The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 70 of 124

In an effort to reach a wider group of sommeliers—either those building their careers or first time visitors to Bordeaux— the Saint-Émilion-Pomerol-Fronsac council partnered with the Guild of Sommeliers to offer an in-depth education trip to the region, one of 12 to 15 trips the Guild offers each year. Jean-François Quenin, President of Saint-Émilion-Pomerol- Fronsac, wanted to tap young sommeliers to pique their interest and enlist them as ambassadors for the region. "More than ever, sommeliers are the gatekeepers. They are followed by Millenials on social media, who value their opinion. We wanted [our] wines to be a part of the conversation," he noted. To start the dialogue, the region co-sponsored an essay com- petition with the Guild that queried the know-how and the curiosity of sommelier-members. Answers ranged from wanting to experience the wines in context to wanting more ammunition for selling the wines. And as one winner wrote, "I want to feel the maritime climate, I want to look out from the vines and see the soils. There's only so much that can be experienced from read- ing books and drinking the wine. There is no substitute for first- hand knowledge." In September, it was down to five: Jason Caballero, Bourbon Steak (Scottsdale); Lauren Daddona, L'Espalier (Boston); Patrick Miner, The Battery (San Francisco); Jim Rollston, Manresa (Los Gatos, CA); and Erik Segelbaum, Starr Restaurants (Washington, D.C. and East Coast). The Guild's Director of Education, Matt Stamps, MS, who joined the trip to update the Guild's educational materials that are used for studying for certifications, accompanied them. After a welcome dinner hosted by Quenin on behalf of the council, the trip began with a bang—quite literally, as the group attended the festivities and fireworks celebrating the Saint-Émilion Jurade, a centuries-old tradition held to mark the harvest. And then it was down to business. The four-day, 12-château tour kicked off with a technical tasting of the 2010 vintage at the Saint-Émilion Wine House, led by Véronique Bourrigaud, who introduced the different appellations of the region and variations in terroir. "Before arriving, I felt the wine style of the region was very monolithic, with every producer dedicated to high ripeness, heavy- handed extraction and extensive usage of new oak," Rollston said, noting that it was his first trip to Bordeaux. "The reality, as you { sojourns } TAKE MEMBER SOMMS FROM THE GUILD OF SOMMELIERS INVADE THE RIGHT BANK story and photos by Lana Bortolot Posing in Pomerol. Rear, left to right: Erik Segelbaum; Matt Stamps, MS; Jason Caballero; Jim Rollston; Patrick Miner; seated: Lana Bortolot; Lauren Daddona. Photographed at Château Siaurac. 70 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016

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