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Technical tastings, wine communication, managing oxygen in wine, and better blogging -all in one day


Turkish wine tasting

After the head-aching BYOB party from the previous day, the „official” first day of the EWBC conference encompassed a lineup of captivating events, must-see and must-attend for any wine passionate. The setting in Izmir is lovely and relaxing, as the temperatures are so mild we could even have breakfast on the outside terrace, admiring the well groomed patio.

The morning debuted en force, with on of the most complex wine tastings I’ve ever attended. Under the guidance of Joel Butler MW, we went through a selection of Turkish native varieties wines. During his documentary journey throughout Turkey, he searched and reviewed the Turkish grape varieties trying to discern the characteristics of their origin, the influence of the soil & climate, and the different expressions they might take in the course of winemaking. A fascinating journey, taking us back to biblical times, to DNA research, to statistics and geography, through modern history and legal regulations. For each of the eight wines that we tasted, there was plenty of explanation regarding the features of the grape, its origin and related grapes and geographical influences.  We had three white varieties -Emir, Yapincak and Narice, the latter being the most complex and seductive one. Then there was a lineup of three different styles of Kalecik Karasi -a red Pinot Noir-like grape- from different regions of Turkey and various level of barrel ageing. Okuzgozu and Bogazkere were the following grapes, each with two wines. Okuzgozu renders deeply colored  juicy, tannin-rich wines somewhat similar to American Zinfandel, that need careful winemaking to preserve their fruitiness. Bogazkere is the wildest of all, a very dark colored, coarse and astringent, high-alcohol wine, with extremely dry tannins and pungent flavors. It is very suitable for blending and ageing, while it’s a real challenge to make an easy-drinking wine.

The following session -the welcoming message and key notes speechestook us back to the source, so to speak. The three guest

tasting room

speakers –Andrew Jefford, Randall Grahm and Christian Paye explored all the aspects of wine sourcing. Randal Grahm discussed about the notion of terroir and original wine, and how far can we go in order to obtain the most pure expression of the soil and the plant; Andrew Jefford presented the main features of wine communication and laid out potential new directions, and Christian Payne described the world of tech tools and the way they can be integrated into the framework of wine communication.

Plugins, SEO, hosting and permalinks -they were all discussed in the first session after the lunch break, with Ryan Opaz as a moderator. A session of maximum interest for aspiring and existing bloggers: how to make best use of WordPress platform and its tools, from the first steps in creating a blog to optimize picture tags and most popular plugins.

Nomacorc presentation

Last but not least, the last workshop of the day raised a very debated and sensitive subject in the world of wine making: managing oxygen in wine. From the moment the grapes are crushed until the win bottle is opened for drinking, oxygen is a factor that influences greatly the process and the final product. While the amount of oxygen present during the winemaking process is controllable by the producer, the consumer has little means of information regarding how oxygen level is managed in the bottle. Too much or too little oxygen are both noticeable defects, rendering the wine either flat and tasteless, or foul-smelling. Under the guidance of Maurizio Ugliano from Nomacorc, we explored how different types of bottle closures affect the flavors and aspect of the wine, from the most permeable to the tightest: we tasted two different samples of exactly the same wine (white then red), closed with two different types of stoppers.

After a long day of workshops and discussions, we enjoyed a nice walk on the seaside promenade of Izmir, and a Turkish-style dinner along Turkish wines.

Today’s schedule looks just as busy, with many interesting sessions side by side. I will dedicate the first part of the day to two very

Turkish food

important subject, that have raised much debate among by blogger friends. There will be a Natural Wine Debate with Jamie Goode, Maurizio Ugliano and Robert Joseph, which will cover the aspects of official definition, regulation and standardization, but also the fashionable trend of natural wine. Then, another hot topic in the next session: Blind Tasting, Ratings and Competition Scales, with Charles Metcalfe and Steve DeLong. There will be perspectives on scoring, points and competitions, illustrated into a wine tasting.

The communication aspects will be covered in the following two morning sessions: „Collaborating your way to an audience” with Damien WIlson and Ryan O’Connell will cover the challenge of addressing the right message and engaging the audience. Afterwards, there will be a discussion related to content monetization and using blogging as a business venture.

The afternoon will be entirely dedicated to the highlight of the conference: the Grand Terroir Experience, bringing together wines from the first countries to cultivate grapes and make wine. It will be an virtual journey in Turkey, Georgia, Lebanon, Armenia and Egypt, let by Tim Atkin MW and Charles Metcalfe.

10 comments on “Technical tastings, wine communication, managing oxygen in wine, and better blogging -all in one day

  1. Pingback: The Borgia wine | Vinul din Cluj

  2. Pingback: Vinurile Turciei « Vinul din Cluj

  3. Pingback: A tale of three Turkish wineries « Vinul din Cluj

  4. Sorin
    12 Noiembrie 2012

    I really envy you for that Turkish food.🙂

    • Mihai Oprea
      12 Noiembrie 2012

      It was more „gourmet” style of food, a bit far from the simple and straightforward dishes on the street, but delicious🙂

  5. Pingback: The Grand Terroir experience: wines form the craddle « Vinul din Cluj

  6. silvasan
    10 Noiembrie 2012

    any discussion about Georgian or Lebanese consumer perception of price, quality and value ?

    • Mihai Oprea
      11 Noiembrie 2012

      Their wines are mainly export oriented. In Georgia, the local consumer would buy a different wine, or make his own (as it happens often). In Lebanon, local consumption is very low, and could be even lower, because the last statistics are from before the civil war. Internationally, the perception of quality for Lebanese wine is present and increasing; for Georgian wines, the world is just discovering them, tho they are too new to have a price-quality perception.

  7. silvasan
    10 Noiembrie 2012

    looking interesting the virtual trip between Georgia, Lebanon and Armenia. it’s like getting back to the roots. but the main point of the day will remain the debate between the standard and the fashionable trend of the natural wines. have a nice day!

    • Mihai Oprea
      10 Noiembrie 2012

      Georgian and Lebanese wines rule! What variety and flavors! Much to learn, much to drink…

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