Monday, March 13, 2006

Amy Mumma and Grabriel Rausse Cabernet Franc 2004

I was at WINERIES UNLIMITED 2006, in Lancaster, PA, and I attended an excellent seminar entitled, "Developing a Professional Palate" which was led by Amy Mumma, from Central Washington University. The seminar notes read, "In this tasting seminar we will objectively analyze each wine for components, such as acidity, sugar levels, alcohol, body, tannins, structure, character and winemaking techniques that influence the style of the wine. We will also examine how to assess quality levels, maturity and potential of a wine to age."

I was skeptical. I'd been to dozens of tastings with "experts" always giving you this pointer or that. I am a wine writer. Matt Kramer, Howard Goldberg, Robert Parker, those are wine experts. But I was thinking it might be a waste of time.

In June 2005, Jancis Robinson wrote, "Her charisma, her ease with public speaking, her desire to share her passion and her extensive knowledge of wine have led her to become a candidate for the Master of Wine." Well, she made it. Amy has been named the world's top female wine professional after winning the Wine Women Awards competition. Mumma was among 167 nominees from 20 different countries. Ten finalists were invited to attend the finals in Paris in June, to show off their technical knowledge, tasting, and presentation skills.

Mumma holds the Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust in the United Kingdom and a Diploma of Tasting from the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France, and has visited many of the world's wine-producing regions.

I want to say I have to apologize. I was wrong. Ms. Mumma was funny, insightful, sharp, and an excellent wine taster. I was much impressed, as was the rest of the crowd. I learned all kinds of new things. I thought she did an excellent job making important information and complex tasting experiences easier to turn into words. My hat's off to Ms. Mumma!

We tasted one red and one white. And I really enjoyed the red. It was a young wine, clear ruby red. It had a bright cherry nose and nice body, and long finish - your mouth kept watering, long after the wine had been swallowed. Boy, was it tasty. It turned out it was a Gabriel Rausse Cabernet Franc 2004.

Gabriel is the uber-talented Virginia winery consultant, winemaker, and owner of his own, small, exclusive microwinery. Born in Italy, Mr. Rausse relocated to Virginia about 20 years ago. During this time he has watched the state’s wineries grow from a handful to over 75 today. In addition to working in the Central Virginia region, consulting with several local vineyards, Mr. Rausse is also the Associate Director or Garden and Grounds at Monticello. Near that historic home, Mr. Rausse runs his own boutique winery, Gabriele Rausse Winery

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I recommend getting a bottle or two or many and treating yourself. It's a wonderful wine experience. And don't be greedy, share it with someone you love...or better yet, share it with someone who likes wine.

And as for Ms. Mumma, thanks for the pointers!

And if any of you are lucky enough to meet her, say hello to her for me.

Gabriele Rausse Winery (no tours offered)
P.O. Box 3956
Charlottesville, VA 22903