In no particular order, here are my top ten moments of the Wine Bloggers Conference 2012 (#WBC12) in Portland, Oregon:
1. Taking in Portland’s city lights among friends
One of the best things about the Wine Bloggers Conference is reconnecting with old and making new wine blogger friends. A few of us gathered at wine bar Noble Rot for great food, drinks, and dessert (the PB&J was amazing!) while taking in a stunning view of Portland’s city lights.
2. Tasting Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja 1964
I was amazed by how well this nearly 50 year old wine has aged, even if it is just a bit past its prime. I also tasted the 1982 and 1999 vintages of Faustino I which are both drinking beautifully.
3. When I looked up from my wine glass and couldn’t smell anything
Tim Gaiser, MS showed us how the positioning of our eyes makes a difference in how we smell wine. To illustrate, we were instructed to pick up our glasses, smell the wine with our eyes in whatever position we typical have them in while smelling wine, and then look up. The moment we looked up, all of the aromas dissipated!
4. Tasting Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Napa Valley 2002
For the win! Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard 2002 is one of the best wines I have had all year.
5. Starting the day with tango dancers and bubbly Malbec Rosé
The Argentina wine pairing brunch treated us to delicious scallops, ceviche, risotto, steak with chimichurri, empanadas—all paired with Argentine wine, including sparkling rosé of Malbec. Breakfast should never be that good.
6. Taking in the view at Garden Vineyards
Breathtaking views of North Willamette Valley can be seen from Garden Vineyards where we enjoyed fantastic wine and farm-to-table meal.
7. The importance of sustainability in winemaking finally clicked for me
Biodynamic and organic wines always seemed like a marketing gimmick, but in Oregon, sustainability is an ingrained part of the culture. Experiencing that culture enlightened me on the importance of purity in winemaking as well as respect for the land and sustaining it for many generations to come.
8. Comparing 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2002 vintages of Clos Ste. Hune Riesling
Wines of Alsace hosted a vertical tasting of Clos Ste. Hune Riesling. Each vintage was distinctly different. The 2001 was my favorite because it still had great fruit notes with matured complexity.
9. Alan Kropf took over the Wine Blog Awards
Last year, the Wine Blog Awards was unmemorable (no disrespect to nominees and winners). As the 2012 Wine Blog Awards got rocking, the lights turned off, sirens sounded, and spotlight centered on Alan Kropf waving Mutineer Magazine’s flag. It was memorable, indeed.
10. We fit as many women and bottles of wine in a bed as possible
You kinda had to be there. Lisa Mattson and Jordan Winery host the best after parties that run into the wee hours of the morning complete with more Jordan wine than we can drink, awkward photo shoots, and wine bottle sabering.
Many of these moments were documented on Instagram—follow me @corkchronicler.
There can’t be a conference more fun than the Wine Bloggers Conference. I look forward to it every year. See you all in British Columbia in 2013!