Wine for Normal People (wine)

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

To usher in 2016, we bring you a poem to make you smile and laugh. Thank you for listening in 2015 -- you are truly the best audience in the world!

Direct download: 150_Ep_150__WFNP_2016_New_Years_Poem.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:43am EDT

It's getting cooler in the northern hemisphere (and it's still not hot in the southern one!) so we thought we'd make some recommendations for what you could get to drink well this fall! 

Before we get to it, we announce FALL/WINTER CLASSES! Please head to winefornormalpeople.com/classes to register!

And here are the slots:

  1. Rhône white blend
  2. Santa Barbara Chardonnay
  3. Fiano di Avellino
  4. Tavel rosé
  5. A wild card white or sparkling -- Lambrusco (a sparkling red) could be cool, or you could just figure out what strikes your fancy
  6. A Cru Beaujolais like Morgon or Moulin a Vent
  7. Spanish Rioja
  8. Portuguese red -- Douro or Dão or Alentejo
  9. Langhe Nebbiolo
  10. Aglianico from southern Italy
  11. Cahors (Malbec) from France
  12. Walla Walla Syrah or Merlot

Let us know what you wind up getting or if you have any new favorites from our recommendations!

Direct download: 145_Ep_145__Filling_a_Case_for_Fall.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 1:57am EDT

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

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

Thanks for listening! Enjoy!

 

Direct download: 143_Ep_143__The_Red_Blend_Trend.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 10:54pm EDT

After a trip to this stunning region full of kind people and delicious wines, we can finally report on it! 

To understand this region, you've got to get into a serious dork out mode because the story of how vinifera grapes can grow in this cold place goes all the way back to the glaciers! So briefly, in this podcast we cover:

1. The importance of the Lake Effect and how depth matters to grape growing

2. Weather and what that can do to a vine

3. Grapes and how Riesling is a goddess in the Finger Lakes, and unlike Riesling anywhere else

4. Glaciers, soils, and other nerdy earth-science stuff that relates to grape growing here. 

5. History of the region and preview of the soon-to-be-released podcast with Fred Frank, grandson of the pioneer of east coast vinifera winemaking, Dr. Konstantin Frank

6. How to get these wines

 

After you hear this you're definitely going to want to get your hands on these wines or visit the region. A great story, and a fascinating region! Enjoy! 

Direct download: 138_Ep_138__Finger_Lakes_Region_New_York.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:27am EDT