Many of you might be wondering, “What do all those people who work in the wine industry actually do?”
Some of you might think we sit around drinking wine all day, eating cheese, snacking on cured meats, and listening to french music. Others of you might think we sit around drinking wine all day, reading volumes of wine books, writing lengthy tasting notes about each wine, and peel labels off the bottles to save them in a wine journal. And yet others may think we sit around drinking wine all day, staring out into the vastness of the local vineyards, sampling wines from the barrel, having snobby debates about the minute differences between this barrel and that, this vintage and lasts. And a select few might think we sit around drinking wine all day and blog about it :)
While all of the above are things we have done, we certainly don’t do them everyday, all day – we would be too lucky! And even if we did, we would never fess up to it because then everyone would leave their job and want to change over to a wine industry job and then we would have a world full of wine industry folk. Come to think of it, that is not a bad idea. Some people speak of a utopia, I speak of a winetopia!
Fantasies of winetopia aside, one of the things us wine industry folk do is go to portfolio tastings. In short, a wine distribution company holds a tasting of a majority of the wines they carry (esp new wines they have brought on) for their clients who buy wine from them i.e. restaurant managers/sommeliers, wine bar owners, wine shop owners, grocery store wine managers. A few weeks ago the wine distribution company Virtuoso Selections held their portfolio tasting in Austin, TX at the Saengerrunde Hall of Scholz Garten and they invited me to come out and taste wines to blog about them :)
There were roughly 150+ wines and liquors to sample. For many of you that sounds like a rockin’ happy hour, but these types of tastings are not really the type where you drink the wine, they require a lot of discipline as you pretty much need to spit the wines out. It’s not a rule or anything, but if you drank a sample of everything there, you would end up flat on your back or passed out in the bathroom … and that’s just no bueno ;)
My gameplan for super tastings like this is to spit the wines unless they are just phenomenal. So what are the wines that I did not spit out, lol? At the Country Vintner Imports table there was a fantastic Champagne, the Egly-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru N/V – (N/V stands for non-vintage. This means that the wine includes a blend of grapes from several vintages to give a consistent house style for each winemaker. )
This Champagne, which is made from the Chardonnay grape, had aromas of over-ripe pears and yellow plums, candied lemon, white flowers, and hints of coffee and baking spices. Such a pleasant and complex Champagne, but I know why it was so delicious … it retails for $75-ish a bottle:)
Another wine that I quite fancied (and very affordable) was the 2010 Badenhorst “Secateurs” Chenin Blanc from South Africa that was at the Broadbent Selections table. FYI “Secateurs” is french for the pruning shears used to prune the vines ;)
This Secateurs Chenin Blanc is really a great value buy at $15-ish retail price! A beautiful melange of honey, orange blossom, white peaches, grapefruit and stone aromas all topped off with a gorgeous creamy and refreshing finish. After this tasting I made sure to go to my favorite local wine shop and buy a couple bottles of it!
Another favorite of mine was the line up of wines from a Texas food & wine destinations called Kiepersol Enterprises out in Tyler, TX. If you are near their neck of the woods, I reckon you should take the time to visit them. They have a winery, vineyards, a restaurant, a B&B, an event center, an amphitheater, a music studio facility, an RV park, real estate … I think they are just missing a theme park :) I am going to need to see all this for myself too! Anyone up for a day trip?
Crazy-multitude-of-offerings aside, their wine was delicious and makes me think the same amount of quality has gone into everything else they offer on their complex. At this portfolio tasting, I tried their 2007 Syrah, the 2007 Merlot, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and their 2005 Estate Port. All of their wines were balanced, full of delicious fruit aromas, and very mouthwatering! All of their wines are made from local grapes and are certainly a Texas wine worthy of adding to your wine collection! And they are all priced at around $30-ish retail! Kiepersol Winery/Enterprises … be on the look out, The Ceci Sipper is heading your way soon!
Another set of wines that I may or may not have had a wild and mad love affair with followed by a vinous orgasm, was the wines from Flanagan Vineyards in the Bennett Valley of Sonoma County. Words cannot express the intimate moments I shared with the Flanagan wines. Thus, I decided a ‘sexy’ photo with one of their wines would help me best express the occasion.
Ahhhhhhh!!! Flanagan wines, I will run to the mountain tops to proclaim my love for you! [Running ….] At this portfolio tasting I tried their 2009 Chardonnay, their 2008 Syrah, and their 2006 and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Please visit their website to read about these incredible, sexy, and make-love-to-your-palate wines. If there is one wine splurge you need to give yourself … Flanagan wines would be it ($90-ish retail). I think drinking these wines qualifies as vinous sinning. As I am not yet a wealthy woman, I will be saving up my money so I can splurge on these wines. (FYI my birthday is March 23rd, ahem, ahem.)
Towards the end of the portfolio tasting, I had the pleasure to discover another wine import company that I was very impressed with, Ole Imports. In talking with their representative, Magda Rodriguez, about their company, I have decided it would best to write about their company, the wines, and their story in a separate post, so look forward to that one!
I hope you enjoyed your glimpse into “A Day In The Life Of The Wine Industry Club” :) I promise you, it is a lot more grueling than it appears ;P