The blogger conference is over. I am very tired, but it has been a brilliant event. I’ve met lots of wonderful people and had some stupidly late nights. I have drunk a lot of wine, most of it excellent. And I have learned quite a bit. As a result of coming on this trip, I think my work will be better.
The conference built to a conclusion with an excellent tasting of seven wines from Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Lebanon, which was well compered by Charles Metcalfe and Tim Atkin. It finished with Charles bursting into song: an improvisation based on the unusual grape varieties from the tasting.
Then, after a swim in the fabulous SwissHotel pool, it was time for the grand dinner. It took a while to get going, but when it did there was a succession of courses paired with Turkish wines.
My favourites were two reds. The Sulva Sur 2010 was robust, spicy and tannic with lovely floral blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. I reckon it is best drunk young, even though it is tannic. The Kavakildere Prestige Okuzgozu 2009 was nicely perfumed with sweet black fruits, a bit of cherry freshness and some warm meaty notes in the background.
Our table was jolly. It included Bryony Wright, Richard Siddle, Maurizio Ugliano, Su Birch, Erin Smith, L’Re Burger and Robert Joseph. Madeleine Waters joined us later armed with a few Lebanon wines, including the 2004 Musar, which is just a fabulous, typical Musar in need of some cellar time.
Dinner finished around midnight and then it was dancing, fuelled by Efes beer and Raki, preferably one in each hand, to be sipped alternately. There was such a buzz in the room, no doubt helped by the fact that this conference was one of the friendliest and most inclusive I have been to. Ryan, Gabriella and Robert, the organizers, should be celebrated for the fact that they have modelled this inclusivity, making sure that every delegate feels as special and important as all the others.
This dancing went on for a couple of hours, and then we headed off to Richard Siddle’s room to continue partying. It was a blast. Bryony fell fast asleep at one stage, only to wake up magically when Richard put Take That on his iPlayer.
We finished around 0540, but convened again for some lunch around 1230. Lebanese wine expert Michael Karam joined Madeline, Richard, Bryony and I for a bite. I felt much better when I’d had something to eat and a couple of glasses of Musar white 2004. This was a bottle we’d opened the night before, and it was at room temperature, and it tasted fabulous, with lovely complexity and breadth of flavour. In fact, I’m going to try to track some down.