had THC added to it. Everyone is really excited that cannabis becomes legal in California on January first and the folks at Rebel Coast are READY FOR IT. They were so proud and excited to pour their ‘wine’ for us, and I got a big kick out of the adventure. Did I love the wine? Not particularly. But I did love that I got to try it.
The Pinots, my God, the Pinots! For a non-local cheapskate like myself, the opportunity to taste so many California Pinot Noirs was an incredible treat. These wines were exactly what I want every time I have a Pinot – slightly spicy, dirty/earthy/mushroomy and tons of cherry. When I think back to the wines I tasted during these two sessions the Pinots are what I my sense memory brings back.
A refreshing lack of oak on the whites. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a big oaky white, but I was pleased to see the wines straying from that California tradition. As an added bonus, the whites poured spanned a deliciously wide range. I tasted a lovely crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a delightfully warm and full Viognier, some bright and tropical Chardonnays (gotta love that CA heat!) and even a super soft and enjoyable Rhone blend. So much variety and I LOVED IT.
You know, this really makes me crave a structured tasting. I wonder if I can convince my family to do one over the holidays…