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Ep 323: Dao Region of Portugal -- The Burgundy of the Iberian Peninsula

Wine for Normal People

Release Date: 04/28/2020

Ep 358: Mendocino, California show art Ep 358: Mendocino, California

Wine for Normal People

Mendocino is a large county north of Sonoma that spans one California’s largest, most diverse, and northernmost wine growing regions. Mendo producers make everything from sophisticated, earthy, cool climate Pinot Noir and Alsace varietals, to elegant sparkling wine to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. There is a myriad of climates, soils and especially elevations in Mendocino, and learning more will make you question why the wine isn't more available and known.

Ep 357: The Role of Alcohol in Wine show art Ep 357: The Role of Alcohol in Wine

Wine for Normal People

It’s the first show of our 10th year! WOW! This time we discuss the role alcohol plays in a glass of wine. As one of the four most important structural components of wine, alcohol can help make or break what is in your glass. We super dork out in this show, discussing everything from irrigation to yeast to reverse osmosis and taxes. A very nerdy way to start out 2021!

Ep 356: The Historic Champagne Lanson with Hervé Dantan, Cellarmaster show art Ep 356: The Historic Champagne Lanson with Hervé Dantan, Cellarmaster

Wine for Normal People

Founded in 1760 as the 4th Champagne house, Lanson is known for its fresh, acidic style (no malolactic fermentation). In this show, Hervé Dantan, cellarmaster and Champagne native, gives us a unique perspective. Rather than marketing and image, Hervé tells us how Champagne is truly made. He focuses a lot on the land and the vineyard. As the son of wine growers, his perspective is so very different from many in the region, who choose instead to focus on the process in the winery.

Ep 355: The 8 Holiday Wine Gifts for Wine Lovers (plus 5 wine gag gifts to make you laugh) show art Ep 355: The 8 Holiday Wine Gifts for Wine Lovers (plus 5 wine gag gifts to make you laugh)

Wine for Normal People

It's the end of the year and there's still time to get interesting and USEFUL gifts for the wine lovers in your life. We covered basics of glassware and gadgets in Ep 338, but this pod covers some cool gift ideas that aren't essentials but, rather, nice to haves (or just damn funny to know about in the case of the 5 gag gifts!).

Ep 354: A New Look At Bordeaux's Médoc -- with Château  La Cardonne's Magali Guyon  show art Ep 354: A New Look At Bordeaux's Médoc -- with Château La Cardonne's Magali Guyon

Wine for Normal People

Magali Guyon has been the technical director/ winemaker of Château La Cardonne, the prestigious Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, for more than 20 years.  We take a different look at the Médoc (the prestigious Left Bank of Bordeaux) and approach it as a proposition of growing and terroir – not of pretty chateaux and expensive wines. Magali helps us reframe the discussion of Bordeaux teaching us that Bordeaux is about the vineyard and the land, not the glitz and glamour that is too often emphasized.

Ep 353: Women in Wine and the Subtle Symphony of Quiet Misogyny show art Ep 353: Women in Wine and the Subtle Symphony of Quiet Misogyny

Wine for Normal People

After mulling over the various scandals in wine lately, and thinking about my position in the wine world, I have a perspective to add beyond just a social media post to call out the behavior of those in the wine business, those who have minimized the situation, and the hollow calls for change that likely won’t happen. I discuss my experiences as a woman in wine, and how the solutions to solving issues that underpin the entire industry are sadly inadequate.

Ep 352: The 2020 Thanksgiving Episode -- American Wine Edition show art Ep 352: The 2020 Thanksgiving Episode -- American Wine Edition

Wine for Normal People

2020 has been unlike any other, so we are recommending some different things for this year’s annual Thanksgiving show. This year has been tough for everyone, but small, family-owned wineries have been hit pretty hard. Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, so for this year, especially, we’re recommending that we show support for great American, family-owned wineries and their wines that pair perfectly with any kind of Thanksgiving food you decide to eat.

Ep 351: Severine Schlumberger of Domaine Schlumberger and the very French side of Alsace show art Ep 351: Severine Schlumberger of Domaine Schlumberger and the very French side of Alsace

Wine for Normal People

Séverine Schlumberger joins us for the third installment of our mini-tour of Alsace (first installment was Ep 343). To provide a counterpoint to Phillippe Blanck of Domaine Paul Blanck (Ep 250), the Schlumberger family is more devoutly French in attitude and Séverine tells us a different story of her family’s heritage, attitudes, and how Domaine Schlumberger developed and grew to become one of the largest family-owned domaines in Alsace.

Ep 350: Alsace's Famed Domaine Paul Blanck with Phillippe Blanck show art Ep 350: Alsace's Famed Domaine Paul Blanck with Phillippe Blanck

Wine for Normal People

Building off Episode 343 on Alsace and the Alsace class I taught (available on YouTube), Phillippe Blanck of the famed Domaine Paul Blanck joins to talk about his family’s 420-year history in wine, the uniqueness of Alsace and its sites, and how we need to reorient wine to tasting and sensation versus elitist words. You will learn volumes about Alsace, terroir, history, and taste from this wise, very tuned-in, wonderful man

Ep 349: Mas Martinet - A Founding Domaine of Priorat with Sara Perez, Owner show art Ep 349: Mas Martinet - A Founding Domaine of Priorat with Sara Perez, Owner

Wine for Normal People

There are five founding estates of the Priorat region of Spain. Mas Martinet was the first and in this show, brilliant, philosophical owner Sara Perez discusses its history, philosophy, and how she sees the land and wines of this magical, mystical region.

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Located in north-central Portugal, just a three-hour drive from Lisbon, Dão is a small quiet region with outstanding, elegant, and distinctive wines. Named for the Dão river which carves a path through the rugged, old granite hills here, the region is the original home of Portugal’s top red grape, Touriga Nacional.

Map from the Wine For Normal People Book

Made up of tens of thousands of growers and small plots, just 5% of the land area of this region is planted to vines, 80% of which are red grapes. The hot, dry climate of this distinctive region is made possible by its unique position on a plateau sheltered on 3 sides by granite mountain ranges – the Serra da Estrela, the Serra do Caramulo, and the Serra da Nave.


Mountains protect the area from the capricious Atlantic and continental storms, and the provide altitude which means the grapes can cool down at night, hoarding precious acidity.  The granite subsoil also helps boost the acidity of the wines, making them fresh and bright, rather than dark and brooding as is often the case in the Douro wines.


There are seven subregions can be on the bottle: Alva, Besteiros, Castendo, Serra da Estrela, Silgueiros, Terras de Azurara, and  Terras de Senhorim, but you will rarely see them (at the time of this show in 2020, at least).

What can you expect from the wines?

Reds produce medium bodied wines with spicey, peppery, and red fruit notes. They can be earthy or even barnyard like with an excellent balance of alcohol and acidity. This is the new style of Dão, for which it has become known, and along with its myriad plots, this lightness and elegance is why some refer to the region as the Burgundy of Portugal. Older styles were harsh, tannic, and lacked both fruit and acidity – rustic to say the least. The grapes used here are:

  • Touriga Nacional as the leading red --At least 20% of every blend must be Touriga
  • Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo of Spain)
  • Jaen (Mencía of Spain)
  • Alfrocheiro Preto – a native to this area with dark color, dark fruit character and a good balance of alcohol and acid
  • Rufete – a lesser used, fruity red
  • And sometimes Baga, Bastardo (usually for lesser wines)

File:Touriga Nacional.jpg

Touriga Nacional

Styles: Whites used to be oxidized and like a day old apple but with better winemaking they are now refreshing  with citrus, mineral, and nut notes with great acidity. The best are exclusively made of Encruzado, with its floral notes and oily textures it is a white to seek out. Malvasia Fina, Bical, and Arinto are also used in whites.

Rosé and Sparkling  wines can also be found in the Dão.

Great producers to see out are:

  • Quinta dos Carvalhais – Sogrape -- (The Oaks Estate)
  • Quinta da Pellada/Quinta de Saes
  • Casa de Santar
  • Quinta do Vale das Escadinhas
  • Quinta de Lemos


Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help! Check it out today:

And to sign up for classes, please go to www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes! 


Get your copy Wine For Normal People Book today! 


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I’m so excited to introduce Wine Access to you. Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
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Check it out today! www.wineaccess.com/normal 


Skylight Frame

If you want the perfect Mother's Day gift, you have to get a Skylight Frame! It's a digital frame that finally works and will keep you connected with your friends and family, with ease. There are three easy steps:

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I love mine! You will love yours too! 

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