Happy New Year at Moresi's!

SpoontonicNew Year’s Eve has started in earnest over here on the West Coast.  Finely dressed hostesses are starting to guide even more finely dressed patrons to their hotly desired seat at every dining establishment in California.  Beth and I spent the day acquiring clothing and preparing for the evenings festivities, when I would be DJing at Spoontonic in Walnut Creek, alongside my fellow DJ’s, owner Jeff (Heff) and Sean for the latest and year-end installment of the mashup monthly, The Winchester at the bar.

Ed MoresiAfter getting both of our outfits squared away, we decided to start the celebration of the end of 2008 with a stop at one of our favorite local steakhouses and cocktail bar, Moresi’s Chophouse in Clayton, CA. Moresi’s is housed in were two historic 1800’s era buildings, now combined, in the long-standing rural enclave of Clayton, CA.  Ed Moresi, longtime proprieter of the outstanding family dining and sports bar establishment Ed’s Mudville Grill (check out the amazing collection of sports memorabilia!) son Dom and the rest of the Moresi clan have created a wonderful stop within the small, comfortable downtown of Clayton.

The restaurant seamlessly melds the history of the region, tucked below the peak of Mt. Diablo, with contemporary high-end chophouse cuisine, but still retains the Italian-heritage family comforts that one would expect from a loving family that embraces it’s food-filled history.  Moresi's Chophouse, ClaytonIndeed, much of that history is displayed on the walls of the restaurant with many framed historical photos, courtesy of the Clayton Historical Society housed next door.  The restoration work has resulted in a gorgeous wood patio with a full view of the downtown area, backed up by the heights of the aforementioend Mt. Diablo.  Much of the work was actually completed by friends and family. It has an outstanding wine list, that is hand-picked by Ed and includes wines from many family friends, such as Cabs from one of my favorites, Regusci Winery in Stags Leap District, Napa.

Houston AstrosEd grew up in town and has stayed to raise his own successful family, many of whom work in both dining spots throughout the week, such as the Dom, the Moresi’s Manager and Head Bartender.  Another son would probably be doing the same if he weren’t creating his own sports memorabilia in the MLB Houston Astros organization.  Nick is a centerfielder in their Minor League system.

Moresi’s was completely booked up when we arrived at 3:30 pm for some bubbly to end the afternoon.  The restaurant was already humming with food and drink preparations, but Dom and Ed served us up a welcoming hand shake and a Veuve Cliquot split to get us started.  Ed had prepared numerous special accents for the evenings, not the least being complimentary glasses of Rotari Spumante Brut, served with some conversation by the patriarch, himself, and a couple fresh raspberries.

Clayton, CAAs Beth and I shared our way through the NYE sparkling cocktail list, we enjoyed watching many of the Clayton locals make their way into the bar and lounge area to be seated for their last fête of 2008.  As night and a misty fog fell, we bid everyone a happy New Year and headed home to now freshen up for the DJing and antics at Spoontonic.

WineLog.netFrom all of us at WineLog.net, we wish you a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration and a brilliant 2009!  Thank you, friends and wine lovers, for being a part of our growing vinous family!

WBC NA 2008: Dry Creek Valley Walk 2 @ Quivira

The morning of the second day of the inaugural North American Wine Bloggers Conference presented me with an energetic dilemma: which Vineyard Walk do I partake??  Wine Bloggers ConferenceThis part of the conference was to be an exciting off-site activity, courtesy of Allan Wright (Twitter), conference organizer and owner of the other main sponsor, Zephyr Wine Adventures.  After debating between the many walks/hikes available, I finally settled on the second of the two Dry Creek Valley walks, as it was a tour of the Biodynamic estate of Quivira Vineyards & Winery.  Quivira Vineyards & WineryI was compelled to visit this winery after the great discussion that I had with Nancy Bailey at the previous evening’s Wine Growers of Dry Creek Valley tasting, of which I have previously written. Not yet knowing the full extent of the amount of physical activity that I might undertake, I literally sprinted over to Longs to get some protein-based snackies and I ran back to hop on the shuttle that was just about to pull out towards Dry Creek.

Eath Water TetrapaksI noticed a few pallets of some TetraPaks when I jumped into the shuttle and I was pleased to hear that they were free Earth Water “bottles” for us to down as we trudged through the warm morning and early afternoon. They were incredibly handy for both the dehydration that I was feeling…for some reason, and the fact that once finished, they easily folded up into a flat mat that could be shoved in your back pocket and out of your hand.  While slaking my thirst and merely teasing the rumbling in my stomach, we began some introductions around the shuttle.  Seated in front of me was the dynamic Amy Atwood (Twitter) of My Daily Wine.  We spent much of our time heading to the winery and back to the conference center speaking about the future of wine and wine social media.

Quivira VineyardsAfter a beautiful morning drive through the Sonoma countryside, we arrived at the winery.  It features gorgeous and unique modern architecture that still manages to complement the surrounding vineyard agriculture and natural surroundings.  I gave much of the background of the winery and their certified Biodynamic viticulture practices as well as much of their history in my previous Day 1 post but suffice it to say, Quivira Vineyards & Winerythey are one of the leaders of sustainable agriculture and wildlife restoration in the already environment-friendly Dry Creek appellation. The winery was founded in 1981 and following the sale to the current owners Pete and Kerri Kight, there was a large turnover and winemaker Steven Canter was brought in following stints at DeLoach in Russian River Valley and Torbreck in the Barossa Valley of Australia.

Steven Canter - QuiviraSteven is an articulate and physically soft-spoken proponent of sustainable organic and Biodynamic winegrowing.  Indeed, one of the very first actions that Steven took as the new winemaker for Quivira was to walk through the winery building burning sage and saltpeter to cleanse the building of its previous employees and practices.  His influence can be seen throughout the estate, both in the vineyards, learning about the land alongside longtime Quivira Vineyard Crew Manager Tony Castellanos, around their new organic garden and certainly around the winery itself, implementing his “pro-active organic and Biodynamic farming” practices.  Part of this pro-active working life has led Quivira to work towards restoring all of the original lands and wildlife in the unplanted regions of the Estate back to their original state.  Much of the work done in recent years has centered around Wine Creek, the namesake for one of their vineyards.  They hope to bring the creek back to a state whereby the Steelhead and Coho salmon will return to spawn as they did for many hundreds of years prior.  Our walk through their vineyards really brought home the need for this restoration as Wine Creek was dry for the first time in the 30 year history of the winery.

Steven Canter - QuiviraOur tour began with an outstanding discussion about Biodynamics and Steven’s own philosphy about sustainable winegrowing and winemaking.  I found it particularly informative as I’ve read a fair amount about Biodynamics, but as a scientist (while still open-minded that science still does not explain much of the natural world), I always have had a hard time getting my head around many of the more arcane rituals that surround that philosophy of farming.  Steven anticipated this and was able to reach the scientists inside of us by explaining that while many of the rituals (such as Preparation 500, burying a cow horn filled with manure for a distinct set of time during the year) did seem very “New Age” and arcane, the science behind the rituals was solid.  The manure becomes incredibly densely and richly filled with micro flora (bacteria, yeast, etc) that is indigenous to the local soil and when spread throughout the vineyard after being unearthed, that same micro flora replenishes the surrounding land and vineyards and strengthening the vines.  This leads, as Steven pointed out many times throughout the day, to wines that have undeniable terroir, or a sense of place.

Quivira Vineyards & WineryFollowing this discussion we headed out into the vineyards for the meat of the day’s activities.  We first headed past where the animals were held that contribute to the farm’s sustainability.  Following that we headed into the Wine Creek Ranch vineyard, alongside the aforementioned dry Wine Creek.  Quivira Vineyards & WineryIt was a bit disconcerting to see the creek bed so dry, particularly after hearing about how vibrant the creek side had been in years past.  This same disappointment was voiced by both Nancy (who joined us throughout the day) and Steven.  Quivira Vineyards & WineryWe continued along, eventually reaching the esteemed Dry Creek itself, crossing over on some exposed rocks to gain access to their famous Fig Tree Vineyard property. Quivira Vineyards & WineryHere we were able to just walk up and pluck ripe, organically grown figs right off of a huge, ancient fiig tree before we headed towards higher ground.  Once we reached the highest point of the Quivira estate we were treated to a phenomenal 360 degree view of the Dry Creek Valley.  We were blessed with wonderful weather that whole WBC weekend and it was here that I truly appreciated the absolutely clear, sun-filled sky that weekend in late October.

Quivira Vineyards & Winery

Quivira Vineyards & WineryWe eventually filed back down to the winery and tasting room and had a great walkthrough of the process of winemaking at Quivira. Steven literally dug his hands into a fermenting bin of Grenache, fermented with natural yeast from the skins of the grapes themselves, as are all wines from the winery. The grapes were to be pressed into barrel the following day, in fact.  It was at this point in the day however, that I was feeling a certain distraction known as HUNGER!  I shouldn’t have been worried for we had a truly special and unique three course meal with wine pairing flights ready for us on the patio in front of the tasting room…YES!

Quivira Vineyards & WineryThe chef for Quivira had prepared a wonderful assortment of olives, meats and cheeses, many of which were actually made at and from the estate as was the olive oil, due to be released next year (make sure that you get some and get some early!).  These were paired with their ’07 Grenache Rosé, an excellent example of a domestic dry rosé and tied for my favorite of these first three wines with the ’07 Fig Tree Vineyard Sauv Blanc.  Both were filled with vibrant fruit and almost racy acidity, perfect for the now rather warm early afternoon weather.  The second course featured my favorite dish of the day, an absolutely stunning chili made from venison that paired so well with the second flight of wines from Grenache and Zinfandel that I was a bit speechless.  Many, MANY of us went back for at least seconds of this delectable dish!  Most of our wines were poured out by the somewhat incorrigible longtime wine stalwart Ron Washam of Hosemaster of Wine (link NOT work friendly!).

Quivira Vineyards & WineryThe final course was paired with the three heaviest wines in the Quivira stable, including my favorite of the day.  The ’06 Wine Creek Ranch Petite Sirah was simply one of the finest examples of this “pet” varietal of mine that I have ever been fortunate enough to taste.  It had beautiful blue fruit on the nose that was backed up by mushroom and truffle.  The coating palate had very cool blue fruit that was made much more interesting by the menthol and dried herbs that surrounded that juicy core.  Wonderful.

That might be the best word to finish this post, perhaps.  I’d like to thank Nancy, Steven and everyone else at Quivira Vineyards & Winery for such an incredible day of vineyard walking, learning, food and wine.  I’d also like to again thank Allan at Zephyr Wine Adventures and of course, the WBC.

Please see all of my reviews of the wines that we had that warm day at Quivira below.  I’ve tagged them all with “WBC2008NA-Quivira” if you would like to list them in your own WineLog.  Enjoy!

Flight One:
Quivira Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Grenache Rosé 2007

Quivira Dry Creek Valley Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Quivira Dry Creek Valley Barrel Complete Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Flight Two:
Quivira Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Grenache 2006

Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2006

Quivira Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Zinfandel 2006

Flight Three:
Quivira Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Mourvèdre 2006

Quivira Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Syrah 2006

Quivira Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Petite Sirah 2006

Inaugural Wine Bloggers Forum (Hahn)

Last Sunday I had the distinct pleasure of joining Lisa de Bruin (Twitter) of Wine Diver Girl and Hahn Family Wines at the inaugural Hahn Wine Blogger Forum, alongside many of my fellow wine bloggers.  Hahn Wine Bloggers ForumAlso invited were various other wine people prominent in the new social media wine landscape, including the busy Judd Wallenbrock (Twitter) of Michel-Schlumberger, Drink Charitably and his own Humanitas; John Pianetta of Pianetta Winery in Paso appellation and the man who also straddles many worlds, Jeff “El Jefe” Stai (Twitter) of Twisted Oak and El Bloggo Torcido.  Also attending from L.A. were wine and beer mutineers Alan Kropf (Twitter) and JJ Bagley (Twitter) from the awesome Mutineer Magazine (Twitter). Aside from organizer Lisa, Hahn had a few other people in attendance: Evelyn Pool, VP of Marketing; Bill Leigon, President; and most interestingly the Winemaker for many of the wines, the nicely zany Adam LaZarre and the warm-hearted Vineyard Manager, Andy Mitchell.

I caught a ride up with my comrades-(increasingly)-in-arms, the Brix Chicks, Liza (Twitter) and Xandria (Twitter). Thanks for the ride, ladies!  We arrived just as the last piece in our chaotic vinous puzzle pulled up, Thea (Twitter) of Vinquire and Luscious Lushes.  Hahn Family WinesA few hello’s later and the group decision that we were now “professionally” early as opposed to “unfashionably, do you really need to drink wine so” early…we headed in to the Napa headquarters of Hahn Family Wines.

The day’s wine tasting, while held at Hahn’s headquarters and centered around their family of wines, was intended to begin an intimate discussion between wine bloggers and the industry they follow. Much of the Hahn background was given in my post about TTL #5 and so I won’t go into it here.  In some ways the tasting could be considered as a continuation of some of the discussions that took place at the first Wine Bloggers Conference back in October.  Namely, how can wine bloggers and the wine industry work together for mutual benefit?  What makes a good wine blog?  How can the wine industry utilize wine bloggers better and how can they themselves, move into the the new social media space effectively?  Lastly (and most vociferously) how can these interactions take place in an ethical manner so that both sides are satisfied?

Lisa de BruinLisa, herself, has written an outstanding post addressing many of these issues and summarizing much of what was discussed and added to the on-going meta-discussion of these topics. A subsequent post by said blogger also dives into Comparative Wine Tasting in more detail.  Essentially, Comparative Wine Tastings are scheduled tastings, typically organized by the wineries, themselves, or other industry organizations where multiple wineries get together and open some bottles for an audience.  Now, this has been going on for years obviously, and really took off in the 90’s when organizations like ZAP and Rhone Rangers came into being for the sole purpose of expanding their customer base by the wineries working together as partners and not as competitors.  I also like to think that those sprung from the great collaborations and informal gatherings that were had in the early days of the California wine industry when people like Robert Mondavi, Louis M. Martini and other early luminaries would get together for lunch, taste each others wines and provide feedback and advice for the betterment of all.  The tastings we’re discussing here take both earlier versions into the new social media space, currently ably codified and expanded by Open Wine Consortium (1 of two major organizers of the Wine Bloggers Conference) and Wine 2.0, and allow for instant micro-blogging on Twitter and further wine reviews on social tasting notes such as WineLog.net and finally into full blog recaps, such as the wonderful one on Luscious Lushes (which also contains a full list of attendees).

Twisted Oak WineryAs mentioned previously, Twisted Oak’s wines were there, courtesy of El Jefe, unfortunately I wasn’t able to taste his wines that day, however.  I have tasted quite a few superb efforts from that Calaveras winery in the recent past. John Pianetta, proprietor of the family winery Pianetta Winery in San Miguel, CA had some wines available and I was able to taste some of his selections during the heated but civil ethics conversation that ensued following the main tasting.  Pianetta WineryI found his ’06 Petite Syrah was an outstanding effort, filled with chalky and earthy blue and red fruit and great structure.

The best part of the day for me was the chance to speak to virtually everyone that is involved in the business at Hahn (ok, well, the free wine was certainly a damn good highlight, but I digress!).  I find all parts of the wine biz interesting. To have the chance to speak to the President of a larger portfolio of wine labels, the head of PR, the head of New Media AND the head winemaker and vineyard manager…well, why WOULDN’T I jump all over that opportunity?  Hahn Wine Bloggers ForumThis is where I find the power and value of these new-styled wine blogging gatherings.  Yes…there are the somewhat rare events where you can meet the winemaker or the vineyard manager.  Occasionally you might meet the head of marketing or the president.  But it is extremely informative and powerful to meet these people all together in the same room and just pound them with questions and listen and sip and write and learn.  Yes, the nibbles and wine were free, the event was at Hahn and there was some free wine at the end with some small thank you gifts.  Yet, I didn’t like all of the wines and have reviewed them as such, below.  I can’t think of another time that I was able to learn so much about a single winery, however, nor about winemaking and winegrowing, in general.  Plus, the Hahn folks (particularly Bill, Adam and Andy), who are very candid, unafraid of being honest about their work and very knowledgeable about their respective wine spheres! So, after all of the discussion, I just reverted back to the nebulous conclusion that I came to at the Wine Bloggers Conference…attend these events knowing that there is a certain element of “wineing and dining” but stay transparent and stay consistent with your palate, messeage and interests in your writing.  There you go.

Hahn Family WinesSO!  What were some of the cool things that I learned that day?  Well crap…there were a lot of great bits of info but I’ll summarize.  One, Hahn has done some incredibly cool things in the new media realm.  A good example is their graphical flyover of their Estate in the Santa Lucia Highlands.  Further interesting soundbites (picked from the enormous wealth of knowledge that can be found while picking the brains of Adam and Andy) include the fact that assistant winemaker Greg Freeman is also a semi-professional player of the bag pipes.  Smoke taint has hit some of the wines in the Monterey County appellation, introducing the potent phenol glycol into the grape and thus, the wine.  Hahn’s SLH vineyards have been certified sustainable in the past year. Lastly, Pinot Noir actually has water soluble anthocyanins for color, not just alcohol-soluble ones like most varietals.

Lucienne VineyardsThe other important part of the tasting was, of course, the vino!  While I did speak about the Pianetta and Twisted Oak wine that was there, I haven’t yet discussed the wines that Hahn had available for the day.  They had three labels of wines there, the Bin 36 line made as a collaboration between Hahn Family Estates, Adam and famed sommelier Brian Duncan of the Bin 36 restaurants.  We also had another chance to taste the SLH line’s ’07 Pinot Gris.  I’ve already stated how much I loved this wine during my Twitter Taste Live #5 recap.  Yum.  The day’s highlights were the flagship wines for the Hahn family, the Lucienne Vineyards single-vineyard Pinots.  There are two wines in this lable, the Lone Oak Vineyard and the Doctor’s Vineyard.  Both are phenomenal examples of this varietal and boldly represent this up and coming maritime appellation (which was actually drawn by Nickolai Hahn). While it was difficult to choose which wine was my favorite, I leaned towards the full balance and earthiness that was found in the Lone Oak.  Major props to Adam and Andy and their teams on these two wines!

Lastly, I’d like to thank the Hahn folks, El Jefe and John Pianetta for a wonderful and informative wine experience.  I’d also like to thank Lisa for her novel idea to plan this event and (hopefully) at other wineries in the future on a quarterly basis and the fortitude to follow through with those plans!

Please see all of the reviews of the wines we tasted at the forum below.  If you would like to list these wines in your own WineLog, all of them have been tagged with “HahnBlogForum1“.  Enjoy!


Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands SLH Estate Pinot Gris 2007

Bin 36 Central Coast Chardonny 2005

Lucienne Santa Lucia Highlands Lone Oak Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006

Lucienne Santa Lucia Highlands Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006

Bin 36 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Bin 36 California Merlot 2005

Pianetta Monterey Estate Syrah 2004

Pianetta Monterey Estate Bilancio 2005

Pianetta Paso Robles Petite Syrah 2006

WBC NA 2008: Day 1 Recap

Day 1 of the 1st annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference started with a whirlwind of activities.  I caught a ride to the conference with the very gracious founders of WineQ, Marshall (Twitter) and Brittany (Twitter).  Wine Bloggers ConferenceWe arrived right on time at the conference hotel and center of activities, the Hotel Flamingo in Santa Rosa and made our way in a roundabout fashion to Registration.  It was a very surreal and invigorating walk to say the least…just in the 100 yards it took to reach the registration room, I handed out 5 or 6 WineLog.net biz cards, three of those contacts being people that I had met through Twitter or their blog…whew!

Three Thieves WineBrittany, Marshall, myself and now 1WineDude himself, Joe Roberts (Twitter) all made our way through the sponsor tables, some of which I’ve already spoken of such as Cruvee and TetraPak, where I met Paul Carnazola of Trinchero Family Estates who own Three Thieves Wine, of which I have a soft spot…more on that in a later post! We then headed to the first activity of the day, the Kick Ranch Vineyard tasting and lunch at the vineyard itself.  Dick Keenan/Kick RanchIt was a beautiful affair, hosted by owner Dick Keenan, but one that left me wistful as we didn’t have *nearly* enough time to try all of the wines.  This will also be covered in a future post, including an interview with Dick, himself.  We then caught one of the last hay rides back to the car to prepare for the Live Wine Blogging portion of the conference.

The blur of the Live Wine blogging event was completed after I madly tried to touch up my hastily typed post that covered all of the wines we tried at Table 6.  I briefly competed in the Blind Tasting Challenge (and got crushed by round 2), but I knew that I had no chance to go sip-to-sip with the more accomplished tasters attending the conference.  Live Wine Blogging/Twisted Oak/El JefeThe eventual winner was Doug (Twitter) of the innovative wine knowledge search site AbleGrape and with whom I had a great conversation during the tasty Sebastiani dinner in their Oak Room the following night.  I decided to head to the first unofficial or “Anti-Conference” event of the weekend, the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley tasting held in in one of the suites that led to the central pool area of the hotel.

I quickly discovered one thing at the Dry Creek tasting that would serve as a warning to the rest of the weekend…that I’d be tasting a lot less wines than I normally would at a tasting featuring 10’s or hundreds of wines.  Dry Creek Valley WinegrowersI was just too busy mingling and meeting all of the great bloggers, winemakers and wine industry personnel that were at the various conference sessions!  It was at this first self-paced tasting that I learned that lesson and I made the decision to focus on only a few wineries or winemakers at each tasting, if possible.  I’m always more interested in learning about wine in a “depth,” as opposed to a “breadth” fashion…just take a look at any one of my posts.  I love to learn the back story of wine and I think that is where the most interesting and lasting relationships occur in this vinous passion, whether they be with those that are involved in making the wine, or merely those few wineries that make such a singular product that you are compelled to share and drink their artistry at every special occasion in your life, year after year.  There are thousands of very talented producers out there, but only a few will actually touch you, personally, with their wines AND their passion.

QuiviraSome of the people that I met while cruising my way through some of the more interesting wines available from Dry Creek were Leslie Bramwell-Smith, the Director of Marketing for the WDCV association.  She was kind of enough to introduce me to Nancy Bailey, the General Manager at Quivira Vineyards.   Nancy and I had a wonderful conversation about the biodynamic practices that have been implemented at the winery and in the vineyard.  After being certified biodynamic by Demeter in 2005, winemaker Steven Canter and the rest of the staff are taking those practices and ideals to the next level and beginning to restore much of the native habitats on the property, including the namesake waterway of one of their finest vineyards, Wine Creek Ranch.  Of course, much of this work can’t be done in isolation and thus Quivira is also reaching out to their bordering neighbors as well as others in the decidedly organic and biodynamic appellation of Dry Creek Valley (more on that later).  It was this inspiring conversation that led me to take the Dry Creek Valley 2 Vineyard hike and tour at Quivira the next morning.

I also (literally) bumped into the General Manager and all-around good guy at Truett-Hurst Vineyards & Winery, Jim Morris.  I caught a foot in the carpet and was basically forced to say hello, but serendipity is key at these events and it proved to be a very enlightening conversation. Truett-HurstJim and I proceeded to discuss how they started their winery and how they’re currently working much along the same lines as Quivira and starting their own biodynamic, land restoration adventure.  He was also very keen to learn how to take advantage of the social wine media realm and interested in experimenting with different forms of outreach and direct interactions with the wine-drinking public.  I said that he was off to a very good start!  He had a great Zin at the WDCV tasting and I found it to be one of the best Zin’s that I tasted the entire weekend.

New ZealandI finally cruised over to the official tasting of the evening, the New Zealand Wine tasting, after bidding farewell to Jim.  Unfortunately, I reached the NZ tasting with only 30 minutes to spare and true to form, I met even more people F2F!  I was only able to taste 3 wines with any sense of time for assessment.  I started off with the only kiwi bubbly that I’ve ever seen which was a mistake, unfortunately.  It tasted and felt incredibly harsh and disjointed with a strange cherry candy aromas and flavors.  It was not my thing.  I hit success with my next choice, a fine, solid Pinot from Prophet’s Rock.   It was during this tasting that I met the intriguing mind behind Vintwined, Erin McGrath (Twitter).  She was later to direct me to one of the finest wines of the Grand Sonoma tasting the following day.

DinnerThe last official event of the night was dinner in the largest ballroom at the hotel, with a number of speakers from the Dry Creek appellation (including a very entertaining speech by Canter whereby he declared that the “new revolution has begun…and its name is GRENACHE!), as well as a keynote speech by WineLibrary.tv persona, Gary Vaynerchuck. While I don’t watch WineLibrary.tv too much due to time considerations and the fact that his delivery can be too much for me, I do respect him for the explosive wine persona and following that he has built over the last two years.  His speech, really more of a down to Earth Q&A, was very stimulating, sincere and interesting.  I respected him even more after his talk, especially after a sequence whereby he professed that to succeed and succeed quickly in this social media wine business, you must basically sacrifice a lot of sleep, jokingly chastising Jim of Truett-Hurst for his “5-6 hours” of unnecessary sleep!

CapozziFollowing the dinner, I headed out on a somewhat raucaus ride with Pinotblogger and Capozzi Winery winemaker/owner Josh Hermsmeyer (Twitter) out to his gorgeous pad set in his vineyards for a true pan-US wine tasting, featuring blogger favorite wines from around the US.  It was a phenomenal end to our first day at the conference!

Please see all of my reviews of the wines I tasted on this first day, listed below.  If you would like to list all of them in your own WineLog, they are tagged with the one listed above that particular tasting and all of the WBC wines I tried are tagged with “WBC2008NA“.  If you were also at the conference, leave a comment…I’d love to hear about your experience.  Enjoy!

Wines tasted at the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley tasting, “WBC2008NA-DCV“:

Quivira Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2005

Quivira Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Zinfandel 2005

Truett-Hurst Dry Creek Valley Three Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2006

Rockpile Winery Rockpile Rockpile Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel 2006

Mauritson Dry Creek Valley Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel 2005

Wines tasted at the New Zealand Wines tasting, “WBC2008NA-NZW“:

The Crater Rim Waipara Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Prophet’s Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006

Huia Marlborough Brut 2002

Wines that we had during dinner on Friday night, “WBC2008NA-FriDinner“:

Truett-Hurst Dry Creek Valley Three Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2006 (again)

Quivira Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch Grenache 2006

Dry Creek Vineyard Sonoma County Fumé Blanc 2007

Pedroncelli Dry Creek Valley Four Grapes Estate Port 2003

Wines tasted at Pinotblogger Josh’s after party at his vineyard house, “WBC2008NA-PB“:

Kumeu River Kumeu Estate Chardonnay 2006

Owen Roe Columbia Valley Rosa Mystica Cabernet Franc 2005


Alain Graillot Zenata Syrocco Syrah 2005


Kinkead Ridge Ohio River Valley Viognier/Roussane 2006


Kinkead Ridge Ohio River Valley Estate Cabernet Franc 2006