We had the exquisite pleasure of participating in Taste Live with St. Supery Winery. Taste Live provides the structure for tasters around the globe to taste and tweet with the wine maker at a set time and date. Taste Live provides information about the wines to be tasted as well as ordering information before hand. On the day of the event, Taste Live home page shows notes from the presenter as well as the tasters. Set up an account and you can post your own tasting notes and opinions as tweets from their home page as well. St Supery is a (gasp) Napa winery. You might be wondering why Washington wine bloggers are blogging about a California wine tasting event. I can give you three good reasons:
- We think that Taste Live is a cool idea with a lot of potential. It was time to give it a try and St Supery was on deck.
- We have been exploring the potential of different twitter tasting formats, and how they can be engaged to support Washington wines.
- If you want to be able to explain the difference between apples and oranges to someone else, it is a good idea to know about both. How can I explain the difference between a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon and California Cabernet Sauvignon to you unless I have been tasting enough of each to understand the differences myself.
We gathered friends together with a spectrum of wine tasting experience and palates. We wanted to get opinions and engage in conversation more than issue a professional point score on these wines. We asked our friends to bring a dish to complement the wines and we provided the wines, hospitality, two dishes, wifi, two laptops, access to post their comments on our account if they did not have a Twitter account of their own and the opportunity to learn more about Twitter. We had two last minute cancellations but the five of us had great wine, great food and a great time.
Childcare issues got us off to a late start, we didn’t a chance to log in to Taste Live until 20 minutes into the tasting and most people were finishing up the first wine, St Supery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. This Sauvignon Blanc is a tart wine with loads of grapefruit and lime zest on the nose and on the palate. It has some nice mineral tones to ground that BIG grapefruit taste. For me, I prefer my grapefruit to be paired with something and I felt the same way about this wine. It opened up and became much more interesting to me when we paired it with the Goat cheese, pear, endive salad suggested by St. Supery. When paired, I got some lovely lime and melon flavors in this wine and the acidity went from tart to pleasingly bright. On Taste Live, participants found the flavor really changed at different temperatures. I liked it much better last night well chilled then at the warmer temperature it was at while I was typing this.
The Virtu is a Sauvignon Blanc – Semillion blend and it caused the most debate by far at the table. Ed went hmm when he first smelled this wine followed by “wow” after sipping. He tweeted about it knocking his socks off. Then the debates began and continued through out the evening. We debated the Sauvignon Blanc vs the Virtu over aroma, flavors and pairing. A big aspect of the debate revolved how the wine changed over time in the glass and off the ice. The nose on this wine can be subtle when well chilled, but becomes complex with layers of stone fruit,watermelon and cedar per Ed. The St Supery Virtu is bright with balance fruit then evolves into this lovely creamy finish. This is a rich wine that pairs well with rich foods. We savored this wine with the Coconut Curry Soup from St Supery and Oysters ala Ed. Everyone really enjoyed the Virtu with the modified Oysters Rockefeller and those oysters were slurped up in a hurry! With the soup, I prefered the more complex Virtu over the more straight forward Sauvignon Blanc but it was the Virtu and oyster pairing that made me sigh and smile. Both the Virtu and the oysters had these complex layers of flavor and aromas but the pairing worked because none of those layers overpowered the other. The Virtu was a wine we kept going back to. It wasn’t a favorite for everyone, but it Virtu had dedicated and vocal fans at the table and across the country.
The single red of the evening was the St Supery 04 Cabernet Sauvignon. Although quite drinkable now, St Supery recommends cellaring this one to let it truly develop its potential. It is tight but even so the nose was sensual full of smoke, meat, leather, cherry, blackberry, herb and oak. We devised a pseudo-decanter to help it open up. The first 30 minutes, the wine was tight but tasty. It was paired with Eric’s chipolte chicken kebabs over saffron quinoa which echoed the smokiness of the Cab very nicely. As this wine opened up, we got more fruit with blueberry and cassis. The chocolate and licorice stepped into the picture as we continued to swirl our glasses. We nibbled on fresh boysenberries from the garden as we savored and sipped the Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a grippy wine with enough fruit and acid to lay down for awhile. This is a wine I would definitely want to revisit in a couple of years.
The St Supery Moscato is a pale lemon color that is bursting with peach aromas. Fruity and floral, the sweetness of this wine is reminscent of biting into a perfectly ripe peach. You know the kind that I mean, where the peach juices run down your chin with each bite? It is a sweet wine, but the sweetness is juicy fruit sweet, not syrupy sweet. Nicely balanced with refreshing acidity. I am not usually a fan of the sweet wines but this one was so well balanced that it won me over. The lemon sorbet was sweet but the lemony tartness and the pop of the pepper made this a delightful pairing with this lovely Moscato. Although there was no consensus at my house about the favorite wine of the night, everyone agreed that the Moscato and sorbet was the best pairing.
It was a delightful evening, and we are already planning our next food and wine feast. The next Taste Live event is July 18 and will feature french wines imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons. You can read more about Taste live by searching Twitter.
The evening of this event there were over 750 tweets about this tasting. As tasters continue to tweet amongst themselves, make recommendations, share recipes and remember, that number will only continue to grow. Hey Washington winemakers, when will you give Taste Live a try?
Disclaimer: The wines for this tasting were provided to us as samples for the purpose of participating in this Taste Live event.