Learning about and tasting wine, has been an ongoing, progressive journey, these last 20 years. Along the way, ‘breakthrough’ events have occurred that have completely transformed what I drink and enjoy.
The first of those was expanding to white wines. I occasionally hear casual wine drinkers utter ‘real wine drinkers only drink reds.’ It’s not up to me to define what is or isn’t a real wine drinker, but any serious wine taster, writer, or industry person I have ever met, usually has an appreciation for both. Unfortunately for many people, white wine is associated with chardonnay, which invokes the ABC – ‘Anything But Chardonnay’ syndrome. For many, this was a backlash from the over popularity of oaky butter bombs California style of chardonnay.
Both philosophies are unfortunate, and cripple your wine education and experiences. The range of white wine varietals (grapes), and styles is staggering, and wonderful, if you’ll venture beyond the usual Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc. And thats not to malign those; Chardonnay is like an empty canvas, and the many styles, especially from France, are staggering. Look for the popular ‘naked’ or unoaked chardonnay, now more commonly found. Ask your wine store for neutral oaked French (or any country) to try something different.
But in addition, there is a wide range of incredibly interesting white wines, from light, crisp, low alcohol, to big white wines with presence and mouthfeel. Some of my faves include Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc (all Rhone whites) as well as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and so many others. White wines also generally offer broader ranges for food pairings.
The other event that changed my wine tasting experience was my (never ending) discovery of Rhone wines, wines varietals that originated and/or associated with the Rhone Valley in France. I had enjoyed Viognier for years, it was actually a white wine I stumbled across, that was touted as a white wine for red wine drinkers. It generally has good density, weight, mouthfeel, and when its fermented dry (some CA vintners leave a tiny bit of sweetness) is a very appealing wine.
I was well on my way to a steady relationship with Rhones, and then I attended the 2010 Hospice du Rhone in Paso Robles, the mecca event for Rhone wines, which I HIGHLY recommend. I went from dating to marriage overnight, and now am often nicknamed ‘Rhonehound.’ At the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, I hunted down as many Rhone producers as I could, like I was on a quest for the Grail.
No, I am not promoting this event for money. I am passionate about these varietals, and consumers exposure to them. Heck I even paid for tickets, when I often get press passes. Besides how could a wine blog called ‘Simple Hedonisms’ NOT attend an event called ‘Kinky Whites’!
Join local wineries Davis Family Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield, Joseph Swan, and Thomas George Estates, pouring their exotic, white wines; Gewurztraminer, Marsanne, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Roussanne & Viognier! Frolic in the vineyard and dine in the awesome Thomas George wine cave, pairing these unique white wines with exquisite dishes prepared by Chef Christopher Greenwald of Bay Laurel Culinary.
This is the first of what is hoped to be an annual event. You can purchase tickets online here or Call the winery at 707-431-8031 to reserve.Tickets are $100 per person, $69 for companion. Event starts at 5 p.m., hope to see you there!