Nobody ever thinks EVERYTHING in your life is going to go smoothly ALL the time. This last weekend was one of those times when it seemed my schedule just kept changing every day. Of course, the good news is that since this is my business now and it was directly tied to that business, it wasn't all that bad. I might even be able to say that it ended up better than I anticipated.
So here I am, all scheduled to pour at a tasting on Saturday at a wine shop fairly close to home (I mention "close to home" as the significance will become apparent). Anyway, a couple days before the event I get a call and I find out that the wine rep has accidentally double booked people for the event. Here's where a mistake actually turned out to be positive. In volunteering for this particular event, I failed to notice that it was a 5-hour tasting! When I did finally realize that, I wasn't that thrilled to attend so the offer to be able to back out at the last minute was a blessing in disguise. Believe me, being on my feet for 5 hours would not be a pretty picture. Although I'm not certain how pretty of a picture I make anytime??
So now I'm unemployed for this upcoming Saturday. I figure I'll use that time to go to that same event and try some wines and do a little schmoozing. That I can be pretty good at! Now I'm not sure if, or how many people I've ever told this to, but I have a streak of OCD in my system. Even with all the time I have, I still plan my day and any driving I have to do around a systematic approach to make sure I do as little backtracking as possible. Also knowing when I'll return home so I can eat dinner at the prescribed time of most retired people at 4:30. So coffee, breakfast, shower (since I'm leaving the house) the trip to the wine shop and then on the way home, a stop at the grocery store to do my shopping for the upcoming week. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Was not to be....
During coffee (there may be some reason that's important), I get another phone call from that same wine rep wanting to know if I could do him a big favor and do a tasting out in Sycamore. Where is that you may ask? If I hadn't attended a tasting there a long time ago, I would have had to go to Google Maps and find out where this place is. Unfortunately, I knew, and it ain't close! A good 35 miles door to door. I really don't like to travel that far to do a tasting, but the rep is pleading (okay, maybe just asking strenuously). I agree and immediately go into my "reconfigure my day" mode. I still have time to eat breakfast and for the sake of those that I will be working around, I have time still to shower. Won't be able to get to the other tasting as the hour's conflict. Since I'll be back on the road coming home at 5 and arriving nearer to 6, I have decided to forgo dinner at home and opt for a bite before I get home. I also have to forego my grocery shopping. I hate shopping late in the day.
45 minutes travel time and I arrive. I'm actually finding a very nice setup for this wine tasting from a shop called Lundeen's out there in Sycamore. It's being held at a garden design shop turned into an event location. Nice selection of wines around the place and the setup for the food looks good and the food looks even yummier. It was only a 4-hour tasting as well, at least I shaved an hour off my day. Though that was replaced with the driving to get there.
I had a nice array of wines. A Chardonnay called Bread & Butter, a softer style wine made from Viognier, then a few reds. Nice Pinot Noir, a Zinfandel from, get this, PlungerHead (I know it's actually very popular), a Red Blend from Paso Robles (let's not get into the correct pronunciation) and a couple of wines from Mettler Vineyards from the town of Lodi California. Can't remember if I've ever talked about my time in Cali, but I lived in the Central Valley in a small town (at least it was when I lived there) called Stockton. That's about 15 miles South of Lodi. Years ago when I was there about the only winery was Gallo down about another 15 miles South of me in Modesto. It has also got to be one of the hottest regions outside of Death Valley. When they started making wines out there I was surprised, to say the least. I thought "way too hot to grow wines." Some of those early wines were maybe a little suspect as well. I remember tasting a few and getting a raisiny or almost burnt flavor from the wine. I thought it to be a product of all that heat.
BUT! After a few years, and I'm sure a lot of experimentation, the wines are coming into their own. The two I had from Mettler were their Petit Sirah (tech sheet) and the Cabernet (tech sheet), both from the 2014 Vintage. With both wines coming in under $20, I felt I had a couple of real winners for the tasting, and the comments and responses from the tasters confirmed that. Across the board, the wines showed some excellent attributes. The Petit Sirah with a slightly fruitier with a slightly deeper edge to it and the Cabernet that could hold its own against Cabs twice the price or more. Wine Enthusiast rated them 93 and 92 Points, respectfully. I would easily confirm those ratings.
Even though I mentioned in one of my last Wine Tasting Tell All posts that I would try and include more interactions with the participants, alas, that was not to be this time either. I can tell you that the folks that I met helped made the event enjoyable and go quickly. Overall, I had a nice time. I wish I could say that I can't wait to go back, but at that distance, it will probably be some time before I get back. For any wine rep reading this, groveling does help with that.