Hi, we’re Neil and Cheri Dubois. We are avid wine enthusiasts and more importantly, avid wine drinkers. For the past fifteen years we have enjoyed wine a little more than casually, and that has only grown in depth over time. I (Neil) started to get more serious about wine in the late 1990’s, and it really took off in 1998 when I went back to school for my MBA. My lovely wife suggested I do my major project on the wine industry in New England, since we live in Rhode Island. What an idea! (she is brilliant after all). That turned into multiple projects over the course of the 12 month program. My capstone project became A Study of the New England Wine Industry.
We visited many of the wineries in New England at the time, talked to the winemakers and vineyard owners (sometimes the same, often not) and sampled extensively. We were impressed with the selection and quality of the wines, although they varied widely. I also contacted Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, Rhode Island about working with them and that turned into a couple of school projects as well. This all culminated with a degree (justly deserved I might add), a lot more wine knowledge than I started with, and an offer from Sakonnet to be the assistant winemaker! The sad part of this story is that I couldn’t accept as the pay was far too low to support my young family. As they say, timing is everything. This was a great opportunity to really learn the ins and outs of the business, but it just didn’t work out.
Since then the interest (short of obsession but not by much) goes on unabated. I’ve learned about wines and vineyards around the world and tried as many as I could. Cheri has gone along and I dare say enjoyed the journey as well (and she has a more refined palate than I do). While we haven’t really been able to visit the great regions of the wine world yet (outside of a quick visit I had to Napa in 1982 and our recent trip to Barolo and Barbaresco) they are on our short list to see and the kids are just about done with college, so look out! Until we get there we drink the areas, and that has a lot of reward in itself.
I am not a self proclaimed wine “expert”. I do have a lot of years of interest and tasting experience, as well as a Certified Specialist of Wine certificate from the Society of Wine Educators. At some point I’d like to add a certificate in spirits and a sommelier rating as well. Wine is about what you like to drink, and that is always what is most important. I tend to have a strong preference for Red, as does my wife, so you’ll hear a lot about big, full bodied reds – but not always.
I believe Bordeaux is king, but there’s lots of room for Brunello, Barolo, Burgundy (do you detect a “B” thing going on here?) – Rioja, of course Cabernet; not too mention Syrah (aka Shiraz), Pinot Noir from somewhere other than the Cotes d’Or, Carmenere, Grenache, Tempranillo, Monastrell, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Petit Syrah (not to be confused with a ‘little’ syrah) and on and on. So much wine, so many vineyards, so little time.
So if you have an inclination join the voyage. I’ll try to pass on some wine knowledge (remember I am not an official expert!) and lessons learned along the way.
And by the way – I do have a wine cellar. Constructed of the finest scrap wood it houses about 250 bottles of assorted vino. A picture of part of it is below. Nothing special to look at but it does the job. Mostly red (surprise!) and a LOT of the B’s referenced above.
Left to Right – Vintage Port, Everyday Bin, Cabernet. Italian. Spanish and a dedicated Bordeaux rack further down
Wine is a constantly changing thing, different from year to year, place to place, moment to moment. It never ceases to interest us. We are far from experts, but will try to share some experience and knowledge as we can. There will not be any 100 point scales and descriptions of subtle flavors like “burnt toast with two hour old apple butter”, first because I’m not sure I know what that is, and second I don’t know if we’ll ever develop that kind of ability. With regard to the ratings scale, we just don’t have the years and thousands of bottle tastings behind us to even think of whether a wine is 87 or 88. We’re not that good.
If you have the time read the pages about how we’ll taste and rate wine, what we think about what is good and what value means to us, and why we think a little knowledge is important.
A votre santé!