Archive for October, 2008

Château Palmer

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Château Palmer derives its English name from Charles Palmer (1777-1851), a former Mayor of the spa town of Bath and Member of Parliament, who rose to the rank of General during the Napoleonic period. A gentleman, officer, and aide-de-camp of the Prince of Wales, Charles Palmer apparently fell under the spell of Bordeaux as well as the charms of a beautiful widow, Marie de Gascq, who convinced him to buy her Château de Gascq estate. From 1816 to 1831, Palmer bought additional land and buildings in the communes of Cantenac, Issan, and Margaux, and by 1830 the property covered 163 hectares, including 82 hectares of vines. Ultimately, the good life did him in financially, and he was forced to sell his magnificent Médoc estate. Purchased in 1853, brothers Isaac and Emile Péreire and their descendents had the château built in 1856, and thereafter battled oidium and phylloxera, survived the Franco-Prussian war, and made it through the First World War, only to succumb to the economic crisis of the 1930s which forced them in turn to also sell the estate. Château Palmer was purchased by several families of Bordeaux, English, and Dutch extraction (the Sichel, Mähler-Besse, Ginestet, and Miailhe families) in 1938, and continues to be owned by its descendants.

Château Palmer’s terroir dates from the Quaternary period, when gravel slowly accumulated on the Left Bank of the Gironde, pushed by the Dordogne and carried along by the Garonne. The two rivers meet a few kilometers downstream from Ch. Palmer to form the Gironde estuary. Among their current 52 hectares of vines, Ch. Palmer has a large percentage of Merlot, almost the same amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, and a small percentage of Petit Verdot. Here in Margaux, the vines are planted on gravely rises several meters thick, consisting of brittle black lydite, white and yellow quartz, quartzite mottled with black, green or blue, and white chalcedony. In an effort to help the vine roots sink deep into the gravelly soil, they till the soil regularly. They also maintain a very high vine density – 10,000 vines per hectare – in order to increase competition between the vines and encourage this deep rooting.

Join us as we talk with Thomas Duroux, CEO of Château Palmer since July 2004, about Ch. Palmer’s fascinating history, along with its vineyards and wines.

For more info on Château Palmer: www.chateaupalmer.com

Sponsor- Millesima, Fine Wine Merchant: www.millesima-usa.com

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Show #218
(1:08:46min 49MB)

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Champagne Ruinart

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Founded in 1729, Ruinart is the longest established sparkling wine house in the Champagne region of France. Named after Benedictine monk Dom Thierry Ruinart, the winery is located in the city of Reims, where ancient crayères (chalk pits) serve as cellars that offer constant temperature and humidity, thus allowing the wine to age as long as 12 years. These crayères were hewn from the chalk sub-soil by the Romans, who used the chalk as building materials. Also used during World War I to escape the bombing, these cellars were classified an historic monument in 1931.

Join us as we sit down with Ruinart’s Cellarmaster Frédéric Panaїotis to discuss Ruinart’s history, its vineyard sources, and of course its various cuvées.

For more info on Champagne Ruinart: www.ruinart.com

Sponsor: Bagged Wine: www.baggedwine.com

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Show #217
(58:56min 42MB)

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John Haeger and Pinot Noir

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Every fan of Pinot Noir will undoubtedly know the name of John Haeger.

As author of the highly acclaimed “North American Pinot Noir,” John literally wrote the book on the fascinating history and evolution of Burgundy’s illustrious grape variety here in the United States. John’s academic approach to both the research and the writing created an instant hit and a must-have treatise for most wine lovers. But, more than anything, it was destined to become THE book for domestic Pinot fanatics. Of course, its appearance at booksellers just months before release of the movie “Sideways” didn’t hurt sales either.

Now, four years later John Haeger has written another wine book, “Pacific Pinot Noir.” Since, as he notes, “96% of North America’s Pinot Noir comes from an area I call the Pacific Pinot Zone,” it was only natural for him to focus on an area extending from mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon to Santa Barbara in California and extending up to thirty miles inland.

Pinot Noir’s rise in popularity over the last several years owes much to the different personalities of the grape itself. Join us as we talk with author and lecturer John Haeger about Pinot Noir, and discover its unique place in the world of wine.

For more info on John Haeger: www.ucpress.edu

Sponsor: Bagged Wine: www.baggedwine.com

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Show #216
(48:56min 35MB)

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2008 HdR Ask the Wine Maker – Part II

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Welcome to our video podcast 2008 Hospice Du Rhône Ask the Wine Maker – II – Video Show #46.


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Continuing our coverage of the 2008 Hospice du Rhône, we had some burning questions and we wanted some answers.
What do today’s winemakers, producers, importers, and attendees think of:
High alcohol wines?
Your favorite: French vs. American wines?
What’s your favorite amongst the 22 Rhone varietals?

For More Info on the Hospice Du Rhône: www.hospicedurhone.org

2008 HdR Ask the Wine Maker – Part I

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Welcome to our video podcast 2008 Hospice Du Rhône Ask the Wine Maker – I – Video Show #45.


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For our coverage of the 2008 Hospice du Rhône, we decided to put people on the spot. We came up with 5 of today’s Hot Topics, and posed the questions to winemakers, producers, importers, and attendees. No debate, no discussion, just right to the point. So, today, we wanted to know:
What’s you favorite – Cork or Screwcap?
What does “terroir” mean to you?

For More Info on the Hospice Du Rhône: www.hospicedurhone.org

2008 Hospice du Rhône – The Syrah Shootout

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Welcome to our video podcast 2008 Hospice Du Rhône Syrah Shootout – Video Show #44.


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Imagine 45 bottles of Syrah, each one bagged and numbered just waiting for sensory evaluation. Now, imagine that these evaluations will come from the very winemakers who made these wines.

That’s right, 45 winemakers evaluating their own wine, while competing against the wines made by their colleagues. That’s the premise of the 2008 Hospice du Rhône’s Syrah Shootout, where the winner gets bragging rights – plus a terrific-looking (not so much) “Coat du Rhône” to wear home.

Join winemaker Rusell Bevan and he takes us through a guided tour of this great event.

For More Info on the Hospice Du Rhône: www.hospicedurhone.org

2007 Wine & Fire – Part II

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Welcome to our video podcast Wine and Fire – Part 2 – Video Show #43.


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We’re back with part 2 of our coverage of the 2007 Sta. Rita Hills annual celebration of wine. Saturday, it was seminar time, complete with a series of mock “trials” where local winemakers and grape growers defend or prosecute their contributions to what ends up in the glass.

Sitting as judge in ceremonial garb was real-life attorney Cathy Pepe, co-owner of Clos Pepe Vineyards. Among the issues on trial: Chardonnay – to oak or not to oak, that is the question; and Pinot Noir – do clones or terroir have the greater effect; and finally, is it the growing conditions or the winemaking the greater influence on the wine.

Join us as we hear from various growers and producers, as well as get a glimpse of some of the marvelous food that will be matched up with local Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Wine and Fire and Santa Rita Hills Wine Growers Alliance: www.staritahills.com


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GrapeRadio is a wine talk show. Show topics cover issues such as the enjoyment of wine, wine news and industry trends - the hallmark of the show is interviews with world class guest (winemakers, vineyards owners, wine retail / wholesale leaders, restaurateurs and sommeliers). The scope of the show is international so expect to hear many guests from around the world.

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