Wine, wine, wine & Alice too
“Wine, wine, wine–pass that bottle to me!” sing it to me, Sticks McGee with Brownie McGee helping out on guitar and vocals. Then on the flip side, “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water…”
After the two blogging sessions at the Wine Bloggers Conference, it was back to drinking with a tasting of Sonoma wines with well over 200 wines in the room and at least 30-40 wineries pouring.
I tried to save myself from temptation but I succumbed–and I dumped wine into the bucket too, sacriligious but absolutely necessary. I even saw folks carrying around small plastic cups for spitting into.
So instead of attempting any sort of catalogue, I will merely mention two small, memorable wineries with a limited selection poured by the passionate winemakers themselves: Enkidu and Verge. From the Enkidu website, I found that the origin or meaning of the name “Enkidu” comes from the oldest story ever written, the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story originated in Sumeria (Iraq) almost 4,000 years ago, which fittingly was the birthplace of wine. Enkidu, created by the gods, was the lover of land and protector of animals. He embodied strength and passion, with incredible bravery, and yet at times was truly fearful of unknown dangers.
Enkidu was told by the sacred slave: “Eat bread, oh, Enkidu! It is the fountain of life; drink the wine, it is the custom of the land.” Then Enkidu ate the bread till he was full, drank the wine, seven goblets…” http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab2.htm
How can you go wrong quoting Gilgamesh? Enkidu was also featured at the kickoff lunch at Kick Ranch–but I had barely left home to drive up there when that gathering was coming to a close, so I was pleased to get a chance to try a selection of their classy wines:
When I asked people which wines they remembered from the event, several people mentioned being impressed with Verge (their table is pictured above; the photo came from their site). Here’s a quote from their manifesto:
Syrah, long in the shadow of the evil twins of greed and false devotion, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, is hereby declared the world’s finest grape varietal with no second or equal.
Syrah, a vigorous vine indeed, must suffer and strain to produce great wines but can only do so when planted far from the likes of the fertile valley.
Syrah, when found on the outlying tracts of viticultural areas, in the hills, off the back roads, next to forests and the natural habitats of insects, mammals and fowl, on the fringe, is supremely good.
Syrah, when grown organically or biodynamically in this type of place, is intrinsically superior. Why continue the use of harmful agrichemicals?
I knew right away these were my kinda people! I certainly intend to keep track of what they are up to!
And instead of going on about Alice Feiring’s brief keynote at Sebastiani to her fellow “pot stirrers,” I will refer you to Tom Wark’s reverential post on his Fermentation blog “The Battle for Wine and How I Fell in Love with Alice Feiring.” I do intend to review her book sometime soon…
In fact, what I really want to talk about in this post is the after party!
Indeed, after drinking much of the day, I was trying to get caught up on email and write a post or two when again I found myself distracted by cases of wine rolling by and rolling by and rolling by–right into the room behind me. Of course ART PREDATOR had to investigate. Inside was a full-on party with maybe a hundred bottles of wine open and another hundred at the ready. King of it all was a sommelier in training who had won the blind tasting and who had a birthday the previous week. Doug Cook, according to Alice Feiring, has developed what he is calling the Google of the wine world. Deb Harkness of Good Wine for Under $20 graciously poured small tastes to all who offered up a glass.
He had brought various selections from his cellar to share with us–and the Queen, Alice Feiring herself, who sat, it seemed, impervious to our enthusiasm for every pour except one bottle, a jeroboam which was corked (ohh, what I would give for a photo of her delicate face when she took a big whiff of that corked wine!)
The first wine I recall was a lovely German 2006 Blanc de Noir by Paul Anheuser…
and at some point there was a 1999 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo…
…and the last a French chenin blanc that tasted like heaven, a kiss from the mouth of a god, honeysuckle, rose geranium, sweetly light and delicate, and so lovely I almost swooned.
In between the wines flew fast and furious, bottles he uncorked and some that others brought, like two of my favorites, Twisted Oak’s The Spaniard and River of Skulls. I think I may have discovered a fondness for wines of the Loire Valley which may be a dangerous thing indeed.
By the end of the night, the room was full of purple smiles: we all looked like we were from some grim Halloween feature with our purple teeth (from wine of course not blood!)
It was quite the wine education, a chance of a life time, especially with the tasting notes and assistance of compadres Elodie and Beverly and many others whose names have washed away with the wine, and whose cards will float up one day…
Afterwards, I helped cleanup…and I loaded into my car several cases of partially full bottles of wine with the intention of sharing the wealth!
“I got a nickel you got a dime let’s get together and get some wine!”
Thanks again to birthday boy, Doug Cook!