Category:Podcasts

Wine Curmudgeon on Winemaker’s Academy podcast

winemaker's academyIn which Winemaker Academy’s Matt Williams interviews me about how to make better wine, and the discussion is not technical at all. Because that’s not what I do.

Rather, I offer perspective from the consumer side. This is crucial, I think, because winemakers, faced with the difficulties inherent in winemaking, sometimes don’t have time or the the motivation to understand there is another perspective. If they like oak, the wine gets oak. even if the wine doesn’t need it. If they like Bordeaux-style wines, they make Bordeaux-style wines, even if the grapes aren’t suited for it. The term for this is tasting room palate, and it’s to be avoided at all costs.

My thanks to Matt for letting me share this with his winemaking community, because I don’t think it’s something they hear very often.

Winecast 22: Jerry Lockspeiser, wine guru

Jerry LockspeiserJerry Lockspeiser has done many things during his wine career in the United Kingdom — producer, negociant, consultant, salesman, and writer. Through much of it, his focus on been on cheap wine and what Lockspeiser calls the normal wine drinker; those of us who want to buy a bottle to have with dinner and who don’t want to mess with any of wine’s foolishness.

The biggest lesson in wine over the past decade? That consumers discovered “they didn’t need to pay a lot of money for a good drink,” he said. That’s preaching the gospel, no?

Lockspeiser and I talked about:

? The improved quality of cheap wine, and that the improvement was led by the Australians and Californians.

? Why the wine business insists on selling expensive wine and trading up perfectly happy wine drinkers. Hint: It’s about money.

? How winespeak is one of the biggest problems facing consumers, and why the wine business doesn’t understand the problem.

? Some of the best advice I’ve seen for negotiating the Great Wall of Wine at the grocery store (yes, they have it in Britain, too), including tips on pricing.

Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 16 minutes long and takes up almost 8 megabytes. The sound quality is very good, with only a couple of squeaks and hisses even though Lockspeiser was in London. Skype — the unofficial VoIP provider for the blog — was in exceptionally fine form.

Winecast 21: Dave Falchek, Empty Bottles blog

Dave FalchekIf wine had more writers like Dave Falchek, more people would drink wine. He wants to make wine easier for consumers and he doesn ?t suffer foolish wines or their producers ? and he does this writing in Pennsylvania, which has some of most restrictive liquor laws in the country and where availability is often a joke.

Dave ?s advice for wine drinkers: First, if you don ?t like a wine, it doesn ?t mean your taste buds are broken. Second, you ?re not supposed to like a wine just because someone else does.

We talked about those things, as well as Dave ?s work with the American Wine Society, which aims to make wine drinking easier; the state of regional wine, which Dave has supported since he started writing about wine; and whether Pennsylvania will eventually reform its antiquated liquor laws. Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 11 minutes long and takes up 10.8 megabytes

Winecast 20: Don Brady, Robert Hall Winery

don-bradyDon Brady, the winemaker at Paso Robles ? Robert Hall Winery, is something of a legend in Texas. He worked for three of the state ?s best-known producers before going to California, where he has become one of the best winemakers there.

Brady is also, for some reason, not as well known as he should be. His wines not only offer value ? the $10 rose, the $15 sauvignon blanc, and the $15 Rhone de Robles red blend are revelations in a world of over-priced, cute label plonk ? but they reflect the terroir of his part of Paso Robles without concern for scores or ratings.  Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay: I once voted to give his 14 1/2 percent, oaked viogner a gold medal, and regular visitors know how I feel about high alcohol, over-oaked wine.

We talked about Don ?s start in Texas, his approach to winemaking, and how he manages to make such wonderful wines. Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 19 minutes long and takes up 18 1/2 megabytes. One caveat: Skype didn ?t cooperate the way it usually does, and there is a hum in certain parts of the recording.

Winecast 19: Tim McNally, The Wine Show

TimMcNally2Tim McNally hosts a wine radio show, writes extensively about wine, and judges some of the most important wine competitions in the world. In other words, he knows more than most of us about the wine business — and is more than happy to share. Or, as Tim says about our tendency to drink specific wines because we're told they're good: "If wine doesn't give you great pleasure, then don't drink it."

Tim and I talked about wine intimidation and how to overcome it, the changes in the wine business and especially in the quality of cheap wine, and he even called me out once or twice. Can't get a better guest than that.

Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 14 1/2 minutes long and takes up 13 megabytes.

Winecast 18: DLW 2012: Colorado

DLW 2012: ColoradoWhat better way to get ready for DLW 2012: Colorado next week than with a podcast featuring Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post and the Wine Curmudgeon, DrinkLocalWine's co-founders?

We talk about the conference's history, what we'll be doing in Denver during the conference, including the seminars and Nomacorc-Colorado Twitter Taste-off, and discuss the respect that local wine has earned over the past four or five years. And we give ticket information; those of you who want to come should pay attention, since we're selling them faster than ever and headed for a sellout.

We also touch briefly on how old we are and the difficulty each of us has with drinking wine and tweeting at the same time. And Dave has to remind me to give the hash tags for the Twitter Taste-off. You can tell I'm firmly part of this social media thing.

We didn't mention the Amtrak ticket giveway, where you can win two roundtrip tickets between Denver and Grand Junction in the Colorado wine country, but it's not too late to enter. Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 17 minutes long and takes up 16 megabytes.

The Wine Curmudgeon on iWineRadio

Lynn Krielow Chamberlain of iWineRadio has long been an ardent supporter of regional wine, and it's always a pleasure to do an interview with her. This one talks about our upcoming DrinkLocalWine conference in Denver and the Colorado Blind Challenge.

The challenge is something new this year, and part of the Wine Curmudgeo's firm belief that wine should be a specator sport. We have lined up three wine experts, who will will taste similar California and Colorado wines blind and try to tell the difference — in front of a live audience.

Click here for the mp3 version of the interview.