Monday, September 22, 2008

Twitter Taste Live #3: Michel Schlumberger

This past Thursday, the third Twitter Taste Live event, hosted by Bin Ends, took place and it was even a bigger success than the first two. The special guest was from Michel Schlumberger winery in Sonoma County, California. The co-host for this Twitter Tasting was wine blogger Megan of Wannabe Wino.

"Michel-Schlumberger lies off the beaten track in Wine Creek Canyon, a sylvan side pocket of Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California. Each of the wines from our benchland, hillside, and mountain vineyards illustrates the French concept of terroir, or the expression of a specific place. We take pride in the wines produced from this all Estate, organically farmed fruit. Here, tucked away from the mainstream in Healdsburg, you find artisan vineyard work and winemaking at its finest. We hope you enjoy your exploration."

There were many wine bloggers, including myself, and many others, from all over the world, who participated in this event. Craig of Bin Ends led Twitter Taste Live from the Wine 2.0 New York event, garnering even more participation. A few bloggers even attended the Wine 2.o event too.

As I mentioned in my review of the second Twitter Tate Live event, one of the most fascinating elements of this tasting is that you get to hear so many different descriptions of the same wine, showing how people clearly smell and taste wines differently. That was very evident this time as well, especially with the first wine of the tasting.

Practically, this event was a bit more chaotic than the prior two events. That may be partially due to the fact the event was being run from the Wine 2.o conference, creating some logistical issues. It may also be partially due to the growing number of people who are participating in these tastings. There were no major problems, matters just did not run as smoothly as before. As these events are still relatively new, this is probably more a matter of growing pains and it will work itself out in time.

The wines that were tasted included, with a few of my notes, the following:

2006 Chardonnay "La Brume" ($29.60): This wine certainly tasted differently to many people. For me, it had too much of a buttery flavor for my preferences. That buttery flavor overwhelmed the other flavors of the wine. Yet there were other participants who tasted little if any butter flavor in this wine. They raved about the wines exotic fruit flavors, the touch of spice, and minerality. So it truly is a matter of preference. Though I did not care for this wine, there were plenty of others who loved it.

2005 Syrah ($22.40): This wine is a blend of 81.5% Syrah, 5.3% Zinfandel, 5.9 % Petite Sirah, and 3.2% Viognier. This was my favorite wine of the evening, just a luscious wine with plenty of alluring flavors and complexity. Blackberries, blueberries, plum and even raspberry filled my mouth, assisted by touches of pepper and spice. The tannins are restrained and the finish is long and delicious. Despite all the fruit, this is not a fruit bomb wine. I think this is an excellent value at this price and I highly recommend it.

2004 Merlot ($22.40): This Merlot has a little bit of Petit Verdot and Carmenere and was aged for 16 months in French oak barrels. This wine can benefit from a bit of breathing as it can seem too overpowering when the bottle is initially opened. But, after an hour or so, the wine is more tame and smooth. And it was even better the next day. Lots of black cherry and vanilla flavors in this wine with undercurrents of clove and leather. More complex than many comparable Merlots, this stands as another good value wine.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon ($33.60): Spice seemed to dominate in this wine, with undercurrents of dark berries. It kind of reminded me of the spices in apple pie yet atop a blueberry/blackberry pie. Tannins were moderate and the finish was long and spicy. An intriguing Cabernet that I enjoyed, especially as it seemed a bit more unique in its spice-driven flavors. Much more of an Old-World style than what usually comes from California.

All of these wines are available for sale at Bin Ends.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Twitter Taste Live in October. I will be posting the details in a separate post, as well as details on the November event. I strongly urge you to get involved. Sign up now for Twitter (it's free) and get ready for the next live Tasting.

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