A sea of wine adorers, what I first saw, what I would wade through in doing my tastings. Wines from nearly everywhere were represented, pouring some of their winners, and other released bottles. One impressive reality to this daunting event, the presence of food, water, responsible hospitality. At events like this, as all we in the industry know, it’s far too easy to lose track of tastes, and the result is never lovely on an empty stomach, or dehydrated. Fort Mason’s designated structure provided a conducive stage, allowing spots for conversation, snacking, sipping; a truly social wine world scene. Many could be seen taking pictures of friends, bottles, winery reps, the views of the Bay from the windows, Alcatraz. Some would just sip, watch the oddly fanatical rain pound the Bay’s waves.
Saw some familiar wines, such as T.R. Elliott, Mike Muscardini, J. Lohr, and was introduced to some new ones, such as Sextant, Sequana, Red Feather, and, perhaps my favorite, XYZin. I was dazed by how many of these winners were relatively younger wines, and how incredible they tasted. I noticed more blends and less-known varietals than I thought I would. Many could be heard saying “Wow,” or “I’ve never heard of that before.” It seemed as though with every new lap I took around the floor, I noticed a new pouring station, tasted new wines, made new contacts. Then I noticed an upper level, could see what I thought to be winery names, signs, people taking pictures of the human ocean just down the stairs. I had to investigate. Not just for the wine, and pics, but to see if there would be anymore amazing breads, cheeses, and other deliciously condensed apps. The upstairs area was quite social, crowded with conversation. Here is where you’d want to be if you wished to better hear your friends’ assessment of the wine you were on, wanted to engage in reaction, appreciation. Great area for wine involvement, like the flourishing floor below, just a bit more manageable.
It’s difficult for me, as a journalist, especially a wine journalist, to be relegated to the who-what-why-where-when seat, when there are dozens of each. Yes, it was a bit overwhelming to the ticket holder, but all the more reason to explore, investigate. See what’s out there. A couple of pourers actually could be heard saying such to flustered glass holders. One said it to me, without me telling him my purpose for attendance, “Education, experimentation, enrichment.” The Chronicle delivered a masterful event and arrangement of wine stunners, one consistent with the encompassing many hold of wine: an occasion, a good time. Sip, sip …