Saturday, September 21, 2013

2005 Cascina Val del Prete Nebbiolo d’Alba Vigna di Lino – Piedmont, Italy

Reading the label… the wine was produced in 2005 by the Cascina Val del Prete winery in the Piedmont region of northern Italy in the Nebbiolo d'Alba appelation (DOC). Vigna di Lino is the name of the vineyard.

The Winery - Cascina Val del Prete

The name of the winery, Cascina Val del Prete, in Italian means “Valley of the Priest” which is derived from the name of the exiled Bishop of Asti who lived there in 1850. In 1977 Bartolomeo Roagna and his wife Carolina bought the farm and then planted vines on south facing slopes in a natural amphitheater and today have 27 acres. Their sons, Mario and Luigi, now run the family business and take care of the vineyards

The Vineyard - Vigna di Lino

The vineyard, Vigna di Lino, takes its name from Mario Roagna’s father. It is a tribute to the vision and hard work that Mario’s father, helped by his mother Carolina, shared for many years. The vineyard extends for about 3 acres on the left bank of the Tanaro River. It’s at 900 feet above sea level and receives sun exposure to the south. The vines are 30+ years old with a density of 2,300 plants per acre. The vineyard is bio-dynamically fertilized.[1]

The Region - Piedmont

There are 20 wine regions in Italy, the three most important are Piedmont (Italian: Piemonte, foot of the mountain), Tuscany and Veneto. Piedmont is located in the north-west bordering France and Switzerland. Piedmonte is predominantly a plain where the water flows from the Swiss and French Alps form the headwaters of the Po river. Alba is a town and comune in the province of Cuneo. It is considered the capital of the hilly area of Langhe, Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC is a large area around the town of Alba. It received classification in 1970 and it is named after the red grape Nebbiolo from which they are made, the same grape that goes into the more prestigious Barolo and Barbaresco DOCG wines.

The Grape - Nebbiolo

The name of the grape Nebbiolo is thought to derive its name from the Italian word nebbia which means fog. During harvest, which generally takes place late in October, a deep, intense fog sets into the Langhe region where many Nebbiolo vineyards are located. However, it may refer to the fog-like milky veil that forms over the berries as they reach maturity or that perhaps the name is derived instead from the Italian word nobile, meaning noble.[2]

The funny thing about Nebbiolo is that it is light in color and produces wines that are light to medium ruby red and it is a thin skinned grape, much like Pinot Noir. Yet unlike Pinot Noir this wine tends to be VERY tannic. There aren’t very many wineries that produce Nebbiolo, but the few that I have purchased (such as the 2008 Jacuzzi Nebbiolo, Sonoma County) I bought with the intention of laying them down for 5-10 years before opening them.

The Wine

The 2005 Cascina Val del Prete Nebbiolo d’Alba Vigna di Lino is ruby red with aromas of dried roses, black pepper, dried herbs, mushrooms, restrained red and dark fruits and a hint of anise. On the palate it is soft on entry and then the tannins really grip the gums and teeth. It is medium bodied with ample acidity and a medium length finish. Although this wine is already 8 years old, it could use another 5+ to really come together. It would pair best with hearty meat dishes, lamb or stew. This wine retails at around $50 at wine shops such as The Vine at Bridges in Danville, California.

To visit or for more information:

The Vine at Bridges

480 Hartz Ave 

Danville, CA 94526

Phone: 1-925-820-7210

Wine Bar Hours

Sunday: 12 (noon) - 7pm

Monday: 5 - 9pm

Tuesday - Wednesday: 4 - 10pm

Thursday - Saturday: 4 pm - 12:00 am


[2] J. Robinson (ed), The Oxford Companion to Wine Third Edition (Oxford University Press, 2006), pg 470-471.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

2011 Caprili Rosso di Montalcino – Tuscany, Italy

In the United States wines tend to known by the grape variety on the label (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay etc.) which also identifies for the consumer the winery (Robert Mondavi, Kendall Jackson, Chateau St. Michelle etc.), the origin of the grape (Napa, Sonoma, Willamette Valley etc.), as well as the vintage. I find wine labels in the USA to be fairly easy to read and understand but they do not convey any real indication of the quality of the wine nor the methods that were used to make the wine. The only way you can know if the wine is meeting any expectation of quality is if you know the reputation of the winery and their particular brands.

In France, with the exception of Alsace, wines are identified by the appellation and the only way you know what grapes are in the bottle is if you know what grapes are grown in that region. The wine regions are then categorized according to a ranking system appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) which translates as controlled designation of origin which indicates the degree of stipulations that must be met in order for that wine to be labeled as such. This ranking system is supposed to convey some sense of expectation of quality that consumer should have of the wine.

In Italy, the rules vary from region to region. Some are identified by their location and others are identified by their grape. Italy also has a ranking system Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) that is loosely based on French laws. When the wine is identified by the region, the consumer is expected to know what grape(s) go into wines from that appellation.

If you are looking for a wine made with Sangiovese in the United States the label will specifically indicate “Sangiovese” and if it is a proprietary blend made with Sangiovese (such as Luna Vineyard’s Super Tuscan blend Canto) it may state the varietals on the back label. 

So, here is the label for the 2011 Caprili Rosso di Montalcino. What does it tell us?

The name of the winery is Caprili, it is a DOC wine from Italy, the vintage is 2011… but what, the average consumer may wonder, is Rosso di Montalcino? There is NO specific indication as to what kind of grape is in the wine as it does not say “Sangiovese” or “Barbera” or “Nebbiolo”. This is where the professional wine-geek, whether at wine shop or restaurant, is needed to interpret the label. Or, perhaps if you have a handy dandy wine app on your smart phone that can help you too. But if you think this label is difficult, check out the detailed German wine labels! (I’ll discuss that in another post)

Rosso di Montalcino is not a grape but a region in Italy that is designated a DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and it is located in the same defined area as the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). 

Both are located in Tuscany, in central Italy, where Sangiovese is the dominant red grape. In fact, Rosso and Brunello can be made of only Sangiovese. But Brunello, a DOCG, are required to be aged in oak for 2 years with at least 4 months in a bottle before release, whereas Rosso, a DOC, is only required to have 1 year of aging before it can be sold. That is one of the quality differences between the DOC and the DOCG.

The Rosso di Montalcino DOC was created in 1984 in order to make the most of the fruit from younger vines of new plantings. The puprose was to create a fresher style of wine that needed considerably less ageing time (one year with only six months in oak) than its DOCG counterpart. This would enable producers of Brunello to generate income while waiting for their DOCG wine to age, as well as declassify any Brunello that had been ageing for two to three years but had not quite reached the required standards. A similar classification strategy was used in Montepulciano, with the Rosso di Montepulciano DOC helping out producers of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.

Caprili Winery

Caprili Winery was founded by Alfo Bartolommei in 1965. The Bartolommei family originated from Podere Marzolo in the Municipality of Cinigiano (Province of Grosseto) and settled in the Municipality of Montalcino at the beginning of the 20th century.  In 1911, they moved to Podere Poggi, a tenant farm on the Villa Santa Restituta estate working the land by sharecropping.  In the years that followed, the family moved several times from one country home to another on the Villa Santa Restituta estate until they finally arrived at the Caprili farm home in 1952.  The family took over Caprili with all their livestock and continued to work the land by sharecropping.  In 1965, the Bartolommei family decided to buy the property from the Castelli-Martinozzi family, owners of Villa Santa Restituta estate.  In the same year, 1965, they planted the first vineyard, still called “Madre” to this day, where the clones for the new vineyards planted on the estate are selected. The first bottle of Brunello di Montalcino is from the 1978 harvest and was put on the market in 1983.

The company Caprili, covers an area 58 acres, south-west of the territory in the town of Montalcino, on a slope of the hill that slopes down to the river Orcia and Ombrone. The vineyard area is 15.5 hectares of which 14.5 planted with Sangiovese Grosso that produce Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Rosso di Montalcino DOC.[1]

The Wine

The first thing I notice on the nose are very distinctive dusty tart cherries that seem like what you might pick up at a fruit stand on the side of the road out in the country. Then there comes a waft of a chalky minerality followed by dried herbs and then a very unique subtle aroma of burnt rubber tires, like someone in front of you on the freeway just locked up their brakes and left a long strip of tread on the road. On the palate most of the fruit is picked up on the mid-palate transition, it has soft tannins, mouth-watering acidity, medium body and a medium length finish with additional notes of dried cinnamon stick, dried tobacco and oak. This wine begins and ends with dry earth notes with the fruit found in the middle. If tasted blind, it is the dusty cherries, herbs and high acidity that identify this wine as a Sangiovese. But I have had a number of California versions that were similar but most tend to have heavier weight due to being higher in alcohol as they come from a warmer region. This is a nice everyday wine that would pair well with any typical Italian dinner (Pizza, Spaghetti, Calzone etc.) and it sells retail for around $24 and wine shops such as The Vine at Bridges in Danville, California.

To visit or for more information:

The Vine at Bridges

480 Hartz Ave 

Danville, CA 94526

Phone: 1-925-820-7210

Wine Bar Hours

Sunday: 12 (noon) - 7pm

Monday: 5 - 9pm

Tuesday - Wednesday: 4 - 10pm

Thursday - Saturday: 4 pm - 12:00 am

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2011 Domaine des Escaravailles Côtes du Rhône Les Sablières - Côtes du Rhône, France

My goal is to train my brain to recognize various types of wine from around the world when tasted blind. In order to do that the wines I sample must be accurate representations of the region and vintage. Otherwise my perception of that wine region and grape will become distorted. A wine that is poorly made because it is over oaked, over extracted, too weak or in some other fashion is out of balance or has some sort of wine flaw (has TCA “cork taint”, was stored improperly and has become baked or maderized, has too much brettanomyces “brett” etc.) will not help me learn about that region. It is easy to find inexpensive wines that are poorly made or weren’t made with quality fruit, but they don’t typify the region. The Pinot Noir that is overly extracted or overly oaked can seem like a weak Syrah. Conversely, a very light Syrah that only saw neutral oak or came from a cool region or vintage can seem like a Pinot Noir. A Cabernet Sauvignon that is from too cool of a region can have subtle green notes and can consequently be perceived as a Cab Franc.

In a blind taste test these poorly made or flawed wines can fool you into thinking they are something that they are not. But the goal of the WSET or Court of Sommeliers isn’t to trick you, but to test your knowledge of wine. Therefore, they are only going to pour you wines that are fair and accurate representation of the various wine regions. The ONLY time you should be intentionally poured a poor quality or flawed wine is in a Sensory Analysis class in which the intent is to learn how to detect and identify flawed wines, which is a necessary course when studying enology.

Therefore, in order to train my brain properly I need to limit myself to quality international wines (from France, Italy, Spain, Germany etc.) which can become rather expensive. Since I am obviously not going to be traveling around the world tasting wines like I do with my California and Oregon blogs, the next best thing is to find wine bars that regularly and conveniently serve by-the-glass a variety of quality imported wines. The other solution is to form a Wine Study Group in which you share costs with others who are also going through the same educational process, which I hope to do once the SOMM class begins. In the mean time, I have found a few wine bars with excellent menus which I will be visiting on my way home after work or on weekends.

My first wine bar featured in this blog is The Vine at Bridges in Danville, California. It is located in the East Bay near Walnut Creek (where I grew up) and it is about 15 minutes from where I live. There is another wine bar, Vin Vino Wine, near where I work on the other side of the bay in Palo Alto that I will probably visit during the week after work on days that I don’t have class. But they close at 7 PM whereas The Vine at Bridges stays open as late at 10 PM or even midnight on some days. So, this will be an excellent place to not only taste wine but spend my time studying.

So, with text book in hand, I sat down at the wine bar and met Vine Manager David Gibson and Assistant Manager JJ Foster and sampled a flight of wines, one southern Rhône and 3 Italian wines. In this post, I’ll review the first wine and talk about the others in subsequent posts.

2011 Domaine des Escaravailles Côtes du Rhône Les Sablières - Côtes du Rhône, France

My first pour was the 2011 Domaine des Escaravailles  Côtes du Rhône Les Sablières - Côtes du Rhône, France. Since I wasn’t tasting this wine blind there were certain characteristics and attributes that I was expecting.

Generally speaking, there are three red wines that I find tend to have a distinctive earthy-poopiness.

The first is a Pinot Noir from Burgundy but they tend to be lighter in color, light to medium- in body, low to medium in tannin and medium+ to high in acidity in addition to typical fruit characteristics of red fruits, cherries, and spice. But the earthiness of Burgundy tend to be more towards mushrooms or forest floor.

The second wine that can have a distinctive earthiness are some Bordeauxs, but they are easily distinguishable from Burgundy and the Rhône as they tend to be higher in tannin and in their fruit profile lean towards black fruits such as currants and blackberries.

The third wine that tends to have a very distinctive earthy-poopiness are Grenache/Syrah blends (and possibly the addition Carignan or Cinsaut) from the Southern Rhône. But whereas Burgundy is a cool Continental climate the Rhône is a warm Mediterranean climate, which means higher alcohol, heavier body and potentially lower acidity. But Southern Rhônes can also have a distinctive meaty character that reminds me of beef jerky or new leather. While new world Grenache/Syrah blends can have similar fruit and meaty characteristics California Rhône blends typically don’t have the earthiness of a Southern Rhône and they tend to be higher in alcohol with heavier body. If it is from Australia, it tends to have bolder pepper notes and be more fruit forward. Of course these are just generalities, on rare occasion I do come across a New World Rhône blend that could be mistaken for a Southern Rhône.

So, if in a blind tasting I pick on the nose earthy-poopiness but it is darker in color than a Pinot Noir with lower acidity, but lighter in tannin than a Cabernet/Merlot blend and it has meaty characteristics but not the in-your-face fruit and pepper of New World wines my brain tells me, “This is probably a Southern Rhône.”

The 2011 Domaine des Escaravailles  Côtes du Rhône Les Sablières is an excellent example of a Southern Rhône.

In 1953, Jean-Louis Ferran bought several well-situated hillside parcels above the southern Rhône villages of Rasteau, Roaix and Cairanne and named it Domaine des Escaravailles. The 160 acres property is made up of moisture-retaining soil mix of clay, sand and limestone chalk. The Sablieres is typically a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah predominantly from sandier parcels within Rasteau AC.

The name “Escaravailles” on this Southern Rhône comes from the local dialect for beetles... hence the beautiful black beetle label. It is sort like the origin of the word “Merlot” being a reference to black birds, whether it was because the grape was black like the bird or because the grape was a favorite dessert of the local fowl. In a similar fashion, the name isn’t derived from bugs that infest the vineyards, rather the black-cape-wearing monks that used to work these vineyards looked like escaravailles, when they were hunched over while tending the vines.

The lighting in The Vine at Bridges isn’t very bright so I would have to step outside to get a better visual inspection of the wine, but I did notice that the tears of wine clung to the glass and slowly returned to the base which is often an indicator of higher alcohol. On the nose this wine is smoky, earthy, and poopy with notes of beef jerky, dried herbs up front. After much swirling the fruit comes through with aromas of black cherries, plums and a hint of black pepper. On the palate it is bone dry with medium to medium+ chewy tannins, medium acidity, it is medium to full bodied with medium to medium+ alcohol with dried red fruits and black pepper dominating a medium length finish. The retail price for this wine is $14, a fair price for an excellent example of a Southern Rhône.

To visit or for more information:

The Vine at Bridges
480 Hartz Ave 
Danville, CA 94526
Phone: 1-925-820-7210
Wine Bar Hours
Sunday: 12 (noon) - 7pm
Monday: 5 - 9pm
Tuesday - Wednesday: 4 - 10pm
Thursday - Saturday: 4 pm - 12:00 am

Sunday, September 15, 2013

2011 Grüner Veltliner – Hungary

When I first started visiting wineries back in the 1990’s, although I knew very little about wine I had a strategy to train my brain to learn the various types of wine and how they reflected the land from which they came.

First, I only tasted wines that were 100% of a particular varietal (Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah etc.). In order to learn about the particular grapes I needed to catalog the distinctives of the various varietals so I didn’t want to confuse my brain by tasting a lot of blends.

Second, I would only taste wines that came from the location where I was sampling the wine. I wanted to learn how the particular grape reflected the terroir of the vineyard and develop an association of the wine with the land. In other words, I didn’t want to taste a Napa Valley Cabernet made at a winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Once I had a fairly decent catalog of wines and California regions in my brain I began to sample blends (particularly Bordeaux-style blends) as well as the varietals that went into them so I searched for wineries that bottled 100% Cab Franc, 100% Petite Verdot, 100% Merlot, 100% Malbec etc. While it is becoming more common today to find such bottlings it wasn’t the case when I first began exploring the wine country. By tasting these wines by themselves I then tried to figure out what they contributed to blends as I asked myself, “What would 5% of this Petite Verdot contribute to a Meritage blend?”

I also paid attention to the various styles that winemakers used such as the types of oak, the various types of yeasts, the various clones that were planted, whether or not they used stainless steel tanks, and whether or not the wine went through malolatic fermentation.

As I sampled wines I asked myself, and often times the winemaker or at least a knowledgeable server at a winery, a series of questions such as:

What makes this varietal and region distinguishable from others? If I were tasting this wine blind, what is it about this wine that would tell me, “I’m a Pinot Noir from Carneros!” (and not a Pinot from the Russian River) or “I’m a barrel fermented Chardonnay from Santa Barbara!” (and not a stainless steel fermented, barrel aged Chardonnay from Sonoma)?

It was my study of winemaking in college in combination with my travels in the wine countries around California that gave me the background into understanding how wine was made which then enabled me to retro-engineer a wine in a blind tasting. I had to learn to to figure out from all of its characteristics (fruit, floral, spice, earth, and vegetal qualities as well as weight, tannin, acidity etc.) what type of grape(s) were used, what type of climate they were grown in and the process that was used to make the wine.

Needless to say it has taken a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of traveling.

So, now that I am focusing on non-California wines in this blog I am beginning the process again without the advantage of actually traveling to the place where the wines are from or being able to actually interact with the winemaker. All I have are books, videos and other resources from the Internet as well as classes that I’ll soon be taking in the Sommelier training. And my only sources for wine will be wine shops, grocery stores and a number of wine bars around the San Francisco Bay Area that have really good by-the-glass programs and pour international wines.

I also want to focus my attention on varietals that are not as common in California or may not be grown here at all. So, my first wine is one that is seldom discussed and it is from a land that is not well known – a Grüner Veltliner from Hungary.

While Grüner Veltliner (GV) represents approximately one-third of all wine grapes grown in Austria there are only about 5 wineries in California that produce it and I haven’t been to any of them. I have only sampled this varietal a couple times and it was probably in the “World of Wines” class in college and one of the WSET classes so I don’t have a large catalog of GVs in my brain.

Also, Hungary is primarily known for a red wine called Egri Bikavér (“Bull’s Blood”), which I have only tasted once, and a sweet white wine called Tokaji, which I have had a few times - they’re sweet like Sauternes but have a distinct musty character to them. So, I have never had a GV from Hungary.

The other day I was shopping at Trader Joes and (as I usually do) I glance at the wine section to see if there is any new or interesting when a tall slender green bottle catches my eye and the price tag says $5.

“What-the-heck, couldn’t hurt…” I thought, so I grabbed a bottle.

It is a 2011 Grüner Veltliner from the Floriana winery, distributed by Latitude Wines, Inc. It is a dry, light bodied white wine with medium+ acidity with medium intense notes of lemon-lime,  melon and green apple.

But those characteristics could describe a number of different wines, so what makes this distinguishable from other white wine varieties?

After the fruit qualities pass through the senses it delivers very distinct aromas of spicy white pepper and subtle licorice root notes. After taking a sip these are picked up not on the entry nor on the mid-palate but in the finish, particularly if I take a deep breath after I swallow or spit the wine out.

So, in the future if I am ever tasting a white wine blind and it has citrus aromas with apples and I am listing in my brain all the various possible wines, if I can pick up white pepper in the back ground then I know I can eliminate wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Reisling or Sauvignon Blanc and consider the pssibility of spicer white wines such as Gewürztraminer (which also tend to have lychee notes) or Grüner Veltliner.

However, while this wine is tasty I can’t really assess the quality of the wine as I don’t have enough GVs in my brain to form a basis for comparison. But, the wine does seem rather simple, the finish is short to medium in length and there is nothing about it that excites me. That being said, it was a good learning experience and for only $5 I think it beats countless other bargain priced wines on the market.

My next few posts will be on imported wines sampled at a wine bar in Danville and another in Palo Alto California, so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why ANOTHER Wine Blog?

I first caught the “wine bug” back in the late 1990s when I was a student at Westminster Theological Seminary (now simply called Westminster Seminary) near San Diego California. While dining at a restaurant and glaring at a menu I found myself completely ignorant about anything on the wine list. The list of wines might as well have been written in Sanskrit as I hadn’t a clue about not only what the named wines were let alone what would pair well with my meal.

At the time I was studying Hebrew, Greek, philosophy, and various theological subjects and exploring different genres of music that I was not accustom to listening to, namely opera and classical guitar. It was then that the thought crossed my mind, “Since I am studying so many different things, I should learn something about wine so I can know what to order from a wine list.”

That was as far as I wanted to go. I ONLY wanted to be able to read a wine list and be able to choose a wine to go with a meal.

A few weeks later I found myself going wine tasting with a fellow student in the Temecula wine country in the north-east side of San Diego County. Our first stop was at Callaway Vineyard and Winery where we were shown a video and then took a tour of the winemaking facilities. Then at the first sip I became enamored with the whole winemaking process, the effect of the soil and climate on the wine, and the enormous list of wines to explore. It was as if a whole new world had opened up to me and I wanted to know more.

It was not long after that first visit to a winery that I began reading books and watching VHS videos from the public library (this was before the age of high speed internet). I also found myself exploring the wine country whenever possible and it wasn’t long before I had been to every winery in Temecula and in the San Diego Mountains.

Then one day I was visiting Shadow Mountain Winery in Warner Springs, high above the Temecula Wine Country, and I was talking to the owner and winemaker who was pouring the wine. I told him that I wanted to learn more and get some “hands-on” experience harvesting and making wine. Three days later I was out in the vineyard harvesting grapes and helping him through the crush process.

After graduating from seminary and returning to my origins in the San Francisco bay Area I immediately began visiting the surrounding wine countries – Sonoma, Napa, Livermore, Lodi, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey and the Sierra Foothills. I also began doing long road trips up and down the coast to visit wineries in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and Malibu as well as further up north to Alexander Valley, the Russian River and Mendocino.

A few years later, in 1998, with the dawn of digital photography and high speed internet, I began my first wine blog CaliforniaWine Tasting Adventures (I know, the name is too long and it sounds as if I run a wine country touring business) which I later renamed The California Winery Review. My only desire was to share my experiences, my love for the beauty of the wine country and to learn more about those who make it in the writing process. I also got more into wine country photography and started posting videos on YouTube and created another blog Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography dedicated solely to photography. Later I began exploring Oregon and started a second wine blog The Oregon Winery Review, which due to time and distance doesn’t have as many posts as California.

About that time I learned that Las Positas College in Livermore has an enology and viticulture program with night courses available. So, I began taking classes and did an internship with two wineries, one in Livermore and another in Lodi. It was a great experience and it greatly enhanced my understanding and appreciation for wine but it became clear to me that becoming a winemaker was not in my future. The best class was the “World of Wines” course which exposed me to the wines beyond my California borders.

I then learned of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), a British organization founded in 1969, headquartered in London, and is generally regarded as the world’s leading provider of wine education. They too have night courses in San Francisco so I went through their courses which greatly expanded my knowledge and appreciation for non-Californian wines and earned the Intermediate and Advanced Certifications.

Recently, I learned about the Intensive Sommelier Training at the International Culinary Center (ICC) formerly known as the French Culinary Institute, in Campbell located in the South Bay near San Jose.

One night after work I visited ICC, which is about 30 miles south from where I work, an hour drive in commuter traffic. While there I checked out their Intensive Sommelier Training and interacted with one of the 11 Master Sommeliers that work there. The course is 17 weeks (6-10 PM 3 nights per week) and it costs $9,880. The following week I audited one of the classes, was thoroughly impressed with the depth and quality of instruction and decided to take the next class which begins in October 2013 and ends in March 2014.

I already have the texts books and plan to have them read and make copious notes before the course begins six weeks from now.

Why ANOTHER Wine Blog?

Although I have read many books about wine and have taken a lot of classes, I learn more by writing than I do from listening to lectures or reading. The purpose of this wine blog is to share my experiences and explorations of non-Californian (or Oregonian) wines, and anything wine-related outside of what I share in my other wine blogs. My intent is to expand my own understanding of the world of wine and perhaps also inspire others to grow in their knowledge and appreciation of the world of wine.