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Souzãoberry Fields Forever: hang time with Portuguese grapes in Lodi

Of the mad scientist-viticulturist laboratory that is Lodi, California, we've touched upon southern French varieties; grapes classically grown in cooler areas of Europe like Germany and Austria; and Lodian odes to Spanish wines. We reached the part of the conference where we would end up on one of twenty-or-so different excursions - and to complete the circle of a trip, or at least extend the semi-circle or whatever - I eventually decided to go on the excursion that hinted at a visit to a winery with a heavy lean towards Portuguese grape varieties. What the fuck is Souzão, anyways? Let's whip out a tome and read the following paragraph in our Jancis voices. (She is, by the way, in the running for being my...

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It must have been clove, but it’s over now: Speed Wine Tasting at WBC16

I used to love the hectic clusterfuck of the two Wine Bloggers Conference speed tasting events, each involving twenty or so different tables and winery principals that rotate tables every five minutes for a total of ten sessions. Every micro-meeting involves at least a pour of a wine followed by a spiel, while we each have to: absorb as much information as we can; taste and take notes; desperately yell out questions as if the internet doesn't exist; take blurry bottle shots; and perhaps come up with a witty tweet. I've mostly given up on giving my 110% on the whole shebang, but hey: I tried. Newcomers to the conference were all "well, this isn't so bad!" I side-eyed in tacit protest but actually mostly agreed. I'm...

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24 wines for turning 24

This post serves two purposes: a sincere smile-and-nod to the 23rd year of my life, and a spring cleaning wine dump of, coincidentally, a number of bottles that equals the number of anniversaries since I was pushed out of my mother. Alas. The past prime number of a year has been good to me, and I'm stoked for the next. Beyond this whole becoming-an-adult thing, I've done many things including completing the WSET Diploma (i hate to keep mentioning about it - but perhaps the youngest in BC to do so!), changing jobs, travelling to New York, travelling to France, travelling to Spain, and other things that would probably be best not to put on the internet. Heh. And home. Oh God - connecting to your...

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A bored ho tastes Bordeaux (2013)

Bordeaux is in a bit of a tough spot at the moment - which isn't saying much - but it's far from being an underdog: Eric Asimov discusses this in a New York Times article in May 2010. The region in question once simultaneously exuded both normalcy and the unattainable; a seemingly conventional gateway wine to all other wines, yet having this aura of hubris and higher social status. But now that so many more wines are available, and with a new generation seeking wines that are anything but normal, it seems that less people are raising their hands for the classic French region. But I mean hey: people still whore out special bottles of Bordeaux for likes on Instagram, and a blog post on the mass-produced...

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Evolve Cellars

Three things immediately come to mind when I hear the word "evolve": Pokemon, Digimon, and evolutionary biology. My childhood aside, let's add Evolve Cellars to the shortlist for a potential fourth: my favourites among this Summerland quartet are the heftier rosé and red that seem to go against the predictable BC pattern of interchangeable off-dry rosés and the oft-disjointed reds. The red of the vintage prior to the current release won a gold medal at the 2015 BC Wine Awards; the wine's birth was crafted by Lawrence Buhler, winemaker. Huzzah. The whites, though, along with the rosé, are part of Evolve's very first vintage release, the grapes being sourced from the Sundial Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench in Oliver, probably attributing the rounder, denser versions of the grapes....

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2015 ends and 2016 trends

I'm a bit late to this #bye2015hello2016 stuff! Anyways, I've said it way too many times than you care to read: I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. But this is the first year where reflecting and looking forward to the next year has felt the least forced. Despite my abrupt and perhaps ephemeral positivity, I won't be superimposing any fortune cookie pieces of advice onto filtered landscapes anytime soon - March seems to be my I-fucking-hate-everything downfall month anyway, so we'll see how much my outlook relapses. At the beginning of 2015, I made the tongue-in-cheek resolution to be a bit more selfish: to not to be guilt-ridden about having a balanced serving of things that make me happy and to give less of a shit about what...

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Canadian Wines with Rhodanien and Tuscan Influence

In August, I was invited to a tasting on two wineries with very specific philosophies and inspirations. Le Vieux Pin and La Stella are wineries linked by winemaker and ownership but emit different energies when it comes to their wines, the former evoking elegance and finesse, the latter evoking power and density. Both take inspiration from the Old World: it's clear that that Le Vieux Pin channels the Rhône, but La Stella channels Tuscany, and more specifically, from the beefy wines of the Maremma coast. They manage to coax the personality of the grapes into a proper expression of the climate in a particular vintage - and without stretching the malleability of the grapes into anything that isn't intrinsic or primal. Pure and fierce, I guess,...

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New York with Age; Brazil on the Page; Tuscany Backstage

There was another set of seminars: I had to choose between a study on South American wines, the range of Riesling grown in Alsace, or the aging potential of New York wines. When Brandon Seager - the Chair of the Winemaking Department at Tompkins College, Winemaker, and Finger Lakes Wine Country LGBT Ambassador (cool, I didn't even know that was a thing!) - used Brad Pitt analogies and pictures to explain the nuances of wine aging, I knew that I had chosen the right seminar. Huzzah. The wines were what I was mostly looking forward to, especially the aged ice wine, which can be quite a divisive topic when it comes to cellaring wine. Opponents of the idea believe that ice wine...

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Fox Run and fun rocks

We went to Fox Run right after Anthony Road, for the WBC15 pre-conference: the sun was sure punishing me for being bald, and slathering scented sunscreen on my head would be a death sentence to the people trying to sniff the shit out of their glasses of Lemberger. At least my head would be shiny enough to be used as a security mirror at a grocery store. Yes? Yes? Halloween costume idea? [caption id="attachment_4815" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] I saw no foxes running.[/caption] A display of the vineyards, winery gadgetry, and discussions with the winemaker were followed by a lunch involving six wines, and then a geological tasting on different vineyards and the subsequent expressions of Riesling. Here, we compared the Hanging Delta vineyard to the Lake Dana vineyard, the...

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Josh tastes 118 wines at Top Drop

If there was one unforgettable takeaway uttered by a wine god during this year's Wine Bloggers Conference, it was the keynote speaker Karen MacNeil (author of the Wine Bible) who opined - and I'm paraphrasing, here - that people should pay more attention to tasting the wines during such events. Of course, I was thrilled, because that gave me even more validation to ignore people. Ha! Key advice when the militant goal is to taste every wine during a well-curated tasting, but it's harder than it sounds because I guess I like to wave and flail at people. A regretful ode to the few tables I did not get to visit: Anthonij Rupert, Badia a Coltibuono, Elio Altare, Giusti, Latta, Montenidoli, Orofino, Scribe, Spottswoode Estate,...

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