A season of wine conferences: Santa Rosa or Dallas anyone? Lisbon maybe?

Next Friday, July 24, 2009, the second edition of the Wine Bloggers Conference will get started at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California (again). Last year’s inaugural conference was a sold out event, with some 170 participants, and this year is sold out again, at an increased capacity of 250.

The conference program brings back the best stuff from last year (like the Live Wine Blogging) and adds to it, with the presentation of the American Wine Blog Awards, and a day in Napa Valley. Keynote speakers include Barry Schuler of AOL fame (and Meteor Vineyard) and Jim Gordon, editor of Wines & Vines, and after parties will feature wines from Russian River and Portugal. Wish I could attend, but late July is family vacation. I’ll wave hello from the shores of the Great Lakes.

Can’t make it to WBC and still looking forward to a wine conference? How about heading to Dallas, Texas, on August 15, for the first DrinkLocalWine.com conference? The goal of the one-day event is to showcase the evolution of the Texas wine industry, which now boasts some 177 wineries. One more proof that you really shouldn’t think of California wine and American wine as synonyms. I’ll miss that one too, but will try to follow the tweet-up/live blogging event featuring 40 of the Lone Star state’s best cuvées, which is set to conclude the event.

The one conference I’m still hoping I can make it too is the second European Wine Bloggers Conference, taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, October 30 to November 1. I certainly wouldn’t mind polishing up and updating my knowledge of Portuguese wines, and meeting with the very interesting, multinational group of bloggers who gather there (the word “European” refers to the location of the conference, but bloggers can come from anywhere). The program includes a visit to the cork forests, guided by natural cork producer Amorim, which in itself should be worth the trip for any wine geek.

And if I don’t make it to this one either, there will be other gatherings in the new year. TasteCamp should move to the Finger Lakes, while the American Wine Bloggers conference will be heading to Washington State. More opportunities to discover wine regions and their production. Last year, at the first Wine Bloggers Conference, I loved the opportunity to learn more about Sonoma Wines, and especially Dry Creek, where I had the chance, during and after the conference, to visit Preston and Quivira, two very solid producers of sunny, intense, well-defined wines. Just that made the trip worthwhile.

WBW 51: Madeiration in all things (Henriques and Henriques 1995 Single Vintage)

I really have to thank Joe Roberts, aka 1WineDude, for proposing this baked goods theme, about wines that have gone through the test of time and heat, and have only become all the better for it. Because when I tasted the Henriques & Henriques 1995 Single Harvest Madeira I chose for this edition of the Wine Blogging Wednesdays, I could only think: “Wow. Why don’t I drink this kind of stuff more often.”

It’s true that the idea of “baked goods” and oxydative wines go well beyond madeira itself – the vin jaune of the Jura region of France, sherries of Spain, old cuvées of some muscats of southern France… – but madeira is what I was really looking forward to taste, this time.

Just the caramel/copper color of this teenage wine is enough to get you daydreaming. And then (more…)

Vinho Verde by the Pool

Had a lovely pool party at one of my best friends’ house, last weekend. Lots of swimming, lots of sun, great barbecue (scrumptious filet mignon) and, of course, some wine. I’d brought a bottle of Hurluberlu, a nice, fresh cabernet franc made by natural wine producer Sébastien David in the Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil appellation: it’s such an easy-drinking, delicious summer wine with bright fruit and a lovely cherry-red color (visible through the transparent glass bottle) that it didn’t last long in the bottle. I took a glass, walked away from the table for fifteen minutes, and the rest was gone in a flash.

Thankfully, my friends had more wine in store, including (more…)