Earlier this week, I shared a brief twitter exchange with Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth, kicked off by a tweet about a Chinon tasting that I noticed on James’ twitter feed:
“That was a tough flight – I’m more tolerant than most, but someone needs to send the brett police to Chinon…”
Essentially, James and I briefly discussed the fact that Chinon (in France’s Loire Valley) would be making some lovely Cabernet Franc-based wines, if only the fruit in those wines wasn’t buried under the smell of barnyard.
Yes, I’m talking about brett. Again.
I can’t help it, I don’t want my wine to smell like poop, okay? There, I admit it!
And with the samples coming my way lately from Chinon and nearby Bourgueil, poop is exactly what I’m finding. Here are a couple of examples that found their way onto the wine “mini-review” feed:
- 07 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon: With that much brett masking the red fruit, a more suitable name might be "Domaine Barnyard Baudry" $18 C- #
- 06 Domaine Guion Cuvee Prestige (Bourgueil): Brambly red fruit & spice peeking out their heads from under a pound or so of fertilizer $14 C- #
James’ tweet really got me thinking that a) it’s NOT just me, and b) my samples might actually be indicative of the general quality of those regions’ wines.
Sorry to those who really dig Chinon, but I don’t subscribe to the belief that the concept of terroir extends to poop-aroma-inducing yeasts (and possibly dirty winemaking equipment). When the day comes that winemakers deliberately cultivate the wild yeasts that induce those off-odors, and it can be proven scientifically, then I’ll stop calling it a flaw and instead refer to it as a poor winemaking decision.
But until then, it’s a flaw.
Many, many wine personalities talk about wanting to make wine more accessible and simple for consumers; few deliver in the manner that today’s interview guest, Andrea Robinson, has. She’s practically raised the task of simplifying wine to an art form.
After ditching a 9-to-5 day job (“surely there is a special place in Heaven for the person who lured me off Wall Street (Remi Krug, in fact)” she noted), Andrea became a Master Sommelier and (to put it mildly), never looked back.
Andrea’s list of accomplishments since her days on Wall Street is long and storied enough to turn the most stalwart over-achiever greener than a bottle of Vinho Verde:
She was the first woman ever chosen Best Sommelier in the U.S. by the Sommelier Society of America; she was the first appointed Dean of Wine Studies for COPIA; she was appointed Master Sommelier for Delta Air Lines (overseeing all of the in-flight wine choices for its Business Elite cabin); she received the Wine Literary Award for ‘Exceptional Contribution to the Literature of Wine’ and in one year (2004) was inducted into the James Beard Foundation‘s “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America,” selected as ‘Wine & Spirits Professional of The Year’ by Bon Appetit Magazine, and received the ‘M.F.K. Fisher Award’ by Les Dames d’Escoffier International; No, we’re not done yet – in 2002, the James Beard Foundation named Andrea ‘Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional’.
We’re still not done: I didn’t mention the two TV shows she has hosted, or the fact that she’s written eight books (with her first, Great Wine Made Simple, garnering a James Beard Award nomination). Normally, you’d be justified in already being sick of her, but in Andrea’s case her engaging personality can soften even the most jaded temperament – an aspect of her successful approach that comes shining through in the interview that follows.
Presumably, Andrea isn’t busy enough, and so has decided to launch a new website, a new line of stemware, a wine DVD / video series, and is making a push behind her on-line brand by running a contest to incent wine lovers to connect with her on twitter and Facebook. She (somehow) found time to answer my questions, in which she provides her thoughts on wine education, Sesame Street sing-alongs, and reveals some of her favorite wines.
Andrea told me “I like dry wine (and sweet, and everything in between), but not dry interviews!” – but as you’ll see below, suffering a dry interview isn’t a likely possibility when she’s involved. In fact, Andrea is not shy in voicing her views on wine education, winemaking styles, and wine critics – all of which you’ll get a glimpse of in our interview.
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Last night I had the pleasure of both drinking some damn good nectar (2004 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance) and doing a Skype video interview with DrinkNectar.com’s Josh Wade. Josh asked me about the “Advance Wine Blogging” panel at the upcoming 2010 Americas Wine Bloggers Conference. He also interviews Joe (The Suburban Wino) Herrig about his “Top Gun Wine Blogging” panel at WBC10, which appears on the same post.
As for the wine, I’d link to the mini-review of the Constantia, if it weren’t for twitter going #FAIL Whale on me as I type this. So, here ‘tis in unimpressive text form:
04 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (Constantia): S.A.’s legendary Muscat lives up to the legend w/ orange, mango & spices to spare. $50 A-
Anyway, the interview is embedded below but I also recommend heading over to DrinkNectar.com to check out Josh’s posts and videos, if you’re not already a regular reader.