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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Thanks to all of you who tuned in and/or sent questions for our The Punch Down Episode Three interview with Gary Vaynerchuk. We kicked off a tad late, but it was well worth the wait.
The replay of the live broadcast of our interview with GV is below – if you missed it, you’re in for a treat, as Gary (who connected via telephone) was in typically fine form, pulling no punches with his candid answers.
How does Gary views the wine world’s forays into social media? What does he think the next big thing will be in wine and tech? Does Gary feel as though he abandoned his popular show’s followers when it comes to vino? Who’s getting it right on-line in the wine world? Questions answered in the ensuing vid!
Special thanks to Gary, who once again shows why he’s a passionate and intellectual force with which to be reckoned, as well as one of the most candid wine personalities ever to pull cork from neck.
The Punch Down Episode Three with Gary Vaynerchuk
Ok… so The Punch Down wine show continues to live by the phrase “Go BIG or go home!”
Next week – on Monday, March 4th at 11AM ET – we will welcome media maven and best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk as our guest LIVE on Episode Three of TPD!
For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or so, Gary has authored two wildly successful business books – Crush It! and The Thank You Economy – but is best known among vino lovers for bringing an entire generation to the world of wine with his boundless enthusiasm (for an example, check out the vid we did together a couple of years ago in Napa) and quirky tasting notes, garnering nearly a million social media followers in the process.
But lately, Gary V. has been conspicuous in his absence from the wine world, after shutting the doors on The Daily Grape in the Summer of 2011. In this episode of TPD, we’ll delve right into the wine topic, and hit him Gary up with questions about his life after Wine Library TV and The Daily Grape, discuss (likely with very high energy) how wrong the wine world is getting social media that, and find out what role wine plays in his personal and professional lives now.
Will Gary ever return to wine? Does he regret leaving fans of his wine show in the lurch? We’ll find out – this is certainly an episode you won’t want to miss!
We encourage you to hit us up with questions for Gary on twitter during the event, using the hastag #thepunchdown as well as through email (thepunchdown @ gmail.com), which you can send anytime between now and the event for a chance to get your question aired live with Gary.
So join us on March 4th at 11AM ET and watch the virtual sparks fly.
Gary may only be able to join via audio due to his travel schedule, but it’ll still be more entertaining than a pack of rabid monkeys doing handstands on barrels full of Malbec!
Cheers –and hope to see you there!