Aah….. There’s nothing like starting your day with a little wine tasting. There are about a dozen or so tables set up in the north lobby of the Marcus Whitman hotel with representatives from various wineries/associations pouring their wares, and it’s already been an interesting experience.
Wine tasting in a group setting is always a sort of anthropological journey for me – watching the way people navigate through their surroundings, especially when there is wine at stake – is just fascinating. There are those who stand timidly at the back of the crowd, hoping someone will notice that their glass is empty. There are those who like to park themselves right in front of the table and chat – with the people pouring, with those around them, with themselves – such that you wonder not only how they ever manage to taste anything but also how the hell anyone else is supposed to get to the table. There are those who push their way to the front and crowd everyone else out, occasionally pouring for themselves when they feel that the person behind the table is wasting their time by having the audacity to try to talk to someone else. And then there are those like me. When I approach a busy table, I look for a chance to squeeze in, introduce myself to the pourers, ask a couple of questions, and then step back and make room for other people. I notice other tasters like me and feel like we have a special bond, even if it is just common courtesy.
In addition to the people watching, of course, there’s the wine. While there are a few non-Washington wines present this morning, it’s mostly area vintners pouring today, which is a great way to start off, and there have definitely been a couple of highlights so far. First, a 2008 Cuvee Rouge, a red blend by Vin de Lac, a winery in the Columbia Valley area. The winemaker, Dreaux, hit the mark with his blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. J would love this wine, with its savory, bacon-y palate that just screams for some tender BBQ pork. Second, a Merlot from Mercer Estates in the Yakima Valley. Smooth, with just the right amount of smokiness, I wanted some carne aside tacos like no one’s business. And what do you know? They’ve brought in several local taco trucks for lunch! Perfection!