In Review: #WITS2012 with WineTwits

Hello Friends,

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in a virtual wine tasting event put on by the wine-centric folks over at @WineTwits. The event was held last Tuesday at The Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) in Napa Valley, California. For those [like me] who couldn’t attend the event in person, we communicated over the social media freeway known as "Twitter" using hash-tag #WITS2012. The last time I had an opportunity to join Wine Twits for an event was for “Burgers and Beaujolais.” Talk about fun and, to a greater degree, filling! That event gave me an opportunity to introduce some of my family members in Colorado to a new wine region (Beaujolais), a new grape variety (Gamay), and burgers topped with [soft] fried eggs (new to them too). While the latter isn’t the healthiest sandwich in the world, it sure was tasty – especially with maple glazed bacon placed under the fried egg and finished with a dollop of jalapeno jelly!

Wente Vineyards 2010 Morning Fog Chardonnay

Our more recent event, #WITS2012, featured four wines and four partner wineries: Franciscan Estate, Garnet Vineyards, Hahn Family Wines, and Wente Vineyards. Each producer had a representative online to discuss their brand and wine with those of us online as well as those who attended the event in person. All four wines were solid and fairly priced for their respective categories. Below are the wines and some of my personal thoughts. For further information about these producers, check the links at the end of this post.

Wente Vineyards 2010 Morning Fog Chardonnay (SRP $12.99): Estate-grown Chardonnay that’s a solid wine for the price. Tree fruit (e.g., apple, pear) core aromas/flavors with melon, baking spice and subtle oak notes with a nice mouth-feel/texture and good balancing acidity. The wine is named for the morning fog that rolls in every day during the growing season and cools off the vineyard (extending the growing season and enhancing the flavor profile). Wente makes several (I think four) different Chardonnay wines ranging in style from bright and refreshing to mouth-coating and oaked. All their Chardonnay wines are made from estate-grown fruit in Livermore, California. If you’re a member of the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) Club, give @Wente a try!

Hahn Family Wines 2011 California Pinot Noir

Hahn Family Wines 2011 California Pinot Noir (SRP $14): Hahn Estates is located on the Monterey Coast in the Santa Lucia Highlands, California. This is a nice entry-level, food-friendly Pinot Noir at an attractive price point. Cherry and berry aromas fill the nose with cinnamon, soft toasty notes and a pleasant floral touch. It clocks in at 14.5% ABV, but handles the alcohol fairly well. The producer’s pairing suggestion of grilled salmon and garlic mashed potatoes is spot-on -- I tried it the following day. Everyone online who had this wine found it approachable and likable based on its quality and price point.

Garnet Vineyards 2010 Carneros Pinot Noir

Garnet Vineyards 2010 Carneros Pinot Noir (SRP $19.99): This producer has been making cool-climate, affordable Pinot Noir since 1983 (…before it was so popular in the states). The wine is medium-ruby in color with moderate alcohol (13.5% ABV) and plenty of tell-tale Pinot Noir aromas and flavor. The swirl and sniff offers sweet red/dark cherry fruit and ripe raspberry/strawberry aromas with holiday spice/fruit cake notes. The palate is smooth with a soft, supple texture and good balancing acidity. This wine is pocket, palate, and food-friendly – and also paired wonderfully with my grilled salmon dinner.

Franciscan Oakville Estate 2008 Magnificat

Franciscan Oakville Estate 2008 Magnificat (SRP $50 … though some online tasters said it could be found for $35): This is a bold and [fairly] brawny blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. @FranciscanWines (Twitter handle) was one of the first to produce a Meritage blend in California. The Magnificat is on its 24th vintage and is a blend of the producer’s best lots from their estate vineyard and other select sites. This wine is youthful and meaty with a dark fruit core, a grainy texture, and is well structured with medium-to-firm mouth-coating tannins that persist through to the [lasting] finish. It’s tightly-wound out of the bottle and gets better with air (… unlocking attractive nuanced complexities) and begs for a marbled slab of grilled meat. 

Happy "Pinot Noir" Sipping!

The following day I enjoyed both of the Pinor Noir wines with grilled salmon. Red wine and fish can coexist on your dinner table! Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

Click here to visit Wine Twits' website.

Click here to visit W.I.T.S website.

Click here to visit Wente Vineyards' website.

Click here to visit the Hahn Estate website.

Click here to visit the Garnet Vineyards' website.

Click here to visit Franciscan Oakville Estate's website.

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