Whole cluster (or whole bunch) fermentation is the winemaking method of using whole grape clusters without destemming during vinification. It is one of the oldest winemaking methods though the introduction of modern destemming machines after World War II shifted winemaking, eliminating much of its use. However over the last 20 years, it has been making a comeback in Burgundy and beyond, though producers such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Domaine Dujac and Domaine des Lambrays have long used whole clusters in their wines.
Join us for Robin's webinar to discover how the process works, why producers might work with the technique or why some such as the late Henri Jayer are against it, where it tends to be used more within the Côte, how producers determine the percentages of whole clusters to use within their various wines and other whole cluster “alternatives” that some producers are also utilizing.
Originally from the Chicago area, Robin is a Master of Wine who is presently based in Lugano, Switzerland, where she works as an independent wine consultant, wine judge, journalist and educator.
Following studies in French and English literature, she changed career paths in 1998 when she left her teaching position at the Université de Nice to study wine at the BIVB (Bureau Interprofessionel des Vins de Bourgogne) in Beaune, France and the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse in France’s Rhône Valley.
In the 20+ years of working in the wine business, she has held a number of different positions including wine auction specialist for Christie’s in Beverly Hills, California and fine wine buyer for a pre-eminent London-based wine merchant with an award-winning Burgundy list.
In 2014, after many years of study and a successful dissertation on whole cluster fermentation in Pinot Noir from the Côte d’Or, she became a Master of Wine.
Her main wine passions are Burgundy, Champagne, northern Italy, particularly Piedmont, Switzerland and Jerez.
The eyes of the Champenois are turning increasingly towards their Burgundian neighbors. As a result of the increase in focus on terroir winemaking and rise of new-wave grower champagnes, still wine making is on the rise. Climate change is contributing, and especially the 2018-2020 trilogy of warm vintages has ignited excitement amongst both growers and houses. Master of Wine Essi Avellan gives an introduction to the still wines of Champagne. In addition to red and white Coteaux Champenois, she will also cover the historical rosé style from the south of Champagne, Rosé des Riceys. Join in to learn what is happening on the superbly dynamic Coteaux Champenois scene!
Champagne and sparkling wine specialist Essi Avellan was Finland’s first Master of Wine. Together with Tom Stevenson she is the author of the Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine. Essi is the organiser of the annual Grand Champagne Helsinki event and a jury member at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships.
Bourgogne is a region full of contrast. Many villages produce wines completely different neighbouring villages due to differences in geology, exposition and microclimate. There are many examples to be found – Puligny-Montrachet/Meursault & Volnay/Pommard are great examples. In the Côte de Nuits, the great communes of Chambolle-Musigny & Morey-St-Denis are another example of this fascinating contrast. Chambolle makes wines of supreme elegance while Morey makes wines with markedly more power.
Join Tim Magnus for a comparison of the geology and crus of these two great communes and discover why their wines are so different from each other.
After growing up in Australia and falling in love with wine from an early age, Timothy Magnus spent several years working in the New South Wales wine region Hunter Valley. In 2007 Tim met a Swiss wine lover and it was truly love at first sight. They married in 2008 and now live near Zürich Switzerland with their 2 young children.
In 2012 Tim completed the WSET Level 4 Diploma through the Wine Academy Austria, becoming an Associate of the Institute of Wines & Spirits. In 2015 upon completion of his research thesis Tim received the title 'Weinakademiker' as well as winning the inaugural 'Swiss Wine Award' for his research thesis. He is also an Accredited International Bordeaux Wine Educator. Since 2011 Tim has taught wine courses for different companies and schools including Switzerland's largest and most famous.
Sharing his passion for wine is what Tim lives for, which is the reason for establishing Magnus Vinum.
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…
A BIT OF WINE CHEMISTRY: Lessons from Champagne
Day one of the Champagne study trip initiated a discussion which continued throughout the week of factors impacting aromas and flavors in champagne. Broadly, aromas can be categorized into the impacts of grape variety, terroir, vinification, and post-production events (influencing individual bottles versus entire “batches”).
This article will focus upon the biochemistry of sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, and sugars in an acidic environment (esters arising from acidification of alcohol); the intent is not intended to be comprehensive. For purposes of this essay, the use of the word aroma will include the complex notes of aging characterized as “bouquet.”
“Although many efforts have been made to characterize the quality and flavor of the compounds in wine… tasting remains the single universal test used… This is because the taste of a molecule, or blend of molecules, is constructed within the brain of a taster.” F. Brochet and D. Dubourdieu, 2001
A look at the rising star status of Pinot Noir in California including top regions, clones and styles.
Karen MacNeil is the President of Karen MacNeil and Company and one of the foremost wine experts in the United States. She is the author of the award-winning book, The Wine Bible, recognized as the most comprehensive and authoritative book on wine written by an American author.
Karen's articles on wine and food have been published in more than 50 magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, Food and Wine, U.S.A. Today, Elle, Cooking Light, and Town & Country. Karen has also brought her style and love of wine to television first as the wine correspondent for NBCs Today Show, and later as the Emmy-award-winning host of the PBS television series Wine, Food & Friends with Karen MacNeil. In 2006 her companion book, Wine, Food & Friends, was released.
With her team at Karen MacNeil and Company, Karen creates and consults on one-of-a-kind wine experiences, seminars, and education marketing programs for corporate clients, wine-related businesses and individuals. Some recent past clients include: Lexus, Merrill Lynch, Disney, General Electric, UBS, Boisset Family Estates, Sunset Magazine, Singapore Airlines, and Mattel (who, in recognition, designed a wine-glass-holding Barbie look-alike after Karen!)
An educator at heart, Karen is the creator and Chairman of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. The multi-million dollar center with its advanced wine curriculum and state-of-the-art wine sensory classrooms has been called the Harvard of Wine Education.
In a full-page profile in 2004, TIME magazine named Karen Americas Missionary of the Vine. She holds an Advanced Certified Wine Professional Degree.
Learn more about Pinot Noir grown in France with the French Wine Scholar study and certification program. Or dive deep into Burgundy with our Bourgogne Master-Level program.
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