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Wine Blast with Susie and Peter

Wine Blast with Susie and Peter

Wine Blast is a wine podcast with a difference. Susie and Peter are married Masters of Wine and experienced broadcasters who bring wine to life with a smile via interviews with amazing people, provocative chat, food, tips, your questions, gentle bickering and a certain amount of over-sharing. (And yes, they're aware they really need to get out more...) This award-winning, chart-topping pod has been widely featured in international press including The Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Sun, Evening Standard, Radio Times, Decanter, Wine Folly and beyond. Reviews of Wine Blast say: 'Love these guys (almost as much as wine): educational, invigorating and damn funny too' - 'Relatable, entertaining, light-hearted' (Drinks Business) - 'Best wine podcast out there' - 'A complete tonic for the heart, mind and soul' (Drinks Network). Cheers!

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Light Strike: Wine's Not-So-Secret Scandal

Light strike is probably the biggest wine fault you've never heard of. Bigger than cork, bigger than oxidation or anything else.

That pretty-looking bottle of rosé perched on the bright supermarket shelf in a clear glass bottle? Probably knackered. If it's been exposed to light for a while, it may end up smelling of boiled cabbage, drains, or wet dog. At the very least, its character will almost certainly have been degraded from what its winemaker intended. And that's not what you're paying your hard-earned money for.

It's nothing less than daylight robbery. In this episode, we explain what light strike is, how fast it happens, and which wines are most at risk. We hear from experts, including the co-author of an illuminating recent research paper, and rage against the fact that the problem seems shockingly prevalent, but so little is being done.

We even carry out our very own applied research experiment (featuring bottles, funnels, argon gas and a blindfold) which gives unequivocal results. We call for wholesale change - from producers, distributors, retailers - and give clear advice on what we normal wine drinkers should do about all this (barricades, tyre burning and civil unrest are proposed...but not necessarily endorsed).

In this episode we hear from  Panagiotis Arapitsas, Deepika Koushik, Liz Gabay MW, Brad Greatrix and Tom Stevenson. Our thanks to them - and to you for tuning in. 

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more info, together with all details from this episode including on the wines, on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E14 - Light Strike: Wine's Not-So-Secret Scandal.

Instagram: @susieandpeter

2024-02-23
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Ancient Vines to the Rescue in St Mont

Deep in the wilds of south-west France there's a vineyard that was planted over 200 years ago with unknown vines that may hold the secret to fighting climate change.

Join us as we head (virtually) out to Gascony to peer into the mists of wine history and see what lessons it holds for the future. Olivier Bourdet-Pees of the dynamic Plaimont cooperative is our genial, beret-wearing guide, introducing us to grape varieties we've never heard of and explaining how this region has been reinvigorated after making some of, 'the worst wine in France 40 years ago'.

This episode is sponsored by AOC St Mont and features a number of wines including Plaimont's iconic Vignes Préphylloxeriques bottling. 

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more info, together with all details from this episode including on the wines, on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E13 - Ancient Vines to the Rescue in St Mont. Thanks for tuning in!

Instagram:

@susieandpeter

2024-02-09
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ORANGE WINE Part 2: Gimme Some Skin

So - orange wine. Is it any good? What qualifies a wine to be 'orange'? Does it sell? And who's going to win our argument about one particularly divisive orange wine?!

Dive into the controversial, topical and intriguing subject of orange wine with us as we chat with Sa?a Radikon of iconic orange wine producer Radikon (who gives us an exclusive revelation about a new project) and nautral wine guru Doug Wregg of Les Caves de Pyrene. We taste (and largely disagree about) orange wines from Mle?nik, Vagabond and Dario Prin?i?. Peter also gets very excited about his, 'lamb litmus test'.

This is the second and final episode in our epic two-parter on orange wine. You don't need to listen to the first episode to enjoy this one, they stand alone. But Episode 1 features Mateja Gravner and Simon Woolf, author of the brilliant book Amber Revolution (click here to get it at a 20% discount).

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below). All details from this episode, including full listings of all the wines featured in the show, are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E12 - ORANGE WINE Part 2: Gimme Some Skin. Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

Instagram:

@susieandpeter

2024-01-26
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ORANGE WINE Part 1: The Resurrection

'Please can you do an episode on orange wine?' pleaded listener David.

'It's not just hipster wine! These are some of the finest wines in the world...'

How could we resist?

Orange wine is topical, misunderstood, controversial...

It's also an intriguing story featuring a wine style lost in the mists of time being painstakingly resurrected by a handful of brave pioneers in the face of stiff opposition.

So we leap headlong into this arena, asking the all-important questions like: what even IS orange wine? Where did it come from? Why is it misunderstood and controversial? How does it relate to natural wine?

And ultimately: is orange wine actually any good?!

In this first instalment in a two-parter on orange wine, we talk to orange wine expert Simon Woolf, author of the brilliant book Amber Revolution: How the World Learned to Love Orange Wine. (On which we have a juicy discount code to share!)

We also hear from Mateja Gravner of the iconic Friuli-based orange wine producer Gravner. And we recommend a couple of good value orange wines:

Santa Tresa Insieme Orange 2022, SicilyBurja Estate Zelen 2022, Slovenia

 
Do also check out the second and concluding part of our orange wine 'fest' where we talk to natural and orange wine guru Doug Wregg of Les Caves de Pyrene, and renowned orange wine producer Sa?a Radikon. Plus we get into a fight over a particularly divisive orange wine...

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode, including full listings of all the wines featured in the show, are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E11 - ORANGE WINE Part 1: The Resurrection

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

2024-01-12
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A Southern French Feast

Wine. Food. Merriment. And a touch of southern French sun.

That just about sums up this episode.

We're exploring Occitanie - the sun-kissed southern French region that stretches from the western Rhone through Languedoc and Roussillon into South West France.

Taken as a whole, it's the world's largest vineyard and makes around 5% of global wine output.

In the past, these regions have been criticised for focusing on quantity over quality and being out of touch with the modern wine world.

But things have changed significantly in recent decades, as the vineyard has been drastically shrunk and successful producers have focused on quality, innovation, value, indigenous varieties and the future.

And that's not all this part of the world is known for. It also boasts a mighty fine gastronomic scene. 

So yes, you guessed it: we couldn't resist. 

In this episode we're serving up six dishes inspired by southern French ingredients: mushroom arancini, Mediterranean shellfish stew, cod with beurre blanc and winter ratatouille, Toulouse sausage casserole, duck shepherd's pie and Roquefort.

Then we find Occitanie wines to pair with those different dishes, neatly illustrating the diversity of the region in the process, from elegant sparkling wine to lusciously sweet Vin Doux Naturel via a brand new style of Picpoul de Pinet that we didn't know about.

Along the way we hear from expert Matthew Stubbs MW plus growers Jean-Claude Mas (Les Domaines Paul Mas) and Pauline Nadal (Domaine Nadal Hainaut).

Somehow we touch on manure, fried brians (yes, you read that right), Asterix, bootcamps, touchy-feely labels, wines with soul and a nitrogen generator.

Thanks to the Occitanie Region for sponsoring this podcast. 

Just a few of the wines we feature in this episode are:

Sieur d'Arques Crémant de Limoux Blason Rouge Brut NVRoc des Angles Llum 2022, Côtes CalanesLes Vignerons de Florensac Picpoul de Pinet Selection 2020Château Estanilles Vallongue rosé 2022, FaugèresCalmel & Joseph Les Terroirs La Fabrique 2021, Côtes du BrianClos d'Elpis Elpis Route 2021, Côtes CatalanesDomaine de Rancy Rivesaltes Ambré Vin Doux Naturel 1998


We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode, including full listings of all the wines featured in the show, are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E10 - A Southern French Feast

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

2023-12-29
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Our WINES OF THE YEAR (2023)

Our Wines of the Year format has grown into this riotous, rollicking rollercoaster of a show which we humbly offer up for your amusement and delectation.

This is no shopping list.

Nor is it a chest-beating exercise in showing off how #wineblessed we are.

This episode is the story of a year in wine: a celebration of special bottles and special times, set against the backdrop of news, views and a lot of laughter.

Featuring in this wine-soaked adventure are Dutch nuns, kiwis, Homer Simpson, talking corks, Susie in a balloon suit, gravy, Nigel the dog, a broom-brandishing Greek grandmother, Jesus and Peter's pants.

We discuss wine news including the latest wine fraud hoo-ha (and a new AI tool to fight wine fakery), why Bordeaux may be uprooting 10% of its vineyard, how major foreign investment is boosting English wine and the latest research offering the tantalising prospect of solving the mystery of red wine headaches.

Your listener feedback and questions get an airing, touching on English fizz, Portuguese wine, the dream of owning a vineyard in Italy, breathless Colorado winemaking - and what we do with our leftovers.

Wines featured range from an Essex Sauvignon Blanc to a Japanese Pinot Noir via an 'aromatised wine-based drink' that's considerably tastier than its official designation.

To cap it all we announce our BIG GONGS, which this year we've expanded to include Producer of the Year, Value Wine of the Year and, in the constant quest for ever more fun, Leftfield Wine of the Year.

Atop this particular tree, though, is just one wine: our Wine of the Year. What in the world could it be?!

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Phil Tuck MW, who loved nothing more than sharing great wines with friends. An inspiration to us all.

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode, including full listings of all the wines featured in the show and more (particularly the good value bottles) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E9 - Our Wines of the Year (2023)

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

2023-12-15
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Ukraine: Wine not War

Odessa Black.

It's the name of a (Ukranian) grape variety. But it could almost be code for the desperate times the people of Ukraine are living through.

In this episode, we explore the history and current context of Ukraine, hearing first-hand insights from Tania Olevska of the Ukrainian Wine Company and Svitlana Tsybak of the Beykush winery.

Despite the chaos and devastation in Ukraine, wine represents a point of hope, an expression of Ukrainian culture, terroir, identity and resilience.

Although what is Europe's second largest country has a long relationship with the vine, quality wine isn't one of Ukraine's most emblematic products. 

That started to change after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and since 2010 there has been a quality revolution as a new wave of craft winemakers captured the public attention.

Then came full-scale war with Russia in early 2022. 

But Ukraine's winemakers are refusing to be cowed. They soldier on, ministering to their vines as the relentless rhythms of winemaking insist they must. 

Despite the shells and rockets overhead. Despite the mortal peril that has already cost so many lives, including many from the wine community.

'We didn't pay money for our PR; we paid [with] the lives of Ukrainians for our PR,' says Tania, grimly.

And yet celebrating and savouring Ukraine's new wave wines is an act of joy, resistance and solidarity in its own right.

In this episode, we raise a glass for exactly this reason, and hear many an eye-opening, heart-warming story along the way.  Wines we recommend include:

Shabo Telti Kuruk Reserve 2022, OdessaBiologist Sukholimanskiy 2022, KyivBeykush Lerici Timorasso 2021, MikolaivKolonist Odessa Blanc 2021, Bessarabia

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E8 - Ukraine: Wine not War

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

2023-12-01
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The New Face of Languedoc

Languedoc is a wine region on the move.

Sure, it's a huge region with plenty of history, some of it troubled.

But there are things happening in Languedoc wine now that are innovative, surprising, intriguing and...well, delicious. 

In short, it's well worthy of our attention.

In this episode, sponsored by AOP Languedoc, we chat to writers Rupert Millar and Rosemary George MW, and we also hear from wine growers Benoît Bertrand (Domaine de Malavieille) and Jenia Vermillard (Domaine Ampelhus).

We hear of ambitious attempts to revive long lost grape varieties from the verge of extinction, and ingenious solutions to the challenges posed by climate change.

We explore the region's renown for good value in its wines, consider its historic ups and downs, and look to what the future might hold.

Along the way we somehow feature feather boas, Lithuania, a stray dog, the Romans, shrinking pains, finishing school, architecture, Assyrtiko, violins, agroforestry and ratatouille. 

Oh, and a love story.

And of course it wouldn't be a normal episode of Wine Blast if we didn't taste and recommend some brilliant wines. These beauties are all AOP Languedoc wines:

Chateau de Lascaux Garrigue Blanc 2021 Paul Mas Jardin de Roses Traviata 2022 Bergerie du Capucin Les 100 Pas du Berger Rouge 2020 Domaine de Roquemale Les Grés 2020 Domaine Ampelhus Languedoc Grés de Montpellier 2022 Clos des Nines L?Orée 2020 Domaine Les Aurelles Solen 2000 

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E7: The New Face of Languedoc

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

2023-11-17
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The Ten Wines Never to be Without

We're going full-on Moses mode in this episode, nailing down the ten wines you should always have at home.

Of course, personal taste plays a part. You want to have wines to hand you're going to reach for - which means your favourite styles.

But beyond that, it helps to have some expert insight into the bigger picture in order to always have delicious, affordable and useful wines when you need them.

Our primary objective is joyous everyday drinking.

But also: what works best with food, versatile wines to serve guests, give as gifts, wines that get better over time if you buy a few, ideal wines for those impromptu celebrations, wines for both summer and winter...we even introduce the notion of, 'emergency wine'.

So we define our top 10 'go-to' wine staples. We're aware this is potentially controversial territory. But we also hope it's helpful too.

Helping us out in this challenging task are the fine people at Waitrose, who are sponsoring this episode.

Waitrose do a fine line in wine and, as we focus on these indispensable wine categories, we've chosen individual wines from their range to illustrate our decisions.

When we originally ran this episode, Waitrose had a special offer on: 25% off when you buy 6 or more bottles from £6-100. For the sake of clarity, that offer has now expired (though they do tend to repeat these offers periodically).

But even at the non-discount prices, these wines still represent great quality and value.

So what are the ten wines never to be without? Tune in to find out... 

The wines featured in this episode are:

Hattingley Classic Reserve Brut NV, EnglandSaint Clair Wairau Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022, New ZealandBouchard Finlayson Crocodile?s Lair Chardonnay 2021, South AfricaLeitz Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Kabinett 2022, GermanyMuga Rioja Rosé 2022, SpainJoseph Drouhin Chorey-Les-Beaune 2020, FranceBaron de Ley Club Privado Rioja Reserva 2018, SpainTerre di Faiano Puglia Primitivo 2021, ItalyChateau Oumsiyat Mijana 2019, LebanonCrociani Vin Santo di Montepulciano 2017, ItalyFlorent Rouve Arbois Chardonnay 2020, FranceVal di Suga Brunello di Montalcino 2016, Italy

 We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E6: The Ten Wines Never to be Without

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

2023-11-03
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Ageing English Fizz - How, Why and What

English sparkling wine. We all know it's good.

But how well does it age?

And could this be the secret to unlocking even greater quality from what are already exciting wines?

We do our best to answer these questions and more with the help of several large glasses of very fine mature English fizz - and top winemakers Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix (Nyetimber) and Corinne Seely (Exton Park).

We also hear the views of Clément Pierlot, cellar master at Champagne Pommery and its English offshoot, Louis Pommery England.

We explore what makes an ageworthy sparkling wine (busting a few common myths along the way). And talk about how best to get ahead of the game...

We recommend some of the finest examples of mature English fizz we can get our hands on - from the likes of Nyetimber, Sugrue South Downs, Hattingley Valley, Breaky Bottom, Wiston, Exton Park, Chapel Down and The Grange.

Along the way we discuss magnums, lees ageing, dosage, vintage, variety, yields, storage, balance - and the value of patience.

What's more, Peter gets called 'Mr Humper Dumper' by Susie and shares one of his more insightful tasting notes, which simply reads: 'GIVE ME THE MAGS!'

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E5: Ageing English Fizz - How, Why and What

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - and cheers to you!

2023-10-26
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Ventoux: Next Century Wines

It's a wine region variously described as, 'dynamic', whose wines are undergoing a quality 'revolution', and memorably compared to South Africa's uber-cool Swartland.

It's also got a big old mountain on its picture postcard. Not to mention truffles galore.

This is Ventoux. 

And we want to take you on a journey of discovery, to meet the people, explore the places, get a feel for the wines...and generally understand why Ventoux is worth your time and attention.

The mountain, it turns out, is important. It makes this one of the coolest appellations in the southern Rhône, giving the wines freshness and vitality. Peter slogs (metaphorically) up to the peak to prove the point.

It also helps in the ongoing efforts to adapt to climate change.

As for the wines...we dive in, exploring the region's unique whites, rosés and reds, the latter constituting the majority of production. And we explore ways in which the wines are changing and evolving with the future in mind.

We ask why so many outsiders have gravitated to Ventoux, experimenting and collaborating along the way. And we explore the region's value-for-money credentials.

The discussion also touches on lycra, beetroot, Cinsault, wine as theatre, joy and butterflies. 

Oh, and did we mention truffles?

This episode is sponsored by AOC Ventoux. The following producers are featured:

Domaine du TixDomaine AymardMarrenonChateau UnangDomaine de FondrècheChêne BleuChateau PesquiéClos du Trias

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E4: Ventoux - Next Century Wines

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-10-13
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The Six BEST Wine Books

What are the wine books every wine lover should own?

We thought about it. We argued. We drank some wine. Argued some more...

And then we decided: let's go for it. No messing around: choose just the six BEST books every wine lover needs, whether enthusiastic newbie or jaded expert.

It wasn't easy. But this is the DEFINITIVE listing. A lot of thought and research went into this. Even some reading.

Along the way we came across some bits that stopped us in our tracks. Like Hitler's secret wine cellar, 'freak' wines, the link between a dentist's drill and the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold, fish finger sandwiches, some cheeky poetry, the 'one-night-stand' of wines...

And of course the quote about the salad and the sex toy ?

And that's from one of the most reputable voices in wine...

In this episode, we heroically save you from the drivel and point you firmly towards the stuff of dreams.

We choose the all-time six best wine books - plus six runners up (to make a full case of 12). With a few honourable mentions along the way.

We also reveal our pet hates about wine books - and question whether books have a future at all.

Perhaps, in your cheerful opinion, you believe we've got this list wrong. Maybe missed off the most life-changing publication EVER. Or you just fancy wading into the debate...

Either way: do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E3: The Six Best Wine Books

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

Wines tasted in this episode

Champagne G.H. Mumm Brut Millésimé 2015Côte-Rôtie 2011, Domaine BurgaudP&J Teulier Le Cros Marcillac Lo Sang del Païs 2021
2023-09-28
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Marlborough at 50: A wine story worthy of Hollywood

This is a tale of deception, daring, disaster...and deliverance.

It also features skinny sheep and wine robots.

It's the story of Marlborough, the iconic New Zealand wine region which is celebrating its 50th wine birthday, after vines were planted by Frank Yukich in August 1973.

Yukich had risked personal financial ruin getting to this point. 'Wines from here will become world famous!' he declared. 

Shortly after which most of the vines died from drought.

But no adventure story is without its supreme setbacks. And this story features everything from the Queen to gut-rot via shiny tractors.

On the wine front, it's sobering to think just how far Marlborough has come in 50 harvests, from a shaky start to sensational Sauvignon Blanc and much more besides. It's a region helping set the global agenda for the wine of the future - and a tribute to the imaginative, resilient Kiwi spirit.

This is a sponsored episode in collaboration with New Zealand Winegrowers. We taste and recommend the following wines from Marlborough:

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2022Brancott Estate Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2015Hans Herzog Zweigelt 2017Hans Herzog Spirit of Marlborough 2016Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2022Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2021Lawson's Dry Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2021Blank Canvas Reed Chardonnay 2022Villa Maria Seddon Pinot Gris 2020Wairau River Pinot Noir 2021

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E2: Marlborough at 50

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-09-15
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The John Malkovich EXCLUSIVE

'My wife suggested we make wine. I think in the hope of cutting down our wine bill...'

It's classic John Malkovich. The wit as dry as his aged Provençal Pinot Noir rosé (yes, you read that right).

In this epic episode, we get to know John Malkovich the famous actor of stage and screen - but also John Malkovich the fashion designer, the theatre director, and most importantly John Malkovich the wine producer.

This truly is a man for all seasons. But Malkovich seldom abides by convention - and his wine venture in the south of France, Les Quelles de La Coste, typifies this approach. He's planted atypical wine grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere - and (whisper it) Pinot Noir. He's even blending them together...

For the wine classicists, this is nothing short of vinous heresy.

So the big questions are: Is this just another cookie-cutter celeb wine project, or is it different? What are the wines actually like? Come to that, what's John Malkovich actually like?

Join us as we pose the tricky questions, hear from the man himself and give our verdict on the wines.

Along the way, John advises wine producers how best to launder money, defines what talent is, explains why he doesn't 'do' pride, identifies the greatest honour of his working life and tells a horror story of how he lost his 'spectacular' 2017 Cabernet.

We also touch on topics as diverse as the Marquis de Sade, fabric collecting, beer chugging, 'boom boom' wines, the importance of details, and how making wine can break your heart.

As the man says: 'I don't consider anything I do particularly provocative. It's just what I do. Which just seems to provoke people...'

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S5 E1: The John Malkovich EXCLUSIVE.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

Foot note: This episode, and the entire Season Five of Wine Blast, is dedicated to the memory of Phil Tuck MW.

2023-09-08
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LIVE Q&A - sulfites, party wines, climate change, top wine tourism tips and being pretentious

This bonus episode may be the last in the current season (4) but it's also a first - the first time we've ever recorded the pod in front of a live audience!

A lovely bunch of people came together in our home town of Winchester to drink a glass or two of fine Hampshire fizz and bombard us with searching questions, from which wines we'd recommend for a large and varied dinner party crowd to the implications of climate change for wine.

They even asked us what were the most pretentious wine descriptions we'd ever used. I mean, the cheek of it...

We also touched on issues ranging from 'sulfite-free' wine to no/low alcohol, our favourite Chardonnay and rosé, which are the best wine regions to visit, the rise of English wine, multi-vintage versus vintage sparkling wine - and what wines you should ALWAYS have at home.

In our introduction we also feature some recent listener feedback from a Napa wine grower questioning how he should explain terroir to visitors to a professor on how microbes (yeasts) can influence a wine's mouthfeel.

We also feature a plug for our sensational value charity sparkling wine - please click here if you'd like to buy a bottle or two of Hope & Glory to help us raise funds for the brilliant Marine Conservation Society.

As for the live Q&A format, we could get used to it. You have been warned. Wine Blast on Tour may be coming to a speakeasy near you soon...

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E25: LIVE Q&A (Winchester).

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-08-17
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The Microbial Face of Terroir

This episode opens by linking Oppenheimer, Covid-19 and wine - and proceeds to go big by focusing on the small stuff.

Microbes. The invisible world of yeasts, bacteria and beyond.

We're just starting to understand how important microbes are in terms of defining wine style and quality.

Sure, yeasts ferment grape sugars into alcohol. But they also do a whole lot more, as fascinating new research is revealing.

Previously, many definitions of 'terroir' (what might be defined as a wine's 'sense of place' or perhaps 'distinctiveness') were limited to the role of soil and climate. If you were lucky, human influence garnered a passing mention.

Now it's becoming clear that biology - and in particular microbiology - has more of a say in how a wine turns out than what was previously thought. Time for the textbooks to be re-written...

In this episode, we talk to world-leading researchers Professor Matthew Goddard and Ignacio Belda, to get to the heart of the latest thinking and science.

Turns out there is such a thing as, 'the microbial face of terroir' - even single vineyards have unique microbial signatures, and there's a proven percentage we can put to how much a wine's chemistry is influenced by that microbiome from the vineyard to the fermentation and beyond.

In short, wine is the product of invisible bugs as much as it is the product of human hand or climatic and geographical phenomena.

The implications are profound.

Not just regarding how we define terroir. But also in terms of how winegrowers should farm to protect their unique vineyard microbiomes, how winemakers should best manage their fermentations, even how we wine drinkers should appreciate our wines (while protecting our own human microbiomes - the two can work together!)

There's even talk of synthetic yeast being developed that can not only craft specific flavours in wine but also inform a winemaker when a fermentation needs to be checked...

This is a fascinating field of research, one currently reaching fever pitch right now, so we report on and discuss the latest findings, which will be sure to make you think about wine in a new light.

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E24: The Microbial Face of Terroir.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-08-07
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Germany's Pulling Power

Did you know that Germany is the third largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world?

Or that one in three Riesling vines in the world grow in German vineyards - and much of these are making dry, increasingly terroir-driven wines these days?

There's much that's surprising, or perhaps unexpected about German wine right now.

For long the sector under-performed - but a series of changes since the late 1980s (a process that's still ongoing, accelerated by climate change) has re-invigorated German wine, redefining its possibilities and forging a bright new future.

There's even talk of the wines being, 'sexy' and of, 'pulling power'...

All of which, plus the fact we're just back from Germany (and have had an intriguing listener question in), is the perfect excuse to explore German wine.

We hear from Master of Wine and German specialist Alison Flemming plus Stefan Doktor, MD of the world-famous Schloss Johannisberg. 

Along the way we talk terroir, global warming, food matching, GG and the rise of dry Riesling, why 'succulent' is such a good tasting term, PIWIs, and why a swimming pool was important for a 1964 Auslese...

Our thanks to Wines of Germany for sponsoring this episode and helping source some fantastic bottles for us to try and recommend. They are:

Frey Pinot Blanc 2021, RheinhessenMaximin Grunhaus Maximin Pinot Blanc 2021, MoselKlein Riesling S Trocken 2021, PfalzRobert Weil Kiedrich Turmberg Riesling Trocken 2021, RheingauPauly Lieser Niederberg Helden Kabinett 2021, MoselShelter Winery Spätburgunder 2020, Baden

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E23: Germany's Pulling Power.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-07-14
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The Mystery of Minerality

It's a wine word almost everyone uses - but no one really knows what it means, what causes it, or where it's come from.

It makes some people angry, it leaves others mystified - but some adore the term and can't get enough of it. 

Is this yet another example in wine of (as one listener calls it), 'superstition, witchcraft and myth' that is nothing more than, 'absolute b*llocks'?!

Welcome to the big 'minerality' mystery.

In this episode, we dare to dive headlong into the snakepit of confusion, ambiguity and downright mystery that is the notion of 'minerality' in wine.

But we're not alone. We've recruited the likes of sensory scientist Dr Heber Rodrigues and writer Meg Maker to enlighten us with the latest research and thinking on this intriguing topic.

We ask questions like: what makes a wine mineral? What do people mean by the term? Which wines in particular tend to show mineral characteristics? Is it a good or a bad thing? Is it a vineyard or winemaking phenomenon? 

Ultimately - should we get rid of it, or cherish it?

We taste two wines in order to put our own language under the microscope. There's an element of mud-slinging and mutual recrimination before we manage (more or less) to define what we mean by minerality.

We also give a final judgement on whether, in our view, minerality should be part of the wine lexicon or not. The result...may surprise you.

Wines tasted in this episode

UVC Chablis Premier Cru 2010, Esprit de Chablis, 12.5%Anhydrous Afoura Santorini Assyrtiko 2021, 14%

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E22: The Mystery of Minerality.

This episode is dedicated to Dr Wendy Parr, a leading light in the world of sensory perception and wine.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-06-30
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Portugal's Fine Wines: Here Be Treasures

We all know port. But there?s a whole universe of fine Portuguese table wine out just waiting to be explored. It?s far less known but certainly no less exciting?so we dive in.

Peter?s fired up after a recent trip to host a masterclass in Porto, where he tasted wines back to 1978 and recorded with a selection of Portugal?s top wine talent, from Dirk and Daniel Niepoort to Sandra Tavares, Luis Pato, Susana Esteban and Tomas Roquette.

Once back, he made sure to call in some special wines to taste and share on air, including the legendary Barca Velha, Portugal?s most famous red ? a wine that launched a thousand bottles? It?s not a wine you get to see very often, let alone taste, so this is a privileged insight.

Let?s not beat around the bush: this is a tasting featuring a healthy amount of disagreement. These are undoubtedly fine, characterful, often intriguing wines ? but they can (clearly) polarise opinion. We explore the reasons why.

Also featured in this episode are (sometimes anguished) listener feedback about our Santorini mini-series, the ?Porta 6 effect?, Maserati, roof-hoping, Javier Bardem, field blends, ozone, and a ?1,000 magnum. 

Peter gets a blind-wine challenge live on air ? and we also touch on how to lose ?10m with one word?

Wines tasted in this episode

Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2022, Bairrada, 13%Susana Esteban Procura Branco 2020, Alentejano, 13%Niepoort Redoma Branco 2021, Douro, 11.5%Meandro do Vale Meão 2020, Douro, 14%Mouchão Tonel 3-4 2013, Alentejo, 14.5%Barca Velha 2011, Douro, 14.5%

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website (link below).

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E21: Portugal's Fine Wines - Here Be Treasures.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-06-16
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No Schist Sherlock: How Wine Gets Rocks Wrong

?From virtually any soil a high-quality wine can be made. The use of geology to promote the quality of a wine is thus merely a marketing tool.? 

This is an episode that may ruffle a few feathers.

We speak to two wine-loving geologists, Professor Alex Maltman and Dr Geert-Jan Vis (the latter responsible for the quote above). Both of them raise serious questions about the line the wine world often endorses about how geology (think: limestone, schist, granite) influences wine.

Vis calls the notion that geology and soil influence wine style, ?romantic b*llocks?. Maltman says it?s, ?over-hyped? and writes, ?simply saying a wine comes from a particular rock doesn?t convey anything about what I might expect from a wine.?

And yet we regularly see wine literature talking about limestone or granite, Kimmeridgian or Jurassic (and so on) and linking this explicitly to wine quality and style.

And this isn?t even to get started on the topic of ?minerality? in wine?

So what gives? What?s really going on here? To what extent can geology and soil be seen to impact the vine and wine? Or, to flip it round, to what extent do experts think that the role of geology and soil is over-rated and misunderstood when it comes to wine?

It?s important to say we?re not being deliberately controversial or trying to undermine the concept of terroir (the notion that specific places produce wines with specific characteristics).

What we?re doing is asking questions and challenging a set of prevalent assumptions which we feel is?well?questionable.

We?re aware this episode might provoke debate so please feel free to get in touch. Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E20: No Schist Sherlock - How Wine Gets Rocks Wrong.

This is the first in a loosely-connected series of programmes in which we?ll tackle tricky or controversial issues in wine, from minerality to microbiology and yeasts. All with the aim of provoking informed debate, challenging questionable opinions and seeking clarity above all.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

Ps and if you don?t know what petrichor is ? we?ve got the answer?

2023-06-02
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Santorini - Wines to Save an Island

Santorini's future is in jeopardy. This ancient, famous island vineyard risks being lost beneath the tourism industry's bulldozers. So how can its wine community fight back?

By making exceptional, characterful, inimitable wines and selling them to the world, that's how.

In this episode (our 100th Wine Blast programme, appropriately enough!) we dive into what makes Santorini's wines as distinctive and unique as they undoubtedly are. From the steely, majestic dry Santorini Assyrtiko to the sumptuous vinsantos and all the curios in between, this is a vibrant wine scene that's only getting more diverse and quality-focused.

Taking in views form the younger generation as well as more experienced hands, we discuss eye-opening topics from how the minerality of Santorini wines is exacerbated by the salt blown in off the sea to why Burgundy might be growing Assyrtiko soon.

Along the way we touch on orange wine, flor, tasting an 1847 Santorini Assyrtiko, amphorae, alcohol, the future - and Peter somehow signs up for hard manual labour.

This episode is the second and final installment in a sponsored mini-series in collaboration with Wines of PDO Santorini.

All details from this episode are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E19 - Santorini: Wines to Save an Island.

Please do keep your comments and questions coming! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-05-19
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Santorini - Wine's Jurassic Park

Let's go on an adventure to a place variously described as, 'Like being shot to the moon with a glass of fine wine in your hand' and where, 'you basically have the personality of an active volcano in your glass.'

Santorini is arguably the ultimate wine destination - a windswept, arid, infertile outcrop of an island in the glittering Aegean Sea. Stunning - but bleak, and where the memory of one of the most violet volcanic eruptions in human history can not only be seen but also tasted in your glass.

Wine is one of the few crops to thrive here, albeit at the cost of back-breaking labour and marginal profitability due to tiny yields and regular setbacks. The island's historic sweet vinsantos have most likely been enjoyed for thousands of years - the dry whites made from the majestic, fierce Assyrtiko grape are astonishing symphonies of bracing acidity, steely structure and salty minerality.

These are true jewels in the wine world's crown. One producer speculates, with good reason, that Santorini, 'is the oldest vineyard on the planet.' Phylloxera-free, you see... Hence the Jurassic Park reference.

For Peter, Santorini Assyrtiko is the ultimate food wine, able to pair with everything from delicate oysters to rich lamb and beyond. No wonder one wine grower describes this place as, 'the Mecca of wine'.

But all is not well in wine paradise. Climate change batters the vineyard in the form of heatwaves and hail. Mass tourism threatens not only to overwhelm the island's infrastructure and drain the workforce but, more critically, erase vineyards permanently as land is sold to developers.

The result is that Santorini's vineyard has declined by a third between 2005 and 2022. 'Sometimes in Santorini it feels like we're forgotten by God' commented one local wine producer.

Now, though, the island's wine community is fighting back. In this first episode of a two-part mini-series in collaboration with Wines of PDO Santorini, we set the scene - taking in the island's intriguing history, exploring the bizarre vineyards, talking to key wine producers, and not shying away from the challenges the island's wine community faces.

As for how the wine producers are fighting to ensure wine's survival, we discover plans to declare the entire island's production organic - which would be the first ever entire PDO appellation to do such.

There's also a UNESCO application in the pipeline - and plans to raise prices in order to ensure the survival of the vineyard.

Don't miss the next and final episode in this mini-series, where we explore Santorini's fierce, remarkable grapes, wine and food - and look to the future, both in terms of challenges but also reasons to be hopeful.

All details from this episode (including photos of these unique kouloura basket vines) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E18 - Santorini: Wine's Jurassic Park.

Please do keep your comments and questions coming! Send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-05-05
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News & Views ? Re-Writing Wine?s Ancient History, Silly Money Wine, Drops of God & More

What wine news is worthy of your attention? How should you warm up your (fine) wines in an emergency? What wines are really worth paying silly money for? And which wines should we have loved...but didn't? 

These are just some of the questions we dive into in this Listener Q&A episode, where we respond to your brilliant comments, feedback and questions.

And we field one other question too: are we even married to each other?!

No spoilers here... Suffice it to say that along this particularly fun ride we touch on subjects as diverse as Japanese wine anime Drops of God, wildfires in Chile, Michel Roux Jr, marriage counselling, Cahors, Malcolm Gladwell, alternatives to Grange, our infamous 20-20 wine rule, re-writing wine's ancient history, Leonardo di Caprio - and 'pan-gate'.

We also ask that most critical of questions: are you a wine cuddler...or a wine microwaver?

All details from this episode (including the juicy photos and tweets we refer to in this episode) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E17 - News & Views 1.

Given this episode is all about your comments and questions, please do keep them coming! We'd love to hear your views on our subscription plans too. Do send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-04-21
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Ahead of the Curve with New Zealand Chardonnay

Chardonnay polarises people. But times change and this is a grape that's moved on - arguably nowhere more so than in New Zealand, which in recent years has started to deliver quality, diversity and great value in spades.

It's timely, too, given the supply shortages and booming prices of the wines from Chardonnay's motherland in Burgundy.

We're Chardonnay superfans and we've been licking our lips at how far and fast New Zealand Chardonnay has evolved lately. So it's exciting to hook up with New Zealand Winegrowers for this sponsored episode charting that dramatic evolution and exploring why there's more to the land of the long white cloud than Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

New Zealand wine superstars Michael Brajkovich MW (Kumeu River) and Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas give us the inside track, full of eye-opening insights and informed opinion. Including the following quote: 'I'm just gonna come out and say it: New Zealand Chardonnay can outclass Burgundy.'

There's a bit of geeking out about Chardonnay winemaking - from oak barrels to malolactic fermentation - all with the aim of better understanding this most shape-shifting of grape varieties, and why New Zealand is doing such a good job with it (clue: a cool climate is key).

We also dive into the fascinating topic of that much sought-after (and also misunderstood) character in Chardonnay sometimes referred to as, 'reductive', 'struck match', 'toasty' or 'flinty'. We wrestle with the vexed issue of how to refer to it and come up with an absurd but catchy alternative...

Along the way we touch on how the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle has impacted the country as well as vintage 2023. You can support by donating to the Cyclone Gabrielle wine relief funds or buying and drinking wines from the most affected areas like Hawke's Bay and Gisborne - which ties neatly into our theme given Chardonnay is the leading variety in both those regions.

Finally, we taste and recommend some favourite New Zealand Chardonnays including:

Wairau Cove Chardonnay 2021, GisborneEsk Valley Seabed Chardonnay 2019, Hawke's BayKumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2021, AucklandKumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2021, AucklandNeudorf Tiritiri Chardonnay 2019, NelsonBlank Canvas Reed Vineyard Chardonnay 2021, MarlboroughGreywacke Chardonnay 2019, Marlborough

All details from this episode (including further wine and producer recommendations) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E16 - Ahead of the Curve with New Zealand Chardonnay.

We'd love to hear from your views on this or any other wine issues - do send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-04-07
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The End of the Hangover?

Could it be true?! No more hangovers is a tantalising notion, a Holy Grail for many drinkers. But how could this happen, and what would it mean for the world of booze and wine?

Join us as we dive headlong into the enthralling world of hangover hacks (including at least one credible ?remedy?) and explore the new breed of so-called functional drinks, which promise to deliver the buzz of booze without the bad effects.

But do these functional drinks and hangover hacks actually work? We put our bodies on the line in the name of research ? and deliver our verdict.

Illuminating the subject is Professor David Nutt, an expert of global renown on the effects of alcohol on the brain who?s developing a novel synthetic alternative to alcohol (Alcarelle) as well as a range of functional botanical drinks (Sentia).

That said, he freely admits to enjoying a glass or two of full-bodied red at the weekend?and boldly identifies, ?the best way to minimise a hangover?. Gold dust!

?Alcohol is the ultimate social drug,? comments Nutt. ?But we can improve on alcohol??

During the course of this intriguing discussion, we consider the role and effects of adaptogens as well as the vital but largely unknown GABA neurotransmitter and how the GABA system might be crucial to the new wave of functional drinks.

Somehow we also manage to touch on horse-riding, space ships, drunken rats, expensive spas, the Nobel Prize, protozoa, hyper-glutamatergic state, the microbiome and whipping yourself with a birch branch in a sauna.

We?d love to hear your thoughts on this topic ? be it hangover remedies or your experiences with functional drinks. Give us a shout!

Here are the functional cocktails we taste in this episode:

Edi Spirited and tonicSentia SunLivener BelliniSentia Spice

All details from this episode (including further wine and producer recommendations) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E15 - The End of the Hangover?

We'd love to hear from your views on this or any other wine issues - do send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-03-24
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Australian Pinot Noir Comes of Age

Every wine lover craves great Pinot Noir. Burgundy is ever pricier and scarcer. So where to look?

Australia might not seem the obvious destination for Pinot Noir. It?s better known for hefty reds (think: Shiraz, Cabernet), historic styles like Hunter Semillon or its heroic ?stickies? (sweet and fortified like Rutherglen). 

And if there?s a Burgundian variety closely associated with Oz, it?s Chardonnay.

And yet?over the last few years, Ozzie Pinot Noir has come on leaps and bounds to capture the zeitgeist and become the grape everyone?s talking about. From Tasmania to Yarra, Mornington, Adelaide Hills and beyond, this is a grape helping re-define modern Australian wine and offering wine drinkers a glimpse of wine nirvana.

In this sponsored episode with Wine Australia, we talk to writer Matthew Jukes, grower Mac Forbes and sommelier Jane Lopes to tell the story of how and why Australian Pinot Noir has gone from zero to hero, and what the future holds. 

We talk terroir, regionality, climate change, sustainability, winemaking ? and tackle the elephant in the room, value for money. (There?s also mention of tomato throwing, UV, the Holy Grail, stomping, the God complex, DNA ? plus Susie admits she loves a wine more than Peter...)

As ever, we taste and recommend some favourites which capture the impressive diversity and sheer thrill of Ozzie Pinot Noir, including:

Heirloom Vineyards Pinot Noir 2021, Adelaide Hills, 13.5%Ben Haines 'Colour Block' Pinot Noir 2021, Yarra Valley, 11.5% JC?s Own Morialta Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020,  Adelaide Hills, 14.5%Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021, Yarra Valley, 13.5% Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021, Coal River Valley, Tasmania, 13.5%

This episode contains the memorable quote: 'Why fart around with Burgundy when you can buy this?!'

All details from this episode (including further wine and producer recommendations) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E14 - Australian Pinot Noir Comes of Age.

We'd love to hear from your views on this or any other wine issues - do send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you!

2023-03-10
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Wine and Your Microbiome - A Recipe for Health?

This podcast is GOOD FOR YOU! Don?t let anyone tell you otherwise...

In this mind-blowing episode we have an exclusive interview with the world-famous Professor Tim Spector, expert in the human microbiome - this population of friendly microbes that lives inside all of us and which acts almost like an extra organ, boosting our immune system, fighting disease and even influencing our mental health.

According to Spector, these microbes are so numerous and influential that we're all effectively, 'half human, half bug.'

Spector has studied how what we eat and drink influences our gut microbiome and thus our health - and the good news is that red wine drunk daily in moderation can definitely boost our microbiome in beneficial ways. Hallelujah!

So, it's a case of: Eat, Drink Red and Be Merry. But not too merry...

This is an episode not to miss! Other questions we explore include:

Why red wine is better for our health than white wine or other forms of boozeHow much is too much when it comes to wine and healthWhy we may need to re-think the concept of 'hazy' wine or decanting (to take wine off the sediment) given it's thought that even dead yeast cells can be good for us How fermentation is key to health benefits because it increases the complexity of polyphenols Why wine could be the source of the ultimate health drinkWhy drinking as many different red grape varieties as possible is a good idea because each will nourish different microbes, and diversity is key for healthWhy we need to take official government health advice (and those peddling supplements) with a pinch of saltHow people playing around with precision fermentation, microbes and other modern techniques will revolutionise wine and beer in the next few years


Along the way we talk natural wine, polyphenols, wild ferments, sweet spots, long lunches, hangovers and Big Ben. As ever, we find time to enjoy and recommend a few bottles of wine (and benefit our microbiome while doing so). In this episode we have:

Clos Basté Madiran 2019, FranceChâteau Montus Madiran 2016, FrancePlaimont L'Empreinte de Saint Mont rouge 2018, FranceCatena High Mountain Vines Malbec 2017, Argentina


All details from this episode (including links we mentioned) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E13: Wine and Your Microbiome - A Recipe for Health?

We'd love to hear from your views on this or any other wine issues - do send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can get in touch via our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you! 

2023-02-24
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The New Beaujolais

Stuff is going down in Beaujolais.

Natural wine is a hot trend. Beaujolais Nouveau is re-inventing itself. The top sites have never made better wine. A new generation is revitalising the scene. Geological research has revealed eye-opening results. And growers aren't afraid to throw caution to the wind (Côte Rôtie barrels and Sciacarello anyone?!)

Phew.

It's also newsworthy: the region is submitting its first ever application for the top sites to be designated Premier Cru, the highly-prized status afforded only to some of the finest vineyards in Burgundy.

We get the low-down on all of this courtesy of dogged investigative work (yes...we do include drinking wine under that heading...) as well as interviews with leading growers Grégoire Hoppenot and Xavier Thivolle plus Caroline Santoyo of Inter Beaujolais and David Roberts MW of Goedhuis & Co.

We also throw in some factoids. For example, did you know that until World War II, a bottle of good Moulin-à-Vent Beaujolais cost the same as a bottle of Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru?! Or that Beaujolais is considered to be one of the original heartlands of natural wine, home to a 'viticultural prophet'?

This is a sponsored episode with Inter Beaujolais - it's a topic we've been longing to cover for a while so fantastic to have an opportunity to catch up with the latest from what is a dynamic and multi-faceted region.

Topics under discussion include Gamay, gobelet, Beaujolais as an alternative to ever-pricier Côte d'Or Burgundy, lieux-dits, The Last of Us, pink granite, the ten famous Beaujolais 'crus' and carbonic maceration.

And after all that we're in need of refreshment so taste and recommend a selection of truly outstanding Beaujolais wines (details in full show notes), including:

Les 3 Madones Beaujolais-Villages 2021, Cave du Château des Loges GAM Beaujolais-Villages 2021, Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon Fleurie Roche Guillon 2019, Domaine de Fa Morgon Côte du Py 2020, Jean-Marc BurgaudFleurie 2021, Julien SunierMorgon Eponym 2021, Jean Foillard

All details from this episode (including links we mentioned) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E12 - The New Beaujolais.

We'd love to hear from your views on this or any other wine issues - do send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's to the joy of wine - cheers to you! 

2023-02-10
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Burgundy - The Tipping Point?

Has Burgundy gone bonkers?!

Off the back of a nightmare 2021 season, wines are in shorter supply than ever - so prices have gone through the roof.

Again.

The wines are unquestionably good. That's what Burgundy does. But as the region's wines gradually become ever-more scarce and atypical - and ever-less affordable - how long will wine lovers stick with Burgundy? Will we look back in 20 years and say: that was the tipping point when Burgundy finally lost touch with reality?!

These are just some of the no-nonsense questions we're posing in this fresh take on an archetypal wine region where bucolic tradition is increasingly on a collision course with fast-moving  reality. 

We explore the 2021 vintage as a springboard to discussing the bigger picture in Burgundy - in which climate change looms large, as does the issue of pricing (with a bit of mysterious vine death along the way). Stardust gets a mention.

As for the wines - will we see Chardonnay being replaced by the likes of Savagnin, and Pinot Noir being supplanted by Gamay, Syrah, or even Nebbiolo.?!

We grill Burgundy experts David Roberts MW (Goedhuis) and Jason Haynes (Flint Wines), as well as growers Florent Rouve and Caroline Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin-Laroze in Gevrey-Chambertin.

What's more, we give our verdict on the 2021 wines and give some top tips both from that vintage and more general (but still delicious) drinking Burgundy we've discovered lately. (Also some ideas on alternatives to Burgundy.) You can find a full list of our recommendations in both these categories on our website (link below) - meantime the highlights we recommend in the pod are:

White: Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Viré-Clessé 2021 (c£28 per bottle, J&B): nutty, gorgeous whiteRed: Jean-Pierre et Vincent Charton Bourgogne Rouge Champ de Perdrix 2021 (c £19-20, Goedhuis): more funky natural style but sappy and savoury, grippy, perfumedRed: Drouhin Laroze Gevrey Chambertin Dix Climats 2021 (£58 per bottle, J&B): splashing out, but beautifully fragrant and classic red Burgundy

General drinking Burgundy

White: Lequin-Colin Bourgogne Chardonnay 2020 (£19.50, Stone Vine & Sun)Red: Domaine Vaudoisey Bourgogne Rouge 2020 (£19.25, Private Cellar)Red: Sylvain Pataille Marsannay Rouge 2018 (£23.50, Wine Society) OR Domaine Derey Freres Marsannay Champs Perdrix 2018 (£23.50, Lea & Sandeman)

All details from this episode (including links we mentioned) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E11 - Burgundy: The Tipping Point?

We'd love to hear from your views on this or any other wine issues - do send us a voice message via Speakpipe or you can find more details to get in touch on our website.

Thanks for joining us - here's to the joys of wine, and cheers to you! 

2023-01-27
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How To Be a Better Wine Lover

Self-improvement - via a wine glass. With a side helping of 'vinous Kama Sutra'. 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves...

In our last episode we explored what we wine lovers want from the year ahead. In this programme we flip the camera round and take a look how we can be better wine lovers.

Suggestions like 'drink better' inevitably crop up. But so do more thought-provoking tips such as, 'Pair food with wine, not the reverse,' 'Give a bottle of wine that we love to someone who isn?t expecting it,' and 'Listen. Encourage. Celebrate.'

Supporting climate action is high on the agenda. 'Drink only wines from sustainable farming,' is one view, another is: 'Take a stand against wine in overly heavy bottles!'

Firm opinions are expressed on everything from shopping local to keeping an open mind (to other people's views as well as to unfamiliar wine styles), trusting your own palate, being humble, supporting small producers and retailers, pouring Pinot Gris down the sink, giving new things a go - and putting wine on the table not a pedestal.

In short, this is a largely heart-warming, occasionally challenging, certainly thought-provoking episode that will hopefully get us thinking about what it is to be a wine lover, and how we can each get the most out of this glorious liquid. 

Into this engaging mix are thrown the usual hodge-podge of random elements, from lobster mac'n'cheese to 'Naked on Roller-Skates' and artificial intelligence holding forth on 'wine tasting in the style of the Kama Sutra'. You've been warned.

We pair this zesty wine chat with a couple of special bottles to tie in with the discussion:

Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 2009, Martinborough, New ZealandRidgeview Sparkling Red Pinot Noir NV, Sussex, EnglandBride Valley Pinot Noir 2018, Dorset, England

Thanks to wine writer Libby Brodie, Master of Wine Peter McCombie and Master Sommelier Gearoid Devaney - as well as a host of wine lovers all around the world - for sharing their views for this episode.

All details from this episode (including links we mentioned) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E10 - How To Be a Better Wine Lover.

We'd love to hear from your views on this or any other wine issues - do get in touch via Instagram or Twitter. Or you can star on the show - send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Thanks for joining us - here's to the joys of wine, and cheers to you!

2023-01-20
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The Year Ahead: A Wine Lover's Wish List

So what do we all want from wine in the year ahead? What's top of our wish list for wine in 2023?

For some it's drinking better (or simply more) wine. If possible, for less money.

Others are hoping Pinot Noir proves to be a miracle cure and will be prescribed by doctors...

More realistically, combating climate change, responsible political engagement with wine and an end to the war in Ukraine inevitably feature.

And what of no-alcohol wine? The rise of organic and biodynamic viticulture? The quest for fresher wines, with moderate alcohol? Greater diversity and inclusivity in wine? Wine in cans? The growth of English wine? A return to travel? Wines with 'added value' (and less marketing nonsense)? And supporting independent wine merchants?

In this frank, opinionated episode, we take in a whole host of views from around the world and also hear from Master Sommelier Gearoid Devaney, wine writer Libby Brodie and Master of Wine Peter McCombie, among others.

Somehow, we also touch on poor taste in jumpers, serendipity, Damp January, the wine fountain of Irache, undies and their openings - and algorithms.

This episode paves the way for the subsequent programme entitled: How to Be a Better Wine Lover.

All details from this episode (including links we mentioned) are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E9 - The Year Ahead: A Wine Lover's Wish List

We'd love to hear what you want from the year ahead, or how to be a better wine lover (or indeed to receive any pics of 'cool' wine jumpers) - do get in touch via Instagram or Twitter. Or you can star on the show - send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Either way, thanks for joining us - and cheers to you!

2023-01-13
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Selling Net Zero Wine - Pipe Dream or In The Pipeline?

Wine is good. We want a good future for wine - and the planet. But wine has been described on this pod as, 'the villain in the climate story.' So what gives - and how to turn this around?

One UK wine retailer has sent out a rallying cry - aiming to be carbon neutral by 2024 and net zero across its entire business by 2040.  This retailer wants, ?to be the most sustainable, ethical and responsible wine retailer in the world.? 

These are big aims - and they belong to The Wine Society. So Peter, ever wary of greenwashing and over-hype, heads over to their HQ in Stevenage to poke around behind the scenes and ask the hard questions like: how on earth can this be done, what are the key challenges to overcome, how much will it cost, will the wines change as a result, and what even is a 'sustainability scorecard'?

Along the way we talk insetting (as opposed to offsetting), right-weighting, the demonisation of plastic, solar power, heavy bottles and saying goodbye to capsules.

Even forklifts, sweet shops, Mars, bees, alpacas, Elon Musk, leftover wine and lunch get a mention. That, and growing wine in a greenhouse in space...

The world around us is changing - wine included. This glimpse into a potentially brighter future of course comes with the usual side-order of wine, as we recommend some delicious drops from sustainable producers stocked by The Wine Society, including the following:

Lubanzi Chenin Blanc 2021, Swartland, South Africa (£3.95 per 250 ml can)Dog Point Chardonnay 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand (£22.50)Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas 2018, Paso Robles, USA (£20)

All details from this episode, together with photos to help set the scene, are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E8 - Selling Net Zero Wine: Pipe Dream or In The Pipeline?

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch via Instagram or Twitter. Or you can star on the show - send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Either way, thanks for joining us - and cheers to you!

2022-12-22
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Matching Food and Wine: The ULTIMATE BURGER

We're not kidding. This is the ULTIMATE burger. Especially if you're a wine lover...

Yes we've got the patty and the brioche bun. So far so straightforward. But the killer ingredients? A tawny port reduction ('wino's ketchup'). Blue cheese. Umami paste.

And to top it all off? Truffle mustard mayo.

So yes, in this fun episode we attempt to answer that HUGE question: what wine to drink with your burger?!

After much research, thought and drinking of wine, Susie was inspired to create this recipe - the Umami Bomb. A burger designed specifically to appeal to wine lovers.

We then set to work - the first challenge is eating the burger while talking (not straightforward). But of course the point of the exercise is to explain what wines work best with the burger and why - featuring some delicious bottles along the way.

This was a fascinating and fun episode to put together, we hope you enjoy it.

Wines featured in this episode:

Definition Lodi Zinfandel 2019, California, USA, 14% (from £6.99)Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 14.5% (from £17.99)Piekenierskloof Heirloom Red 2020, Swartland, South Africa, 14.5% (from £19.99 or as part of the Grand Tour Wine Club case)

This episode is part of our food-and-wine matching mini-series brought to you in association with Wine Club by Majestic. The wines featured are all available in Majestic.

This short-form Live episode is also available in video format so if you'd like to see us in action, check out our YouTube channel: Susie & Peter On Wine.

The recipe for our Umami Bomb burger is available, together with all links, photos, wines and more details from the show, on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E7 - Matching Food and Wine: The ULTIMATE Burger!

Let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

2022-12-09
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Our WINE(S) OF THE YEAR!

WOTY?! Don't mind if we do... Welcome to our TASTIEST show of the year (and that's saying something!)

In 2022 we're focusing on value to give you some ideas of delicious but affordable wines to suit the season's revelry.

No spoilers but we've got wines from France, Spain, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, USA, New Zealand - even Austria and England. (We did start off with just one Wine of the Year but couldn't help ourselves throwing a few more outstanding wines into the mix...)

Dive in to find out what we've chosen! But this show isn't just about wine recommendations. This year we're featuring some of your (often funny, always thought-provoking) feedback and questions.

We touch on whether Wine Blast sends babies to sleep, how a champagne-Sauternes cocktail is better than paracetamol, why a storage fire inspired better drinking habits, how we saved a listener's wine treasures, what ISN'T hipster wine and whether or not it's a good idea to let wines breathe.

Not only that, but we discover - via a listener's brilliant question about what constitutes a 'silly money' wine - an entire Wine Blast episode that was never aired because.....we forgot all about it.

We blame the wine.

In the midst of all this chaos, Susie touches on the importance of ageing disgracefully, Peter talks tasting with giraffes, we weigh up an alternative career as agony aunts and somehow find time to recommend everything from a value cremant to a red that's like 'aged claret on speed'. There's even the odd magnum in the mix. As well as sherry. There's always sherry.

Looking ahead, we'd love to hear your thoughts on subjects to tackle in our inimitable style in 2023 - so do get in touch! Let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

All links, photos, wines and more details can be found on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E6 - Our WINE(S) OF THE YEAR 2022! Thanks again for tuning in and joining us this year.

2022-12-02
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Matching Food and Wine: Fish Pie!

This is not just any old fish pie. This is LUXURY fish pie. And we've got some properly luxuriant wines to match...

There's nothing worse than a dry, eggy, potato-drenched fish pie. Our version uses smoked fish, chunky prawns, mustard, cream and cheddar - so we need some seriously high octane wines.

No sense fooling around: this is rich white wine territory. One of our favourite styles of all. We choose two classic grape varieties that work really well across a range of styles - Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc - including a skin contact white (is it an orange wine?!) plus a leftfield white Cinsault just for fun.

We've pushed the boat out with the wines because this is a treat of a dish (a good option around Christmas time too, for what it's worth). Enjoy!

Wines featured in this episode:

Thorne & Daughters Menagerie Chardonnay 2020, South Africa (from £19.99)Rijckaert F Rouve Saint Veran Haute Cuvee 2020, France (from £16.99)Bruce Jack Ghost in the Machine Skin Contact Chenin Blanc 2022, South Africa (from £12.99)Stellenrust The Apprentice White Cinsault 2020, South Africa (from £18.99)

This episode is part of our food-and-wine matching mini-series brought to you in association with Wine Club by Majestic. The wines featured are all available in Majestic.

This short-form Live episode is also available in video format so if you'd like to see us in action, check out our YouTube channel: Susie & Peter On Wine.

The recipe for our smoky fish pie is available, together with all links, photos, wines and more details from the show, on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E5 - Matching Food and Wine: Fish Pie!

Let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

2022-11-25
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Red Dawn: English Wine and Climate Change

A new report predicts climate change will see English red wine becoming the norm rather than the exception as part of a global shift that will upend the world's wine map as we know it.

It's a tough one to get your head around.

On the one hand, these are exciting times for English winemakers.

On the other, climate change represents an existential threat to humanity. Plus, although rising temperatures making wine more viable and diverse in the UK, climate change is also bringing unpredictability, extreme events, and new pests and diseases, among many other challenges.

It's also proving a major threat to existing wine regions, especially warmer, drier ones.

In this bumper episode, we cross-examine the report's author, viti-climatologist Dr Alistair Nesbitt, in a fascinating interview.

We then follow up with some uncompromising views from the vineyard courtesy of Gusbourne's Charlie Holland, Balfour's Fergus Elias, Tillingham's Ben Walgate and Adrian Pike of Westwell.

We keep things chipper and upbeat as we discuss the everything from climate change to the torrid 2022 vintage, the prospect of 'great English Riesling', rosé, the future of appellations (and the controversial Sussex PDO), wine in Scotland, qvevri...and of course the thorny issue of price.

Along the way we somehow manage to turn the episode into an extended movie pitch for various concepts, from a wino's Dr Who to a Riesling Show-Down and even a 'wild western'. It's....refreshingly different (and all makes sense once you listen).

Click here to link through to Dr Alistair Nesbitt's paper: Climate change projections for UK viticulture to 2040: a focus on improving suitability for Pinot Noir

All details from this episode, together with photos to help set the scene, are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E4 - Red Dawn: English Wine and Climate Change.

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch via Instagram or Twitter. Or you can star on the show - send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Either way, thanks for popping in. This show is for everyone. Cheers to you!

2022-11-11
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Matching Food and Wine: Spaghetti Bolognese!

It's a mid-week classic. But the BIG question is: what wines work best to make your spag bol taste like MAGIC?!

We tackle this weighty issue like the true gannets we are, featuring some delicious Italian reds (Montepulciano + Valpolicella Ripasso) as well as more quirky pairings, from a South African Syrah to a Chilean Pais. 

All the while talking through WHY things work as much as the specific wines themselves. (Oh, and there's mention of Pinky and Perky too - listen to find out more...)

Pairing wines with everyday dishes is really fun. Have a go yourself! Let us know what weird and wonderful discoveries you make.

Meantime, here are the wines featured in this episode:

Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2019, Italy, 13.5% (from £9.99)Villa Borghetti Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2020, Italy, 13.5% (from £10.99)Radford Dale Antithesis Syrah 2017, Stellenbosch, 13.5% (from £18.99 or in the £199 Wine Club by Majestic Grand Tour case)Spier Field and Flutter Cinsault 2021, Swartland, 13.5% (from £9.99 or in the £99 Wine Club by Majestic Discovery case)Morandé One to One Pais 2019, Maule, 13% (from £7.99)

This episode is part of our food-and-wine matching mini-series brought to you in association with Wine Club by Majestic. The wines featured are all available in Majestic.

This short-form Live episode is also available in video format so if you'd like to see us in action, check out our YouTube channel: Susie & Peter On Wine.

The recipe for our spag bol is available, together with all links, photos, wines and more details from the show, on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E3 - Matching Food and Wine: Spaghetti Bolognese!

Let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

2022-10-28
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Inside the Fort Knox of Wine

Fancy joining us as we break into the Fort Knox of wine?!

It's an old mine and former munitions dump in the middle of the English countryside that now holds over 9 million bottles and £1bn+ of stock. It's one of the biggest such storage facilities in the world and one (whisky) bottle stored there recently sold for £1.2m.

Only downside? Security is tight. And you have to climb up 157 steps to get back out. Good thing Peter was actually invited in - and had a 'sustaining' lunch before the journey back up into the real world (including Cheval Blanc 1949, Krug 1996, Domaine Fourrier Clos St Jacques 2005 and Coche-Dury Meursault Genevrières 2010).

It's quite the adventure: something of a wine pilgrimage, which makes for a fascinating episode diving into professional wine storage, why some wines and people need it, wine investment...and of course an insight into how those very rare and special wines are tasting.

Very much related to the last point, this episode also features the audio treat of Peter trying his best to make sense while the wrong side of multiple delicious glasses and 100 feet under the Wiltshire turf in cavernous tunnels stuffed with millions of bottles of the world's finest wines. It's worth the listen, even if solely for comedy value.

All details from this episode, together with photos to help set the scene, are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E2 - Inside the Fort Knox of Wine.

We love to hear from you so please do get in touch via Instagram or Twitter. Or you can star on the show - send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Either way, thanks for popping in. This show really is for everyone. Cheers to you!

2022-10-14
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Matching Food and Wine: 'Green Pizza'!

First up: what on earth is a GREEN PIZZA??!!

Well, it's a summer vegetable tart. But we couldn't quite bring ourselves to have that as our title. So we ran with 'green pizza'. Which it...almost is. 

What it definitely is, is utterly delicious comfort food. As well as going superbly well with a whole range of wines. So our kind of dish. 

It cries out for a fresh, crisp white. Particularly those made from  Sauvignon Blanc...but not exclusively. Here's what we went with:

Villa Maria Taylor's Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Marlborough, New Zealand (from £13.99)Zewenwacht Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2022, South Africa (£99 as part of the 12-bottle Discovery case from Wine Club by Majestic)Domäne Wachau Weissenkirchen Grüner Veltliner Smaragd 2021, Wachau, Austria (from £14.99)

This episode is part of our food-and-wine matching mini-series brought to you in association with Wine Club by Majestic. The wines featured are all available in Majestic.

This short-form Live episode is also available in video format so if you'd like to see us in action, check out our YouTube channel: Susie & Peter On Wine.

The recipe for our 'green pizza' is available, together with all links, photos, wines and more details from the show, on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 E1 - Matching Food and Wine: 'Green Pizza'!

Do send us in your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you! What do you think of our choices? What are your favourite food-and-wine matches?

Let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

2022-09-30
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Wine Blast is back! Season 4 Trailer - with BEST BITS

Susie and Peter are back! Still Masters of Wine, still married (the wine helps) and still serving up thrills and spills for your general delectation.

Season 4 dives right back in where they left off,  and promises tons of great wine content, thought-provoking angles, top guests, listener questions answered, opinion, food, recommendations - and of course a lot of fun too?

So welcome back - or welcome. This podcast is for everyone with an open mind and a healthy thirst. No need to catch up, just hop on board, make sure you subscribe to enjoy the ride, then tell all your friends (as well as leaving a nice rating and review!)

Susie & Peter's aim is always to entertain - so they thought, rather than do a boring old standard Trailer, they'd put together a 'best bits' highlights reel featuring some of the fun and games from Season 3. To give you a taster of what's in store for Season 4 (as well as a reminder of some very fun times, and how worthwhile it is dipping into the back catalogue).

Enjoy!

ps More details as ever on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S4 Trailer

pps Give us a shout over on Instagram or Twitter. Or, even better, send us a voice message via Speakpipe. We love to hear from you!

2022-09-23
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Matching Food and Wine: Lamb!

So: what wine to pair with your roast lamb?

Our answers might surprise you.

Lamb is a classic in the wine matching pantheon. But it's not as easy as it may first seem. In fact, we'd argue a lot of supposed matches are way off the mark.

Lamb is a very delicate red meat so needs a specific kind of wine to get the best out of the combination. Sometimes (in fact, really quite often) the best style of wine to pair with lamb is.....white.

Failing that, an elegant red - but beware even the so-called classic pairings, because they don't all work, as we explain.

This episode is part of our food-and-wine matching mini-series brought to you in association with Wine Club by Majestic. The wines featured are all available in Majestic:

Domaine Maire Heritage Chardonnay 2018, Côtes du Jura, France (from £12.99)Borsao Tocado Garnacha 2020, Campo de Borja, Spain (from £7.99 or £99 as part of the 12-bottle Discovery case from Wine Club by Majestic)Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2018, Spain (from £13.99)


This short-form Live episode is also available in video format so if you'd like to see us in action, check out our YouTube channel: Susie & Peter On Wine.

The recipe for our 'roast lamb with a twist' is available, together with all links, photos, wines and more details from the show, on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E27 - Matching Food and Wine: Lamb!

Do send us in your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you! What do you think of our choices? What are YOUR favourite matches with roast lamb?

Let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

2022-08-12
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Matching Food and Wine: Curry!

Curry. We all love it. So what's the best wine to drink with it?!

Here be answers. As well as a bit of chomping (sorry), mention of whipping (no idea how that came up) and of course delicious wines all in the mix.

This is a short-form Live episode, the first in our food-and-wine matching mini-series brought to you in association with Wine Club by Majestic.

It's also available in video format so if you'd like to see us in action, check out our YouTube channel: Susie & Peter On Wine.

The curry in question is a very simple and very delicious chicken tikka massala. So we're finding wines to match the aromatic spices, tangy tomatoes and creamy richness.

We come up with a classic match, a slightly left-field match and then a wild card option. All the way explaining our thinking so if you can't get hold of these exact wines, you can no doubt find similar versions to suit you.

The recipe we're using is inspired by our friend and brilliant food writer Jo Pratt, developed as part of our What Food What Wine competition. It's available, together with all links, photos, wines and more details from the show, here: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E26: Matching Food and Wine: Curry!

Remember: fight heat with sweet! Also: it's not always the wines that taste the best on their own that end up going best with the food.

Do send us in your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you! What do you think of our choices? What are YOUR favourite matches with curry? Any curry-related drinks disasters to relate?!

Let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Wines featured in this episode (all from Majestic):

Definition Mosel Riesling 2019, 10.5%, Germany (£7.99)Nero Oro Rosé 2021, 12.5%, Sicily (£8.99)Casal Sta Maria Reserva Branco 2019, 13.5%, Portugal (£199 as part of the Grand Tour case in Wine Club by Majestic)

This show is brought to you in association with Wine Club by Majestic. Check it out!

2022-07-22
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Why Bother Matching Food and Wine? (Here's Why - and How)

Some people say choosing the right wine for your food (or vice versa) is too complicated. Or that it's all nonsense, so not worth bothering with - just go with whatever you fancy.

We beg to differ - in the most strident of ways.

We've both spent more than 20 years matching wines to food on TV, radio, events, podcasts and print. We know food is one of the best ways to make sense of wine, to learn more and to get beyond the pretentiousness - by focusing on basic flavours and personal pleasure.

Finding out what works best for you and yours takes a bit of time and an open mind, though. So let us help you!

This episode is the first in a mini-series (in association with Wine Club by Majestic) focusing on food and wine pairing. In this one, we sock it to the naysayers and serve up our 7 top tips to match wine and food successfully, illustrating the basic logic by pairing a series of wines to a cheese board. (The results are almost certainly not what you'd expect).

We also grill Majestic buyer Elizabeth Kelly MW on her favourite food and wine matches, guilty pleasures and top tips - and we hear briefly from Louis Roederer cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon and gastrophysicist Professor Charles Spence.

All that, AND we answer a question from Jonathan in New York about whether his wine fridge is ruining his treasured bottles...

Following on from this appetising entrée will be a series of short-form video pods, in each of which we'll take one dish and find a wine or two that works as a delicious pairing. Again, explaining the logic as we go along, and having a bit of fun along the way.

We hope you enjoy the episode! Do let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Wines featured in this episode to match with cheeses (all available from Majestic):

Chateau de Crezancy Sancerre 2021, 12.5% (£17.99)Marques del Atrio 2 Cepas Rioja Blanco de Guarda 2019, 13% (£199 as part of the Grand Tour Wine Club case)St Veran Haute Cuvee 2020 Rijckaert F Rouve, 13% (£16.99)Definition Hautes Cotes de Nuits 2017, 12.5% (£14.99)Castelanu de Suduiraut 2014, 13.5% (£12.99 for half)

As ever, all wine details, links, photos and more are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E25: Why Bother Matching Food and Wine?

2022-07-14
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Wine from the Arab World

Aghi Ourad is a Brit of Algerian descent who wants to change the way we think about wine from the 'Arab world' (his phrase).

Places like Algeria and Lebanon, where wine production has a surprisingly long history but currently operates in a challenging environment for religious, social or economic reasons.

Such wines from Muslim-majority countries, in Aghi's view, are under-appreciated and yet offer great interest and value for wine lovers. So he's set up a business, The Other Grape, to sell these wines and tell the stories of the people and places that make them.

Aghi has written movingly about suffering personal humiliation as a result of his 'Muslim appearance' and suffering from imposter syndrome with his own, European society. He's also very honest about the 'schizophrenic' attitude to alcohol in Muslim-majority countries like Algeria.

We quiz Aghi about the relationship between Islam and alcohol, as well as the wines from Algeria and Lebanon today. We also dive into the fascinating wine history of these countries - did you know, for example, the following factoids?

Algeria was once the fourth-biggest wine producer in the world.Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia accounted for two thirds of the world's wine exports in the 1950s.Algeria was partly responsible for the development of France's famous appellation contrôlée system.

Peter also reflects on his recent trip to Lebanon, to film for his new wine and travel show, The Wild Side of Wine, and shares his insights into the wine scene there.

We talk indigenous grapes and unique wines, sampling a Lebanese Obeidy (white), an Algerian red blend from the Monts du Tessala, and a tiny-production Syrah from the Batroun hills of coastal Lebanon.

There's also poetry in this episode, as well as talk of big guns, power cuts, Islamophobia, drones, phylloxera and what exactly constitutes an, 'angry wine'.

We hope you enjoy the episode! Do let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Wines featured in this episode:

Chateau Oumsiyat Obeidy 2018, 12.5%, LebanonSaint-Augustin Monts du Tessala AOG 2017, 13%, AlgeriaSept Syrah 2019 Batroun, 14.5%, Lebanon

Links

Aghi's wine business we discuss in this episode is The Other Grape - you can get 10% off if you use the code SP10.

Here's a link to see the trailer and find out more about Peter's new TV series, The Wild Side of Wine

This is Alex Rowell's book Vintage Humour: The Islamic Poetry of Abu Nuwas

As ever, all wine details, links, photos and more are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E24: Wines from the Arab World.

Finally, do check out our previous episode on Lebanon (S1 E22) to hear from Chateau Musar's Marc Hochar and Lebanese wine expert Michael Karam.

2022-06-24
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The World's BIGGEST Wine Competition

Fancy tasting 18,000+ bottles of wine in a week? Humping and dumping 73,000+ bottles? Herding 250+ international wine judges? Dodging bottle crushers and giant wormeries?

And, after all that, the real question is: what's it all for?!

We go behind the scenes at the world's biggest wine competition, the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), to tackle these very questions and issues.

What even is a wine competition? What's the point? What does it mean when you see a medal or award on a bottle? What really goes on behind the scenes? And how do you start minimising the environmental impact of a giant operation like this?

We dive in with the help of DWWA co-chair Michael Hill-Smith MW plus members of the Decanter team including Events & Awards Director Victoria Stanage, Head of Logistics Simon Wright and Awards Executive Shivani Tomar.

To spice things up, Susie references Peter's 'legendary stamina' (deep breath) and threatens divorce. There's also mention of anaerobic digestion, violent disagreements, a heart-warming wine story from Ukraine, the dirty topic of making money and the world's biggest ever party. All that, and some brilliant wines.

We hope you enjoy the show! Do let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter. Or send us a voice message via Speakpipe.

Here's the link to all the headlines & results from the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022. And to the Guardian piece on the Ukrainian winery that won gold.

As ever, all wine details, links, photos and more are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E23: The World's Biggest Wine Competition.

Cheers!

Wines mentioned in this episode

Georges de la Chapelle Champagne Cuvee Nostalgie Brut NV, FranceAttis Embaixador Albarino 2018, Galicia, SpainHacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Gran Reserva Rosado 2009, SpainAlbert Bichot Hospices de Beaune Cuvee Cyrot-Chaudron Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2020, FranceMadame Veuve Point Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes 2019, BurgundyMossi 1558 Impetuoso Classico Gutturnio Superiore 2019, Emilia RomagnaBulas Cruz Diwine Douro 2020, PortugalDomaine Verzier St Joseph Empreinte 2020, FranceBisquertt Crazy Rows Carignan 2020, Maule, ChileMorrisons Gran Montaña Malbec 2020, ArgentinaVagabond Wines Chardonnay 2020, Essex, UK
2022-06-10
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Armenia's Ambition: ancient, conflicted, hopeful

Armenia is not the first country to spring to mind in terms of wine.

But this is one of the most ancient winemaking cultures in the world. The broader Caucusus region - including Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, is where the winemaking vine is believed to have first been domesticated.

By way of proof, a 6,000-year-old winery was unearthed in the Areni-1 cave complex in the Vayots-Dzor region of Armenia. And the country may have anything up to 1,000 different species of vitis vinifera winemaking vines - testament to its longevity in wine terms (the vine tends to mutate naturally over time).

And yet...what do we know of Armenian wine?

Relatively little, if you're anything like us.

And that has to do with geopolitics as much as anything else - from the Armenian genocide to the Soviet occupation, the 20th century was hard on Armenia and its people. Its historic winemaking culture suffered, and it was shut off from the world.

Now, however, a new generation of Armenians are daring to revitalise this somnolent wine history. We talk to two of them - Aimee Keushguerian of Keush, WineWorks and Zulal. Also Juliana del Aguila Eurnekian of Karas.

They're brave because the region remains imperilled. The ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan has seen vineyards and farmers caught between warring factions. This is life or death stuff.

But, from the little we've dipped our toes in these particular waters, it's clear to us that there is huge potential in Armenian wine. In wine terms, Armenia is most certainly one to watch.

We hope you enjoy the programme! Do let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter.

As ever, all wine details, links, photos and more are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E22: Armenia's Ambition.

Cheers!

Wines featured in this episode

Keush Ultra Brut Nature 2017 Blanc de Noirs, 12.5%Zulal Voskehat Reserve 2018, Vayots Dzor, 13%Zulal Karmir Kot 2018 Reserve, Vayots Dzor, 15%Karas Family Wine Estates White Blend 2020, Ararat Valley, 13.5%Karas Orange Wine ?Kraki Ktor? 2020, Ararat Valley, 12.5%Karas Areni 2019, Ararat Valley, 13.5%Karas Single Vineyard Areni 2020, Ararat Valley, 13.5%
2022-05-27
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Tasting 1982 Bordeaux

Some wines or vintages achieve legendary status. The 1982s in Bordeaux are a case in point. So what's it really like to taste a bunch of 1982 clarets, 40 years on - featuring some of the best wines of the vintage? 

1982 was a year that famously split opinion - the Brits copping the flak for labelling it too high-yielding, too ripe and 'Californian' in style, saying it would never age. On the opposing side was American wine critic Robert Parker, who championed the vintage and later went on to become one of the most influential wine writers of modern times. 

As for how the wines have held up... In this episode, we spill the beans, while also explaining the historical context as well as the nature of the vintage and the individual wines tasted. These include Chateaux:

Mouton-RothschildPichon ComtesseLéoville Las CasesLéoville PoyferréGruaud LaroseDucru Beaucaillou

Along the way we discuss the importance of storage, other vintages that can lay claim to being the, 'vintage of the century,' British Railways, current prices for these bottles - and which modern vintages may prove to be as great as 1982 in time.

NB: Wine Blast Live is a video-podcast and you can find the video on our YouTube channel

It's also over on our website, where you can find the full Show Notes for Tasting 1982 Bordeaux podcast on susieandpeter.com

2022-05-13
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Adventures in Dosage: the cherry on the sparkling cake

Did you know that sugar and brandy can be added to sparkling wine? Were you aware that champagne was originally a sweet fizz? And that it regularly had things like port, cognac, elderberry, kirsch and raspberry brandy added to it?

Now there?s a plucky English wine producer adding all sorts of fun things to his fizz ? from Sauternes to Sherry, Madeira and Tokaji ? to see what?s possible. His aim? To potentially help create, ?a new category in wine?.

Welcome to the world of dosage. That small addition that?s commonly popped into to the world?s very finest sparkling wines ? but which people don?t talk about very much. 

Think of it as a ?good? wine additive. Yet producers don?t tend to be particularly adventurous in terms of trying new things to add in their dosage. 

Until now. 

Our story starts with us trying these bold, experimental new English sparkling wines before launching into fascinating conversations with their maker, English Master of Wine Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, as well as sparkling guru Ed Carr of Accolade and Champagne Louis Roederer chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon.

Along the way we explain what dosage actually is, why it?s used and delve excitedly into its history and future. We look into why people describe dosage as, ?seasoning? for fine fizz, and what role oaked wine, brandy and various types of sugar play in its make-up. 

Some wine pros use the term dosage as shorthand for the level of residual sugar in a sparkling wine. But, as we discuss, that?s an over-simplification that misses the bigger picture and purpose of dosage.

We consider the trend for zero-dosage wines and explain why we?re not fans of this category ? despite Susie having written her Master of Wine dissertation on the topic.

?When it's done well, dosage can help a wine  taste sublime,' says Susie. 'The art of dosage needs more respect and awareness...and more winemakers need to do it properly.?

We hope you enjoy the programme! Do let us know your thoughts on Instagram or Twitter.

As ever, all wine details, links and more are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E20: Adventures in Dosage.

Wines featured in the episode:

Hart of Gold English sparkling wine Brut, 12%Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Nature Champagne 2012, 12%House of Arras Cuvée 1601 Brut Elite, 13%Bollinger RD 1976 Champagne Extra Brut, 12%
2022-04-29
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Fake Booze - Pet Nad to Yoda

What's this about the world's first 'pet nad' wine? Why has a wine-list-free restaurant been told to, 'stop being so bloody stupid'? Who is releasing the latest cynical glassware range?

And, STOP PRESS: hot-cross-bun gin??!! 

Yes, this is your latest audio instalment of the riotous, ridiculous world of Fake Booze, the entirely made-up news site focused on the world of alcohol. Consider this your critical update on world affairs from a parallel universe, which involves Alldie supermarket, goats and Yoda. Cheers!

WARNING: features a few sweary bits and rude topics. Definitely not one to listen to if you're easily offended. Or you're a sommelier.

To support Fake Booze, give to their Patreon here.

For more quality Fake Booze material, check out the website.

Show notes are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E19: Fake Booze 2.

You can also say hi over on Instagram or Twitter.

2022-04-15
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On Natural Wine

So what exactly IS natural wine?

How to define it - or is that even possible? What does it taste like? Why are we seeing so many natural wine bars, shops and events springing up? Natural wine remains niche yet it seems to be influencing mainstream wine - but how exactly? And why does natural wine get everyone so darn hot under the collar..?!

Join us as we tackle all these burning questions and more with natural wine luminary and RAW WINE founder Isabelle Legeron MW, plus Mel Xenaki from natural Greek wine producer Tetramythos. We find time to taste and recommend a couple of natural wines (though Susie does ask if one wine, 'really is safe to drink?!')

Isabelle talks about receiving hate mail, the difference between a 'living wine' and 'a lifeless product', why 'only natural wine can be great', plus why natural wine means, 'we have to re-frame our expectation of wine.' She calls for more transparency in wine, including ingredient labelling, so people can have the choice, 'to decide: this is what I want to put in my body, or this is not what I want to be drinking.'

Mel admits, 'it's hard to introduce yourself as a natural winemaker - because it can be offensive to the mainstream.' She describes her approach as, 'ethical', and calls for legislation to define and regulate natural wine.

We hope you enjoy the programme! Do let us know your thoughts on natural wine or beyond - contact us via our website or over on Instagram or Twitter.

As ever, all wine details, links and more are on our website: Show notes for Wine Blast S3 E18: Natural Wine.

Check out RAW WINE - the global community for natural wine producers and lovers. They have upcoming events in LA and London, among others. You can also find more details about Isabelle's book on natural wine and their new subscription wine club in the US (plus a cheeky discount code).

Tetramythos in Greece has some delicious natural wines we recommend in the show.

Here's the link we mention in the show to the Decanter piece on how wine lovers can help with the crisis in Ukraine.

2022-04-01
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