More than just contrasting hair colors, the Côte Brune and Côte Blonde are two vineyard-covered hillsides in the Côte Rôtie region of France's Northern Rhône. Despite being separated by a mere few hundred meters, the respective wines produced couldn't be more different. One is headstrong and ferocious. The other is graceful and delicate.
Alissa (the Brune) and India (the Blonde) met in a tasting group while studying for their certification exams with the Court of Master Sommeliers. They quickly bonded over multiple late night study sessions blind tasting Le Vieux Telegraphe and Dagueneau Silex and, as the evenings wore on ... Layer Cake Shiraz.
After passing the exam with flying colors, they decided to share their knowledge of wine with everyone, not just the pros.
We know that sommeliers sometimes get a bad rap. Wine can be a mysterious quagmire, full of stuffiness and snobbery. But it doesn't have to be. Whether you want to learn about a specific region, build a wine collection, or master the art of blind tasting, Côte Brune and Blonde is here to introduce you, your friends, your clients, and your company to the weird and wonderful world of wine … leaving you with more confidence in your abilities.
How It Works
We get it. Travel isn't quite as easy as it used to be. That's why we make it simple, and bring the experience to you. Are you celebrating a special occasion, like an anniversary or birthday? Or are you hoping to bring your team together for a get-together or retreat? Either way, we've got you covered.
We start with a consultation to discuss what you're looking for, and tailor the experience to you. We've done everything from blind tasting flights to working with chefs to curate pairings with multi-course meals.
Here are some examples:
The Art of Blind Tasting
Can you distinguish grenache from pinot noir? How about cabernet sauvignon versus syrah? Maybe Puligny-Montrachet versus Napa chard? Or is this blind tasting thing all b.s.?
We'll walk you through four reds and four whites of classic varietals. We'll let you in on our secrets to discerning structure, aroma, and flavor profiles with our senses of taste, touch, sight, and smell. We'll help you distinguish the key characteristics of specific varietals in the old world versus the new.
Pick a Grape
Today, grape varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc are grown all around the world. But everywhere they go, they adopt different personalities and profiles while maintaining a standard of identity. This package will allow you to take a deep dive into a particular varietal, using history, ecology, viticulture, and vinification processes to help you gain a stronger understanding of place... and most importantly, experience the differences in taste!
Pick a Place
Think Italy is all Chianti in those fiasco straw baskets? Think again. Wine making has been around for hundreds of years, allowing nations around the world to experiment with different varietals while maintaining a "national flavor." We'll show you how the USA is more than just Napa cabs, and Australia is more than shiraz. We'll explore how culture, economics, and "the national palate" shape wines that are emblematic of their nation, while also opening your eyes to varietals that you may have never heard of, such as trousseau from the Jura, France, or teroldego from Alto Adige, Italy.
How to Read a Wine List
We've all been there. A nice night out. A fancy restaurant. Then you're handed a hefty, leather-bound wine list full of terms you've never heard of. What to do? You glance up toward your dining companion seated across the table. Do you buy the most expensive? The second cheapest? Something from the Italian section? You swallow nervously. Wine lists can be confusing, and different regions play by different rules. But with a little guidance, you'll be ordering with confidence in no time.