There are times in life when you are humbled by the circumstances of your surroundings. This week, I was humbled by the people who made up my surroundings. I had the pleasure of spending a week amongst the giants of the wine world. I attended the annual Society of Wine Educators Conference and spent the week in aww of those in attendance. Amongst these giants were Masters of Wine; Debra Meiburg, Mark deVere, Roger Bohmrich, Peter Marks, Sheri Sauter Morano, Master Sommeliers; Guy Stout, David Glancy, Tim Gaiser, Serafin Alvaredo, Sheral Schowe and Doug Frost who rightly carries the two distinctions, notable writers; Gerald Asher, Alfonso Cevola, Matilde Parente, Debora Parker Wong and a multitude of other students, educators, enthusiasts and bloggers.
As I write this, I am watching the 2012 Summer Olympics and marveling at the years these olympians spend preparing for their day in the sun. I can't help making the comparison of the wine "olympians" I have had the pleasure to meet who have also trained, practiced, sacrificed and prepared for the day when they too are called upon to display the mastery of their craft. I give both their due respect.
I benefited from every seminar that I attended but, in tribute to these great industry leaders, I would like to say a little about those who impacted me the most.
Tim Gaiser MS: I had the pleasure of sitting in on two of Tim Gaisers sessions; "Olfactory Memory & Submodalities" and "Discovering Dry German Rieslings". The former taught me how to read a students' and my own learning cues, the subtleties of the nuances of attention that when read correctly can be controlled and focused to maximize your performance, especially when the strongest of focus is needed. The latter, was an exquisite journey through the different expressions of dry German Rieslings beginning with Whittmann's 2010 "Morstein"Grosses Gewachs from the Rheinhessen with it's tropical fruits notes, sea shell minerality and citrus flower nose and ending with Franz Kunster's 2010 Erstes Gewachs "Hochheimer Holle" from the Rheingau with it's pineapple, tarragon, lemon grass nose that finished rich and concentrated on the palate. My wine lexicon and my tooth enamel will never forget this tasting. http://www.timgaiser.com/index.html
Doug Frost MS, MW: Doug hosted a very entertaining session on Wines of Greece. Along with an entertaining pronunciation guide of the terrifying to say Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro, he walked us through the food friendly varieties of Greece and it's islands, showing similar application to its wines as one might find in Italy and France. Doug has an approach to explaining the seemingly impossible that makes one feel they can build a battle ship after learning how super glue works. http://www.dougfrost.com/
Guy Stout MS: Guy spoke on the "Wines of the Medoc" and with his Texan swagger and charming southern attempt at french, he lulled the audience into his vision, passion and perception of what the multitude of terroirs have to offer within this relatively small growing area. The tasting was revealing at every swig from the 2008 Chateau Loudenne Blanc a 60/40 blend Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, it was a beautiful expression from the region, rich acacia and vanilla notes, with crisp minerality highlighted by even more floral notes. Among my other favorties were Ch. Lannesan from Haut Medoc 2004 and Ch. Pichon Longuieville, Comtesse de Lalande from Pauillac. http://theblendblog.com
Alfonso Cevola: Alfonso spoke to the changes in DOCG classification that Italy put in place prior to the close of 2011. He began with a colorful history of Italian Wine and finished with a discussion on recommended wines that sprung from the question "what should we watch out for". Watching Alfonso lovingly discuss the wines of his heritage is nothing short of inspiring.On The Wine trail in Italy