Dawn broke for our third day (9/21/11) in the Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) with brilliant signs pointing to even more glorious weather to accompany our travels around this Spanish wine kingdom. From the window of my hotel room at the historic Palacio Guandelain in Pamplona, I could see and hear the rumblings of the (rare) early rising Navarrans in the plaza that stretched out from the hotel front. I couldn’t wait to get started on our travels back to the Ribera Alta sub-region of the Navarra DO appellation. I felt rather rested, since I had given my body the morning off from my usual run, following my great success at getting thoroughly lost, the prior morning.
I attend a large number wine events. That might even be an understatement, to which my fine readers can attest! Thus, I feel that it’s saying something to describe an upcoming wine event as one of my favorite series of wine events, ever. The San Francisco Vintners Market (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) wine tastings are those exact events: totally fun, onsite wine purchasing available, and of course, fantastic wines to taste in unlimited amounts. And lucky readers, for round 5 (DING) of the #SFVM, I now have a fat discount so you cats can partake!
Our second full day in Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) (day 3 if you’re counting our travel day) started off a bit scary, due to the usual amount of stupidity that I tend to afford myself. As you’ve probably noticed from my previous post about Day 1 in Navarra, I love to go on a run in the cities that I visit around the world. I feel that it is one of the best ways to get to know a new foreign land and its people. Like
an idiot always, I only carried my hotel keycard and a bit of cash in case I got into trouble and needed a taxi. I then headed out way before dawn at about 5:50am to streets unknown. Oh, and did I neglect to mention that I have absolutely no sense of direction?…I’m a total Marcus Brody. An hour later, my 20 minute jog has clearly turned into the definition of a lost tourist, replete with Spanglish as my only tool to communicate…no phone to call for a taxi, nor to even let my #Navarra5-mates know why I wouldn’t be in the lobby at 7:45am!
The holidays get busy. You barely have time to shop, decorate, make food, attend parties, try not to get drunk and, OH YEAH, still work! All of this stress adds up, manifesting itself in strange ways and differently within each person, as evidenced by the varying types of “holiday spirit” seen in the photo on the right.
You don’t have time for this! Your time is too precious to waste upon wondering which kind of wine to bring to coworker Aaron’s holiday party and wait, is it Aaron or Erin…CRAP, you’re so stressed you can’t even remember! It is with these conundrums in mind that I have constructed my Vinopanion holiday wine recommendations and pairings, listed below. Short, sweet (or dry!) and to the point. Let’s drink.
My super fine readers would have to be asleep not to know about my longtime wine project as Le Wine Buff (WineLog) for Enjoy Bordeaux (Twitter, WineLog). Well, recently I sat down to lunch with reporter Ryan Flinn alongside my fellow ‘Buff Rebecca Chapa (Twitter, Facebook) and we discussed our efforts to get the word out about the quantity of affodable, high quality Bordeaux wine. Lo and behold, Ryan Flinn put together a great article discussing just how relevant affordable, high quality Bordeaux wines within the context of the sky-rocketing prices of über-premium wines due to the rise of fine wine culture in China. The article has already been picked up by Bloomberg, BusinessWeek and SFGate, so check it out at any of the prior links. Cheers!
It is with no small excitement that I am able to announce a new trip to vino heaven, once again this year. Navarra, Spain is both an autonomous region (Navarre) as well as an ancient wine region, whose wine roots date back up to 1,200 years. It was once a great and proud kingdom and sits between what is now the Spanish wine appellation of Rioja and the French wine appellation of Bordeaux. Consequently, it has grows an awesome mix of grape varieties from both regions that have been approved by the Navarra Denominación de Origen (DO): Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia, Moscatel, Viura, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. It also has a long history as an approved DO (the Spanish equivalent of a wine AVA or appellation that has strict, government-regulated quality control and approved grape growing and winemaking methods), celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2008. And it is to Navarra that I have the great fortune to fly, this coming Saturday!
At this point, my regular readers should know quite well about my participation in the cra cra known as the North American Wine Bloggers’ Conferences (Twitter, WineLog). We’re coming up on the 4th in this great series, after the huge success in 2008, 2009 and 2010. This year we’re invading Charlottesville, Virginia for our very first time plundering the wine life on the right coast (and East Coast wine bloggers rejoice). The state of Virginia has been exceptionally supportive and I’m looking forward to learning a ton about 5th largest wine producing state in the Union. Between the Keynote from Jancis Robinson (Twitter), the Virginia Wine (Twitter) Reception at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello for dinner on Friday, another Keynote from Eric Asimov (Twitter) and the annual Vineyard walks in the local wine country, #WBC11 looks to be just as stunning a time as years’ past.
There are many a wine app for iOS and (growing) on Android. Wine+Tech wünderkinds VinTank, have done extensive research on iOS apps (iPhone) over the last few years with the most recent count at 450+, as of 04/14/2011. Indeed, my own content is distributed on two mobile apps, Hello Vino and Wine by the Bar. With that many apps out there for a very specific genre, you can imagine that there is a lot of noise and a lot of well, mediocre (at best) apps for wine. So, it is a refreshingly rare circumstance when one comes across an app that kicks some serious vinous booty. And the new app (iPhone, Android) from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery (Twitter, WineLog) by MacroView Labs (Twitter) gets my vote for kickin’ that booty.
OK, so they don’t speak Spanish in New Zealand…they speak Kiwi English. I know this, but based on my love of Spanish food and my experiences along the coasts of both Spain and Portugal (diff language, I know!) last Summer, they might as well speak that Romantic language, what with the bright, quality wine that they put out with each vintage. Seafood is the phenom pairing for the vast majority of these wines and I’m happy to throw them together on the regular.
Now clearly, I’ve always been a fan of NZ wines, so let’s just get that experiential bias right out in the open. So when I heard that would soon be a winemaker dinner that not only paired some classic NZ winemakers alongside some fervent wine bloggers, but also some extremely tasty Peruvian seafood with said winemakers’ wines…I said [frak] yeah, I’ll come!
This time we’re taking on New York City and Manhattan is gonna stumble down in a vinous frenzy of affordable Bordeaux wine! We’re the wine sponsor for this year’s TechEnology wine event held by Enjoy Bordeaux partner Snooth and tech media publishing titan Ziff Davis. Held at the newly renovated General Assembly, the event will mix some of the icons of tech, publishing and the wine biz and look to do some serious vino mind melding.
I’m excited to be pouring and talking about these wines at the event because I think Bordeaux is coming into another renaissance of exposure for it’s thousands of high quality, affordable wines and their Chateaux, all across the greater appellation. Much of this belief was built during our visit to Bordeaux last summer. This event promises to be “a private, networking event recognizing the wine world’s most technologically forward people, business and practices”…and these are the peeps that need to know Bordeaux!
See you on the Right Coast vinopanions, and cheers!