Archive for the ‘News & Media’ Category

Le Nez du Whisky Set for Release

March 26th, 2013 by Sébastien Gavillet

It has been almost 10 years since Wine Aromas Inc. has requested Le Nez du Whisky. So it is with great pleasure that I make this announcement. The long-anticipated, much awaited Le Nez du Whisky is finally, finally, scheduled for release in October 2013!


Le Nez du Whisky was developed by Jean Lenoir in collaboration with Scotch Whisky Masters (Masters of Quaich) Sean MacLean and Martine Nouet. The Le Nez du Whisky is designed to train oneself into recognizing the 54 most commonly found aromas in whisky/whiskey. Like the Le Nez du Vin (Le Nez du Whisky’s counterpart for wine aromas training), this whisky aromas kit comes in a gorgeous case containing 54 Aroma Vials and the 143-page Le Nez du Whisky Instructional Book.

The Instructional Book talks about the olfactory memory; by understanding how your brain processes scents and smells, you will learn how to improve your ability to recognize and identify whisky/whiskey aromas. It discusses how whisky is made and provides information on the world’s whisky regions. In its pages you’ll find a new classification of whisky aromas, an aroma wheel, a detailed list of whiskies/whiskeys classified by aroma, and a description of the origin of whisky/whiskey aromas.

The Le Nez du Whisky is a must-have olfactory memory training tool for whisky/whiskey lovers, just as Le Nez Du Vin and Le Nez du Café are must-have tools for wine and coffee enthusiasts, respectively. As the Le Nez du Whisky Instructional Book will tell you, your ability to recognize scents depends on your scent memory. To put it simply, if your brain has no name for a particular scent (that is to say, if your brain has no memory of a particular scent), then even if your nose smells or “senses” it, you still won’t be able to recognize or identify it.

The Le Nez du Whisky works by telling you the names of the most common whisky/whiskey aromas AND teaching you what these aromas smell like. The detailed aroma-by-whiskies classification (over 1200 whiskies/whiskeys listed) also provides a viable starting point in training yourself to recognize the aromas found in specific whiskies/whiskeys.

Keep practicing with the Le Nez du Whisky and you will be able to embed the most common whisky/whiskey aromas in your olfactory memory. Once you have mastered the Le Nez du Whisky, you’ll see a marked improvement in your ability to recognize whisky aromas in your subsequent whisky tastings.

This is definitely a fun, educational way to master the language of whisky/whiskey – and a most original gift idea for your favorite whisky lover/s. For more information on Le Nez du Whisky or any of the Le Nez collections, please visit

Whisky Tasting Is Memory and Technique

Knowing what aromas to look out for is just one part of the whisky/whiskey tasting experience. The other part is technique.

For example, you probably know that whisky/whiskey has a higher volatility than wine due to its higher ABV (alcohol by volume), so unlike wine aromas some whisky aromas are not so easily perceived. In whisky tasting, therefore, watering down whisky is necessary to decrease its ABV, reduce its volatility and increase its openness or unmask its hidden aromas. But “watering down whisky” is not dumping just any amount of water into your snifter. When tasting whisky, water should be of a certain quality, water added by drops, dilution done gradually, and changes in detectible aromas assessed systematically.

To learn the method and technique of “tasting” whisky/whiskey, I highly recommend reading the book I wrote, “Discovering and Mastering Single Malt Scotch Whisky.” Learn more about this book by visiting


Discovering and Mastering Single Malt Scotch Whisky” will immerse you into the world of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies like never before. More importantly, it contains (among other useful things) a step-by-step guide in tasting whisky. Follow that guide when tasting whiskies and you’ll find more meaning in what you’ve learned from the Le Nez du Whisky.

Order your Le Nez du Whisky now. Visit

Swiss Wines in the City – New York City

May 26th, 2010 by Sébastien Gavillet

It was a rare treat for Swiss wine lovers. On May 3rd, Swiss Wines in the City was held at the City Winery in New York City.

The Concept:

Leave it to the Swiss to come up with such a fantastic and original idea: a wine bottling party to promote Swiss wines in New York City! Swiss wine journalist Chandra Kurt came up with the idea. She then pitched her proposal to two world-renowned Swiss wineries, Jean-René Germanier and Provins, both of which graciously consented to have their wines bottled in a special event at the City Winery.

The Venue:

The City Winery, located at the heart of Soho, is the only winery in the City of New York. It was founded by Michael Dorf in 2008. It is a fully
equipped winery, producing wines using wine grapes from all over the world. French winemaker David Lecomte heads the City Winery’s professional wine making team. Next time you are there, try his Petite Syrah. You’ll find it hard to believe you’re drinking wine made in NYC. The City Winery is a great place for hanging out. It is place where people can get together, enjoy wines produced on-site and listen to live music. Artists like Suzanne Vega and Elvis Costello have performed there. Want to try your hand at wine making? The City Winery also offers aspiring wine makers and hobbyists the opportunity to make their own wines.

The Wines:

Two wines, one from each participating Swiss winery, were selected for bottling. One of them is a white wine, a Petite Arvine “Cru des Domaines” 2007 from Provins. The other is a red wine, a
Syrah “Cayas” 2008 from Jean-René Germanier (see Jean-René Germanier Winery post for my Cayas wine review and tasting notes).  A barrel of each wine was shipped to NYC with the help of Laurent Crolla of Swiss Cellars, a distributor of Swiss wines in the United States.

The Party:

Winemakers, sommeliers, wine experts, gourmands, wine importers, wine enthusiasts, and members of the media were amongst those invited to attend this first-of-its-kind event for Swiss wines. Swiss Wines in the City started with a “bottling party.” It went exactly as you imagine: the wines described above were bottled right in front of the guests. After the bottling party, there was a dinner party. The guests were then able to sample a wide variety of wines from the cellars of Provins and Jean-René Germanier.

After Party:

After dinner, we headed to Terroir, Paul Grieco’s latest wine bar and a top NYC hot spot
located in Tribeca. We were just in time to share some of the Swiss wines with sommeliers and food critics from all over the country who had just attended the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards. Cheers!

The Wine Vibe Blog 2.0 Beta

January 05th, 2010 by Sébastien Gavillet

Welcome to the new and much improved Wine Vibe, the first multilingual wine review and wine education blog by industry professionals.

Six months ago, Wine Vibe was already a great wine education blog. It had news about the wine industry, accounts of wine tastings I’ve attended, stories about wineries and vineyards I’ve visited, helpful guides on serving and drinking wines, and exclusive wine reviews. I wanted more, however. I felt Wine Vibe could do more, be more and share more, so I decided to push the envelope – and thus began an extensive and definitely expensive overhaul of the Wine Vibe blog.

I began with a redesign of the way Wine Vibe looked. I then went back to my old posts and revised them extensively to make them even clearer and easier to digest. This took a lot of time out of my busy schedule, but I felt that I needed to do it to give you – my readers – greater value for your
time. After revising the posts, I removed 99.5% of the external links in the posts. I wanted Wine Vibe to be your one-stop wine education resource, so I hired researchers and compiled an internally available, comprehensive glossary of wine lingo and grape varieties. I hired programmers to create custom applications that would make the site more interactive.

I also hired animators so I could add multimedia content to the blog. As a final step, I got professional translators on board and had Wine Vibe translated into 6 other languages apart from English. Then I had the site thoroughly reviewed by industry professionals.

It’s been seven months since I started revamping Wine Vibe. I plan to add more features and applications, compile a list of the who’s who in the wine industry, add more animations, post more pictures, and create more multimedia content. I am happy to be back and I have a dozen new great posts pending to be posted once they are translated.

Sébastien Gavillet

Wine World Event: Somms in the Kitchen

February 07th, 2009 by Sébastien Gavillet

The word is out! Have you heard about the “great” cook-off that’s setting the Las Vegas wine world on fire? It’s called Somms in the Kitchen. Somms in the Kitchen is a private, invitation-only event where sommeliers compete against one another for the top spot in the kitchen. That’s right; Somms in the Kitchen is all about sommeliers showing off their cooking and wine pairing skills.

Typical Format

First, the theme and the basic criteria are set. Next, the competing sommeliers are selected. Up to three sommeliers are chosen to compete. The competing sommeliers have to volunteer, of course; these sommeliers compete for personal glory and do not represent their establishment. Once the candidates have been selected, the location (usually a private residence) is selected next. During the contest, the competing sommeliers may be
required to prepare as many as three dishes. Most of the cooking must be done on-site. The sommeliers must not only cook the best dishes; more importantly, they must pair their dishes with the right wines. The “best somm in the kitchen” is chosen by a panel of three judges who can be chefs, sommeliers and/or food critics. Typically, the judges select the winner based on food presentation, originality, taste, and wine pairing.

A Toast-Worthy Experience

Let me tell you. There really is nothing better than when gourmands get together and show off their hidden culinary skills, share their favorite dishes and pair them with the perfect wines. If you get lucky enough to get invited to “Somms in the Kitchen,” don’t forget to bring the required bottle of wine. And it had better be decent wine! When you have twenty plus sommeliers in the house – sommeliers, I might add, who work in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country – the
last question you want to hear anyone asking about your wine contribution is, “Who brought this bum wine?” Cheers!

George M. Taber Lecture: To Cork or Not to Cork

March 18th, 2008 by Sébastien Gavillet

George M. Taber, the famous author of the book, Judgment of Paris, spoke at a lecture organized by Deluca Liquor & Wine.  You can read more about the Judgment of Paris and the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 in the post entitled “George M. Taber Lecture:  Judgment of Paris.”

George Taber’s new book, To Cork or Not To Cork, was the focus of this lecture.  This book is about the problems associated with the use of cork.  It also presents the various wine closure methods that can serve as an alternative to wine cork.  The pros and cons associated with these methods are also discussed.

I have not read this book yet, so I will not discuss it here.  Let me just say that there really is no perfect cork, as George so unequivocally stated; otherwise, there would be no such thing as “cork taint” in today’s wine.

Australian Wine and Cork Taint[/ glossary] This is my two cents on why Australian wines are the world’s most corked (i.e. cork tainted) wines. In my opinion, it is not the long journey from Portugal to Australia since South American wines [glossary]do not suffer from this issue.  I think the problem originates from the Australian Customs’ practice of fumigating all incoming containers that contain wood or wood-based products.  Perhaps, the corked wines problem in Australia is related to the fumigation process.

Did I hit the nail on the head with my theory?  Until next time!  Cheers!

George M. Taber Lecture: Judgment of Paris

March 18th, 2008 by Sébastien Gavillet

Deluca Liquor & Wine hosted a lecture by the famed wine writer, George M. Taber, author of the book, Judgment of Paris.  George was there mainly to present his new book called To Cork or Not To Cork, which discusses the controversy surrounding the use of cork as wine closure.  Before George proceeded to his main topic, however, he first took questions about the Judgment of Paris.

For your information, I do own this book.  This book is about the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, an event that is generally considered to be a key turning point for the entire wine industry.  If you don’t know anything else about the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, just remember this.  It was the event that put California wines on the map.

Indeed, the 1976 Paris Tasting challenged the age-old wisdom that said Old World wines are better than New World wines.  What made this tasting so
revolutionary was the outcome:  Californian wines were voted better than French wines in a blind wine tasting by French wine experts!  You can just imagine the resulting outcry when the results were revealed.  The judges gasped, whispers broke out and all you could hear was “Ce n’est pas possible!

My “Judgment of Paris” – My Take on the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting

Now, I’m not here to defend the French wines and say that the outcome of the contest was incorrect, but I do have a few objections.  Mainly, I object to the means by which the vintages for the Burgundy White Wines were selected.

If you have read my past write-ups, you would be aware that, at blind tastings, I prefer a horizontal selection of wines if they come from the same AOC/AVA.  In the Paris Wine Tasting event of 1976, California wines were pitted against Burgundy wines.  California and Burgundy
are not in the same region, obviously, so origin should have been considered in the selection of vintages.  To put it simply, what might have been a good year in California might not have been a good year in Burgundy.  As it turned out, 1973 was in fact one of the worst vintages for Burgundy in the last 40 years or so, whereas 1973 was a fairly decent year for California.

The quality of the vintages used for the red wine tasting was much fairer, though.

Overall, I am grateful to the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 for it showed the winemakers worldwide that they have to be more diligent and that they have to constantly keep up their efforts to make better wines.  This is the main reason why today, we can enjoy what George Taber aptly called “the golden age of wines.”

Enjoy the golden age of wines, folks!  Cheers!