Jul 312013
 

Each summer I teach a class called “the Greatest Wines of the World” for the viticulture and enology program at Napa Valley College.  It’s a chance for the students to taste the very best wines from some of the top regions of the world, and each summer the wines vary, based on the interests of the students.  Here’s what they tasted in 2013:

Greatest Wines - Burgundy

Burgundy

2011 Domaine Paul Pernot Meursault Blagny 1er Cru “La Piece Sous le Bois”
2011 Domaine Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Folatières”
2010 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru “Boudriottes”
2010 Domaine de Montille Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru
2011 Domaine Paul Pernot Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
2010 Billaud-Simon Chablis “Les Preuses” Grand Cru
1998 Nicolas Potel Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
2010 Domaine Champy Corton Grand Cru “Bressandes”
2010 Domaine Odoul-Coquard Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Baudes”
2010 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Vaucrains”
2010 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Les Beaux Monts”
2010 Domaine Confuron-Cotetidot Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru “Petite Chapelle”

Greatest Wines - Bordeaux

Bordeaux

2009 Chateau La louviere  Pessac Leognan blanc
2007 Chateau Cardonnieux Grand Cru Pessac Leognan rouge
2007 Chateau Poujeaux Moulis en Medoc Grand Vin
2006 Chatau La Lagune Haut-Medoc Grand Cru Classe
2007 Chateau Marquis de Terme Margaux Grand Cru Classe
2007 Chateau Talbot Saint Julien Grand Cru Classe
2007 Chateau Batailley Paulliac Grand Cru Classe
2006 Chateau les Ormes de Pez St. Estephe Cru Bourgeois Exceptionel
2000 Cheatu Phelan Segur St. Estephe Grand Cru Classe
2010 Chateau Figeac St. Emiliion Premier Grand Cru Classe
2010 Chateau Beauregard Pomerol
1998 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Paulliac Premier Grand Cru

Greatest Wines - Italy

Italy

2007 Massolino “Parussi” Barolo
2005 Aldo Conterno “Cicala” Barolo
2008 G.D. Vajra “Bricco Delle Viole” Barolo
2007 Francesco Rinaldi “Cannubio” Barolo
2008 Savignola Paulina Chianti Classico Riserva
2007 Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico Riserva
2008 Massanera Chianti Classico Riserva
2007 Monte Maggio Chianti Classico
2009 Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
2007 Caprili Brunello di Montalcino
2006 Tassi “Franci” Brunello di Montalcino Selezione
2007 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino
2007 Pian dell’Orino Brunello di Montalcino
1997 Masi “Mazzano” Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
2008 Corte Rugolin Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso
1980 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Superiore
2010 Antinori “Tenuta Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato” Toscana
2008 Castello di Bossi “Corbaia” Toscana
2007 Querciabella “Camartina” Toscana
2010 Ornellaia “Ornellaia” Bolgheri Superiore

Germany

2011 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett
2011 Von Hovel Oberemmeler Hutte Riesling Kabinett
2011 Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett
2011 Selbach Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
2011 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese
2011 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Spatlese
2011 Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Riesling Spatlese
2011 Dr F Weins-Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese Feinherb
2011 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #10
2011 Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Rheinberg Riesling Auslese
2011 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese
2003 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese ***

Greatest WInes - Champagne

Champagne

Charles Heidsieck “Brut Reserve” Champagne
Bollinger “Special Cuvee” Brut Champagne
Charles de Cazanove “Tete de Cuvee” Brut Champagne
Ruinart Brut Rose Champagne
2006 Marguet Pere et Fils Grand Cru Brut Champagne
2004 Moet & Chandon “Grand Vintage” Brut Champagne
2000 Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blanc Champagne
Laurent-Perrier “Grand Siecle” Champagne
Krug “Grande Cuvee” Brut Champagne
1998 Billecart-Salmon “Cuvee Nicolas-Francois Billecart” Brut Champagne
1998 Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame Brut Champagne
2003 Moet & Chandon “Dom Perignon” Brut Champagne
2005 Louis Roederer “Cristal” Brut Champagne

Greatest Wines - Dessert

Dessert Wines

Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (1L)
2004 Villa Pillo Vin Santo (375ml)
2010 Samos Vin Doux Muscat (375ml)
2010 Donnafugata “Ben Ryè” Passito di Pantelleria (375ml)
1996 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume (375ml)
Rare Wine Company Historic Series Boston Bual Madeira
Williams & Humbert “Don Guido” Pedro Ximenez VOS Jerez
Ferreira “Duque de Braganca” 20-year-old Tawny Port
1970 Taylor Vintage Port
2008 Inniskillin “Silver” Riesling Icewine (375ml)
2003 Királyudvar “Lapis” Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos (500ml)
2003 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes

Napa Valley College Viticulture & Winery Technology courses prepare students for entry-level positions and help current industry employees to advance in their careers. Based on a core of viticulture and wine-making classes, the program offers a variety of options for careers in the industry. Students learn to apply viticulture and winemaking theory for decision-making in actual production situations. College facilities include classroom and laboratory buildings, vineyards, and a teaching winery. All program instructors are experienced wine industry professionals.

Apr 032013
 

 

Tracy Ellen Kamens

Photo Credit: Peter Doyle Photography

In February 2012, I had the pleasure of presenting an educational seminar on Brunello di Montalcino DOCG (among others) at the Italian Wine Masters event. Standing at the podium a few minutes before I was scheduled to begin, I noticed Kevin Zraly second row, center. OK, considering the very first wine book I ever owned was written by this well known and highly regarded author and educator, no pressure! After my presentation, I had the opportunity to say hello to Kevin and admitted to him that his presence had made me a bit nervous. He graciously shared that he had taken three pages of notes and I floated through the rest of the day (and perhaps the week). High praise indeed!

A year later, I was invited to attend a session on Brunello di Montalcino, this time presented by Kevin. You can bet I was eager to attend. Arriving early (as usual), I took a seat in the front row and was immediately welcomed by Kevin. He teased me a bit, asking if I knew anything on the topic and made sure to tell me it was a red wine. He jested that my arrival had just added to his nerves and, while I doubted the validity of the statement, was appreciative of his kindness. I then sat back and waited to see what Kevin would say.

Surprisingly, in one sense, he didn’t say much. For one, he ignored the Powerpoint presentation. Yes, he let it loop from slide to slide, but never really called attention to it or directly used it for instruction. For another, he skipped to the tasting almost immediately. Kevin did note that it was the job of the educator to start at the beginning and made sure to do so, first ensuring that the audience knew he was talking about Italy, then Tuscany, and then, more specifically, Brunello di Montalcino. Next, he drew on the similarities and differences among Chianti Classico (Sangiovese blend), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Sangiovese blend) and Brunello di Montalcino (100% Sangiovese). Then, he stopped.

That’s not to say that the seminar was over or that he ceased to talk, but he did not provide any further factual information on the wines. In fact, aside from making us repeat the names of the producers aloud (to correct our pronunciation), we didn’t even get any information on the producers’ histories or winemaking practices.

At first, I was annoyed. Was he phoning it in? But, despite this seeming lack of a presentation, Kevin actually provided us with a lot of information. We tasted the eight wines several times each, using the Zraly method, which he demonstrated and reinforced repeatedly. Also, Kevin also had us discuss our tasting notes with our neighbor before we discussed them as a group. Moreover, Kevin continued to point out the key characteristics of the wines, particularly with regard to tannic structure, wine style and readiness to drink.

Kevin Zraly

Photo Credit: Peter Doyle Photography

All in all, once the seminar was over, I realized that he had, in fact, given us an extremely good overview of the 2008 Brunello di Montalcino vintage, while also underscoring how each wine was both similar and different from its counterparts. Additionally, the tasting included three wines from the 2004 vintage, providing further delineation among Brunello vintages.

This experience reminded me that there are multiple approaches to teaching and that each has its time and place. Kevin’s style and approach were exactly what was needed to provide attendees with an understanding of the new Brunello vintage, which was precisely his goal. The positive comments I heard from fellow participants after the seminar reinforced that they agreed his presentation was a success. Moreover, although I pride myself on being a good educator, I recognize that my style is very different from Kevin’s and that I could never pull off his style successfully. Instead, I can learn from Kevin’s approach, but must remain true to myself as a teacher and present my own seminars in a style that is authentic to me, while always keeping the audience and their education in mind.

So, what did I take away from the seminar? The bottom line is that the 2008 Brunello di Montalcino wines are accessible wines, most of which are ready to drink now. They are classic and elegant with vibrant acidity and firm tannins, but enough fruit and complexity to make them easy drinking, very pleasant and, in some cases, extremely complex.

And, more specifically, my 2008 favorites were the Podere Brizio, which I noted as being complex with cherry, cocoa, cedar and herbal notes, along with the Castello Romitorio, which I described as lush with cherries, earth, spice, herbal and floral. Among the 2004s, the Podere Brizio again stood out, as did the Camigliano, both of which were surprisingly still youthful, but drinking well now.