Thursday, February 4, 2010
Every January the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) throw a tasting in my honor at Fort Mason in San Francisco. I'm honored that they do this for me, I don't see myself as worthy of the honor, I'm just a humble blogger who is frequently given accolades, awards, free trips, free wine and inexplicable admiration from an industry that deeply admires sycophants. The theme of this year's ZAP tasting in my honor was "Alder Zin You Can Drink," and, as I do every year, I agreed to allow others in the industry, as well as every day people, to attend. I don't have to do this, but I feel that wine is best when it's shared, and, besides, it's really lonely being the best blogger in the country.
There were fewer wineries this year, which I was not happy about and someone will pay, believe me, but the good news is that it meant I only had 740 wines to taste so I'd have an extra hour to come home and post pretty pictures on my blog. I'd really like to post pictures of kitties, I love kitties, especially in ribbons, but that wouldn't be right so I post trite photos by Andy Katz--get it? Katz? I post pictures of Katz! And you wonder why I win wine blog awards!
I was honored by the 220 or so wineries who chose to pour me wine at ZAP. Part of the enjoyment I get out of this annual event (last year's theme was "We All Live in a Yarrow Submarine") is the time I get to spend with all my many friends that produce Zinfandel all over the state, and even the world! People even come from Italy and South Africa to pour wines for me, hoping for a coveted 9.5 to 10 score, which I only give to 40% of the wines I taste so they are really going against the odds. This year I was honored to spend 11 seconds talking to Joel Peterson, the heroic producer and founder of Ravenswood, 8 seconds tasting with Larry Turley, and a full 15 seconds reveling in the stories of Kent Rosenblum. Did you know he's a veterinarian? When Dr. Rosenblum tells you you're a horse's ass for claiming you can taste and rate 740 wines in a day, you know he knows what he's talking about!
I was also asked to moderate a panel about Zinfandel and Social Media the Friday before the ZAP tasting. I am often asked to sit on panels because I'm the most respected wine blogger in the country and I can answer many questions that prospective bloggers constantly ask. For example, I am often asked what has made my blog so successful. It's not that big a secret. What makes Vornography so successful is that most people can't tell the difference between being prolific and being good. Choose prolific. And, always, they want to know how to get wineries to send them free samples. Here's where my journalism background comes in handy. Puff pieces. Wineries love puff pieces about themselves and I do that better than anyone else blogging today. You can't go wrong writing fluff, being a fluffer, about a winery owner fulfilling a dream. They eat it up, they post it on their website, they tweet about it, and they send me every release of wine they ever produce hoping I'll flatter them again. It's essentially like taking candy from trust fund babies.
Tasting 740 wines in six hours is no big deal, but, obviously I'm not superhuman enough to also take tasting notes. That would be ludicrous and, frankly, arrogant. Besides, no one reads tasting notes, tasting notes are just filler, like the white stuff in Twinkies, it's just there to distract you from what really matters, the delicious cake outsides. And it's all Zinfandel anyway. You already know what Zinfandel tastes like, it tastes kind of like berries. All you need to know is what I think about the wines as reflected in my scores. You already know my taste in wine, you've been faithfully following my blog for more than six years now, and if you're new here, well, take it from all of my regular longtime readers, my scores are valid and meaningful and come from my astonishing seven years of experience tasting wines. You can tell how valid my scores are by all the winery people kissing my butt in the comments section. I list the 740 wines grouped by my vague scores in such a way that it enlightens you as to which Zinfandels are worth your hard-earned money. The ones at the top. They tasted the best. Trust me.