Bordeaux may serve as a general model for fine-wine regions worldwide, but one Bordeaux institution is little imitated elsewhere: its property classifications.
Bordeaux is also unique in the French context in that it is often the property as a whole which is classified, not individual vineyard parcels.
Joining Wine Scholar Guild's Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford to discuss these and other questions concerning classification are:
Fiona Morrison MW is a writer, winemaker and wine merchant based in both Bordeaux (where, with her husband Jacques Thienpont, she manages their family properties of Ch Le Pin, L’If and Le Hêtre) and in Belgium, where she manages the family négociant business; she obtained her MW in 1994.
Stephen Browett began his wine-trade career in 1980 as a van driver for wine merchant La Réserve in Knightsbridge. He joined fine-wine traders Farr Vintners in 1984 and soon became a director. He has been Chairman and principal shareholder since 2008. Farr Vintners is the UK’s leading wholesale fine wine merchant with offices in London and Hong Kong. It has an annual turnover of £100 million per year, some 60 per cent of which is represented by transactions in fine Bordeaux wines.
After university graduation in his home state of California, Jeffrey Davies studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux under Emile Peynaud. He initially worked as an importer of European wines to the US Midwest and later as a wine writer for Gault et Millau before becoming a négociant, and founding his own negociant business Signature Selections. He is known in particular for its championing of new, mould-breaking Bordeaux producers. Robert Parker often tasted with Jeffrey Davies when he was researching in Bordeaux, and writers and commentators from Oz Clarke to Jancis Robinson MW and Michel Bettane have paid tribute to the significance of Davies’ knowledge and insights.
Romana Echensperger MW worked for many years as head sommelier in various top restaurants. Among other things, she was responsible for a 1000-item wine list with exclusively German wines at Berlin's Quadriga restaurant. In 2005, she was voted best sommelière in Berlin. In addition, she was head sommelier at the Vendôme restaurant near Cologne, which is awarded with 3 stars in the Michelin Guide. Since 2015 she can call herself a “Master of Wine”. Today she works independently as a consultant, journalist and in education.
Recently her comprensive book about biodynamic top winemakers in German-speaking countries was published.
Beyond Sauternes and Barsac there are eight AOPs for Sweet Bordeaux that frame the Garonne river. Although these AOPs are neighbors, their climatic and geologic nuances result in a complex range of expressions and wine styles from Semillon, Sauvignon, and Muscadelle.
Deborah will be presenting the following wines/AOPs geographically starting with the Moelleux which can be sourced from the entire region, then working counterclockwise from north to south down the Left Bank AOPs and up the Right Bank AOPs.
If you'd like, you can source some of the wines and taste along with her! As a special holiday treat two of our members attending the webinar will be randomly chosen and gifted one bottle of the above wines!
Deborah was appointed National Editor, USA for the Slow Food Slow Wine guide in 2020. As global wine editor for sister publications the SOMM Journal and The Tasting Panel magazines, she has been writing about the beverage alcohol industry for these and other outlets since 2004. Deborah teaches as an adjunct professor in the Wine Studies departments at Santa Rosa Junior College and Cabrillo College and owns a Wine & Spirit Education Trust school offering Level 2 and Level 3 certifications. In addition to writing and speaking about wine, she is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Viticulture and Enology at California State University, Fresno. Her motto is: To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach. A partial archive of her published work can be found at www.deborahparkerwong.com
Wine History of Bordeaux
Bordeaux has been one of the most important ports in all of Europe since Roman times, and it is no surprise that the wines of the area have inspired strategic political alliances, wars, wealth, and are among the old world’s most internationally influenced and sought after. Bordeaux is iconically French, but would not resemble itself without the impact of the English and the Dutch. Join wine historian Tanya Morning Star Darling to uncover the essence of the greatest wine of trade, explore the classifications and Chateaux that shaped the Bordeaux region as we know it today.
Tanya Morning Star Darling is a full time wine educator, and writer with nearly 3 decades of industry experience. Her school, Cellar Muse is the approved program provider for Wine Scholar Certifications (French, Italian, and Spanish) in the Seattle area. She is also a Certified Wine Educator, an approved WSET instructor for L1-L4 curriculums, an official Ambassador of Bourgogne Wines, the Official Educational Ambassador of Orvieto Wines, the Educational Chair on the board of the Alliance of Women in Washington Wine, and she is very proud to have recently become a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador!
Tanya is deeply interested in the why and how of wine. Through her undergraduate studies at the Sorbonne and New York University, coupled with her love of travel, Tanya became interested in history and cultural identity, which guides her work, and research.
Author of Inside Bordeaux, a book that has been described as the 'bible' by Le Figaro newspaper and a 'category buster' by Jamie Goode, Jane Anson has lived in Bordeaux since 2003. Here she takes a look at the wine trends that are shaping the region, its economy, its climate, the industry and its winemakers.
Following our debut WSG Live with Jancis Robinson MW in late July 2020, WSG is thrilled to present an in-depth discussion with famed Pomerol and Napa producer Christian Moueix.
WSG Live is a series of podcasts in which our presenters talk at length with some of the extraordinary individuals working in today’s wine world, both those involved in creating wines as well as those involved in communication and education.
Christian Moueix was born on Christmas Day 1946, the second son of Jean-Pierre Moueix, in Libourne – the capital of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. Jean-Pierre Moueix had arrived in Bordeaux as a 16-year-old with his parents from Corrèze, so the family fortunes have been built on the work of two generations (recently joined by the third: Christian’s son Edouard).
Christian studied agricultural engineering in Paris, then completed these studies with a year at UC Davis, California, between 1968 and 1969 – a year that inspired a lifetime’s affection for the USA and for California. He joined the family company in 1970, and over the succeeding half century has become synonymous with Pomerol, not only guiding the fortunes of Ch Petrus on behalf of his father and then his elder brother Jean-François, but becoming an informal but influential spokesman for his region, for the Right Bank, and for the much-maligned Merlot as a variety.
In 1982, he formed a partnership to farm and make wine in Yountville from the Napanook vineyard, once a part of the historic Inglenook. He named the estate wine Dominus and in 1995 became the sole owner. In 2008 he made a further purchase of 16.2 ha in Oakville, a former part of the Charles Hopper Ranch, and has named this property Ulysses. The family properties in Bordeaux include Ch La Fleur-Pétrus, Trotanoy and Hosanna in Pomerol, as well as Bélair-Monange in St Emilion.
Christian and his wife Cherise are enthusiastic about architecture and have completed five projects with the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and PIerre de Meuron, including the Dominus winery (2007), a refectory for the harvesters in Pomerol and currently a chai for Bélair-Monange; they are also art collectors in their own right; indeed they met in a Paris gallery. Other artistic interests include music and literature -- and few wine producers anywhere speak about their work with the elegance and refinement of Christian Moueix, as WSG students can discover for themselves.
On October 21st, Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford will be talking at length to Christian about his long career, about Merlot and Pomerol, about creating wine quality through viticulture and vinification, about the changing aesthetics of fine Bordeaux wine, and about the difference between artistic creation and the craft of producing great wine. They will also talk about Napa and its uniqueness within the wine world, as well as the challenges it faces from global warming and from fire threats. Students will have a chance to ask Christian questions of their own in a 15-minute wrap at the end of the discussion.
Every wine appellation in France has a cahier des charges, a set of regulations that delineates the production zone and specifies viticultural practices and production standards.
In many instances, a single cahier des charges references one zone of production and multiple wine styles within it (e.g. Lirac red, white, and rosé; Rasteau dry red, plus red, white and rosé Vins Doux Naturels). Some single cahiers also incorporate complementary geographic denominations or dénominations géographiques complémentaires (DGCs) such as Languedoc Montpeyroux or Bourgogne Hautes Côte de Nuits. Other times, very different wines can be grouped under one single cahier as is the case for Beaujolais, Beaujolais Supérieur, Beaujolais + Named Commune, and Beaujolais-Villages.