Friuli wine

Friuli Venezia Giulia— What to Know About This Lesser Known Wine Region

wineFriuli Venezia Giulia, the north-eastern most region in Italy—with coastal lands, mountains, and characteristic rocky soil—is perfect for wine-making. Though the fifth smallest region in Italy, it produced 18.2 million cases of wine in 2017 alone. Friuli Venezia Giulia is most well-known for their white wines, which happen to be some of the best that Italy produces. Amazingly, 77% of the 18.2 million cases were white wines in 2017.

Friuli Venezia Giulia is also a highly complex region. For thousands of years many different empires battled to control the region, which has resulted in a diverse culture that contributes to the environment where the wine is grown. Between the Romans, Venetians, French, Austrians, Italians, and many more, each have left their mark and changed the development of wine produced in this region.

Cristina from VIASToday, the wines continue to evolve and change throughout the region. Even though many consider it the best white wine region in Italy, there are many other characteristics that contribute to its great wine-making success. So, what makes this small region in Italy so unique? Read below to find out what Vias Imports taught us about the region.

Soil

The soil of Friuli Venezia Giulia, particularly in the Collio region, is known as Ponca in the Friulano dialect, or Flysch in specific geological terms. This soil is found throughout the region and is comprised of marls (chalky clay) and sandstone, two substances which make soil very rocky. Rich in calcium carbonate and alkalinity, the soil helps to give the strong mineral notes and aromatic complexity in many of the wines from this region.

Even though Ponca contributes to the region’s most desired wines, it does have its downfalls. In rainier years it becomes prone to landslides and can destroy entire sections of vineyards in an instant.

Despite it’s notorious difficulty, winemakers have a particular fondness for it due to its ability to produce wines so unique to the region: rich in texture, high in acidity, but still balanced through the acidity.

Climate

The region is characterized by a unique geographic location; on the edge of the Mediterranean climate, marked by the meeting of the Julian Alps mountains and the Adriatic sea. The climate can change in any area of the region at any moment, which can make for unique vintage’s and an ever-changing growing process.

Each of the growing areas in the region tend to have a wide variety of climates, which makes for varying wines. In the Collio DOC near the Slovenian border, the hilly land protects the vines from the cold winds and the close proximity to the Adriatic Sea helps to contribute to a mild and temperate climate. These temperature fluctuations heat and cool the soil which helps to ripen the vines to perfection, making for one of the most unique growing areas in Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Native Grape Varieties

students at the wine tastingMany of the growing areas have grapes that are native to the region. Although many wine growing regions also have native grape varieties, the history of Friuli Venezia Giulia is what makes the native grapes so interesting.

Ribolla Gialla, a tart wine with a hint of salinity, is one of the ancient native varietals from the region, first mentioned in a medieval deed of sale dated to 1299. Long considered one of Italy’s greatest wines, it was appreciated by the nobility of Germany and Venice in the 13th century.

The most beloved wine of the Friulan people, aptly named Friulano or Tocai Friulano, has been a part of the wine-making tradition in this region for centuries. Evidence of this indigenous grape in Friuli dates back to the 12th century. Originally, many thought it was from Hungary, while others argue that it originated in Italy. Interestingly, experts recently found a wedding document that confirmed the grape came from Italy. In 1632, countess Aurora Formentini went to Hungary to marry Prince Adam Batthyany, and brought him “300 grapes of Tocai” as a wedding gift. The native Friulano grape has grassy aromas, similar to Sauvignon Blanc, although they are not related. It has fresh, ripe fruity flavors, that are balanced by herbaceous notes.

Prosecco

Prosecco is More Complex Than You Think

Champagne and Prosecco are undoubtedly the two most popular, iconic, and widely recognized sparkling wines in the world. Prosecco can often be seen as an imitation to Champagne, but they are actually very different wines with different public images. While Champagne is seen as a luxury and expensive, Prosecco is perceived as casual and inexpensive. While 307 million bottles of Champagne were sold in 2017, Prosecco had a staggering 510 million bottles sold, proving the rising popularity of Prosecco among consumers.

This month, Alan Tardi, award-winning wine author, joined us for an enlightening discussion comparing Champagne and Prosecco. He taught us about the obvious differences, while focusing on the many fundamental aspects the two wines have in common. Prosecco is commonly perceived as Champagne’s imitation, but they are actually very different wines. Fundamentally, they have different grape varieties, growing areas, and even production methods. Through the tasting, we understood what makes Champagne and Prosecco unique wine categories, while also showcasing the commonalities that they share. Read below to find out more about the similarities and differences of two of the most famous sparkling wines!

Prosecco being poured

Alan Tardi

In The Beginning...

Attendee looking at wineWhile Champagne and Prosecco achieved their fame and notoriety as sparkling wines, both originated as still wines when they were invented hundreds of years ago. There are many wines in the world that are direct imitations of Champagne, like Cava, Cremant and Franciacorta, but it is important to know that Prosecco developed along its own separate parallel path to become its own distinct wine.

Growing Area

The growing areas of both regions are highly diversified and complex, with major distinctions between each part. But, that is where the similarities seem to end! There is only one Champagne appellation, but there are three for Prosecco. These appellations include Colli Asolani DOCG, Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, and Prosecco DOC.

Prosecco map

Transition from Sweet to Brut

Prosecco being pouredBoth Champagne and Prosecco began as sweet wines, and they both made their major US debut inside of a cocktail. Champagne Cocktail and Champagne Punch was introduced during the first half of the 19th century, while Prosecco via the Bellini was introduced in the 1970s. Even though Prosecco was introduced and is known as a brunch-y drink, there are many different styles of Prosecco. These styles include sweet, bone-dry, sparkling, still, and unfiltered, and can all be used and enjoyed in different ways.

Barrel of Sherry

Certified Sherry Wine Specialist Seminar

Lustau, maker of top quality Sherries, presents a brand new wine certification available to all wine students and aficionados: the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. Offered by Lucas Payà, Certified Sherry Educator and Lustau’s Brand Educator, this brief course offers Intermediate Level study material that has been reviewed and approved by the Regulatory Council of Jerez.

After many successful SOLD OUT workshops, ICC has partnered with Lustau again to host certification classes in both NY and CA. Buy your tickets below!

Saturday, October 6th
10:00am-12:30pm
International Culinary Center
700 West Hamilton Ave | Campbell, CA 95008

Cost: $40 per person

Thursday, November 15th
3:30pm-6:00pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th Floor | New York, NY 10013

Cost: $35 per person

EVENT DETAILS

The program consists of a 2.5-hour class that includes:

    • Instruction on the history, geography, climate, viticulture, wine-making, and wine styles.  When studying the styles of sherry, students will learn about their differences, pairings, and best ways to serve.
    • A tasting of 6 wines, including all the basic styles (Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Dulce).
    • A 28-question test, graded after the course to award the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist recognition to those with a passing score of 20 or higher.

The Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, Director of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. They will be numbered and a list of those that passed the course will be shared with the Regulatory Council.  A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade but only signed by Lustau.

Attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

James La Mar

Alumni Profile: James La Mar, Sommelier ’11

James La Mar is a 2011 graduate of the Intensive Sommelier Program at ICC’s Campbell, California campus. Like most students who enroll at ICC, James was looking for a career change and for something that he was passionate about. Before coming to ICC, he remarks that he was “all over the place,” mostly doing odd jobs to keep him occupied. He started with no experience, very little knowledge, and no contacts in the industry, but he knew that choosing ICC would give him the proper foundation to start and advance in the competitive world of wine.

After graduating, he spent 6 years working part time at the now closed Beltramo’s Wines and Spirits in Menlo Park, mostly helping out during the busy winter season. The store was over 100 years old and was one of the most important family owned wine shops in the history of California. He shares that he’s very glad to have been a small part of a wonderful legacy.

Fast forward to today, he now owns Grape Obsession, an apparel and accessory brand geared towards Sommeliers and wine fanatics.T Shirts from Grape Obsession James manages everything within the business, including creating designs, managing social media content, website maintenance, book keeping, sales, and everything else you can possibly imagine. With Grape Obsession, James aims to help his fellow Sommeliers show their passion through fun apparel and accessories, while helping new Sommeliers establish themselves in the industry—donating a portion of the profits to scholarships that benefit Sommeliers on their quest for knowledge and self-improvement. 

When asked about a piece of advice he would give to someone wanting to pursue an education in wine, he says “the only people who don’t succeed in life are the ones who never try.  Even if failure is a high possibility, do it anyway.  The struggle alone will make you a better person.  If you know in your heart that you want to do it, stop over thinking it and just do it.”

Before starting Grape Obsession, James tried on many different hats in the wine industry, including sales, wine retail, and even working as a sommelier and wine steward to find his best fit. He also believes that working in different parts of the industry is an important learning experience for any Sommelier, and helps to develop a sense of the bigger picture and where you fit in. Below is his take on the pros and cons of each profession in the industry.

Retail/Tasting Room

Wine retail is an especially great place in the industry if you are new to the business and still trying to figure out where you want to go.

Pros:

  • The wine buyer makes sure that you taste almost every wine that sales reps bring, which allows you to develop your palate.
  • Physically inspecting the bottles and the boxes as they come in helps put a lot of your wine theory into practice and gives a lot of needed context.
  • The hours you work would mostly be normal business hours, allowing for a decent work life balance, though you should expect to work some holidays.
  • You will be meeting a lot of wine sales reps; working in retail gives you some great contacts if you want to move into sales later on down the line.

Cons:

  • Working in the day means that you may have less opportunities to go to industry tastings and trade events that normally happen during the day on weekdays, unless you work your way into a management or wine buyer position where attending trade events is a part of your job.
  • Due to the nature of working in retail, you will be expected to work many weekends and holidays.
  • Entry pay is also lower in retail, though as you move up through management, compensation can range from average to above average.
  • Lastly, work can be humbling as you will be expected to work a cash register, lift heavy wine boxes, stock shelves, break down boxes, and clean floors, windows, and displays.

Sales & Distribution

If you have a competitive spirit, sales can be an exciting area of the industry to work in.  As a salesman, you will be responsible for motivating yourself to meet with wine buyers, taste products, make sales calls and write emails, and schedule your daily tasks weeks, sometimes months, in advance.  Being in sales is brutal especially if you are new to the game, but if you stick with it and persevere, there is a great sense of pride and accomplishment when you develop your territory and build strong lasting relationships with your buyers.

Pros:

  • This is great if you enjoy being a self-starter and working unsupervised.
  • You will have more work life balance, even though you will be extremely busy, and you will have more opportunities to see friends and family at night and on holidays.
  • There can be opportunities to travel for work to represent your brand or attend staff training trips.
  • You will be meeting frequently with clients and wine buyers, so you will be able to build a strong network within the industry.
  • You will also be responsible for supporting your accounts by leading tastings and classes on your products for their staff, which is fun as it allows you to pass on your passion for the brands you represent.
  • Earning potential is higher in sales. Because you are paid mostly by commission, you have the opportunity to make as much money as you are willing to work for.

Cons:

  • If you don’t have a strong competitive nature, sales can be difficult.
  • In sales, you will be faced with constant rejection; you will have to be able to take criticism of yourself, and the brands you represent, in stride.
  • As a sales rep, you will also be expected to be the problem solver for each of your accounts. The delivery truck missed a case of wine that your account needs for the weekend?  Stop by the warehouse and take the case directly to the account yourself.
  • You will need to check up regularly on your products at retail stores or check in with restaurants to see how they are doing on inventory. If the product is moving slowly, it is your responsibility to help the account make the product a success by offering to teach classes to the staff, making store marketing materials, etc.
  • It will also take some time before the money starts to come in, usually a few months to a year of building your territory up, so make sure you have a financial cushion when you start out.

Sommelier/Wine Steward

Are you a night person?  If you are, being a Sommelier may be the career path for you.

Pros:

  • Working nights frees up hours during the day to pursue many productive facets of your life, including having ample time for exercise, running errands, going to wine industry tastings and study groups, and most importantly having time to study.
  • Guest interaction is one of the greatest benefits, as there is great joy to be found in putting the needs of others in front of your own
  • You will also have certain management responsibilities, including staff training and assisting on the floor of the restaurant, which builds up leadership experience.
  • The amount of wine you try as a Sommelier is far greater than any other job in the industry— you will constantly taste exotic wines from your vendors, during restaurant service to make sure they aren’t corked, and at many different industry trade tastings that you will be invited to.
  • As you move up into a wine buyer role as a Sommelier you can also be invited to luncheons and occasionally have opportunities to be sponsored to travel to wine country by your vendors, your employer, or industry publications.
  • You have the job of building a wine program, which allows you to be creative and develop skills in purchasing.
  • Earning potential can range from average to above average as you normally will be making tips, though as you come up in the industry and move into a wine director position, earning potential can be even greater.

Cons:

  • Working nights and holidays is a challenge for anyone in the restaurant industry. You should prepare your friends and family that you’ll be working on a completely opposite schedule than most of them.
  • Like any job in the public sector, you will be dealing with people and will need to develop finesse to serve all guests.
  • Being a Sommelier is a very social line of work— you need to be comfortable with talking to complete strangers and charming them.
  • You will need to know how to manage a team and treat everyone with respect.
  • There are non-glamorous parts of the job, like carrying 40 pound cases of wine, counting inventory, publishing a wine list, and understanding the restaurant and the needs of your guests so that you make appropriate purchasing decision

Unlike other industries where moving around from different types of work can be a detriment to your resume, the wine industry appreciates job applicants with well rounded work experience, as the skills you build in different lines of work are often transferable and show that you have a passion for everything about wine, including the parts that are sometimes difficult or uncomfortable.  It is important for any Sommelier to be well rounded and to have a variety of experience in the industry in order to succeed in the long run.

Check out Grape Obsession’s awesome apparel and accessories here: www.grapeobsession.com and be sure to follow them on social by clicking on each icon below!

Prosecco

DUELING BUBBLES: Prosecco ConVal Workshop with Alan Tardi

The two most popular sparkling wine categories in the world today are undoubtedly Champagne and Prosecco. Despite fundamental differences in image, production, process and price, the two bubblies have — surprisingly — much in common, such as their origin, history and evolutionary development of these otherwise different wines.

Monday, October 15th | 3:00-5:00pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th Floor | New York, NY 10013

Cost: $25 per person

*Must be at least 21 years of age and an ICC Intensive Sommelier Training Student, Graduate, or Industry Professional*

 

EVENT DETAILS

Join us for a special workshop and tasting with Alan Tardi, award-winning wine author, comparing Champagne and Prosecco—noting the obvious differences, while focusing on the many fundamental aspects the two wines have in common. Through the tasting we’ll clarify what makes Champagne and Prosecco essentially unique categories, while also showcasing the commonalities in their individual trajectories. We’ll also showcase the surprisingly diverse and complex terroir of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area and the many different typologies within the appellation. In the end, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of both wines, and the nature of sparkling wine in general.

Some of the wines we’ll taste will be coming directly from Italy for this event, including the sneak preview of a brand-new soon-to-be-released prosecco with super-extended lees aging in autoclave.

Wines tasted will be focused on uncommon prosecchi including:

  • Still prosecco without bubbles
  • Bottle re-fermented prosecco
  • Prosecco with extended lees ageing
  • Single village and/or single vineyard prosseco from a variety of different terroirs
  • Proseccos in a variety of residual sugar levels

Examples of corresponding Champagnes will be noted, but not tasted.

Who is Alan Tardi?

AlanAlan Tardi initially became interested in wine while working as a cook and chef in some of New York’s finest establishments (Chantarelle, Lafayette, Le Madri). After opening his own restaurant in New York City in 1992, Alan began sitting in on panel tastings at the nearby offices of Wine and Spirits and eventually began writing for the magazine. In 2003, Alan moved to the village of Castiglione Falletto in the heart of the Barolo region in Piemonte, Italy, where he spent several years working in the surrounding vineyards and wineries through all phases of the growing and production process, an experience which completely changed his perspective on wine. His first book, ‘Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo’ (St Martins Press, 2006) won a James Beard Award for Best Wine and Spirits Book of 2006. His new book, “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink” (Hachette 2016) won a Gourmand Best in the World Award in the French Wine category. Alan currently divides his time between New York and Castiglione Falletto.

Picture

Boost Your Food Business: Hosted by Instagram

Learn the tips, tricks and information that everyone wants to know directly from Instagram in an afternoon of hands-on workshops, presentations & panel discussions.

With 200 Million+ Instagrammers visiting at least one Business Profile a day, and 60% of users saying they discover new products on Instagram, it’s no wonder that Instagram has become a key tool for brands & businesses to reach new & existing audiences. So what does it take to harness the power of Instagram to promote your restaurant or food business? Come to our FREE workshop to find out!

RSVP to join us for this exclusive event!

Thursday August 30th | 3:30-5:30pm
 3:30 pm-5:30 pm
ICC Ampitheater
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor | NYC

 

*SOLD OUT* To join the waitlist, please email events@culinarycenter.com.
We will contact you if a seat becomes available.

EVENT AGENDA

101 COURSE

 

201 COURSE

 

HANDS ON

 

PANEL

Food Passions & Social Media: Learn from the Instagram team why food & social media are a powerful match, as well as how to get started

From Discovery to Action: Learn from the Instagram team advanced tips for how to drive new or existing customers into your restaurant, cafe, or other business establishment

Stories School: The Instagram team will walk through an interactive exercise on how to create compelling stories content that inspires customer action

Examples and Q&A: 4 successful culinary establishments will explain their unique social media journeys, and then open up to audience questions

PANELISTS

Mike Bronfin

Product Marketing, Instagram Local Team

• Worked on launching Business Profiles, Insights, Direct features for Businesses, Transactions
• Previously at Twitter and Boston Consulting Group

Gemmy Tsai

 Product Management, Instagram Local Team

• Worked on Instagram Business Profiles and Transactions
• Previously at OpenTable and Hired

Aishwarya Bhake

 Product Marketing, Instagram Local Team

• Worked on Instagram Business and Influencer Legitimacy
• Previously at BloomReach, ESPN and Walt Disney

One of Chef Pablo's creations

What It’s Like to Attend A Masterclass with Chef and Sommelier Pablo Ranea

Written by: Aditya Malhotra, Intensive Sommelier Training Student

Earlier this month, students and alumni enjoyed a star studded masterclass when Chef and Sommelier Pablo Ranea visited ICC’s California campus and world renowned Argentinean wine maker, Santiago Achaval of Matervini Winery, was brought in via a Skype call. During this special event, we had the opportunity to taste a total of ten different wines, and by the end of the day, we gained a new perspective on each of the wines. We started off by sampling 8 Malbecs, each coming from a different elevation, then moved onto a white Torrontes as an aperitif and finished off with a Matervini white.

Argentina is well regarded for its unique culinary style, from quick snacks like empanadas to hearty, quality steaks, and for its high-quality wine produced from ancient vines throughout the country’s varied elevations. During Chef Pablo’s visit, we learned all about Argentina’s cuisine and wine.

This event was especially impressive because as Chef Pablo introduced each wine, he also did a live cooking demonstration of dishes that would pair well. For his first dish, he showed us an interesting technique designed to soften the structure of the octopus meat which he called “Asustar,” which means “to scare or frighten.” This technique involved holding the octopus by the head and submerging the tentacles into boiling water for only 10-15 seconds and then quickly removing them from the heat; Chef Pablo recommended repeating the process about four times. The completed dish was comprised of the expertly prepared octopus, chorizo and potato puree, and topped with the famous Argentinean Chimichurri sauce.

Pastel de PapaLater on, Chef Pablo demonstrated how to prepare “Pastel de Papa,” which comprises the traditional Empanadas Mendocinas with a skirt steak filling. Chef Pablo noted that cutting the skirt steak prevents the filling from drying out. For this dish, Chef Pablo called for some audience participation. Everyone was pretty excited to roll up their sleeves and learn from the master himself.

Pablo Ranea began his career as a Graphic Designer which truly explains the beauty in his food presentation. His preparations looked like art on a plate!

Chef Pablo was the Executive Chef for ten years at The Azafran restaurant, considered to be one of the best restaurants of Mendoza, where he developed his concept of “New Argentinean Cuisine.” It was during his time at Azafran that he also recognized the fact that wines of Argentina were becoming increasingly sophisticated and in higher demand in world markets than ever before. With these thoughts in mind, Chef Pablo saw a need for Argentinean chefs to match their food to great wines. He took matters into his own hands by studying to become a Sommelier, gaining his certification in 2012. Since then, Pablo has been working as a mediating consultant between restaurants and wineries by developing recipes and selecting appropriate wine parings.

In regards to the meaning of “New Argentinean Cuisine,” Pablo explains that he aims to discover contemporary takes on traditional dishes by utilizing a variety of quality regional ingredients. For example, combining lamb that was raised in southern Patagonia, garnished with quinoa harvested from the mountainous region of the Andes, finished with a sauce made with corn or tapioca from the north-east. In this way, pulling ingredients from all corners of Argentina into one dish, Chef Pablo has been able to create a whole new dish which is still exponentially Argentinean.

As a firm believer in the importance of learning from new places, people and experiences, Chef Pablo has become more of a “Nomad Chef,” taking time away from the stationary restaurant setting to travel internationally with his partner Alejandro Cohen. Over the last two years, as they travel the world, they make an effort to share with others their knowledge and passion about Argentinean cuisine and wine by leading cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and hosting pop-up dinners. The students at the ICC were more than honored to have had a chance to meet them.

Check out my tasting notes about the wines from the event below. You may even want to pick up a bottle for yourself!

Selection of Argentinean Wines from Pablo Ranea event

  1. Nieto Senetiner- Torrontes 2016, Yellow color with greenish shades. The nose has a bouquet of white flowers, white peach and citrus fruit like orange and grapefruit
  2. Mi Terruno Reserve- Malbec 2014, Intense red colour with violet hues. Good body with sweet and round tannins. Typical Malbec red fruit aromas of plums and cherry with vanilla notes from the oak aging.
  3. Don Nicanor, Barrel Select- Malbec 2014, Intense purple-red hue and exquisite fruity notes of cherry and red currant.
  4. Rutini Encuentro-Malbec, aged 12 months in French and American Oak, violets floral notes, and fresh red and black fruits. Full-bodied tannins and rich dark chocolatey marmalade fruit notes are present on the mouth.
  5. Guachezco Oro-Malbec 2013 aged 16 months in barrels of French, American and Hungarian oak, displays a deep red colour. The notes of red fruits, plums and blackberries are combined with notes of cranberry along with aromas of caramel, vanilla and mocha from the time spent in the oak.
  6. Rutini Cabernet Malbec 2013 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Malbec, 12 Months in French and American Oak. On the nose, full bodied fruit aromas of cherry, marmalade & plum. The mouth feel combines the mature fruit essence with rich spices of vanilla & chocolate from the time in oak.
  7. Matervini Finca Malbec, grown at 3200 feet of altitude, in alluvial soils. The combination of this soil and old vines results in this classic wine from Mendoza, with flavors of attractive austerity and rich mouth feel at the same time,
  8. Matervini Antes Andes Valles Calchaquies Malbec, planted at 7800 feet of altitude a distinctive Malbec, fresh and full of fruit, with a wild feeling to it and mineral notes that make it a typical wine from Salta.
  9. Matervini Blanco, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier, cofermented, the juice is allowed 5 days of skin contact prior to fermentation. This decadent white wine has the structure of an old world wine but still had some zesty youth. A great way to finish the tastings.

 

 

Careers in Wine Panel at ICC August 2018

Brought to you by the Intensive Sommelier Training program, the CAREERS IN WINE PANEL SERIES AT ICC is designed to support aspiring wine professionals and seasoned industry vets with education, information and the opportunity to network with industry experts. Each panel brings a new set of career paths, and professionals, currently working in the industry to offer a diverse understanding of the industry!

CAREERS IN WINE PANEL AT ICC

Restaurant Service? Distribution? Wine Making? Media? Which one is right for you.

Wednesday August 8th | 5:30-7:30pm
International Culinary Center
700 West Hamilton Ave, Campbell, CA 95008
Admission is Free, RSVP Required

Find out where you fit in the wine industry during a panel discussion with industry professionals at ICC!

The wine and beverage industry has multiple tiers and options that suit different backgrounds, personalities and lifestyles. Rachel Lintott, Associate Wine Director at ICC, will moderate a panel of professionals representing the diverse avenues available to wine career seekers including distribution, restaurants, vineyards and media. Together, we’ll explore topics such as career paths, salary scales, hiring practices, and qualities that employers are looking for in candidates. Come with your questions – open Q&A with the panelists will follow!

ICC’s Admissions team will be available to provide tours or answer questions regarding our Intensive Sommelier Training program.

Light refreshments will be provided.

PANELISTS

Aaron Babcock, Advanced Sommelier
Sommelier | Quince

Ryan Beauregard
Winemaker | Beauregard Vineyards

Michael Foley
Retail Sales & Hospitality Manager |  Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello

Susan King, Certified Sommelier, FWS
Regional Manager, SF Peninsula & South Bay | The Henry Wine Group

vinho verde tasting at icc

A Taste of Vinho Verde with Eric Entrikin, MS

Written by: Madison Cope, Intensive Sommelier Training Student

Map of Portugal indicating the Vinho Verde regionWhen most of us think of Portuguese wine, we think of the sweet, lush, and intense fortified wine called Port. But the world of Portuguese wine is so much more versatile and refreshing, as Eric Entrikin, Master Sommelier, explained at a lecture and tasting of Vinho Verde hosted at ICC’s California campus on May 22nd.

The region’s name, Vinho Verde, translating to “Green Wine,” truly captures the character of this region’s wines – light, crisp, and fresh like Portugal’s green and verdant countryside. Located in the northwestern corner of the country, Vinho Verde experiences a cool and rainy climate that is moderated by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Home to complex valley systems and varying elevations, Vinho Verde boasts numerous microclimates that divide the appellation into nine sub-regions. And the predominantly granite soils lend a beautiful level of stony minerality to the finished wines.

 

 

Students smelling and tasting wine at the Vinho Verde tasting eventWhat makes Vinho Verde truly stand out, however, is the distinct qualities of the region’s grapes. Portugal is home to thousands of indigenous varieties (rivaled only by Italy in sheer number), and many of them are highlighted and celebrated in Vinho Verde’s wines. From Trajudura to Loureiro, these varieties are not on most of our tables – but they should be! At this guided tasting event, Eric Entrikin introduced us to some of these distinctive and alluring wines, and the common threads were evident – searing acidity, a light body, low alcohol, vibrant and fruity. These were truly palate-cleansing wines that left our mouths ready for the next bite!

Fun Fact: Eric Entrikin MS used a wine from Vinho Verde to swish with before taking the blind tasting portion of his master sommelier examination because of its high acid and unparalleled ability to cleanse the palate!

While many traditional Vinho Verde wines are blends of multiple white varieties, some single varietal Alvarinho and Loureiro do exist. Eric further explained the unique notes of each distinct variety. Bottles of White Wines from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal

  • Loureiro: Highly floral. Rose and freesia combine with ripe lemon citrus and tropical fruits. Juicy and refreshing with bright minerality.
  • Alvarinho (aka Albariño): The most intensely aromatic and floral of the common indigenous varieties. Orange peel, peach, toasted almond. Also the richest of Vinho Verde’s whites.
  • Avesso: Notes of orange and peach, toasted almond, citrus, apple, and pineapple. A slightly waxy texture is balanced by high acidity.
  • Azal: Green apple, lemon, lime with sharp acidity.
  • Arinto: Rich and flavorful. Citrus, apple, pear. One of the region’s highest quality grapes.
  • Trajadura: Delicate with notes of stone and tree fruit. This variety is the least acidic of the Vinho Verde varieties.

While Vinho Verde wines are not particularly complex, their simplicity yet firm structure make them highly drinkable and perfect “food wines.” So what do they drink well with? Eric suggests pairing Vinho Verde whites with salads, white fish, chicken, anything with citrus, or simply as an aperitif! For Vinho Verde reds, he suggests roasted and grilled meats and lamb. And for Rose, Eric recommends pairing with charcuterie, shell fish, and even Asian cuisine.

For those who love Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, these wines are similar in profile and a great divergence from what you usually drink. What’s more, you will find high-quality Vinho Verde at very low prices, making them a great value and perfect for picnics during the spring and summer months. But don’t let these wines age, Eric warns, they are best drunk in their youth!

So with Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, go and pick up yourself a recent vintage from Vinho Verde that you (and your wallet) won’t mind sharing at your next summer barbeque. Saúde!

ICC Sommelier Alumna, Minjoo Kim

Alumni Spotlight: Advanced Sommelier, Minjoo Kim

Minjoo Kim, Advanced Sommelier, began her foray into food and wine training to become a chef and received her Culinary Arts Diploma from Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, Australia. It was during her time as a culinary apprentice that she realized her passion for wine and sought to further her education at the International Culinary Center in New York, enrolling in the Intensive Sommelier Training program. In 2013, after passing the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory and Certified Sommelier Exams at ICC, she returned to Korea to begin her wine career. Over the years Minjoo has worked as both Manager and Chief Sommelier for Hannam Liquor, retail shop and wine bar, as well as a tasting educator for the International Food and Wine Society, and Judge of the Korea Sommelier Wine Awards and Korean Wine Fair. In 2017 she passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Sommelier Exam.


What was your first (or most fond) memory of wine to date?

A glass of Vouvray, Huet ‘Le Haut Lieu’ demi-sec.


When did you know that studying wine would be a passion you’d like to pursue professionally?

While I was studying at ICC, the Master Sommeliers inspired me to believe that one day I could possibly do this like them.They were amazing.


Your extensive range of culinary and wine education ranges from a Culinary Art Diploma from Le Cordon Bleu’s Sydney, Australia campus as well as ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program in 2013 and more. What made you decide to move forward with a wine career over a more traditional culinary path?

I learned that wine could be more than just an alcoholic beverage when I visited Sydney’s fascinating restaurant Sepia—two hats ranked ay that time—to try a pairing menu for study as a culinary apprentice. Before that I wasn’t very fond of alcoholic beverages and simply hated drinking. But that night I was overwhelmed and began noticing that wines could be just more than alcoholic beverage. It was at that moment that I decided to learn about wines. That is what brought me to New York City and ICC right after finishing my 2 and a half year culinary path. I believe that knowing and understanding wine broadens my culinary horizon.


You recently received your AS [Advanced Sommelier] certification. [Congratulations!] What was the most difficult hurdle you faced prior to achieving this status?

I actually didn’t receive my certification the first time I took the Advanced Sommelier exam, despite passing the Theory and Blind Tasting portions. With only have 5 years of experience as a sommelier and having never worked for any formal, fine dining restaurants, I believe it was my minimal service experience that was the biggest reason I didn’t pass the exam. But I can tell you that I definitely learned a lot from that failure. Last year, I retook the Advanced Sommelier exam and passed my second time around!


What has been the most rewarding experience thus far in your wine career?

For the past three years I had been working as both a manager in a retail wine shop and chief sommelier for a wine bar at  the same time and place up until very recently. During this time, it was difficult to balance my roles in both sections. But it provided me with experience and communication skills for both wine retail and service, as well as the opportunity to try many interesting promotions, events and educational classes. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot!


Your extensive background in wine has landed you as a judge in 2017 for both the Korea Sommelier Wine Awards and the KWC (Korean Wine Fair.) Through these particular experiences and beyond, do you feel that mentorship plays an important role for those looking to develop a career in the field? If so, why?

I think that mentorship is a crucial part of this industry. I see many people who have mentors easily approach their goals and achieve what they are trying to go after. It’s important for those just entering the wine world to have mentors like I did. At the very beginning, I was struggling with no one to discuss matters I encountered like big career path decisions, preparing for competitions and the Advanced Sommelier exam, etc. I still hope I can find someone to seek help and advice from, but I also want to be the someone who can help future sommeliers.


If you weren’t a professional sommelier or chef, what career path would you have gone down?

I’ve always aspired to find beautiful things in my life such as food and wine. My major in University was Fashion, so I’m guessing I would have worked vigorously in any fashion business with a beautiful glass of wine!


For any new individuals looking to make their mark on the world of wine, please share your advice for a flourishing wine career?

Have passion and be full of energy. With that combination, you can make any mark you wish. I learned this from five of the Master Sommeliers I met while taking the program at ICC.


What are your professional goals for the next few years? Any exciting news on the horizon to share?

I definitely want to take the Master Sommelier exam in the next few years and want to do anything I can here to help the wine industry in Korea grow. Without growth in this industry, there is no dream for us Sommeliers.