Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coyote Callers Agree: Sauvignon Blanc is not just for Twitter Tastings anymore!

Last Thursday marked a pretty incredible event....a worldwide Sauvignon Blanc tasting on Twitter. This thing was started by wine guy, social media marketing extraordinaire, and all-around nice guy Rick Bakas, and the word spread fast.

The idea was to connect wine lovers around the world with wineries, distributors, retailers, and other oenophiles in open discussion about arguably the Tubbs of the white wine landscape (to Chardonnay's "Crockett", of course). That is, the #2 out there. Nothing wrong with Tubbs. Some prefer Tubbs. Just meaning that Don Johnson's star rose a little higher. Maybe the marketability of his sassy fashion-sense. I don't know. I wasn't allowed to watch Miami Vice as as a kid. Nor could I drink wine. Geez, my folks were real mennonites, huh? Maybe I need to start over. You see, Sauvignon Blanc is the "other guy in Wham!" to Chardonnay's "George Michael"...

...enough of that. Anyway, folks would hop on Twitter and comment about the wines, adding the hashtag #sauvblanc. Then, by searching said hashtag, participants could view all the comments from all other Tweeters out there. Honestly, pretty amazing to see folks in North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, Asia, and beyond connect so effortlessly. 'Twas a true demonstration of the power of technology and social media. In fact, Twitter shows a list of the top-ten trending topics on Twitter (worldwide), and #sauvblanc made the cut about an hour into the event. Incredible!

Swelling with a feel-good vibe of world peace, I opted- once again- to patronize the wines of Chile in the wake of their recent earthquake. Chilean wines are neither the Crockett nor the Tubbs nor the 3rd most popular character on "Vice" in my mind and experience, but I continue to give them a try. Furthermore, they're making a lot of Sauvignon Blanc, and it's easy to find on most retail shelves.

Sadly, neither of my selections on #sauvblanc eve were earth-shattering (yikes, that's a bad choice of words). The 2008 Palo Alto Maule Valley Sauvignon Blanc Reserve (not pictured) couldn't even get past my nose. It had a very unpleasant smell of rubber and a whiff of rotten eggs, suggesting excessive sulfur compounds in the finished wine. Sulfur dioxide is a common addition to wines (notice most bottles say "contains sulfites") to prevent spoilage and oxidation, but it can sometimes be overdone and cause reactions that ruin the wine. I'll give it another try, because I don't think this is what the winemaker intended. "What? You don't love my burnt rubber/rotten egg nuances in the wine?!"

The second one was MUCH better. The 2008 Chilensis Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blanc Reserva had a subtle nose to it, but there were the thumbprint aromas of gooseberry (I've smelled enough SB to assume I know what the hell a gooseberry smells like), grapefruit, cut grass, and some stone fruits, with a bit of toast from the oak aging. So far, so good. However, it fell pretty flat in the mouth. While SB is renowned for a nice dose of acidity, this one was just...well, watery. Not a lot of flavor; not a ton of acidity. Honestly, if this had been a $10-12 bottle, I would've been perfectly happy with it. The fact that it cost $17, and it was from Chile, where wines are supposed to over-deliver for the price, well...it left me feeling as flat as the taste of the wine.

So, I dumped the Palo Alto and put the Chilensis in the fridge, hoping it's time would come. Fortunately, the suburbs- at times- have a way of making the nuances of a bottle of wine take backstage to its undeniable ability to be no more than a vessel containing alcoholic beverage. Sitting on the back porch with neighbor Van Burin, piping Varmint Al's coyote sounds through the outdoor speakers at 1 AM (all in an attempt to get a response from the large pack that inhabits the woods in our neighborhood), I must admit that the Chilensis- pulled straight from the bottle- was mighty good.

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