2nd Wine Bloggers' Forum @ St. Supéry

Blogger Day at St. SupéryIn the year of their 20th anniversary, St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery (Twitter) hosted the 2nd Wine Bloggers Forum (WBF) at their beautiful Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley, California on Saturday, 04/04/09.  The event continued the spirit of intimate and collaborative blogger and industry interaction that was first started as an offshoot of the WBC that debuted last year.  The first WBF was at Hahn Family Estates in their Napa business offices and perfectly organized by the incomparable Lisa de Bruin (Twitter).  This latest edition was organized by Lesley Keffer Russell (Twitter), VP of Marketing and Sales at St. Supéry.

St. Supéry DollarhideThe winery was founded in 1989 by the Robert Skalli family, the leading wine producers from the South of France.  They were on the lookout for new wine-growing regions to purchase and develop in the early ’80’s and came upon Dollarhide ranch and purchased that in ’82, now planted with about 500/1500 acres with mainly Bordeaux red and white varieties.  They purchased the Rutherford property that now houses the main Estate in 1986 and the full winery was up and running by ’89.

Bloggers Day at St. SupéryI arrived just a tad late that day, but made it there courtesy of my ever-reliable sis, Na.  I was unsure as to how much wine was on the menu, so I decided to park it at Moms’ and Pops’ in Browns Valley and get a ride over to the winery estate, for which Na kindly obliged (Thanks, sis!).  Most of the usual suspects were already strategically aligned on the front porch of the Southern-styled home that acted as the reception area for the morning’s activities…as in, right next to the table where the two kind St. S staff members were pouring some white wines to start our day and complement the great breakfast that was provided inside.

St. Supéry Vineyards and WineryI started off with the very racy and citrusy ’08 Dollarhide Limited Edition Sauv Blanc, which was filled with tasty minerality. I also made the early rounds, greeting Luscious Lush & Vinquirer Thea (Twitter, Twitter2), Brix Chicks Liza (Twitter), Xandria (Twitter) and Nesta (Twitter); WineHiker Russ (Twitter), Sonoma Wine Guy Jim (Twitter), my old Napa High School baseball buddy and rival Cork Board Trevor (Twitter) and the one and only Wine Diver Girl, Lisa dB (Twitter)…whew!  The Sauv Blanc paired rather nicely with the extremely tasty bacon, pastries and the outstanding quiche, courtesy of winery chef, Ron Barber.  We listened over our food as ringleader Lesley Keffer Russell (Twitter) gave us the rundown on the day’s agenda and made many introductions, as virtually everyone who worked at St. S was present that day.  In fact, the only person missing was Winemaker Tom Rees, who apparently picked the short straw to be stuck over at Dollarhide ranch finding and fixing a broken irrigation pipe, after working since midnight on a frost protection, ouch!

St. Supéry Vineyard Operations Manager Josh AnsteySt. Supéry Cabernet FrancOur next location after breakfast was a walk through the Estate vineyards that surrounded the main winery and visitors center.  Our guide for this and the grand tasting that was to follow was the Vineyard Operations Manager, Josh Anstey.  Josh had also been up since midnight, yet he still managed to extract a large chunk of information out of his sleepy brain and handily pass it along to us, info-hungry bloggers.  The vineyard in the photo to the right is trellised with unilateral cordons and planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc in 1996, which grows best in the gravely soil, further from the finer soil near the river, planted with Merlot. St. Supéry Vineyard Manager Josh AnsteySt. Supéry CabernetSt. Supéry is both certified Napa Green and Fish Friendly Farming.  They are firm believers in susatainable farming, not only for the minimized impact on the surrounding environment, but Josh also believes that those techniques make a better wine.  Josh utilizes barley, vetch, bell beans, other legumes for healthy nitrogen fixation and had just tilled them into the soil the week prior to our visit. We then made our way to the back of the property where we found various fruit trees that they have all over the property near many of the vineyards.  This fruit is not only used for estate cooking, but is even sold to various local restaurants for their own fresh, delicious locavore creations.  Some of these restaurants include big names such as ad hoc, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, Auberge du Soleil, Ubuntu and even Chez Panisse.

St. Supéry Tasting Room GentlemanWe made our way back inside for the grand tasting of the day, once the glorious sun’s rays (finally!) started to really beat down on our necks.  We passed through their large downstairs tasting room which was already humming with relatively early tasters and headed upstairs past some vibrant artwork that was featured along the stairs. We had six wines sitting before us and the quality of these wines were the stars of the day.  St. SupéryWhile it was difficult to choose some favorites, I was very impressed with the ’06 Winery Exclusive Petit Verdot and the ’05 Rutherford Limited Edition Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  The PV was definitely and not surprisingly, in a very young, closed stage right now, but the palate was still already showing some great cool, full-bodied fruit that really coated the mouth with its big tannins.  The Rutherford Cab, while still integrating its rich oak tones of vanilla, smoke and char, had that crazy-good dusty Rutherford red and black fruit that many, many people have grown to love over the years.  Jim Morris & Shana RayThe true star of this tasting for my palate, however, was the ’06 Winery Exclusive Malbec.  My notes read:

“Color: Dark garnet with violet edges

Nose: Hint of black cherry, but this is really all dark and dusty fruit at the moment with dried earth towards the end.

Gi Gi!Palate: Great medley here of cool blue fruit from the Malbec, then dusty black fruit from both and ripe black cherry from the Cab.  Great brightness on this wine and round, balancing tannins and vanilla/oak that is integrating quite well.  Very good!”

Seated next to me at the tasting tables was outgoing CEO and longtime influential wine biz persona, Michaela Rodeno (Twitter).  She informed me that if I liked the Rutherford Cab…just wait for the Dollarhide! With that soon-to-be prescient comment, we headed out under the 250+ year-old oak tree out in front of the winery for our concluding three course lunch, tenderly prepared by Estate Chef Ron Barber and his crew.

St. Supéry Lunch!The first course was paired with the ’06 Virtú, St. S’ white Meritage. This wine had the bright fruit and lighter fresh herbs to pair nicely with Ron’s Shyhill Farms Fallen Goat Cheese Soufflé.  The second course was the rather tantalizing Rosemary Scented Cornish Hen with Spring Vegetables & Israeli Couscous, paired with the red Meritage, the ’04 Elu.  Here was a surpise at first…a full-bodied red paired with white meat??  Yet, just as Ron said when he soothed our traditonal thinking, the spices found on and in the Hen intermingled deliciously with the Bing and black cherry in the wine.  We finished with a traditional cheese selection, featuring all Farmstead California cheeses from Laura Chenel, Fiscalini and Vella.  These were paired with a stunner of a Cab, the 2005 St. Supéry Napa Valley Dollarhide Limited Edition Estate Cabernet SauvignonSt. Supéry Estate Chef, Ron BarberThis wine floored me, enough to force me to give in and grant it 5/5 stars for its balanced match with my palate.  Again, my notes speak to the wine the best:

“Color: Dark garnet core, ruby edges with great viscosity

Nose: Great fresh garden herbs and also freshly rained forest leaves.  Red and black fruit with anise, loam and truffle.  Great nose!

Palate: Outstanding herbs here with deep black/red fruit with phenomenal complexity.  Great, really perfect balance in the full mouth, hint of oak and some spice, finishing very long with anise, slight toast and black cherry.  Outstanding!”

2nd Bloggers' Forum at St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery (Blogger Day) 04/04/09!…Michaela’s earlier comment proved to be correct!  Our final delicacy were handmade Dollarhide Ranch Honey Chocolate Truffles, replete with honey from the Estate’s own hives, down at the Ranch!  As we happily finished off the bottles that were still distributed around both tables, we all decided that a final photo was needed to capture the people, wine, food and place that were experienced on that wonderful sunny day.  A very big thank you goes out to Lesley, Michaela, Josh, Ron and everyone else in the St. Supéry family, for that warm Spring day in Rutherford!

Please check out my reviews of all of the wines that we tried that warm day at St. Supéry in Rutherford, below.  If you would like to list these wines in your own WineLog, all are tagged with “BlogForum2Supery“.  Also, check out St. Supéry’s own blog and find them on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Enjoy!

St. Supéry Napa Valley Dollarhide Limited Edition Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008

St. Supéry California Moscato 2007

St. Supéry Napa Valley Estate Bottled Sémillon 2007

St. Supéry Napa Valley Winery Exclusive Malbec 2006

St. Supéry Napa Valley Winery Exclusive Cabernet Franc 2006

St. Supéry Rutherford Winery Exclusive Merlot 2006

St. Supéry Napa Valley Winery Exclusive Petit Verdot 2006

St. Supéry Rutherford Limited Edition Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

St. Supéry Napa Valley White Wine Meritage Virtú 2006

St. Supéry Napa Valley Red Wine Elú 2004

St. Supéry Napa Valley Dollarhide Limited Edition Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Icon Tax Time!

Uncle Sam TaxThe kind folks at Icon Estates have been worried about all of us out here in US wine-drinker land.  They realized back in March that tax time is hard on all of us wine grunts, particularly this year when everyone is still reeling from watching their life savings (and future wine purchasing potential) shrivel by -40% and see a world filled with recession and job loss.  They realized that everyone’s day or night (or both!) can be brightened by wine, however and put together a great list of wines to have while stumbling through filling out your requisite tax forms: Tax Time Wines! Susan and co. at Icon kindly shot out some wine samples for various bloggers to try including the prolific 1WineDude (Twitter, Twitter2), Luscious Lush Thea (Twitter, Twitter2) and yours truly (Twitter), among others.

Icon EstatesThe half case of wine included a number of single wines from many of their 13 prestigious labels, including Robert Mondavi Winery, Estancia Estates and Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards.  Among other labels that Icon owns are a personal favs in Mount Veeder Winery, the premiere icewine producer Inniskillin and the long time quality producer from Sonoma Valley, SimiIcon Estates has been an enjoyable conglomerate subunit to watch over the last few years, as they appear to stick true to their philosophy of purposefully and only seeking out wineries that have a well-established record of great quality and QPR.  Despite being owned by one of the largest conglomerates in the world, they have allowed those wineries to retain much of their original talent, yet provide them with more and better resources to continually improve their art.

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006All of that said, it’s important that we just focus on the wine!  One of the hits of the 6-pack for me was the ’06 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cab.  I’ve always found this to be wonderfully under priced and this new vintage still doesn’t disappoint.  I brought this wine over to a reformed Passover Seder that my friend cooked for friends and family and it was quite a hit as well.  While young, it is medium-full bodied with good earthy black fruit on the nose and palate.  This should be even better in 2-4 years. At $28 dollars, this is already a steal for a refined and elegantly balanced Napa Cab, yet you can usually find it for even cheaper, making the QPR a bit embarrassing!

Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot Noir 2007Another good value-driven quaffer is the ’05 Paso Creek Paso Robles Cab.  I recently wrote about another good value wine in the ’06 Paso Creek Zin and this varietal doesn’t disappoint, either.  This is also young but has some nice toasty, plush red fruit on the nose and palate and features a ton of Bing cherry in the finish after a couple hours of decanting.  There tends to be a lot of wine needed at a Seder and so I also had brought along the ’07 Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot to have as one of our 4 glasses, alongside the Mondavi.  While tight, this shows great promise and significant value for the quality, with dusty cranberry and cherry and some great acid and a silky mouthfeel on the palate.  Wait a year on this one, unless you decant it ahead of time.  While I didn’t appreciate the lower than expected acidity in the Estancia Riesling and the Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva, I did like the interesting fruit combos that each wine featured.

Jackson-Triggs Niagra Peninsula Proprietor's Reserve Vidal Icewine VQA 2007 Lastly, if you’re running late on those tax forms like I am with this post, you can celebrate with a rather rare wine in the ’07 Jackson-Triggs Niagra Peninsula Proprietor’s Reserve Vidal Icewine. Icewine is exactly that…the grapes are harvested while frozen and very late in the year and at a very high brix or sugar content, typically well-known to be produced in Canada or Germany.  The fruit is typically picked at night and during the late Fall or early Winter, so that it is still frozen when pressed, releasing a tiny amount of highly concentrated juice that is then fermented into a deliciously sweet dessert wine.  It is an unusual and yummified after dinner or late night treat!

Feel free to check out the full reviews of all of the wines mentioned here through their links below.  If you’d like to list these wines in your own WineLog, all of them are tagged with “Icon2009Tax“.  Please leave a comment if you too, have tried these wines and enjoy!

Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot Noir 2007

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale 2005

Paso Creek Paso Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Estancia Monterey County Riesling 2008

Jackson-Triggs Niagra Peninsula Proprietor’s Reserve Vidal Icewine VQA 2007

5 Questions with Rudolf McClain (Merlove)

MerloveWe’re going to be making many new changes and additions here at  WineLog.net this year. One of these is a new series of interviews for our blog called “5 Questions With…”  The inaugural interview is with the brilliant young documentarian, Rudolf (Rudy) McClain (Twitter), who recently released a real-world, global response to the backlash seen against Merlot following the release of the quirky, blockbuster 2004 film Sideways, based on the novel by Rex Pickett. Merlove is a documentary about a world’s love of a grape in the wake of a fictitious (and ironic) slandering, a discovery of a love wine and an understanding of the nuances of terroir.

You can currently find Merlove at limited engagements around the US, or request one here.  You can also find trailers and shorts at the uniquely and beautifully designed website.  I had a chance to meet Rudy at the Crushpad BYOZ event the week of ZAP 2009 and I promptly set up a chance to interview the man behind this novel documentary.

Château Cheval Blanc1. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): What was the impetus for making Merlove?  As you made the film, did you find that purpose remained the same, or did your priorities and interests evolve during the filmmaking?

Rudy/Merlove (Twitter): I overheard a conversation Chris Phelps [Swanson Vineyards] was having.  He said, “I think someone is doing a Merlot movie in response to Sideways”  I looked it up on imdb and there were no Merlot movies in production so I grabbed my camera and Chris Phelps was the first interview.  The project began as a way for me to make a feature length movie.  I figured, if wineries where hurting because of Sideways I could come in and get some support to make a movie championing Merlot.  The project took on new life for me when I  fell in love with the idea of terroir, a sense of place.  That Merlot is a terroir driven wine and can change its expression depending on where it is grown.  This evolved into the idea of the total unlimited adventure of wine once I understood that despite wine knowledge no one can know everything about wine.  Now the idea that all of Merlot (or any varietal) can be ‘known’ is similar to saying, “oh, I’ve met that color person.  I know what they are like.”  Knowing this puts the pop-culture, SIDEWAYS effect to rest for me.

2. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): You mentioned that you didn’t have a whole ton of knowledge about wine before making this film.  What were some of the most lasting things that you learned about wine during your research and the shooting?  Are your wine preferences different now after finishing the documentary?

Rudy/Merlove (Twitter): Again.  In my research an experience, terroir, dominated my shift in perception.  Beyond that, the next most significant insights were the way dominating oak can bury the expression of the fruit and that chemically there are hundreds of things to smell and taste in wine which explains why everyone should be confident in what they taste and smell.  Don’t let someone talk you out of your experience; they are not you.

Chateau La Tertre Roteboeuf3. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): You met with a number of influential wine people and personas for this film.  Who were some of the most interesting and why did they have such an impact on you?

Rudy/Merlove (Twitter): Francois Mitjavile Owner/Winemaker Château Le Tertre Roteboeuf was one of the most interesting and he took the idea of Terroir to new levels with the idea of “protecting the contradiction, variety of the pleasure” in other word protecting the local terroir, culture, way of living so that the local wine will give you the unique experience of that location.

Judd Finklestein4. Ward/WineLog (Twitter):I see that you’ve teamed with the man known as Judd Finklestein (Twitter) from Judd’s Hill to create the irreverent Judd’s Enormous Wine Show. How did that awesome collaboration come about?

Rudy/Merlove (Twitter): Judd wanted just to chat, then to discuss, then to film a bit, then to help him create a show.  It’s something, I think, he’s been wanting to do for some time and having seen Merlove he wanted to work with me.

5. Ward/WineLog (Twitter):Taking off from the last question is the always neccesary, what’s next?  Do you plan on more works about/within the wine industry or are you ready to tackle something comepletely different?

Rudy/Merlove (Twitter): Next is an original screenplay that I’m turning into a feature narrative.  It has nothing to do with wine.

Merlove - Official Selection Sonoma International Film Festival 2008

Wine 2.0 SF Expo at Crushpad – Blogging Live!

Wine 2.0I’m very excited to be attending the Wine 2.0 San Francisco Expo tonight at Crushpad (Twitter)!  I first mentioned the event in my precap a week ago and since then, many more details have been added.  I’ll be blogging throughout the event in the WineLog.net sponsered Bloggers’ Lounge, that the WineTwo folks have again provided for this event (thanks Cornelius, Smoke (Twitter) & Co!).  Watch this space as well as my Twitter feed for further details and updates through to 10pm tonight!

Tha Genenbus5:47 pm: I’m currently on the Genenbus from my day job, headed up to BART to meet up with my compadre in arms, Steve and then we’ll head over to Crushpad. It’s super windy in the Bay! I’m looking forward to visiting the booth of the best wine purchase search engine Vinquire (Twitter), and seeing the Luscious Lush herself, Thea/WineBratSF!

7:15 pm: Whew, finally here on a blustery evening in SF!  Steve and I were immediately inundated by the happy faces of the various hooligans that come disguised as wine writers, bloggers and new media wine industry folk as soon as we walked in.  @Sharayray, @SmokeWallin, @RandyHall, @ElJefeTwisted, @WineDiverGirl were all saying hello with wine in their hands, and then @SonomaWineGuy Jim cruised up.

Steve and I first started our wine night at Titus Vineyards, manned by Christophe Smith (Twitter) and Co.

Titus Napa Valley Zinfandel 2006

Color: darker ruby with a hint of garnet

Nose: Good plush cherry and strawberry with some nice dustiness underneath

Palate: Medium-full, with good acid and a hint of blue fruit underneath. Some cherry here as well, moving into almost a sage and mint towards the finish.

Titus Napa Valley Cab Franc 2006

C: Ruby garnet

N: Good plusher red fruit with an underlay of blackberry and nice touch of fresh earth to the nose.

Palate: Rather smooth already, with all of that red fruit, but backe dup by something darker and some toastiness from the good integrating oak.

Wow.  Just had the mass tasting experience of the century from a recommendation from my good buddy, Chris Nelson, Pinot winemaker here at Crushpad.  Michael at Michaud Vineyard is making phenomenal wines from the Chalone appellation in the Central Valley.  I’m a little embarrassed, in fact, that I haven’t discovered his wines already.  As I overheard at his table, “Burgundy with a hint that are a hint more fruit forward.” Michael has taken these larger tastings to a new level with his insistence on pouring vertical flights, in order to “get a better feel and idea of the wines that come out of this (Chalone) appellation.”  I heartily agree!

Michaud Vineyard Chalone Chardonnay 2001, 2002, 2003

Phenomenal wines here, 5/5 stars.  The ’01 was my favorite, with amazing mouthfeel, acidity that is vibrant and fruit that is still one of the stars, lots of pear in this one.  The ’02 continued the adventure with more of a lemon custard nose, but was fuller on the mouth with more of that citrus family flavor to the higher acidity in this wine.  It still has a carassing finish that lasts just as unreasonably long as the ’01 and has a great minerality all the way to the end.  The ’03 is much more yellow apple, making me wonder if this is the progression of the fruit with age or an indication of the versatility of the appellation, where the vintage can dictate very different fruit depending on the year.  Amazing and a very special experience.

I’m hoping to the get the Pinot’s on “paper” here as well, but Titus is beckoning again….

OOP!  Before Titus, I need to mention and review a wine that was a very nice gesture from Ross Halleck of Halleck Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast.  He donated a bottle to be poured to everyone who was in the Bloggers’ Lounge:

Halleck Vineyard Sonoma Coast Clone 828 Pinot Noir 2006

Color: Lighter ruby

Nose: Earthy, and dusty red fruit with some cooler blue fruit underneath then some spicy pepper at the end.

Palate: Medium-full with more of that earthy red fruit that has a charred cherry at the peak and stays very bright with some cooler fruit that comes in towards the longer blue fruited finish, replete with good savory herbs.  Nice!

Whoa, last call!

Finishing up with the last, under the table secret, wine from Titus:

…to be continued…

Written post-event:

Sorry to keep everyone waiting so long for the secret, under-the-table wine that Christophe was pouring to those in the know…it is:

Titus Napa Valley Lot 1 2005

Color: Inky monster, lots of violet on the edges

Nose: Doing phenomenal, with great spicy black and blue fruit, but this isn’t bruised it’s darn fresh and bright!  Towards the rim there’s a lot more red fruit with a bit of fresh cigar.

Palate: Outstanding and huge, but has a softer touch to it so that it comes off as a nimble pass rusher.  Good medley of fruit here, too with some oak that is still integrating contributing some cedar and toast.  Quite good and very interesting!

It was at this point that I was notified by usual partner-in-crime, Shana, that Doug Cook of Able Grape was a bit peeved that I had yet to visit.  I headed over there just at the end in time to get a taste of a Brunello that was doing wonderfully from a magnum:

Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG La Casa 1995

Color: Hint of ruby in core, but brick red with a bit of browning at the edges.

Nose: Quite good with some nice forest leaves, red cherry, spicy dried herbs and some anise.

Palate: Still retaining good fruit here, but has subsided somewhat and allowed some good savory herb and other secondary flavors to take control of the balance.  Great acid and structure.

Finally, the night appeared to be at a close…we thought.  We then ran into Leon Glover of the esteemed Lionheart Wines, whom I’ve written about quite a few times. He chided me for never stopping by his table and rightfully so…he was right next to Michaud, but I was too distracted by the other gentleman’s verticals!  We followed Leon out to his car for an improptu “trunk tasting.”  Unfortunately, it was a bit of a speed tasting, so my notes are rather limited:

Lionheart Wines Dry Creek Valley Syrah 2007

Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County White Hawk Vineyard Sangiovese 2007

Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County Angel’s Blush Rosé 2008

The Syrah was doing phenomenal, as I’ve come to expect from Leon, even if it was quite closed and tight.  Buy this now, while it’s still available and lay it down for at least a couple years! It showed a great hoppy and floral nose of lilac and with a great mouth that is showing good balance already between the blue and black dusty fruit, pepper and cedar.  The Sangio was now showing some great cherry fruit with a fair amount of oak that has yet to integrate and then a touch of blue fruit in the finish.  Lastly, the rose, while not in my preferred style, is a well-done offdry quaffer with some good acid to back up the touch of residual sugar that Leon has left behind to complement the big strawberry fruit, coming from a blend of three good vineyards in Santa Barbara.

At this point, Steve and I were ready to roll and headed off into the night, chuckling over our many adventures while perusing the packed wine studio known as Crushpad.  Another great WineTwo event!

Bakersfield 2009 Tasting: The New "1976 Paris" Tasting?

Bakersfield, CAContinuing where the 1976 Paris tasting left off after the success of the fictionalized account Bottle Shock, this past summer, that growing hotbed of boutique winemaking, Bakersfield, CA is planning their own global wine showdown next month. First broken by the Dregs Report, this promises to be the biggest tasting since the last time Europe and America clashed in the wine business.

Depressed Steven Spurned contemplates the fate of his wine shop.

A depressed Steven Spurned contemplates the fate of his wine shop.

Steven Spurned of Spurned Bins Wine Shop in downtown Bakersfield has rounded up an All-Star cast of wine luminaries for his wine tasting of this decade of aughts.  In a bid to ignite sales of his one-off and final lot sales of wines, Spurned has wrangled up such magnum biggies such as Jancis Robinson & Robert M. Parker, Jr.; both of which declared that they would retaste the 2003 Château Pavie side-by-side…but this time it will be cage-match style with Michael Broadbent as the venerable referee! Broadbent will be sipping wine throughout, but has promised that it will only be Bordeaux vinified “prior to the last two centuries.”

R&B Cellars - ZAP 2009Blogger heavyweights will also be participating with Tom Wark and Alder Yarrow (Twitter) facing off against Doug Cook (Twitter) and Steve Heimoff in a blind tasting challenge, replete with cheerleaders from Cleavage Creek Cellars and R&B Cellars.  Honorable HoseMaster of Wine, Ron Washam will drink to the officiate the competition and surreptitiously also judge the cheerleaders by speed-blogging for his site, while sipping some great Biodynamic ZinCraig Camp (Twitter) has promised to be on the sidelines, angrily denouncing the fall of the wine Blogosphere with a large glass of outstanding Napa Cabernet.

WineBratSF - Grand TastingThe true highlight of the event will be the Grand Tasting from midnight to 2am that night.  Hosted by the convivial Luscious Lush herself WineBratSF, it will feature 4,791 different wines in a self-pour format and all participants are encouraged to try each wine and rate them on a new 1000 point scale.  Since they are never used at a wine blogger event, no spit buckets will be provided.

As an added bonus, representatives from Nordstrom will be located in the center of the tasting room and spraying all nearby bloggers and critics with samples of various heavy perfumes in order to mimic the experience of entering  a wine country tasting room on a given weekend.  Wine gadget demonstrations will also be on display, including a live demonstration of the revolutionary new Fetal Flight® system.

Arm Wrestling FinaleAs with all good things, this drinking competition tasting event must end at some point and the final bell will toll following the arm-wrestling competition between LENNDEVOURS and 1WineDude to determine the greatest wine-producing state on the East Coast.

I look forward to seeing you all in Bakersfield!

Dregs Report