I can’t remember my first online tasting, but I remember a few things about it. First, I had no idea what I was doing–I knew that the discussion was on Twitter, but at best I was a Twitter neophyte and more than a bit lost. Second, I really had no idea what to say or how often I was to “say” something. There were a lot of comments being tweeted, but there was no moderation nor any as semblance of order to the “discussion”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not OCD and in constant search for order in my universe (not that there is anything wrong with that…), but being a complete newbie, I was in search of some sort of direction. Perhaps there was a little bit of guidance way back in 2008 (?) when the first such event occurred with 1winedude, Gary Vaynerchuck, Ben Weinberg, and a bottle of Arbor Mist. [I actually have no idea about the first wine that was involved in an online chat, much less about the participants.]
Last, I do know the subject of my first chat: Finger Lakes Wine. The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance was the absolute first to take enough of an interest in the Drunken Cyclist to offer to send me wine samples. At first, I thought they were joking, but when the bottles ended up behind my curbside planter one day (our UPS driver then was a bit of a loose cannon and would put packages just about anywhere), I was as happy as a clam. [Before you leave all kinds of comments about getting “free” wine, let me say this: Yes, getting wine sent to me is better than no wine being sent–but only marginally so. A lot of work goes into these posts–writes, re-writes, research, edits (yes, I do try to edit these posts).]
Every time another Finger Lakes Wine Tasting Event comes up, I try to get involved since a lot of really good wines being made up there and it is perhaps the wine region in this country that I want to visit the most (along with Paso Robles).
For this tasting, I received three wines: The 2012 Hector Wine Company Dry Riesling, the 2012 Knapp Winery Barrel Reserve Chardonnay, and the 2011 Swedish Hill Cabernet Franc.I still have not really figured out what I am supposed to do during an online wine tasting other than taste the wine and then tweet about it. I figure that the organizers are slightly less concerned about what you say as long as you tweet a bunch–it seems as though one of the goals is to be “trending”.
Most of what I wrote in that last paragraph will be of little use to those who are not on Twitter, and I am not even sure what it all means, but I do know the event is a lot of fun (although my wife thinks that I am on the verge of insanity as I sit there at the table tweeting away–which may be true, but it has little to do with online wine tastings).
2012 Hector Wine Company Dry Riesling: Retail $18. Citrus and a hint of petrol on the nose. On the palate, completely dry with some nice fruit, and fantastic acidity. This lingers on the tongue for quite some time through the long finish. Perhaps a bit of residual sugar (it has 0.3%) to battle that acidity would have been nice. This is a wine that needs a meal. I likely nitpick, as this was Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2012 Knapp Winery Barrel Reserve Chardonnay: Retail $14. Very light in color, particularly when you realize it is a Chard. Initially some pineapple and a bit of celery (I don’t know if I have ever picked up celery in a wine before, but I love celery, and this had it). On the palate, there was a creamy texture that led me to believe that there was at least a partial malolactic fermentation. During the online chat, though, I discovered that there was no malolactic fermentation at all, and the creaminess came from the oak barrel. There is certainly a bunch of acidity to support this contention, and I think it is on the verge of a winning combo. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2011 Swedish Hill Cabernet Franc: Retail $17. When I poured this into the glass, I immediately remarked that this was unlike most Cab Francs that I have had–it was fairly light and translucent. I thought that this might mean that the wine was a bit lighter bodied than most of the Cab Francs in my past. I was right. As it turned out, this is restrained and on the verge of elegant–black raspberry and a hint of mocha, or even some anise. On first taste, the fruit is subdued, but in balance with the other elements. This would certainly not appeal to those that prefer a “big” wine–but this can certainly have a spot on my table (we had it with skirt steak and it was divine). Very Good. 86-88 Points.
In all, another enjoyable online tasting. I have another on June 30th. Who wants to join me?