Archive for the 'Podcast' Category

Pinot Producer Interviews – Part 1

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GrapeRadio was very pleased to attend Pinot Days in San Francisco, this past June. Certainly one of the “must-go” wine festivals each year for wine lovers, Pinot Days concentrates exclusively on Pinot Noir producers.

Over 150 individual producers and trade groups from overseas were represented at this year’s Pinot Days event. Most wineries were from California – from nearly every Pinot region in the state – and there were also a number of Oregon wineries and small contingents from Burgundy, Germany, and New Zealand. This year, we rounded up 14 producers – small and large – to spend some time with us discussing all things Pinot.

Join us for Part 1 of 3, as we talk with Ed Kurtzman of August West, Theresa Heredia of Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery, Peter Young of Grey Stack Cellars, Nicole Bacigalupi of Bacigalupi Vineyards, and Bill Sweat of Winderlea.

For more info: Pinot Days: www.pinotdays.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #312
(55:19 min 54MB)

30 Years of Wine Retail

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With thirty-plus years of wine retail business behind him, Steve Zanotti has seen more than a few changes. But, as the old saying goes, ‘sometimes the more things change, the more they remain the same.’ As co-owner of the Wine Exchange, in Orange County, California, Steve has arguably “seen it all”: the emergence of wine critics, quickly followed by the appearance of wine reviews and wine scoring, and followed in turn by the dominance and ubiquitous use of the 100-point scale. Additionally, there has been a huge increase in number of wine producers, as well as a leap in overall wine quality. Some might say all of this has added up to stratospheric prices of highly sought-after wines. Others might point out that there are still plenty of bargain wines to be had out there.

So, was there ever a simpler or better time for wine connoisseurs?

Join us as we sit down with Steve Zanotti, the hear if things were really better, or even that much different, “in the old days.”

For more info: Wine Exchange, Wine Merchants: www.winex.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #311
(57:14min 54MB)

Chenin Blanc, Not Your Fathers Wine

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Chenin Blanc wines are probably quite familiar to most wine consumers. Since the 11th Century, France’s Loire Valley has always produced lovely Chenin Blancs, such those from Savennieres and Vouvray. The French wines have varied from dry to sweet, and both seem to last decades or more. On the other hand, this is usually not the case for Chenin Blancs from the New World. At one time, domestic Chenin Blanc was usually reserved for ½ gallon bottles (aka, Jug Wine), or added to blends of other domestic white grapes. It never really seemed to gain traction as a varietal on its own. Certainly there were plantings in the U.S. and in several Southern Hemisphere countries. But none of them rivaled the original wines from France. Interestingly, that may be changing. South Africa has been growing Chenin Blanc since the Dutch settled there in the 1600s, while creating a trade route to India.

Join us as we talk with Ken Forrester, of Ken Forrester Wines in South Africa. He’s an excellent spokesperson for the grape, its history, and for the beautiful wines that can be made from it.

For more info: Ken Forrester Wines: www.kenforresterwines.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #310
(1:05:33min 52MB)

The Wines of New Zealand with Craggy Range

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When Australian businessman Terry Peabody visited New Zealand in 1997, he was introduced to noted kiwi viticulturalist and Master of Wine, Steve Smith. The pair made an important decision from the very beginning – to pursue the Single Vineyard Philosophy of winemaking – to select and source the best land and vineyards in the country, and to plant the vines perfectly suited to that terroir. Craggy Range was the first in the Southern Hemisphere to adopt such an approach from multiple regions of the country.

Director of Wine and Viticulture, Steve is a founding director of Craggy Range. He has had a distinguished academic, research and commercial career in the wine business since 1980 and is the only specialist viticulturist in the world to also hold a Master of Wine.

Chief Winemaker Matt Stafford graduated from Lincoln University in 2003 with a BSc (Soil Science) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology. Further vintage experience was gained in Marlborough, Australia and California before joining Craggy Range in 2006.

In 2007 Matt was the inaugural recipient of Air New Zealand’s Inspiring New Zealanders Wine Award allowing extensive travel throughout the great wine regions of France, spending time with the likes of Dominique Lafon, Philippe Guigal and Jean-Louis Chave. Following this, Matt worked with Jean-Luc Thunevin at Chateau Valandraud in the heart of St Emilion.

Join us as we talk with Steve and Matt about Craggy Range. We’ll learn how unique New Zealand really is for winegrowing. And, we’ll get a little history, as well as a good laugh or two.

For more info: Craggy Range: www.craggyrange.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #309
(55:06min 52MB)

Life with Maggie – Part 2

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We last talked to Maggie about 3 years ago, just after she had embarked on her new venture at Antica Terra winery and vineyard, in Oregon. After working with Manfred and Elaine Krankl at Sine Qua Non for the better part of a decade, as well as starting her own label for California Syrah, Maggie was now (literally) knee deep into Oregon Pinot Noir.

The history of Oregon’s Antica Terra Wines began when a group of four individuals, including winemaker Maggie Harrison, purchased the winery in 2005 and two years later planted additional acres of Pinot noir, with more planting planned for 2008. The new winery came on-line in 2009. She purchases fruit from Shea, Cherry Grove, and Croft Vineyards to expand her palette of components.

For her own label, Lillian, a small lot collection named for her grandmother, Maggie is sourcing Syrah from a couple of Santa Maria Valley vineyards.

Join us as we talk with Maggie Harrison, about her approach to winemaking, her current project in Oregon, Antica Terra, and her Lillian label.

For more info: Antica Terra Wines: www.anticaterra.com
For more info: Lillian Winery: www.lillianwinery.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #308
(58:41min 52MB)

Laurel Glen – Cabernet, Sonoma Style

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Laurel Glen Vineyard, a thousand feet up the slopes of Sonoma Mountain, was well known as an excellent site for Cabernet Sauvignon even before the 1st vintage of Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1981. But it was the 16 acre vineyard developed in the 1970’s by Sonoma wine pioneer Patrick Campbell that really put it on the map.

Finally, after 30 vintages, Patrick Campbell sold the vineyard and winery to a group of wine lovers, led by wine industry veteran Bettina Sichel. Bettina had helped launch Quintessa and went on to develop its reputation and profile distribution over the next decade as director of sales and marketing. The daughter of Peter M.F. Sichel, the man responsible for making Blue Nun a household name in America, she is the fifth generation of the Sichel family to work in the wine business. The new Laurel Glen team includes viticulturalist Phil Coturri, winemaker Randall Watkins and renowned vintner David Ramey.

Join us as we talk with Bettina about what it takes (besides money) to take over an established winery and vineyard, and continue to steer it in all the right directions.

For more info: Laurel Glen Vineyard: www.laurelglen.com

Sponsor: The Wine Club, Fine Wine Merchants: www.thewineclub.com

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Show #307
(42:23 min 40MB)

Out of Africa

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South Africa has a long history of wine, going back to the Dutch settlers. The wines, however, never received much distribution to other parts of the world, due primarily to trade sanctions during the latter part of the last Century in reaction to apartheid.

When apartheid finally ended in 1994, South African wineries had hoped to make up for lost time. However, the quality was spotty, and its wines were not well received. Fortunately, it was this same public reaction that ultimately pushed the wineries to improve quality. Today, there are many fine wines coming out of Africa. Located in the Stellenbosch region near Cape Town, Kanonkop is seems emblematic of the changes that have happened and are still occurring in South African viticulture and winemaking.

Join us as we talk with Abrie Beeslaar, winemaker for Kanonkop Estate. You’ll hear how varieties like Pinotage and Chenin Blanc are not only alive and well, but are also viewed as the trump cards not just for Kanonkop, but for the entire region.

For more info: Kanonkop Estate: www.kanonkop.co.za

Sponsor: The Wine Club, Fine Wine Merchants: www.thewineclub.com

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Show #306
(1:05:24 min 62MB)

Maison Joseph Drouhin, with Laurent Drouhin

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Those familiar with Maison Joseph Drouhin are in for a treat, as we spend some time with Laurent Drouhin talking about family and wine. Maison Joseph Drouhin bwas founded in 1880, when Joseph at the age of 22, left Chablis and settled in Beaune. He was succeeded by his son Maurice who began to establish a vineyard domaine for the House, purchasing land in such appellations as Clos des Mouches and Clos de Vougeot. With its 73 hectares (182.5 acres), the Joseph Drouhin Domaine is one of the largest estates in the region. It owns vineyards in all of Burgundy: Chablis (38 hectares – 95 acres), Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, (32 hectares – 80 acres), Côte Chalonnaise (3 hectares – 7.5 acres). It is comprised of a majority of Premier and Grand Crus, planted with the two Burgundian grape varietals, pinot noir and chardonnay.

Robert Drouhin, succeeded Maurice in 1957, acquiring many of these additional vineyards, especially in Chablis. He was one of the first Burgundians to introduce “culture raisonnée” – doing away with pesticides and other chemicals. Robert and Françoise Drouhin’s four children: Philippe, Véronique, Laurent and Frédéric run the Maison now.

Join us as we talk with Laurent Drouhin (Director of U.S. Sales), about his family’s history, as well as the wines of Burgundy and Oregon of course.

For more info: Maison Joseph Drouhin: www.drouhin.com

Sponsor: Pinot Days: www.pinotdays.com

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Show #305
(57:19 min 54MB)

Alive and Kicking – Zinfandel

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It’s seems like to have been quite a while since Zinfandel held sway in the wine spotlight. There once was a time when Zin was all the rage. Then, to paraphrase Casey Stengel: ‘it’s too popular; nobody goes there anymore.’

Now, with the rise of Pinot Noir, the ambivalence of Cabernet, and the somewhat concurrent demotion of Merlot and Syrah – nobody apparently waxes philosophically about Zin anymore. Well, we do!

Join us as we delve into several older Zinfandels, to see if the pervasive rumors about its early demise are in fact, true or merely exaggerated.

Sponsor: The Wine Club: www.thewineclub.com

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Show #304
(30:19 min 29MB)

From Chile to California

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In 1978, a young Alex Guarachi boarded a plane from Chile to California with the goal of becoming a professional soccer player. Sidelined by an injury in college, a soccer career was no longer an option, and Alex had to set his sights elsewhere.

Alex hails from Santiago, Chile. One of eight children, wine, some of the best from his homeland, was a staple on the dinner table. When Alex made the pilgrimage from Chile to the U.S., those wines were nowhere to be found. Vowing to change that, he and a business partner formed TGIC – Thank God It’s Chilean.

Recognizing a virtually untapped market for Chilean wine, in 1985, Alex managed to purchase his first container of Chilean wine, and TGIC Importers, Inc. was officially open for business. What began as a one-man show operating out of Alex’s dimly lit garage grew into a multi-million dollar company boasting a portfolio of some of the finest wines from not only Chile, but also Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and California.

Join us as we talk with Alex about his nearly 30 years in the wine business, the emergence of Southern Hemisphere wines, and how he came to start his own wine label.

Find out more about TGIC Importers: www.tgicimporters.com

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers: On-Line Wine Community: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #303
(44:24 min 42MB)

The Wines of António Mendes Lopes

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When someone talks about the wines from Portugal, most of us naturally assume that we are talking about Port, the fortified wine from the Douro Valley region. Well, there are more to the wines of Portugal than merely Port. In fact, there are a whole host of non-fortified wines, made from some 39 varieties of grapes.

Join us as we talk with António Mendes Lopes, Owner and Chief Winemaker at Vidigal Wines. There might be more to Portugal then you think.

Find out more about Vidigal Wines: vidigal.portugalwines.org

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers: On-Line Wine Community: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #302
(1:02:52 min 60MB)

2012 Wine Controversies

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There is absolutely no way that wine people (aka, wine geeks) all agree on aspects of wine miscellanea. Wine descriptors, cork vs. screw cap, pricing, etc, etc.

Join us as we talk with Todd French from WineBerserkers.com, probably the hottest place on the internet to discuss wine. We think you’ll find plenty of controversy, and more than a little trolling in our conversation. Heck, there might even be a little truth, too!

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

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Show #301
(1:08:11 min 65MB)

A Day in the Sun at the 2011 World of Pinot Noir

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One of the high points for us at World of Pinot Noir, is the time we get to spend with winemakers.

Join us as we sit down with some familiar and maybe not so familiar winemaking names in the “World of Pinot Noir,” as we hear about their beginnings, their processes, their passions, and their aspirations. Our interviewees include: Jeff Pisoni (Lucia Vineyards), Eric Lundblad (Ladd Cellars), Byron Kosuge (B. Kosuge Wines, Kingston Family Vineyards), Jacob Fetzer (Masut Vineyard and Winery), Bibiana González Rave (Lynmar Estate), and Alan Baker (Cartograph Wines).

Sponsor: World of Pinot Noir, 2012 Event: www.wopn.com

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Show #300
(1:16:11 min 71MB)

Antonio Galloni on Wine

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When we last spoke with Antonio Galloni, he was happily covering the Italian wine scene for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate among other projects, and had just contributed to Parker’s new book “Parker’s Wine Bargains: The World’s Best Wine Values Under $25.″ So, what’s new with Antonio since then? Plenty!

In early 2011, Parker realigned The Wine Advocate regional coverage. Among the changes, was the responsibility for reviewing and reporting on the wines from California was shifted from Parker to Antonio Galloni, along with Italy, Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte d’Or. The was earthshaking news to all those who produce and consume California wines. “What will Antonio think,” “What will Antonio say,” became the questions on everyone’s minds and lips. How will he score the wines? Could he bring a Euro-centric palate to this domestic venue? Would this in turn affect the way California wines were being made?

Join us as we talk with Antonio Galloni about these and other burning questions.

For More Information:

eRobert Parker www.erobertparker.com

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

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Show #299
(53:17 min 51MB)

Alcohol and Balance – 2011 World of Pinot Noir Seminar

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Alcohol and Balance – could there be a more controversial issue for today’s wine geeks? Well, thankfully, the 2011 World of Pinot Noir held a seminar on this very contentious topic. Joining N.Y. Times columnist Eric Asimov as moderator, was an illustrious (and, we might add “balanced”) group of panel members: Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat), Adam Tolmach (The Ojai Vineyard), Josh Jensen (Calera), Rajat Parr (Sommelier and restaurateur), Adam Lee (Siduri), and Michael Browne (Kosta Browne).

So, how are picking decisions made? And, how do these, in turn, affect the final alcohol level of the wine? Is alcohol really just a number? Does the percent of alcohol affect the balance of the wine in the bottle? Yes, most of these questions will be answered during the seminar. And, no, boxing gloves weren’t handed out to the panelists. But, there were some strong feelings among colleagues on both sides of the issue. However, more importantly, everyone gave a good accounting of themselves. Was a final decision rendered? Well, you’ll just have to hear for yourself.

For More Information:

2012 World of Pinot Noir www.wopn.com

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers: On-Line Wine Community: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #298
(1:22:14 min 76MB)

Wine Mojo – 2011 Hospice du Rhone

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Another eagerly awaited seminar from the 2011 HdR was this in-depth look at the Central Coast wines of Joey Tensley (Tensley Wines) and the Sonoma County wines of Morgan Twain-Peterson (Bedrock Wine Co.). Many of the attendees were probably already familiar with Tensley’s wines, but this was a chance to get the seemingly taciturn winemaker talking about his methods. Although Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock wines have been a fairly hot topic on the internet boards of late, this was something of an introduction to his wines. The avatar/icon of both wineries is eerily similar – featuring a grayscale sketch of a vine and its root system.

Joey Tensley began his career in the wine business in 1993. After serving stints as cellar-rat at Fess Parker and assistant winemaker at Babcock, Joey was then hired in 1998 as assistant winemaker at Beckmen Vineyards. It was a fortuitous move, since it introduced him to Beckmen’s speciality – Rhone varietals. Steve Beckmen also offered him space to launch his own label, and Joey began Tensley Wines. Three years later, after growth from 100 cases to 700 cases, he decided to move into his own winery and devote all of his time to his eponymous label.

From the beginning, Joey decided to produce only vineyard-designated Syrahs. He also decided that those Syrahs would all be priced the same and made in the same fashion. He used 30% whole cluster fermentation, three times daily hand punch-downs, and very little or no new oak.

But, never say never, and Tensley finally introduced a white Rhone blend, the Tensley Blanc (65% Grenache Blanc; 35% Roussanne). He also introduced a Grenache-Syrah blend named for his niece. But otherwise, the line-up remains the same: only vineyard-designated Syrahs, made in exactly the same way and all priced the same. Original production of 100 cases has steadily moved up to the current 4,000 cases.

It could easily be said that Morgan Twain-Peterson was literally born into the wine business. In fact, he was born at home in Sonoma, Ca. to parents Joel Peterson and Kate Twain. Largely raised at his father’s Ravenswood Winery, Morgan was obviously exposed to wine and wine tasting from the get-go. In fact, Morgan began making small lots of Pinot Noir when he was 5 years old, from lots given to him by the Sangiacomo family. Yes, implausible as it may seem, he made his first wine at the age of five!

After going off to school as an undergraduate at Vassar and a graduate student at Columbia University, Morgan returned home to Sonoma County in 2005 to work harvest at Ravenswood. Afterward, he spent time as a visiting winemaker at Hardy’s Tintara Winery in McLaren Vale, also spending a few highly educational days with Drew and Rae Noon at Noon Winery. In the fall of 2006, he was a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Pauillac.

When not making his own wine, Morgan is a manager of his family’s Bedrock Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, and a part of Sunbreak Vineyard Services L.L.C, a vineyard management company run by Diane Kenworthy and Robert Burney. He has also passed the Master of Wine exam and upon successful completion of the dissertation will become one of less than thirty American M.W.’s – and, probably one of the youngest, too.

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers: On-Line Wine Community: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #297
(57:41 min 53MB)

Conversation with Louis-Fabrice Latour, President of Maison Louis Latour

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Louis-Fabrice Latour is the seventh generation to run the family-owned Louis Latour business, taking over as President in 1999. Born in Beaune in 1964, he is the son of Louis Latour, current Chairman of Maison Louis Latour. Louis-Fabrice is president of the association of Burgundy négociants and president of the French national wine and spirit exporters association (FEVS).

Louis Latour has been a négociant-éleveur since 1867, and today produces 105 different wines. The two sides of the business consist of Domaine Louis Latour (wines from Louis Latour’s own vineyard holdings in Burgundy) situated in the medieval village of Aloxe-Corton, and Maison Louis Latour (a portfolio of wines from sourced grapes and wines that are blended to a style) headquartered in a beautiful 17th century house on Rue des Tonneliers in the heart of Beaune.

Join us in a fascinating and openly frank session with Louis-Fabrice, covering topics such as his family legacy, the role of négociants in Burgundy, vintages in Burgundy, and the current state of Burgundy exports to the United States. Of course we had to have some appropriate libations during the conversation, and Louis-Fabrice adds an interesting running commentary about the two wines we sampled: 2004 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne and 2009 Louis Latour Marsannay.

For More Information:

Maison Louis Latour www.louislatour.com

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

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Show #296
(1:00:48 min 58MB)

2011 Hospice du Rhone Seminar – The Rhone Valley

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The first seminar from the 2011 Hospice du Rhone, was designed as an introduction to the Rhone Valley at large, the 2nd largest wine producing region in France. As with an introduction to anything, there is no way to fully cover the Rhone Valley in a single seminar. Thus, three producers were selected to discuss the region and present some of their wines.

Michel Gassier discussed his Château De Nages. Michel described how his 70-hectares of Château de Nages is planted with Syrah, which seems to excel in the soil, creating dark, concentrated, tannic grapes, while the Grenache is reserved for the poorer soils which temper its natural growth. In addition, Mourvèdre seems to add a spicy complexity to the finished wines. Michel discovered that certain parcels of his had a predilection for Roussanne, as well as Grenache Blanc to round out his white blends. He also described Costières de Nîmes at the southern most vineyard of the Rhone Valley, where Rhone varieties are planted on the stony alluvial despoits of the Rhone River, and dry winds of the Mistral blow regularly. He also explained something less intuitive than you might think – how the heat of the day becomes cool at night to help keep the wines from this region fresh. Apparently, the top layer of stones stores up the heat of the sun. Then at night, the heat is released by the stones accentuating the natural convection caused by the cool sea air that comes in from the Rhone Delta called the Petite Camargue. The warm rising air displaces the cooler air above it, forcing the cool air downward. As a result, the temperature range between day and night is increased.

Next up was Nicolas Haeni, of Domaine de Cabasse. The Alfred Haeni family moved from Switzerland to Séguret in 1990, and operate both a winery and a hotel. In 2004, Nicolas took over management of the winery, and continued in his father’s tradition. The growing area extends across twenty hectares and various appellations: Séguret, Sablet Côtes du Rhône Villages A.O.C., and Gigondas AOC. He seemed to love their location in Séguret in the Provençe, a region where the Romans planted vineyards. Jucunditas (Latin for “joie de vivre”), is now known as Gigondas. Nicolas described their most recent challenge – the terracing encompassing 3.7 hectares in Séguret, which were laid out in 2005 and planted in 2006. They were able to terrace the mountain slope while at the same time taking into consideration the landscape’s view and the risk of erosion. All steps of the terracing were measured by laser and have a slope of three percent. The drainage is first led to the crest of the hill before it flows over the terracing. These specifications qualified them for the EU-supported Priorat Life Project. The terracing also afforded very dense planting.

The last panelist was Albéric Mazoyer, of Domaine Alain Voge in Cornas. Albéric is Alain Voge’s partner and operating winemaker. Albéric now runs the estate. Alain excelled in conventional grape-growing, but Albéric convinced him to go biodynamic. Voge has 6.5 ha of Syrah in Cornas AOC, 4 ha of Marsanne in St Péray AOC, 1 ha of Syrah in St. Joseph AOC, and a few more Syrah vines in the CdR. The Syrah vines are planted in decomposed granite, known locally as gore, on some of the most beautiful hillsides in the Cornas appellation. In the winery, the Syrah grapes used for the red wines are destemmed. Fermentation is done in small (30-50 hl) stainless-steel vats; temperatures are controlled, and caps are punched once or twice daily. Ageing is done in oak barrels for 14-24 months, according to the “strength” and requirements of each wine. For the white wines, the grapes are pressed whole. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation is done in barrels for Fleur de Crussol and Terres Boisées, then the wine is aged on lees for 12-16 months. The Harmonie cuvée is vinified then aged on lees in vats only for 10 months.

For More Information:

Hospice do Rhone www.hospicedurhone.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Mailing List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #295
(59:00 min 30MB)


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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.

GrapeRadio has received numerous awards and honors including the 2008 James Beard Award for excellence in Journalism.

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