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
Autumn in Champagne is a spectacular time to explore the region. The countryside and vineyards are abounding in rich palettes of color and the intoxicating fall fragrance instills a unique sensorial experience. Champagne is like laughter as it fills my senses with joy, especially when the cork pops and the bubbles burst with song!
The educational experience created by the Wine Scholar Guild is a first class escapade! The inception of our tour and taste of Champagne, guided by Master of Wine, Essi Avellan, brought us full circle through the entire region with a sprinkling of the styles between Houses, Growers and Coopératives. Our adventure began with an introduction to the infamous Champagne Houses of Ruinart and Roederer.
Sadly, time has marched on, since the fantastic Bourgogne Immersion Trip I took with the Wine Scholar Guild lead by Andrew Jefford, October 23 – 28, 2016. Everyone on the trip was definitely a “wine nerd” but the group was composed of a mix of wine industry professionals, wine students of all levels that had “day jobs” and just wine appreciators. I had been on a few wine trips previously that were organized by friends or non-winegroups like Backroads (biking and wine). However, I had never gone on such a blockbuster, action-packed wine trip as this one. So for future participants here are 5 items to keep in mind so you have an incredible trip.
Meeting Andrew Jefford today could easily lead one to believe that he was born knowing enormous volumes of information about the wines of the world, and has always been able to explain them in the manner of a poet laureate. As the leader of a 2016 Wine Scholar Guild study tour of Southwest France, his presentation (with global parallels) to a small but diverse group of educators and wine professionals was quite natural, charming, articulate, insightful, and generous.
Group feedback about Andrew includes these admirable qualities: knowledgeable about local context, well prepared, flexible and adaptive, clear "voice" (speaking and writing), exceedingly patient, gifted at capturing the essence of ideas with beautiful words, an amazing ability to write great tasting notes in record time, erudite yet accessible. In short, it is a privilege to be tutored in person while traveling with Andrew Jefford.
Forbes Spirit quotes Wine Scholar Guild as one of the best ways to learn about wine.
Wineindustryadvisor.com reports on the launch of a new version of WSG's Bourgogne Master-Level Program.
French newspaper DNA reports on the very first panel tasting using the Architecture of Taste research project’s tasting grid, organized in Colmar, France.
Harpers reports on the unveiling of a new project aimed at developing a new way to assess wine.
Cellar Asia discusses online wine education programs available in China.
Wineindustryadvisor.com reports on the creation of the Golden Vines Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships for BAME/BIPOC students.
The Drinks Business reports on the launch of the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist certification program in collaboration with Lustau.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine discuss the diversity of wine courses and certification programs.
Interview of WSG President Julien Camus in the French newspaper EAV/PHR.
Vino Joy News reports on the appointment by WSG of Corinne Mui as WSG Ambassador for Asia, its fastest-growing market so far, to drive its regional growth.
The Drinks Business reports on the launch of WSG's new IWS Prep course
Wineindustryadvisor.com reports on the launch of IWS Prep, WSG's new foundation-level programming on the wines of Italy
Wineindustryadvisor.com reports on WSG's three new online education series: "Meeting of the Minds" panel discussions, "WSG Live" interviews and "The Great Debate articles.
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen from Forbes.com talk with Rick Fisher about the Spanish Wine Scholar program and its online version.
Foster's Daily Democrat discusses online wine education opportunities and reports on our upcoming 5-week, intensive French Wine Scholar online program starting April 6th.
SWS Education Director Rick Fisher talks about on one of Spain’s most popular white grapes - Albariño!
The Wine Industry Advisor reports on WSG's Program Providers of the Year and Top Exam Scorers for 2019
The Drinks Business mention the new Spanish Wine Scholar program in their top 6 ways to become a wine expert in 2020.
Marisa D'Vari from Forbes.com covers Wine Scholar Guild programs and study trips
NeatPour.com compares wine & sommelier certification programs and covers Wine Scholar Guild
The Grapevine Magazine reports on the global launch of WSG's Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification program.
The Wine Industry Advisor reports on the global launch of WSG's Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification program.
Somm Journal reports on the launch of the Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification program.
The Wine Industry Advisor reports on the endorsement by Wines from Spain of WSG's Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification program.
Harpers reports on the launch of the Spanish Wine Scholar study & certification program.
WSG Education Director Lisa Airey discusses different job opportunities within the wine industry and how to get those jobs.
Rick discusses an exciting new Spanish wine education program being offered by the Wine Scholar Guild. He also talks about the joys of Garnacha Tinta, the ever-increasing popularity of Rías Baixas wines in the American marketplace, and a few of his favorite regions to visit in Spain.
WineTitles Media reports about award-winning journalist Andrew Jefford joining the Wine Scholar Guild as Academic Advisor
Wine Scholar Guild is added among the "Internationally Recognized" wine education providers along with WSET, IMW and CMS
Drinks Business reports on the launch of the Spanish Wine Scholar program
Wine Scholar Guild prgrams are discussed in Wine Enthusiast in an article on "A Guide To Wine Certification Programs"
Drinks Business reports on Patrick Schmitt MW joining the panel of instructors teaching WSG's Champagne Master-Level Program
The 1st Wine Scholar Guild educator trip to Italy makes the Italian news on RAI, Italian national TV.
Drinks Business reports about the French Wine Society rebranding as Wine Scholar Guild