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05.21.2012

2012 TAPAS Spanish and Portuguese Varieties Tasting: June 9, 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 that could be planted (more, or at all) 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 fifth 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. Check out who is pouring.

Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Tasting 2012
Saturday, June 9th
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Fort Mason Conference Center
Festival Pavilion
San Francisco, CA 94123

Tickets are $65 and can be purchased online in advance. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

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!

Comments (1)

05.22.12 at 4:54 PM

I'm sure you're right about this reliance of the "tried and true", but often it is the bottom-line which dictates what varietal is planted; Nebbiolo is notorious for its difficult nature and its failures outside the Piedmont region of Italy. However, there are giant steps being taken with tempranillo and Sangiovese, several of which (CA) I'm hoping to get at soon.
My guess is all who attend will gain greatly from their involvement.

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