I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Luis Seabra

Episode 458 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Luis Seabra. Luis is the proprietor and winemaker at Luis Seabra Vinhos, a winery he founded in 2013 after working for many years at Niepoort. Luis makes wine from both the Douro Valley and Vinho Verde regions of Portugal.

Luis Seabra helped set the stage for a new wave of dry Douro Valley wines while a winemaker at Niepoort, and since 2013 has been doing further groundbreaking work under his own label, Luis Seabra Vinhos. Luis explains the larger progression of winemaking and vineyard work in the Douro Valley over the last 60 years, and his background as a university teacher comes through here in his ability to articulate these topics clearly for the listener. You receive a better knowledge of what Luis is doing today, but also an understanding of the greater region of the Douro and how the dry wines from there have changed over time. Over the course of the discussion, many of the "big topics" of winemaking come in for a close examination, and it becomes apparent that Luis has thought quite a bit about subjects like whole cluster use, skin maceration, and grape pressing. Some of his ideas may surprise, especially if you have an idea of Portuguese dry red wines as big and bold.

But this isn't only a winemaking discussion. Luis is very open about what he sees as the challenges for viticulture in the Douro, while also providing an appreciation of the advantages that the Douro possesses. And Luis shares some frank thoughts about recent vintages in the area. Overall, this interview provides a sweeping analysis of Douro wine, from someone who knows the topic extraordinarily well.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, or (NEW!) Pandora for your mobile device.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: Exporter Jeanne-Marie de Champs

Episode 457 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features Jeanne-Marie de Champs. Jeanne-Marie de Champs is the owner of Domaines et Saveurs Collection, an exporter working with Burgundy and other wines from France.

Jeanne-Marie de Champs uses the phrase "defending" when she describes her work on behalf of the grower producers she represents in the market, and it is a telling admission. Jeanne-Marie sees herself as a protector of these small scale producers, and her work on their behalf as more than a business transaction. She says at one point in the discussion that making money is fine, but that we aren't placed on Earth just to make money. The sense of a higher purpose that she radiates can be rare within the giant global wine market today, and it serves to highlight how Jeanne-Marie is a special individual. Moving cases can seem all-important within some operations, but not so for Jeanne-Marie. Rather she seems to operate with a keen feeling for the importance of human relationships, a sensitivity that was perhaps shaped by the experience of losing her father at too young of an age.

Jeanne-Marie gravitated to the small farmer wineries almost from her start, many years ago, and she was ahead of many others when it came to developing a personal selection that took into account the quality of the farming as well as place an importance on the articulation of an individual plot and vintage in the bottled wine. But she remains humble about this work, not grand, and her stated preferences are more quietly determined than triumphant. Pomposity is absent, and this interview is often light at its core: a sharing of favorite memories and personal portraits from decades of living and working in Burgundy. Those curious about how one might operate within the wine business with a sense of purpose and empathy, but also an appreciation for fun, may want to check out this interview.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Ehren Jordan

Episode 456 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features Ehren Jordan. Ehren is the proprietor of the Failla winery, and also the Day wine label. This interview discusses Ehren's increasing interest in working with vineyards in Oregon, in addition to the California vineyards he has been sourcing from for years.

Curious as to why there have been so many vineyard purchases and new winery projects in Oregon in the last few years? Ehren Jordan explains his own decision to work more with Oregon fruit, and in the process illuminates some of the key factors driving the increased growth of the wine industry in that state. Ehren brings some perspective to the conversation that really underpins this discussion, as he can draw upon his own deep knowledge of both Napa and Sonoma counties when it comes to comparing and contrasting the current Oregon scene. Ehren's ability to explain the big picture context is enhanced by the fact that he is working with a number of different vineyards within Oregon today. But this interview doesn't just cover the bird's eye view, there are plenty of details to zoom in on as well. If you want to understand what the key aspects are for evaluating Oregon vineyards, Ehren has some insight for you. And Ehren has been through a few different market cycles for the wine industry, and can explain in-depth where Oregon fits within today's market realities and possibly tomorrow's as well.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: Burgundy Vigneron Jean-Pierre de Smet

Episode 455 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features Jean-Pierre de Smet. Jean-Pierre was a co-founder and partner in Domaine de l'Arlot, the winery based in the Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation. Jean-Pierre retired from l'Arlot in 2007, and has since that time been helping his friend Didier Fornerol make the Domaine Didier Fornerol wines, also in France's Burgundy region.

Jean-Pierre de Smet came to wine almost by chance, on a family visit to an old friend's home in Morey-Saint-Denis, and stayed with it for the rest of his adult life -- in between sailing trips around the world, headlong ski sprints down steep slopes, and bicycle tours of Europe. Jean-Pierre seems to have embraced all of his activities fully, and certainly the wines he made at Domaine de l'Arlot have been recognized as accomplished and pure. This discussion with Jean-Pierre is remarkable for the window it provides on the transition of thought in Burgundy from the 1970s through the 1990s, as vigneron there tasted together regularly, embraced different work in the vineyards, thought about the way vines should be trained, sorted fruit at the harvest, and changed their regime in the cellar. If you would like to better understand the groundwork behind Burgundy being so admired today, this is a great listen. Jean-Pierre patiently and thoroughly explains his different projects in the cellar and in the vines, and he is clear about who influenced him and what he took from those mentors -- people like Jacques Seysses, Patrick Bize, and Anne-Claude Leflaive. Before you drink your next glass of Burgundy, listen to this interview.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Maggie Harrison

Episode 454 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features an interview with winemaker Maggie Harrison. Maggie is a partner in Antica Terra as well as the winemaker for that winery in Oregon. Maggie also makes the Lillian wines from California fruit.

Maggie Harrison has worked for several years with both California and Oregon fruit. What is the difference between the two? Maggie answers that question, taking up the climate of the areas as well as the respective cultures. It turns out that she sees big contrasts, and also implications for the winemaking. Maggie hones in on her work at the blending table in this interview, and inside her blending approach are many of her thoughts on winemaking in general. She feels that if Oregon offers wide vintage variation that she should respond by blending for attributes and families, rather than huing to a specific vineyard or wine upbringing. Maggie wants flexibility for the winemaking, and the chance to draw together the symmetries that she feels are important for good wine. Her take on blending is a counterpoint to the approach found at many other wineries today, and perhaps her method is increasingly worth thinking about as climate change brings more unpredictable outcomes for the weather. Maggie contends that increasing the differences on the blending table also increases the opportunities.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: Wine Writer Esther Mobley

Episode 453 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features an interview with Esther Mobley, wine writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

In a short span of years Esther Mobley has proven herself to be a capable writer, and her articles for the San Francisco Chronicle have stood out for being not just good wine writing, but good writing in general. In this interview Esther discusses how she goes about her work, what is important to her, and how she sees her work as different from previous wine writing in the Chronicle. Esther also compares what she was doing earlier in her career at the Wine Spectator in New York with her work today in California. She addresses what it can mean to write for a general interest publication within this political climate, and what she feels readers want to find in her work. She also takes up several big themes related to wine in California today, and touches on how those have come up in different pieces that she has written. If you would like to get a better sense of the general pulse of California wine at this particular moment, check in with this interview.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: Beaujolais vigneron Louis-Benoit Desvignes

Episode 452 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features Louis-Benoit Desvignes of Domaine Louis-Claude Desvignes in Morgon, within the Beaujolais area of France. Louis-Benoit works together with his sister Claude-Emmanuelle at the domaine.

Louis-Benoit Desvignes sees an area around him in Beaujolais that benefits from the legacy of the past (he comes from a long family line of grape growers himself), but which may need new answers to changing conditions. Louis-Benoit specifically states in this inteview that his father harvested Morgon differently than he does today because his father was working in a different climate. But that isn't the only concern Louis-Benoit has under consideration, and indeed what comes across quite clearly in this interview is Louis-Benoit's engagement with a vast number of different questions. Here is somebody who is actively thinking about each step of the process, from sunlight into wine. Louis-Benoit rejoined his family domaine in 2004, and it may be that it takes over a decade for some of the diferent lessons of the work to really sink in, or it may be that in fact it takes longer than any one human life is given to really know the character of one's work with wine, a point Louis-Benoit returns to repeatedly in this episode ("My dad told me and my grandaddy told me that you will know nothing, and it's true"). Despite the mountainous learning curve, there is a genuine excitement to seeing someone actively trying to scale new heights, and some of that excitement reaches through to the listener of this episode.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: The Aligoté Thread

Episode 451 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features a special segment by Erin Scala entitled The Aligoté Thread. It showcases interviews with Fanny Sabre of Domaine Fanny Sabre, Sylvain Pataille of Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Pierre de Benoist of Domaine A. & P. de Villaine, Frédéric Lafarge of Domaine Michel Lafarge, and more.

One of the advantages Burgundy has is that it can meet a drinker at any level. Whether you just want a glass of Pinot, or you would rather study minute differences in terroir expression or vintage character, Burgundy can reward you with what you are searching for. It is a complex whole that can also be easily grasped in parts. One of those parts that is often overlooked is Aligoté. How many times have you heard that red Burgundy is Pinot Noir and white Burgundy is Chardonnay? Well, that is not the whole story, and Aligoté can offer up its own complexities (and pleasures!) to those looking for them. It turns out that Aligoté is not even one thing, as Erin Scala discovered when she went around and spoke to top producers. Aligoté Doré is distinct from Aligoté Vert. Erin's explanation of those differences features commentary from producers which Erin recorded on-site, and the chorus effect that she achieves by incorporating those voices into the episode brings listeners along with her to the cellars of Burgundy. When Fanny Sabre announces on the tape that she adores Aligoté, the excitement in her voice provides ample inducement to give Aligoté another look, if you haven't already. And the other vigneron featured in the episode are just as compelling, such as the Aligoté luminaries Sylvain Pataille and Pierre de Benoist. If you want to better understand what Aligoté has to offer, check out this episode.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: Portuguese Winemaker António Maçanita

Episode 450 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features António Maçanita, who is involved with a number of wine projects in Portugal as a winemaker. António is a partner in Fitapreta in the Alentejo, the Azores Wine Company in the Azores, and Maçanita Vinhos in the Douro Valley of Portugal.

The scope of change in Portugal is amazing in its own right, as for example the 800 hectares of vineyards that have been planted in the Azores in the last few years stands out all by itself as a staggering number. But it seems that most every new change in Portugal is also a conversation with the past, and those vineyards in the Azores aren't so much new as reclaimed. As António Maçanita explains in this interview, the outlines of the old, abandoned vineyards are still very much there, with rock walls marking out where the vines were planted during the wine heyday of the Azores, over a hundred years ago. Some of those plots are finding new life as growers return to planting the vine at an astonishing pace. António's fluency with old wine texts, some long forgotten, provides what he says with a deeper resonance, and he connects up the history of the place with the current day. Particularly interesting are the insights into the genealogy of the grape varieties, as António builds a case for the grape varieties of the islands having followed the shipping route to the Americas along their history. And while this might be an interesting episode if it focused entirely on the Azores, António's knowledge of other important Portuguese wine regions is just as compelling. For example, his search for other examples of Douro Valley wines than what we know to be there, having already explored some of the far corners of that large area. If you want to know what is happening at this moment in Portugal, while also understanding how the current day is a reflection of the past, this is an interview for you to check out.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine



I’ll Drink to That: World’s Best Sommelier, Arvid Rosengren

Episode 449 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and features Arvid Rosengren, who is the Wine Director of Legacy Records, the restaurant in Manhattan. Arvid won the World's Best Sommelier title in 2016.

Arvid Rosengren divulges what it takes to be named the World's Best Sommelier in competition, and it turns out that is quite a bit. This interview is full of details about Arvid's rigorous training regime, including specialized computer learning, video analysis of service techniques, endless Skype calls, and consultation with an acting coach. Arvid explains what drove him to take on this challenge, and what it was like performing in front of a televised audience on that day two years ago that he took home the title. Like most of us would experience, there was a fair amount of self-doubt along the way, and one of the strengths of this interview is the openess with which Arvid addresses his own feelings. But this isn't only an episode about the trials of competition, there is also plenty of discussion about Arvid's diverse restaurant experiences in Sweden, Denmark, and the United States. It turns out that in Denmark you can have your wine delivered by bicycle, while Sweden has a soft spot for American -style steakhouses. And there are plenty of further details within this episode for the curious.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube or Spotify.

I'll Drink to That is the world's most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine