On Saturday November 15th 2008 I will be participating in another Twitter Taste LIVE event. Twitter Taste LIVE is the brainchild of the folks at Bin Ends Wine of Braintree, MA. Wine bloggers (and their guests) taste wines and post tasting notes, thoughts, and questions on social networking site Twitter at a predetermined date and time. The theme for event #5 is “The Bloggers Take Over.” Each blogger decides which wine or wines to taste and will post to Twitter. Others can purchase the same wine or wines and post along if they would like.
For this event I chose the 2005 Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Right Bank. I purchased this wine online a few months ago. I can’t say whom I purchased the wine from as I don’t want them to get in trouble from the interstate shipping police, or be subject to a wine.com sting. I purchased the wine for a number of reasons. I only purchased one bottle as it cost $42 plus shipping as I am of modest means. Firstly, I was just curious about any wine produced from the capable hands of Todd Anderson, he of Ghost Horse World cult winery fame. The wines at Ghost Horse World cost from $500 up to $5000 PER BOTTLE so obviously I am not going to ever purchase those. I mean, even if I won the lottery I would never spend that much money on a bottle of wine. I have previously perused the 27-page thread in Marc Squires Bulletin Board on eRobertParker.com (concerning the Ghost Horse World web site) and found it to be *wicked funny*. In his work at non-cult winery Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA, Todd Anderson produces quite a few very highly regarded wines included this Right Bank.
In Fact the 2005 Right Bank earned a 95-point rave from Robert Parker in Wine Advocate #174 December 2007. I’m an online subscriber so have access to the review but don’t want to get in copyright trouble by reprinting it, but I can say that Parker called it many nice things including a “total hedonistic turn-on”. Yeah, Baby! I’m up for some of that. In fact, I have never tasted anything rated above 92 by anyone, so this should be interesting.
Another thing that intrigues me about this wine is that it is a Château Cheval Blanc homage. Of course this is a Bordeaux Grand Cru that I would certainly like to taste some day but… in the mean time, I will be happy to try this American homage. Like the original, it is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with smaller percentages of other grapes. Miles in Sideways was obviously confused about the fact that his prize bottle of Cheval Blanc has a sizeable percentage of $%#@ Merlot in it.
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.
The 4th Twitter Taste Live event created and hosted by Bin Ends Wine of Braintree, MA takes place this evening, October 23rd 2008, and will feature some of the wines of Steele Wines of Lake County, CA. Jed Steele, the owner and winemaker at Steele Wines, will be at the Bin Ends store in person along with many wine enthusiasts for the live event. People like me will taste along at home and we will all use the social networking tool Twitter to post our thoughts, questions, and tasting notes about the wines using the hash tag #ttl in all our posts.
Since I last wrote about Twitter Taste Live, the folks at Bin Ends have created a wonderful feature-packed web site. There is a central window on the main page which polls Twitter for all posts with the hash tag #ttl. Also there are places for personal pages, photos, videos, email, and a conversation forum. I say, well done, Bin Ends!
I am looking forward to tasting the wines of Steele Wines. Reading the Making Our Wines page on their web site, I’m intrigued with Steele Wines non-interventionalist approach to winemaking and the fact they source fruit from as close to next door to as far away as Washington (paraphrasing) all in the quest to make quality wines at affordable prices. I’m all for that!
If you are into wine tasting and social networking, why not sign up on the Twitter Taste Live web site and join in the fun? And don’t forget to tell them I sent you.
And… HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY to the grooviest chick around, my beautiful & talented daughter Katie (yes of course I’m biased but she really is of course).
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.