Archive for December, 2010

The Scent of Black

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Welcome to our video podcast: The Scent of Black – Video Show #91.

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In the Cahors region of France, black truffles are almost literally as valuable as gold in the culinary world. Prized for their glorious scent, black truffles are fungi that grow exclusively on the roots of oak trees. Found in late autumn and winter, the truffles cannot be seen since they grow under the ground. Pigs, or specially trained dogs have been used to search for these elusive truffles. About 20% of the French production comes from southwest France, which possesses the limestone soils and dry hot weather that truffles need to grow.

In the late 19th century, an epidemic of phylloxera destroyed many of the vineyards in southern France. Large tracts of land were set free for the cultivation of truffles. Thousands of truffle-producing trees were planted, and production reached the peak of hundreds of tonnes by the end of the 19th century. Wars during the 20th Century decimated the fields. After 1945, the production of truffles plummeted, and prices rose dramatically. In 1900, truffles were used by most French people, and on many occasions. Today, they are a rare delicacy reserved for the wealthy, or used on very special occasions.

Originally a common grape in Bordeaux, Malbec has lost popularity as one of the five varieties in the Bordeaux blends. Meanwhile, Malbec increased its status in the French region of Cahors, an area southeast of Bordeaux, where it creates distinctive wines that now require 70% of the variety.

GrapeRadio is proud to present a look at the Cahors region, as rightly famous for its black truffles as it is for its Malbec, a wine that exemplifies the scent of black.

The Comté Experience

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Welcome to our video podcast: The Comté Experience – Video Shows #92-98.

If you like cheese, you’re probably familiar with Comté, the French semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. The Montbeliard cow is the only breed of cattle whose milk is authorized for making Comté. Produced for hundreds of years, Comté is still traditionally made in more than 190 cheese dairies, known as the “fruitières” in the Jura region of eastern France. The Jura plateau of the Franche-Comté is the most mountainous (and coldest) region of France, stretching from the eastern edge of Burgundy, through the foothills of the French Alps and to the border with Switzerland.

It is the first French AOC (label of origin) cheese, guaranteeing the quality of the cheese. Each 40 kilo (about 88 lb.) wheel of Comté is made from the milk of many different small farms from within 15 miles distance only. The milk is collected at a fruitière, where it is transformed into cheese under strictly controlled conditions. After its fabrication, the huge wheels of cheese are transferred to a limited number of cellars spread across the region, where they will age anywhere from 4 – 18 months. Comté is the most popular AOC cheese in France, and it is said that there are more than 83 distinct flavors in Comté, including apricot, chocolate, butter, cream, and grilled bread. Some cheeses also have strong hazelnut flavors, while others have subtle hints of nutmeg. The taste is variable depending on the age and the season of the milk. It’s typically described as salty, mild, and fruity. Jura wines make a classic pairing for Comté, as well as Rieslings, Muscats, Gewürztraminers, and many of the softer red Bordeaux blends. Wine pairings? Dry whites and lighter reds seem to work beautifully with Comté.

Join us for a look this fascinating process. We’ll learn some of the history of this region, and what makes this part of France special, but more importantly, how all of this translates to the Comté cheese itself.

Part 1 – Milk – Video 92

Part 2 – Cheesemaking – Video 93

Part 3 – Aging – Video 94

Part 4 – Cutting/Storing – Video 95

Part 5 Tasting – Video 96

Part 6 – Wine Pairing – Video 97

Part 7 – Comté Fondue – Video 98

The Culture of Food and Wine

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Ever wonder what food and wine experiences are like in other countries? How about culinary traditions in other countries? Well, Summer Whitford (aka, the Food and Wine Diva) has written a book detailing several country’s cultural traditions and culinary customs in “Join Us at The Embassy.” Summer brings her experience as a professional chef, cooking instructor, and wine educator to bear in giving us an inside look at each ambassador’s personal entertaining style, formal and informal embassy parties, as well as important holidays, festivals, and significant customs that are unique to each country.

Join us as we talk with Summer Whitford, the Food and Wine Diva, about her experiences traveling the globe, and sampling food and wine along the way.

Sponsor: Hearts Delight Wine Auction:

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Show #279
(35:15 min 26MB)

The 2010 World of Pinot Noir

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Welcome to our video podcast: The 2010 World of Pinot Noir – Video Show #90.

Join us at the 2010 World of Pinot Noir in beautiful Shell Beach, CA as we ask the really, really, really hard pinot noir questions that must be answered!

– Why is Pinot Noir a good wine for Newbies?
– It is said that Pinot Noir Wears many different clothes, how do you like t dressed?
– What type of music reminds you of Pinot Noir?
– Why is it said that Pinot Noir is a white wine masquerading as a red wine?
– What is a “Burgundian-Style” Pinot Noir?

Tickets are now available for the 2011 World of Pinot Noir. Sign up at:

Sponsor: Hearts Delight Wine Tasting Auction:

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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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