I had the rather outstanding opportunity to go to my first Wine 2.0 event last Thursday, their “New Releases Only” wine-tasting at Varnish, a wine bar and art gallery in San Francisco. I’ve been to Varnish a lot over the years since it opened to grab a break from working at the Wednesday happy hour party Qoöl at 111 Minna Gallery around the corner. As a nice aside, it also doubled as a great way to spend the night of my 30th birthday. So, I grabbed my friend Alberto from Minna and we headed over to the party.
Wine 2.0 is, essentially, a wine industry networking group that intends to push wine into the open source and social networking new world that is “Web 2.0.” Really though, that’s kind of a stuffy description for what is a really cool and vibrantly active group of young wine entrepreneurs and aficionados. I kind of think of them as the next generation of “Wine Brats,” but taking a different sort of approach than that organization (though Wine Brats is still going strong!). Despite this younger crowd pushing this movement, I was happy to see a widely diverse group of 200+ patrons that at the event that were all over the age map.
Wine 2.0 and its various and somewhat tightly and loosely associated organizations and companies such as RadCru and Bottlenotes all eschew the philosophy of leveling the playing field between micro-wineries, virtual wineries and small grapegrowers. They want to help the wine public reach these tiny producers for good quaffing benefit for both sides, hence the Web 2.0 analogy. I think that two of the founders of Wine 2.0 and organizers of last Thursday’s event, Cornelius (founder of RadCru) and Alyssa (founder of Bottlenotes), stated it best in their toast that night: they aren’t exactly sure what this Wine 2.0 is all about, but they enjoy the continual discovery of its definition and really like seeing all of the new connections and off shoots that are being spawned from their organization and their meme. All in all, a movement that I fully endorse!
So, down to the real business of the night…the wine! I was rather swamped during the week leading up to this event so I didn’t get to do as much pre-event research as I would have liked. I did know that I wanted to check out two tiny wineries from the list of 30+ that were being represented: Modus Operandi Cellars and Radog. Unfortunately, the Radog owner and winemaker was off enjoying life around the globe now that his wines were in barrel, so Alberto and I started the evening with some fantastic wines from Modus Operandi.
Jason Moore, the winemaker and partner, started us with a startlingly crisp Sauvignon Blanc. It had all of the characteristics of Sauv Blanc that I love…vibrant acidity, big citrus flavors and that great herbaceousness that almost delves into cat pee, reminiscent of many of the New Zealand Sauv’s that I tend to enjoy. We also tasted his new red blend that was one of my favorite reds for the night. On top of his awesome wines and a really cool, laid back persona, the guy has a great story as well. He worked in the food industry for many years in Dallas until he got the wine bug and finally just up and moved to Napa with his wife. He tried this path and that until he found one that got him what he wanted, his own wine label. He makes some fantastic wines, check them out below and be sure to check out his website, as well…tell him Ward sent you!
We also had a great time chatting with Medlock Ames winemaker, Ames Morison. While he looks like the younger brother of Crispin Glover and seems like he should be fronting a really great indie band, Ames is a guy that knows his stuff and makes some outstanding wine. Ames and his friend and winery co-founder, Christopher Medlock James, run an organic and sustainable winery about 400 feet up on Mayacamas foothills. Their outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest of their wine ensemble are grown and vinted on their estate Bell Mountain Vineyard. Ames’ 2003 Cab was tied for the best wine that we had that night, alongside the Fantesca 2003 Cabernet. Be sure and check out the website, as well. The design is amazing (I dig the wine/water effects!) and I love the fact that they pack it full of so much useful information about their wines and their organic farming techniques.
I have uploaded the the most interesting wines that Alberto and I tried that night and you can find the links to their notes below. I’ve also tagged them all with 2.0NRO so that you can find them all in one search.
I also want to send Jason a Kim a big thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to this event, I loved it!