Posts Tagged With: Drink Local Wine Conference

More insight into drinking or not drinking local

Since the Drink Local Conference the other day, I have been thinking more about the 3rd session which discussed why many people focus on local food and not local wine.  I think it’s a much larger issue–not one of local vs. local but rather one of quality vs. quality.

Working in a retail wine shop that also sells cheese, wild caught seafood and local free range meat and poultry gives me a good perspective on how people view food and wine.  Throwing the idea of local wine out the door, lets just think of quality products. It amazes me when customers come in and spend a premium on either beef or seafood to buy local or wild caught, but then want me to pick out a wine that is $6. Obviously a disconnect between what they expect from food vs. wine (and what they are willing to spend).  They think, and I agree, that wild caught seafood is better for them and better tasting than farm raised.  They don’t hold the same opinion with wine, however. Paraphrasing this typical customer, “It’s $6, it tastes good and I probably wouldn’t know the difference between this and a $20 wine.”  I’m all about drinking what you like, that is what wine IS about, but why not require high quality for all things you ingest?

I think it comes down to how wine is talked about and again a disconnect. Tasting notes for wines usually never talk about how a wine is produced, and frankly for the 2500 wines we carry it’s hard to remember them all.  If people knew that the cost reflected in their wine was related to hand picked, double sorting, extended maceration and barrels versus wood chips they might think twice.  If consumers equated this the same way they do local, organic, free range, etc. you might see a different situation.  But again maybe not, it’s more than a 2 minute conversation explaining the difference between mass produced and artisinal wines.

As a retailer part of that responsibility is on me, educating people about the product they are buying. At the end of the chain though, a lot of times people are set on a fixed price range for vino and you don’t want to up sell them a whole heck of a lot.

Unfortunately my insight stops there as I don’t have a complete solution for local vs. local or quality vs. quality.  The discussion and education needs to continue through the entire “wine chain” if you will, as I am sure it already is in some situations.

Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers!

Categories: Drink Local Wine Conference, wine industry issues | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Virginia Wine Twitter Smackdown

After the third and final session at the Drink Local Wine Conference we huddled into an adjacent conference room for the Virginia Wine Twitter Taste Off. With an InFocus projector displaying Twitter feeds from the #dlwva & dlwmd hash tags, Virginia and Maryland wineries were poised to present one white and one red wine in this fast paced Social Media showdown.  Well it wasn’t that fast paced, although I hadn’t finished all of the wines by the time we needed to submit our ballots for best red, white, media and consumer wines.  So I guess is better to say that it was fast paced but I wasn’t!

photo courtesy of Dezel Quillan, myvwinespot.com

A lot of my favorite players were in the room including Breaux Vineyards, Pollak Vineyards, King Family, Jefferson Vineyards, Corcoran, and Michael Shaps.  The goal of this was to taste through the wines, tweet about them as you go along and in the end vote for your best. Fun concept!

I started with Tarara Winery, one that I have never been to, but have heard a lot about from fellow bloggers.  Jordan Harris, winemaker at Tarara was on premise to pour his wines and I started with his ’08 Chardonnay. It admittedly wasn’t my style, a bit oak dominated on the nose and front of the palate, but luckily it had plenty of great fruit to go along with it. Next I tried Jordan’s Syrah, a variety that you don’t see too much in VA but is starting to pop up here and there. The Tarara Syrah is done in the Cote-Rotie style, co-fermented with Viognier, I can’t remember the the percentage.  I was very impressed, it was full bodied with lots of dark fruit, and meaty notes with hints of classic Syrah green olive. As much as I liked it I don’t know if I liked $50 worth. Although it was an excellent effort for a non-typical variety in Virginia, $50 is a pretty steep pricetag, in my opinion.

I bounced around the tables a bit, catching up with my friends in the VA wine industry and re-tasting through some of the wines I’ve sampled in recent months.  I made my way over to Breaux Vineyards to taste their ’02 Merlot Reserve and their ’08 Viognier. Trying the latter first, it was a classic VA Viognier with beautiful honeysuckle and apricot notes with a crisp dry finish. Not be a huge Merlot fan, I was impressed with the ’02 Reserve Merlot, and voted for it as the best red wine.  It was dominated with layers of black cherry, plum, leather and hints of mocha. For being 8 years old the structure was still there and presented lively yet smooth tannins.

A few Rose’s were poured but I think the best effort went to the ’09 version Boxwood Winery. Made from Cabernet Franc it reminded me of classic French styles of dry Rose, although made from different grapes. Beautifully clean and crisp with light notes of strawberry, watermelon and hints of minerality and a bone dry finish.

In addition to the Syrah from Tarara the other most interesting variety that was poured was the 2008 Albarino from Chrysalis Vineyards, yes an Albarino.  I thought it was a very nice wine, but stylistically was a bit off from classic versions for the Rias Baixas region of Spain.  Tasted a bit too rich, closer for me to another native Spanish grape, Godello, or even a light Viognier with hints of honey that I was picking up.  It was a good wine don’t get me wrong, and I’m happy to see different grape varieties being tried in Virginia. It was obviously a crowd favorite as it won for best white wine of the day.

The white wine that I voted for was the ’09 Viognier from Pollak Vineyards, a wine that I’ve been following since it was a baby. I tasted this wine out of the tank not long after harvest last October and was as impressed then as I am now. Although still a young wine, it was showing classic flavors and aromas of honey, peach, Asian pear and apricot with the addition of floral notes. Lusciously rich with a refreshing backbone of acidity, the ’09 Viognier will be even better in 6 month to a year.

Here is a complete list of everyone who poured their wines for us…
• Boxwood Winery

• Breaux Vineyards

• Chrysalis Vineyards

• Corcoran Vineyards

• Fabbioli Cellars

• Pearmund Cellars

• Sunset Hills

• Tarara Winery

• Barboursville

• Jefferson Vineyards

• Keswick Vineyards

• King Family Winery

• Michael Shaps Wines

• Chatham Vineyards

• Ingleside Vineyards

• Williamsburg Winery

• Potomac Point (Eastern)

• Veramar Vineyard

• Lovingston

• White Hall

• Pollack

Thanks to the organizers of the events and to all the wineries that came out and poured for us.

Cheers!

Categories: Drink Local Wine Conference, virginia wine, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment