Tag Archive for 'wine-maker'

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)

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)

Lot Series with Cameron Hughes

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Cameron Hughes makes a “lot” of wine. Growing up in Modesto, California, wine was never far from Cameron’s line of sight. In fact, his entry into the wine business could have easily been considered a foregone conclusion. His father, Steve Hughes invited him to work one summer in support of his direct-marketing team at his wine company. Cameron found he loved selling wine, and seemed to be good at it.

Once bitten by the wine bug, he sold his wine collection and wrote a business plan for a négociant company. Along with wife and business partner Jessica Kogan, he founded Cameron Hughes Wine, to take advantage of the excess juice and fruit during the “wine glut” in the early part of the decade. In 2001, they began by selling wine from the back of their Volvo.

Cameron works with producers and winery owners to purchase their “finished” wines – and sometimes, finishes them himself. He also works with wine growers to make wine in their vineyard with his company’s oversight. A hallmark, some would say a selling point, is that he maintains confidentiality of the original sources of both the wine and the fruit. With several labels in the CHW portfolio, there could be as many as 70 or 100 different wines on the market at one time – though their “Lot series” has become synonymous with Cameron Hughes.

Join us as we talk with Cameron about the trials and tribulations of being a négociant in the world of wine.

For More Information:

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

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Show #293
(55:07min 50MB)

Tour of Chile – Part 3

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Join us for Part 3, as we talk with representatives from Viña Santa Rita, Concha Y Toro, Veramonte, and Casablanca.

For More Information:

For More Information: www.santarita.com/international/home

Concha Y Toro – www.conchaytoro.com

Veramonte – www.veramonte.com

Casablanca – www.casablancawinery.com

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers – Wine Board: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #291
(48:36min 35MB)

Tour of Chile – Part 2

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Join us for Part 2, as we talk with representatives from Casa Lapostolle, Viña Montes, Viñedos y Bodega Apaltagua, and Cousiño Macul.

For More Information: www.casalapostolle.com

Viñedos y Bodega Apaltagua – www.apaltagua.com

Cousiño Macul – www.cousinomacul.com

Viña Montes – www.monteswines.com

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers – Wine Board: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #290
(32:59min 23MB)

Tour of Chile – Part 1

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Although it is considered New World, Chile has been growing wine since the 16th century, when the Spanish conquistadors brought vitis vinifera vines with them during their colonization of the region. About the mid-18th century, several French grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenère were also introduced to the region.

Chile’s five viticultural regions occupy an 800 mile stretch, in a country 2,700 miles long and 109 miles wide. The most common red grapes grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère – a grape originally from the Medoc region, but which has all but disappeared from Bordeaux since the phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th Century.

During the early 1980s, Chilean wineries modernized their production, bringing in stainless steel tanks for fermentation and oak barrels for aging. These were fast times, and the number of wineries grew from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005. The increase in production was matched with wine exports as well, with Chile becoming the fifth largest exporter of wines, and the ninth largest producer in the world.

We had always wanted to visit Chile, and explore the culture and wines of the region. Well, the time had finally come, and Jay was off to the Southern Hemisphere. Jay spent three days traveling the valleys and wine regions that make up this fascinating country. We’ve separated the interviews into three parts, and thrown in a “bonus reel” for good measure – four shows altogether.

Join us for Part 1, as we talk with representatives from Viña Koyle, Miguel Torres, Viña San Pedro, and Viña Maquis. There might be more to Chile than we think!

For More Information: www.koyle.cl

Viña San Pedro – www.sanpedro.cl

Viña Maquis – www.vinamaquis.com

Miguel Torres – www.torreschile.com

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers – Wine Board: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #289
(49:15 min 35MB)

Discover Piedmont

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The Piemonte wine region lies in the northwestern corner of Italy. The Piedmont produces more DOC/G wines by volume than any other Italian wine region with nearly 84% of all the areas wine production falling under a DOC/G designation. While Barbera is the most widely-planted grape in the region, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto account for a significant portion of the area’s red wine production as well. It is in the famous sub-regions of Alba and Asti, in the heart of the region’s wine growing, where Nebbiolo is nurtured in perfect conditions to allow it to become Barolo and Barbaresco.

Patriarch Pietro Bosco founded the family farm in the 1960s. He was soon joined by his youngest son Agostino, and ultimately by Agostino’s son Andrea. Andrea received a wine-making diploma at Alba’s Scuola Enologica and continues to run the farm as a family business , seeking to achieve grapes of the maximum quality, to be made into the best wine imaginable.

Since the first decades of the 1800’s la Berchialla has been the Bondonio’s family country home. The sight was carefully chosen, the reasons being that it sits upon a sunny hill, above the Tanaro river, facing the Alps. Two-hundred years later, Olek Bondonio uses his university knowledge and some of the original family vineyards to craft his Barbaresco.

Join us as we talk with vignerons Olek Bondonio from La Berchialla, and Andrea Bosco from Bosco Agostino about Piedmont the Piedmont region, their individual vineyard methods, and their individual approach to wine making.

For More Information: www.olekbondonio.it

For More Information: www.barolobosco.com

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers – Wine Board: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #288
(38:00 min 27MB)

Napa Road Trip

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Like the grapes themselves, every year seems to bring a new crop of wineries to California. And, while Napa Valley is no exception, we recently found a couple of not-so-newcomers to the region, Sommerston and Hidden Ridge, who have been doing some interesting things, if a bit undetected.

First, we’ll visit with Craig Becker, winemaker and General Manager for Somerston vineyards and winery. Located high in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley, this project came to together after proprietor Allan Chapman purchased the historic Priest Ranch and the Elder Valley east of Rutherford – creating one contiguous 1,628-acre property in 2006. With over 200 acres of vineyards, a winery built from a renovated 12,000 square-foot barn, and 1,500 head of Dorper sheep, the place practically has its own little ecosystem.

Next, we were off to Hidden Ridge vineyards, located on Spring Mountain. “ Hidden” is the operative word here, as this site is way off the main road, and practically hanging off a cliff. When Casidy Ward & Lynn Hofacket purchased the property in 1991, they thought the former site of a private hunting club was the perfect location for a home in the country – literally away from it all. However, they hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to develop such a rural property for residential use. Ultimately, it proved to be a better place for grapes than for people, and they found that Cabernet Sauvignon thrived on the otherwise inhospitable 55 degree slopes at elevations from 900 to 1700 feet.

Join us as we visit with Craig Becker of Somerston, and Casidy Ward of Hidden Ridge to hear about their trials, tribulations and experiences at growing grapes in the Napa Valley.

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers – Wine Board: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #287
(34:58 min 25MB)

Young Burgundian Vignerons Visit World of Pinot Noir 2011

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Rusty Gaffney and Jay Selman have a casual and intimate conversation with Alexandrine Roy and Thomas Bouley, participants in the “Young Turks of Burgundy” tasting at the World of Pinot Noir. We were impressed by their charm and willingness to share their insights into the role of young vignerons in Burgundy today and their impressions of American Pinot Noir. (Please excuse our butchered French)

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

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Show #286
(29:38 min 21MB)

Humboldt’s Other Crop – Wine

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Born and raised in La Canada and Pasadena, John Cabot may have seemed an unlikely candidate to settle in the upper reaches of the redwood-filled part of California. But, John seemed destined to till the earth as a farmer, leaving behind his expected role in the family business.

Ironically, the Cabot family business also has its roots in the earth – the family has owned and operated Cabot & Sons Mortuary in Pasadena for over 100 years. With no regrets for the path he took, John does delight in the idea that his family’s lives seem to have been played out in the recent HBO series, “Six Feet Under.” In fact, he can cite more than a few coincidences, comparing the similarities of the fictitious cast with that of his own family. While John’s brother went into the business, as did some of his cousins, John, the self-described “black sheep” of the family, moved to Arcata, in Humboldt County. Here, he attended College of the Redwoods to study chemistry, microbiology and plant sciences. He became an avid gardener, turning every bit of lawn into vegetable production. Along the way, he also discovered he had a penchant for brewing beer – which would come to serve him well at a later date.

After graduating, he accepted roles with a few local organic vegetable producers, and eventually became the sole proprietor of Orleans Organics, growing 28 types of vegetables for sale at four famers markets per week in Humboldt, as well as numerous accounts at grocery stores and restaurants as far south as San Francisco. In 1998, a friend and local vintner helped him plant the first 3 acres of vines, in the Old Mill vineyard. John chose Cabernet, Merlot, and Zinfandel, based on some local success of these varieties. After tasting several Syrahs from different growing regions, John was convinced about the grape’s adaptability, and planted 1-2 acre blocks of Syrah about every year for the following 8 yrs. He ended up planting five, 2-6 acre vineyards, all on different soils. John and wife Kimberly now own two of those vineyards (Kimberly’s and Aria’s) and manage and contract fruit from the other three.

Join us as we talk with grower and winemaker John Cabot of Cabot Vineyards, about his love for Syrah, and the unique Humboldt County growing conditions. We may even hear something about Humboldt’s “other” crop, and why the Cabot vines might (coincidentally) send their roots “six feet under.”

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

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Show #284
(35:04 min 26MB)

Auction Napa Valley 2010

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Welcome to our video podcast: Auction Napa Valley 2010 – Video Show #100.

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If you’re into food and wine, the Auction Napa Valley is pretty much the center of the universe. Comprised of four days of incredible wine and food, this spectacular event invites attendees to enjoy the cool cellars and hospitality of renowned vintners. In addition, there are dozens of parties to choose from, each hosted by a vintner. More than 250 auction lots, yours for the bidding – from a single case of wine, to trips offering experiences not available anywhere else. You can also taste the barrel auction lots, participate in the e-auction, and attend the main event – a live auction held at the Meadowood resort.

Although there is plenty of wine, food and fun to be had, the primary goal of the event is to raise funds for local charitable activities. In fact, over the last 30 years, $90 million have been given to charities in the Napa Valley, to assist healthcare, education and low-income housing non-profit organizations. The genesis for the auction came from Robert Mondavi, who wanted to give back to the community, as well as celebrate the quality of wines from Napa Valley. Since its inception in 1981, this Auction has embodied the personality of Napa Valley and provided the model for modern charity wine auctions around the world.

Join us as we talk with vintners and attendees during the 2010 event. You’ll get just a small sampling of all the fun, food, and festivities that go along with attending the Auction Napa Valley.

For More Info on the 2011 Auction Napa Valley: www.napavintners.com

Temecula – A Case of Preconceived Notions?

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One doesn’t immediately think of Temecula when they think of California wine regions. Yet, along with the North Coast and the Central Coast, there is also a South Coast wine-growing region – a region which includes the Temecula Valley AVA. Located in a semi-rural section of Southern California’s Riverside County, the Temecula Valley is about an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs.

This close proximity to major population centers and relatively easy access has made Temecula a prime wine touring region – both for Southern Californians, and for visitors to the area. However, despite its convenient location, Temecula’s wine reputation has been hampered as much by uneven quality as by vineyard devastation ten years ago from Pierce’s Disease, a bacterial infection of the grapevine which causes the foliage, the fruit, and finally the vine to die off. Arguably, it hasn’t helped matters that the region easily became a tour-bus Mecca for much of Southern California. This, in turn, lured many wineries to adapt their operations to this type of tourist, largely the antithesis of the usual North or Central Coast winery visitor.

Grape growing isn’t new to the region, as Mission grapes had been planted in the Temecula area in 1820. In more modern times, Vincenzo and Audry Cilurzo established the first commercial vineyard in the Temecula Valley in 1968. Brookside Winery planted its vineyard in 1971, and produced the first wines from Temecula grapes. Callaway Vineyard and Winery began farming grapes in 1969, and opened the first Temecula Winery in 1974.

Most of the 34 wineries in Temecula are family-owned. Many are relatively new, having planted their grapes and/or opened their respective doors since the early 2000s. The timing is no accident, as most of the vineyards needed to be replanted after the damage by Pierce’s Disease. Yet, catastrophe often brings opportunity, and in this case many of the vineyards were replanted with more suitable varieties on better rootstalks, and grown using new viticultural techniques. Growers in the AVA practice sustainable farming in what has now become an agricultural preserve.

As new winemakers and new ideas continue to filter into the region, Temecula makes no apologies for the wines they grow, or how they market them. And, since the quality of their wines continues to rise, and the visitors continue to arrive – via bus or otherwise – the region seems poised to bolster its reputation.

Join us as we visit with nine vintners from Temecula Valley, to hear more about their approach to wine-growing and wine-making. There may be a lot more to Temecula wines than you think – presumptions aside, of course.

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

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Show #283
(1:26:01 min 61MB)

Distillation – The Birth of Cognac

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Welcome to our video podcast: Cognac Distillation – Video Show #99.

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After fermentation, the white wine is distilled into ‘eau-de-vie.’ To become Cognac, this involves a double distillation, for which only the heart, or middle portion of the second distillation is retained. The heads, too high in alcohol, and the tails, lacking harmony, are carefully removed and distilled over again to perfection.

For its first distillation, the unfiltered wine is brought to boil in the copper pot. Since alcohol evaporates faster than water, alcoholic vapors can be collected in the onion dome shaped cowl and in the swan neck, which slows the rectification process of the flavors, before passing into the long serpentine condenser coil. Vapors condense to the contact of the cooler and turn into a liquid known as ‘brouilli,’ with an alcoholic content of 27 to 30% vol. This is distilled a second time in a process called the ‘bonne chauffe’. The distiller’s key task is then to choose the moment when to isolate the ‘heart’ of this second distillation, extracting the ‘head’ and the ‘tail’ in the process.

This distillation process is a delicate and slow one. It lasts for approximately twenty four hours and requires the constant care of the distiller. It usually begins in November and is conducted day and night for several months. The rule binds it to stop at the latest at the end of March. Distillation is a key factor that gives Cognac its distinctive character. Its secrets are handed over from generation to generation.

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: www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Hearts Delight Wine Tasting Auction: www.heartsdelightwineauction.org

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We’ve Come a Long Way Baby – Past, Present, and Future – The Wines of South Africa

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The first seminar from the 2010 Hospice du Rhône, was an introduction to all that has been happening lately with Syrah in South Africa. Appropriately titled, “We’ve Come a Long Way Baby”, the seminar did indeed give us a glimpse of how things used to be, and what they have become.

Photo above – (Andrea Mullineux, James Molesworth, Davis Trafford, Marc Kent, Eben Sadie, and Chris Mullineux)

Moderated by Wine Spectator Senior Editor James Molesworth, panelists described South Africa’s long history with wine, beginning with the Dutch settlers in the 19 Century. Unfortunately, the more recent history of South African wine is irrevocably tied to the period know as apartheid, a system of legal racial segration that lasted nearly a half-century, drawing the world’s ire, and saddling the country with sanctions and trade embargoes from other nations. 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. Yet, it was this same public dislike that ultimately pushed the wineries to improve quality. The most surprising discovery from this seminar was that Syrah is merely 10% of the country’s wine production!

Join us, as we hear from some of South Africa’s brightest winemakers, and hear about the current crop of wines coming ‘Out of Africa.’

For More Info: Hospice du Rhone (HdR): www.hospicedurhone.org

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #277
(59:51 min 39MB)

20 Years of Williams Selyem – Part 2

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As most people know, Burt and Ed sold the winery to John and Kathe Dyson in 1998, and Bob Cabral became new winemaker with the impossible task of replacing a legend in the wine world. Bob has strived to continue the tradition of excellence in crafting Williams Selyem wines, thus making the idea of a second “Bob Years” 10-year retrospective even more intriguing.

Join us for Part 2 as we hear from winemaker Bob Cabral about his trial by fire.

For More Info: World of Pinot Noir: www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #276
(48:33 min 34MB)

20 Years of Williams Selyem – Part 1

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In March of 2010, the World of Pinot Noir was celebrating its Tenth Anniversary. Something special ought to be done, the organizers thought. How about making one of the seminars a ten-year retrospective tasting from a well-known winery? Yes, that would be something special. However, when the retrospective covers ten years of Pinot Noirs from Williams Selyem, well it probably doesn’t get any better or more interesting than that. And of course, this is only Part 1 – Part 2 will cover the most recent 10 years next week.

From its humble beginnings in 1981, Burt Williams and Ed Selyem took their little garage project wine, originally named Hacienda Del Rio, to awards, kudos, and critical accolades. The wines were mostly sold via mailing list, but the wine’s reputation and scarcity only added to its allure, and ultimately, the wines became so popular that they started a waiting list to get on the mailing list.

Join us for Part 1 as we hear about the “Bert Years” from Williams Selyem’s current winemaker Bob Cabral and restaurateur Michael Jordan. A story that has become a legend in the world of pinot noir.

For More Info: World of Pinot Noir: www.worldofpinotnoir.com

Sponsor: Porter Family Vineyards – Napa Valley: www.porterfamilyvineyards.com

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Show #275
(1:06:37 min 48MB)

Sonoma County Road Trip

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We decided to make a trek up to Sonoma County to visit with a few personalities from the Kendall-Jackson stable of wineries.

Our first stop was to visit with Melissa Stackhouse, winemaker for La Crema. The love for farming came naturally for Melissa, having spent summers on her grandparents’ farm in rural Minnesota. But, it was a visit to Washington State’s San Juan Islands that actually introduced her to wine. And, as they say in fishing, the hook was set. A UC Davis education was next on the agenda, followed by several internships which finally led her to La Crema in 2001 as assistant winemaker. By 2003, she was running the place.

Next, we were off to meet with Don Hartford at Hartford Family Winery in the Russian River Valley. Don attended University of Massachusetts at Amherst, obtained his law degree from Santa Clara University, and his legal career has included a Tokyo law firm, a large San Francisco-based firm, Jess Jackson’s practice of Constitutional law, and work at the California Supreme Court. The law notwithstanding, Don has immersed himself in winemaking and winery management over the past 20 years. He also owns and farms a small vineyard of old-vine Zinfandel behind his home. This 90-year old vineyard is located on seven acres and is head-pruned to produce annual yields of about 1.5 tons an acre. Almost by itself, stewardship of this property has returned Don to his Massachusetts farming roots.

Then, we spent some quality time with Randy Ullom, of Kendall-Jackson Estates. Randy was originally hired in 1993 by Jess Jackson as the winemaker at Camelot Vineyards. That same year, Jackson also put him in charge of heading up a new Chilean operation as founding winemaker and general manager of Viña Calina. Then in 1996, Ullom helped Jackson establish wine production in Argentina with the Tapiz label. In 1997, Ullom was made winemaster for Kendall-Jackson Winery. In 2006, he also became the company’s Chief Operating Officer, reflecting his intimate involvement in the both the viticultural and winemaking programs of Kendall-Jackson.

Finally, we talked with Alex Réblé, winemaker for Matanzas Creek. Originally from the Bordeaux region of France, Alex was educated at the Agricultural School of Libourne and Blanquefort and mentored by Jean-Claude Berrouet (then winemaker at Pétrus and La Fleur-Pétrus).  After working at Chateau La Tour Carnet for a year, Alex turned his attention to the New World. Wanting to try his hand with Burgundian varieties, he took a job at Willamette Valley Vineyards in Oregon, working with Joe Dobbes. Then, he was on to the Napa Valley in 1998, to work with Luc Morlet at Newton Vineyards, Ken Deis at Flora Springs Winery, and Daniel Baron at Silver Oak and Twomey. Finally, he joined Matanzas Creek in 2001 as cellar master, becoming its winemaker in 2010.

For more information on Jackson Family Wines: www.kj.com

Sponsor: VinAssure, Wine Preservation System : www.vinassure.com

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Show #270
(1:15:01 min 41MB)


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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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