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Bordeaux: The Inside Scoop…Free to You!

Bordeaux wine merchant, Jeffrey Davies, delivered a phenomenal FWS members-only webinar “Bordeaux: the Inside Scoop”.

 

Exceptionally, we are making the webinar recording available for all to replay:

BONUS: Download background notes from Jeffrey Davies on most of the wines discussed on the webinar (for 2013 vintage)

Still not a member? Join today!

 



Jeffrey M. Davies on Bordeaux – Part 2,  Bordeaux: The Inside Scoop


Jeffrey M. Davies, longtime Bordeaux resident and wine merchant, for the inside scoop on Bordeaux:

  • changes among the big names,
  • excellent producers that fly under the radar,
  • and undiscovered treasures…

Find out which stars are rising, which are falling and which are ready to go supernova!  Unlike the picture painted by the press, there is true value to be found in Bordeaux at every price point. This webinar is a "must" for everyone who collects or drinks Bordeaux!

 



ABOUT MEMBERSHIP:


The Wine Scholar Guild delivers two continuing education webinars each month which are recorded for on-demand replay. What an easy way to keep your wine knowledge current and to move forward with your professional development!  Become a member!

 


 
ABOUT JEFFREY DAVIES

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, 90 minutes from the Napa Valley, Jeffrey developed an early predilection for the (fermented) fruit of the vine. By the time he hit the university, he was hooked. This led him to spend his junior year at the Université de Bordeaux, where, much to the chagrin of his professors, he spent considerably more time in the vineyards than in their classrooms.

 

After graduating with honors from the University of California, he returned to Bordeaux to enroll at the Institut d'Œnologie. Those were the last two years during which world-renowned enologist, Professor Emile Peynaud, taught at the Institut from which Jeffrey would become one of the first two Americans to graduate. They became good friends.

 

After graduation, Jeffrey worked in the retail wine trade in Bordeaux then in New York City. Later, he moved to the Midwest, where he was hired to set up an import division focused on European wines. The portfolio he built there included many fine Bordeaux estates, the wines of Aubert de Villaine, the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Etienne Sauzet from Burgundy, and an extensive range of outstanding German producers. At the same time, he served as Midwestern Regional Director for Les Amis du Vin, for which position he was "hand-picked" by its co-founder, Robert Gourdin.

 

In 1979, he returned to France with his Bordeaux-born wife and began writing for the respected wine and food magazine, "Gault Millau", for which he was the first American contributor. That period also marked the beginning of his association with the premier American wine periodical, "Friends of WINE Magazine", for which he served as the French Editor from the late 1980's to the early 1990's.

 

For 35 of the last 40 years, Jeffrey has worked in France, cultivating close relationships with growers in Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, the Languedoc, and the Rhône. His focus is on discovering, introducing, selling and marketing exciting new wines to markets worldwide, concentrating on North America, Europe and Asia. In this connection, he has enjoyed the support of the international wine trade and the specialized press, especially Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer, James Suckling, La Revue du Vin de France, Katsuyuki Tanaka, etc. (A short list of wines launched by Signature Selections is attached).

 

Profiled in Stephen Brook's superbly researched book, Bordeaux: People, Power and Politics (Mitchell Beazley - 2001), Jeffrey is also a recurring figure in William Echikson's Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution (W. W. Norton & Co. - 2004), and is regularly quoted in newspapers and magazines ranging from "Le Figaro Magazine", "Le Monde", and "Libération", to "The New York Times", "The Wall Street Journal", and "The San Francisco Chronicle". Jancis Robinson, the FT's wine critic, praised his pioneering work in the Languedoc. France's top wine critics, Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve, called him "l'un des meilleurs négociants actuels, l'Américain Jeffrey Davies (Signature Selections)." ("Currently one of the best wine merchants, the American, Jeffrey Davies, owner of Signature Selections," company he founded in 1986).

Read more...

Free Alsace Webinar for all!

On Friday April 4th, Alsace Master-Level Program instructor, Thierry Meyer, presented a riveting live webinar on the winds of change blowing through Alsace.

 

{flv width="640" height="480"}Its a Brave New World in Alsace{/flv}

 

 

Alternate link to play the video

 

 

Abstract:

Due to winegrower pressure on the production side, Alsace has moved from 3 to 53 AOCs in the blink of an eye! There are Communal and Lieux-Dit designations to complement the regional Alsace AOC plus proposals to institute a future 1st Growth AOC as well as a dedicated high-end category for Crémant d'Alsace!

 

Understand the impetus behind the winds of change! We'll also challenge your assumptions about residual sugar as well the ageing capability of the wines of Alsace. Truly, it is a brave new world in Alsace!

 


About Thierry Meyer:
 

Thierry Meyer is an Alsace resident with a phenomenal depth of knowledge and fiery passion for the wines of Alsace!

 

He both leads our new Alsace Master-Level Program and guides and instructs on our first Alsace Immersion Trip taking place in June 2014.

Bio:

Thierry Meyer was born and raised in Alsace. He began writing about wine in 1999 when he started using the newly emerging wine forums to share tasting notes and insights on the 1000 Alsace+ wines he tastes each year.

In 2001, Thierry started his signature dinner series dedicated to Alsace wines. These have quickly become an important occasion for wine lovers from all over the world to experience fine Alsace food paired with some of the finest wines in the world.

In 2006, Thierry founded L’Oenothèque Alsace (www.oenoalsace.com), one of the most comprehensive modern resources dedicated to Alsace wines. At the same time, he started to promote a program of structured Alsace wine master classes and dinners, each dedicated to a specific theme and each aimed at discovering the richness and variety of Alsace wines in all categories. These sessions are open to all wine lovers, from absolute beginners to professionals, and aim to help them discover the wines of Alsace. L’Oenothèque Alsace also organizes visits to local vineyards in order to discover the unique geological complexity of Alsace. L’Oenothèque Alsace does not sell wine, and is not connected to any wine producer or association and therefore offers completely impartial advice allowing wine lovers to discover the quality and diversity of Alsace wines.

From 2007 to 2011, Thierry was contributing editor for Bettane & Desseauve, the influential French wine guide. In this, he covered the Alsace region, as well as the Jura, Savoie and Bugey regions. Thierry is a member of the Confrérie Saint Etienne d’Alsace, which gives him numerous occasions to taste Alsace wines, In 2012, Thierry joined the Decanter World Wine Awards jury as Regional Chair for Alsace.

 


 

Thierry Meyer on Alsace:
Alsace possesses one of the most complex range of terroirs in all of France… and yet people’s appreciation of Alsace is often limited to its main grape varieties. Why is that?


With 13 grape varieties, 200+ terroir types, and 1,000 producers crafting more than 10, 000 cuvées of dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet or sweet wines every year, Alsace is diverse, multi-faceted and a world onto itself. Moreover, quality/price ratios range from poor to exceptional. Price does not filter out the world class gems from the rest.


So a typical reaction is to consider the 7 most frequently used grape varieties and decline them from dry to sweet styles, but this does a disservice to the reality of the wines at hand.


The best cuvées reach the highest of quality levels. This reflects a world far different from the traditional image of the region. This is what I am planning to demonstrate with selected tasting sessions, winegrower’s visits and gastronomic experiences during our many gourmet restaurant meals.

What fascinates you most about the region and its wines?


When you consider the potential of the best terroirs of Alsace and the ability to produce fresh, vibrant and extremely complex wines, you realize that the best wines equal the best white wines you can produce anywhere on earth. What’s fascinating is that often the producers themselves don’t realize that they are sitting on a treasure of old vines in some of the greatest of terroirs. So it’s only a question of being knowledgeable enough to understand and spot those wines. They are always underrated and often underpriced.


Above all, what is really stunning about the best Alsace wines is their capacity to get better with age. They keep very long. Anyone who had the chance to taste great wines from the 60s will be convinced that 50 years is not old for a wine from Alsace.

What are the main misconceptions about Alsace that you wish you will clarify on the program?


Several misconceptions are still very present midst consumers and producers alike.


The first misconception is to simplify balance within a two-dimensional scale of acid and sugar. Although these two dimensions are important, they do not paint a complete picture. Complexity, depth, concentration, and the nature of acidity are equally important to understand a wine’s style.


The second misconception is that wines with high acidity or high sweetness will keep longer than others. Acidity may be good to preserve products, but acidity does not improve a wine. Vinegar does age well, but don’t expect it to turn into smooth wine after 10 years in the bottle. Same with sweetness. Sweetness will not prevent a wine without extract from fading away over time. There is more to a wine’s staying power than acid and sugar.


Lastly, pairing wine with food is not just a question of acidity and sweetness either. It is about depth of flavor, complexity of flavor and structure also. There is a misconception that dry wines are better with food. That is not reality. People drink Coca Cola (with more than 100 grams sugar per liter) and have no problem consuming it with food. Its sweetness is close to the RS level in Sauternes or in an Alsace Selection de Grains Nobles.

In very practical terms, what should a student in the program be able to enjoy and comprehend after following the program?


The key to understanding Alsace--its wines, vintages, cuvées, wine styles, terroirs and its relationship with food--all boils down to the grapes and where they are grown. It’s a formula the student will master.


We will address many aspects one by one, so participants can taste thee differences and make their own judgment about the styles.


This knowledge base will enable him or her to purchase the wines of Alsace from a position of strength, drink more interesting bottlings and make these bottlings shine at table. A true connoisseur is not one who has the best and best-known wines in his cellar, but rather the one who knows how to serve the right wine for the right occasion, be it a complex, old Grand Cru Hengst, a young, fresh and delicate Pinot Blanc, a mature and supple red or a fresh and fruity Crémant d’Alsace.


The course is both practical and empowering.

 


 

Thierry Meyer, the Parker of Alsace wines, an Alsace resident with an unbelievable knowledge and passion for Alsace wines leads our new Alsace Master-Level Program which debuted March 4th 2014.


He will then lead and instruct on our first Alsace Immersion Trip taking place in June 2014.

Thierry Meyer was born and raised in Alsace. He began writing about wine in 1999 when he started using the newly emerging wine forums to share tasting notes and insights on the 1000 Alsace+ wines he tastes each year.

In 2001, Thierry started his signature dinner series dedicated to Alsace wines. These have quickly become an important occasion for wine lovers from all over the world to experience fine Alsace food paired with some of the finest wines in the world.

In 2006, Thierry founded L’Oenothèque Alsace (www.oenoalsace.com), one of the most comprehensive modern resources dedicated to Alsace wines. At the same time, he started to promote a program of structured Alsace wine master classes and dinners, each dedicated to a specific theme and each aimed at discovering the richness and variety of Alsace wines in all categories. These sessions are open to all wine lovers, from absolute beginners to professionals, and aim to help them discover the wines of Alsace or further develop their knowledge and preferences. L’Oenothèque Alsace also organizes visits to local vineyards in order to discover the unique geological complexity of Alsace. L’Oenothèque Alsace does not sell wine, and is not connected to any wine producer or association and therefore offers completely impartial advice, allowing wine lovers to discover the quality and diversity of Alsace wines.

From 2007 to 2011, Thierry was contributing editor for Bettane & Desseauve, the influential French wine guide. In this, he covered the Alsace region, as well as the Jura, Savoie and Bugey regions. Thierry is a member of the Confrérie Saint Etienne d’Alsace, which gives him numerous occasions to taste Alsace wines which are up to 80 years old. In 2012, Thierry joined the Decanter World Wine Awards jury as Regional Chair for Alsace.

- See more at: http://www.frenchwinesociety.org/alsace-master-level-program/instructor-bios?lang=en#sthash.aOp7rHVw.dpuf

Thierry Meyer, the Parker of Alsace wines, an Alsace resident with an unbelievable knowledge and passion for Alsace wines will lead our new Alsace Master-Level Program debuting March 4th 2014.


He will then lead and instruct on our first Alsace Immersion Trip taking place in June 2014.

- See more at: http://www.frenchwinesociety.org/latest-news/thierry-meyer-on-alsace?lang=en#sthash.G4Vsgkl2.dpuf
Read more...

Provence Recommendations by Liz Gabay MW

Liz Gabay, MW, Instructor for the Provence trip, has given us a list of regional wines available in broad distribution around the globe in order to demonstrate the diversity and quality of Provence wines.

If you only look at Provence and think pink…think again.  Liz says that this selection will show you a diverse and multi-faceted wine region

CONTEST: Give these wines a try, and then post your comments and tasting notes on the Wine Scholar Guild Facebook page.  The first person to post tasting notes on a wine from each of the six domaines will win a free registration in the Wine Scholar Guild's Provence Master-Level Online Study Program!



Be sure to “Like” the page while you’re there.

 


 

A selection of wines from around Provence

 

Chateau Coussin, Ste Victoire

Coussin makes wines under the shadow of Mont Ste Victoire (made famous by Cezanne) and is one of the many estates owned by the Sumeire family. The chalky soils of the region give a freshness (excellent acidity) to the wines. The whites and rosés show delicious peachy fruit and the reds rich black fruit. The César 2001 is still drinking beautifully.

  • T Edward Wines, New York, NY, www.tedwardwines.comfor New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut
  • Zancanella Importing Co, Portland, OR.


Chateau Rouet, Cotes de Provence-Fréjus

Ch. Rouet is an old family estate, not far from Chateau d’Esclans. In fact, the winemakers for the two estates are brothers! Rouet makes a range of rosés--including a rosé from the very small sub-appellation of Cotes de Provence-Frejus where the volcanic soils impart a stoney-mineral character. The top wine, ‘Belle Poule’, does not refer to a pretty chicken dinner – but rather to the name of the boat which bore Emperor Napoleon away as captive. Napoleon's wardrobe doors were salvaged from the boat and installed in the chapel here.

  • Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY
  • Village Wine Import Ltd., New York, NY
  • Vigneron Imports, Oakland, CA 94602.


Chateau Calisse, Coteaux Varois

Coteaux Varois is one of the more northerly vineyards in Provence, the cooler climate lending a fresh, crisp character to the wines. The whites are full of green fruit, the rosés boast lively red fruits and the predominantly Syrah-based reds have a Rhone-like minerality.

  • Margaux & Company, Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Small Production Wines, Portland, OR 97210.


Mascaronne, Cotes de Provence

Owned by Tom Bove (who sold his other estate Chateau Miraval to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), this domaine produces some stunning reds with good ageing potential.

  • Integrity Wines, New York, NY.  www.integritywines.com
  • Vinum Importing, Seattle, WA, www.vinumimporting.com
  • Vintage Imports, Bristol, PA. (215) 78www.vintageimportswines.com
  • Vinecraft, Miami, FL. www.vinecraft.com
  • International Cellars, Vienna, VA. www.internationalcellars.com
  • Chez Suze Imports, Boulder, CO.

Chateau Vignelaure, Coteaux d’Aix

This northerly Coteaux d’Aix vineyard includes some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Provence. (They were planted in the 1960s by Georges Brunet from cuttings from his Bordeaux estate, Château La Lagune.) This domaine was the earliest ‘cult’ wine producer in the region and brought the potential of Provencal red wines to the consumer's attention. After a number of years in the doldrums, this estate is now under new ownership and seeing a return to its former glory.

  • Blue Coast Wine Imports, New York, NY. www.bluecoastwines.com


Domaine de la Croix and Bastide Blanche, Cotes de Provence (St Tropez)

The peninsula of St Tropez is campaigning to receive its own sub-appellation for its cluster of top estates located on the hills behind the famous resort town. The two cru classé domains listed above are jointly owned, and both use wine consultant, Michel Rolland. The schist soil and proximity to the sea give a salty-mineral character similar to that of the wines of La Londe further to the west.

  • Vinecraft, Miami, FL. www.vinecraft.com
  • Purple Valley Imports, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Grapevine Distributors, Concord, NC. www.grapevinedistributors.com  
  • Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, Washington, DC www.cellar.com

 

To find all these wines, we suggest looking on www.wine-searcher.com

Read more...

Alsace Master-Level Program Excerpts

Thierry Meyer, an Alsace resident with an unbelievable knowledge and passion for Alsace wines, is lead instructor for our new Alsace Master-Level Program He also leads and instructs on the Alsace Immersion Trips.



PROGRAM PREVIEW - VIDEO EXCERPTS FROM THE FIRST TWO WEBINARS:


VIDEO # 1: On Alsace's Golden Age



VIDEO # 2: On Alsace Between the Wars



VIDEO # 3: On Alsace's Climate



VIDEO # 4: On Fault Bundles









Read more...

Thierry Meyer on Alsace

Thierry Meyer, the Parker of Alsace wines, an Alsace resident with an unbelievable knowledge and passion for Alsace wines will lead our new Alsace Master-Level Program debuting March 4th 2014.


He will then lead and instruct on our first Alsace Immersion Trip taking place in June 2014.




Alsace possesses one of the most complex range of terroirs in all of France… and yet people’s appreciation of Alsace is often limited to its main grape varieties. Why is that?


With 13 grape varieties, 200+ terroir types, and 1,000 producers crafting more than 10, 000 cuvées of dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet or sweet wines every year, Alsace is diverse, multi-faceted and a world onto itself. Moreover, quality/price ratios range from poor to exceptional. Price does not filter out the world class gems from the rest.


So a typical reaction is to consider the 7 most frequently used grape varieties and decline them from dry to sweet styles, but this does a disservice to the reality of the wines at hand.


The best cuvées reach the highest of quality levels. This reflects a world far different from the traditional image of the region. This is what I am planning to demonstrate with selected tasting sessions, winegrower’s visits and gastronomic experiences during our many gourmet restaurant meals.

What fascinates you most about the region and its wines?


When you consider the potential of the best terroirs of Alsace and the ability to produce fresh, vibrant and extremely complex wines, you realize that the best wines equal the best white wines you can produce anywhere on earth. What’s fascinating is that often the producers themselves don’t realize that they are sitting on a treasure of old vines in some of the greatest of terroirs. So it’s only a question of being knowledgeable enough to understand and spot those wines. They are always underrated and often underpriced.


Above all, what is really stunning about the best Alsace wines is their capacity to get better with age. They keep very long. Anyone who had the chance to taste great wines from the 60s will be convinced that 50 years is not old for a wine from Alsace.

What are the main misconceptions about Alsace that you wish you will clarify on the program?


Several misconceptions are still very present midst consumers and producers alike.


The first misconception is to simplify balance within a two-dimensional scale of acid and sugar. Although these two dimensions are important, they do not paint a complete picture. Complexity, depth, concentration, and the nature of acidity are equally important to understand a wine’s style.


The second misconception is that wines with high acidity or high sweetness will keep longer than others. Acidity may be good to preserve products, but acidity does not improve a wine. Vinegar does age well, but don’t expect it to turn into smooth wine after 10 years in the bottle. Same with sweetness. Sweetness will not prevent a wine without extract from fading away over time. There is more to a wine’s staying power than acid and sugar.


Lastly, pairing wine with food is not just a question of acidity and sweetness either. It is about depth of flavor, complexity of flavor and structure also. There is a misconception that dry wines are better with food. That is not reality. People drink Coca Cola (with more than 100 grams sugar per liter) and have no problem consuming it with food. Its sweetness is close to the RS level in Sauternes or in an Alsace Selection de Grains Nobles.

In very practical terms, what should a student in the program be able to enjoy and comprehend after following the program?


The key to understanding Alsace--its wines, vintages, cuvées, wine styles, terroirs and its relationship with food--all boils down to the grapes and where they are grown. It’s a formula the student will master.


We will address many aspects one by one, so participants can taste thee differences and make their own judgment about the styles.


This knowledge base will enable him or her to purchase the wines of Alsace from a position of strength, drink more interesting bottlings and make these bottlings shine at table. A true connoisseur is not one who has the best and best-known wines in his cellar, but rather the one who knows how to serve the right wine for the right occasion, be it a complex, old Grand Cru Hengst, a young, fresh and delicate Pinot Blanc, a mature and supple red or a fresh and fruity Crémant d’Alsace.


The course is both practical and empowering.





Thierry Meyer, the Parker of Alsace wines, an Alsace resident with an unbelievable knowledge and passion for Alsace wines will lead our new Alsace Master-Level Program debuting March 4th 2014.


He will then lead and instruct on our first Alsace Immersion Trip taking place in June 2014.






Read more...

FWS Program endorsed by Employment & Employability Institute

The French Wine Scholar Program (Singapore) gained endorsement by The Employment & Employability Institute (e2i)

In its initial months since appointed by the Wine Scholar Guild to host and conduct French Wine Scholar (FWS) program in Singapore, WineCraft Marketing & Services, under the guidance of Mr Lim Hwee Peng, CSW, FWS, have obtained support for the FWS Program from a quasi-government institution – the Employment & Employability Institute (e2i)*.

With that endorsement, the FWS course is now part of e2i’s Professional Development programs portfolio.

On the Professional Development program platform, awareness and recruitment for FWS program will potentially increase its outreach to a pool of professionals in the Wine, Food & Beverage, Hospitality and related trade sectors.

More importantly, the support of e2i builds confidence and credo for FWS program at its infancy phase while under the care of WineCraft Marketing & Services.

This support by e2i reflects its continued confidence in our company’s objective, i.e. to offer programs and activities that aims to enhance professionalism among our peers,’ Mr Lim Hwee Peng, CSW, FWS shared, ‘more importantly, professionals enrolled in the FWS program will now be able to invest in their career growth, at a subsidized cost funded by e2i.’

The pioneer intake of FWS program, under Lim’s guidance, is scheduled to commence on 4th July 2014, with the FWS exam scheduled on 19th Sept 2014. Learn more.

For more information on the FWS program in Singapore, please do contact Mr Lim Hwee Peng, CSW, FWS via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.


*About e2i
e2i is an initiative of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), supported by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the Singapore Labour Foundation (SLF), and the Singapore National Employers’ Federation (SNEF), e2i serves all segments of workers, from rank and file to professionals, managers and executives (PME)

As an organization, e2i is ISO 9001:2008 certified in July 2010, and received Service Quality Class (SQC) endorsement in June 2011.

It is recognized as a leading organization to create solutions for better employment and employability; it exists to create better jobs and better lives for workers.

Since 2008, e2i has helped more than 300,000 workers through providing better jobs, developing better skills through professional development, and improving productivity for companies.

For more details on e2i, visit the website on this link: http://e2i.com.sg/what-we-do/

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2014 Wine Trips & Destinations Announced!

As the vacation season is sadly coming to an end… here are the dates of our 2014 Immersion Wine Study Trips to mark on your calendar for next year!

We will be offering 5 trips next year, with two new destinations: Alsace and Provence.

We will start in the warm southern wine regions of France and head north as we get into the warmer days of June.

•    Bordeaux Wine Trip:  May 18 to 24
•    Rhône Valley Wine Trip:  May 26 to 31
•    Provence Wine Trip:  June 1 to 7
•    Bourgogne Wine Trip:  June 8 to 14
•    Alsace Wine Trip:  June 15 to 21


Only one trip to each of these regions is being scheduled, and participation is limited to only 15 to 18 people, depending on the region. They will sell out very fast!

To receive advanced notice of the detailed itineraries and get a better chance to secure your seat, please let us know of your interest. You will then receive detailed information 2 weeks before we release the details to our 25,000 newsletter subscribers!



With new destinations will come new expert Instructors and hosts.  Watch for our upcoming newsletters, where we’ll introduce them to you! They are all super excited to welcome you to France and share their passion!




Still want to escape to France this year?

We have 4 seats left for this fall’s fabulous Bourgogne Immersion Trip running Oct. 20-26, 2013. Register Now!

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Video Excerpt: Climate change with Roger Bohmrich MW

Watch this 9 minute excerpt of Roger Bohmrich's one-hour webinar on the "Climate Change & Wine – Understanding the Essentials & Imagining the Future"

 

 

To view the entire webinar recording and get access to all 50 past webinar recordings and upcoming live webinars, all you have to do is become a member of the Wine Scholar Guild!

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