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5 Questions With Mr. Joseph Miller (b.sc. Sgd) President Of The International Sommelier Guild

by Zina Sorensen

Mr. Joseph Miller (B.Sc. SGD) is the President of the International Sommelier Guild. Mr. Miller visited Bulgaria in September/October of 2018 and was invited to visit the wine regions of Bulgaria by Bulgaria Wine Tours. Several wineries opened their doors and invited Mr. Miller inside to introduce him to the wines and wine history of Bulgaria. After ten days of travel, 20 wineries visited and 4 wine regions explored, we were curious about Mr. Miller’s first impressions on Bulgarian wine. Here are 5 questions with Mr. Joseph Miller: 1. What is your general impression of Bulgarian wines and the grape varieties being used? I was personally shocked to have tasted such a great level of quality wine making and that was based primarily on the very few products that arrive in America from ...

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How Many Points Is That Wine? What About Wine Critic’s Scores And Evaluations?

by Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier

It is very helpful to rely upon the ‘paid for’ and ‘free’ critic’s advice and written evaluations when purchasing wine. Shelf talkers tout the expert’s scores to influence what bottle(s) of wine you will ultimately purchase. Should you believe them? For the well-known wine raters, I have been watching their scoring and reading their reviews long enough that I have formed an opinion as to ‘how’ they score wine. I know who always rates higher than the others or which reviewer(s) likes fruit forward, highly extracted and high alcohol wines. Why does that matter? Because while I can tell you the flavor profile of a varietal from various places around the world and I can look to see what the vintage and nature gave us that year, it’s helpful to read the opinion of someon...

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10 Facts Every Cabernet Sauvignon Lover Should Know

by Natasha

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most recognized grape varieties in the world. It’s loved for its age-worthiness and bold flavors. In this blog post, we’re going to uncover 10 facts that every wine lover should know about. 1. Originating from France, it’s a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. In the Bordeaux region, it is often used in red blends with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and sometimes Malbec. 2. Many unique blends have emerged with this grape variety. In Australia, it’s blended with Shiraz. Super Tuscan (a term used to describe red wines using non-indigenous grapes from Tuscany) blend involves Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. 3. The word Sauvignon is derived from an old French dialect word sauvage meanin...

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Bulgaria: An Emerging Wine And Food Travel Destination

by Zina Sorensen

Wine has been made in Bulgaria for millennia. Over 5000 years of wine history tracing back to the Thracian era places Bulgaria among the oldest wine making countries in the world. After 45 years behind the iron curtain, Bulgarian wine is in a period of rebirth creating exceptional wines at great value. The wine regions are off-the-beaten-path and void of large tourist groups. The beauty of Bulgaria’s mountainous countryside is unspoiled and waiting to be discovered. Tap into the rich culinary legacy, the fascinating history, regional customs and age-old traditions through a wine, food and cultural immersion. Discover the unknown regions of Bulgaria one glass and bite at a time! Salads, Soups, Sizzles and Surprises Local delicacies, regional recipes, grandma’s cooking and a tantalizin...

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A Premier Experience In Provence: A Chef-led Tour Of Culture & Cuisine With Chef Bob Waggoner

by Kelly Villasuso

For centuries, the hilltop villages and undulating valleys, the cobbled paths and pebble-strewn shores of the Provence region of France have enticed and enraptured. From painters seeking to capture the ever-changing light in Ménerbes, writers hoping to describe the indescribable beauty of hot-pink bougainvillea juxtaposed with the brilliant sky-blue backdrop of the Cote d’Azur village of Èze, and historians wishing to walk in the footsteps of the brilliant craftsmen of the intricate caves in Gordes, to travelers striving to experience every nuance in between, Provence has long been a place to fulfill — and to enflame — passions. In today’s world of experiential travel, painters, writers, historians, and travelers, alike, continue to flock to southeastern France to immerse their ...

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Does 'vintage' Matter?

by Claire L. Torbeck, Certified Sommelier

I thoroughly enjoyed a 2009 Tronquoy-Lalande last evening. The wine was inky in color thanks to the addition of Petit Verdot in this St. Estephe Bordeaux blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tight at first, the nose opened up to black cherries, dark berries, tobacco with a hint of French roasted coffee and minerality. The oak structure was present but soft and the oak was well integrated in the wine. On the palate, it still had primary fruit flavors with good structure and soft tannins. The finish was long and all the elements described were evident in the finale. A really good bottle of Left Bank Bordeaux! The media touted 2009 as a great vintage just to turn around in 2010 and claim it as the better of the two. The 2009 vintage had almost perfect weather and growing conditions...

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New Jersey Is Known For Springsteen, Diners, The Sopranos And Now Wine? Defying The Odds, New Jersey Winemakers Are Betting On The Future

by Danny Klein And Frances Denmark

Many times, I have poured a glass of wine for someone in the wine industry… After a sip, their face lights up and they ask me where the wine is from. I reply, “New Jersey” and their lit-up face goes into puzzlement. “NJ? Yes, really NJ.” I’ve had this experience with many wine “Rock Stars” such as Peter Mondavi Jr, Chuck Wagner and Joel Peterson as well as many others deep in the wine industry. Once the puzzled look leaves their face, they turn to a “well how about that” look as if they thought about it and it makes sense. Bill Heritage was first struck by the wine bug at a 1997 apple and peach convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania. A fourth generation New Jersey fruit farmer, Heritage decided to check out the wine grapes program on the last day of the event. One ses...

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8 Dos And Don’ts When Using A Membership Wine Pass

by Marla Durben Hirsch

If you live near a wine region or are traveling to one, it may make sense to purchase a local membership wine pass. A wine pass – sometimes called a wine passport – enables you to take advantage of discounts and other offers at local wineries, such as two for one tastings, waived tasting fees if you buy a bottle, or a bonus pour. You can easily recoup the cost of the pass with the benefits it provides. A wine pass may also introduce you to a great winery you had not heard of or a type of wine you haven’t had. But there are ways to get the most use out of a wine pass. Below are some of our recommendations to keep in mind about using a membership wine pass. Do: Check what the wine pass includes before buying it. Are there many wineries participating? Are they ones you are inte...

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How To Prioritize Your Burgundy Wine Experience

by Marla Durben Hirsch

Burgundy, France is one of the world’s most outstanding wine regions, and its vineyards are a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, the sheer number of wineries can be overwhelming. And at more than 186 miles in size, it’s impossible to see everything all at once. A variety of different tour companies operate Burgundy wine experiences, and there are several ways to break the region down so you can maximize your experience, depending on how much time you have. While you can stay in Burgundy wine country, we’ve used both Lyon to the South and Dijon to the North as our home base to tour this region. Both are wonderful cities worth a few days in themselves. Below, we’ll describe a few of the Burgundy wine experiences we have most enjoyed. We hope you find these suggestions helpful o...

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5 Tips To Consider When Choosing A Wine Tour

by Marla Durben Hirsch

Going on a wine tour is a great way to learn about the wine in an area. However, these trips vary tremendously; you don’t want to spend money on a tour and end up disappointed. Here are some suggestions to help you choose a wine tour that suits you best. 1) Do your research. Conduct an internet search to find out what tours are offered in the region you wish to visit. Tour sites that aggregate tours and activities, such as Get Your Guide and Viator, can help you start. Don’t limit yourself to just the aggregators, since a lot of tour operators don’t work with these companies. Cast a wide net to start to see what options you have. I usually start by Googling the region I’m visiting to see what options are out there. 2) Narrow down the type of tour you’re looking for. D...

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