Author: deborahparkerwong

WSET 50th Anniversary Week: Professional Development Mixer at Balletto Vineyards

Save the date. On September 9th WSET alumni and anyone interested in learning more about WSET certification courses are invited to join Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET and host John Balletto for a professional mixer celebrating WSET’s 50th anniversary at Balletto Vineyards.

WSET 50th Anniversary Week: Professional Development Mixer at McEvoy Ranch

Save the date. On September 15th WSET alumni and anyone interested in learning more about WSET certification courses are invited to join Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET and instructors Susan Lin, DWSET and Connie Poon, DWSET for a professional mixer celebrating WSET’s 50th anniversary at McEvoy Ranch. The walk-around tasting and informal information sessions with instructors will run from 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM and are free of charge. RSVPs are requested by September 5th to dpw@sommjournal.com The idyllic McEvoy Ranch, located at 5935 Red Hill Rd. in Petaluma, was founded in 1990 by Nan McEvoy and began producing limited-edition wines from the recently-established Petaluma Gap AVA in 2010. Nion McEvoy, Nan’s son, became CEO in 2014 and introduced wines showcasing non-estate vineyard blocks and the Saimuun line of wines imported from Italy. McEvoy expanded their selection of oils and the Culinary Collection which is sourced from neighboring farms and like-minded artisans in 2016. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world’s largest wine educator with courses available in over 70 countries in more than …

Thickheaded Somms: Examining the neuroscience behind expert wine tasting

Among our many activities, wine professionals devote a considerable amount of time to perception, the state of being where we become aware of something through the senses.

A Home for “The Prisoner”

From the moment its first 385-case lot was labeled, The Prisoner has been an outlier in the California wine industry.

Golden Bordeaux: A triumph with popular snacks

There are two basic, intentional approaches to food and wine pairing: mirroring the flavors and weight of a wine with similar foods resulting in what I like to call “a sublime experience” and contrasting pairings, a “high-risk, high-reward approach” that works the opposite ends of the flavor spectrum for maximum impact.

Exploring North and South American terroirs

There’s a yin and yang to winegrowing in the Americas. As the vines in North America are stirring to life, the vineyards in South America are ready for harvest.

Fifty Years of Secco Bertani Amarone

When winemaker Andrea Lonardi took the stage at September’s Full Circle Beverage Conference in San Francisco to present a tasting of Bertani Amarone Classico, he had what amounted to a Sommelier Justice League by his side: Master Sommeliers Brian Cronin, Tim Gaiser and Peter Granoff, all of whom provided perspective and humor as they tasted through 50 years of Bertani winemaking prowess. Born and raised in a vine-growing Veronese family, Lonardi began his tenure at Bertani in 2012. Although he didn’t personally make any of the wines that were tasted during the masterclass — the 2008 Amarone was bottled in 2016 — the pride he showed while presenting them was rather paternal. “The wines we are making today will be presented by another winemaker 50 years from now,” he told attendees. The Birth of Bertani Amarone Being both modern and ancient, Amarone is a paradoxical style; its rising popularity and commercialization in the 1950s gave the Valpolicella region a wine of true cult status; one that holds its own next to ageworthy Barolos and Brunellos. …

The breath of life

It was an oxygen epiphany. Could oxygen be the key to making wines that shimmer with life? I, for one, have now added it to the long list of factors that may determine whether a wine seems dead or alive.

Vinexpo Explorer shines global spotlight on Sonoma County, Calif.

Vinexpo Explorer presented the gathering of wine buyers and press from 27 countries with an opportunity to take a deep dive into the region and its terroir, personality, and the myriad wine styles produced in Sonoma County. Spirited interviewed some of these buyers, most of whom were first-time visitors to the region, to gather their firsthand impressions of Sonoma County wines.

Cabernet with a twist

The practice of finishing whiskey in wine barrels has been around since the 1860s, when scotch producers first utilized Sherry butts as a means of transporting their spirits. But, the tables have now turned and winemakers like James Foster of Stave & Steel currently seek out whiskey barrels – Kentucky bourbon barrels, specifically – as an alternative oak-aging regime for its wines. This approach is hardly new: By the 1970s, Scotch producers had switched almost entirely from Sherry butts to bourbon barrels. They had also started experimenting with still-wine barrel finishes, although the practice didn’t become an established part of the single-malt market until 2004.  A short decade later, the first whiskey barrel-finished wines – primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Shiraz – hit the shelves. While wine barrels can add fruitiness, body and even sweetness to whiskeys, it’s what bourbon casks can add to wine that intrigued Stave & Steel’s Foster. Foster who is Senior Director of Super Premium Wine for Livermore, Calif-based The Wine Group selected “freshly dumped” Kentucky bourbon barrels and ran trials …