Blogging Live from Santa Rosa, CA

Well, here we are. A whole bunch of bloggers, usually glued to their screen, pretty much alone in their office (or kitchen, or television room), writing for people from often far away, are gathered for the weekend in Santa Rosa, at the heart of Sonoma. We’ll still be glued to our screens, but all together (and there are vineyard walks in the program, mind you…)

It’s time for the Wine Bloggers Conference, the first of its kind in North America, and only the second in the world, after the European Wine Bloggers Conference held late August in Spain. Both conferences have been exceeding expectations, if only in terms of attendance. Both got booked to capacity – and beyond.

Over 160 people are attending (more…)

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Wine Blogging Wednesday #46: The Whiter Side of Rhône

White wines are certainly the neglected side of the Rhône vineyards. The reputation of the whites is greatly overshadowed by that of reds like Cornas, Côte-Rôtie or Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

It might just be a question of math, mind you: according to official statistics, red wine represents 86% of total Rhône wine production. White is only 5%, a little more than half the production of rosé (9%). In Australia, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier, all together, represent less than 2% of the total area planted in white varietals, according to government statistics (see page 17 of the publication). Same thing in California, where the 15,757 tons of viognier crushed in 2007 are the only noticeable white Rhône blip among the 1.37 million tons of white grapes produced in 2007 (see page 6 of the California Department of Agriculture grape crush report). I’m beginning to agree with James, who started a discussion on the Open Wine Consortium about the most underrated white varietals, and put roussanne as his choice of underdog.

Mind you, the varietals can be challenging. When overripe, they quickly get heavy, overly sweet and overloaded with tropical fruit. I know, some people might call that luscious and rich, but I find it all gets a little cloying. Which is why I appreciate the balance found in, say, (more…)