On October 29th, 2008 I attended a tasting of several of the wines from La Casa de las Vides winery from Valencia, Spain. This tasting occurred at Melissa’s Bistro in the town of Stoneham, MA. That is actually my hometown, that is, the town where I grew up. It’s funny how some things in the square have changed, while other landmarks are still hanging in there.
This tasting was a special event for local bloggers and was also broadcast via web-cam on the Twitter Taste Live site by Craig Drollett, who was in attendance as well. On hand from La Casa de las Vides was Export Director Emilio Saez van Eerd, who generously provided us with some appetizers from Melissa’s. The winery currently sells only in the Valencia DO in Spain; they are looking for importers/distributors for their wines in the U.S. Though only in their 4th vintage of independent wine production, they have been a vine nursery and supplier for 50 years. Winemaker Ana Martin Orzain, who is a well-known wine consultant in Spain, is involved with the production of the wines.
4 wines were tasted at the event. The first was a white wine called Vallblanca made with Verdil, a grape indigenous to eastern Spain, and Viura, known elsewhere in Spain as Macebeo, with Gewurztraminer added for exotic interest. I found this a really fine and refreshing white wine which should do very well here in the U.S. at its modest price point. The next was a rosé wine called Rosa Rosae which was an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha (Grenache). It had a nose of strawberries, was dry, and was a fine, if somewhat standard, rosé. The 3rd wine tasted was a red called CUP and was a blend of Tempranillo and Syrah. It was quite good with a heady nose of spices and pepper. The 4th wine was a red called ACULIUS and was a blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, and Monastrell (Mourvedre). This was my favorite as harmoniously blended elements of oak used in aging with fruit and aromatic elements of the fruit for a balanced and intense result. Bravo.
There was some discussion about wine bottles and labels that could possibly appeal the most to U.S. tastes. The following are some photos. I seem to have not gotten any pics of Jenny Meacham from Baystate Wine Co., but all others included (and except me, the photographer). I wish Emilio Saez van Eerd much success in his efforts to distribute these fine wines in the U.S.
Last night I participated in local wine store Bin Ends 1st Twitter Tasting LIVE event. Twitter is, as all Web 2.0 cognoscenti know well, a very popular micro-blogging tool. (Note – I’ve changed my handle from s_r_m to bloviatrix on Twitter to help establish my ‘brand’). This was a virtual group tasting amongst several well-known wine bloggers (and people like me) to taste 6 wines on offer from Bin Ends and micro-blog their tasting notes/thoughts at a prearranged time, in an established order. All wines, Spanish in origin, are from importer Eric Solomon‘s portfolio, and he was also online to answer questions, which was very appreciated.
To test the waters as it were I bought a bottle of one of the 6 on offer not from Bin Ends which I haven’t visited yet but my most local of local wine stores, the awesome Groton Market. I have read wonderful things about Bin Ends and will visit there sometime soon. I was able to taste and post in Twitter my tasting notes for the 2006 Bodegas Rafael Palacios Valdeorras Louro do Bolo. My tasting notes are in CellarTracker, and if you are interested, please look at my CellarTracker notes on the right side of my blog.
I applaud Bin Ends for this effort to integrate a traditional wine tasting event with Web 2.0 technology, and look forward to participating in future tastings. However, I would suggest that Twitter as such is not the best sort of platform for this kind of event. I have recently seen 2 kinds of communication technology platforms that are perhaps better suited: 1) Seesmic video blogging conversations, 2) Friendfeed rooms, and example of which is here. Or really just any dedicated chat forum where regular traffic is weeded out.
Cheers to Ryan and Gabriella Opaz of Spanish and Portugese wine blog Catavino for staying up til past 1AM their time in Spain to participate. Finding one good time for a world-wide, virtual event is always a challenge.