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April 28th, 2015

Learn About Wine Blog

Sept 4th SummerTASTE mention in Hal Bastian’s “What’s Up Downtown?”

California Classics – SummerTASTE Downtown LA | FIGat7th
Wednesday, September 4

735 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Big Red Dark & Inky
Event Six (of 8) – California Classics. Price includes: Unlimited but responsible tasting, gourmet cheese table, Marsatta hand crafted chocolates tables, and music by Dan Wilcox of KCRW. Charity benefits TJ Martell Foundation and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Social, fun, and at a great price. You can’t have two glasses of wine and appetizers for this price, let alone 20 wines!
September 4 Tasting List
Sea Smoke
Bacio Divino
Clos Du Val
LangeTwins Family Winery
McCay Cellars
Sequoia Grove
Villa Creek
Robert Mondavi
and more!






Winemakers, Wine Trade, Sommeliers, and Consumers Come Together for a Signature Cabernet Event


Beverly Hills, CA. November 2013—Southern California is about to experience the 5th annual STARS of Cabernet, the flagship wine event produced by LearnAboutWine.  The Five Diamond Peninsula Beverly Hills hosts STARS of Cabernet LA on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013.

“Cabernet is the most important wine in the marketplace,” said Ian Blackburn, Founder of LearnAboutWine, the company behind the 5th annual STARS of Cabernet event.  Cabernet stands apart because of its market appeal, cost, and collectibility.  “The number of new small producers is increasing exponentially,” explains Mr. Blackburn.  “the majority of the Cabernet producers live in Northern California, so we created STARS of Cabernet to bring together the best Cabernet producers for an efficient showcase to further their success in Southern California.”


The select wineries pouring at STARS of Cabernet bring wines that are precious and expensive. “These wines are phenomenal,” said Mr. Blackburn. “These are wines that get previewed at STARS of Cabernet before they are reviewed in the Wine Spectator… some you may have not heard of yet, but will in months and years to come.”


Mr. Blackburn wants to champion the KING of California grapes in a challenged marketplace.  With the economy being weaker, he wants to help the marketplace connect with the smaller producers of merit.  For the first year ever, STARS of Cabernet starts off with a Cabernet Seminar featuring special guests Jean Hoefliger, of Alpha Omega Winery, and Aaron Pott, of Pott Wine.  This seminar will be invitation only for top rated sommeliers and high impact press, as Mr. Hoefliger and Mr. Pott taste 6 fine Cabernets while discussing the grape, the market, and the current issues facing fine wine.  After the seminar, doors of the event open to the trade. “Wineries appreciate the high quality of our already established trade relationships.  We walk a tight line to make sure that the trade who come have the power to move the needle for these brands.”  Then finally, STARS of Cabernet opens to consumers, “who have a chance to experience the most exclusive of Cabernets,” said Mr. Blackburn.


LearnAboutWine is also partnering with The Tasting Panel, a national monthly magazine to promote our events and each event will be written up with spotlights, photos and tasting notes.  The Tasting Panel Magazine is the most widely circulated and fastest growing wine and spirits trade publication in the country, reaching over 100,000 hospitality professionals every month.


STARS of Cabernet LA supports the T.J. Martell Foundation, known for Leukemia, Aids, and Cancer Research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.


About the wineries:

Confirmed winemakers who will be pouring over 100 wines include: Ackerman, Somerston, Round Pond, ZD Wines, Louis Martini, Truchard, Joseph Phelps, Mt Brave, Anakota, Rombauer, Signorello, Lail, Snowden, Hall, Tournesol, Stelzner, St. Supéry, Knights Bridge, Cain, Frank Family, Kelleher, Heitz, Peju, Duckhorn, Laurel Glen, Silver Trident, Blackbird, Gentleman Farmer, Rosenthal, Rocca,  Tierra Roja Veedercrest, Alpha Omega, Pott, Tanner DaFoe, Wente, Steven Kent, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Hawk and Horse, Robert Oatley, and more to come.  Many of the listed brands have participated in past years and are doing the event again because of the success of STARS in the past.


About Learn About Wine:

Ian Blackburn, founder of LearnAboutWine, drinks wine for a living. Since it was established in 1995, he has built LearnAboutWine into the leading source for wine education and events in Southern California. Today LearnAboutWine has developed into Southern California’s premier company for wine education and events.  Ian continues to innovate and focus on demystifying wine for everyone from the casual drinker to the potential collector.  Ian’s passion for wine and entertaining makes him one of the top spokespersons in the United States; he was trained as an educational Ambassador for the Napa Valley Vintners and the Region of Champagne, France.  Ian’s expertise and entertaining ways can be and have been heard on Los Angeles radio airwaves like KCRW, KLOS, KROQ, INDIE 103.1, 98.7 and Ian even appeared as an expert on ABC’s “The Bachelor.” voted LearnAboutWine “BEST PLACE to TASTE Wine in LA – Los Angeles”



Ian Blackburn is on a mission to strip wine culture of its mysterious veneer and bring it to the masses. His group, Learn About Wine, aims to do just that. Since 1995, Blackburn and his associates have staged hundreds of classes and wine tastings events in an effort to spread the good word about wine. With classes such as L.A.W. School, C.U.L.T. (California Ultra Luxury Table Wine) and Wine Business 101, Ian has a class for anyone, from aspiring somms to future business owners. Have a look at their calendar to see if an event is happening in your neighborhood.

You can contact Learn About Wine on their website or by calling 310-451-7600


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LearnAboutWine hosts a trade only Chablis Tasting with Domaine Albert Bichot


Following a very successful wine education and tasting with Domaine Albert Bichot, Ian Blackburn founder of LearnAboutWine invited the participating Sommeliers to join him on July 26th for a tasting of various producers, premier and grand cru wines.  Below are the results of that effort.Chablis, a noble expression of pure Chardonnay – a story of slope and soil, yield, concentration, acidity, salinity, stone, limestone, and precision.4 quality levels
Petite Chablis
Chablis AOC
Chablis Premier Cru
Chablis Grand Cru

No Pinot Noir planted in Chablis.

House style plus vineyard designation make this a very homogeneous wine of quality – with great subtly in variation.  Chablis producers should continue to prosper as Village level wines increase in price in the Cote d’Or.

Style:  nuances adjust for fermentation vessel, yeast stirring (Batonnage), soil, slope, and vintage climate.

Tasted with 15 Sommeliers in Los Angeles on Friday July 29th, 2013 - voted on by group and scored.
Ian Blackburn, LearnAboutWine ran tasting and can be reached at

Bichot wines were donated by BICHOT – all others were purchased by the participants as required for the program.

Albert Bichot

• Chablis AOC 2011

Greenish fresh, bright, refreshing, pure, salt, lean and nice balance with long acid finish – 15+/20

• Chablis Premier, Les Vallions 2007

Slightly mature, faded, 10% oak, brown butter, fun now but reaching its max age 16/20

• Chablis Premier, Les Vaillons 2008

Bad Bottle/Oxidized – no score

• Chablis Premier, Les Vaillons 2011

Complexed nose: lime, lemon peal, yellow grapefruit slightly lanolin, salt, crisp, fresh, touch of wood, balanced finish – 17/20

• Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos 2011

One of the top three tasted today:  Very Complexed:  Gardenia, mushroom, green pineapple, grapefruit, salty, chewy, mouth filling, extended weight and pounds of acid, age required, chalky, calcium - 18/20 (voted wine of the day but in the end we pushed to a tie)

Domaine Barat, Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2011
Vegital Nose – Hearts of Palm, Olive Oil, lovely with food, but almost flawed in a line up of stunningly pure wines…. nice as we adjust to the Asparagus nose 15/20

Louis Michel & Fils

• Vaillons, Premier Cru 2011

Focused, salt, mineral, subtle, clean, less is more…. very good expression, drink now… as the future may not reward this wine.  17.5/20

• Montee de Tonnerre, Premier Cru 2010
• So precise, natural fermentation (not noticed in glass but on contemplation – maybe why the freshness is lightly subdued, but harmoniously balanced with other characteristics in this lovely pure chardonnay fruit expression, clean pear/fresh apple, focused salinity, chalk, great vintage displayed, but lacks in the finish to merit a higher score… – you anticipate greatness but the mouth comes up short. 16.5/20

Domaine des Malandes – PC Vau De Vey 2008 - one of the top three of the day, perfectly developed for the moment… drink now – a lovely balance, ripe fig, papaya, exotic, lusher 18/20

Herve Azo – PC Vau de Vey 2011 - sulfur, salt, canned veggies, youthful, too youthful, too underripe, and not a good representative of the region 14.5/20

William Ferve – PC Fourchames 2010 -  complex/richer nose, wound tight, very good quality, touch of sulpher added and did not distract, distinct lenghty finish with huge acidity.  16.5/20

La Chablisienne – PC Fourchaumes 2009 - baked noise, salt, richer center, maybe lees stirring, lacks finish, finish is tart… lean.  12 (tough)/20

Moreaux – GC Valmur 2009
One of the top three tasted today:  Richer, developed notes from bottle age, bigger platform, really balanced, truly special, gin like quality, perhaps a little lees stirring, a little oak?, subtle for a big wine, very long finish.  18/20

Domaine Laroche, Chablis, Grand Cru 2009
Color is a mystery – only wine tasted today with screw cap – pear, fiji apple, oak, some butter? – kind of a bizarre expression for a wine of this level.  14-16/20
We think the wine suffered from the screw cap, turning the wine reductive (more than normal) and some browning – almost like Chateau Montelina in the movie Bottleshock… may need to adjust total oxygen here – but this is only a guess.

All of Chablis’ Grand Cru vineyards and many of their better Premier Cru vineyards are planted on primarily Kimmeridgean soil (a composition of limestone, clay and tiny fossilized oyster shells)

Petit Chablis vineyards, are planted on slightly younger Portlandian soil

Grand Crus:  There are seven officially delineated Grand Cru climats, covering an area of 247 acres (100 hectares), all located on one southwest facing hill overlooking the town of Chablis. There is one vineyard, La Moutonne, located on this hill between the Grand Cru vineyards of Les Preuses and Vaudésir that is considered an “unofficial” Grand Cru and it will appear on wine labels. However, the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) does not recognize La Moutonne as a Grand Cru.   (credit for list – wikipedia by Jancis Robinson)

1.     Bougros

2.     Les Preuses

3.     Vaudésir

4.     Grenouilles

5.     Valmur

6.     Les Clos

7.     Blanchot

8.     (unofficial) La Moutonne

Premier Crus: As of 2009 the official list of the climats accepted for the Chablis Premier Cru includes total of 89 vineyards, names of which could be used on the label. These climats are often inclusive. The 17 bigger classified climates, have names which the producers opt to use more often, these are bolded below:  (credit for list – wikipedia by Jancis Robinson)

1.     Mont de Milieu – Vallée de Chigot

2.     Montée de Tonnerre – Chapelot, Les Chapelots, Pied d’Aloup, Sous Pied d’Aloup, Côte de Bréchain

3.     Fourchaume – Vaupulent, Vau Pulan, Les Vaupulans, La Fourchaume, Côte de Fontenay, Dine-Chien, L’Homme Mort, La Grande Côte, Bois Seguin, L’Ardillier, Vaulorent, Les Quatre chemins, La ferme couverte, Les Couvertes

4.     Vaillons – Sur les Vaillons, Chatains, Les Grands Chaumes, Les Chatains, Sécher, Beugnons, Les Beugnons, Les Lys, Champlain, Mélinots, Les Minos, Roncières, Les Epinottes

5.     Montmains – Les Monts Mains, Forêts, Les Forêts, Butteaux, Les Bouts des Butteaux, Vaux Miolot, Le Milieu des Butteaux, Les Ecueillis, Vaugerlains

6.     Côte de Léchet – Le Château

7.     Beauroy – Sous Boroy, Vallée des Vaux, Benfer, Troesmes, Côte de Troesmes, Adroit de Vau Renard, Côte de Savant, Le Cotat-Château, Frouquelin, Le Verger

8.     Vauligneau – Vau de Longue, Vau Girault, La Forêt, Sur la Forêt

9.     Vaudevey – La Grande Chaume, Vaux Ragons, Vignes des Vaux Ragons

10.  Vaucoupin – Adroit de Vaucopins

11.  Vosgros – Adroit de Vosgros, Vaugiraut

12.  Les Fourneaux – Morein, Côte des Près Girots, La Côte, Sur la Côte

13.  Côte de Vaubarousse

14.  Berdiot

15.  Chaume de Talvat

16.  Côte de Jouan

17.  Les Beauregards – Hauts des Chambres du Roi, Côte de Cuissy, Les corvées, Bec d Oiseau, Vallée de Cuissy

7/24 SummerTASTE featured on









SummerTASTE: Old World vs. New World

6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. July 24 @ Space 15 Twenty


Gluttony meets charity at tonight’s SummerTASTE: Old World vs. New World, presented by Learn About Wine to benefit Children’s Hospital L.A. via the cancer- and AIDS-fighting efforts of the four-decades-strong T.J. Martell Foundation. Learn About Wine will disseminate oenophilic concepts amid the seemingly endless gourmet chocolate and cheese (but strangely, no chocolate cheesecake) concessions. Some wines destined to fill the tables of this epic battle of wine worlds: Bordeaux, cabernet, Burgundy, California chardonnay, pinot noir and a blind wine table (for which there is no known cure). There’s an Umami Burger nearby if you need to cleanse your palate, so why not drink up — after all, you’re helping the kids! The kids! Space 15 Twenty, 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., July 24, 6:30-9 p.m.; $29-$50. (310) 451-7600,

— By David Cotner

Price: $29-$50

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LAW Facts

Aroma is the smell of a young wine.  Bouquet (known as bottle bouquet) is the more highly evolved smell of a mature wine and occurs with bottle age.

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