Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't written in a few days because we're moving! Yea! Patti and I have been cleaning out the store and just announced out moving sale! In store you'll find 20% off all wines for members and 10% off all wines for non members. And while there will be some bitter tears because of all the memories made here we are excited for the new chapter for us.
In shuttling back and forth between the new space and our current location (both are still in Excelsior, MN) found me talking to a young wine acolyte wanting to know the difference between certain sommelier certifications and I tried my best to explain a partial history of Court of Master Sommeliers and International Sommeliers Guild of which I and my wife are associated.
I am more familiar with CMS so I will start there. The history of CMS starts in the twelve century with the Worshipful Company of Vintners. This very ancient group of wine experts were known as Livery Companies and were stationed in the City of London. Even in the eleven hundreds people were gathering together to talk wine.
While there are now one hundred and ten Livery Companies comprised of old and new trade guilds or associations. The term livery described the specific outfit(s) worn by retainers of noblemen and eventually to indicate the membership of certain trades. These guilds were responsible for training in their particular specialty, regulations of wages, industry standards of procedure and labor conditions.
Of the one hundred and ten current Livery companies the Worshipful Company of Vintners is one of the Great Twelve as ranked in 1515 by the Court of Alderman. During this time the number of livery companies were forty eight and the twelve companies that were highest based on economic and or political power. Of course the Vintners would make it. Even then alcohol held a great place in the imagination of people.
Fast forward to 1955 when the Institute of Masters of Wine was created, though the first exam for them was in 1953. After the second World War the Worshipful Company of Vintners and The Wine & Spirit Association felt the need to improve standards of wine education for British wine merchants and those affiliated with the wine trade. The two groups constructed a test to determine the most talented wine experts. And thus was born the Institute of Masters of Wine.
A few years later in 1969 the Wine & Spirit Association that helped form the Institute of Masters of Wine (Vintners Company) set up a committee to create a group to serve the ever growing needs in the UK regarding wine and spirits covering import, distribution and retail. This group would be known as WSET or the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. The founders were from the Vintner's Company, the Wine & Spirit Association of Great Britain, Institute of Masters of Wine and The Worshipful Company of Distillers.
Then in 1969 the first Master Sommelier exam was held and it was not until 1977 when there were enough Master Somms to comprise an examining charter for sommeliers. This group was created by the Vintners Company, the Institute of Masters of Wine, the British Hotels & Restaurants Association, the Wine & Spirit Association of Great Britain and the Wholesale Tobacco Trade Association.
A little while later in 1982 brings the North American contingent with the International Sommeliers Guild. This program in great for those who want to get to know wine fast! Upon entering you'll be thrown into a nine to twelve month crash course that includes written essays, a two hundred question test and blind tasting of 20 wines and spirits. In addition you will be tested in menu knowledge and pairing. There is also a test section in service.
The first four are related and spawned from the Worshipful (worship the wine!) Company of Vintners and focus on various aspects of wine and spirits while the Court of Master Sommeliers will add service as directed by the British Hotel & Restaurant Association, tobacco from the Wholesale Tobacco Trade Association and deep knowledge of coffee from I don't know where. And the ISG which is definitely deserves a place next to CMS in terms of quality knowledge and service.
Join one. They're fun and you'll find that more rainbows rise and unicorns appear the more you know about wine. Cheers.
I didn't write today because I entered an essay for Conegliano Valdobbiadene prosecco supriore DOCG in Somm Journal. By the time I finished it I was fried for any other writing. Sorry. I'll see you tomorrow.
When I start talking about wine I will usually go off on which wine movies are the best and I'll even get pretty snobby about it. What? You didn't see Somm? I am now silently judging you on how little I think you know about wine. That sounds bad I know, but while I'm not a snob in that I'm judging you on what you drink, I am a little, but that you don't even care. At least in my crazy, down the rabbit hole obsession with wine.
Mondovino is the best wine documentary out there. There, I said it. If you have not seen that movie, then you are an amateur and we cannot be friends. You may redeem yourself if you have seen the French show La Sang de la Vigne. No? Dude, you're killing me. How about A Year in Burgundy? Those cellars those monks made! Seriously, if you haven't seen any of these movies, do yourself a favor and see them. Then we can hang out. Maybe.
So there's this lovely Chardonnay from Fableist wine that has an actual decree by Jupiter! People will do anything for a little press these days. Just kidding big Jup! Don't eat me. This wine is crisp as a slap in the face with ripe peaches, ricotta and graham cracks. Fableist aged this chard in new and neutral oak barriques and stainless steel. Bright fruit with just that subtle hint of butter. 13.9% alcohol means you can drink this with light proteins like ceviche, seafood paella, Margherita pizza or french fries. The saltiness will balance out the fruit. Trust me, do it. There is a price difference in the Outside Magazine article and price shown was for case pricing.
I have to find 2017s test and hit that tomorrow. But I was thinking about writing about something else. And the last thing I have to do today is verify the IBJJF membership thing. Damn, gotta go. Tomorrow!
Today I tried to sign up for the Pan Ams in March in California and am not a member of IBJJF yet. I'm pending, similar to limbo. I just want to sign up for the damn tournament. I also want to give a shout out to AC Shilton of Outside Magazine and thanks for the blurb! It's Sunday, so right to question of the day. "If a global disease were destroying all known grape varieties and you had the chance to preserve only two varieties – one white and one black – for humanity, which would you choose to save, and why?"
The two varieties I would choose would be Burgundian natives. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would be the chosen ones. Chardonnay can be grown anywhere and still provide it's noble varietal heritage. Chard flourishes in many places and adopts to the local flavor and terroir. Chard from Chablis tastes different than Sonoma (because of the extra heat and extra wood). Oaked and unoaked versions of this varietal can vary greatly with flavors of melon, citrus and butterscotch.
Pinot Noir is the black grape I would pick because it too goes with everything pairing wise and great by itself. Once again Pinot planted in Cote de Nuit tastes different than Oregon, tastes different than Central Otago or even Central Coast Cali. You'll still get that raspberry red current hit but with different shades of each and vanilla depending on the winemaker's taste.
The different styles of production in both red and white grapes. Leaner or more full depending on terroir, climate and wood aging. There is also the factor that Pinot and Chardonnay will grow pretty much anywhere making shipping easier to newer wine markets.
The term anti-fragile is tossed around a lot lately. It's with good reason too. I'm paraphrasing here but it's similar to a slow exposure to something bad for you, and eventually you build a natural tolerance for said bad thing.
Jiu jitsu get's you anti-fragile because you get crushed from day one. Even if you're at the friendliest jiu jitsu gym in the world you're gonna get smashed, with great kindness, but smashed nonetheless. And repeatedly getting smashed kills your ego, which makes you less prone to the slings and arrows that so frustrated Hamlet.
Studying wine, at least for me, makes one anti-fragile also, just in the mental way. Thinking for sure that you have the color down, hey, this is slightly browned fading to a lighter gold meniscus. And it's wrong. Ouch. Or to be talking about a wine and look down at the label and, how the hell is this bottle of un-oaked Marsanne Rousanne get here, I'm talking terpenes, diacityl and butter. Damn. Anti-fragile because I'm not a wine ninja yet. Soon, but not yet. On a side note, I just met a kid whose dad has a two acre vineyard in Napa. Two acres! I love it.
Today the question is, "How can the wine industry attract new consumers?"
Specific types of advertising, especially product placement in upcoming movies. It is a well known practice from companies producing a variety of items to have paid sponsorship in their movies. You see Tony Stark playing iron man driving off in that Audi? You think they just found that Audi in the parking lot? Not likely. That was product placement.
Image Jennifer Lawrence tenderly talking about Dolcetto, this years vintages of Piedmont would fly off the shelf. James Bond starts downing Chinon then every GQ wanna be is gonna be drinking Cabernet Franc.
Close ups in slow motion of exploding Champagne bottles. Zoom and fade in to a close up of sexy feet stomping grapes pulling back to reveal Gal Godot taking a break from being Wonder Woman stomping Assirtyko grapes near Athens.
Or Bruce Wayne who just bought a vineyard in Oregon and can be building a new Bat Grape Picker next to the Bat car.
Now keep this up with every big blockbuster movie and well prepared so called indie films. Speak the name of the the wine if it's not Cab, Pinot, Sauv Blanc or Chard so the audience and new consumers will remember it. Throw in some cross promotion. Would you buy a bottle of wine with the Bat signal on it? Somebody will.
Yesterday I wrote a little on different filtration systems and I forgot to mention that depending on how many filters you use you will alter the taste of a wine. If too many proteins, terpenes or sugars are displaced then that will differ vastly from a wine only filtered once or none at all. I wonder if you had enough wine where you could go through each of the filtration methods differently, one over there with DE or the other with cross filtration. The additional costs would be prohibitive but if you were talking an initial setup for vast quantities of wine then this finding the optimal system or systems would be best.
The other thing I was thinking about was yields. There was a local vineyard I visited this summer and inquired about their yields and remembered that they got about five tons per acre. These are also grapes that are new to the wine world and in a climate that is mostly untested in winemaking. But who knows what will happen in a few seasons?
In Napa according the 2018 California Wine Harvest Report things went well with what growers called "beautiful, shady conditions" for the summer. There was plenty of rain early in February, the very consistent sunshine helped with emerging buds with uniform flowering. Mid August saw first pickings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In October the red grapes are picked. This season will yield strong ways so they say.
Paso Robles on the other hand had a challenging season with less rainfall than expected during the winter which made for a later bud break plus cooler weather when flowering occurred. This combo lengthened the blood period and experienced some shatter. Forty days of heat above ninety degrees (almost three weeks of one hundred degrees). This made for a harvest that was around two weeks later than normal. While this combination of weather led to smaller cluster and berries this should produce some dense wines.
And in Sonoma vintners are expecting a great 2018 vintage. There was more rain than usual in the spring with some spikes in heat in June. Harvest was about two weeks later than usual and there was a significant yield increase in comparison to previous years. Wine makers are expecting a high quality of wine with intensity from this season.
Now the question of the day. "What have been the most important changes in global wine supply and demand in the last three years and what are their implications?"
During the past few years I believe that one of the major changes is the yields because of certain destruction caused by fire or drought. According to Wine Australia, South Africa is down some 15% in harvest weight after one of the worst droughts in nearly one hundred years. While the US produced roughly the same amount of grapes during wild fires and extreme heat. But the global production is up 2% from last year's vintage and should change very little as far as the quantity of wine available.
The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium found in the 2017 growing season that their numbers were similar to the Wine Australia numbers. They also found that the United States wine market grew an additional 2.9% while the global market shrank. Americans spent $62.7 billion on wine. Sixty sis percent from the US and one third from international wines. Wineries outside the US should take note and concentrate on getting more accounts in North America.
Numbers quoted from the International Organization of Vine and Wine documented that wine production in 2017 dropped to lowest in eighteen years. Is this production because of practices that control yield to concentrate flavor or is this lowered production a sign of changing wine buying practices? In old world there has been a drop since the 1990s in wine consumption because of other alcoholic options, was this happening because Europeans were drinking less wine and more beer and spirits?
Increasing also is the rapid and current rise of wine consumption in Asian countries. Even to the point that wine is being produced in China and India. While China lies in between the 30 and 50 degrees that most wine is grow, the same cannot be said of India. This additional exporting of wines from old world countries also makes these places more dependent on foreign purchase and trade.
Three countries via for major destinations of wine, these are Germany, United Kingdom and United States. And this list of countries importing wine is growing to include Hong Kong, Indonesia, Guatemala, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Philippines, russia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine to the United Arab Emirates.
The increased flow of wine to new destinations brings increased need for better distribution networks and best practices for vertical integration. The need for professionals that can maneuver through trade barriers is also a need that must be addressed. Exports have doubled from Spain, Italy and France for the last 2 decades accounting for 58% of Europes production. NZ, Chile and Australia have greatly increased wine production and the US is the largest consumer with almost 11 liters per person overtaking France. But Europe accounts for almost half of all global wine consumption so keeping tabs on wine sales in the old world is paramount.
Would this be a crazy schedule? For sure March twentieth to twenty fourth for the Pans in California, May tournament in Chicago then August going to Las Vegas for the Masters. These are the ones I am almost one hundred percent I'm going to grapple in. There are other tournaments that cover the globe and we'll see soon enough if I get to go to any of these. When I sign up i'll post it so you'll know!
Typically after every jits (short for jiu jitsu) class I'll weigh myself and two days ago I was hovering at 175.5. Meh, I plan to fight in the one hundred and seventy one pound division and that's with the gi (the white pajama outfit judoka and jiu jitsu fighters compete in) on. So I really have to weigh around 165. That's ten pounds I have to drop. Yea... I'll still drink about two glasses of wine a day but everything else will be pretty basic in terms of food for the next few months.
Question of the day is, "Detail the advantages and disadvantages of the following methods of clarifying a wine: Earth filtration, Pad filtration, Membrane filtration and Crossflow filtration."
The first of these four types of filtration is of Earth. Mainly diatomaceous earth (DE), which is naturally occurring remains of diatoms of fossilized aquatic single celled algae. These diatoms come in many sizes and are shaped like honeycombs and made mostly of silica. The shape of these diatoms make filtration in this matter excellent. Typically DE is mixed with wine and pulled through a screen with a suction pump. These screens can be rotated and this is one of the easiest ways to filter wine. The main disadvantage is just purchasing diatomaceous earth, filters and machines.
Pad filtration consists of a pad made of different materials whether cotton, synthetic fibers, cellulose or even diatomaceous earth. This style of filtration uses screening, inertia, turbulence and adsorption to pull out unwanted material. Depending on the side of molecular mass, filtration can be broken into two ways, Macro and Ultrafiltration. The latter will remove molecules like pigments, tannins and polysaccharides. Disadvantages include pad removal and replacement, the cost of material and the manual labor in changing them.
The third way of filtration used is the Membrane method. This uses cartridges made of cellulose ester, nylon, polypropylene, polysulfonate or even glass fibers. Screening of this nature is used more microbial stabilization rather than clarification. This is usually done as a last filtration run before the bottling process. Once again the disadvantages are the cost of the pads, mechanisms to hold the pads and the human cost of running equipment.
Lastly we have the cross flow filtration where wine is run along the surface of a membrane that has porous abilities. The liquid flows through the pores and there are many feeds to prevent clogging in just one area of filtration. When you have the must or wines that are high in extra particle content or contcentration this is a good initial filtration process. If one were to remove more alcohol, cross flow filtration works and can even be changed to where a reverse osmosis version can be used to control the particle concentration.
Add slaps to jiu jitsu and you get combat jiu jitsu. Oh yeah, today we were slapping lightly to the head. This opens you up to the reality of strikes rather than a pure one hundred percent grappling, submission game. This is similar to blind tasting in that you will recognize styles in wine as clearly as rolling jiu jitsu with the same training partners weak after week.
Sparring and blind tasting are also similar in that you tend to do moves you like and for me I'll smell more intensely the smells I like. I will drill some smells tomorrow. Veg and floral. Damn right. And the kimura. Question of the day, "How does a laboratory analysis of a wine help the quality control manger make decisions at bottling?"
The healthier and more stable a wine is when it is made then this will raise the probability that the wine will survive bottling and last for shipping and finally consumption. Testing for ethanol, sulfur dioxide both free and total, specific gravity, residual sugar, pH, magic acid and volatile acidity.
There is a minimal recommended number of times to be analyzed and if you have the money a few more on key days might not hurt. This is also an early warning system if key data and numbers of off any obvious amounts, maybe resulting in a less viable wine. Many wineries in the United States participate in at least a few levels of professional testing and analysis.
The tests for Ethanol is mostly Ebulliometer, Gas Chromatography, Near-Infrara spectroscopy, distillation or density. Most tests are conducted with the ebulliometer and then gas chromatography. Total SO2, Free SO2, Valatile Acidity, Specific gravity are also tested. Equipment rangers from Manual titration, Cash Stills and hydrometers. If a wine is lacking in any of these areas then compensation can be made by addition or other manipulation before bottling to insure a more stable product that is as healthy as possible.
Much like when you work out too much and you need to take a day off to recover. Today is such a day. I know, I suck. But I'm human and need somewhat of a break. So today I'm just going to answer a wine question. "How and to what extent can a winemaker influence the textural profile of a wine?"
When we winos talk about texture we're generally talking mouthfeel and winemakers can manipulate this factor in a number of ways. The extent of which they do this is under the influence of the winemaker, owner or both. Swirling wine in your mouth will give a great idea of what you're tasting depending on how it feels. A thick Shiraz feels different than a Pinot Noir like Viogner feels different than a New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc.
Winemakers can first start off in choosing what type of soil to plant in. Different soils can yield higher or lower alcohol levels causing differences this viscosity. The altitude of wines can also do this without changing the composition of the soil. Clay and loam tend to yield broader wines, like Pommerol. Pouilly, with it's silex gives a minerality you can feel in the rocky nature while the Gravel of Chateauneuf or left bank Bordeaux will yield more alcohol and a bigger wine.
Sugar in the form of polysaccharides plays a great part in mouth feel. When the concentration of sugars are high then there is a thicker or more viscous wine. The polysaccharide Mannoprotein is found in the cell walls of yeast and is released into wine via autolysis. Many will know this as batonage. When you see on the wine label that the winery practices Lees aging or Sur Lies they basically stir the yeast in the wine with a big stick.
The choice of stem inclusion will play a part because stem inclusion or whole cluster will increase the tannin level affecting mouth feel. This is a drying or astringent feeling, so much so that heavy tannins make a wine more "chewy." There is also the time during maceration and whether this must is interacting with other matter like proteins or polysaccharides.
Winemakers may also choose to include exogenous products like extra polysaccharides, gums and tannins. Chaptalization is also a factor in mouthfeel that deals with exogenous sugars. Acidification will also affect mouthfeel in making wine more acidic. The addition of barrel fermentation or aging will also add polyphenols like vanillin and terpenes like diacetyl which imparts a chewy and buttery nature.
Mondays are great! I get to start the week strong and since it is Monday, people that come in are extremely relaxed. Maybe not fired up but definitely calmer than usual. This give me the chance to do last minute cleaning, shelving of wine and time to figure out things like this website. Patti and I can talk to you forever about wine but bring it to computers and we are both stark beginners. Not for long though.
Jiu jitsu this morning went well and on the plus side I can still walk and nothing bent out of shape. Had to hurry home because I stayed a little late. Quickly fed our dog, crazy black lab named Chaga, and wolfed down some lunch. I also ran through the fruit portion of Nez du Vin and think that really concentrating on these smells is just as tiring as grappling, just in a different way.
Now for the question of the day. Which is, "Write concise note on four of the following: Lysozyme, Mannoprotein, CMC-Carboxymethyl cellulose, Copper sulphate, Ascorbic acid and YAN-Yeast-assimilable nitrogen.
Lysozyme was first discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1921, he later discovered penicillin. This material has been found in many different things from bacteria, viruses, plants, insects, birds reptiles, the fluid of some mammals and finally in human saliva, tears and even breast milk! It is found in these many different things because they are thought to be directly involved in their immune systems. Though the majority of Lysozyme used for wine comes from egg whites. Lysozyme is an enzyme that degrades certain bacteria but does not affect yeast. It is primarily used in controlling malolactic fermentation (MLF) in red and some white wines. Whether you want to delay MLF, stop completely or to help stabilize wine after MLF is finished lysozyme is a sure and natural way to achieve this.
What is a mannoprotein? This particular protein can be found in the cell wall of yeasts. In regards to wine the yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Winemakers have known for quite a while not the when lees are aged in wine, the final wine is far more stable in potassium bitartrate and protein haze. There is also the added benefit of a more grippy mouthfeel. During autolysis mannoproteins are released from the cell walls of yeast. When wine is stable for tartrates then cold stabilization is not necessary. Tartrate crystals that tend to form do not when mannoproteins are in abundance. Other benefits include the fact that mannoproteins are found naturally in wine, the added mouthfeel which was mentioned earlier, less chilling necessary to enjoy and no unenvironmentally techniques can be cut out entirely.
Rotten eggs in wine? The smell at least can be avoided much like a lot of unwanted smells by the use of Copper sulphate. The ability to neutralize sulfur smell covers hydrogen sulfide, methanethiol, ethanethiol, diethyl sulfide and ethyl thioacetate to name a few. The use of copper in fining is a legitimate way to remove sulfides from vino. Copper ions and sulfide ions react forming insoluble copper sulfide which is filtered out. This is desirable because very few wine consumers will want wine that smells of rotten eggs, garlic or burnt matches. This can be evident in the countries like Australia that use screw tops where sulfide taint was more evident and copper minimizes this.
Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid good for you, but who knew this was good for wine also? Ascorbic acid in the wine world is regarded as a potent anti-oxidant, similar on how vitamin C reacts with the human body. But it works in wine protecting against browning in wine during racking and bottling. During these times slight aeration occurs oxidizing the wine and browning it. Ascorbic acid converts dissolved oxygen into hydrogen peroxide before reaction with oxidative enzymes. The correct dose must be observed because a reduced load can lead to greater oxidation. Too much may also lead to deepening the yellow color of certain white wines.