Played in Big Gaming Week 2011 this week, a gathering of friends now scattered around the world as part of the NZ diaspora, drawn home for Christmas and New Years. We’re in our eighth or so year now. In addition to the normal LAN, board, and RP games, we added a few things to line-up, including a big group brunch, a wine tasting (with games, of course), and Artemis, a 6 player starship bridge simulator. I had hoped to try a 24-hour game design activity of some kind, but it didn’t happened.
The wine tasting, though, worked out well. It grew from our inability to secure transportation for a Waipara trip, and ended up as a day long tasting in Tony’s living room.
All up, we had 14 bottles, of which 11 were tasted by all, one (a rosè) was consumed by Naomi and Steph during the whites tasting, with a little help from myself, another was corked, and the dessert wine got left too late. Hamish, now a professional wine blogger (thanks to the spectacular largess of Naomi & Tony), blogged tasting notes for reds and whites. I struggled throughout the day to put notes into CellarTracker, but the backwardness of the UI got in the way, and I eventually gave up to play Borderlands with Paula. Later, though, I discovered the beta-version of CellarTracker, whose interface is much improved, and put my notes together into what they call a ‘tasting story’, being basically a collection of notes structured into a write-up. Worked out quite well.
That CellarTracker is finally doing something about its user interface is really great news – it’s always been the most comprehensive wine tracking service out there, and being built and maintained by a committed wine-enthusiast who just wants to make a living building a tool that he loves, it’s likely to remain that way rather than settling into being ‘good-enough’ like many commercial systems end up doing once the user base and revenue streams are solid. I can now happily recommend it to others, provided you’re using the beta interface; if you’re not, expect to be frustrated.
Anyway, much great wine was consumed; my picks were the Taylor’s Shiraz 2009 and the 3 Stones Pinot Noir, with honorable mentions for the 2011 Saints gewürztraminer, and the 2009 Two Tracks chardonnay (though only if you like them oaky and buttery). Shall have to buy a few more of these for posterity, I think..