As continued coverage of Texas Wine Month, we catch up with Ben Calais at his winery in the Hill Country. This was a great conversation about this year's harvest, his focus on the Bordeaux varieties, how Ben is coaxing the most flavor out of his grapes, and so much more! Ben has a cool thing going on in his underground cellar, selling only direct to consumer, and cultivating a strong following! Santé!
We kick off our coverage of October as Texas Wine Month with January Wiese, Executive Director of the Hill Country Wineries Association. Then, we hear from Lewis Dickson, and how he is producing some magical 100% Estate wines from his vineyard in Canyon Lake, just west of New Braunfels. Lewis is a staunch proponent of natural or "hands off" winemaking, never adding yeast, sulfites, enzymes, or anything. We learn about the path he's taken to focusing on the two Texas hybrid grapes, Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish, and how wine should be the whole film, not just a snapshot.
Noah Ullman, owner of Vino Z Czech (pronounced “vee-nos check”), comes on the show to talk about Czech wine and the business of importing and promoting in the US. I learned a ton from this conversation: how there is a long history of winemaking in what is today's Czech Republic, how the south facing slopes of South Moravia are special for winemaking, and how diverse the wine culture is there with many unique grapes (Cabernet Moravia, Blauer Portugueser, and Pálava). To quote Noah, quoting someone else, "somewhere between Austria and Alsace."
Kevin O'Brien, GM of Expression Wines and Prime Solum, tells the story of how Bill Hill plants vineyards that become super famous, such as Gaps Crown and Zena Crown. We dig into the Sonoma Coast, the "Deep End" of Anderson Valley, and the Eola Amity Hills of Oregon. Steve Alley from the Sorting Table chimes in to describe these wines and how the Texas Market has been receiving them. Also, we hear about Broken Rock Ranch in Napa and so much more! Pinot meets TX tacos, what could be better!
Kelly Meyer, owner of New Braunfels Brewing Co., brewer Nathan Rice, and beer expert Justin Chamberlain, come on the show to talk about their beers that blur the border of beer and wine. Their Sur Lie program, beers that they age over different sorts of wine yeast, has captured the attention of collectors and aficionados, and we taste 6 different releases aged over different wine lees. These guys are pushing the bar of what beer can do in terms of food pairings, complexity, and bringing beer to a broader wine-loving community. Proust!
Texas Wine Journal Panelists, Jon Gerber, Shawn Croft, and Julia Dixon come on the show to talk about Chardonnay from Texas and around the world. They tasted 6 chardonnay blind and this is their commentary before they knew which was which. You can see the lineup below, but overall, great discussion around the most famous and infamous white grape out there. Plus, I think the consensus was that TX did show strong. Guest appearance from Daniel Kelada at the end to give insight on the producers and regions!
Membership drive is in full swing! This is an amazing radio station that allows this podcast, I'd love the support! On this show, we have other programmers and KOOP personalities come on the show to taste and talk about what are the best wines to have ON ICE! Feel the KOOP love and the diversity of community radio!
Julia Dixon gives us her recap of Texsom, the Sommelier conference that wrapped up last week, from the volunteer's perspective. She talks about some of the seminars that made an impression as well as some special wines tasted off-program. She reads her wine description that won the Guildsom Social Media contest for "Best Tasting Note." Plus, she has many other projects coming down the pike in the next couple months!
On the second half of the show, Jeremy Wilson talks about the TX Wine Lover web page and how it serves to present tons of information and to advocate for the TX wine industry. There are interactive maps of wineries and vineyards as well as one of the best blogs in the industry and podcast. Jeremy is a great advocate for TX wine!
We're in the throws of summer, and the Texas grape harvest is in full swing. We talk with winemakers across the state to get the low down of where the harvest is and where it's going across the state. It's an early harvest, but there's high hopes for the Hill Country and High Plains; "no excuses," says Sergio Cuadra of Fall Creek Vineyards. But the Gulf Coast and other parts of Texas have other difficulties. Check out the podcast for the full story!
Giannis Tselepos has been making wine in Greece, the Mantinia in particular, since the 80s, and can be considered one of the pioneers of the grape Moscofilero. Giannis, and his importer Andreas Zinelis (Cava Spiliadas) come on the podcast to explain Greek wine in general and talk about the regions of his three wineries: Mantinia, Nemea, and Santorini. Check it out to get a modern perspective on Greek Wine and a guide to pronouncing Greek varieties and regions!
In 2006, Randy left Houston to carve out a life with his wife in Napa, with the 10 year plan to come back to TX to make world class wine and push the industry. An internship at Cakebread lead to a job, then to a position at Colgin, then to work under cult winemakers like Mike Hirby and Andy Erickson. All this lead to served as the foundation of his own label, Lightning Wines, focusing on Grenache. In 2014, Randy came back to TX to launch C.L Butaud to push the possibilities of Tempranillo. Check out the podcast to hear Randy tell his story. He's made a splash already!
Regan and Carey Meador come into the KOOP studios to share with us their quest to first produce highly acclaimed wine on the North Fork of Long Island then their transition to Texas. We get all the juicy facts of Long Island wine as well as a strong argument for why we should all be excited about Texas as a growing region! Get the inside scoop, cause they still have some LI wines to sell, extremely interesting Lagrein and Teroldego (yeah, that's right), and everybody's getting excited about their first 2017 Texas vintage!
Michel and Marla are the husband-wife team behind Michel Thibault Wine, which specializes in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and some select producers from Italy and the US. We dig into French wine, the Bordeaux Futures campaign, their travel business and so much more. Incredibly knowledgeable and down to earth, Michel and Marla give may tidbits to savor.
Isabella Pelizzatti Perego is 5th generation wine producer in the Valtellina of Northern Italy, and comes on the show to talk about her amazing wines, vineyard and cru-focused Nebbiolo. She talks about the differences of Nebbiolo from her vineyards, locally called Chiavenasca, and that of Barolo and Barbaresco. We also get into some of the sub-regions and special wines they make; it's so inspiring to hear Isabella's story!
Music is performed by a local female choir for which Isabella sings, called Coro Clara Wieck, and they're coming out with an album towards the end of 2017: www.clarawieck.org
Alois Clemens Lageder, 6th generation winemaker in the Alto Adige, and Jo Pfisterer, head winemaker, tell the story of their region in the north of Italy. We dig into their histories, the experimentation they have going on, the grapes they're producing in the Alto Adige, and so much more. I bet you didn't know they grow Tannat and Assyrtiko in Italy! They clearly had a good time with traveling through Austin and spreading the good word.