Wine for Normal People

This week we have a complementary podcast to the one we did with Ryan Schmaltz, who did a giant pivot in his career to pursue his winemaking dream. This time we talk to Ian Renwick of Domaine de la Citadelle in the Luberon region of the Rhône Valley. I have "known" Ian virtually for years and have watched his career changes through interactions over email and social media as he moved into wine. Finally, he gives us the whole, fascinating story and then we get into SERIOUS dorkery -- discussing everything from rosé making to the politics of Bordeaux to whether or not ratings matter. Here's a quick outline:

  • First we discuss Ian's life as a corporate HR dude and how he happened upon the WSET and Master of Wine program.
  • Then we talk about Ian's foray into wine importing in Hong Kong
  • We take a side trip to discuss Bordeaux, Southwest France, and the politics of the Bordeaux classification system and the AOP system at large.
  • Ian tells me about how he wound up in Luberon and what he's doing there.
  • The darker commences with tons of info on what Ian learned from his first harvest at the Domaine -- the good, the bad, and the ugly
  • We talk about the Mistral, and what it really feels like
  • We discuss Luberon, Provence, the grapes of the Rhône and the benefits of blending versus using single varieties in wine
  • Then it's all about the business of wine: the balance between commercial success and individuality, our views on whether or not ratings really matter, how wine PR really works and winemaking versus drink making. We also throw in info on rosé winemaking, the characteristics to look for in a great Rhône wine and Ian's work on how rosé could be improved and made better.

A fascinating podcast full of great dork moments and industry stuff, you'll get a lot out of this. 

Saving a wine to enjoy when your kid turns 21 or on your 10th or 20th wedding anniversary is a great idea, but what will last that long? This week we've got a great list of options for you with advice on how to research your best options and storage tips to boot! 

Here's the list: 

1. Vintage Champagne

2. Alsatian Riesling from producers like Zind Humbrecht, Marcel Deiss, or Trimbach. Or German Riesling from producers like Donnhoff or JJ Prüm.

3. The Italians: Barbaresco and Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, or Taurasi from Agliancio

4. White and red Burgundy

5. California Cabernets from specific producers: Ridge, Heitz, Chateau Montelena, Freemark Abbey.

6. Heavier Northern Rhônes of Syrah like Cornas or Hermitage or Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the specific producers in Southern Rhône.

7. Bordeaux from the best producer you can afford

8. High end Rioja


Sweet Wines (my top picks for long aging)

1. Sauternes

2. Vintage Port 

3. Tokaji from Hungary

4. Madeira


Whatever the occasion you're commemorationg there's a wine for you! Congratulations!

Direct download: 136_Ep_136__Birth_year_Anniversary_Commemoration_Wines.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:37am EDT

Yes, there is wine made in Uruguay, a small but mighty country that borders Argentina in the east. In this episode you'll learn about a country we should all have on our list to visit and Tannat, the wine we should all have on the list to buy!

Some of the important stuff we discussed:

  • Uruguay is between the 30 – 35th parallels, so pockets of coolness are needed to keep structure in the wines
  • Most of the wine is made by small producers
  • The area has 22,250 acres of vines (Napa alone has 45K) and 200 wineries (Napa has over 400)
  • Most of the wine is red, and most of that is Tannat with some Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The biggest white grapes are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Tannat is a robust, tannic red that has a pivotal role in the country's rising wine status. It's similar to Carmenere in Chile, Malbec in Argentina. Uruguay makes Old World Style Tannat, France makes New World Style Tannat!!! Wines are  rich, full-bodied wines with dark fruit and spice aromas and flavors
  • Top regions include: Montevideo, Canelones, Colonia, San Jose, Maldonado, and Salto


You may have a hard time finding these wines, but ask your wine shop to bring a bottle in for you. I promise it's worth the hunt! Great stuff! 

Direct download: 135_Ep_135__Wines_of_Uruguay.mp3
Category:wine, Uruguay -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

From hot dogs to burgers to potato salad and corn on the cob, we've got you covered. A mini-cast that you can listen to on the way to the wine store so you make sure you grab the right bottle!  Have a safe 4th and drink well!

Direct download: Mini_Podcast__4th_of_July_Wine_Pairings.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT