Spanish Wine’s Excellent, Terrific, Very, Very Good Week

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Spanish wine must have been on everybody’s minds and lips these past few weeks, as Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture (more specifically, the Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente—the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment) approved and published the Pliego de Condiciones for four new Denominación de Origen (DO) wines. Several Vino de la Tierra (VdlT or IGP) and Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica (VCIG) wine regions were also approved, and some were kicked off the list or promoted. More on the IGP and VCIG wines later. For now, please meet Spain’s four newest DOs!

Valtiendas DO: The Valtiendas DO, located in Castilla y León, is approved for red wines and rosé. Rosé is required to be produced using a minimum of 50% Tempranillo; other allowed varieties for rosé include Albillo Mayor, Garnacha Tinta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Red wines are also required to contain a minimum of 50% Tempranillo, and may also contain a portion of Garnacha Tinta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and/or Syrah. With the promotion of the area to DO, the former Valtiendas VCIG is término (terminated). Click here to download a copy of the Pliego de Condiciones DO Valtiendas (PdC published on September 15, 2017)

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Sierra de Salamaca DO: Located in Castilla y León near the border shared with Portugal, this new DO is located in and around the Sierra de Fracia Mountains, the Las Batuecas National Park, and the Sierras de Béjar Biosphere Reserve. This DO is approved for white, rosé, and red wines.  Approved white grape varieties include Palomino, Viura, and Moscatel de Grano Menudo (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains). Red wines may be produced using the Refute grape variety (known as Tinta Pinheira in Portugal), as well as Garnacha Tinta and Tempranillo. Rosé may be produced using any of these varieties, provided a minimum of 70% of the blend is red grapes. With the promotion of the area to DO, the former Sierra de Salamanca VCIG is terminated. Click here to download a copy of the Pliego de Condiciones DO Sierra de Salamanca (PdC published on September 12, 2017)

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Lebrija DO: The new Lebrija DO is located in Andalucía. The Lebrija DO is approved for several styles of wine. Dry or off-dry white wines may be produced using a minimum of 50% Palomino, with any remainder filled in with Moscatel de Alejandria (Mucat of Alexandria) and/or Sauvignon Blanc. Dry reds may be produced using Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot, or Tintilla de Rota (Graciano). Fortified wines (vino generoso de licor) may be produced using the Palomino grape, and must be aged for a minimum of three years. If aged under flor, fortified wines may be labeled as Flor de Lebrija. There is also a category for Moscatel-based sweet wines (vino dulce naturel) made using uva muy madura o soleada (very mature or sun-dried grapes). With the promotion of the area to DO, the former Lebrija VCIG is terminated. Click here to download a copy of the Pliego de Condiciones DO Lebrija (PdC published on September 13, 2017)

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Granada DO: The new Granada DO is located in Andalucía. Contraviesa-Alpujarra is an official sub-zone. This DO is approved for a range of wines including white, red, and rosé (dry, non-sparkling), as well as sparkling wines and late-harvest wines. Sparkling wines may be white or rosé, and must be produced using the traditional method of sparkling wine production—with a minimum of nine months aging on the lees.  There is a long list of approved white grape varieties, which includes Moscatel de Grano Menudo (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains), Pedro Ximénez, Palomino, Verdejo, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Other, rather unique (and indigenous) allowed white grapes include Vijiriego and Baladí.  Approved red varieties include Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Monastrell (Mourvèdre), Petit Verdot and the indigenous Romé. With the promotion of the area to DO, the former Granada VCIG is terminated. Click here to download a copy of the Pliego de Condiciones DO Granada (PdC published on September 7, 2017)

For references or more information, see the website of Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture.

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

Rioja Rocks on! Village-specific Wines Approved for the Rioja DOCa…

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The Rioja DOCa has taken another step in its process of modernizing its wine regulations as well as allowing for more information, particularly involving geographical indications, on the labels of its finest wines. This process came to light last June when the Consejo Regulador  de la Denominación de Origen Rioja approved wines of  Viñedos Singulares, effectively allowing the wines of the region to be labeled with the name of a specific (“singular”) vineyard.

As of August 11 (2017), another change has been confirmed with the approval of the use of specific pueblo (village) names as well. Wines produced from the grapes of a specific village will be known as Vinos de Pueblo. Vinos de Pueblo will be required to be labeled under a unique brand name to differentiate them from a producer’s standard Rioja DOCa wines. According to the Drinks Business website, the first three villages to be approved for use as Vinos de Pueblo are Samaniego, San Vicente, and Haro.

In addition, the sub-zones of the Rioja DOCa, well-known to wine students as the Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja, will now be known as simply “zones” (zonas). The standards for the use of a  zone-indication on a wine label have also been loosened a bit—a minimum of 85% of the grapes are now required to be grown in the specified zone.

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In summary, the wines of the Rioja DOCa are now allowed to labeled with the following geographic  information:

  • Specific zone (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Baja)
  • Approved single estate/vineyard (Viñedo Singular)
  • Specific village (Vinos de Pueblo)— Samaniego, San Vicente, or Haro

Click here for a nice infographic representing the hierarchy of these new categories: La Nueva Clasificacion de Vinos de Rioja

As of the August changes, Quality Sparkling Wines are now approved for production under the Rioja DOCa, with details on production requirements to follow. And…the changes are still coming, as a revision in the definition for the use of the aging terms Reserva and Gran Reserva is scheduled to come into effect in early 2019.

References/for more 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!

Guest Post: Learning Lompoc

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Learning Lompoc, or, my Visit to the Lompoc Wine Ghetto

By Candi, CSW

Today we have a guest post from a frequent contributor who we have learned to know and love by the pseudonym “Candi, CSW.” Today, Candi takes us along on a tour to a wine warehouse area affectionately known as the “Lompoc Wine Ghetto.” Read on! 

I have made several tasting trips to Santa Barbara County in the past. Los Olivos, Santa Barbara-based tasting rooms, Santa Ynez Valley, and Solvang are among prior destinations.

However, until this year, I had never been to the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. The name “Ghetto” was intriguing enough to warrant further research. Looking at a few websites, it seems that the Lompoc Wine Ghetto acquired the name from an early tenant. It is considered a term of endearment and has been adopted by Lompoc as a way to promote the destination.

Driving into Lompoc, one of the first signs I saw pointed me to the Wine Ghetto. The setting is an industrial park/warehouse area, complete with gravel parking lots. There seemed to be at least a dozen wineries, and a few craft breweries. Some of the wineries have tasting rooms with regular hours. Others are by-appointment only. I chose to visit one of each—Palmina and Kitá, respectively.

Photo via: https://www.instagram.com/palminawines/

Photo via: https://www.instagram.com/palminawines/

I had wanted to visit Palmina Wines during prior visits to the area, but their tasting room schedule did not match up with our travel schedule. This year, I visited on a Saturday. There were regular hours scheduled, and I arrived shortly after Palmina opened in an attempt to avoid the crowds. This worked well; by the time I left it was getting busy.

My interest was due to Palmina’s focus on Cal-Ital. I am a big fan of Italian varietals and have found few domestic wineries that make Italian-reminiscent wine with Italian grapes. At Palmina, I hoped to add to my list. They feature two tasting flights—one is their traditional line of wine, and the second, La Voix, is their elite level (and thus more expensive). I opted for the former, but was graciously offered a few other wines as a bonus.

The most interesting wine tasted was a sparkling Nebbiolo, served in frosted flutes. Had price been no object, I would have purchased a bottle. My frugal soul, however, was calling. For purchase, I gravitated to the traditional line. This brand met my Italianate criterion. First, a rose’ of Sangiovese, Dolcetto and Barbera. A Dolcetto and a vineyard-specific Barbera were my other picks. The tasting fee was waived with my purchase. Service was very good; the staff patiently, helpfully, responded to my detailed (OK, geeky) questioning. I would visit again.

My appointment at Kitá Wines, made about a month in advance, was interesting, educational, and the best-organized by-appointment tasting I have ever experienced. The setting is a warehouse—so discreet I had to ask for directions. A small sign, a door, and a buzzer. I rang at the appointed time. I was greeted by the young lady in charge of marketing for the winery. She apologized that the vintner would be late, but she was ready to start the tasting. She was well-organized. A table had been set up, a glass for her and one for me, and bottles of water. Eight opened wine bottles at the ready. Detailed tasting information, about a page long, for each wine. The tasting notes were a take-away item for me. Perfect for my notes.

Photo via: http://kitawines.com/

Photo via: http://kitawines.com/

My server seemed a bit sheepish about the $10 tasting fee. She noted, as I had already learned, that the fee is waived with a 2-bottle purchase. I explained that I believed their policy was quite reasonable and, further, that I had researched the winery and would not have made an appointment was I not prepared to purchase. She was quite happy with my response, and we proceeded to take our time.

I learned that the Kitá Wines brand is part of the Chumash enterprise, which includes other hospitality industry product lines. Among these are hotels and restaurants. So the Chumash tribal council has an oversight and leadership role. Interesting trivia: the wine label had to be approved by the tribal council of about 130 people. Classy label, that.

What about the vino? Each of the wines was solid, interesting, and purchase-worthy. I was most interested in the wines created from the Camp 4 Vineyard. This vineyard is Chumash-owned.

My white choice was a 2013 Grenache Blanc. I ordinarily would not purchase a 2013 vintage in 2017, but this was still extraordinarily fresh, juicy and lively in its presentation. And a varietal favorite with few good domestic examples found before.

I also bought the 2013 Spe’y red blend. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignane. Not the usual Rhone-style blend. The Carignane added backbone; the wine was balanced, complex and layered. Too fascinating to pass up.

My third and final choice was the 2013 Syrah. The attraction here was softer tannins than I often experience with this varietal. Plus a finish that seemed to go on for minute after minute. Overall impression: unusual and compelling.

Toward the end of my visit, the vintner did indeed arrive and provided further information on the aging potential of each wine. And, for the first time ever, I witnessed a vintner driving a forklift. Clearly, a small operation with everyone pitching in. And making very nice wine as well.

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After two tastings, I had to have a break for safety before driving. Fortunately, I had the foresight to pack a picnic lunch. It seems that the Lompoc Wine Ghetto has no food service facilities, although some of the wineries wisely offer a bit of food. But visiting a restaurant would have required driving. While I enjoyed my picnic, I had the opportunity to observe the Saturday afternoon crowd. As the afternoon wore on, the noise level rose such that, even in the parking area, I could detect people having a good time. Most interesting to observe and a validation of my own strategy. Have food, hydrate, and take my time before hitting the road.

I had one more stop on my way back to my hotel. Captain Fatty’s Craft Brewery, located in yet another warehouse, this time in Goleta. I am not a beer drinker, but I do have my CSW skills. A project of mine is transferring matching-type skills to craft beer, which my husband enjoys. I wanted to purchase something he could not get in our home location, and had done my research. In my experience, finding a craft brew tasting room that offers beer in 12-ounce packaging is not common. Most of these facilities feature 22-ounce bottles and growlers, as well as beer on tap.

Captain Fatty’s featured freshly-canned beer, 12-ounce cans, in six packs. This packaging is perfect as a take-home gift. One of the six-pack choices was their Beach Beer, a Pilsner-style lager. My husband avoids bitter beer, which rules out most IPAs. I believed the Beach Beer was a match. Turns out I was correct: the beer rated 2 thumbs up.

Overall, a most successful day. Wines for both of us to enjoy, and an unusual brew for a gift. The wine will be enjoyed. The beer is almost gone. Cheers!

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Guest Post: New York State’s Hudson River Region AVA

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Today we have a post from JoAnn DeGaglia, CSW, CS. JoAnn takes us on a journey to New York’s Hudson River Valley and the Hudson River Region AVA.

Eleven thousand years ago the entire northeast coast of the United States, including New York State, was covered by a two-mile-thick sheet of ice known as the Laurentide Ice Sheet. As the glacier melted and receded, it reshaped the land beneath into the beautiful landscape we know today of hills, mountains, and complex, varied soils—a perfect place for grapes, vines, and fruit cultivation.

Part of this landscape includes the Hudson River—one of the great waterways of North America. The Hudson River runs 315 miles from its source at Lake Tear in the Clouds, located in Adirondack Park. The river runs north to south and eventually drains into the Atlantic Ocean between New York City and Jersey City. It is the river’s moderating effect on the area’s continental climate (thanks to tidal flow and winds that sweep upriver from the Atlantic) as well as the “river effect” that makes it possible to grow grapes at all in the Hudson River Valley.

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The Hudson River Region AVA (established July 1982) covers an area that extends roughly within the confines of the river valley proper and it includes all or some of several counties: Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. The AVA encompasses 224,000 acres, with about 450 acres planted to wine grapes among 49+ bonded wineries.

The Brotherhood Winery is the oldest winery in the area and the oldest continuously operating winery in the United States. The winery’s earliest first vineyard was planted by William Cornell in 1845 in Ulster County and still exists as part of the Benmarl Winery (located in Marlboro).

The wine making industry in the Hudson Valley has survived war, revolution, blights, extremely challenging weather, and prohibition. This AVA is a survivor and one of the most innovative and diverse areas of viniferous cultivation in the Northeast. The Valley has been known for making great white wines like Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling as well as award winning Sparkling wines.

Much time and effort has gone into finding a Hudson Valley signature red grape. Doug and Mary Ellen Glorie of Glorie Farm Winery, along with Linda Piero and Bob Bedford of Hudson Valley Wine Magazine have established the “Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition” which is a group of Hudson Valley grape growers, winery owners, winemakers, and supporters that are committed to establishing a Cabernet Franc brand identity for the Hudson River Region.

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Hudson River Valley Cabernet Franc is appreciated for its mouthwatering savory, bell pepper-like flavors and medium to high acidity. Cabernet Franc is typically lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine that adds finesse and lends a peppery perfume when blended with more robust grapes as it is done in Bordeaux.

Given the climate and soil here in our Hudson Valley, it comes as no surprise that Cabernet Franc has emerged as heir apparent for red wine greatness. It’s even been confirmed by science, at Highland, New York’s Hudson Valley Research Lab—a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting research and development for growers in the Hudson Valley. In 2008 Senator William J. Larkin helped to secure funds for the lab to plant a one-acre vineyard with 27 varieties of grapes with the purpose of learning what really grows best in the area. Through these trials, Peter Jentsch, a Research Entomologist and Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator, found that Cabernet Franc kept emerging as the stand out variety.

Cabernet Franc has a significant number of clones which gives growers a range of choices and allows winemakers the ability to combine clonal varieties in order to add complexity to their finished wine—giving each winemaker the ability to truly create their own style of wine using Cabernet Franc.

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Recently, the Hudson River Valley has exploded with wineries, distilleries, breweries, and the production of (Hard) Apple Ciders. In our colonial period, apple orchards were plentiful and easier to obtain than grains. As a result, hard cider quickly became one of America’s most popular beverages. The Hudson River Valley area offer great food, beautiful scenery, and delicious local beverages—so it is a great time to visit…and if you already live here, get out and Uncork New York!

JoAnn DeGaglia, CSW, CS teaches wine appreciation classes all over the New York, including the Hudson River Valley. JoAnn’s writings may be found on Facebook on the “The Wine Lovers Journey through the World of Wine” page.

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

It’s Official: Twelve Cava de Paraje Calificado Zones Announced!

Photo via: http://www.docava.es/en/gallery/ii-excellence-cava-awards/

Photo via: http://www.docava.es/en/gallery/ii-excellence-cava-awards/

Last week, on July 13, 2017, Isabel García Tejerina —the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fishing, Food and the Environment—announced the first 12 zones to have earned the designation of Cava de Paraje Calificado (Qualified Estate [Zone] of Cava).

The first 12 designated zones and the anticipated wines are as follows. It is a bit confusing as the name of the zone is sometimes/sometimes not the same as the proposed name of the wine, but we’ve tried to make it clear. In any case, the name of the zone is listed first (and highlighted in bold), followed by the name(s) of the wines, and then the producer.  Links are provided for all the producers.

  • Torelló Zone, the name of the wines are Gran Torelló and 225—produced by Can Martí de Baix
  • Turó d’en Mota Zone, the name of the wine is Turó d’en Mota—produced by Recardo
  • Serrall del Vell Zone, the name of the wine is Serral del Vell— produced by Recardo  
  • Vallcierera Zone, the name of the wine is Mirgin—produced by Alta Alella  
  • La Capella Zone, the name of the wine is La Capella—produced by Juvé & Camps
  • Can Sala Zone, the name of the wine is Casa Sala—produced by Agrícola Casa Sala/Freixenet
  • La Pleta Zone, the name of the wine is La Pleta—produced by Codorníu
  • El Tros Nou Zone, the name of the wine is El Tros Nou—produced Codorníu
  • La Fideuera Zone, the name of the wine is La Fideuera—produced by Codorníu
  • Claror Zone, the name of the wine is Can Prats—produced by Vins el Cep
  • Font de Jui Zone, the name of the wines are Enoteca, Cellar Batlle, and Ill Lustros—produced by Gramona
  • Terroja Zone, the name of the wine is Sabaté i Coca Reserva Familiar—produced by Sabaté i Coca/Castellroig

The newly-designated wines are scheduled to hit the market towards the end of 2017; it seems the last step in the process is the design and approval of new labels to designate the Cavas de Paraje Calificado status of the wines.

The application process for Cavas de Paraje Calificado is still open, and more estates may be designated in the near future.

References/for more information:

 

Welcome to the World! The Rioja DOCa Approves a new Sub-category

Logo via: http://es.riojawine.com

Logo via: http://es.riojawine.com

Yesterday—June 7, 2017—the Consejo Regulador of the Rioja DOCa approved a new “Single Vineyard” sub-classification of Rioja wines.  The new category is described in Spanish as Viñedos Singulares (which translates literally to “singular [unique] vineyards”).

In order to qualify as a Rioja Viñedo Singular, a particular estate must first apply to the Consejo Regulador. The application must describe the natural features of the estate that differentiate it from the surrounding vineyards. Estates that earn the classification will be subject to approved yields that will be 20% lower than those allowed for the general DOCa. Only manual harvesting will be allowed, and the wines will be subject to two quality control analyses (including one performed just prior to market release).

It was also announced that new regulations for bottle aging—to apply to the reserva and gran reserva designations on Rioja DOCa wines will come into effect in 2019 (more information on these changes will be reported as it becomes available).

In the same press release, the Consejo Regulador of the Rioja DOCa revealed that they are still working on the identification of approved subzones as well as the use of certain approved village names in conjunction with the Rioja DOCa designation.  They also intend to allow for the production of white and rosé sparkling wines (made using the traditional production method and sur lie aged in the bottle for a minimum of 15 month). Both of these initiatives are still in the planning stage.

References/for more information:

Conference Preview: Long Island—More than Just Billy Joel, the Hamptons, or Montauk

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Today we have a guest post from Kathy Falbo, CSW. Kathy tells us about her love for Long Island Merlot, and gives us a preview of her upcoming conference session!

“In a single generation, Long Island winemakers have proved that applying passion and skill to the natural advantages of soil and climate can produce wines of harmony and finesse. Few other regions of the world have come so far, so fast.” – Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator Magazine

The Long Island Wine Region is over 40 years in the making, and one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country. Yet, still so many people are unfamiliar with its world class wines. Just 75 miles or so from New York City, you can find yourself amidst the beautiful, tranquil country side with rows of vineyards, wineries, antique shops, bed and breakfast destinations, beautiful beaches, and local farm stands.

As a native long Islander and having grown up in Long Island, I am so proud to have this beautiful wine region in my own back yard. (Ok, well, not exactly in my own back yard, but about an hour’s drive away.)

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The history of this island doesn’t go back as far as you may think. In geological terms, Long Island was born yesterday. It’s fish like formation (so appropriate for the island) took place around 11,000 years ago when colliding mountains, shifting sea levels, pounding waves and Titian Canadian glaciers formed a glacial moraine. Long Island is surrounded by an outwash plain produced about 20,000 years ago by Wisconsin Glacier.

The maritime climate, surrounding bodies of water and the well-drained loamy soils are perfect for growing wine grapes.  Especially on the North Fork where the days are sunnier, warmer and longer than on the South Fork. The North Fork is where you will find most Long Islands vineyards, and some of the most amazing sunsets!

Long Island wines can be identified by their distinct, unique, elegant styles and characteristics that distinguish them from wines made anywhere else.

With over 700 acres planted, Merlot is the most widely planted red grape variety in Long Island.  Long Island Merlot is attracting a lot of attention, as it really seems to be emerging. In fact, it is considered by many of the locals as being the best red grape for this area.

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Long Island Merlots are often complex with amazing structure and crisp acidity, making them easy to drink on their own, and extremely food friendly. The maritime climate, long days, cool nights, terroir, cool ocean breezes, and well drained soils give way to fully ripened fruit with plenty of minerality, and graphic notes.

Sharing a similar latitude and maritime climate as France, it is not unlikely to hear a Long Island Merlot being compared to right bank Bordeaux. Though we really are a region all of our own, producing unique, award winning wines.

Did Merlot lose some of its popularity in 2004 after the movie “Sideways?” Just ask any wine professional and most will tell you, yes! Being in wine sales for Paumanok Vineyards (the Native American name for Long Island), it is disturbing to me every time I hear, “Merlot isn’t poplar,” or “Merlot doesn’t sell here!”

Despite the decline in popularity, Merlot is still the 4th most popular wine in America and is rapidly regaining the respect it deserves.

It is my mission to not only help people recognize how far we’ve come as a young wine region, but to understand the quality of all wines coming out of Long Island, and raise awareness of the age worthy, elegant, and delicious merlot and merlot blends we are producing.

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I hope you can join me at SWE’s upcoming annual conference, on Saturday August 12th as we look further in to what makes Long Island wines so special. We will compare the different profiles and expressions of Merlot from three of the top producers in Long Island, as well as three other regions in the country.

About the Author: Kathy was born and raised in Long Island.  After 37 years in the dental industry, Kathy’s passion (and thirst, if you will) for wine ignited after a trip to Napa in 2010. After returning from that Napa trip, Kathy began taking some novice wine classes in NYC., and headed to Long Islands wine region for wine tasting every chance she got.

Kathy’s wine career took place in 2012 when she applied for a positon with Paumanok Vineyards as a tasting room “pourer.” From there she registered with the Society of Wine Educators in 2013. Kathy went to Napa Wine Academy for their five-day prep course in April 2014, and proudly passed her CSW exam on December 15th 2014. In January of 2015 Paumanok Vineyards offered Kathy the wholesale/wine consultant position she currently holds today, and is one of the top producing representatives for Nassau and western Suffolk counties.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the World, Cape Town District!

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A new appellation for wine production was announced today: the Cape Town District of South Africa! This new appellation replaces the former regions of Cape Peninsula and Tygerberg, and as such, combines the wards of Durbanville, Philadelphia, Constantia, and Hout Bay under a single District.

There are over 30 wineries located within the new district, including some of South Africa’s most historic and best-known wineries. These include Groot Constantia, Durbanville Hills, Diemersdal, Klein Constantia, Nitida, Meerendal, and Cape Point Vineyards.

According to Rico Basson, CEO of South African wine producers’ organization Vinpro, “As a wine region, Cape Town now encapsulates a wonderful set of dynamics in terms of heritage, culture and modern wine styles. South Africa is already well-known for our wine tourism offering and this new development will add to integrating our strategy of innovative marketing.”

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The geographical indications of South Africa’s wine industry are based around a system known as the “Wine of Origin” (WO) scheme. The Wine of Origin Scheme is administered by the South African Wine and Spirit Board. The various categories of areas, from largest to smallest, are the following:

  • Geographical Units
  • Regions
  • Districts
  • Wards

The new Cape Town District is part of the Coastal Region, which is in turn contained within the Western Cape Geographical Unit.

As for wine students, this means we need to update the flashcards one more time, but on a positive note, there is one less District to memorize!

Welcome to the world, Cape Town District!

References/for more 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!

Welcome to the world, DO Cebreros!

Logo/photo via https://twitter.com/VinosdeCebreros

Logo/photo via https://twitter.com/VinosdeCebreros

According to an announcement in the May 17, 2017 edition of the Boletín del Estado de Castilla y León, Spain has approved a new Denominación de Origen—the DO Cebreros. The new DO is welcomed to the world with the final approval of the Propuesta de Pliego de Condiciones de la D.O.P. “Cebreros” first proposed in November of 2015.

The new DO will be the tenth for the autonomous community of Castilla y León—which currently contains the well-known DOs of Ribera del Duero, Rueda, and Bierzo, among others. The newly-promoted area of Cebreros has been producing wine under a regional Vino de la Tierra (Protected Geographical Indication/PGI) since 1989. The DO Cebreros is located entirely within the province of Ávila.  The area is known for its granite soils and warm Mediterranean climate, and the area’s vineyards are classified as Climate Regions II and III according to the Winkler Climate Index.

The newly-minted DO Cebreros is approved for dry wines in red, white, and rosé. The specifics are as follows:

  • Tinto (red wines) must be a minimum of 95% Garnacha Tinta, with the remaining 5% allowed to be Garnacha Tintorera and/or Tempranillo (or the wine may be 100%% Garnacha Tinta), with a minimum of 13% abv.
  • Rosado (rosé) wines) must be a minimum of 95% Garnacha Tinta, with the remaining 5% allowed to be Garnacha Tintorera and/or Tempranillo (or the wine may be 100%% Garnacha Tinta), with a minimum of 12% abv.
  • Blanco (white wines) must be 100% Albillo Real, with a minimum of 12% abv.

There are no oak aging requirements for any DO Cebreros wines, although oak aging is allowed and often used.

More information (and a map) of the newly-minted DO will be announced as it becomes available, and as it moves through the process of EU approvals. But for now, we would like to say “Welcome to the world, DO Cebreros!”

References/for more information:

The Vinos de Cebreros logo was designed by Alfonso Giménez Ventura.

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!

Moonshine University Presents: BBQ and Bourbon Pairings!

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The air gets a little smokier in May as Americans fire up the grill for National Barbecue Month. For this summertime exercise, the team at Moonshine University, the epicenter of bourbon, looked at BBQ sauces from all over the U.S. and did a big taste testing to see which bourbons paired the best with each sauce. Let that stew in your work jealousy for a while. The Moonshine team tried each sauce with both pork and chicken and then narrowed down what bourbons to match to based off the initial tasting notes of the sauce. Here’s Moonshine University’s top BBQ and bourbon pairings.

Alabama White Sauce: This mayonnaise-based sauce hails from northern Alabama. Beyond mayo, this sauce includes: apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper. We found the sauce to be very mayonnaise forward, much like ranch dressing with a slight vinegar tinge.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Booker’s – The higher proof of the Booker’s was mellowed out by the oil in the sauce, letting a lot of the flavors in the bourbon to come out in a way they didn’t on its own. We thought dialing back the alcohol burn really opened the bourbon and since the sauce wasn’t wildly flavorful, we didn’t feel anything was lost in the bourbon or in the sauce. It was a nice juxtaposition pairing : the mellowness of the sauce, with the boldness of the bourbon.

 South Carolina Mustard Sauce: This sauce, as the name would indicate, is a mustard-based sauce instead of your typical ketchup or tomato base. The flavor profile is like many of the red barbecue sauces, sweet and spicy. We loved this sauce. It was slightly sweet, a little tangy, and carried a nice balance between apple cider vinegar and mustard. It was loudly exclaimed by a member of the tasting panel, “Ain’t nothing wrong with that sauce!”

  • Bourbon Pairing: Maker’s Mark – Maker’s Mark was a perfect complement to this sauce. The sweetness of the bourbon matched the sweetness of the sauce just right and both flavor profiles complemented each other perfectly. Every time you took a sip after a bite or a bite after a sip, different flavors popped out, often blending together to create a tangy mustard with a sweet, subtle oak flavor. Leaving a light candy flavor aftertaste.
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Texas BBQ Sauce: While Texas has many different regions that all prepare their meat differently, we’re going to focus on the sauce. Texas BBQ sauce is one of the styles people traditionally think of when they think of BBQ sauce. It’s a tomato-based sauce sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. The sauce we ended up with was a mild sauce and not very spicy at all. It was very tomato forward with black pepper and other spices coming in mid-palate and leaving us with a spicy finish.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Woodford Reserve – We found that Woodford Reserve was the right proof and flavor profile to complement this sauce. The proof added a little heat to the somewhat mild sauce, so the kick up in spiciness was a nice addition. Not to mention the rye notes that come out in Woodford rounded out the sauce and gave it a spicy flavor throughout. The spiciness of the rye in the bourbon pair perfectly with the spices in the BBQ sauce. It is a combo that really brought out the best in each other.

North Carolina BBQ Sauce: The Carolinas know their BBQ and it’s evident by the showing of 3 different styles of sauces on this list.  The ketchup-based version would fall under the realm of a ‘traditional’ type of sauce.  This particular sauce was very sweet, had notes of molasses and was mild, but had a rich umami, or meaty, character to it.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Buffalo Trace – After taking a bite of BBQ with this North Carolina sauce on it and taking a sip of Buffalo Trace, something magical happens. This relationship birthed a completely new flavor that we didn’t pick out of the sauce or bourbon individually.  The two together brought out a smoky and oaky character that was fantastic. Plus, the bourbon lessened the intensity of the sweetness and allowed a caramel note to pop out. The flavors blended well with one another creating an entirely new, sauce and flavor.
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Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce: This other offering from the Carolinas comes from the coast. This vinegar-based sauce is generally spicy.  Starting with vinegar instead of ketchup, this sauce is much thinner than all the others on this list, however everyone on the tasting panel was big fan of spicy and a big fan of this sauce.  It was vinegary, hot, spicy, bold with big flavors.  Overall a great and well-balanced sauce.

  • Bourbon Whiskey Pairing: Bulleit Rye – This is the only whiskey on our list that isn’t a bourbon, but when we tasted the sauce we knew what would pair perfectly, Bulleit Rye. Bulleit Rye has big, bold flavors that can hold up to the sauce.  Bulleit Rye has a delightful dill note, that when coupled with the sauce, gives the experience an almost pickle back note.  Generally, not something that would be desired, but with BBQ it’s a perfect flavor that gets created.  The bold flavor of the sauce and whiskey balance each other out and complemented each other perfectly.

Memphis BBQ Sauce: Memphis knows a thing or two about BBQ as well and is one of the most popular styles of BBQ. This sauce is a ketchup-based sauce that is generally sweet, peppery and a little peppery. Everyone enjoyed this style of sauce quite a bit. It hit every part of the mouth with a good flavor and it had a wide breadth of characteristics, not to mention the really nice pepper and coriander notes.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Wild Turkey 101 – A sauce with that much going on needs to be paired with a bourbon that has a whole lot going on too but in the same smooth, well-balanced way. That’s how we paired Wild Turkey 101 with this sauce. The Wild Turkey amplified all the best parts of the Memphis style sauce by adding nice, fruit notes, a subtle smoky note and gave the whole combination a full umami experience.  The 101 proof of the Wild Turkey was cut back by the sauce letting the flavors really come out. The combination also produced a delightful, sweet and spicy finish that lingered enjoyable on the tongue.
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The debate about which region has the best BBQ will carry on for years to come. Personally, we like them all. But the same debate happens in the bourbon industry as well. Again, no favorites here. But the Moonshine U tasting panel tried to find common ground by pairing two of our favorite things together into something we can all agree on. Cheers to National BBQ Month!

About Moonshine University: Moonshine University was founded by David Dafoe in 2013. The bourbon epicenter opened its doors on the Distilled Spirits Beverage Campus in Louisville, Kentucky to educate entrepreneurs on how to launch a successful distilling business from concept, to distilling, to bottling.  Moonshine University houses the Stave & Thief Society, a bourbon certification program. It was established to promote Kentucky’s distinguished bourbon culture. Stave & Thief Society will lead bourbon enthusiasts, restaurants, bars, hotels and retail employees to become Executive Bourbon Stewards through a standardized training program.

Thanks to Moonshine University for the press release. Photo credits: Phil Icsman.