|« Vines & Roses||Walla Walla Wine Bloggers »|
The Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla was filled with special events and one-of-a-kind experiences. My mind is still reeling with information. I’m a bit worn out from the intensity of it all, and from carrying around the huge back filled with books and wine bottles we were given upon arriving at the conference!
I’ve been wading through stacks of pamphlets, pages of notes, and numerous photos, thinking about which experiences will be most interesting for readers of this blog. There were many tastings, including some that emulated speed-dating. I toured vineyards, dined with winemakers, learned about the impact of oak on flavor profiles, listened to a geologist speaking on terroir and climate, and met many interesting people.
Don’t worry, tea lovers, I won’t be posting exclusively about wine for the next few weeks. I’m sure to have plenty of wonderful daily cuppas that inspire me to write, plus there were even a few tea-related things that happened during the Wine Blogger’s Conference. For instance, after tasting about 30 or 40 different wines in just a few hours, I returned to my room to freshen up. This gave me the opportunity to quickly brew some oolong tea with my handy dandy gaiwan travel set.
My big discovery was that a nice cup of oolong didn’t just perk me up, it helped to cleanse my tired palate and soothe my mouth, shaking off the tannins and acids of all the wine I’d been tasting. It might be a good practice to carry a thermos of hot or iced oolong in my car whenever I go on a wine-tasting excursion. It needs to be a fairly light and unassuming tea, one that refreshes without getting in the way of wines still to come. A break for tea in the middle of the day is always a good idea!
I returned to the conference, palate refreshed, ready to face the astonishing number of wines available for tasting.
Often the winemakers were pouring for us, answering many questions. Sometimes winemakers or reps were representing a type of wine or an AVA (like the new Lake Chelan AVA in Washington).
I gave it my best shot, but it was impossible to try them all. After a bit, I shifted my goal to tasting wines I’d never had before. For instance, I tried wine from Sinclair Estate Vineyards, which just opened two months ago. My favorite was their cab, merlot, syrah, mourvedre blend -- Vixen.
However, don't assume my weekend wasn’t just one big hazy drunk experience. Here in Washington, we like to say It's Hip to Spit! The conference provided us with large paper cups, which made it much easier to spit without getting backsplash from a big bucket. We also had plenty of water to keep us hydrated.
It is very important to spit wine at tastings, not only because it keeps one from getting drunk. Spitting helps you focus on the wine, thinking about the finish and how long the flavor lingers. At an event like this, we weren’t usually sipping in a party setting, Instead, we were tasting to discover new wines, to get a general sense of a region, or to compare differences and similarities between varietals and wineries.
Here’s the process:
- Hold out your glass for a pour (indicate which wine you’d like to taste). You’ll receive a tasting-sized portion of wine.
- Sniff it. Swirl it. Sniff Again.
- Sip and Swish the wine around in the mouth.
- Sip and Swish.
- Sniff the glass after it is empty to see if you pick up more aromas.
- If the wine was particularly aggressive, or if it was red and you’re moving on to a white wine, rinse the glass with a bit of water.
- Repeat with the next wine.
In the midst of this, you can ask questions, compare notes with others tasting, or just focus intently on that glass in your hand.
Intimidated by the idea of spitting wine? Here’s a video I’ve linked to in the past, but it’s worth revisiting.
Later today (or maybe tomorrow), I’ll be posting photos of one of my most memorable experiences – an excursion to the Spofford Station Vineyard, where we sipped wines made from the vines surrounding us. Check back soon for that and for other highlights from my trip to Walla Walla!
No feedback yet
Comments are closed for this post.