Episode 15: Salvatore Avallone of Villa Matilde

Salvatore Avallone’s father created Villa Matilde in the 1960’s after spending over 10 years of painstaking research to locate and identify the few remaining grape vines of the original strain that made the famous Falernum wine of Roman times. His father, Francesco Paolo, was a lawyer, a lifelong student of the Roman Empire and a professor of Roman Law at the University of Naples. He and his friends from the Dept of Agriculture at the University of Naples conducted an “ampelographical” study of the vines in all the small farms in the Caserta region where the famed Falernum wines had been grown. But the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800’s had wiped out the vines - all but a very few. The friends discovered 15 vines - 10 red (Aglianico) and 5 white (Falanghina). With this small but precious start, the Avallone family embarked on a journey to create a modern expression of the greatest wine of ancient Rome, the Falerno del Massico.

In this episode Salvatore tells us about the history but also gives us a marvellous overview of the grapes of Campania, both red and white. His account of the differences between Aglianico from Taurasi, Benevento and Caserta (where Falerno wines come from) is very insightful and he also tells us why the white wines of Campania (Falanghina, Greco di Tufo and Fiano) are so exceptional.

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Episode 14: Greek Wine Renaissance

The wine scene in Greece is evolving fast. New energy and new investment is being poured in and a young generation of innovators is shaking up the birthplace of wine. In some cases the most exciting wines are coming from local varietals like Assyrtiko, Limniona, Xinomavro, Agiortiko and Malagouzia. These ancient varieties are getting a makeover. And the international market is finding that Greek wines have an exciting edge. For example, Assyrtiko from Santorini has become the standard bearer for the new wines of Greece and is opening doors with its amazing character and its modern international appeal. With music from Kostas Kalafatis, interviews with 7 wine business personalities and a tour of 5 or 6 different locations, this Episode is a bit of a Greek wine whirlwind.

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Episode 13: Tormaresca Estate with Maria Teresa Carlone

Tormaresca Estate and the great wines of Puglia. Maria Teresa Carlone tells us about the history of the estate and the grape varieties that are putting Castel del Monte and Puglia on the map. The wine of Puglia that is making a significant mark on the international stage. Changes in the perception of Puglian wine and increasing international recognition are gathering pace. Puglia is getting a lot of attention and few of the myriad wine cultures in Italy can match its combination of long history and sudden resurgence. Puglia combines grape varieties whose genetics are shrouded in ancient times, a wine producing history that is almost as old as that of Greece and a level of investment and energy that is almost unmatched in Italy. What is certain is that Puglia’s autoctonous grape varieties, including particularly Aglianico, Primitivo and Negroamaro, have a story to tell that is as piercing as the southern Italian sun.

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Episode 12: Marco de Corato of Rivera Guides Us Through Puglian Wine

Castel del Monte lies in the heart of Puglia, the heel of the boot of Italy. Puglia is experiencing a wine renaissance and if there is a wine region within Puglia which best epitomizes the way this part of Italy can produce wines of exceptional refinement (despite Puglia’s long reputation as a producer of bulk wines) Castel del Monte is it. Geographically Castel del Monte has the advantage of rising altitude from the low plains of the coastal area and therefore cooler night-time temperatures and moderating breezes. But the climate is still one of extremes, with hot summer weather juxtaposed with potentially very harsh winter weather, and thus a need for skilful viticulture. What the winemakers in Castel del Monte have done, though, is harness a suite of very powerful indigenous grape varieties and thereby produce signature wines that are very much unique to this part of Italy.

Rivera Estate is the standard bearer for Castel del Monte wines and is one of the most prestigious of all Puglian wineries. Marco de Corato and his brother Sebastian currently run the estate. Marco and Rivera’s export manager, Raffaele lead us through an in-depth discussion of the wine varieties and the terroir of Castel del Monte and Puglia. If you get a chance to try their wines you will become an instant fan of Castel del Monte and Puglia!

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Craig Heschuk
Epsidode 10: An Interview with Vassilis Papagiannakos in Attica, Greece

Vassilis Papagiannakos is the third generation of winemaker in his family and produces fine wines from grape varieties that have been grown in the Attica region for thousands of years. His modern winery is located in the countryside not far from Athens. In fact, it is easy to visit when you pass through the Athens airport.

In this interview, Vassilis tells us about the Savatiano grape, which has been the workhorse grape variety for winemakers in the Attica region, and the other indigenous grape varieties he grows. He describes how, at the age of 16, he developed the belief that Savatiano could be the basis for high quality wine and how he convinced his father to experiment - in other words, to produce a wine that was not “retsina”. From that initial barrel of non-resinated wine, the Papagiannakos winery has gone on to become one of the most important producers and exporters of fine Greek wine.

Vassilis believes strongly in both traditional agricultural methods and making single varietal wines to produce wines that are specific to the terroir of his vineyards - in other words wines that really capture exactly what those grapes in that place will express. By harnessing cooling technology for controlling fermentations in this very hot region and by careful use of techniques such as extended skin contact, Vassilis allows the grapes to express the soul of this very historic winemaking region.

With introductory music recorded live in Skopelos with the famed Rembetica guitar player and singer, Kostas Kalafatis.

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Episode 9: Wine Regions of Spain (Part 2) with Shanyn Ward

Part 2 of a whirl-wind tour of the wine regions of Spain with my guest, the charming Shanyn Ward. Spain’s wines in 2 acts!

This podcast will take us through important and trending wine regions like Bierzo, Rias Baixas, Toro, Rueda, Yecla, Jumilla and Castilla y Leon. We’ll also cover some of the traditional established wine regions like Ribera del Duero and the Sherry country of Jerez. Shanyn also gives us an overview of the important grape varieties from these regions, Albariño, Mencia, Verdejo, Monastrell, Tempranillo, Grenache (Garnacha) and more.

For those new to Spanish wines or for those who want to discover new (or, perhaps its better to call them “less well-known”) wine regions and wine grape varieties, this is an excellent podcast to listen to. Spain has a tremendous amount to offer and is particularly awesome if you are looking for amazing quality to price ratio in wine.

Come along and travel the width and breadth of Spain to find great wines. You will almost certainly hear something that will make you look for a new wine next time you go to the wine shop! If you love wine and if you are curious about what Spain has to offer then listen to the podcast and get some of Shanyn’s Spain secrets - directly from the source!

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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Episode 8: Wine Regions of Spain (Part 1) with Shanyn Ward

Part 1 of a whirl-wind tour of the wine regions of Spain with my guest, the charming Shanyn Ward. Spain’s wines in 2 acts!

Spain’s wines and wine regions are varied and extensive. Spain produces literally billions of bottles of wine every year. But don’t think of Spain as a place for bulk wine or for mediocre quality. And don’t be intimidated by the range of bottles on the wine shelves. Spain is rightfully one of the premiere wine regions on earth given its long wine history and its favourable climate and variety of wine terroir. You will find wines of all quality levels and all price points. And you will find killer wines at a great quality to price ratio.

Shanyn Ward joins me to host this quite extensive tour of Spain’s wine regions. She applies her deep experience and education to guide us as we travel from the wonderful wine regions close to Barcelona and then hit the road on a major counter-clockwise trip around Spain. We’ll go to Rioja, to the Basque country, to Rias Baixas, Ribera del Duero, Jerez and much much more.

Have you wondered about the famous tempranillo grape and what differences it shows in different regions and terroirs? Have you tried Albariño wine from Rias Baixas and wanted to understand more about this wonderful white? Do you think about Sherry wine and ask yourself why it doesn’t seem to be on consumer’s minds so much these days? Join us on the journey to talk about these and loads of other Spanish wine topics. From Mencia grapes to Garnacha. From Bilbao to Barcelona. From Cava to Rioja reds. Spain has such a rich and rewarding wine culture.

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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Episode 7: A Visit With Senka Tennant Of Terravista Vineyards

Join us for this warm and insightful conversation with the extremely talented Senka Tennant.

Senka and her husband Bob pioneered some of the best wine terroir in Canada when they developed the Black Hills Estate Winery with their partners in the 90s. They selected a site along Black Sage Road, in one of the hottest, driest and sunniest places in Canada. Senka and Bob had their trials and tribulations but their instincts and research paid off with wines that wowed critics and consumers.

Okanagan Valley wines are celebrated for their quality and for the expression of the unique terroir found in the areas around Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton and Kelowna. And nobody has sought out terroir in the Okanagan much better than Senka and Bob. Senka acts as the winemaker and Bob as the viticulturist and they have become legendary in the Okanagan wine scene. From Black Hills, Senka and Bob moved on to create the Terravista Vineyards winery on the Naramata Bench, another of the premiere wine growing micro-regions in British Columbia, Canada. Senka focusses on Spanish white wine varieties and Rhône white wine varieties. She loves Albariño and Verdejo, Marsanne, Viognier and Rousanne and she believes that Terravista’s vineyards allow these varieties to express themselves with elegance, style and unique character. And she is right. Terravista wines are exceptional, sensational and should be sought out by any wine lover, especially those with a keen interest in how terroir can impact a wine.

Marvelous wines from a talented winemaker in an absolutely marvelous location.

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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Craig Heschuk
Episode 6: Rhône Wine Primer

A visit to the Rhône valley and a glimpse into the marvels of the region and it's profoundly good wines.

In this episode we tour the Rhône valley in search of the secrets to its greatest wines and its lesser-known treasures. We come in at 30,000 feet and view the geography and ancient geology in overview to understand what created the geological raw material for these wonderful wines. Then we zoom in and visit the regions, admiring the spectacular settings where the iconic (and iconically-priced!) great Syrah wines of the Northern Rhône are grown in places like Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage and St. Joseph. And where the amazing white wines of Condrieu are grown. These are places where the vineyards are steeped in long family history and where traditional methods such as tilling the land with horses mix together with the next generation of young winemakers with immense passion to apply modern wine-making practices.

From the Northern Rhône we then go to our true destination, the confusing maze of appellations, sub-appellations and sub-sub-appellations of the Southern Rhône. This is where tremendous quality meets the average person’s budget, where wines of tremendous character and distinction can be discovered and become new personal favourites. But there is a catch - you have to do a bit of research and find the hidden gems, particularly among the winemakers in wine regions that haven’t yet built a name that attracts the collectors. It’s not that hard to do, you just have to look a little bit off the beaten track. Sure, you may find some wines in Gigondas and Châteaneuf-du-Pape that are within your budget - and these are stellar wine regions. Drink away! But their next-door neighbours might just blow your socks off for half or a quarter of the price. For example, try the wines of Chateau Pesquié in Ventoux. For $20 you will find collector quality wine. Or try the treasures from the Vacqueyras and Rasteau appellations that the Famille Perrin is producing.

But beware - you will have to spend a bit of nerdy time thinking about the difference between appellations of the Côtes du Rhône or Côtes du Rhône Villages - or those completely outside of the Côtes du Rhône. Open up the map in the show notes to this episode or open up the fantastic www.rhone-wines.com website and follow along as we explore this most fascinating of wine regions. And after you listen to The Wine Beat podcast, just go there and tour and drink the wines!

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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Episode 5: A Chat With Euripides Katsaros Of Ktima Katsaros

A conversation with one of Greece’s most respected winemakers - in a unique and striking location on the flanks of Mt. Olympus.

It wasn’t easy to get there but I’ll never forget my visit to Ktima Katsaros. Driving up the switchback road through the small villages on the way to this winery perched on a mountainside is an amazing experience. And it clarifies one thing in very stark terms - Greece is not all about warm climate wines and Greece’s wine terroir is much more varied than you can imagine. Here, high on the flanks of Mount Olympus, the seat of those mad, unpredictable, life-loving Gods of ancient Greece, is a wine terroir that is practically unique. With a cooler climate, a commanding aspect of the Northern Aegean sea as you float above the valley and the Mediterranean coast, the Katsaros family winery is absolutely pristine.

Join us to hear the story of how the family developed this winery and how their passion for the wines superceded the other activities and professions they pursued. How compelling is it when a father throws his passion into viticulture and his sons then study winemaking at the best universities in the world in order to take the passion, the science and the art of winemaking to a completely new level?

Evripides Katsaros is now famous throughout Greece for his singular dedication to quality and wines of long-aging potential. His wines are not easy to find outside Greece - but if you are in New York, LA or London then look for his wines. The Chardonnay is amazing and can be drunk now or aged. The red varietals, Merlot and Cabernet/Merlot blend can be aged for several years. An absolutely unique wine experience for the Mountain of the Olympian Gods!

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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Episode 4: The Rosé Episode

Rosé wine has leaped into the limelight - and onto the patio table of wine lovers everywhere! Learn some of the secrets to why Rosé is so popular and compelling.

This podcast episode is a deep dive into the phenomenon that is Rosé wine. To my mind, if there was ever a wine segment that commanded respect (but was having some trouble getting it) it would be Rosé. It comes in different forms and styles, has been drunk for thousands of years, is perhaps the most enduring of wine styles ultimately and is freaking delicious. But somehow it struggles for respect.

Well, at least it used to. Wine drinkers today are consuming Rosé wine in unprecedented volumes. This podcast is about why they are drinking it, in what styles they are loving it and in what sorts of fun situations Rosé makes its way into our glasses. From Rome to Provence to the rest of the world, this is the party wine we are smashing back. But its also the serious food wine that some savour completely. Let’s go to the beach, to the BBQ and to the dinner table and learn about Rosé.

Oh, and by the way, we’ll talk quite a bit about how Rosé wine is made in case you are interested in that. Also, we are going to take an excursion into history - the history of how the Romans pursued their wine passion straight into Provence and then took the battle to the Gauls in bloody and relentless Roman fashion. I’d like to say it was all about the Rosé but that might be overstating the case….

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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Episode 3: Tom Shreckinger Of Chateau D'Esclans

Chateau D’Esclans is probably the most recognized name in Rosé wine. The vision of Sacha Lichine to create a Provence Rosé which is definitive of the new style of Rosé wines - bright, fresh, crisp and ready for the summer table - has been executed flawlessly. Both in terms of wine quality and marketing acumen, everything about Chateau D’Esclans is done with an eye for perfection.

Along with the late Patrick Léon, the extremely talented and experienced winemaker behind the success story, Sacha Lichine consciously set out on the mission to make D’Esclans the embodiment and definition of Provence Rosé. The technology in the winery is cutting edge, the vineyards have been cultured for the singular purpose of producing great Rosé and the art of blending is applied to make sure the summer party scene will love these Rosé wines.

Tom Scheckinger, the Director of Communications at Chateau D’Esclans, tells us about the history and the philosophy of this modern wine success story. And if you ask me (even if the Skype sound quality is not great) anyone who can give us insights into the wonderful world of Rosé wine is definitely someone worth listening to. Love Provence, love Rosé wine!

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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Episode 2: Frederic Chaudiere Of Chateau Pesquié

The Rhône Valley produces many of the best wines in the world. But it is challenging to find the true gems among the vast array of good quality wines. To make matters even more challenging the Rhône is a complex set of wine appellations and sub-appellations. But the search rewards the intrepid and determined wine lover.

Chateau Pesquié embodies the rewards of exploring the Rhône more than just about any other winery. For starters, the Ventoux wine region is just recently hitting the wine map in terms of the tremendous quality it produces. Historically the grapes were sold into cooperatives and high quality was disguised in the overall mix. Chateau Pesquié is one of a handful of wineries that have seized on the incredible terroir and potential of this region to produce extraordinarily good wines at the estate level.. So this is a voyage of wine discovery that any adventurous wine drinker will love.

Moreover, the wine collector-level quality of this wine comes with an amazing surprise. The entry-level Terrasses wine costs less than $20! This is a wine that can age and be savoured as it develops and evolves over the years but it costs a fraction of some similar quality competitors.

The story of the Chaudiere family and their journey to producing estate wines outside of the cooperative system and the evolution of the estate to today, where the brothers Frederic and Alexandre are now running Chateau Pesquié is a portrait in how winemaking evolves and creates new dimensions in wine, even in a region as old as the Rhône valley.

Join us for this very enjoyable chat with the charming and gregarious Fred Chaudiere. And if you can ever visit the strikingly beautiful Ventoux region you will love it - for the food, the wine, the pretty villages and the valley itself.

Make sure to send us comments at winebeatpod@gmail.com. Let us know what other wine regions or wine topics you would like to hear about. Join us on the wine journey and explore more!

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