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I'll Drink to That! Wine Talk
60 minutes | 5 months ago
IDTT Wine 481: Wine Before and After the Genocide
Zorik Gharibian is the founder of the Zorah winery, in the Vayots Dzor region of southern Armenia.Zorik discusses the long history of wine production in Armenia, referencing evidence that wine was made in Armenia in the Copper Age (about 6,000 years ago). He talks about the grape remnants and clay storage jars that have been found from that time. And he discusses other wine related finds in Armenia, in both the pre-Christian era and later. Zorik then explains why a hundred year gap occured in the dry wine production of Armenia, and he talks about the situation for wine as he found it in Armenia in the late 1990s.Zorik explains his rationale for beginning his own winery in Armenia, and talks about the different winemaking regions of Armenia. He gives special emphasis to the area that he chose to base his production in, Vayots Dzor. He talks about the native grape family of that region, which is known as Areni, and his experiences with planting a new Areni vineyard. That is contrasted with his comments about a much older vineyard of Areni, which he also works with. Both vineyards are own-rooted, as phylloxera is not present in the region.Zorik also talks about the amphora clay containers that housed wine in Armenia in ancient times, and which he uses today as well. He gives his explanation for why he chose to mature his Areni wine in amphora - known as Karas in Armenia - as opposed to wooden barriques. And he relates details about his search to find amphora that were already existing in Armenia and which he could use, as well as to develop production of new amphora there today. He further gives a summary of the drinking habits of his surrounding region in Armenia, and an outlook on what it is like working in Armenia today.This episode also features commentary from:Katherine Moore, Union Square WinesLee Campbell, Early Mountain VineyardsConrad Reddick, Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa
74 minutes | 7 months ago
IDTT Wine 480: Kevin Zraly Was At the Top of the World and Then Lost Almost Everything
Kevin Zraly is the author of "Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course". He is also the co-author (with Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen) of the book "Red Wine: The Comprehensive Guide to the 50 Essential Varieties and Styles". Kevin was for decades the Cellar Master of Windows on the World restaurant, located on the top floors of the North Tower of New York City's original World Trade Center.Kevin describes his entry into the world of restaurants as a college student, and how a series of seemingly chance events led him to study and teach about wine. He recalls trips to California, France, Italy, and Spain to visit wineries, and some of the standout moments in those adventures. Then Kevin talks about his short lived career as a wholesale wine salesman in New York City, and explains how that quickly developed into a job opportunity as the Cellar Master at the brand new Windows on the World restaurant in the late 1970s. His role at Windows brought him into contact with legendary restauranteur Joe Baum, whom Kevin talks about at length.Kevin talks about the philosophy behind the wine program at Windows on the World - from the selection to the pricing to the service style - and recalls a key trip to Bordeaux to source wines there with Alexis Lichine. He also explains how working at Windows led to his book deal, and to more and more teaching opportunities. Kevin became famous as a teacher and speaker about wine, and in this interview he discusses how he approaches speaking to a group about wine. He also recalls the origins of the New York Wine Experience, which he founded.The interview with Kevin goes from highs to lows, as Windows on the World is closed by a bombing in 1993, and then totally destroyed as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Kevin shares the pain he has felt as a result, and gives his rationale for why he might have survived while his co-workers perished. He also talks about how he has coped with the aftermath of those terrible events on a personal level, and some of the challenges that he has faced as a parent.This episode also features commentary from:Martin Sinkoff, Martin Sinkoff Associates
135 minutes | 8 months ago
IDTT Wine 479: Christopher Howell Doesn't Want It To Be About Him
Christopher Howell is the winemaker and General Manager of the Cain Vineyard and Winery in the Napa Valley of California.Christopher discusses his early wine tastings and home winemaking in the 1970s, and talks about some key relationships that helped form his interest in wine. He explains how he ended up pursuing an oenological and viticultural education in Montpellier, France, highlighting some notable people that he studied with, and how that school work then led to a stagiaire position at Château Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux. Christopher talks about a chance meeting that he had while working at Mouton, and something that was said to him that has stayed with him for the rest of his life. He also discusses other adventures in other wine cellars in France, notably at Château Rayas in the Rhône Valley.Christopher discusses his return to the United States, and a pivotal meeting with Helen Turley that then led to a job at Peter Michael in the late 1980s. He talks about characteristics of Helen Turley and her husband John Wetlaufer that would contribute to their success in the wine world, and Christopher is frank about what he learned from them both. He further explains how the transition to working at the Cain Vineyard and Winery came about, where he has now been employed for the last thirty years.Christopher is open about his sometimes unconventional winemaking choices, and explains the thought processes behind some idiosyncratic decision making, as well. In particular concerning brettanomyces, reduction, and volatile acidity. He also discusses the evolution of the different wine offerings at Cain, and what he has learned from that progression. He shares a great deal of his philosophy on topics like farming, vineyard trellising, terroir expression, grape variety blending, and wine complexity. He also is frank in his discussion about what his career choices have really entailed.This episode also features commentary from the following people:Cathy Corison, Corison WineryKelli White, author of "Napa Valley Then and Now"Ehren Jordan, FaillaJohn Lockwood, Enfield Wine Co.Bernard Portet, founding winemaker at Clos Du Val
123 minutes | 9 months ago
IDTT Wine 478: Jason Lett Is Not At Peace
Jason Lett is the co-owner of The Eyrie Vineyards, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.Jason discusses how his father, David Lett, helped transform the Willamette Valley into a growing region for Pinot Noir, acheiving worldwide acclaim for his efforts. Jason, who was born shortly after his father arrived in Oregon, retraces in this conversation the path that led his father there. He also talks about the character of his father, what he was trying to accomplish and why. Jason is clear about the state of winery, the wines, and his relationship with his father at the time of the transition to his own leadership at The Eyrie Vineyards.Jason explains realizations he has made working with other grape varieties besides Pinot Noir in Oregon, such as Chasselas and Trousseau. He also talks about how the farming at the family properties has changed since his father's day. And he discusses how his approach to certain wines is different from his father's practice.Jason is open about how trips to Burgundy and interactions with Burgundians have affected him and his work. He specifically talks about people like Gérard Potel, André Mussy, the Drouhin family, Michel Lafarge, Patrick Bize, and Romain Lignier. Some of Jason's comments about these people are further fleshed out in this episode by additional commentary spliced in from other interviews in the I'll Drink to That! archive.Climate change is also discussed in this episode, as Jason addresses how this reality might be approached in the vineyard. And he talks about how the region that his father made famous for Pinot Noir has itself changed over the decades since.This episode also features commentary from the following people:Mimi Casteel, Hope Well WineJacques Seysses, Domaine DujacDominique Lafon, Domaine Comtes LafonMichel Lafarge, Domaine Michel LafargeChristophe Roumier, Domaine Georges RoumierBecky Wasserman-Hone, Becky Wasserman & Co.Russell Hone, Becky Wasserman & Co.
81 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 477: Mary Ewing-Mulligan Says Intro Books Don't Sell...More Than Several Million Copies
Mary Ewing-Mulligan is the President of International Wine Center, located in New York City, and a co-author of the "Wine For Dummies" books.Mary discusses her introduction to working with wine, employed by an Italian government agency responsible for promoting Italian wine. She explains the situation for Italian wines in the United States at the time, the 1970s, and how the Italian wines in the market went about competing with wines from other countries. She also contrasts that situation for Italian wine to the situation for Italian wine in the United States today, and points out what has changed. Mary then talks about her own experiences traveling to Italy, and her friendship with the Currado family of the Vietti winery in Italy's Piemonte.Mary goes on to explain a key decision in her own wine career, leaving a high paying job in public relations to take a more modestly paid position at a wine school. She talks about her struggles to pass the Master of Wine exam, and her eventual triumph as the first woman residing in North America to earn a Master of Wine title. She then discusses her introduction of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust curriculum to the United States.Mary's career takes another turn as she and her husband Ed McCarthy write the very successful "Wine For Dummies" book that led to a number of other wine books in the "Dummies" series being authored by the couple as well. She talks about how she and Ed went about writing the "Dummies" books, in terms of approach. And Mary grapples in this interview with being on the one hand the author of "Wine For Dummies," while on the other hand also being a Master of Wine. She explains how she feels about the pairing, and what her motivations were at each point in her career.
114 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 476: Christophe Roumier Has A Family History Written In Wine
Christophe Roumier and his family run Domaine Georges Roumier, located in the Burgundy village of Chambolle-Musigny in France.Christophe discusses the arrival of his grandfather in Chambolle-Musigny, and the beginning of the Roumier family history with wine. He talks about his family's work for the Comtes Georges de Vogüé domaine, also in Chambolle-Musigny, and then explains the timeline for estate wines at Domaine Georges Roumier. Christophe further discusses the Roumier and Ponnelle family connections (Christophe's mother was a Ponnelle), and the role that Christophe's father took on at Pierre Ponnelle, as well as at Domaine Georges Roumier. Christophe also details his own route to studying oenology in the late 1970s, and then working at the family domaine beginning in the 1980s.The vineyard holdings of Domaine Georges Roumier are discussed in detail, covering the plots for Bourgogne Rouge and Chambolle-Musigny villages, as well as the Les Cras, Les Combottes, and Les Amoureuses 1er Crus in Chambolle-Musigny, Clos de la Bussière 1er Cru in Morey-Saint-Denis, and the Grand Crus of Ruchottes-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Bonnes-Mares, and Musigny. Christophe then discusses the Corton-Charlemagne parcel he works, the Clos Vougeot that he used to farm, and the Échezeaux parcel that he recently began working. Christophe addresses both the character of these vineyards, and character of the wines that they produce.Christophe talks about the farming practices at Domaine Georges Roumier, and addresses his move to organic farming methods in the 1980s. He specifically highlights why the move to organic has been important for his wine production. He also talks about topics like vine trellising, and the changing conditions in the Burgundy vineyards today.In terms of winemaking, Christophe discusses aspects like the stages of a fermentation, the role of reduction, the importance of temperature control to his work, lees contact, sulphur addition, and further, Christophe enunciates the ramifications of delaying the start of a malolactic conversion.This episode also features commentary from the following people:Dominique Lafon, Domaine Comtes LafonBecky Wasserman-Hone, Becky Wasserman & Co.Jacques Seysses, Domaine DujacJean-Pierre de Smet, founder of Domaine de l'ArlotMichel Lafarge, Domaine Michel LafargeBenjamin Leroux, Benjamin LerouxClaude de Nicolay, Chandon de Briailles
65 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 475: Giacomo Oddero Remembers the People Who Believed in Barolo
Giacomo Oddero and his family operate Poderi e Cantine Oddero, in the La Morra area of the Barolo appellation in Piemonte, Italy.Giacomo, who was born in the mid-1920s, remembers the difficulties encountered in the Barolo region in the aftermath of World War II, as well as the specific changes that helped set the Barolo area on a path to prosperity. He recalls the challenges posed by families leaving the area in lean times, and the cooperation that was necessary to make region wide changes in wine production standards. Giacomo specifically mentions the process of codifying the Barolo appellation rules, encouraging growers in the area to register their grape production, and the move to make less wine of a higher quality. He also discusses the family purchases of vineyards like Brunate, Rionda, and Rocche di Castiglione, and the differences he finds between single vineyard Barolo and a blended Barolo classico. Giacomo talks about why he chose to stay in the Piemonte during hard times, and the decisions that he and his brother Luigi undertook when the two worked together, when their winery was known as Fratelli Oddero. Giacomo also mentions several other prominent names in the Barolo region, such as Renato Ratti and Battista Rinaldi. Finally, he explains what a public initiative undertaken during his tenure as mayor ultimately entailed for the region. Those who want to understand the culture and history of the Piemonte region will find this interview to be a treasure trove of information.
76 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 474: Rod Berglund Is Not Just A Swan Clone
Rod Berglund and his family own Joseph Swan Vineyards in Sonoma County, California, where Rod is also the winemaker.Rod explains how he first became interested in wine, and what led him to found his own winery in the late 1970s. He also discusses how he met winemaker Joe Swan, who would eventually become his father-in-law. Rod conveys how Joe in many ways stood apart from his California winermaking contemporaries of the 1970s and 1980s, making choices influenced by the changes Joe had seen in Burgundy, France. Those included the use of French oak barrels, an increasing interest in whole cluster, and a focus on low yields from the vineyard. As Rod explains it, Joe's approach to winemaking was a simple one, but he also took seriously the goal of making great wines of limited production. This extended to Joe's approach to Zinfandel, which he made with an eye to high quality, rather than assuming the grape variety had to have a bulk wine destiny. Rod touches on some of the other people that influenced Joe's vision of wine, including André Tchelistcheff, Jacques Seysses, and Kermit Lynch. This episode also features a clip from IDTT episode 460, wherein Joel Peterson speaks about his experiences working with Joe Swan in the 1970s. As the interview progresses, Rod details the changes he has made at the winery and in the vineyard since Joe Swan passed away, explaining the logic of each adjustment. This conversation also touches on topics like the "Swan clone," extended maceration, whole cluster use, tannin management, malolactic conversion for Chardonnay, the specifics of growing grapes in the Russian River Valley, and the makeup of old Zinfandel vineyards. Those wanting to understand the transition of California winemaking practice from the 1960s to now will benefit tremendously from hearing this episode.
84 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 473: Tomoko Kuriyama Explains the Burgundy Mindset
Tomoko Kuriyama is a partner in Chanterêves, a micro-négociant based in Burgundy, which she runs with her husband Guillaume Bott.Tomoko spent over a decade working in wineries in Germany, then moved to Burgundy in France and started Chanterêves. She explains in this interview the differences between Germany and Burgundy in terms of the winemaking and vineyard work. She also discusses the outlook of the growers in each place, and how those differ. Tomoko worked with growers in Germany like Paul Fürst and Peter Jakob Kühn, and visited German growers like Helmut Dönnhoff and Gernot Kollmann. Then in 2005, she did a harvest at Domaine Simon Bize in Burgundy, which subsequently led her to move to Burgundy and start a micro-négociant there. When addressing topics like botrytis, the nature of a fermentation, brettanomyces, sulphur dose, lees contact, reduction, and tannin management, Tomoko compares and contrasts the approaches in Germany with those in Burgundy. By doing so, she explains both at a deep level. Tomoko also describes how winemaking in Germany and in Burgundy have evolved in the years that she has been making wine. For example, she describes the embrace of infusion instead of extraction in the red winemaking of Burgundy, and why it may be so common today. Those looking to better understand the character of German wine and Burgundy will find a lot of revelatory information in this interview.
82 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 472: Anthony Hanson Washed Burgundy's Dirty Laundry
Anthony Hanson wrote the book "Burgundy," which was originally published in 1982, and then subsequently revised by him for another edition published in 1995. He is today a consultant for Haynes Hanson & Clark, as well as The Fine Wine Experience in Hong Kong.Anthony describes his entry into Beaune (via bulldozer) in the 1960s, and his first tasting at the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy. He discusses his growing awareness of domaine bottled Burgundy at the time, and how he found those domaine wines to differ from the négociant bottlings that were being shipped to England back then. Anthony talks about his tastings at various Burgundy domaines, with personalities like Hubert de Montille, Jacques d'Angerville, Aubert de Villaine, Jacques Seysses, and Becky Wasserman. He then explains why he began to write his book "Burgundy," which was first published in 1982. That book addressed topics such as clones, fertilizers, chaptalization, blending, the influence of Guy Accad, and the growing amount of domaines bottling their own wine for sale. Anthony subsequently revised that book for another edition published in 1995, and in this interview he explains what had changed in Burgundy between 1982 and 1995, described by him as a period of important changes in the region. In addition, Anthony addresses in this interview topics that emerged later for Burgundy, such as premox and a debate around climate change.
61 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 471: Jeff Kellogg Enters the Other Side of the Wine Business
Jeff Kellogg is the co-founder of Kellogg Selections, a wine distributor in North Carolina. Jeff is a former sommelier, who previously appeared in I'll Drink to That! episode 230.Jeff discusses his decision to start a wine distribution business, and the financial and personal realities around launching such a business. He also describes a changing demographic in North Carolina, and what that means for the wine market of that state. Jeff weaves in several personal and professional insights from his earlier jobs in explaining what he is up to today, discussing the appeal of working in distribution for a former sommelier. Those who have never worked in wine distribution will likely learn a lot from what Jeff has to say, whether they work in wine professionally or not.
70 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 470: Jacques Seysses Knew It Would Never Be Worse Than 68
Jacques Seysses is the founder of Domaine Dujac, based in the Burgundy village of Morey-Saint-Denis in France.Jacques recounts how he became interested in wine, and what led him to purchase a domaine in Burgundy in the late 1960s. He describes working with Gérard Potel at Domaine de la Pousse d'Or, as well as some of his visits to other Burgundy vigneron, like Henri Gouges, Charles Rousseau, and Pierre Ramonet. Jacques talks about the Burgundy vintages of the 1960s and 1970s in this interview, and explains how the conditions in Burgundy have changed since that time, both in terms of the climate and the market for the wines. Jacques also shares his memories of some of the many people who have worked with him at Dujac over the years, including Lee Hudson, Jean-Pierre de Smet, Ted Lemon, Alain Graillot, James Halliday, and others. And Jacques talks about what he found when visiting California and the Northern Rhône Valley. There is also a discussion of how the current Dujac wines are approached and what Jacques considers the important decisions of his sons and daughter-in-law in running the domaine. Those curious about winemaking technique will find many specifics from Jacques in this interview, addressing topics like whole cluster use for Pinot Noir, cold maceration, wild yeasts, and more.
114 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 469: Mimi Casteel Thinks Your Sustainability Sucks. Try Again.
Mimi Casteel is the owner of the Hope Well Vineyard, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.Her family owns the Bethel Heights Vineyard, also in Oregon. Mimi takes on issues like land use, agricultural practice, and vineyard work in this interview, stressing the importance of a connection with nature. She argues against reductionist approaches in the vineyard, and against a goal of species elimination. She also explains how she has worked to combat phylloxera through ecology. Mimi discusses her larger worldview when making several of these points, which is that complexity equates with security in the natural world. And she delivers a warning about the difficulties that already affect our world, and which she feels may be catastrophic in the future. Topics like oxidation, reduction, and minerality in wine are also discussed within this episode.
65 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 468: David Ramey and the Evolution of Chardonnay
David Ramey is the founder and co-owner of Ramey Wine Cellars and Sidebar Cellars, both based in Sonoma County, California.David shares his career path in California wineries from Simi, to Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus Estate, Rudd Estate, and starting wine labels of his own. While discussing those various work experiences, David also shares what he learned at each point, and how this would evolve into his winemaking approach today. He goes grape variety by variety, explaining key aspects he has learned about each. David also gives his thoughts on winemaking topics such as whole cluster, malolactic conversion, reduction, oxidation, tannin management, infusion vs. extraction, barrel aging, and more. This episode gives a clear picture of how California winemaking has changed over the decades, and breaks down some key winemaking concepts.
111 minutes | a year ago
IDTT Wine 467: Benjamin Leroux Explains How Winemaking in Burgundy Has Changed and Why It Will Change Again
Benjamin Leroux is the proprietor of the Benjamin Leroux winery located in the town of Beaune, in the Burgundy region of France.Benjamin explains how although his family was not in the wine business, he found himself working in a winery at a young age. He discusses his internships outside of Burgundy, at wineries in Oregon and Bordeaux, before talking about his start as the head winemaker at Comte Armand in the 1990s. Benjamin describes in detail the winemaking techniques he was using to make wine in Pommard during the nineties, and contrasts that with how he makes wine today and for the last several years at his own winery, also named Benjamin Leroux. He discusses what prompted him to make changes to his winemaking, and explains that every vintage must be approached as its own. Along the way, Benjamin addresses topics like hedging, organic farming, whole cluster, infusion vs. extration, and reduction. He also talks about some key vineyard areas of Burgundy, comparing and contrasting Vosne-Romanée with Gevrey-Chambertin, as well as Morey-Saint-Denis, and Chambolle-Musigny. Benjamin further talks about some appellations that he is particularly drawn to, like Blagny and Saint-Romain, as well as grape varieties like Aligoté.
64 minutes | 2 years ago
IDTT Wine 466: Joe Rochioli Jr Built a House for Pinot Noir
Joe Rochioli, Jr. owns the J. Rochioli Vineyards and Winery in California with his son Tom Rochioli and his family.Joe describes the events on the family farm in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County around the middle of the twentieth century, when there was a shift from growing various cash crops to growing more and more wine grapes. He discusses his decision to pursue more plantings of grape varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir on his acreage. And Joe talks about what he discovered when working with those grape varieties in the various areas of his vineyards. He also explains how the market for the grapes evolved over time. In particular, Joe describes his relationships with Davis Bynum, Williams Selyem, and Gary Farrell. Take the demographic survey.
82 minutes | 2 years ago
IDTT Wine 465: Ken Wright Went Looking for Aroma
Ken Wright is the founder and winemaker of Ken Wright Cellars, based in Carlton, Oregon.Ken discusses his work with Dick Graff in the 1970s, and then explains why he decided to move from California to Oregon in the 1980s to pursue winemaking in Oregon. He gives a thorough explanation of the different rock types found in state, and the attributes that different sites bring to a resulting wine. He also goes into depth in explaining his own winemaking evolution, from working at Panther Creek, to starting Ken Wright Cellars in 1994. Along the way, Ken makes several connections between the winemaking and the farming, and explains how one is often the result of the other. In particular, he talks quite a bit about the phenomenon of reduction in a wine, something he tries to prevent. Ken further describes several key vintages for Oregon Pinot Noir, discussing the attributes of those years and their impact on his own thinking.
68 minutes | 2 years ago
IDTT Wine 464: Russell Hone and the Killer Wine Tasting
Russell Hone lives and works in Burgundy, France with his wife Becky Wasserman.Russell is one of the wine world's great characters, and this interview follows along with the various curves, shifts, and turns to the side of his life, going from England in the post-war years to Germany, Bordeaux, and then on to Burgundy in the 1980s until today. He recalls several encounters with a broad cast of characters from throughout his life, and along the way gives an account of how various wine regions and wines have changed over time. Specifically, there are many reminiscences about Burgundy and Burgundians, some famous and some not. Russell also testifies to a few of his other passions, including Sauternes and old vintage Port.
84 minutes | 2 years ago
IDTT Wine 463: Brenna Quigley and the School of Hard Rocks
Brenna Quigley is a geologist who does wine related consulting as a terroir specialist at brennaquigley.comBrenna describes her unusual family connection to geology, and her entry into the wine world. She goes on to define key concepts in geology, such as what soil is, how it is formed, and the different types of rocks that are found in the world. Brenna describes the key rock formations of France, their history, and how they correspond to wine regions. She then discusses what the implications of different rock types are for vines, and takes a close look at specific wine areas, explaining what their distinguishing features are. Wine fans who would like to deepen their knowledge of wine and geology will find a lot to love about this episode.
98 minutes | 2 years ago
IDTT Wine 462: David Hirsch and the Hirsch Vineyards Lighthouse
David Hirsch is the owner of Hirsch Vineyards, located in the Sonoma Coast of California.David opens up about his travels across the United States and across the world in the 1960s and 1970s, and about what led him eventually to the outer reaches of the Sonoma Coast to plant a vineyard. He also reveals what he has learned about the farming of grapevines over the years. And he talks about some of the key people who shaped his thoughts as he became the owner of a vineyard, and then subsequently a winery. Famous names from both Burgundy and California winemaking make an appearance within this conversation, and David is both frank and funny in the reminiscences about his life.
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