Wine Meisters Share About Romancing The Wine

Sensorial seduction plays a prominent role in the anatomy of romance and more often than not wine always comes second to music or location. Wine itself is suffused in romance what with every step of enjoying the inebriating vintage seems like a choreographed dance of romance. From the bottling, to the pour and the swirl to the final indulgence there is a romantic chase to kiss your wine. As a wine enthusiast and collector I often take inspirations and views from wine connoisseurs to learn more about this bottled labor of love. I asked some of the most noteworthy wine meisters about their romance with wine and their favorites at home here is what they had to share.

Diana Isac
London, England

Diana Isac, CEO Winerist

She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Winerist – a fully integrated global wine travel and experiences platform for those who love a glass of vino and would travel for it. Her platform features 40 wine regions around the world. It is the official partner for Wine Show TV. A natural wine lover and meister, Diana shares her romance with wine. Follow Diana on Twitter or visit Winerist and follow them on Instagram for wine travel around the world.

What does romance with wine mean to you?

I have a very unique and most enjoyable relationship with wine in that it is pretty much part of every element of my life. I work with wine, food and travel lovers daily, I am married to a Wine Guy, I live in London, a city which has a plethora of wine lovers, wine bars and one of the most diverse wine scenes in the world. I love wine, but I am also grateful for it as it has brought some of the best people in my life and it makes my job so fun.

Image Courtesy – Diana Isac

What wine(s) are you currently enjoying?

Tonight it is a glass of Achille from Zisola, a beautiful producer based in Noto, Sicily. Only a few minutes away from the sea, surrounded by olive, orange, grapefruit and lemon orchards, this winery is as beautiful as it is skillful at making some fantastic Italian wines.

Are these wines a new discovery? If not what makes them special to you?

I am very loyal to certain producers, but also very adventurous with wine and I am very fortunate in that I get to taste wines from Croatia, Bosnia, Moldova, Tokaj, Patagoania and much more as part of my job. The world of wine is fascinating and tasting wines from emerging regions is always a great idea.  

 

Which wine region according to you is the most romantic for a wine lover?

This is a hard one! Santorini is really beautiful and most certainly one of the most romantic settings for drinking wine. But there are also the unusual suspects such as the Douro Valley in Portugal, Hvar in Croatia and the Bay of Arcachon for drinking wine and eating Oysters on Europe’s tallest sand dune!

Which are your top 3 favorite wines and why?

I love Tuscany and enjoy Italian wines quite regularly. The last wine I enjoyed was a Tignanello 2013 to celebrate a very special family event. I will often be sipping on a glass of Camartina from Querciabella or a glass of Vigna del Sorbo from Fonterutoli.

What has been your most memorable wine moment?

Wine is about enjoying it with family and loved ones. That is when the best memories and moments are created. I have recently enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine from Hambledon Vineyard, while overlooking their vines that grow in beautiful Hampshire, here in England. I am seeing great things for English Wines in the next few months and highly recommend trying to access one of the many spectacular producers we have here in the UK!

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan
Los Angeles, CA

Jennifer Simonetti Bryan

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is the fourth woman and among only 30 people in the US to ever attain the international title of Master of Wine (MW), the highest wine title to achieve in the world. She is one of the “go to” experts on wine and spirits. She holds the world’s top wine title (MW), has trained thousands in the industry and judges in international wine and spirits competitions. She is the author of The One Minute Wine Master: Discover 10 Wines You’ll Like in 60 Seconds or Less. If you want to learn more about wine and its experiences follow Jennifer on Twitter, Instagram or visit her on jennifersimonetti.com

What does romance with wine mean to you?

Romance with wine conjures images of a couple, roaring fireplace and two clinking wine glasses.  Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t drink! He’s got nothing against it, but his body reacts poorly to it.  I think he’s allergic to it, so it doesn’t make for a very romantic evening. LOL! I still have images of it in my mind whenever I have a glass 🙂

What wine(s) are you currently enjoying?

Currently, I’m enjoying Arneis and blends from northern Piemonte in Italy.  Arneis is a white grape that has medium weight- so whole milk versus skim or heavy cream as an analogy- and it has perfumed aromas of white peaches, honeysuckle and something that reminds me of wet pavement in a spring rain.  That may sound silly, but that’s what I think of when I taste it.

Jennifer Simonetti – Bryan enjoying wine with friends

Are these wines a new discovery? If not what makes them special to you?

I’m rediscovering these.  The catalyst for the re-exploration is a wonderful wine I bought at Whole Foods for $15 that tastes more expensive than it is.  There are literally millions of wines on the shelves around the world. So, it’s normal to venture off and come back. In fact, the rediscovery may be even more exciting.

Which wine region according to you is the most romantic for a wine lover?

For me the most romantic wine is Burgundy.  While champagne may get all the glory – and it should because it’s amazing- there is something mysteriously alluring about every bottle of red or white burgundy that’s opened.  They change in the glass over a half hour (if it’s there that long!) and there are such subtle nuances, layers of deliciously complex flavors and silky texture…what’s not to love?

Image Courtesy – Jennifer Simonetti Bryan

Which are your top 3 favorite wines and why?

Favorite wines of all time?  Wow, that’s a tough one. After having tasted tens of thousands of wines that are hard to narrow down.  Here are ones that spring to mind though:

  • Charles Heidsieck Champagne ($60 for a 750ml bottle)- Charles Heidsieck knew luxury in his day.  He was the man introduced luxury champagne to the US in the 1800s and lived the good life with joie de vivre!  The style of Charles Heidsieck champagne is more rich and masculine structure with strong toasty and biscuity notes.  This is due to its high proportion of reserve wines and almost four years of long lees aging. It’s also the champagne we served at my wedding.
  • Masi Costasera Amarone Della Valpolicella ($56 for a 750ml bottle) – Amarone is a style of wine that comes from the region of Valpolicella, about two hours train ride west of Venice.  It’s made from three different red grapes – though mostly Corvina- that have been dried in a process of appasimento. Just like with making a reduction sauce in cooking, when drying grapes, the water comes out thereby concentrating the flavor and yummy goodness that’s left.  When the dried grapes are pressed and fermented and aged in barrels it becomes something otherworldly. It is a dry rich red wine with mouth-filling flavor of dark chocolate covered cherries. Pair it with some aged Parmigiano Reggiano and honey and you’ll be in heaven.
  • Disnókö Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttunyos ($49.95 for 500ml) – Tokaji throughout history has been known as the Wine of Kings and the King of Wines.  One taste and you’ll understand why. It’s a legendary sweet wine made in Hungary from white wine grapes infected by botrtyis- aka Noble Rot.  This may sound weird, but this mold opens the stomata in the grape allowing the water out, but leaving delicious flavors in without negatively impacting the grape.  The result? A decadently sweet orange nectar looking wine that tastes of dried apricots drizzled in honey.

What has been your most memorable wine moment?

I spoke at an event at Bar Boulud for the International Business & Wine Society in NYC and I was teaching the group my methods for tasting wines blind.  To achieve the Master of Wine title I had to identify 36 wines blind and this audience was eager to learn some secrets. While tasting a two glass wine flight of red burgundies I was reminded of how the Cistercian Monks hundreds of years ago would catalog the various flavors and nuances they would get from each row and area of vines.  This is why the appellation of Chambolle-Musigny can show feminine characteristics of aromatic strawberry, floral and mineral notes with a silky texture while the Pinot Noirs of close by Gevrey-Chambertin can show a masculine structure of stronger tannins (more bitter grip) yet with a weight to match and more dark cherry character. Same grape, same vintage, virtually same production techniques – yards away- but taste SO vastly different.  It reminds me of why I got into wine in the first place – appreciating all the unique and wonderful similarities and differences that make up the tastes and flavors of a wine.

Julien Miquel
France

Julien Miquel

After a decade of winemaking, Julien Miquel envisioned to start a genuine wine lovers community and web platform that allows wine enthusiasts and wine newbie to shares their knowledge and learn new experiences from wine experts and professionals. Arrive Social Vignerons – a wine lovers platform and a social media meister channel since 2009. Julien is now an influential wine blogger and meister who shared his love and romance for the vintage so generously with me. Follow Julien Miguel on Instagram, Twitter or visit Social Vignerons for wine advice and new experiences.

What does romance with wine mean to you?

Tasting wine for me is flirting with a piece of History, with a beverage that’s been loved —sometimes even worshipped— by men and women for thousands of years. It’s experiencing the fruit of a piece of land somewhere, the passion of its makers too, tasting a liquid that mysteriously gathers so many scents found in all facets of the world, berries, flowers, nuts, minerals, mushrooms, tropical fruits, meats, and much more…

It’s a travel in time and space. But romancing the wine is also living and sharing, enhancing a present moment, exciting the senses, a bonding experience with friends and loved ones.

What wine(s) are you currently enjoying?

The wines of Languedoc, a wine region in the South of France, close to where I live now on the Mediterranean coast. There are many wine styles produced in the area, from sparkling to white wines and rosés. But the regions is Historically famous for its reds, which happens to be my favorite color for wines.

Are these wines a new discovery? If not what makes them special to you?  

Languedoc wines used to be affordable wines made for everyday enjoyment. But the region has known in recent years a complete renaissance, now focusing on bringing out the specificity of its terroir, the distinctive quality of its traditional grape varieties. Many wineries use sustainable viticulture practices and work hard to make dry wines with character. The result is richly-tannic and generous reds, yet dry and mineral ones, with solid acidity, freshness and often a slightly salty finish that goes so well with food, respecting the dishes but adding to the experience.

I lived in many countries around the world for about 12 years, before I relocated back to the South of France a couple of years ago. I have found wines from Languedoc have transformed in the meantime, and I’m taking great pleasure discovering many world-class wines in Languedoc, with a clear French signature, yet with prices that remain accessible.

Which wine region according to you is the most romantic for a wine lover?

Tuscany in Italy is such a beautiful place, full of delightful landscapes gathering cypresses, olive trees, small vineyards, and woods on hilly sceneries, all by the coast of the Mediterranean sea. Food is, as a result, very diverse and exquisite, from seafood to hearty wild boar, grilled fish to creamy truffle pasta. Obviously, the traces of History here is visible and beautiful everywhere, from Florence to Siena, through every tiny village featuring castles and medieval vestiges. People are friendly and big-hearted, smiling and generous. The wines, from Chianti, Brunello, Montalcino, Bolgheri and many other famous wine places are the reflection of all aspects of the Tuscan generosity. A dreamy place on Earth for a romantic wine, food, and culture holiday.

What are your top 3 favorite wines and why?

Château Margaux, a top estate, the first classified growth of the Médoc region in Bordeaux remains —and will always remain— a very special wine to my heart. I worked at the winery, a stunning historic property by the Garonne river (I made a video about it if you’re curious, here on YouTube) as I was a young winemaker, freshly out of College/University. There I learned what it takes to make one of the very finest wines in the world, and what one of those tastes like. I learned how to appreciate the difference between a ‘normal’ good wine, and an outstanding one. How difficult it is to achieve this level of refinement from a winemaking standpoint, and how incredibly complex and age-worthy wine can be. And, of course, the wine at Chateau Margaux itself is excellent, a rare combination between the concentration of Bordeaux red wine, and the elegance the Margaux appellation if renown for.

I had a truly memorable tasting experience with a vintage bubbly, the 1995 Blanc des Millénaires by Charles Heidsieck. This was the most refined and complex Champagne wine I’ve ever had. I am a big lover of French Champagne wines and other refined sparklings. I find they gather so many enjoyable flavors, floral characters, citrus and tropical fruits, often combined with sour and savory notes of nuts and dough, augmented by buttery and brioche tones. Who wouldn’t like all of these harmoniously combined? This 1995 example, was the most complex, concentrated, balanced representation of this style I’ve ever had. Nearing what I imagine would be the perfection in a sparkling wine, delightfully aromatic and flavors elements, delivered to your senses with an impalpable and unimaginable finesse. You have to experience it to believe it. This wine was a revelation for as far as Champagne is concerned.

Finally, I must name a much simpler wine, but an important one for me. I believe wine is for everyone, and that everyone is allowed to have a favorite wine regardless of the price tag it has and regardless of what established critics or so-called connoisseurs think about it. A special wine for somebody can be affordable because we all have different tastes and perceptions. For me, there are special wines in every category of style and price, so long as they are made with savoir-faire (know-how) and passion. This is the magic of wine.

Prosecco is a type of sparkling wine that is not often highly-regarded because it’s —generally-speaking— affordable and relatively simple in its expression because it expresses mainly the primary fruit characters from the grapes. I have to admit I don’t always enjoy the Prosecco style because many cheap ones are too acidic and grassy to my palate. A Prosecco called Terre di Marca Prosecco by Corvezzo Winery in Veneto, Italy is an organic Prosecco that changed my general perception of the style. Being organic, it is made from grapes that are grown with much care, resulting in a softer and more concentrated expression. I made up with Prosecco thanks to this wine, and realized that every wine style can be enjoyable when made with the grower’s ‘love’. Corvezzo winery even makes a Prosecco that is refermented in the bottle, with the yeast lees still in the bottle as you buy it. So you have to shake it before you pour it. A very interesting and rare style, proving one can make something interesting out of what many consider as an ‘ordinary’ wine.

This wine is even more special to me because the people at the winery are dear to my heart. They have been very supportive of my work and passion for wine. A ‘special’ wine is always made special by the human story behind!

What has been your most memorable wine moment?
Because I work with wine, funnily enough, many of my recent wine moments are somewhat work-related. But because I love wine and my job, I can still candidly appreciate wines I taste and the travels I make around wine. Possible, my most memorable wine moment —there has been many!— dates back a little over one year ago, December 2016. I had gathered about 50 Champagne wines, for a series of articles aimed at awarding the best Champagne bubblies in three categories, Blanc de Blancs (made from Chardonnay only), Blanc de Noirs (made from red grapes only, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), and prestige cuvées (flagship wines from top Champagne houses). I spent three full and long days, surrounded by fantastic bottles of sparkling, tasting, writing about, and making a video about every wine, dissecting every bubble and every scent in each glass. The hard work and the long hours, combined with the feeling of living such a rare moment of opulence with extremely fine wines will remain as one of the most memorable wine moments in my life. 

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Author: Neha Wasnik

Neha Wasnik has been a blogger since 2009. She began her blogging journey with wellness and online marketing blogs while heading the PR and Marketing of luxury hotels. She has been sharing stories about travel and hospitality since 2015 with various travel websites while working with travel apps as a content marketing professional.

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