Looking Into Wine podcast

Spotlight on Furmint, Hungarian noble variety with Caroline Gilby MW

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In this episode, we explore Furmint a noble grape of Hungary, with Caroline Gilby Master of Wine.

Furmint is undoubtedly one of Hungary most valuable white grape variety. Is unique, distinctive with a flavour profile quite unlike any other grape variety I have ever tasted.
With Caroline Gilby MW, who has been visiting Hungary since the 90s, we discussed one of favourite variety.

Gouais Blanc is the parent of Furmint, making it half-sibling to Chardonnay and Riesling and it is no surprise when one start to look at the styles that are produced today one can see the similitudes with those varieties.

Until relatively recently, the traditional style of Hungarian Furmint has been sweet, more often than not blended with Hárslevelű, most notably in the blend for tokay.

Furmint ripens late, is prone to botrytis, retains high acidity and builds lots of sugars – everything that one needs to produce sweet wines.

But around the turn of this century, dry, varietal Furmints started appearing and gaining traction, the hot and dry 2003 vintage is the pivotal vintage for dry wines says Caroline in the podcast.
Producers quickly saw the potential. Caroline explains what styles are can be found today, Furmint is a grape that not only makes a high-quality wine at all sweetness levels but can be used to make good sparkling wine too. It responds to Chardonnay-like winemaking techniques such as lees ageing, bâtonnage, malolactic conversion and ageing in barrel.

We also talked about viticulture used to train Furmint and where in-country is grown successfully aside Tokaji.

I commented how Furmint is one of the few grape varieties in the world that can produce such an array of style, a tasting idea is to have a journey through the styles produced by Furmint. I’ll definitely try it at some point soon. Since the dry styles of Furmint are becoming more common among producers, so is the growing interest in the grape around the world and is definitely now a good time to learn everything that you need to know about it Furmint!

I would like to thank Wines of Hungary UK for helping to organise this episode.

Some other useful links on the topic

What I use to make the podcast:
Audio Interface: Zoom H6 https://amzn.to/3qnz7Ht
Microphone: Shure SM58 https://amzn.to/3bcfbAC
Boom Arm Mic Stand with Pop Filter: ShureSM7B https://amzn.to/3tWlMYR
Online Recording on studio-level: SquadCast https://squadcast.fm/?ref=mattiascarpazza

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    Spotlight on Israel wines with Journalist Adam Montefiore


    Israel is a sliver of a country stretching 424 km/263 miles in length.The north and centre of the country may be divided into the fertile coastal plain and the mountainous region that runs down the spine of the country, which falls away to the Jordan Rift Valley in the east. The quality revolution began in the 1890s with Baron Edmond De Rothschild although commercial operations were in place before as my guest Adam explains in the interest.In this episode we explore the history of Isreal’s wines with details in the various phases that it went through, We also explained how and why are kosher wines produced and lastly we spoke about the unique vicissitudes that Israel faces with bombing and some effected in the vineyards Adam promptly ensure that Israel is mostly a peaceful place to live.The regional area is as follow: Judean Foothills (27 per cent) The area between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Galilee (25 per cent) In the northGolan Heights (18 per cent) In the northeast corner; a volcanic plateau Coastal Plain (15 per cent) The hot and humid Coastal Plain was one of the areas first planted in the 1880s by Baron Edmond de RothschildCentral Mountains (11 per cent) Includes Mount CarmelNegev Highlands (4 per cent) Adam S. Montefiore is a wine industry insider turned wine writer. He is the wine writer for the Jerusalem Post, a partner in the Israel Wine Experience and CEO of Adam Montefiore Wine Consultancy. He has been referred to as ‘the English voice of Israeli wines.’ He is the author of The Wine Route of Israel and contributes to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book & Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine. He is a member of The Circle of Wine Writers.Some other useful links on the topic https://www.winesofisrael.com/ https://adammontefiore.com/https://winesisrael.com/en/homepage-mobile/
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    Discussing Micro-Oxygenation in winemaking myths and usage with Professor Clark Smith


    Micro-oxygenation, or Mox to its mates, is a controlled, periodically continuous addition of tiny amounts of oxygen to the wine, usually red.Forget the new world being leaders in technical winemaking innovation. Mox was devised in 1991 by Patrick Ducournau, of Domaine Mouréou in Madiran, as a way of softening the tannins of his home grape variety Tannant which has legendary tannins.Benefits include the stabilisation of colour, the building up and softening of structure and the lessening of stinky, reductive notes. It’s now widely used across the winemaking globe, on tannic grape varieties. Mox and pinot noir are unlikely ever to be best buddies.Since Micro-Oxygenation increases the wine’s reductive capacity, it does not reduce ageing time and is not useful for promoting the early release. After the structure is built, if the wine is sent immediately to barrels, frequent racking’s may be necessary to prevent the wine from becoming closed and hard. My guest Clark Smith, has been working, researching, and studying the use of Micro-Oxygenation in wines since 1997.We go through some of the myths about Micro-oxygenation and we discuss how most winemakers only use it to stabilise colour and speed up the bottling times but in truth Micro-oxygenation applied at a specific stage can help with the structure of wines tannins.Remember to hit the subscribe button, and if you find this Podcast gives you valuable information’s give us a review and tell your friends!If you are enjoying the podcast you can donate on Mattia Scarpazza.comYou can find Looking into wines on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and every major listening app We would love you hear from you! Reach us on: Instagram Lookingintowine Twitter Mattia Scarpazza Mail [email protected]
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    Producer profile: Chene Bleu with owner Nicole Rolet


    In this episode, I talk to Nicole Rolet the co-owner of Chêne Bleu, who has to put Chêne Bleu on the global wine map in just over two decades. Blessed with a convergence of natural factors, Chêne Bleu has the benefit of an exceptional location, multifaceted geology, and a southern Rhône climate with soils more typical of the northern Rhône. Isolated and protected, high in a mountain saddle, Chêne Bleu has its provenance in a unique, four-corner borderland of the department Gigondas, Cotes du Ventoux, Côtes du Rhône and Séguret come together Nicole explains why they felt that it was right for them to not be part of those appellations. The story of Chêne Bleu begins with Xavier Rolet, a Frenchman who has made a big mark in the world of finance. In 1993, he came upon a run-down estate in the South of France. The property was so dilapidated and overgrown, that no one had expressed interest in it for 20 years. His first offer was accepted, and he went to work.In the episode, we explore how the Nicole and Xavier Background has to help to shape the success of Chêne Bleu, their long term vision and having the wit to collaborate earlier on with some of the most important wine specialists in the world. What are the principles of Biodynamic are used at Chene Bleu and what lay ahead for the estate?Remember to Subscribe and leave a Review! We would love you hear from you! Reach us on: Instagram lookingintowineTwitter Mattia ScarpazzaMail [email protected] Recording on studio-level: SquadCast https://squadcast.fm/?ref=mattiascarpazza
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    The values of old vines and creating its category with Sarah Abbot MW


    All over the world old vines get proudly mentioned on labels, in many languages. Such is the value everywhere accorded to old vineyards and the wines they produce.With my guest Sarah Abbot MW who run the Old Vine conference, we looked at what are the values of old vines and why we should care for them? Sarah aims to create a global category for Old Vine which has she say has been successful for South Africa in the last decadeHow does a vine actually achieve old age? This is not as straightforward a question as it seems, considering all of the physical, environmental, social, and economic forces working against agricultural permanence.First, avoiding certain pests and diseases is key. The root louse phylloxera is largely responsible for the lack of truly old vines around the world. But because it is unable to thrive in extremely sandy soils, some regions, such as eastern Washington or much of Chile, still have vines planted on their own roots. Another major debilitating factor is trunk disease. A handful of these plague viticulturists, but they all operate via the same mechanism: a malevolent fungus enters the vine, typically during or after pruning, reduces productivity, and eventually causes death. Because a vine receives a fresh set of pruning wounds every season, it naturally follows that older vines are more vulnerable. That said, some varieties are more resistant than othersIn many countries, less productive vines continue to be ripped out. They might be replaced by other higher-yielding varieties or entirely new crops. Even the most cherished historic plot may have to be grubbed up if it just does not produce enough fruit to be economically viable, given the labour costs associated with the extra attention they often require.Across the south of France in the 1990s and 2000s, foreigners snapped up lots of "unproductive" old vineyards. The old French growers were pleased to set up their retirement by selling plots that had been hard to work. The new owners generally had lower hopes for yield, and higher ones for bottle prices, and farmed accordingly.Perhaps surprisingly, it was possible in the mid 2000s to purchase some of those venerable Barossa parcels. But this was more due to a collapse in buying contracts from multinationals.In this episode, Sarah talks about what she aims to achieve with her conferences. We delve into the hurdles that a vine needs to overcome to get to old age and the Economic factors.Sarah also highlights research that shows how vines DNA mutate in their old age showing that they are adapting to their ‘Terroir’ making them vital to the diverse pool of vines and she doesn't fail to mention that many hectares of old vineyards are lost every year.For further information on the fascinating topic: https://www.oldvines.org/https://historicvineyardsociety.org/vineyardshttps://www.savetheold.com/https://oldvineproject.co.za/Reach us on:Instagram LookingintowineTwitter Mattia ScarpazzaMail [email protected] a comment if you are enjoying the podcast it helps with the growth and is always appreciated by us! Mattia
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    What is Smoke Taint and how does it affect wines with Anita Oberholster UC Davis California


    Welcome to the first episode of the second season of the Looking Into Wine Podcast, is so good to be back - Mattia Today’s guest is the Associate Specialist in Cooperative Extension in Enology for the University of California UC Davis Anita Oberholster. Today she is here to spotlight the incredibly growing concern that is Smoke taint. In recent years she has focused her attention on Smoke Taint leading field and laboratory research on the topic and working with international researchers to fight this catching problem. In 2020 alone a series of wildfires ravaged parts of Northern California, blanketing much of the West Coast with smoke. This came on the heels of major fire events during the previous three years that burned nearly 3.8 million acres in California alone. Meanwhile, Australia suffered devastating fires in 2019 and 2020 that affected Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. And this year 2021 fires are sprawling around the world from California to France and parts of southern Europe. As the wine world acclimates to changes in weather patterns, the term “fire season” has become akin to hail in Burgundy and bone-chilling winters in Germany. Like harvests ruined by cold, wet, and disease, harvests in fire riddled regions face unique challenges Smoke Taint – what it is and how it affects grapes and wine.Smoke taint is one such adulteration. When wildfires strike, the residue of the smoke can settle on grapevines, leaving a film of volatile phenolic compounds. Where many wines flavours are derived from grapes’ phenolics, these compounds are unwelcome intruders. And they infiltrate the grape skin, forming bonds with the sugars just inside the skins. These resulting molecules are called glycosides. The compounds in smoke primarily responsible for the taint are the free volatile phenols that are produced when the wood is burnt. These can be absorbed directly by grapes and can bind to grape sugars to give glycosides that have no smoky aroma. Often these glycosides are described as smoke taint precursors. During fermentation (and also over time in barrel or bottle) these glycosides can break apart, releasing the volatile phenols into the must or wine, and allowing the smoky flavour to be perceived. These glycosides can also release the volatile phenols in the mouth during the drinking of wine, which may contribute to the perception of smoke taint.As promised the here are the links to further readings: California UC Davis https://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/industry-info/viticulture-resources/wildfire-impact-ca-grapesAustralia Wine Institute https://www.awri.com.au/industry_support/winemaking_resources/smoke-taint/Remember to hit the follow the podcast and as always if you have found listening to this podcast valuable, leave a review! We would love you hear from you! Reach us on: Instagram lookingintowineTwitter Mattia ScarpazzaMail [email protected]
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    Insights on wine barrels, wood origins and technicalities with Mel Knox barrel broker


    Wine Barrels made from oak are among the oldest technologies used to produce wines.But where all the wood to produce all those barrels, what oak is good for Barrels, what do we do next? With my gest Mel Knox, an international semiretired wine barrel broker with over 40 years of experience in trading and researching wine barrels for winemaking sourcing some of the most esteemed tonnellerie/barrel-maker from France, we explore the ins and outs of this fascinating part of winemaking. There are hundreds of species of oak, all of which can be broadly separated into two categories, red and white. The red oaks are porous and cannot, therefore, be relied upon for watertight cooperage. For wine three sorts of white oak are most important, one American and two European Quercus sessiliflora and Quercus robur, Mel Says, Oak can be divided into two types, red oak--it leaks-- and white oak, which is used for barrels. White oak is found 1/in the area roughly defined by east of the great plains, south of Canada, north of Mexico and Florida, and the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a bit of Oregon oak found...mostly in western Oregon and Washington,Also, he adds’ You have different barrel approaches for different varieties. With Pinot, you are trying to beef up the wine whereas with cabernet you are trying to tame the wine. What is done after the right oak plant to make a barrel is chosen? What can affect the resulting style of wine? What are the risks? I went maybe ten years without selling anything but 60 gallon and smaller sized barrels. Now larger barrels and tanks are more popular. But it's still a small part of the business. He also adds on the show how he was working with Robert Mondavi and how he asked to untoasted barrels and used vapour instead that was the first winery to ever do that. Did you know that oak also contains TCA or Cork Taint? Mel uses high traceability systems to ensure that everything is monitored from source to client. We also hear about Mel story of sourcing some of the wines for the famous Judgement of Paris and he pays tribute to the late Steven Spurriel Some other useful links on the topic http://www.knoxbarrels.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCrkmyQtQIM&t=1sThe following are affiliate links, it costs you nothing to use them but I get a small percentage when you buy something, so thanks!What I use to make the podcast: Audio Interface: Zoom H6 https://amzn.to/3qnz7Ht Microphone: Shure SM58 https://amzn.to/3bcfbACBoom Arm Mic Stand with Pop Filter: ShureSM7B https://amzn.to/3tWlMYROnline Recording on studio-level: SquadCast https://squadcast.fm/?ref=mattiascarpazza
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    Santa Cruz Mountains AVA wines spotlight with viticulturist Prudy Foxx


    Recognized as an AVA in 1981, Santa Cruz Mountains was the first California appellation to be defined by its mountain topography.As the name suggests, Santa Cruz Mountains is a mountainous AVA that sits between Monterey Bay and San Francisco. The rugged terroir in the mountains can be extremely difficult for vignerons, but those who persevere are rewarded with some of California's most celebrated wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon. The winegrowing community comprises nearly 300 small growers and wineries, the region is planted to approximately 1300 acres of wine grapes, divided evenly among Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and “Other Varietals” (most notably Merlot and Zinfandel).Small vineyard surrounded by Redwood trees and native chaparral, growing atop an ancient seabed overlooking the Pacific Ocean. These growing conditions give the wines a distinct regional identity, characterized by fresh flavours and bright fruit.Individual and site-specific mesoclimate is an important part of the terroir here. Vineyards planted on western slopes feel the cooling effects of strong winds from the Pacific Ocean. Further inland, vineyards planted on east-facing slopes get some protection from the ocean and are therefore much warmer.With today’s guest Prudy Foxx, the leading viticulturist of Santa Cruz Mountain, how has been working in the region for the last 25 years we discussed this region in details, what decisions are important to consider when planning vines on the Mountains, what are the exciting new developments, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are taking the heart of Prudy in the vineyards of the south of SCM and we talked how in the recent years more investments are coming on the mountains from producers from all over California.Some other useful links on the topic https://winesofthesantacruzmountains.com/https://santacruzmountains.com/wineries/https://foxxviticulture.com/https://wineinstitute.org/The following are affiliate links, it costs you nothing to use them but I get a small percentage when you buy something, so thanks!Audio Interface: Zoom H6 https://amzn.to/3qnz7Ht Microphone: Shure SM58 https://amzn.to/3bcfbACBoom Arm Mic Stand with Pop Filter: ShureSM7B https://amzn.to/3tWlMYROnline Recording on studio-level: SquadCast https://squadcast.fm/?ref=mattiascarpazzaWe Love hearing from you, get in touch on:Instagram Mattia.lookingintowineTwitter Mattia ScarpazzaMail [email protected]
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    Beyond fortified, exploring the dry wines of Portugal with author Richard Mayson


    A transformation has been taking place in the vineyards and wineries of Portugal during the last twenty years, bringing hundreds of new wines onto the international market.Indigenous grape varieties that were once obscure are now becoming mainstream. Thought of as a country that produced mainly red wine, Portugal is now proving that it has producers capable of making world-class white wines while tapping into its long history for the production of wines.With my guest, Richard Mayson, author of The Wines of Portugal, we spotlighted where and how those changes are taking place, most important change for many regions has been moving from Co-operative based production to private ownership of wineries as Richard explains.He expertly divided the country into four broad areas: Atlantic Wines, Mountain Wines, Wines of the Plains and Wines of the Island. Portugal's temperate, predominantly maritime climate has a great deal to offer winemakers. And there is significant variation nonetheless between its mountains, river valleys, sandy littoral plains and limestone-rich coastal hills.We explored those areas and what are the key changes that are taking places and what it is that one should know about them. We also explored the ancient Vinho de Talha and what are the category Encruzado and Garrafeira and more.Remember to hit the follow the podcast and as always if you have found listening to this podcast valuable, leave a review! The following are affiliate links, it costs you nothing to use them but I get a small percentage when you buy something, so thanks!The wines of Portugal, By Richard Mayson - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1999619315/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=mattiascarpaz-21&creative=6738&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1999619315&linkId=599cebffa5d909969186e44fa987133fAudio Interface: Zoom H6 https://amzn.to/3qnz7Ht Microphone: Shure SM58 https://amzn.to/3bcfbACBoom Arm Mic Stand with Pop Filter: ShureSM7B https://amzn.to/3tWlMYROnline Recording on studio-level: SquadCast https://squadcast.fm/?ref=mattiascarpazzaWe would love you hear from you! Reach us on: Instagram Mattia_lookingintowineTwitter Mattia ScarpazzaMail [email protected]
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    Spotlight on Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene with Sarah Abbott MW


    The historical area between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in Veneto, has been promoted to Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene to DOCG in 2010.After a decade on the making, Valdobbiadene is setting itself apart from the wider Prosecco Doc produced in Both Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The Conegliano Valdobbiadene has many factors that are unique to the region for one there is increasing interest in the Valdobbiadene terroir and landscape, awarded Unesco World Heritage status in 2019. In this episode with Sarah Abbot Master of Wine, we define what they are, with a great interest on the soils and hills. In another innovation, for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, changes to the regulations in 2019 now allow for a new style of extra brutAlso, we talked about the innovations, such as Classic Method and Prosecco col Fondo and the ban of Glyphosate pesticide usage in the region and Sarah thoroughly explains the rather convoluted labelling system - Lastly, I asked to Sarah what else is she seeing happening in the region? Some other useful links on the topic https://www.valdobbiadene.com/?lang=enhttps://www.decanter.com/wine-news/prosecco-consorzio-launches-superiore-afternoon-campaign-411420/https://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-conegliano+valdobbiadene+proseccoSwirl Wine Group: https://swirlwinegroup.com/ The following are affiliate links, it costs you nothing to use them but I get a small percentage when you buy something, so thanks!Audio Interface: Zoom H6 https://amzn.to/3qnz7Ht Microphone: Shure SM58 https://amzn.to/3bcfbACBoom Arm Mic Stand with Pop Filter: ShureSM7B https://amzn.to/3tWlMYROnline Recording on studio-level: SquadCast https://squadcast.fm/?ref=mattiascarpazzaReach us on –Instagram Mattia.lookingintowineTwitter Mattia ScarpazzaMail [email protected]
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    Producer profile: Zorah wines in Armenia with founder Zorik Gharibian


    At the foothills of Biblical Mount Ararat, at altitudes between 1400 and 1600 meters above sea level and just a stone through from the world’s oldest winemaking facility Areni 1 cave.The vineyards of ZORAH can be found in the rural village of Rind in the heart of Vayots Dzor, Armenia’s classic winemaking region.Zorah aims to re-establish the long history of Armenia for wines and to bring the nation to the global market. It's not an easy task but thanks to some very clever choices the success is coming to their way. Armenia much like other countries has a few hundred varieties that are believed to the of local origin and Yeraz Gharibian, knew that working with those varieties would have been essential to the success of his wines.With today’s guests Yeraz Gharibian. we talked about why he decided to open his winery in Armenia, what are the difficulties that he encountered along the way. We spotlighted the wines Yeraz Wines produced at Zorah,Yeraz (dream in Armenian) is the dream for the revival of ancient wine culture and the rediscovery of forgotten places and lost native grapes. It is the dream for a passionate wine future and the creation of great wines from Armenia which will tell the story of this age-old land and it is the dream to trust in the potential of this incredible terroir with a sense of responsibility for future generations.High altitude viticulture the grapes for Yeraz come from ultra-centennial semi-abandoned bush vineyards ‘older than time’ at altitudes of 1600 meters (5250 feet) above sea level. Raw and remote, pure and authentic, these vines reflect the difficult history that has defined this land and the spirit of its people; resilient yet with great inner tenacity, they have somehow survived against all oddsKaras the ageing vessel of choice, the local Armenian Amphorae that typically are ¾ buried compared to those found in other countries, Zorik, explains why in the interview.Also explore the unique region of Vayots Dzor with its high altitude, and the Karas the Armenian Amphorae used for ageing and how he uses them. We also spotlighted, what other regions are producing wines in Armenia. Some other useful links on the topic https://www.zorahwines.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_wine The following are affiliate links, it costs you nothing to use them but I get a small percentage when you buy something, so thanks!What I use to make the podcast: Audio Interface: Zoom H6 https://amzn.to/3qnz7Ht Microphone: Shure SM58 https://amzn.to/3bcfbACBoom Arm Mic Stand with Pop Filter: ShureSM7B https://amzn.to/3tWlMYROnline Recording on studio-level: SquadCast https://squadcast.fm/?ref=mattiascarpazzaMake sure to connect with us on:Instagram Mattia.lookingintowineTwitter/LinkedinMattia Scarpazza

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