TexSom 2013 Diary – Part II
My partner-in-crime Dave and I each decide – perhaps in error – to keep a running count the number of wines that we’ve tasted so far. With the sessions, tasting breaks and lunch detailed in Part I, I am already on Wine #45 by 3pm – with one more session today, hospitality suites this evening, and ONE MORE FULL DAY of the same tomorrow. Yikes.
Important note: expectorating (i.e., spitting) wine during such marathon tasting activities is not only encouraged, but at this rate and to be quite frank, necessary, if you want to remember the wines you taste – or anything, for that matter. And if you prefer to remain upright and ambulatory during the activities as well!
Day 1, Session 3: Uncommon Varietals from Around the World
3:30 – Session #3 is focused on uncommon varietals which are native or typical for a particular area or region, and are generally not found outside of that respective region.
3:42 – The presenter, discussing a wine made from the Agiorgitiko varietal native to Greece, says without hesitation or irony, “I’m told that at this time of the day, you’re tired and drunk, so I can really tell you anything.” (See above!)
4:02 – Pinotage, which is native to (and the signature red wine grape of) South Africa, is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Many South African winemakers are using Pinotage as a blending grape rather than using it as a primary ingredient for wine. One of the most well-known and best producers of Pinotage and Pinotage blends is Kanonkop.
4:20 – Interesting Sommelier Factlet: Carignan is the same varietal as Cinsault.
4:27 – This session was an interesting survey of highly regional varietals – certain grapes that you generally see only in one particular region of the wine world. For better or worse (and some of these were indeed in the category of “worse” – blech), this type of session is such an important part of the TexSom experience: to taste a wide range of examples of some of the lesser-known varietals from across the globe, even if you don’t particularly like the taste of them.
TexSom Day 1: Hospitality Suites
5:15 – It’s time to hit the hospitality suites! Distributors and winemakers pour tastings of literally hundreds of wines in around a dozen hospitality suites each evening of TexSom. Before this evening’s round of wines in the hospitality suites, Dave and I were each in the low 50’s on our respective wine counts. Our goal: hit 100 before the hospitality suites close at 8pm.
5:26 – We’re making good progress. We started our venture in the suite with all French wines…and found the sparkling as soon as we walked in the door. Although it’s pretty common to find single-varietal sparkling wines made with either chardonnay or pinot noir, it’s quite unusual to find a single-varietal pinot meunier. They are pouring two single-varietal pinot meunier sparklers in this suite. I love TexSom. Happiness!
6:02 – We’ve made our way into the most crowded suite room we’ve experienced, and we soon find out why: Burgundy. Two men are speed-pouring a few dozen wines from the Burgundy region in France, and the wine professionals in the room are in wine geek heaven. Some of the most beautiful Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that are being made in the world are from Burgundy – and these guys are pouring them like the wine industry’s version of crack dealers: “C’mon – here’s a taste – isn’t it a brilliant expression of terroir? Don’t ya want to pour this for your guests?”
7:59 – It’s not important what happened in the two hours since we encountered the Burgundy “Crack Dealer Duo.” All you need to know is that we accomplished our goal: 100 wines tasted before the hospitality suites closed. Day 1 is in the books.
Stay tuned for the final entry on TexSom 2013 in Part III: a detailed survey of Australian wines and other fun from Day Two!