As mentioned in a previous post about the Wine Bloggers Conference, one of the highlights for me was the “Live” Blogging sessions. Lately when I drink wine, I’m usually in full exam mode, so I sit down with my trusty notebook and – slowly and methodically – take notes via the WSET “systematic approach to tasting” method. In other words, I take time to analyze every element of the wine – structure, aromas, flavors, finish, quality, etc.
In contrast, the “Live” Blogging sessions pushed me outside of my wine tasting comfort zone since we had, at most, five minutes to hear about the wine directly from the winemaker, taste it, and make notes of our impressions. I keep putting “Live” in quotes because, while I tweeted the Red Wine session in real time, for the Whites & Rosés Hubs and I waited and compared our notes afterwards. We read them aloud to each other over a beer(s) and, after I heard some of his comments, decided we had to put together a post. I love his notes because they are so damn entertaining, honest and unpretentious. Just like him. 🙂
So without further ado, here are the unedited She said / Hubs said tasting notes from the White & Rosé “speed dating event” (his phrasing, not mine)….
1. Otis Kenyon 2017 Roussanne, Columbia Valley, Washington
- She Said: Med+ bodied, ripe yellow fruits – apple, pear, longer spicy finish (with a bit of heat). A perfect, richer fall/winter white wine. This might even sway some “I only drink red wine” people. I am such a fan of Rhône whites and wish more of these varieties were planted in WA!
- Hubs Said: White. Not very complex. Citrusy lemon/zest. It’s hard to give my opinion when the wine pouring people are talking about it – I just want to write what they are saying and pass it off as my own. Amazing story behind this wine. I like it but wouldn’t seek it out. Again, really cool story (look it up). I would drink on a hot summer day but that’s about it. Nothing really unique – other than an awesome story. If stories sell wine, this one has an amazing story. Love the matchsticks. I would drink this wine just to tell the story. Have I mentioned the story?
2. L’Ecole 2016 Semillon, Columbia Valley, Washington
- She Said: 86% Semillon/14% Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of honeysuckle on the nose with some white flowers. Viscous, oily texture – reminds me a bit of Viognier. Glad they put some SB in here for some acidity – might be rather flabby without it. Another richer/fuller bodied white perfect for fall/winter drinking. And at $15 this is incredibly priced.
- Hubs Said: White / Golden. I’ve heard this story about the L’Ecole schoolhouse at least a hundred times. I don’t know shit about Semillon. I like it. Why? Some heat/spice on the mouth afterwards. Again, not super excited about this one. OK – not bad.
3. Peter Yealands 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
- She Said: I’m not usually a New Zealand Sauv Blanc fan, and this one is no different. Very herbal and grassy. Loads of tropical fruit on the palate. Med+ acidity, v. grassy palate. Intense aromas and flavor – it’s really just too much in your face/over the top. Some people love this stuff though. Maybe pairing with a salad or veggies would calm it down a bit for me, although – I don’t eat a lot of veggies.
- Hubs Said: This is SUPER fragrant. Gas? Reminds me of the stuff my parents drank when I was a kid. WOW! Crazy fragrant. Non-normal fruit. Not sure what I mean. Melon? Super unique. Higher acidity. I would have to get used to this type of wine – not an everyday drinker but I could see pairing it with something fun. It sticks with you forever. Crazy flavors.
4. Desert Wind 2017 Chardonnay, Wahluke Slope, Washington
- She Said: Definitely smells like Chardonnay – vanilla, oak, baking spices. Fuller bodied, creamy texture (full Mal-O). Smells like a Madeline sugar cookie. Medium length finish and then . . . I’m left with the oak. I know I’m a boob when it comes to oaked Chardonnay. But to me, this is a little unbalanced because the oak dominates and overpowers the other flavors.
- Hubs Said: Pretty color. Tough to follow the Sauv Blanc – that aroma is still there. Nothing wrong with it. Maybe some vanilla and citrus? Medium acidity. Nothing particular exciting – it’s Chardonnay – not bad, just kind of there.
5. Bouza 2017 Albariño, Uruguay
- She Said: Citrus and salty sea spray aromas. Seems a little fuller bodied for an Albariño – maybe the 6 month lees aging is a factor? Riper apple and pear, and more salinity on the palate, crisp acidity. Would be perfect with seafood. Not bad for my first foray into Uruguayan wine.
- Hubs Said: Uruguan wine. Effervescent. Zippy. Lemon zest. Low/Med. acidity. Poolside wine. Summer wine. Well balanced (I’m not sure what the hell that means, I think equally acid and tannins). Happy mouth. Would be awesome w/ shellfish. Could I find Uruguay on a map? No. Stays on the mouth/palate for a really long time.
6. Hard Row to Hoe 2017 Riesling, Lake Chelan, Washington
- She Said: OMG – beautiful aromatics! Floral and stone fruit (peach, apricot). If I had this blind, I don’t think I would’ve guessed it was a Riesling. Smells more like a Viognier. I really like it, but it lacks the zip I expect from this variety.
- Hubs Said: Eggs. Weird. Rocks. Not traditional Riesling. Great / fun story (note the flags on the label) – naughty. But what do I think? I would go with other Rieslings.
7. Rodney Strong 2016 ‘Chalk Hill’ Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California
- She Said: Like wine #4, there is no mistaking this for Chardonnay. This one seems more fruit driven though – baked apple, pear. Seriously – I am totally getting spiced apple pie on the palate. And this is on the back label – YAY ME! I think Hubs just rolled his eyes at me. Not my particular style, but I prefer it to the WA Chardonnay. This one is more balanced between fruit and oak aromas, plus it has more acidity and a longer finish.
- Hubs Said: A little bit of fuel smell on it (or am I still smelling that crazy Sauv Blanc?). On first taste I thought it was boring, but it really gets more interesting. A little heat on it for a Chardonnay. Not a huge fan but that’s because I think it has more to do with the varietal. Noelle just said it tastes like “apple pie”. Fuck that. She’s going to kill me at this exercise. Upshot: It’s fine. I just don’t like Chardonnay unless it’s a butter bomb. Sidenote: Where the hell are the Rosés??? We haven’t had a single Rosé yet.
8. Cadaretta ‘SBS’ 2016, Columbia Valley, Washington
- She Said: 67% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Semillon. Stainless steel fermentation. Herbal nose, citrus (lime skin) jalapeños, tropical fruit. Med bodied, med+ acidity, med+ finish. Grassy notes on the finish. I MUCH prefer w/the Semillon then the stand alone New Zealand Sauv Blanc. This is so much better balanced, easier to drink and refreshing.
- Hubs Said: Melon + Petrol. What the hell is the fruit I smell on these Sauv Blancs??? Blog idea: Wine words I misspell the most (bordo, Semillon, sauvignon). I imagine that the Semillon calms down the Sauv Blanc. It has such a unique smell. We need to go to the glass house.
9. Frank Family Vineyards 2016 Chardonnay, Carneros, California
- She Said: Much more subtle on the nose than the other Chardonnays. Getting evidence of lees here too – yeasty, rounder mouthfeel. MalO textures. Hint of oak – vanilla, spice along with some apple and pineapple. Overall, aromas are pretty medium – I’m not getting a ton. On the palate to me its more about the texture then the flavors. Vanilla crème.
- Hubs Said: WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE ROSÉS????? THE AGENDA SAID WHITE AND ROSÉS!!!! Gotta say it’s really a beautiful color. Unique smell for a chardonnay. Way more butter on this one. Maybe some vanilla and spices. That’s a general statement. This is what I want my chardonnay to taste like. I want to eat a bowl of popcorn with this and not share it with Noelle. The tasting may be getting to me at this point. I really like this one and it would be interesting to compare it to other Chards.
10. J. Bookwalter Winery 2016 ‘Double Plot’ Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
- She Said: Medium aromas of white flowers, apple, and ripe lemon. Hint of vanilla. This smells (& tastes!) like an Oregon Chardonnay. The oak is so restrained. This might be my favorite of the lineup. Best balanced of the Chards – oak and fruit compliment each other and there’s a nice dose of acidity that was lacking in the others. Yay – ending on a high note from a hometown winery!
- Hubs Said: Light color. A little more acidity on this chard. Butter w/ some stone(?). Apple. I seem to describe every chardonnay on the “butter scale”. The more butter, the more I like it. Otherwise, Chardonnay is a total commodity to me – it’s all the same. I need to work on this. Or maybe I don’t. I just don’t like Chard, it’s so boring.
So there you have it. In the light of day, what I really liked about having done this with Hubs is that it shows how wine means different things to different people. While his “tasting notes” (and I use that term incredibly loosely) made me laugh out loud, they also reminded me that there are no absolutes – no “right answers”. Wine means to you what YOU taste and feel. I think that’s what makes wine such an amazing pursuit.
Now….where the fuck are those Rosés?!