Wine for Normal People (wine)

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

This co-podcast with Brian Weber from Bartender Journey will teach you a ton about what goes on behind the bar with wine! From the danger of ordering rosé to how long a wine is left open before chucked, we give it to you straight! 

 

Brian launched our full conversation on his podcast, which includes more basics about wine. I've edited our conversation to focus just on the wine-relevant portions! We talked about...

  • How much knowledge do bartenders have about wine?How much training do they receive?
  • Is it ok to ask for samples?
  • How long does wine stick around before it's chucked if it's sold BTG? Do they ever try it - or just pour and hope it is still good? How many days do you leave a red by the glass compared to a white after opening?
  • How does pricing of wine work in a restaurant setting?
  • Do you think of us wine folk as silly purists? Meaning, a great cocktail is made from a few, if not many ingredients, and we winos are mostly looking for singularity.
  • What do you do when a customer tells you the wine you served is corked?
  • Have you ever faked rosé by adding red  to white wine? 
  • Are there any cocktails that do not screw up your palate before the meal?
  • What are some new and exciting wine cocktails being offered? How much of a difference does better wine make in these cocktails?

A very fun conversation from which I know you'll learn a ton! 

 

Enjoy! 

Direct download: 127_Ep_127__A_Bartenders_Take_on_Wine.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT

Forget the scare-mongering media's claims about arsenic in wine! We have the real deal. This week, I was HONORED to host Dr. Carl Winter, PhD, and professor at University of California at Davis. He's a food toxicologist & food safety musician (you must listen to his songs about food hazards, sung to popular music. He is hilarious but brilliant because the stuff is so memorable). He sets us straight and let's us know there is nothing to fear when it comes to arsenic in wine. I'm copying in some points he gave me on arsenic in wine, in case you want to go further in your knowledge on the subject.

AND the bonus. M.C. Ice was so enamored of the concept of food safety music, that he created something in homage to Dr. Winter. I hope you love it (and I hope he does too!).*

MANY thanks to Dr. Winter. A cool dude, an inspiration to us, and an all around nice dude!

Direct download: Ep_126__Arsenic_in_Wine_with_Dr._Carl_Winter.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

It's Groundhog Day in the US, which means, according to the namessake movie, we get a do-over! So we re-do the episode on aging -- we discuss what to hold, why, and the history behind it. We talk about ideal storage conditions & why we don't cellar wine. 

We hit on:

  • The history of aging wine
  • The chemical components that make a wine good for aging
  • The role of cork in aging
  • Which wines may age best
  • The ideal conditions for cellaring and ways to cellar wine -- temperature, humidity, light, vibration
  • Bottle types and dumb phases
  • Why we don't cellar wine

Hope you enjoy and learn more this time than the last time we covered this! 

Direct download: 121_Ep_121__Aging_Wine_Revisited.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 1:34am EDT

For Australia Day, we revisit this amazing continent and one of its finest wine gems -- Margaret River. As Australia emerges from its post-critter wine era, the country is in need of a reset. If ever there was a region to rejigger people's perception of Aussie wine, this is it. 

Australia Day

Here's the link: MARGARET RIVER

  • We first talk about Western Australia -- its size, location, and the other wine regions here.
  • We focus in on Margaret River, the area that makes 3% of Australia's wine and 20% of its premium wine. 
  • Margaret River was founded purely as a science project, and it's worked out pretty well. We hit on climate, terroir, soil, and the most successful grapes.

After you hear our description of the flavor profiles of these wines, you're going to want to run out to get some! And you should. It's great stuff. 

Enjoy and happy Australia Day!

 

Direct download: 120_Ep__120_Margaret_River_Australia.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 1:49am EDT