Posts Filed Under interviews
For the last year or so, I’ve been amassing a nice little collection of winemaker interviews.
Not here on 1WD, mind you, but for one of my gigs with the excellent people at the Wine4.me app team.
Long-time 1WD readers may recognize Wine4.me as the mobile app incarnation of Vinesleuth, with company whom I spent many an excellent day (and many a fun-filled evening) as one of the experts on their wine tasting panels (the subject of which sparked an interesting debate regarding the repeatability, consistency, and statistical accuracy of wine tasting in general here on these virtual pages).
The winemaker interviews have been part of a series on the Wine4.me blog, in which we try to get inside the head of some of the personalities behind the wines featured in the app’s extensive database. To date, I’ve gotten to run questions by such notable characters as Kim Crawford‘s Anthony Walkenhorst, Ravenswood‘s Joel Peterson, Catena Zapata‘s indefatigable Laura Catena, and fifth generation wine guy (and fellow musician) Karl Wente.
Not a bad lineup!
So consider this a long, long (long!) overdue introduction to that growing body of work.
You can check out all of the interviews at http://wine4.me/author/joe-roberts/. Enjoy!
Siduri’s Adam Lee is a rabble-rouser.
He’s probably most known for producing interesting Pinot Noirs using from several different west coast vineyards (more on some of those single-vineyard wines later this week). He’s also pretty well known for something else: a couple of years ago, while taking part in a panel on alcohol levels and balance in Pinot Noir wines at World of Pinot Noir, he swapped labels on two of his wines (one at 13.6% and the other at 15.2% alcohol) just to prove a point.
That point is that a wine’s abv doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as a wine’s overall balance in how it presents itself, and its harmony among its constituent parts (tannin, acid, etc.). It’s the kind of rabble-rousing trouble-making that I enjoy. It also helps that the wines don’t suck, either!
Lee and I have been trying to get some sort of interview done for… well, years, actually, and never seemed to get around to it.
Until now, that is.
Here is our (unedited) interview for your reading enjoyment. We talk abv, of course, but also CA Pinot, sex toys, goddess’s nipples, the hard work of wine criticism, and whether or not wine blogs matter.
Lee isn’t short on entertaining opinions, as you will quickly learn…
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Closing in on the ninth decade, the beret and the smile are still unmistakable.
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, now a California winemaking legend, turns 90 this year. For those who aren’t familiar with the tale, Mike’s life story could make fitting fodder for a TV wine drama: one of eleven kids; stomped his first grapes at age three; fled communist Yugoslavia in the 1950s; hit the Napa Valley wine scene just as it first began to bud, studying under the master André Tchelistcheff; for all intents and purposes, practically invented the sciences of controlling cold sterilization, malolactic fermentation, and the proper use of oak barrels for wine; eventually went on to establish well-regarded and successful wineries under his own name.
The biggest feather in the beret, though, was the triumph of one of his wines – a Chateau Montelena Chardonnay – at the 1976 Paris tasting, an event that put California (and, to a large extent, all U.S. wines) back on the global fine wine map for good (for a detailed account of that fabled tasting, check out George Tabor’s excellent Judgement Of Paris).
Mike has been sunning himself in Palm Desert, but I was invited to catch up with him over email to talk about his wines and his legacy. At 90, the guy is still a sharp as a tack. Here’s the conversation I had with Mike, which includes his advice for advancing your own tasting prowess, followed by a few thoughts on some recent releases from the apple of his vinous eye, Napa Valley’s Grgich Hills…
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