US Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma County, California

October 25, 2008

Today, the American Wine Bloggers openend their conference in Sonoma County, California. I would have loved to be there, instead I am here on the island of Taiwan teaching a course on “good governance in land administration”. In fact I love it here; it’s one of my “regular events”. Participants come from all over the world just as at the wine bloggers events.

Though it is somehow very tempting, I must admit. If you know that all these interesting wine bloggers convene and share their experiences, hmm. But one day, I will be there and see with my own eyes, hear with my own ears and feel and taste the wines with my own taste buds. Alas, there is the internet and information can be accessed.

Among the many sponsors of the Sonama event is also a group I have joined recently: The Open Wine Consortium. It’s an interesting bunch of people, very dedicated to the promotion of wine and wine culture. Though being a rather a new member, I have not yet interacted much with them. But I will. It’s just to tempting. Log on to the conference and experience it yourself.

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Old Friends and Good Wine

April 6, 2007

According to Plato “only philosophers have what it takes to venture outside of the cave into the sunlight”. And what do they do there (apart from eating as we know from my last blog entry)?

They drink good wine of course!

When our friend Alan Wall came over from Canberra they other day, he brought with him, as usual, some bottles of good wine. Alan is one of these people who has forgotten more about wine then many of us will ever learn. He has a fine collection of about 3,000 bottles which are stored in his insulated garage.

We started with a single vineyard wine, a Mount Pleasant 2000 Lovedale, Hunter Valley Semillion. The bottle was decorated with five trophies of gold and top gold medal signs. What a wine this was. It displayed honeyed toast and hay aromas but it also showed some lemon and grapefruit character as many young wines do. It could have easily be cellared for much longer but when old friends meet, good wine has to flow. Of course we had food with it, a delicious seafood pasta.

The Hunter Valley, one of the oldest wine regions in Australia, is famous for its Semillions and its Shiraz. Whoever plans to visit Sydney should also include into their program a trip to the Hunter Valley just a 2 hours drive north of cosmopolitan Sydney.

The main dish was grilled beef (on my Weber) and with it we drank a Coonawarra Rymill Shiraz of 1996, a very well aged and harmonious wine of great depth and with a long finish. What a delight this was with it’s spicy peppery character and the blackcurrant flavours.

After the desert we continued with a wine from Sonoma County, a Chateau St. Jean Merlot of 2004 which displayed all the good Merlot charactereristics which we are looking for, deep cherry and plum aromas, with good texture, some weight in the mid-pallate and a long finish.

Of course the company was what really counted. Drinking wine we discussed about electoral systems, political party and democracy development and the future of the young Indonesian democracy. Life is just too short to drink bad wine.

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The Yarra Valley in Victoria