In the (second to be recorded but third to be released) installment of my podcast thang, I interview Grammy-winning and platinum-album-selling artist Maynard James Keenan – who most will identify as the front man for TOOL, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, but wine geeks will also know as the founder and fledgling winemaker of Arizona’s Caduceus Cellars.
He’s also not without a sense of dedication, and certainly not afraid of learning things the hard way – that’s an aspect of his personality that comes through crystal clear in the course of this interview.
One could certainly be forgiven, after listening to this podcast, for developing the impression that Maynard is pretty (maybe too?) low-key for a rock star front man; but there’s no way you’re going to think his winemaking career is a superficial attempt to slap his name on a vanity project. If you’re a betting person, you’d best bet that Maynard is in the wine biz for the long haul – and while he may be a famous hard-rock icon, he views his early attempts at winemaking as a passionate and humble beginner.
Having said that… he’s at no shortage of strong opinions about how wine should be made!
Technically, this is actually Episode Three of my podcasts, but they’re running out of order. Because I feel like it.
Anyway, my strong suspicion is that today’s interview with James Suckling (formerly, of course, from Wine Spectator) is going to generate a lot of discussion. Like Robert Parker, Suckling is a bit of a polarizing figure in the wine world, mostly because for decades he represented concepts that wine geeks have come to either love or loathe: the assignment of numerical scores to assess a wine’s quality, handed down by either experts with exceptional palates honed by years of tastings, or by ivory-tower-dwelling egomaniacs, depending on your point of view of wine scores.
James braved intermittent cellphone coverage, technical Skype difficulties, and (most dangerously) L.A. traffic to be the next victim interview guest on “1WineDude Radio.”
In our interview, James talks about his new website (which launched last Monday, but will be referenced as still being in the future as we recorded the interview on December 3rd), his view on wine scores (and why he thinks they’re still important), why he left Wine Spectator, how he expects to make a living out on his own in the wine world; he also has some surprising things to say about wine blogs.
No doubt there will be many of you who will think I either wasn’t respectful enough or wasn’t hard-edged enough in this interview (likely depending on your points of view of wine scores). I think what you will find, if you keep an open mind, is that James shows a side of himself in this interview that isn’t evident in his Wine Spectator writings or his film appearances. As always, my interview approach is centrist; it’s meant to have the person voice their views themselves, in the most human and direct way possible; we can of course explore, debate, and discuss our reactions in the comments – which (as always), I encourage you to do!
Today I’m very pleased to announce the launch of an idea that I’ve been contemplating in my noggin’ for a long time, which is to add podcasts to 1WineDude.com for interviews (trust me, no one wants to hear a podcast of me talking to myself).
Author and designer Tanya Scholesbraved illness, jet lag, and guinea pig status to become the first victim kind-hearted soul to help me launch this podcast idea, which I’m dubbing “1WineDude Radio” because I lack the inventiveness to come up with a catchier name.
Tanya has just released her first book, The Art And Design Of Contemporary Wine Labels, and it’s a beauty (and one that his been garnering praise recently throughout the wine world), which details the previously hidden stories behind the designs of hundreds of stunning wine labels. Yes, I did receive a review copy (for those of you work in the FTC), but that won’t stop me from recommending this as a potential holiday gift for those of you looking to treat yourselves that special wine-lovin’ someone.
Anyway, in this inaugural podcast episode, Tanya talks about how the book came to be, recalls the reaction she gets to the book from winemakers, instructs me on the correct pronunciation (both English and French-Canadian) of her last name, and contemplates why wine label designers seem overly-preoccupied with cephalopods. You know, just another day at the office!
Also – a few of quick points on this whole podcast thang:
I am NOT attempting to usurp radio programs like (the excellent) Wine Biz Radio, who are actually sponsored, on-air programs.
I am NOT planning on abandoning the written word (or video).
YES, I am throwing this format into the mix to spice things up a little bit, and mostly to provide a means for giving more exposure to (hopefully interesting and thought-provoking) back-and-forth interviewing repartee.
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