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Bloggers Organize Online Events to Answer Questions Such as “If I ate John Hamm should I think pork?”

Posted by on May 6, 2013

I love that we’re a go to source for Virginia wine information for many.  While we’ve definitely been branching out more and more lately in our own wine drinking, we’re passionate about drinking local and raising awareness about the high quality wines that can be found close to home.  That said, we’re not the only blog doing this.  Two bloggers, and blogs, I want to highlight are organizing some VA wine-centric events for may that I think you should know about.

Allan, from CellarBlog, is the driving force behind #varosé day.  On Wednesday, May 29th, he wants as many VA wine lovers as possible to drink, talk about, blog about, facebook about, and tweet about the wonderful rosé wines from myriad Virginia wineries.

Which critter works better with rose?

Which critter works better with rose?

I agree with Allan that drinking pink is often dismissed.  Some feel it’s not manly, but GEG can tell you a great story about convincing a group of overall-wearing good-ole-boys that a sparkling rosé was the wine for them at a charity event for which we served as pourers.  After all, what pairs better with BBQ than pink bubbles?  These guys left with multiple bottles and plans to roast a pig or two.  Others may think that all pink wine is sweet, insipid, and boring.  Some definitely is – even some from Virginia.  That said, a good rosé has complexity while also being refreshing.  It’s a perfect fit for celebrating spring, to enjoy as part of a warm summer day on the deck or patio, or to bring a touch of summer to a snow-filled winter afternoon.

Given that, we’re going to be celebrating #varosé day.  We’ll post (really – we will) about local rosé that day, and we’ll tweet with the #varosé hashtag that evening as we enjoy some VA rosé from the comfort of Chez Snark.  So, join us and drink pink on May 29th as we celebrate the joys of local rosé.

Frank Morgan

Frank, from Drink What You Like, has also take the initiative to bring VA wine lovers together on a virtual level.  He’s doing this by organizing twitter chats about various VA wine topics.  For now, they’re happening every other week, and you can follow along and join in on twitter using the hashtag #VAWineChat.

Frank, like me, misses the days from the not so distant past where VA wine lovers would frequently chat about the local wines in their glasses in the evening.  Since wine makers, winery owners, and winery employees were frequently part of these discussions, we all found ourselves learning a lot as we shared our impressions of the wines we were drinking as well as winery and vineyard practices throughout the state.  Life got busy, and likely some of the newness of tweeting wore off, and this kind of interaction on VA wine online has died down a bit.

hashtag

I’m pretty sure these #VAWineChat nights are going to give us some of that feeling again.  The first one was last Thursday (I know, I know – bad wine bloggers!), and we chatted about (and many drank) VA viognier (affectionately known as viggy here at Chez Snark).  Frank served as the primary moderator - tossing out questions to facilitate discussion - and Jordan Harris, from Tarara Winery, and Stephen Barnard, from Keswick Vineyards, tweeted along as “experts.”  Breaux, Horton, and Blenheim also chimed in as did a number of VA wine bloggers and VA wine lovers.  I know that I enjoyed discussing how viognier grows, style preferences, ageing possibilities, etc.  (Now I just hope some of the winemakers/winery folks come through with those offers for tasting aged viogniers!)

We’d love to have even more people join in with future editions.  For now, they’re being held every second Thursday from 7-8pm (Eastern) and all teweets shoudl use the hashtag #VAWineChat so we can all be part of the same conversation.  Here’s the schedule for the time being – if you’ve got a topic idea, let Frank know (or us, if you’re shy), and it may just show up on the schedule.

  • May 16, 2013 – Virginia Red Blends
  • May 30, 2013 – still looking for suggestions
  • June 13, 2013 – Virginia Cider
  • June 27, 2013 – Single Vineyard Wines (hosted by us)
  • July 11, 2013 – The Past, Present, and Future of Virginia Wine
  • July 25, 2013 - suggestions welcome

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5 Responses to Bloggers Organize Online Events to Answer Questions Such as “If I ate John Hamm should I think pork?”

  1. Jordan Harris

    Hey Guys – I am more then happy to have a little gathering tasting some Viognier, new and old. Like most varieties there are some great examples and poor examples of aged Vio so for every great sip you may have to endure something a little less pleasent :)

    It is great that all of you guys are getting together again and talking wine. It seemed like almost a year of Virginia wine blogging being less dominant.

    Jordan – Tarara Winery

  2. Stephen Ballard

    Hey — two things:

    1. “Red blends” — perhaps I’m reading into it, but the very term gives this observer pause. Why? I wonder if its a perception thing for the wine buying public. We are trained in the US to identify a wine by its name, and our consumer protection laws as interpreted by the TTB have encouraged the bottling of varietal wines vs. just having a “red wine” or a “white wine” identified with a region. The great wines of Bordeaux are just “red wines” — does anyone call them “blends”? Even in Burgundy where you are getting Pinot Noir, in most cases its the place that takes precedence, not the contents of the bottle. I just have a feeling (not backed by any sort of evidence) that some buyers may interpret the term as somehow connoting inferiority. Perhaps that’s justified and the little voices in my head are reminding me that the reason the wines are blended is because the whole is greater than the parts, that the blended final product is far more interesting than a single varietal. I just wonder if we should be questioning the terminology. I don’t have an answer, I just wanted to raise the issue.

    For the “looking for suggestions” space, how about devoting a chat to varieties that aren’t commonly grown here and comparing them to wines grown in their homeland? For example, the other day I had a Lemberger from Ox-Eye Vineyards; I know someone else is growing Dornfelter (can’t find them at the moment); I heard yet another winery is growing Gruner Veltliner; of course we have Barboursville with their Vermentino (we may have a small crop this year of our own); Morais has their Albarino. It could be an interesting measure of how we are succeeding, and an exploration of the expression of place in these varieties that are admittedly a challenge to sell here, because they aren’t the usual suspects we see on store shelves. Though it seems every restaurant in DC has Gruner on its wine list at the moment.

  3. The Armchair Sommelier

    I’m bummed I missed the Viognier chat . . . I think there ought to be t-shirts made: Virginia is for Viognier! Will try to catch the Red Blends chat. Fun! Salud!!

  4. VAWineDiva

    Armchair,

    If the VA Wine Board marketing Office isn’t already working up these t-shirts, they should be. I look forward to chatting about red blends with you.

    Stephen,

    I understand the marketing behind single-grape (labeled) wines and the potential difficulties with blends. That said, I think consumers can be educated to expect blends to be special (at least when they’re learning about the wines in a tasting room). As for the idea of place – I definitely think it’s important, but since marketing is often happening at the state level, that “place” is often geographically diverse (at least in developing wine regions like VA). I hope you’ll join us for the red blends chat so we can all muse on these ideas together.

    As for your suggestions about less common grapes for VA and possible comparisons to the regions better known for them – I think that’s a great idea. I’l be sure to pass this along to Frank who’s currently serving as organizer/schedule keeper.

    Jordan,

    If it wasn’t clear in my post, I’ve also really missed the online interaction around VA wine. While the lack of that isn’t why I’ve become a bit of a slug with blogging, it sure hasn’t helped me get motivated to return to it.

    As for a tasting, we’d love to be part of one (and I feel reasonably confident that other VA wine bloggers feel the same). Tasting with you is always a great learning experience, so let us know if you start to organize something so that we can get it on our calendars.

  5. Jordan Harris

    Stephen does bring up a good point about the marketing side of the Red Blend issue. My other issue with Red Blends is that it is trying to define a particular wine style that does not exist. Blends of what? How can we do something the best when there is no standard? How can we prove it is the best?

    On top of that I think it often becomes misleading to the consumer. All wines are blends unless you are doing single barrel releases. You are just blending for different reasons. Every winemaker I know samples all lots/barrels/tanks/eggs/whatever and works to come up with the right percentages to get the desired finished profile. I don’t know anyone who just says “Hey, this is Merlot, send it to the Merlot tank” without testing at multiple percentages. This is blending. They are just blending to get a profile that shows Merlot varietal characteristics. Nevermind the fact that 25% of that wine is often not Merlot.

    Here’s a question – We have a vintage of our Long Bomb (2009) that is 88% Merlot / 6% each Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. If I were to have labelled it Merlot instead of Long Bomb does that make it a different wine? Right now it is classified as a Red Blend by any media, competition, customer or restaurant. It is however legally a Merlot if I want it to be and change my label.

    There are many reasons people blend – Varietal correctness, site specificity and correctness, desired end characteristics neither varietal or site. Are any of these not blends?

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