Riesling rocks. Life is not a blind tasting. Nor should it be. I was delightfully reminded of this slice of vino-veritas this week when running a wine bar at a cocktail party for a group of about 100 NY metro alumni of a prominent business school. It was a completely unscientific and yet utterly real-world setting to compare how wine lovers respoinded to an array of options. Let’s cut to the chase: the hands-down winner in this smackdown was a Finger Lakes Riesling; Dr. Konstantin Frank 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling, to be precise. Over the course of two hours, we went through 8 bottles of the luscious Dr. K (retail $15), vs. just over 2 bottles of Chalk Hill 2006 Sauvignon Blanc ($29 retail). This was an old-fashioned and well-deserved butt-kicking. The Dr. K checked in to the party with gobs of juicy fruit and a vivid underpinning of mouthwatering acidity that seemed to make apples turn into apricots and pear. What was wrong with the Chalk Hill, which I learned after the fact had been “highly rated”? It was a Chardo-wannabe, smothered with a viscous malo-lactic charater and barrel-induced distraction. Fruit and acid took a backseat to winemaking technique and the result, as judged by the discerning masses, was not pretty. In fact, I ran out of the Dr. K, even after starting to offer smaller pours; could have probably poured 12 bottles. Word got out very quickly: try the Riesling. People kept coming, and kept coming back.

Shameless self-promotion department. I want to share news of a few events I’ll be doing in coming weeks:

I am teaching three classes at Institute of Culinary Education in NYC this Fall: Wine By Style, Oct. 17; Wines of Germany & Austria, Nov. 7; Catch the Trendiest Wines, Dec. 5. Each class features the same jokes but different wines. Seriously now, I approach each class the same way, using the wines in the glass as a route to the Big Picture of what’s going on in wine today. Great wines and good times, for $80. Details at http://iceculinary.com .

Shameless cross-promotion department. My experience at the Wine Bloggers Conference is still reverberating. In case anyone missed it, here is the article I wrote about it for winebusiness.com: http://tinyurl.com/q7pmvk.

Planning a follow-up of odds and ends from WBC09 still, but meanwhile, check out this experiment of “reverse social media” as the inimitable “Wine Bard” attempts to wed in wine country: http://www.winebardweds.com/ . And watch for another WBC-spawned adventure, http://projectyine.com/ , as @sharayray and @thebeerwench (as they are known on Twitter) make like Thelma and Louise and go cross-country in search of what makes wine click with Generation Y.

Last but most important, a humble little note to say that I am very excited about helping launch a new wine content site in September. Palate Press (http://palatepress.com) represents the next giant leap in the movement of wine dialogue from print to cyberspace. Most exciting for me has been the unprecedented aggregation of brain-power and palate-power from a roster of contributors that represents some of the sharpest wine writing on the planet. Details to come….