Thaddeus Buggs and Jennifer Waters of the wine blog, Minority Wine Report, offer their readers an unpretentious, fun and honest look at the world of wine. Their goal is to expand their knowledge base and at the same time help others learn the ins and outs of wine. A fantastic resource for novices and connoisseurs alike, their website outlines wine basics, food and wine pairings, interesting winemakers, best value wines and upcoming events.
As speakers at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Italy and part of the Wine Blogger/Media Fam Trip, we caught up with Thaddeus and Jennifer about what they hope to learn in Perugia, what advice they have for those new to wine and which wines they’re most excited about now.
1.) The 2012 Wine Conference takes place in Perugia, Italy, how do you view Umbria as a wine destination?
Umbria has long been overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Tuscany, but we see it going through a renaissance of sorts as new — and even more experienced wine enthusiasts — “discover” it and the fabulous wines produced there: Oriveto, Montefalco Sagrantino and Torgiano Rosso Riserva.
2.) What experiences with wine are you most excited to share with fellow wine lovers in Italy, and what are you most looking forward to learning?
Thaddeus’s aha moment was when he tasted his first American merlot, loved it like none other he had ever tasted and delved right into merlots. “That’s where the love affair began,” he said.
For Jennifer, who had been drinking wine since her late teens — and much of it cheap then too! — it was a Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet in the mid-1990s that opened her eyes, and her nose and tongue, to the world of tannins and long, smooth finishes. “It was the first time I ever could understand what people meant when they said it had a “velvety finish,” she said “I wanted to know more about that!”
We are both most interested in really learning about the Umbrian region and what makes it so special and its wines so fine — something we want to share with our followers and friends.
3.) How did you both first get into wine? What is it about wine that excites you most? And what wine region is next on your list to visit?
Thaddeus ventured into wine in his 20s when he tasted that first merlot. At the time, he had only minimal exposure to wine and that merlot opened the world of wine to him that has become his passion. What excites him about wine is that while it’s steeped in history and tradition, it’s forever changing. He’s an adventurous traveler who is looking forward to trying wines in Argentina and Chile.
Jennifer, like many in the 1980s, started drinking white zinfandels and chardonnays before her tastes became more developed, moving on to more robust reds. There was a time, in fact, when she refused to drink white wines, believing that reds were really the only “true wines. She’s since come to her senses about that and enjoys any number of whites. Having never been to Italy, she’s looking very forward to Perugia and mastering those bold Montefalco Sagrantinos.
4.) What advice do you have for novices just getting into the crazy world of wine?
Thaddeus says to just go for it. Jennifer, who has been introducing her 22-year-old daughter and her friends to wines, says you should never be intimidated by wine snobs or be afraid to talk about what you like, because what you like is what you like. Your tastes change over time and you should just enjoy the ride!
5.) Which Italian wines do you hope to see in the Jane Hunt MW Grand Wine Tasting Wines of Italy?
Jennifer’s looking forward to tasting and learning about all the Italian varieties that she’s not had the pleasure of tasting and learning about in their homeland. Thaddeus hopes to get a chance to sink his teeth into the Aglianico grape, which he believes is an “amazing grape that Americans need to know more about.”
Join us at the International Wine Tourism Conference to network with Mary and 300 other attending wine professionals.