Wine for Normal People
We’re getting in under the wire for New Year’s Eve (and we’ve missed some of you abroad) but this episode is a must listen before you make a last run to the wine shop. Here are the notes: Different sytle types of Champagne/Sparkling to consider: Traditional method, Brut, Prestige Cuvee (for lots of $$!!), Vintage dated and what it means. Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir, Rosé. We cover the major differences between each and what to expect. More affordable alternatives to Champagne that are made like Champagne: Cremant, Cava, Franciacorta, US, Australian, and South African Sparkling wine. More affordable alternatives to Champagne that are much fruitier and made differently: Prosecco, Sekt Big brands v. small guys (Recoltant Manipulant) Some stuff on etiquette: how to open a bottle, pour it, and the all important toast superstition that you can’t miss! Enjoy! Happy New Year. Be safe, have fun, and thanks for listening and supporting us this year! If you like the [...]
Direct download: 66Ep066_SparklingWineOptions.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

This week we return to the Grape Miniseries…finally! It’s Malbec and I think we have a few surprises to share about this grape. After lots of wonderful thanks and fun comments, we hit three excellent listener questions: 1. What’s the etiquette of sharing good wine with people who may not appreciate it? GREAT question and we have an answer that should provide a sigh of relief for you. 2. What exactly is minerality in normal people terms? We hit on some ideas, and suggest licking rocks… 3. And very importantly, when is “Wine for Normal People” the book coming out? Yes, Virginia, you can put it on your Christmas wish-list next year! Then we get to the matter at hand! And a few summary points: We talk about the grape and its many challenges in the vineyard. We discuss the main styles of Malbec (’cause it isn’t just Argentina) Then we hit on history and the regions where the grape grows or has grown in the past: France: [...]
Direct download: 65Ep065_GrapeMiniseriesMalbec.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

A bonus Wine Chat with Rick on’s announcement that they’re now selling wine. Now Amazon really does sell everything! Go to to see for yourself! We discuss the implications of this move and whether or not we think it will work..this time around (three’s a charm, or three strikes and you’re out?). Here’s the link to the Press Democrat article that Rick referenced: “Amazon gets back in the wine business” Enjoy and let us know if you’ll be shopping on Amazon by writing a comment below or on Facebook or Twitter. Can’t wait to hear from you! [...]
Direct download: WineChat2AmazonSellsWine.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT

When we first started the podcast, we didn’t know what the appetite for dorkiness was. After almost 2 years of doing this, we’ve realized it’s VORACIOUS!! Yay! That means I can go hog-wild in a crazy oak-a-palooza. After our newly revamped “Listener Feedback” segment, where we ask you if you want to chat and be on the podcast (we want to hear from you!), we hit the main event. This week we’re feeding the beast with 48 minutes of dork-dom. M.C. Ice and I hit one of the most important topics in wine, in detail. Here are the high level points: Philosophies on the use of oak Flavors from oak Some important factors that go into barrel making/oak selection by winemakers — location of the forest, new v. used, size, wood drying methods, and why M.C. Ice only wants wine from “split” wood barrels… After this total nerd-fest, we just keep it going with a fabulous Grape of the Week (yes, we’ve been slacking!): Blaufränkisch [...]
Direct download: 64Ep064_OakRevisited.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 11:32am EDT

Last year we covered so much in last year’s Thanksgiving episode that we barely left anything for this year. We didn’t just want to do a recap or recite the same old wines that everyone else recommends. So for this Winter Solstice Plus (for our international listeners)/Thanksgiving edition, we talk about how to incorporate your original heritage into the feast this year. After we give thanks to some folks for comments, we address: The basics of food and wine pairing The largest ethnic groups from which most people in the US derive — German, English, Italian, French, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Austrian — and which wines associated with these countries will pair with the big day. More detail on food and wine pairing. As promised, here are a few of the wines we mentioned: German Riesling (Spätlese, Auslese, Spätburgunder/Pinot Noir) White Bordeaux Fiano d’Avellino, Falanghina, Barbera The white wines of Alsace and Rhône, Rosé (not more tha [...]
Direct download: 63Ep063_ThanksgivingWinesToMatchYourHeritage.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 12:32am EDT

This week we cover lots of ground but the main topic is from listener, Tony Jacobson. Thanks so much for the suggestion! Here are the show notes: First, a special word on our sympathies for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which demolished parts of the Northeast of the U.S. We are praying for you! (If you are interested in donating to the ASPCA or the Humane Society, or learning more about how you can help the animals displaced by the storm, Ellie thanks you). And then to the big 8 (they say everything should always be in odd numbers when you’re describing something or writing about it. I say I don’t care because I think these are worthwhile!): 1. We start with the moment that got me into wine: A white tasting at the Boston Center for Adult Education. Life-changing. See my sister’s notes (right). 2. A few classic Bordeaux that M.C. Ice and I won’t ever forget: Chateau Palmer and Cos d’Estournel. 3. Next, a food and wine pairing experience that [...]
Direct download: Ep062MemorableWinessofarFINAL.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 12:42am EDT

This week we bring you a fun episode! It’s super US-Centric (sorry to our international listeners) but hopefully we did a good enough job of describing things so you get the gist. In this short episode, we explore the world of left over Halloween candy and which wines will be ideal matches for what may be laying around after the costumes are hung up and the trick-or-treaters are gone (or in bed and you can raid their stash!). * *Keep in mind, we did not talk about pairings with dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate. Why? ‘Cause that’s not what you get in a bag of candy for trick-or-treat! This is all about realistic scenarios. How was this “scientific experiment” conducted? Step 1: We got candies: The fruity kind, like gummies, Skittles, and Starburst and the chocolate kind — everything from Kit Kat, Hershey’s, and Mounds to Reeses P-nut Butter Cups and Snickers. Step 2: We got wine, some based on recommendations that we researched i [...]
Direct download: 61Ep061_HalloweenCandyPairings.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 6:03pm EDT

I feel like I‘m writing a script for Masterpiece Theater (a Public Broadcasting show in the US with high quality yet very dorky programming usually based on literature)… “And in this installment, we find our hero, Bordeaux, only half explained. A general overview was given last week, but we were left hanging. Only understanding very basic things about the region…” Ok, enough of that. Last week gave a very general overview but this week, we get TO IT! We go into good detail about what you need to know at a fundamental level to understand Bordeaux and the things that make is so unique. I’m not doing show notes this week (and this is not a ploy to get you to go to the blog) because I think it’s important to supplement your listening with reading the Bordeaux primer, which goes over similar information. Seeing it written will burn it into your brain and you’ll be on your way to being a Bordeaux dork! So here are links to the Bordeau [...]
Direct download: 60Ep060_BordeauxPt2.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 12:56pm EDT

After catching up on shoutouts, talking about my debut on national TV (see this clip from The Weather Channel!), and doing our regular banter, this week we get started on the huge topic of Bordeaux. We just scratch the surface of why Bordeaux is such a big deal, talking about: Stats that will explain why the area is so significant in the wine world The history of Bordeaux and how it became so important in wine The basics on geography — the differences between the left and right banks A near end to Bordeaux: phylloxera and a dorky discussion of clones, grafting, and grape species This is just the beginning. Next week we continue on Bordeaux, discussing the four most important things you need to know to get up to speed. If you like the podcast, please pass it on to your friends, review it on iTunes, drop a comment below, or join the awesome conversation on Facebook (Wine For Normal People page) and Twitter @normalwine! And if you’ve got a question you want us t [...]
Direct download: 59Ep059_BordeauxPart1.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

And this week we complete the duo with the list of benchmark wines from the New World. After shout outs and a great listener question from Facebook on how to live as an ABC  (that’s Anything But Chardonnay) guy? We discuss the alternatives to oaky Chardonnay that still have the umph with food. True to the naming structure, and following M.C. Ice’s smart advice, we’ve organized this one by grape…Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon are covered…with a few more thrown in. Now that you know them, why should you listen? Because we talk through each and why they’re benchmarks… important stuff to know! Thanks again to Paula Kidwell for the podcast idea. If you like the podcast, please pass it on to your friends, review it on iTunes, drop a comment below, or join the awesome conversation on Facebook (Wine For Normal People page) and Twitter @normalwine! And if you’ve got [...]
Direct download: 58Ep058_BenchmarkWinesNewWorld.mp3
Category:Uncategorized -- posted at: 5:25pm EDT