Yes, there have been silver linings to our time at home! One is the ability to connect with wine enthusiasts, winemakers, authors, and other folks in the wine industry via myriad online wine events. Here are some of the best quips I heard and tips I learned in recent months.
Alta Colina Syrah Virtual Tasting
My introduction to virtual tasting featured Paso Robles winery Alta Colina. The organically farmed estate based in the Adelaida District AVA specializes in Rhone varieties. An amiable panel included the winery’s founder, grower, and winemaker emeritus Bob Tillman, his daughter Maggie Tillman, and winemaker Molly Lonborg. Following this terrific introduction to the winery, I am eager to explore the rolling hills of their vineyard in person!
Fun fact: Paso Robles is about three times the size of Napa in terms of acreage planted.
Pro tip: At the Alta Colina Vineyard you can book a stay among the vines at one of 5 cool looking boutique vintage trailers.
I wrote a full post about an intriguing virtual tasting with Clark Smith, who boldly discussed his manipulation in winemaking.
Pro tip: Washington wine likes a good decant.
Back when writing the first edition of The Wine Bible, Karen said Washington was maybe an okay place for Riesling. While tasting a current Red Mountain lineup, she proclaimed that the wines not only taste good, they’re capable of aging. You never get a sense that these are hard, punchy wines. (In other words, we’ve come a long way!)
“Washington wine is where Napa and Bordeaux make a baby.” Chris Sparkman
Karen on 3 things you should think of when it comes to Washington wine:
Aromatics, balance, and finesse.
“You tame Red Mountain tannins with a whip and a chair.”
Chris Sparkman quoting Ben Smith of Cadence Winery.
Why are tannins are a signature of Red Mountain wines? Col Solare’s Darel Allwine speculates that it’s because there’s wind. That wind possibly toughens the grape skins and in turn results in tannins.
“If you’re wondering what adding just 1% of a wine contributes to a blend, imagine when you’re baking a cake if you left out the 1 teaspoon of vanilla.” Karen MacNeil
Pursued by #WAwine with Oz Clarke and Kyle MacLachlan
Fun fact: Kyle got into wine following his Dune audition when he received a bottle of Chateau Lynch-Bages from director David Lynch.
When it comes to future names for Kyle’s Pursued by Bear wines, Oz suggests The Bear Necessities.
“Tannin is like a mallet. Acidity is like an arrow.” Oz Clarke
Orange Wine 101 led by Certified Sommelier Charles Springfield
Pro tip: Drink orange wine out of Burgundy glasses.
With orange wine, people tend to have better interaction with food.
Orange wine sees up to 6 months of skin contact whereas rosé may see 2-72 hours by comparison.
Orange wine can seem like kombucha, sherry, or sour beer.
Upcoming Online Wine Events
VinoSocial is thrilled to be partnering with Seattle Urban Wineries on a virtual event in May, Exposé on Rosé! I will join a group of winemakers as they share the inside scoop on their newly released rosé wines. Stay tuned for more details.
For wine afficianodos looking for something special to add to the cellar, check out the Auction of Washington Wines events.
If you’re interested in a barrel of a unique wine crafted by one of Washington State’s elite winemakers, select wine collectors, wine shops, and restaurants may be eligible to bid at the Private Barrel Auction. Bonus: purchases support Washington State University Viticulture and Enology research and participating in the PBA is one way our wineries give back to the future of the industry.