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Wine for Normal People

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #26 in Food category

Arts
Education
Food
Hobbies
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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.

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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.

iTunes Ratings

745 Ratings
Average Ratings
603
79
25
18
20

Great, conversational resource

By glennno - Aug 08 2019
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Found this podcast while researching a trip that would include a brief visit to Umbria. After listening to the episode about Umbrian wines, we altered our plans to extend the Umbrian portion of the trip, both to sightsee and explore the wines more, which are hard to find in the USA. Been enjoying the rest of the podcast since. Casual and informative.

Best way to learn about wine

By Robbie Mills - Aug 03 2019
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I love this podcast! Just returned from a trip to St. Emilion and the Loire Valley. I am now revisiting all I learned about wine. I have learned more by listening to this podcast than the classes and tastings in France. My confidence with wine lists in restaurants has greatly increased as has my ability to purchase wine from a store that I will actually enjoy. I recommend this podcast to everyone I know.

iTunes Ratings

745 Ratings
Average Ratings
603
79
25
18
20

Great, conversational resource

By glennno - Aug 08 2019
Read more
Found this podcast while researching a trip that would include a brief visit to Umbria. After listening to the episode about Umbrian wines, we altered our plans to extend the Umbrian portion of the trip, both to sightsee and explore the wines more, which are hard to find in the USA. Been enjoying the rest of the podcast since. Casual and informative.

Best way to learn about wine

By Robbie Mills - Aug 03 2019
Read more
I love this podcast! Just returned from a trip to St. Emilion and the Loire Valley. I am now revisiting all I learned about wine. I have learned more by listening to this podcast than the classes and tastings in France. My confidence with wine lists in restaurants has greatly increased as has my ability to purchase wine from a store that I will actually enjoy. I recommend this podcast to everyone I know.

Listen to:

Cover image of Wine for Normal People

Wine for Normal People

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

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.

Ep 111: The Southern Rhone

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This week we talk about a wine bucket list experience at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida (US), answer a listener question on decanting, and then tackle southern Rhone. We focus on the better regions of the area and tell you the secrets to drinking better than just regular, old Cotes du Rhone.

Oct 04 2014

55mins

Play

Ep 288: Martinborough, NZ and the Glory of Wellington Wine Country with Simone Madden-Grey

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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

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Aug 09 2019

46mins

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Ep 201: How to Develop Your Wine Palate

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We received two very similar listener questions so it was time to make a podcast of it! They were....

Caryn R: I am trying to learn more about aroma and taste. How does one discern that a wine has notes of pineapple and honeysuckle, for example? Is all of that really true or just marketing? Can i learn to smell and taste with more nuance?

Ted A: I'd like you to discuss palate. Can it be enhanced? How do you improve your palate? Do some people like me just not have a great palate, and it can't be improved?

We address all the questions above:

  • First we discuss the biology and building blocks of aroma
  • We talk about a number of categories of aromas from a chemical perspective (which, actually, as I look at them, remind me of names from Game of Thrones!): Esters, Pyrazines, Terpenes, and Thiols. Lots of great info on http://winefolly.com/review/where-wine-flavors-come-from/
  • We discuss some other broader smell categories and what they manifest as in wine: oak, botrytis, and the yeast brettanomyces too!
  • Then we give you some action items: 
    • How to separate broad categories: fruit v herb v earth v other stuff 
    • How to become a student of smell and flavor by paying attention
    • The importance of slowing down to experience wine and food more fully
    • How to learn what certain structure terms mean by tasting certain things

And finally, non-conventional advice like: don't buy aroma kits and stop with the blind tasting, already!

Enjoy! 

Special thanks to our sponsors:

www.hellofresh.com - use the code Wine30 to get $30 your first week of meals! 

www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/wine -- don't forget to check out: The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking for the tasting class we discuss!  

Sep 15 2017

46mins

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Ep 215: The Grape Miniseries - Syrah

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First off, we discuss Sonoma Underground, the event I'm co-producing on 24 February 2018 to showcase 15 amazing, "underground" producers in Sonoma that are hard to find, don't get the press they deserve, and make outstanding wines. Limited tickets available to you! Get yours: www.undergroundwineevents.com

Then we talk Syrah!

Syrah is one of tastiest grapes in the world but because it changes based on where it's grown, it can be a bit of a risk to buy. In this episode, we cover the fundamentals of Syrah, why it ranges in flavor and what to expect from the regions that make it.

Here are the show notes:

About the grape:

  • Many different styles, many different faces
  • Dark skinned, vigorous so have to tame it to get flavor
  • Same as Shiraz NOT the same as Petit Sirah (cross of Syrah with Peloursin)
  • Flavor depends on climate – you can’t generalize 
  • Lots of theories about its origins - but the wine is from the Rhône. It's a cross of Dureza in Ardeche and Mondeuse Blanche from Savoie 
  • Old World – plants based on total site (terroir, esp soil), New World = climate, soil less important

Top Places that grow Syrah:

  1. France
  2. Australia
  3. Languedoc
  4. Spain
  5. Italy
  6. Argentina
  7. South Africa
  8. CA
  9. Chile

 Climate:

  • Low tolerance for too much heat and too little heat
  • Buds late, ripens early – short growing season

Vinification:

  • Co-fermentation – esp with Viognier (Côte Rôtie and Australia) – no more than 5%, with Marsanne and Roussanne in Hermitage (up to 15%)
  • Stems and oak play a role

Places:

Rhône

  • Northern Rhône: 
    • General flavors – peppery when less ripe, fruity and perfumed when more ripe
    • Côte Rôtie:  floral, roasted, bacon, lavender notes
    • Hermitage: minerally, tannic, bacon, herbs
    • Cornas – fruity, heavier, less nuanced
    • Crozes –Hermitage and St-Joseph: flatter areas -- lighter, more peppery, floral, earthy, great values
  • Southern Rhône
    • Hot and dry, Syrah gets overripe – need cooler, north-facing sites to slow ripening, Grenache gets best sites, Syrah is part of the blend
  • Known as an improver variety in Languedoc and Provence with Grenache and Mourvèdre

 Australia

  • Much hotter than Rhône – heavier styles
  • Barossa: Benchmark Shiraz– chocolaty, dark fruit
    • Best versions are dry-farmed
  • Victoria, Canberra, Western Australia - More Rhône-like versions 
  • McLaren Vale: Different styles often like milk chocolate
  • Clare Valley: dark cherry
  • Sometimes blended with Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Penfolds Grange is the most famed version 
  • Check out the podcasts with Simone Madden-Gray for more info!

 United States:

  • California: Dry Creek Valley, Paso, Central Coast areas, some Napa as GSMs or alone.  
  • Washington State: Some are big and full of plum, cooler sites in Yakima very nice with bacon. Outstanding in Walla Walla

Chile:

  • Colchagua – warm, fruity
  • San Antonio Valley – Limari and Elqui – lean with some fruit but not over the top 

South Africa

  • Swartland is the best – fruity, spicy, but restrained

New Zealand

  • Needs hotter sites: Gimlet Gravels in Hawkes Bay, some in Marlborough

Italy

  • Sicily, versions from Planeta, Used in Super Tuscans

Thanks to this week's sponsor who makes the podcast possible!

The Great Courses Plus -- who makes you smarter and more well rounded! With thousands of outstanding video lectures that you can watch or listen to any time and anywhere, The Great Courses Plus is an easy way to stimulate your brain and make you smarter! For a free  trial, go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/wine

Jan 13 2018

44mins

Play

Ep 099: What is Tannin?

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You may think you know everything you need to know about tannin but in what could be our dorkiest podcast yet, we share a bunch of nerdy facts about tannin. And the show outline:

What are tannins?

  • They're the stuff that makes your mouth feel dry or pucker after you drink a red wine or a white that’s been aged in oak.
  • They are polyphenols – Chemical compounds in reds that easily bind to stuff, change often 
  • They affect color, flavor, and structure of the wine and act as a preservative – tannic wines can be cellared for a long time
  • They are Important in food and wine pairing – protein helps minimize tannins

Where do tannins come from?:

  • Found in skin, stems, seeds or from barrels or wood chips (tannin powder in the cheap wine)
  • Some words on tanning leather and how tannins impact animal skins
  • Vineyard management and winemaking

We then cover tannic food and high tannin wines including the big four:

  • Nebbiolo
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Tannat
  • Syrah

Enjoy and please drop any comments or questions here or on Facebook or Twitter!

Mar 02 2014

40mins

Play

Ep 125: The Difference Between Napa and Bordeaux Reds

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Apart from the obvious (which, M.C. Ice states): there's an ocean and a continent separating them, what IS the difference between the Caberet Sauvignon based wines of Napa and those of Bordeaux (Left Bank). Here are the things we address:

  • Latitude -- Bordeaux is at 45˚ and Napa is at 38˚ and it makes a difference
  • Terrain -- the Left Bank is on a high plateau, near rivers, and is on gravel and clay. Napa is in a valley with big mountains flanking it on each side and Bay and Ocean providing cooling influences
  • Soil -- the Left Bank is relatively uniform. Napa contains half of the soil types that exist on earth
  • Flavors -- Bordeaux is more earthy, Napa more fruity
  • Blends -- Merlot factors into Bordeaux in a more significant way

Enjoy and for more information visit www.winefornormalpeople.com

Mar 28 2015

33mins

Play

Bonus Sponsored Ep: Greg Lambrecht, Inventor of Coravin

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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 or 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

37mins

Play

Ep 211: The Grape Miniseries -- Sangiovese

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This week, we revive the Grape Miniseries from podcasts of old to bring you: Sangiovese! The star of Central Italy that does amazing things when taken care of. 

Here are the notes:

History of Sangiovese

  • Spotty history -- probably has existed a long time but wasn't mentioned until the 1500s.
  • The name likely comes from the monks in Santarcangelo di Romagna at foot of Monte Giove, who chose the name of sanguis Jovis when forced to call wine by name other than vino. It could have also come from the ancient language of Etruscans, who used similar to words for an offer to the gods

Grape origins

  • Probably from Sicily and Calabria – in 16th century there were grape exchanges between northern and southern Italian regions
  • A cross of two reds: Ciliegiolo and Calabrese di Montenuovo

Climate, land, soil

  • Needs warmth to ripen, but not too much
  • Ripens better in Montalcino than Chianti – nights are warmer, less rainfall in Montalcino
  • Chianti –  only 10% of the land good for cineyards
  • Maremma – rich, broad, hot with short growing season. High alcohol, low aroma
  • Autralia – Canberra in NSW, other warm areas show promise
  • California – more intense sunlight, different character
  • Soils –Tuscan soil is varied. The best for Sangiovese is galestro and albarese
    • Soils are a challenge for New World Sangiovese winemakers

Winemaking

  • Important to get ripeness in the vineyard
  • Traditional aging in large casks of Slavonian oak or Chestnut
  • Modern styles use small French oak barriques
  • Sangiovese is often blended – Canaille Nero, Coloring, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah are popular partners
    • Sangio needs extra color, richness – low in acylated anthocyanins means light color

Sangiovese Flavors

  • Light juicy wine or huge complex ones or harsh
  • Traditional wines: cherries, violets, tomatoe, herbs, tea-like notes, high acid, high tannin, not fruity
  • International wines: vanilla, spice, oak, dark fruit, higher alcohol

Return of the Clones: 

  • Clones – color, flavor, concentration of fruity, 102 clones of Sangiovese
  • 1988 – Chianti Classico Conzorzio with Universities of Pisa and Florence– launched Chianti Classsico 2000 project to improved quality

Found in:

  • Italy: Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Puglia, Sicily, Umbria
  • US: Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara. Washington State, New Mexico
  • Other North America: Mexico, Ontario, BC
  • Australia – growing
  • Other New World: NZ, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc

The difference in Tuscan wines using Sangiovese:

  • Maremma: dark black fruit, herbal
  • Chianti Classico – cooler – sour cherry, red berry, violet, tea leaf
  • Brunello di Montalcino – 100% Sangiovese, different depending on where it's grown in the appellation
  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano –  earthy, rich, lovely
  • Emilia-Romagna – dark, dense, richer than Tuscan versions
  • Marche – Rosso Piceno, Rosso Conero – usually blended with Montepulciano – can be gloppy
  • Umbria -- fuller, denser than Tuscan versions

Thanks to our sponsors this week! 

For a free month of amazing video lectures from The Great Courses Plus, go to my special URL: thegreatcoursesplus.com/wine

Storyworth: Sign up through my special URL and receive $20 off! 

storyworth.com

Dec 09 2017

54mins

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Ep 102: Wines of Piedmont, Italy

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We return from our baby and massive home renovation hiatus with a hugely important region in the wine world -- Piedmont, Italy.We cover the major reds and whites, including Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, Arneis, Gavi, and Moscato. This should give you a good base for exploring this region that has a ton of great wines to offer but may be a little daunting to figure out!

Jun 18 2014

40mins

Play

Ep 143: The Red Blend Trend

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In this episode we talk about the enormous and growing popularity (in North America) of red blends.We discuss:

  1. The stats on red blends in the US and their explosive growth, especially at the low end
  2. The marketing gimmicks around the trends, including the fascinating names the large companies have come up with from "InspiRed" to "The Troublemaker."
  3. The flavor profile of most blends and the differences between them and varietal wines. 
  4. The benefits of blends and the names of some very famed blends.
  5. The difference between "intentional blends" and "kitchen sink" blends. Along with the sweetness factor.
  6. My opinion on the importance of back label copy to help explain the blend better
  7. A run down of the potential winners and losers of the trend

Thanks for listening! Enjoy!

Oct 15 2015

31mins

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Episode 003 Oak and Wine - What’s the big deal?

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Elizabeth and Rick cover everything you ever wanted to know about oak and its influence on wine, and then some. Plus, we define a few fancy wine terms to throw around at your next dinner party. Show Notes: News - New Zealand sets a lofty goal Shout out to Bosman van der Merwe Oak - The what, why, and how Flavor profiles, aging, and the good vs. bad uses of oak Some fun wine terminology Grape of the Week: Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio Elizabeth’s radical proposition for Pinot Gris Differences in flavor profiles for Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio (lemon water, anyone?) Next week: Trendy wines Sponsored by the free Hello Vino mobile app (iPhone & Android) More at the Wine for Normal People blog Tweet This [...]

Jan 22 2011

36mins

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Ep 287: The Grape Miniseries -- Chenin Blanc

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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!

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!

Halpern Financial

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Go to halpernfinancial.com/wine for more information!

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.

Jul 30 2019

59mins

Play

Ep 059: Bordeaux Part 1

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After catching up on shoutouts, talking about my debut on national TV (see this clip from The Weather Channel!), and doing our regular banter, this week we get started on the huge topic of Bordeaux.
We just scratch the surface of why Bordeaux is such a big deal, talking about:
Stats that will explain why the area is so significant in the wine world
The history of Bordeaux and how it became so important in wine
The basics on geography — the differences between the left and right banks
A near end to Bordeaux: phylloxera and a dorky discussion of clones, grafting, and grape species
This is just the beginning. Next week we continue on Bordeaux, discussing the four most important things you need to know to get up to speed.
If you like the podcast, please pass it on to your friends, review it on iTunes, drop a comment below, or join the awesome conversation on Facebook (Wine For Normal People page) and Twitter @normalwine! And if you’ve got a question you want us t [...]

Oct 19 2012

27mins

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Ep 228: The Greats - Châteauneuf-du-Pape

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We begin a new series on the great wines of the world. Every so often we will profile one of the greatest wines on earth, talking about the history, the terroir, and why these wines are so special. We begin with the Southern Rhône gem: Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Here are some of the notes from the show:

The Greats: Chateauneuf du Pape

  • Variable Appellation in southern Rhone that makes about 1 MM cases per year
  • Expensive and great because: tastes great, limited supply, and expensive winemaking techniques 
  • Profile: Rich spicy, full-bodied reds – product of Warm-climate viticulture. Can be tannic or jammy, White and (rare) rose are made too
  • The new generation in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is ambitious, quality minded and eager to show that their wines are worth the money. They keep some traditional ways of making the wine but are not afraid to use modern techniques as well.
  • The wine is consumed relatively young -5-6 years after bottling 

Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Location

  • In southeastern France/Southern Rhône about 2 miles/3 km east of Rhône river and 12 km/7.5 miles north of Avignon
  • Communes: Bedarrides, Courthezon, Orange, Sorgues

History: “Pope’s new castle” is translation

  • Pope Clement V Bertrand de Got, was elected pope in 1305. He transferred the papacy to Avignon in 1309.
  • Successor John XXII credited with developing papal vineyard in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, also developed Papal palace in Avignon
  • Following schism -- CndP and Avignon went back to countryside, wine was not important here until the 18th c (1700s)
  • Popes left, castle passed to the archbishop of Avignon, but it was too large and too expensive to maintain
  • La Nerthe or La Neste first in 1785 had an estate bottling
  • 1787 Thomas Jefferson was in the region and didn’t taste the wines – not relevant at that point
  • Phylloxera hit CndP right after it hit Gard in the Languedoc – devastating. Production not up to pre-phylloxera levels until the 1950s

Grapes

  • 90% is red wine, used to add white to add freshness to red
  • Today typical blend:
    • 50-70% Grenache
    • 10-30% Mourvedre
    • Up to 20% Syrah Cinsault Counoise and Vaccarese
    • Up to 10% Clairette, Picpoul, and Bourboulenc (whites)
  • Reds: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picpoul noir, Terret noir
  • Whites: Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picardin
  • Others: Clairette Rosé, white and pink Picpoul and Grenache)

The Land: Variation – soils, mix of grapes, mesoclimates, differences in vinification 

  • Soils: Some large pebbles – galets –in many vineyards. Retain heat, good for low, bush-trained vineyards (gobelet). Mainly varied soils –some calcareous, some rocky
    • Most own parcels in varied areas – blending
  • Climate: Hotter sites – tough when young, concentrated. South facing slopes can be too hot, especially with heat retaining pebbles. Blends from different subzones – work best, some single vineyards (can be too big)

Top producers:

  • Chateau Rayas
  • Chateau de Beaucastel (Hommage à Jacques Perrin, Roussanne Vieilles Vignes
  • Domaine Henri Bonneau (Réserve des Célestins and Cuvee Marie Beurrier)
  • Domaine de Marcoux – 2 sisters run it (Cuvée Vieilles Vignes), biodynamic
  • Clos de Papes
  • Domaine de Pegaü – classically styled wines (Cuvee Laurence)
  • Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe
  • Les Cailloux (Cuvee Centenaire)

Recent great vintages: 2005, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2016

Please support our (delicious) sponsor, HelloFresh:

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For $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit www.hellofresh.com and enter WINE30. You won't regret it! 

Apr 14 2018

51mins

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Ep 107: The Northern Rhône

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This week we cover a bit about the Rhône Valley and then discuss specifics of the 8 communes of the Northern Rhône and what they have to offer. 

From north to south, the communes are:

1. Côte Rotie

2. Condrieu

3. Château Grillet

4. St. Joseph

5. Crozes-Hermitage

6. Hermitage

7. Cornas

8. St-Peray

and we throw in Clairette de Die for good measure! Some of my favorite wines are from here, so I hope you like the podcast! 

Aug 18 2014

41mins

Play

Ep 272: The Greats -- Rioja, Spain

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

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

Thanks to our sponsors this week: 

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

Last Bottle

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

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

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

Here are the show notes:

Overview

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

History:

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

Geography:

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

Grapes:

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

Type of Wine:

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

Viticulture:  

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

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

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

Apr 13 2019

52mins

Play

Ep 163: Getting to Know White Wines

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White wines often get dismissed as being less complex than reds but that's hardly the case. In this episode we review aromatic v non aromatic whites and how to navigate whites to find styles & grapes that will give you a new appreciation for these wines.

Specifically we talk about:

  • Aromatic wines -- what aromas they exhibit, regions you'll most likely find them and how they are made. 
  • We talk about the merits of aromatic v non aromatic wines
  • We discuss aromatic grapes: Albariño, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Torrontés, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Fiano and more

A good primer on whites and their breadth and depth! 

Jul 14 2016

34mins

Play

Ep 245: What is Acidity?

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Acidity is one of the key components of wine, along with tannin, alcohol and sugar/dryness. This is a completely dorky look at acidity -- what it does, why it's important, and then dive into different types of acid and why it matters.

Here are the show notes: 

The Basics:

  1. It’s one of the four elements of a wine’s structure: acidity with tannin, alcohol, sugar/dryness
  2. It makes wine tart or sour 
  3. All wines are acidic (whites and reds, dry and sweet), but the degree varies from a real and perception perspective
  4. Acidity is in both grapes and in wine and it changes with winemaking
  5. Euphemisms: bright, crisp, racy, nervy

What acidity does 

  1. Influences wine color 
  2. Balances sweetness, tannin/bitter sensation, aromas, mouthfeel
  3. Low acid wines – no body, weak, flabby, brown in color
  4. Protects the wine from spoilage, helps it age – stabilizes because spoilage bacteria can’t grow in high acid environments
  5. Food and wine
    1. Great with acidic food – makes it smoother
    2. Contrasts/cuts the fat and lightens the dish up
    3. Sweet wine needs acidity

Climate/place

  1. Cooler climates have grapes with higher acidity. Slow ripening will preserve acidity
  2. Warmer climates need to add acid BACK through a winemaking technique – acidification
  3. Acidity is a HUGE harvest consideration

Dork Out Section

About Acid

  1. Types of Acid – in grapes: Tartaric (unique to grapes), Malic (fades fast), Citric (in small concentrations). In wine: Succinic, acetic (volatile acidity), lactic (milky acid)
  2. We discuss pH v Total Acidity and the relationship between them
  3. Malolactic fermentation: bacteria convert sugar and malic acid into lactic acid. Softer acidity than strong malic, wine is less acidic post MLF

Acidity Measurement

  1. pH – Strength of the acid – 0 – 14, water is 7. Wines are usually from 2.9 -4.0. pH scale is logarithmic, meaning a wine with a pH of 3.0 is 10 times more acidic than a wine with a pH of 4.0.
  1. Total Acidity/Titratable Acid – total of ALL Acids present, important to look at both

Acid is important -- pay attention and you'll see just how much!

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

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

Last Bottle

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

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

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

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Sep 08 2018

55mins

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Ep 072: Burgundy Overview

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We have a lot of regions and countries to cover in the future, but since the concept of terroir began with and is defined by Burgundy, we really needed to get on it!

Since this podcast is 100% based on the “A Primer on Burgundy: The 5 Things You Need To Know” I’m not going to do show notes…It’s all there.

The only thing I’ll add is that this episode is dedicated to the Sammarco family who suffered a great loss in Hurricane Sandy, and to whom we send our prayers, thoughts, and deepest sympathies.

Thanks to our sponsor, audible.com.
Get a FREE audiobook download at www.audibletrial.com/winefornormalpeople. There are more than 100,000 titles to choose from, including some great wine books, for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

And thanks for listening! We can’t wait to hear from you! If you’ve got a question you want us to answer, post it we& [...]

Mar 15 2013

44mins

Play

Ep 166: Our List of the Most Underrated Wines

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The list of wines that are underrated, overlooked, and great values! Some are mainstream, some less so but all fabulous. From Syrah to Chenin Blanc to Sherry and many in between, this should give you some great ideas of what to buy! 

And here's the list!

  1. Dessert wines of any type:
    • Vintage Port, Ruby or Tawny Port, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Banyuls (red), stickies from Australia, sweet Riesling from Germany, Tokaji from Hungary -- all enormous values!
  1. Chenin Blanc: Aromatic, complex, high in acid, great off dry or dry.
    • Vouvray, Saviennieres, and some South African Chenins are outstanding. Napa's Chappellet and Long Island's Paumaunok make great US versions.
  1. Blaüfrankisch (Austria)/Lemberger (Germany): Spicy with black pepper and cinnamon, it makes your mouth feel alive. Medium bodied, cherry-like, interesting, not the same old same old.
  1. GERMAN and ALSACE Riesling and all Alsace whites: Well priced versions for under $20 - $25. Thierry Thiese is always a winning importer in the US.
    • German Riesling: Range of wines for range of cuisines – off dry, dry, semi-sweet – great with spice, great with cheese, great with fish (fuller styles). Dimension, -- floral to citrusy, peachy to minerally, petrol (gasoline) to fruit-bowl like always balanced with acidity
    • ALSACE whites: No secret that I love them. Soft, full, flavorful, great with food. Riesling, Gewurz, Pinot Gris, Muscat – all have an unctuous quality.
  1. Portuguese reds
    • Reds from Douro or Dão: Touriga Nacional is the main grape, they contain the grapes of Port but are dry. Complex, dark and red fruit, earthy, range from medium to full. Versatile and usually CHEAP!
    • Bairrada (Baga):  is amazing when made well and becoming more available.

An honorable mention for the Mencía grape from Bierzo, which is amazing and usually underpriced

  1. White Bordeaux
    • Best are Semillon majority with Sauv Blanc and Muscadelle. Look for top wines from Graves or Pessac-Leognan.
  1. Loire Cabernet Franc
    1. Medium bodied, earthy, tea-like, with red and black fruit. Acidic. Lots of dimension and real depth – even though it’s lighter in style.
    2. Chinon, Bourgueil, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Touraine are top areas (not mentioned but also one to check out: Saumur-Champigny. It can be overpriced but good versions are pleasant)

Another honorable mention: Loire Muscadet, from a single vineyard or great producer is less than $20 and can be floral with a bready quality (when the bottle says sur lie) and when from a great producer.

  1. Syrah: Full, spicy, rich, peppery, perfumed, herbal, lavender, savory
    • Northern Rhône, South Africa, Central Coast, Washington State, Australia (Shiraz)
  1. Langhe Nebbiolo: Earthy, tar and roses, can be acidic and tannic, lots of gravitas in the right hands and great with food. 
    • No one knows WTF it is but it can be like a baby Barbaresco or Barolo. Its unpopular because people are unaware of it. Very well priced.
  1. Sherry: A perfect aperitif, underpriced for what it is. Another one to surprise guests with – the nutty factor of an Amontillado will win friends and influence people 
    1. The range is incredible (this is just a sample of the types available -- there are many more!)
      1. Fino: dry and like olives and almonds
      2. Manzanilla: Nutty and salty -- like a richer Fino
      3. Amontillado: Aged 8+ years, almond and walnut character. Rich, dry
      4. Oloroso: Oxidized, richer, complex, like alcohol infused walnuts, dry.
      5. PX/Pedro Ximenez: sweet, raisined, nutty, full, and amazing on top of vanilla ice cream.

What do you think? Do you like the list? Have you had any of these? Will you try any? Drop a comment and let us know!

Aug 15 2016

43mins

Play

Ep 305: Gaia Gaja on the Past and Future of Barbaresco and Piedmont, Italy

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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

42mins

Play

Ep 304: Hightower Cellars, Red Mountain, Washington, and an Honest Look at WA Wine

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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 (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.

Dec 02 2019

59mins

Play

Ep 303: Alternative Wines For Thanksgiving Pairing

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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

35mins

Play

Ep 302: The Insider View of Long Island Wine with Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane Wine

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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

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

Nov 13 2019

1hr 8mins

Play

Ep 301: Sheldrake Point Winery -- Refreshing Candor (and wine) in the Finger Lakes

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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

39mins

Play

Ep 300: A Past, Present, and Future look at Wine, for Normal People

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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

49mins

Play

Ep 299: Texas Wine Country with the Wineries of Texas Fine Wine

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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 McInnis, 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

58mins

Play

Ep 298: The Transformation of Loudoun County, Virginia -- The Vineyards at Lost Creek

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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

47mins

Play

Ep 297: Anthony Road Wine Company -- a Legend in the Finger Lakes Region of New York

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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

1hr 10mins

Play

Ep 296: Boundary Breaks of the Finger Lakes, Where Terroir Reigns Supreme

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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

51mins

Play

Ep 295: Sleight of Hand- Washington State's Wine Magic

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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

1hr 10mins

Play

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

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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

42mins

Play

Ep 293: Afton Mountain Vineyards Proves Why Virginia Wine is So Unique

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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

50mins

Play

Ep 292: The Secret, Stunning Wine of Swartland, South Africa

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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

43mins

Play

Ep 291: Vinho Verde (has so much more to it than you know!)

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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

33mins

Play

Ep 290: Theresa Breuer of Georg Breuer Represents Rheingau, Riesling, and the New Face of German Wine

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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

58mins

Play

Ep 289: Orange (Skin Contact) Wines

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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
  • Listen to the Georgia Podcast!

  • Italy: Most prominent in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, often called  ramato “copper-colored” wines from Pinot Grigio but Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano are often used. 
    • Fruili producers who re-started the orange wine movement: Radikon, Gravner
    • Sicilian producers: Cos, I Vigneri 

  • 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

44mins

Play

Ep 288: Martinborough, NZ and the Glory of Wellington Wine Country with Simone Madden-Grey

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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!

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Aug 09 2019

46mins

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Bonus Sponsored Ep: Greg Lambrecht, Inventor of Coravin

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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 or 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

37mins

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Ep 287: The Grape Miniseries -- Chenin Blanc

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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!

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!

Halpern Financial

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

Go to halpernfinancial.com/wine for more information!

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.

Jul 30 2019

59mins

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