I'm walking a (metaphorical) tightrope I might be tempted to literalize at some point: high above the dizzying chasm in attitude between knowing my limits & testing my stamina.
Happy to be in the company of des vrai amateurs du vin: true lovers of wine, quite a few of whom are talented, tenacious, & astute enough to earn their living as some type of oenological industry professional or another. Of course, I'm also still nursing the familiar 'out-of-my-depth' feeling.
The proceedings got under way with an event fairly close to tradition: a lunchtime tasting at Kick Ranch Vineyard, under the gracious hosting of owner couple, Dick Keenan & Kathy McNamara.
Insufficiently caffeinated, my tendency to thoughtful, meditative & conversational tasting limited the number of wines I sampled. Fifteen different wineries source from this farm, where only 40 or so acres from the property's total 100 are cultivated. Out of the top-flight wineries presenting their work, I focused mostly on two small, intensely personal projects: Enkidu Wines, where Phillip Staehle is winemaker-owner, & Renard, Bayard Fox's Rhone-focused winery.
Making our way back to the Flamingo from this setting meant diving headfirst into Wine 2.0 ...tropes? --with winemakers making six minute presentations, table to table, while bloggers shared tasting impresions 'live to the Web'. I posted, somewhat disjointedly, on Twitter. Mike Wangbickler has published a succint & organized write-up on his blog, Caveman Wines.
There was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek blind tasting after this, & I missed my chance to rest & freshen up as soon as I was eliminated. Couldn't quite catch up with the massive selection of wines from New Zealand. Enjoyed dinner. Gary Vaynerchuk's keynote address was fun & awesomely inspiring. From now on, I want-- no, I demand!-- a couple of tablets of multi-Gary washed down with a glass of Vaynerchuk every day. Missed a ride out to 'Pinotblogger' Josh Hermsmeyer's, where an 'afterhours' event featuring wines from New York, both Long Island & the Finger Lakes, was taking place. Yes, I'm a wimp: a wimp, a wallflower, &, as we say in Puerto Rico, a Wally Schneider. Over'n'out.