Reflections on the Wine Bloggers Conference and More
It's hard for me to believe that it has been a little over a month since the Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi. It was my first time attending and not only was it educational and enjoyable I'd go so far as to say it was inspirational. There has been a lot going on in my personal life over the past few months including my daughter having surgery and buying a home. These two events independently would have been stressful enough but they happened back to back and very close to the time of the Wine Bloggers Conference. When I first arrived to the conference and got my badge, I like my fellow bloggers had to choose from over 15 cleverly worded excursions for the following night. It was a tough choice, but inspired by my new found love for Picpoul Blanc, I choose Pick a Peck of Picpoul. To my delight I ended up at Sue Tipton's Acquiesce Winery. Acquiesce is more than just a name to Sue though. Originally the name was chosen as a nod to the k.d. lang song but it became a philosophy for her personal style of wine making.
To quote Merriam-Webster, Acquiesce is defined as to accept, agree, or allow something to happen by staying silent or by not arguing. And that's what Sue does with her grapes, they are lightly watered, all handpicked, whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks to bring out the natural varietal characteristics. Sue, acquiesces to the vine and her wines are the best white Rhône wines I've ever had. She carefully choose her cuttings from Tablas Creek when she decided to start growing wine more than just Zinfandel.
2011 was the first commercial vintage, so to see the structure and craft in just five years of commercial release is especially impressive. But Sue has more than one impressive talent. At the Pick a Peck of Picpoul event Sue showcased her wines at the tasting room with paired amuse-bouches. Wine and food pairings can be challenging since not everyone perceives taste in the same way. I've had a lot of paired wines with food in my life, but there is something about Sue's pairings that I can't describe in words. The closest word I can find are impressive-just like her wine. Not only does she think about flavor in her pairings, this pairing included the entertainment of two can-can dancers that performed in the tasting room and joined us for dinner.
The dinner was a continuation of an amazing event with wines paired to each course. Sue's hospitality knows no bounds as she invited us all to watch the sunset from her backyard. I personally think Lodi has the prettiest sunsets and I hope in the future I can see more of them. She was also so kind as to give us a gift bag. There was a hat in the gift bag, that I loved which my toddler also loved and has since stolen. There is a gallery below with all my photos, but most importantly, who wore the hat better?