Join WSG Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford on July 27, at 12 noon ET as he welcomes Elaine Chukan Brown, Executive Editor US for JancisRobinson.com for a passionate discussion about her life, her career and what lies ahead!
Elaine Chukan Brown serves as Executive Editor US for JancisRobinson.com, and is a James Beard nominee in Journalism. Brown is responsible for reporting on the California wine scene and expanding the site’s coverage of U.S. wineries and sustainability topics, as well as climate action and social responsibility in the context of wine. In 2020/1 IWSC and VinItaly awarded Brown Wine Communicator of the Year, and The Hue Society named them the Legend in Wine Education.
In 2022, WINWSA in China listed Brown as one of the 50-most Influential Women in Wine. Brown also leads seminars and does public speaking on wine, personal empowerment, and social justice and has done so in countries around the world. Prior to their career in wine, Brown was an academic philosopher, but first they were a commercial salmon fisherman running their own business in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
WSG Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford welcomes Gigondas appellation President and leading winegrower Louis Barruol of Chateau de Saint Cosme to the latest in our Wine Scholar Guild Live series: an hour of discussion with leading figures in today's wine world. In addition to his groundbreaking work in Gigondas, Louis also knows the length of the Rhone very well via his 'St Cosme' micro-negociant wines -- and he has partnered with Rick Rainey and Justin Boyette to create Forge Cellars in New York State's Finger Lakes region.
Don't miss the chance to listen to the views of one of France's most thoughtful, provocative and internationally minded winegrowers!
Louis Barruol is the descendant of a family of wine growers who have made wine since 1490. After spending his childhood in Gigondas, he graduated in Economy and Agro-economy at Universities of Montpellier and Paris. He took over the family property Château de Saint Cosme in Gigondas in 1992, aged 23. He then launched a negociant business called « Saint Cosme » in 1997 and began to develop partnerships with other growers all over the Rhone valley, especially the Northern Rhone.
In 2011 he created Forge Cellars on Seneca Lake in the Fingers Lakes region of New York State with friend Rick Rainey : they began to plant vineyards, build a cellar, vinify and explore the potential of hundreds of plots. This work continues. In 2019, Louis bought the Château de Rouanne in Vinsobres, southern Rhone : an extraordinary 136-acre property located on the best slope of the appellation. He has been President of the Gigondas appellation since 2017.
Louis is now 52. He played a lot of competition rugby and he plays the cello. He is married to Cherry and they have three children : James, Jenny and Alix.
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.
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.
Our fifth edition of WSG Live features the Chilean terroir consultant Dr. Pedro Parra.
Since earning his doctorate in 2004 in Terroirs Viticoles from the Ecole d'Agriculture de Grignon (now part of AgroParisTech), Pedro has travelled the world consulting for many of today's leading wineries, including Liger-Belair and Roulot in Burgundy, Biondi-Santi and Argiano in Montalcino, Quintessa in Napa, Marengo in Barolo, Comando G in Gredos and Altos Los Hormigas in Mendoza.
His approach to soil studies is unique, combining as it does scientific analyses and detailed site mapping with an intuitive understanding and original reasoning, and always validating his insights with tasting in his quest for minerality (a term he uses freely), tension and freshness.
Since 2013, too, he has made his own wines in his native Chile, in Itata.
Join Andrew Jefford on TUESDAY, May 18th at 12:00 noon ET for a passionate discussion about Pedro's work and his ideas surrounding terroir!
Few, if any, moments in wine are more dramatic than when a producer decides it is time to pick fruit. Whether they rely upon a Brix reading, a visual cue from the grape seeds, or the finely tuned instrument of their own palate, making the call to harvest a plot of grapes is a decision fraught with consequence. Get it exactly right and you can have a legendary vintage. Get it wrong, and nothing that follows from the vine to the winery to the bottle can make up for an ill-timed harvest.
“Ripeness is balance at its apogee,” notes Julia Harding, a Master of Wine, wine critic, contributor to JancisRobinson.com, and the co-author of the often-referenced book Wine Grapes. Yet given the frequency with which “ripeness” and “balance” are used as terms in wine discussion, it is worth our time to take a step back and try to find a consensus on what they actually are (or even, if they are the same thing), and the ramifications this may hold for our sensory perception.
As we discovered, defining where that apogee of balance lies can be exceedingly difficult. Balance “resists codification,” says wine writer and Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford. “It varies culturally; it varies by individual; it varies by region and by variety.”
For our latest Great Debate, Andrew Jefford and Julia Harding tackle the finer points of ripeness and balance in wine. Their back-and-forth covers a lot of ground: how to decipher balance on the palate, the differences between tasting wine and drinking a wine, putting the value of alcohol levels into context, the role climate change is playing in defining our sense of taste, and even the dangers of allowing one’s intellect to override the sensual response. All of it, Jefford suggests, is in a quest for, what he calls, “resonance.”
While we may not have arrived at any convenient new truisms, in the end, wine’s remarkable ability to reveal the harmony of nature is — at least for now — something we can all agree on.
As Hugh Johnson first grasped in the late 1960s, there is no greater tool to wine understanding than fine cartography: the chance to read a landscape from a single sheet of paper. More and more wine regions around the world, moreover, are now refining the manner in which both growers and producers are able to express terroir via geological and topographical surveys, and high-quality mapping is an essential adjunct to this. No contemporary cartographer has had more impact on today's wine world than Alessandro Masnaghetti: the guest on our third edition of WSG Live.
Alessandro began his career in wine as a taster -- for the influential Luigi Veronelli, and then later for Vinum and l'Espresso, as well as for La Revue des Vins de France. He is the only Italian founder member of the Grand Jury Européen. Since 2007, though, he has gone back to a former passion of his, cartography, on the basis that "the true essence of journalism lies not in purveying opinions but in carrying out research and in-depth analysis". His magnificent maps of the Langhe and of Chianti Classico have led to new ways of thinking about these classic regions, and he has also mapped both Valpolicella and Bordeaux. He is currently engaged on a major, long-term project to map California's wine regions for Antonio Galloni's Vinous.
Join Andrew Jefford on February 24th at 12:00 noon ET as he talks to Alessandro about his career, about taste and terroir, about our understanding of viticultural landscapes and about Italy's unique contribution to the wine world -- and about much else.