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Ep 279: Greg La Follette of Alquimista Cellars and pioneer of Sonoma, CA Pinot Noir

Wine for Normal People

Release Date: 06/03/2019

Ep 298: The Transformation of Loudoun County, Virginia -- The Vineyards at Lost Creek show art Ep 298: The Transformation of Loudoun County, Virginia -- The Vineyards at Lost Creek

Wine for Normal People

Loudoun County, Virginia is in close proximity to Washington, D.C. -- the farthest vineyards are just over an hour's drive away. The area is known more for big, beautiful event spaces & mediocre wine than as a premier region of Virginia. But about 7 years ago Aimee and Todd Henkle of Lost Creek decided to be part of the movement to change that. We learn how hey are doing so with elegant wines, one vintage at a time!

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Ep 297: Anthony Road Wine Company -- a Legend in the Finger Lakes Region of New York show art Ep 297: Anthony Road Wine Company -- a Legend in the Finger Lakes Region of New York

Wine for Normal People

Anthony Road Wine Company is a legend in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. It’s one of the pioneering wineries of the area, and it makes wines that reflect the soils and climate of the Finger Lakes. Their wines are made from grapes grown in vineyards owned or managed by the Martini Family and carefully selected by Peter Becraft, the head winemaker. This week Peter tells us the story of Anthony Road, his path to becoming the winemaker and the things that make the wines so unique.

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Ep 296: Boundary Breaks of the Finger Lakes, Where Terroir Reigns Supreme show art Ep 296: Boundary Breaks of the Finger Lakes, Where Terroir Reigns Supreme

Wine for Normal People

Boundary Breaks is located in the Finger Lakes in Central New York. It's the consummate cool weather growing region, where Riesling and aromatic whites reign supreme. Bruce Murray, the founder and creative force behind Boundary Breaks, tells us how he went from newspaper man, to working with Elon Musk, to running a winery so focused on terroir, they don't even have a winemaker (they have 3).

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Ep 295: Sleight of Hand- Washington State's Wine Magic show art Ep 295: Sleight of Hand- Washington State's Wine Magic

Wine for Normal People

Sleight of Hand Cellars is the fulfillment of two dreams. Jerry Solomon was a real estate attorney in San Diego who longed for a small town life and wanted wine to be part of it. Trey Busch was a Walla Walla winemaker who had insane talent but needed a partner to make his dream winery a reality. The two created Sleight of Hand 12 years ago to create exceptional, terroir driven wines that reflect Washington's unique beauty.

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Ep 294: Walla Walla,  Washington's Fathers of the Vine -- Eric McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars show art Ep 294: Walla Walla, Washington's Fathers of the Vine -- Eric McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars

Wine for Normal People

Eric McKibben is a partner at Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery in Walla Walla, Washington -- one of the most underrated yet distinctive winemaking regions in the United States. He shares what makes his hometown so special and why Walla Walla Estate wines of Cabernet and Syrah, especially, are such terroir-driven standouts in the wine world.

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Ep 293: Afton Mountain Vineyards Proves Why Virginia Wine is So Unique show art Ep 293: Afton Mountain Vineyards Proves Why Virginia Wine is So Unique

Wine for Normal People

Virginia, on the east coast of the United States, has much history with grape growing, but not all of it was good. Today, however, exciting producers have mastered their microclimates and are making some of the most elegant, terroir-driven wines in the United States. This week I sit down with Elizabeth Smith of Afton Mountain Vineyards. We discuss everything from Virginia history with grape growing, to terroir obsession, to the European flare of the region, and why the wines are so darn good.

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Ep 292: The Secret, Stunning Wine of Swartland, South Africa show art Ep 292: The Secret, Stunning Wine of Swartland, South Africa

Wine for Normal People

Just 40 miles/65 km north of Cape Town lies a large area that makes the most exciting, sought after wines in South Africa. Swartland is full of passionate winemakers who create wines of such depth, flavor, and nuance that it’s hard to believe so few know about them. In this show, we tell you about the Syrah, Rhône and Mediterranean varietals, the Chenin Blanc and other stunning white blends coming from this area and why you need to seek it out ASAP!

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Ep 291: Vinho Verde (has so much more to it than you know!) show art Ep 291: Vinho Verde (has so much more to it than you know!)

Wine for Normal People

If you think Vinho Verde is just a fizzy summer sipper, we're about to open up a new world for you. You CAN get the run of the mill stuff but with multiple grapes, regions, and producer styles, if you dig deeper this wine has way more to it than you think!

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Ep 290: Theresa Breuer of Georg Breuer Represents Rheingau, Riesling, and the New Face of German Wine show art Ep 290: Theresa Breuer of Georg Breuer Represents Rheingau, Riesling, and the New Face of German Wine

Wine for Normal People

Theresa Breuer is a young woman who found herself (sadly, earlier than she expected) at the helm of one of the most respected, highest quality Riesling producers in the Rheingau region of Germany: Weingut Georg Breuer.  I had the pleasure of spending the day with her a few years back and she is brilliant, poised, kind and a genius vigneron and cellar master, but more than anything, at 30-something, she is one of the best fresh faces and ambassadors for what Rheingau wine is, was, and should be. 

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Ep 289: Orange (Skin Contact) Wines show art Ep 289: Orange (Skin Contact) Wines

Wine for Normal People

We tackle a wine style that is adored in certain hip, wine "in-crowd" circles: "orange" wine, which is actually white wine made with skin contact like a red is made. With whites, there is long contact with the skins and seeds that give the wine a darker, orange-ish color, and VERY different flavors. Spoiler alert: M.C. Ice and Elizabeth are not fans and they let it be known why!

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More Episodes

Greg La Follette is known in the wine world as a founding father of California Pinot Noir. A former seminarian and biochemist with degrees in Plant Biology and Chemistry, he was an early AIDS researcher at the University of California San Francisco before earning his masters degree in Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis.

Greg has worked for BV, started La Crema and Hartford Court for Jackson Family Wine (Kendall-Jackson), started Sonoma Pinot cult brand Flowers and his own brands LaFollette (which he sold) and now Alquimista. Greg has consulted all over the world – in northern California, Oregon, Europe, South America, and Australia. He is widely considered an expert on Pinot Noir.

 

Here are a few things we chatted about:

  1. Greg's early history, including his time with André Tchelistcheff, the father of American Viticulture (also mentioned in Ep 275: http://winefornormalpeople.libsyn.com/webpage/category/ep-275-lane-tanner-the-pinot-czarina-of-santa-barbara-county-california)
  2. The allure of Pinot Noir and the various styles Greg has made over the years -- from big and brawny at Flowers to elegant and earthy at Alquimista. Greg talks about winegrowing and the challenges of Pinot Noir (and why Chardonnay is important to grow as a sanity check!)
  3. The influence Burgundy has had on Greg's wine over the years
  4. The fascinating chronicles of working at La Crema, starting Flowers for someone else, starting and selling Tandem (now La Follette) and then departing to the best stop: Alquimista Cellars!
  5. We discuss Patrick Dillon, Greg's partner in Alquimista (and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, writer, editor), and how their styles combine to make a style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay you won't find elsewhere in California. 

Alquimista's wines are spectacular. Check them out!  

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