Just the Bottle

One woman's adventure in beer, food, wine and spirits

Filtering by Tag: Travel

Transparency at Portal del Montsant

"Don't follow trends" is part of the ethos of Portal del Montsant. Their story begins in 2003 after finding the perfect space that once housed the old Marcá wine cooperative. 

The majority  - 95% - of their wine production is Garnacha and Cariñena. Portal del Montsant sources from small plots of land they consider their "crus." The plots produce different expressions through their soil (clay, chalk, and sand), elevation (ranging from 700-800 meters), and age of vines (average of 60 years old). Generally, they practice organic winemaking and growing, but aren't certified. These factors among their desire to produce wines they would enjoy create something special. 

Portal del Montsant produces around 250,000 bottles per year with 85%-90% remaining within the Spanish market. 

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Santbru Vinyes Velles

The Portal del Montsant Santbru Vinyes Velles was one of the stand out wines to me that I also purchased. I sampled the 2013 within their gorgeous space and purchased the 2014 to bring home. The 2014 paired perfectly with the delicious lamb paella my significant other made upon my return. It recently received 90 point rating in Wine Enthusiast. There is an earthiness that is almost smoky to me that came through with spicy red fruit. 

These are not wines to sleep on especially considering the limited export market. If you do find the Santbru especially the very enjoyable 2014 vintage, perhaps have more restraint than me and allow it to age some. I can only imagine what this wine will taste like in the next 5 years, which perhaps leads me to planning my next trip to Spain again soon. 

Live a little more!

During the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa last year, there were two post conference excursions to choose from - Napa and Livermore. Both seemed like great options, but Livermore intrigued me. I didn't know much about the area, the wine, or the history. I went with Livermore and returned to DC with love for a new part of California.

As we departed Santa Rosa on a gloomy day after our conference concluded, we were greeted by an amazing team from Livermore Valley who along with serving us sparkling wine promised us sunshine, wine and a non pretentious, but informative wine trip. As we drove past Oakland and San Francisco, the clouds gradually melted away.

We entered a world that is growing in reputation as a place to visit for so many things like wine, food and even ice cream.  Every winery we visited had great value wines along with a unique story or passion that drove the owners or winemakers. One winemaker I met, shared how he was previously in construction and kept getting laid off from jobs or the pay would be sporadic. This spurred him to pursue a degree in oenology, and follow his dream. Another winery owner shared how she had been a pilot with an airline that went under. She decided she would rather be closer to her family and be in control of her own destiny.

These stories of work and determination led to a very genuine and thoughtful experience. Even though this was my first trip to California, I felt as if I were visiting home. Every person greeted me or treated me as more of a family guest as opposed to a tourist. 

If you are planning a California adventure especially one with wine, I would strongly urge you to visit Livermore Valley area. The wines and people have a story to share and it's one worth getting to know.

Why I am going to Wine Bloggers Conference

I have debated for years attending the Wine Bloggers Conference. Numerous friends and wine writing/loving aficionados have gone and highly recommended, but I waited. There was always an excuse or reason. Well, one year there was a real reason that involved two amazing friends who got married and I needed to consume all the things at their open bar and help punch open a manatee pinata. But this year with a deadline approaching I finally said do it (after numerous texts, emails, gchats with friends telling me to as well).

On the day the scholarship application was due, I filled it out. I almost decided through imposter syndrome that I wouldn't be selected. Did I have enough followers? My dad reads my blog (hi dad) and my grandma reads it when someone prints it out for her. But, who else? Does it have real influence? Can I prove such influence? 

Days went by. I remained somewhat hopeful, but decided I probably wouldn't get it. With certain issues pending in my life, I figured I wouldn't make it without the scholarship. Another year would pass with promise of attending and me not going. My life is cliche of good intentions paving the road to Hell (along with beer, wine and cheese paving that delicious road).

I found out eventually I had won a scholarship! I shared this great news with trepidation again. After talks with many it finally hit me - I deserved this and it was a great honor. 

Having engaged in nonprofit fundraising and fundraising for causes I care about, I realize the importance of donors. Donors to the scholarship fund were able to help me and many others have the ability to travel, stay and attend the Wine Bloggers Conference. I am truly grateful for their generosity and hope to return the favor to others in coming years.

As my anxiety of flying and travel comes and goes, my excitement builds for what lies ahead. This conference is known for helping many to hone their skills and build amazing connections. I am looking forward to so many things! Besides meeting so many people I have engaged with through social media, I am really interested in many of the sessions. 

"The Ethics of Wine Writing" should hopefully be a truly honest and insightful debate over ethics. When I worked in prospect research, I attended a similar session on how to ethically research people and engage them. Ethics is something that I feel evolves over time and I always love to debate the policies people set and why.

"Lights, Camera, Action!" will be another important session with much to learn. Tanisha Townsend and Sarita Cheaves among others will be panelists. Tanisha has been a pioneer in video and wine. She has continued to perfect lighting, content and more. I know I can get a lot of useful information for my own blog from the speakers.

I hope you continue to read and follow me through my social media accounts (Twitter:  @justthebottle and IG: @justthebottle) for my Wine Bloggers Conference fun along with my upcoming European experience through Belgrade with #winelover, Budapest, and Vienna.

I will try to follow my grandfather's advice for life and for my adventures. My paternal grandfather passed this year in March after I returned from Cuba. He had a sharp tongue and wit. He once told, "try to be a good girl...but it's not an absolute necessity." I think I will lean on the latter.

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