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Gerard Basset MS, MW, OBE Named Decanter Man of the Year

  • By Laura Rhys


First Master Sommelier to Receive Decanter’s Prestigious Man of the Year Award

The Court of Master Sommeliers, is pleased to congratulate Master Sommelier Gerard Basset O.B.E., MS, MW. for his recognition as Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year 2013.

The Court of Master Sommeliers is honoured that this prominent wine publication has recognized an individual from the Court for his leadership in the wine and beverage industries. comments that Gerard is “widely credited with transforming the perception of sommeliers around the world”.

Gerard Basset, became a Master Sommelier in 1989, is the current President of The Court of Master Sommeliers Europe, and is the owner of The Terravina hotel in Hampshire.

Since 1984, Decanter has selected one individual to be the Man or Woman of the Year. Gerard Basset joins an illustrious group of individuals who have also received this title, including Robert Mondavi, André Tchelistcheff, Jancis Robinson and Ernst Loosen.

“The Court of Master Sommeliers warmly congratulates Gerard Basset for this tremendous accolade, which raises awareness for sommeliers worldwide,”



New AVA for Oregon

  • By Laura Rhys

umpqua-valleyElkton has been approved as the latest American Viticultural Area in the US.

The new designation in southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley will take effect from 7 March.

Elkton AVA will encompass an area of 74,900 acres (30,351ha) currently within the northern zone of the larger Umpqua Valley AVA.

Currently, the new AVA will compose of just 5 wineries and 39ha under vine.

The sub-region is ideally suited to growing Pinot Noir and similar cool climate varietals, which is due to closer proximity to the Pacific Ocean, whereas the southern Umpqua AVA can ripen Syrah, Cabernet and such warm climate varietals.’ 

Elkton joins another Umpqua Valley sub-appellation, the Red Hill Douglas County AVA, which was established in 2005.



New Denomination For Côtes de Provence in 2013

  • By Laura Rhys

cotes-de-provenceThe INAO have recently validated a new geographical denomination to be used in the Côtes de Provence Appellation.

12 Communes will be entitled to use the denomination “Côtes de Provence Pierrefeu”.

This will be the fourth denomination approved within the Appellation and will join the three others- St. Victoire, Frejus, & La Londe in producing Red & Rosé wines only.



First Scholarship from Traditionsweingüter Österreich awarded

  • By Laura Rhys

Twenty five candidates from around the world attended the Introductory course and Certified Sommeliers examination held at the Restaurant Brunnauer im Magazin, Salzburg from 14 – 16th November.

Steve Breitzke, Sommelier at the Sofitel in Vienna was awarded the Traditionsweingüter scholarship for achieving the highest overall score in the combined examinations.

The award was presented at the awards ceremony by Mr Michael Moosbrugger Chairman of the Traditionsweingüter Association which among other things is responsible for the development of the Erste Lage classification of single vineyard sites throughout Austria.

In winning the scholarship Steve will receive financial support from the association to continue his studies at advanced level.

After the course a number of candidates were able to participate in a two day wine tour to the Wachau, Kamptal & Weinviertel regions organised by the Austrian Sommelier Association.

The tour included in depth tastings with wine producers from the regions and visits to vineyards and cellars.

The Court of Master Sommeliers and the Austrian Sommeliers Association are working to make Austria an annual venue for courses and examinations in the future.



New Sonoma AVA

  • By Laura Rhys

A new AVA in Sonoma has been approved.

Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA overlaps portions of Alexander Valley, Northern Sonoma, and the southern portions of Mendocino County.

The original name for the AVA, Pine Mountain-Mayacamas, was changed after protests from the Napa Valley Vintners.



Proposals to create Sub districts within Penedes DO

  • By Laura Rhys

The Penedes region of Spain is preparing for changes to its appellation system.

A campaign by the producers to demarcate the region into five or six sub-zones, with emphasis on promoting some superior sub-regions within the generic appellation.

There are two chains of mountains and a valley in the middle of Penedès, resulting in different microclimates and varying soil compositions – all these differences make five or six distinct areas which give different wines.’ Vines grow from sea level up to to 800m.

The proposed sub-regions are Penedès–Garraf, Ordal, Alt Penedes, Central Valley A and Central Valley B. A sixth sub-zone is still being decided upon.

A study to establish the boundaries for each sub-zone, is being conducted before submitting proposals to the Penedès Wine Council.this could take two years to implement.



Grand Cru status for Quarts de Chaume

  • By Laura Rhys

Quarts de Chaume is to become the Loire Valley’s first Grand Cru.

The proposal has recently been approved by the INAO.

Also approved was the creation of Coteaux du Layon Premiere Cru Chaume.

The regulations will require Quarts de Chaume to limit yields to 20hl / ha with a minimum potential alcohol level of 18.5%.

Coteaux du Layon Premier Cru Chaume. 25hl/ha with 16.5% potential alcohol.

There will be no chaptalisation permitted for either wine.



New AOC regulations for Beaujolais

  • By Laura Rhys

Although Beaujolais producers have had the right label their wines Bourgogne since 1937, it has been a source of dispute between the two regions.

43 communes have lost the right to call their white wines AOC Bourgogne Blanc and will instead have to label whites AOC Beaujolais Blanc,. (42 communes have retained the right to label their wines AOC Bourgogne Blanc).

INAO based their decisions on which communes should be included on grounds of terroir and longevity.

Beaujolais cru villages have not been affected. Nine of the ten Beaujolais Crus ( except Regnié, because it only became a Cru in 1988) will retain the right to use the label AOC Bourgogne, with the restriction that if the wine contains more than 30% of Gamay, the label must be AOC Bourgogne Gamay (new AOC).

AOC Coteaux Bourguignon.

A new AOC Coteaux Bourguignon, will replace the existing AOC Bourgogne Grande Ordinaire over the next five years. This appellation will be open to both Burgundy and Beaujolais producers.



Pommard producers apply to create Grand Crus

  • By Laura Rhys

The union of producers in Pommard will apply to the French appellation authority INAO to promote the premier cru Rugiens and Epenots appellations to grand cru.

Since April this year, a geography and viticulture specialist has been working with Pommard vintners to produce a report to show how both Rugiens (just under 13 hectares) and Epenots (27 hectares) should be considered grand cru based on history, terroir and price.

One difficulty are distinctions between Rugiens Bas and Rugiens Haut and between Grands- and Petits-Epenots.

Pommard has 27 premier crus and its total vineyards total approx 320 hectares.



Machine Harvesting ban in Burgundy Grand Cru Monopoles

  • By Laura Rhys

Machine harvesting will be banned in Burgundy’s five grands crus monopoles from the 2011 vintage, with a complete ban across all grand cru vineyards expected by 2014.

The change will come into effect during the upcoming harvest.

While the law change only concerns the five grands crus monopoles, which already hand harvest 100% of their fruit, it is hoped this sets a precedent for the rest of Burgundy’s grands crus producers.

The aim is to eradicate machine harvesters in all grands crus by 2014.

The five grands crus monopoles have also reduced the maximum yield per hectare. And has also tightened the requirement that a varietal wine must contain 85% of the stated variety to 95%.

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