Wine Talk

Snooth User: Rodolphe Boulanger

My New Favorite AVA - Fair Play

Posted by Rodolphe Boulanger, Jul 11, 2008.

I must confess that I am drawn by the name alone... at least so far since I've never even seen a bottle with Fair Play on the label.

http://wine.appellationamerica.com/...

http://www.fairplaywine.com/map/map.html

Has anyone had any experience with wines from this part of the Sierra Foothills?

Replies

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Reply by Philip James, Jul 11, 2008.

Thats pretty cool - that landing page does have the annoying tendency to refresh with different information periodically though

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 15, 2008.

They do a great passport weekend. You should really hire a driver and just go have fun. Some of the wines are really stellar and the QPR is solid, for now at least. The whole Sierra Foothills area is really starting to come together nicely. Many people who were tired of Napa land prices picked up land in the foothills and are doing a great job of raising the profile of the area.

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Reply by Philip James, Jul 15, 2008.

RBoulanger and I are fresh from the Certified Specialist of Wine exam, and I have to say I was a little disappointed at how little mention there was of "AVA's with cool names". There was less than 3 questions on wine regions in the US that werent California.

I guess its hard to cover the world of wine in 100 questions, but would have loved to have seen some reference obscure references...

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 15, 2008.

hehe...that may be a fun article to put together. 'AVA's with Attitude' I would imagine you're right about the 100 questions part. The breadth of wine material/knowledge is so immense you are bound to miss many pieces when trying to cram it all in a 100 question exam.

To Phillip and Rboulanger : Where did you take the exam? Are you planning on taking the CWE? I take the CSW in September; mind if I borrow your study guide?

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Reply by Philip James, Jul 15, 2008.

We didnt buy the study guide, just joined the SWE and used their online materials. They are good, but they only seem to cover 95% of the material, so if you go that route, be warned that there's the odd question that will be on material you've never seen.

Its a bit of a shock to the system, mid exam, when that happens.

Re. CWE, maybe, but not for a while. I've had my fill of exams for now.

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 17, 2008.

I'm surprised that there were any questions about wine regions in the US. The WSET plays down the involvement of the US in the global wine market, at least on the Intermediate level.

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 17, 2008.

You're right about the WSET Mark. Since all the WSET is based out of London there is more emphasis on the global market. The US does seem to get skipped over, even in the Advanced Certificate program. I am surprised at the lack of emphasis on the US for the SWE exams since they are US based society. As the states begin to better define their wine regions we may see less washing over of the topic. To be fair the WSET does not spend much time on the English wine market either.

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Jul 17, 2008.

We took the CSW in NYC. Oddly enough, the CWE is not offered in NYC. There must be some nefarious reason that the nation's premier wine market (and largest city) doesn't have a full slate of SWE exams. From what I have heard, the CWE is a good exam and a worthy goal, but the Society does not make it very clear what you are tested on. They list a 25% pass rate for people taking it the first-time. It's almost as if they are a guild who doesn't want any new members! I am not going to throw my money down the drain like that. I do have a friend who is trying to put together a guide for the CWE so we'll see how that goes.

As for the WSET's bias against North American wines, it was very strong when I took the Advanced Certificate in 2004 (about 5% of the material), but I understand it gets more coverage in the new textbook. I am halfway through WSET's Diploma and I think, at this level, they are pretty fair. The wines of the world unit is divided into four sub-units
1. Northern & Western Europe (Germany, Britain & "Wet" France i.e. regions where it rains)
2. Southern, Central & Eastern Europe (Iberia, Italy, Med. France, Austria, etc)
3. Africa, Asia, & Australia (including the Middle East)
4. The Americas (with USA getting ~60% of the focus and Chile & Argentina splitting the rest)

The IWC (who administer the WSET courses in NYC) choose to spend only 2 of 20 diploma class sessions on North America and a whopping 7 on France, 3 on Italy, 2 on Iberia, and 2 on Australia. Before you cry foul about the US getting a raw deal, remember that this means that Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, South Africa, North Africa, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and anywhere else get stuffed in to 4 sessions. Yum!

Is this still biased towards the UK market? Yes - but its getting better. Besides, 25 years ago, it must have been 75% focused on France and Germany with short chapters on Italy, Spain, and the USA and a paragraph on Australia!

Christophe - do you know anything about the CWP and ACWP programs at the CIA/Greystone in St. Helena?

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 17, 2008.

RE: CWP and ACWP. I am aware of there existence and will research them further in the future; I'm sure of it. As you know, it seems that tests beget tests and so on and so on. Too many hoops to jump through.

What is your opinion of the mentioned certifications?

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Jul 18, 2008.

CWP and ACWP?

I don't know much about them at all. I was recently looking through the CIA's materials online and they look intriguing. They seem to be strongly tasting based (in those fantastic tasting amphitheaters seen in Karen MacNeil's PBS show), which I think is a big plus.

However, the classes are expensive, all-day, only offered in Napa and the exams are only offered twice (?) a year... and only in Napa. Although you don't need to take the classes to try to pass the exam, their current website doesn't really tell you what you do need to do.

Personally, I am not sure what classes one should skip if they've already done the WSET advanced.

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 18, 2008.

Right; welcome to Napa prices. That's my feeling about the certification. Can you just place out? I mean it just becomes absurd after a while. However, people like you and I still go seek them out and lay down cash for more letters at the ends of our name. hehe...go figure

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Jul 22, 2008.

Christophe - it seems like you would enjoy the Wine Century Club immensely.

Download the application and see what *work* you still have to do to qualify:
http://www.winecentury.com/membersh...

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Reply by Christophe1313, Jul 22, 2008.

Good call. I will go ahead and send that one in. I qualify but that is not to say I shouldn't revisit and chec my *work* That gets me motivated to do a collaborative obscure wine tasting.


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