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05.21.2011

TAPAS Spanish Varietals Tasting 2011: June 5, San Francisco

Sometimes I feel like California vintners don't experiment enough. While they may be trying a wide range of rootstocks, clonal material, yeast strains, trellising methods, barrel regimes, and the various other minor, yet important variables that can make for higher quality wine, far too few wineries are trying to grow different grape varieties from around the world.

That's a generalization, of course, and there are plenty of exceptions, but by and large most California winemakers stick to the tried and true: white and red Bordeaux varieties, Syrah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, with occasional branching out into tapas_logo.jpgGrenache, Viognier, or Petit Sirah. With the exception of Zinfandel, most of these grapes are traditional French varieties.

What about the rest of the world? If you ask me, there's far too little Barbera, Nebbiolo, Malvasia, Ribolla, Montepulciano, Albariño, Touriga Nacional, or any of the thousands of other grape varieties in the world planted in California

All of which is why I'm a big fan of the Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society. These pioneering vintners have been growing Tempranillo and other Iberian grape varieties for varying amounts of time, but all with the goal of making interesting and compelling wines from grapes that are off the beaten path.

This is the fourth annual tasting that this group will hold. The main event is a walk-around tasting where more than thirty wineries from Arizona, California, Oregon,and Washington will be pouring wines made from grapes such as Tempranillo, Albariño, Grenache, Graciano, Mourvedre, Touriga, Verdejo, Bastardo and more. Snacks will be available from various food purveyors.

Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Tasting 2011
Saturday, June 5th
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Fort Mason Conference Center
Herbst Pavilion
San Francisco, CA 94123

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online in advance. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door for $60.

My usual tips for such public tastings apply: get a good night's sleep; come with food in your stomach; drink lots of water; wear dark clothing; and if you want to learn anything, SPIT!

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.