This seminar explores the history, evolution and application of ‘minerality’ in wine tasting notes. In the rich lexicon of wine terms that have developed in the modern era, few have proved more important, and more divisive, than this one.
Justin conducted a content analysis of more than 20,000 tasting notes published in the UK’s Decanter magazine from 1976-2019, to chart for the first time the possible origins of the term, how and when it is used, and also which wine characteristics are most associated with ‘minerality.’
The presentation is derived from the findings in Justin’s Master of Wine dissertation, which was awarded the Quinta Do Noval Award for the best MW research paper of 2021.
Justin is an educator, consultant and wine judge based in Edinburgh.
After studying for a music degree at Leeds University, followed by a brief stint as a classical musician, Justin joined the wine trade with Majestic in 2008. He worked across some of London’s busiest stores whilst studying for his WSET Level 3 certificate, for which he was awarded a distinction and the Cálem Port Award scholarship. Since 2010 Justin has been based in Scotland, studying the WSET diploma during his time at Majestic, and winning the Derouet Jameson Award Scholarship which set him on the road for MW studies.
Justin became an MW in 2021, scooping the coveted Madame Bollinger Award for the best tasting paper, and the Quinta do Noval Award for best research paper.
The famous classifications of Bordeaux (discussed in our Meeting of the Minds webinar on June 22nd) are based on properties – privately owned land entities whose boundaries are subject to change. Of more significance to French wine as a whole, though, are the land classifications based on the notion of the cru or ‘growth’: an entity which rarely coincides, Bordeaux excepted, with private property boundaries and which thus might be considered a community asset.
Crus also function as terroir units, in effect – and yet their definition ranges widely depending on the region in question. In Burgundy, they coincide with climats and lieux-dits; in Champagne, they coincide with whole villages or communes; while in other regions (such as Languedoc and the Rhône) multi-village appellations are considered to be crus. Is this satisfactory – or a blemish in France’s wine administration? What, too, of the hierarchisation of crus into ‘Premier’ and ‘Grand’ – of colossal economic significance in Burgundy and Champagne, but much less so in Alsace, and actively discouraged by INAO in other regions.
Should Burgundy be regarded as a model for the rest of France, or might other regions be best advised to ‘keep it simple' and avoid the dangers of entrenched classification systems?
Joining Andrew Jefford to discuss these and other questions concerning classification are:
Robin Kick MW is 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. 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.
Jon Bonné is one of the leading American voices on wine and food. He covers dining across the country and around the globe, including for Resy and American Express, and spent nearly a decade as the wine editor and chief wine critic of The San Francisco Chronicle, where he co-edited its award-winning Food & Wine section. He also has served as the lifestyle editor and wine columnist for MSNBC, the U.S. columnist for Decanter magazine, and the wine consultant for JetBlue Airways. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Roederer Award for wine writing — the most ever won by an American — and has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation nearly a dozen times. Bonné is also the author of The New California Wine (2013), The New Wine Rules (2017), and has spent the past eight years completing his next book, The New French Wine, due out in spring 2023.
Charles Curtis MW is an author, journalist, and consultant. He is the former Head of Wine for Christie’s auction house in both Asia and the Americas. He joined Christie’s in 2008 from Moet Hennessy USA, where he was Director of Wine and Spirit Education. In 2012 he set up his fine wine consultancy WineAlpha to provide advice on varied topics of interest to wine collectors and the trade. His first book, The Original Grand Crus of Burgundy, was released in 2014, and the second, Vintage Champagne 1899 – 2019 in 2020. He is a board member of the Institute of Masters of Wine, North America and the Appraiser’s Association of America, and is a frequent contributor to Decanter magazine and other publications. He began his professional career as a chef, training at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and apprenticing there at the Crillon Hotel and at other restaurants. He hung up his toque at the age of thirty to pursue a career in wine.
The Sherry region of Spain is one of the country’s oldest and most traditional; but did you know it is also one of the most dynamic? While many historic regions remain stuck in the past, Sherry is forging a new future.
Over the past couple of years, numerous (sometimes radical) changes have been discussed, including “unfortified” Sherry and new grape varieties.
Join Sherry expert Lucas Payà as he helps to uncover the vibrant transformation of one of the world’s great wine regions.
Lucas Payà, DipWSET, is an independent consultant and speaker working in collaboration with several world-class firms dedicated to wine, beverage, and culinary culture. He has worked as a head sommelier for legendary chef Alain Ducasse in London as well as with Ferran Adrià at elBulli in Roses, Spain.
Additionally, he ran the Wine & Beverage program for José Andrés’ restaurants in the United States and abroad. Since 2016 Lucas has been working as the House of Lustau U.S. National Brand Educator. He is the creator of the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist program (CSWS®) and teaches the course with the Wine Scholar Guild.
He is a Spanish Wine Scholar as well as a member of the prestigious L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.
Every drop of wine we ever drink is the product of observation, intervention and craftsmanship. Without intervention, every wine would be oxidising and turning to vinegar; without craftsmanship, every wine would be rough and unpalatable. Advances in craftsmanship have brought us the extraordinary beauty and diversity we are all familiar with and that we celebrate in today’s wine world.
What have been the key winemaking advances of the last two decades, and what changes and challenges await in a world of rapid and unprecedented climate change? Among the many topics, our expert panel hopes to touch on are:
Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford, speaking from France, will be bringing together a panel of key thinkers, writers and winemakers in four countries to talk through these and other issues.
Fiona Morrison MW is a writer, winemaker and wine merchant based in both Bordeaux (where with her husband Jacques Thienpont she manages Ch Le Pin, L’If and Le Hêtre) and in Belgium, where she manages the family Thienpont négociant business; she obtained her MW in 1994.
St Helena-based Rosemary Cakebread owns and makes the wines for the much-admired Gallica; she is a former winemaker and consulting winemaker for Spottswoode.
Consultant and writer Pedro Ballesteros MW is a qualified agronomical engineer and holds a Masters degree in viticulture and oenology, as well as having obtained his MW in 2010. A polymath and polyglot (working in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Italian), Pedro is based in Brussels where he formerly worked for the European Union.
Tuscany-based Alberto Antonini was cited by Decanter magazine in 2015 as one of the five most influential winemaking consultants in the world. After training in Tuscany, Bordeaux and in Napa and working for Frescobaldi and Col D’Orcia, Alberto now consults in Italy, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, California, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Armenia, Russia, Israel and Australia.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the texture of life for us all, and left no field of economic activity unruffled. More than 2.5 million people have lost their lives and 115 million have been infected, with up to one in 10 of those infected suffering long-term consequences.
Anosmia (the loss of taste and smell) is a symptom of Covid. International travel has slowed to a trickle; restaurants and bars have closed; festivities and celebrations of all sorts have become muted.
Wine, as a widely traded commodity and one synonymous with conviviality, has been profoundly though irregularly affected. Who are the winners and losers? Has the crisis changed the way we think about wine? What new ways have we found to talk about and to share our wine experiences? In a world whose biggest challenge remains the climate crisis, might travel shame affect the wine world? Is luxury still alluring? Have the different rates of success in fighting the virus in different parts of the world changed the balance of power in the wine world?
These are some of the questions we aim to discuss in this upcoming Meeting of the Minds.
Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford, speaking from France, will be bringing together a panel of key thinkers, educators, writers and experts in four countries to talk through these and other issues.
Academic Advisor to the Wine Scholar Guild, Andrew has been writing about wine since 1988, notably for The Evening Standard and The Financial Times among other UK newspapers. He has columns in every edition of Decanter magazine and World of Fine Wine magazine, and is co-chair of Decanter World Wine Awards and vice-chair of Decanter Asia Wine Awards. His books include The New France, Whisky Island and Andrew Jeffords Wine Course.
New York-based Eric Asimov is the Chief Wine Critic of the The New York Times; his books include How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto and Wine With Food: Pairing Notes and Recipes from the New York Times.
Speaking from Ampuis in the Northern Rhone, comes Philippe Guigal, the third generation of one of Frances most significant and dynamic wine families, exporting its wines to 137 different countries around the world
Master of Wine Fongyee Walker read Classical Chinese at Cambridge University and captained the University Blind Tasting team before moving to Beijing to found Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting with her husband, fellow MW Edward Ragg.
Former lawyer Professor Steve Charters MW teaches Wine Marketing at the Burgundy School of Business in Dijon, having formerly taught at the Reims Management School and at the Edith Cowan University in Perth; he obtained his MW in 1997. He also blogs at https: //wineandculture. net/
Our next Meeting of the Minds will cover the issues and challenges facing Bordeaux, France's largest AOC wine region and an area that drives the global fine wine market.
Jane Anson, Bordeaux expert and author of the encyclopedic Inside Bordeaux (described as a 'category buster' by Jamie Goode and 'the most complete, up to date and scientifically accurate book on Bordeaux' by Imbibe magazine) will host the discussion. She will bring together one of the region's leading négociants (and organic winemaker at his home estate) Mathieu Chardonnier of CVBG-Dourthe-Kressmann (Compagnie des vins de Bordeaux et de Gironde), Smith Haut Lafitte's technical director Fabien Teitgen and wine educator Tanisha Townsend to debate new developments in viticulture and winemaking in the face of a changing climate, as well as looking out how the commerce and marketing of the region should take on the challenges of the next decade in the face of Covid, changing consumer behaviour and the challenges of selling En Primeur.
Jane Anson is Bordeaux correspondent for Decanter, and has lived in the region since 2003. She is author of Inside Bordeaux (BB&R Publishing 2020), Wine Revolution (Quarto Publishing 2017), The Club of Nine with Andy Katz (2016), Angélus (Editions de la Martinière 2015), Bordeaux Legends, a history of the First Growth wines (November 2012 Editions de la Martiniere as Elixirs (French title) / April 2013 Stewart, Tabori & Chang, English version), the Bordeaux and Southwest France author of The Wine Opus and 1000 Great Wines That Won’t Cost A Fortune (both Dorling Kindersley, 2010 and 2011). Anson is contributing writer of the Michelin Guide to the Wine Regions of France (March 2010, Michelin Publications), and writes a monthly wine column for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, where she lived from 1994 to 1997, and a weekly column for DecanterChina.com. Accredited wine teacher at the Bordeaux Ecole du Vin, with a Masters in publishing from University College London, WSET qualified, Diplôme Universitaire d'Aptitude à la Dégustation des vins (DUAD) from Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology (2013).
Mathieu Chadronnier, CEO of CVBG, is one of Bordeaux's most influential wine negociants and one of its youngest top players. A modernist in this traditionalist world, he has pioneered new IT solutions to fine wine distribution, and is at the forefront of the recent introduction of great Beyond Bordeaux wines on the place de Bordeaux.
In a sometimes commoditized market, he has always placed trust in relationships, candid passion and extensive knowledge of fine wines among his core values.
Beyond his busy career as a grand cru negociant, Mathieu runs Chateau Marsau with his wife Anne-Laurence, a professional winemaker, with whom he shares his passion for great wines.
Fabien Teitgen is a child of Nature. From a very early age he would accompany his grandfather through his vineyard and as he grew up, developed a very deep respect for Nature around him. It was thus, that a true passion was born...
After graduating from viticulture and winemaking in Rennes and in Montpellier, Fabien Teitgen was then initiated into listening to the earth by Paul Petrou, (Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere). Over the years he learned to read the signs of the vines, to respect and to love them.
Drawing upon this extensive experience, Fabien joined Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte at the beginning of the 90s and quickly rose to became Technical Director of the estate.
With his agricultural and winemaking qualification he brought extensive knowledge of viticulture and wine, whilst on the other hand his experience of the soil brought a practical wisdom and a strong ability to listen and understand the behaviour of the vines.
It is in this vein, that Fabien along with Florence and Daniel Cathiard ; owners of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, have developed a unique working method called : Organic Precision .
After more than 25 years of commitment, this approach ; from ploughing with horses in the vineyard, to the establishment of an on-site cooperage and an island-based rootstock nursery in the Garonne river. As well as the building of a positive energy Stealth Cellar, have all been hailed as a great success by wine professionals, global press and wine lovers from all around the world.
Fabien Teitgen strives to make wines in perfect harmony with Chateau Smith Haut Lafittes magnificent terroir. Wines that are full-bodied and powerful but also smooth, harmonious, and elegant.
These rather opposing characteristics stand testament, as one of the greatest wines from a great terroir which captures the pleasure and emotions of wine lovers.
Since 2014, Fabien Teitgen has been responsible for the wine making at Chateau Beauregard in Pomerol.
In 2016, Fabien Teitgen was promoted to General Manager of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.
Tanisha Townsend has cultivated a community of wine enthusiasts through an unyielding passion for oenology. As Chief Wine Officer of lifestyle agency Girl Meets Glass, Tanisha leads wine classes and tours in Paris (and virtually). She also hosts the podcast, Wine School Dropout. Her goal is to empower individuals with an advanced knowledge of wine & spirits in order to build confidence in their tastes and make choices as a better informed consumer.
There is, arguably, no wine mind more extraordinary, more capacious or better informed than that of Jancis Robinson MW.
After university studies in mathematics and philosophy at Oxford, Jancis worked for a short while in the travel business before becoming a wine trade journalist in 1976. Within three years she was the wine correspondent of the Sunday Times, and over the following four decades, her staggering output of journalism, books and media interventions has almost single-handedly transformed the wine world.
Every WSG student will be familiar with the reference books she has either created herself or collaborated on with others: they are the foundation of every wine library, and the starting point for every journey into wine education: Vines, Grapes & Wines (first published 1986), The Oxford Companion to Wine (first published 1994, now in its fourth edition), The World Atlas of Wine (written by Hugh Johnson, but revised and co-written by Jancis from the fifth edition in 2001, and now in its eighth edition) and Wine Grapes (with Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz, 2012). Leavening these reference monuments has come a feast of other books on wine subjects, including wine and health, wine and gastronomy, a wine course, wine’s ageing trajectories and specialist books on North American wines and Portuguese wines.
She became a Master of Wine (and the first journalist to pass the exam) in 1984. Jancis is also an accomplished television and radio performer, has consulted on wine for British Airways, has designed her own wine glasses and helps choose the wines served at Buckingham Palace. The copious awards she has won include six James Beard awards, the Grand Award of the OIV, an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University, the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole in France and the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the UK. She is also the creator and chief contributor to the much-admired jancisrobinson.com, notable as a dual subscription/free access wine resource; she is also known to the Davos circuit as the wine correspondent of The Financial Times since 1990 (and has indeed lectured at Davos).
Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford talked at length to Jancis about some of the highlights of her long career and just how she managed to achieve so much; about her wine preferences (and dislikes); about wine education and its challenges; about the cultural significance of wine; about changes in the wine world over the past four decades – and about what the next decade might bring.
Champagne specialist Essi Avellan MW hosts a live discussion on the latest trends in Champagne and the outlook for the region's future. Her prestigious panel will be covering a broad range of trends from vineyards to wineries as well as business. She will be joined by cellar master Cyril Brun of the prestigious house Charles Heidsieck, Vallée de la Marne Meunier specialist Cédric Moussé of Moussé Fils, renowned Côte des Bar proprietor and innovator Michel Drappier and professor of wine marketing and Master of Wine Steve Charters.
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. She has been knighted as Chevalier l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the Minister of Agriculture of France.
of Moussé Fils
Steve Charters MW
MEMBER SPECIAL: We remind WSG members that they are enjoying a 20% discount on the 4th edition of “Christie's Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine", written by Tom Stevenson and Essi Avellan MW. Details and coupon code HERE.
Ready for your next challenge? There's still time to join the upcoming sessions!
+ 300 on-demand replays on WSG Studio