IN THIS ISSUE
Reserve your spot now before they’re all gone, then select your sessions in August.
Be sure to vote in the election when you receive your ballot later this summer.
Learn more about your AWS benefits, become involved, and track trending titles.
From simply learning more about wine, to becoming a Certified Wine Judge with Merit, to designation as a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist, AWS offers an avenue to suit you.
Chapters that have already judged this year’s wines reported excellent quality. Join them in rating the wines of the Southern Rhone.
The educational foundation also offers a new streamlined Silent Auction process and seeks candidates for its board.
Kevin Kourofsky catalogs some of the many challenges on an amateur winemaker’s calendar.
Your fellow AWS members have had some exceptional experiences lately; read what they’ve been up to.
Registration is open for the National Conference!
We are creating another amazing program for you at our National Conference, scheduled this year for November 9–11 in St. Louis, Missouri, and I am thrilled that so many people already are talking about attending.
To ease the burden on our registration system and to allow members to make earlier travel plans, we are continuing our established tradition of having earlier conference registration.
This month, you can register for the conference, and then in August you will sign up for sessions.
Please read the following information carefully. If you have questions, send an e-mail to me or call the National Office during business hours.
Registration opened June 21 for all AWS members
To register, use the registration link on the AWS website. Every member who would like to attend the 2023 Conference must register and pay the fee ($595/person). Registration will stay open until tickets sell out; it’s a first-come, first-served basis.
Note: Every AWS member has an individual American Wine Society website Username and Password and must use it to register. If you don’t know your login information, please contact Member Service Manager Colleen Reardon, 570-344-3640, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members will receive the digital conference brochure, via email, detailing speakers and sessions.
Everyone who is registered and paid in full must select sessions. Unlike registering for the National Conference, this is not a first-come, first-served procedure, so you have four full days to make your choices. Once the window closes to select sessions, we will randomly assign sessions using a program specifically designed to give everyone the same number of 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices. We used this session selection procedure successfully for many years, so it should be familiar to past attendees.
If you fail to select sessions by the close of the 4-day time frame in August, you still can choose your sessions at a later date from those with available seats remaining. If you have questions or difficulty, please contact the National Office.
Attendees will be notified of session assignments soon after the session selection process ends.
If you are dissatisfied with your session assignments and wish to cancel your conference registration, notify us by August 31. We will refund your registration fee, and you may cancel your hotel reservation at no charge.
Help AWS move forward by selecting its national leaders
Later this summer, you will receive an email allowing you to help select national officers of the American Wine Society. This year, you will elect members to serve as Director of Member Service and Treasurer, with 3-year terms beginning on January 1, 2024:
The nomination period for these offices closed in May, and the Governance Committee now is evaluating nominees.
When you receive the chance to vote, please do so. Over the 50-plus years of our existence, AWS has benefitted from the many members who have come forward to selflessly contribute their time and talents in the management and advancement of our organization.
Your participation in the election is a great way to help enhance the membership experience and provide for the organization’s current and future growth and existence.
Take advantage of two more opportunities this year — on September 11 and December 11 — for 1-hour Uncork & Discover events that review the perks, programs, and projects that accompany your AWS membership.
Beginning at 8 p.m., Eastern time / 5 p.m., Pacific time, each evening, Board members and project leaders will chat with you and answer your questions. A glass of wine and enthusiasm are encouraged, and a pleasurable time is guaranteed!
Watch for more details in your email as the dates approach.
The AWS Membership Committee is looking to add outgoing, innovative, creative AWS members to our panel.
The Membership Committee focuses on telling the AWS story and its benefits and programs to strangers, and on attracting and informing wine-loving, knowledge-seeking, enthusiastic members. Good writing and speaking skills are a definite plus.
If you’re passionate about building the organization and can contribute 1 to 3 hours each month for committee meetings and associated tasks/projects, please get in touch with Carrie A. Garczynski, Director of Member Service.
Please note that the title ‘Regional Vice President’ has been changed to ‘Regional Ambassador,’ and the ‘Executive Advisory Board’ has been renamed as the ‘Volunteer Leadership Team.’
Get some AWS swag
You can get some great AWS-branded apparel, totes, hats, and more through our vendor’s website. Check out the link below for brand name items such as Marmot, Adidas, Columbia, etc., and you will be looking hot sporting your AWS goods!
Take advantage of your many available educational opportunities
From simply learning more about wine, to becoming a Certified Wine Judge with Merit, to designation as a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist, AWS offers an avenue to suit you.
WineSmarts I and II are accepting registrations now
Two popular education programs are now accepting registration for attendance at this year’s National Conference in St. Louis.
WineSmarts I (formerly called Super Tasting) is an entertaining and interactive way to explore the basics of how wine is made and to learn to taste and evaluate wines with the wine aroma wheel using some principal wine varieties.
Now in its seventh year, the course covers 18 wines, including flavor profiles and region highlights. The course also covers the basics of food and wine pairing and includes a certificate for passing the optional final exam.
- Date: Thursday, November 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central time.
- Cost: $200 per person (lunch included); payable in advance.
Sign up now using this link to ensure your spot!
WineSmarts II, now in its second year, dives deeper into various winemaking processes and explores how climate and terroir affect growing regions and their resulting wines.
This course covers 19 wines and takes food and wine pairing to the next level by evaluating, comparing and contrasting flavors. (Note that WineSmarts I is not a required prerequisite to register for this class. This course includes a certificate for passing the optional final exam, which would come in handy when a level III is added to this series!
- Date: Thursday, November 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central time.
- Cost: $200 per person (lunch included); payable in advance.
Sign up early using this link to ensure your spot!
For more information about either of these courses, contact Sharyn Kervyn at: email@example.com. We look forward to having you venture with us into the fascinating and fun world of wine!
Take your Certified Wine Judge designation to the next level
We already have qualifiers and people who have registered for the AWS Wine Judge with Merit Program —and you can, too.
If you are an AWS Certified Wine Judge, now you can be recognized and rewarded for your continuing education efforts and wine judging activities for each year that you enroll in this program.
For an annual fee of $50, Certified Wine Judges who attain 15 or more continuing education units (CEUs) within the current year will receive the post-nominal (CWJ with Merit), a certificate, and lapel pin.
The program begins each year in January and continues through December 31 of that year. Candidates must submit their completed required CEU application to the AWS Director of Education by December 15 of each year for verification and approval.
Early submission is available for those who wish to be recognized at the National Conference.
Register using this link. Once you have registered, complete the CEU application using this link and then send the completed application by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use the email address if you simply want more information.
Fortifying the story of Sherry wine
Popularity is surging worldwide for Sherry, a fortified wine that comes from Spain’s deep south.
Take advantage of the opportunity this year as an AWS member to learn more about this formerly overlooked wine, and even earn a designation at a discounted rate as a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS®).
Two online sessions, each for 2 hours, are upcoming:
- July 31 at 7 p.m., Eastern time: Part 1 on Sherry Wine Theory for Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS)
- August 4 at 7 p.m., Eastern time: Part 2 Sherry Tasting and Exam for Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS)
Lucas Paya, Lustau Brand Educator, will conduct the online classes in partnership with Wine Scholar Guild.
Attendance for both 2-hour classes), a manual, other materials, and the Sherry Certification Exam are discounted to $99 tuition for AWS members (regularly $129 at Wine Scholar Guild).
In addition to the two classes, you will have access to the CSWS digital manual and other downloadable material. This CSWS manual contains rich imagery, videos, maps and infographics — each chapter being designed for maximum content retention and using an interactive approach. The manual consists of eight chapters:
- History of the region
- Jerez – Xérèz – Sherry
- Urban terroir
- Sherry diversity
- Enjoying sherry wines
Also included are downloadable materials to enhance your studies, such as maps, infographics, a quick guide with tips and suggestions, practical guides, and pronunciation exercises.
This program also requires you have available a proscribed mixed half-case of Lustau wines, which includes 375 ml bottles of sherries ranging from dry to sweet (Jarana Reserve and Puerto Fino Sherry, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximenez). This variety of sherry wines can be purchased for $79.99 at:
- West Coast: https://members.crunchyredfruit.com/product/detail/WSGSherryPack/
(unable to ship to Utah)
- East Coast: https://www.zachys.com/lustau-sherry-experience-combo-pack-375ml-507910.html
(unable to ship to Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Utah)
Those who receive a passing score of 75 percent on the 50-question CSWS exam will receive the designation of Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. This Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, President of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those who do not achieve a passing grade.
Individuals who earn the CSWS title and CSWS post-nominal may incorporate it into a professional signature (for example, John Smith, CSWS). The highest exam scorers from this CSWS course also will have an opportunity to apply for an honorary seat (2 available per year) reserved annually by César Saldaña (President of the Sherry Regulatory Council) for the Sherry Educator Course in Jerez, Spain.
It’s always a good time to rate your NTP wines
Several chapters have already judged this year’s National Tasting Project (NTP) wines — featuring wines of the Southern Rhone — and reported excellent quality. If you are interested in participating, please visit the NTP website.
AWS members who are either a chapter chair, regional ambassador (RA), or NTP organizer can register to receive the most recent NTP updates. And, any chapter or AWS member can organize an NTP.
After your registration is reviewed and approved, log in to view the organizer’s menu items for more information and get details for how to order wines.
Any registered NTP organizer can order the NTP wines. And, every NTP wine is still available except for Fortia. (Remember to use discount code when ordering.)
As a bonus, the retailer, MyWineEmpire, offers a 20% discount to any AWS member for any non-sale wines from its online store. Ask your NTP organizer for the discount code.
It’s fun to taste, judge, discuss, and compare scores. Not enough members in your chapter or don’t want to travel? You can make it a Zoom NTP!
Need more information? Contact me by email at NTP@AmericanWineSociety.org.
AWSEF has selected its 2023 scholarship recipients
The American Wine Society Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees in early May reviewed the completed scholarship applications that had been submitted from 28 well-qualified master’s and Ph.D. students. As this newsletter is being published, we are contacting this year’s scholarship recipients, and , once they’ve confirmed they are still qualified, we will announce the awards.
We were delighted to have students apply from 15 different universities across the United States and Canada, including from several universities that have not been represented previously.
Donations for the 2023 Silent Auction will be easier than ever!
We have a “new and improved” form on our website for items you would like to donate to the annual Silent Auction, which you can complete online, download, and email to us. No more having to print and mail a paper form!
You can also find the form on our Facebook page.
We are looking forward to having a great Silent Auction, and we cannot do it without your donations. Thank you!
Call for candidates
We are seeking people with enthusiasm and a readiness to work to fill three positions on our Board of Directors.
The AWS membership vote on the candidates on the AWSEF Board of Trustees in September.
Candidates should prepare 2 short paragraphs, totaling 75 words or less. The first paragraph should emphasize the candidate’s qualifications (years of AWS membership, committee, activities, etc.). The second paragraph should outline what the candidate would like to accomplish if elected.
These paragraphs should be forwarded to me at email@example.com. Please call me with any questions, 256-424-3667.
Best wishes for a delightful wine-filled summer!
Winemaker’s corner: A year in the cellar (an amateur winemaker’s calendar)
Amateur winemakers are not a uniform bunch. We are diverse and unconstrained by market forces or labeling laws, or much of any legal prohibition except good common sense and a prohibition on making more than 200 gallons per family per year. Or selling any of that wine.
But the laws of nature still apply, and to make good wine, we amateurs should be organized just like our professional cousins. Inspired by the Vintners Institute’s Seven Stages of Winemaking, I will attempt to catalog some of the many challenges that each month offers to the non-professional winemaker.
To have your chapter’s event included in the AWS News, e-mail your tasting results to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sending it to any other email address risks getting it overlooked.
Be sure to follow the format specified for Chapter Events, which you can download from the AWS website.
Include the cost of the wines you tasted, plus scores or rankings. This information lets other members know what you liked and which wines were good values.
AND … please send us sharp, interesting pictures from your event. We would love to share those, too.
AWS participated in a Winter Wine Weekend
More than 50 AWS members from 9 states attended the 3rd annual Winter Wine Weekend at the Hotel Madison in Harrisonburg, Virginia from February 23–25.
The event, which showcased Shenandoah Valley wines at its grand tasting, was in the territory of the first AWS chapter in the valley, chaired by Kris Springer. It received a boost as AWS President Bill Stefan and Northern Virginia Regional Ambassador Jerry Fisher recruited a number of presenters from AWS to conduct 10 seminars.
Planning has already started for the 4th Annual Winter Wine Weekend next year. AWS members at the Hotel Madison management plan to attend our next National Conference in Missouri to learn from our experience.
The Kish Valley (PA) Chapter met on March 26 at Stonefly Cafe in Reedsville PA. Thirty-one members and three guests were present. The evening’s program was a quintessential wine and cheese pairing including three local cheeses presented by member Bart Ewing and 6 wines,(2 whites and 4 reds), carefully selected by Chairman Scott Bubb, owner of Seven Mountains WIne Cellars.
Goat cheese, or chevre, with a garlic herb flavor and 100 percent grass pastured is a major feature of Byler Goat Dairy located in Belleville, PA, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all members, as was an aged cheddar (12-16 months) and Pirate bleu cheese from Clover Creek Cheese Cellars in Williamsburg, PA.
During the tasting, Scott instructed the members to first taste the wine, then the cheese and again the wine, noting any discernible differences. He reminded everyone that no other food and wine pairing is more complementary than wine and cheese! However, bleu cheese can be trickier to pair, usually tasting best with a red wine, and often a port.
It was determined by the majority that the Chevre paired best with the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, the aged cheddar was enjoyed most with the Cabernet Franc, and the blue cheese was delicious with the Alamus Malbec. While scoring was close, 4 wines stood out. Below are the results from highest to lowest:
- Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), $16
- 2014 Seven Mountains Cabernet Franc, $20
- Stefania Champagne (Ukraine), $17
- Alamos Malbec, $16
The March 17 tasting of the San Luis Obispo (CA) Chapter featured examples of Syrah from Paso Robles, Santa Barbera County, and the Rhône Valley. The guest speaker was Molly Lonborg, Winemaker at Alta Colina in Paso Robles.
Alta Colina produces about 3,000 cases of Rhône varietals annually, including 3 Syrahs, from its 31-acre estate vineyard in the Adelaida district. Its vineyard is at an altitude of 1,800 feet and tends to produce prominent tannins in the wines. To round-out the flavor of her Syrah, Molly will sometimes add a small percentage of Viognier as is often done in the northern Rhône Valley. Here are the results of our blind tasting
- 2019 Domaine Durand AOC Cornas, $47
- 2020 Alta Colina “Toasted Slope” Paso Robles AVA, $65
- 2019 Beckman Ballard Canyon AVA, $33 (3)
- 2018 Linquist Santa Maria Valley AVA, $45
- 2020 Domaine des Remizitres AOC Crozes-Hermitage, $18
- 2019 Eberle “Steinbeck Vyd” Paso Robles AVA, $29 (2)
- 2019 Domine Verzier AOC Saint-Joseph, $30
- 2019 Melville Santa Rita Hills AVA, $39
- 2018 Adelaida “Anna’s Vyd” Adelaida AVA, $50 (1)
The Shallotte (NC) Chapter held a meeting April 2 at Sea Biscuit Restaurant for a Spanish wine and food dinner prepared by its excellent chef.
In all, we had 20 attendees — 15 members and 5 guests. Apparently, the guests enjoyed the wine, dinner, and presentation in that 3 of them decided to join AWS.
We learned about Spanish wines; more than 400 varietals have been planted but 88% of the wines are produced from only 20 grapes. It is difficult to know all the regions in Spain since there are over 138 designations. The simple method is to break it down into 7 distinct climates and their regions.
We received nothing but praise for the food and wine pairing with others asking when we will return.
The Venice (FL) Vinos Chapter held a tasting on Sunday, April 16, hosted by Ken and Margarite Grezlik at the Sun Outdoors Recreation Center in Sarasota. The theme was wines of Portugal. A wonderful selection of food items was provided by 21 members to accompany the wines.
- 2022 Quinta Azevedo Vinho Verde, $13
- 2021 Carvalhais Grao Vasco Dao, $11 (best white and best overall value)
- 2021 Vinha Tinto Alentejano, $13
- 2019 Altimo Vinho Tinto Dao, $15
- 2018 Quinto das Carvalhas Tinto Douro, $16 (best red)
- Sandeman Fine Rich Madeira, $20 (best fortified)
- Taylor Fladgate Select Reserve Port, $30
The 50 Shades of Grapes (NJ) Chapter met in April for dinner at Merighi’s Savoy Inn, in Vineland New Jersey. The wines tasted wines were paired with each course, and the group enjoyed conversation about the history of the California wineries involved:
- NV Scarffenberger Brut Rose
- 2018 Davis Bynum River West Chardonnay
- 2017 Ramey Russian River Pinot Noir
- 2012 Sharfer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon
Starting with the basics of single varietal, single vineyard, and blended wines, he then reviewed wine’s visual clarity along with the nose and bouquet before diving into the unique characteristics of Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. Each guest then received two different wines in two different glasses and were challenged with determining “What’s in my glass?”
- Oak Ridge 2020 Zinfandel from Lodi, $16
- Markham 2019 Merlot from Napa Valley, $29
- Oak Ridge 2020 Petite Sirah from Lodi, $16
- Uńanime 2018 Malbec from Argentina, $22
- La Mascola Cabernet Franc from Argentina, $16
- Gordon Estates 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, $24
- Conundrum Blend 2020, $25
- Uńanime Red Blend 2017 from Argentina, $24
To celebrate the end of another great evening we joined together in a swirl and toast to becoming connoisseurs, answering the question of “What’s in my glass?” with “It begins with W and ends with E!”
The Rochester (NY) Chapter met April 23 at Salt of the Earth restaurant in Union Springs, NY, for a tasting featuring Food & Wine Pairings of Red Wines of the Finger Lakes, presented by Nancy Gable and Mike Boise. Twenty-Two members enjoyed 6 wines paired with delicious bites, showing the development of Finger Lakes Red Wines and how easily they can be paired with food.
- 2021 Gamay Noir by Sheldrake Point, $15, paired with: Gold potato- Panko crust- brown butter whipped potato- tender greens- fennel pollen- smoked eggplant- Kalamata- chile pepper creme fraiche- crisp prosciutto- sun choke
- 2021 T23 Unoaked Cabernet Franc by Lamoreaux Landing. $14. Paired with: Empanadilla- Beef short rib- sofrito- scallion- tomato jam- NY cheddar- fresh tomato salad- Serrano – kalamata olive oil 2018 Cabernet Franc Barrel Select by Domaine LeSeurre $28 Paired with above.
- 2019 Pinot Noir by Nathan K Wines. $30. Paired with: Mole- Porcini- crimini- shiitake- oyster mushroom- porcini mole- scallion salad- smoked maldon- chorizo- spring ramp butter
- 2019 Maximilien by Ravines Winery. $27. Paired with: Steak Diane- Flat iron steak- shallot- cognac- fresh cream
- 2020 Saperavi by Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. $30. Paired with: Cheese- Mimolette – manchego- port salut- black pepper corn cheddar- salt and black pepper roll- spring ramp butter- olive oil- smoked maldon salt- green apple
Twenty-nine members and guests of the Piedmont (SC) Wine and Vine Chapter met on April 23 in the pavillion of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Don and Val Vandersloot hosted a Beaujolais tasting of Crus and presented 6 wines from the region with a welcoming sparkling Rose from the Loire Valley. Every Beaujolais came from a separate Cru area. As usual, everyone brought an assortment of food to be paired with the wines.
- NV Bouvert Rose, $15
- 2021 Laurent Perrachon et Files, Chardonnay, $16
- 2020 Chiroubles Domaine Gilles Paris, $27
- 2021 Cote de Brouilly Domain du Davillion de Chavnnes, $27
- 2021 Domaine Les Fines Graves,from Chenas $23
- 2021 Domaine Les Fines, from Moulin, $23
- 2020 Morrgon Les Charmes, $18
In April, 12 members of the Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter cruised through Germany on the AWS river cruise aboard the AmaPrima. Paul Wagner and Barbara Frank hosted several wine tasting sessions and dinners as we cruised from Nuremburg to Luxembourg on the Rhine, Main and Mosel Rivers. Many of us tasted our first Ebling and Silvaner wines, and they were delicious.
Eleven members of the Northampton (PA) Chapter in April enjoyed wines in a tasting organized by Bob and Susan Ziegenfus. The favorites were Meritage wines, all in the “extraordinary” AWS scoring category. USA Wine Ratings organization ranks VA #5 nationwide with these Meritage wines leading the way.
Bob’s presentation was well supplemented by many excellent photos of each of the wineries as well as much educational info about the varietals and history of the wineries. The tasting was followed by a tasty meal carefully planned and presented by Susan! Cheers!
- 2020 Early Mt. Cab Franc, $48
- 2019 Barren Ridge Petit Verdot, $35
- 2019 Maggie Malick Tempranillo, $44
- 2019 Breaux Nebbiolo, $52
- 2019 Jefferson Meritage, $50 (2)
- 2019 King Family Heritage, $42
- 2017 Pollak Meritage, $65 (3)
- 2016 Michael Shaps Meritage, $50 (1)
On Friday, April 21, about 28 members and guests of the San Luis Obispo (CA) Chapter guests got the special opportunity to check-out the new Center for Wine and Viticulture on the California Polytechnic University campus. We were hosted by Benoit Lecat, head of the Department of Wine and Viticulture, who gave us an engaging and in-depth tour.
The facility includes a 5,000-case bonded 15,600-square-foot winery and a research lab. Both student and commercial wines will be produced here, as well as faculty and student research wines.
An adjacent facility also includes a 12,000-square-foot building with viticulture and enology labs, lecture/reception areas, and shared offices for faculty and students. There is also an event hall for academia, industry, and the community to come together.
The center is not open to the general public and the university doesn’t have a license to sell wine or conduct commercial tastings. Dr. Lecat generously gave each of us a bottle of Cal Poly wine so we could taste it at home.
On April 30, 2023, the North Wake (NC) Chapter held a meeting and tasting at Heritage View Clubhouse in Wake Forest with 37 members and guests attending.
Member Michele Sherer presented 6 Chardonnays from 3 wine regions: one from California (Santa Barbara County), 2 from Australia (Margaret River, Adelaide Hills), and 3 from France (Chablis).
Michele presented interesting information concerning Chardonnay regions and the characteristics of what makes great wines. We learned that Margaret Valley in Western Australia is making some of the best Chardonays in the southern hemisphere. Michele spent time discussing Chablis, including information on the soils that contribute to its distinctive Chardonnay, as well as the definition of Villages in Chablis: an official and governmental unit of land.
We tasted the following Chardonnays.
- 2021 Diatom Santa Barbara County, $23 (6)
- 2021 Vasse Felix Margaret River, $28 (5)
- 2021 Shaw + Smith M3 Adelaide Hills, $39 (3-tie)
- 2020 William Févre Chablis, $50 (1)
- 2018 Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis Vielles Vignes, $43 (3-tie)
- 2020 Bernard Defaix Chablis Fourchaume 1er Cru, $55 (2)
All prices are local. Some wines were on sale.
For the April tasting of the Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter, Joe Pugliese treated 45 members to a wonderful tasting of 12 wines from Puglia, Italy. Joe shared extensive research and funny anecdotes about the wines. He reminded us that Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same grape and the best Primitivos come from the di Manduria region.
Brochette, garlic knots and pizza were served during the tasting, followed by a delicious dinner buffet at Teresas’ Italian Restaurant. We had 32 score sheets for all 12 wines. The average wine scores ranged from about 13–18 out of 20. The first wine was white, followed by a rose, and the remaining 10 wines were red. All but one red wine outscored the non-red wines.
- San Marzano Edda Bianco 2020, $18
- Tormaresca Negroamaro Rosato Calafuria 2020, $18
- Damati Red Blend 2021, $12
- Tormaresca Trentangeli Castel Del Monte 2018, $26
- San Marzano 62 Anniversario Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2017, $35 (1)
- Produttori Vini Manduria “Sonetto” Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2016, $46
- La Pruina Primitivo di Manduria 2021, $15
- Varvaglione Papale Primitivo di Manduria 2015, $25
- Piano Del Cerro Aglianico del Vulture 2016, $35
- Tormaresca Aglianico Castel Del Monte 2014, $65 (2-tie)
- Schola Sarmenti Negroamaro ‘Roccamora’ 2020, $16 (2-tie)
- Schola Sarmenti Antieri Susumaniello 2017, $26 (4)
On April 2, members of the Hammonton (NJ) Chapter gathered at the home of Jennifer Merkel for a tasting of Greek wines. Greek food was served along with the wines. Our top three wines of the day were:
- 2021 Rouvalis Tsigello, $22
- 2019 Apostolos Thymiopulos Xinomavro, $30
- 2017 Moraitis Paros (75% Mandilaria, 25% Monemvassia), $15
On April 16, members of the Hammonton (NJ) Chapter gathered again at the home of Sherry Gerber, where Sherry and Lori Cronin hosted us for tasting wines from Southern France. The wines tasted were from regions including Languedoc-Roussillon, and Rhône Valley. Our top three wines of the day were:
- Les Darons 2020 Grenache/Syrah/Carignan, $13
- Guigal 1999, $40
- Art de Vivre 2016 GSM, $23
The monthly meeting of the Shallotte (NC) Chapter on May 3 was titled “Celebrity Wines,” which included 7 wines from various types of celebrities (actors/actresses/sports figures, etc.).
Our 15 attending members learned that celebrity involvement could be as minimal as name recognition to hands-on participation throughout the wine making process. We also learned that wine producers use their association with celebrities to boost wine sales and introduce non-wine drinking people to wine.
In addition, the breakdown of costs for a $50 bottle of wine was presented. Here we learned that 56% of the cost is overhead. In fact, if a celebrity wine is not selling, then the distributor and/or wine store will take a hit when the price is reduced.
All the wines were rated, with the following ranked outcomes:
- The Calling 2021 Pinot Noir (Jim Nantz), $37
- Charles Woodson’s Intercept 2018 Red Blend, $20
- Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Cut 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, $16
- Miraval 2022 Cote de Provence Rose (Brad Pitt), $23
- Alexander Brown Uncaged 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, $14
- Invivo X SJP 2022 Sauvignon Blanc (Sarah Jessica Parker), $20
- LVE N/V French Sparkling Rose (John Legend), $17
There was only a relatively small spread in points separating the top-rated to the 7th-rated wine.
In May, the members of the Hammonton (NJ) Chapter gathered at Indieblue in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, for a tasting hosted by Patti and Pette Bronecke. The theme of our tasting was wines that would pair well with Indian food. Our top three wines of the day were:
- 2021 Aveleda Vinho Verde, $10
- 2022 Navarro Rose of Pinot Noir, $25
- 2018 Artazu Granacha, $20
The Venice (FL) Vinos Chapter held a tasting on Sunday, May 21, at the clubhouse at Village Walk community in Sarasota, hosted by Theresa Sentel. There were 29 members in attendance. The theme was Pinot Noir from around the world.
- Tissot Maire Cremant du Jura Rose sparkling, France, $19
- LeColline Pinot Noir, Italy, $10 (best value)
- Heidemanns Pinot Noir, Germany, $20
- Fernridge Pinot Noir, New Zealand, $22
- Conscious Pinot Noir, Oregon, $15 (best wine)
- Olema Pinot Noir, Sonoma, $20
- E DeLaunay Bourg Septembre Burgundy, $25
The Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter met on May 21 at the home of Pam Davey to discover California Cabernets. We welcomed 1 new national member and 4 guests.
Nick and Asa Ahlenback presented with the support of Pam Davey and Alex Boykin. There are 260 AVAs in California alone, with over 90% of U.S. wine produced in the state. This makes it the fourth-ranked producer in the world behind Italy, France, and Spain.
California is ideal for winemaking due to its climate, variety of soils, variety of grapes, and the progressive attitude. As the king of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon is a late-ripening, small, and easy-to-grow grape.
- 2020 Courtney Benham Terroir, $20
- 2019 Sobon Estate Cabernet, $20
- 2021 Muirwood Cabernet Sauvignon, $17
- 2020 Twisted Paso Cabernet, $25
- 2019 Olema Cabernet Sauvignon, $30 (3)
- 2019 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon, $28 (1)
- 2019 Mettler Cabernet Sauvignon, $23 (2)
This tasting was a favorite for many as many of our members love the big bold reds. So, you can be sure we will all be celebrating on September 4, when the world celebrates Cabernet Sauvignon Day.
Certified Wine Judge and Ocean Isle Beach (NC) Chapter board member Carol Maher took the lead at the May meeting, guiding those in attendance through the intricate world of wine judging. Carol began with an interesting review of the Southern Rhone region of France, sharing her personal experience with the geography, the terroir, and the “Mistral” wind, which contributes to the unique flavor of wine from the region.
We learned about the primary grapes of the region, which has seen wine production for over 2,000 years. An overview of the area’s white and red varietals and blends were discussed before the tasting began. Carol explained to those in attendance how to judge a wine’s appearance, aroma, and taste based on wearing the “hat of a judge.”
Members judged 6 excellent wines:
- 2000 Jean Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Blanc “Les Abeilles, $18
- 2021 E Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc, $19
- 2020 Chateau La Nerthe Les Cassagnes Côtes du Rhône Village, $24
- 2016 Château de Nalys Chateauneuf-du-Pape Gran Vin, $75
- 2019 Château Fortia Chateauneuf-du-Pape Curée Du Baron, $55
- 2019 E Guigal Gigondas, $43
- 2020 Domaine de Durban Muscat Beaume De Venise $22
At the end of the evening the consensus was that, while judging wine can be fun, drinking fine wine is even better!
The Piedmont (SC) Wine and Vine Chapter met on May 21 at the home of Linda and Randy Hurteau in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Hurteaus sponsored a wine tasting entitled “what we like to drink”. This consisted of 3 white and 3 red wines from France and California. These wines are very affordable and are easily paired with food. There were 28 people, including chapter guests, who attended.
- 2020 Grazzano, Chenin Blanc, California, $15
- 2021 Fournier, Sauvignon Blanc, France, $17
- 2022 Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Orange, California, $14
- 2021 Sean Minor, Red Blend, California, $20
- 2020 Sobon Estate Fiddletown, Zinfandel, $24
- 2021 Tomareesca, Red Blend, California, $18
On Saturday, May 6, Napa Solano (CA) Chapter held a wine tasting focusing on wines rated 92 and costing under $20! Ratings came from an assortment of wine experts including Wilford Wong, James Suckling, and many others.
A flight of 4 white wines was followed by a flight of 4 red wines. Two bonus wines also made their way into the tasting. Wines below are listed in the order of presentation.
- Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blancs NV, $19
- Bodegas Fillaboa Albarino Rias Baixas 2021, $15
- Zuccardi Serie A Torrontes 2021, $18
- Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2021, $20
- Cune Crianza 2019, $15
- Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2020, $13
- Vina San Pedro 1865 Selected Vineyards, $20
- Daou Vineyards Pessimist Red Blend 2021, $20
Often, there is a disconnect between expert ratings and tasters’ opinions; however, in this case the high ratings were supported. The group was surprised and, in some cases, amazed over the price point of many of the wines. Interestingly, within the reds, the 2 highest scores came from the least expensive wines, the wines coming from Argentina and Chile.
This was a highly enjoyable tasting. Here in the Napa area, it is a challenge to find delicious wines that are at a reasonable price point. This tasting proved that they do exist. Winemakers throughout the world are doing an excellent job making excellent wine costing less than $20.
On May 21, 2023, the North Wake (NC) Chapter met and tasted at Heritage View Clubhouse in Wake Forest with 41 members and guests attending. We began the event by tasting a sparkling wine from the Jones von Drehle winery, Yadkin Valley, NC. This was its first release of a sparkling wine.
Co-chair Jay Davis then introduced guest presenter Brandon Dubrock, general manager of Dossier Wine in Walla Walla, Washington. Brandon has considerable experience in the Washington wine industry and provided us with information on Washington AVAs; the various soil types in the Walla Walla AVA, and how they affect the characteristics of the wine; how Dossier selects and blends fruit from various Washington AVAs; and the significance that different types of aging vessels—including concrete—play in the taste and quality of the wine. Dossier is a new winery and we tasted the first 5 releases from the Dossier folio.
- 2020 Rosé, Columbia Valley, $28 (5)
- 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley, $42 (2)
- 2021 Flagship Viognier, Columbia Valley, $58 (4)
- 2021 Dossier Red Blend, $60 (3)
- 2021 Flagship Syrah, Columbia Valley, $80 (1)
Many thanks to Alan and Annette Derkacs of the Northampton (PA) Chapter for planning and acquiring 8 Zinfandels for an educational vertical tasting. Attended by 19 chapter members on May 7, we all enjoyed the unique aroma and taste characteristics of this single varietal for vintages ranging from 2013 to 2018 and had lively discussion throughout the tasting. The scores were close with all average scores within the excellent range for AWS scoring standards.
- 2013 Mockingbird Hill Dry Creek Valley Reserve, $14
- 2014 Mockingbird Hill Dry Creek Valley Reserve, $14
- 2015 Mockingbird Hill Dry Creek Valley Reserve, $14 (2)
- 2016 Mockingbird Hill Dry Creek Valley Reserve, $14 (1)
- 2017 Mockingbird Hill Dry Creek Valley Reserve, $15 (3)
- 2018 Mockingbird Hill Dry Creek Valley Reserve, $14
- 2018 Renwood Old Vine Premier, $12
- 2018 Seven Deadly Zins Lodi Old Vine, $15
On May 21, 18 members and guests of the Perkiomen Valley (PA) Chapter spent a lovely, sunny afternoon exploring part 2 of the National Tasting Project (NTP). As with part 1 of the chapter’s NTP tasting in April, the lineup featured Wines of the Southern Rhone.
The wines, in order of tasting and with prices paid, were:
- 2021 E. Guidal Cotes du Rhone Blanc, $19
- 2020 Chateau La Nerthe Les Cassagnes Cotes du Rhone Villages, $24
- 2021 Domaine de Beaurenard Cotes du Rhone, $27
- 2019 Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tradition, $55
- 2019 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Domaine Grand Roman, $30
- 2018 Chateau du Trignon Rasteau, $30
The NTP unites AWS members across the country for a themed educational wine tasting. The NTP committee chooses a different theme each year and selects several wines that exemplify different styles within that theme. We submit our results to the NTP website, and at the end of the year we see how our scores compare to other AWS chapters/members.
The Rochester (NY) Chapter met on Sunday, May 21, at Parkway Discount Wine & Liquor, hosted by the general manager/wine buyer, Matt Strassman & Erica Sato, for a tasting featuring Iberian Wines. Eighteen members and 4 guests were present.
Many of the wines presented were of never heard of grapes, and much was learned about the grapes, the location, and the terrain.
- 2021 Can Feixes Blanco Seleccio, from Penedes, Catalunya Spain — a white blend of 41% Parellada, 29% Macabeo, 17% Xarel-lo, 8% Chardonnay, and 5% Malvasia de Sitges. $17
- 2021 Gaintza Tsakolina, from Getariako Txakolina, Basque, Spain — a white blend of 85% Hondarrabi Suri, 15% Gros Manseng. $20
- 2021 Finca Torremilanos Penalba Lopez Blanco, from Castilla Y Leon, Spain — a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Viura, and 10% Abillo. $21
- 2018 Quinta de Arcosso Bastardo, from Tras-os-montes, Trasmonsanto, Portugal — 100% Bastardo. $17
- 2018 Quinta de Saes Tinto, from Dao, Beiras, Portugal —a blend of 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Alfrocheiro, 25% Jain, and 25% Tinta Roriz. $17
- 2016 Bodegas Muriel Fincas de la Villa Riserva, from Rioja, Spain — 100% Tempranillo. $19 (1)
- 2020 Black Slate Gratallops, from Priorat, Catalunya, Spain — a blend of Garnacha, Carignan, and Syrah. $24 (2)
- 2014 Casa Santos Lima, from Lisboa, Portugal — a blend of Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, and Tinta Roriz. $15 (3)
At its May 19 meeting, the San Luis Obispo (CA) Chapter tasted and discussed Pinot Noir wines from San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties. The guest speaker was Nathan Carlson, Winemaker at Center of Effort in Edna Valley.
Before attendees did a blind tasting, Nathan generously poured his Center of Effort 2020 Fossil Point Pinot Noir ($25), which is sourced from 7 estate and non-estate vineyards. Here are the results of the blind tasting:
- 2021 Hahn Arroyo Seco, $25
- 2019 Wolff “Dijon Clone Selection” Edna Valley, $42
- 2021 Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills, $42
- 2018 Center of Effort Edna Valley, $55 (1)
- 2019 Foxen Santa Maria Valley, $37
- 2019 Mer Soleil-Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands, $32
- 2020 Union Sucre-Spanish Springs Vineyard SLO Coast, $37 (2)
- 2018 Folktale-Estate Monterey County, $50
- 2021 Ampelos Santa Rita Hills, $35 (3)
Kevin Campbell, the May tasting host of the Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter took attendees to the cooler climate of France’s Loire Valley, which is famous for its white wines. It is second only to Champagne in producing sparkling wines.
The tasting started with rose ice breaker from the Anjou region, followed by tastings of two sparkling wines, and then moved to the Chenin Blancs and Sauvignon Blancs of the Vouvray, Sancerre, and Pouilly-Fume regions.
Spicy and herbaceous Cabernet Franc is the dominant red wine of the Loire Valley. We closed the tasting with 2 highly rated Cabernet Francs from the Middle Loire areas of Samur and Bourgueil.
Following the tasting, Ecco Domani in Coopersburg served a delicious buffet dinner specifically designed to complement the Loire Valley wines. It was a fun and educational event.
Thirty-two score sheets had reasonable scores for all 10 wines. The first two wines were sparkling, and last two wines were red (Cabernet Franc); the other 8 were white.
- Domaine De La Petite Roche Brut, $17
- Herivault Vignobel des Augustins Brut, $19
- Domaine des Baluettes Les Coteaux Sur Lie, $13
- Tania and Vincent Careme, $14
- Domaine du Chapitre, $12 (1)
- Jean Pabiot Fius Caillottes, $33 (3)
- Domaine Xavier Frissant, $15 (2)
- Domaine Gerard Fiou le Grand Roc, $43
- Domaine de I’Enchantoir le Pied a I’etrier, $22
- Domaine Pitault Landry la Loge, $13
The June 7 meeting of the Shallotte (NC) Chapter was titled “Wines of Australia,” which included 6 wines from different geographic regions of Australia. Our 15 attending members learned that Australian wines were started in 1778 with cuttings from South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. These first cuttings failed, but through perseverance, initial domestic availability occurred around the 1820’s. We also learned that Barossa Valley was settled by Prussian immigrants in the 1850s. Australia is one of the largest exporters of wine, which contributes roughly $3.5 billion to its local economy.
All the wines were rated, with a tie for first place and a point spread of 35 points using the AWS Wine Evaluation sheets. The results were:
- 2018 Ringland Barossa Shiraz, $22 (1-tie)
- 2018 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz, $34 (1-tie)
- 2018 Mollydooker The Scooter Merlot, $30
- 2021 Snake & Herring Perfect Day Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon, $20
- 2020 Fossick Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, $14
- 2021 Snake & Herring Tough Love Chardonnay, $25
All the wines were purchased at our local Total Wine.
The Triangle (NC) Chapter met on June 11 at Westgate Wine shop in Raleigh. Wine shop owners Chrish, Sallie, and Kayla presented the program “French Wines: a head-to-head taste off.”.They guided us through a tasting of wines from 3 of the most important French wine regions: Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhône Valley.
We learned about location and terroir and the influence the different terroirs have on these French wine regions. The wines served provided an excellent overview and sample of some of France’s most visited and beloved wine areas.
- NV Cremate D’Alscace, $17
- 2022 Laurent & Celine Notton Grand Vin De Bourgogne Chablis, $25
- 2021 Macon La Roche-VineuseVine De Bourgogne Le Clos, $20
- 2017 Domaine du Foncier ICI Lirac, $20
- 2020 Domaine Giuliani Tradition Chateauneuf Du Pape, $40
- 2020 Chateau Les Barraillots Margaux Cru Artisan, $35
- 2016 L’Excellence Clos Des Menus St-Emillion Grand Cru, $50
The Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter met on June 11 at the home of Charles Sanders and Pam McGinty for a German wine tasting. We welcomed 2 guests and 1 new national member.
Pam and Charles lived in Germany and have traveled much in the wine regions there. Winemaking can be dated back to 70 A.D. in the region and it is 8th in world wine production, even though it has only one-tenth of the vineyard area of Spain. We tried 8 wines (5 white and 3 reds) from various regions and grape varieties.
- 2021 Geil Silvander Trocken Qualitatswein – Rheinhessen, $20 (1)
- 2021 Dr. Hiedemanns – Bergweiler Qualitatswein – Riesling – Mosel, $14 (2-tie)
- 2021 Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Kabinette -Riesling – Mosel, $25 (2-tie)
- 2021 Adolph Mueller Piesporter Goldtropfchen Kabinette – Riesling – Mosel, $17
- 2021 Gerd Anselmann Riesling Spatlese – Pfalz, $24 (2-tie)
- 2021 Chiara Pinot Noir Qualitatswein – Mosel, $20
- 2020 Dr. Heidemanns – Bergbweiler Pinot Noir Qualitatswein – Mosel, $20
- 2021 Dr. Heidemanns – Bergweiler Dornfelder Qualitatswein – Rheinhessen, $15
Charles and Pam shared not only information on German wines, but also information about where the wines are grown and made. This made the tasting very personal and informative for those who had not yet tasted German wines or had the opportunity to visit the country.
|AWS News Staff||We welcome your comments and suggestions.|
|Jack Kraft, Editor||AmericanWineSocietyNews@gmail.com|
|Chapter Events Editor||ChapterEvents@AmericanWineSociety.org|
|Mike Blake, NTP Coordinator||NTP@AmericanWineSociety.org|
|Kevin Kourofsky, Winemakers’ Corneremail@example.com|
|Kristen Lindelow, AWSEF||President@AWSEF.org|
|Diane Meyer, Conference Planner||Diane@AmericanWineSociety|