#WineWednesday Webinar: A Taste-Along Tour of Naples

Coming soon…Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 – 7:00 pm central time, we are pleased to offer another in our series of taste-along webinars: A Taste-Along Tour of Naples, presented by Jane A. Nickles, CSE, CWE. Join us a tour through the history and geography of Naples, Italy and the surrounding countryside of Campania. Along the way we will visit the island of Capri, Mt. Vesuvius, and the Amalfi Coast. Limone di Sorrento IGP, Limoncello, Insalata Caprese, and Pizza Napoletana TSG are on the menu, along with some of the most famous wines of Campania—Taurasi DOCG, Greco di Tufo DOCG, and Fiano di Avellino DOCG. This session should last around 1 ½ hours.

Even if you aren’t joining us for the tasting, this session will offer plenty to learn about the wines, spirits, and food of the city of Naples and the surrounding areas.

Click here for the Grocery list for Naples taste-along

Click here for the Handout for Wine and Food of Naples Taste-along SWEbinar

Click here for the Maps used in the Wine and Food of Naples Taste-along SWEbinar

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Login Instructions: At the appointed time, just click on this link: Wednesday, March 29th at 7:00 pm central time: A Taste-Along Tour of Naples. Link will go “live” a few hours before the scheduled date. There is no need to register in advance.

When the SWE Adobe Connect homepage appears, click on “enter as a guest,” type in your name, and click “enter room.” Remember that each session is limited to 100 attendees, and that several of our past sessions have reached capacity. We are hoping to avoid this issue in the future by offering more SWEbinars, but it is still a good idea to log on early!

  • If you have never attended an Adobe Connect event before, it is also a good idea to test your connection ahead of time (just click on the link).
  • If you are having any trouble with your Adobe Connect connection, please see our SWEbinar Trouble-shooting page.

SWE’s SWEbinar series is unique in that it is offered free-of-charge, and open to the public! We also try to accommodate all schedules by offering sessions on weekdays and weekends, as well as daytime and evening hours. Sessions last for about one hour, and are live, interactive events.  If you have a topic you would like to see addressed, or a time-of-day that would work for you, please let our Director of Education, Jane A. Nickles know via email at jnickles@societyofwineeducators.org

If you have any questions, please contact Jane Nickles: jnickles@societyofwineeducators.org

Click here for the 2017 SWEbinar Calendar

One more for the Languedoc: the Pic-Saint-Loup AOC

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As of February 17 of this year, Pic-Saint-Loup is France’s newest official appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) wine region! If the name sounds familiar, the area (found within the Hérault and Gard departments in Southwest France) has been an approved subzone of the Languedoc AOC and somewhat known for its blended-variety red and rosé wines.

According to the website of the INAO, Pic-Saint-Loup (sometimes written as Pic-St-Loup or Pic St-Loup) is now a stand-alone AOC, approved for both red and rosé wines. The first Pic-Saint-Loup AOC designations will show up on wines from the 2017 vintage.

The red wines of the Pic-Saint-Loup must be at least 12% alcohol by volume and be comprised of a minimum of 50% Syrah. A measure of either Grenache Noir or Mourvèdre is required, and small amounts of Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise, and Morrastel (known elsewhere as Graciano) are also permitted.

The requirements of the Pic-Saint-Loup rosé AOC are similar, but the required amount of Syrah is set at a minimum of 30%. A proportion of Grenache Noir or Mourvèdre is still required (as many of the wines of the Languedoc are traditionally blends); Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise, and Morrastel are allowed in the mix as well.

So, what is next for the Languedoc? No one can say for sure…place your bets! But for now, welcome to the world Pic-Saint-Loup AOC!

References/for further information:

Post authored by Jane A. Nickles, CSE, CWE – your blog administrator

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Pizza Napoletana TSG (Traditional Status Guaranteed)

Photo by Valerio Capello via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Valerio Capello via Wikimedia Commons

You know you love pizza…and as a wine aficionado, you most likely have a special regard for the most authentic of all pizzas, the Pizza Napoletana (sometimes referred to the Pizza Margherita). I have been known to drive for several hours just to try an authentic-style, wood-fired, burnt-around-the-edges-but-soft-in-the-middle Neapolitan-style pizza.

As it turns out, the powers that be at the European Union also agree that there is something special about Pizza Napoletana, and as of 2010, approved an application from the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani to grant Pizza Napoletana the protected product status of “Traditional Status Guaranteed” (TSG).

Unlike the well-known PDO or PGI protections, TSG protection does not necessarily link a product to a specific geographical area, but rather acknowledges that the item is of a clearly defined “specific character” and that its raw materials and/or production method is traditional. In this case, “traditional” is defined as having been used for at least 30 years, and in a way that allows for transmission between generations.

TSG designation means that the registered product name may only be used by those producers who follow the published standards for the product—in this case, the specifications will confirm that the pizza is indeed prodotta secondo la tradizione Napoletana (produced in the Neapolitan tradition).

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The specifications for Pizza Napoletana fill a nine-page document; however, the main requirements include the following:

  • The pizza is round, with a raised rim, and a diameter not exceeding 35 cm (13.74 inches)
  • It is made according to a specific dough recipe (for both ingredients and procedures)
  • It is garnished with—and only with—Mozzarella di Bufala Campana AOC or Mozzarella STG.* fresh basil, crushed and peeled San Marino tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and salt—the layering of which is defined up to and including the “spiraling motion” used to spread the tomatoes and sprinkle the salt
  • It is baked in a wood-fired pizza oven
  • The overall pizza must be tender, elastic and easily foldable into four

This sentence, taken directly from the regulations, kind of says it all: “When the baking process is complete the pizza emits a characteristic aroma which is deliciously fragrant; the tomatoes, which have lost only their excess water, remain compact and solid; the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana AOC or the Mozzarella STG appear melted on the surface of the pizza and the basil, together with the garlic and the oregano, emits an intense aroma without appearing to be burnt.”

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I, for one, love the fact that the EU regulations remind us that “the Pizza Napoletana should preferably be consumed immediately, as soon as it comes out of the oven, in the same location as it was produced.”

Other TSG-certified products include Spain’s Jamón Serrano, Portugal’s Bacalhau, and the United Kingdom’s Bramley Apple Pie filling.

If you would like to learn more about traditional Pizza Napoletana as well as some of the fascinating wines, foods, and spirits of Naples and the surrounding area, join us for our upcoming “Taste-along SWEbinar” on the Wine and Food of Naples!

References/for more information:

*STG is a grand-fathered version of the “TSG” designation.

Post authored by Jane A. Nickles, CSE, CWE – your blog administrator

Are you interested in being a guest blogger or a guest SWEbinar presenter for SWE?  Click here for more information!

Guest Post/Book Review: The 24-hour Wine Expert

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Today we have a guest post and book review brought to us by Harriet Lembeck, CWE, CSE. Read on as Harriet reviews the latest offering from Jancis Robinson!

Book Review: The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson, MW

I just love what’s written on the cover of this book (and I quote), “Red, white, rosé, fizzy, screwcap v cork, wine myths, overpriced wines, matching food and wine, decanting, the tasting ritual” as written by “the most respected wine critic in the world.” That’s a big promise, and this little book delivers.

But let’s get real: this book is not meant for you to become a 24-Hour Wine Expert. As a wine educator, you already are that, and more. This book is meant for the friends and family of wine experts and wine educators so that they can stop rolling their eyes when they dine with us.

The promised simple explanations are just that, and practical, too. For instance, giving an ‘A’ list and a ‘B’ list when picking wines from a retail store or a restaurant gives one many options and confidence. There are notes on the reasons for different bottle shapes and sizes, plus a “how-to-read-a-label” section that is very simple and direct. There is a concise list of tasting terms guaranteed to put your group (all of you) on the same page—and it just might help to make your wine conversations more meaningful and (perhaps) end food fights.  The good and bad parts of wine service are explained, as is the actual opening of the bottle.

This tidy little book also contains several top ten lists as well as advice on picking a bottle and common wine myths. A short section on popular grapes eases the way to a discussion on famous wine regions (eased into about 40 succinct categories), and a wrap-up of wine jargon. After a 24-hour study, you will be fearless.

Bibliographical information: Robinson, Jancis. The 24-Hour Wine Expert. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2016.

HarrietHarriet Lembeck is a CWE (Certified Wine Educator) and a CSE (Certified Spirits Educator – a new designation). She is President of the Wine & Spirits Program, and revised and updated the textbook Grossman’s Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits. She was the Director of the Wine Department for The New School University for 18 years. She can be reached at h.lembeck@ wineandspiritsprogram.com.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger or a guest SWEbinar presenter for SWE?  Click here for more information!

Guest Post: A Trip to the Jura – part deux!

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Today we have the second and final installment of our of a two-part series from guest blogger Paul Poux. Paul tells us about his recent visit the Jura to reunite with family and drink some local wines. Click here to read part one!

“The next day looked like rain, but it was winery day and we were going to be inside tasting rooms so I didn’t care. My Dad, my husband, and I squeezed into Jean-Marie’s small Audi and drove to our first stop, Arbois. On a road overlooking the town, Jean-Marie kept trying to point out the view but the rain was slapping against the windows. I thought we were going to visit a winery first, but we passed the imposing cathedral and Jean-Marie decided a quick stop was in order. The Romanesque church of St Just was built in the 12th century yet has a warm, comfortable feeling, with stone vaulted arcades letting in lots of light through stained glass windows, one of which depicts vignérons harvesting grapes.

Our next visit was not a winery either, but a café and famous chocolatier, Hirsinger. The rain had stopped and we sat in the center of beautiful Arbois, surrounded by Medieval buildings. There is a lot of wine history too, including Louis Pasteur who lived there and pasteurized wine. Tasting rooms and wine shops were visible on every corner. As we walked back to the car we passed a few of them. “That one, Stéphane Tissot, is good,” Jean-Marie says, but we didn’t stop. He had somewhere else in mind.

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In the car, Jean Marie said, “You know Paul, there is a saying: Arbois le nom, Pupillin le bon.” (perhaps, “Arbois has the name, but Pupillin’s got game.”) The village of Pupillin sits on a hill just two miles from Arbois, with south-facing slopes, and the exposure and limestone soils make for superior wines. We drove up the hill, to the large Domaine Désiré Petit. The parking lot was empty and the front door locked. It was Noon, and they had just closed for lunch. “Eh, oui,” Jean-Marie says, with a shrug.

Dejected, we got back in the car and drove through vineyards and pastures to the village of Chateau-Chalon. Driving through its beautiful and tidy streets, Jean-Marie said, “These towns are all rich from making wine.” Chateau-Chalon sits on the top of a bluff, protecting the vineyards stretched out far below from cold winds and storms. I was hungry but we marveled at the gorgeous view. “These are all the Savagnin grape,” said Jean-Marie. Savagnin is the most famous grape of the Jura, the only grape allowed in the oxidative Vin Jaune, and the best examples of Vin Jaune often come from Chateau-Chalone.

Veal with fresh morel mushrooms and a vin jaune cream sauce.

Veal with fresh morel mushrooms and a vin jaune cream sauce.

Members of my family arrived in another car and we walked to a restaurant for lunch where we tried Savagnin, in a blend with Chardonnay. In her book Jura Wine, author Wink Lorch says that most Savagnin is initially aged as if it is to become Vin Jaune, left in the barrel without topping up, to develop the veil of yeast on its surface similar to flor. Some does not age as long as the six years and three months required for Vin Jaune, however, and is bottled simply as Savagnin even though it has gone through some oxidation. These days, some Savagnin is also produced as a non-oxidative wine, referred to on label as Savagnin Ouillé (WEE-lay).

But that is not this wine. My nose told me right away it was oxidative, and it had a sharp taste, like that of a stinky cheese without the cheese smell, and a finish of salty almonds. The taste surprised my family and they tried to be good sports, but they didn’t really drink much more of it until our lunch arrived. Each of our dishes, from chicken to veal to a pot pie, had fresh morel mushrooms in a creamy Vin Jaune sauce and my family ate it all, wiping up the last drops of sauce with their French bread.

Later that afternoon, we knocked on the door of tasting room. Philippe Butin is a small producer and opened the door himself. Jean-Marie called out, “Do you remember me? I bought your wine and shipped it to Luxembourg?” Phillipe looked at Jean-Marie, paused, then said, “Maybe,” and stood aside for us to enter. The small room was warm and welcoming. Boxes lined one of the walls, awards another. About a dozen bottles beckoned from the bar.

restaurant list of Jura winesFinally!

Philippe asked us whether we’d like to try his Crémant, and before I could answer, Jean-Marie said, “They didn’t come here to taste that.”

“What’s wrong with my Crémant?”

“Let’s not waste their time!”

Philippe grunted and started to pour out a very light looking red wine.

“I would like to taste the whites,” I said, and Philippe told me I would, but that in the Jura, the reds are always poured before the whites. This was news to me, and interesting. It’s because of the power of Vin Jaune that the whites are tasted last. The red he had poured, such a light red that Philippe Butin called it “rose” (not rosé), was a Poulsard – the one we had in the rosé earlier that week. Poulsard is hard to vinify without getting funky flavors, but this wine tasted clean and refreshing, all delicate red fruits and spices.

We tried a Trousseau, with a similar taste profile but slightly meatier, and ruby in color. My family, a little stung by the Savagnin at lunch, was enjoying these wines. Trousseau grapes need warmer weather that seems elusive in the Jura, where summer is short and early July and late August can bring rain and high temperatures in the 50s. But this Trousseau had good balance.

Photo of Vin Jaune by Agne 27, via Wikimedia

Photo of Vin Jaune by Agne 27, via Wikimedia

At last, the winemaker poured golden glasses of Vin Jaune out of its traditional clavelin bottle. The bottle, shaped a little like an old schoolteacher’s bell, holds only 620ml because that is about how much of one liter of juice remains after its long aging and oxidation. All the reading I had done on Vin Jaune included one interesting piece of advice: when you first try it, you should ignore what your senses are concluding, that the wine, with its oxidative nature and savory, nutty flavor, is bad. Instead, imagine that you are not familiar with what any wine should taste like, and sip it with an open mind.

I tell this to my family. They look dubious as they raise their glasses and sniff. I see more than one wrinkled nose. I look at the winemaker. He has seen this before: Vin Jaune is not for everyone.

We leave the tasting room. We have spent the entire day on the road and only visited one winery. As we head home, I confess that I do not yet appreciate Vin Jaune, the Jura’s most famous wine. Perhaps I just need to keep an open mind.

Paul -headshotOur guest blogger, Paul Poux, CSW, finds joy in combining food, wine and travel. Paul provides wine education ‘experiences’  to Millennials for wine brands and regions; and does marketing and sponsor management for food and wine festivals around the country. Paul’s favorite wines are Amarone and Muscadet. Tell him yours at paul@pouxcompany.com

Click here to return to the SWE Homepage.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger or a guest SWEbinar presenter for SWE?  Click here for more information!

 

Guest Post: A Trip to the Jura

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Today we have the first of a two-part series from guest blogger Paul Poux. Paul tells us about his recent visit the Jura to reunite with family and drink some local wines. But will he ever make it to a winery?

“We arrived at our cousins’ home in the Jura during a sparkling afternoon in July. There was a heat wave in the rest of France but in these low mountains near the Swiss border, it was cooler. I could hear rushing water from a nearby creek; other than that, there was a lovely stillness. The large old house from 1830 sat in the center of a village of 200 people, on the old road between Geneva and Dijon. Across the street was the village church with its small cemetery, containing many headstones with the name POUX. I had returned home.

Our cousins celebrated our arrival with an aperitif—foamy Crémant du Jura, a Classic Method sparkling wine that is one of eight Crémant designations in France. It is usually 100% Chardonnay, which should not surprise in a region that sits just east of Burgundy. Its yeasty apple flavors rinsed away the long car and train journeys that had brought us here.

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At dinner that night we ate fondue made with Comté, the famous local cheese. The correct fondue recipe according to my cousins (and to French people there is always a “correct” way) also contains white wine from the Jura, and the cherry brandy Kirsch. Our cousins warned us not to drink water while eating fondue or we’d get sick—something about a ball of cheese in the stomach not settling right. We were advised to stick to wine, and sips of Kirsch. Non-drinkers were prescribed hot tea.

We would eat a lot of cheese that week, including at breakfast, when large pieces of Comté and Morbier were featured along with the traditional bread, butter, jams, and yogurts.

A highlight of my vacation was to be a day trip to Jura wineries later in the week. My cousin Jean-Marie sat down to talk to me about it. Jean-Marie just turned 70 but is still in the business of “running companies.” As you might expect, he is direct and businesslike. I told him I was open to almost anything, but there was one winemaker I definitely wanted to visit: cult producer Jean-Francois Ganevat. My cousin’s reaction was immediate.

“We can’t go there. It’s not correct.”

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Jean-Marie made up for his brusque demeanor with his hosting, and the next day he took us on a long hike into the mountains. The Jura has an extensive network of well-marked hiking trails showcasing gorgeous scenery, and this walk took us up through forest and across fields that sparkled with wildflowers. I noticed a particularly large yellow flower and Jean-Marie told me that it is called gentiane (“jahn-si-AHNN”), growing only above a certain altitude. Residents dig up the roots and distill them into a bitter spirit.

We also saw the cliffs where France ends and Switzerland begins. A trail up the cliffs was an escape route during World War II, used by Jews and many others when the Nazis occupied the Jura, including my cousin’s house.  

That evening Jean-Marie held an aperitif (the French shorten it to “Apero”) on his terrace. I was surprised to see an elaborate Absinthe dispenser. A steady drip-drip of the green spirit on sugar cubes into glasses punctuated the small talk as we learned that Absinthe was created nearby in Switzerland and is still made there and in the Jura, and that all the hysteria surrounding its ingredients and supposed effects is overblown. Jean-Marie added water to each glass, turning the drink cloudy. It tasted of anise, and herbs. 

Photo of Arbois Wine by Agne 27, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Arbois Wine by Agne 27, via Wikimedia Commons

The next morning Jean-Marie came to see me about our trip to the wineries. He had a map of the Jura wine region and all its producers. I opened the map and looked longingly at the winery I was ‘forbidden’ from visiting. It was some distance away from the areas that Jean-Marie felt were most important. I told him I understood and that I was glad to leave all visits up to him. He smiled. This seemed to be the ‘correct’ answer. 

That night we ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. The entire group, 20 of us French and American, sat around an immense table. Jean-Marie came to me with the wine list, and it was nice of him to consult with me before ordering the wine he wanted. He recommended a rosé from the town of Arbois to pair with the various appetizers. Arbois is the spiritual capital of Jura wine country. This rosé was a blend of Pinot Noir and Poulsard – a thin-skinned red grape with very little color, perfect for rosés.  Dad and Jean-Marie made toasts, and we chatted excitedly with our cousins. The main course, local trout, arrived, and I told Jean-Marie I wanted to change the wine. He objected: “The rosé is perfect, let’s continue!” But I was in the area for only a week and had to sample as many wines as I could. My choice: a local Chardonnay called “Arrogance.” 

Paul -headshotOur guest blogger, Paul Poux, CSW, finds joy in combining food, wine and travel. Paul provides wine education ‘experiences’  to Millennials for wine brands and regions; and does marketing and sponsor management for food and wine festivals around the country. Paul’s favorite wines are Amarone and Muscadet. Tell him yours at paul@pouxcompany.com

Click here to return to the SWE Homepage.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger or a guest SWEbinar presenter for SWE?  Click here for more information!

Announcing our Next Certification Summit: Spain-the Small, the Obscure, and the Far-Flung!

 Our next certification summit, entitled Spain-the Small, the Obscure, and the Far-Flung, will be held on March 4th, 2017. This online event will begin at 10:00 am central time and should end by 1:00 (we will take breaks)!

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This session is ideal for students of both wine  and spirits, and will cover the following topics:

  • Txakolina
  • Condado de Huelva
  • Gin de Mahón
  • Vino Doble Pasta
  • Brandy de Jerez
  • Montilla-Moriles
  • Bierzo
  • Lanzarote
  • Pago de Irache

Reservations are now being accepted and are limited to 100 people – first come, first served. SWE membership is required. For a reservation, or for further information, please contact Jane Nickles at: jnickles@societyofwineeducators.org

After registration, you’ll receive a link and a password to the summit homepage. From there, you’ll be able to download the session handouts and access the link to the online classroom.

SWE’s Certification Summits are special “long-version” webinars directed at SWE members who are studying for one of the certifications offered by SWE, although all members of SWE are welcome to attend any summit.

The purpose of SWE Summits are to take topics from the Study Guides and/or the recommended readings lists, and bring them front and center –  if only for a day! Certification summits will focus on the smaller regions, or lesser-known topics in the wine and spirits world – in other words, we are more likely to feature the wines of Campania than the wines of Chianti. These live, interactive events are intended to feel like “mini-conferences” and are scheduled to be 2-to-3 hour-long webinars with multiple presenters; they are typically offered on Saturday mornings and are offered free-of-charge to members of SWE. Please note – unlike our other webinar offerings – Certification Summits do require a reservation and an SWE membership. Space is limited!

 

Corsica: Isle of Beauty

Ajaccio Cathedral

Ajaccio Cathedral

The French island of Corsica is located in the Mediterranean Sea about 110 miles (170 km) from the coastline of southeast Provence. Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia, and Cyprus. The island was originally named Kalliste by the ancient Greeks, which translates to “the most beautiful of all.”

Ajaccio, located on the west coast, is the largest city on the island as well as the capital city of Corsica. The city is home to two marinas, a wealth of beaches for swimming and scuba diving, a casino, and the Ajaccio Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Ajaccio). A wealth of restaurants, bars, cinemas, and other such nightlife may be found along the “main drag,” the Route des Sanguinaires. Napoléon Bonaparte, perhaps the most famous Corsican of all time, was born to a wine-making family in Ajaccio in 1769. His ancestral home, the Maison Bonaparte, is now a museum.

Topographic map of Corsica by Eric Gaba via Wikimedia Commons

Topographic map of Corsica by Eric Gaba via Wikimedia Commons

Corsica is often described as resembling a “miniature continent” complete with white sand beaches, seaside resorts, rugged mountain peaks, dense forests, and red granite cliffs.  The island experiences three separate climate zones, delineated primarily by altitude. The coastal region (defined as below 2,000 feet/600 m) features a Mediterranean climate and a good deal of the island’s vineyards. The area between 2,000 to 5,900 feet (600 to 1,800 m) is considered a temperate mountain zone and also contains large plantings of vines, as well as most of the island’s forests. Forming a “ridge” down the center of the island, the area above 5,900 feet (1,800 m) is considered an alpine area and is sparse in vegetation and uninhabited–aside from mountain climbers and shepherds.

Corsica has been part of France since 1769. However, geographically speaking, it is closer to Tuscany than France. This Italian influence is evident in the wines of Corsica, which are just as likely to be produced from Vermentino (here known as Rolle) and Sangiovese (locally referred to as Nielluccio) as they are from grapes more typical to southern France, such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Muscat.

Corsica has a long history of wine production and, like many other similar regions, has been experiencing a renewed focus on quality. At present, approximately 25% of the island’s production is AOC-level wine, with another 50% bottled under the elegantly titled departmental Il de Beauté (Isle of Beauty) IGP.

The town of Ajaccio

The town of Ajaccio

The main AOC of Corsica is the Vin de Corse AOC, which allows for white, red, and rosé wines vinified in dry, off-dry, or semi-sweet styles. White Vin de Corse AOC requires a minimum of 75% Rolle (Vermentino), while red and rosé versions are made with at least 50% (combined) Grenache, Sangiovese, and Sciaccarello (an aromatic, historically significant Tuscan variety also known as Mammolo).

Cap Corse—the mountainous peninsula extending from the northern part of the island—is home to some of Corsica’s highest-quality wines, including dry white, red, and rosé wines bottled under the title Coteaux du Cap Corse (a subregion of the Vin de Corse AOC). Muscat du Cap Corse AOC—a vin doux naturel traditionally produced at least partially from sun-dried grapes—is produced using 100% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grapes.

Wine Map of Corsica by DalGobboM (Own work [http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html]), via Wikimedia Commons

Wine Map of Corsica by DalGobboM (Own work [http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html]), via Wikimedia Commons

New material covering the wines of Corsica is included in the 2017 Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide, which is now available and being shipped from SWE’s home office! Other topics new to the 2017 guide include the wines of Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Asia—as well as updated materials on all of the major wine-producing regions of the world.

References/for further information:

Post authored by Jane A. Nickles, CSE, CWE – your blog administrator

Are you interested in being a guest blogger or a guest SWEbinar presenter for SWE?  Click here for more information!

Now on the Wine Travel Bucket List: Slovenia

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Slovenia (officially the Republic of Slovenia) is a small European country with a long history of wine production. Its location on the Mediterranean coast and sharing a border with four established wineproducing countries (Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Hungary to the northeast), places it at the crossroads of Europe’s wine culture.

Slovenia has been an independent nation since 1991 and a member of the European Union since 2004. PDO wines are categorized as zaščiteno označbo porekla (ZOP). There are currently 14 defined ZOP designations, as well as several variations within the ZOPs, such as those for Traditional Method sparkling wines, botrytis-affected wines, and wines with a certain degree of aging.

Bled Lake, Slovenia

Bled Lake, Slovenia

The 14 ZOPs are contained within the country’s three designated PGI wine regions, known in the Slovenian language as zaščiteno geografsko označbo (ZGO). These three regions are:

  • Podravje: The Podravje ZGO is located in the inland east of the country, surrounding the valleys of the Pesnica, Drava, and Mura Rivers. This is the largest of the three regions, producing roughly half of the country’s wine.
  • Primorska: The Primorska ZGO is located on the coast, across the Adriatic Sea from Venice and sharing a border with Italy’s Friuli region. Several of the wine areas located within Primorska straddle the Italian-Slovenian border, divided only by politics; Slovenia’s Goriška Brda ZOP becomes Italy’s Collio Goriziano DOC across the Italian border, and Slovenia’s Kras ZOP becomes Italy’s Carso DOC.
  • Posavje: The Posavje ZGO is located in the southeast of Slovenia, along the border with Croatia. The name Posavje (Lower Sava) refers to its proximity to the end of the Sava River valley. This is the country’s smallest–and perhaps most old-fashioned–wine-producing region.
Wine map of Slovenia via: http://www.slovenianpremiumwines.com/wine-regions/

Wine map of Slovenia via: http://www.slovenianpremiumwines.com/wine-regions/

Grape varieties grown in Slovenia reflect the influence of Italy, Germany, and Austria, and include French (international) varieties as well. White wines are the leading product here; widely planted white grapes include Riesling, Gewürztraminer (Traminec), Müller-Thurgau (Rizvanec), Pinot Gris (Sivi Pinot), Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. White grapes popular in Friuli such as Tai (Friuliano) and Ribolla Gialla are grown primarily in Primorska, near the Italian border. Leading red grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, St. Laurent, Pinot Noir (known as Modri Pinot), and Refosco.

New material covering the wines of Slovenia is included in the 2017 Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide, which is now available and being shipped from SWE’s home office! Other topics new to the 2017 guide include the wines of Bulgaria, Corsica, and Asia—as well as updated materials on all of the major wine-producing regions of the world.

References/for more information:

 

Guest Post/Book Review: Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine

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Today we have a guest post and book review brought to us by Harriet Lembeck, CWE, CSE. Read on as Harriet reviews a new book about a very old wine region!

Book Review: Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine, by Bill Nesto, MW and Frances Di Savino.

Here is a well-researched history book that reads like a novel, telling the story of the ancient land named Chianti and the modern wine appellation known as Chianti Classico. In 1716, Tuscany’s next-to-last Medici ruler, Cosimo III, granted the region of Chianti as one of the world’s first legal appellations of origin for wine. However, as these things often go, by the late nineteenth century, the name Chianti—rather than signifying this historic region and its celebrated wine—identified a simple Italian red table wine in a straw-covered flask.

This telling of the story of the Chianti Classico region confirms many ideas of Chianti and the Classico region, and overturns many others. Nesto and Di Savino have translated original documents and studied old master paintings of the region, even noting how older vineyards were planted by training on trees.

Stories of notable producers famous to this day, including Baron Ricasoli and the Antinori family, tell us much about history, regulations, and commerce relating to Chianti Classico. The Ricasoli original formula for the grapes used in Chianti has been unearthed, with Malvasia being the main white grape—not the currently assumed Trebbiano. Further, Canaiolo Nero was the main grape of Chianti for years, not necessarily the Sangiovese that is so well-known and loved today.

The authors also claim that new research has revealed that there are no regional differences between Sangiovese Piccolo and Sangiovese Grosso, whose different sizes are more the result of climate and vintage conditions, rather than their use in specific regional wines.

The publication of this book coincides with the three hundredth anniversary of the Medici decree delimiting the region of Chianti on September 24, 1716. The authors conclude, happily, that the Black Rooster still reigns supreme.

As for the authors of this book, Bill Nesto is a Master of Wine and a founder of the Wine Studies Program at Boston University, where he is also a Senior Lecturer. Frances Di Savino is an attorney with a background in medieval and Renaissance studies and is Bill’s partner in life and on the wine road. Bill and Frances coauthored The World of Sicilian Wine, which won the André Simon Book Award in 2013.

Bibliographical information: Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine. Bill Nesto, MW and Frances Di Savino. Oakland, University of California Press, 2016.

340 pages, hard cover, $39.95. This encyclopedic book has a 26 page Index, a selected bibliography, and works cited listed. Click here to find this book on Amazon.

HarrietHarriet Lembeck is a CWE (Certified Wine Educator) and a CSE (Certified Spirits Educator – a new designation). She is President of the Wine & Spirits Program, and revised and updated the textbook Grossman’s Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits. She was the Director of the Wine Department for The New School University for 18 years. She can be reached at h.lembeck@ wineandspiritsprogram.com.

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