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D’Amato & Szabo: Wine Thieves
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D’Amato & Szabo: Wine Thieves

Author: John & Sara

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A riveting insider's look at the world of fine wine. Telling the stories of the people and the places that shape the world’s most compelling finds. John Szabo, Master Sommelier and Sara d’Amato, a jack of all wine trades, get to the root of the vine.
37 Episodes
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Ontario VQA Chardonnay

Ontario VQA Chardonnay

2021-06-1255:33

The Wine Thieves find themselves back on home soil in beautiful southern Ontario investigating what might just be Ontario's finest and most reliable grape variety, Chardonnay. Of the 51 varieties authorized for VQA production, chardonnay is number one by volume accounting for 13% of total VQA production. Expect an overview of Ontario appellations and sub-appellations and an explanation of some of the major differences we've come to expect with this chameleon grape variety. In discussion with winemaker friends Jay Johnston of Hidden Bench, Craig McDonald of Andrew Peller/Trius in Niagara along with  Dan Sullivan of Rosehall Run in Prince Edward County, John and Sara attempt to answer whether or chardonnay is Ontario's signature grape. Join us with a glass and get prepped  the upcoming i4C, Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration on July 23rd, that showcases Ontario's finest in a global context. This episode was produced in partnership with VQA Wine Country Ontario.
An episode devoted to a few lesser known topics relations to New York Wines including growing in the Hudson River Region, Lake Erie and the burgeoning urban winery scene. An historic growing region, the Hudson River Region is one of the oldest established AVAs in the US having received the designation in 1982. It's also home to the oldest commercial vineyard and the oldest continuously active winery, Brotherhood Winery (1839), having survived prohibition by making sacramental wine. Only a 45-minute drive from Manhattan, grape growing takes place largely on the western shores of the Hudson River Valley that stretch from just south of Albany to just north of the city, following the path of the river to its end in the Atlantic Ocean. We'll also take a look at the grapes grown on the southern shores of Lake Erie and although largely for juice and table grapes, also by a growing number of wineries. Who says you can't make wine in big cites? The fact that there are no vineyards in the city doesn't seem to inconvenience the swelling number of intrepid New York urban winery owners who source their grapes largely from Long Island and the Finger Lakes. John and Sara investigate the challenges of trucking grapes in from nearby wine regions, the relationships they develop with growers and how they virtually transport city-folk into New York State vineyards. All this and more in this 5th and final episode of the New York wine podcast series.Joining the Thieves in a round table discussion are  Matthew Spaccarelli of Fjord Vineyards in the Hudson Valley, Mario Mazza of Mazza Wines in Lake Erie, Colleen and Sebastian Hardy of Living Roots in Rochester and Christopher Nicolson of Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn, New York.  This episode was produced in partnership with the New York Grape & Wine Foundation. 
Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde

2021-05-2101:05:26

The Wine Thieves are back in Europe this spring, the ideal time of year to rediscover Portugal's Vinho Verde. Crisp, delicately perfumed, dry to off-dry, low in alcohol and sometimes with the merest prickle of effervescence, these are classic descriptors of this northern Portuguese specialty (and mostly white, but there are rosé and red versions, too).But as we'll discover, there is a great deal more to Vinho Verde than just refreshing spring sips. The Minho region, where Vinho Verde is made, is divided in to 9 diverse sub-regions, some heavily Atlantic-influenced, others further inland and sheltered. From Monção and Melgaço to Paiva, as these sub-appellations become more frequent on the label, John and Sara take a deep dive into their distinctive features including the rivers they flank, the grapes in which they specialize, and the changes we can expect on the labels this very vintage.And from modern, varietally-specific labelling to traditional field blends, the Thieves investigate the range of styles within Vinho Verde. Alvarinho may be unrivalled in its fame but local varieties such as Avesso, and Loureiro (Sara's favourite to pronounce) are worthy bearers of the Vinho Verde flag. Let's not forget the red wines of Vinho Verde based on Vinhão, along with rosés and sparkling wines that are less likely to be found in export. Manuel Pinheiro, President of the Vinho Verde Commission, is this week's special guest as we unravel Vinho Verde, and also reflect on some of the more human aspects of the wine business, like the family and community bonding, and the creation of traditions that bring and bind people together, which winegrowing makes possible. This episode is a perfect listening match with sunning at the lake or grilling sardines this weekend.Tchau!This episode was produced in partnership with the Vinho Verde Commission (CRVV).
Continuing their journey through New York, John and Sara take a deeper dive into the red wines grown across the state in search of an elusive flagship variety. The Thieves make the call that New York's signature red grape must surely be cabernet franc, even if their wine producing friends are reluctant to say it themselves. Merlot may be more widely planted but it remains a Long Island specialty, pinot noir demands ultra-specific sites, cool syrah shows great promise but lacks critical mass for now, blaufränkisch performs admirably but is a mouthful to say (and its synonym, Lemberger,  is not particualrly attractive), and grenache, well, remains quixotic at best. One thing's for sure, New York winemakers don't like to be boxed in, which is why we see such tremendous diversity in the varieties planted and wine styles emerging from the state's 7 distinctive wine regions.Our guests this episode are Josh Wig, co-owner of Lamoreaux Landing, a family-owned cabernet franc specialist located on the east side of Seneca Lake of the Finger Lakes, also specialists in grape-fed venison, Master Sommelier Christopher Bates, co-owner of Element Winery in the Finger Lakes,  a high-intervention cook and low-intervention winemaker,  and Christopher Tracy of Channing Daughters on Long Island, who talks field blends and the importance of diversity and expanding along with the universe.  Join us with a glass of cabernet franc, merlot, pinot noir or Lemberger (scratch that, blaufränkisch) in hand as we discuss the where and the how of the reds that New York does best.
May 7th is Sauvignon Blanc day but we'll be celebrating all week! Join the Wine Thieves at ground zero for new world sauvignon blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand. John and Sara explore its rise to prominence from the first plantings in the 1970s, through to its explosion on the international scene in the 1990s, and now to the current ‘third wave’ (a good third wave, that is) of producers that are breaking rules and leading the country in new stylistic directions.Joining the discussion is James Healy, co-founder with Ivan Sutherland, of Dog Point wines in Marlborough. James was chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay in the  1990s before striking out on his own, and thus really was at ground zero of the New Zealand and Marlborough sauvignon blanc international explosion that occurred in the mid-1990s.  He tells us about a new initiative called Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW) and its importance and gaining prominence. We're also joined by Matt Deller, Master of Wine and Chief Global Sales & Marketing Officer for the Villa Maria group founded by Sir George Fistonich in the middle of last century in Auckland. 'Villa', as it's known,  has grown to be one of the larger and most admired players in the NZ wine industry, and Matt discusses the company's commitment to organics and sub-appellations. In the final segment of the show, the Thieves welcome Erica Crawford of Loveblock winery and the co-creator, with husband Kim, of the hugely successful Kim Crawford brand,  which they sold a decade and a half ago to Constellation Brands. Erica falls in love with sauvignon all over again making wines in the style she loves to drink,  shares insight into the rapid commercial success of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, praises Lord of the Rings, and reveals how high grade tea powder might just change winemaking for the better.  Grab a well chilled glass of crunchy sauvignon and settle in to a great discussion. This episode was produced in partnerships with New Zealand Winegrowers.
FLX Riesling

FLX Riesling

2021-04-3057:20

The Wine Thieves' weakness for riesling compels them to tarry a little longer in the Finger Lakes region of New York (FLX). Riesling has become a signature grape of FLX, home to 85% of all the riesling planted in New York State. Here it delivers electric, laser-sharp wines the way we like them, bone-dry to sweet, from steep, lakeside slopes on gravelly, shaley, and loamy soils. In this episode, the Thieves get to the bottom of why riesling grows so well here, explore the divergent styles, discuss diversity vs. commonality of wines, and audaciously ask winemakers whether they think riesling should be the only grape variety planted in the Finger Lakes. You may be surprised by their answers!John and Sara welcome four FLX riesling rangers who showcase the camaraderie and bonhomie they've come to expect from  New York winemakers: Rick Rainey of Forge Cellars, who focuses on vineyard-designated, bone-dry rieslings with a less-is-more winemaking approach, Oskar Bynke of the biodynamic Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard with a legacy that dates back to the '60s and the earliest days of vinifera plantings, Peter Bell of Fox Run, a Toronto-born terroir skeptic yet riesling fanatic, whose 1984 plantings are located on the east-facing slopes of Seneca Lake, and Bruce Murray of Boundary Breaks on Seneca, who doesn't discriminate when it comes to styles of riesling and has time for them all.  Lastly, and importantly, learn why the sight of Canadians on bicycles  is one of the most dreaded in all of New York wine country. You won't want to miss this very entertaining episode of Wine Thieves!
Last fall we interviewed some of the exceptional speakers of the Femmes du Vin Harvest Series and we are delighted to be able to present them to you now. Femmes du Vin is a grassroots women’s organization dedicated to promoting and amplifying the voices of all women in wine. Visit femmesduvin.org to find out more about their upcoming seminar series. In this episode we welcome two special guests: Femmes du Vin founder, new mom and award-winning sommelier Emily Pearce, who tells us about the importance of elevating the position of women in the field of sommellerie,  some of her wins and challenges in the industry, as well as how to access the replays of all the enriching Femmes du Vin sessions to date. Our second guest  is Michelle Bouffard, a wine judge, critic, educator, speaker, author, founder of Tasting Climate Change, an MW student and a musician! The environmental impact of the wine industry, how you can help off-set your travelling lifestyle and the Tasting Climate Change conference are all on the docket of this conversation. Join us for this long-awaited episode of Wine Thieves! [Emily Pearce interview: 02:32, Michelle Bouffard interview: 21:06] To access videos of the Harvest Seminars sessions, visit: https://www.femmesduvin.org/harvest-seminar-videos
Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York

2021-04-1656:57

The Wine Thieves continue their journey through New York, venturing into the best known wine region of the 4th largest wine producing state in the USA, the Finger Lakes AVA. Encompassing 11 slender,  glacially carved,  finger-like lakes running roughly north-south, this diverse region may be best known for its riesling, but John and Sara discover just how many more grape varieties are actually planted. From widely-praised cabernet franc, to delicate pinot noir,  stony chardonnay, plus grüner veltliner, blaufränkisch, saperavi, rkatsitelli and many more,  Finger Lakes vintners have not finished experimenting just yet. We'll turn back time to the earliest days of vinifera plantings in New York State by stubborn visionaries Dr. Konstantin Frank and Hermann Wiemer, delve into the importance of site specificity, as keen here or even more so than anywhere else on planet wine, and open the discussion of hybrids (and native American vines) and their sustainable merits, among other enlightening subjects.The Thieves welcome a round table  of special guests: Kelby Russel of Red Newt, Meaghan Frank of Dr. Konstantin Frank Wines, Dave Breeden of Sheldrake Point and John Wagner of Wagner Vineyards to help navigate the waters of the surprisingly vast Finger Lakes AVA (1 million acres!) and its sub-AVAs, Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. The Loire, Alsace, Mosel and Burgundy are all referenced in attempt to contextualize Finger Lakes wine styles. Sara and John also tap into some historical similarities to the neighbouring Niagara wine region of Ontario. You won't want to miss this week's acid-driven episode of Wine Thieves!
The world clearly loves New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but some industry insiders believe that pinot noir and chardonnay just might be the country's best expressions. In this episode the Wine Thieves speak to two of New Zealand's legendary producers, also counted among the world's best pinot and chard artists: Sherwyn Veldhuizen of Bell Hill in North Canterbury, and Blair Walter of Felton Road in Central Otago.Did you know that Pinot Noir is New Zealand's most widely planted red grape, accounting for 73% of plantings?  Chardonnay is also the second most planted white grape, and while it can be found in just about every region from  north of Auckland  to the deep south, pinot is most at home in Wairarapa/Martinborough, Marlborough, Canterbury, and of course Central Otago where it takes up 80% of vineyards.  We explore these regions in  detail before delving further into everything you need to know about Kiwi pinot and chard, including a discussion about the special Kiwi pinot clone referred to as the Able grape, the gumboot clone or sometimes the Ata Rangi clone with a colourful backstory retold by Sara. John tries to get to the bottom of why more chardonnay isn't planted in Central Otago and then goes hunting for limestone further north. We find out why New Zealand pinot noir has risen to fame in such a short time, and where to look for distinctive chardonnay, as well as why these two categories are worth watching closely. Join John and Sara as they trek across the islands, glass in hand, searching for free-draining soils, high diurnal shifts and heritage clones.This episode was produced in partnership with New Zealand Winegrowers.
The New Zealand wine industry may be focused on just a handful of grapes, but in this episode, the Wine Thieves go hors-piste in search of the unexpected. New Zealand enjoys a surprisingly wide range of climate zones - more than you might think - making the country suitable for far more than just those headlining grapes, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and chardonnay.  Last week we looked already at syrah, a small but quality player on the NZ wine scene, and this week we explore more diversity, going even further into uncharted  vines. Inevitably, our search would lead us to Therese and Hans Herzog of Herzog Estate in Marlborough. This expat Swiss couple farm no fewer than 28 (!) grape varieties on their modest 11 hectares in the Wairau sub-zone on mounds of gravel and sandy-clays. From arneis to veltliner, sankt laurent to saperavi, the Herzogs are unmatched in NZ (the World?) for their unbridled experimentation, and they share their story with the Thieves. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the wines are good, proving the point of NZ's potential varietal diversity (and the Herzog's farming and winemaking skills). Join us in the  in the largely cool but usefully sunny deep South Pacific as we gain a more profound understanding of New Zealand's varied terroir, before we return next week to explore tried-and-true sauvignon from a new angle.  This episode was produced in partnership with New Zealand Winegrowers.
The Wine Thieves find themselves in a New York state of wine as they begin a new series investigating the disparate terroirs and wealth of wine styles in the only US state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.  Long Island is their first destination, a stone's throw from New York City. This maritime-influenced region was first planted with grapes in the 1600s, and has been producing wine commercially for almost 50 years. Its sandy-gravelly soils and moderate climate make it a natural for Bordeaux varieties. But John and Sara find out that there are more than bold reds on offer in Long Island, such lush chardonnays, rosés, sparkling wines and a host of other styles. The trend towards less oak  and more limited intervention  seems to resonate well with their biggest market that radiates from Manhattan.John and Sara speak with Gabriella Macari of Macari Vineyards and Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards at their wineries in the North Fork of Long Island.  Together, they explore the three AVAs of Long Island, discuss the differences between the North and South Forks, the threat of hurricanes as well as the soaring price of real estate in The Hamptons. Despite all of these challenges, you'll find out why these growers persevere. We'll uncover the latest trends, delve into a little history and finish off with a lobster roll and sparkling wine and Long Island duck with cabernet franc. This episode was produced in partnership with New York Wine & Grape Foundation.
Syrah might offer a quick return on investment in New Zealand but it may just be another grape that puts New Zealand on the world wine map in the future. In this episode the Wine Thieves are in conversation with Kate Radburnd of Radburn Cellars and Warren Gibson of Trinity Hill,  two of New Zealand's top syrah producers, as they attempt to unlock the secret of this dynamic grape variety that is anything but sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir. Syrah is grown throughout the country from Waiheke Island to Central Otago but its homeland is firmly in Hawke's Bay,  New Zealand's oldest growing region and second-largest after Marlborough. This red grape territory features several subregions, including the Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa Triangle, which are emerging as hotspots for distinctive syrah. The Thieves investigate Busby, mass selection and Hermitage clones, and growing and winemaking practices that are helping to shape  a  singular New Zealand style. Sara gets a little sidetracked by Hawke's Bay's potent rotundone but John brings her back with facts and figures related to syrah's commercial viability. Join us on the ancient path of the Ngaruroro river, glass of syrah in hand. 
The earliest-known written record of Riesling dates back precisely to March 13, 1435 in Germany, in the cellar log of Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen in Rüsselsheim, a town just south of the Rheingau. The log notes a purchase for 22 shillings of “seczreben Rießlingen in die wingarten – “Riesling cuttings for the vineyard”.  That’s why March 13th has been officially designated as Riesling's big day,  and this year, 2021,  mark's its 586th birthday.  Deutschland is its undisputed home, accounting for 45% of all the Riesling planted worldwide with 23,800 hectares under vine. So how better to celebrate this momentous occasion than at table with a quartet of Germany's maximum Riesling artists? John and Sara welcome stars Johannes Selbach (Selbach-Oster) of the Mosel Valley, Johannes Leitz from  the Rheingau, Philip Wittman of the Rheinhessen, and twins Hans and Valentin Rebholz of Ökonomierat Rebholz in the southern Pfalz for a jovial ode to this favorite grape of all wine lovers and an exploration of the grosses gewächs, or grands crus, of these top producers. Learn your slate from your quartz, your Himmelreich from your Sonnenhur,  Roseneck from Rottland, Kirchspiel from Brunnenhäuschen, and Kastanienbusch from Ganz Horn, among others. Reminisce about the days when a bottle of cru classé St. Estephe sold for $5 and a bottle of Mosel for $8, get the table's perspective on unforgettable food & Riesling pairings, and bonus: learn which rieslings these experts consider the benchmarks outside of Germany. Grab a glass of this beauty and don't miss the riesling celebration! This episode is produced in partnership with the Wines of Germany. 
The Wine Thieves begin a new virtual adventure to Aotearoa, the "land of the long white cloud", more commonly known as New Zealand. In this first episode, John and Sara get a handle on what sustainability means to Kiwi grape growers, 96% of which are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand, or SWNZ. Along with their special guest, Dr. Ed Massey, General Manager Sustainability at Wines of New Zealand, they get to the bottom of the concept of Food (or Wine) Miles. The country is very far from just about everywhere in the world, so how can drinking NZ wine be "sustainable" if it it has to be shipped half-way around the world to you? Tune in to find out the answer. Walk 700 miles across New Zealand's wine regions  in the shoes of the Wine Thieves (1,100 km for the civilized folks) as they embark upon this 5-part adventure investigating alternative grape varieties, the low alcohol wine trend, the rise of syrah, and of course, pinot noir, chardonnay, and unstoppable sauvignon blanc. This episodes is produced in partnership with New Zealand Winegrowers. 
The Wine Thieves get their hands dirty with a star quartet of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano producers to learn why and how soil matters most to sangiovese, more than any other production parameter. Weighing in from their estates in Montepulciano are: Andrea Lonardi of Tenuta Tre Rose, Luca Tiberini of Tiberini, Luca Corrado of Boscarelli and Antonio Zaccheo of Carpineto. Sangiovese can be delicate! It can also be hearty, tannic, high acid, soft and approachable. A chameleon that is impressively reflective of terroir, we draw inevitable comparisons between Italy's most famous grape and another equally transparent one: pinot noir. We also learn to chill out, as stress is bad for everyone, including sangiovese. Momentum towards more sustainable production is underway with 68% of producers on board with new sustainable approaches to viticulture and winemaking in the Vino Nobile production region. Also on the round table: the future of "international" grape varieties, new production standards for Vino Nobile with sub-zones, Vin Santo as a natural wine, and, is subregional labelling important?  Don't miss this episode on the extraordinary wines of Montepulciano featuring John's insights on Rosso di Montepulciano as a must-have aperitivo and Sara's musings on the transcendental nature of the mother "madre" yeast. In partnership with the Consorzio Vino Nobile and the Toronto Office of the Italian Trade Commission. A campaign financed according to EU regulation no. 1308/2013
At some point in every wine lover's deepening obsession , they fall down the cartographic rabbit hole.  If you've fallen prey to this map-centric preoccupation, don't miss this episode of Wine Thieves.  John and Sara speak with mapmaker straordinario Alessandro Masnaghetti,   founder of Enogea, publisher of the  world's most detailed maps of wine regions.  More than just practical tools, these are works of cultural significance, humanizing and preserving a living landscape. But they do also help us  to understand a wine's shaded nuances of flavour and structure, positioning each in contextual time and space.  Masnaghetti's map of Montepulciano guides the Wine Thieves as they delve deeper into the distinctive terroir of Vino Nobile . For this episode, you'll want to follow along with your own map; go to Consorziovinonobile.it or enogea.it to download your own copy and join us on the tour.Finally, John acquiesces  to Sara's repeated requests to share the mysteries of Italian language pronunciation. You will not want to miss this final segment (46:45) that will have you pronouncing mammolo, nobile and bruschetta like a full blooded Italian!In partnership with the Consorzio Vino Nobile and the Toronto Office of the Italian Trade Commission. A campaign financed according to EU regulation no. 1308/2013
This week the Wine Thieves head to Tuscany and more specifically to the DOCG of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Italy's first DOCG and "the king of all wines" according to poet Francesco Redi. They foolishly consider rolling an empty barrel  600m up to the top of the medieval hilltop town of Montepulciano  (in the "annual Bravio delle Botti"), to take advantage of the sweeping views of the Val d'Orcia and Val di Chiana, the latter home to Chianina cattle and source of the legendary Bistecca alla Fiorentina. In this first of a 3-part series, we speak with  president, Andrea Rossi,  and vice-presidents, Susanna Crociani and Luca Tiberini, (also all producers) of the Consorzio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to learn of the illustrious history of the region, its traditions that united a community under the sphere of Florentine influence,  grape varieties, and soils. Sommelier student alert: we also get a sneak peak at the imminent changes to come from this multi-faceted wine growing region, including a new cru system of sub-zones named after local medieval parishes, defined by elevation, aspect and soils.  Pour yourself a glass of this southern-Tuscan sangiovese (aka prugnolo gentile), discover the past, present and future of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and let the heady aromas whisk you away to the historic hillsides of this classic Tuscan hilltop town. In partnership with the Consorzio Vino Nobile and the Toronto Office of the Italian Trade Commission. A campaign financed according to EU regulation no. 1308/2013
Blaufränkischland

Blaufränkischland

2021-02-0601:06:24

Our 20th episode is dedicated to Blaufränkisch, the widely acknowledged "grape of the future",  and its epicentre of production in the Federal State of Burgenland on the eastern edge of Austria.  Barbaresco or Côte Rôtie? Chinon or Pommard?  What does Blaufränkisch remind you of? We go straight to two of the world's greatest artists of the ancient grape to get the inside story: Roland Velich (Weingut Moric) and Uwe Schiefer. From his base in Mittleburgenland, casino croupier-turned winegrower Roland Velich is the counterculture Blaufränkisch rebel,  whose wines tread the line between radical and refined, drawing inspiration from ancient vines and techniques. His mission is simple: restore the fame and quality of  Burgenland and Blaufränkisch, once the jewels of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  We also pay a visit to Weingut Uwe Schiefer in the Eisenberg DAC. Schiefer,  a sommelier-turned-winemaker,  was compelled to leave an illustrious career Vienna to make wine from the schisty Eisenberg hill, a then unknown but now a coveted niche for Blaufränkisch, using a sommelier's sensitivity and sensibility with stunning results.  With nary a barrique in sight, we reach Schiefer's right hand man, Mark Matisovits for the back story and the current techniques that make for great Blau. Terroir, it turns out, does matter, and a great deal. Limestone, schist, clay, gneiss... all reveal themselves with clarion clarity through Blaufränkisch's DNA. For  wine students, we also cover the basics of the DACs of Eisenberg, Mittleburgenland, Leithaberg and Carnuntum, and reveal what an Uhudler is. You need to know.Bring your tissues and join us this week as we journey back to the future into Blaufränkishland, the world's most peppery destination outside the northern Rhône!
Think you know Austria's Weinviertel (the "Wine Quarter")? Our continuing journey down the Danube may yet surprise you. We look north of Vienna and the river to this vast DAC , Austria's largest, and first protected designation of origin established in 2002. DAC Weinviertel on the label means fragrant, fresh, oak-free, dry and peppery grüner veltliner, the region's signature. Reserve and Grosses Reserve categories were were introduced in 2009 to accommodate a growing number of more powerful versions. Yet a region is not solely defined by its regulations. For the underground spirit of the Weinviertel, we turn to biodynamic winemaker Johannes Zillinger. Johannes speaks of the importance of the creation of the DAC, and also why he doesn't bottle his wines under it. He talks about the generational friction caused by evolving philosophies in family operations, and how a trip to the Republic of Georgia inspired his wines. Far from being one large ocean of peppery grüner, the Weinviertel is instead a collection of  multiple seas, foaming with  innovation and exploration, tradition and convention, from farmhouse to factory. Learn what "unconventional" can mean, what  PIWI varieties are and how they may change farming for the better, and how family, travel, perspective and a collaborative spirit shape a dynamic wine style.  Finally, the Wine Thieves benefit from tips on leading a biodynamic lifestyle and see how they size up. You won't want to miss this episode! mit freundlichen Grüßen, The Wine Thieves.
Along the Danube, Part One

Along the Danube, Part One

2021-01-2501:03:39

The Wine Thieves begin their cruise along the Danube exploring Neiderösterreich (Lower Austria), pausing to marvel at the magnificent, steeply terraced vineyards of the Wachau, the variegated side valleys of the Kremstal, Kamptal and the Traisental, with a pampered pitstop in Langenlois before next week's hike into the Weinviertel. Sara loses John briefly to a reverie on loess, whose thick strata are the origins for the world's greatest grüner veltliner, but brings him back in time for a conversation with Michael Moosbrugger, thoughtful winemaker and estate manager of historic Schloss Gobelsburg in the Kamptal, celebrating 850 harvests this year. He's also the president of the ÖTW (Österreichische Traditionsweingüter), and speaks to us about the ongoing development of the Erste Lagen - "1er cru" - classification and the 30 years of study and research and tastings it will take to realize the  project. Our conversation gets Cistercian again as we delve into pre-industrialized winegrowing, the importance of terroir over grape variety, and how history continues to define us. So, settle in with a gneiss glass of riesling, grüner veltliner or sankt laurent and join us for part one of our winding journey through the Danube Valley. 
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