Wine for Normal People

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

In this episode I have a fangirl moment with Jane Anson, one of the top wine writers in the world. She's the contributing editor and Bordeaux correspondent for Decanter Magazine,Decanter.com, and DecanterChina.com, among other publications, and author of the book "Bordeaux Legends," the story of the Premier Cru of Bordeaux.

In the show we talk about:

1. Jane's background, how she traveled the world and how she wound up as a journalist for one of the foremost wine magazines in the world.

2. The future of wine media

3. Jane's book "Bordeaux Legends" and her other books 

4. Bordeaux -- her impressions of the region, its classification systems and the state of affairs on the left and right banks.

5. We wrap with a discussion of Jane's favorite places in Bordeaux (from a wine and non-wine standpoint).  

A fantastic conversation and hopefully the first of many (I begged her to come on again and she said yes!)

You can find Jane @newbordeaux on Twitter and on her site www.newbordeaux.com.

Direct download: 155_Ep_155__Jane_Anson_of_Decanter.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:17pm 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

To follow up on the Virginia wine podcast, conversations with Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards, who has been making wine in Charlottesville for 25 years, and a quick snippet of Kelly White of Glen Manor. Both will highlight why VA wine is so unique.

A few things on the podcast: 

1. The recordings were in tasting rooms. If you don't like ambient noise, skip this one.

2. You'll hear my dad and Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like blog and Virginia wine expert asking questions as well. I travelled heavy this time! 

Most of the podcast is a conversation with Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia. They are a standard-bearer for quality in the region, as one of the oldest and finest producers:

  • We discuss Luca's background -- his schooling in the Piedmont of Italy, his experiences, and how he wound up in Charlottesville working for the Zonin family at Barboursville in 1990
  • Luca explains the improving reputation of Virginia and how Barboursville works to promote the region by making excellent wine
  • We get NERDY -- talking about everything from vineyard management, to diseases that California nurseries have been sending their way and the economics of that, to use of oak, yeast, and wine fads.
  • Then we talk about grapes, and there is some tasting of the Vermentino and the Bordeaux blend, Octagon (at one point I say "Sauvignon" and I'm talking about Cabernet Sauvignon, BTW). 

Next we have a 5 minute snippet of a conversation with Kelly White of Glen Manor. 

  • Kelly gives us specifics on vintage, how it works for them, and some examples of extreme vineyard management
  • Then she discusses how they make wine and their philosophy and work ethic. These wines are top notch, and much of the magic comes from their orientation and ideas about great wine.

Then we wrap! Enjoy!

 

 
 
 

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

What are the worst gifts a wine lover can receive? From the wine bra, to the wine stein to gas station wine, we go over the worst of the worst, in hopes that we can prepare you for what may be awaiting you under the tree! You won't believe this stuff! Here's the list with links:

 

  1. Wine games: http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=wine-opoly+board+game&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=58419321425&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5763135366991249203&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_8xery7em13_b

  2. Wine bra: http://www.amazon.com/WineRack-200-008-Wine-Rack-Medium/dp/B001FYZZI2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450844342&sr=8-1&keywords=wine+bra

  3. Wine shirts: http://www.rhinestonewinedesigns.com/wine-designs-page-2/

  4. Wine Chillers: http://www.amazon.com/Waring-PC100-Wine-Chiller-Black/dp/B000I14CA0/ref=sr_1_7?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1450844853&sr=1-7&keywords=wine+chiller

  5. Wine napkins: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=wine+napkins

  6. Chambong: http://gizmodo.com/three-cheers-for-the-chambong-the-worlds-most-unnecess-1736915146?trending_test_five_b&utm_expid=66866090-76.Xf7HV5ZSS3i8CtAkjmzQiA.2&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F

  7. Chalices: http://www.skymall.com/the-king-s-royal-chalice/21289GRP.html

  8. 750 ml Wine glass: http://www.amazon.com/Original-Big-Betty-Premium-Jumbo/dp/B0053T01UM/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_sims?ie=UTF8

  9. Double walled wine stein:http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2012/08/top-10-totally-pointless-wine-accessories/4/

  10. Wine bjorn: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002YKE2CQ/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002YKE2CQ&linkCode=as2&tag=webwat05d-20

  11. Old vintage wine, $2 wine, a magnum of white Zinfandel, Crappy homemade wine given as a gift

There are some bad ones in there! Check it  out and never buy these for anyone! Merry Christmas and thanks for listening! 

Direct download: 149_Ep_149__Wine_Gifts_So_Bad_Theyre_Great.mp3
Category:wine, wine education, wine gadgets -- posted at: 11:45pm EDT

Michelle DeFeo is a rock star of the Champagne world. She's a fabulous businesswoman, a Champagne nerd, and a normal wine person! We discuss everything from Bon Jovi to being a woman in the wine biz to differences in Champagne styles to flutes vs wine glasses. 

Here are more detailed show notes:

  • We discuss the landscape of the Champagne industry and Laurent-Perrier's place in it
  • Then we discuss Michelle's background -- her journey from Jersey girl to Francophile and whether she's on team Springsteen or team Bon Jovi
  • We trade war stories about the perils of being a woman in the wine industry and Michelle shares her hopeful outlook on the situation
  • Then it's a Champagne dork out -- flutes v. glasses, occasions for Champagne, and sugar levels in the wine (and a little secret about sugar in wine)
  • We discuss the storied history of Laurent-Perrier and it's pure, fresh, elegant style plus vintage and multi-vintage Champagnes from the house
  • We wrap with some information on what it's like to work for Laurent-Perrier

Finally Michelle tells us what she'll be drinking for the holidays!

A super informative podcast with a great lady. The wine is delicious too -- so put it on the list! 

Enjoy!