I love podcasts, yes, I do — I love podcasts, how ’bout you? I like podcasts about all sorts of stuff (e.g., comedy, politics, true crime, history), but when a podcast is about wine, I’m 100% more likely to listen. These three wine podcasts are a few of my favorites, so please enjoy:
Podcast #1: Wine for Normal People
Never boring and always (cracking) wise, certified sommelier and wine educator Elizabeth Schneider offers a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek take on everything oenological, from naming Thomas Jefferson as America’s first wine nerd to suggesting possible remedies for red wine headaches. Schneider’s husband and their Welsh terrier have occasional appearances on the podcast, making this already fun, illuminating resource feel like you’re visiting someone’s home and sharing a bottle of really good wine with them.
The pairing: AltaCima Carménère — Lontue Valley, Chile
Schneider describes Carménère as the grape with “the most dramatic backstory in the wine world,” making this Chilean-by-way-of-France red the perfect pairing for her podcast. AltaCima’s 100% varietal version is a deep ruby red, richly structured, and displays fruity notes of dark red plums and ripe blackberry, as well as spicy zings of black pepper and fresh green pepper.
Podcast #2: The Grape Nation
Produced by the gourmand-focused Heritage Radio Network (an arm of Brooklyn-based butcher Heritage Foods USA), this lively, savvy podcast is hosted by veteran broadcaster/wine enthusiast Sam Benrubi, the former co-host of SiriusXM’s Wine and Web with Gary Vaynerchuk. Each week, Benrubi interviews everyone who’s anyone in wine (from authors to educators, directors to makers) about their career journeys and the pours they love, all while making his listeners feel included in the inner circle.
The pairing: Tissot Arbois Chardonnay “Patchwork” — Jura, France
Benrubi says that if could drink only one wine, it would be a chardonnay from France’s Jura, a clay-and-limestone-dotted region just east of Burgundy. Sourced from several vineyard sites on winemaking couple Bénédicte and Stéphane Tissot‘s family estate, then aged for a year in mostly neutral oak, “Patchwork” is salty, edgy and tropical-fruity at the same time. It’s a combination sure to pique your intellectual curiosity — just like The Grape Nation itself.
Former sommelier Levi Dalton enjoys talking to his fellow wine people in his living room, recording these warm, fascinating conversations in podcast form. Dalton explores the entire grape-based universe, from winemaking techniques to winemakers and sommeliers from around the world who are legends, vanguards and/or outliers. Ever wondered what it would be like to escape your present life and start your own winery far, far away? Listen here first to see how your vine-wrapped fantasy lines up with a gritty/graceful reality.
The pairing: Chamlija Papaskarasi — Thrace, Turkey
One of my favorite episodes, “Dangerous Drinking Between Erdogan and ISIS in Turkey,” explores how Turkey’s often-volatile political situation affects its own wine industry. Chamlija Winery, set in Turkey’s far-northern region of Thrace, specializes in growing an ancient Turkish grape variety, Papaskarasi, in the quartz, chalk and clay soils of the country’s Strandja Massif. Medium-bodied and easy-drinking with ripe and spicy dark-red fruit, this dry, unoaked red celebrates the preservation of rare and special wines — just like Dalton’s entire audio-venture.