Monday, June 28, 2010

Wine Bloggers Conference 10: In Which I 'Speedblog'

Speed Tasting---and speed blogging on top of it.  Something new for least the blogging part; I've been speed tasting for years, because you have to be able to make quick judgements.  Still, those wines will be coming fast, fast, fast.  We'll see how this goes.

Hogue Genesis Riesling Columbia Valley 2008
saturated forward fruit, but some hollowness in the middle; stone fruit, with a tangy, spicy touch that leaves a prickle of flavor on the tongue; from peach to tangerine.  Starts sweet but finishes with a drying palate (1.8% rs). New world tutti-frutti and sappiness.  Fruit, sweetness, and leavening dryness would make this a good choice for spicy Asian foods.  Winemaker says limited release, top 3% of production. $16 SRP.

Buty Semillon-Sauvignon-Muscadette Columbia Valley 2008  Going for a classic white blend from an inland dessert (Walla Walla).  Good acidity.  Muscadelle in there for the perfume.  Nutty, yellow tobacco note from the Semillon (and I've often been a sucker for Semillon from WA).  Anaerobic fermentation for freshness.  Middle weight.  I like it.

Dusted Valley Vintners Rambling Rose Columbia Valley 2009  Mourvedre, Counoise, Syrah, Viognier. Strawberries, with a chewy, fruity smack---like in dried fruit, fruit roll-up.  Slight candied note doesn't detract.  Bit o'tannin give it a little snap!  Slurper. I like it!  But they call me "M'sieur Rose'" too.

DeLille Cellars 2008 Chaleur Estate Blanc Columbia Valley  62% SB, 38% Semillon, from selected vineyards.  Part barrel fermentation, cryomaceration of fruit for intensity.  INTENSE nose, with extravagant gooseberry (cat pee).  Ripe fig, more gooseberry, and bold, forward declarative barrel influence.  Heavy handed wine.

Duck Pond Pinot Gris Willamette Valley OR 2008  98.5% stainless; 1.5% barrel fermented.  100% PG.  Better acid than most. Bit of vanilla shows. No rs showing (o.5%).  Grapefruit.  Has entry, middle and finish---some PGs are hollow in the middle and light in the finish.  This one is neither.  For a PG, a good effort:  PG with character.

Centine Toscano Bianco Banfi (Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay Pinot Grigio) 2009  Winey nose, light fruitiness, tropical fruits, some wood spice from oak.  Finish fades quickly.  Bit confusing, actually, with different varieties and different treatments to achieve a consensus.  Pleasant table wine.

Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2009 Washington State  Honeysuckle, sweet, pungent, ripe fruit, some peachy notes.

Kung Fu Viognier Columbia Valley 2008  Fermented in neutral oak.  Light nose, more intense flavors.  Slightly hot (high alcohol?).

Jordan Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2008  Oak is the first thing out of the glass.  Then bergamot (like Earl Grey tea).  Fruit is reticent.  Oak masks fruit in taste as well---vanilla bludgeon.  Style overwhelms fruit and terroir.

Amaurice Cellars Viognier 2008 Walla Walla  Pretty, but light and slightly hot;  Barrel fermentation doesn't show through too much here; more delicate than one might expect from the regimen.  The essence of Viognier comes through, but a lower alcohol than 14.9% would be so much better.  Just too hot for the light frame.  Noble effort, but wine can't carry the weight.

Cadaretta SBS  (Sauvignon Blanc 79%, Semillon 21%)  Columbia Valley 2008  Stainless steel; no oak.  Shy nose; medium bodied, good acidity, SB comes through with lean and herbal/fruity flavors, toned down with Semillon.  Small production.

Le Chateau Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2008  Barrel fermented, French oak; half new/half one year.  Limited malo. Oak bomb.  Great fruit, but oak weights it down so heavily it totally unbalances the final result.  Just not my style.

The Crusher Rose' of Pinot Noir Grower's Selection Clarksburg 2009  (Don Sebastiani & Sons)  The other, "non traditional rose" for big red wine drinkers.  Crushed PN, saignee; viognier added and co-fermented for florals.  Malbec added after fermentation.  95% stainless, 5% oak (mouthfeel from oak, but not vanilla flavors).  Nice.  More body, more rounded than a regular PN.  Bit too hot---but it's Clarksburg.  Change of pace rose'.

Whew!  That was grueling.  Takeaway:  Sure, I can do it...but why should I do it.  Wine appreciation shouldn't be a contact sport and leave bruises.  Why impose artificial limitations; then it's more about the snappy blogicity than the wine.  And it ought to be about the wine.  Always. So, been there; done that; don't need to do it again.


  1. Dear Hoke,
    Thanks for your WBC post. We were proud to be a part of such a great event bringing together a cadre of incredibly talented people. I'm sorry that you weren't a fan of the Jordan Chardonnay, but I encourage you to try it again some time. Perhaps that bottle was a little too warm or something. Our winemaker actually considers it to have more fruit, more acidity and little oak influence. Here's a video where the winemaker discusses the 2008:
    Best regards,
    Lisa Mattson

  2. Lisa: Afraid the Jordan Chardonnay just isn't my style. It's a well made wine, for its type, but not for me. As to the winemaker's opinion, it's relative, of course: one person's "little oak influence"---if what you're drinking on a regular basis is CA North Coast Chardonnays with oak regimen---as compared to someone who prefers as ttle oak influence as possible, and then only when it is integrated into the wine so that is supportive of the fruit and not competing with it.

    I'm very fond of Jordan Winery. As a buyer I was extremely supportive, from the very first vintage (Cab, of course), and Jordan, as much as anyone, helped "put Sonoma on the wine map." For that, I'm appreciative. But the Chardonnay just isn't my style.