Wine for Normal People

By Wine for Normal People

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Description

A podcast for people who like wine but not the snobbery 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. The Wine For Normal People book is available on Amazon! Back catalog available at http://winefornormalpeople.libsyn.com.

Episode Date
Ep 337: Feudi di San Gregorio and the Unrivaled Wines of Campania, Italy
01:05:56

Feudi di San Gregorio is the largest winery in Campania region of Southern Italy. The winery has fought to bring the region to prominence in the minds of wine drinkers looking for reds and whites unlike any others in the world (that you HAVE to try!).

Campania was the premier winemaking region in Italy in Ancient Roman times, but after the fall of Rome the producers chose to be grape growers/merchants, rather than winemakers. Although some made headway, it was after a large earthquake hit and destroyed much of Campania in 1980, that reinvestment in wine truly began.

To support local industry, along with another family, the Capaldo family began Feudi di San Gregorio in 1986 in the town of Sorbo Serpico in the province of Avellino. One son of the family, Antonio Capaldo grew up around wine but then he pursued business, leaving Campania to obtain a Masters in Management and Economics at the London School of Economics and a PhD in Economics and Finance from a joint program between LSE and University of Rome. By age 32, he was working at McKinsey (a top consulting firm) and made partner. On that very day, he quit consulting and got to work for his family’s winery in Campania, putting his skills and vision to work.

To my great delight, Dr. Antonio Capaldo, with his brilliance and razor-sharp humor, joins me to discuss the beautiful wines of Campania, one of my all-time favorite regions in Italy. He is the Chairman of Feudi di San Gregorio and shares his insights on the region, its appellations, what makes the land and grapes special, and the bright future Campania has ahead of it.

 

Some of the areas we mention:

  • Fiano di Avellino (I love this wine!)
  • Greco di Tufo
  • Lacryma Christi (white is Coda di Volpe, red is Piedirosso, Aglianico, Scianscinoso)
  • Irpinia
  • Aglianico – Taurasi, Irpinia, Aglianico del Vulture (in Basilicata)

Check out the beautiful wines (with their beautiful, mosaic labels) of Feudi di San Gregorio. They are everything we describe and more!

                 

________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

Aug 04, 2020
Ep 336: Santorini, Greece and it's divine white of Assyrtiko
38:40

Santorini is one of Greek wine's guiding lights. The wines from this ancient volcanic island are unlike any other – exhibiting fullness, smoky minerality, and acidity that you won’t find elsewhere. The whites of Assyrtiko are among the best Greece has to offer. The fascinating history and legacy of viticulture will transport you to this lovely Mediterranean paradise. In this show, we take you on the ultimate armchair travel destination: the island of Santorini, a Greek paradise!

Here are the show notes:

  • Santorini is at 36.4 N latitude, in the Cyclades group of islands.  
  • The region has 2200-2900 acres/900-1,200 hectares of land are under vine
  • Santorini was formed by an enormous volcanic eruption around 2,600 years ago
  • Wine has been made since the ancient Greek and Roman times but a Venetian crusader took over in 1336 and made the sweet wines of the Assyrtiko grape, Vinsanto, popular around the Mediterranean

  • On the poor, volcanic soil on this hot windy island, the grapes are trained via an ancient pruning system, called “kouloura." The trunk is trained into a basket-like or wreath-like shape so the grapes hang on the of the basket, protected from wind and harsh sun
  • Some of these basket trained vines may be over 400 years old; with Assyrtiko making up 70-80% of the plantings. 

 

  • In this dry, harsh climate with less than 10 inches of rain per year, grapes struggle. They're well adapted to the heat and wind, and the diurnal temperature swing at night helps them maintain their characteristic acidity.
  • Reds: Mandilaria and Mavrotragano  represent 20% of Santorini's vineyards. 
    • Mavrotragano:used to only be for sweet wines. But it does seem to have good potential for dry wines'
    • Mandilaria (which M.C. Ice believes is picked by Baby Yoda) is grow around Greece and is tart and tannic, and often better in blends

  • White: Assyrtiko with Athiri and Aidani
    • Assyrtiko is a tough skinned variety. Drought, wind, and heat resistant. Regardless of heat, it maintains its acidity as it ripens. high acid grape. It makes a dry Wie with citrus, mineral, smoke, pumice, lemon rind, jasmine aromas and a saline, stony, quality when you taste it. The wines are full bodied. 
    • Athiri is sweet, fruity and aromatic with lower acidity so it's a good blending partner with Assyrtiko. Aidani is similar.

Types of wine

  • Santorini PDO: is 75% or more Assyrtiko, 25% Athiri and/or Aidani. 
  • Nykteri: the Greek term for 'working all night', the grapes are  harvested at night to avoid the hot temperatures. The wine is at least 75% Assyrtiko with Athiri and Aidani. It is aged in oak for a minimum of 3 months, and creates a dry, high acid wine with  mineral, citrus, and peach flavors and aromas.

  • Sweet Vinsanto: This dessert wine has great acidity to
  • offset the dried orange peel, fig, and apricot aroma always with a salty mineral note, typical of Assyrtiko (the wine must be at least 51% of this grape with Aidani and Athiri).
    • Vinsanto as a name, comes from the Venetian era of dominance - wines from the island were labeled, “Santo,” for Santorini -- “vin” or “vino”,  the Italian word for wine -- Vinsanto. The EU recognizes this as a separate, distinct, historical product only from Santorini and different from Italy's "Vin Santo"

 

Producers we mention: Hatzidakis, Estate Argyros, Gaia, J Boutari & Son, Vassaltis, Venetsanos, Domaine Sigalas, Gavalas, Santos

 

________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

 

 

Jul 29, 2020
Ep 335: The Grape Miniseries-- Gewurztraminer
44:36

That's right, no umlaut for my show notes on this grape. I consider Alsace the true home of this grape and the place we should be looking for the most spectacular versions. For that reason, I stick with the French way of spelling it 😉

Gewurztraminer (guh-VERTZ-tra-MEEN-ah)is one of the most distinctive grapes and makes one of the most overtly perfumed, full-bodied whites in existence. The lychee, rose, citrus, incense, and smokey notes can be intoxicatingly fantastic or WAY too much.

Here are some quick show notes on the grape's past and regions where it's grown. 

 

Aromas and Flavors

  • "Gewürz" means “spice” or "herb" but the grape was named so because of it's high levels of perfume and aromatics (it can smell like warm spices and pepper, but that's not the origin of the name)
  • The Gewürztraminer grape is actually pink to red in skin color and it generally makes deep gold wines, sometimes with a copper tinge

  • The grape has high natural sugar, so sometimes sweetness remains in the wine and many times the ABV reaches 14%
  • The most distinctive aromas and flavors of Gewürztraminer are: lychee, peach, melon, oranges, tropical fruit, roses, ginger, incense, smoke, pepper and sweeter spices

  • The effect of the aromas and flavors are so strong, they are sometimes too much for people, especially because bad versions of the wine have low acidity and can be flabby. Good versions strike a BALANCE between richness and acid, and avoid the bitterness possible from the phenolics of the darker skins. 

 

DNA/Parentage

  • The grape is a derivative of the ancient Traminer grape from the village of Tramin in South Tyrol, which is in Alto-Adige in the northeast of Italy
    • Pinot is its parent
    • Gewurztraminer is an aromatic (musqué) version of Savagnin

 

In the vineyard

  • Gewürztraminer is extremely picky. It's hard to grow, needing cool sites and limestone, marl, or granite soils to shine.
  • If picked too early, the resulting wine will have acidity but be missing the beautiful aromatics we expect from Gewürztraminer. If picked the overripe, the aromas are too strong, the acidity too low, and a bitterness creeps in, that makes the wine completely unpalatable

Regions:

  • Alsace in France makes the best Gewurztraminer.  There are only 7,000 acres or so but this is the best there is. The styles range from very dry to very sweet (Vendange Tardive, Selection de Grains Nobles).
    • Top Alsace Producers of Gewürztraminer: Léon Beyer, Zind Humbrecht, Muré, Schlumberger, Cattin, Domaine Weinbach

  • Germany makes Gewürztraminer (with the umlaut!) but it is very different from the wines of Alsace. There are about 2,000 acres here and much of it is in a relatively dry style, that seems to unfortunately crush the flamboyant nature of the grape. In a cool country like Germany, the grape needs warm sites to avoid spring frost and assure fruit set, so 2/3 of German "Traminer" is in Baden and Pfalz.

 

  • Italy is the native home of the grape -- it began on the cool slopes of the Alps in Trentino Alto-Adige and the grape is named after the town of Tramin. Styles run the gamut so it's important to buy from good producers. Elena Walch and Hofstatter are two solid ones. 

  • Other places the grape grows in Europe include: Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, Austria (in Styria, specifically), Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and all over Eastern Europe, although likely it is not the clone of Gewürztraminer we see in Alsace, but some less aromatic version. 

 

New World:

  • Australia has plantings in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales

 

  • New Zealand has had success on the North Island, near Gisbourne and Hawkes Bay

  • Chile has some promising spots in the south

 

  • Canada grows Gewürztraminer in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, and in Ontario, Prince Edward County, the Niagara Peninsula, among other spots

 

  • In the US: Washington, Oregon, the Finger Lakes of New York, and my favorite spot: Navarro Vineyards in Anderson Valley

To wrap, we discuss good food pairings: spices like ginger, tamarind, coriander, and salty things like soy sauce or tahini are great with Gewurztraminer. 

 

We decide that Gewürztraminer is like our dog, Ellie. Very cute, awesome when awesome, but kind of a diva about everything! 

Go and try some great versions of this wine! I promised MC Ice we would get a Grand Cru of Alsace to try so I could prove that there IS a version out there he would like. I will keep you posted! 

 

________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

Jul 22, 2020
Ep 334: Hungarian Wine Overview with Zoltan Heimann of Heimann Winery
01:03:23

Zoltán Heimann of Heimann & Fiai Winery helps present the wines of Hungary.

 

He keeps me on task with the proper pronunciations (very hard and the reason it’s taken me so long to cover this country, honestly!), and gives us an overview of what we can expect from Hungary and its wines, before focusing in more on his beloved region of Szekszárd (sex-ARD), known mostly for its famous Kadarka red wine. The Heimanns have a long history of farming in Hungary, and Zoltán has a global view from his education at Geisenheim in the Rheingau Region of Germany (one of the best wine schools in the world). He has a lot to teach us about Hungarian wine – its history, its geography, its grapes, its wines, and its future, which he is helping drive.

 

 

A few things for clarification:

  • When Zoltán refers to small winemakers, he refers to them as a Hobby Industry. Because of the recording, it’s a bit hard to understand. Just remember that as you listen!

  • Please don’t make fun of me for having no clue how to pronounce anything right. I told Zoltán before I started that it was going to be rough and he was patient as anything!

 

These show notes are more about pronunciation and help with the regional names than anything else. If you listen to the show, you’ll need to refer to these (maybe often!).

 

After a conversation about history, Zoltán talks about how Hungary is in the Carpathian Mountain basin with the Danube River dividing the country and the Tisza River near Tokaj in the east.

  • The hills (some quite high, others undulating) make a crescent from the northeast around the north to the southwest
  • A large plain, the Hungarian Plain, is in the middle of the country and is where bulk wine, paprika, and lots of food production takes place
  • A smaller plain, near Austria is in the northwest of the country
  • The climate is continental, with cold winters, hot summers

Image: Topographical map of Hungary

We talk about the main grapes of Hungary:

  • Whites:
    • Furmint (FOOR-mint): The main grape in Tokaj, now winemakers are using it for dry wine. It can be like limes and oranges, smoky, even spicy, and quite acidic – the challenge is to tame the acidity through good vineyard practices and proper winemaking that doesn’t cover the essence of the grape (i.e., no oak)

    • Hárslevelű (HARSH-levalew): The name means “linden leaf”, a plant that smells like honey, smoke, and pears. Zoltán explains that Hárslevelű is like a smoother, softer version of Furmint 

    • Juhfark (YOU-fark): A novelty that is made mainly in Somlo (Showm-LO), in the northwestern (ish – kind of central northwestern) area of the country, we’ll see more in export markets than they will in Hungary. The volcanic soil here makes the wines smoky, ash-like, and minerally…with just a little moodiness that only a volcanic soil can express

    • Olasrizling (said how it’s spelled): Also known as Welshriesling, the grape has traditionally been a neutral, workhorse grape for bulk whites. Zoltán says there are more and more producers getting great flavors from this grape, so it’s one to watch.
    • Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and other international varieties are also cultivated

 

  • Reds:
    • Kékfrankos (cake-FRAHN-kosh): Blaufränkish in Austria, this is the main component in Bull’s Blood of Eger and the grape that Heimann is concentrating on as a uniquely Hungarian expression of the grape – spicy, intense and interesting

    • Kadarka (said how it’s spelled): Zoltán explains that this is a very difficult grape to grow. Two in 10 years the harvest will go badly. The grape has big bunches and is prone to rot. It takes so much to grow that most vintners have no use for it. Heimann is one of the premier producers of Kadarka and aim to make an international reputation for this Pinot Noir-like grape

We move to the major wine regions

  • In the northeast/Upper Hungary: Tokaj, Eger
    • Tokaji: The dry and sweet (Tokaji aszú, Tokaji eszencia) of Furmint, Hárslevelű

    • Eger: Basalt/volcanic soil with loess can create excellent wines. The red blends are called Egri Bikavér or Bull’s Blood, the newer white blends (dreamed up in recent years as a marketing idea in the region) made of muscat and native grapes called Egri Csillag (EGG-ree chee-laug), known as “the Star of Eger”

  • Near Lake Balaton: Somló, Badascony

 Image: Balaton, the largest lake in Europe

    • Somló (showm-LOW): Made of the smoky white Juhfark and other native whites

    • Badascony: Known for fuller bodied, minerally whites with good acidity. A combination of Olasrizling and native grapes. Volcanic soils make these wines unique

  • Sopron
    • Sopron (SHOW-pron): Located adjacent to Neusiedl (noy-ASEED-el) in Austria and the Burgenland region, these wines are mainly Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) and are similar to those of Austria

  • Pannon: Villány, Szeksgárd
    • Villány (ville-AHN-ee): With excellent marketing, a strategic and unified vision, and excellent Cab Franc, this region has succeeded in getting its wines to market

    • Szeksgárd (sex-ARD): Kardarka, Kékfrankos, and other reds thrive here. Heimann is on the cutting edge of reviving this region

To wrap up, Zoltán and I discuss the potential for Hungary, the new generation, and all we have to look forward to from Hungary

________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Jul 14, 2020
Ep 333: Richard Betts, Former Master Somm, Shows What Moral Fortitude REALLY Looks Like
01:07:36

After studying geology and gaining a BS, an MS and nearly a JD, Richard Betts discovered a love of wine. He served as the wine director at The Little Nell in Aspen from 2000 to 2008, and while there, in all his spare time, in 2003, Richard was the 9th person to ever pass the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Masters Exam on the first attempt.

Richard co-founded the wine labels Betts & Scholl in 2003 and Scarpetta in 2006 and founded Sombra Mezcal in 2006. Today, Richard runs Komos Tequila and Superbird Paloma (in a beautiful can), My Essential Wines, and the wine from Barossa in South Australia,  “An Approach To Relaxation.”

 

Richard is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert” and “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All.”  And after nearly two decades as a Master Sommelier, and feeling disillusioned by the lack of evolution in the organization, Richard has altered the wine world forever, by being the first person to resign as a Master Sommelier. He is here to tell us about his journey and his decision.

Here are the show notes:

  • Richard covers his background and his path towards becoming a Master Sommelier. He takes on a journey of what it was like for him in the early 2000s and how the Court of Master Sommeliers of that time fostered his love of learning and wine
  • We talk about Richard’s growing concerns about the Court of Master Sommeliers over time and then we delve into the two major issues that made him quit the organization:
    • The Cheating Scandal of 2018, in which a Master Sommelier gave away answers to the blind tasting portion of the exam to several people in California, and then the Board revoked all certifications of the credential around the world with no explanation or apology.
    • The apathy of the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers to the Black Lives Matter Movement, and their veto of a statement of inclusivity to remain “neutral.”
  • Richard tells us how he quit the organization and the painful and extensive steps he took to try to fix things before he made this drastic step.

To editorialize: Richard is a hero in the wine world. He has left an indelible mark that screams “I value integrity over status and exclusivity.” His moral compass, intelligence, and down-to-earth style and, ultimately, its lack of fit with the Court should have us all questioning why we give so much deference to those with the credential, when it is a reductive look at one’s ability to take an exam well, not to be the best wine professional s/he can be.

 

Bravo to Richard. He is a hero and a model for us all.

Here is a slink to his resignation letter.

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

Jul 07, 2020
Ep 332: Tahiirah Habibbi from the Hue Society Is On a Mission to Diversify Wine
51:18

Tahiirah Habibi grew up in north Philadelphia, graduated from Penn State University and began working in hospitality, while taking wine classes at night to begin her journey of becoming a sommelier and pioneer. 

In 2012 Tahiirah opened the St.Regis, Bal Harbour. She later moved on to leadership positions at Michael’s Genuine and Baoli. Frustrated with the lack of diversity in the industry she believed her skills could bridge the intersection of wine and culture.  

 

In 2017, she launched The Hue Society as a safe space for the community to learn, commune and find resources in one place. Tahiirah has been featured in Ocean Drive as one of the top 5 female sommeliers, VinePair, Upscale Magazine, David Banner Podcast, and Imbibe Magazine to name a few.

With a decade as a sommelier in some of the top end restaurants in Miami, Tahiirah is an accomplished wine professional yet she has struggled every step of the way to gain recognition, and to cope with the overt and covert racism that exists in the industry. She discusses her difficult experiences, including the incident that prompted her viral video describing how the Court of Master Sommeliers requires all candidates to call them “Master” and what that means to her and other black and brown people who take the exam.  Watch Tahiirah's video from Instagram about her experience with the Court of Master Sommeliers here.

 

After we discuss the issues, Tahiirah uses her never-ending positivity and her penchant for action and problem solving to explain why she founded the Hue Society, which aims to provide a safe space for black wine lovers to come together, learn about wine, and enjoy the process without feeling the need to assimilate. She discusses the Roots Fund, founded this year with Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, to help fund people of color on their journeys into wine professions and how we can support her mission and vision by being more proactive about forming more multi-racial communities of wine lovers.

Discussing these issues and hearing this perspective is an essential step in changing wine so it reflects more of what the world looks like, not just what wine has traditionally represented. If you listen with an open mind, there are many important ideas Tahiirah shares in this show.  

 

To learn more about The Hue Society and the Roots Fund, please click here.

Tahiirah's article in Wine Folly is here

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

Jun 30, 2020
Ep 331: Carnuntum -- Austria's Newest, Oldest Quality Red Wine Region with Christina Netzl
56:37

Carnuntum is a small wine region in Austria with only 2% of the wine growing area, but it packs a punch in quality. A short drive from Vienna, Carnuntum is an old Roman hub, with a rich history and its wine is only just making an impact on the international wine scene. Christina Netzl, from Weingut Netzl joins – a producer who is largely responsible for putting this region on the map and making its red wines, especially of Zweigelt, so well-known and respected.

Here are the show notes:

  • We discuss the location of Carnuntum, its storied Roman history, and its unique position in Austria as an extremely high-quality wine region.
  • Christina gives us an idea of what the terroir is like in Carnuntum, the challenges with a windy climate, and the positive effects of the Danube, Lake Neusiedl, and the Pannonian Plain (which was once an old seabed!) on the climate and weather in the region.

  • We learn about the differences between the reds of Burgenland to the south, and the small Carnuntum region: the reds in Carnuntum are acidic, fresh, with bright fruit and ample spice. The wines are never overshadowed by the use of oak, which is used to support flavors, not to get “in front of the fruit” (I loved this phrase!).

 

Christina tells us about the very long, drawn out process of getting a Districtus Austriae Controllus (DAC) designation for Carnuntum.

  • We learn how very collaborative Carnuntum is – all winemakers had to agree to the standards of the DAC before it was finalized (very unusual!)

  • We discuss Carnuntum’s own classification system. Here are the German names:

    • Gebietswein (regional wine)
    • Ortswein (village wine)
    • Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine)

  • When wines can’t be classified as Carnuntum, they’re designated “Niederösterreich” which is sort of like Vins de Pays d’Oc (like from all of the Languedoc, for example) in France. The wines can come from a very large area all over the northeastern part of Austria. For smaller producers, it’s usually from their individual area, but the wine doesn’t qualify for the stricter DAC regulation.
  • Christina explains "Rubin Carnuntum”, a Zweigelt made in a certain style by a small group of producers (each has one under her own label – e.g., Netzl Rubin Carnuntum)
  • We discuss the name Zweigelt, and the slink to its creator, an enthusiastic member of the Nazi party.

Christina tells us about the importance of Netzl working the land organically, how she is thrilled when she travels that people even know Austria makes wine, and the challenges she has had both as a woman, a young person, and a daughter taking over a family business.

A really fascinating look at an up and coming, (yet old and well-established) region!

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

Jun 22, 2020
Ep 330: Journalistic Integrity in Wine with Don Kavanagh of Wine-Searcher
01:06:47

The question comes up again and again in wine: who can we read that is trustworthy and who reports on the truth? We know it isn't the glossy magazines and many industry wonks are all in the pocket of high end producers and beholden to them so they can stay in the "club" and continue to drink expensive wine in their elite circles. 

 

There is one guy, however, that you can trust. And that is Don Kavanagh the editor of Wine-Searcher's journalistic arm. He has spent the past 25 years either working in the wine trade or writing about it, in his native Ireland, the UK, and New Zealand. He is far from an insider and his dedication to telling things as they are -- as a true observer of situations rather than a judge, jury, or partisan -- is clear in all that he writes and publishes. 

Don is a truly normal person. Unlike people who were graced with expensive bottles at his parents' dinner table, he worked his way through the wine trade, working in the UK and learning about wine (while also laying bricks, doing construction and being a bouncer), setting up his own shop in New Zealand, and then attending journalism school before launching a successful career at newspapers, wine trade publications, and now Wine-Searcher. I really relate to his story, having grown up in a home without luxuries myself and having to work many jobs to pay the bills.

 

Don's commitment to honest representation of facts led him to doggedly pursue the 2018 scandal in the Court of Master Sommeliers in which a board member gave away the answers to portions of the exam. This led to all candidates being de-certified and was a big enough story to hit the international news.

While the Court turned to its friends in the wine trade to quickly sweep the scandal and all of the implications it had under the rug, Don kept asking hard questions. He was the single voice in the wine trade that wouldn't let it go. To date, the Court of Master Sommeliers has still never answered his questions nor have they discussed the changes they would make to the exam that would fix some of the problems Don's stories highlighted. 

We discuss the issues with the wine industry at large, the certification culture that has emerged, the elitism, and how advertiser dollars drive what gets published and what stays quiet (we mention this disturbing yet honest article by Richard Hemming, Master of Wine  “Why Wine Writers Don't Hold The Trade To Account”?). 

 

We discuss how the industry can be fixed, and come to a few conclusions.


If you ever wanted to hear about the underbelly of the wine industry and how wine writing works when advertisers in the industry are involved, as well as the power structure that prevents more honesty in wine, this is the podcast for you. Sign up for the Wine-Searcher newsletter to keep up with him. 

Don is one of the best guests I've ever had and I personally love this show! 

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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

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

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine club, which is the REAL DEAL!  

 

Jun 15, 2020
Ep 329: Muscadet - The Overlooked White of the Loire
39:06

The wine world often looks at Muscadet with disdain for its lighter body and subtlety of flavor. But for white wine lovers who care less about showiness and want something with the interplay of acidity with nutty, bread flavors and soft textures, this historic wine is a thrill. There is far more to this wine than there used to be, as it has continued to improve since the 1980s and seems to get better every year.

This week we discuss this westernmost area of Loire Valley, which lies along the banks of the river and its tributaries. We review Muscadet and the grape Melon -- its storied history – from being a defiled grape in Burgundy (it was outlawed in 1567!), to finding its place in the Loire (albeit with a strange name), to moving from just a grape to be distilled to a legitimate wine that, at the top end, can age more than a decade.

Here are a few of the show notes that you may have missed:

  • Muscadet is not the name of the grape (that’s Melon de Bourgogne) or a place (that’s the Pays Nantais) but it is a huge part of the AOC system and there are many appellations named after it.
  • The maritime climate in the Muscadet area makes it warmer than other parts of the Loire – the Gulf Stream, the river, and the humidity make for a more consistent temperature. But the perils of this area are many – rain, frost, ice storms, hail are all possible and can be devastating to the vines.
  • As we mentioned, Muscadet is scattered across many areas – some of it is gently rolling hills near the river, much is in fertile flats near the estuary. The best areas are on the hills.
  • This area was once a hotbed of volcanic activity. Soils vary here – granite and gabbro (a harder form of granite) make up the subsoils in the better regions, yielding complex wines. Gneiss, sand, silt, and gravel provide much-needed drainage – in this are with so much moisture the vines must stay dry!
  • Lest you think this area is one-note, there are now producers like Domaine l’Écu, Jo Landron and Pépiere that make wines from multiple terroir to show their differences!

The grape, the wine, the appellations:

  • There is only one grape permitted in Muscadet: Melon de Bourgogne
    • In the Pays Nantais, other grapes do grow -- Folle Blanche, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir
  • The styles of the wines have changed over the years. Producers used to pick early but of late, they prefer to pick later to develop more flavor. This presents a tradeoff between fruit and complexity with higher acidities. Still, the ripeness is limited – there is a maximum alcohol for Muscadet of 12% ABV.
  • Muscadet is best described as a wine that is salty, acidic with lemon, lime, chamomile, herb and gunflint aromas and flavors. With techniques like sur lie aging (to promote autolysis), bâtonnage (lies stirring), fermenting in oak barrels, and extended skin contact the wines acquire a soft, bready, creamy texture that is unique to this wine – it’s light yet has subtle dimension when made well.

There are 4 main appellations:

  • Muscadet: Light-to-medium-bodied floral, fruity notes and good acidity. It can be very meh, as it’s often not grown on the best sites.
  • Muscadet Sèvre et Maine: (sub AOC) 75% of output. This is the largest Muscadet appellation and it’s the home of the top wines. The area is where La Petite Maine and La Sèvre Nantaise rivers meet. It has much more dimension, flavor, and aroma than general Muscadet –there is more elevation, better soil types, and the wines are generally aged sur lie for more interest. We mention special terroirs/CRU
    • Muscadet Sevre et Maine Clisson
    • Muscadet Sevre et Maine Gorges
    • Muscadet Sevre et Maine Le Pallet
  • Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire: In the northernmost area, the quality and ripeness of the grapes varies based on vintage. Cooler years don’t bode well for this region!
  • Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu: In the southwest around Grandlieu Lake, this wine is rich, full, and flowery with lower acidity but with good balance.

 

Top Producers: Pierre Luneau-Papin, Domaine de la Pépiere, Jo Landron, Stéphane, Orieux, Domaine du Fief aux Dame, Domaine de l’Ecu

Other areas we mention:

  • Coteaux d’Anciens --reds and rosés Gamay, semi-sweet whites of Pinot Gris
  • Fiefs Vendeens (+regional designation like Brem, Chantonnay, Mareuil, Pissotte, Vix are communes allowed): Chenin for whites, Pinot Noir or Cab Franc for reds
  • Gros Plant du Pays Nantais: Folle Blanche with some Colombard

 

_______________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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

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

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine club, which is the REAL DEAL!  

Jun 09, 2020
Ep 328: The Wines of Lebanon
39:39

With a history that stretches back perhaps 9,000 years to 7,000 B.C., Lebanon contains some of the original winemaking areas. In spite of political turmoil, violence, and opposition to wine (and all alcohol) and winemaking, this country has always found a way to keep production alive. Its unlikely location and small size may seem, at first glance, to be an impossibility for quality wine but the geography and the fortitude of the people here have created a unique and enduring wine culture.

In the show we discuss the long history of Lebanon in wine -- from the Phoenicians, to the Greeks and Romans, monks, and then to the French, who had such a huge influence in their 30 year tie to this region between World War I and World War II.

Below are some notes on the climate, the spellings of the regions, and the producers we mention:

  • Lebanon is only about 150 miles long and 60 wide but it is extremely varied in terms of altitude and topography -- with beaches, hills, and high, snow-capped mountains all contained within. 
    • It is at 33.5˚N latitude, about the same as Margaret River in Australia, and within the traditional grape growing band of 30˚-50˚ latitude (north or south)
    • There are four main geographic regions: the coastal plain, the Mount Lebanon range (altitudes of nearly 10,000 feet), the Bekaa Valley, and the Anti-Lebanon Range
    • Most wine producers are in the western Bekaa but some are experimenting with new terroir in Batroun and  areas in the Eastern Bekaa
  • The key to good wine in Lebanon is altitude: The Bekaa Valley has altitude of around 1,000m/3,820ft. This is a plateau but there is a moderating influence of Mount Lebanon and the area has snowmelt and rain runoff from the mountain to provide ample water for grapes
  • The soils are colluvial (runoff from mountains) so they are divers and contain limestone, clay/loam, stones, gravel and some red terra rossa soil similar to Coonawarra in South Australia

  • Climate is Mediterranean, with long, dry and often very hot summers. The mountains and valley get very cold at night and the diurnal temperature swings are so dramatic that grapes can maintain acidity if grown in the right places 
  • The Wines:

    • Only about 2,000 ha/4,942 acres are cultivated and yields are extremely low

    • The main reds are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault (the grape with the longest heritage), Carignan, Grenache, with Merlot, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir

    • The main whites are: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, Muscat, Clairette, and Riesling along with indigenous grapes Merwah and Obaideh

    • The wines have always been known for excellent fragrance, spice, and a sweet aroma (but not flavor)
    • French influence is everywhere in these wines-- some of the top wine producers from France consult for wineries in Lebanon and help craft the wines of the top producers

 

Top Producers are:


Above: Ixsir

Most of these wines are around USD$20! They are worth a try! 

 

_____________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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

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

And get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine club, which is the REAL DEAL!  Wine Access is fantastic and satisfaction is guaranteed! Give them a try -- you won't regret it!  

Jun 03, 2020
Ep 327: Wine Ingredient Labeling Pushes Forward in the EU -- with Barnaby Eales
33:07

I know this topic may seem wonky, but consider a world where you could look at a wine label and see if there was extra, unwanted sweetness or if the wine was packed with chemicals (actual picture of big hulking winery on the right, below).

                  

                                                    

Barnaby Eales, international wine journalist takes us through the European Union's ultimatum to producers, the machinations they are going through, and the likely outcomes of transparency in wine. From the impact on top conventional producers (it should be great -- they can finally stand up to "natural wine" producers and say their products aren't loaded with chemicals) to the producers that may have to cop to a list of additives a mile long (industrial wine, I'm looking at you!), we go over the ramifications of this initiative, the complications behind it, and the benefits transparency brings to us all. 

Barnaby's article is here: The EU Moves on Wine Ingredient Labeling

Above: Barnaby Eales, Journalist

______________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

May 26, 2020
Ep 326: The Best Spanish Wines You've Never Heard of -- Jumilla and Yecla
38:53

Tucked into a small corner of southeast Spain is one of the greatest sources for delicious, multi-layered, and decadent reds you’ll find. In the province of Murcia, at latitude 39˚N lay two regions of Monastrell (Mourvèdre) production that have quietly churned out wine for more than 3,000 years: Jumilla (joo-ME-yah) and Yecla (YAY-clah).

Today, these regions are magnificent but receive so little press that we can get exquisite bottles that have the fullness, richness and depth for less than US$20.

In the podcast, we take you through the wine history of the region --from the early days with the Phoenicians to the Romans and then the Moors, and then a few strange brushes with the phylloxera root louse that at first propelled the region’s wines, then decimated the land and ultimately saved this area from a fate of nasty bulk production to make it a quiet haven of powerful reds.

 

We discuss the conditions in Murcia, discuss Bullas, a small Denominacíon de Origen and then we move to the big guns of this area: Jumilla and Yecla.

 

Jumilla 

Jumilla is the best area quality in Murcia and also makes the most wine. Vineyards are spread across a wide valleys and plateaus surrounded by mountains. A few geological and climate facts:

  • The high elevation of the vineyards -- between 1,300 -2,600 ft (400 -800 m) make it possible for grapes to cool at night and maintain acidity.
  • The soils here are dark and have a high limestone content. They’re permeable but have good moisture retaining properties, allowing the vines during the harsh summer droughts.
  • This is a very difficult place to grow things – it’s a harsh, dry, continental climate that is tempered a bit by Mediterranean breezes but is brutal in its dry heat.

Jumilla is one of Spain’s oldest DOs – its historical legacy as a high-quality wine producer is well known in its native land. It now makes whites, reds, and rosés, although the reds are the flagship for the region.

  • Red grapes include: Monastrell, Tempranillo (called Cencibel here), Garnacha Tinta, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The French varietals were added to the Monastrell to create more dimension in the finished wine (read: international appeal). This has been critically acclaimed, however some of it muddies the character of the grape.
  • White grapes include: Aíren, Macabeo, Pedro Ximenez, Malvasia, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Mosacatel de Grano Menudo
  • Although not mentioned in the podcast, the Jumilla DO has several areas it draws from: Jumilla, Montealegre, Fuenteálamo, Tobarra, Hellín, Ontur, and Albatana. 40% of the wine is from Jumilla proper.

Monastrell represents 85% of the vines planted and 80% of any blend must be this grape. The character of the wine is superb:  it tastes like dark fruit, earth, and minerals with a brambly, gamy character. With age, these flavors mellow to be more like dark soil, coffee and spice.

 

Although it isn’t prevalent, Jumilla makes rosé from 80% Monastrell too -- in the best versions it’s similar to the rosé of Bandol, in Provence, France with some acidity and tannin and, from a careful producer, the opportunity to potentially have a longer life than 1 year.

 

Modern technology, good farming and a consistent climate mean there isn’t a lot of vintage variation here although the region does have aging classifications similar to Rioja:

  • Vino joven ("young wine") or Sin crianza: little, if any, wood aging.
  • Crianza:
    • Reds: aged for 1 year total -- at least 6 months in oak, 6 months in the bottle.
    • Whites and rosés: at least 1 year with at least 4 months in oak.
  • Reserva:
    • Reds: aged for at least 2 years -- at least 12 months in oak, 12 months in the bottle.
    • Whites and rosés: aged at least 18 months with at least 6 months in oak.
  • Gran Reserva: Made only above average vintages.
    • Reds: 4 years aging, 12 months of which in oak and a minimum of 36 months in the bottle.
    • Whites and rosés: aged for at least 4 years with at least 6 months in oak

 

Wine Map of Spain

Yecla

Towards the end of the show, we discuss the smallest and northernmost wine zone in Murcia, Yecla. This area is landlocked by other DOs: Jumilla DO to the southwest, Almansa DO to the north, and Alicante DO to the east. It’s 50 miles (80km) inland and represents a transition from more coastal Mediterranean influences to hotter, arid continental conditions.

 

Yecla is similar to Jumilla in that its altitude allows the grapes to maintain acidity at night, creating balance in the wines.

  • White grapes: Airen, Macabeo, Merseguera, Malvasia, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay. These wines are usually blended. A small amount of sparkling wine is also made here.
  • Red grapes: similar to those of Jumilla, but the blends must have a least 85% Monastrell. The area has transitioned from making a light, very fruity red to making more serious reds with spice mineral and red fruit notes, after seeing the success Jumilla has enjoyed.

If you haven’t tried these wines yet, get on it. They will become your new go-to and a total revelation for your palate (and wallet!).

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

May 19, 2020
Ep 325: The Greats -- Alsace Riesling
52:16

Alsace Riesling is, without a doubt, one of the greatest white wines of the world. With its rich body, effusive flavor that ranges from flowers to fruit to nuts and spice, and acidity to keep it in balance, this liquid gold has been famed for centuries. It was the wine that got me into wine, my "aha" wine but even without that, I would still love the wine. 

 

Alsace has a rich history (it's been the ball in a ping pong match between Germany and France for centuries), and a complex geology and climate.

Alsace is a land of paradoxes. It labels wines by grape and bottles in tall German-style but its wines are distinctively French in their elegant, silky, voluptuous style. It is one of the most northerly growing regions in the world at (47˚ - 49˚  north latitude) and yet the summers are hot, dry, and sunny due to its location in the rainshadow of the Vosges Mountains. It is a small area, yet it contains 13 soil types, and more microclimates than can be counted. 

 

There is wonderful wine to be had from Riesling -- from the basic wines of the plains to crémant (sparkling) to unctuous sweet wines (Vendanges Tardives and Selection de Grains Nobles) but the Greats of Alsace are the top wines of the Grands Crus.

These 51 sites are not all exceptional, but those that are make wines of unparalleled aroma, flavor, and texture that still have the pointed acidity you'd expect from Alsace. When you get a great Alsace Grand Cru Riesling, it is a memorable experience that you never forget. Here are a few details that may have been hard to catch from the show:

 

Geology and Climate deets:

  • We discuss the graben (not the mythical creature we posit it could be and for which we provide side effects): a trough formed by two parallel faults that rubbed and broke many geological eras ago.
  • We mention the various soil types -- volcanic, gneiss, granite, schist, limestone, marl, sand, loess, loam alone and together

 

We discuss the classifications of Alsace:

  • Alsace AOC 
  • Alsace Communes:
    • Bergheim
    • Blienschwiller
    • Coteaux du Haut Koenigsbourg
    • Cotes de Rouffach
    • Cotes de Barr
    • Klevner de Heiligenstein
    • Ottrott
    • Rodern
    • Scherwiller
    • Hippolyte
    • Vallee Noble
    • Val St. -Gregoire
    • Wolxheim
  • Alsace Lieu-Dit: A plot or vineyard with special character – have to meet strict requirements

Alsace Grand Cru examples discussed:  

  • Schlossberg – 1st Grand cru, 1975
  • Hengst
  • Brand
  • Rangen  (challenging vineyard, ages well)
  • Schoenenbourg  (where Voltaire one owned vines)

 

Producers mentioned:

  • Reliably DRY producers: Trimbach (Clos Sainte Hune Cuvée Frédéric Émile), Ostertag and Kreydenweiss
  • Others: Zind-Humbrecht, Josmeyer, Hugel, Domaine Weinbach, Beyer

__________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

May 14, 2020
Ep 324: Chile's Cool Climate Wines of Casablanca, San Antonio Valleys
33:05

Cool climate wines are in high demand, as many of us seek wines that are on the lighter side but still have fruit and ripeness. We usually turn to places of high latitude for that, but on this show we tell you about an unlikely region for some of the best and yet most affordable cool climate wine around: the Casablanca Valley, San Antonio, and Leyda Valley -- all in a small area at 33˚south latitude!

 

Here are the show notes:

Both located in the far western coastal areas of the Aconcagua wine region, Casablanca and San Antonio are in mountainous coastal country that experiences cool to cold breezes due to the Humboldt current coming up from Antarctica. There are a handful of producers that make wines from these areas, but thankfully most of them are widely distributed so we have a chance to try these acidic yet fruity wines with little hunting around. 

Valle de Casablanca

  • Casablanca and Valparaíso are famed (at least in their homeland) and were voted, as a unit, as one of the 10 Great Wine Capitals of the world. The food, wine, and the ease of visiting vineyards make it an ideal destination. 
  • Until the 1980s, livestock grazed and grain grew where vineyards would soon pop up. It was then that Pablo Morandé, who was working for the giant winery Concha y Toro, realized that the Casablanca Valley had tremendous potential to make cool climate wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. 
  • Within a few decades the area was thriving. Producers set up shop, including:  Montsecano, Kingston Vineyards, Casas del Bosque, Veramonte, Loma Larga, Quintay, Cono Sur – and Pablo Morandé's Bodegas Re 

 The Geography/Climate

  • Casablanca is in the eastern part of Valparaíso province just 30km/20 miles from the Pacific Ocean at its furthest point.
  • At 33˚S, the Humboldt Current from the Antarctic is the only reason viticulture can work so well here. The area has cool early morning fog, which both depresses temperature and keeps the air most -- important in this water-deprived area. Cool afternoon breezes and regular cloud cover slow the ripening period of the grapes. It is so cold here that spring frosts can be an issue! 
  • Similar to Santa Barbara, in California Casablanca is a transverse valley – it runs east to west, funneling in cool ocean air and creating wines that are flavorful yet highly acidic.
  • Look for excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling

Chile Wine Map Wine For Normal People Book

 

San Antonio Valley and it's Zone, Leyda Valley

  • In province of San Antonio, only 55 miles (90km) west of central Santiago and south of Casablanca is San Antonio, which was planted a decade later than Casablanca, in the late 1990s. It is similar to its neighbor to the north, in that it is also heavily influenced by the effects of the ocean but here the mountains turn north to south again, and the area must rely on a closer proximity to the ocean and wind gaps in the coastal range to provide cool air. 
  • This is an up-and-coming area with a limited number of producers, many of them small. 
  • Sauvignon Blanc is the flagship wine but there is some great Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and sparkling wine as well. 

 The Leyda Valley is sub-region or zone of San Antonio

  • The valley is 9 miles from the coast and in some areas the vineyards are on the west (sea-facing) side of the coastal mountain range, so it’s quite a bit cooler than Casablanca, which is on the other side of the hills. 
  • The sharp diurnals, poor soils, and long growing season make Leyda's wine display fresh fruit flavors, ripe tannins, with high acidity.
  • Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Merlot shine here.
  • Unfortunately Leyda's growth is limited because it is so dry here. When winemaking began here, a 5 mile pipeline from the Maipo River in the south was built to irrigate vineyards. Those areas without water rights can't grow grapes, even if the exposures and soils are good. Until that gets resolved, Leyda will be limited to a few players. Viña Leyda and Garcés Silva are two wineries here – but Montes Alpha, Undurraga  and others source grapes to make wine from here.

 

These wines are all worthy of your time and attention! Go and get some! 

___________________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Skylight Frame

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I love mine! You will love yours too! 

To get $10 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame just
go https://www.skylightframe.com/normal and enter code NORMAL! 

May 04, 2020
Ep 323: Dao Region of Portugal -- The Burgundy of the Iberian Peninsula
38:59

Located in north-central Portugal, just a three-hour drive from Lisbon, Dão is a small quiet region with outstanding, elegant, and distinctive wines. Named for the Dão river which carves a path through the rugged, old granite hills here, the region is the original home of Portugal’s top red grape, Touriga Nacional.

Map from the Wine For Normal People Book

Made up of tens of thousands of growers and small plots, just 5% of the land area of this region is planted to vines, 80% of which are red grapes. The hot, dry climate of this distinctive region is made possible by its unique position on a plateau sheltered on 3 sides by granite mountain ranges – the Serra da Estrela, the Serra do Caramulo, and the Serra da Nave.

 

Mountains protect the area from the capricious Atlantic and continental storms, and the provide altitude which means the grapes can cool down at night, hoarding precious acidity.  The granite subsoil also helps boost the acidity of the wines, making them fresh and bright, rather than dark and brooding as is often the case in the Douro wines.

There are seven subregions can be on the bottle: Alva, Besteiros, Castendo, Serra da Estrela, Silgueiros, Terras de Azurara, and  Terras de Senhorim, but you will rarely see them (at the time of this show in 2020, at least).

What can you expect from the wines?

Reds produce medium bodied wines with spicey, peppery, and red fruit notes. They can be earthy or even barnyard like with an excellent balance of alcohol and acidity. This is the new style of Dão, for which it has become known, and along with its myriad plots, this lightness and elegance is why some refer to the region as the Burgundy of Portugal. Older styles were harsh, tannic, and lacked both fruit and acidity – rustic to say the least. The grapes used here are:

  • Touriga Nacional as the leading red --At least 20% of every blend must be Touriga
  • Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo of Spain)
  • Jaen (Mencía of Spain)
  • Alfrocheiro Preto – a native to this area with dark color, dark fruit character and a good balance of alcohol and acid
  • Rufete – a lesser used, fruity red
  • And sometimes Baga, Bastardo (usually for lesser wines)

Touriga Nacional

Styles: Whites used to be oxidized and like a day old apple but with better winemaking they are now refreshing  with citrus, mineral, and nut notes with great acidity. The best are exclusively made of Encruzado, with its floral notes and oily textures it is a white to seek out. Malvasia Fina, Bical, and Arinto are also used in whites.

Rosé and Sparkling  wines can also be found in the Dão.

Great producers to see out are:

  • Quinta dos Carvalhais – Sogrape -- (The Oaks Estate)
  • Quinta da Pellada/Quinta de Saes
  • Casa de Santar
  • Quinta do Vale das Escadinhas
  • Quinta de Lemos

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

StoryWorth is a fun and meaningful way to engage with family, especially with relatives you might not get to see often. This online service helps your loved-ones share stories through thought-provoking questions about their memories and personal thoughts. It’s the gift of spending time together, wherever you live.

 

Give the mom in your life the most meaningful gift this year with StoryWorth. Get started right away without the need for shipping by going to www.StoryWorth.com/normal. You’ll get $10 off your first purchase! 

Apr 28, 2020
Ep 322: The Hudson River Region of NY with Fjord Vineyards
46:21

Spanning a large portion of New York, just about an hour north of Manhattan, lies one of the oldest winemaking regions in the US: The Hudson River Region AVA.

This week Casey Erdmann and Matt Spacarelli of Fjord Vineyards join to talk about the Hudson River Region and the innovative things they are doing there. 

To start the show, MC Ice and I give a quick overview of the area:

  • We go WAY back to the glaciers and talk about how this area came to have so many different soil types, a varied terrain, and the mighty Hudson River.
  • We discuss the continental climate, and the challenges that come with heat and humidity (hint: grape vine diseases) 
  • We talk about how large the region is. It encompasses all or part of big counties:  Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.
    • It is 224,000 acres, but just 450 acres are planted to wine grapes
  • We discuss common grapes here:
    • Vitis labrusca (native): Concord, Delaware, Niagara
    • French-American Hybrids: Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc,  Baco Noir (among others)
    • Vitis vinifera that is cold tolerant: Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc 

Then I discuss the region with Casey and Matt. Matt grew up in the region and his family owns the historic Benmarl Winery where he is the head winemaker and GM. He gives us great insight and detail around the region -- its history, its challenges, and its opportunities. 

We have a lively discussion around French-American hybrids (we may or may not discuss how they taste like burnt hair), and what their role is for wine regions.

Finally we discuss Fjord Vineyards which was founded in 2013 so the couple to make wines of Vitis vinifera from local parcels that express the terroir of the region. They make balanced, sustainable wines of Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, and Cabernet Franc that reflect where they are grown and are delicious! 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

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3. Send photos to your unique Skylight email, and they arrive in seconds. Your loved one just sits back & enjoys!

I love mine! You will love yours too! 

To get $10 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame just
go https://www.skylightframe.com/normal and enter code NORMAL! 

Apr 21, 2020
Ep 321: The Greats -- Côte Rôtie, Rhône Valley
50:58

One of the greatest wines of the world is the Syrah-based Côte Rôtie, from the northernmost appellation in the northern Rhône. Named "roasted slope" after the sun that bathes the south-facing slopes, the region is less than 25 miles south of Lyon near the town of Ampuis, and is at the cool-climate limit for growing Syrah.

On the right bank of the Rhône, across 3 communes of Saint-Cyr sur Rhône, Ampuis, and Tupin-Semons, the vineyards are on extremes slopes at 180m/590 ft and 325m/1070 ft above sea level.
 

This week we explain what makes these wines, from this tiny, historic area, so very fascinating and why they truly are one of the greatest wines in the world. 

 

I think the best thing to do in the show notes this time is to list the things that are hard to catch on the show. Rather than a lengthy recap, this time I'll list the regions and producers mentioned!

 

Sub areas

 Ampuis: The area that lies above Ampuis town contains the best sites. The Reynard River serves as the geological dividing lie between the schist soils of the northern part of the appellation, and the granite soils in the south. 

Schist: 

  • Cote Brune – Schist soils make  powerful, tannic, darker
  • Chavaroche – Borders Cote Brune. Bernard Levet produces a single vineyard Cote Rotie from here
  • La Landonne – Famed for Guigal’s La Landonne but Gerinn, Rene Rostaing, Delas and Xavier Gerard also make wine from here
  • Cote Rozier- some of the steepest sites in Cote Rotie. Great wines include Ogier’s Belle Helene, and wines from Jamet, Guigal, Bonnefond and Gangloff
 
Granite:
  • Cote blonde – Vastly different soils and more Viognier. The soil is granite and the wines are more aromatic and lighter. The famed La Mouline vineyard is here

The village of Tupin  has no single vineyards but makes some great wine

The Village of Verenay is the next village upstream from Ampuis, and producers full, rich, long-lived wines. The vineyards of interest are Grandes Places, and Vialliere (10 hectares makes it quite variable in quality)

 St Cyr is in the far north of the AOC, past Verenay. It was added in the 1960s and is on schist but not as good as the wines near Ampuis. 
 

Top Producers

TRADITIONAL:  Domaine Gilles Barge –most traditional practices,Domaine Bernard Levet  
 
MODERN: Guigal, Gerin, Bonnefond
 

Middle ground:

  • Domaine Jamet: one of the brothers went off to set up his own domaine, Jean-Luc Jamet, both are very good
  • Rene  Rostaing: Rene's son Pierre took over a few years ago – wines are amazing. Single vineyards from Cote Blonde and La Landonee, Ampodium blend for early drinking.
  • Clusel-Roch  from Verenay, single vineyard from Grandes Places
  • Stephane Ogier
  • Vidal-Fleury (the merchant house for which Marcel Guigal's father once worked as cellarmaster but which now belongs to Guigal). 
  • Chapoutier

 

Top Vintages: 1997, 1998,  2001, 2003, 2007, 2009-10, 2012, 2015-19
 

_______________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Skylight Frame

If you want the perfect Mother's Day gift, you have to get a Skylight Frame! It's a digital frame that finally works and will keep you connected with your friends and family, with ease. There are three easy steps:

1. Connect Skylight to a power source and it powers up.
2. Tap our touch screen to connect to Wi-Fi in <60 seconds.
3. Send photos to your unique Skylight email, and they arrive in seconds. Your loved one just sits back & enjoys!

I love mine! You will love yours too! 

To get $10 off your purchase of a Skylight Frame just
go https://www.skylightframe.com/normal and enter code NORMAL! 

Apr 14, 2020
Ep 320: The Grape Miniseries -- Carignan (Mazuelo)
41:37

Carignan or Mazuelo, as it's known in its native Spain, is a complicated grape that gets a terrible rap. But the truth is, in the right hands and growing in the right conditions, this grape can fashion powerful wines that are pure hedonistic pleasure! 

   

Carignan has a long history. The grape is likely from Aragon in northeast Spain, but it spread around the Iberian Peninsula. It’s current Spanish name, Mazuelo comes from Mazuelo de Muñó, a town in Castilla y Leon in northwest Spain. Carignan may have originated in its namesake town of Cariñena, which is a Denomiacíon de Origen (DO) that grows mainly Garnacha Tinta. From these parts of Spain, Mazuelo spread to Catalunya in northeast Spain and then during the reign of the Crown of Aragon to the area it ruled. The grape:

  • Was introduced to Sardinia, the Italian island, sometime between 1323-1720
  • Moved to Algeria where it became a high yielding grape that was exported to France to bolster French blends in the color, acidity, and tannin department

 

The grape became commonplace in France after three incidents: phylloxera in the late 1800s, a frost destroyed the other “workhorse” grape,  Aramon in 1956 and 1963, and the independence of Algeria of 1962 brought French-Algerian winemakers into the Languedoc-Roussillon region who brought their trusty workhorse grape.

Pied Noir from Algeria

The over vigorous nature of the grape made it produce rustic, flavorless wines with rough tannin and high acid. It contributed majorly to the wine lake of the EU (low quality wine that was subsidized by the EU and then needed to be dealt with because there was no demand for it). Nearly half the Carignan in the Languedoc was grubbed up in the 1990s and today no one is planting it, as the only value in it is in grapes that are more than 50 years old.

 

When the vines are old, the soil is poor, and the climate is hot, Carignan makes wines that are full of dark cherry fruit, blueberries, violet and other floral notes. It’s full-bodied with (sometimes dusty-feeling) tannins and great acidity, and moderate alcohol. Winemakers have to be careful to ensure the fermentation gets enough oxygen or the wines can take on a burnt match/reductive note.

 

Where does the grape grow??

 Old World: 

France: 80% of the Carignan plantings are in the Languedoc-Roussillon – and make ordinary Vins de Pays (countryside) wine. Some appellations: Minervois, Corbières, Faugères, Fitou, Languedoc, and St-Chinian each have a certain amount of Carignan specified in their AOCs and use carbonic maceration to soften the tannin and produce fruitier notes in their Carignan. The best wines come from old vines, as is the case in all areas.

Really the two best places for Carignano/Mazuelo are Italy and Spain...

Italy: The grape here is called Carignano and 97% is planted on the island of Sardegna, where it has been called Bovale Grande or Bovale di Spagna. Because of the name difference,  it was only recently discovered that this grape is Carignan. The grape grows well in the hot, dry south-western corner of Sardinia. The best co-op is Santadi, which makes soft, supple, fruity, and rich wine from the Carignano del Sulcis DOC.  Rocco Rubine and Terre Brune are great wines from the co-op.

Spain: Mazuelo is found as a dwindling part of the Rioja blend
(although Marquis de Murrieta makes a varietal Mazuelo). The place the grape shines is Catalunya, especially Priorat. Here the vineyard recipe for this grape is perfect: 100+ year old vines, schist slopes (llicorella), poor soils, and a hot, dry climate. The wines it yields are silky, rich, powerful and luscious, especially when blended with Garnacha.

 

In the old world you can also find the grape in Croatia, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia and Israel.

 

New World

In the New World, the grape is found in Uruguay, Australia (South Australia),  Argentina, Mexico, and South Africa.

In the US, in California, the grape is spelled Carignane and has historically been used as  a major component in jug and box wines, and was a popular grape home winemaking in the 1970s and 1980s. Like all Carignan, the best in California is found where there is old bush vines – places like Mendocino, Sonoma, Contra Costa County and other areas.

Chile has great promise for the wine as well – especially with the ancient, dry farmed Carignan in Maule Valley.

 

There seems to be hope for Carignan as younger producers have taken an interest in giving it the attention it needs to make good wine. The grape has great potential!

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Apr 06, 2020
Ep 319: How to Get Great Rhône Wine with Serge Doré, French Wine Importer
01:05:32

Serge Doré is a fan favorite and he returns to tell us about the place in France where he feels most at home: the Rhône. He's been in wine for decades, since he got his start in his native Quebec, and has been a wine importer and wholesaler out of Chappaqua, New York for almost as long as he's been in wine. To order any of the wines he mentions or those you find on Serge Dore Selections , go to Grapes The Wine Company

We've learned about life as an importer and about the business of wine in Bordeaux from Serge, and this time he tells us about the Rhône. If you are unfamiliar with the area, I'd check out the Rhône overview show first. This show goes into detail on regions and Serge regals us with stories of meetings with famous producers, and the spectacular wines they make. 

 

The show notes this week are primarily a list of the many producers Serge mentions in the show.

 

Big Northern Rhône Names:

  • E. Guigal (king of Côte Rôtie), 
  • Domaine Jean Michel Gerin (Côte Rôtie)
  • M. Chapoutier (king of Hermitage)
  • Domaine Jean-Louis Chave (Hermitage, mainly)
  • Cornas: Domaine August Clape, Domaine Alain Voge (the Cornas appellation is much improved, more elegant)
  • St. Joseph: J.L. Chave, Domaine Chez, Delas, Anthony Paret (also makes excellent Condrieu, a white-only appellation of Viognier)
  • Crozes-Hermitage: Laurent Fayolle, Cave de Tain

It's from the southern Rhône but here we also mention a Roussanne wine in this converasation of whites: Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 

 

One great nugget Serge shares on Condrieu: It's good the year it is released, not after. Also, don't forget Hermitage Blanc -- it's stunning.

 Southern Rhône

 We discuss fewer producers and more about the differences in Cru:

  • Vinsobres: Higher in altitude, cooler climate, more elegant wine
  • Cairanne: Bigger wine, bolder than Vinsobres
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueryas: Are all bolder styles
  • Others mentioned: Lirac, Rasteau, Beaumes de Venise

Serge tells us the trick to getting good Cotes du Rhone: which is buy a brand, not something you’ve never seen unless you know the importer or producer! If you want the Estate Côte du Rhône he imports:  Domaine de Dionysos.

Serge tells us the most important thing about the Rhône and maybbe about wine in general these days:

 “It depends on who makes the wine and the attention they pay to the wines” 

   

And according to Serge this is getting easier as the younger generation is looking to focus on quality not quantity! Go togo to Grapes The Wine Company to order any of the wines Serge discusses! 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

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Mar 30, 2020
Ep 318: High Altitude Wines
38:29

High altitude wines are often discussed in the wine world, but what REALLY defines high altitude? There are a lot of features that would make a region qualify but the keys to determining “high elevation” are latitude and altitude and their cross section. At lower latitudes, elevations are way higher than at higher latitudes. Places at elevation share characteristics like cool nighttime temperatures, dryness (no mold or disease), later harvest dates, a good amount of wind, and higher levels of UV radiation.  

 

Among other things, we discuss this study (BMC Plant Biol. 2014; 14: 183. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4099137/) which discusses the genetic adaptation and metabolic changes that happen in high altitude grapes.

 

The upshot: thicker skins that protect against the heat of the day and the cool of the night produce wines with greater body, flavor and aromatics. Wines can be lower or higher in alcohol depending on the latitude, but the similarity of these grapes is that they taste like fresh, newly picked fruit becuase of the fresh acidity retained because of cooler temperatures at night, wind, and the long growing season.

 

We mention some examples of these vineyard areas. In Europe, we mention:

  • Val d’Aosta in Italy, below Mont Blanc in Alps
  • Dolomites in Alto Adige
  • Tenerife in the Canary Islands
  • Etna in Sicily
  • Armenia
  • I also refer to Switzerland and Jura and Savoie in France (although these French regions are not quite as high as the other regions we discuss)

In the New World

  • In the US, specifically Fox Fire Farms in Ignacio, Colorado (6,500 ft!)
  • Some of the world’s highest vineyards in South America:
    • Colomé Altura Máxima, in the province of Salta, Argentina at 3,011m/9,878 ft
    • In the JuJuy province of Argentina is the Quebrada de Humahuaca GI at 3,329m/ 10,922 feet above sea level, Claudio Zucchino makes his famed Uraqui blend
    • We mention Mendoza, Argentina
  • In South Africa, Mount Sutherland is at 1,500 m/4,921 ft

After some discussion, we conclude that “higher” does not automatically mean “better” and that although altitude is short hand for a fresh wine, unless it’s on a slope and at elevation, you can’t always rely on that heuristic!

 

Don't forget to sign up for online classes: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). 

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Mar 24, 2020
Ep 317: Valpolicella and Amarone from Veneto, Italy with Filippo Bartolotta
58:14

Filippo Bartolotta joins us again to explain the wonders and changing nature of the Valpolicella region in northeast Italy. Filippo tells us about the geological underpinnings of the region, how the winemaking styles developed here, and what's gone on in modern history. 

We cover things you many of you have asked about in the past, like...

  • Where and what Valpolicella is

  • The difference between Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classica, Valpolicella Ripasso, and Amarone della Valpolicella
  • We discuss Amarone and why it's hard to make, expensive, and HUGE as a wine (hint-dried grapes = intense wines!)
  • We talk about the appassimento technique and how it used to be used to help unripe grapes taste a little better

  • Filippo gives us a summary of the 13 valleys of the "Valley of many cellars" , as Valpolicella translates from Latin. He mentions some of the more awesome one like Fumane, Marano and Negrar(which I think we'll see on labels in the future)

  • We talk about the blend here and how a grape that we didn't even know existed a few decades ago is now a main part of the quality blends (Corvinone). 
  • Filippo goes over the flavor profiles of (from lightest to heaviest here...) and food that goes with it:
    • Valpolicella (lighter pastas)
    • Valpolicella Superiore (pastas with meat)
    • Valpolicella Classica (depends on the producer's styles)
    • Valpolicella Ripasso (bolder, heavier grilled meat and vegetables)
    • Amarone della Valpolicella (long, slow-cooked meats with a lot of flavor, game, hard cheeses and grilled vegetables)

And finally, the producer list:

  • Cult producers: Quintarelli, Dal Forno Romano
  • Others: Roccolo Grassi, Latium Morini, Secondo Marco (especially for Classica), Villa San Carlo, Bocaini Carlo (old school Ripasso), Novaia, Ca dei Maghi, Cà la Bionda, Bertani, Pasqua, Tenute Falezza, and Corte Sant'Alba (for biodynamic wines)

 

Don't forget to check out Filippo's website for cooking classes and luxury custom tours of Italy! 

 

Don't forget to sign up for online classes: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Mar 18, 2020
Ep 316: Women of Bordeaux with Caroline Perromat of Ch Cerons and Sylvie Courselle of Ch Thieuley
49:47

From Eleanor of Acquitane who married Henry Plantagenet of England in 1152, uniting Britain with Bordeaux and kicking off a lifelong relationship between the two nations, to Caroline de Villeneuve, owner of Château Cantemerle who fought tooth and nail to be included in the 1855 Classification, to Madame Labat whose vision and marketing genius gave us Petrus to Baroness Philippine de Rothschild of  Château Mouton-Rothschild and Corinne Mentzelopoulos of Château Margaux women have played a role in Bordeaux for centuries. And in this show we have two women of the current generation. They are here to celebrate women in wine.

 

On this show I talk with Sylvie Coursell of Château Thieuley, whose estate is in the Entre deux Mers and has been in her family since it was acquired in 1950 and who runs the estate with her sister, making lovely red, white, and sparkling wine. And also Caroline Perromat of the historic Graves estate of Château de Cerons. The property has been around since the 18th century, has groundings in the aristocracy of Bordeaux, and is well known for beautiful reds, whites, and especially botrytis affected sweet wines, which rival those of Barsac and Sauternes.

Caroline tells us about the transformation of Bordeaux culture in three generations. Château de Cerons has kept its aristocratic beginnings  but with Caroline and her husband Xavier at the helm, changes have been made. What are three ways this historic property has changed?

  1. Caroline and Xavier have hired people of diverse backgrounds -- women and men from the arts and other industries apart from wine to give the Château a wider, global perspective. 

  2. They work sustainably in their vineyards, so they can maintain the beautiful freshness (acidity, medium body/lower alcohol, mineral character) in the reds, whites and sweet wines. 

  3. They are working to marry tradition with new practices and a new sense of openness to tourists and to wine lovers around the globe to make Bordeaux a more welcoming, warm place where people can have fun. 

Cool fact Caroline shares: The famous more tangerine flavored Cerons sweet wines from Château de Cerons is actually grown side by side with the grapes for the fresh whites. The difference between the grapes: picking times only!

 

Sylvie Courselle of Château Thieuley runs the estate with her sister in Entre-Deux-Mers, the home of excellent, fresh white wines and bright, fruity reds. What are Sylvie's 3 points:

1. There used to be far more white than red in Bordeaux, now there is a mere 9% of whites here. 

2. The new grapes that have been introduced for climate reasons (Marselan, Touriga Nacional, Castets, and Arinarnoa for reds and Alvarinho, Petit Manseng and Liliorila for whites) will give winemakers flexibility that they crave -- she and her sister feel inhibited by the AOC system, so much that they planted Chardonnay and Syrah so they could make wine from them (they are label Vin de France, the general appellation for French wine).  Experimetation in anticipation of climate change has been happening for years, so these grapes are the best options based on research.

3. Sylvie believes that in the next generation, the conversation around women and wine will be a non-issue. She feels the playing field has equalized and that we won't be talking about this in 10 years (I gotta disagree with her, but I love the optimism!).

 

Cool fact from Sylvie: Château Thieuley is named for its soil types of clay "tiles" that surround the estate. Sylvie tells us that many of the Bordeaux chateaux are named in a similar fashion, if they aren't named for the people who founded them.

A great show to salute two fantastic women in wine, this women's history month! 

 

_____________________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

 

Mar 09, 2020
Ep 315: The Grape Miniseries -- Mourvedre/Monastrell
38:37

The grape miniseries continues! This time we cover the grape known as Monstrell in Spain, Mourvèdre in France, and Mataro in other parts of the world. Difficult to grow and make, when treated well the wines from this grape are unlike any other -- herbal, gamy, powerful.

The key things to know about Monastrell/Mourvèdre:

  • The grape originated in Spain, and then moved to the Roussillon, Rhône, and Provence in France. It needs a lot of heat to grow, so it can only thrive in hot locations with lots of sun but ample water.
  • Flavors: They vary greatly depending on where the wine is made, but generally it has deep color, full body, is tannic and high in alcohol.
    • Spain: can be more like red fruit -- cherries and raspberries with spice and herbs.
    • France, especially Bandol: the wines have more dark fruit (if any fruit character at all) with spice, olives, herbs (garrigue as they call it in southern France), and a gamy, barnyard or wild animal smell to the wine. With time (3-5 years) that flavor mellows to something more akin to leather or tobacco and the tannins calm. In the new works styles are less tannic and less gamy.
  • In blends: Mourvèdre adds fullness, flavor and structure that complements the more lifted Grenache and the elegant Syrah.
  • In rosé: The grape helps these wines have longevity, lending tannin and great flavor to the wine
  • Food Pairings: Meats or root/hearty vegetables that are braised, grilled, or in a stew. Hard cheeses work too.

 

Where can you find it?

France:

  • Provence: Especially Bandol, where the finest Mourvèdre is made. Producers we mentioned are Domaine Tempier (reds and rosé), Château de Pibarnon
  • Languedoc-Roussillon: one to watch for more varietal Mourvèdre in the future
  • Rhône:  in blends and especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We mention Beaucastel as having a high percentage of Mourvèdre

 

Spain (called Monastrell)

California

Other US:  Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, TX, Virginia, Chile, South Africa

 

Australia

  • Used as a component in GSMs  -- Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre blends
  • South Australia: Riverland (bulk wine), Barossa, McLaren Vale
  • New South Wales: Riverina (bulk wine area)
  • Producers making single varietal Mourvèdre:

 

A link to where I'll be for upcoming Wine For Normal People book signings: www.winefornormalpeople.com 

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Mar 02, 2020
Bonus Sponsored Ep: Vanessa Conlin, MW, Head of Wine for Wine Access
40:42

This bonus episode is sponsored by Wine Access.

Founded by wine lovers and searchers in 2007, each day, they write stories about wines they discover, taste, and evaluate in the cellars where they were made. They negotiate prices on their membership's behalf, then arrange to have bottles shipped directly from the source — right to your door.

 

They stake their reputation on every bottle they select, and it shows! Wine Access offers some wines on their site and their email offers are amazing, so sign up today. 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more!

 

This episode is with Vanessa Conlin, Master of Wine, and the Head of Wine for Wine AccessShe has had a wonderful and unexpected career: While pursuing a career in opera, she discovered a love of food and wine and pursued wine education while continuing her music studies.

 

Eventually, she chose wine over music working in wine in New York. She has been the head of sales and marketing for several prestigious Napa wineries including Arietta Wines, Dana Estates, and Realm Cellars.

 

Vanessa holds the WSET Diploma, and was the recipient of the Niki Singer Memorial Scholarship from the International Wine Center. She is a newly minted Master of Wine!! 

 

Some of the topics we cover: 

  • The career transition Vanessa made from a completely different field into wine 
  • The connection between wine and music
  • Vanessa's path to becoming a Master of Wine and the difference between the MS and MW programs
  • The things that make Wine Access so special --
    • Meticulous selection and excellent, original notes done by Vanessa and her team
    • The guarantee of provenance (where the wine came from -- always directly from the winery)
    • A Napa-based service team that can help with shipping and selecting wine, and if any bottle is not to your liking, they'll refund your order.

 

We wrap up by discussing the changes in the industry and how important direct to consumer channels like Wine Access are!

Check out Vanessa's favorite picks on www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more!

Feb 28, 2020
Ep 314: Ribera del Duero, Spain -- a Study in Power and Elegance
54:36

Ribera del Duero makes some of the most outstanding Tempranillo in the world. Located in the northwest of the Spain, about two hours north of Madrid, Ribera del Duero has been making wine for 2,600 years but its modern story is one of a dynamic, changing region that is improving every year. This is an exciting region and an example of Spain's willingness to change, improve and go the distance to produce excellent quality wine.

Here are the show notes:

  • Ribera del Duero is on an elevated northern plateau of the Iberian Peninsula. Altitude of more than 2,000 feet, varied soils that include limestone cliffs, and the Duero river are defining features of the region.
  • The region follows the course of the Duero river for approximately 115 km/70mi upstream from the southern plains of Burgos, west to Valladolid and includes parts Segovia and Soria to the south and east. The west has the most aromatic wines, the central has fruitier wines, and the east has big, bold wines.
  • The climate of the region has influences of Mediterranean, Atlantic, and continental climates, but is generally pretty extreme (‘three months of winter and nine months of hell’) with hot summers and huge diurnals that result in slow ripening and a long growing season

  • The wines are usually 100% Tempranillo but are allowed to include up to 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Malbec with no more than 5% of Garnacha or the white that is native to this area, Albillo Mayor.
  • These wines are powerful with a full body, black fruit notes and flavors from oak like smoke, vanilla, and tobacco. The best ones are balanced with acidity and tannin.
  • Along with Rioja, Ribera del Duero is the only Spanish wine region that utilizes crianza, reserva and gran reserva for the aging and labeling of its wines.

Top Producers: Aalto, Alión (owned by Vega Sicilia), Alonso del Yerro, Emilio Moro, Pago de Carraovejas, Pesquera, Dominio de Pingus, Vega Sicilia , O Fournier, Hacienda del Monasterio

Links:

 

And don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 25, 2020
Ep 313: The Cote Chalonnaise, Burgundy's Hidden Gem
54:30

The famed parts of Burgundy make wine that most of us can only read about in books and articles. But Côte Chalonnaise, just south of those famed parts, is a treasure trove of great whites and reds. Although it has been praised throughout history, in recent times it has been overlooked by Burgundy lovers, despite the fact that in many years it makes wine that isn't so different from its neighbors to the north.

As a quick overview, the region takes its name from the commune of Chalon-sur-Saône, near the Saône River. It is sandwiched between the Côte de Beane and north of the hills of the Maconnais, and here Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and the white Aligoté grape grow on soils strikingly similar to Côte de Beaune, which is a mere 3 miles away.

 

The Côte Chalonnaise is between the Dheune and Grosne Valleys. With a continental climate, it rolls over gentle hills with many areas that possess the very same limestone prized (and 3-5 times more for) in the Côte de Beaune.

 

With max’ed out demand for the wines of the Côte d’Or (where the best Pinot is from) and the wines of the Côte de Beaune (the most famed Chardonnay wines, also with excellent Pinot), prices for wines from these areas of Burgundy are simply outrageous. Although the wines of the Côte Chalonnaise are not always as elegant as those from the regions to its north, they are still outstanding wines and better yet, they are wines that we can afford that allow us to taste the land of Burgundy without paying 6 months mortgage for a single bottle.

 

In the rest of the show, we discuss specific appellations. Here are the notes:

Regional: Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise

  • The red of Pinot Noir is dark colored, berry and cherry scented and flavored wines often with a mushroom or earth note. The wine has good tannin, acidity and is lovely to drink.
  • The whites of Chardonnay are light colored, with apple, floral, lemon and honey with good acidity. They are often fermented or aged in oak barrels.
  • The rosé is made of Gamay or Pinot Noir and can be herbal, spicy, full of red berry notes and have great acidity.

Cremant de Bourgogne: Although not exclusively made in Chalonnaise, this is the area in which the sparkling wine was first made.  

 

Village:

Bouzeron: The only appellation to make wine from the Aligoté grape, which is acidic, aromatic, and silky when made well.

  • Top producers: A & P de Villaine, André Delorme, Chanzy Frères

 

Rully: The whites of Chardonnay are the best in Côte Chalonnaise and are very often better than comparable wines from the Côte de Beaune for a way better price. Rully is adjacent to Bouzeron and makes excellent Pinot Noir too. The whites of Chardonnay are usually fermented or matured in oak.  The best Crémant is made here as well

  • Top Premiers crus: La Pucelle, Grésigny, Meix Cadot, Montpalais and Champs Cloux.
  • Top producers:  André Delorme, Domaine de la Folie, P & M Jacqueson; Jean-Baptiste Ponsot

 

Mercurey: The Côte Chalonnaise was once known as the Région de Mercurey, because the area is so large and important. Divided into two parts, there are lots of sub valleys on either side which make research necessary to get good wines. 25% of vineyards are classified as Premier Cru, but these are more legitimate than other communes, because Mercurey does regular reviews, to make more stringent conditions than the appellation's other wines (the maximum yields are closer to those of the Cote d’Or). 90% of the wine is flavorful, earthy, spicy Pinot Noir with chewy, rich tannins, great acidity, and mineral notes.

  • Top Premiers crus: Combins, Champs Martin, Clos des Barraults, Clos l’Eveque, from north of the village, and Clos de Roi and En Sazenay from the other side.
  • Top producers: Philippe Garrey; Michel Juillot, Guy Narjoux, Lorenzo, Antonin Rodet

 

Givry: Similar to Mercurey, Givry’s production is 90% Pinot Noir. Also like Mercurey, the excellent limestone based soils allow the best Givry producers make wines similar in style to Côte d’Or for a fraction of the price. This is a small area but it has 38 Premier Crus and that means the significance of those climats isn’t always earned – do your research before you buy!

  • Top Premiers Crus: Cellier Aux Moines, Clos de la Barraude, Clos Salomon, Clos du Vernoy, Servoisine
  • Top producers:  Jean-Marc Joblot; François Lumpp; Vincent Lumpp; Domaine du Clos Salomon, Domaine du Jardin

 

 

Montagny: With only whites made from Chardonnay, limestone soils are vital to adding minerality in the wines. The wines are generally barrel fermented for depth and complexity. They are rich and full.

 

The challenges with Montagny: 2/3 of the production is from the local co-op in Buxy . Although they make quality wine, they have a strangle-hold on producers and there are fewer independent domaines here.  The other issue: during World War II the appellation was deemed to be ALL Premier Cru and that isn’t really right. Although some producers volunteered to limit the top sites to the best portion of their climat, many didn’t so the proportion of overpriced, improperly classified Premier Cru wine in Montagny is high.

  • Top Premiers Crus: Les Coères, Les Burnins, Les Montcuchots
  • Top producers: Stéphane Aladame, Caves du Buxy, Domaine Feuillat-Juillot

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 17, 2020
Ep 312: Filippo Bartolotta explains the Essential Nature of Vintage and Italy's Anteprima System
56:09

Filippo Bartolotta is a teacher, writer, and a wine storyteller. He has had a long career in wine writing for Decanter magazine, helping launch Vinopolis, the largest wine museum in the world, training journalists, experts, and trade on communication, sensory analysis, wine history and anthropology.

Since 2010 he has held a Road Show entitled "The Amazing Italian Wine Journey" which each year, among other places, sees him in the White House kitchens and in the halls of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He has worked with celebrities and even hosted  Barack and Michelle Obama in Tuscany. Filippo and his wife have a cooking and wine school of cooking, MaMa Florence, in Florence, and he runs and agency that provides premium travel experiences throughout Italy.

Filippo is an excellent communicator and our conversations are always full of ideas that sometimes explain and sometimes question conventional wisdom. Today he joins me to talk about the relatively new movement of Anteprima in Italy, which, as you’ll hear, is a purely Italian take on the famed en Primeur of Bordeaux (which we will also explain). 

We discuss the systems of France and Italy, En Primeur and Anteprima respectively and discuss how each country's approach to futures and vintage somewhat mirrors their cultures, and their orientations. We touch on vintage, the importance of small producers in Italy, and offer some golden nuggets on how to take advantage of good and bad vintages. 

If you've ever wondered about futures or vintage this is a can't miss show! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 11, 2020
Ep 311: Monty Waldin -- Biodynamics, Organics, Sustainability Expert AND Host of the Italian Wine Podcast
44:47

Monty Waldin is a British broadcaster, author, and winemaker with
a special interest in organics and biodynamics. His first book,  "The Organic Wine Guide”, published in 1999, was voted Britain’s Wine Guide of the Year. He has also written award winning books “Biodynamic Wines” and “Wines of South America.”  

 

Monty has winemaking experiences in both hemispheres, has had a tv show called “Chateau Monty” (2008) in which he chronicled biodynamic winemaking in the Roussillon of France, he is a contributor to the Grape Collective, Decanter, and contributes the entries on organics, biodynamics and sustainability for the Oxford Companion to Wine. He’s also the host of the Italian Wine Podcast and a pretty awesome dude.

 

A busy guy!

In this episode Monty takes us through his journey into wine and clarifies for us the differences between organic and biodynamic wine. He chronicles some of the modern history of biodynamics in Europe and talks about why he sees it as a feasible path for many producers.

 

We then discuss:

  • The challenges for biodynamics (is it just a hippie thing or is it useful?)
  • The differences between organics, biodynamics, and natural wine and the dogma surrounding each. I ask about whether or not bio wine is a real thing or a marketing ploy for most producers
  • We discuss the hard realities of biodynamic and organic farming – the difficulties in marginal climates, the shackles of certification, and the path to better farming and away from “modern” farming

 

We wrap by discussing Monty’s AWESOME podcast, “The Italian Wine Podcast” in conjunction with VinItaly. He talks about how he got into Italian wine, biodynamics in Italy, and ultimately whether we are in a better place in wine than we were when he first started.

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to speak with the famous Monty Waldin! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Feb 03, 2020
Ep 310: The quality revolution of Alto Adige, Italy with Karoline Walch of Elena Walch
44:02

Elena Walch is a winery with an essential role in the quality revolution of Alto Adige, Italy.

 

Alto Adige is in the northeast corner of Italy and has unlimited variety and wines that offer delicate, unique flavor profiles. Located south of the Alps, in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains (where the ice mummy was found!), vineyards here are planted on steep slopes, river valleys and some warmer plains. The vast differences in microclimates and soils in this sloping terrain make wines that have ample fruit but beautiful acidity that keep them crisp and bright.

 

In the 1980s and early 1990s a very important figure emerged in Alto Adige wine: Elena Walch. Her story is unusual – she doesn’t come from a wine family or background, nor did she plan to get into wine. But in her job as an architect, fate brought her together with the Walch family and she quickly became the head of the Alto Adige quality revolution, gaining local and international esteem for her efforts  around quality and innovation

Now, her daughters, Julia and Karoline Walch, the fifth generation are taking over and today we have Karoline to tell us this amazing story and talk about Alto Adige, the small, gorgeous region in northeast Italy that makes beautiful cool climate wines.

The estate is dedicated to terroir-driven wines.

In this show, Karoline Walch talks with me about Alto Adige and the
Elena Walch story. We discuss:

  • Traditional grapes, the land, and the unique blend of Austrian, Germanic and Italian culture that exists in Alto Adige

  • The long history of Walch family and the modern history of Elena, an architect who saw an opportunity to make a big change in the quality and style of Aldo Adige wine, and took it, despite not knowing anything about viticulture or winemaking. 

 

  • Karoline's and her sister, Giulia's, path to taking over Elena Walch and how they plan to move forward.

 

  • The wines! We discuss grapes from Gewürztraminer to Pinot Blanc to Pinot Grigio, and then reds like Schiava and Lagrein.
    • Karoline gives us detail on Vigna Castel Ringberg in Caldaro and Vigna Kastelaz in Tramin, as well as their Grand Cuvee white, In the Clouds 

 

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to meet Karoline Walch and share this show with all of you!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 



 

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.

  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.

  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed! 

Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 

Jan 27, 2020
Ep 309: Tranquil Vale of Hunter Valley, Australia on Boutique Wine, Bushfires, and Climate Change
47:14

Connie Paur Griffiths is winemaker and vigneron at Tranquil Vale Vineyards in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia joins to educate us about this fascinating region, discuss the bushfires that have threatened it, and to talk about the challenges facing wine and climate in Oz's future.

Connie shares how her parents found Tranquil Vale advertised in an Australian paper, while living in London, and took a chance on a total lifestyle change. From there, they moved their lives and two kids, including then 8 year old Connie to the hot Hunter Valley, 2.5 hours from Sydney to begin their adventure. They learned to make wine and grow grapes and have won multiple awards for their Semillon, Chardonnay, and Shiraz.

Tranquil Vale makes 3,000 cases of wine and is a family-owned and run boutique producer. 

 

Connie tells us about this unlikely place, which is the oldest wine region in Australia. Hunter Valley characteristics include:

  • A subtropical climate with maritime breezes in some areas, but also with humidity that can cause rot
  • Temps that get above 40˚C/ 100˚F on a regular basis
  • Great diurnal temperature swings that allow for the three main grapes to maintain good acidity and keep alcohol levels lower
  • Gently sloping hills with lower altitude
  • 3 big subregions: Upper Hunter Valley, Broke Fordwich (we discuss how many producers will not harvest in 2020 due to smoke taint), Pokolbin, which has many of the famed wineries and is in foothills of Brokenback Range.

The main grapes of the area are:

  • Semillon – which miraculously, with time,  turns into something like Oak aged Chardonnay in spite of the fact that there is no oak and no malolactic fermentation ever done in the winemaking process
  • Chardonnay -- a lightly oaked, lower alcohol versio
  • Shiraz -- which in spite of sometimes punishing heat, still keeps a lighter style, lower alcohol, and a peppery note that is often "baked out" of other styles of Shiraz in regions of Australia

 

The second half of our conversation focuses on the bushfires of 2019-2020 and the havoc they have wreaked, but also on the endemic climate, infrastructure and land management issues that Australia will likely need to deal with to prevent the kind of historic fires we have seen this year. A fascinating perspective, and a thought-provoking conversation!

 

Thanks to Connie for reaching out to us and sharing her story! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

Jan 21, 2020
Ep 308: The Reality of the Australian Fires with Paracombe Wines of Adelaide Hills
40:06

There may be no better representative to speak to us about the devastation of the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia than Kathy Drogemuller of Paracombe Wines in Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

Started in 1983, Paracombe Wines started after the Ash Wednesday bushfires when Kathy and her husband Paul bought an old dairy farm and began making wine. Today it is truly a family business, making handcrafted wines.

Kathy tells us her story, what is special about the high-altitude vineyards of Adelaide Hills and the diversity of grapes that can grow there and then she gives us great perspective on the large-scale fires that destroyed much of her beautiful region.  She shares what has happened with the fires, why it has happened, and gives us a perspective on how a region copes with fire  we discuss a bit about animal life, and the importance of knowing that there are still people who are open for business.

The show is a great opportunity to discover a quality Australian region and to get an idea of what is really going on in Australian wine regions regarding the most destructive wildfires in Australian history.

 

Kathy gives us the true, somewhat sad picture but gives us great hope with her optimism, her assurance that the wine community is pulling together, and her genuine belief that something good will come from this tragic situation.

The easiest way to help is to request wines from Adelaide Hills,  Australia from your local wine shop or restaurant.

You can also donate to the following causes:

 

Special thanks to Leighton Walker in the UK for helping connect me with Kathy! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

Jan 13, 2020
Ep 307: The Grape Miniseries -- Muscat (the Granddaddy of them all)
42:15

To kick off 2020, we have the original wine grape, the one from which so many were derived: MUSCAT! In the show we discuss the three main types of Muscat and the wines and regions that you need to seek out to get a taste of this ancient, delicious, complex grape. 

As M.C. Ice requests in the middle of the show...here are the notes! 

What is Muscat? Overview

  • A grape from which derives a complicated family of grapes that includes over 200 varieties of all colors
  • It was most likely a Greek grape, brought to the south of France and Sicily by the Phoenicians
  • It's known for its floral perfume and grapey flavor. The grape is spicy with orange notes, and has relatively low acidity
  • Styles range from dry to late harvest to fortified to sparkling
  • Berries are gold, pink, or black and the variation within vines, mean flavors can vary

 

The main types of Muscat:

1. Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains is the oldest grape

  • Needs a long growing season, disease prone, doesn’t like humidity
  • The most refined, classic Muscat, it is small berried, with a delicate but layered aroma
  • Also known as: Moscato Bianco, came to Italy in the 1300s
  • Common grapes derived from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains: Moscato Giallo, Aleatico (red), Mammolo (red)

 

2.  Muscat of Alexandria

  • Natural cross of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Axina de Tres Bias, old black table grape grown on Sardegna, Malta, Greek Islands
  • Not from Alexandria in Egypt! 
  • Mid budding, late ripening, likes heat, big bunches, big berries, great for heat. Susceptible to powdery mildew, bunch rot, bugs, good with drought
  • Less refined than Muscat à Petits Grains: sweet but not complex, less subtle – more geranium notes. Makes sticky sweet wines, rose- or orange-like or like geranium and lily of the valley
  • Also known as Zibbibo in Sicily. 
  • Related grapes:  Catarratto Bianco (Etna), Grillo (Sicily), Bombino Bianco (Sicily, Southern Italy), Schiava Grossa, Malvasia del Lazio, Cereza (Argentina), Torrontés (both clones)

3. Muscat Ottonel: 

  • Bred in Loire in 1852, earliest ripener, planted in Alsace often  paler, with less aroma than the other varieties -- which can produce a softer wine

4. Muscat of Hamburg

  • Black, table grape, low quality in Eastern Europe

 

Muscat in the Vineyard: 

  • Hard to grow: Crops erratically, low acidity, can be a tough blender
  • Pink, black, red mutations exist around the world
  • Early budding, mid ripening, susceptible to powdery mildew, botrytis, mites, small berries
  • Climate: Prefers warm Mediterranean climates – south of France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Australia
  • Soils: Different types will yield different flavors. Limestone or calcareous rock, along with sand make lighter, fresher versions.  Clays, granites, can yield richer versions. 
  • If the grape is overcropped it loses acidity and aroma and is a boring mess. 

 

Muscat by Place: 

France

  • 18,829 acres in France/7620 ha
  • Almost all Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
  • Rhône: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (fortified)
  • Roussillon & Languedoc: Vins doux Naturels of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains in Frontignan, Lunel, Mireval, St. Jean de Minervois
    • Rivesaltes: Vin doux Naturel of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains blended with Muscat d'Alexandria in Rivesaltes
    • Clairette de Die Sparkling of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
  • Corsica: fortified wines
  • Alsace: Muscat Ottonel and Muscat à Petits Grains. Wines are floral, fresh, grapey, and herbal with spice. Dry. 

 

Italy 

  • 32,816 acres/13280 ha – Mostly Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
  • Piemonte: sweet, Asti Spumante (sparkling), Moscato d’Asti (semi sparkling, sweet, good dessert or cheese wine)
  • Trentino Alto Adige: Use Rosenmuskateller: variation of the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains -- rose aroma, still wine, Moscato Giallo/Goldmuskateller: orange scented dry or sweet wines
  • Valle d’Aosta: Passito style (grapes dried on mats in the sun, raisined and then pressed)
  • Montalcino:  DOC for dry, sparkling, sweet, late-harvest wines of Muscat
  • Sicily: Zibbibo/Muscat of Alexandria for dry wines, Moscato di Pantelleria – passito style from a small historic island. 

 

Spain 

  • Grown all over Spain as Moscatel –Moscatel d’Alejandria
  • Málaga: sweet speciality of the south
  • Jerez/Sherry:  Moscatel used for color and sweetness, can be made alone as a sweet, passito style wine

 

Portugal

  • Small amount used in white Port and other fortified wines
  • Setúbal makes a fortified wine from it, tasty dry wines 

 

Other Old World places: Germany, Austria, Greece

 

Australia

  • Rutherglen and Glenrowan in northeastern Victoria
  • Rutherglen Muscat: Four tier quality system -- basic, classic, grand, rare. Like figs, coffee, blackberry, chocolate, delicious, with acidity

 

South Africa

  • Vin de Constance from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains: Late harvest
    • Probably the descendents of the famed vines of  colonial days in the 1600s 
  • Worcester, Olifants River: Muscat of Alexandria/ Hanepoot for bulk, used for dry, sweet, fortified, table grapes

 

US: Central Valley for bulk white. Some Orange Muscat which is a relative of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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. 

Jan 06, 2020
Ep 306: Planeta and the story of modern Sicilian wine with Alessio Planeta
54:46

While I was in Verona at Wine2Wine, I had the chance to speak with Alessio Planeta, President at Assovini Sicilia and Owner at Planeta Winery.

For five centuries and through seventeen generations, Planeta has been active in changing and improving agriculture in Sicily. Alessio Planeta has spent his life dedicated to the study of Sicily and figuring out how to make it a significant force in world wine. With his family, Alessio now has six wineries around Sicily, and they have almost single-handedly put Sicily on the map as a quality player.

 

Planeta continues its mission to show what Sicily can do and what it’s forgotten varietals can bring to the world of wine. They are one of the big reasons we have access to excellent Sicilian wine today.

 

Here are the notes:

  • Alessio tells us about Sicily, the history of his family, and how Planeta evolved to become a significant force in the wine world, putting Sicily on the world wine map of quality
  • We discuss the quality revolution in Sicily, begun, in part by Diego Planeta, Alessio's uncle
  • Alessio tells us about the amazing conditions of Sicily  -- the diverse terrain, vast number of native grapes, the skilled workers, the excellent climate, that makes it a garden ideal for viticulture
  • We learn about how the innovative nature of the Planeta family. Alessio discusses their desire to find talent from outside the island (including Giacomo Tachis, Carlo Corino, Giampaolo Fabris and Attilio Scienza) the openness to using "international" grapes, and then the slow introduction of the indigenous wines of Sicily created a category for Nero d'Avola, Grillo, Carricante, Nerello Mascalese and others that is booming! 
  • Alessio addresses the fact that people may still underestimate Sicily and talks about the bright future of Sicilian wine

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to meet Gaia Gaja and share this show with all of you!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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. 

 

      

Dec 18, 2019
Ep 305: Gaia Gaja on the Past and Future of Barbaresco and Piedmont, Italy
42:04

This week, one of the most famous wine producers in the world joins us -- Gaia Gaja from Gaja in Barbaresco in Piedmont, Italy. We discuss the history of her famed family, why their wines are like liquid velvet, and how climate change is forcing new ways of thinking.

Her philosophy, outlook, and class show why Gaja has earned its place at the top of the wine world.

We discuss:

  • The history of the Gaja family and how they became so important in Barbaresco

  • We discuss Angelo Gaja, his philosophies and how he wound up changing the face of Italian wine by doubting everything, and always looking forward

  • Gaia gives us some insight into how Gaja does things so differently and yield such different, and amazing results 

  • We talk about Barbaresco and Barolo, the nuances of the land, and how those in Piedmont may be best suited to take on climate change. Gaia tells us a bit about Gaja's philosophy of optimism and change helps them take a different outlook on climate change and why biodiversity may be the key to helping things

 

Thanks to Wine2Wine Verona for inviting me to speak and for allowing me the opportunity to meet Gaia Gaja and share this show with all of you!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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. 

Dec 09, 2019
Ep 304: Hightower Cellars, Red Mountain, Washington, and an Honest Look at WA Wine
59:18

Tim and Kelly Hightower of Hightower Cellars have been making beautiful wine in Washington State (in the northwest of the US) specifically Red Mountain, for about 2.5 decades. They tell us about the evolution of Washington State wine, their path to owning a boutique winery, and then we discuss some of the reasons Washington wine can and should be so much more popular. This is a real insightful look into the challenges and opportunities of Washington State wine! 

Map Courtesy Wine for Normal People Book

Map (C) "Wine for Normal People" book

Here are some of the points we hit:

  • Kelly and Tim tell us how they each got into wine at fairly young ages, and what the early years of Washington wine were like 
  • The Hightowers talk about their drive to relocate to Red Mountain. We talk about the terroir of the area -- climate, soils, and terrain and why they are unique.
  • Tim and Kelly tell us the profile of Red Mountain wine and why it is so striking
  • We discuss the business model of many Washington producers and the disconnect between the tasting rooms of the town of Woodinville and the wineries located in the vineyards. 
  • We discuss the role of small and large wineries in Washington State 
  • Tim and Kelly tell us how the market for Washington wine has changed and grown, and how they see great things on the horizon for the state.

 

   

 

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

 

  1.  
Dec 02, 2019
Ep 303: Alternative Wines For Thanksgiving Pairing
35:42

We have much to be grateful for this year – Patrons, the release of the , and all of you listeners! This is our yearly TG episode. This time we take the traditional pairings and offer some alternatives. You can stick with what you know based on our recommendations or go out on a limb. Either way, we are truly grateful for you, for your tolerance of our Beastie Boys and Hobbit references and for your continued support! Thank you!

 

Traditional Whites:

  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chardonnay
  • Gewurztraminer

 

Alternative whites:

  • Off-dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc
  • Grüner Veltliner or Verdejo from Rueda Spain
  • Fiano di Avellino, Falanghina, or Soave from Italy
  • White Rhône blends with Roussanne, white Priorat (Spain), or pure Roussanne from a winery like Truchard in Napa or from Savoie (Chignin Bergeron)

 

If you want…

Rosé:

  • Go for something New World with more fruit character. The Provence styles are unpredictable so unless you have a producer you love, go New World

 

Sparkling:

  • I prefer Champagne but Crémant (which we don’t mention but is a great option), Cava or American Sparkling will work, as will Cap Classique from South Africa. I’m less of a fan of Prosecco. I’m a big fan of drinking the bubbly with food rather than enjoying it just on its own.

 

Traditional Reds:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel
  • Syrah
  • Beaujolais

 

Alternative Reds:

  • Lighter Garnacha, Bobal, or Mencîa from Spain
  • Austrian reds: St. Laurent, Zweigelt, Blaüfrankisch (as long as they are lighter and not too spicy)
  • Lighter styles of Zinfandel like those from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma (we mention Nalle and Peterson as favorites) or Primitivo (still Zin!) from Puglia
  • Pinot Noir but New World styles from Oregon, Santa Barbara, and New Zealand
  • Cabernet Franc from Virginia, New York, and Loire
  • Merlot, especially Merlot from the Right Bank of Bordeaux

 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

 

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. They 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.

 

Nov 19, 2019
Ep 302: The Insider View of Long Island Wine with Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane Wine
01:08:45

Long Island has 3,000 acres planted with grapes and at least 60 wineries. Lieb Cellars has been around for nearly 30 years and this week Russell Hearn, winemaker for Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane Wines  (who has been there since the start), and Ami Opisso, General Manager and Long Island native, tell us about why Long Island is special, why Lieb is different, and how Bridge Lane is the king of quality wine in alternative packaging (yes, we cover this in detail!). 

After discussing all the various accents on this show (yeah, I'm from the 'Island so you'll hear me get mine back when Ami and I tawk!), we dig deep into Long Island.

  • We discuss the history of the region, beginning in the 1970s

  • Russell tells us how bodies of water, well draining soil, and sun exposure create a great environment for grapes

  • We discuss the weather and climate. Long Island is not known for stable, easy climate. With humidity, frost, and sometimes ridiculous quantities of rain, it seems like it couldn't work -- Russell gives us insight into drainage, why it is so important here, and Ami tells us about the true meaning of Sustainability on Long Island, where everything you spray goes directly into your drinking water.

  • Long Island has received some bad press regarding the local government's inability to provide a good environment for wineries. Ami annd Russell tell us the fascinating, insider deal on all of that. 

We move on to wine! We talk about...

  • The top reds and top whites of Long Island and what makes them special

  • We talk about why Long Island lacks some of the recognition other emerging East Coast regions often get 

  • Russell talks about the history of Lieb Cellars , since he's been the winemaker since its inception. He tells us why Pinot Blanc is so special to the property

  • Ami discusses Bridge Lane and how the idea to become the first winery on Long Island to produce wine in several alternative formats, including bottles, boxes, kegs and cans came about

  • Russell and Ami tell us, in detail, about different formats (box, can, keg) and the extensive research they did to ensure that neither corrosion from acid nor corruption of flavor would occur in things other than glass bottles. 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

 

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. They 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.

 

Zola

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

 

Nov 13, 2019
Ep 301: Sheldrake Point Winery -- Refreshing Candor (and wine) in the Finger Lakes
39:27

Sheldrake Point Winery in the Finger Lakes began in 1997. For most of that time, Dave Wieman, vineyard manager, and Dave Breeden, winemaker, have been with the winery. They dish on what it's really like it is to make wine in this ever-changing, awesome region.

Here are the show notes:

  • After our weekly plug of the Wine For Normal People Book (if you like the podcast, you will love the book and it's a perfect companion guide to the show!) we break the news that the audio got messed up. Aliens took over the audio for the first quarter of the recording and so M.C. Ice and I step in to do the re-cap!
    • We talk about the history of Sheldrake Point Winery, it's unique location, the importance of Cornell University, and warn you of the hilarity that ensues in this show

  • The Daves talk about how challenging it can be to manage a vineyard in the Finger Lakes and how moisture, drainage, slope, and microclimate make all the difference in making great wine in the Finger Lakes. Dave Wieman talks about whether he ever thinks about what it would be like to make wine in Napa, where things aren't quite so hard. 

 

  • We discuss the viability of sustainable agriculture in the Finger
    Lakes and what that looks like in a climate with humidity and rain

 

  • Dave Breeden, winemaker (and self-proclaimed "inside Dave") talks about his job as the guy whose job it is not to mess up what nature gave him! He serves all his answers straight up -- from talking about why it makes sense to use once used oak (it's better for the wine AND cheaper), to questioning why Gewurztraminer isn't more popular, to why he loves to dance the tango with Pinot Gris each year. 

 

  • We discuss the different styles of Riesling, how they are achieved and how Dave Breeden came around to liking the Gamay he works with. 

 

  • After many laughs, lots of honesty, and some stuff we just had to edit out (sorry), we talk about the bright future of the Finger Lakes and how things are only just beginning. 

Sheldrake Point will be at Underground Wine Events on 11/9/19! 

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

Nov 05, 2019
Ep 300: A Past, Present, and Future look at Wine, for Normal People
49:45

As we always do when we hit a milestone, for episode 300 we reflect on three things we each have learned in the last 8 years.

We talk about the process of planning, writing, and publishing the book and possible future wine trends.

We thank you for all your support over the years!

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Oct 29, 2019
Ep 299: Texas Wine Country with the Wineries of Texas Fine Wine
58:04

Texas is one of the oldest winegrowing states in the US, with vines predating California by 100+ years. The first vineyard in North America was by Franciscan priests circa 1660 in Texas and the industry grew throughout the 1800s. Texas is important in another way, as horticulturist Thomas Munson contributed greatly to finding the solution to  the phylloxera epidemic, which effectively saved the European wine industry from total ruin. After Prohibition decimated the industry in the 1920s, Texas jump started it's wine industry in the 1970s and today it's roaring back. Texas has 400 producers and it is growing and growing.

 

Jennifer McEnnis, General Manager of Bending Branch and Ron Yates, the owner and President of Spicewood Vineyards, are part of a marketing consortium representing five of Texas’ most distinguished wineries: Bending Branch WineryBrennan VineyardsDuchman Family WineryPedernales Cellars and Spicewood Vineyards. Member wineries produce wines from Texas grapes, that try to express the terroir of Texas Hill County and the Texas High Plains.

             

Here are the show notes:

We start off talking about Texas, an area I admittedly (used to) know very little about. We cover:

  1. The breadth and depth of areas. Specifically What are the
    different areas/are there discreet AVAs? Where are they vis a vis the cities? We talk specifically about Texas Hill Country and the High Plains, which create premium wine in the state.
  2. We discuss the role of elevation and the similarities to other growing regions around the world (specifically the Duero in Spain, which Texas High Plains resembles).
  3. We talk extensively about climate – how it’s extremely erratic and how growing conditions here are unlike anywhere else with extreme heat, thunderstorms, hail, and unpredictable weather events that change each vintage and make winemaking a true challenge.

  4. We talk about the grapes that grow here and how over the last 5-10 years, grapes like Tannat, Tempranillo, and southern Italian varietals that are heat tolerant have thrived. We talk about why many growers in the past bought grapes from Washington State or California.

  5. We discuss some of the challenges that Texas has faced with the anti-alcohol lobby and how that has been overcome.

 

Then we discuss the 5 wineries of Texas Fine Wine and their goals of making excellent wine that is known outside of just Texas. Jennifer discusses Bending Branch(if you’re curious, here’s info on cryomaceration (extreme version of cold maceration)and flash détente, that she references!) Ron talks about Spicewoodand then we discuss Duchman,Brennan, and Pedernalesand their styles.  

 

We wrap by talking about the bright future of Texas wine!

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Oct 21, 2019
Ep 298: The Transformation of Loudoun County, Virginia -- The Vineyards at Lost Creek
47:12

Loudoun County, Virginia is in close proximity to Washington, D.C. -- the farthest vineyards are just over an hour's drive away. But the area has been known more for  big, beautiful farms that are good for weddings rather than as a premier wine region of Virginia. Today, this is changing and Lost Creek is part of that change.

About 7 years ago Aimee and Todd Henkle of Lost Creek decided to buy a beautiful property that made mainly sweet wines and change it into a place with elegant, dry reds and whites. Aimee tells her story and that of a region maturing each year. 

Here are the show notes: 

  • Aimee is the Chair of the Loudoun County Wineries Association, so I ask her to tell us about Loudoun County. We review: 
    • Where is Loudoun County?
    • How many wineries there are, the terroir types, and what they specialize in
    • We discuss the controversial question of wineries growing grapes v. buying them from the west coast, a challenge that has plagued the legitimacy of Loudoun for years, and how things are changing
  • Aimee tells us how she got into wine from her background in electrical engineering
  • We learn about how the Vineyard at Lost Creek transitioned from sweet wine to dry wine, and how the quality has been improved greatly through vineyard practices
  • We talk about sustainable and organic viticulture and the
    challenges of farming in this unique mountain area
  • Aimee tells us about their elegant Chardonnay, Merlot and Cab Franc based blends, and why Tannat is a rising start
  • Aimee tells us what she sees for the future of Loudoun County

Lost Creek will be at the Underground Wine Event on 11/9/19! Get your tickets before we sell out!.

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Oct 15, 2019
Ep 297: Anthony Road Wine Company -- a Legend in the Finger Lakes Region of New York
01:10:03

Anthony Road Wine Company is a legend in the Finger Lakes Region of
New York. It’s one of the pioneering wineries of the area, and it makes wines that reflect the soils and climate of the Finger Lakes. Their wines are made from grapes grown in vineyards owned or managed by the Martini Family and carefully selected by Peter Becraft, the head winemaker. Anthony Road is a family run, family owned, and family operated winery that makes outstanding Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, blends, and a variety of reds and rose, as well as some skin contact wines.

 
  

This week I speak with Peter Becraft, a man of many talents. He started out his career as a Fine Arts Masters student, working as a casting director for a famed fashion photographer in Manhattan. As with many of our generation, Peter found himself at a crossroad after September 11, 2001. He realized he needed to do something more fulfilling with his life. Previously finding more common ground and excitement in the folks his pastry chef wife Cary hung out with, he pursued a wine shop job in lower Manhattan and immersed himself in the world of wine. Today, he is the head winemaker at the iconic Anthony Road Wine Company in the Finger Lakes on Seneca Lake.

 

 Here are the show notes: 

  • Peter tells us how John and Ann Martini moved from Baltimore in 1973 and set up their farm. He gives us a great lesson on the history of Finger Lakes – what it was like when the Martinis came, and how things have evolved over the last 45 years.

 

  • We learn about the role of hybrid grapes and why they are different from and similar to the grapes we know and love (vitis vinifera)

 

  • Peter tells us about the climate and the differences between the Martini Family Vineyard and the Nutt Road Vineyard and why microclimate is so essential to winemaking In the Finger Lakes. Peter gets into really nerdy detail, including glacial movement, silt-loam soils, and how the depth and width of Seneca Lake influences the vineyards

 

  • Peter then shares his incredible journey from sculptor to winemaker. He tells us how he went from student in Virginia to fine arts Masters student in New York City to winemaker at one of the premier wineries in New York

 

  • Peter tells us how he learned winemaking, the importance of mentorship from former head winemaker Johannes Reinhardt and how he approaches winemaking

 

  • We discuss the variety of wines in Anthony Road’s portfolioRiesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Vignoles (a hybrid), Lemberger, Pinot Noir, Cab Franc, Merlot

 

  • We wrap with Peter’s view on what makes the Finger Lakes so special – its unity, vision, and collegiality

 

Peter and Anthony Road will be at the Underground Wine Event on 11/9/19!

 

You can meet Peter and try his wines at the Underground Wine Event in Washington, D.C. on November 9, 2019! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

Oct 08, 2019
Ep 296: Boundary Breaks of the Finger Lakes, Where Terroir Reigns Supreme
51:05

Boundary Breaks is located in the Finger Lakes in Central New York. It's the consummate cool weather growing region, where Riesling and aromatic whites reign supreme. Bruce Murray, the founder and creative force behind Boundary Breaks, tells us how he went from newspaper man, to working with Elon Musk, to running a winery so focused on terroir, they don't even have a dedicated winemaker.

 

Boundary Breaks was founded in 2007 by Bruce on the East side of Seneca Lake. It focuses on Riesling, which range in style from dry and complex to lightly sweet to a true Riesling Ice Wine. In addition to Riesling, small amounts of Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on the estate. The wines are spectacular with a purity of flavor, and excellent terroir expression. Bruce's life is fascinating and Boundary Breaks, indeed, has broken some boundaries in what can be done in the wine world! 

 

Here are the topics we discuss: 

  • Bruce tells us how his life unfolded to bring him back to the area in which he grew up. He tells me how the Donnhoff Riesling from Nahe, Germany in a Thai restaurant in Vegas changed the course of his life. 

  • We talk about the Finger Lakes, how they were formed, why they
    are so unique and why the east side of Seneca Lake produces such excellent grapes. We get extra dorky, discussing Boundary Breaks' unique drainage system and why "wet feet" are bad for grapes

 

  • We discuss Riesling and how vineyard management is so pivotal to getting pure flavor. We detail each style Boundary Breaks makes -- dry, off-dry, ice wine plus aromatic whites like Gewurztraminer.

 

  • We talk extensively about the challenges of growing reds in the climate of the Finger Lakes and how quality has been spotty over the years, but is improving by leaps and bounds.

You can meet Bruce and try his wines at the Underground Wine Event in Washington, D.C. on November 9, 2019! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today!!

_______________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

Oct 01, 2019
Ep 295: Sleight of Hand- Washington State's Wine Magic
01:10:58

Sleight of Hand Cellars is the fulfillment of two dreams. Jerry Solomon was a real estate attorney in San Diego who longed for a small town life and wanted wine to be part of it. Trey Busch was a Walla Walla winemaker who had insane talent but needed a partner to make his dream winery a reality.

The two created Sleight of Hand 12 years ago to create exceptional, terroir driven wines that reflect the unique land of Walla Walla and Columbia Valley. Jerry takes us on a journey of the winery, the land, and the beautiful wines they produce!

 

They will be at Underground Wine Event on November 9, 2019 – don’t miss it! www.undergroundwineevents.com/events

 

Here are the show notes:

  • Jerry tells us how he and his wife Sandy made the move from San Diego Real Estate attorney to Director of Winemaking at the coolest winery in Walla Walla
  • He talks about the wonderful friendship and partnership between him and Trey Busch, an Atlantan who became a skilled Walla Walla winemaker after working for several excellent wineries
  • We talk about the special role of music at Sleight of Hand and how the winery got its name from a Pearl Jam song

  • Jerry explains why the Columbia Valley, and Walla Walla, in particular, are so special for winemaking. We talk soil (loess, which the Walla Walla folks pronounce "luss" and basalt), sun exposure, latitude and why these wines are so different from those from California
  • We talk about the variety of Sleight of Hand wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, Syrah, and red blends and what makes each so special
    • We discuss why Syrah, in particular, is such a standout in Walla Walla ad why Milton-Freewater Rocks District is so insanely good
  • I ask Jerry if he thinks Washington gets the respect it deserves on the world wine scene and why scores work against Washington wines

  • We discuss why Sleight of Hand wants to stay small
  • We close with how Neil Patrick Harris wound up on the Conjurer label!

 

 

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

Sep 24, 2019
Ep 294: Walla Walla, Washington's Fathers of the Vine -- Eric McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars
42:44

Eric McKibben grew up in Walla Walla, where his dad, Norm, is a founding father of the most important side of Walla Walla – the vineyard side. Norm is known to have helped grow the Walla Walla industry from a few dozen acres in 1989 to 2800 today, around the idea of impeccable quality in the vineyard.

The business is truly a family business. Norm is still involved but Eric is a partner. Eric worked for 11 years in Seattle in the telecom industry, earned an MBA and then returned to Walla Walla in 2003, where he is an active partner at Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery. In 2004, he assumed the duty of General Manager at Amavi Cellars.

He also taught me pretty much everything I know about Walla Walla and is one of the best advocates for the region there is! If you get a chance to try these wines, you should do it -- they are pure Walla Walla and purely excellent! 

Here are the show notes:

 

  • Eric tells us about the Missoula Floods and why Walla Walla is such a unique growing region, unlike any other in the world. If you want to see a cool PBS documentary on the Missoula Floods, here it is

 

  • We learn about the early days of Walla Walla -- what was here, how grapes supplanted apples, and who the early players were and what they accomplished. We talk about Jean-Francois Pellet, winemaker and partner for both Pepper Bridge and Amavi, and why he was such a believer in this region when he came from Heitz in Napa for a job interview with Amavi and Pepper Bridge. 

 

  • We discuss the "bowl" valley that is Walla Walla, the soil types and and the styles that different parts of Walla Walla yield. We do a bit of compare and contrast on Napa v Walla Walla styles

 

 

  • Then we spend time dorking out about the flavors that you'll find in Walla Walla -- Syrahs that taste plush, some that taste like licking rocks. Cabernet that expresses terroir without being too full or rich. Semillon that has beautiful acidity. All of these things and how they are achieved. 


 

  • Finally we dip into the thorny question of why so
    many wineries are based in Walla Walla that don't make any wines from Walla Walla fruit only (they blend it with things from other part of Columbia Valley) and what that means for the AVA from a marketing and reputational standpoint. 

 

Amavi and Pepper Bridge will be at this year's Underground Wine Event in Washington DC. For tickets, go to www.undergroundwineevents.com 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

Sep 16, 2019
Ep 293: Afton Mountain Vineyards Proves Why Virginia Wine is So Unique
50:43

Virginia, on the east coast of the United States, has much history with grape growing, but not all of it was good. Today, however, exciting producers have mastered their microclimates and are making some of the freshest, most nuanced, terroir-driven wines in the United States.

 

This week I sit down with Elizabeth Smith of one of the top wineries in this lovely state, Afton Mountain Vineyards. We discuss everything from Virginia history with grape growing, to terroir obsession, to the European flare of the region, and why the wines are so darn good.  If you don't know much about VA or you're an obsessive this podcast will be equally fascinating! 

 

Elizabeth and Tony Smith both grew up in Charlottesville and had lifelong ties the Blue Ridge Mountains. After working and raising a family in coastal VA, and even trying their hands at grape growing there (not quite the right terroir!), they decided to move back to their hometown for their second act – winegrowing and making. They bought Afton Mountain Vineyards in 2009 and in this show, Elizabeth shares their story and how they came to make some of the best wine in Virginia.

 

  • Elizabeth shares her background and how she went from investment management to property management to winery management (and rocked them all!)

 

  • Elizabeth gives us a true education on the Monticello appellation – what matters to quality wine, what is challenging in growing grapes here, and why she and Tony selected the most westerly site in the Monticello AVA to make their elegant wines

 

  • We dork out on microclimates, what makes Virginia so unique, and why elevation, and extremely attentive (obsessive) vineyard management is the only way to make great wine in Virginia and why sustainable viticulture is better than organic in a dicey climate like that in the Monticello area.

 

  • Elizabeth answers the question: Why does Damien Blanchon, their French winemaker, and so many other French winemakers find themselves in Virginia, and decide to stay (hint: challenge without restriction!)

 

  • We talk about the varietals that do well for Afton Mountain (Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Albariño for the whites, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Tannat, and Sangiovese for the reds) and the flavors they yield from this land. We have an interesting side bar about how Petit Verdot can really suck if not handled well!

 

  • We wrap with Elizabeth talking about how far Virginia wine has come in the last 10 years and a BIG teaser on a project Afton Mountain is starting this fall!

 

Find out more about Elizabeth and her wines at www.aftonmountainvineyards.com and come to the Underground Wine Event on 11/9/19 in Washington D.C. to meet her and taste her beautiful wines!

 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

 

Coravin  

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

 

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. They 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.

 

 

Zola

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

 

Sep 09, 2019
Ep 292: The Secret, Stunning Wine of Swartland, South Africa
43:20

Just 40 miles/65 km north of Cape Town lies a large area that makes the most exciting, sought after wines in South Africa. Swartland (Dutch for 'black land') is full of young, passionate winemakers making wines that respect the hot, dry land from which they derive and are able to create wines of such depth, flavor, and nuance that it’s hard to believe so few know about them. In this show, we tell you about the Syrah, Rhône and Mediterranean varietals, the Chenin Blanc and other stunning white blends coming from this area and why you need to seek it out ASAP!

 

Overview of the region…

  • Swartland was oncea rural backwater, better known for wheat fields than vineyards
  • Vineyards traditionally grew where wheat couldn’t -- on the northern side of Paardeberge Mountains in the south, the plains of Piketberg in the north, and the smaller Ward of Riebeekberg and Kasteelberg Mountains in the east
  • Lots of old vines on slopes where nothing else grows, hand harvested
  • The climate ishot and dry with very low summer rainfall but with consistent afternoon and evening breezes off the Atlantic Ocean. Growers have less concern about fungus and other diseases. They use the ecosystem to keep the vineyards healthy with integrated pest management, bush training of vines, and dry farming

 

We dork out on plate tectonics!

  • Swartland has ancient geology. The terroirresulted from a combination of tectonic collisions, ancient volcanic activity and continental separation
  • The soils are the oldest in the world and are a mix of shale, arenite sandstone and granite, schist based terroirs. Malmesbury shale on Kasteelberg Mtn is the dominant soil.
    • vertical layering structure caused by tectonic shifts. Water drains away and vines dig deeper for liquid nourishment

 

Grapes/Winemaking

  • We talk about the grapes and terroir driven wines of the region
    • Red grapes: Syrah/Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Carignan, Cinsaut, Tinta Barocca, Pinotage
    • White grapes:Chenin blanc, Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette, Palomino, Sémillon, Muscat d’Alexandria, Muscat d’Frontignan, Colombard and Verdelho.
    • Viticulture:A lot of natural, noninvasive methods of farming
    • Winemaking:larger barrels that impart less flavor, less racking and stirring to keep earthy flavors, unfiltered, unfined wines – low input wines
  • The Ward of Riebeekbergnear the towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West has vineyards on eastern slopes of the Kasteelberg Mountain make big reds of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay that are complex

  

We talk about South African and Swartland Wine history

  • We discuss how South Africa lies somewhere between the Old World and New World styles.
  • We discuss the early history in the 1660s, with the arrival of the French Huguenots who planted vineyards.
  • We tell the story of how, in late 1990s, Charles Back of Goats do Roam fame went to Swartland to source grapes and wound up transforming the area by  buying land and hiring Eben Sadie to run his “Spice Route” wines in 1998.
  • We discuss the modern history of the region and why it takes a special person to make wine in conditions withlow rainfall, un-irrigated vines and paltry yields.

  

Producers and the Swartland revolution

  

Top producers

  • AA Badenhorst: AA Badenhorst Family White,  AA Badenhorst Family Red are flagships; Secateurs produced from purchased fruit
  • Lammershoek:Traditional producer
  • Testalonga:“naked” style, funky wines
  • Lammershoek:Libero No. 5
  • Mullineux: Syrahs and white blends; entry level Kloof Street
  • Porseleinberg 
  • Sadie Family: Columella – Syrah-based blend (famous), Palladius – rich style white; cheaper, co-owned Sequillo range

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

Sep 05, 2019
Ep 291: Vinho Verde (has so much more to it than you know!)
33:04

If you think Vinho Verde (pronounced veeng-yo vaird) is just a fizzy summer sipper, we're about to open up a new world for you in this show. You CAN get the run of the mill stuff but with multiple grapes, regions, and producer styles, if you dig deeper this wine has way more to it than you think!

 

Overview

  • Vinho Verde is not a grape variety, it is a DOC (wine area)
  • It literally translates to  'green wine' but means young wine – wine released 3-6 months after the grapes are harvested
  • This is one of Portugal’s largest regions:
    • 21,000 ha/51,000 acres of vineyards are planted -- 9% of the total in Portugal
    • 19,000 growers – like Champagne, 600 bottlers
    • 85 million liters of wine each year
  • 86% of the wine from Vinho Verde is white

 

What wine is here? 

  • Red, white, rosé, or sparkling. Can be late harvest OR brandy!
  • If labeled with grape, subregion or quality level (Escolha, Grande Escolha, Superior, Colheita Selectionada
  • Top white grapes: Alvarinho, Arinto, Avesso, Azal, Batoca, Loureiro, and Trajadura
  • Top red grapes: Amaral, AzalbTinto, Borraçal, Brancelho, Espadeiro, Padeiro, Pedral, Rabo de Ovelha and Vinhão

Winemaking:

  • The wine was fizzy because malolactic fermentation took place in the bottle as it sat on the shelf! Today, carbonation is added to finished wine to add sparkle

Wine style:

  • Light and fresh whites: high natural acidity, with fruity and floral aromas that depend on the grape variety
  • Have slight sparkle with low alcohol

 

History

  • Vinho Verde produced wine for over 2,000 years, one of the oldest regions in Portugal
  • Celts and Romas came, then Visigoths and Moors
  • During middle Ages: Vinho Verde may have been exported in the 12th century, to England, Germany, and Flanders – especially from top regions of Monção and Melgaço and Ribeira de Lima
  • Maize arrived in the 16th century alog with regulations to maximise production of it
    • New regulations banished vines to the field margins, where they grew up high, forcing the vignerons to pick them from tall ladders
    • Today most of Vinho Verde Region is now using modern methods, which give larger and better yield.
  • EU in 1986 improved technology – more capital, opened up the markets 

 

Location/Land:

  • Vinho Verde is Portugal’s northernmost wine producing region, above 40° latitude 
  • Series of granite-based plateaus within the valleys of the Minho, Ave, Cávado, and Lima rivers 
  • Most of the Vinho Verde region is at or near sea level -- highest elevation at 2,300 feet

Climate:

  • Temps go between 46°F (8°C) in winter and 68°F (20°C) in the summer – green landscape, temperate climate
    • Cooler coastal regions like Lima, Cávado and Ave -- more marine influence with cooler average temperatures and higher rainfall
    • inland subregions - Baião and Basto are both warmer
  • Annual rainfall is high – 47+ inches (1200 mm) in the winter and spring months

 

Subregions: 9, can be on the label with the name Vinho Verde


Monção e Melgaço: Best region, but least typical Vinho Verde

  • Inland DOP subregion, along the hillsides of the Minho River’s south bank
  • White: Alvarinho is best. Fresh but fuller than Rias Baixas, occasionally with some oak
  • Reds: Pedral, Alvarelhão 

 

Lima: 

  • Highest levels of rainfall.
  • Granitic soils and a small area with shale-based soil.
  • White: Loureiro grape: citrus fruits, rose notes, can be full like Alvarinho 
    • Use whites Arinto and Trajadura
  • Red: Vinhão and Borraçal – crunchy, crisp fruity aroma

 

3 Similar regions: Cávado, Ave, Sousa -- Mild

  • Sea winds, irregular topography, low altitude, mild climate,
  • Whites: Arinto, Loureiro and Trajadura with moderate acidity, citrus fruits and ripe apple and pears.
  • Reds: Vinhão and Borraçal grapes (not in Ave but in Cávado and Sousa)
    • Sousa: Espadeiro is often used to make rosé wines.

 

Basto: inland – HOT with high rainfall

  • High altitude, cold, wet winter, balls hot summer
  • White:  Azal is lemony with green apple notes
  • Reds: Espadeiro, Rabo-de-Anho 

Amarante: Inland

  • White: Azal, Avesso -- higher alcohol, more body because of heat
  • Red: Amarante sub-region is famous for its red wines: especially Vinhão variety

 

Paiva: 

  • Red: Vinhão gets great maturity and produce some of the most sought-after red wines

 

Baião: Inland/continental

  • On the border of Douro demarcated region, longer season 
  • Whites: Azal and Avesso (best ones from Avesso, creamy, fruity, with acidity)
  • Red:  Amaral 

 

Food Pairing:

  • Salads, Asian cuisine, bacalao (cod) and other seafood, in cream sauce or breaded; pork and potato dishes

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

 

Aug 26, 2019
Ep 290: Theresa Breuer of Georg Breuer Represents Rheingau, Riesling, and the New Face of German Wine
58:24

If you had no interest in Riesling or in Rheingau previously, this show will change your mind completely and make you jump out of your seat to try Georg Breuer's exquisite wines.

Theresa Breuer is a young woman who found herself (sadly, earlier
than she expected) at the helm of one of the most respected, highest quality Riesling producers in the Rheingau region of Germany.  I had the pleasure of spending the day with her a few years back and she is brilliant, poised, kind and a genius vigneron and cellar master, but more than anything, at 30-something, she is one of the best fresh faces and ambassadors for what Rheingau wine is, was, and should be. 

This show should give you a perspective on why Rheingau is so special and make you understand why a dork like me loves this place so much! 

Here are the show notes: 

HISTORY

  • Theresa shares Weingut Georg Breuer's nearly 140 years in wine -- from her great grandfather Peter's involvement in the business side of wine, to her grandfather after whom the Weingut is named, to her dad, Bernhard, and then to her.  
  • We discuss Bernhard Breuer's obsession with quality, bringing the reputation of Rheingau back from a less than stellar period, and her involvement in the business. 
  • Theresa shares her (beautiful) philosophies about wine and why it means so much to her.

Rheingau Education!

  • I have rarely found anyone who can educate on a region as well and succinctly as Theresa Breuer and we are lucky to have her explain stuff like: 
    • Where is Rheingau and what makes it so unique for wine?
    • The parallels with Burgundy in terms of Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village, Regional sites and why it is so easy in Rheingau
    • Why Riesling is so dominant in Rheingau and why it does so well here (hint: reflection from the river, slate/quartzite soils, slopes!)
    • How climate change has affected the region, what a hot year like 2019 means for the wine, and what really matters to vintage
    • How oak is used in Rheingau (and it is used, a LOT!)

Theresa gives us the deep dive into site specific info. It's fascinating: 

  • Theresa shares detailed and excellent information about George Breuer's sites and the why and how behind the differences in the wines. We discuss their beautiful Grand Cru sites in Rüdesheim – Berg Schlossberg, Berg Roseneck and Berg Rottland and their wholly owned site, Nonnenberg in Rauenthal (in the eastern part of Rheingau
  • Theresa talks about her commitment to organic viticulture and her vision for the wines -- to let the vineyard produce the best wines and to let the Riesling show its home in the glass! 
  • We talk about what makes Theresa's wines elegant and age worthy.
  • We discuss the generational shift in Rheingau and what it does and will mean for wine in the future.

Theresa unveils big news: Weingut Georg Breuer bought some land in the (very different, Mittelrhein-type) wine area of Lorch, to the west of their Grand Cru vineyards. They will be learning more about the sites, and making wine from them soon! 

Check out the videos on my YouTube Channel -- you will love Theresa even more! 

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

Aug 19, 2019
Ep 289: Orange (Skin Contact) Wines
44:00

We tackle a wine style that is adored in certain hip, wine "in-crowd" circles: "orange" wine, which is actually white wine made like a red -- there is long contact with the skins and seeds that give the wine a darker, orange-ish color, and VERY different flavors.

M.C. Ice and I are not big fans, but we do our best to explain the phenomenon of these whites made with skin contact.

 

Here are the show notes:  

  • You know it's time to cover a topic when, in Europe, the supermarket chain Aldi sells a bottle of skin-contact wine for less than $8 US! 

 

  • WHAT THE HECK IS ORANGE WINE??
    • First and most importantly, it's not from oranges but from grapes! 
    • Made exactly like a red but with longer maceration (the time during winemakig when the grape skins and seeds stay in contact with the juice) 
    • Reds with skin contact are red wines, reds with little contact are rosés; whites with skin contact are “orange”, without contact they are whites
      • Rosés usually undergo less than 12 hours macerating on their skins before the juice is pressed off 
      • Orange wine is the opposite of Rosé
    • Can make skin-contact wine from any grape – length of time with the skins will matter to flavor and the longer the time the more likely the wine is to mask terroir
    • Length of time varies, but maceration is LONG – days, weeks, months
  • Not all are orange so it’s better to call them “skin-contact wines.”

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MACERATING WHITE JUICE WITH SKINS?

  • The wine takes on a darker colored/orange-ish white color, as well as phenols, pigment. 
  • Aromas: Bolder and more intense same grapes vinified as traditional white – like rose v red
  • Flavors: Nutty, oxidized flavor, very sour with a cider note. Can be bold, nutty, like old apples, sourdough bread

  • Textures: Dry, tannic, intense (not very pleasurable sometimes)

 

Different styles:

  • Lightest ones, are acidic, aromatic wines, with fresh apricot, herbs
  • Medium ones – slight oxidation, some acetone notes, old apple
  • Then full-bodied, boldly tannic, and often smoky, nutty, lots of VA, off notes

 

Regions: 

  • The Republic of Georgia: Qvervi—underground vessels sealed with beeswax or oil soaked clothes. The practice of skin contact whites likely originated here 6,000 or more years ago (the practice still goes on today, although the Greeks and Romans quickly realized the best wines were those from free-run juice/whites not macerated, which is our "traditional" style today). Rkatsiteli is the main grape

 

  • Italy: Winemakers from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Stanko Radikon and Joško Gravner, made ramato “copper-colored” wines from Ribolla Gialla Tocai Friulano, Pinot Grigio. Brought skin-contact wines to prominence. It inspired a new era of experimentation throughout the region and elsewhere
    • Sicilian producers: Cos, I Vigneri 

 

  • Slovenia: Goriska Brda in Slovenia has a long history of skin contact wine

 

  • United States
    • Long Island: Channing Daughters, Shinn Estate
    • California: Some Sonoma

 

  • Others: Australia – Sauvignon Blanc, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France

 

Food Pairing: Skin Contact wine is versatile with food pairing but it depends on the weight and the treatment of the wine (length of maceration, barrel v. stainless steel, etc). 

  • Serving temps – 50 – 55˚ warmer side

 

Don't forget to order your Wine For Normal People book today too!!

 ____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

 

 

Aug 13, 2019
Ep 288: Martinborough, NZ and the Glory of Wellington Wine Country with Simone Madden-Grey
46:03

No, it's not a typo: Martinborough is a quality enclave in the larger Wellington Wine Country of New Zealand, which we discuss in depth in this episode. Simone Madden-Grey returns to tell us about the stunning Pinot Noir, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, up and coming Syrah, and other excellent Wellington wines that must be on your radar!

 

Here are the show notes:

Wellington Wine Country Overview

  • In 2016 three wine regions of the Wairarapa Valley in the lower north island formally launched Wellington Wine Country: Masterton, Gladstone, and Martinborough
  • The area is small -- just 3% of national plantings and 1% of national production, but represents 10% of producers

 

Location

  • The southern part of New Zealand's North Island
  • 35 miles (55km) north-east of Wellington (1 hr drive), New Zealand's capital city, in a wide river valley between Rimutaka mountain range and eastern Wairarapa hills

 Climate/Terroir

  • Semi-maritime, dry climate – rain shadow of the Tararua Ranges with blustery winds
  • Cool spring and autumn seasons, hot summer days with cool nights - long growing season
  • Martinborough Terrace: a crescent shaped area on the edge of a river terrace formed by the Ruamahunga and Huangarua rivers with gravel soils that drain well and stress the vines (in a good way)
  • Mountain ranges and hills
    • Remutaka and Tararua Ranges to the west protect from winds off Tasman Sea
    • Aorangi Ranges, western mountain ranges protect area from cold southerly winds coming in off the Cook Strait and together with the western moutnain ranges, also funnel cool breezes up from the Cook Strait

Soil

  • River terraces in Martinborough with pockets of clay and quartz-threaded greywacke (type of coloured sedimentary sandstone formed by river deposits) and volcanic basalt.
    • Alluvial soils can be up to 15m deep in Martinborough

Climate

  • Semi-maritime climate with high sunshine hours, cool Springs and Autumns, warm Summers
  • Warm, low rainfall, relatively long, dry growing season, low humidity and low disease pressure
  • Diurnal variation: Summer temps during the day 30˚C (86˚F) to 10˚C (50˚F) at night
  • Frost is an issue, very windy at times throughout the year, particularly in spring

 

Sub Regions: North to south

  • Masterton: Largest town in Wairarapa,first area grapes were planted in the region. Known for Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir

 

  • Gladstone: Just south of Masterton, free-draining river terraces - Shallower terraces than of Martinborough and nearby. Clay pockets – planted Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc with high aromatics.

 

  • Martinborough – about 30 wineries: Colonial village is surrounded by small vineyards, family-owned producers – highly respected boutique wineries. Lowest rainfall of any area in the North Island and reliably cool climate for Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling and other aromatic whites.

 

  • Te Muna: Southeast of the township with stonier alluvial gravel soils, windier growing conditions and a slightly cooler climate than Martinborough. Escarpment and Craggy Range are here.

Wine Style: Red, white, sparkling (usually Methode Traditionnelle), rosé and sweet wines are all produced in the region

  • Pinot Noir: Thicker skins and smaller yields contribute an aromatic, savory, dark fruited profile with good acidity and potential for age.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: leading white grape variety, very important for export. More herbaceous and citrus driven, with mineral notes -- less of the big fruit style of Marlborough
  • Pinot Gris: Trying to coax a spicier, more complex style with pear and white stone fruit characters 
  • Chardonnay: For the last decade growers pick earlier to attain lower alcohol, more natural acidity -- lighter less tropical style.  Varying degrees of new oak and use of MLF, lees contact and stirring, but the goal is elegance
  • Riesling: Good acidity, very lemon-lime in flavor
  • Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Syrah and some Bordeaux varieties

The producer list!

  • High-profile small producers: Ata Rangi, Margrain, Dry River, Escarpment, Te Kairanga, Martinborough Vineyard
  • Paddy Borthwick in Gladstone
  • Larger but still good producers: Palliser, Craggy Range
  • Second labels:
    • Martinborough Vineyard’s "Te Tera"  (UK, NZ, Oz only)
    • Palliser "Pencarrow" (UK, NZ, Oz only)
    • Escarpment "The Edge" (UK, NZ, Oz only)

 

_________________________________________ 

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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! 

 

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.

 

Coravin 

Coravin is the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too. For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more!

 

M.M. LaFleur       

If you’ve wondered about these clothes, as I have, I’m here to tell you PULL THE TRIGGER! They are beautiful!! The M.M.LaFleur collection is designed by co-founder Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer of Zac Posen. M.M.LaFleur offers personal styling to help you find the best pieces for your body and lifestyle. Right now, new customers can enjoy $25 towards their first purchase or Bento Box with the code WINE. Visit mmlafleur.com/wine for more details and to redeem this gift.

 

Aug 09, 2019
Bonus Sponsored Ep: Greg Lambrecht, Inventor of Coravin
37:24

 This episode is sponsored by Coravin, the first and only tool in the world that lets you pour wine without removing the cork. You can pour wine in any amount and preserve what’s left of the bottle for weeks, months of even years. Thousands of wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers, around the world have tested and trust Coravin with their wines and it will change the way you drink wine too.

Although sponsored by Coravin, this is the same as any other interview show! Don't miss it!

Greg Lambrecht is the inventor, founder and board member of Coravin™ along with a number of other medical device companies. Greg holds a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds numerous patents in the fields of gynecology, general surgery, cardiology, and orthopedics. 


Greg is one of those great minds you come across every now and then -- creative, structured, smart, unhindered by things that seem impossible. You'll love learning about Coravin and how he made an enormous difference in the wine industry by taking off the guardrails of staid industry thinking and solved a problem wine drinkers the world around grapple with -- sometimes you just want one darn glass without opening a bottle! 

 Here are some of the topics we cover:  

  1. We talk about how a guy like Greg was as a child, and what it really means to be "mission-driven"

 

  1. Greg tells us about his journey into wine and how, while the rest of the dads of the world just drank too much or drank skunky wine while their wives were pregnant, he got busy inventing Coravin!

  2. Greg tells us all about the development process and some awesome stories about stuff that happened as he was developing today's Coravin

  3. Greg and I talk about the weird quirks of the wine industry and how being outside of it helped inspire his enormous creativity


  4. We get geeky on the details of how Coravin works. Greg sets me straight on Argon gas and why it doesn't work when I spray the stuff in the bottle but DOES work in Coravin.


  5. We talk about the next frontier for Coravin: screwcaps and sparkling! 

 

For a limited time, visit Coravin.com and enter NORMAL at checkout to get $20 off your purchase of $50 of more.

Aug 07, 2019
Ep 287: The Grape Miniseries -- Chenin Blanc
59:18

In this episode of the Grape Miniseries, we discuss Pineau de la Loire, a.k.a, Chenin Blanc! This white grape is one of the most versatile in terms of wine styles it can make – from floral sparkling, to stunning dry and off dry versions to unctuous dessert wines. Chenin is underrated, not always treated with regard, but it has a pedigree and a class that can’t be doubted. After hearing about all it has to offer, you’ll want to run out and get a bottle ASAP!

 

Here are the show notes:

What Is Chenin Blanc?

  • It’s a high acid, white grape that makes everything from sparkling to dessert wines. When it’s grown poorly, it’s a boring neutral grape that’s used for its acidity but when grown in the right places, it can create a wine with great depth, character
  • DNA: Chenin is related to Jura’s Savagnin – parent + unknown grape
  • French grape scientist – Pierre Galet – Chenin Blanc started in Anjou in the 9thc, moved to Touraine by the 15thc
  • 1520 – 1535 -- Grapes planted at Mount Chenin in Touraine by the Lord of Chateaux de Chenonceau and the Abbot of Cormery

 

Flavors of Chenin

  • Chenin can express terroir, winemaker ideas, vintage but at its core it has a floral, mineral, honey note. Its nuances are determined by terroir, soil type and style
  • With botrytis the wine is like peaches, honey, apricots, marzipan, quince
  • Dry or off-dry from Loire: apple, chalk that turn into honey and quince – off dry can age
  • New World, especially South Africa: tropical fruit notes, good acidity

 

Viticulture:

  • Need ripeness and good control over its vigor to get depth and complexity
  • New clonal research is being done to delay budding because the grape is prone to spring frost, increase sugar development
  • Vintage variation: growers decide on a day by day basis what style and dryness of Chenin blanc they could make

 

Winemaking

  • New World: Can be blended or do well alone, some skin contact to get different aroma, soften with malolactic, lees contact, tropical notes bc of cooler temps of fermentation
  • Old World – fermentation temps – higher (60-68˚f. 16-20˚c) so they won’t get those tropical fruit flavors that come out with cooler temps (50˚/10˚C) – no new oak/toastiness
  • Loire:Made like German white wines – low, slow fermentations in large old oak or stainless steel, no malolactic fermentation, no barriques

 

Wine regions

Loire, France 

  • Sweet appellations:Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume, Vouvray
  • Dry:Saviennières (Nicolas Joly) – concentration, flavor, longevity, climate change has made dry wine possible in most areas – although some is off-dry, tryig to become a Grand Cru of the Loire
  • Range of sweetness levels, from dry to semi-sweet to sweet: Anjou, Crémant de Loire, Coteaux de l'Aubance, Jasnières, Montlouis, Saumur, and Vouvray
  • Varied:Saumur, Vouvray, Anjou –Vouvray
  • Moelleux wines:Sweet but can be artificially sweetened, so you need a good producer – Vouvray and Quarts de Chaume the best
  • Demi sec: great acidity, with a touch of sugar sometimes seem dry b/c of the acidity

Languedoc: Crémant de Limoux, Chenin must account for at least 20% and up to 40% of the blend with Mauzac, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

 

South Africa

  • Most in Western Cape: Stellebosch, Paarl and then Swartland, Olifants River
  • Good acidity in a hot climate
  • Swartland Top Producers: Badenhorst, Mullineux, Eben Sadie (blends
  • Stellebosch Top Producers: Ken Forrester, De Morgenzon

 

United States

  • California: Used it for jug wine because it had acidity, irrigated to the hilt – high yields, 4x as high as in Loire
    • Clarksburg AVA plus, Chappellet in Napa, Leo Steen in Sonoma/Santa Ynez, Foxen in Santa Barbara
  • Washington: Yakima
  • Texas High Plains (a few hundred)
  • Long Island, New York: Paumanok

 

Other wine regions: Australia,New Zealand, Argentina blended with Chardonnay, Mexico and Canada, and India and Thailand grow it too!

 

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