I'm proud to announce that Tablas Creek has again been named a finalist for "Best Winery Blog" at the 2012 Wine Blog Awards. The world of winery blogs has never been stronger. The other finalists include two winery blogs I follow regularly (4488: A Ridge Blog and The Journey of Jordan) one other on which I have read several top-notch posts recently (The Kendall-Jackson Blog) and two which were new to me (Wolf Blass Winemakers Blog and King Estate Winery). One of the things I look forward to about these awards each year is getting to spend some time with the other finalists' work.
I am particularly proud that this is the fifth year in a row that Tablas Creek has been a finalist. No other winery has been a finalist more than twice in the six-year history of the awards. You can browse the finalists, and if, at the end, you believe us worthy, we'd be honored to receive your vote (Vote here). Voting ends Thursday, July 26th.
This seems a useful opportunity to reflect back on some of my favorite posts over the last year. They're organized chronologically, with brief notes on why they've stuck with me. And hopefully, if you're relatively new to the blog, it will give you a starting point for your explorations.
- The serenity of foudres (sometimes) (August 2011). Written by Assistant Winemaker Chelsea Magnusson, this is the sort of glimpse into the inner workings of the cellar that I think makes winery blogs worth reading. You come away feeling like you know the work... but more than that, that you know the people working, and Chelsea's beautiful photography makes you feel like you're there.
- Why Paso Robles will make California's best wines in 2011 (October 2011). I go out on a limb, partway through harvest, in opposition to a growing chorus of press suggesting the 2011 harvest would be a disaster. And the more I taste our powerful, vibrant wines from 2011, the more I'm convinced I was right.
- A tale of two Grenaches (December 2011). This piece came out of a talk I gave at the always-wonderful Yosemite Vintners' Holidays, where I broke down the California acreage statistics for Grenache by county to tell a very different narrative than and I had been reading elsewhere.
- A closer look at Paso Robles' microclimates (January 2012). After a presentation to a visiting group of Canadian writers, I realized that we didn't have graphical tools to show the incredible diversity of Paso Robles' soils, rainfall, and temperatures. So I made some, and they show more clearly than a thousand words could why we are where we are.
- The power grab behind New York's proposed "at rest" legislation (March 2012). Sometimes I think I should have been a political reporter, as I always enjoy the pieces that I get to write about the intersection of politics and wine. Maybe it's the "good vs. evil" component. Maybe it's the fact that this is one of the only times I get to do investigative journalism. But for whatever reason, I am consistently energized by these discussions, and I think that energy comes through in this post's clarity and power.
- A great dinner, an amazing restaurant, and a wine that marks the beginning of Tablas Creek (May 2012). Probably my favorite post of the year, where Cesar Perrin and I stumble across the bottle that marks the first collaboration (in 1966!) between the Haas and Perrin families, and I discover its history.
- Nine lessons the Kimpton Hotel Group offers wineries (May 2012). I love looking at successful businesses and seeing how their innovations can be applied to my world. With this piece I drew nine generally applicable lessons from a group of hotels I've always loved for their friendliness, individuality, and consistent good service.
- In defense of expensive rosé (June 2012). This piece gave me the chance to address a topic close to my heart: the relative worth put on wines made in their original homes vs. those made in a similar style in the New World. Plus, it got me invited to sit on a panel tasting of rosés that included the 2011 Domaine Tempier... always a treat.
OK, now go vote. The awards are determined 50% by the panel of seventeen expert judges that condensed the hundreds of nominations to five or six finalists, and 50% by the votes of the public -- which means you!