Category: HOTGV Podcast

#HOTGV: On natural wine with Isabelle Legeron MW

This episode of Heard on the Grape vine is all about natural wine, an unusually complicated subject in the world of wine. To throw some clarity on the issue, I went to RAW, one of the biggest natural wine fairs in the UK, and spoke to the industry insiders.

Tree in vineyard in Georgia

Natural wine is a complicated subject. Which is ironic given that the very definition of a natural wine is a stripped back and uncomplicated product.

It’s a complicated subject because there’s no legal definition of natural wine. This means that many people have their own versions of it while others deny its existence altogether.

I am, on balance, an uncommitted supporter of natural wine. This means that I like the idea of natural wine and I appreciate the results – because there are some very good natural wines out there – but I don’t want to commit to drinking just natural wines as there are also many wine makers who aren’t following the principles of natural wine making but who are creating equally delicious wines. Basically, I want to drink delicious and interesting wines, however they’re made.

But I love the infectious passion of the natural wine makers, so decided to make this episode on natural wine. To start, a few of the winemakers exhibiting at RAW will describe what natural wine is for them. Then we’ll hear from Isabelle Legeron MW, the organiser of RAW and long-time champion of natural wine.

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Amateur Wine » HOTGV Podcast

#HOTGV: On Sciacchetrà with Terra di Bargòn

For the third episode of Heard on the Grape Vine podcast, I travelled to Liguria, in northern Italy, to learn more about Sciacchetrà, a passito wine unique to the Cinque Terre.

View out to sea from Terra di Bargòn, Cinque Terre

You’ve probably seen the word passito on bottles of sweet wine from all around Italy so let me begin by explaining what that is. Passito is the Italian name for a type of sweet wine made from the juice of grapes that have been allowed to dry before being pressed. The drying process concentrates the sugar in the grapes so that sweet wines can be produced. The residual sugar, left at the end of the fermentation process, is what you can taste on your palate.

In the Cinque Terre, a special type of passito is produced and it goes by the name of Sciacchetrà. It is made by fermenting the juice of the raisined grapes with the must (grape skin, pips and all) to produce a concentrated, tannic sweet wine.

In Riomaggiore, one of the villages of the Cinque Terre, I met Roberto Bonfiglio and Alessandra De Cugis. They are the husband and wife team behind Terra di Bargòn, a cantina which produces only Sciacchetrà. Alessandra and Roberto welcomed me to their home somewhere half way up the Ligurian hills. Surrounding it were gnarly vines of some 25 years, trained in a high pergola. There, looking out over the Cinque Terre, they talked about their Sciacchetrà.

Roberto Bonfiglio and Alessandra de Cugis at Terra di Bargòn, Cinque Terre

For me, it was incredibly awe-inspiring to learn that the couple, now in their 60s, are producing this passito wine which the younger generation has abandoned because they deemed it too hard. But I’ll let them explain their own wine.

The wine we tasted was the Terra di Bargòn Reserva 2009, a concentrated wine with notes of bruised apple, prune, dried apricots and a nutty tang. It’s far from the lusciousness typical of passito so if you’re not a big fan of sugar, this could be the sweet wine for you.

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Amateur Wine » HOTGV Podcast

#HOTGV: On fine teas with Jameel Lalani

It’s been a little over a month since the first episode of Heard on the Grape Vine went out and we’ve had great feedback – so thank you! If you’ve enjoyed the first episode, don’t forget to subscribe.

Amateur Wine » HOTGV Podcast

Oh yes, and we’re also up on iTunes now so you can subscribe there too —> #HOTGV on iTunes <—

On fine teas with Jameel Lalani

For this second episode, we’ve gone zero alcohol. I met with Jameel Lalani, the founder of Lalani & Co, specialists in single batch teas, to discuss the world of fine teas.

Lalani_Winter_White_tea

The first time we met was perhaps five years ago to talk about the Japanese green tea matcha, a topic which we revisit here. We also talk about the ageing ability of teas, food and tea matching and Lalani’s tea projects in Hawaii and east Africa. And some other fine tea related stuff.

Listen in here:

Some notes of thanks

If you’ve followed the saga of my podcasting mistakes, you might be interested to know that this is the first full episode made with the Roland R05. See my additional podcasting notes here.

#HOTGV: On whisky with Sir Colin Hampden White

#HOTGV? What could this be? Why it’s a new drinks podcast, which, in long form, spells out Heard on the Grape Vine.

Heard on the Grape Vine, or #HOTGV

Heard on the Grape Vine will, I hope, be the audio version of Amateur Wine in that it seeks to both entertain and educate the amateur wine lover who wants to learn more. Although primarily focused on wine, it will also feature spirits and other drinks.

If you think you’ll already love it, subcribe here:

Amateur Wine » HOTGV Podcast
On whisky with Sir Colin Hampden White

Sir Colin Hampden White

For this first podcast, I was joined by Sir Colin Hampden White, the launch editor of Whisky Quarterly, to talk and taste whisky. Expect thoughts on chilling whisky in Kenya, lipped glassware, kosher whisky and more.

(You can find out more about the podcasting process at qinxie.co.uk)

Some notes of thanks

As well as Sir Colin Hampden White who participated in this first podcast, thanks are also due to Roland, who kindly loaned me a Roland R05 to make the recording, and Cardhu, who sent some special releases for us to taste.

The Podcast

So finally, without further ado, here’s the first podcast:

The whiskies

In case you were interested in finding out more about the small flight of Cardhu whiskies we tasted, here are some details below:

Cardhu Gold Reserve Cardhu Gold Reserve: ABV 40%, released late 2014, aged in toasted oak casks. RRP£35 available online from Amazon
 Cardhu Amber Rock Cardhu Amber Rock: ABV40%, released early 2014, aged in ex-bourbon toasted barrels. RRP£41, available online from Amazon
 Cardhu 21 Year Old Cardhu 21 year old: ABV 54.2%, special release in 2013, distilled in 1991, aged in ex-bourbon American oak casks. RRP£160, available from The Whisky Exchange
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