May 22, 2009

Weddings planning: the anti-wine

I have been so focused on wedding planning recently that, even with all the inspiring wine I've tasted and wine events I've attended, I have next to no free time to write about them. Sadly, weddings also seem to drain one's budget for buying wine...

At the start of May, I attended the Portland Indie Wine Festival. This was a fantastic event, organized by LAD Communications and others. The food booths were all terrific, making it easy not just to find a ballast to all the wine being poured, but to find interesting pairings and imagine many more possibilities. On the whole, the pinot noirs being poured were young, but still very interesting. No winemaker there seemed to shy away from acid, though some expressions were very tight, and reinforced by young tannins may the wines seem unrevealing. The most interesting group, for me, was the Chehalem Mountain wines, which tended to be exceptionally balanced, with lots to offer upfront and on the follow through. Beyond the pinot's, it was interesting to know the growing diversity of varietals being made, if not grown in Oregon. There were Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc, Rieslings, Syrahs and others. Also, as wine festivals go, this was manageable, personal and light-hearted. I will, if possible, return next year, hopefully with the intention to stock up on favorites.

Soon after this, our Wine Club met for a Spain and Portugal night. This was more a survey of Iberian wine, with both red and whites, and even a LBV Port. The wines tasted got me excited for more exploration in this area (after all, this is the purpose of the club). The following night, we had dinner at Vij's with friends, where low and behold, we sampled some more Spanish wine. I'm continually impressed with Vij's wine list, offering a broad selection that befits their eclectic menu. Indian restaurants are not typically known to have great wine lists. The ongoing trend of food fusion, spurred by globalization, was inevitably going to bring together the West's refined drinking tradition with the East's fascinating and complex foods. Plus, crisp pinot gris helps wash the chillies down.

This weekend I am taking the WSET Intermediate Course, and will be sitting the exam the following weekend. Having ready through the course book, I'm not expecting any revelations from the course material, though I hope to find some interesting examples for tasting and discussion. What I fear is that these tastings will focus too much on the international varietals, without hinting at the diverse world of lesser-knowns.