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What is a Blanc de Noir?

Blanc de Noir is a French term that translates to “white wine from red grapes.” It is most often describes a Champagne, made from either Pinot Noir, Pinot Meaner, or a blend of the two. Occasionally this phrase refers to still wines made from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. In the United States, however, these rosé wines usually go by other names such as Blanc de Pinot Noir, Cabernet Blanc or White Zinfandel.

What is the job of a Sommelier?

Sommeliers, or wine stewards, are trained and knowledgeable wine professionals, commonly working in fine restaurants and specializing in all aspects of wine services, including food and wine pairing. Sommeliers typically develop wine lists, train the other restaurant staff, and work along with the culinary team to pair and suggest wines to best complement each menu item. Sommeliers also often work the floor of the restaurant, in direct contact with customers to suggest options within their taste and budget preferences.

What are the general flavor differences in American and French oak?

While both American and French oak contribute tannins and aromas, French oak contains more tannins and flavor components with less “oaky” flavor and smell than American oak. American oak is more intensely flavored, with a more aggressive mouthfeel and immediately apparent aroma. American oak also contains more sweet and vanilla overtones than French oak. When it comes to wine barrels, all winemakers are looking for something different, and there is no right or wrong choice – it’s just a difference in style preference.

Originally published in The Wine Press' Wine Wizard, Donati Family Vineyard and Pianetta Winery edition featured in 2010.