Blog

Bordeaux. Burgundy. Barolo. Rioja. Just the mere mention of any one of these wine regions conjures images of the world’s best wines all sharing the ability to age for decades. The wines of Rioja have earned their place amongst this elite group; and whilst consumer tastes may swing like a clock’s pendulum, the practice of aging wines in Rioja helps define its successful past, present, and future.

Read more...

Most wine lovers live to eat, so at best wine tourism is also a gastrotourism. The restaurant scene is Champagne is not quite as bubbly as the name suggests, but thanks to champagne houses’ entertaining and champagne tourism, the region has many fine restaurants: L’Assiette Champenois with three Michelin stars, Les Crayères and Racine with two stars and a handful of one-star places. Outside the top restaurants, the local cuisine is rather traditional, so do not expect gastronomic triumphs all around. It is worthwhile getting to know the best places in advance. Here are my 10 favourite addresses around Reims and Epernay.

Read more...

The vintage chart and harvest reports provided by the Wine Scholar Guild gives you the ranking for every French wine region and vintage from 2000 to today.

Andrew Jefford, award-winning author and columnist in every issue of Decanter and World of Fine Wine, Co-Chair Decanter World Wine Awards; Vice-Chair Decanter Asia Wine Awards as well as Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor, gives us his insight about the 2020 vintage in France.

The COVID pandemic made 2020 difficult in France as elsewhere in the world, but France’s winegowers had every reason to feel a sense of relief and gratitude as the year ended. Their future prosperity depends on both the quantity and the quality of each year’s harvest. Every French wine region was satisfied with quantities in 2020 and thrilled with quality. Sales may have been difficult in 2020 with the restaurant trade in abeyance and export markets disrupted, but after the run of good to great French vintages since 2015, no one had cause to complain about stocks.

Read more...

Finally, we have reached the end of the winemaking year. 

In the vineyard, soil health is a common topic of discussion now that the vines are dormant.  This is a great time to dig soil pits and send samples off to discover more about the composition of the soil layers around the root system of the vines. 

Soil pH plays a large part in the health of a vineyard as it controls nutrient uptake.  Even if the soil contains plenty of a particular nutrient, if soil pH is wrong, that nutrient might not be available in a form that the plant can use.  This can lead to micronutrient deficiencies or toxicities. For this reason, it is very important to manage the soil pH.

Read more...

At the start of November, areas with long growing seasons are still wrapping up harvest, but most wineries in the northern hemisphere have brought their grapes into the winery.  An exception to this rule is any fruit being left out for ice wine production.

Ice Wine Production

Grapes destined for ice wine production must hang on the vine until temperatures reach a consistent 20°F/-7°C or below. Only at this point, can the frozen berries be harvested.

November begins with a lot of activity in the winery and ends with everyone taking a collective sigh of relief.  The growing season is at an end and most wine production professionals can take a moment to reconnect with their families and friends and take a well-deserved vacation. 

Read more...

This article is the first of an upcoming series by French neuroscientist Gabriel Lepousez. Gabriel is part of the Scientific Committee formed by WSG in the context of its "Architecture of Taste Research Project". He has also presented a fascinating segment on "The Neuroscience of Wine Tasting" as part of The Science of Wine Tasting Webinar Series which will resume with new episodes in the Spring of 2022.

The wine tasting paradox

There is a real paradox in the experience of tasting a product like wine. Tasting is such a familiar, instinctive, and seemingly obvious act; something that we take for granted. At the same time, wine is a one of the most complex sensory objects that we put into our mouths.

Indeed, wine is one of the rare sensory objects of our daily life which solicits all at the same time:

Read more...

Italian Vintage Chart, from 2010 to 2020

Wine Scholar Guild is pleased to provide its readers with vintage and harvest reports for some of Italy’s most famous regions, from 2010 onward. We felt it was time that we expand our assessment of vintages and harvest reports outside of France and Italy was first on our list. To compile this in-depth report, we reached out to Italian wine specialist Tom Hyland.

Tom seemed like the perfect fit for this project, as he has been reporting on and promoting Italian wines for more than twenty years as a journalist, educator, and photographer. He has made more than 75 trips to wine regions throughout all of Italy from his home in Chicago. In that time, he has written for numerous publications, including Decanter, wine-searcher.com and most recently Wine Spectator. He has written two books on Italian wine: Beyond Barolo and Brunello (2013) and The Wines and Foods of Piemonte (2016). Tom has conducted seminars on Italian wine for the trade and public; over the past year, he has led more than two dozen webinars with Italian producers; among these were several for Wine Scholar Guild. He also served as US ambassador for Consorzio I Vini del Piemonte for five years. He is also an accomplished photographer, having been named Wine Photographer of the Year (Category: Places) in 2020 at the prestigious Pink Lady competition in England.

Andrea Eby, Italian Programs Director, asked Tom to provide a short blog article describing how he went about compiling this fantastic resource. We hope you enjoy the article and find the vintage charts as useful as we do. As always, we look forward to your questions and comments!

Read more...

In October, most areas of the northern hemisphere are in harvest and going full out!

Many white varieties finish in early October. Although some reds (particularly early-ripening Pinot Noir) may have started harvest in September, generally, October is the month when most red varieties are picked. 

In September’s post, we explored the harvest parameters for white grapes.  The factors that a winemaker considers when picking red grapes are similar… flavor, acid, sugar, etc.  However, there are two key harvest parameters that are more important (and impactful) for reds than whites: tannin ripeness and anthocyanin accumulation (color). 

Read more...

The Architecture of Taste: Research Begins

On the 6th of September 2021, Wine Scholar Guild hosted the first large-scale blind-tasting panel as part of its recently announced The Architecture of Taste Research Project.

Hosted at the Bristol Hotel in Colmar, Alsace, this panel tasting launched WSG’s research on the tactile and geosensorial tasting approach it developed over the past year.

The tasting was designed specifically to assess the experimental and innovative tasting grid that had been developed as part of the Architecture of Taste Research Project. Its eventual aim is a tactile and geosensorial tasting method which focuses on a wine’s energy, induced salivation, geometry/shape, texture, and consistency.

Such a tasting method would provide students of wine with an enriched and universal lexicon that not only assesses the qualities of a wine but also dives into the nature of a wine’s personality and, perhaps, its corresponding terroir signature. 

The panel of tasters included owners or representatives of twenty top Alsace estates such as Albert Boxler, Weinbach, Marcel Deiss and Albert Mann. They were joined by a dozen wine professionals, including Pascaline Lepeltier MOF, a member of the ATRP Scientific Committee, as well as a dozen serious wine lovers. All in all, over 45 panelists participated in the tasting.

Read more...

It is a regular occurrence, even for the most accomplished wine aficionado: a loss of words to describe exactly what’s going on in the glass. Try as we might, the language of wine will always be a tricky landscape to navigate. But, as educators and students of wine, it is a necessity. Whether scratched into a notepad or typed into a report, tasting notes help us commit our experience to memory, and serve as a vital avenue for sensory translation.

Nonetheless, issues abound when it comes to finding a common understanding of these experiences. 

In this edition of our Great Debate series, Andrew Jefford — wine writer and the Wine Scholar Guild’s Academic Advisor — is joined by William Kelley, wine critic for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, to discuss a host of issues facing the language of wine and its primary vehicle of communication: the celebrated (or maligned, depending on your point of view) tasting note.

“A good tasting note should communicate as relatably and usefully as possible the character and perceived quality of the wine,” notes Kelley, who reviews roughly 5,000 wines annually from Burgundy and Champagne for his publication. However, he cautions, “it is a very limiting genre.”

By and large, Jefford agrees, but he also calls for “an equivalent of the ‘natural wine’ movement for wine writing” to refresh the possibilities and broaden the perspectives of wine language worldwide. 

In the end, this debate is a fascinating look into the process of crafting tasting notes from two of the industry’s most accomplished practitioners. But both admit that there remains plenty of open area for discussion on how to best utilize language to communicate the magic (or lack thereof) in the glass.

Read more...

Now that fall has arrived, winemakers turn their attention to the harvest. In most of the northern hemisphere, harvest usually begins by the middle of this month, if not earlier.  It is an exciting time. The culmination of all the hard work in the vineyards is realized in the moments the grapes are picked.  Vineyard managers can relax now, but the winemaker’s job is just getting started. 

Read more...

When you think of Italy’s vast array of wine grapes, which one comes to mind as the most difficult to study? Maybe Nebbiolo, for its seemingly endless site-specific details? Or Sangiovese, simply because there is so much of it, in so many different forms? I would posit that Trebbiano is perhaps the most perplexing. For one, Trebbiano grapes appear in vineyards across the Italian peninsula. In the case of Trebbiano Toscano and Trebbiano Romagnolo, they are among the most widely planted white wine grapes in Italy. The potential for variability is astounding.

Read more...

August is the calm before the harvest storm.  Vegetative growth has slowed considerably and, in some climates, stopped completely due to water stress.  The vine now turns its efforts to ripening the fruit that it has developed earlier in the season.  Although the berries are close to their final size, the skins will begin to thin, change color, and gain considerably more weight as they fill with sugar produced by the leaves.  In climates that experience rain during this period, splitting becomes a risk.

Read more...

The Ten Best Spanish White Wines: A Beginner’s Guide

As the global popularity of Spanish wine grows, more exciting options are becoming available in restaurants and wine shops. While many people are familiar with Spain's premium red wines from regions such as Rioja and Priorat, the country also produces stellar white wines. These wonderful – and often underappreciated selections – represent a great value with excellent variety and versatility.

Like its red wines, Spain's white wines are labeled with their appellation of origin – or Denomination of Origin (DO). This designation represents the grape's place of origin, and typically each DO will specialize in one or more different wine styles made from specific grapes. For those new to Spain, knowing what to expect can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the region. 

Below is a breakdown of some of Spain's most popular (and delicious) white wines. This list includes their region of origin as well as the primary grapes from which the wines are made. Use this as a guide to expand your understanding of Spanish wine.

Read more...
Page 2 of 11

Sign up to receive our latest updates