Having recently been the invigilator at a number of wine exams for both the Court of Mater Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), I have noticed that in the blind tasting section of the exams that many students continue to make a crucial error. They take one sniff of the sample, decide that they know what the wine is, then proceed to create a tasting note for the fictional wine in their head, usually missing key components of the wine that are in the glass.
One of the hardest things about blind tasting is to ignore this tendency. It is important to explore the wine with a clear, unbiased approach that lets you identify the key components in a wine’s aroma and structure to help you come to a deductive conclusion as to what the wine could be.
I think that this approach is also important to the wine consumer. We all have a tendency to see a wine superficially, almost imposing upon a wine the qualities that we expect it to have. One of the great joys of wine is the exploration and discovery of different aromas, flavors, textures and styles, from potentially thousands of different grape varieties and sources.
Keeping an open mind will take you down paths that you perhaps never thought you would go – and you may end up finding that you were stuck in a “wine rut” and that there is a way to get out of it – by freeing your mind and letting wine speak to you.
Have a question for our Master Somm? Write Peter: Peter@DouxVin.com
Every year, it is our pleasure to host Paolo Scavino in January, on their annual trip to Northern California. This year, we enjoyed the company of Elisa Scavino herself, and her new Worldwide Ambassador, Andrea Ostorero.
Before we even begin to share our experience with the new 2015 vintage of Paolo Scavino wines, we just have to share what a joy it is to work with Elisa and her team. Thoughtful, kind, knowledgeable, fun, authentic – these are only a few of the adjectives that describe the Scavino family and team. Paolo Scavino is what we love at DouxVin, family owned estates and winemakers, putting their pride and passion in every single bottle.
Enrico Scavino together with the daughters Enrica and Elisa, fourth generation, run the family Estate.
The Barolo wines of Scavino are world class. Elisa shared their philosophy of selling wine to the BULK market for anything that does not meet their standards – including from every single Cru, and Rocche dell’Annunziata as well. That is a commitment to quality that is unparalleled.
The 2015 vintage is excellent, and every Barolo lover will be delighted with this vintage. It is fruitier and more expansive than the 2014 vintage. All the wines were stunning, and especially the Cannubi and Bric del Fiasc vineyards. The Bricco Ambrogio and Monvegliero vineyards have a softer, gentler style. One of Susan’s favorite Barolo vineyards is Ravera, and it was wonderful to have this in the Scavino line up for the first time. To say it was amazing, would be an understatement.
Paolo Scavino Cru wines sell out every year, and these are limited quantity wines. If you are interested, subscribe to DouxVin down below so we can send you the limited time pricing on these wines.
DouxVin is pleased to welcome Peter Neptune, Master Sommelier, to our team. Peter is one of only 274 Master Sommeliers in the world. Our private clientele, be they everyday consumers or serious collectors, stand to benefit from Peter’s involvement in DouxVin’s personalized wine strategies. As one of the world’s foremost wine education professionals, Peter will lead enjoyable and educational programs for DouxVin’s consumer and corporate clients.
DouxVin specializes in wine experiences from unique events and wine discovery tastings, to educational programs, featuring diligently sourced, small production, interesting and special wines. With the expertise of Neptune, DouxVin plans to broaden its procurement of these highly-regarded, hard-to-find wines from around the world, enhance its client wine experiences and further develop its wine education and seminar programs.
Peter aims to apply his talents in Wine Education, consulting, training, buying strategies and more for our DouxVin clients. He believes that joining DouxVin presents a wonderful opportunity to expand our wine experience offerings, support clients in developing custom cellars and add more to the mix and help expand our Corporate Customer Appreciation and Team Building Programs.
DouxVin expects to leverage Peter’s knowledge, exuberance and skills to further build upon our high-touch, customized wine consulting services and events. Peter will curate wine selections to suit everyday wine enjoyment as well as special occasion and investment wines. Few have the ability of Peter to entertain and educate our customers through amazing experiences that will add to their wine enjoyment.
To reach Peter to learn more about how he can curate a unique wine experience or provide guidance for what to drink or collect, contact Peter directly 📩 Peter@DouxVin.com
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I had the distinct pleasure this week of having lunch with Chris Forbes of Taylor Fladgate who was in San Francisco to promote their excellent portfolio of Port from: Taylor Fladgate; Croft, Fonseca and Wiese & Krohn. This was a wonderful afternoon at Boulevard on San Francisco’s Embarcadero and I was amazed at how well these wines paired with our food—Port is clearly not only for dessert!
We began with the lovely and lively Taylor Fladgate Chip Dry White Port. As pleasant as it was alone as a sipper, it took on new life in the PortoTonica (1 part white port, 2 parts tonic water and a sprig of mint) such a refreshing and enjoyable aperitif.
We dived right in with the Croft Ruby Porto. This full fruit flavored wine was the perfect beginning to our Port journey while we waited for our food. We quickly moved on the Fonseca Bin 27 Port, a luscious wine that I learned is the most popular Ruby Port sold in the U.S. I can taste why. Our final wine before the food arrived was the slightly drier, more delicate 2012 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Porto which clearly benefited from waiting for its time in bottle.
The Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with porcini aioli, pickled shiitakes, marcona almonds, porcini tuille & parmesan arrived just in time to embrace the Croft 7 Year Old Reserve Tawny Porto, full of dried fruit, fig and nutty flavors that matched perfectly with the ridiculously tasty Wagyu. Next up was the Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port somewhat drier than the Croft but with similar nutty characteristics that complemented the earthiness of the porcini flavors.
At this point my duck confit arrived. Unfortunately, I was now so enthralled by the wines I became lax in my note taking about the food and order of the remaining wines. I just relaxed to enjoy the food, wine and company. I do remember the duck was terrific and paired exceptionally well with the next flight of wines. These included: the 2016 Fonseca Vintage Porto that presented the deepest garget color and was vibrant and lively, still tannic with food-pleasing spiciness; the Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny, which was superb and a lovely progression from the earlier tasted 10 Year Fladgate; the Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny, with 13-14 years of ageing, whose gorgeous 18th Century replica one-liter bottle was almost as impressive as this splendid wine.
We concluded the meal with espresso and caramel candies complemented perfectly by the 1982 Wiese & Krohn Porto Colheita which demonstrated a lovely caramel color and nose. I love dried apricots and found an essence of them in this gorgeous wine experience that I described to Chris as “Dancing on the Tongue™️.” I told him he could use this description for a small licensing fee!
While I love Port, like most lovers of sweet wine, I usually indulged in Port with dessert or as an after dinner libation. Today, especially now that modern science has medication to prevent gout, it was such a pleasure to discover that Port is entirely appropriate and quite enjoyable as a midday accompaniment to a flavorful lunch.
Drink up-next year they’ll make more.