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Ep 370: Six (or Twelve) Unorthodox Wines for Spring

Wine for Normal People

Release Date: 04/12/2021

Ep 395: Walla Walla, Washington's Caprio Cellars and Its Estate Wines show art Ep 395: Walla Walla, Washington's Caprio Cellars and Its Estate Wines

Wine for Normal People

In this episode we discuss Caprio Cellars, which makes wines from estate vineyards in the Walla Walla AVA of eastern Washington. Owner and winemaker, Dennis Murphy talks about Walla Walla and the wines he makes mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from his 3 estate vineyards.

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Ep 394: Germany Overview show art Ep 394: Germany Overview

Wine for Normal People

After 10.5 years of doing the podcast I realized that we have never done an overview of Germany! Shame on me! Well, now we have.

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Ep 393: A Trip to Vinho Verde and a Fresh Outlook on these Wines show art Ep 393: A Trip to Vinho Verde and a Fresh Outlook on these Wines

Wine for Normal People

This is an audio travel diary in a way -- it is bringing things we've covered in the past (Episode 291 has details not in this show) to real life application, since I just returned from a trip to the Vinho Verde region. After talking about a tasting of Ports at a few lodges, we discuss Vinho Verde. This show is not about the fizzy base tier wines, but about the premium wines that are single grape varieties, made with better grapes by meticulous winemakers. It's a new look at an old region!

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Ep 392: The Greats -- Chablis show art Ep 392: The Greats -- Chablis

Wine for Normal People

One of the greatest Chardonnays (and actually white wines) in the world comes from Chablis in the northern part of Burgundy. In this show we discuss this historic region and why it is capable of making the most distinctive, minerally, terroir-driven white wines made.

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Ep 391: Édouard Miailhe - Dynamic leader of the Margaux AOC & 5th Generation Owner of Château Siran show art Ep 391: Édouard Miailhe - Dynamic leader of the Margaux AOC & 5th Generation Owner of Château Siran

Wine for Normal People

Château Siran is an historic and innovative estate in the Médoc on the Left Bank of Bordeaux, in the commune of Margaux. In the mid-1800s Siran was purchased by ancestor of Édouard Miailhe’s family and today he is the 6th generation to run Siran.

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Ep 390: The Grape Miniseries -- Petit Verdot show art Ep 390: The Grape Miniseries -- Petit Verdot

Wine for Normal People

Petit Verdot is often the secret weapon in a blend -- providing unique aromas and flavors plus acidity and tannin. We discuss this essential grape and the vital role it plays in wines around the world.

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Ep 389: Chateau Doyac and the Diversity of Terroir in the Haut-Medoc of Bordeaux show art Ep 389: Chateau Doyac and the Diversity of Terroir in the Haut-Medoc of Bordeaux

Wine for Normal People

In our continued exploration of the Médoc of Bordeaux, Astrid de Pourtalès of Château Doyac joins. Doyac is a Cru Bourgeois Supérieur located in the northernmost part of the Haut-Médoc appellation. This show presents a high level overview of a family-owned château in a very different part of the Médoc that isn't often discussed - one that's far north and based on limestone clay soils, something you'd see in Burgundy rather than farther south in Bordeaux.

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Ep 388: The Greats - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano show art Ep 388: The Greats - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Wine for Normal People

The Nobile Wine of Montepulciano is a wine based on a clone of Sangiovese and from a small hillside town in Tuscany called Montepulciano. It is, indeed, one of the great wines of the world.

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Ep 387: Veramonte's Sofia Araya -- Organic, terroir-driven wine in Chile show art Ep 387: Veramonte's Sofia Araya -- Organic, terroir-driven wine in Chile

Wine for Normal People

Veramonte is a medium sized winery in Chile, with an outsized impact: it's 100% organically farmed and makes up 15% of organic viticulture in Chile. Behind the four brands of Veramonte -- Veramonte, Ritual, Primus, Neyen - is Sofia Vermonte, head winemaker. In this show she talks about the transition to organic farming, the differences in the valleys of Chile and how she is making terroir-driven wines with pure fruit flavors, that showcase the Casablanca, Colchagua, and Maipo Valleys at their best.

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Ep 386: Natalie MacLean -- Author, Wine Reviewer & Podcaster show art Ep 386: Natalie MacLean -- Author, Wine Reviewer & Podcaster

Wine for Normal People

Natalie MacLean is an accredited sommelier who operates one of the largest wine sites on the web. In this fun show, we talk about Natalie's life in wine, her professional triumphs and trials that made her what she is today, and then we talk wine trends. We analyze everything from blue wine to raw wine to celebrity wine and White Claw! A very fun, yet very real conversation that covers the issues with wine (her description of what happened in 2012 is harrowing), with the best of it as well.

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For this show, we discuss a list of lovely reds and whites that you won't see on other lists for spring wines. Etna from Sicily? Check. Chignin Bergeron from Savoie in France? Yup. If you're looking for a change from the norm and a great spring list, here it is! 

As promised, here is the list...with some example labels to make shopping easy (see the winefornormalpeople.com/blog for label examples)

 

  1. With its medium body, excellent acidity, and minerally flavors, Etna Rosso from Sicily is a must have for spring. It can gracefully handle grilled food as well as it does mushroom risottos!

The bonus wine: Etna Bianco, made of the Carricante grape. Similar nature, but with a greater hit of acidity and a cheek coating texture. Taste the volcano! 

 

  1. As we called it in the Chardonnay episode, Jura is the Bizarro Burgundy. It's just across the Bresse plain and grows similar grapes...except when it doesn't. In the Arbois region, light, spicy, peppery reds of Poulsard and Trousseau can be lovely on a spring evening with salads, morel mushrooms, and flavorful fish like salmon.

The bonus wines: sparkling Crémant from the Jura made of Chardonnay and becoming more widely available OR Chignin Bergeron, aka Roussanne, from the neighboring region, Savoie. That peachy, herbal, fuller body with good acidity is great when there’s still a chill in the air but you still want to stay outside!

 

  1. Bordeaux, M.C. Ice’s favorite. For spring, a white Bordeaux with a large proportion of the waxy, peachy, sautéed herb, honeycomb flavored/textured Sémillon is nice as the nights warm up. Sauvignon Blanc gives these blends excellent acidity and herbal aromatics but you just need a touch of that when we’re dealing with spring. The great part about Bordeaux Blanc? You can switch to Sauvignon Blanc heavy blends in the summer for a more refreshing bottle! I recommend steering clear of Bordeaux Blanc and Bordeaux Blanc Superieur (unless you know the producer) and seeking out wines from the Côtes de Bordeaux (label examples below). If you can swing it, get a wine from Pessac-Leognan – the best areas for whites in Bordeaux.

The bonus wines: Merlot heavy red blends from the Côtes de Bordeaux—Castillon and Francs are the more serious areas but Blaye may be the most refreshing for our spring hit list.

  1. No list of mine is complete without Alsace, France. However, this time I’m switching up my regular Riesling reco and instead recommending Pinot Gris. We’re not in summer yet and the nights can have a nip, so Alsace Pinot Gris, with pear, citrus, white flower, and smoke notes, and a medium body will be a versatile sipper. It goes so well with onion tartlets, mushroom quiche, and chicken in herbal and citrus preparations!

The bonus wine: Yup, I’m doing it. Pinot Grigio. No, not the alcoholic lemon water! The good stuff from Trentino Alto-Adige. If you get a case, try the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Grigio together to see the similarities and differences. Pinot Grigio will be nuttier with higher acidity and more lemon notes, but the similarity will be far greater between these two wines than if you get a cheapy from the bottom shelf of the grocery!

 

  1. Rosé. Here’s the one on everyone’s list, but rightfully so. Fresh rosé is released in the springtime and there is nothing better than newly released rosé. Provence is the standard – especially from sub regions like Sainte-Victoire, Frejus, and La Londe. We forgot to mention Tavel and Bandol in the show, which are always homeruns. Rosé is versatile in pairing – fried foods, grilled salmon, strawberry salads with goat cheese, and pasta with pesto (pistou as it’s known in Provence) are some options.

Bonus wines: Other styles of rosé, especially California with its sun kissed styles from Pinot Noir or Spanish rosé from Tempranillo, Garnacha, or Monastrell are outstanding and great for a contrast against the lighter Provence style. Italian rosato can be wonderful as well and is made in most regions from their local grapes.

 

  1. The last one was really “Sophie’s Choice” for me. I couldn’t decide between Malbec and Torrontés from high elevation Salta in Argentina or Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from cool climate Casablanca from Chile. Ultimately the floral, peachy yet acidic and slightly bitter Torrontés from Cafayate/Salta and its intense, yet elegant counterpart Malbec from the same region seemed to be best for us. M.C. Ice astutely pointed out that for people living in hotter areas where spring becomes summer-like quickly, the high acidity and refreshing lighter notes in the Chilean wines were the winners. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

 

Happy Spring! We hope you drink well, and that this list gives you at least one new idea to try as the days heat up slowly over the next few months.

 

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