The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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{ } 99 Elizabeth Vianna, Winemaker at Chimney Rock As a biology major at Vassar College, Elizabeth Vianna—much like Remi Co- hen—was on the path to medical school. But after being exposed to good wine in New York, namely a glass of 1985 Château Sociando-Mallet, Vianna chose to attend U.C. Davis to pursue her master's in enology instead. After graduating, Vianna advanced from Enologist to Assistant Wine- maker at Napa Wine Company, where she learned the craft alongside incredible winemakers like Pam Starr and Heidi Barrett. After starting at Chimney Rock as the Assistant Winemaker in 2002, Vianna assumed the role of Winemaker in 2005 before being named General Manager in 2011. In addition to serving as the Head Winemaker at the Stags Leap District estate winery, Vianna somehow manages to find time to serve as President of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association. Her stead - fast dedication can clearly be attributed to her love of the AVA. "I've been making wines here for over 16 years now. When I started at Chimney Rock, I remember watching [former winemaker Doug Fletcher] giving a tour and saying something like, 'The Stags Leap District makes some of the best Cabernets in the world.' I come from a New York per - spective, where it's a very kind of Eurocentric wine-drinking community in a lot of ways, and remember thinking, "Wow, that's pretty confident,'" Vianna recalls. "But I think I didn't really understand Napa Valley wines yet at that stage in my career, and then I had this kind of an 'aha moment' maybe three or four years later after realizing that the wines really are beautifully balanced and there is something here that is unique, like any great appellation." CAMP HIGHLIGHTS "The camp will be a deep immersion in the his- tory, geology, and wines from the SLD, but most importantly, it will be a chance for the somms to connect with the land and the people who make the District special and unique." —Remi Cohen "The biggest takeaway any time you visit a wine region, of course, is really tasting through its wines. But just as valuable, they'll know so much more of the story behind those wines and that's what connects us to them—the people. I think these somms will be getting a perspective on the diversity of wineries in the District from some of the newer producers to some of the long-term and multi-generational family growers." —Elizabeth Vianna "Included also in the itinerary is a segment called 'Clearing the Air – A Barrel Crawl,' a fun play on a pub crawl. Participating winemakers will taste the sommeliers through their 2017 barrel samples. Our intended goal is to literally clear the air and mystery around the vintage due to the wildfires. The vintners look forward to shar- ing the appellation's high-quality 2017 Cabernets with the somms so these industry leaders can spread the word." —Nancy Bialek, Executive Direc- tor, Stags Leap District Winegrowers Look for a full report of the Stags Leap SOMM Camp in the August-September issue of The SOMM Journal!

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