The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

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4 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 { letter from the publisher } A We See the SOMM Journal as a Cuvée . . . s we arrive at our third issue, we've been asked dozens of times if we have themes running through each bi-monthly edition—and our answer is always "No." We look at each issue of The SOMM Journal as a unique educational guide that spans the world of wine, artisanal spirits and food rather than as a specially focused issue that touches on various aspects of a single theme. In other words, we like to think of The SOMM Journal as a cuvée, not a mono-varietal. Granted, depending on time of year and prevailing seasonal trends, you may find several stories on a single topic, as you will find on Champagne in this issue. But then we're literally all over the map: from Croatia to Rías Baixas to smack dab in the middle of Anderson Valley. Expanding our scope in this issue, our first "Category Report" appears within as we touch upon the subject of farming practices, discussing sustainable/organic/ biodynamic methodology and checking in with some of the experts in their respec - tive fields both domestically and internationally. And from there, take a look at Dr. Jamie Goode's "edgy" essay on minerality; we know some of you will have your own opinions on the definition of this term, and on what we're really tasting in our wines. And speaking of your own opinions, we would love to continue to hear from you and will post a special "Letters from Our Readers" page as we start gathering queries and op/eds from you. Send them to my attention at: Looking forward, Contributing Editor Karen MacNeil, who wrote our cover story on the debut of Domaine Anderson, is excited to announce that her New Wine Bible will be released in spring 2015. It was about 15 years ago that the first edition of her beautifully written and comprehensive first Bible inspired me to engage with the wine world. Here is an excerpt, in which she points out the origins of the word: During the French Renaissance, a sommelier bought the title sommelier and paid to become part of the retinue of the king or a nobleman. The somme - lier, responsible for stocking food and wine for journeys, kept the provisions in a carriag e called a somme. Simply stocking provisions, however, was not the sommelier's most important job; ensuring the condition of the perish - ables was. He did this rather riskily, by taking a bite of each food and a sip of each wine before it was presented to his lord. If the food or wine had been poisoned by an enemy, the sommelier was the first to know. "I believe the term first began being used in the mid 2000s in the United States by U.S. sommeliers who were not totally comfortable with the French word sommelier but who also felt that the more generic English term 'wine buyer' wasn't distinctive enough," Karen explained to me recently. "It is definitely an American term." Why don't you write in to say when you think the term was first used and where and by whom? Meridith May Publisher and Editorial Director PHOTO: MONA PAYNE SHIELD Meridith May with Livio Lauro, Senior Director of Sales for Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada. Photo taken at Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas during our Somm and Bartender Mixer. And when it comes to demonstrating proof, Southern's own Director of Spirits Education, Francesco Lafranconi, has some words of wisdom on mixing: see page 76.

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