Texsom 2008 – Sunday AM
I arrived in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel at 8:30 am and
found my way to the event. Texsom 2008 was easy to find by the
seemly endless tables full of wine glasses and people filing
into the room steeped in wine techno-babble, many who had to
work until mid-night. I fully expect that more will continue to
stream in as they awake, blurry-eyed and wonder why they set
their alarm so early on a Sunday morning.
But, there appears to have been quite a bit of forethough gone into
the set-up. Having organized many wine events (dinners,
tastings, educational seminars and festivals), I have a keen
eye for the details often overlooked in these functions.
The presentation was flawless……Martin Korson’s handy work no doubt.
This is great place for a conference.
I am in fourth row center awaiting the opening remarks by
Drew Hendricks MS and Jim Tidwell from the Four Seasons – Las Colinas.
They honored the speakers and judges in the Sommeliers
competition, many of whom are Master Sommeliers, Masters of
Greg Harrington moderated the panel
and gave and intro as to what makes WA special. They are
actually a northern state that has a hot climate (surpise!)
– reportly the past week has been 105 F. With that, I think
that people should stop bad mouthing Texas for heat. WA has
long dry summers, lots of sun and microclimates that use
altitude and/or soil for differentiation.
Texas could learn a few things from WA as there were once
(not too many years ago) the same number of wineries in
WA as in Texas. Key aspects that sell wines from WA are hot days,
(despite the fact that everyone thinks that WA has a cool
growing conditions), good soils and drainage, cool night
temperatures, and wind (toughens the vines). Many of the
vines in WA are grown on their own root stock as they do
not have to deal with many pests and helps regrowth after
a freeze kill (on average once every 7 years).
Recommendation: Wine to try: 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve
Syrah. Syrah is in the future sites of WA.
Wines from Argentina (ARG)
Ken Federicks moderated the session on Argentina (ARG).
In this case, ARG has a well known signature varietal (Malbec)
and a trademark region – The Mendosa. But, they also are also
working with a wealth of other variatals struggling for
distinction including the local Torrontes and Viognier
for whites and the reds includes Italian Bonarda, Tempranillo,
Syrah and Barbara.
Lessons learned here are that AR is sold on the shoulders of
The Mendoza as a high dessert environment 2500 to 3000 feet in
the rain shadow of the Andes. The Texas high plains has this
beat with an average elevation of 3500 feet and dry as a bone…
good drop in nigh temperatures….great conditions for grape growing.
The other thing about AR is that they have defined value
for price. They are a good place to invest as land and
labor are much cheaper than in the USA. But, Texas has the same
situation when compared to most California grape growing acreage.
Recommendation: Wine to try: 2007 Torrontes, Crios de Susana.
Up and coming wine AR region – Patagonia; look for cool weather
Pinot Noir coming soon to a wine shop near you!