to top

Napa’s 2017

Napa. Its seemingly daunting wine is made up of relatively simply shaped sub-regions. The clean-cut twelve seem well-fit into a geographical puzzle compared to the overlapping Russian nesting doll appellations of every other region in California, and I am 100% here for that. I finally ended last week's mental tug-of-war on whether or not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in neighbouring Santa Rosa, and I've decided to go but with as much cost-cutting as possible. Though it was super fun, one of the most interesting sessions was the discussion on the recent wine country fires: the panel included George Rose, photographer; Patsy McGaughy, of Napa Valley Vintners; and Pierre Bierbent, winemaker of Signorello Estates. The descriptions and statistics of the damage were heartbreaking, including 75,000 total acres burned and 652...

Continue reading

Mendocino’s medicine-o

What terrible timing it was for the recent fires in California to start wreaking havoc around the same time as I started the California Wine Appellation Specialist course. It's so unfortunate that a recent masterclass helped surge personal interest in a wine region that went relatively ignored during my WSET diploma studies, only for the terrible news to ensue. I hope that by learning more about the region I'm doing a part to support them - and thusly I may also retract my decision to not attend this year's Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa? Sigh. We'll see. Testing my just-in-time schedule, I rushed out of the door from work to make it to class, being the last of the group that was on time,...

Continue reading

“Backroads of California”

I can't believe I even made it to this masterclass, because tickets to these GuildSomm events usually sell out quicker than it takes today's somm to name their favourite natural wine producer. Then again, I guess it's a California-themed one held in, well, California, so perhaps everyone else in this city is just more familiar with these tipples. I've lived here for around a year, so a masterclass titled "Backroads of California" implies that the theme is the vinous road less travelled - but considering this state was a quasi-neglected region during my WSET diploma studies, you could imagine how badly this information stuck. That being said, our presenter, Kelli White - author of Napa Valley Then & Now - was a fantastic guide who eventually tipped the scale in my mind...

Continue reading

I’ll be your Zin-ner in secret

First of all, Carly Slay Jepsen's Emotion: Side B. Better than the original album? Is this reference still relevant? How long will it take my roommate to notice I'm drinking all of his gin? Should I pair these wines with a pathetic recollection of that time I actually met Carly Rae Jepsen at a Marianas Trench concert while interning for their record company? These are the questions I want answered vaguely by fortune cookies and clairvoyant wine pairings. (Also, thanks to this post, the beginning of Run Away With Me starts playing every time I sip Zinfandel, which...

Continue reading

Getting Harney in Lodi

After the magic that was Acquiesce (everything's magic after ingesting wine but the wines were good), our pre-excursion group meandered to the Lizzy James vineyard, sipped some Zin, and then went to Harney Lane winery. I remember how distracted I get in vineyards, simultaneously trying to soak in all the personal stories and vineyard information while trying to find refuge for my naked round head. Sunscreen's a no-no since it fucks with everyone's nasal cavity, and so is eucalypt-scented shaving cream, where in specific cases I've made people sniff my fresh head at tastings just to make sure I've done no sin. I attempted to kneel behind someone's outrageously large clown hat. My "I'm actually here!" montage lasted longer during my...

Continue reading

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...

Continue reading

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,...

Continue reading

WSET Diploma – Unit 3 – Week 14: Business of Wine

Woah! I'm feeling mighty uninspired. I think it might have to do with the clouds and rain, which are normally quite nice, but something's blocking my brain and I feel like I have to obligatorily blame it on the weather. Maybe I need to watch a movie, or go on a mini vacation, or just hug someone for a really long time. It sure is an excuse to get juices flowing with actual alcoholic juice, but I'm going to not because my brain is telling me no. (Which means it's going to be one can of beer or just a hint of scotch. And then maybe more scotch.) [caption id="attachment_4110" align="aligncenter" width="662"] wow can u not[/caption] Two weeks ago, I skipped class...

Continue reading

Wine Bloggers Conference 2014 – Speed Tasting i.e. Tinder for Wines

Speed tasting. It's one of the unique events of the Wine Bloggers Conference that's always explained to you if you've never heard of the WBC before, kind of like the warning nod of the hangover to the newly legal. It's always described as "speed dating but with wine" - though in this case, it's only a one-way road of looking at your date in disgust. So there's a plus, and it's sort of like a Tinder swipe-left-or-right sort of situation. In the essence of the Live Wine Blogging event, you have 50 minutes to taste through 10 wines. In each 5-minute session, the winery representative pours you wine and gives you a bit of a quick overview before moving on to the next table. It's somewhat encouraged...

Continue reading