Search Results for: New Zealand

The “New” New Zealand

Queenstown, Otago

Queenstown, Otago

If you’ve been following the wine news (or even some of our posts here at Wine, Wit, and Wisdom), you know that New Zealand is in the process of formalizing its geographical indications for wine and spirits. It is a long and interesting tale, but here is the gist:

New Zealand’s Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act of 2006 created a registration system for wine and spirit geographical indications and allowed for the scheme of regions and subregions currently in use; however, the act was never brought into force. Fast forward ten years to November of 2016, and a revised law, the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Amendment Act,was passed. As a result, the 2006 Act entered into force in July of 2017. Soon thereafter, applications for geographical indications began to be filed with the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office.

Mount Maunganui (suburb of Tauranga, Bay of Plenty)

Mount Maunganui (suburb of Tauranga, Bay of Plenty)

Three geographical indications—New Zealand, South Island, and North Island—were immediately approved as “enduring indications.” Several other applications for wine regions (geographical indications) and subregions (known as “local geographical indications”) have been submitted—many of these have been approved, and some are still pending. Geographical indications (excluding enduring indications) will need to be renewed after the first five years, and every ten years thereafter.

One of the newly-approved geographical indications is Marlborough. Here’s an update on the area:

Accounting for over 59,000 acres (24,100 ha), the Marlborough region on the South Island is home to over two-thirds of all of New Zealand’s vines and grape production. The region is heavily planted to Sauvignon Blanc (47,000 acres/19,000 ha) and in many ways has shaped the explosive growth in New Zealand wine overall. Marlborough is also the largest producer of Pinot Noir in the country, with much of the region’s 6,400 acres (2,600 ha) of Pinot Noir is made into sparkling wine. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Viognier are grown here as well.

Blenheim, Marlborough

Blenheim, Marlborough

Cloudy Bay, which gave its name to a now-famous Sauvignon Blanc producer, and Clifford Bay are both situated along the coast of Marlborough.  The Marlborough Region can be considered to have three separate areas (unofficial subregions), from the Wairau Valley in the north, to the Awatere Valley further south, and the Southern Valleys on the inland side.

  • Wairau Valley: The Wairau Valley (known by the Maori as Kei puta te Wairau—the place with the hole in the cloud) is one of New Zealand’s sunniest places. The region is known for stony, alluvial soils and a cool climate that tends to become drier as one heads inland.
  • Awatere Valley: The Awatere Valley is located to the south of the Wairau Valley, stretching inland from the coast into the Kaikoura Ranges. This is one of the coolest, driest, and windiest areas of Marlborough—and many of the vineyards have some elevation.
  • The Southern Valleys: Located inland, the vineyards of the Southern Valleys—consisting of the Omaka, Fairhall, Brancott, Ben Morvan and Waihopai Valleys—wind and wrap around the surrounding hills. The area has a great diversity in terms of mesoclimates and soils, but does tend to heavier, more clay-based soils than the areas closer to the coast.
Auckland

Auckland

Other geographical indications of the “New” New Zealand that have been approved (as of November 15, 2017) include Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Matakana (a subregion of Auckland), Waiheke Island (also a subregion of Auckland), Northland, Wairarapa, and Canterbury. More are sure to come, and we’ll be posting them as they are announced here.

References/for more information:

  • https://www.iponz.govt.nz/about-ip/geographical-indications/register/
  • https://www.nzwine.com/en
  • https://www.nzwine.com/en/our-regions/marlborough/

Post authored by Jane A. Nickles, your blog administrator

New Zealand Wine Regions: It’s (almost) Official!

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If you are a fan of crisp, clean, cool-climate wines, you no doubt adore New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. You might even be able to tell the story of Cloudy Bay Vineyards, founded as recently as 1985, as one of a small group of wineries to venture into Marlborough and quickly establish one of the leading wine-producing areas in the New World while practically “inventing”  a new style of Sauvignon Blanc along the way.

As a true New Zealand wine aficionado, you can probably tell the story of the establishment of vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels area of Hawke’s Bay, where the combination of the soil, the geography, and the climate create one of the few areas in this small, maritime nation where thick-skinned, heat-loving red grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah can ripen consistently.

If you are really into New Zealand wine, you can probably tell the story of “sunny” Nelson (located on the western side of the Southern Alps), Gisborne (the “Chardonnay capitol of New Zealand”), and Central Otago Pinot Noir, produced in the southernmost commercial wine-producing region in the world.

But did you know…all of the wine regions of New Zealand are “unofficial”? Winemakers certainly use them, and serious students of wine study them, and in 2006 the New Zealand Parliament, via the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act of 2006, created a registration system and scheme for wine and spirit geographical indications. However, the act was never brought into force and the geographical indications remained “unofficial.”

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That began to change last night—November 16, 2016—when the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Amendment Act was passed by the New Zealand Parliament. This new law will enter into force during 2017, allowing for the registration of a set of internationally recognized and protected geographical indications in New Zealand.

According to Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, “the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act will be a significant advance for the New Zealand wine industry. Our Geographical Indications—the names and places where our wines come from— are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this new law provides an additional level of protection for them.”

New Zealand wine regions—it’s almost official!

For more information, see the website of the New Zealand Winegrowers

post authored by Jane A. Nickles…your blog administrator

SWE Wine Map 2015 – New Zealand

New Zealand

Click here to download a pdf of SWE’s 2015: Figure 18-7 Wine Regions of New Zealand

Note: The maps and diagrams on this site are the intellectual property of the Society of Wine Educators. They are provided here for the purpose of an individual’s own learning and education or for use in an educational setting (such as slide presentations or student handouts) in conjunction with the purchase of accompanying SWE material (CSS, CSW, CWE, CSE, or HBSC).  For any other uses, please contact Shields Hood, General Manager of the Society of Wine Educators. These general terms and conditions for use may be amended at any time.

New Zealand – SWE Map 2017

New Zealand SWE Map 2016Click here to download a copy of the SWE Map 2017 – New Zealand

Note: The maps and diagrams on this site are the intellectual property of the Society of Wine Educators. They are provided here for the purpose of an individual’s own learning and education or for use in an educational setting (such as slide presentations or student handouts) in conjunction with the purchase of accompanying SWE material (CSS, CSW, CWE, CSE, or HBSC).  For any other uses, please contact Shields Hood, General Manager of the Society of Wine Educators. These general terms and conditions for use may be amended at any time.

Conference Highlights 2017: Focus on Pinot Noir

We had a wonderful time at the 41st Annual Conference of the Society of Wine Educators, held August 10-12, 2016 at the lovely Red Lion Hotel on the River, located on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon. Below you will find some pictures, presentations, and handouts provided by our wonderful speakers – the next best thing to being there!

Eric Hemer, CWE, MS. MW

Eric Hemer, CWE, MS. MW

International Pinot Noir Styles, a Comparative Blind Tasting—presented by Eric Hemer, CWE, MS, MW: This session started off with a brief history of Pinot Noir—since its earliest written mention in 1375 by Duc Philippe le Hardi of Burgundy to its current status as the world’s tenth most planted variety (at 290,000 acres worldwide). Next, its physical characteristics were discussed—small, tight, bunches and thin-skinned berries with lower levels of phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins and tannin.

Next, the lesion included a lesson on the primary growing regions of Pinot Noir—France (76,000 acres (32,000 acres in Champagne, 26,000 in Burgundy, 16,000 in Côte d’Or), the United States (74,000 acres (38,000 in California, 14,500 in Willamette Valley), Germany (29,000 acres), New Zealand: (11,000 acres), Italy (10,000 acres), and Australia (8,700 acres).

A blind tasting of paired wines followed. The wines included world-class Pinot Noir from Savoie (France), New York’s Finger Lakes, Alto Adige (Italy), Marlborough (New Zealand), Alsace (France), Santa Maria Valley (California), Gevry-Chambertin (Burgundy, France), and the Dundee Hills or Oregon. For more information on the session and the wines, download Eric’s presentation: International Pinot Noir Styles, a Comparative Blind Tasting—presented by Eric Hemer

John Reilly, CSS, CE

John Reilly, CSS, CE

Oregon Pinot Noir via Burgundy, California, and back again—presented by John Rielly CSW, CSS: On Thursday afternoon, John Reilly offered a blind tasting of Pinot Noir concentrating on wines with a sense of place from Burgundy, California, and Oregon.

Wines from France included Château de Marsannay Gevrey-Chambertin and Château du Marsannay “Grand Vin de Bourgogne” Marsannay. California wines included Rochioli Vineyards Pinot Noir—Russian River Vineyard and Sanford Winery “La Rinconada” Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Oregon was represented by Maison Roy & Files “Petite Incline” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Westrey Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. For more information on the wines, the wineries, and the growing regions, see John’s presentation: Oregon Pinot Noir via Burgundy, California, and back again—presented by John Rielly

Click here to see more session recaps from SWE’s 2017 Conference. 

Conference Recaps 2017

We had a wonderful time at the 41st Annual Conference of the Society of Wine Educators, held August 10-12, 2016 at the lovely Red Lion Hotel on the River, located on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon!

Keynote Speaker Paul Hobbs

Keynote Speaker Paul Hobbs

The pre-conference activities included CWE Boot Camp and the CSE Preview, certification exams, a tour of Willamette Valley Wine Country, and a tour of Portland Craft Breweries. On Thursday morning, our opening keynote Speaker, Paul Hobbs, told us the story of his experience in the global wine industry. This was followed by three days of over 60 unique and fascinating speakers and topics ranging from a Basque Adventure, the wines of Lombardy, Orange wines, even a “Great Pinot Noir Global Cage Match.”

During Conference, we welcomed in Connor Best, CSW; Margie Ferree-Jones, CWE; and Pamela Connors, CSS, CSW as our newest board members, presented Lucia Volk, CWE with the Banfi Award, and began a new tradition of awarding a lifetime achievement award, to be known as the Lembeck Award, to its first recipients—Bill and Harriet Lembeck.

Below you will find some pictures, presentations, and handouts provided by our wonderful speakers—the next best thing to being there!

Roger Bohmrich, MX

Roger Bohmrich, MW

The Crystalline Beauty of Riesling: A Comparison of Global Styles—presented by Roger Bohmrich, MW: On Saturday afternoon, Roger Bohmrich, MW presented a comprehensive class of Riesling. The session began with a discussion of the characteristics of the Riesling vine and its suitability to various climates. Next, the class focused on the wines themselves: highly aromatic, highly acidic, sometimes dry and sometimes with a bit of RS, but almost never blended with other grapes.

As an introduction to the tasting portion of the class, Roger presented a taxonomy of Riesling styles—ranging from cool climate “just ripe”  wines through intermediate and warm climates all the way up through ice wines and wines produced with botrytis-affected grapes. The tasting portion of the session began with New World Riesling, and included wines from Australia (Eden Valley and Clare Valley), Oregon (Willamette Valley), Washington State (Columbia Valley), Canada (Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula) and New York State (Finger Lakes).

The next portion of the tasting featured the benchmark Rieslings from the Old World. This tasting included wines from Germany (the Mosel, Rheingau, and Rheinhessen regions), Austria (the Wachau and Kamptal areas), and France (Alsace). For details of the wines and the slides of Roger’s session, click here: The Crystalline Beauty of Riesling-Bohmrich-SWE 2017

Alan Tardi

Alan Tardi

Way Beyond Bubbles: Terroir, Tradition and Technique in Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG—presented by Alan Tardi: On Saturday morning, Alan Tardi told the story of the modern history of Prosecco, from 1876 when enologist Giovanni Battista Cerletti founded the Scuola Enologico in Conegliano, through the 1948 creation of the Bellini cocktail (Prosecco and fresh peach nectar) at Harry’s Bar in Venice, and all the way to the creation of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG in 2009.

The session continued with in-depth discussion of the climate, soils, and topography of some of the more specific Prosecco-producing areas such as Conegliano, the Rive di Farra di Soligo (in Valdobbiadene), and the Cartizze Sub-zone. The tasting included many interesting styles of Prosecco, including tranquile (non-sparkling), those using a percentage of indigenous grape varieties, several single-vineyard wines, and wines that underwent the second fermentation in the bottle (including one bottled “col fondo” [without disgorgement]). For more details, see the presentation here: Prosecco-Way Beyond Bubbles-Presented by Alan Tardi

Sam Scmitt, CS, CSS, CWE

Sam Scmitt, CS, CSS, CWE

Taking Root: The Renaissance of Chardonnay in Oregon’s Willamette Valley—presented by Sam Schmitt, CS, CSS, CWE: On Friday morning, Sam Schmitt, CS, CSS, CWE, told the story of Chardonnay in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The class began with a discussion of the geologic history of Oregon and the formation of the soils—marine sediment, volcanic basalt, Missoula alluvial, and windblown loess—for which the area is now known.

The class then focused on the history of Chardonnay in Oregon, and revealed on surprising note: that the narrative that early Willamette Chardonnay was a failure is a great over generalization and exaggeration. Rather, the truth is that Chardonnay in Oregon experienced a long learning curve to determine what viticultural and winemaking procedures worked best for the grape in Oregon—similar to the process for “perfecting” the “Oregon style” of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The truth is, many early examples of Oregon Chardonnay were excellent.

The wines improved overall over the decades as many different clones and selections of the Chardonnay grape were planted. Some of these hailed from France, others from UC Davis, and many were promulgated by the founders of the Oregon wine industry, from David Lett to Bethel Heights. For more details on the session, as well as the wines included in the tasting, see the presentation here: Taking Root —Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley-presented by Sam Schmitt

Tim Gaiser, MS

Tim Gaiser, MS

Insight: Best Practices for Teaching Professional Tasting—presented by Tim Gaiser, MS:  On Friday morning, Tim Gaiser, MS shared the results of his recent survey on the best practices for teaching and coaching students in professional-level wine tasting. The session began with a discussion of best practices in teaching a tasting grid. Some of the advice (paraphrased) was as follows: use repetition until the “grid” becomes second nature, use “PRAT” (pace, rhythm, and timing), and record one’s self going through the exercise.

The session moved on to a conversation about improving memory of specific aromas, tastes, flavors,  structural elements, and faults. Best practices for teaching these elements included the following (paraphrased as): start with extreme examples and work towards the middle, use an internal visual scale, and experience the basic fruits (cherry, apple, plum) at various stages (fresh, cut, dried, bruised, stewed).

For more details, including the actual quotations and their attributions, see Tim’s presentation: Insight-Best Practices for Teaching Professional Tasting-presented by Tim Gaiser, MS

Discriminating Taste: Zinfandel—a Study in Terroir—presented by ZAP: This session brought together three winemakers from three areas of California (Mendocino, Paso Robles, and Napa Valley)—each showcasing a few of their favorite single-vineyard Zinfandels.

For starters, Rich Parducci of McNab Ridge Wine Company shared three wines from Mendocino. The wines included vineyard-specific wines from Medocino’s Bliss Vineyard, Kamet Vineyard, and Cononiah Vineyard. Next up was Doug Beckett of Peachy Canyon Winery in Paso Robles. The wines Doug brought showcased the terroir of Paso’s Dante Dusi Vineyard, Bailey Vineyard, and David Block Vineyard. The session concluded with a round of three Napa Valley wines presented by Tres Goetting of Robert Biale Vineyards. These wines showcased the Hayne Vineyard, Tip Top Vineyards and the Grande Vineyard of Napa Valley. This was a deep dive into some specific, unique terroirs of California. For more information, see the presentation: Discriminating Taste Zinfandel – a Study in Terroir – presented by ZAP

Mike Cohen, CWE

Mike Cohen, CWE

The Chemistry of Wine Tasting—presented by Mike Cohen, CWE: On Saturday morning, Mike Cohen, CWE presented a detailed class about the chemistry and physiology of wine tasting. To start things off, there was a discussion of the chemical properties of wine, such as acids, sugars, alcohols, and polyphenols.

Next, the physiology of sensory perception in sight, smell, and taste was discussed. Finally, the session covered the brain’s role in sensory perception and the various factors—including the physical, chemical, biological, and psychological—that influence the sensory perception of wine. For more information, see Mike’s presentation: The Chemistry of Wine Tasting-presented by Mike Cohen, CWE

Paul Poux, CSW

Paul Poux, CSW

Sicily: Past, Present, and Future—presented by Paul Poux, CSW: Paul’s Saturday morning session began with the history of Sicily, from the Romans through the Byzantines and the Bourbons and all the way up to the Kingdom of Italy. Wine production, of course, was a part of all of this history, and this has resulted in Sicily as a leader in Italian wine production—the fourth-largest producer of wine in all of Italy’s twenty regions.

After this introduction, the wine tasting portion of the session began, starting with a selection of delightful white wines made from mostly local white grapes, including Catarratto, Grillo, Zibibbo, and Carricante. Geographical indications included the Sicily (Sicilia) DOC and Contea di Sclafani DOC as well as several IGTs.  The next wines, mostly reds, included those made from the following interesting grapes: Frappato, Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Perricone. The red tasting included wines from the Sicily (Sicilia), Noto, and Etna Rosso DOCs.

For more details on the presentation and the wines, see Paul’s presentation here: Sicily-Past Present and Future-presented by Paul Poux

Michael Schafer, CSW

Michael Schafer, CSW

Amazing Alsace—presented by Michael Schafer, CSW: Bright and early Friday morning, Michael Schafer, CSW presented a session on the Amazing wines of Alsace. The session began with the story of the history of the Alsace area, from the “golden age” of 1600s, through the tumultuous times surrounding the World Wars, to liberation and the present day.

The story of the wines of Alsace—the vineyards, the wine route, the terroir, and the AOCs—followed. Next, the specific styles of wine produced in Alsace—from Alsace AOC, Crémant d’Alsace, Vendage Tardive,  and Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN) to Alsace Grand Cru. For more information, as well as a listing of the spectacular wines, see Michael’s presentation: Amazing Alsace-presented by Michael Schafer, CSW

Digging into Unique Terroir—a  panel discussion moderation by Eric Hemer, CWE, MS, MW: This session presented an impressive line-up of panelists—in a discussion all about terroir. To start things off, a working definition of terroir was agreed upon as follows: Terroir is “the total natural environment of any viticultural site” according to the Oxford Companion to Wine. Terroir includes site specifics such as climate (Cool, moderate, warm, hot, based upon sunshine, precipitation, temperature), geomorphology (elevation, slope, aspect, bodies of water) and soil (type, drainage, mineral content, pH). The combination of these, plus choice of variety gives the site its own unique terroir, as expressed in the specific wines produced therein.

Next up, the individual panelists each discussed a specific place, aspects of its terroir, and the impact of terroir on the wines of the area. Panelists included Anaud Weyrich (discussing California’s Anderson Valley), István Szepsy, Jr (on Tokaj, Hungary), Toshio Ueno on Japan, Gustavo Rearte (on Pago de Arínzano [Navarra, Spain] and Mendoza, Argentina), MayMattia-Aliah (Alto-Adige), Bob Bath (Cariñena), and Marcke Lhyle on Paso Robles. For more information see the session presentation: Digging Into Unique Terroirs-presented by Eric Hemer and panel

Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE

Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE

Exploring the Backroads of the Côte d’Or (part 2)—presented by Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE: Back by popular demand, Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE brought us another installment of his journey along the “backroads” of the wine and regions of the Côte d’Or. Don led the class on a tour that began in the village of Monthélie, located somewhat between Meursault and Volnay.

The next stops included Auxey-Duresses (often described as a “junior Meursault”), Saint-Aubin (bordering both Puligny- and Chassagne-Montrachet), and Santenay (one of the Côte d’Or’s southernmost wine villages).

For more details, including information on the wines and producers featured in this session, see Don’s presentation: The Backroads of la Cote d’Or – presented by Don Kinnan

The Creation of a Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port—presented by Chris Forbes: Chris began this session with an overview of the 827-kilometer- (514-mile-) long Douro River—beginning in Spain and flowing through Portugal on its way to the Atlantic. The area along the river includes the three subzones of the Porto DOC—the Baixa Corgo, the Cima Corgo, and the Douro Superior—as well as the Taylor-Fladgate Estates which are located in the area’s prime Port-producing spots.

Next, the maturation process and final blending of Taylor Fladgate’s flagship Tawny Ports, accomplished in the winery’s lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia the discussed. The majority of these outstanding spend a minimum of ten to fifty years in oak barrels. The tasting demonstrated the process of aging and blending mature Tawny Ports by showcasing individual samples of various aged components and then the final blends. The tasting included Taylor Fladgate 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-year-old (blends) as well as the 1967 and an 1896 Single Harvest Tawny barrel sample that has never been tasted outside of the winery! For more information, see Chris’ presentation: The Creation of a Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port—presented by Chris Forbes

Rosé, Brosé, Frosé class

Rosé, Brosé, Frosé class

Rosé, Brosé, Frosé!!! New to rosé? Get Familiar with some of the Basics—presented by Sharron McCarthy, CSW: On Saturday morning, Sharron McCarthy, CSW presented a session highlighting high-quality rosé wines from around the world. The session started with the facts and stats that prove that rosé is clearly positioned as a segment leader and a growing market. For instance, as concerns rosé, according to Nielsen, rosé outpaces the overall wine category for the summer of 2017, and the trend is predicted to extend well beyond the summer.

As for brosé, according to columnist Richard Whitman, “Despite rumors to the contrary, manly men drink rosé!” And who can resist frozen rosé—frosé—the hottest new drink of the season!

The discussion moved to the many ways rosé is produced, including maceration, vin gris, saignée, and blending; as well as a discussion of some of the many leading rosé-producing regions of the world. The tasting included a variety of rosé wines produced using a range of grape varieties and production methods, and included rosés from all over the world. For a list of the wines and more information, see Sharron’s presentation: Rose, Brose, Frose – presented by Sharron McCarthy, CSW

The line-up of New Wave California Boutique Sparkling Wines

The line-up of New Wave California Boutique Sparkling Wines

The New Wave of Boutique California Sparkling Wines—presented by David Glancy, MS: Friday afternoon, David Glancy, MS gave a fascinating session on the “new wave” of boutique sparkling wines being produced in California. The session started with a history of sparkling wine in California, which began (amazingly enough) with Agostin Haraszthy, who built California’s first ʺChampagne Cavesʺ in Sonoma County 1862, and Paul Masson, who was known as the “Champagne King of California” beginning in 1905.

The discussion then turned to the wave of French investment in California sparkling wines with such examples of Moët & Chandon (Chandon based in California), G.H. Mumm & Co (Mumm Napa), Louis Roederer (Roederer Estate), and Taittinger (Domaine Carneros). Historic California “born and bred” sparkling wine producers—still producing outstanding wines—include Schramsberg, Iron Horse, and Scharffenberger.

The tasting portion of the class included some unique wines—a sparkling Tempranillo from  Capay Valley Vineyards (located in Yolo County’s Capay Valley AVA) and Flying Goat Crémant 2014 Brut (known as “Goat Bubbles) from Santa Maria Valley in San Luis Obispo County. Other outstanding wines included   Riverbench Blanc de Blancs Brut (Santa Maria Valley) 2014 produced using 100% Chardonnay, and Sea Smoke Blanc de Noirs Brut (Sta. Rita Hills) 2013 produced using 100% Pinot Noir. For more details on the session and the wines, see David’s presentation: The New Wave of California Boutique Sparkling Wines – presented by David Glancy

Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS

Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS

Dessert Wines: Nectar of the Gods—presented by Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS:  On Saturday afternoon, Ed Korry, CHE, CWE, CSS presented a fascinating session on dessert wines. Starting with a discussion of the various production styles that produce dessert wines—including late harvest, dosage, arresting fermentation, ice wine, botrytis, and others—the session then moved on to a tasting and discussion of nine dessert wines. The first wine, Czar de José Duarte DOP Pico Vinho Licoroso 2009 Superior Meio Doce, was introduced by a discussion on the Pico DOP and the definition of vihho licoroso (as produced in the Pico DOP).

The next wine, Domaine Monemvassia PDO Malvasia Monemvassia-Malvasia 2010 (Greece) was preceded by a discussion on the history and progreny of the Malvasia grape variety. With just over 9,000 total bottles of the wine produced, this was a special tasting indeed.

The session continued on with the tasting of several Malvasia-based wines, including examples from Lipari (Italy) and Sitges (Spain). Other tastings and areas of discussion included Madeira and the sweet wines of the Roussillon. For more information, see Ed’s presentation: Nectar of the Gods-presented by Ed Korry

100 Varieties of Lodi and Growing—presented by Stuart Spencer: This session began with an overview of Lodi grape growers, which today include over 85 wineries and 750 growers farming over 100 varieties of vinifera grapes on more than 110,000 acres of vineyards. The reasons that Lodi is able to grow so many difference grape varieties successfully include its Mediterranean Climate, its diverse soils, support for polyculture (diversity of agriculture),  and the innovative spirit of the growers.  The session next turned to a study and tasting of some of the more unique grapes of Lodi, including Vermentino, Picpoul Blanc, Kerner, Albariño, Cinsaut, Graciano, and Toreldego (among others). For more information, see Stuart’s presentation here: 100 Varieties of Lodi and Counting-presented by Stuart Spencer and the Lodi Winegrape Commission

Stuart Spencer

Stuart Spencer

Lodi Native—presented by Stuart Spencer: The Lodi Native project is a collaborative project of six winegrowers of like mind, living and working in the Lodi AVA—particularly Lodi’s historic Mokelumne River sub-AVA.  Their mission is to turn the spotlight on the region’s heritage plantings—many of them dating back to the late 1800s—through sensible viticulture and minimalist winemaking practices. The focus is on Zinfandel, but on the taste of vineyards rather than varietal character or brand.

The detailed list of winemaking protocols is intended to keep the focus on sensible viticulture and minimalist winemaking practices, and include the following: native yeast fermentation, no acidification or de-acidification, no use of oak amendments (such as dust, chips, or staves), no new oak, no use of Mega-purple, and no tannin additions (among many others). For more information, see Stuart’s presentation here: Lodi Native-presented by Stuart Spencer and the Lodi Winegrape Commission

Understanding and Comparing Recent Bordeaux Vintages—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW and Linda Lawry, DWS, CWE: Friday morning’s class on the recent Bordeaux vintages gave attendees the rare opportunity to compare and contrast wines from three Châteaux— Château Brown (Pessac-Léognan), Château Lafon-Rochet (4th Growth Saint-Estèphe), and Clos de l’Oratoire (Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé)—across three vintages (2010, 2012, and 2014).

Mary and Linda led the class through the details of each vintage as pertains to the character of the growing season (rain, temperatures, vegetative cycle) and how those characteristics may have impacted with vines (large bunches vs. small bunches, degree of concentration, ripeness). Finally, it was revealed how the vintage conditions (along with winemaking, of course) could impact the wines, and the class was invited to “taste along” and see if they could detect the vintage character in the wines.  For more information on the vintages and the wines, see the session presentation: Understanding and Comparing Recent Bordeaux Vintages—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams and Linda Lawry

Linda Lawry and Mary Gorman

Linda Lawry and Mary Gorman

Navigating the Changeable Bordeaux Classifications—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW and Linda Lawry, DWS, CWE: Thursday afternoon’s class on the classifications of Bordeaux began with an overview of the main versions—including the 1855 Classification of Médoc & Sauternes, the 1953 Graves Classification (updated in 1955), Saint Émilion Classification (1955), the Crus Bourgeois de Médoc, and the Crus Artisans du Médoc. Of these lofty groupings, the Saint Émilion Classification and the Crus Bourgeois de Médoc have the requirement to be updated at regular intervals. To a serious wine student, this sounds suspiciously like “it changes all the time!”

There is certainly some truth to that, but Mary and Linda spent the next hour or so discussing the history and philosophy behind these ever-changing classifications. The most recent changes were discussed in detail, and a tasting of representative wines accompanied the class. For all of the latest information on these ever-evolving classifications, as well as a list of the wines tasted, please see the presentation slides: Navigating the Changeable Bordeaux Classifications—presented by Mary Gorman-McAdams and Linda Lawry

Carrie Kalscheur, CWE

Carrie Kalscheur, CWE

What Makes Oregon So Special—presented by Carrie Kalscheuer, CWE: On Saturday morning, Carrie Kalscheur, CWE led a session on the people, places, and things that make Oregon so special. The session began with a discussion of the various wine growing regions located throughout the state, which can be grouped as follows: border regions, north Willamette Valley, south Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley and Umpqua Valley.

This was followed by a discussion of the leading grape varieties of Oregon—Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah. These grapes are well-known in Oregon, but wine students might be surprised to learn that a total of 72 wine grape varieties are grown in Oregon!

The class then moved onto the unique, geological history of Oregon—beginning with the time period when Oregon was still part of the sea, moving through the Missoula floods and a time of active volcanoes. All of these forces contributed to the loess, volcanic, and marine sedimentary soils that dominate the vineyards of Oregon today. For more information, see the session presentation: What Makes Oregon Special-presented by Carrie Kalscheuer

Jim Clarke

Jim Clarke

Chenin Blanc – South Africa’s Flagship Grape?—presented by Jim Clarke: Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa (WOSA) began this fascinating session with a discussion of the role of Chenin Blanc in the wines of South Africa. Chenin Blanc is both a historical grape variety and a leading grape in South Africa’s modern wine industry. South Africa has more plantings of Chenin Blanc than any other country in the world, and it accounts for over 18% of present vineyard plantings in SA.

Next, the class moved to a discussion of the “Wine of Origin” scheme for geographical indications in South Africa, which are designated as regions, districts, wards, estates, and single vineyards. This was followed by the tastings. Selections included Chenin Blanc-based blends such as Mullineux White Blend 2015 (74% Chenin Blanc) and Momento Chenin Blanc-Verdelho 2015. This was followed by a discussion of the Chenin Blanc Association’s six recognized styles of Chenin Blanc: fresh & fruity, rich & ripe (unwooded), rich & ripe (wooded), rich & ripe (slightly sweet), sweet, and sparkling. The session concluded with a tasting of more South African Chenin, including L’Avenir Single block Chenin Blanc 2015, and Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2016. For more information, see Jim’s presentation: Chenin Blanc – South Africa’s Flagship Grape—presented by Jim Clarke

May Matta-Aliah

May Matta-Aliah

The Wines of Alto Adige—a Trifecta of Pure Pinot Perfection—presented by May Matta-Aliah, DWS, CWE: May’s session began with an overview of the Alto Adige/ Südtirol (South Tyrol) region. Many attendees were surprised to learn that the region was once a part of Austria, then it was annexed by Italy, and that in 1939 the inhabitants were given the choice to either become part of Italy or Germany!

Despite the tumultuous history, wine has been produced in the region for thousands of years—by some estimates since 500 BCE. These days, the area boasts over 13,000 acres of vineyards and 5,000 wine growers. The area enjoys 300 sunny days a year, a mix of soils, a large diurnal temperature variance and vineyards planted as high as 3,300 feet above sea level.

The tasting included three wines based on Pinot Bianco, three wines based on Pinot Grigio, and three wines based on Pinot Nero—a true trifecta! For more information, see May’s presentation: Alto Adige-Trifecta of Pure Pinot Perfection-presesnted by May Matta-Aliah

Kathy Falbo

Kathy Falbo

You had me at Merlot—presented by Kathy Falbo, CSW: This session began with an overview of both the Merlot grape variety (its name is French for “little black bird” and it is the most widely planted grape in Bordeaux) and the Long Island Wine Region. Key facts about Long Island include its maritime climate, impressive size (118 miles long by 23 miles wide), diverse soils, and prime location at 43°N latitude.

All of this information was interspersed with comparative tastings the placed Merlot-based wines from Long Island against wines from of the world’s most impressive Merlot, including wines from Saint-Émilion, Columbia Valley, Sonoma County, and Green Valley (Solano County).  For more information, see Kathy’s presentation: You had me at Merlot – presented by Kathy Falbo

Bob Madill

Bob Madill, CS

The Finger Lakes on the Wild Side—presented by Lorraine Hems, CS, CWE, and Bob Madill, CS: On Friday morning, Lorraine and Bob began their session by describing the location, history, and terroir of the Finger Lakes wine region of New York. Many attendees were interested to learn that there are actually 11 Finger Lakes and that they vary quite a bit in depth, topography, and the soils that surround them.

One interesting factor in the climate—particularly around the deeper lakes such as Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake—is the influence of the “lake effect.” The lake effect (which can be “calculated” based on the distance from a Great Lake [Lake Ontario], the distance from a Finger Lake and the rise in elevation) helps moderate the potential extremes of the area’s mostly continent climate.

The Finger Lakes AVA currently has 9,500 acres of vines and more than 130 wineries. Only about 23% of the vines are planted to vinifera grapes—but of those, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir are among the leaders.  The session concluded with a tasting of some of the Finger Lakes finest wines, including a dry rosé from Billsboro Winery, a sparkling wine from Dr. Konstantin Frank, Bellangelo barrel-fermented Bench Riesling, and Red Newt Cellars “Limited Engagement” Gewürztraminer, among others. For more information, see Lorraine and Bob’s presentation: The Finger Lakes on the Wild Side—presented by Lorraine Hems and Bob Madill

Suzanne Hoffman

Suzanne Hoffman

A Taste of History: Piemonte Wines, Families, and the Historic Women behind them—presented by Valerie Caruso, CWE, FWS, and Suzanne Hoffman: This session was based, in part, on the stories and photography of the historic wine making families of Piedmont, as documented by Suzanne Hoffman in her book “Labor of Love: Wine Family Women of Piedmont.” Throughout the session attendees were delighted to hear Suzanne read some of the stories from her book, accompanied by delicious wines—as well as wine information and commentary from Valerie Caruso.

The families and wine estates discussed included Deltetto (and their Spumante Brut Reserve produced using Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir), Matteo Correggia (and their Roero Arneis), and Marenco (and their 100% Albarossa produced under the Piemonte DOC). For more information on the wines presented click here: Wines and Producers – A Taste of Piedmont History – Suzanne Hoffman and Valerie Caruso

Nora Favelukes

Nora Favelukes

Valpolicella Ripasso: A Fresh Look at this Unique Style—This session, presented by Nora Favelukes on Saturday afternoon, began with an overview of the Valpolicella Region. The area contains three distinct zones: Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Valpantena, and Valpolicella Orientali (sometimes referred to simply as “Valpolicella”). The area has 18,770 acres of vineyards and 2,347 grape growers.

The distinct “ripasso” style of Valpolicella is produced using a second fermentation (a “ripasso” or “re-pass”) of a newly-fermented Valpolicella wine on a bed of pomace left over from the fermentation of a Valpolicella wine that will become Recioto or Amarone. This unique style of wine received DOC (PDO) designation in 2010.

Further information on the grapes, terroir, and wine styles of the region was interspersed with tastings of Valpolicella Ripasso, which included such diverse wines as Cesari “Mara” 2015, Corte Figaretto “Acini Ameni” 2015, and Remo Fari “Montecornoa” 2014. For more information, see Nora’s presentation: Valpolicella Ripasso A Fresh Look at this Unique Style – presented by Nora Favelukes

Eric Hemer, CWE, MS. MW

Eric Hemer, CWE, MS. MW

International Pinot Noir Styles, a Comparative Blind Tasting—presented by Eric Hemer, CWE, MS, MW: This session started off with a brief history of Pinot Noir—since its earliest written mention in 1375 by Duc Philippe le Hardi of Burgundy to its current status as the world’s tenth most planted variety (at 290,000 acres worldwide). Next, its physical characteristics were discussed—small, tight, bunches and thin-skinned berries with lower levels of phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins and tannin.

Next, the lesion included a lesson on the primary growing regions of Pinot Noir—France (76,000 acres (32,000 acres in Champagne, 26,000 in Burgundy, 16,000 in Côte d’Or), the United States (74,000 acres (38,000 in California, 14,500 in Willamette Valley), Germany (29,000 acres), New Zealand: (11,000 acres), Italy (10,000 acres), and Australia (8,700 acres).

A blind tasting of paired wines followed. The wines included world-class Pinot Noir from Savoie (France), New York’s Finger Lakes, Alto Adige (Italy), Marlborough (New Zealand), Alsace (France), Santa Maria Valley (California), Gevry-Chambertin (Burgundy, France), and the Dundee Hills or Oregon. For more information on the session and the wines, download Eric’s presentation: International Pinot Noir Styles, a Comparative Blind Tasting—presented by Eric Hemer

John Reilly, CSS, CE

John Reilly, CSS, CE

Oregon Pinot Noir via Burgundy, California, and back again—presented by John Rielly CSW, CSS: On Thursday afternoon, John Reilly offered a blind tasting of Pinot Noir concentrating on wines with a sense of place from Burgundy, California, and Oregon.

Wines from France included Château de Marsannay Gevrey-Chambertin and Château du Marsannay “Grand Vin de Bourgogne” Marsannay. California wines included Rochioli Vineyards Pinot Noir—Russian River Vineyard and Sanford Winery “La Rinconada” Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Oregon was represented by Maison Roy & Files “Petite Incline” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Westrey Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. For more information on the wines, the wineries, and the growing regions, see John’s presentation: Oregon Pinot Noir via Burgundy, California, and back again—presented by John Rielly

Susannah Gold

Susannah Gold

The Wines of Lombardy session, presented by Susannah Gold, CSW, CSS, DipWSET: This Thursday afternoon session began with a discussion of the history, geography, and wine designations (DOC/DOCG/IGT) of the northern Italian region of Lombardy. The first wine discussed was Franciacorta, Lombardy’s traditional method sparkling wine, followed by a tasting of Berlucchi Winery’s “61” Franciacorta brut. Other areas discussed (and wines tasted) included the Lugana DOC (and its unique Turbiana grape variety),   Valcalepio DOC (bianco), San Martino della Battaglia DOC (using the Tuchì [Friulano] grape), and Valtènesi Chiaretto DOC, among others. For more details, see Susannah’s presentation: Wines of Lombardy presented by Susannah Gold

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The Renaissance of Famous Volcanic Wines of Pico from the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean—presented by António Maçanita and Filipe Rocha: Friday afternoon, attendees took a journey to the Azores and the volcanic Island of Pico. The session began with a discussion of the mysterious history of the Verdelho grape variety. Verdelho is grown on the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores, as well as the Canary Islands on in France’s Loire Valley. All of these grapes show as genetically identical. After reviewing both genetic and historical evidence…it just might be true that Verdelho just might be native to the Azores!  The session then continued with a discussion of the history of viticulture and wine production on the island of Pico, as well as a tasting of wines from Pico, including a “Verdelho Original” from the Pico DOP. For more information, download the presentation here: The Renaissance of Famous Volcanic Wines of Pico-presented by António Maçanita and Filipe Rocha

If you are a SWE 2017 Conference speaker and you would like us to post a recap of your session, please contact Jane Nickles, our Director of Education and Certification, at jnickles@societyofwineeducators.org

Conference Preview: International Pinot Noir Styles – A Comparative Blind Tasting Seminar

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Today we have a conference preview from Eric Hemer, CWE, MS, MW. Eric tells us about his upcoming session titled, “International Pinot Noir Styles – A Comparative Blind Tasting Seminar” to be presented as part of SWE’s upcoming 41st Annual Conference:

International Pinot Noir Styles – A Comparative Blind Tasting Seminar

Conducted by: Eric Hemer, CWE, MS, MW – Senior VP, Corporate Director of Wine Education, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of America

This informal yet informative seminar will focus on Pinot Noir from around the world, including high quality, representative examples from regions such as Burgundy, Austria, California, Oregon, New Zealand and Australia, among others. In all, eight wines will be tasted in a blind format. We will start with an introduction to the variety, including historical background, viti/vini, and current, pertinent information. While tasting each wine, gentle audience participation will be encouraged. Each wine will be revealed after tasting and information on the producer, region of origin and viti/vini will be discussed. Handouts with details on each wine will be provided, and the PowerPoint presentation will be made available to all on the SWE website after the conference has concluded.

Eric’s session, “International Pinot Noir Styles – A Comparative Blind Tasting Seminar” will be held on Thursday,  August 10th, 2017 at 2:45 pm as part of SWE’s 41st Annual Conference, to be held August 10 through 12 in Portland, Oregon.

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Speaker Biography: Eric Hemer began his career at Southern Wine & Spirits (SWS) in 1988 as an On-Premise Wine Consultant in Palm Beach County, Florida. He went into management in 1990 and held various positions over the years, culminating in General Manager for American Wine and Spirits of Florida.

In 1998, as similar positions were created around the country at SWS, he was appointed Educational Director for SWS of Florida, a return to his original interest in fine wine. Hemer passed the Certified Wine Educator examination in 1999, the Master Sommelier examination in 2003 and the Master of Wine examination in 2013. In 2014, he was promoted to his current position of Senior Vice-President, Corporate Director of Wine Education for SWS of America and today oversees wine educational endeavors in 46 markets across the US and Canada with the new company, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of America.

Eric is actively involved in wine education with numerous affiliated organizations as well, teaching at The Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University in Miami, acting as consulting sommelier and speaker for Chef Jean-Pierre’s Culinary School in Ft. Lauderdale, and is deeply involved in courses, lectures and examinations around the country with the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Institute of Masters of Wine, the Society of Wine Educators, and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

Connecting the Bubbles: The Méthode Marlborough

image via: http://www.methodemarlborough.com/

image via: http://www.methodemarlborough.com/

The most successful people in the wine industry, whether they are conference speakers, teachers, or salespeople, are skilled at drawing connections and parallels within the world of wine.  Tying regions, styles, history, and current events together is thought provoking and shows a deeper understanding of the world around us.

On the surface, this post is about the newish Méthode Marlborough; however, the subject also brings into play the greater world of sparkling wine world, as well as the on-going debate of New World vs Old World.

The Méthode Marlborough is a society, created in September 2013, in order to promote the high-quality Traditional Method sparkling wines produced in Marlborough. The requirements for a Mèthod Marlborough sparkling wine include:

  • Produced using 100% Marlborough grapes
  • Made in Marlborough and exclusively produced using the Traditional Method of sparkling wine production
  • Made using the traditional Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier
  • Aged in the bottle, on the lees, for a minimum of 18 months

There are currently 10 producers that are making this style of wine and have joined the club:

  • Allan Scott
  • Cloudy Bay Vineyards
  • Hunter’s Wines
  • Johanneshof Cellars
  • Lion
  • Nautilus Estate
  • No. 1 Family Estate
  • Spy Valley Winery
  • Summerhouse Wine Company
  • Tohu Wines
photo via: http://www.no1familyestate.co.nz/

photo via: http://www.no1familyestate.co.nz/

These wines are just now beginning to show up on store shelves. The first-ever Méthode Marlborough sparkler to be released was No. 1 Family Estate’s Assemblé, which was sabered in celebration on August 14th 2015.

It is perhaps fitting that No. 1 Family Estate, owned by Daniel Le Brun, was the first winery to release. Le Brun is, after all, part of a Champenois family, and has produced this style of Traditional Method sparkling wine from the three Champagne grapes in Marlborough since the winery was established in 1999.

This is impressive coming from a region that specializes in – and stakes its reputation on – Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, 77% of all the vineyards in Marlborough grow Sauvignon Blanc, and some of it is used to create delightful (if, admittedly, simple) Charmat method sparkling wines.

As lovely as these Charmat method sparkling wines are, it is just this type of wine from which the Méthode Marlborough producers are trying to distance themselves. South Africa was the first new world region to recognize the need to differentiate their quality sparkling wines, and, in 1992, created the Cap Classique Producers Association. However, Cap Classique rules are a bit less stringent that those of the Méthode Marlborough is attempting to do: Cap Classique can come from anywhere in the large, diverse Western Cape Geographical Unit, the lees-aging requirement is only 12 months, and they allow the use of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc in addition to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

image via: http://www.kimcrawfordwines.com/us

image via: http://www.kimcrawfordwines.com/us

Perhaps – and this is where the “Old World/New World” aspect of this discussion begins – a set of Old World-style quality controls is ever more important in a category of wine where the production methods can be elusive, the grapes in the blend are a mystery, and vintages are rarely discussed or disclosed. Time spent on the lees, which is a major component of a finished sparkling wine’s flavor, is also not discussed. Essentially, we’re missing the what, where, when, and why of the wine. (Thankfully, the who is published on the label.)

Controls such as these are built into the production standards of the DOCs and the AOCs of the Old World, so the customer at least has a good idea of what they are getting in the bottle, and adherence to their standards is mandatory if the producer wants to use their “stamp of approval” on the label. However, in the case of New World producers bonding together for a marketing and consumer-driven end, admission to the club is voluntary.  As such, there will always be “rebels” who refuse to join – perhaps because they believe their brand is stronger that of the association – such as Kim Crawford’s “Fizz,” produced using the Traditional Method from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The topic brings up many questions. Will these New World quality alliances that imitate Old World appellations will stand the test of time.  How much do we rely on the Canadian VQA or the San Rafael DOC in Mendoza over individual brands? Will more regions around the world band together to “guarantee” quality in the nebulous world of sparkling wine?  (I’m keeping my eye on England, Brazil, and Tasmania.)

We wait with curious minds and palates as the ten producers of Méthode Marlborough captivate our attention – and we promise to bring the bubbles, no matter what.

For more information:

MarkPost authored by Mark Rashap, CWE. Mark has, over the past ten years, been in the wine world in a number of capacities including studying wine management in Buenos Aires, being an assistant winemaker at Nota Bene Cellars in Washington State, founding his own wine brokerage, and working for Texas-based retail giant Spec’s as an educator for the staff and public.

In August of 2015, Mark joined the team of the Society of Wine Educators as Marketing Coordinator to foster wine education across the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conference Recaps 2015

The crowd loves the visuals used at "The Secret Life of Pinot Noir" session

The crowd loves the visuals used at “The Secret Life of Pinot Noir” session

We had a wonderful time at the 39th Annual Conference of the Society of Wine Educators, held August 11-13, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Highlights included the New Orleans-inspired food (of course), as well as 60 dynamic sessions led by wine professionals, the inaugural sitting of our newest certification exam, – the Certified Spirits Educator (CSE), announcement of our newest board members, and the release of 500 new questions to our SWE Wine and Spirits App!

Below you will find some pictures, presentations, and handouts provided by our wonderful speakers – the next best thing to being there!

Bill Whiting speaks to the crowd at the "Crazy for Chile" session

Bill Whiting speaks to the crowd at the “Crazy for Chile” session

On Wednesday morning, Bill Whiting, CSW led a session and tasting of Chilean wines featuring those that rated 90+! Bill’s class covered the grapes, regions, and terroirs of Chile, with an excellent discussion of the Costa, Entre Cordilleras, and Andres geographical indications unique to this part of the world. You can download a copy of the presentation here: Crazy for Chile 90-plus presented by Bill Whiting

Dino Altamare, CSW shared A Taste of the Northwest from the Banks of the Mississippi, giving attendees a wealth of information on the history, grapes, terroir, and wines of Oregon and Washington State. You can access a copy of Dino’s presentation here: A Taste of the Pacific Northwest presented by Dino Altomare

Prosecco, Franciacorta, Barolo and Amarone…sounds like a wonderful tasting, doesn’t it? Add some Rosazzo and an Inferno Valtellina Superiore, along with Eric Hemer, MS, MW leading a discussion of the Wines and Regions of Northern Italy from Friuli to Piemonte and you have an idea of what a wonderful session this was!  Click here to download a copy of From Friuli to Piemonte presented by Eric Hemer

The intense Arthur Black at the Agave Intensive

The intense Arthur Black at the Agave Intensive

Those lucky enough – and brave enough – to attend Arthur Black’s “Agave Intensive – No, Really” were able to hear the stories, see the pictures, and taste the magic of Tequila, Mezcal, Sotol and Bacanora. In case you had to miss it, you can download a copy of the presentation here: Agave Intensive presented by Arthur Black

One of the outstanding features of this year’s conference was an emphasis on wine’s emerging regions – and one perfect example of this was the “Getting High in Arizona” session led by Gary Spadafore, CSS, CWE, and Paula Woolsey, CSW. Gary and Paula gave an overview of the past, present, and potential future of Arizona-based wines while sharing samples of wines with names such as “the Provisioner,” “Emotiva,” and “Primer Paso.” Click here to download a copy of Getting High in Arizona presented by Gary Spadafore and Paula Woolsey. Click here for an Interview with Michael Pierce – Arizona wines.

Who would have known? It turns out that Jambalaya pairs well with Lambrusco, Blackened Catfish is great with Bolgheri Rosso, and Muffaletta and Soave is a perfect match! These pairings -and more- were enjoyed by the crowd at Sharron McCarthy’s Session on “Beignets and Brunello.” If you were able to join them, you can download a copy of the presentation here: Beignets and Brunello presented by Sharron McCarthy

Roger Bohmrich speaks on the Wines of China

Roger Bohmrich speaks on the Wines of China

Have you ever discussed the wines of Shandong, Ningxia, or Hebei? Did you know that China now has the second largest acreage of vineyards in the world? Have you ever tasted the wines of the Huai Lai Amethyst Winery? If you answered “yet” to any of these questions, chances are you were in attendance with Roger Bohmrich, MWD at his session on “Chinese Wine Today.” If you missed out, you can download a copy of the presentation here: Chinese Wine Today presented by Roger Bohmrich

On Friday afternoon, Don Kinnan, CWE, detailed just how La Côte Chalonnaise become known as “Burgundy’s Forgotten Region.” And while it is true that the Côte Chalonnaise has fewer recognizable appellations, and less production and distribution than its more prestigious neighbors to the north, it is also true that there is a new generation, quality-oriented winemakers in the Côte replanting vineyards with better parent material, using improved vinification, and in general creating wines that are better than ever! You can read a recap of the session here: La Cote Chalonnaise presented by Don Kinnan

Paul Poux tells the story of the wines of Trentino Alto Adige

Paul Poux tells the story of the wines of Trentino Alto Adige

Paul Poux, CSW led a session on the wines of Trentino and Alto Adige on Thursday morning. You can download part one of his presentation here: Wines of Trentino Alto Adige presented by Paul Poux part 1. Click here for part two: Wines of Trentino Alto Adige presented by Paul Poux part 2 – and here for part three: Wines of Trentino Alto Adige presented by Paul Poux part 3.

On Thursday afternoon, Will Costello, MS told the audience how New Zealand is a “land like no other,” and shared his thoughts – and some wonderful wines – in his session entitled “New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: Breakthrough Approaches and Individual Expressions.” You can download a copy of the presentation here: NZ Sauvignon Blanc presented by Will Costello

Fernando Pavon led a double session on The Colchagua Valley and its Famous Red Blends” on Thursday afternoon. Fernando discussed the fascinating history of the region, the diverse terroir – including the sub-regions influenced by ocean breezes near the coast, the generous plains of the area between mountain ranges, and the areas tucked amongst the mountains themselves – and led the group in a wonderful tasting! You can download a copy of the presentation here: The Colchagua Valley and it Famous Red Blends presented by Fernando Pavon

On Wednesday afternoon, Tony Baldini and Andy Mitchell shared the history, terroir, scenery and (most importantly) with wines of “The Next Great Pinot Noir Area: Santa Lucia Highlands.” Click here to download the presentation: The Next Great Pinot Noir Area – Santa Lucia Highlands

Did we mention that Jordan Cowe is the recipient of the year's Banfi Award? He's also currently the world's youngest CWE!

Did we mention that Jordan Cowe is the recipient of this year’s Banfi Award? He’s also currently the world’s youngest CWE!

During Friday morning’s session, “All About the Languedoc,” Eric Entrikin, MS led the group on a discovery of the authenticity, diversity, quality, and value of the wines from the Languedoc, ending with a tasting that included samples of Saint Chinian, Minervois, and Corbières. Click here to download a copy of the presentation: All About the Languedoc presented by Eric Entrikin

“Saving the World – One Glass at a Time” was Jordan Cowe, CWE’s topic on Thursday afternoon. Jordan’s session covered the philosophies and processes of wine’s eco-evangelists, and covered such subjects as renewable energy, water conservation, integrated pest management, the use of cover crops, and even winery design and transportation. Click here to download a copy of the presentation: Wine’s Eco-Evangelists presented by Jordan Cowe

Maria Ghiglieri, CSW, and Stephen Ghiglieri, CWE shared some thoughts on how great wine is made in the vineyard while explaining terpenes, pyrazines, and polyfunctional thiols in their session on “Paving the Way to Great Wine.” Download a copy of the presentation here: Paving the Way to Great Wine presented by Stephen and Maria Ghiglieri

Michael Freeman, CSW gave us a different way of looking at Italian Wines in his session entitled Leave the Flashcards, take the Bardolino.” In addition, an excellent tasting of iconic Italian wines, including Fiano di Avellino, Bardolino, and Montefalco Sagrantino was enjoyed by all! Click here to down a copy of the presentation: Leave the Flashcards Take the Bardolino slide show presented by Michael Freeman; click here for the handout: Leave the Flashcards Handout

Tilda Parente, CSW, MD led a session titled “Is there a Doctor in the House?” What a great opportunity for the attendees who got to hear – directly from a physician and wine-lover, the latest research and truths on resveratrol, moderate drinking, hangovers (!), the French paradox, and the Mediterranean diet! Click here to download the presentation: Is there a Doctor in the House presented by Tilda Parente

Do you know what country is bordered by Italy, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and the Adriatic Sea? It’s Slovenia, which has both a traditional and modern wine industry. Attendees were able to experience the wines of Slovenia in a session led by Mitja Herga. Click here to download the presentation: Slovenia – An Emerging Wine Country on the Rise presented by Mitja Herga

On Wednesday afternoon, Tim Gaiser MS shared some strategies for dealing with test anxiety in his session entitled “Psych Up! Click here to download a copy of the presentation: Psych Up presented by Tim Gaiser

On Friday morning, James King, CSW, FWS, helped us discover the Un-discovered wines of the Côtes. Click here to download a copy of the presentation: The Wines of the Cotes presented by James King

Speakers and presenters! If you’d like to share your 2015 Conference materials with our readers, please contact Jane Nickles at jnickles@societyofwineeducators.org – thanks very much!

 

A Lime Thunderstorm – #SauvBlanc Day

“It’s like standing naked in a lime thunderstorm.”

38044013_lThat’s the way I described New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – one of my favorite styles of wine – for a long time. The phrase relates a myriad of sensations. First of all – the thrill of being naked outside (just admit it). Second, the crackle of lightning – makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, makes your entire body stand and deliver, and leaves a slight mineral scent in the air. The cold rain lashing your flesh – the whole point of being naked in this scenario is to feel the cold rain on your belly. Finally, the limes – exploding like flavor bombs on impact.

I’ve used that line for decades and it still rings true. However, the wine industry in New Zealand has matured a bit since the mid-1980s “Sauvignon Blanc shot heard ‘round the world,” when Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc was first introduced and immediately set the standard for a “new style” of Sauvignon Blanc. While I still encounter –and love – the “lime thunderstorm” style of NZ SB, nowadays you may also encounter a creamy wine with the influence of malo-lactic fermentation, a white Bordeaux-style blend, an oaked version, a wine with lees aging, or a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc as well.

Sauvignon Blanc has actually been planted in New Zealand since 1973, and was beginning to be produced at commercially-relevant levels by 1979. Sauvignon Blanc is grown in all of New Zealand’s viticultural regions, and accounts for the following super-statistics:

  • 67% of NZ Vineyard Plantings (by hectare)
  • 72% of NZ Wine Production
  • 86% of NZ Wine Exports

New Zealand SB grapes

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s reputation as a tongue curler is well-documented – and much beloved.  This is not a wine for the wine newbie, the wine wimp, or the vinous faint of heart.

Even the New Zealand Winegrower’s Association admits it, and uses the following terms to describe their SB:

  • Pungently aromatic
  • Explosive flavors
  • Bell pepper and gooseberry
  • Passion fruit, tropical fruit
  • Fresh cut grass, tomato stalk, grapefruit, and lime…

By the way, one of the lovely things about standing naked outside in a lime thunderstorm is the way that the lively (to say the least) acidity of NZ SB pairs with food. Tastes and flavors in “trendy” cuisine seem to grow bolder and bolder every year, and I’ve 29900002_xlencountered some extremely acidic ceviches, salads, sauces, and marinades for seafood and other proteins. Acidic foods such as these can overwhelm many wines, but the zing of NZ SB holds its own and may even taste better (to some palates) when paired with crisply acidic food – the more snap, crackle, and pop the better.

For my #SauvBlanc Day, I’ll be indulging in a lovely Russian Jack Sauvignon Blanc (from Martinborough) – paired with some tangerine-paprika marinated tilapia served on a bed of lemon-asparagus risotto. What are your plans?

Post authored by Jane A. Nickles – SWE’s Director of Education and Certification –  jnickles@societyofwineeducators.org

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