The Punch Down Episode 9 With Clark Smith: Recap

Vinted on December 11, 2013 binned in The Punch Down

Whew! The Punch Down Episode 9 is in the books.

Geekiest. Episode. EVER!

The Punch Down Episode 9 with Clark Smith

Where to begin with this one? Our guest Clark Smith was in rare form, opening up a few hundred potential cans of winemaking worms. Among the topics: taking the natural wine movement to task, and showing us what happens to the texture of a wine when you play The Doors or Iron Maiden tunes in the background (a somewhat oddly terrifying experiment that you can try for yourself at home). If you think it’s easy to manipulate wine, wait until you see how easily YOU can be manipulated as a taster! I also taste through Clark’s 2003 Napa Chardonnay – both in its original (14.9% abv) and de-alcoholoized (12.9%) states… guess which one is better?

Oh, and Clark starts off with a song about Monticello Viognier. Which we can all agree is bad-ass, I think.

Prepared to have your minds partially blown, people, this episode turns a lot of our collective romanticized notions about winemaking on its barrel heads.

Mentioned in this episode:






  • Annetta

    Thanks for this nice episode. The Clark’s 2003 Napa Chardonnay sounds quite tasty, it might be a nice present for my sister. Also thanks for the nice links. I just got started with learning more about wine but the more I read the more curious i get.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Annetta.

  • @FourBrixWine

    Great show! One of my favorite classes ever at UC Davis was with Clark. Love Clark and his wine making skills, but dislike his taste in Music – Iron Maiden ROCKS! m/

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks FBW! Agreed on all counts, especially the Iron Maiden.

  • Carl Helrich

    Kudos to you guys bringing for Clark to your show. He's the Socratic gadfly of our industry, and we'd be much poorer without him. His stuff should be required reading for all winemakers. Aces High!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Carl. Up the irons!

  • Solomon Mengeu

    That was an awesome episode in many ways, I have to admit it was difficult to stop laughing with his twist on 'Country Roads'; but all in all enlightening & quite educational.

    As the more I learn about wine the more I find there is even yet more to learn, I think I perhaps have taken in by the 'romantic' notion of wine as you put it Joe Roberts. When it reality is a pretty scientific process which incorporates different fields & disciplines all together to make something that is art, science, philosophy and agriculture all rolled up into one.

    It was fascinating to hear about the German technology which is in part behind the wonder of crisp, fresh white wines that are perfect for fish, seafood & a hot summer day. His 2 Chards did sound quite intriguing especially the 12.9 ABV one; I got a kick too out of his pulling back the mask on the iconic, hyper priced wines of Lafite (I think that was one) as well as DRC.

    Once again thanks for having him on the show loads of fun & keep 'em coming Joe & Tara.


    Solomon Mengeu

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Solomon. I think the important take away from the interview (and the more detailed interview with him about wine additions on is that we shouldn't fear shining a light on these techniques. For one, they're fascinating to the geeks, but I think these also give fine wine producers another angle to their story which might be that they produce wines using minimal amounts of those techniques, and that's one reason why it's more expensive to produce, etc.

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