SICILY! And more EXPLOSIVE excitement September 19!

Using spittoon at a wine tasting Français : dé...

Using spittoon at a wine tasting Français : dégustation d’un vin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September 19, 2012 I will definitely be doing wine related activities. And lots of wine tasting. And yes, a lot of spitting too.

First, I was invited to join the September 19 Thirsty Girl Twitter Tasting of Handcraft Wines. Then I was invited to join the next Cafe 140 Twitter Tasting. Then I received an invitation to an industry tasting of the San Francisco International Wine Competition award-winning wines. All on the same day.

Fortunately, September 19 is a day that I can devote to wine tasting.

Then, on Wednesday morning, as I was preparing to run some errands and then post about #CabernetDay and #PinotSmackdown, I checked my email and saw one from Elisabetta Tosi, a wine blogger and the Italian Ambassador to Palate Press.

She was writing to invite me to join a wine blogging tour of the Mt Etna wine region in Sicily. In two weeks. September 19-23.

Organized by Consorzio Tutela Vini Etna D.O.C., in collaboration with Fermenti Digitali and with support of Camera di Commercio di Catania, this is a tour for wine bloggers organized by wine bloggers. How cool but…no way! I had to teach, I had to write papers for grad school, who would get my kid to school…and how could I get a flight at this last-minute that would fit their budget? So I headed off on my errands.

And then it hit me–ITALY! WINE! VOLCANO! YES YES YES YES YES! Of course, YES! What in the world was I thinking? Of course I could make it work in order to go to Sicily and learn about and taste wines grown on the side of THE MOST ACTIVE VOLCANO in the WORLD!

I did a bunch of research. And that made me want to go even more to taste these wines that are getting a lot of attention! And I figured out how to put all the pieces together–except the flight part. There were no flights available for 500 euros. It was going to take 1000 euros to get this California girl onto Sicilian soil.

The bad news is, this September 19 I’m not going to be tasting and writing about wines grown on Mt Etna.

The good news is, they plan to invite me on the next trip planned for spring or possible fall 2013. Which will give me more time to prepare for the trip. And I’ll be home in California September 19 tasting and tweeting away.

You’re invited to join in the fun: you can subscribe and read about my adventures in wine and you can pick up the wines we’ll be tasting. Continue reading

#PinotSmackdown: How To Taste Pinot Noir according to Robin Pfeiffer

What follows last week’s #CabernetDay? #PinotSmackdown Thursday Sept. 6, 2012! According to organizer Ed Thralls,

#PinotSmackdown is an all-day global celebration of the world’s most expressive wine grape combined with a knock-down, drag-out cage fight between YOUR FAVORITE Pinot-producing regions! All you need to participate is wine and Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagr.am or your favorite social channel.  Just be sure to use the #PinotSmackdown hashtag!Who makes the best Pinot you’ve ever tasted?  To vote via your tweets, posts, pins, or instagr.am snapshots simply add another 2-character hashtag after #PinotSmackdown and we’ll count the votes so that region gets bragging rights for the year! Voting region hashtags:

  • #OR – Oregon
  • #CA – California
  • #WA – Washington
  • #NY – New York
  • #46 – U.S. The “Other 46″
  • #FR – France
  • #IT – Italy
  • #DE – Germany (Deutschland)
  • #EU – Europe, beyond France, Germany, Italy
  • #CN – Canada
  • #NZ – New Zealand
  • #CH – Chile
  • #AR – Argentina
  • #AU – Australia
  • #SA – South Africa
  • #WD – World, as in none previously listed

For example, if you are drinking a Pinot from a region in California, simply tag the end of your tweets/posts with:      #PinotSmackdown #CA

FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE

This year for the Pinot Noir Smackdown, I’m betting many post-WBC bloggers are rooting for and writing about Oregon Pinot Noir aka #PinotSmackdown #OR. I know that the most memorable pinot noirs for me right now are from my trip last August.

Like many of the 450 attendees to the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, I joined a pre-excursion trip which included a late afternoon drive to the massive and beautiful King Estates for a scrumptious dinner (deserving of its own blog post) followed by an early morning jaunt from our hotel in Eugene to the Pfeiffer Winery in the southern Willamette Valley and in the northwestern part of Lane County.

It took us about 30 minutes to drive the scenic country roads, passing by alpaca farms, hay farms, forest and finally grape vines to arrive at Pfeiffer where we were greeted by Robin and Danuta Pfeiffer, an enthusiastic, energetic, boisterous and attractive couple.

At one time, Danuta was the co-host of the 700 Club. When Pat Robertson ran for President, she started over and came to Oregon to write a book and be on Air America.  Eighteen years ago, she placed an ad describing herself– and looking for a man who could spell. Robin responded with an invitation to go sailing.

On that first date, Robin Pfieffer brought an unlabeled red wine saying, “It’s a little something we make–pinot noir.”

“What’s so hot about pinot noir?” Danuta asked. Continue reading

How to Celebrate Cabernet Day 2012

Personally, I can’t imagine a #Cabernet Day better than last year’s at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert. I was joined at my Art Predator and Wine Predator camp in Kidsville by Jim Morris (aka Sonoma Wine Guy on Twitter) and Tony Fletcher (blogger, dj and author of several books on music and musicians including Keith Moon) plus author Mark Lorentzen aka Puma who always brings over $1000 worth of fine wine to Burning Man.

Continue reading

Two SoCal Wine Festivals To Prowl This Weekend!

Wine Predator plans to prowl this weekend at two Southern California wine festivals this weekend: LA WineFest which runs  June 9 and 10, and the 26th Annual Ojai Wine Fest Sunday June 10 from 1-5pm on the shores of Lake Casitas near Ojai, CA. Continue reading

Barossa or Queensland Australia? If it’s wine, I want to taste it!

Have you tried any wine from Queensland Australia? Did you even know there were almost 200 wineries there?

I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to see whether I am one of 10 bloggers selected to go to Queensland Australia for a 5 day blogging adventure with ProBlogger Darren Rowse. In my application I said:

I will enthusiastically use my social media “Klout” to share stories about rainforest and Great Barrier Reef biodiversity, artists and poets like Oodgeroo Noonuccal, efforts to be green, and cutting-edge cuisine. Discovering Queensland’s growing wine industry and opportunities for hiking, camping, and other family friendly adventures are also topics of great excitement to me. Continue reading

The Perfect Clock for Wine Bloggers: Cheers, it’s time for an adult beverage!

I’m a seasoned writer and wine blogger, about to hit 300 blog posts over here on Wine Predator (and 1300 on Art Predator!), but even if you’re a beginning wine blogger, with only a few blog posts and wine samples under your belt, you can probably relate to this Writers Clock!

I do have two revisions: instead of “Toss,” it should be delete or trash, then undo!  And instead of “Submit,” it should be “Preview”!

I love that every hour it’s time for an adult beverage! And I think it’s about time for one for me–an Ojai Vineyard Rose in fact, nice and crisp for this warm spring day! This rose is mostly Roll Ranch Syrah from the upper Ojai Valley (read more about Ojai Vineyard’s Roll Ranch Viognier and Syrah) with 5% grenache and 5% riesling. I opened yesterday to have with our Easter ham, mashed potatoes with castella blue cheese and asparagus. Awesome pairing and a super pretty salmon color–or like the pale pink blush on an apricot or a peach…

Ojai Vineyard Rose crab oysters

The Ojai Vineyard rose is also interesting with oysters, which is what I’m enjoying right now: they bring out the minerality in each other, more complexity in both the Pacific and the kumamoto oysters and the rose. Not a sweet but a tangy tangerine, rose flower and dried petals, dried apricot on the long finish.  Barrel fermented in older oak, it’s got a real cork closure, it clocks in at 13% alcohol, and less than 600 cases were made. join the club like I did and you won’t miss out! With my club discount I think it was about $15.

The Ojai Vineyard Rose is NOT your grandmother or aunt’s pink wine or white zinfandel–it is NOT sweet, fruity or anything that they would probably like, except the color. This is a wine that can hold its own with spicey ham, blue cheese potatoes, oysters and crab drenched in butter…

Happy writing!

PS If you’re experiencing some writer’s block and  you just don’t know what to write about, check out this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday prompt–and when the clock strikes “Adult Beverage”–open a bottle of Barossa! Blog posts are due Weds. April 25.