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  • Tuscany (May 2019)
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    Blog

    Wine Scholar Guild Education Director, Lisa M. Airey, CWE, FWS was knighted by the French government in a ceremony at the Embassy of France in Washington DC on March 28, 2018.

    She was inducted as “chevalier” to the Ordre du Mérite Agricole for her contributions to French agriculture (namely, wine!).

    Sylvain Maestracci, Agriculture Counselor, officiated. It was his first knighting ceremony and hard to tell who was more touched as the medal got close to the lapel.

    Lisa was commended for the development of the French Wine Scholar Program which is now taught by over 50 program providers, in 53 cities, in 16 countries on 5 continents. It is also hosted as an online program in independent- and instructor-led formats.

    Read more...

    Grapes  for Vin Santo Drying in the Vinsantaia

    One of the most characteristic wines of Toscana is Vin Santo. This passito is an ancient and traditional specialty produced throughout the entire region. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages, but the prototype for this style of wine can be traced back to the Greeks and the Romans.

    Most Vin Santo is made from white grapes, typically Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Bianca Lunga. It can be made from just one of these grapes but is more commonly a blend of the two. Trebbiano provides acidity while Malvasia provides body, texture and perfume. A rare, pink Vin Santo called Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice (“partridge eye”) is made from red grapes, usually Sangiovese. Only a few producers make this pink version.

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    #thespanishwineguy joins the WSG team full-time

    A couple of months ago we introduced you to Rick Fisher, our Program Developer for the upcoming Spanish Wine Scholar™ (SWS) program. By way of reminder, Rick is part Catalan with a passion for his heritage and a desire to educate others about Spanish wine and food. In his spare time, he has authored the blog Bodega: Eat. Drink. Explore. ESPAÑA! (www.bodegaspanishwine.com), whose aim is to further educate readers about the amazing wines and food of Spain.

    Rick has enjoyed a long career in finance and, over the past few years, found himself drawn to pursuing more credentials within the wine industry (He is currently a WSET Diploma student with Napa Valley Wine Academy). As a result of his passion for Spain and the wine business, he left his finance job last week in order to devote all of his time to the creation of our Spanish Wine Scholar™ program, whose expected launch is late-2018.

    Q1. Rick, you just made a huge personal move, giving up a 20-year career in finance – to work full-time in the wine industry, more specifically to devote all your time to the development of the SWS program. How are you feeling about that decision?

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    1) Bordeaux is France’s largest quality wine region and largest producer of AOC wine.

    2) The quality of its vintages drives the fine wine market globally.
     
    3) Bordeaux’s rich history, commercial significance, mercantile mindset, size, and quality set it apart from other French wine regions.

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    Why study Bordeaux?

    Bordeaux is France’s largest appellation and largest producer of AOC wine! It has been exported since the Middle Ages. In fact, its inland port with its historic and stately, stone warehouses, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
     
    The region has been tracked with regard to vintage year for its entire history. Collectors speak in terms of Moueix and Derenoncourt, of Thunevin and Maltus as avid fans speak of their favorite athletes. Even non-wine drinkers have heard of Châteaux Mouton, Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Haut Brion!
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    Vin Jaune is Jura’s claim to fame! This stylized wine product is made from Savagnin [Blanc] and represents a wine that has undergone controlled oxidation in barrel through the action of a film of surface yeasts.

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    The Rhône is France’s second largest producer of AOC wines (after Bordeaux). Its viticultural history dates back to the Romans who sculpted its terraced topography and introduced the vine.

    It is in the Rhône where east  meets west. The granite and schist of the Massif Central (west) collide with the sedimentary soils of the Alps and its foothills (east)….
    So, how well do you know the Rhône?

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    Almost every wine book in print speaks of the 13 grape varieties of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but this count is not exactly accurate. If you factor in all of the color variants of those 13 grapes, you end up with 22 authorized grapes for this appellation!

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    Master of Wine Jane Hunt is interviewed by Decanter Magazine’s Andrew Jefford about Tuscany and its wines. Jane has a long, distinguished career in various aspects of the wine trade. She leads the Wine Scholar Guild immersion tours through some of the legendary Tuscan wine estates. 

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    Christophe Tassan is interviewed by Decanter Magazine’s Andrew Jefford about the Rhône Valley and its wines. “I was born in the dining room, in hospitality,” Christophe tells us, which seems appropriate, as this interview took place in a San Francisco restaurant around the corner from The Battery, where he is currently the wine director.

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