Hello wine lovers and happy wine Wednesday!  I hope your week has been terrific for you.  I am finally settling in from the crazy month of July…she was a busy one, indeed.  My beautiful sister, Jessica Campbell, turned 40 on August 5th and she and her love, Stephen Diebolt, put on a perfect celebration this past Saturday evening…a truly wonderful night for a truly wonderful woman.  Family and friends, a warm summer day and great wine all made for happy evening.

Speaking of wine, this week I have my notes for you on the ‘Speed Blogging’ presentation at the Wine Blogging conference I attended in Santa Barbara.  This fast and furious seminar is one of my favourites of the conference and this years participants did not disappoint!  We had 5 minutes with 10 wineries who rotated from table to table pouring tastes for us to sample and giving us a quick rundown what they wanted us to know…

What follows is an exact transcript of what I wrote down during the ‘Speed Blogging’ event:

Main & Geary Zinfandel 2012 – 89% Zinfandel and 11% Syrah smooth 14.5% abv. spent one month in American oak. Dry Creek Valley. $10 – good value. An exclusive wine to BevMo.com

Cornerstone Cellars – Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Franc 5%. Oakville AVA $150 a bottle.  This is a ‘lay-down’ wine and needs 10 years to develop. Sweet vanilla notes on the nose and silky tannins.  Beautiful.


White Hart Winery Pinot Noir 2012 – sustainably farmed, 42 year old vines.  McIntyre vineyard.  Named winery White Hart because he swore he saw a purely white deer.  Lay down for 4 – 5 years.  Neutral oak. $24 per bottle. Nice flavour, hints of lavender. 

Banfi – Centine Rosso Toscana 2012 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot. I like this affordable, everyday red.  $12.  Nice minerality.


Georgia Wine USA – Georgia the country, not the state…an odd presentation of several wines.  Too much information in too little time. Overwhelming and no cohesion. Tried Saparavi grape variety: sour and unappealing.  They grow 23 – 30 grape varieties in this country.  Next…

Aridus 2012 Syrah – grapes from Russian River Valley and wine is made in their custom crush facility in Arizona.  Family business.  $35. Big flavour – not sure I like it though…

Charles Krug Peter Mondavi Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. $75 for a bottle. Nice and bright – I like this one…not too heavy or big.  Has some Petit Verdot and Malbec in the mix. Unique micro-climate growing condition.

Ottimino Estate 2011 Zinfandel – means ‘little eight’ 14.2% abv. Cool climate Zinfandel from 3 AVAs: Russian River Valley, Green Valley and Sonoma Coast. Nice aromas, produce between 2,500 – 5,000 cases.  Dry farmed.  2000 was the first vintage.  Zinfandel only.

Casey Flat Ranch (CFR) – CFR Estate Red 2011. Retails for $40. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 16% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 1% Viognier (co-fermented with Syrah like Côte Rotie) 2,000 ft. elevation in the mountains of Napa. Working longhorn cattle ranch as well.  Great balance of acidity and tannin – would be amazing with beef. Age 4-5 years. 69% new oak. Laura Barrett winemaker.  This is a great wine.

Gypsy Canyon – The Collector’s Pinot Noir 2012 Retails for $110/bottle. Only 100 cases made of this wine.  I am in heaven – this is, by far the best wine of the flight, if not the day.  Absolutely divine and I would like some more!  Silky, balanced, complex and just gorgeous to drink.  Deborah Hall, owner and winemaker, may well have the most beautiful hands I have ever seen.  


Deborah Hall’s beautiful hand

‘Speed Blogging’ is really quite thrilling as every person in the room is straining to hear what the presenters are saying and, at the same time, focus on their own tasting skills and write it all down – and in a hurry!  My favourite of REDS was Gypsy Canyon’s ‘The Collector’s Pinot Noir’ – if you have an opportunity to try this stunning wine – please do … it is worth every penny.

That is it for me for today.  Next week, I will have my notes for you on my ‘Speed Blogging’ day with the white wines I was presented.  Please keep your comments coming!