Monday, October 26, 2009

Seven Hills, Lots of Wine, EWBC Anticipation

I am packing my bags, downloading ISpeak Portuguese, and counting the hours until I fly into Lisbon this Friday morning. The object of my anticipation is the European Wine Bloggers Conference.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting California twice for the North American Wine Bloggers Conference, and I’m really looking forward to its sister conference across the pond. I have to hand it to Gabriella and Ryan Opaz and Robert MacIntosh, conference organizers, for putting together a stellar weekend.

One of the best things about these conferences is that they give wine bloggers the opportunity to meet. The friends I’ve made in this funny little world of online wine writing have always delighted me with their intelligence, humor, and joie de vivre.

I’m thrilled that the conference site is Lisbon. I’ve never been to this European capital, and I’m glad that the conference has given me the excuse to go. From its historic monuments to its seven hills, Lisbon looks quite magical. I’ll have to squeeze in as much touring as I can during my brief stay.

When I heard about the Saturday night dinner it sealed my decision to attend. We will be dining at Restaurant 11. I recently purchased a top 10 book of Lisbon, and the number one restaurant cited was –you guessed it—Restaurant 11. At last count, 15 courses were being planned with appropriately matched wines.

After the conference, there will be three straight days of vineyard tours, including two days in the beautiful Douro Valley. I am always thrilled to visit the lands where grapes are grown, to speak to the winemakers, and to get a sense of the place that goes into a wine. This truly enriches the experience of wine for me and inspires my writing.

Not to be forgotten in all this touring, interacting, and dining, is Portuguese wine. At the North American wine bloggers conference I had the opportunity to taste a lot of wonderful, full bodied red Portuguese wines. These were rich in fruit and tannin and extremely good values for the money. I can’t wait to visit the land where they were made.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taste New York

Let’s all taste some Rieslings from the Finger Lakes. The idea spanned several states and multiple blogs, beginning with the plan’s originator Lenn Thompson of the blog Lenndevours: New York Cork Report. Here's his report of Taste NY.
And so, a shipment of Riesling was sent to New York City and sat waiting for bloggers until last Friday night. It was then that Erika Strum, Robbin Gheesling, Rob Bralow and I held court at a corner table in Lily’s restaurant in the Robert Smith Hotel and tasted through the bunch.
On the way, there was a cheese plate and some lamb lollypops and good conversation and a discussion of whether and where to have dinner (the answers were “yes” and Apiary).
As I posted recently on my Manhattan Wine Examiner Column, here are my tasting notes:
Hermann Wiemer 2007 Dry Riesling—Fresh nose with lots of ripe honeydew. Very pronounced on the attack with high acid. Tangy, tangerine flavors, but a disappointing finish.

Red Newt Cellar 2006 Riesling -- White flowers on the nose and a bit of petrol. Lots of lime on the palate, a very tangy wine that could be a good food match.

Atwater 2007 Dry Riesling – Another high acid wine, with a bit of spice and a splash of lemon on the finish.

Fox Run 2008 Riesling – Complicated nose that began with pretty floral characteristics, but gave off an odd note after a couple minutes. Tingling acid and flavors reminiscent of peach pit.

Hazlitt 2008 Homestead Reserve Riesling – Fresh nose, a lot of acid that tingled on the inner cheeks, nice pear flavor.

Billsboro 2008 Riesling– Big nose, rich flavors, especially ripe pear. The best of the night.

Anthony Road 2008 Semi dry Riesling– Winner of the 2009 Governor’s Cup, a lightly sweet wine with good acidity.

I'm looking forward to reading what other bloggers have to say about the bunch. There are still more unopened bottles of Riesling that need a taste.