So another Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC11) is in the books. This year’s vintage took place in the sweaty heat of Charlottesville, Virginia. Virginia is for lovers…of polo shirted drunk monkeys drenched in sweat. This past weekend at the Omni Hotel was a celebration of all the miserable maggots who call themselves ‘wine bloggers’ and if pictures of late night orgies in hotel rooms weren’t enough horror for those who followed the incest fest, this one tweet from a “wine expert” summed it up: “David King from @KingEstate is
talking about governmental affairs…” Fyi “wine expert,” King Estate Winery is actually in Oregon, not to be confused with the out-of-coverage-area King Family Vineyards on the border of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Then, there was this completely asinine, illogical proclamation from @tishwine stating, “Bloggers are the new wine connoisseurs, and their role as media is rising”. William R. Tisherman was apparently high on hillbilly hooch, or distilled wine made from Norton grapes.
Of course, Washington had to represent in this moron-fest, with Jolly Josh Nectarsucker crying to find a roomie to split the costs. Two things to take from that: (1) no one was dumb enough to shack up with Mr. Spokant and (2) Jolly makes SO MUCH MONEY with his dive bar that he really was just hoping for some underage conventioneer to signup so he could sharpen his ‘indecent liberties’ act like he accomplished with Sean. Speaking of Sean, again a co-worker pointed out that Annie must have queef’d on his laptop that led to a Twittersphere void of goofy, asexual tweets for the last 4 days. Truth is, it was no coincidence that this past weekend was the activation of New York State’s gay marriage law. Delia of the airline reservations desk reported taking a roundtrip order to NYC for his seat and that of a “Paul Gwine.” Everyone, please leave a comment on Walla Wine Report sending your worst wishes on their unrecognized-in-Washington-State flaky “wine marriage.” Rumor had it that both Shona and Barbara Winegal were jumping up and down as witnesses until their antifungal applicators fell out of their “vault.” Fuhhhhhhh-k.
So here’s the deal. What Asimov and Robinson failed to connect on was why hold the rah-rah convention in Virginia after a successful foray into Washington State? I have to say ‘Washington STATE’ otherwise Virginians think I am referring to that land mass east of the Potomac that is the source of what is currently constipating the American economy.
Well, here’s the wineman’s revised U.S. history. Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd president and wine connoisseur, was smoking ganja at his pimp pad in Monticello when he got an email notice stating he won an eBay auction and purchased the Louisiana territory for a paltry $15 extra-large from seller EmperorNapoleon. Tommy then sent out a couple of Ohio roughnecks in Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who had just defeated the Cleveland Indians at The Horseshoe in a rousing homecoming football game, to survey the value of this new purchase. This was before it was discovered they were selling pre-Expedition tattoos and horse-drawn carriages for cash, thus making them ineligible for future Indian wars.
So this odd couple, Lewis & Clark, was tasked with finding new wine frontiers so that Tommy would no longer be bored with his estate-grown lambrusca, scuppernong, muscadine and Norton, even with his slaves decanting the wines. It’s good to be Thomas Jefferson! L&C cut a plonk trail through present-day Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, the Dakotas, Montana, and Idaho before landing in the promised wine land that is WASHINGTON. The boys partied with local Nez Perce Indians and some French-Canadian trappers poured some divine merlot grown along the Columbia River basin, some say too divine, that L&C called a local mountain formation Canoe Ridge because it looked like an upside-down canoe. The pair windsurfed the Columbia all the way to Astoria where “Kindergarten Cop” Ahh-nold congratulated the pair and their metallic surfboard with a Pumping Iron medal for their rad-720 backdoor aerial maneuver. After a celebratory party at Taco Del Mar where they paired fish tacos with a local pinot gris, they trekked back to Albemarle County and reported to Uncle Tom that, yeah, “the waves were tasty but the wines were cowabunga bitchin’, dood!” And that was enough for the Jeffer to forego a second term and head out west, where the wines are EPIC, the vineyards are Green Rooms, and the tasting rooms are nonstop party waves!
Seriously, what is up with Walla Walla harboring all these pseudo-hip nicknamed winemakers? Edward L. Busch the third, aka Trey Busch, is the latest in this wine version of the TTB Wine Witness Protection Program. Okay, I’ll play along this time. So “Trey” is a Georgia transplant who would have objected to the Madison County peaches doled out on the WBC11 excursion buses that some scream-tweeted were the “best.” “Trey” was dishing out free wine for a “small Walla Walla winery” (hint: Basel Cellars) at some hoidy-toidy Sun Valley Wine Auction when he hooked up with Jerry and Sandy Solomon and the trio organized a series of winemaker dinners at the money couple’s summer home. Hmm, if I was a winemaker, I’m thinking “what a perfect time to recruit investors!” Bingo! And the rest is history as Sleight of Hand Cellars was birthed in 2007.
Seriously (part II), what is up with “Trey” Busch’s multi-layered wineries approach? First, it’s his primetime label, Sleight of Hand Cellars. Then, some Renegade Wine Company selling negociant wine. Now this Modern Wine Project thingy. Okay, so there’s a lot of bulk wine out there, thanks to our failing economy. But really, why the gimmicks? What’s behind the meaning of Sleight of Hand? That it will disappear into thin air like Nicholas
Cole Cellars? And Renegade? The “I’m different” approach is a little dated. So Modern Wine Project means that everyone else is doing some antiquated wine project? C’mon man.
In fairness to “Trey,” this is the purportedly finished wine of another winery that chose to toss it onto the bulk market instead of selling it (at a higher tag…in this economy, yeah right) on their own label at a discount; thus potentially “harming” the reputation of their winery’s name. So, let me get this straight: “Modern Wine Project” really means (1) buy someone else’s completed wine; (2) slap a basic label on it; and (3) hype it up on its own Facebook site as a “small production” wine that can only be acquired through that portal.
What is admirable is that “Trey” is not afraid to put his “Sleight of Hand Cellars” name on the back label of this wine. It may be due to a TTB requirement to disclose where it was produced and bottled, but regardless, at least this is not some game to deceive wine consumers like some other wineries play.
To the wine…
I had high hopes for this wine as I personally witnessed a few dames purchasing this bottle while in the store. I wasn’t in the mood for the California wine I had in Charlottesville that tasted like stewed cherries, buffalo jerky, and troll. Tonight’s food pairing was simple S&B mild curry, Trader Joe’s dark chocolate raisins, Jack Link’s Sweet and Hot beef jerky, and USDA Prime chopped ribeye with bell peppers. Not a match. Not. Even. Close.
Tasted at 63-67 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: clear, dark ruby. Nose: raspberry, Bing cherry, red licorice, root beer, high notes of heat. Mouthfeel: lightweight. Tail trail: 5 seconds. Flavors: brown (dried leaves, tanned old leather), oaky black currant, mild drying tannins, and loads of heat. If my Leonetti 2004 cab tastes like this, I’m throwing the empty
bottle at the Figgins’ house. Same goes with L’Ecole No 41’s 2004 Walla Walla Valley cabernet at the Clubb’s home.
Alcohol: 15.2%. 75% cabernet sauvignon, 22% cabernet franc, 2% merlot, 1% malbec. 122 cases. Columbia Valley AVA. Aged 30 months in majority new French oak. Unfiltered. Produced and bottled by Sleight of Hand Cellars. Artistic label is about one kitschy grade up from somebody else’s “house wine.” To balance, this is a wine that some old fogey from a southern state driving a Lamborghini with his trophy wife to a dinner appointment at Canlis (to get slizzard) could appreciate more than I. Rated: 82. Value: $6. Paid: $22. Music pairing: “Like a G6” by Far East Movement. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth. Your new champion Washington wine blogger!