Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: Craig Donofrio

Hello! New Mentor Introduction...Craig Donofrio

Posted by Craig Donofrio, Sep 24, 2012.

Hey All,

As an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers, I'm looking forward to answering any of your questions about food and wine pairings, wine storage and service, and deciphering restaurant wine lists. I also love to talk Riesling, Pinot Noir, California Cabernet and anything from Spain or Portugal. Please let me know if you have any questions or need help finishing any bottle of Riesling! Looking forward to chatting about wine soon...

Cheers,

Craig Donofrio

Replies

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Reply by EMark, Sep 24, 2012.

Craig, I look forward to learning from you, especially when you mention California Cabs, Spain and Portugal which I enjoy very much.  I have a lot to learn about Riesling and Pinot Noir.  So, I look forward to hearing your comments on those.

I have a lot to learn about a lot of things, can you tell us about the Court of Master Sommeliers?  Maybe I have been sheltered, but I am unfamiliar with that.

Oh, I noticed in your profile that you are a photographer, please feel free to share examples with us, but, also, please refrain from critiquing mine.  I am very sensitive. ;-)

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Reply by Craig Donofrio, Sep 24, 2012.

Hey Mark,

Great to hear from you and thanks for reaching out!

The Court of Master Sommeliers is an international organization that was started in 1977 to "promote excellence in hotel and restaurant beverage service." The CMS administers an educational program that consists of classes and exams at four different levels. As of 2012, only about 200 individuals worldwide have passed all four levels and earned the title Master Sommelier. 

 

At the fourth level, called the Master Sommelier Diploma, candidates must pass three different exams. 

  • a theory exam that covers all the wines and regions of the world plus spirits, beer and sake.
  • a service exam that is meant to prove excellence in beverage sales and service.
  •  a blind tasting exam that consists of six different wines (from anywhere in the world) that must be identified by region, varietal and vintage within 25 minutes...

It is a brutal exam that has no equal. Over the last ten years, the CMS Diploma has an average pass of seven candidates per year out of a few hundred very qualified candidates that take the exam.

Check out the CMS website for more information or look for SOMM Documentary, which is due to debut at the Napa Valley Film Festival in November.

 

Best Wishes,

Craig Donofrio

 

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Reply by EMark, Sep 24, 2012.

Very interesting.  Thank you, Craig.

I agree that those tests sound brutal--especially, that last one.  I'd like to think that I could handle the first two, but I am very realistic about my sensory (and sensory memory) limitations, and I have no chance on that last one.  I look forward to learning more from you.

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Reply by Jake Pippin, Sep 25, 2012.

Craig,

Welcome to Snooth's Mentor program! Glad to be working with you and exploring the world of wine. Spain is one of my favorite wine regions, but I don't know too much about it. I attended at Priorat tasting at the Hospice du Rhone conference in April and I was instantly hooked. I look forward to any recommendations you have.

Cheers,

Jakob Pippin

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Reply by jtryka, Sep 25, 2012.

Welcome and looking forward to learning from you!

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Reply by CheloSpahn, Oct 24, 2012.

Hello Craig,

Very nice to have someone like you here. I'm from Colombia a not very well know country if we talk about wine, but there's a few (that includes me) that are willing and hoping to make Colombian wine market to take advantage of the world's best wines.

I will definitely contact you about the Court of master sommeliers.

I only have one questions.. Is La Crema the best Pinot Noir you can find in California?

Kind regards

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Reply by EMark, Oct 24, 2012.

Is La Crema the best Pinot Noir you can find in California?

I look forward to seeing responses to this question.

Am I correct in assuming, Marcelo, that you are asking if La Crema is the best Pinot Noir that is made from California grapes?  If that is not what you mean, I'm sure that a horde of Burgundy fans are ready to pounce.

I am not a real big fan of Pinot Noir, but focussing your question on California Pinot Noir, I will say that I think that La Crema offers some very good Pinot.  The best I have had lately, however, were made by the Merry Edwards winery--specifically, their vineyard-designated offerings such as Georganne and Klopp Ranch.  These are from the Russian River Valley.  Again, I do not drink a lot of Pinot Noir.  I'm sure that there are people here who have a much broader experience with it than I do, and it will be fun to read their comments.

 

 

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Reply by CheloSpahn, Oct 24, 2012.

Well Mark you couldn't understand better. I'm absolutly talking about californian grapes, just to let you know I'm a fan of pinot noir specially burgundy ones! 

Well, i actually know And tried one pinot from columbia George calles Sinnean! But I'm asking about La crema because they just arrive Bogotá and they are making a big event of that. I've tried La Crema's monterey, russian river valley and sonoma county!

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Reply by JonDerry, Oct 25, 2012.

Overall La Crema makes competent CA Pinot Noir, but there are much better Pinot wines in the US fr various regions in CA (Sonoma coast & Santa Barbara especially), and also in Oregon. 

Outside of the US and Burgundy, Germany supposedly does se great things with the grape in the Ahr region. Their name for Pinot is "Spatburgunder". Haven't tried any yet but am looking forward to experimenting with it soon. Elsewhere New Zealand is producing a ton of Pinot Noir from what I understand and it's also worth sampling. And of course let's not sleep on Hungary...I recently tried a nice (old world style) Hungarian Pinot from Villany, and they also make it in Eger, as well as other regions in Hungary I imagine.

This is starting to sound like a great wine event...I look forward to the World of Pinot Noir tasting!

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Reply by CheloSpahn, Oct 26, 2012.

Hey Jon,

Thanks for the info, I'm a Pinot noir fan specially burgundy and californian. Didn't know Germany was up to producing some quality PN and it's going to take some time untill I can try some. My question about La crema relay on my position as a fan and as they had just arrive to Colombia. Here we have also A to Z and Rexhill some Oregon amazing PN, but as I am talking about Napa they should not enter on this discussion.

To make this just interesting yesterday I read an article that mentions Spain is on the way to make some awesome Pinot Noir's, it is in spanish but here's the link anyway: http://cocinayvino.net/vinos/3092-pinot-noir-espanol.html.

Basically it says that on the "Mondial du Pinot Noir" the wine "Cortijo Los Aguilares" from Malaga, south Spain won on his 2009 ans 2011 harvest the Gold Medal considering it is a "mature wine with the perfect acidity, elegant, fresh and full of floral aromas". It is planted on 900 mts above the sea and with exhaustiv controls.

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Reply by Wai Xin Chan, Oct 26, 2012.

Hi guys, speaking of Pinot Noir don't miss out the Aussie either! Especially from the Victoria and Tasmania which are planted with cool regions grape like Pinot, Chardonnay and Riesling.

Recently I did a blind Pinot tasting with friends and posted it on http://www.winexin.sg/index.php/2012/10/19/pinot-noir-a-taste-of-its-worldly-flavour/ .

Feel free to comment. :-)

 

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Reply by JonDerry, Oct 26, 2012.

I was thinking about Australia when I posted, but then I thought, "nah". How foolish of me...do you know if it's grown on the coast primarily Wai?

Spain never occurred to me either, probably north spain is where it would be though I'd imagine. This just keeps getting better.

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Reply by CheloSpahn, Oct 26, 2012.

Jon, you should totally visit www.wineaustralia.com.

Answering you question this are the regions were PN is plant on Australia: Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, the Yarra Valley and Great Southern!

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Reply by Wai Xin Chan, Oct 26, 2012.

Yes Chelospahn is right, visit Wine Australia or A+ Wine at http://www.apluswines.com/

Personally I like De Bortoli Yarra Valley Reserve the most, but there might be other hidden gems in other spots that are yet to be exported. 


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