SSU Winesense Salutes Duckhorn Vineyards and Larson Family Wineries

IMG_3733Contributed by Erica Schreckenghaust – Forty lucky SSU students were treated to exceptional wines by Duckhorn Vineyards and Larson Family wineries this month. Organized as part of the WineSense Club educational tasting seminars, the students were excited to learn about the history of these two family wineries, both established in the 1970’s.

Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley

Duckhorn was founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976 and has become one of the premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines. Duckhorn is known for pioneering Merlot as a premium varietal, as well as their acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. They strive to produce quality wines with their seven estate vineyards in Napa Valley.

Duckhorn_2010_Cabernet_zoomFor the evening, they poured a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and their Z Red Wine Blend. The vote of favorite wines of the evening resulted in two Duckhorn winners: 1) 2013 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, made up of 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Semillon, from select premium Napa Valley vineyards; and 2) 2010 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon, estate grown from the Patzimaro Vineyard located in the St. Helena appellation at the base of Spring Mountain. It is made of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot.

Larson Family Vineyards, Sonoma County

Larson Family planted their first vineyards in 1977 and after many years of trial and error decided to get serious, officially open their winery in 1985. Today, Larson Family Winery has 120 acres of predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and continues to live their motto of “We Drink What We Can and Sell the Rest!”

LarsonNatalie and Nick, the Directors of Marketing and Sales, led the group through a tasting of six wines- 2012 Sparkling Brut, 2012 Gewürztraminer, 2012 Chardonnay, 2012 Pinot Noir, a Non-Vintage Sonoma Red Blend and the 2012 Malbec. After polling the students, the two favorite Larson Family wines were:  1) 2012 Larson Family Pinot Noir and 2) 2012 Larson Family Malbec, both from the Carneros Region.

 

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Dewey Markham Guides SSU Millennials in a Bordeaux Wine Tasting

Dewey Markum with Bordeaux Wines

Dewey Markum with Bordeaux Wines

Contributed by Erica Schreckenghaust – This past Thursday, the Wine Sense club had the honor of being lead through a wine tasting of many famous Bordeaux wines by author and wine scholar, Dewey Markham. Dewey is a man of many passions and exemplifies the idea of chasing your dreams, as his dreams have led him in ventures all over the world.

Dewey Markham’s Wine Journey

Dewey was born and raised in New York, and later attended New York University.  He discovered a love for cooking and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. In 1986, Dewey moved to Paris and became director of the cooking school L’Ecole de Cuisine La Carenne, starting a wine studies program.

After realizing he had a great passion for wine he attended the School of Oenology at Bordeaux University earning a degree in wine tasting.  Dewey has also written many popular wine books, such as Wine Basics and 1855: A History of the Bordeaux Classification. Dewey currently lives in Bordeaux where he hosts private wine tours and serves as an ambassador for many of the amazing Bordeaux wines at seminars all over the world.

Tasting of Five Bordeaux Wines

Dewey presented five different red blends for the 37 attendees to taste:

  • 2011 Château Bournac
  • 2009 Château Liversan
  • 2009 Château Mongravey
  • 2008 Château Lagrange
  • 2008 Château Ormes de Pez

Favorite Wines of the Evening

pt7871Interestingly the wines that were most appreciated by the Millennials were the two 2008 vintages — Château Lagrange and Château Ormes de Pez.

The 2008 Château Lagrange is a blend consisting of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 7% Petite Verdot, from the Saint-Julien appellation. The Château Ormes de Pez was a 60 Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc blend from the Saint-Estêphe appellation.

We cannot thank Dewey enough for his excellent presentation, selection of wines and once in a lifetime tasting experience!

 

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SSU Students Agree that Gloria Ferrer 2006 Royal Cuvee is Fit for Royalty

GloriaContributed by Erica Schreckenghaust –  The SSU WineSense Club was honored to have Gloria Ferrer Winery host the tasting this past week.  A total of 47 students came to taste seven of their fantastic wines. Ryan, hospitality rep for the winery, described the history of the estate and the winemaking process.

We began with four sparkling wines including the Sonoma Brut, Blanc de Noir, Royal Cuvee and Extra Brut. The favorite sparkling wine of the night was the 2006 Royal Cuvee, which is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay, from the Carneros region. It received 93 points in the San Francisco International Wine Competition this year and its first vintage was served to the King and Queen of Spain during their visit in 1987.

7578_737256172995534_2270633394072147621_nWe then tasted the 2012 Carneros Chardonnay and finished with the 2011 Pinot Noir and 2010 Gravel Knob Pinot Noir. The favorite of the still wines was the 2011 Pinot Noir from the Carneros region that received 92 points from Wine & Spirits in 2013.

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Tasting Wine History – Chateau Montelena and Seghesio Featured at SSU WineSense Club

photo-2 copyContributed by Erica Schreckenghaust – There was a great sense of excitement for our second Wine Sense Club meeting of the year, featuring Seghesio Family Vineyards and Chateau Montelena Winery. Fifty-two Millennial SSU students attended, and some had to be turned away because the room was at capacity for this taste of wine history.

Seghesio Family Winery

homeranch_webthumb_newSeghesio, established in 1895, in the Alexander Valley, is considered to be one of the historic wineries of Sonoma County.  Hospitality manager, Beau, offered a variety of wines including a 2011 Sangiovese, 2012 Barbera and three different Zinfandels. The students voted on their favorite wine, which turned out to be the Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel from Alexander Valley. Some of the vines from this vineyard are over 100 years old.  A second favorite was the Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel, made from older zinfandel vines sourced from across Sonoma County.

Chateau Montelena

MontelenaEstablished in 1882, Chateau Montelena is one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley.  It is also famous for producing the chardonnay wine that won in the Judgment of Paris, where it beat out world renown white Burgundies in a blind taste test. Hospitality manager, Katie, showcased five spectacular wines from Chateau Montelena. These included a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Riesling, 2012 Chardonnay, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and finally, a 2009 Petite Syrah. The top two favorites from this bunch were the Chateau Montelena Petite Syrah and Chardonnay.

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Favorite Wine Tasting Experience at Domaine Carneros

MerihaContributed by Meriha Eby – My favorite wine tasting experience was at Domaine Carneros.  It was  for my 23rd birthday. The reason I chose this place was because my favorite wine is sparkling wine and that is what they specialize in. Also I love the location and how beautiful the scenery is.

I had my closest friends and family and my boyfriend come and it was perfect. We sat on the outside terrace so we could see all the gorgeous vineyards surrounding us. My favorite sparkling wine from there was the Blanc De Noir.  They usually sell out of this product and have limited stock of it but because they are one of my employers clients we were able to get a bottle.

We also got a “Sparkling Cheese plate” which had some goats milk gouda that went really well with the wines we were tasting. It had other cheeses that were delicious as well but I forget what kind they were. The gouda was my favorite.  Our server was wonderful, she was highly knowledgeable about the wine and the history of Domaine Carneros and it was very entertaining listening to what she had to say.

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Three Perfect Places to Have a Wine Tasting Party

Contributed by Nicole Nowlen

Wine tasting has been a favored activity of those who love this elegant beverage since time immemorial, and can be a great reason to get friends together and impress them with your knowledge of fine wines. No matter where you hold such an event wine-tasting will bring an air of sophistication to the proceedings, and serves as a wonderful excuse to share your favorite vintages or to introduce new wines to your repertoire. Where you hold your wine-tasting can be just as important as what types of wine you bring, and the two can serve to complement each other well.

Summer White Wines in the Garden

garden.jpegAn outdoor setting, ideally a garden, is a great place to savor the best of spring wines, from a flavorful rose wine to the rich yellow-gold of certain white wines. The wonderful aromatics of these wines will serve to accent the fresh crispness of the air and the hint of flowers in bloom. There are few better ways to celebrate the this time of of the year than with an outdoor wine tasting, sampling the best of mother nature’s bounty during this season of promise.

Autumn Wines in the Vineyard

autumnFall wines are excellent served around the sultry wood-smoke smell of a burning fireplace while gathered close with family and friends and accompanied by the best of the season’s cheeses. Wines like the Alsatian Riesling stand apart from their contemporaries by not having the sweetness so common to Rieslings, but instead bring a full-bodied dryness with the flavors of apricot and peach reminiscent of the season. The Burgundy Pinot Noir can be another excellent choice, it’s pedigree coming from a region known for its wine as far back as 200 A.D. The mix of summers strawberries with the fall-ripened cranberries create a wonderful palette perfectly suited to the season.

Winter with Wines in the Conservatory 

ConservatoryThere is nothing like the beauty of winter snow to herald in feelings of family, and bringing that family together with a wine-tasting in your very own conservatory can bring together the warmth of home with the stark beauty of a snow covered world. Conservatories are excellent at retaining warmth, while being walled with glass that brings the outdoors in. A candle-lit wine-tasting will fill the windows with sparkling jewels of flame, and impart a cozy warmth to the scene. Mulled red wines are excellent for the season, the savory warmth of the mulling spices mixed with the raisins’ sweetness is perfectly suited to a cold winter’s gathering. Slices of orange, splashes of brandy or cognac and many others will lend each cup a distinctive flavor.

 

 

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Wine: As Wonderful for your Kidneys as for Your Heart?

320px-Red_Wine_GlasContributed by Jenni Phelps: The fact that wine promotes cardiovascular health has long been espoused by scientists, but exciting news suggests that wine may also be linked to healthier kidneys.  A study carried out by Dr. Tapan Mehta and his team at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Centre, in Aurora, has shown that those with healthy kidneys who consumed a moderate amount of wine per day (in the region of 4 ounces) had a 37 per cent lower likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease. Additionally, those who already had kidney disease who drank the same amount per day had a 29 per cent lower likelihood of suffering from cardiovascular events. The scientists came to these conclusions after analysing data obtained over three years as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a yearly study carried out by the National Center for Health Statistics. The data was obtained from over 5,800 Americans, over 1,000 of which had chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The Crucial Link Between the Heart and Kidneys

Approximately 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease, defined by the National Kidney Foundation as “a gradual loss of kidney function over time”.

The risk factors for kidney disease are, interestingly, strikingly similar to those for heart disease. They include: smoking, obesity, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. As Dr. Mehta told Wine Spectator, “Apparently, nobody has looked at this before. But in the general population, the common risk factors (for kidney and heart disease) were so similar that we were led to hypothesize that wine intake would also lower cardiovascular disease risk in patients who have kidney disease.” Suffering from chronic kidney disease greatly increases one’s chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease. Indeed, the latter is the leading cause of death for all people suffering from CKD. The aim of Dr. Mehta’s study, therefore, was to glean whether or note moderate drinking could lower the chance of cardiovascular diseases in CKD patients, and whether it could promote kidney health in the population at general. His findings are promising indeed for all drinkers of wine, though the key is moderation; not only can excess amounts o wine reverse its beneficial effects, it can also cause issues such as addiction, which carries a whole new set of health risks for consumers. Moreover, rehabilitation can be a lengthy and challenging process. As treatmentforaddiction.com notes, “detoxification may be a medical necessity, and untreated withdrawal may be medically dangerous or even fatal.”

The Mystery of Wine

The reasons why a moderate consumption of wine are linked to greater kidney health is as yet unknown. Dr. Mehta suspects that it may have something to do with the fact that moderate consumers of wine tend to have lower protein levels in their urine. On the other hand, as kidney disease progresses, levels of protein in the urine tend to increase. Another secret may lie in the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of resveratrol.

Red or White? Does it Matter?

Further studies need to be carried out in order to establish maximum amounts of wine to be consumed to obtain maximum benefits. Additionally, the question of whether white wine has the same beneficial effect on the kidneys as red wine, remains to be seen, since the subjects of the study were not asked to identify which type of wine they drank. Dr. Mehta logically believes that red wine would likely hold more beneficial effects than white, bearing in mind its high resveratrol content. Various studies have linked the consumption of resveratrol to cancer protection, cardiovascular health, longer lifespans and even the ability to keep vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at bay. As Harvard University notes, “Exactly how resveratrol might do all this is still a mystery. One possibility is that it turns on genes that make sirtuins, ancient proteins found in virtually all species. Activating sirtuins kicks off a response that fights disease and prolongs life.” In addition to red wine, resveratrol can also be found in red grapes, blueberries and pistachios, so make sure to stock up on these healthy snacks while enjoying your daily glass of wine!

Future Testing

Excited by their results, Dr. Mehta and team are planning to immerse themselves in experimental studies (in vitro and in vivo) soon, to glean more information on the connection between wine consumption and kidney health, and the causes of the promising results thus obtained.

About the Author: Jenni Phelps is a former nutrition and health worker who believes in balance and moderation in all things, after working for many years in social care helping families make the right dietary and health choices, she turned her attention to freelance writing and now divides her time between penning articles and looking after the health of her own family!

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