Live Wine Blogging from Walla Walla

Saturday, June 26th, 2010 | Posted by Tom Plant

A first time for everything I’m at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla and Craig Camp from Cornerstone Cellars Napa has just poured us a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, their 1st of this varietal. 500 cases produced. Dry, crisp, elegant… Nice way to start.

Each winery has 5 minutes to tell us about each wine as we taste it. John Concannon has just joined us and has a 2008 “Conservancy” Chardonnay. He is a 4th generation Concannon. The winery has had a Concannon at the helm for 127 years. Priced under $15. Good value, food friendly, 13.5% alcohol.

Tom Lynch from Worthwhile Wine has brought us a 2009 South African “unwooded” Chardonnay from Neethlingshof. Great nose, good finish, one person at our table described it as complex. Again a value wine priced around $15. Enjoying the finish. Nicely balanced.

It’s time to pay a visit to Australia and taste a Verdelho from Molly Dooker called the Violinist. It retails at $25. 2.7% RS, but it doesn’t taste overly sweet. Molly Dooker is Ozzy slang for left handed. Sparky Phillips is the winemaker, wife Sara designs the labels. From Adelaide, Australia.

House Wine from Charles Smith of the Magnificent Wine Company. $13, a Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat blend designed as an affordable, everyday drinking wine. Faint nose, but easy drinking with good balance and a long finish. Comments at the table included caramel and orange.

Sonoma County is in the house with Dry Creek Vineyard’s ’09 Dry Chenin Blanc. No wood at all and no RS, but a beautiful representation of the varietal. A versatile wine, crisp and refreshing and at $13 won’t bite your wallet or pocketbook. What a nice summer wine!

We’re in the Walla Walla valley and L’Ecole No 41 is tasting us on their ’08 Columbia Valley Semillon. 11% Sauvignon Blanc has been blended in. It presents a subtle nose, but it’s anything but a meek wine. I can see drinking this with linguini and clams or sipping poolside in the summer. Average retail price $15.

We’re taking a taste of Mendocino County now with Parducci’s ’08 “Sustainable White”. I love this nose! Keep in mind this is live and it’s a challenge to listen, write and taste at the same time. Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat and one other varietal. Yummy!

Pithy Little Wine Company is now pouring their ’09 Sangiovese Rose. They leave the skins on the juice and then blend in a little Syrah to add more color. “Jolly Rancher” watermelon is one description and it is apt. This $22 wine hails from San Luis Obispo, due west of Paso Robles.

It’s Ortman Family Wines time from Paso Robles and their ’07 Edna Valley Chardonnay. Another great nose. Nice and buttery, priced at around $22. Mathew Ortman says the Paso climate is ideal for this wine and loves the tropical notes. This is wine number 10 with 2 to go.

Oh my, here comes a box wine!!! It’s Pepperwood Grove’s “Big Green Box”. A Chardonnay blend from the famed Sebastiani family, I’m very pleasantly surprised by the quality. I may have to change my mind about box wines. At about $19 for 3 liters, this is hard to beat!

Okay, here we go, the final wine. This is Desert Wind’s ’09 Viogner from the Wahluke Slope, the hottest growing region in Washington State. The nose offers what I like about Viognier. It has very little time on oak, less than 10%. Again a great value and a wine I would jump on at $15.

I hope this has been as fun for you to read as it has been for me to write. Tomorrow we do live blogging with reds.

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Comments

  1. Tom Plant says: June 26, 2010

    A couple of notes. This is the 1st blog post I have done with no graphics. This was an exercise and it was a challenging one. Time was crucial. we had to listen, smell, taste, think and write in 5 minute segments. This was also the 1st time I have done a blog post from my iPad. Another one is coming this afternoon.

  2. Melody Johnston says: June 26, 2010

    Hey Tom, thanks for letting us share the experience with you. Love your notes! I can tell your day is going to speed by. Enjoy, and keep on posting!

  3. Laura Plant says: June 26, 2010

    Very good – especially for your first time out. I don’t write that fast yet – let alone correctly spell the names. We should practice this at local wine tastings so I can get the hang of it. I like the spontaneity (first impression honesty) that it evokes. Your skills are being tested and honed at the same time.

  4. Tom Plant says: June 27, 2010

    Thanks, Mrs. WINEormous. Sorry you couldn’t be here this time. Next year!

  5. Tom Plant says: June 27, 2010

    Thanks, Melody. It was challenging! Also a lot of fun. Can’t wait to see you and Chris.

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