Wine for Normal People

By Wine for Normal People

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Description

A podcast for people who like wine but not the attitude that goes with it. We talk about wine in a fun, straightforward, normal way to get you excited about it and help you drink better, more interesting stuff. Back catalog available at http://winefornormalpeople.libsyn.com.

Episode Date
Ep 282: Greece Overview
58:36

Greece is among both the oldest and among the newest wine nations
in the world. Although it got cooking with winemaking more than 6000 years ago, a huge break in the action took it out of the winemaking game from about the mid 1400s until the 1990s. It's back these days, and as it has always been grapes are grown everywhere in this small but diverse country.  With the best wines made from indigenous grapes and select regions, you'll want to listen to this show to know what to seek out. And don't forget to look at a map while or after listening! 

Here's a rundown of the topics we covered: 

Geography: We go over where the heck Greece is and what’s here that’s good for grapes!

  • Greece is in the southern end of Balkan Peninsula between Italy and Turkey
  • Climate: Mesoclimates matter to quality wine!
    • Mountainous & semi-mountainous vineyards: altitude moderates climate, cools down the temps
    • Islands and the coast: Maritime climate/Mediterranean climate but very hot. Growers need cool sites for grapes to thrive
    • Volcanic Vineyards:Santorini especially - volcanic soils layers of which are 30 to 50 meters thick, VERY DRY -- high acidity of the grape of Santorini

History

  • We discuss the entire deal – from evidence of wine in Greek peninsula since the 4000 B.C. to Ottoman Rule which destroyed much of Greek viticulture until the early 1800s to the rebirth of viticulture of the last few decades.

 

Classification:Before we launch into the regions and wines, we tell you about the classification

  • For PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)wines – higher quality):
    • Onomasia Proelefseos Anoteras Piotitos (OPAP) Dry wines
    • Onomasia Proelefseos Eleghomeni (OPE) --sweet wines
  • For PGI level (Protected Geographical Indication): cover larger areas, more styles and grapes
    • Topikos Oinos (local/country wine)
    • Epitrapezios Oinos (table wine)

 

  

The Regions and Grapes

Northern Greece: Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace

Thrace –isbordered by Turkey and Bulgaria in the North, Aegean in the south, makes mostly international wine varieties


Greek Macedonia– borders the Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria in the north and the Aegean sea in the south. It’s semi-mountainous, and the rocky soils make it great red wine country

  • Xinomavro (Kseen-oh-MAHV-roh):RED GRAPE.
    • Best when from Naousa in Macedonia
    • Firm tannins, bright acidity with flavors like red fruit and flowers, tomatoes, olives, dried prunes, nuts (compared to Nebbiolo)
    • Other growing areas: Northern and central Greece, Rapsani in Thessaly
  • Malagousia (mala-GOO-zee-ah):WHITE GRAPE.From Macedonia, near Thessaly
    • Full bodied wines with strong acidity, peach, lime, lemon, and soft textures. There are sweet or dry versions
    • Thought to be extinct -- professors and top growers, brought it back –resurrected by a winery Ktima Gerovassiliou (ktima = “estate”)

 

Epirus: NW Grecian mainland, mountains are essential to high quality.

  • Wines have great acidity – the PDO of Zitsa is making excellent sparkling wines and floral dry whites from Debina (WHITE GRAPE)

 

 

Central Greece: Central Greece, Thessalia

Central Greece (this is where Athens is): Hot and dry, more white than red

  • Saviatiano (sa-VAH-tee-AH-no) WHITE GRAPE is the most widely planted grape in Greece. It makes dry wines but is known for Retsina, which tastes like the pine resin that’s added to the must before fermentation.

 

Thessalia (Thessaly): Borders Greek Macedonia, Central Greece, the Aegean Sea  – Mediterranean climate with continental influences. Best areas are in the mountains that surround the region

  • Rapsani is on south facing slopes on Mt Olympus at altitude and makes Xinomavro and red blends

 

  

Southwestern Greece: Ionian Islands, Peloponnese

Peloponnese: Where Sparta and Olympia were this is a peninsula on the southern edge of mainland Greece. Best areas are on the eastern side of the Peloponnese, at altitude

  • Roditis (Ro-deet-is) WHITE GRAPE: dry, food-friendly, high-acid with lime, melon, saline, bitter citrus. Grown all over.
  • Agiorgitiko (ah-YOUR-yee-TEE-ko) RED GRAPE: Full-bodied with sweet raspberry, black currant, and plum, nutmeg and Italian herbs, smooth tannins. Wines from mountains are best especially Nemea
  • Moschofilero (MOSH-ko-fah-LAIR-oh)WHITE GRAPE:Lychee, rose, lemon flavored with good acidity and medium body. Grown in Mantinia: One of the coolest growing regions of Greece, specializes in the grape
  • Mavrodaphne (MAHV-roh-DAF-nee) RED GRAPE:Sweet, late harvest, red wine that usually tastes of raisins and chocolate with high tannins. Better when blended. Grown in Patras

 

Ionian Islands: Ruled by Venetians in Middle Ages – today tourism = shrinking vineyards

  • Robola, WHITE GRAPE:is Probably Ribolla Gialla from northeastern Italy. Lemon with pineapple, beeswax, quince, tart apple, can be rich and terroir-driven. Grown in Cephalonia

 

 

CRETE

Crete: Largest Island (150 miles long), on the southern edge of Aegean. Hottest vineyards in Greece.

  • Mandilaria, RED GRAPE: found throughout Greece and Crete in particular. It is too powerful to be made alone. Flavors are like stewed fruit, leather, with VERY powerful tannin

 

 

Aegean Islands

  • Santorini: Volcanic island, most famous WHITE GRAPE is Assyrtiko (ah-SEER-teek-oh)grown in basket-like vines (see below)
    • Dry Assyrtiko: lean, mineral, concentrated whites
    • Nykteri (“nith-terry”): oaked with creme brûlée, pineapple, fennel, sugar cookie notes
    • Vinsanto: Made with Assyrtiko, Aidani, and Athiri with cherry and raspberry notes. Tannic, high acidity, and can have high VA (‘nail polish’ smell)

  

  • Samos: Muscat of Samos, WHITE GRAPE, possibly homeland of Muscat Blanc
  • Límnos: Limnio, RED GRAPE with raspberry fruit and herb notes.
  • Paros: Monemvassia, WHITE GRAPE. From Peloponnese but cultivated only on Has mineral, citrus, nectarine flavors with a medium body, refreshing acidity.

 

 

To sum up:

  • Best whites:Assyrtiko, Malagousia, Moschofilero, Debina, Robola, Muscat of Samos
  • Best reds:Xinomavro, blends with Agiorgitiko, sometimes Mandalaria or Limnio
  • Best regions:Naousa (Xinomavro), Nemea (Agiorgitiko blends), Mantinia (Moschofilero), Santorini (Assyrtiko), Samos (Muscat)

 

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Thanks to our sponsor this week:

Halpern FinancialHalpern Financial

Imagine a path to wealth that just works. A team of experts at your beck and call, technology to keep tabs on your money 24/7, financial education and the personal touch that makes organizing your financial life feel achievable, rather than daunting.Halpern Financial is a fiduciary, fee-only, independent advisor that offers a combination of online tools and personal connection to help clients systematically achieve their goals.

Go to halpernfinancial.com/wine for more information!

 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Most of the info for this show came from the Official Wines of Greece Web site: https://winesofgreece.org/

Jun 24, 2019
Ep 281: 30 Years of Tablas Creek with Jason Haas
52:38

Jason Haas from Tablas Creek returns (he was in Ep 162) to give us his perspective on 30 years of the most innovative winery in California, which runs in partnership with the Perrins of Rhône fame. We take the long view, discussing a retrospective blog post Jason wrote on what they got right and wrong in the last 30 years, and then we chat about what's next.

Here are some of the things we chatted about:  

  • Based on the blog post: The 30 years of lessons learned at Tablas Creek!
    • Wrong #1: Paso Robles is hot and dry, and therefore red wine country (and why whites are so essential to Tablas Creek)
    • Right #1: Obscure grapes can be great here. Yes they can! 

    • Wrong #2: They were going to make just one red wine and one white wine (and why theory was right but practice was wrong!)
       
    • Right #2: Importing new vine material would be worth the costs (and how it made them legendary)
    • Wrong #3: Vineyard and winery experience is enough to run a nursery (and how passing the torch to NovaVine was a big relief!)
    • Right #3: Organic viticulture works (and a deeper discussion of why and whether it even matter why)

    • Wrong #4: Tasting Room? Wine Club? Who needs 'em! From a business perspective, this made perfect sense but we talk about why it didn’t fly in reality and why that's a great thing. 

    • Wrong #5: People will buy it because Beaucastel --name recognition only gets you so far

    • Right #5: Fundamentally, this place is great for these grapes  -- We talk about how some people take advantage of this and how some in Paso are still working on it

 

We wrap with: What’s in the next 30 years?

Please check out Tablas Creek. Many consider them the best winery in America. It's a hard point to argue once you have their wines!

 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

Jun 18, 2019
Ep 280: Provence, France
53:12

Provence, France is a multifaceted wine region. Although it makes mainly rosé, there is much to explore here. To start, not all of that rosé is created equal. And there are whites and reds you may not be aware of, that are just stunning. This podcast is a surprising, dorky, deep look at this beautiful wine region.

Climate and terroir

  • Between Mediterranean and the Alps – southeastern corner of France, covers coastline
  • No vineyard is more than 25 miles from the Mediterranean
  • Provence is the only French wine region outside of Bordeaux with classified estates
  • Climate: Low humidity, Mediterranean climate – sea is its southern border: sunny, dry and warm. Can get overripe grapes b/c of sunshine. Winds prevalent – including the Mistral
  • Land: Soil poor, very varied -- limestone, calcareous, volcanic
  • Mountains: Sainte-Victoire Mountain, Sainte-Baume Mountains, Massif des Maures

Blends, not varietal wines:

  • Reds: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Tibouren, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Whites: Rolle/Vermentino, Ugni Blanc/Trebbiano, Sémillon, Clairette,Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc

 

Provence rosé appellations

  • Côtes de Provence
  • Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
  • Coteaux Varois en Provence.

 

Côtes de Provence: 90% Rosé, 6.5% red, 3.5% white

  • Largest appellation in Provence
  • Center to the eastern borders of Provence – eastern portion of Provence in included
  • Nearly 75% of all the wine production in Provence
  • 90% of production is rosé
  • Quality of sites varies wildly, as does the wine quality
  • 4 subregions
    • Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire: Red and rosé (largest, most common)
    • Côtes de Provence Fréjus: 75% rosé, the rest is red
    • Côtes de Provence La Londe: 75% Rosé, 25% red
    • Côtes de Provence Pierrefeu: Cool climate rosé 

 

Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence: 82.5% Rosé, 5.5% White, 12% Red

  • 2nd largest area with various soil types
  • High acid, light rosé
  • Les Baux de Provence: (baou=rocky spur in Provence dialect) is within Aix
    • Tiny hilltop village, mainly organic viticulture – 85% of the farmers do organic or biodynamic
    • Makes red and roses (only 25% is rose) of GSM

 

Coteaux Varois en Provence: 85% Rosé, with red and white 

  • Western 1/3 of Provence central region of Provence, "calcareous Provence" – gravel, flint, limestone, calcareous soils in narrow valleys
  • High altitude, small area  

Bandol Wine: Nearly 70% is red wine with rosé, small amt of white 

  • Bandol is most famous for its red wines, Mourvèdre is at least 50% of the blend, though most producers will use significantly more
  • Whites: Clairette – 50-90% of Bandol Blanc with Bourboulenc, Ugni Blanc, Marsanne, Rolle, Sauv Blanc, Semillon 

Bellet Wine: Equal amounts of white, red, rosé 

  • Near Nice in hills of N, E, W on terraces – very steep, some single vineyard sites
  • Mostly consumed by tourists in Nice

 

Palette: Red, white, rosé made east of Aix-en-Provence in hills

  • Chateau Simone owns half the vineyards here – Ch Cremade, Ch Henri Bonnaud, Ch de Meyreuil and La Badiane make the rest

 

Coteaux de Pierrevert: Cool climate red, white and rosé wines are mainly made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsaut, Clairette and Rolle 

Cassis Wine: White is 75% of production, with red and rosé

  • Full-bodied, lower acid, herbal whites.
  • Clairette, Marsanne, Bourboulenc, Pascal, Sauvignon Blanc,
  • Rose and red from Mourvedre, Cinsault, Grenache

  

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Podcasts referenced:

Ep 160: The Rosé Story with Ian Renwick

Ep 227: Derek Van Dam, CNN Weatherman on Weather and Wine

Ep 277: Bordeaux -- An Insider View with Serge Doré

 

Jun 10, 2019
Ep 279: Greg La Follette of Alquimista Cellars and pioneer of Sonoma, CA Pinot Noir
49:35

Greg La Follette is known in the wine world as a founding father of California Pinot Noir. A former seminarian and biochemist with degrees in Plant Biology and Chemistry, he was an early AIDS researcher at the University of California San Francisco before earning his masters degree in Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis.

Greg has worked for BV, started La Crema and Hartford Court for Jackson Family Wine (Kendall-Jackson), started Sonoma Pinot cult brand Flowers and his own brands LaFollette (which he sold) and now Alquimista. Greg has consulted all over the world – in northern California, Oregon, Europe, South America, and Australia. He is widely considered an expert on Pinot Noir.

 

Here are a few things we chatted about:

  1. Greg's early history, including his time with André Tchelistcheff, the father of American Viticulture (also mentioned in Ep 275: http://winefornormalpeople.libsyn.com/webpage/category/ep-275-lane-tanner-the-pinot-czarina-of-santa-barbara-county-california)
  2. The allure of Pinot Noir and the various styles Greg has made over the years -- from big and brawny at Flowers to elegant and earthy at Alquimista. Greg talks about winegrowing and the challenges of Pinot Noir (and why Chardonnay is important to grow as a sanity check!)
  3. The influence Burgundy has had on Greg's wine over the years
  4. The fascinating chronicles of working at La Crema, starting Flowers for someone else, starting and selling Tandem (now La Follette) and then departing to the best stop: Alquimista Cellars!
  5. We discuss Patrick Dillon, Greg's partner in Alquimista (and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, writer, editor), and how their styles combine to make a style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay you won't find elsewhere in California. 

Alquimista's wines are spectacular. Check them out!  

 __________________________________________

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

Jun 03, 2019
Ep 278: The Art of Vegetarian Food Pairing
49:48

At the request of UK listener, Peregrine (great idea, thanks!), we discuss vegetarian food pairing, an art that's just as easy or hard as with any dish. The difference is that in the veg world, we pair with sauce and seasoning and the complexities are many --and we dig into many of them!

We discuss my three step pairing process and how it applies to vegetarian food:

  1. Pay attention to the weight of the food -- heavy with heavy, light with light.
    • Examples: simple salads with dry whites or rosé, Eggplant or heavy saucy dishes with heavier reds, Cream or cream-based dishes – northern European cuisines – best with cooler climate wines
  2. Figure out what the dominant flavor of the dish is and pair to that. 
    • Examples: Earthy veggies like mushrooms, root veggies – earthy reds like Burgundy, or Barolo, Chianti
    • Mushrooms have umami: Burugndy –white and red are best, but there is nuance
      • Creamy dishes – oaked white burgundy
      • Mushroom risotto: Arneis, Gavi, Soave, Fiano, Etna Bianco
      • Mushrooms with garlic: Pinot noir
      • Portabello mushrooms: same as steak: Zin, Malbec, Bordeaux, Cabernet
      • Asparagus or bell peppers –whites with higher acidity – Grüner, Sauvignon Blanc
      • Tomato-based dishes – reds from Italy
  3. Pay attention to the texture of the food and make sure it goes with the texture of the wine.
    • Structure of the food and the wine matter. Is the food salty? Chewy? Acidic? Pair it with the appropriate wine texture! 

 

We discuss MC Ice's favorite rule: What grows together, goes together 

 

We talk about the best pairings for spice: 

  • Sweeter Riesling or Chenin blanc, or fruity rosés (NEW WORLD) work well
  • Indian curry: A touch of sweetness helps, so does acid
  • Bright Thai curries are better with aromatic whites
    • Fruity rosé, off-dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc, Pinot gris, Viognier
    • Fruity Merlot or Shiraz, Portuguese reds
  • Stir fry with soy: fruity New World Merlot, Pinot, something low in tannin

 

We talk TexMex and Mexican: 

  • Black beans/burritos: Albariño, Beaujolais 
  • True Mexican food
    • Crisp whites: Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, dry Riesling,
    • Riojas, Chianti, Pinot noir can for heavier sauces
    • Soft juicy wines can work with refried and black beans or adobo sauces –Beaujolais or soft Syrah, Garnacha 
    • No tannin, no oak– kills the combo with chiles

 

Finally we discuss how salad has become so varied it's hard to make a good match. We leave you with some ideas:

  • Very fruity wines: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosés
  • Grow/goes: Greek salad with Assyrtiko
  • Blue cheese dressing: Fruity, soft red – Zin, Beaujolais
  • Goat cheese salad: Sancerre
  • Caprese: Soave, Fiano, Gavi

 

 

Thanks to our sponsor this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 

 

 

May 27, 2019
Ep 277: Bordeaux -- An Insider View with Serge Doré
55:27

Serge Doré has been an importer of small French family made wines for nearly four decades. His story and background is featured in episode 262, and in episode 276, we spoke with the vigneron of one of the small families he represents, Amelie Aubert from Bordeaux. This time he returns to speak with us about what Bordeaux is really like and his perspective on the good and bad of the region, how it compares with others and why it is so magnificent. 

 Here are some of the things we discuss: 

  • Serge's first experiences in Bordeaux in the 1980s and what the region was like before it was touched by the influence of Robert Parker
  • His take on the cultural and substantive differences between the Right and Left Bank.
  • The effect of critics on Bordeaux 
  • The business structure and climate of Bordeaux -- including the roles of the vigneron, the courtier (broker), and the negociant. 
  • We discuss the role of technology and how it has helped or harmed wine in Bordeaux
  • Serge gives us his view of the best value appellations in Bordeaux now and the best wines for shorter term aging

I had a great time listening to Serge's take on Bordeaux and how it has changed over the years. I hope you love this very lively, honest conversation too!

Learn more about Serge's wines here

 

Thanks to our sponsor this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

For the latest class schedule, please visit: https://winefornormalpeople.com/classes

 

Other shows referenced:

Ep 276: Familie Aubert, with Amelie Aubert, the 7th Generation of Bordeaux Winemaking

 

Ep 262: Serge Doré, Outstanding French Wine Importer

 

Ep 250: Amazing Innovation in Champagne with Thibaut Le Mailloux of the Champagne Council

May 21, 2019
Ep 276: Familie Aubert, with Amelie Aubert, the 7th Generation of Bordeaux Winemaking
39:49

The Aubert family has lived in Saint-Émilion on the Right Bank of Bordeaux since 1750 and has a long and successful history as producers of some of Bordeaux’s finest wines. Alaine and Bernadette Aubert own over 600 acres of vineyard property, making them one of the largest family producers on the Right Bank.

They run the estate with the help of their three daughters Cécile, Amélie and Héloise, with Amélie the 7th generation of the family to take over the reins of the family’s winemaking responsibilities. The estate centers around the old family home of Château de Ribebon, a magnificent 18th century building that was once a hunting lodge for King Louis XIV, beautifully preserved, on a terrace overlooking the Dordogne River.

Thanks to Serge Doré Selections for making this show happen! 

Chateaux list: (you can get these at www.winelibrary.com please call them to special order these wines except the Cab Franc!)

  • Château Macard (Bordeaux Superieur)
  • Château de Ribebon Reserve (Bordeaux Superieur Cabernet Franc)
  • Château Hyot (Côtes de Bordeaux -- Castillon)
  • Château Haut-Gravet (St-Émilion Grand Cru 'Grand Chemin')
  • Château Abelyce (St-Émilion Grand Cru)

 

Here are the topics we cover:

  • We talk about Amélie's family history in Bordeaux and how her mom and dad both came from winemaking families 
  • Amélie discusses her love of the wine business and her passion for tradition, as she got started with her grandfather in the business
  • We talk about the Right Bank -- the grapes (Merlot, Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon), the land, the climate/vintage variation, the culture etc and how it is different from the Left Bank
  • Amélie discusses the complication of the classification systems in St. Émilion -- the Grands Crus Classés and the controversy around the classification (Château Abelyce and Haut-Gravet are both classified chateaux)
  • We discuss the land and how terroir is so important to quality in Bordeaux. We cover the differences between the limestone plateau that Ch. de Ribebon sits on versus the clay and gravel of the Right Bank
  • Amélie shares why the Côtes de Bordeaux are exciting to seek out (Château Hyot is from Côtes de Bordeaux -- Castillon)
  • We talk about Bordeaux Superieur and the keys to getting a good one 
  • Amélie shares the purpose of oak barrels for her (and how it is not considered a flavor component - totally different from New World ideas!)
  • We discuss the great benefits of having a strict appellation system and how it helps Amélie make the best wine she can  
  • Finally, Amélie shares how environmental concerns will likely change how some things are done in Bordeaux, but not the style of the wine

 

Thanks to our sponsor this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

May 13, 2019
Ep 275: Lane Tanner, the Pinot Czarina of Santa Barbara County, California
54:36

When I was visiting Santa Barbara County, I got to sit down with the Pinot Czarina herself, Lane Tanner. She is famed for her deep knowledge of Pinot noir winemaking in Santa Barbara, having arrived as only the second woman winemaker in the county in 1981. Since then, Lane has built a reputation as one of the top Pinot specialists in California and she is a pioneer and icon in SB County.

She has had a long career and today, she is the winemaker and partner with Will Hentry Ep 259) in Lumen Wines, making exceptional single vineyard Pinot Noir, with great Chardonnay, Grenache, Grenache blanc and Pinot Gris to boot. Although accomplished, Lane is a total package – confident, strong, but kind and willing to share her story with us. We became fast friends and I can't wait to introduce you to her and her story in this show!

Here are the topics we hit on:

 

  1. How Lane got into wine, how she met and was mentored (inadvertently) by the famed Andre Tchelistcheff
  2. Santa Barbara County in the 1980s -- the culture, the wines, and how it has changed 
  3. Lane's ability to master nearly any task -- her "Inspector Gadget" -like quality to fix anything, and solve any problem (only she does it well and he did it poorly!)
  4. The importance of geography and geology to Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara. Lane's philosophies, how she came upon them, and why they yield such spectacular wine -- from picking decisions to pruning to clones, we cover it all! 
  5. The trouble with scores and judging (she's been a judge before so we get some inside dirt!)
  6. How the movies "Sideways" and it's residual effects made Lane retire for a time.  
  7. We talk Santa Barbara wine -- now and then.
  8. The present and future: Will Henry joins us again to help tell the the Lumen story and where it's going!

We hope to have an Underground Wine Event next year in Santa Barbara! Stay tuned for details! 

 

Thanks to our sponsor this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

May 07, 2019
Ep 274: Christopher Snowden on how moderate drinking is still good for you and why wine is NOT the new tobacco
54:18

Christopher Snowdon is the head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs. His research focuses on social freedoms, prohibition and policy-based evidence. He is a regular columnist for the Spectator Health blog, where his article on March 28, 2019 “The campaign to make alcohol ‘the new tobacco’” caught my eye. 

 

In this show, Chris and I discuss the new narratives that the UK Chief Medical Officers and others in positions of power in public health are pushing out to the public. We dig into the problems with these studies, namely that the claims are relatively baseless and the research is skewed, and we talk about possible trajectories for Neo-temperance and the importance of vigilance and questioning the claims and the motives of these claims.

 

The show notes are simple this week: his two articles --

 

More on Chris: Snowdon is author of five books: 'Killjoys' (2017), 'Selfishness, Greed and Capitalism' (2015), 'The Art of Suppression' (2011), 'The Spirit Level Delusion' (2010) and 'Velvet Glove, Iron Fist' (2009). He has also written more than a dozen reports for the Institute of Economic Affairs including ‘Drinking, Fast and Slow’, ‘and ‘Closing Time: Who’s killing the British pub?’. He blogs at Velvet Glove, Iron Fist.

 

I made reference to the podcast we did about my experience drinking while pregnant. Here's the link!

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies
in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

  

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I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

Apr 29, 2019
Ep 273: The Grape Miniseries -- Tannat
45:32

Tannat is one of the gems of southwest France – a tannic, acidic, flavorful grape that makes wines packed with complexity (and huge health benefits!). This show takes you from the origins of the grape to the changes it needed to survive in modern times to the glory it’s achieving in Uruguay and its potential in California. A dorky show but a fascinating one, nonetheless!

 

Overview:

  • Mainly grown in Southwest France in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mtns and Uruguay
  • Also grown in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Peru, South Africa, Puglia (blending), Siciily, British Columbia and the US
  • Tannat is a great value! A great bottle of Tannat will is priced between $15-$30.  

Origins:

  • First mentioned in Madiran in 1783
  • Name from dialect in Béarn, France: means “colored like tan” for dark berries, tannins
  • Related to a bunch of grapes that are in the Pyrenees-Atlantique region – Manseng Noir is probably the closest relative

Vineyard/Grape character:

  • Vigorous, needs trellising to resist bunch rot (botrytis), mid-ripening and ripens reliably
  • Big bunches, small to medium grapes with thick skins
  • Many seeds – 2x as many as regular grapes – higher polyphenols in the wine.
  • Hard to de-stem because of hard wood
  • Recent research makes the case for oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) as the source of red wine’s health benefits. Tannat is the grape with the greatest concentration

 Winemaking/vineyard management to soften:

  • Vineyard:low yields, picking later, different soil types, new clones
  • In the winery: oak, concrete eggs, micro-oxygenation, extended aging, macerationn

Flavors:

  • Tannic, acidic, dark, with either red (raspberry) or black fruit (plum) with black licorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, espresso, and smoke notes and a long finish

 French Tannat

  • Basque-influenced regions of France near Pyrenees: Madiran, Irouléguy, Tursan, Béarn
  • Madiran: 60-80% of the blend, most do 100%. Red fruit, very strong tannin, high acid -- blended with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Fer to soften astringency.
  • Saint-Mont (min 60% of blend) – with Cab Franc, Cab Sauv
  • Irouléguy: Rosé – not much maceration b/c it will get too tannic
  • Béarn: 60% Tannat and a 40% mix Manseng Noir, Courbu Noir

Uruguay

  • 4,408 acres/1784 ha, 22% of Uruguay’s vineyards
  • Blending with Pinot noir and Merlot for softness and total balance
  • We discuss old vines v. newer clones
  • Best region: Canelones
  • Flavors: Softer tannins, black fruit

California

  • Grown in Paso Robles and Santa Cruz Mtns – Bonny Doon Vineyards, Tablas Creek, Joseph Swan sold it as a standalone
  • 2002: Tablas Creek petitions TTB to add Tannat to list of varieties for varietal wine

 

Food:  Needs high protein and high fat to the table to soften the high tannins

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make 
the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

  

Away

Away creates thoughtful standards for modern travel—universal pieces that reflect your personal travel style and make every trip more seamless. Away has the perfect gift for everyone on your list—and for every destination on theirs.

I really love this suitcase! You need to get one!

For $20 off a suitcase, visit www.awaytravel.com/wine and use PROMO CODE: wine during checkout!

 

Zola, the wedding company that will do anything for love, is reinventing the wedding planning and registry experience to make the happiest moment in couples' lives even happier. From engagement to wedding and decorating your first home, Zola is there, combining compassionate customer service with modern tools and technology. All in the service of love.

To start your free wedding website or registry on Zola, go to www.ZOLA.com/wine

 

Apr 22, 2019
Ep 272: The Greats -- Rioja, Spain
52:33

Another in our series of the greatest wines in the world, this dorky, in-depth show goes over the intricate details of Rioja, Spain. The history is just fascinating(especially the ties to France), and the wines are a marvel. Rioja truly is a GREAT.

If the podcast is too weedy for you, skip to the end. MC Ice asks me a question about traditional practices in Europe and how I feel about it restricting creativity, and I give a staunch defense of the regulations in an answer he didn't expect! 

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies
in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

  

Last Bottle

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

Here are the show notes:

Overview

  • Rio Oja – river oja
  • I discuss location: in the Ebro River Valley between Obarees Mountains, Sierra de Cantabria in the North, Sierra de la Demanda in the south
  • I mention the great wine houses of Haro: Roda, Muga, CVNE, Ramon Bilbao, López de Heredia to name a few.
  • I also mention Logroño, the capital city of the region with producers: Marques de Murrieta and Ontanon

History:

  • Yes, it's weedy, but I find it fascinating so I take you through Rioja's history from Phoenician settlers in 11thc BC to Ancient Romans, monks, the importance of El Camino (not the 1970s car, but the religious pilgrimage!), the Reconquista, colonial times to more modern ones.
  • We discuss the strong ties between Bordeaux, over the Pyrenees, and Rioja and how phylloxera actually served to cement that tie and help Rioja soar to new heights 

Geography:

  • We really get dorky here, discussing the River Ebro & its 7 tributaries that create valleys of Rioja
  • We talk about the climate, the microclimates and importantly, the sub regions:
    • Rioja Alta: Just under 50% of vineyards, premium wine
      • Sub valleys: Oja, Najerilla, Iregua 
    • Rioja Alavesa: 20% of wine, similar to Alta
    • Rioja Baja: further south in Ebro Valley, much drier, warmer climate, thanks to the Mediterranean influence 37% of production and growing (young producers)
      • Sub valleys: Cidacos (Bodegas Ontañon, one of my favorites is here), Leza, Jubera, Alhama

Grapes:

  • Reds: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan), Maturana Tinta
  • Whites: Viura/Macabeo (the Cava grape), Malvasía de Rioja, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Blanca, Turruntés de Rioja 

Type of Wine:

  • Blends of grape varieties, vineyards and towns.
  • Control Board issues to those wines that meet quality and tipicity requirements:
  • Joven:Guarantees the origin and vintage of the wine. Fresh, fruity.
  • Crianza wines: Minimum of 1 year in casks/oak, 1 year in bottle. For white wines, the minimum cask ageing period is 6 mo
  • Reserva wines: Selected wines of the best vintages with an excellent potential. Aged a minimum of 3 years -- 1 in cask, at least 6 months in bottle. For whites, the minimum ageing period is 2 years, with at least 6 months in casks.
  • Gran Reserva wines: Selected wines from exceptional vintages. Aged a minimum of 60 months -- 2 years in cask, 2 in bottle. Whites: 4 years, with 1 year in cask

Viticulture:  

  • We end with a discussion of the restrictions around viticulture and winemaking and how restrictive it is. 
  • M.C. Ice gets me to wax poetic on whether I think we should restrict producers in this way, and I give an impassioned plea as to why I think it is essential. 

 

I heavily relied on the awesome site: https://us.riojawine.com/en/ for information in this pod! 

Also, I mentioned a Spanish language podcast I like. Here's the link to Coffee Break Spanish

 

Apr 13, 2019
Ep 271: The SoNapa Problem with Oded Shakked of Longboard Vineyards and Jim Morris, the Sonoma AND Napa Wine Guy
38:45

Napa and Sonoma are the two most famous places for wine in the United States. On a map, they are right next to each other and they seem really interchangeable. But looks can be deceiving. The truth is, that they are an hour drive apart and worlds away in climate, geography, grapes, cost, marketing, and culture.

 

This week, Oded Shakked, winemaker and owner of Longboard Vineyards and Jim Morris, the Sonoma Wine Guy, who now works for a Napa winery help me parse the differences. This podcast should help make everything a whole lot clearer when people talk about Napa versus Sonoma!

 

Here are the show notes:

  • Geography:
    • The distance between the areas – 45 mi -1 hr, the difficulty in getting between them
    • Looking at a map – and the geography of the two areas
  • Marketing differences – when and how they diverged: Napa’s 20 year head start and the importance of Robert Mondavi’s marketing efforts to Napa
  • Ease of travel in Napa v Sonoma
  • The money difference/investement -- small farmers v. outside money
  • The competition element – a problem for both Sonoma and Napa
  • What’s not different: SKILL!!! Everyone knows what theya re doing for the most part
    • Provenance, time, is smaller – Napa – elite
  • Experience difference:
    • Napa – an elite or aspirational experience, status, expense, trying to weed out people
    • Sonoma – more affordable, more relaxed
  • Costs differences – and how places used it to weed people out
  • Grapes and climate
    • Diurals/acid differences – Sonoma is cooler in many spots
  • Napa Envy by Sonoma
  • Sonoma’s Identity issue
  • One common problem: cost of living is going up and it’s harder to find people to work there
  • Some travel tips for Northern California wine country and all the other stuff you can do in Sonoma!

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies
in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Blinkist:

Blinkist is the only app that takes the best key takeaways, the need-to-know information from thousands of nonfiction books and condenses them down into just 15 minutes so you can read or listen to. 8 Million people are using Blinkist right now and it has a massive and growing library: from self-help, business, health to history books.

Get the main idea of books so you can decide if they are something you want to read more of or if the gist is just enough! Right now, for a limited time Blinkist has a special offer. Go to www.blinkist.com/​WINE​ to start your free 7 day trial.

 

Apr 06, 2019
Ep 270: La Pitchoune Winery, Outsiders Who Broke Into Sonoma Wine and Rocked It
44:20

When Tracy Nielsen -- Co-Founder & Assistant Winemaker of La Pitchoune -- came to Sonoma from Colorado and wanted to break into the wine business, she struggled. Despite her fantastic personality, life experiences in sales, marketing, and customer service (plus she kicks butt because she was a river raft guide in her home state of Colorado), there was little offer of help or employment. So she and her husband, Peter Joachim Nielsen decided to start their own winery.

They hooked up with the Andrew Berge - Master Winemaker, with a degree in agriculture from UC Davis and experience in making wines that express the vineyard in which they grew. The quartet was rounded out by Brett Van Ernst, marketing powerhouse to form La Pitchoune Winery, and they have been wildly successful, making Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rosé and Chenin Blanc in small lots from excellent vineyards. 

La Pitchoune means “the little one” in French and the name speaks to small production, small lots, and their small size. This crew has not been around that long but already they’ve received major recognition from the wine cognoscenti and you can find their wines at Michelin-starred restaurants, including The French Laundry and Auberge du Soleil in Napa. 

They will be at www.undergroundwineevents.com on April 6, 2019 (please visit the site for other upcoming events!)

Here are a few notes from the show with Tracy and Andrew: 

  1. We discuss the origins of La Pitchoune and how Tracy and Peter decided to form it.
  2. We talk about Andrew's journey from Germany to Minnesota, where he grew up, to Sonoma, where he took a degree in agriculture. Andrew tells us how his more practical, mid-western approach to the wine industry has been an asset. 
  3. We drill into terroir and the benefits of a more hands-off winemaking style -- natural yeast fermentation, few additives, letting the land speak through the wine. 
  4. We discuss Sonoma Mountain, the small, varied appellation from which very few people make wine. 
  5. There is a lot of nerding out about the various vineyards and winemaking
  6. Finally, we talk business -- how La Pitchoune approaches customers and how its partnership helps them to succeed in the very competitive wine industry. 

 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies
in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

  

Last Bottle

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Mar 31, 2019
Ep 269: From Doctor to One Woman Winery--Kerith Overstreet of Bruliam
51:23

Kerith Overstreet is a triple threat: Bruliam Wines co-founder and winemaker, medical doctor, and mom to three teens.  After retiring from general surgery to pursue pathology and then medicine to raise a family, she tried her hand at winemaking with one barrel. She quickly found she had the chops for it and her fourth baby, Bruliam Wines was established in 2008.

Since then, Kerith has completed her enology courses at U.C. Davis and she is a one-woman show. She does EVERYTHING herself and the lovely single vineyard Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and chardonnay benefit from it. 

www.undergroundwineevents.com for tickets!

Here are some of the things we cover in the show:

  • Kerith takes us on her journey from growing up in San Diego, to East Coast college and med school student, to single vineyard, terroir-driven winemaker
  • Kerith discusses the interplay between wine and medicine and how it affects her today
  • We talk all about site, growers and why this kind of thing is the obsession of small winemakers
  • We discuss Pinot Noir and why it's such a fascinating grape
  • On a personal note, we discuss family, doing it as a one-woman show, and strange things people have said to Kerith in her time in wine

 You can get her wines at www.bruliamwines.com

 

 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies
in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Mar 25, 2019
Ep 268: Adam Teeter of VinePair, the Online Wine Mag that is Disrupting Wine Media
01:02:47

Adam Teeter is Co-Founder of VinePair Inc, the huge online magazine that tells it like it is in the world of wine, spirits, and beer. Adam is a true normal wine person, he is obsessed with wine and trying to remove the elitism often associated with the industry. In this awesome conversation we discuss Adam’s transition from music to wine (and its similarities), and how he built VinePair to truly disrupt wine media.

 

Show notes:

  1. We discuss Adam’s background and how he and Elizabeth are like the same person.

 

  1. Adam talks about the striking similarities between the record industry and wine. He talks about how his first successful venture in joining wine and music springboarded him to build VinePair.

 

  1. We talk nitty-gritty industry stuff – certifications in wine, Millennials and wine, the wine industry and how it’s so bizarre from a business perspective, and the goals of Vinepair to break down alcoholic beverages for normal people.

 

  1. Adam tells us about upcoming trends in the wine industry and media and we discuss how VinePair and WFNP are the beginning of the wine revolution in media.

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies
in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

  

Last Bottle

I love this service!! Last Bottle Wines finds great wines and offers them at a one time discount. Last Bottle Wines:

  • Is a fun way to discover the best wines at the lowest prices
  • Maintains relationships with producers in the most prestigious wine regions around the world and traveling to Europe several times each year to eat with, stay with, drink with, walk the vineyards with the people who make the wines.
  • Offer a range of prices from low end to high end $9 to $99 and the wines range from the lesser known kinds like Albariño and Bläufrankish to Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Visit: http://lastbottlewines.com/normal and join to get a $10 instant credit to use toward your first order. Invite your wine drinking pals and they’ll get $10 instantly and you get $30 when they make their first buy.

 

Mar 18, 2019
Ep 267: Leo Hansen of Leo Steen Wines, The Dane who Mastered California Chenin Blanc
42:00

Originally from Denmark where he grew up as the son of a chef and hotelier in the happiest country in the world, Leo Hansen started in the hospitality world at the ripe old age of 12 and hasn’t stopped since.

First he was a certified European sommelier working for a Michelin starred restaurant and that brought him to the US where he immersed himself in the world of New World winemaking. In 2004 he started Leo Steen Wines, which concentrates on divine Chenin Blanc (AKA Steen in South Africa, but ironically a family name as well!) but also makes Cab Franc, Chardonnay, and Grenache.

He has been in California for 20 years but he maintains a European palate and focuses on traditional European winemaking techniques like foot treading, natural yeasts, lower alcohols and less new oak. He’s the perfect balance of professional winemaker and sommelier and a fascinating guy all around.

 

And a few show notes:

  • Leo tells us about his early life as a the son of a chef and hotelier, including some notes about Danish cuisine!
  • We learn about Leo\'s career path, especially his time at Kong Hans in Copenhagen, a Michelin Starred Restaurant
  • We discuss the difference in sommelier culture in Denmark v. the US
  • Leo takes us through his journey from a harvest worker at Clos du Bois to owner of Leo Steen
  • Finally, we discuss his specific philosophies and wines and why site is so important to his wine.

For more info on Underground Wine Events, go to www.undergroundwineevents.com

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

YOU!The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies
in return for their help! Check it out today: https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Blinkist:

Blinkist is the only app that takes the best key takeaways, the need-to-know information from thousands of nonfiction books and condenses them down into just 15 minutes so you can read or listen to. 8 Million people are using Blinkist right now and it has a massive and growing library: from self-help, business, health to history books.

Get the main idea of books so you can decide if they are something you want to read more of or if the gist is just enough! Right now, for a limited time Blinkist has a special offer. Go to www.blinkist.com/​WINE​ to start your free 7 day trial.

 

Mar 11, 2019
Ep 266: Danny Glover- From LA Musician to L'Object Wine
43:49

Danny Glover has had a fascinating life! He moved from a life in music production and writing to a life in the vineyards and in the cellar. A man with an obsession with terroir and a knack for making low-intervention wines, Dan has worked in huge, medium and small wineries, building his skills and repertoire.

The first thing you should know is that even though that OTHER Danny Glover is also an African American who has a wine brand, this is the REAL DANNY GLOVER. The one who spends his time obsessing about his wines and his brand L’Objet.