Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Why I love "United Slurps" | April 16, 2010

If you spent most of your days in Los Angeles, why would you venture out beyond your warm, smoggy amniotic sac to catch a buzz? Tons of great and affordable* bars in town, wine shops offering all the small production, craft wines that don’t leave the state of California (which accounts for 90% of the nation’s wine production), and only a couple hours drive from world-class wine regions like the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills, and Paso Robles. Plus, when your average speed of travel is 1 mile per hour, drinking in the car is probably not even dangerous. Nay, it’s encouraged.

*denotes sarcasm. I blame you hipsters for driving up the price of crappy Pabst Blue Ribbon. Quit drinking it to be ironic.
Okay, “to catch a buzz” is a crude way of defining what the folks at Swirl, Smell, Slurp are trying to do (check out our collaboration HERE). The enigmatic “She” and “He” of this operation have struck out on a quest to taste wines from all 50 states. Dubbed the “United Slurps of America”, this painstaking process involves contacting wineries nationwide, procuring product, navigating the logistical minefield that is state-by-state shipping law, booking local bloggers and other rascals to themselves wrangle identical product, tasting (or “slurping”, as they say, though I’ve never been complimented on my audible slurping ability at any wine tasting outside of Woodstock, GA), evaluating, writing, and posting. All this while being honest, but positive enough to maintain interest in participation from potential winemakers.

Sounds like a lot of trouble. Trouble that’s greatly appreciated. These folks don’t need to be venturing out. Hell, they may be ridiculed for such actions. Why go to the trouble to drink the pedestrian plonk of fools: wistful wine lovers trying in vain to reproduce France, Italy, and California closer to home?

But maybe it’s not that simple. Maybe the winemakers and vineyard managers in West Texas, in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and on Georgia’s Dahlonega Plateau are trying to do something unique. Maybe they’re working the land with unique grapes like Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin, and Tempranillo …trying to find what fits each area’s unique climate, geography, and soil. Perhaps all the toil and effort (which is MORE THAN SIGNIFICANT in the process from grape to glass) is simply intended to express…terroir.
Is there beauty in a wine that expresses- exactly- a vine-draped piece of dirt in Iowa? Isn’t the fact that no other bottle of wine on earth can truly reproduce what comes from that infinitely unique square of terrain a thing of beauty? Something worth exploring? At the very least, worth trying? We can make broad assumptions- based on our limited knowledge and experience- of where a wine should find its genesis, but we simply cannot KNOW without a personal, sensory evaluation. We may not realize what we’re missing out there. Wine is the ultimate in subjectivity, and the notes, recommendations, and even warnings of others simply cannot decide for us.
So I applaud Swirl, Smell, Slurp for undertaking the ultimate evaluation; for not going the easy or familiar route and approaching the bounty of America without pretense or expectation. I’m proud of Georgia. Ben Simons is proud of Texas. Grace Hoffman is proud of Iowa. Shannon & Cortney Casey are proud of Michigan. Dezel Quillen is proud of Virginia. Brian Kirby is proud of all of the “other 46”. And I think I speak for these wine lovers and the producers in our respective states when I say, “thanks for stopping by.”
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