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Uncorked Discovery Series

The People, The Wine, Their Stories...

The Uncorked Discovery Series is where we ask our wine community to share their stories of all things wine.

Uncorked Discovery Series

With Suhru Wines,
A Long Island Winery

Uncorked Discovery Series with Suhru Wines...

Part  2

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Uncorked Discovery II

A conversation with Lover of Wines & Wine Consultant for V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, California.

CV: When did you discover your love for wine?  

TE: I discovered my love for wine at a very young age, before turning 21. My parents enjoyed wine.  My family is from New Orleans, LA where food and wine was always available and celebrated.  My father was a merchant seaman. He traveled all over the world and would often return with different types of spirits,  but never wine. My parents would allow me to taste beer and wine. It was a wise decision because I learned at a young age to enjoy the flavors and not to misuse or overindulge. 

I was introduced to a Kir (white wine mixed with Creme de Casis) as an 18 year old teenager. My oldest sister would allow me to taste it.

Later, probably by the age of 20, I introduced myself to Chambord Liqueur, made from black raspberries, after seeing a picture of it on a billboard while driving across the San Francisco bay bridge. 

I went in search of this beautiful round bottle with a twist top made like a crown. Inside the box not only was there a beautiful bottle but also a booklet filled with drinks, food and dessert recipes one could make with Chambord. My personal favorite recipe was a glass of sparkling wine mixed with Chambord to create a Kir Royal. This would become an all time favorite.  

I was later introduced to Henry Hills, a wine consultant from Pieroth Wines International. My wine experience now included wines from all over Europe, including  France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, and Australia too. Henry was the first person in the wine business who taught me to chill Red Wines. I was immediately intrigued with Henry's wine knowledge. I wondered how difficult would it be to learn the language of wine. At the time I was in my early twenties and completely engrossed in developing a career in what is now known as Information Technology. In the back of my mind I always thought it might be awesome to learn more about wine and possibly become a wine consultant perhaps in my spare time. Although in my mind this sounded like a great idea,  I was slightly intimidated by wine. I felt it could be an overwhelming task, learning to pronounce all of the various wines and places where the wines were produced.

Many, many years would pass before I would give this idea any serious thought, but it did happened.

After taking care of my Mom for three years before she passed, I knew that I needed to find a way to smile again.  It would be extremely difficult to jump back into the world of technology and enjoy it.  Two choices came to mind, books or wine, I chose the wine industry.

CV:We notice your posts involve pouring your wines... would you say that pOuring is extremely vital when it comes to exploring wine? 

No, I wouldn't say that pouring wine is extremely vital when it comes to exploring wine. It's something that I enjoy doing.  I love listening to the wine as it's coming out of the bottle,  the sound of the wine touching the wine glass, two completely different sounds from the same liquid. 

What I love most is capturing the dissolved gas(plume) emerging out of a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine, it's completely magical. In order to see it, the bottle must be extremely chilled. 

I'm really into the details regarding wine.  When I pour wine into a glass, I am looking at the color, the bubbles, the clarity, the center of the glass and imaging how the wine will taste and feel on my palate. By looking at the wine as it is being poured,  I can usually determine if it is a light,  medium or full bodied wine before tasting.  

Recently, for the first time, I was able to visibly determine the weight of a wine as I poured it.  It had a heavier look and feel to it. This was so exciting to see and to taste.

CV:When did you realize you had to share your love for wine? 

TE: So this is an excellent question and a little difficult to answer.  I love sharing anything that has to do with wine. For me, there's so much to learn and to share. I guess it would have been in 2010 when I became a Wine Rep(Ambassador). It was the beginning of my introduction to the language of wine. I began to share my love for wine with anyone who would listen.

CV: What is your favorite wine lately? 

Oh my God, too many to list. I have so many favorites.  I have several favorite winemakers, both male and females, many of whom I've met. 

So I guess at this moment it would be the wines that I've recently tasted and can't stop thinking about.  Devil Proof Malbec, both Farrow Ranch 2014 and Rockpile Ridge 2015 would be at the top of the list.

The other day I opened a The Crane Assembly 2013 El Coco and fell in love with it.

I tasted Malm 2018 Reserve Chardonnay that surprised me in taste,  quality, and price. This wine is a triple threat and would be a huge crowd pleaser for folks who love creamy, smooth, buttery Chards with 100 % Malo.

Machete is a wine that left me in a trance. I was frozen in place just looking at the bottle.  I could not move. I had so many questions.  I would come across this wine three times before purchasing.  It is an incredible wine on so many levels. The 2015 vintage is my current favorite. Had no idea how much I would love this wine. I met the winemaker and he explained the entire story  behind the label and it is a fascinating story.  Over 10,000 pictures were taken to create the label. When you buy a case, each bottle has a different label. How cool is that?

CV: Do you go through phases with wines? 

TE: The answer is yes! The first wine that comes to mind is Locations Wines. I lost my mind over these wines. No, really I did. If you haven't tasted these wines you must. The price point is in the $15 - $22.00 range. TX (Texas)  might cost a couple more dollars, but no more than $24.00. I'd seen these wines at the store many times but didn't know anything about them. Finally after meeting a Locations Wine Rep at a Savage and Cooke unveiling party I decided to purchase my first bottle. I purchased  P (Portugal)  and it was so good. I went on a mission to taste each and every one of them.  It was an amazing experience.  Each wine had an excellent profile and the quality was definitely present. I was losing sleep thinking about Locations Wines until I found the last one on my list WA (Washington) and that's a true story. I took all the empty bottles on location near a body of water to photograph them.  The winemakers could not believe it.

CV: Do you have a current favorite Wine? 

TE:  In addition to the ones listed above I would add a Sparkling wine called Blanc De Noir by Rockwall Wine Company. The color, the aromas, and especially the taste, love it. It felt like suede on my palate. It's been sold out for quite some time. I continue to check their website. I'm hoping the next release will taste as good if not better than the 2017 vintage. (I just checked their website while typing this and guess what, 2018 has just been released). Wasn't there the other day. 

CV:Do you like us go through favorite phases with wine? 

TE: Sometimes I have a difficult time deciding what to open.

No, I don't go through phases regarding favorites because I continue to add wines to my favorites list. 

I have a different categories of favorite wines. I have everyday wines.

I have special occasions wine.

I have wines that I must share.

I have wines that I can't share. 

I have wines that I open when I am feeling a certain way, be it happy, hungry, excited, and just for fun.

CV: What advice would you give to people about wine?

TE: My advice to people regarding wine would be to drink what you like. The best wine is the one you like. Price should never be the deciding factor.  You will find expensive wines that you love and some that you don't.  The same rule applies for inexpensive wines. Taste wine often and taste many different varietals in order to develop your palate memory.

If you really want to learn independently, which wines you like, find and participate in blind tastings. This is the best way to decide which wines and varietals you enjoy most.

Pay attention to the labels on both the front and back. If the Vineyard is listed or the AVA appears on the label, there's a reason for that.  If you like it, look for other brands with that same Vineyard or AVA, you may enjoy it as well.

The best suggestion I can give would be to purchase as many bottles or cases of your favorite vintage that you can afford.  There are no guarantees that you will love the next vintage. 

Also, take pictures of wines you enjoy so that you can look for them later. (Make sure you get the vintage in the picture). FYI ... if you see NV (Non Vintage) it means the wine is a blend of multiple vintages.

Order something different from the wine list you may discover a new favorite wine.

Make sure you check out wines at Costco,  Total Wine and More,  and Grocery Bargain Outlets.  All three stores have excellent prices.

Look for boutique wines, some of them are absolutely amazing because they're produced from small lots.

Order something different from the wine list you may discover a new favorite wine.

Make notes of what you like about the wines you taste. There aren't any wrong answers.  It's a note to yourself regarding your wine palate.

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Uncorked Discovery Series III

During our third edition of the Uncorked Discovery Series we Interview the amazing Stephanie Franklin Creator of Franklin Vines!

Uncorked Discoveries III

Stephanie Franklin of Franklin Vines, Uncorks with us about her exciting Brand, her wine education, blog, and where Franklin Vines will take her in the future. 

CVWhen did you discover your love for wine?

SF: I discovered my love for wine in the late 90’s. I thought wine was sophisticate and sexy. When I would hold a wine glass, I felt so classy. I can remember being an aspiring actor, watching old movies, while having a nice glass of wine. I found wine to be interesting, complicated, delicate and fascinating. I knew in that moment that wine would be a huge part of my life.

I wanted to learn more about wines, so I started to go to wine tastings in the Houston area. Fast forward 20 years later, after working in corporate and nonprofit organizations, I realized that I wasn’t happy.  My friend challenged me to do what I love! Those words stuck with me. I enrolled in The Texas Wine School in Houston, TX, which is when my wine journey started. 

CV:  We noticed you have your WSET 1 & 2 certifications. Any pointers for those who seek similar aspirations?

SF: I currently hold WSET 1 & 2 certifications and I’m testing for WSET 3 next month. I’m claiming that I will pass with distinction! For anyone who’s thinking of taking WSET courses, read the material more than once, know your wine regions, find a study group, but most importantly, learn the history and story behind each bottle and everything else will fall into place. 

When did you realize you had to share your love for wine?

I started to share what I was learning about wine with my family and friends. I would post photos from my wine classes on social media and I realized people were intrigued. People ask me all the time to help them find a good bottle of wine. The more I would post wine information, the more people I would engage and that made me proud. 

What is your favorite wine lately? Do you go through wine phases?

Before I started wine school, I would always say, I’m not a white wine drinker and Malbec is my favorite red wine. The more I studied wine, I realize that I do not have a favorite, because I taste so many AMAZING wines from different regions and guess what? Several of those wines are white wines. I’ve learned not to limit myself. Currently I’m loving wines from Loire Valley region, which means a trip to France very soon. 

Ironically, I’m doing this interview in October, which also happens to be Texas Wine Month.
I live in Houston, TX and I would like to give honor to all Texas wineries and vineyards. I love several Texas wines, but at the moment, I’m really loving Kiepersol Bourbon Barrel Merlot by Kiepersol Winery & Vineyard. I’m also starting to dabble into more champagnes as well. 


CV: Talk to us about your journey in creating Franklin Vines. 

SF: When I started my blog, I knew I wanted to have my name to be apart of my branding. 

Franklin Vines stood out to me. It felt real. 

When I decided that my end goal would be to start my own vineyard/winery and become a winemaker, I knew then why I chose Franklin Vines. I envisioned Franklin Vines on a big beautiful sign, right outside of my winery & vineyard with the words: "Stop in for a true wine experience!"

What advice would you give to people about wine? 

Some wine lovers aren’t interested in the geeky stuff about wine, but just learn the basics so that you feel comfortable picking up a wine menu in a restaurant. Drink what you love, but please EXPAND YOUR PALATE PEOPLE! 

I’ve had some amazing opportunities since I started my wine journey. I was one of the 2019 Batonnage Women in Wine Scholarship recipients, I was a Field Contributor for Slow Wine Slow Food, I’ve worked with Australia Wine on US project, I’m currently working as a Wine Consultant for Branwar Wines and I’m also working with Wolfe & Wine- Chef Curated Events as a Wine Writer. You can find me around the Houston area pouring wines at restaurants and wine shops or in another country roaming vineyards and exploring new wines. After all, wine is forever evolving. 

When I started taking courses at The Texas Wine School, I was unsure about the route I was going to take, but the picture is clear now. I’m working towards having my own vineyard, so I can make great wine and share it all over the world. Yes, this lady who was born in Lake Charles, LA and raised in Houston, TX will be a winemaker one day!

Louisiana Made Me, Texas Raised Me, The Vines Saved Me.

Thank you, Crüology Vines, for wanting to hear my story!

Please follow me on IG @franklin_vines as I break through wine barrels!

Cheers to the next female, minority winemaker, Franklin Vines!

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