The Punch Down Episode 9 With Clark Smith, 1PM ET December 10!

Vinted on December 3, 2013 binned in The Punch Down

We’re wrapping up 2013 for The Punch Down in an iconoclastic way (c’mon, what did you expect?!??), as we welcome author, educator, winemaker, musician, consultant, Vinovation founder and, yes, wine iconoclast Clark Smith as our guest on Episode 9 of The Punch Down!

Smith has been ruffling feathers in the wine business since he dropped out of MIT forty years ago to pursue wine full time. Along the way, the company he founded became one of the go-to resources for wine enhancements and chemistry in California, and he founded WineSmith Wines. Smith also has a long-running column in Wines & Vines magazine, the best of which was compiled and edited into the recently released book Postmodern Winemaking.

If you’re curious about what happens to that juice before it gets into the bottle that you just bought, and if you’re a wine lover and rabble-rouser at heart, don’t miss our conversation when Clark Smith brings his erudite, opinionated, and witty voice to the TPD hot seat!.

Join us LIVE for the fireworks with Clark next Tuesday, December 10th at 1PM ET!






  • Nadine

    Thanks for the nice episode. I recently started to read your blog and really like it. As a Wine fan, I found some really good tips here.

    • 1WineDude


  • Solomon Mengeu

    I have a question for Clark Smith as I just read a quick Wikipedia write up about him, what I am curious is how he went from the whole micro-oxygenation heavily doctored wine scene to what he is doing now. Getting back to the original wine of letting the vine & grapes express themselves & seeing wine & wine making as a holistic & natural process.

    Another question could be how does he see the California wine industry in the next 20-30 years, is the reductionist or less-is-more clan going to gain prominence both commercially and with the wine critic universe.

    Or are people like Randall Graham, Manfred Krankl, Matthew Rorick at Forlon Hope always going to be a fringe group without a broad market appeal or making a big difference in the California wine world?

    Keep up the good work Joe Roberts, you are a breath of fresh air in a wine world over populated with wine snob critics!


    Solomon Mengeu

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Solomon! I think he’ll be singing to us as well…

  • Liono

    I’m a peasant wine drinker so I don’t expect to utilize much of the material in today’s self proclaimed geek session but I do think the connection between music and how a wine tastes is ridiculous. I’m a little bit amused that Beethoven’s 5th symphony was described as angry when it’s actually an incredibly uplifting and positive piece about overcoming adversity. (Listen to it beyond the first two measures and this becomes obvious.) One thing the three pieces of music listed as “angry” – therefore Cabernet appropriate – had in common was that they were loud, adrenalin releasing music. You are not going play a gentle serenade before you jump out of an airplane. I suppose if you’re going to tackle an expensive, ultra rich and tannic Cabernet you’re going to want your adrenalin pumping and Metallica just might do that for you. Similarly if you’re going to decipher the nuances of a gentle Pinot Noir you’re going to want to be listening to something serene. You’re matching the mood not altering your brain waves.
    _As to the Door’s People are Strange, I offer this: unless you’re Hunter S Thompson, the weird is unsettling. When people are nervous they tend to become conservative and fall back into a safe zone – like a fruity, easy to drink wine. Think of it like tasting wine with Charles Manson. You’re going to move towards the easiest wine and bug out as soon as possible – no time to let a wine breathe when you’re facing a man with a swastika carved into his forehead.
    _One last way over thought point: Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is sometimes considered to be a piece written to help the Austrians feel better about themselves after just having their asses handed to them by Napoleon. The conquering nature of the piece made them feel better about their military inadequacies. Perhaps those who buy the cult Cabernets are also over compensating for something they lack and that’s why Beethoven’s 5th and big Cabernets go so well together. It’s just as plausible as some of the stuff I heard today. _(And by the way if you first taste a sweet wine and then taste a big Cabernet, your mouth probably needs a moment to adjust. I didn’t see that happening today.)_

    • 1WineDude

      Hi Liono, interesting psychological points there. Regarding the tasting order, the wines were bone dry; the sweetness referred to the quality of the fruit/ripeness, not the residual sugar (sorry if we didn’t make that clear, it was a bit manic in that episode). Regarding Beethoven, he’s my favorite composer of music in any genre, ever. I must own four different recorded renditions of the 5th, so I know what you’re saying, but I’d suggest simply using the first minute or two of the first movement for trying the experiment with the wine, which is the most angst/adrenaline ridden portion of the symphony in my view, though one could make the argument that the fourth movement has more adrenaline. Cheers.

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