Since my mom and sister were still in town I thought I’d pop a few bottles of Washington Merlots and taste with the family. And if you remember from my post last week these two are hard to please so I wanted to have a decent selection to chose from in hopes to finally find a wine that my mom would not add Sprite to (yes, she visited for 8 days, I sampled approximately 12 wines for her throughout the week, and she poured Sprite into the majority of them).
As for the twitter event, I thought it would be fun for my mom and sis to witness my passion for wine met with my interest in the social media aspect. I followed along with the #WAMerlot hashtag for about an hour, tasting the three Merlots I had brown bagged, along with my panel of four judges total (including the hubby). After an hour I could barely keep up with the electronic portion of the tasting. People were posting on twitter, it seemed, hundreds of tweets a minute. Too fast for me. I added my two cents and revealed my favorites of the evening, then it was back to QT with my mom, and finally closed my laptop. I was, however, very fascinated by some of the results recently posted by Josh on his site. Some of my favorites include:
- Wineries and businesses having events had anywhere from zero to more than 30 people in attendance. From preliminary returns average attendance ran about 10. If my 6th grade math serves me right, 100 locations x 10 people average is approximately 1000 people.
- Tweets were observed from Europe, Australia, Asia (China), and North America (Canada, Mexico, and USA) – 4 out of 5 continents.
- Web site www.wthashtag.com tracked almost 2000 tweets by nearly 500 tweeters.
- Potential bottle consumption of Washington Merlot for the night is between 2000-3000 bottles
- People had fun. People drank some effin’ Merlot!
Sounds like a complete success to me! And he’s right, sounds like people drank lots of effin’ Merlot… simply because of this event! Powerful thing, that twitter eh? It is just one of the many examples that show how powerful word of mouth can be. And that’s one of the powerful things about twitter, it is an electronic word of mouth and I urge folks (whether you are a business owner, employee, blogger, or other) to not discount what is possible through social media.
As for the wines we drank here at my household, we brown bagged three wines. Two of them I had received as samples prior to the tasting, and one I purchased a few months ago while visiting the Woodinville wine area, outside of Seattle. All three wines were from the same vintage, 2007, and we drank them while dining on my soon to be famous Spaghetti & Meatballs. It was my night to cook for my mama, so I went for something I thought would pair nicely with the Merlots. The Spaghetti received a thumbs up from all on our panel ;) As for the wines….
2007 Hogue Columbia Valley Merlot
Hogue has three tiers in their wine making program with this wine being in their lower everyday value tier.The wine had bright light fruit flavors, finished dry, with medium tannins. I found the wine a bit thin and one dimensional, and not quite as lush and rich as I tend to like them in a Washington Merlot. My mom wasn’t a huge fan either, however it was one of my sisters favorites. She thought it was easy drinking and “just fine”.
Appellation: Columbia Valley
Grapes: 99% Merlot, 1% Syrah
Retail: Approx $10
Food Pairing of the evening: Spaghetti and Meatballs
2007 Boomtown Merlot from Dusted Valley Vintners
Family owned and operated winery out of Walla Walla, WA. Boomtown wines fall into Dusted Valley’s “entry level” wine category.This wine has strong aromas of vanilla and bright cherry from the start and continued throughout. Medium bodied, with strong acidity and spice on the finish, the wine continued to display vanilla tones from beginning to end. Brighter fruit, and more complexity than the Hogue, but still light and lacking a rich and lush body. To me it was nice, simple, and a pleasant everyday Merlot. My mom started coming around with this wine but still didn’t love it. My husband was a bigger fan and continued to drink this wine throughout the night.
Appellation: Columbia Valley
Grapes: 78.8% Merlot, 8.8% Malbec, 7.1% Syrah, 5.3% Cabernet Sauvignon
Retail: Approx $15
Food Pairing of the evening: Once again Spaghetti and Meatballs
2007 Stevens Yakima Valley Merlot
My husband and I discovered this winery while visiting the Woodinville Washington wine area last December. A very bizarre area to find wineries since it is surrounded by lots of warehouses, but incredibly close to Seattle and therefore close to millions of potential visitors.Husband and wife team, Tim and Paige Stevens, founded the winery in 2002 and started with just 100 cases of wine in their first vintage. They have now grown to over 2,500 cases and focus on a small assortment of solid, focused, and well structured wines (four reds and two white wines).
As for the Merlot, my first reaction was “that’s what I’m talking about! Rich, lush, deeper fruit and lots of spice.” I could tell from the beginning that this would be a more full-bodied wine. Just how I like my Washington Merlots. The nose was floral with dark berry and plum flavors. The wine had well integrated oak and mild vanilla flavors that didn’t compete with the rich dark fruit flavors. Rich, bold, yet refrained, and more balanced and complex than the other two with great lush fruit, spice, and pepper.
Thoughts from the family?
My husband liked the complexity, richer flavors, and that it wasn’t just about bright fruit flavors. My sister liked the smell more than the taste. She described it as having “jammy” fruit but didn’t want to drink on its own, but instead would prefer it with food. My mom liked it! A lot! She said it reminded her of port, concentrated and rich, but there’s nothing she didn’t like. Her only criticism of it was that she wished it was “sweeter”, but would still drink it without Sprite… which was a big deal for her considering she added Sprite to every wine I gave her to taste throughout the eight days she visited! Finding my mom a wine that she wouldn’t add Sprite to was a sign of success to me, and because of that I think the Stevens was the big winner of the night!
Appellation: Yakima Valley
Grapes: 100% Merlot
Production: only 140 cases produced
Food Pairing: You guessed it, Spaghetti and Meatballs
Nice job to all who helped to make #WAMerlot a success. I look forward to more twitter tastings… perhaps one representing the fine state of Oregon someday?! Attention Oregon wineries and bloggers, I'm ready to help out on this one!!!