Episode 8: The Two Towers Part 1

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The fourth in a several-part series of episodes in which I discuss my own favorite stories, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, by pairing the major wine regions of Europe with different places in the journey through in Middle-earth. 

For these first episodes, and especially the Tolkien-themed ones, I've tried to compile a list of what I recommended (and also get to add some stuff I forgot when recording). So, to start of here's what we were drinking during this episode:

2016 Weingut Lagler Grüner Veltliner Federspiel

  • Rohan: Austria! (Wachau & Grüner Veltliner first)

-Berger, Loimer, Bründlmayer, Nigl, Nikolaihof, Lagler

  • Fangorn- Return to the Loire Valley, now with Loire! Chinon! The third and last of the Forest Wines.

-Pierre Sourdais, Charles Joguet, Domaine Bernard Baudry

  • Treebeard: Rkatsiteli- one of the oldest-known grape varietals in the world

  • Helm’s Deep- Austria again! Burgenland!

-IBY, Hans Nittnaus, Pittnauer “Pitti”

Episode 5: The Fellowship of the Ring Part II (Middle-earth and Old World Wines Part Three)

The third in a several-part series of episodes in which I discuss my own favorite stories, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, by pairing the major wine regions of Europe with different places in the journey through in Middle-earth. 

For these first episodes, and especially the Tolkien-themed ones, I've tried to compile a list of what I recommended (and also get to add some stuff I forgot when recording). So, to start of here's what we were drinking during this episode:

2014 Villa Antinori Toscana Rosso

  • Caradhras- Port- To keep you warm!

-W&J Graham’s, Taylor Fladgate, Dow’s, Quinta de la Rosa (great description of the difference between different kinds of Port here)

  • Moria- Valpolicella (& the Veneto)

-Allegrini, Quintarelli, Villa Spinosa

  • Lothlórien: Alsace

-Trimbach, Pierre Sparr, Marcel Deiss, Ostertag, Zind Humbrecht

-BTW, the 4 Noble Grapes of Alsace are Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürtztraminer, & Muscat. No Pinot Blanc :(

  • The Great River: The Loire Valley (esp Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé)

-Sancerre: Lucien Crochet, Pascal Jolivet. But TOURAINE: Le Coeur de la Reine, Nicolas Idiart

Episode 4: The Fellowship of the Ring Part I (Middle-earth and Old World Wines Part Two)

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The second in a several-part series of episodes in which I discuss my own favorite stories, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, by pairing the major wine regions of Europe with different places in the journey through in Middle-earth. 

For these first episodes, and especially the Tolkien-themed ones, I've tried to compile a list of what I recommended (and also get to add some stuff I forgot when recording). So, to start of here's what we were drinking during this episode:

2014 Villa Antinori Toscana Rosso

Some wine terms we discussed in this episode:

-Botrytis, aka "Noble Rot", Carbonic Maceration, Super Tuscan

This Episode's Journey:

  • The Shire, Revisited: Sauternes, the dessert wine of Bordeaux

Château Y'quem

Château Suduiraut (not mentioned in the Episode, but Emma has since found a deep love for this producer)

  • The Old Forest- Montsant

-Continuation of my Forest Wine Collection. Just outside of Priorat, a bit less complex (ie, a bit less inky and dense, but still dangerous)

Clos de Nit

Blau (also not mentioned in the episode, but also delicious)

  • Bombadil & Goldberry: Sparkling Wine!

-Champagne:

-Pol Roger (Winston Churchill’s favorite Champagne), Dom Perignon, Pierre Peters, Robert Moncuit

-Prosecco:

Adami, Jeio (project of Bisol, great Rosé), Col Vetoraz

-Cava:

Raventos, Pere Mata, Juve y Camps

  • Bree- Beer! (It's an anagram.) Check out Boulevard's Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale.

  • Weathertop- Rías Baixas

-Cold, dry, windy, salinity.

Morgadio, Burgans, Nanclares (not mentioned in episode, but is stupendous)

  • Rivendell revisited: Tuscany again!

-Red Wines this time, because it's a little darker...

-Chianti: Monteraponi, Selvapiana, Castello di Monsanto, Fontodi, Badia a Coltibuono, Volpaia.

-Brunello: Biondi Santi, Valdicava, Gianni Brunelli

-Super Tuscans: Tignanello, from Antinori (coming full circle)

Episode 3: Truth, Balance, and Dragons- A Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin

 Because we talk a lot about Truth in the episode, here's the back label of Angela Osborne's 2014 "Land of Saints" Grenache/Syrah.

Because we talk a lot about Truth in the episode, here's the back label of Angela Osborne's 2014 "Land of Saints" Grenache/Syrah.

 And here's the front label. Because, dragons.

And here's the front label. Because, dragons.

It's the third episode, and we're paying homage to the Queen of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the recently deceased Ursula K. Le Guin. In this episode we take a little bit of a break from the “hardcore wine education” and more just have a conversation about an author, her works, and her legacy. We do talk about winemaker Angela Osborne, whose wine the Land of Saints Grenache/Syrah we were drinking. Not just because there was a Dragon on the label...

Angela's primary project, A Tribute to Grace, consists of wine made entirely from the Grenache grape in Santa Barbara, California.

Ursula Le Guin's two primary series were the Earthsea Series and the Hainish Cycle. We talk mostly about the First book of the Earthsea series, A Wizard of Earthseaand the first book of the Hainish Cycle, The Left Hand of DarknessDefinitely check them out if you haven't already!

Fun fact: ironically, I, at least, call the protagonist of A Wizard of Earthsea by an incorrect name, Gen, when his true name is Ged. I would definitely have no power over him.

We do talk about archipelagos, and thus we talk about Greek wine! Three of the primary white grapes of Greece are:

  • Retsina- what Emma doesn't mention is that Retsina is unique for its addition of pine sap. Here's a fun article about Retsina here.
  • Moschofilero- (fondly referred to in my store and home as "Meow-schofilero"). Here's some info here.
  • Assyrtiko- the most complex and layered of these three grapes. We'll talk more about it later, but for now, check this out.

Episode 2: Kill Bill and Sangiovese

 What We Drank Tonight.

What We Drank Tonight.

In this second ever episode of the podcast, we take a different approach to talking about wine: instead of focusing on wine theory like in the Middle-earth and Old World Wines episodes, we’re focusing on the process of tasting a wine, and showing how different wines made from the same grape and even from the same place can taste totally different. Rather than giving broad strokes about different wine regions and grapes, in this episode we are honing in on one wine region, which is Tuscany, and one grape, which is Sangiovese.

If you are interested in reading Uma Thurman's account of her experiences involving these movies, here is her interview in the New York Times.

First of all, here's a Wine Map of Tuscany from WineFolly, a great online resource. This will definitely be helpful to look at before, during, and/or after listening to the episode.

Some wine terms and clarifications:

  • The Four Fundamental Elements of Wine: Tannin, Acid, Sugar, and Alcohol.
  • Appellation- both a designation of place and designation of quality (Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and Rosso di Montalcino are all appellations within Tuscany)
  • Fact Check: Chianti must be at least 80% Sangiovese.
  • Clarification: A better way to describe how most rosé is made, rather than whatever Emma said in this episode, is red grapes made in a white wine fashion.
  • Declassified Wines: wines that don't follow established classifications. AKA #rebelwines
  • Feminine vs. Masculine as wine descriptors. Pretty much what you'd expect, as long as wines are being heteronormative.
  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano vs. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo: one's a region, one's a grape, and they're both different! Why Italy why?!?
  • Classic Chianti vs. Chianti Classico: Not the same thing! O, the importance of one letter...
  • Sight is an important part of the tasting process, but hard to talk about on a podcast. :-/
  • Clarification: Vin Santo is a dessert wine made in Tuscany. It can sometimes be made from the Sangiovese grape, but more often is a blend of the Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. The Vin Santo we reference, from Badia a Coltibuono, is no exception to the trend. 
  • Emma's #1 Rule For Tasting Wine: You can't be wrong, so don't be afraid!

What we were drinking tonight:

  1. 2016 Il Poggione 'Brancato' Rosato- Literally impossible to drink less than a bottle in one sitting.
  2. 2015 Bibi Graetz 'Casamatta' Toscana Rosso- check out his whole site to see his awesome artwork! Click here to see the bottle we were drinking
  3. 2014 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Rosso di Montalcino- check out the whole site to learn who married the Ciacci.
  4. 2013 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva- that's Castello di Monsanto, not the other Monsanto
  5. 2012 Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino- find my friend Emilia Nardi on the site!

Episode 1: Middle-earth and Old World Wines Part 1- The Hobbit

  The Hobbit  and 2015 Domaine Rochette Morgon Côte du Py

The Hobbit and 2015 Domaine Rochette Morgon Côte du Py

The first in a several-part series of episodes in which I discuss my own favorite stories, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, by pairing the major wine regions of Europe with different places in the journey through in Middle-earth. 

For these first episodes, and especially the Tolkien-themed ones, I've tried to compile a list of what I recommended (and also get to add some stuff I forgot when recording). So, to start of here's what we were drinking during this episode:

2015 Domaine Rochette Morgon Côte du Py

Some wine terms we discussed in this episode:

-Terroir, Old World v. New World wines

Emma talked a lot about The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil. Follow the link to purchase it on Amazon, or look for it at your local bookstore!

This Episode's Journey:

  • The Shire~ Bordeaux (Claret)

-Look for wines labeled "Entres deux mers", they're usually a great value

-The 5 First Growths, or Premier Crus, of Bordeaux are: 

Château Mouton Rothschild (Check out the section on the Paintings for the Labels to see an awesome tradition of wine and art intermingling)

Château Lafite Rothschild

Château Latour

Château Haut-Brion

Cháteau Margaux

  • Trolls~ Cahors

-Malbec in France! Believe it or not that's where the grape originated. And look for:

-Clos Siguier

-Combel la Serre

  • Rivendell~ Tuscany

-Ultimate vacation spot! For white wines look for Vernaccia di San Gimignano

-San Quirico Vernaccia di San Gimignano

  • Goblintown~ Sherry

-Solera system, many levels, many different types (Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Cream, Pedro Ximenez)

-Emilio Lustau

-Hidalgo

  • Gollum’s Caves- Muscadet

-Misunderstood; most think it’s sweet when actually one of the driest wines. Great with seafood! 

-Domaine Landron ‘Amphibolite’

  • Beorn's House- The Rhône Valley

-Split personality: Syrah v. Grenache, North v. Southern Rhône

-Domaine M&S Ogier

-Château Montfaucon

  • Mirkwood- Priorat

-One of my chosen  “Forest Wines”.

-Finca Dofí

-Clos Erasmus

  • Laketown: Provence

-What else but rosé to drink by a lake?

-Aix

-Château Peyrassol

  • The Lonely Mountain- Chablis

-Paul Nicolle

-Domaine Pattes Loup (btw, it means "Wolf's Paws", photos of my collection below)