One cannot possibly try 250 wines rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator in 180 minutes- but that is precisely what Julie and Gina tried to do earlier this month at the Wine Spectator Grand Tour Miami. Did they fail? Yes....spectacularly. But, they did discover some great wines and talk to incredible people at this beautiful event. This week they share the tale of two Italian bubbles: Franciacorta and TrentoDOC by talking with the founder of Ca' del Bosco and the "ambassador" for Ferrari Trento, respectively. They also talked with Harry Sexton about his family's Yarra Valley winery called Giant Steps in Australia, and learned about a grape that nearly went extinct before being revived in Greece; Malagousia from Ktima Gerovassiliou.
Maria Ponzi stopped by the studio recently to talk about her family's pioneering adventure into Oregon wine, which is celebrated through the month of May. Among the first to grow wine grapes in Willamette Valley, the Ponzi Vineyard has been at the forefront of clone experimentation and perfecting the varietals that are best suited to the AVA.
This week Gina and Julie get to talk with Wine Spectator's Senior Editor and Tasting Director, Alison Napjus who is kind enough to give the ladies a preview of the tasting they'll attend next week in Miami. Wine Spectator's "Grand Tour" makes stops in only three American cities: Las Vegas, Chicago and Miami and Grape Minds will be there! In this aperitif episode Gina and Julie talk with the iconic magazine's specialist in Champagne, most of Italy, Alsace, and Beaujolais. Alison talks about how ratings are determined, how wines are selected for rating, and how she makes sure her tasting abilities are on point.
Lucky Gina got to go to the South Beach Food and Wine Festival in Miami where she attended a master class on biodynamics with winemaker Gérard Bertrand of the eponymous winery in Southern France. In this episode we hear Gina's interview with the legendary prophet of biodynamics, and chat about finding the earth-friendliest wines at local retailers. We also discuss the app that lets you know, according to lunar phases, what is the best day to taste wine (EVERY day- duh).
Aries is usually the first sign of the Zodiac, so it's probably where we should have started. So, we'd like to apologize to the impatient rams among us. You had to wait to learn your grape pairing till the very end of our series "Grapes of the Zodiac." But, Julie says we saved the best for last because the Gamay grape and the Cru Beaujolais made from it are "her jam." In this episode Gina and Julie try four of the ten crus: a Fleurie from Anne Sophie Dubois, A Brouilly and a Morgon from Georges Descombes, And a cleverly named Chenas (Big Trouble in Little Chenas- a riff on a Kurt Russell classic) from Julien Guillot whose Beaulolais project is hard to find in the way of a web site- however if you'd like to learn more about his loftier Burgundian domaine, Vignes Du Maynes, click here.
The wine business is a fascinating one. From the vineyard sites and farming, to winemakers and winery owners, to the many feet on the ground making sure wine gets into our glasses. In this episode we sit down with Kimberly Jones, an entrepreneur who does a bit of it all. Founder of Kimberly Jones Selections, an import and distributing company, she also owns vineyards, makes wine, and has her finger on the pulse of what is happening in the wine world. She’s a cool chic with great stories and shares a few of them here.
There is something special about Sonoma Wine Country and this year at the Southwest Florida Wine and Food Festival, we caught up with three winemakers who call this appellation home. First we talk with Jeff Mangahas of Williams Selyem about what makes wine from the various micro-climates within the region taste so different. Next, we meet Michael Thompson who bought the land to build his and his wife's dream in Sonoma's Russian River Valley with an address he feels makes all the difference for Thompson 31 Fifty Wines. Then, we talk with Molly Meeker of Meeker Wine where they know their way around the noblest of grapes including their famous Handprint Merlot. But, they still get creative with lesser known varieties like the delicious Verdelho we got to try.
Your Pisces friend just wants everyone to be happy- so much so that they sometimes take on too much of your baggage and weigh themselves down. That's what Merlot did back in the 80's when the world obeyed the French Paradox and went crazy for the legendary soft-sided wine. To oblige, Merlot was planted in places it should have never even visited. Poor thing experienced an awful backlash but is still here to comfort you and tell you that those jeans look great - just like a Pisces. Gina and Julie continue the Grapes of the Zodiac.
If you know anyone who is an Aquarius, you know they embody freedom, fun, and going with the flow. You also know they will not be controlled or told what to do. Similarly, the Grenache grape is easy going, travels well, and is anything but uptight. In this episode of Grape Minds, Gina and Julie talk about some of their favorite Grenache wines, the many shades of Grenache, and the people who make the Aquarius sign one of our favorites. (Spoiler: Gina is one of them!)
From the "Brushes with Greatness at the Naples Winter Wine Festival" file, come this gem of a conversation with Salvatore Ferragamo of Il Borro Toscana.
Named for his grandfather (the founder of the famous fashion house), this prince of Tuscan royalty takes to the vines to produce traditional and not-so-traditional wines with respect to history and an eye toward the future.