Night of Many Bottles
One of the nights I enjoyed most during the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference was the Night of Many Bottles. For this special one night event, each wine blogger was asked to bring their favorite bottle of wine to share with the other attendees of the conference. Each bottle was labeled with the name and twitter handle of the person sharing it. Unfortunately, I misplaced my list of who brought what of the wines I sampled, so if I’m highlighting a wine you shared, please leave a comment to let me know.
From one end of a banquet room to the other, tables lined the walls with open bottles of wine for people to sample and take notes on. The first bottle I tried was L’Ecole No. 41 2005 Wahluke Slope Fries Vineyard Semillon. This pale straw beauty had peach, honey and oak aromas. In the mouth, orchard fruit dominated along with hints of citrus, hazelnuts and a little vanilla on the finish. I’ve tried Semillon in the past and have never tasted one I really like; however, the L’Ecole No. 41 has shed a new light on Semillon for me, and I’m looking at them very differently now.
The next wine I tried and really enjoyed was the 2008 Argyle Nuthouse Reserve Chardonnay – very good and well worth a mention. Upon the first swirl and sniff of the ’08 Argyle Nuthouse Reserve Chardonnay, two words immediately came to mind: pears and hazelnuts. In the mouth, this wine was round, rich and velvety smooth with pear, butterscotch and vanilla flavors.
As I made my way towards a table that was chock-full of Pinot Noirs, my favorite varietal, I immediately saw the 2010 Brickhouse Boulder Block Pinot Noir, which displayed striking and tantalizing aromas of cherries and earth – exactly what I love to find in Willamette Valley Pinots. Super juicy mid-palate, the silky, velvety mouthfeel and smooth tannins had my full attention. Flavors of Bing cherries and pie spice were vividly brilliant and the finish was ever lasting. This is one of those Pinots that could be cellared for years to come, and I absolutely loved it.
Another Pinot Noir that had a memorable effect on me was the Blakeslee Vineyard Estate 2008 Pinot Noir. This Pinot had aromas of fresh cherries, raspberries and vanilla. On the palate, cherries and cassis with a hint of cedar created a liveliness that was really spirited and delicious. I know this Pinot was shared by Carl Giavanti of Carl Giavanti Consulting, so thanks to Carl for bringing a great wine to share.
Jordan Winery’s 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon is 75% Cab, 23% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Here in Oregon, for bottles labeled with a varietal, at least 90% of what goes into the bottle must be the varietal on the label. So, the 75% Cabernet Sauvignon threw me off at first, but I quickly remembered that in California, the labeling laws require a minimum of 75%. Regardless, this wine was positively exquisite. On the nose dark fruit and tobacco led to complex, fruit forward flavors with exceptional depth of character and a lush, full mouthfeel. Extremely opulent and palatable, this was a winner in my book.
Joel Gott’s 2009 Gott 9 Cab is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the varietal’s true characteristics shined through on the nose and palate. Intense Cassis, black currants, tobacco and vanilla on the nose were also found on the palate, along with beautiful soft tannins. Full bodied for sure, yet smooth and ambrosial.
Kudos to the Wine Bloggers Conference for creating a great way for everyone involved with the conference to share their favorite wines. It’s not everyday that one can walk into a room with over 350 bottles of open wine and sample at their free will – what a great opportunity.