Thumbs Up on 2009 & 2010 Red Burgundy Dec 26, 2010
Robert chats with Laurie & Lisa of San Diego's Finest about the 2009 & 2010 vintage in Burgundy, which he predicts will be hugely popular. During a recent trip to France for the Hospices de Beaune, Robert was particularily impressed by the wines of Domaine Rousseau in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin.
Robert visits WSRadio hosts Laurie Dyson and Lisa Justice to talk about wines and wine gifts for the holidays on their weekly radio show, San Diego's Finest. It's Robert's opinion that California is now making the finest bubbly this side of Champagne.
Rupert Symington On the Family Port Dynasty May 19, 2010
Rupert Symington sits down with Robert and chats about his family's long history in Portugal's Douro Valley, where they own a number of leading Port houses such as Graham's, Dow's, Quinta do Vesuvio, Smith-Woodhouse and more!
Rupert Symington's family is world famous for it's many classic Port wines, but there's a new direction in Portugal's Douro Valley and it leads to some of the world's finest new red table wines. The Symington family, of course, is smack in the middle of this exciting new development.
Winemaker Interview: Philip Laffer & Bernard Hickin, Jacob's Creek Sep 22, 2009
Jacob's Creek has enjoyed huge acceptance throughout the United States largely because it delivers exceptional quality at a reasonable price. What's more, the dry rieslings are some of the finest being made in Australia today, and the shiraz and cabernet are among the most elegant produced in the Barossa Valley. The men behind the Jacob's Creek success, winemakers Philip Laffer and Bernard Hickin, took time out from a whirlwind tour of California to drop in on Robert for a long chat about the doings Down Under.
Philanthropist Gordon Holmes of Lookout Ridge, high in the Mayacamas mountains, chats with Robert about his unique Wine for Wheels program. Holmes offers his Lookout Ridge Wines, all of which are produced by celebrity Napa and Sonoma winemakers, for a mere $100 per bottle. And with each bottle sold he donates a wheelchair to those in need. Never has a $100 per bottle wine been put to a better use.
Winemaker Interview: Dr. Federico Carletti, Poliziano Jul 1, 2009
Dr. Federico Carletti took over the family winery, Poliziano, in the Tuscan district of Montepulciano more than 20 years ago. The Vino Nobile, the region's most important wine, was not so noble back then and Carletti had a huge mountain to climb. Today, however, the Vino Nobile is on the rebound in both quality and prestige and it's safe to say Poliziano was in the forefront of the viticultural revolution. Dr. Carletti chats with Robert about the past and the future of Poliziano.
Robert came back from a week in Rioja with a number of discoveries, in particular Artadi's El Pison vineyard (left) that produces one of Spain's finest reds, the extremely rare Vina El Pison. He chats with co-host Lisa Redwine about the modern face of Rioja as well as the more traditional likes of Cune, Lopez Heredia and Marques de Riscal.
Winemaker Chuck Ortman (Spring Mountain, Far Niente, et al) was already a legend in the industry when son Matt was growing up in the Napa Valley. Matt went off to study engineering in college and wanted no part of the wine business until after his famous dad had retired from Meridian Vineyards, the winery he founded in the 1980s. Father and son have now teamed up to create Ortman Family Vineyards, which specializes in wines from California's Central Coast, especially Pinot Noir. They join Robert and co-host Lisa Redwine to chat about Matt's transformation.
Winemaker Interview: Steve Fennell, Sanford Feb 4, 2009
Winemaker Steve Fennell had success early in his career, landing a job in the Napa Valley at Trefethen Vineyards. He went on from there to carve a terrific reputation at Voss Vineyards. You would think a secure niche at the epicenter of American wine would be difficult to surrender, but Fennell was more than ready when Doug Fletcher (director of winemaking for all of the Tony Terlato estates) called him about the job at Santa Barbara County's Sanford Winery. It was a homecoming of sorts, for Fennell had spent his undergrad years at UC Santa Barbara, but Fennell also embraced the challenge of taking over an iconic winery and making it even better.
Winemaker Interview: Jonathan Nagy, Byron Vineyards Jan 15, 2009
Byron Vineyards has long been a benchmark for quality in Santa Barbara County's Santa Maria Valley. It's early Chardonnays were among the finest ever made in California, and recent vintages of Pinot Noir have been consistently brilliant. Founding winemaker Ken "Byron" Brown left the winery a few years back to start his own label, but assistant winemaker Jonathan Nagy has taken the reins and picked up where Brown left off. Nagy joins Robert for a chat about the current doings at Byron.
Winemaker Interview: Stu Smith, Smith-Madrone Jan 8, 2009
Robert kicks off the new year with a visit from one of the Napa Valley's grizzled veterans -- Stuart Smith of Smith-Madrone Winery. Stuart and his brother Charlie have been making Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling (about 3000 cases per year evenly split between the three grape varieties) on their small Spring Mountain estate since 1971. Through the years they're earned a reputation for making honest, high-quality Napa Valley wines that improve in the cellar and represent a huge bang for the buck compared to other "boutique" Napa Valley wines. Smith-Madrone is no less boutique. It's just less expensive!
Robert is joined by sommelier Lisa Redwine of The Shores restaurant, in La Jolla, Ca., as they discuss their Champagne and sparkling wine picks for the holidays, with several specific selections, across a broad spectrum of prices, just for New Year's Eve. Robert also takes the occasion to single out a number of Champagnes that most impressed him in 2008.
Winemaker Interview: James Hall, Patz & Hall Segment II Dec 5, 2008
This is the missing segment of the James Hall interview from November, 2007 -- by special request! James, the winemaker at Patz & Hall, goes into the philoposphy of the Patz & Hall Pinots in this segment. Special thanks go to our technical department for digging up this formerly lost audio and dusting it off for us.
Winemaker Interview: George Bursick, J Vineyards & Winery Dec 4, 2008
George Bursick is well known for his innovative inclinations. As the longtime winemaker at Ferrari-Carano, he worked wonders (some might suggest miracles) with Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese. And his Chardonnays were always at the top of the class. In 2006, George, in search of new worlds to conquer, took the reins at J Vineyards & Winery, best known for its yummy sparkling wines. Bursick fell in love with Pinot Noir at J -- then used primarily for the bubbly -- and has dramatically expanded the Pinot Noir program. But the mad scientist in George couldn't resist tinkering with the established wisdom. The bitter green tannins of cool-climate Pinots had always bothered him. It was a challenge, but Bursick believed he had a solution. You are a mere mouse click away from peering into the mind of am impassioned, driven winemaker!
Winemaker Interview: Theresa Heredia, Freestone Vineyards Nov 20, 2008
Robert recently tasted the two latest releases from Sonoma's Freestone Vineyards -- the 2006 Chardonnay and 2006 Pinot Noir -- and was blown away by both, noting the impressive structure, elegance and class exhibited by these scintillating wines from a bright new star in California viticulture. The Chardonnay earned a rating of 96 points, the Pinot 94. So, naturally, he invited the winemaker, Theresa Heredia, to do the show. Heredia and owner Bill Phelps share their thoughts about the philosophy and direction of Freestone Vineyards. And this week Robert also introduces guest co-host Lisa Redwine, sommelier at The Shores, an oceanside restaurant in La Jolla, Calif.
La Crema's Chef 'Taki' on Chardonnay, Pinot Pairings Nov 14, 2008
Sonoma's La Crema Winery has a new Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Monterey County's cool coastal vineyards, and Executive Chef Constantinos 'Taki' Laliotitis joins Robert to discuss food pairings with these wines (attractively priced at less than $20) just in time for the holidays.
One of the great mysteries of food and wine pairing is the matchup of wine with chocolate. Especially dry red wine. Robert brings Chef Michael Antonorsi of Chuao Choclatier into the discussion and the Chef has specific suggestions for the perfect pairing.
Adam LaZarre has earned a reputation for brilliance over the past eight years as winemaker at Monterey County's Hahn Estates. Hahn wines under LaZarre have captured numerous accolades at major international wine competitions, and they've established a track record for quality wines at reasonable prices. LaZarre recently accepted a new position as winemaker at Villa San Juliette in Paso Robles (he will continue as a consultant at Hahn) and he chats with Robert about the challenges and opportunities he will face in his new gig.
Winemaker Interview: Loic Le Calvez, Taltarni Sep 27, 2008
When Loic Le Calvez was a young boy growing up in France he inherited a passion for wine from his father, who was a wine merchant. After studying in Bordeaux and working a harvest at the legendary Chateau d'Yquem, Loic's career as a winemaker landed him at Australia's Taltarni Vineyards, where he ascended to the job as chief winemaker in 2006. Loic joins Robert for a lively discussion of the wines of Australia's Victoria and Tasmania regions.
Vintner Interview: Tom Gamble, Source Napa Sep 14, 2008
Grape grower Tom Gamble has spent his entire life in the Napa Valley, generally supplying the family's Gamble Ranch grapes to prestigous Napa wineries. He's now running his own winery, however, and the idea is to focus on the "source" and make unique wines from special vineyard sources.
In the earlier segment, Wine Review Online columnist Michael Apstein discussed the exceptional 2005 vintage in the Cote d'Or. In this second half of the same show, he explores the increasing consumer interest in Chablis, perhaps the most collectible of all Burgundies for those who are appalled at the price of white wines from Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault and reds from the Cotes de Nuits.
Winemaker Interview: Rob Davis, Jordan Aug 26, 2008
Winemaker Rob Davis has been at the iconic Jordan winery since its founding in 1976. The Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon was an immediate success and helped establish Sonoma County's Alexander Valley as one of the great Cabernet terroirs of California. Rob joins Robert for a conversation that looks back at Jordan over the years.
Michael Apstein on Burgundy's '05 Vintage Aug 15, 2008
Our good friend and Wine Review Online colleague, Michael Apstein, stops by to chat about a subject near and dear -- for he is a certified Francophile -- and that would be the spectacular 2005 vintage in Burgundy. And Michael has some ideas about how to enjoy the bounty without taking too big a hit in the wallet.
Winemaker Interview: Janet Myers, Mount Veeder Part II Aug 15, 2008
Janet Myers and Matt Ashby, the winemaker and vineyard manager of Mount Veeder Winery, continue with Robert into the second half-hour. It is Matt's challenge to deliver great winegrapes to Janet, which she then crafts into bold, intense Napa Cabernet for the ages. Part II is approximately 25 minutes.
Winemaker Interview: Andrew Hood, Frogmore Creek Aug 13, 2008
Andrew Hood's wines -- Frogmore Creek and 42 Degrees South -- are crafted in the cool climate of Tasmania, the remote island that is the southernmost wine growing region in all of Australia. Hood specializes in Burgundian-style Pinot Noir, Riesling and sparkling wine. He joins Robert this week to discuss the rigrs and rewards of making wine in cool Tasmania.
Winemaker Interview: Terry Adams, Sonoma Cutrer Aug 7, 2008
Sonoma Cutrer Winemaker Terry Adams joins Robert to discuss the sometimes forgotten notion that superb, exquisitely structured, world class Chardonnay is produced in California. Naturally, the conversation focuses on the exceptional terroir of the Russian River Valley vineyards of Sonoma Cutrer.
Italian Wine Expert Brian Larky on Prosecco Aug 4, 2008
Brian Larky was once the winemaker for the Franciacorta estate of Ca' del Bosco, producer of perhaps Italy's most important sparkling wine. He has since moved into the import business with his own company, Dalla Terra Winery Direct, and specializes in Italian wine. He joins Robert in this half-hour segment to discuss the sudden popularity of Prosecco, the Italian bubbly from the Veneto.
Winemaker Interview: Janet Myers, Mount Veeder Part I Jul 28, 2008
Winemaker Janet Myers wears multiple hats these days, making the wines at two superb Napa Valley wineries -- Franciscan Estates and Mount Veeder Winery. She and vineyard manager Matt Ashby join Robert to chat about the beauty and power of mountain-grown Cabernet at Mount Veeder. Part I is approximately 22 minutes. Click here to listen to Part II.
Winemaker Interview: Jennifer Higgins, Lancaster Estate Jul 21, 2008
Jennifer Higgins took the long and winding road to become winemaker at the up-and-coming Lancaster Estate winery in Sonoma's Alexander Valley. She was studying for a career in medicine when the wine bug bit. Jennifer makes a sensuous Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at Lancaster Estate, where she has been the chief winemaker for the past four vintages. Jennifer joins Robert for the entire half hour of Whitley On Wine.
Winemaker Interview: Jac Cole, Spring Mountain Jul 13, 2008
The challenges of making wine from the steep hillside vineyards of Spring Mountain, overlooking St. Helena and the Napa Valley, are not without their rewards. Jac Cole of the historic Spring Mountain Vineyards estate chats with Robert about the remarkable diversity he encounters over the estate's massive 500-plus acres. It all comes together in wines, primarily Cabernet-based reds, that are bold and suave at the same time.
Winemaker Interview: James Hall, Patz & Hall Jul 11, 2008
One could argue that Patz & Hall's single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are some of the finest wines of their type made in the United States, and Robert often does. He goes behind the "vineyard designate" philosophy of Patz & Hall in an interview with winemaker James Hall, including Hall's stylistic course correction with the Patz & Hall Chardonnays to tone down the winemaker manipulation and bring out the minerality and unique fruit characteristics of each vineyard. Hall joins Robert for a discussion of the Patz & Hall philosophy.
One of the best-kept secrets of California wine is the stunning quality flowing these days from Monterey's Ventana Vineyards. The buzz is getting louder with each passing month, however, as Ventana wines rack up major awards at important wine competitions. The Riesling and Syrah, in particular, have won accolades at the San Francisco Chronicle, Monterey, San Diego and Critics Challenge competitions -- just to name a few. Winemaker Reggie Hammond joins Robert for this half-hour of Whitley On Wine to tell us all about what's up with Ventana!
As the Sonoma Valley winery Gundlach Bundschu celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, family member Jeff Bundschu takes a time out to chat about the earliest years of the winery and what it must have been like, based upon family lore, to make and sell wine in the era of the California gold rush. Whitley On Wine is a production of SignOnRadio.com. This segment approximately 31 minutes.
Winemaker Interview: Mike Sullivan, Benovia Jun 30, 2008
On a recent visit to the Russian River Valley to taste Pinot Noir from the 2006 vintage, Robert was impressed with the aroma and structure of a Pinot from a small new winery: Benovia. Turns out the Benovia winemaker is none other than the accomplished RRV veteran, Mike Sullivan, whose credits include a stop at highly acclaimed Hartford Court. Mike joins Robert for a chat about this promising new venture. Whitley On Wine is a production of SignOnRadio.com.