Posted by Byron Crowe II*
In the early afternoon of July 26th, I walked out of Stanza Dei Sigari, a cigar bar in the North End of Boston, and began my journey to South Africa by catching a cycle rickshaw to South Station. Two days later, after a smoke-scented train ride to NYC, an evening in the city, a 19 hour flight, and a 200 rand cab ride, I finally arrived in the Observatory neighborhood of Cape Town. Since then, life here has been nothing short of living the 3L dream. Because of my enthusiasm for the experiences I have had while here, I decided to enlighten the readers back home with some of the highlights—and low points—of beverage culture here in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
Posted by Michaela Laird on September 25, 2013.
Wine Tasting, 9/20/13, 6:30pm, The Lodge, Theme: Chardonnay
The Society of Wine and Jurisprudence started this year the way many people start their wine tasting career, with Chardonnay. Last Friday we held our first tasting of the year, focusing entirely on this popular grape and the widely varied wines made from it. The event was a success, as you can see from the pictures, and we tasted Chardonnays from many different regions- from local Finger Lakes wineries to the grape’s homeland in the Burgundy region of France. Below are a couple of our picks from the event.
Favorite Foreigner: Terra Nova Chardonnay
This Chilean wine was the surprise hit of the evening. Appraised by our tasters as being, “smooth,” “full-bodied,” and “buttery” this crisp and fresh-flavored wine left a positive impression on all. And at only $7.99, it also wins our “Best Bargain” award.
Easiest Going Down: Edna Valley Chardonnay, 2011
The most popular wine of the evening was a Californian. From an up-and-coming region for Chardonnay, this medium-bodied wine was praised as being “balanced” and “crisp” with a “fantastic dry finish.”
Final Take-Away: One grape, many flavors. And the new members learnt just how much fun we can have!
This is your Chief Blog Editor, Chris, with a brief update. For those of you who don’t know, our first tasting of the school year is Friday, September 20, focusing on Chardonnay. I’d just take this opportunity to point your attention up to the events link on the navigation bar on top of the site, where you’ll see the full event entry for that Chardonnay Tasting tomorrow evening with all of the details.
As we get going this year, we’re going to have a fuller slate of events posted, with contact and sign-up information available for future events. Keep checking back, and you’ll get a good view of what the Society is doing and how to get involved.
So keep your eyes open, and that’s enough from me. I’ll leave you to read Theresa’s excellent post on tasting wines below, and tell you to check back in soon; we have some excellent pieces coming in our continuing introduction series, and a post from our former Wine Czar Byron, who’s in South Africa right now and has quite a bit to say about it.
Posted by Theresa Cederoth on September 12, 2013.
Drinking wine is not the same as tasting wine. Even those of us who have been wine drinkers for years may never have stopped to appreciate the full experience of our beverage. To truly taste wine, you need to slow down and pay attention to your senses of smell, sight, and touch, as well as taste. You don’t need to be a wine expert to become a proficient wine taster—all that’s required is a little focus. Here’s a cheat sheet to guide you through the basic aspects of wine tasting.
Step 1: Control Your Tasting Conditions
Start with a clean wine glass, since the taste and smell of dust or detergent can affect the wine’s flavor. (Along similar lines, avoid strong perfumes while wine tasting.) Whenever possible, choose a good wine glass. The glass should have a large bowl so that you can swirl and aerate the wine, and the rim should bend inward to help funnel the aromas to your nose. A clear glass, rather than colored or printed, will give you an unimpeded view of the wine (which becomes important in Step 2). The rim should be thin, as wine flows more cleanly and evenly over a thin rim than a thick rolled one.
Please check back when our regular posting resumes in September. Have a great summer!
CC image courtesy of orkomedix.
Posted by Byron Crowe II on May 9, 2013.
Although wine may not be your first thought when you think of Africa, it is home to one of the top ten wine-producing countries in the world. South Africa, a large country on the continent’s southern tip, has a rich history of wine production. The first South African wines were made over 300 years ago by Dutch Colonists using wild grapes that grew along the southwestern coast. Today, South Africa has garnered international acclaim for the wide variety of fine wines produced in its unique, southern-Mediterranean-esque climate.
While white grape varietals dominated South African production as late as the 1990s, there is now a greater amount of balance between red and white production, with 45% of hectares planted being red varietals. The top white varietals include Chenin Blanc—referred to locally as “Steen”—Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. The most-planted reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinotage, and Merlot. Continue reading
Posted by Sarah Wickham on May 6, 2013.
Wine labels. Simple stickers affixed to 750mL of fermented grape juice. My father logs the majority of the wines he drinks by peeling the label and saving it in a notebook with his tasting notes, often accompanied by notes about the food that accompanied the wine at dinner that evening, what he and the rest of our family were doing that day, and what the weather was like. The notes are sometimes heavy on the wine, sometimes heavy on life; it seems to depend on the day. He has quite the collection of filled notebooks, and I love to page through them when I’m home over the weekend. With the labels and a few notes as an aid, he can vividly recall wines from almost a year back, sometimes longer. (My favorite note so far: “Had this one for Greg’s birthday. Pork chops and sweet potatoes. We really liked it. Greg is not here.”)
We rely heavily on labels to help us understand what the bottle holds, where it is from, when and how it was made, its alcohol content, and ultimately, if we are likely to enjoy it. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualite (which confusingly goes by an old acronym, INAO), and the EU set forth numerous requirements for labels to protect consumers and producers. The regulations assist consumers in understanding the quality and origin of the wine and help uphold the reputations of the regions that produce them. While these intentions are sound, the laws are often so convoluted or obscure that they are lost on most consumers, many of whom already find appellation naming, vintages, and varietals overwhelming.
I offer this, the first installment in my primer for reading the tea leaves of the wine labels: sparkling wine terminology. Continue reading
Posted by Lilian M. Loh on May 2, 2013.
So you’re done with 1L and now looking to fill your upperclass course load with a senioritis mentality. Have a Wednesday afternoon gap? Why not sign up for Cornell’s famous Introduction to Wines class?
You might be hesitant because it is the most-failed class at Cornell. Professor Mutkoski will be the last to deny that: he wants you to work for those two credits. However, these two credits don’t apply to law students. For $30, you get zero credits towards your legal education, but you get approximately 72 ounces of wine and a clarinet-like case containing three wine glasses. Here are a few tips on how to get through (and maybe even pass) this course: Continue reading
Quinta Nova; Duoro Valley, Portugal
Posted by Lindsey A. Zahn on April 29, 2013.
For students and even professionals interested in pursuing wine law, an avid question that often results is how to pursue wine law as a profession or professionally. Originally, when I first started my journey as a wine law researcher, I thought there was only one answer to this question: to practice wine law in a law firm, irrespective of the firm’s size. I also originally believed—quite incorrectly, actually—California to be the only state within the United States in which one could practice wine law. However, as I learned more about the field from both reading literature and speaking with a variety of practitioners, I realized there is a lot more to a professional career in wine law—just as there certainly are a lot of options aside from traditional practice one can pursue with a Juris Doctor. As a result, I thought an entry surveying the options with which I am familiar might be useful to those curious about professional pathways for wine and the law.
The most important distinction I must make before discussing the professional opportunities I know of with respect to wine and law is that wine law and alcohol beverage regulation are different. Wine law pertains exclusively to the legal regulation of the wine industry whereas alcohol beverage regulation usually entails wine, spirits, and beer. While the practice of each is not mutually exclusive, there are many opportunities that focus on one rather than the other. Because my professional focus is on wine law, I will discuss opportunities pertaining to wine and the law (but, because alcohol beverage regulation and wine law are not mutually exclusive, some of the forthcoming ideas may address alcohol beverage opportunities as well). Continue reading
Posted by Lindzey Schindler on April 25, 2013.
Judaism is an ancient religion, purported to have begun around 1400 B.C. at Mount Sinai, when God gave Moses the well-known Ten Commandments. Along with the Commandments, God also revealed dietary laws, or kashrut, which have been interpreted and expanded throughout the years by rabbis and Jewish sages. Many people have a vague idea of what these dietary laws consist of; keeping kosher means no pork, no mixing meat with dairy, and no eating animals unless they have been blessed by a rabbi and slaughtered in a certain way. This can mean various things to various people: either a decision to ignore the rules altogether, deciding not to eat cheeseburgers or pepperoni pizza, or having a completely different set of dishes and silverware, Tupperware, pots and pans, and sometimes even refrigerators, so that dairy and meat have no chance of crossing paths. But in addition to the rule not to mix meat and milk and other rules, the laws of kashrut also apply to Jewish wine. Continue reading