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Harmonious Balance in Sangiovese: Ruminations on a Tuscan Taste

Matt Kirkland was an attendee of the WSG’s first Study Trip to Tuscany with Jane Hunt, MW. Here, he shares some of the insights he gleaned from the trip.

Quality in wine can be assessed based upon balance, length, intensity, and complexity (and typicity when not tasting blindly). As the workhorse grape of central Italy, Sangiovese had a checkered history relative to quality. It is a high acid grape, with relatively high tannins; and quality demands a balance of these structural components. The goal of this essay will be to discuss the acid/tannin balance, its impact upon quality, and the implications for “mouthfeel” of the resultant wines. The harmonious balance of quality can be achieved with pure Sangiovese (Brunello de Montalcino or some Chianti’s, or with blends as in Chianti or the “Super Tuscans”); the key is taming the interplay of tannin and acid on the palate. The journey through Tuscany is a delectable discovery of vinous diversity, unified by the grape.

“In the bad old days, Sangiovese tended to be overproduced which accentuated its tendency to exhibit high acid and unripe tannins… Sangiovese’s dominant viticultural characteristics are that it can vary as much as Pinot Noir in its sensitivity to place and that it ripens relatively late.” Jancis Robinson, www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/grape-varieties/red/sangiovese

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Sarah Graham-Beck reports live from our 2017 Bordeaux Wine Study Trip

Assisting trip instructor Gerard Basset MW, MS, our Tour Manager Sarah Beck-Graham reports daily on the learnings and encounters on our 2017 Bordeaux wine study trip taking place October 1st through 6th 2017.

Sarah lives in Bordeaux and has 15 years of experience in the Bordeaux wine industry.  She has been manager of a top Right Bank chateau and worked for several top Bordeaux wine merchants. She now guides wine tours in the region and handles logistics for wine-related events.

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16 of Pascaline's Top Producer Picks in the Loire Valley

Master sommelier and Loire valley native, Pascaline Lepeltier, has been working with key Loire producers over the past months in preparation for the October 2017 Loire Wine Study Trip.

Take a look at her notes on this carefully curated list of both iconic and rising star estates/producers in the Loire Valley

An interesting read to get you re-acquainted with some of the more historically famed estates as well as introduce you to some of the new generation vintners who are pushing boundaries and defining the region’s vinous future…

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Wine and Food of the Loire Valley

Much has been written about the beautiful Loire Valley, well known as “the garden of France.” The wine region follows the meandering Loire River more than 600 miles through the gently rolling hills of a picturesque countryside. There is an abundance of vines and food crops in this fertile stretch of France. The Loire produces the largest amount of white wines of any French region, and it is the world’s largest mushroom producer. As the old adage says, “If it grows together, it goes together,” and this is perhaps nowhere as evident as it is in the Loire Valley.

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Bourgogne Wine Tour Up Close and Personal

I am pleased to share my Burgundy wine tour experience with the Wine Scholar Guild, as it was the trip of a lifetime.  My wife and I arrived a couple of days early and enjoyed fine wine and dining in Paris before our quick train trip over to Beaune (via Dijon).  We spent Sunday on our own, touring the Hospices de Beaune, wandering the city streets and having a lovely dinner.

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

Italy’s white wines are as diverse as the country’s reds. With a trove of native varieties, there is an Italian white wine to fit every budget and every occasion. In fact, there are so many choices that shopping for an Italian white wine can be overwhelming. It doesn’t help matters that many of the white grapes have similar looking names. However, you don’t have to memorize an encyclopedia to find the perfect wine for dinner.

Just knowing a few key wines will ease the confusion and simplify the shopping trip (hint, if the grape or wine name has a “v” in it, you will probably love it.)

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Ten Essential French White Wines

The white wines of France offer unrivaled perfection. With few exceptions, every vineyard growing white grapes is so planted not because reds won’t grow well there, but because whites will flourish. France’s white wines are not an afterthought or a consolation prize. These are vinous treasures worth exploring.

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A Tour of Central Italian Cuisine, By Region

Recently, Barbara Philip MW hosted a virtual food and wine tour webinar for the Wine Scholar Guild. The cuisine of central Italy is as fascinating as it is delicious. This is where tomatoes and olive oil begin to replace the butter and cream of the north. Heavy, stuffed pastas give way to long pastas and are joined by more vegetables. The food of central Italy reflects the agricultural treasures provided by the warmer climate. Local grape varieties also enjoy their time in the sun, ripening to juicy perfection, creating wines that really reflect their surroundings.

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