Speed Tasting the Wine Bloggers Conference

The most controversial event in the Wine Bloggers Conference is what’s officially called “Live Blogging” but casually known as “Speed Tasting.” Like with speed dating, winemakers are the men, bloggers are the women. The winemakers hop from table to table, pouring wine and talking for 5 minutes, allowing the wine to introduce itself. With laptops in front of them, the bloggers taste the wine, ask questions and write something down either in their blog, on Twitter or in old fashioned notebooks.

In past speed tastings I have typed my notes into Word, and then used them to construct a blog post. This time, I went live on Twitter, posting a 140-character wine note on each wine. The hard part was making room for the hashtag #wbc11, so my followers can follow that trending topic. The hardest part was staying online with 200-300 other wireless users.

The event is controversial because some WBC attendees think it’s a waste of time since it doesn’t offer enough of that wasted time to “savor the flavors.” Others think it might give a negative impression that might have been positive with more time to sip.

@lenndevours said, “In speed tasting, you’re writing off the ones that evolve without giving them a chance.”

@marycressler countered, “I’ve also judged competitions where we only have seconds to assess a wine. We don’t have time to be leisurely.”

Whatever. I find the speed tasting event to be a lot of fun, especially this year with my hubby sitting in. Here are my (mostly) actual tweets from July 22, a couple hours after the Jancis Robinson speech, and July 23, immediately following Eric Asimov’s “drink, don’t taste” keynote, complete with authentic typos.

No need for speed reading.


22 Jul
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So ready for speed tasting ! #wbc11

Jefferson vineeyards 2010 Pinot Gris – zesty nose , lemon lime, spritly mouth, clean fresh mouth, citric finish. Chill it more! #wbc11 Next!

Sivas Sonoma 2010 Sauv Blanc fm sebastiani. Jalpeno pepper nose, citric mouth, green apple. New Zealandish. Peppery clean finish.

Maycas Del Limari Chardonnay 08 Limari Val Chile. Mild oak, green apple, slight minerality,full body, vanilla finish. $20 USD #WBC11. Next!

Keswick Vnyds 2010 Verdello, Montecello, VA: Shy nose, crisp green apple, mineral and acidity, clean, bright lem/lime finish $18 #WBC11

Tarara Winery, Nevah Vnyd white, VA, Vio, chard, Peppery apple nose, apple pie mouth, mineral mouth, ripe, spicy finish $30 #wbc11

Williamsburg Winery 09 Chardonnay, VA. Ripe apple nose, spice, big rich full body, oaky, kinda hot finish $14 #wbc11

Cornerstone’s Stepping Stone ’10 Corallina Rose, Napa Syrah: lovely strawb nose, smooth wh pepp mouth, big long red fruit fin $18 #wbc11

Emma Pearl 09 Chard Cent Coast, 10% Vio: Apple, pear nose, tropical fruit, well bal oak, beaut pineapp, cocnut fin. Cool 14.2% $18 #WBC11

Cal Naturale ’09 Chard Mendo, org grown, liter tetra pkg: Fresh fruity nose, mineral, gd acid, spicy clean fin $13 #wbc11

Clif Fam Winery. unoaked chard 1.5 ltr pouch w/ spigut, napa val: crisp green apple, spice, long spicy finish. $17 for !.5 ltr! #wbc11 Cool!

Clos Pegase 08 chard, Napa Carnaros: crispy, bright nose, lovely spicy apple, pinapl mouth, $24 #wbc11 one more wine

Yay! King 09 estate pinot gris, OR: bright melon nose, great balance, pepry finish. Love this wine! #wbc11. That’s it. Off to Monticello!


23 Jul
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Ok, speed tasting 2 – the reds – is about to begin. Let’s taste! #wbc11

Boxwood 2009 Cab mer pv. So tannic, hard. (written offline)

Old World wine 09 Abourious fruity nose, sweet fruit, fightin fruits. (written offline)

Back online at last!

Decibel hawks bay 09 malbec wbc11 nice balance, approachable #wbc11

Sivas Sonoma 09 Zin: Elegant style, sweet fruit, approachable #wbc11

Rodney strong rrv 08 alex crown alex vally floral friuty, chewy mouth, deep sweet finish Wbc11

Ch Edmus 07 st. Emilion, Bordeaux: flowers on the nose, great balance, not too much oak, beautiful fruit. “What is old becomes new” #wbc11

Veritas 09 Petit Verdot, Montecello: floral woody nose, “Boondock wine” great balance, tame tannins, dry, not astringent. #wbc11

Petit Verdot is the way to go in Va! #wbc11

Hola Rioja: Luis Cana Reserva 03: lush fruit, easy on the palate, great acid on the finish. A real food wine. Not a bomb this. #wbc11

Artesa 09 Carneros Pinot Noir: spicy red fruit, good complexity, drinkable, savorable, long finish, $20ish #wbc11

Rappahannock Cellars, Huntly VA 09 Cab Franc: elegant, big fruit, lively and forward, full mouth feel. Nice $24 #wbc11

Tapaña 09 Tempranillo, Espana $10! Forward fruit, a bit pixie stixish, ok balance, med body. A quaffer for your party. #wbc11

Jeffrerson Vnyds 05 Res Petit Verdot. Had earlier, still like it. Still elegant: should be for $45 USD. P. Verdot is a VA wonder! #wbc11

The photos are screen shots of video I shot of every wine presenter. Someday soon, I will edit them together in a similar way as last year’s videos, Whites and Reds.

Next time, I’ll tell you about our dinner at Monticello.

Mari Kane

Mari is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant, living in Vancouver, BC, the most wine-soaked town north of the 49th Parallel. She also blogs about WordPress web design at Blogsite Studio.com. Follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.