Update 25 Jul 2011: For an inside glimpse, see my video on Speed tasting with the bloggers.
I'll be taking my work on the grape book across the Atlantic this morning on my way to the annual American Wine Bloggers' Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend. Temperatures of around 40 ºC/100 ºF and high humidity are forecast, so the Virginia wines being showcased will have to struggle to show their best in such weather (as will we speakers), but I'm looking forward very much to renewing my acquaintance with them – and to meeting the American blogging community en masse.
A Virginia wine reception at that wonderfully atmospheric place Monticello is planned for tomorrow night. I can't wait to revisit the home farm of America's most famous wine-loving president, Thomas Jefferson. He had a special system for retrieving the bottles from his cellar and his spirit is still very much alive in and around this classical homestead.
I'm taking the same United flight to Washington, Dulles, as I took in May to the Heart's Delight charity wine weekend and on the basis of that, must congratulate my fellow Master of Wine Doug Frost, also a Master Sommelier, on his wine choices in business class for United. I hear there are massive disparities in wine budgets between airlines at the moment, with the nascent and admittedly still quite small Middle Eastern airlines prepared to spend very much more than the bigger, more established carriers. But Doug seems to me to have spent his money wisely. I seem to remember a very solid offering from the Cazes stable in Bordeaux particularly.