Wine for Normal People (wine)

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

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

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

This week, we have a great story for you! Ryan Schmaltz, podcast listener and chemistry Ph.D turned winemaker at Bella Winery and Wine Caves in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma shares his fascinating transformation.

Ryan contacted me a few years ago, telling me about his plan to switch careers from the life of a chemist to that of a winemaker. Fast forward a couple of years and he made his dream a reality. 

In this podcast, Ryan shares his story of tenacity, hard work, and risk taking, which paid off. You'll love hearing about his path and then the dork outs about working with Zinfandel, Syrah, and Grenache and the challenges of each grape.

A fascinating conversation, we hope you enjoy and learn!

Direct download: 134_Ep_134__How_to_Become_a_Winemaker_with_Ryan_Schmaltz_from_Bella_Winery.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:15am EDT

After a recent trip to Sonoma, we reflect on how things have improved in the past few years. The maturity of the region, including the quality of the wine and creativity of the producers, the family legacy of farming, & some great travel tips are covered. In more detail...

1. First we discuss how Sonoma has entered young adulthood– it’s grown up We saw more maturity in producers, less exhuberence and more balance in both wine and attitude.

2.  We saw a change in the risks people are willing to take too. There was more creativity, more awareness about the environment and far better articulation around why certain farming practices are used – we heard about concrete benefits, not just marketing BS on biodynamics, organics, and sustainability.

3. M.C. Ice observed found there was more under the radar to discover, and liked what he found when he looked a little closer. 

4. As we've observed before, the family stories of these Sonoma properties are interesting – there seems to be more emphasis on farming and connection to the land, especially now that many smaller properties are getting sucked up by big hulking wineries. We saw strong pride at every small winery we visited, especially at Mayo Family Vineyards, from whom you'll hear a clip near the end of the podcast. 

5. We discuss our crazy barrel tasting with Bill of ACORN (and promise more to come)

6 We wrap up with some key travel tips, like:  keep the itinerary tight by planning well, consider renting an Air BnB, drink plenty of water, and make sure there is food in the car. We covered a bunch more too!

 

Hope you like this episode. And thanks to our sponsor:

 audible.com.

Get a FREE audiobook download at www.audibletrial.com/winefornormalpeople. There are more than 100,000 titles to choose from, including some great wine books, for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

 

Direct download: 131_Ep_131__Observations_From_A_Trip_To_Sonoma_CA.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

In this episode we talk with Jim Morris of MacPhail Family Wines. We discuss a lot of stuff with our old friend and one of the nicest guys in Sonoma. Topics range from:

  • The CA wine industry and trends that we are less than excited about (yes, we name names!)
  • The history of Sebastapol, Gravenstein apples, and the Barlow -- the latest hotspot in Sonoma where MacPhail's tasting lounge is located
  • The world of Pinot-philes: Labeling, wagons, vineyards, and soils
  • And most importantly -- Pinot styles and the differences from Oregon down to Santa Barbara

A great enrichment to previous CA podcasts and fun conversation with a great, smart guy! 

Direct download: Ep_130__CA_Pinot_with_Jim_Morris_of_MacPhail_Family_Wines.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 12:28am EDT

An impromptu recording with one of the only producers in the Dry Creek that does Mediterranean grapes, not just Zinfandel: Mick Unti of Unti Vineyards.

The conversation is very free form, but we discuss:

  • New World v Old World flavors and palates
  • The real differences in Old v New World farming and winemaking
  • How Unti is leading the evolution of Sonoma (without really knowing it!)

Because this was unexpected, it's a bit more unstructured than some of my other interviews, so I hope you can roll with it and still enjoy!

Direct download: Ep_129__Mick_Unti_on_Igniting_Sonomas_Grape_Revolution.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 11:06pm EDT