Wine for Normal People

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

Wine for Normal People


    • Jul 5, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 42m AVG DURATION
    • 465 EPISODES

    Listeners of Wine for Normal People that love the show mention: best wine podcast, world of wine, learn about wine, wine world, sommelier, wine education, new wines, elizabeth breaks, elizabeth does a great job, wine drinker, wine knowledge, somms, bartending, wine podcasts, terroir, good wine, wine regions, normal person, like wine, wine lovers.



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    Latest episodes from Wine for Normal People

    Ep 432: Agroforestry -- An Answer to Wine's Biggest Environmental Challenges with Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier of Château Anthonic in Moulis-en-Médoc

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2022 57:15

    Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier of Château Anthonic in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux is revolutionizing the entire Médoc with a novel approach to farming and adapting to climate change: Agroforestry. This show talks about the practice and the unbelievable results that can be achieved by farming in this way. It will inspire hope that there is a future for viticulture, even in areas where there is great climate change.   Photo: Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier Château Anthonic Château Anthonic is in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. It is owned and operated by Jean-Baptiste and Nathalie Cordonnier. They make very classically styled, delicious (and relatively low alcohol) red wine from mainly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Château Anthonic Since 2016, Jean-Baptiste and his team have practiced agroforestry –trying to mimic the soils and conditions of the forest to enrich soil health and encourage the vines to return to a state where they are part of an eco-system, with fungi, trees, wildlife, and healthy micro-organisms. Using very specialized cover crops, they have managed to lower soil temperatures and keep sugar levels under control by practicing the tenets he discusses.   May people claim to do great things, but Jean-Baptise is the real deal. If there is anything that will inspire hope that human ingenuity and nature may help us out of bad times to come, this show is it.   Here are the topics we discussed:   Jean-Baptiste tells us about his very different educational background, which led him to tackle environmental issues in the way he does today. Forestry, not viticulture, was the foundation of his education (and we should all be grateful for that!)   We get a good background on Moulis-en-Médoc – the terroir, the diversity, and where Château Anthonic is located. We discuss the blue clay, which makes up 70% of his vineyard Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Blue Clay Château Anthonic  Then we get into the details of just how we have gotten into the predicament in farming that we have today. Jean-Baptiste explains the phases that humans have gone through to deplete the earth through farming (inadvertently and through a series of bad decisions). He addresses how “the new guest in the dance”, climate change has sped up the need for a solution. Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Château Anthonic  We get into the nuts and bolts of agroforestry and how hedges, trees, and grasses in the vineyard are the keys to bringing back fungi and mico-organisms that are vital to making the land healthier and, ultimately, to maintaining the style of Bordeaux that many of us love. He also addresses the economics of the vineyard, and how planting trees has actually given him 2% MORE yield in his vineyard, despite the trees taking out two rows per hectare.     Jean-Baptiste shares the results of his years of agroforestry practices: lower alcohol and more acidity in his grapes, less water stress, and more balanced wines. He is too modest to really brag, but he has trained first and second growth chateaux on the practices of agroforestry, as well as many other prestigious chateaux in the Médoc and beyond. Many are implementing his methods in their vineyards.   Jean-Baptiste leaves us with a message of hope – viticulture is not doomed, Bordeaux is a phoenix, and the rapidity with which change has come means the future is bright for this warming and changing climate, regardless of what nonsense naysayers may spout. Photo: (C) Wine for Normal People, Château Anthonic    ________________________ From our Sponsors... Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.    If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 431: The Grape Mini-Series -- Sémillon

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 27, 2022 46:57

    Sémillon used to be the most planted white grape in the world. From its native home in France to Australia, Chile, South Africa, Argentina, and beyond, it was planted en masse to pump out large quantities of flavorless bulk white wine. The problem was that Sémillon doesn't cooperate when it's forced to high yields. It loses acidity and it lacks flavor unlike some other grapes that can still muster some umph when over-cropped (Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Colombard, to name three).  For this reason, plantings were replaced and the grape became unpopular. Photo: Sémillon, Bordeaux.com  Today it is grown in limited quantities but two distinct areas– Sauternes/Barsac and Pessac-Leognan in Bordeaux and the Hunter Valley of Australia --  create wines that are incredibly specific and unique. Demand and fascination with these iconic wines means that cultivation of this grape is not doomed!   Here are the show notes: The origins of the grape Although we don't know the parentage, we do know the grape is from southwestern France. It is likely from Bordeaux Until the 1700s, producers were only using the grape in Sauternes (at this point it was already a sweet wine, as records from 1717-1736 at the local abbey show) Later, it was found in St-Emilion, from which it derives its name. The name most likely comes from Selejun – the local pronunciation of Saint-Emilion     Sémillon in the vineyard A thick-skinned grape, part of the reason it was so widely planted was that this feature makes Sémillon pretty resistant to molds and mildews (although, thankfully not botrytis). This feature of the grape helps make it easy to grow and it can be quite vigorous, which is why it was so used and abused in the past! The grape buds later and ripens earlier than its blending partner, Sauvignon blanc, and this short growing window means it is not as susceptible to spring or autumn frosts The grape is versatile on soil types – it can thrive on gravel, calcareous clay, sand, and other types making it incredibly adaptable Fully ripe Sémillon will have big yellow to nearly copper colored berries Low yields are best Château d'Yquem, the most famous Sauternes producer in the world, allegedly makes one glass per vine. The rest of Sauternes yields about 24hl/ha, and lower quality regions yield 80 -100 hl/ha. Hunter Valley in Australia – 60 hl/ha **M.C. Ice and I fully acknowledge that we have no idea what a hl/ha looks like but we use the numbers for comparison sake – ratios are still helpful, right? ** Photo: Australian Semillon, courtesy Wine Australia Climate can vary enormously and the grape can still perform: In Sauternes, special climate conditions must exist (we discuss later) Top dry white areas of Graves and Pessac-Leognan have warmer sites for Sémillon, which allows it to get fully ripe, adding lushness to the blend with Sauvignon blanc In Hunter valley, humidity with tropical storms are best! Because the area has strong cloud cover there is less direct sun so it slows photosynthesis, despite heat. The humid afternoons somehow help build acidity. The light, sandy soils that contain some loam and iron have good drainage, during rain     We discuss the growing regions for most of the remaining part of the show France: Bordeaux France grows more Sémillon than any other country and most of the plantings are in Bordeaux, specifically – Graves, Pessac-Leognan, and Sauternes 50 or so years ago, half the production in Bordeaux was white, mostly from Semillon, which traditionally made up 4/5 of any white wine in the area, sweet or white, but now has taken a backseat to Sauvignon Blanc, which offers more acidity to the wine in a warming climate  Photo: Bordeaux vineyard, Getty Images via Canva subscription   Sauternes, Barsac In Sauternes, Barsac (please see episode 369 for more info) and the sweet appellations of Cadillac, Ste Croix du Mont, Loupiac, and Cerons Sémillon is always partnered with Sauvignon blanc, which also receives botrytis well but maintains its acidity. Wines are hand harvested, with several passes through the vineyard to get the right level of botrytis, which can be patchy and can be grey rot if it developed poorly on the grapes Botrytis is a fungus that affects the grapes right when the fruit forms. It concentrates sugar and creates honeyed, apricot, mango flavors with a viscous mouthfeel from the glycerol it produces. Alcohol levels range in the region -- the minimum in Sauternes is 13% but it can well over 20% ABV For botrytis to form, a region needs foggy nights and early morning, followed by warm and sunny days. This is essential in the autumn, and is a very consistent weather pattern in the sweet wine regions of Bordeaux, which botrytized wine can be made nearly every year These wines are aged for long periods in oak barrels Some, like Chateau Climens in Barsac, are 100% Sémillon   Dry white appellations In Graves and the lighter, sandier regions of Pessac-Leognan, Sémillon is often the biggest percentage of the blend. The best versions – Haut-Brion Blanc and La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc (different Châteaux, owned by the same group = confusing, I know) – are hundreds of dollars a bottle and often have Sémillon as the main component, but it's vintage dependent In Pessac-Leognan, 25% of blend must be Sauvignon Blanc, and the trend is to favor that grape over Sémillon both because it's easier to grow, and because it has acidity. From good producers, these wines can age for decades The grape can be in Côtes de Bordeaux blancs and in basic Bordeaux blanc from better producers Sémillon adds fullness to the texture and when it is aged in oak (as is the case with Sauternes, Barsac and in Graves and Pessac-Leognan), it can have peach, mango, nuts, and toast flavors, which contrast well with Sauvignon blanc's more “green” aromas. If Sémillon is not aged in oak, it can have citrus, grass, notes without much flavor. When it is fully ripe and aged in oak, it is fat in texture with lemon and tropical fruit and has lower acidity.   Other places in France Sémillon grows... Southwest France has the sweet wine of Monbazillac (like Sauternes) and dry white of Bergerac Provence and the Languedoc, but not of any quality     Australia Makes the most distinctive dry white in Australia and was first planted in the Hunter Valley where it gained popularity for its ease to grow, high yields, and resistance to disease It went from being the workhorse grape in the 1980s, to accounting for only 3.1% of the total Australian crush today More than half of Australia's Semillon comes from the bulk New South Wales region of Riverina Hunter Valley in New South Wales The warm, humid climate of the Hunter Valley isn't conducive to most grapes but Semillon (no accent on the “e” in Australia!) changes from a grassy, lemony acidic wine into a dark yellow, nutty, honey and straw-scented viscous wine if grown and made under certain conditions To achieve this, growers pick early, before the summer rains and the grapes have very high acidity. Alcohol levels are around 10-11% ABV, and most of the wine spends no time in oak for fermentation nor for aging – it is put in stainless, fermented cold, and bottled. Wines in their youth are like Sauvignon blanc – citrus, green herbs, and straw flavors persist, with high acidity. After 5-10 years of storage the wine darkens and tastes like honey, toasted, grilled nuts and seems like it has been in an oak barrel (hasn't) – a total odd ball. Although the grapes can have some botrytis, this phenomenon is just a result of the rainy, tropical growing conditions To learn more about Hunter Valley and the Semillon, listen to ep 309, with the amazing Connie Paur Griffiths of Tranquil Vale, an excellent small producer located there Tyrells is the famous producer here (especially Vat 1 Semillon). Also Brokenwood, Silkman, Andrew Thomas    Photo: Hunter Valley Vineyard, credit Wine Australia   Western Australia: Margaret River: Popular for blends of Semillon and Sauvignon blanc You will see Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon on the bottle, the first name indicates which grape dominates the blend These wines can be made in a juicy, fruit style with no oak, or oak fermented and/or oak matured to last longer Producers: Vasse Felix, Cullen, Cape Mentelle, Leeuwin   South Australia Adelaide Hills: Wines are like white Bordeaux in that they are picked early and blended with Sauvignon Blanc to avoid oiliness, too much ripeness. They sometimes use oak, sometimes not. Charlotte Dalton is the big producer here. Barossa: Sometimes makes varietal versions that show the purity of the grape, sometimes use big oak and can be toasty and Chardonnay-esque. Producers: Torbreck, Peter Lehmann, Henschke in Eden Valley Clare Valley: Can be more refined than Barossa but still peachy with apple and citrus and fuller body. Oak influence is common. Producers: Mount Harrocks, Pauletts Riverina: Is notorious for low quality bulk wine but a pocket of it develops botrytis easily and makes high quality sweet wines: McWilliams, De Bortoli     New Zealand has a small amount of Semillon in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, and Gisbourne   South Africa Semillon was once so important it was called “greengrape” because of its bring green foliage By 1822, 93% of the vineyard land planted was Semillon. Then it was commonly just called “wine grape” but by the 1900s it began its sharp decline It is grown now in Stellenbosch, Swartland, and Franschhoek. Some areas have older bush vines. Producers like: Cederberg, Steenberg, Vergelegen , Mullineux are using more Semillon in blends with Sauvignon Blanc (some sweet, some dry versions)   United States   California Barely uses Semillon but vines that were imported in the 1880s to the Livermore Valley in northern California, were allegedly from Château d'Yquem Vines that live in the Monte Rosso vineyard in Sonoma date from 1886 and can make excellent wines. Morgon is an example Sierra Foothills: Some here, notably my friend Lorenzo Muslia of Andis makes the Bill Dillian Semillon that has great acidity but silkiness and hay, herb, and melon notes (for the podcast with Lorenzo click here) Photo: Andis Wines   Washington State Big decline in plantings and they usually a blend with Sauvignon Blanc Popular from Walla Walla producers: L'Ecole 41 – lemon curd, nut and toast notes with a pretty full body, Amavi (episode with Amavi here) – slightly more acidic and less full with more citrus and grass notes but still with a rich body     Others countries that use Sémilllon Chile: Because of the Bordeaux link, has Semillon and usually uses it for blends or Sauternes-like sweet wines. Semillon used be 75% of white vines in Chile! Argentina, Uruguay have some nice examples Canada     Food Pairing Ideas Sauternes/dessert styles: blue (Roquefort) cheese, foie gras, scallops, fruit based-dessert Lighter styles: Oysters, shellfish, white fish or chicken dishes with citrus or herbal sauces or creamy sauces, salads, goat and sheep's milk cheeses _____________________________________________ Research Sources: “Wine Grapes” by Jancis Robinson, Dr. José Vouillamoz, Julia Harding “Grapes & Wines” by Margaret Rand and Oz Clarke https://www.bordeaux.com/us/ https://www.wineaustralia.com/ Fiona Beckett – Matching Food & Wine As always, talking to people about the grape who grow it, and drinking a lot of the wine itself – Sémillon is awesome! __________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ From our Sponsors... Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.    If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes  

    Ep 430: New Insights on the Médoc from a Recent Trip

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2022 39:32

    After a recent trip to the Médoc (the left bank of Bordeaux), I came away with a whole new appreciation for the region. In this show, I share what I learned and my main takeaway is simple: when we are thinking about Médoc, never forget that there are real people behind the bottle you drink and they care what you think about the wine! It's a place of wonder, great modesty, kind people, and exceptional wine.  Here is the list of SOME of the things I learned!  Bordeaux is not “over”, “done”, “hopeless” or “doomed” for wine and we need to stop talking about that possibility (me, included). Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier from Château Anthonic in Moulis, and his ideas around agroforestry is proof of that (the podcast with him is forthcoming). As wine lovers, we need to stop buying into the clickbait and know that the Bordeaux many of us know and love will remain. There are people addressing how to adjust to the environment.   Real people live and work in the châteaux! For many of the smaller or medium chateaux, homes have been passed down over generations. Although these people have generational wealth, the chateau are their homes and they run the business from these houses. For Château owned by wealthy people or banks, the homes are more showpieces for the trade or public, but the people who head up the wineries are real people (and they are employees – like working there is their job – so they are regular, working people. Magali Guyon of Château La Cardonne and Anne Lanaour of Château Meyney – are outstanding, fun and very normal people who I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with and could talk about kids, inflation, and culture with easily). There are quite a few families that moved to Bordeaux after Algerian gained its independence from France. You can read more about that time here. The way they were treated when they came back was not great and some of their families had been in Algeria for more than 100 years, so they missed their homeland. That said, the success many had in Bordeaux was a result of hard work and determination that still shows. Château d'Arsac and Château Fonreaud/Lestage are both owned by people who came from French Algeria and both owners are highly engaged   At Château d'Arsac, Phillippe Raoux started over after being raised in Algeria   There are abandoned Châteaux in the Médoc – even in very nice places! People (generally from outside of France) either invested, thinking growing grapes was easy, or at one point had a family home but could no longer afford the upkeep so they have left the vineyards and the homes to nature.     What is a technical director? The conductor of the Orchestra (or winery! A technical director is in charge of the vineyards and the cellar. They must know everything that is going on both worlds. There is a cellar master and a vineyard manager, but the technical director is in charge of final product, and must coordinate all parts of making the wine. Magali Guyon, Technical Director at Château La Cardonne   The Chateaux owners are frustrated by their image and they care what normal people think about their wines! They want us to connect with the wines and understand that there are people behind the wines. They are not always savvy with marketing, but they want you to feel welcome to come and visit! (it isn't snooty, at least where I went but still make sure you wear nice clothes and make appointments ahead of time).   Bordeaux is right near the BEACH! You could easily plan a trip to do wine and beach. Although no one ever discusses it, it's something to think about. It's worth visiting! There's also a forest for hiking.   The FOOD is amazing, especially the seafood. But the veggies are amazing too. Fresh foods, excellent preparation.   Every appellation makes a fantastic wine that is unique. Terroir matters a lot and it varies greatly. There were 10 million year old fossils in the vineyard at Chateau st. Come in Saint-Estèphe, which used to be covered by the sea.   Vintage variation is a real thing – the place has weather and I saw some of it in action.   Related podcasts: Ep 354: A New Look At Bordeaux's Médoc -- with Château La Cardonne's Magali Guyon   Ep 389: Chateau Doyac and the Diversity of Terroir in the Haut-Medoc of Bordeaux   Ep 391: Édouard Miailhe - Dynamic leader of the Margaux AOC & 5th Generation Owner of Château Siran   Links:  Margaux visitor site Medoc visitor site   My visits: Château Anthonic, AOC Moulis en Médoc Jean-Baptiste Cordonnier   Château Siran, AOC Margaux. With Edouard Miailhe, owner Podcast:   Château d'Arsac, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Margaux, Philippe Raoux, owner.     Château Chasse Spleen, AOC Moulis en Médoc. Jean-Pierre Foubet and Céline Villars Foubet, owners.   Château Fonréaud, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, Listrac-Médoc. Jean and Marie-Hélène Chanfreau        Château Meyney, AOC Saint-Estèphe With Anne le Naour, Director     Château Livran, AOC Médoc Edwige and Olivier Michon, owners.   Château La Cardonne, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, AOC Médoc. With Magali Guyon, technical director   Château Phélan Ségur, AOC Saint-Estèphe With Véronique Dausse, director   Château Mouton Rothschild, 1er Grand Cru Classé en 1855, Pauillac.   Château Lagrange, 3rd Grand Cru Classé en 1855. Château de Côme, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, AOC Saint-Estèphe Guy Velge owner, José Bueno Director, and Maud Essertel commercial director.   Château Doyac, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur Haut-Médoc Astrid and Max de Pourtalès, owners and Clémence their daughter.   Château Gadet Terrefort, Cru Artisan, AOC Médoc Anaïs Bernard, owner   Thanks to Carole Vidal and Vins du Médoc for sponsoring my trip and for putting up with me for 5 days!    ____________________________________________________ From our Sponsors... Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.    If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes  

    Ep 429: Marchesi di Barolo - Where Modern Barolo was Created

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2022 52:51

    Although much bigger, more well-known, and a bit fancier than the people I usually speak with, I wanted to make an exception and have the family who owns Marchesi di Barolo on the show so they could explain how the modern style of Barolo was created by the winery. It's much more buttoned up, and less of the normal conversation style I usually do, but it's an essential bit of history that will help fill-in some gaps about Barolo! Marchesi di Barolo in Barolo, photo from Marchesi di Barolo's Facebook page There are a lot of historic wineries and a lot of people in wine claim to have been the first to create a wine or a technique. But this week, the Cantina that invented Barolo as we know it today - Marchesi di Barolo joins. In the mid- to late- 1800s the Marchesi di Barolo focused on the production of dry, ageworthy, complex Nebbiolo was created from a wine that Thomas Jeffereson described as: “As silky as Madeira, as astringent as Bordeaux and as brisk as Champagne”   Thankfully for those of us who love Barolo, the Marchesi had a different style in mind and created the wine as we know it today.   The current owners, the Abbona family, purchased Marchesi di Barolo and today the 6th generation is taking over the winery. Valentina Abbona joins the show to talk about the history of Barolo as a wine, and her family's long history in owning this storied place and making bottles that remain top examples of the wine created here.   Here are the notes: Valentina tells us about what it was like in Barolo in the late 1700s and early 1800s from a wine and lifestyle perspective – the polyculture that existed, and the simple, country lifestyle people led.   Marchese Carlo Tancredi Falletti and his wife, Juliette, who was of French origin, figured out how to make Barolo a dry wine, consistently. Previously, as it sat in barrels that didn't have temperature control or were placed outdoors, the fermentation did not complete before the weather got cold. The yeast froze and sugar stayed in the wine. When the juice re-commenced fermentation, carbon dioxide stayed in the wine – thus why Thomas Jefferson compared it to Champagne. The Marquesa di Barolo - Giulia di Barolo, photo from the Wine Museum of Barolo   We learn about how the Marchesa Giulia (who changed her name from Juliette to the Italian version of the name), specifically, found interest in the Nebbiolo vine and how she realized her vision for what Nebbiolo could be/the wines it could make of dry wines (using her knowledge of French wines and connections to people who could help).   We discuss how the Marchesa used her contacts to the royal courts of Europe (Piedmont was under the Kingdom of Savoy of France at the time) to popularize the wine, even sending hundreds of barrels to the king in Torino to ensure he could drink the wine daily.   We then turn to Valentina's family, the Abbonas, who have been making esteemed wine in Barolo since the late-1800s as well. When the opportunity to buy the Marchesi di Barolo occurred in 1929, Pietro Abbona, his brother, and his sisters bought the winery and began making small improvements. Davide, Valentina, Ernesto, Anna Abbona, photo from Marchesi di Barolo's Facebook page We discuss the Abbona's tradition of making single vineyard wines since 1973 and a bit about their three properties -- Cannubi, Coste di Rose, and Sarmassa.   Valentina and I have a small debate about the MGA system, which smaller producers find challenging but that some bigger producers of the area, like Marchesi di Barolo, seem to like and find useful.   Valentina talks about some of the other properties the Marchesi di Barolo owns in its 430 acre (186 ha) all over the Langhe and how they manage the land.   After a brief conversation about how long Barolo can age (hint: forever!) we discuss climate change and the future of Barolo and Nebbiolo in light of the challenges the future may bring. The MGA Barolos of the Marchesi di Barolo   If you are looking for an historic visit in Barolo, you can book a tour and tasting https://marchesibarolo.com ! ____________________________________________________  Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.    If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes    

    Ep 428: Laurent Delaunay of Maison Edouard Delaunay -- The Magnificent Story of a Family's Loss & Triumph in Burgundy

    Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2022 59:53

    Catherine & Laurent Delaunay, photo from Badet Clément Laurent Delaunay of Maison Edouard Delaunay in Bourgogne (Burgundy) as well as Badet Clément and under that many estates and DVP or Domaines et Vins de Propriété joins the show to discuss his amazing story of loss and triumph in Bourgogne (Burgundy).   Laurent's family wine ties stretch back to 1771 in the Loire, but the Delaunay name was made as one of the historic great houses of Bourgogne. The domaine began in 1893 and by the 1920s, the wines of the Delaunay's could be found in top restaurants in around France and beyond -- The Ritz in London, Raffles in Singapore – and in the prestigious travel companies of the time -- the French Line, the Orient Express, Wagons-Lits, Cunard, Air France. The Delaunays also distributed the wines for producers like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and the Liger-Belair family (La Romanée), and helped create the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin in 1934. But with many twists and turns, in 1989 the family lost control of the Domaine and Laurent Delaunay, fresh out of enology school, was forced to forge his own path with his enologist wife, Catherine. What the two managed to accomplish is mind-boggling and as you will hear, Laurent managed a feat in Burgundy few could. This show is about Laurent but also some key facts about Burgundy – he is also the President of the BIVB, or the Bourgogne /Burgundy Wine Board. (Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne)   Here are the show notes: Laurent gives us details on the remarkable rise of his career after the heartbreaking sale of his family estate, how he and his wife Catherine built Les Jamelles from absolutely nothing to a big, respected brand, and his unbelievably triumphant return to Burgundy and re-purchase of the Edouard Delaunay estate. We discuss the DVP - Domaines & Vins de Propriété, a marketing and distribution company for more than 250 small, high quality, family owned brands in Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhône, Provence, and Languedoc-Roussillon. Here is the link to see which brands Laurent's group works with. I know I'll be looking for them – he has great taste! Edouard Delaunay wines We discuss the Edouard Delaunay wines, their young, award winning winemaker, Christophe Briotet, and some of the flagship wines at each level. We discuss Laurent's relationship with Total Wine in the US (his wines are distributed elsewhere, so if you aren't in the States you can still get them!) Christophe Briotet, photo from Maison Edouard Delaunay   __________________________ I ask Laurent to switch to his role as the BIVB president: I ask a bunch of questions I've always had about Burgundy...I mean Bourgogne... Burgundy or Bourgogne? What should we be calling the region? Once and for all, is Beaujolais part of Burgundy? What is happening with climate change in Burgundy? What does he think about the fact that the top wines are so expensive and the prices for many of the Village wines have gone up dramatically? How do we do tourism in Bourgogne? He provided this Wine Tourism Guide published by BIVB that includes much information about visiting Bourgogne including a broad list of participating vignerons who welcome visitors   A fantastic show with one of the most modest, yet dynamic figures in French wine today! Go try Laurent's wines of Edouard Delaunay—they are fantastic and he is a wonderful person!   ____________________________________________________  Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.    If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 427: Some Things to Consider When Traveling to Piedmont (in Person or Through the Glass)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2022 53:29

    After a week-long trip to Piedmont, Italy with a group of 20 patrons, I give an update on the region and offer some ideas on how to explore the wines on the ground and through the glass. View from La Morra Tips and producers mentioned/that we visited or that I recommend visiting:  1. To explore Nebbiolo, first hit Roero, then Barbaresco, and finally Barolo (first La Morra and Barolo, then Castiglione Falleto, Serralunga, and Monforte). Roero producers: Matteo Correggia, Massucco Barbaresco producers: Produttori del Barbaresco, Punset, Cascina delle Rose, Bruno Giacosa Barolo producer: Marrone, Marchesi di Barolo Marina Marcarino of Punset in Barbaresco   2. Barbera regions: Nizza, Barbera d'Alba, Barbera d'Asti, Barbera Monferrato Nizza producer: Erede di Chiappone Armando Nizza, at Erede di Chiappone Armando   3. Dolcetto regions: Dogliani, Ovada, Diano, Dolcetto d'Acqui, Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Asti Diano producer: Abrigo Giovanni Abrigo Giovanni, Dolcetto di Diano   4. Alta Langa (sparkling wine in the traditional method) Producers: Contratto, Coppo 5. Place to try lots of wines: Banca del Vino White grapes mentioned: Arneis, Cortese (Gavi), FAvroita (Vermentino), Timorasso, Nascetta, Erbaluce, Moscato Red grapes mentioned: Freisa, Grignolino, Ruché, Brachetto, Albarossa, Pelaverga Aromatized wines: Barolo Chianto, Vermouth   There is so much to explore - get out of just Barolo and Barbaresco and you'll open yourself to a totally different side of Piedmont. _____________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week:  Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.    If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 426: Giovanni Correggia of Matteo Correggia -His Exquisite Wines from Roero in Piedmont

    Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2022 63:58

    Giovanni Correggia of Matteo Correggia. Photo ©Wine For Normal People This podcast was extra special for me, as I was able to record live with Giovanni Correggia of Matteo Correggia in Roero, a part of the Piedmont in Italy that I love and that I try to champion as much as possible. I met Giovanni several years ago and loved his wines and his family story. This podcast is so many things all at once: A great education on the Roero region, by the most famed producer there The story of a grape that was reborn in this place A lesson in the politics of the Piedmont and how some simple choices have brought fame to Barolo and Barbaresco and kept Roero down A fascinating family story that includes a talented champion of Roero, horrible tragedy, triumph of a widow who had nothing to do with wine and her unbelievable strength of character and perseverance for the legacy of her kids, and the current generation (Giovanni) with its shining positivity, great vision and promise of a great future for the Correggia family and its wines. I truly love the wines of Matteo Correggia and I believe that the Nebbiolos he makes  (just called Roero on the bottle) are the exact style of wine so many of us love – elegance, minerality, balance with none of the heaviness or the tannins that we sometimes get from Barolo. The Arneis, it goes without saying, is a white for the ages – a minerally, floral, saline wine with real gravity and the Barbera also has a lighter touch than some of the versions from over the river. Although hard to find, Giovanni's Brachetto is as tasty as he will describe as well.   I have to say that in interviewing Giovanni and then in editing this show, I laughed and teared up many times. I felt indignant on his behalf, and also triumphant. I hope the conversation we had evokes the same emotions in you. If nothing else, it's a great story and a great education on an underestimated region.   Here are the show notes: We discuss Roero, its location across from Barberesco and Barolo, and what that means for the climate of the area versus the other famed Nebbiolo areas of Piedmont Giovanni describes the soil types and how a small sea that once existed here, as well as the changing course of the Tanaro River, created a terroir with seashells, a canyon, and steep slopes covered in sandy soil that imbues the wines with a unique minerality that only exists in Roero Val dei Preti Vineyard, Matteo Correggia. Photo ©Wine For Normal People Once Roero was criticized for having multiple crops, but Giovanni talks about how this is now a distinct advantage Giovanni gives us a history lesson on Roero through his single vineyards on which he has great records: La Val dei Preti and Roche d'Ampsej and Marun. We discuss some of the modern history of Roero and some of its challenges Matteo Correggia wines. Photo ©Wine For Normal People We learn about the history of the Correggia family and of his father, Matteo, who started the winery in 1985 at age 23. We talk about Matteo's early relationship with the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, and how that led to great opportunities for the winery and the philosophy around organics. Giovanni tells us about his father's “membership” in the Barolo Boys as the only non-Barolo producer and how those relationships with Elio Altare and Roberto Voerzio were pivotal to early success Giovanni shares with us the tragedy around his father's death and how his mother Ornella, brought the winery to new heights with great vision and the help of winemaker Luca Rostagno, and the Barolo Boys We talk about the wines and specific vineyards: Giovanni talks about how different vineyards -- La Val dei Preti, Roche d'Ampsej, make different Nebbiolos and how they make wines that are more elegant, less tannic, and more aromatic and minerally than the Nebbiolo of the Langhe. We discuss the biggest problem for Roero, which is that Barolo and Barbaresco producers make excellent wines from the region and label them Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba instead of Roero, thus keeping the region from being recognized We discuss Correggia's Barbera, and the funny story of the Marun vineyard. Giovanni gives me a great lesson on Barbera and its challenges in the vineyard We discuss Brachetto, the special clone from Roero, and why it is such a unique grape that, when made dry, is great for summer drinking Giovanni Correggia with Brachetto. Photo ©Wine For Normal People We wrap with a discussion of Matteo Correggia's leadership on screw cap in the region, and a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for Roero, and how Arneis is just the beginning for this undervalued region   Definitely check out Giovanni's wines – they are so inexpensive for what they are! Saratoga Wine in the states has almost the entire line, as does Tannico in the UK.   _________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week:  Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.      If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 425: Cairanne of the Southern Côtes du Rhône with Jean-Etienne Alary of Domaine Alary

    Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2022 51:29

    Cairanne is an 877 ha/2,167 acre appellation in the southern Rhône Valley that has been farmed since the time of the Greeks. It is not just a regular appellation, it is a cru of elevated status in the Côtes du Rhône. It doesn't get the credit it deserves! After tasting much of it at a wine fair in the southern Rhône, I found it unbelievably delicious. A cru with acidity and a lighter profile but still so much character? YES. And after speaking to a few of the other producers in the appellation, I found Jean-Etienne Alary and his father, Denis. Jean-Etienne has a worldly view, after spending time in Australia and New Zealand, and Domaine Alary's wines are some of the best Cairanne out there. Combining old techniques and newer ideas, Domaine Alary makes spectacular wines, with Jean-Etienne taking over the main winemaking duties from his father, Denis, who helped lead the charge to make Cairanne a Cru. Photo: Denis and Jean-Etienne Alary. ©Wine For Normal People   Here's a quick look at the topics we discuss in the show:  1. Jean-Etienne gives us a full education on Cairanne. We cover: Cairanne's location and its proximity to places like Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Rasteau, as well as the Rhône River The main grapes that are grown, typical blends of Cairanne, and how a small percentage of Cinsault, Counoise or Carignan can go a long way. We discuss the whites, which are a small but very important part of the wines of Cairanne The three main types of terroir and what grows best on each The climate and the strong Mistral effect, which helps keep disease off the grapes. We hit on climate change and drought, and what it means for certain grapes in the appellation The elegance that defines Cairanne versus all other Cru of the south   2. Then we discuss the 11 generations of the Alary family, their history in Cairanne and their essential role in Cairanne The Alarys have been involved in wine in Cairanne since 1692 and have farmed exclusively in this area since, surviving wars, phylloxera, mildews, to be what it is today We discuss Denis Alary, Jean-Etienne's father and how he started to make significant changes when he graduated from oenology school in the 80s. We talk about the age of the big wine critic and how the Rhône bent to the will of certain critics but has come back to its roots. discuss how Denis and the close-knit wine community of Cairanne fought to get the appellation to cru status for decades, finally achieving the goal in 2016. Finally, we cover how Denis moved Alary to a certified organic property in 2009, years before it became trendy!   3. We discuss the cru system and how, even though all cru are equal in the eyes of the law, they are not treated the same. Jean-Etienne talks about his aspirations to make Cairanne as well recognized as other cru     4. We discuss Jean-Etienne's experiences in winemaking in Australia at Henschke and New Zealand at Seresin and the differences in how things get done in France vs the New World.   Photo: The Wines of Domaine Alary. ©Wine For Normal People 5. We talk about the wines of Alary: The Cairanne from Alary, and the role of Carignan and how it can be made in a lighter, elegant style The whites, although only 5% of the AOC, are 20% of Alary's production and based on the Clairette grape, from which Alary makes stunning whites that are reminiscent of Sauvignon blanc. Winemaking philosophy and the use of technology versus intuition The future for Cairanne and for Alary   If you haven't had a wine from  Cairanne, seek it out, especially the wines of Alary. These wines are elegant, drinkable, and fantastic with food! ____________________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week:  Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.      If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 424: Using data to answer our most important questions about wine with David Morrison, PhD, of The Wine Gourd

    Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2022 48:09

    David Morrison is a wine analyst and writer. He is an Australian living in Sweden. He has a PhD in plant biology, and that expertise led him to explore the wineries throughout Australia, learning about the high quality wines and vineyards there. Picture: The Wine Gourd He runs a blog called The Wine Gourd (winegourd.blogspot.com), which looks at wine from a totally different perspective – one that focuses on wine data. He seeks to take a more objective look at data, and he draws logical conclusions without an agenda, which means that most of his work provides new insights in wine that others can't or won't provide. Much of his work has to do with finding value for money in wine, the relevance of scores, and other major topics from which faulty conclusions are often drawn from data that is easily accessible.   This is a great show, should be eye opening and if you are a person who likes hard data to back up decisions, you will become an addict to the blog as I have. Topics we cover are: How data is used and abused in the wine industry to forward agendas or opinions couched as fact Wine and health – from the article “Why we are never going to know whether wine is good for us or not”   Whether or not biodynamic wines taste better than organic wines   Critic scores and whether they have any meaning… The fundamental problem with wine scores How bad are wine scores, really? Do online wine ratings and searches actually mean anything?   Quantifying QPR (quality to price ratio) for yourself (four-part series) Photo: Canva Professional   How Global wine consumption has been declining for a long time   Wine marketing and the wrong questions asked by the industry   How Napa grapes are overpriced   The future: wine recommendation engines   If you really want to go down the rabbit hole on these and many other topics: http://winegourd.blogspot.com Sign up for his email notifications from the blog – you'll learn more from it about shopping for wine, selecting wine, etc. than from any other source.   ___________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week:  Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Don't forget to go to the store page to see what wines I love with descriptions I have written.      If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 423: Interesting things about the Rhône Valley that you won't read in books

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2022 59:35

    This podcast was recorded after my trip to the Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône, a wine trade fair that I was invited to by Inter-Rhône. It was a wonderful learning experience and I stayed on for a few days afterwards to explore Hermitage, Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, St. Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and in the south, Beaumes de Venise with Claude Chabran of Rhonéa, Gigondas with Elisa Cheron from Familie Cheron of Domaine du Grand Montmirail, and a self-guided tour of vineyards in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It was a fantastic trip and I am grateful to the people at Inter-Rhone for the opportunity. Photo: Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône at Palais des Papes in Avignon, Elizabeth Schneider, Wine For Normal People   If you are curious about some of the people I mention as partners in crime in the show: Matt Walls, Rhône expert, Decanter's Rhône contributor, author of Wines of the Rhône Adam Lechmere, editor of Club Oenologique and prominent wine writer Elizabeth “Liz” Gabay, MW – Rosé goddess (and the world's foremost rosé expert) Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak and author or several books Also, not mentioned by name (with apologies, but MC Ice had me thinking of Brits – these guys are fantastic), Kurtis Kolt, a great writer and consultant from Vancouver, Canada and Gurvinder Bhatia, Editor-in-Chief of Quench magazine Photo: The Rhône in Bloom! by Elizabeth Schneider, Wine For Normal People   Côtes du Rhône percentages are PLANTINGS, not blend percentages in Côtes du Rhône wines. So if the requirement is 40% Grenache for a Côtes du Rhône, that is how much Grenache must be plantedin a vineyard for Côtes du Rhône, not how much has to be in the blend. Case in point: I had a 99% Syrah that was a Village wine.   The producer is a big part of whether you like a wine or not, but you should still learn region before you learn producer. Producer can make or break your experience. It's hard to learn but once you understand what the region has to offer, the next step is finding the producers you like. Great producers: Familie Cheron of Domaine du Grand Montmirail, Gigondas   About white grapes in rosé wine…it's a-ok! I mentioned Elizabeth “Liz” Gabay, MW – goddess of pink wine and her son Ben. Look them up. White wines are allowed to be used in rosé as long as those grapes are fermented with the juice from red grapes. Whites Clairette, Picpoul, and Bouboulenc are used to lighten up one of my absolute favorite rosés, the Rhône cru, Tavel.   Roussanne grows really well in the southern Rhône and there is more of it than ever before. The is distinctive when you taste it in a blend and there are more whites from Côtes du Rhône and the Villages planting and growing this awesome grape to make it a bigger part of blends. Check out the pod we did on this wonderful grape.   Clairette is another a grape that no one talks about it but is awesome – acidic, refreshing, can be like Sauvignon Blanc, lighter style Rieslings, zippy, and green fruit notes. It is used in large proportions in Côtes du Rhône blanc from the south.   Cairanne, the cru of the southern Rhône, is light on its feet and a completely different wine than the rest of the cru. Because of the larger proportion of Cinsault, the lighter soils, the Mistral wind, and the terroir, the wines have a lighter touch than many of the other southern Rhône cru. Cairanne makes pretty and elegant wine still with great fruit.   An important point from the trip: Please STOP SENDING ME COMMENTS ABOUT MY FRENCH.Even when I tried to say names of regions and wines, I was not understood by folks in the Rhône or other parts of the south. It often took Google translate to communicate. If I tried to pronounce things in French it would have a terrible effect – neither French speakers nor English speakers would understand me and it would be futile. WFNP is an English language podcast and I need to pronounce things so that English language speakers (most of whom speak no French) understand what wines and regions I am saying so they can seek these wines out. After this trip, I will no longer be answering these comments and if you find that offensive, you can feel free to turn off the show. I'm sorry to see you go, but I'm no longer going to be apologetic for anglicizing French. Photo: Dentelles du Montmirail in Gigondas, by Elizabeth Schneider, Wine For Normal People   Gigondas is NOT a baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in my opinion. Some is very tannic and harsh, some is just beautiful but it is all about skill and terroir. The best producers aren't trying to mimic Châteauneuf-du-Pape. They are their own expression of mainly Grenache in a hot, mistral effected areas of the Dentelles du Montmirail. Moulin de la Gardette and Domaine de Longue Toque are exquisite examples of terroir-driven Gigondas wines that are not trying to emulate Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Condrieu, by Elizabeth Schneider, Wine For Normal People Condrieu has a lot more to it than you may think. First, it has two different parts, In the north where the wines are almost Sauvignon Blanc like – herbal, lime-like, lightly floral (jasmine) with higher acidity and a lighter body. In the south the wines are more like a traditional Viognier – peachy, sweet lemon, apricot notes with a fuller body but still with more acidity than New World Viognier Condrieu has some rows of vines that, because of the undulation of the hills, face north or northeast. These north facing rows are not considered Condrieu and are declassified into IGP Viognier, according to Aurelien Chirat from Vignoble Chirat. Finally, whole bunch fermentation can be used to add texture to wines but also to dilute or absorb alcohol. The stems have water in them that will dilute alcohol, they also can absorb some of the alcohol into their wood. Aurelien Chirat of Vignoble Chirat in Condrieu Most winemakers use outside labs as required by the AOC laws. There is use of technology as a check on the health of the wine, but analysis is not a decision making tool unless there is a problem. This is a very different philosophical bent than the New World. Photo, Côte Rôtie, by Elizabeth Schneider, Wine For Normal People  Two things on Côte Rôtie… Despite what I have heard and read in recent times, Côte Rôtie has have Viognier in it – I didn't find a producer who made a wine without at least a little. Most had 3-5% Viognier in their Syrah wine. The only wines that didn't have Syrah were special old vine plots or from designated vineyards, from which the winemakers wanted to showcase the Syrah for that particular wine. The plateau of Côte Rôtie has high quality, even though wine people malign it. I loved some of the wines from there – they are softer and easier to drink younger. Some of the wines smelled like manure and carnations – there are several theories as to why, which we discuss in the show.   Photo: Hermitage, by Elizabeth Schneider, Wine For Normal People  A few things on the very small appellation of Hermitage Books say producers are permitted to blend in Marsanne and Roussanne into the Syrah. That is true, but there isn't one producer who is doing that. The style is 100% Syrah and although that is for flavor, it's also because producers need white grapes for the white wine of Hermitage, which represents 30% of what is grown and made. If you haven't had a white Hermitage, that should be your next investment! This is rare wine and it's a bargain for how little there is in the world.   Crozes-Hermitage has two parts around the base of the hill of Hermitage each makes different wine styles. The northern side is on uniform granite. This is the old part of the appellation before it was expanded many times into southern flatter areas after World War II. Crozes Hermitage makes 50% of all the wine of the northern Rhone and the flat, southern part is less expensive than any other part of the Rhone, so younger producers have a chance to move in and get established. This is a good thing, even if it means the wine can be variable. Photo: St.Joseph, by Elizabeth Schneider, Wine For Normal People  St. Joseph is a tannic wine and it is not similar to Crozes-Hermitage, as many books will tell you.The appellation is varied, with many different types of granite (it really should be broken up into pieces). Although the wines from farther north are a little softer, I found them to be so harsh in tannin I could barely drink them. The verdict is out on if they will mellow with time, but to drink the young wine was nearly impossible for me. If you love harsh tannin, this is your wine.   Châteauneuf-du-Pape is bigger than the entire northern Rhone combined. It is VERY varied in terroir, farming, and quality, so caveat emptor!     There are a million other little tidbits woven into this show. If you want to explore Rhône beyond study guides and generalizations, this show will get you far in understanding how different reality is from what may be published in books.   I hope you enjoy our “myth-busters, Rhône edition”! ___________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on big names or boutique brands from all over the world at up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today! If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 422: Old Vines Defined, with Langmeil Winery of Barossa, Australia

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2022 67:15

    In this show, we finally define OLD VINES with James Lindner and Leigh Woodrow of Langmeil Vineyards! The background, the history, the viticulture, and the first major definition in form of the Barossa Old Vine Charter are all covered. If you ever wondered what "old vines" really means, we have answers!  Langmeil Vineyards has a long and storied history. In 1843, Christian Auricht planted a mixed farm in the heart of the Barossa Valley in Australia. In 1932 Theodor Hanisch, Christian's grandson established the first winery on the property and after a period of disrepair, in 1996, three men, who had strong roots in the Barossa - Richard Lindner, Carl Lindner and Chris Bitter - rejuvenated the vineyard and winery. Photo: Langmeil The Freedom 1843 Vineyard, Shiraz   Today that same vineyard from 1843, The Freedom Vineyard, is still producing grapes for wine and Langmeil, although it makes other lovely wines from normal aged vines, has developed a specialty for caring for and making wine from old vine vineyards. Vineyards include the 70-year-old Orphan Block Vineyard These old vines wines are really something spectacular, and like nothing else you can taste. Photo: James Lindner, co-owner, chief storyteller for Langmeil In this show, I'm joined by James Lindner, sixth generation Barossan, and son of Richard Lindner, runs the family estate with his parents and brother, while overseeing its sales and distribution both domestically and around the world.  He tells us the story of how these old vines got here and the current state of old vines in Barossa. Photo: Leigh Woodrow, Sales Manager for Langmeil, loyal listener and friend of the pod Leigh Woodrow, long time podcast listener, WFNP supporter, Patron, and just all around smart and cool guy is the global and national sales manager for Langmeil and he adds color to the story of Langmeil, and its old vines. A Brit who has lived in Australian now for decades and has much experience in the wine industry, Leigh is humble, kind, funny, and such a great contributor to the Patron community so we need to give a big shout to one of our tribe for bringing this great show and topic to us (Patrons, we may get a bonus on a virtual video tour of the old vines, so stay tuned for that!).   The wines are available in the US and they are spectacular. And I learned a lot from this show about what LEGITIMATE old vines are versus what people may tell us they are.   I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did! And hi to Bette in the Cellar door at Langmeil!   Here are some of the topics we discussed:   We learn about Barossa's wine history, the history of the Australian wine industry, and how Langmeil's old vines survived Map: Barossa Australia We discuss the life cycle of a grapevine and how long they can live, along with what happens to vines as they age and how the wines they make taste. We discuss what grape varieties age well and what don't and the conditions that make good vines   James and Leigh talk about Langmeil's Shiraz vineyard, the oldest Shiraz vineyard in the world – the Freedom 1843 vineyard. We discuss how farming and stewardship of it is different from younger vines.   James talks about a massive project Langmeil undertook to transplant old vines in its Orphan Bank Shiraz Vineyard and how the community pulled together to help make it happen. Although this isn't an ideal situation, it did help save a 70+ year old vineyard. We mention the old vine properties Langmeil has in Eden Valley, a part of Barossa, as well.   James and Leigh describe the Old Vine Charter, why Barossa decided to create the Charter, and the definitions of Old Vines (35-plus years old), Survivor Vines (70-plus years old), Centenarian Vines (100-plus years old) and Ancestor Vines (125-plus years old). We discuss other regions in the world who are looking to Barossa as a model to put more definition around the term “Old Vines” Photo from Cirillo Wine Estates, the oldest Grenache vineyard  We end with a good discussion of sustainability; how old vines are very sustainable for the environment and how investments in the community and the future of wine in Barossa mean that these old vines will have guardians for many generations to come.   A great show with terrific guests! And we finally get some definition around a very squishy term. Thanks to James and Leigh for sharing the Langmeil story!   _____________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today! If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes  

    Ep 421: Alternatives to A Favorite - Cabernet Sauvignon

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2022 36:08

    Inspired by a question from a Patron, we give you an original list of wines that are true alternatives to Cabernet if you love the OG and you want to branch out. We come up with 7 solid ideas that are similar but different enough to make them interesting.   The original idea for this list was from Patron Serl Z. and Leigh W. gets credit for naming this series.  People were so excited for these new ideas, we may just make it into a series! We begin by discussing the main characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon: Flavors: Black fruit –especially blackcurrant, black cherry, black plum, blackberry -- earth in Old World versions, fruit in New World versions. The wine occasionally shows mint, eucalyptus, thyme, or green pepper notes. With oak Cab smells and tastes like tobacco, pencil shavings, cigar box, leather Generally tannic with good acidity. Some can be age-worthy if they have good tannin structure and acidity (backbone) Flavors depend on terroir, winemaking, oak aging   Alternatives: Mourvèdre/Monastrell/Mataro (Bandol in France, Monastrell from southern Spain, and GSM blends from the US and Australia) – dark fruit, intense flavor, long aging Douro Tinto/ Touriga Nacional (Portugal)– dusty tannins with sweet fruit, violets, leather, tobacco, big tannins Alentejo/Alentejano (Portugal) – for people who like juicy, fruity Cabs with soft tannins. These wines are a blend of Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelão, Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, and, not surprisingly, Cabernet Sauvignon Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria, Italy)-- Sagrantino grape is full bodied, tannic with earth, cherry, smoke and sometimes spicy notes that evolve into leather and tobacco with time. Similar to Cabernet, Sagrantino is astringent in youth and mellows with time Malbec (Cahors, France, Argentina) -- Not all Malbec is created equal. If you want wines that are similar to Cabernet, choose Cahors, which is earthier, heavier, stronger, more tannic and often more terroir-driven. For Argentina, look for wines from sub-regions of Mendoza with older vines and elevation. These areas make wines with stronger tannin, darker fruit, and more acidity. They aren't as plush as many Malbec. In the Luján de Cuyo valley of Mendozalook for Vistalba and Las Compuertas. In the Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, which includes Paraje Altamira and   Petit Verdot (Virginia, Napa, and many other New World regions make varietal Petit Verdot, it's native home is Bordeaux, where it is part of the Bordeaux blend). Although known for what it brings to the Bordeaux blend, varietal Petit Verdot can be a great Cab alternative. The grapes are thick skinned, and the wines have black fruit, herbs, spice, and dark flower notes. The wine has high acidity and tannins, making it a great sub.   Tannat (Madiran, Uruguay, Virginia, Texas, Paso Robles and Santa Cruz Mountains in California other parts of the US. Also Argentina, Brazil, Australia). John S. – this one's for you! Tannat is often blended with with Cabernet Sauvignon to tame its tannins! In Madiran the wine is far harsher than Cab but in Uruguay, it is more like blackberry, plum, dark raspberry, earth, and spice. It has soft tannins, high alcohol, and is pretty delicious. It resembles a lighter style Cabernet from the North Coast of Sonoma   Cabernet Franc (on the list with lots of caveats so this is like a 7.5!). Cabernet Franc is the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon but it's much earthier, tea-like, and has a lot of red fruit notes. It is nowhere near as tannic as Cabernet and its flavors are really different. Still, it's not as soft as Merlot and because it can exhibit the herbs and pyrazine (green pepper) of Cabernet Sauvignon, I'm adding it to the list   At the end of the show I mention some cheat regions – good places to get blends with a healthy hit of Cabernet in them: Bordeaux, South African Bordeaux Blends, Hawkes Bay from New Zealand are three I mention!   Please let me know if you like this theme. If so, we'll do more shows like this! _____________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today! If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 420: Denise Marrone of Agricola Gian Piero Marrone In Barolo

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 28, 2022 64:17

    Denise Marrone comes from a long line of wine growers and winemakers in Barolo. Starting in 1910 when Pietro Marrone, at age 23, asked his father in if he could improve vineyard practices, the family has had a dedication to producing the highest quality grapes and wines  possible from the Langhe, specifically Barolo and Barbaresco.  The family's legacy, dedication to the land, and their unbelievable hospitality at the winery in La Morra (you have to visit), is such a joy to learn about. Denise Marrone, Courtesy of Marrone Denise and her sisters run Marrone with their father, Gian, today. Denise is a fireball of energy, and her outlook on wine, her candor, and her genuine kindness make this show one of the best I've done! I hope you love her as much as I do!   Here are the show notes: Denise tells us about her life in Barolo and a bit about her family's history in the region, as well as about what life used to be like there, during her grandparents' time We discuss how young Barolo is as a region, and why it's important to realize that although it has made wine for a long time, really Barolo is at the beginning of its journey versus regions like Chianti Marrone Barolo Bussia, Courtesy of Marrone Denise gives us a full education on the terroir of Barolo, the most important thing behind the wine. FINALLY I get an excellent definition of the MGA (menzione geografica aggiuntive) system: a mapping of soil types that give some indication about the types of wines you may expect from that area. It's very similar to the system in Burgundy, but without the cru classifications. Within this conversation with discuss the importance of things like exposure, altitude, position on a slope, wind, rain, and more   Denise talks about her various vineyards in Madonna di Como and her family rents land to farm in some of the MGAs to make their Barolo (her family prefers to do this versus buying grapes because then they have total control over the farming, which is mainly organic and all sustainable)   We hammer out the differences in Nebbiolos – Langhe, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Barolo, and Barbaresco – all of which Marrone makes masterfully. We talk truthfully about how some Langhe Nebbiolo and Nebbiolo d'Alba may be better than Barolo, even if it can't get the same price for the wine.   Denise talks about her beautiful Barberas, finnicky Dolcettos (and I confirm, it IS an insider's wine! I love it, I'm biased!), and Marrone's expansive white wine selection. Marrone's production is 40% white – Arneis, Chardonnay, and Favorita (Vermentino) – are excellent and their focus on whites shows in the wines. Denise talks a bit about the history of Arneis, specifically, and how difficult it was to make before there was good technology.   We discuss the role of women in Barolo, and how normal it has become for women like Denise and her sisters Serena and enologist/vigneron Valentina, to take the reins from their fathers today. Denise makes an incredibly astute point that now that technology has made work in the vineyards easier, men and women are much more on equal footing and it's more a mind thing than a physical thing (BRILLIANT!!). Denise Marrone, Courtesy of Marrone Denise is the QUEEN of hospitality. Our conversation tries to do justice to how good it really is (but you have to go there to understand). Perhaps her last statement about always striving to do more and better explains it best – the attitude of a winery like that has one way to go – and that's UP!!   You can find Marrone's wines in the US, Canada, and the UK! They are wonderful, as is she! _______________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $20 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today! If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 419: The Grape Miniseries -- Roussanne

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2022 30:48

    Although one of the most prestigious white grapes of the Rhône Valley, Roussanne is relatively unknown given its penchant for making aromatic, complex, full yet acidic wines. Often used as a blending partner with Marsanne or even with Syrah in its native northern Rhône, the grape shines alone in certain versions from Châteauneuf du Pape, California, Australia, and a handful of other places around the world. In this show we examine the majesty of this grape, which makes extraordinary wines that you should be drinking! Photo credit: Roussanne - Geshem winery.jpg, CC BY-SA 4.0   Here are the show notes Roussanne was named for “roux”, the French word for “russet” – which describes the grapes' reddish golden color when they are fully ripe Likely native to the northern Rhône, Roussanne is related to Marsanne, its blending partner for the famed northern Rhône whites in Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph Although it has verged on extinction a few times because it is so challenging in the vineyard, Roussanne continues to be an important part of whites (and reds) in the northern Rhône and elsewhere because few grapes can rival the combination of structure and aromatics   Roussanne Flavors Roussanne has aromas and flavors of pear, honey, and herbal tea (Chamomile or lemon verbena). It can be like jasmine, iris, honeysuckle and other white flowers. The wine is distinctly minerally with green herb notes and some are more like apricot and peach Roussanne is distinctive because it has a mouth-filling, oily, fuller body but always exhibits characteristic acidity. With age appears softer and shows nutty, marzipan, and creamy notes. The wine can age 15 or more years and still be excellent Roussanne in the vineyard and cellar Roussanne is a real challenge to grow – the people who make wine from it are often small producters who treat it as a passion project – demand for the wines isn't high and growing it can be an exercise in frustration Yields are irregular, ripening can be uneven, the grape is susceptible to mildew, rot and pests, and according to Tablas Creek in Paso Robles, California, who grows a large proportion of the grape in the United States, the grape can shut down as it is ripening, lose leaves and turn yellow, never to recover from this issue The grape does well on poor, stony calcareous-clay soils that are well-drained but it can't take wind or drought. Too much heat can cause the sugar to spike and make the resulting wine too alcoholic without balanced acidic. On the flip side, picking too early leads to excessively acidic wine that lacks balancing body Roussanne needs a long, consistent season – it demands it to make the best wines In the cellar, Roussanne is pretty easy going and versatile. It can make great wine when fermented in any type of vessel and with limited oak aging, its textures can be even smoother and the wines can be more complex   Roussanne regions... France Northern Rhône: The native home of the grape, Roussanne is used as a blending partner with Marsanne in the whites of Hermtiage, Crozes Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph. It can also be blended into the reds (Syrah) of those areas but is usually a small percentage of those wines (no more than 10-15%), if used at all. Roussanne is also used in the still and sparkling wines of Saint-Péray. There is much more Marsanne than Roussanne planted in the northern Rhône because it is so much easier to grow, but Roussanne continues to play a big role in the wines because it is so high quality Southern Rhône Roussanne shines in Châteauneuf du Pape blanc. Marsanne is not permitted in the appellation, so Roussanne shines on its own or when blended with Grenache Blanc, Bourbolenc and other grapes. The most famous example of a pure Roussanne in the region is the white of Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages whites, Costières de Nîmes, Luberon, Ventoux and many other appellations use Roussanne in blends Other French areas Roussanne is used in blends in the Languedoc and Roussillon, the Loire, and in Provence   Savoie In this Alpine region the grape is called Bergeron and its wines are from the appellation Chignin Bergeron. The wine is peppery with fresh aroma of green mountain herbs, and although it has higher acidity and lower alcohol than other French versions, the wine still has excellent aroma and a soft, cheek-coating texture Outside of France Italy: Liguria, Toscana Portugal: Alentejo Canada Israel South Africa Australia: Came to the continent in 1882 and is used in blends in both whites and reds The US Growing in Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington state (shows great potential) In California: Came in the 1870s but it was hard to grow so acreage declined, and it wasn't revived until the 1990s when Tablas Creek (a partnership with Château de Beaucastel, so clippings were easy to come by) and Alban propagated new cuttings of Roussanne. Today there are over 300 acres planted in California, mainly in the Central Coast, with some in Napa, Lodi, and some other spots. Wineries producing Roussanne in blends or alone are: Alban Vineyards, Anglim Winery, Acquiescece in Lodi, Bonny Doon Winery, Cass Winery, Halter Ranch Vineyard, , JC Cellars, McCrea Cellars, Qupe, Stolpman Vineyards, Tablas Creek, Truchard Vineyard, Zaca Mesa   Credit to Tablas Creek for providing so much information on their blog. Links from their blog: 1. Tablas Creek blog: Grapes/Roussanne 2. Tablas Creek blog: A Symposium on Roussanne   Other Sources: Truchard Vineyards Wine Grapes, by Jancis Robinson Grapes & Wine, Margaret Rand, Oz Clarke The Wine Cellar Insider _____________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get a $20 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 418: April Nalle and Whitney Hopkins on Making a Small Vineyard Eco-friendly

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 15, 2022 45:20

    April Nalle from Nalle Winery, who make brilliant Zinfandel (also great Pinot noir, blends, Cabernet and more) in an old-school style, is a good friend with whom I speak often. April has had some really big moments lately, where she's gone from just being concerned about climate change to being inspired to be a change agent. She's at the beginning of her journey and I wanted to get her at this point to tell us how it all starts.   In this show we talk about how to make a vineyard more environmentally friendly, so we are joined by vigneron Whitney Hopkins of Hopkins River Ranch in the Russian River, who farms the land mainly organically . April and her husband Andrew Nalle buy Pinot Noir from Whitney and her father, who farm the ranch together. Whitney Hopkins of Hopkins River Ranch, Left. April Nalle, of Nalle Winery, Right   This show should give you insight into where the wine industry needs to make improvements in the fight against climate change and where it's already doing a pretty good job. Warning: This is a dorky discussion!!!   Here are the notes: April discusses a revelation moment she had after reading the book “Under the Sky We Make: How to Be Human in a Warming World” and why she feels it is so important to take bolder action in the wine world to help ameliorate the impacts of climate change. We discuss the lack of water in California and some of the impacts of that in farming.   We discuss the ways small wineries like Nalle and smaller vineyards like Hopkins River Ranch are already planet friendly: April talks about Nalle's living roof, dry farming, dust mulching, and how living where you farm makes a huge difference in how you treat the land. Whitney discusses the use of organic products, using manual labor to avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides, and new innovations like electric mowers/tillers that get under vine rows without gas emissions. The Nalle Family: 5 Generations of Farming. Photo courtesy of Nalle   We talk about why a small winery or vineyard often can't afford the time or money it takes to go through and maintain an organic or biodynamic certification. Hopkins Ranch is farmed almost all organically but Whitney doesn't have time to add certification paperwork to her workload. In addition, in areas with wet weather, it can be very hard to commit to only organic practices when doing so may mean that you lose an entire crop. Sustainability is a pyramid – social, economic, and environmental concerns are all part of it. Losing a crop could mean losing a business so flexibility with the goal of being as gentle as possible with your land has to be the way for many small wineries.   We get to the brass tacks: Whitney and April address the question of how much the vineyard really contributes environmental issues? It turns out that although refinement and changes need to continue – we need to use more electric vehicles in the vineyard and to drive around, to find products that can deal effectively and gently with vineyard hazards (mildew, mold, insects), and to continually adjust – the biggest ecological issues in wine are on the winery and sales side.   Hopkins Ranch, Russian River Valley, Photo courtesy of Nalle    We talk about the list of things that April wants to do for now (it's a wish list, again small wineries have fewer resources): use only refillable bottles for Nalle, change the labels, use electric vehicles for transport, do less tilling and more manual work in the vineyard, and add solar panels to the winery. Whitney discusses how water and drought are such issues that the Hopkins are working with the local government to tap into the recycled  water program. Nalle's traditional label may need to change when refillable bottles are the norm   We wrap with some tips on how tell if a winery is giving you marketing BS about being green or whether they are the real deal.   Thanks to Whitney and April for their candor. I love that I got some answers on the impacts of the vineyard. As we turn our focus to the winery, we'll make sure to track April's changes in the winery at Nalle and tracks the outcomes of doing better for the planet. ____________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes  

    Ep 417: Oregon's Willamette Valley -- A Discussion of My Trip

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 8, 2022 52:25

    After a trip to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, M.C. Ice and I have a casual discussion on "What I learned on my school vacation"

    Ep 416: The History of Sicily... From the Wine Perspective

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 1, 2022 40:43

    Sicily has a long history, and all of it is tied up with the evolution of wine and food in the Sicilian culture. In this show, we look at how this huge Mediterranean island played a major role in every major civilization from indigenous tribes to the current generation of young winemakers who seek to carve out a niche for Sicily and its unique wine culture. Here's a brief timeline of what we talk about:  Sicilian Wine Timeline... 10,000 years ago: Natural grapevines on Etna Indigenous groups – Siculi, Socani, Elymi (Greeks who brought wine to Sicily) Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art 8th – 3rd century BCE: Greeks arrived, introduced grapes and planted a lot of vineyards. They introduced pruning, varietal selection, bush training, and techniques to make great wine. Wine became an economic essential, as Sicily's strategic position allows Greeks to export wine all over the Mediterranean. Inzolia, Zibibbo, Lucido/Catarratto were brought from Greece. 3rd century BCE: Roman Republic wins control of Sicily over the Greeks. The Roman Empire reigns afterwards. During both eras, the Romans planted more grapes, refined viticulture and winemaking techniques and traded Sicilian wine throughout the Roman empire, enriching wine merchants on Sicily. Mamertino, Julius Caesar's favorite wine was made in Sicily. Wine vessels from Sicily have been found in France and other parts of Europe. Photo: National Gallery Open Access 535 AD –826 AD: After the chaos that ensued after the fall of the Roman Empire, Byzantines conquered Sicily and used it as their base in the Mediterranean to take over other parts of Italy. The church revived viticulture and make wine for religious purposes and for trade around the Mediterranean.   826 AD –1061 AD: Muslim rule -- not great for wine, as it is against the law to consume alcohol. Viticulture did not prosper, but it didn't die. A few people still drank, and Z'bīb, Muscat of Alexandria, thrived as a table grape. The food and spices introduced during this time had a lasting impact on the cuisine of Sicily.   1061 AD –1189 AD: The Normans, Christian descendants from Vikings conquered Sicily and brought wine back to the table in full force. The rulers expanded vineyards and wine became an economic mainstay for the Normans – they traded it and it was part of life for the aristocracy so Sicilian wine had status. Rather than throw out the influence, the Normans incorporated Arab spices and cooking in their food. Vermicelli (pasta) likely was made here in 1154 AD, 100 years before Marco Polo was born.   1189 AD – 1266 AD: Norman rule ends and Henry VI of Swabia claims the throne.   1266 AD: Pope Clement IV puts Charles, Count of Anjou and Provence, on the throne in Sicily but in 1282 a French soldier insults a Sicilian girl on her way into a church for Vesper services. This sparks the uprising called the Sicilian Vespers, ending French rule.   1282: Peter II of Aragón (Spain) took control of Sicily. Wine was an important economic commondity as it was traded to northern winemaking areas to beef up their wines with color, flavor, and alcohol. Photo: Wikipedia 1400s-1500s: Guilds of wine merchants and growers flourished under the Aragón rule. Tomatoes, chocolate, squash, cactus, and other items were brought on Spanish ships from Mexico, revolutionizing the Sicilian cuisine.   1700s: The House of Bourbon, a power family from Spain who ruled in Sicily, invested in local wine again.   1773: John Woodhouse makes Marsala on the western side of the island, ships it out to England and the American colonies. Marsala was the first Italian wine to be exported America. Marsala was a major contributor to the Sicilian economy and to the islands prestige Photo credit: Dedda71, CC-BY-SA-3.0 1816: Naples and Sicily were united under the Aragón crown in the Kingdom of two Sicilies.   1861: Giuseppe Garibaldi claims Sicily as part of the Italian Republic, ending Aragón rule. The Risorgimento, Italian unification, was not beneficial to Sicily. They found it difficult to integrate into continental Italy.  The economy suffered, and the first great emigration out of Sicily, occurred, spreading of the cuisine and wine traditions around the world – to America, Australia, the UK, and other places.   Late 1800s: Mass plantings of vineyards became necessary to supply Europe with wine in the wake of phylloxera. This was a prosperous time for wine in Sicily until phylloxera hit the island. Due to economic restrictions, poverty, and the level of destruction from phylloxera, Sicily took about 60 years to properly recover from the aphid.   1950s: Sicily finally recovers from phylloxera. Vineyards mechanize, but in the post-World War II – global demand dropped for Sicilian wine.   1960s and 1970s: Again, Sicilian wines exported to bulk wines up from northern areas. Sicily's reputation for quality suffered.   1980s –1990s: Some older families on the island planted international grapes to garner international attention from critics, and build a reputation for good wine. Consultants were hired, and Sicily gained global recognition for its wines made of Syrah, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other international grapes. 1990s – Native grapes were introduced to the world to a positive reception.   Today – the new generation is ready for smaller production and higher quality from native grapes, continuing the 3000+ year legacy of quality wine.   Don't forget to check out the LIVE class on Thursday or watch it on my YouTube Channel if you can't catch it live. Thank you to the Wines of Sicily DOC for the opportunity to offer this class for free!     ___________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes   _______________________________________________________________ Main Sources for the podcast: https://cantinebarbera.it/en/cookie/47-myblog-marilena-barbera/154-history-of-sicilian-wine-culture.html   https://www.umass.edu/journal/sicilyprogram/sicilianfoodhistory.html   Others: https://www.myguidesicily.com/usefulinfo/wines-of-sicily-and-their-history https://www.britannica.com/place/Sicily https://www.winemag.com/2019/04/16/beginners-guide-to-the-wines-of-sicily/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Sicily

    Ep 415: Gianfranco Sorrentino of Il Gattopardo -- the famed restaurateur on the intrinsic and inseparable link between Italian food, wine, and tradition

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 22, 2022 56:36

    To truly understand Italian wine, you have to understand its integral ties to Italian culture. In Italy, food and wine tell the story of a region's cultural identity, history, and the character of its people. With my recent seminars on Sicilia (on YouTube if you missed them), and an impending trip to Piedmont with a group of Wine for Normal People listeners, the interplay of Italian wine, food, and culture has been top of mind. It was in this context that I invited the famed New York restaurateur, and Italian cultural advocate, Gianfranco Sorrentino, on the show.   Gianfranco is originally from Naples in southern Italy and after many years of managing restaurants all over Europe and Asia, he settled in New York. He learned the ropes, working for some of the most prestigious restaurants in Manhattan and then opening the first fine dining establishment in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).   He opened his first venture, Il Gattopardo, in New York in 2001 (a very difficult time to open!). In 2011, he opened The Leopard at des Artistes, his restaurant in the New York landmark Hotel des Artistes and, in 2014, Mozzarella e Vino opened directly across from MoMA.     Gianfranco is a passionate advocate of Italian food, wine and culture and he is also the founder of Gruppo Italiano (GI), an evolution from the original Gruppo Ristoranti Italiani (GRI), which was established in 1979. The group works to promote awareness of Italian wines, cuisine, and products and to help people in the US understand and appreciate the beauty of the Italian culture and its unbreakable tie to wine and food. Although he is based in the US, Gianfranco has a global view and everyone can learn  from the discussion Gianfranco and I have about the landscape of Italian food, wine, and culture, and the special importance of supporting small producers and keeping traditions alive.     All Gianfranco's restaurants use authentic ingredients to that highlight the traditions of Italian culture and hospitality. The three are in Manhattan: Il Gattopardo (ilgattopardonyc.com, 13-15 West 54th Street) serves traditional Southern Italian food with a contemporary twist. It is Gianfranco's original restaurant and is award winning and a New York institution. The Leopard at des Artistes (theleopardnyc.com, 1 West 67th Street) is in the famed Hotel des Artistes. The Leopard emphasizes food from “The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies'-- the regions of Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia, Sardinia, and Sicily. The dishes are a balance of rural elements from these regions and include pasta, vegetables, cheese, and fresh seafood. Mozzarella & Vino (mozzarellaevino.com, 33 West 54th Street) is across from MoMA on 54th Street, is a more casual dining experience and, as the name suggests, ingredients focus on Mozzarella di bufala, and on wines from family estates and independent Italian winemakers. Also, if you are interested, here is the book we discussed in the show, “The Leopard” Grapes we discuss: Fiano, Greco di Tufo, Pallagrello Bianco, Piedirosso/Per'e Palummo, Aglianico   I hope the show gives you a new appreciation for how wine and food are more than just nutrition and libation for Italians! ___________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 414: The Refillable Wine Bottle Revolution to Combat Climate Change with Caren McNamara of Conscious Container

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 15, 2022 43:35

    Caren McNamara founded Conscious Container in 2017 to bring the refillable glass bottle marketplace to the wine industry (pre-WWII, we re-used most packaging. Other countries kept doing it, but in the US that stopped). The goal: reduce single use packaging waste and turn glass bottles into multi-use vessels by setting up an infrastructure for collection, cleaning, inspection, and re-use. Caren was a project and change management manager for a major tech company but she left that behind when she saw a hole in the marketplace for refillable and reusable glass, and the opportunity to make a big impact on the beverage industry.   In the show we talk about we talk about how we wound up throwing away assets like glass, rather than re-using them, and how things like lightweight packages (reduce) and recycling are less effective than the third “r” – reuse - which is usually the most efficient of the three.   Caren discusses the opportunities for Conscious Container to do good, what it will take for her operation to become full-scale, and offers ideas of things we can do to help Conscious Container's mission, like asking at tasting rooms about refillable bottle programs, requesting that wine clubs look into using refillable bottles, and keeping up to date on new developments which would allow us to participate in the re-use economy.   Shout out to April Nalle of Nalle Winery for being an innovator,  using this program and for introducing me to Caren and all the cool stuff she's doing!    Here are some links to things Caren mentions in the show:   CC Refill-My-Wine website -  this link goes directly to the Support Us! page for wineries to work with Conscious Container   ReLoop 'Reusables vs Single-Use Packaging.  A combination of 32 Life Cycle Assessments on the topic with a clear "win" for refillable glass bottles, Caren used these numbers in the podcast   “The Message in a Reusable Wine Bottle: Combat Climate Change” a New York Times article about refillable bottles and the Gotham Project.   The Porto Protocol   Diana Snowden Seysses -  who is working on bottle reuse with the Porto Protocol, and who is winemaker at Domaine Dujas- Snowden Winery and Ashes & Diamonds Winery   Go to Conscious Container to learn more. _______________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 413: Sicily and the Sicilia DOC with Alberto Tasca of Tasca d'Almerita

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 7, 2022 61:38

    In this episode, Alberto Tasca d'Almerita, part of the 8th generation of the Tasca d'Almerita family, the CEO of Tasca d'Almerita winery, and one of the directors of the Sicilia DOC joins the show. This is an excellent complement to the Wines of Sicily class (part 1 now on the YouTube Channel!). Photo: Courtesy of Tasca d'Almerita The Tasca d'Almerita family got into wine in the 1830s with the purchase of Tenuta Regaleali in the center of Sicily, with a range of altitudes that rise up to nearly 3000 ft/900 m, a variety of exposures, mixed soils, and elevations. The varied terrior and strong diurnals means that so many grapes grow well here – the winery grows 25 red and white varietals and the wines are fresh, fruity and honor the Sicilian tradition.   In the early 2000s, Alberto took over the business side of Tasca d'Almerita. He shook things up and modernized the winery, improving the wines but staying true to tradition. Alberto grew the winery to four other Sicilian winegrowing regions: Tenuta Capofaro on the Aeolian island of Salina; Tenuta Tascante on Mt. Etna; Tenuta Whitaker on the Phoenician island of Mozia; and Tenuta Sallier de La Tour in the DOC Monreale. To say that Alberto understands the ins and outs of Sicily and what it has to give is an understatement. Photo: Courtesy of Sicilia DOC I found that one of the most altruistic and interesting things about Alberto Tasca d'Almerita, is that he doesn't only focus on his own business. He helped create SOStain – a sustainability registry for Sicilian viticulture created in 2010 and in concordance with VIVA (sustainability in Italian viticulture) – which allows measurement and certification of sustainability initiatives through rigorous scientific indicators to protect the land for future generations. He is a director of the Consorzio di Tutela Vini Doc Sicilia, which promotes Sicilian wine, its area of production and takes an active role in the winemaking and growing of its members, sharing best practices and trying to improve Sicilian wine.
 He gives back to the wine community of Sicily.   He joins the show to talk about his own business but mainly as a director of the Sicilia DOC.   In the show we cover: Alberto Tasca d'Almerita's  family history in Sicily The cultural differences and similarities of Sicily and mainland Italy. The close connection between Sicilians and Sicilian Americans Alberto gives us an overview of the entire terrain of Sicily – its climate, various terrains, and how incredibly diverse this huge island really is. We discuss the variety of grapes here, focusing on the indigenous grapes of Sicily like Lucido, Nero d'Avola, Perricone and others Alberto tells us about his role in starting the SOStain Sicilia Foundation and about the importance of real sustainability in wine We discuss the Sicilia DOC – why it was formed, the goals of the appellation, and why it is so important to the future of Sicilian wine. Photo: Courtesy of Tasca d'Almerita For more information, visit the winesofsicily.com and https://www.tascadalmerita.it/en/ and don't forget to watch the Wines of Sicily Part 1 Class on YouTube! _______________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes  

    Ep 412: Valpolicella and Amarone Refresher (per M.C. Ice's request)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 31, 2022 53:32

    Valpolicella is a famed red wine region in the foothills north of the city of Verona. This area has been making wine since the time of the Ancient Greeks, whose legacy is kept alive by the common practice drying grapes to concentrate the flavors in the finished wines. Photo: Valpolicella, from Unsplash We covered this with Filippo Bartolotta in episode 317, but after a conversation with M.C. Ice it became clear to me that he needed to hear the info again. It's an important wine region and it's complex, so we decided to do our version and get anyone up to speed who may also still be a little confounded about these wines!    There is much to uncover about this region, the “Valley of Many Cellars”, as it translates. The huge area makes so much wine under so many different sub-regions and areas, but not all are created equally. Even the famed and rather new wine, Amarone della Valpolicella, which has enjoyed enormous popularity in the last 20 years, isn't all amazing. In this show, we will take you on the full tour of the region – examining what is here, the essential components of terroir, and how to get the wines you like from this multi-faceted, diverse, and very confusing Italian region.   Here are the show notes: We give an overview of the region: Valpolicella borders Lake Garda/Bardolino to the west, abuts the Lessini Mountains (part of Venetian Pre-Alps) in the north, and opens to a wide valley in the east. The historical area of Valpolicella winemaking is in the Monti Lessini hills but the area is much bigger due to an enlargement in 1968   Climate Because the region spans so much land, the climate varies depending on the valley. In general it is a mild to cool continental or sub-continental region but hillsides are markedly cooler than lowland areas, and valleys, where the air is more stagnant are far hotter than those at elevation that experience breezes from the PreAlps. Lake Garda keeps the western region cool in the summer and warm in the winter, as you move away from the water towards the east, that is not the case. The winds from the southern, humid Sirocco to the Föhn, a dry northern wind, to those from cold humid ones the northeast all affect particular vineyard sites as well.   Geography In general, you will find vineyards in three big areas: mountainous limestone foothills, at elevation in the Lessini Mountains (the Classico region), hill areas on gentle slopes (th majority of vines planted) with limestone and volcanic soils, and the fertile, alluvial, eastern valley floor. Photo: Corvina, from Conzorzio Valpolicella      Grapes Three main grapes are used with some supporting players Corvina Veronese (Corvina, Cruina) is the backbone of the blends, providing structure, aromas of cherry and red berry, with flowers and baking spice, and softness. It must be 45-90% of the blend Corvinone an unrelated grape with a similar name, provides black cherry, spice, color, tannin, acidity, and elegance to the blend. Corvinone can replace Corvina up to 50% of the blend Rondinella is a vineyard champ – it's very disease resistant and and its contribution is ripe red fruit, tobacco, and spice notes. It can be 5-30% of the blend     OTHERS…can be 25% of the blend, but no more than 10% per grape variety Molinara: Used to be a mandatory part of the blend, but producers often find it too aromatic and savory, and its lack of structure has made it fall out of favor. Oseleta: Is the new darling of Amarone especially. It dark skin and strong tannin with blueberry, black cherry, minerals, and herb notes. It is powerful and a little goes a long way. The plantings are small but growing Others that are permitted and used for hardiness, color, and body are Croatina, Dindarella, and Spigamonti   Every producer makes the decision about what is best within the allowable parameters Photo: Valpolicella, from Conzorzio Valpolicella  Valpolicella Production Regions The production regulations divide the Valpolicella into three distinct zones. Classico was the OG. In 1968 grew to include Valpantena valley near the river, and Valpolicella Orientale – Eastern Valpolicella. The DOCs can have Superiore as a distinction if they age the wine for 1 year and have 1% more alcohol than the normale.   Valpolicella DOC - In eastern Valpolicella (Orientale), the area reaches north into the hills above Verona for approximately ten miles, and east to west for 20 miles. The area is varied,so the wines can be simple when grown on fertile soils or interesting at a bit of altitude with cooling breezes, rocky soils.   Valpolicella Subzone 1: Classico Located in the west near Lake Garda, Classico consists of five high quality areas that make up the traditional places where grapes had been cultivated for Valpolicella before 1968 enlargement. About 30% of Valpolicella from here and the better terroir yields bolder, riper wines with a fuller body and more tannin. The five areas of Classico are Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Negrar Valley, San Pietro in Cariano, Fumane Valley, Marano Valley,     Valpolicella Subzone 2: The Valpantena Located in the central part of Valpolicella, halfway between the Valpolicella Classica and the eastern zone, this area is located in a narrow valley that has big diurnal swings leading to long ripening periods and very good wines with lovely acidity. These are considered nearly as good or as good as Classico. 20% of Valpolicella is grown here     Wine Styles: DOC/G ***It's important to note that all the DOC and DOCG wines can be from the Classico, Valpantena OR standard Valpolicella (indication of the growing ZONE) zones and will indicate that on the label   The DOC/Gs are: Valpolicella DOC Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG   Valpolicella DOC These wines are dry reds with red berry, sour cherry, cinnamon, and pepper notes. They are unoaked, simple wines with light color and high acidity. They have no aging requirements and are often good with a slight chill in the summer. Other versions: Valpolicella Superiore DOC – wine has been aged 1 year, and has 12% v 11% ABV. It has more flavor and body Also: Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Valpolicella Valpantena, Valpolicella Valpantena Superiore are permitted to be used and fall under the DOC.   Photo: Appassimento -- drying grapes, courtesy Conzorzio Valpolicella  Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG This is a sweet red wine made from dried (passito) grapes. It is the original, historic wine of the region – the Greeks brought the production method to these parts. The name comes from recie, which in the local dialet means ears – which is what the top of a grape cluster looks like. The wines are made in the appassamento method where producers dry grapes in indoor warehouses called Fruttai, and use the half-raisined berries to make high alcohol (14.5% - 15.5% ABV), full bodied sweet wines. These wines are aged for at least 2 years before release. They can be Classico and Valpantena as well Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Made just like Recioto, only fermented nearly dry after a very long fermentation, these wines have strong red berry, prune, raisin, cinnamon, chocolate, and tobacco notes. Because the sugar of the dessicated grapes is so high these wines must be at least 14% ABV, can be 15.5% or more. They must age for 2 years in any vessel before release, except in the case of Riserva, where the requirement is 4 years. These wines are made in all three zones, although Classico is considered best.     Valpolicella Ripasso DOC The ultimate sustainability solution, ripasso means re-passed, and in this case rather than discarding the pomace from Amarone and Recioto, up to 15% Amarone lees and grape skins are added to basic Valpolicella during fermentation. This kicks off a second 10-15 day fermentation that boosts tannin, alcohol, fruit flavor, and glycerine in the wine. It gives more candied, jam notes, a higher alcohol level and if aged in oak, flavors like mocha, spice, and leather. These wines can be made in all zones, e.g., Valpolicella Valpantena Ripasso, Valpolicella Ripasso Classico, Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore _______________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes Sources: Ian D'Agata, “Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs” Conzorzio Valpolicella https://www.consorziovalpolicella.it/en/ https://italianwinecentral.com/region-province/veneto/ Independent Wine, Edinburgh, UK: https://www.independent.wine/denominations/guide-to-amarone-and-valpolicella/

    Ep 411: The Grape Miniseries -- Dolcetto

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 25, 2022 51:09

    This week we explore the "other, other" red grape of the Piedmont (after Nebbiolo and Barbera) -- Dolcetto. This grape can be a challenge in the vineyard and in the cellar, but it is capable of producing some of the most satisfying, tasty, and unique wines you can have. Photo: Dolcetto, Consorzio Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani Dark fruit, spice, herbs, flowers, and almond are common in this medium bodied, slightly tannic wine that is a dream with everything from pizza to burgers to mushroom-based dishes. The ability to drink it now, without havng to lay it down is another enormous feather in the cap of this hidden stunner!   Once you try the different styles of Dolcetto, and learn more about the regions that produce it, I have no doubt that you'll be incorporating this lovely and totally underappreciated red into your wine rotation!   Show notes are forthcoming with the region names we referenced. ________________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 410: Cahors, France -- the Malbec Capital of the Old World

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2022 42:17

    Cahors is the best-known appellation in Southwest France, likely because the wine of the region is based off a grape everyone knows: Malbec.  Source: https://vindecahors.fr/ Made around the town of Cahors, 160km/100 mi east of Bordeaux, this region hugs the river Lot, and stretches over slopes with such varied soil, each wine is a story of terroir in a bottle. The unique land, combined with an ideal climate, and a history of winemaking that goes back to the Romans contributes to the special combination that creates this earthy, dark fruited, herbal, and powerful red. If you haven't tried this Old World style of Malbec, after this show, you will be excited to see what you may be missing! Here are the show notes: Here Malbec is AKA -- Auxerrois, Côt (COE). It must be 70% of the blend – the balance is made up with Merlot, or less commonly Tannat. Any white or rosé made in the region is categorized IGP Côtes du Lot   The planted vineyard area is 3,323 ha/8,211 acres but it stretches across 21,700 hectares/53,622 acres over 45 communes along a section of the River Lot around the town of Cahors   Most of the winemakers here are independent, private wineries (75%) with just 25% members of the co-op, an impressive breakdown in a smaller region! 75% of the winemakers are working sustainably, with 31% converting to organic or already certified organic. The climate of Cahors represents a combination of influences, as the region is about the same distance from Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pyrenees Mountains. The summers are hot, the fall is dry, and the lack of rain means the roots dig deep to look for nutrients, giving more character to the wine. The Massif Central to the east occasionally blows cold air in the winter, which can cause deep freezes (we go into the endo and eco dormancy, very dorky!). Source: Getty Images via Canva The terroir of Cahors is, to me, the most interesting thing about the area. Most vineyards lie in terraces that are carved out by the river Lot. We discuss the two main areas – the Lot Valley alluvial terraces and the limestone plateau known as the Causses. The Lot Valley, representing 60% of the wine made, has several terraces with gravelly, sandy deposits that range in age from 20,000 years old to 1 million years old. These wines tend to be fruitier, more floral, and lighter in style.  The Causses is at elevation and represents slopes covered in clay, limestone, and marl with red, iron-rich soils in some spots. They represent ~ 40% of the vineyard and these wines are more tannic, complex, and age worthy. Styles of Cahors: Given the varied terroir, some styles are fruitier and some are earthier. Many have flavors and aromas of fruits and flowers, spice, herbs, and cedar, with underbrush and licorice. They can be dark in color and higher in alcohol. Some are quite tannic, especially those with Tannat as a component. Softer versions have a bigger component of Merlot.   We end the podcast with a comparison of Argentinean Malbec, noting that Argentina's Malbec is fruitier, more plummy with soft tannins, higher alcohol, and fine to drink on its own because of its easy to drink profile. Cahors, on the other hand is more tannic, earthier, with more acidity, and may pair better with food because the tannins are firmer, acidity higher. Source: Getty Images via Canva   If you've never tried Cahors, hopefully this will convince you to get a bottle and see what the Malbec of the Old World has to offer!   Much of the information for this podcast is from: https://vindecahors.fr/   ________________________________________________________________ Thanks to our sponsors this week: Our new sponsor: Wine Spies! Wine Spies uncovers incredible wines at unreal prices - on Zinfandel, Barolo, Champagne...you name it - up to 75% off! It's not a club and there's no obligation to buy. They have a build-a-case option, so you can mix and match wines while enjoying free shipping on every purchase. Visit www.winespies.com/normal you'll get $10 credit to use on your first order! Check them out today!   If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople   To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 409: Wine Aromas Explained

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2022 36:09

    Photo: Pixabay Note: I recorded this right before I got sick so I sound a little 'throaty' but I hope you'll enjoy the show nonetheless! For the first show of 2022, we start out with a dorky one and answer the question: Where does aroma come from and are the things people describe in wine like roses, smoke, and pepper real or total BS?   We take the questions head on and give some answers that may surprise you! Enjoy and thanks for your continued support of the show and all we do!   Here are the show notes:  We start with the basic, defining aroma, as I do in the Wine for Normal People book: The smells unique to the grape variety, demonstrated in a varietal wine in its youth.   We discuss perception, wine tasting, and then I review some very cool findings from this article, “Aroma Compounds in Wine” By Fengmei Zhu, Bin Du and Jun Li, Published: October 19th 2016   "File:Head Olfactory Nerve Labeled.png" by Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator is licensed under CC BY 2.5 At a high level we talk about aromas from the grape, from yeast and enzymes, from amino acids, and those from malolactic fermentation. We talk about the effects of weather and soil briefly as well.   Then we go through the laundry list of compounds in wine, and what each brings to the aroma, bouquet, and flavor:   Terpenes: In grape skins also in fruits, flowers, leaves of some plants. Big component of aromatic whites – Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Riesling. Includes: Linalool: When in contact with other things in the wine, makes lavender, orange blossom, lily, bay leaf notes Geraniol: Rose petal smell Nerol and citronellol:Floral, citrus notes, also in flowers and fruit Limonene and citral: Found in citrus peel Hotrienol: Elderflower, gooseberry 1,8-cineole and alpha-pinene:Eucalyptus, garrigue (airborne and can cling to the skin of grapes)   Rotundone: In skins, aroma of peppercorns, particularly white pepper Photo: Pixabay Aldehydes: Hexanal and hexenal: Fresh cut grass, tomato leaf Vanillin:Vanilla beans, vanilla Benzaldehyde:Bitter almond or marzipan in Italian white wines Furfural: Dried wood, caramel, oak     Pyrazines/ Methoxypyrazines:  Green bell pepper, herbaceous notes   Esters: Created by reactions between alcohols and acids Primary fruit aromas like apple, orange, citrus, banana, pear   Photo: Pixabay Ketones and diketones: Beta-ionone: Violets, dark flowers Diacetyl: Butter, creaminess in wine - byproduct of malolactic fermentation. When combined with new American oak with its vanilla- nut notes - like buttered popcorn     Thiols/Mercaptans: Volatile sulfur compounds in grapes, released by fermentation (when bad – like garlic or onion!) 3MH (3-mercaptohexan-1-ol):Passion fruit 3MHA (3-mercaptohexyl acetate):Guava and gooseberry 4MMP (4-mercapto-4-methylpentan-2-one): Blackcurrant (Cab)   Lactones Sotolon:Sauternes, Madeira  -- either Botrytis or age has an effect here - spice, nuts, maple syrup Octalactone:  Coconut notes   Phenols are derived from oak aging:  Guaiacol: Smoke, roasted, toasty notes Eugenol: Clove   Other common wine aroma compounds TDN (1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene): Petrol or kerosene in Riesling Noriosoprenoids: Spice, raspberry, rose, vanilla Photo: Pixabay   What's the point of this show? Forget all the technical terms and just know: what you are tasting and smelling is based on something REAL -- not some nonsense made up by wine snobs. There is a legitimate reason for why wine smells the way it does!    _____________________________________________ If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople     To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes   ___________________________________________________________ Sources: Scientific Papers Series Management, Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development Vol. 18, Issue 4, 2018 PRINT ISSN 2284-7995, E-ISSN 2285-3952 423 AROMATIC COMPOUNDS IN WINES Luminita VISAN1 , Radiana-Maria TAMBA-BEREHOIU1 , Ciprian Nicolae Wine Enthusiast, The Science Behind the Main Wine Aromas, Explained, ANNE KREBIEHL MW -- The source for this article seems to be the article above, which I also used, but it's a handy, quick summary of the more academic one above!

    Ep 408: Beaumes de Venise - the Historic, High Elevation Cru of the Southern Côtes du Rhône, The Producers' Perspective

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 45:24

    In educational partnership with Beaumes de Venise is a small, beautiful village located in the southern Rhône Valley. It has a great history of quality and recognition for both its red wines, which are classified under the Côtes de Rhône Beaumes de Venise Cru, and its famed Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Cru, a vin doux naturel wine which is known for its exquisite flavors, elegance, and unrivaled balance. In this episode, we explore this historic region that has been making wine for more than 2600 years - the terroir, climate, wines, grapes, and where the name comes from as well (hint: not from a place with many waterways in Italy!). Photo courtesy of Beaumes de Venise Getting a firsthand account from the experts who work in the region every day is the best way to learn so for this show we have two ambassadors for Beaumes de Venise, Claude Chabran of the high-quality Rhonéa co-operative, and Florence Cartier of the family-owned estate Domaine les Goubert.  Each has a unique perspective and shares fascinating information about the realities of making wine – both red and vin doux naturel -- in this marvelous region, which is really unlike any other in the Rhône.   Photo: Claude Chabran of the high-quality Rhonéa co-operative, right     In this show you'll learn about: Where Beaumes de Venise is located within the southern Côtes du Rhône, the size of the region and the importance of the unbelievable geological structures of the Dentelles de Montmirail   The terroir including the high elevation and steep slopes, the importance of the orientation of the slopes, proximity to other well-known cru, and the distinct soil types that affect the flavor of the grapes and how they are farmed   The trends toward organic farming in Beaumes de Venise Photo: Florence Cartier of the family-owned estate Domaine les Goubert The historical significance of Beaumes de Venise wine   The Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre that grow here and how each reacts to different conditions, as well as some of the blending grapes that play a big part here (Florence mentions Cinsault as a favorite!).   We discuss the flavor profile of red Beaumes de Venise Cru and how its freshness and bright fruit make it stand out among the crus of the Côtes du Rhône   The Muscat de Beaumes de Venise appellation -- how is it made, what makes it special, and why it continues to have the reputation as the finest Muscat-based vin doux naturel Claude Chabran tell us about the collegial structure of the Rhonéa cooperative, how they ensure quality, and the innovations they have pursued for their small growers   We end with information about what food pairings that work well with both the red Beaumes de Venise Cru and the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise appellation (don't forget spicy food for Muscat!) and how best to visit this lovely, historic region.     Thank you to the appellations of Beaumes de Venise for the educational partnership and financial support for this show and for teaching us about this appellation, full of history, excellent wine, and passionate producers!   For more information please visit the Beaumes de Venise site.  This podcast and post are part of a paid partnership with AOC Beaumes de Venise.

    Ep 407: Beaumes de Venise - An Overview of the Stylish, Dual Appellation Region of the Côtes du Rhône

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 28:01

    In Educational Partnership with This show is all about the Beaumes de Venise AOC, which is a double threat, making two distinctly different, yet equally stunning wine types, with a cru for each: Beaumes de Venise has been a red-only Cru of the Côtes du Rhône since 2005. It is a blended wine based on Grenache, with Syrah and Mourvèdre. The production area is spread over four communes and stretches 680 ha or 1680 acres. The communes are Beaumes de Venise, Lafare, Suzette, and La Roque-Alric – all located in the Vaucluse Department. Muscat de Beaumes de Venise has been a vin doux naturel appellation since 1945 (76 years!). It is smaller, expanding over just 314 ha or 776 acres. The wine has likely been made here since Roman times and it is insanely good!    Climate Beaumes de Venise has a distinctly Mediterranean climate, and it posts higher temperatures than some surrounding areas because the Dentelles de Montmirail shield the area from the strong, blowing cold of the Mistral wind. But Beaumes de Venise is distinct from other areas in that it has very high elevations -- the vineyard lies on slopes at 200-450 M/656-1,476 ft. The diurnal temperature swings and the breezes at elevation account for the freshness and acidity that is the hallmark of these wines. Photo: The Dentelles de Montmirail, Getty Images   Soils There are four main types of soil in Beaumes de Venise – three for the red Cru, and one that is best for Muscat: Triassic Earth (Terres du Trias): Triassic soil from 200-250 million years ago normally resides 1,500m/4,900 ft underground, but the Dentelles de Montmirail rose from deep in the earth, and the Triassic deposits came to the surface. These soils are shallow, poor, and orange/yellow (iron-rich soils often have this hue). The high clay content protects vines from drought and humidity. Photo: A wine made only from the Triassic soils, from Rhonéa Cretaceous White Earth (Terres Blanches). Formed 90 million years ago, this gray-colored rock is made of well-drained calcareous clay and marl (limestone). The Grenache and Syrah vines are of especially high quality here, as they dig deep into the soil for nutrients.     Jurassic Grey Earth (Terres Grises) from 140-150 mm years ago are Oxfordian black marl, made up of silt, clay and sand and are located mainly north of the village of Lafare, on south-eastern slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail. These soils promote fruity flavors and uniform ripeness.     Miocene Sandstone  a sandy-clay soil produced from the erosion of soft rock from the Miocene Period 15 million years ago. These soils lie close to the town of Beaumes-de-Venise. The soil is credited with giving elegance and subtlety that makes the Muscat here so special.   Grapes and flavor profiles for Beaumes de Venise (red) The main grapes of the Beaumes de Venise Cru are Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. The red must be at least 50% Grenache Noir, with a minimum of 20% Syrah and Mourvèdre together or separately. A maximum of 20% of all the “accessory grapes” are allowed but whites can be no more than 10% of the mix. Red accessory grapes are Carignan, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscardin, Piquepoul Noir, and Terret Noir. White accessory grapes are: Bourboulenc, Clairette (blanc and rose), Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Piquepoul blanc, Ugni blanc, and Viognier. Photo: Grenache, Getty Images Beaumes de Venise Cru (dry red) is a fruity, ripe red, with a medium body, silky, medium tannins and refreshing acidity. Typical flavors are red berry, blackcurrant, and herbs. Certain versions are peppery with baking spice, garrigue, dried leaf, earth, and licorice. There are some fuller versions with jammy, coffee, dried fruit notes with higher alcohol, more prominent tannins, and a long finish. But even fuller versions have nice acidity and a balance of freshness and fruit. Beaumes de Venise red wines age gracefully and are more mellow and leathery after a few years. Roasted or grilled meats, mushroom tartlets, and Camembert cheese are great pairings for this wine.   Grapes and flavor profiles for Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (vin doux naturel) The vins doux naturels for Beaumes de Venise are made of the Muscat grape. The Muscat Beaumes de Venise wines are the only Muscat-based wine in the Rhône outside Clairette de Die. They are made only from Muscat blanc a Petit Grains grape, the finest in the Muscat family of grapes. These wines are mostly white (84%) with some red (1%),  and rosé (15%), the latter two being from Muscat Noir, a color mutation of Muscat blanc.   Muscat has been grown in Beaumes de Venise since 600 BC and today, the grapes grow on warm, sandy soils on mainly south-facing slopes. Considered the most elegant Muscat Vin Doux Naturel in the world, the wines are made through the process of mutage, fortification with pure grape spirit after the grapes ferment to 5 to 10% alcohol. This process leaves sugar from the grapes in the wine, making them “naturally” sweet.   The style of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise ranges from heavier and higher in alcohol to lighter with more delicate flavors. Muscat de Beaumes de Venise has intoxicating aromas and flavors like white flowers, citrus, pears, peach, tropical fruit like mango or lychee, honey, and even grapey notes. The wines are sweet with acidity and a very long finish, but the exact flavors and combination of acidity, alcohol, and sugar are dependent on site and producer. There is so much to explore!   Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is great with food... Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is great as an aperitif if it is a lighter style or, with, after or as dessert if it is heavier. The wine goes really well with Asian food –spicy Chinese or Thai and Indian are ideal.  It's a great gift to bring to a host – it will wow the crowd for its delicacy, versatility and unique profile!   Photo:  Courtesy of Beaumes de Venise AOC All the Beaumes de Venise wines are excellent and are fantastic value for money. The reds will become a staple in your weekly drinking and you'll have so much to choose from as you pick wines from different soils and expressions from different producers. The whites will be your new guilty pleasure. Thank you again to the appellations of Beaumes de Venise for the educational partnership and financial support for this show!  Please visit the AOC's site for more information on Beaumes de Venise! Photo: Courtesy of Beaumes de Venise AOC   Photo: Dentelles de Montmirail, Getty Images This podcast and post are part of a paid partnership with Beaumes de Venise.

    Old Pod, New Context -- Re-release of Ep 191: Proving Terroir is Real with BiomeMakers

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 43:55

    In light of new research and the Terroir Seminar that I did with Laura Catena, Fernando Buscema, and Jane Anson, I thought it would be really helpful to re-release this show and draw your attention to it. BiomeMakers had answered many the questions that terroir seminar addressed, and that the Catena Institute's paper elaborated upon. I encourage you to listen and see how, even 4.5 years ago, we were on the trail of figuring out some vital things about terroir (and what winemaking can do to it).    Here are the original show notes:    Is terroir a concept concocted by the French to hide flaws, as some suggest? Or is it a real thing that can be tasted and measured? John Dimos from Biome Makers and Wine Seq has a tool that resolves the question. In this nerdy, fascinating podcast we dig into the details and provide solid answers to the questions below! I never thought we'd see this in our lifetimes, but here we are!    1. What is it?! John tells us the premise of Biome Makers and how it's an affordable and viable premise now vs 5 years ago   2.  He answers terroir questions around... Why people have denied the presence of "terroir" in wine  How Biome Makers changed the game on the notion of terroir  How soil variation impacts on grapes The effect of the biomes v chemicals from winemaking in the final wine?    3.  We discuss the WIM (What it Means) and the impact of the tool on wineries... Who is this tool for and how will they use it? Given that terroir is a real thing and that it CAN be detected in many wines, why isn't expressed in all wine (or food for that matter)? How is this new tool going to change wine growing going forward?  Will it empower people to take more "risks" on farming organically?  Does this steal the "art" from grape growing/winemaking? I encourage you to check out the site and to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. A company that surely will change the way winemaking happens!  http://www.biomemakers.com   _____________________________________________ Thanks for our sponsors this week: Wine Access: Access to the best wines for the best prices! For 15% off your next order, go to www.wineaccess.com/normal If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople     To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes

    Ep 406: Rasteau – the Magical Cru of the Southern Rhône - The Producers' Perspective

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 50:33

    In Partnership with   Rasteau is a cru of the Côtes du Rhône, specifically the southern Rhône. It is an area with a very specific geography, soil type, climate, and wine style that deserves our attention.   In this show we explore this region, discussing the land, the climate, traditions, grapes, and winemaking.  The quality and differentiation among the wines of Rasteau and how it stands out as a very special place in the Rhône Valley Vineyards are clear when you taste these wines and when you talk to producers, so for this show we have two ambassadors for Rasteau, Frédéric Lavau of Lavau and Domaine Les Évigneaux and Françoise Joyet Larum of Domaine des Girasols. They join to represent the region and to tell us about this historic, beautiful and high-quality winemaking appellation. Photo: Frédéric Lavau of Lavau and Domaine Les Évigneaux, courtesy of the Domaines In this show you'll learn about: Where Rasteau is located, plus its unique terroir, and climate features (including the role of the Mistral wind, climate change, and how winemakers in Rasteau maintain freshness and balance in the wines with warming trends) Organic and sustainable farming in Rasteau The Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre that grow here and how the flavors change based on where the grapes are planted, how old the vines are, and how the wine is made Why Rasteau is a superior appellation (cru) of the southern Rhône and why it is such a diverse, multi-layered region Photo: Françoise Joyet Larum of Domaine des Girasols, courtesy of the Domaine How different producers on different sites can produce varied styles that are food friendly. We discuss the top pairings with Rasteau wines too, because they are so very food friendly. Roasted fish or chicken for lighter styles, ribs, lamb, or barbeques or mushrooms, root vegetable, and hard cheeses for fuller bodied wines. Herbs and spices from the Mediterranean always work well with Rasteau. These wines are so versatile there is so many possibilities! Finally we discuss visiting Rasteau, the festivals around wine, and the self-guided wine route you can do while in the town. Photo courtesy of Rasteau AOC   Thank you to the region of Rasteau for the educational partnership and financial support for this show and for teaching us about this appellation, full of history, excellent wine, and passionate producers!   For more information please visit https://www.vins-rasteau.com/   This podcast and post are part of a paid partnership. All photos courtesy of Rasteau AOC.

    Ep 405: Rasteau – An Overview of the Naturally Bountiful Cru of the Côtes du Rhône

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 30:53

    Thank you to the region of Rasteau for the educational partnership and financial support for this show and for teaching us about this appellation, full of history, excellent wine, and passionate producers!   Rasteau, a Cru from the southern Côtes du Rhône vineyards, has a unique terroir. Its delicious wines are mainly dry reds made from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, with a small production of the sweet vins doux naturels. The cru is small with just 940 ha/2,323 acres making about 359,167 cases/yr, 4.31 mm bottles (in 2020). Around 60 producers form a very collegial community of passionate winemakers dedicated to the region. The Rasteau terroir is varied, with a hot Mediterranean climate and low rainfall. Some parts of Rasteau experience the effects of the Mistral – the strong, local, northern wind – strongly, while others are sheltered from it.   The appellation is on a south-facing hill that faces the Dentelles de Montmirail, the limestone peaks that surround the southern appellations. The area has a diversity of soils – with three distinct areas: A plateau, with elevations reaching 360 M/1181 ft. This area has sandy, stony soils, which retain heat well, storing it by day and releasing it to the vines at night. A mid-slope area between 160 m- 290 m/525 ft – 951 ft, the main area for vines with variable marl, sand, and clay soils, with some iron-rich and sandstone parcels. Syrah and Mourvèdre are best on sandy, clay, and marl soils, which have excellent water retention. Grenache thrives on the unique blue marl of this area. An area that slopes down to the south: the altitude 120-160 m/394 ft-525 ft, which is flatter and a bit warmer   Adhering to the stringent regulations imposed by the AOC, the Rasteau appellation produces dry red wines (96% of production) as well as the sweet vins doux naturels in red, rosé and white (4%).  The AOC ensures meticulous care and regulation of things like planting density, spacing, pruning, trellising, height of the canopy, and sorting. Certain clones of Grenache and Syrah are prohibited, as is irrigation. The minimum alcohol for dry wines is 12.5%, and Rasteau Cru must be aged until March 31st of the year after harvest. The main grapes of Rasteau are Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Red Rasteau is the main product and it must be at least 50% Grenache Noir, with a minimum of 20% Syrah and Mourvèdre together or separately. A maximum of 20% all the “accessory grapes” are allowed but whites can be no more than 10% of the mix. Accessory grapes are: Carignan, Cinsault with Bourboulenc , Vaccarèse, Clairette (blanc and rose), Counoise, Muscardin, Piquepoul Noir, Terret Noir with whites:  Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Piquepoul blanc, Ugni blanc, Viognier, Grenache Gris   The style of Rasteau ranges from lighter and easy drinking to more serious and full-bodied. The common thread is that the wines are not over the top, they drink nicely when young, but can age in the right vintages. Flavors and aromas include garrigue (the famed herbs of this area – thyme, rosemary, lavender), red berry, black cherry, black fruit, sometimes with leathery, dried fruit/jam, savory spice notes or, in bigger versions, cigar box, leather, earth, incense, and licorice. Generally the wines have fresh acidity and soft tannin. Bigger versions have sweet, juicy fruit sometimes with chewy tannins. White and rosé wines are made here but they are marketed as Côtes du Rhône-Villages or vins doux naturels.   The vins doux naturels are red, rosé, and white wines made from hand harvested Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, and Grenache Blanc with any grapes that are allowed in the Côtes du Rhône, but accessory grapes can't be more than 10% of the blend. Minimum alcohol must be at least 15% and the wines must age until August 31st of the year following that of harvest. The whites show floral and honeyed notes, the rosés are like cherry brandy (kirsch) or jam, and the reds come in many styles from grenat, a tannic, fresh red to oxidatively aged ambré, tuilé, and hors d'age (5+ years aging before release) and rancio (minimum 12 months aging in a barrel).   Food pairings include for Rasteau reds: stews, lentils, hard cheeses, grilled beef or eggplant/mushrooms, leg of lamb, charcuterie, blue cheese, or chocolate fondant.Rasteau vin doux naturel pairs well with a variety of sweet and savory foods. The red is perfect with chocolate desserts and the white partners with herbed goat cheese.   These are excellent wines, and represent the passion of the producers whom we will hear from in a separate podcast. The wines represent exciting styles and are insane value for money – grab a few bottles and try all this amazing region has to offer! You'll never tire of drinking Rasteau.   Thank you again to the region of Rasteau for the educational partnership and financial support for this show! This podcast and post are part of a paid partnership. All photos courtesy of Rasteau AOC.

    Ep 404: Truchard Vineyards, A Carneros (Napa) Legend with Anthony Truchard

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2021 61:11

    Anthony Truchard, Truchard Vineyards Anthony Truchard of Truchard Vineyards in the Los Carneros area of southern Napa is one of my favorite people in Napa, and it was a pleasure to have him on the show.   Truchard Vineyards is a family-owned winery that has been operating for over 40 years. It started when Anthony's parents Tony and JoAnn were about to head to Korea for a two-year tour with the US Army (of which Tony was part). After Tony completed his medical residency in Texas, where the couple was from JoAnn, who was very pregnant, fortuitously slipped on a grape in a grocery store, broke her knee and the Army sent the family to a base in CA near the Nevada border.    Upon exploring the beauty of California, Tony got a wild hair to buy a vineyard in Napa and the rest is history. Truchard started out as a growing operation in the 1970s but in 1989 they decided to take some of their favorite blocks and start their own winery. Although they are still a major supplier of grapes to very prestigious properties up-valley in Napa, their winery is true to the land of Carneros and one of the purest expressions of this unique area in the North Coast of California. JoAnn and Tony Truchard   Anthony Truchard was one of six of the Truchard children who grew up commuting between the family vineyard in Carneros and spending his weeks at school in Reno, NV and his weekends in Napa -- he was working in the fields with his father, Tony, by age 12. Anthony has degrees in Philosophy and Biology from UC Santa Barbara and worked in local wine shops and restaurants, learning how normal people interact with and buy wine. He also got a law degree from Cardozo School of Law in New York City and practiced intellectual property law before returning to Napa to become the GM of Truchard Vineyards, where he works hard to maintain the integrity of his family's wines.   Here are the topics we cover in the show: The history of Truchard, starting in France (yes, they owned land and farmed vines there!), moving into the first Truchards' attempts at viticulture in Texas (right idea, wrong place!), and then discussing the Truchard story in California and how Anthony was involved in the vineyard from the time he was a young boy and his father worked to convert an old prune farm that people thought was too cool for grapes into a thriving vineyard. Truchard's barn in Texas, still stands today! Anthony gives us a full education on Carneros. We discuss: The unique designation of the appellation – the fact that it was the first in California to transcend municipal lines and be based on terroir Why the climate is cool here The different parts of Carneros and why some grapes like Roussanne, Syrah and Cabernet can thrive in certain areas The topography, soil types, and water challenges of the area   We discuss the main grapes that thrive here – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot, and how Cabernet Sauvignon is growing in plantings as the climate warms. Anthony also talks about the major cultural differences between Carneros and other parts of the Napa Valley. The Cave at Truchard Vineyards in Carneros   We cover the viability of organics in a cool climate with major fog, like Carneros and what becoming organic does for the grapes   Anthony talks about the collaboration of Tony Truchard, his dad who still manages is the vineyards, and the winemaker, Sal de Ianni. He discusses the goal of the team at Truchard Vineyards  – to express the land and the vintage in each bottle, to stay traditional (not chase trends),  and to stay true to the farming roots. Truchard Winemaker Sal de Ianni Anthony gives us some thoughts about market trends and what he sees for the future of Carneros and Truchard.   These are spectacular wines and are available in the US and the UK at a reasonable price. They are meant to enjoy and to pair with food. Photos all from Truchardvineyards.com _____________________________________________ Thanks for our sponsors this week: Wine Access: Access to the best wines for the best prices! For 15% off your next order, go to www.wineaccess.com/normal If you think our podcast is worth the price of a bottle or two of wine a year, please become a member of Patreon... you'll get even more great content, live interactions and classes!  www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople     To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes