Wine for Normal People (wine)

This is the first of our new weekly audio blog series: short, informative readings of blog posts from winefornormalpeople.com/blog.

 

To kick it off, Carmenère, a grape with the most dramatic backstory in the wine world! 

 

Find the full transcript here: http://winefornormalpeople.com/audio-blog-1-car…-story-ever-told/

Direct download: 01_Audio_blog_1__Carmenere_The_Greatest_Grape_Story_Ever_Told.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

Jason Haas was the 2015 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year. As the GM and a partner in the Tablas Creek joint venture with the Perrin family of Rhône fame (Château de Beaucastel is one of the most famed properties in Châteauneuf du Pape and the family own several other ventures through out Rhône and Provence), Jason has had an enormous impact on the Paso Robles region and the wine style there. In addition, he is one of the most talented writers in the industry  – his Tablas Creek blog has won multiple Wine Blog Awards and is up for another one in 2016.

 

This conversation was a culmination of years of admiration from afar -- I am a huge fan of the Tablas Creek wines and style. Here are some notes from the show:  

  • First we talk about the history of Tablas Creek and how the partnership between the Haas and Perrin families happened.

 

  • We talk about the factors involved in finding a perfect site for the project – soil types, microclimates, altitudes, etc. and the process they went through to find it.

 

  • We discuss the process Tablas Creek went through to import the vines from Beaucastel.  

 

  • We cover how and when Jason got involved with Tablas Creek and his hand in carving up Paso Robles into 11 appellations which happened in 2015. 

 

  • We answer the questions: what did and does make Tablas Creek’s vineyards so unique? and... It is possible anywhere with the right people and the right winemaking and growing, or is this a characteristic unique to certain sites that not all people are cognizant of in CA winemaking?

 

  • We discuss farming: organics, biodynamics, and dry farming and why Tablas Creek uses all three.

 

  • We talk about blends, and about the various tiers of Tablas Creek wine and how Jason and his team benchmark his brands against California and Rhône wines, and how they usually stack up.

 

A great conversation with a California legend in the making! This is a fascinating look at an up-and-coming area of California, and it's star player. 

 

Direct download: EEp_162__Jason_Haas_of_Tablas_Creek_in_Paso_Robles_CA_RM.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 4:20pm EDT

One of the most common questions I get is about random stuff floating in wine and what to do with it. In this episode we cover it all -- wine diamonds, sediment, spritz, clouds, and cork -- and explain what they are and what to do when you encounter them!

Direct download: Ep_161_Whats_that_floating_in_your_wine_.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:32am EDT

You want to know more about rosé? Ian Renwick, our regular contributor from the Luberon on the border of Rhone and Provence with Domaine de la Citadelle has been studying the ins and outs of rosé for years now. As his apprenticeship comes to a close, his "dissertation" is all about rosé and he shares much of what he knows. 

 

Here are the show notes. We discuss...

  • The history of rosé and overcoming the bad reputation of pink
  • Rosé's new found Popularity -- Brangelina, seasonality, and trendiness
  • How to make rose -- first how to make red and white, then the challenges of rosé
    • What grapes go into rose and why a lot of rose is crap
    • What people SHOULD do to make great rose -- DORK OUT
    • Why rose is the "most technological of wine" -- and whether or not it's drink making or wine making (my new favorite question)
    • The importance of maintaining aromatics in rose
  • Color differences, flavor differences and what to look for when shopping (hint, why color should NOT be a factor)
  • The question of age..
  • Food and wine pairing ideas
And then we end of the rosé rant! 
 
An excellent podcast that will give you new appreciation for rosé.
Direct download: 160_Ep_160__The_Ros_Story_with_Ian_Renwick.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:42pm EDT

We go out on a limb this week, sharing a personal story on a  controversial topic. But after years of questions from moms and dads to be, it's finally time. 

 

Rarely do women in the wine industry discuss their relationship to alcohol when they're pregnant and the decisions they make about drinking while nursing. But just because it's not discussed widely, doesn't mean it's not on people's minds. This one's for you, moms and dads. It's not advice (I'm no expert or doctor) nor is it meant to persuade you to do anything. It's just our story of what we did and the how and why behind it because someone needs to say it. 

 

So at the risk of everyone thinking I'm a terrible person, I admit that I did, in fact, drink in moderation during pregnancy. I talk about why I made the decision I did and what moderation actually meant to me (I actually tell you what I did in each trimester), M.C. Ice discusses his thoughts on it, and then we debate a bit. 

 

Hope this helpful to some of you, and doesn't alienate others! 

 

Direct download: 158_Ep_158__Did_I_drink_when_I_was_pregnant__Our_story.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT

Alistair Nesbitt, Ph.D candidate at the Univ of E Anglia, UK discusses his work on climate change & how it affects viticulture & the wine biz. We talk about his fascinating paper: "Climate change drives UK wine production but not without weather shocks". 

Direct download: 157_Ep_157__Climate_Change_and_UK_Wine_with_Alistair_Nesbitt.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:23am EDT

First we hit on the Background on Roman Empire

  • The Roman Empire lasted from around 753 BC until 476 AD and encompassed most of Europe
  • The impact was far, wide, long lasting – Romans started the industry all over Europe AND they discovered winemaking practices that are still around today

Expansion of Wine

  • We discuss the Greeks and how they got the ball rolling with viticulture in Italy
  • Then we go over the conquest of Europe by the Romans vis a vis wine – from the Punic Wars and Carthage on. Spain, Gaul (France), Germany, and Britain

 

Golden Age of Wine

  • We talk about the Golden Age of wine in Rome in the 2nd century BC
  • We discuss the medicinal, social, and religious roles of wine -- including how it was used by wealthy people to show their friends how rich they were
  • The transformation of wine into a daily necessity where everyone from the rich to slaves drank it

 

Viticulture in the Roman era

  • The concept of terroir is not new – writers from Pliny to Columella discussed the relationship between the land and the vineyard – soil type, slope, proximity to water were all important to viticulture
  • Winemaking wasn’t so different from how it is today – the importance of how you press grapes, sur lie aging, the process of making sweet wine, and storage and aging were cited by writers
  • Romans differentiated between vineyards and had famed wines: we talk Falernian, Alban, Caecuban and more
  • We discuss the importance of place name v grape type and how the tradition continues

All in all, a dork-fest of an episode, but a very fun one indeed!

In Vino Veritas!

Direct download: Ep_156_Wine_of_Ancient_Rome.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:58pm EDT

Santa Barbara is a cool climate wine region in CA's Central Coast. At 34˚ latitude, it doesn't seem like Pinot & Chardonnay would thrive here, but weird geology, geography, & a big ocean make the area one of CA's best & most unique cool climate hubs.

First we cover the basics on Santa Barbara:

  • 5 hours north of LA
  • It's separated from the rest of the United States by the San Andreas Fault, giving it different geology from much of inland California – soils here are more marine
  • Shallow soils are well suited to viticulture, stress in the vines, low vigor, excellent concentration of flavor.
  • 34˚N Latitude – should be almost too hot for grapegrowing but valleys are transverse -- they run east-west rather than north-south
    • Geologic oddity, the ocean breezes sweep eastward and are funneled in, helped by the hills and mountains that ring the region.
    • East into foothills: warm during the day, cool during the night,
    • West valley - ocean enjoy a mild and moderate climate.
  • Main grapes – Pinot, Chard, Syrah
  • The area took off in the 1970s and 1980s, but it's real tipping point was in 2004:  the movie Sideways was set and filmed in the AVA

 Then we discuss the American Viticultural Areas: 

  • Santa Maria Valley
  • Sta Rita Hills
  • Santa Ynez Valley
  • Ballard Canyon
  • Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
  • Potential new ones coming:
    • Los Alamos region
    • The Los Olivos District
    • The Santa Maria Bench

 If you haven't dipped a toe in to Santa Barbara's wines and you have access to them (especially those from the sub-AVAs) this podcast should get you motivated to do it! 

 

 

Direct download: 154_Ep_154__Santa_Barbara_California.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:07am EDT

After a great trip, compliments of Wines of British Columbia http://www.winebc.com)(, I have a great handle on what the Okanagan Valley is and what it has to offer.

  • First, we provide a thanks to the great people who were part of the trip: Laura Kittmer of Wines of BC, Lori Pike-Raffan and Blair Baldwin of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, Kyle Taylor from Sun Peaks, Arnette Stricker of @RTWGirl and Stefanie Michaels, @AdventureGirl
  • We review the brief history of Okanagan wine, which began in earnest in 1990.
  • We talk about the grapes available here from Merlot (most widely planted grape), and Pinot Noir to Pinot Gris (second most widely planted grape), Chardonnay, and Riesling 
  • Climate and geography are next -- we talk about the desert conditions of South Okanagan and why dry conditions, lakes, and latitude make such a difference to the wines here
  • We get into the nuts and bolts -- the sub regions and what each grows and specializes in, discussing the importance of exposure and location and what that means for wine styles.
  • Osoyoos/Black Sage and Oliver are the regions I mention as being high potential, along with the Similkameen Valley, west of Osoyoos and similar to the area.

After a bunch of facts, I give my opinion on what the region is and where it may be going. 

Thanks again to all who made the trip possible. I'll be coming again to see the south part of the region, but I appreciate the overview and the amazing hospitality, kindness, and meticulous planning but the Wines of British Columbia and the folks at the Okanagan Winter Wine Festival.  Go to http://www.winebc.com for more information! 

Direct download: 153_Ep_153__Okanagan_Valley_Canada.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:57pm EDT

The state of Virginia in the US has been trying to make great wine since the 1600s. After 350 years, they finally made it work! From great terroir to outstanding talent, this may be the most exciting place for wine in the US today. 

After a listener question on the difference between Brouilly and Beaujolais, we talk Virginia wine:

1. The place has has 400 year history, but only about the last 30 have been exciting!

2. We talk about the challenges of climate, pests, humidity, etc of growing vitis vinifera in Virginia

3. We discuss the various regions and grapes of Virginia

4. I name names: Linden, Glen Manor, Barboursville, RdV, King Family, Veritas, Early Mountain and Blenheim make the list.

This state has a bright future if they keep churning out wines like they do from the top talent in Virginia. Delicious stuff! 

Direct download: 151_Ep_151__Virginia_Wine_US.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:55pm EDT