I’ll Drink to That: Burgundy Winemaker Pierre Morey

Episode 461 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Pierre Morey, whose family runs Domaine Pierre Morey and the micro-négociant Maison Morey-Blanc, both located in Meursault, within France's Burgundy region.

Over the course of his career Pierre Morey has worked with and farmed an astonishing roster of top white Burgundy vineyards, encompassing the most famous Meursault Premier Crus (Charmes, Genevrières, and Perrieres), Premier Crus in Puligny-Montrachet (Pucelles, Folatières, Combettes, and Clavoillon), and Grand Crus including Bâtard-Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, and Le Montrachet, the last of which Pierre worked with in two different parts. Pierre, whose family runs a domaine producing distinguished wines from a relatively small amount of vineyard holdings they own themselves, gained experience as a sharecropper for Comtes Lafon in Meursault and as regisseur for Domaine Leflaive, and it was through these roles that he found access to some of the most famed vineyards in the world. It is a rare person who has made wine from both the most admired vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet for decades as well as from the most esteemed crus of Meursault for decades, and Pierre Morey is that person. He is also quite humble, reflecting the life experience of someone who remembers when conditions in Burgundy were not always prosperous. This humble personality, combined with reflections and thoughts on some of the best vineyards in the world, makes for a compelling listen. Should you wish to know what it is like to vinify Le Montrachet, listen to what Pierre has to say about it.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, or 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: Winemaker Joel Peterson

Episode 460 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Joel Peterson, Founder and Winemaker at Ravenswood winery and the Founder and Winemaker at Once & Future Wine, both in California.

Joel Peterson's wine career spans the arc of California wine from the 1970s to now, and for him it went from making a few barrels of wine in a shack to later being in charge of a million-case wine facility. In between were encounters with some of the early pioneers of post-WWII California winemaking, people like André Tchelistcheff and Joe Swan, and a key realization that Zinfandel offered a special opportunity for making wine. Joel made the connection that California had a wealth of old-vine Zinfandel, but that those grapes were often vinified into low-end jug wines. He felt that the grape offered more when it was vinified for more potential by the likes of Swan and Paul Draper, and decided to pursue that route for his own winemaking. That decision to take full advantage of the old vines that were already in the ground, and to flesh out his wine portfolio of Zinfandels by offering them at different price points, ended up being the foundation of huge commerical success for his wine wine brand Ravenswood during the 1980s. Now Joel has returned to smaller scale winemaking at Once & Future, having sold Ravenswood to Constellation and having spent time working at that larger company. The sum total of experiences lend themselves to all sorts of stories and thankfully Joel is quite good at telling them, as becomes clear quite early in this interview. At the same time, he shares sharp observations about the current wine market and how that differs from the situation he found before, and he gives a rundown of some of the most prized California Zinfandel vineyards today. If you'd like to follow along with an extraordinary career, while at the same time hearing a funny and insightful story or two, this is the interview for you.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, or 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: Wine Writer Jasper Morris

Episode 459 of I'll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Jasper Morris. Jasper is the author of the book Inside Burgundy: The Vineyards, the Wine, and the People, and he recently launched the website Jasper Morris Inside Burgundy.

Jasper Morris fell in love with Burgundy over a bottle 66 La Tâche. A notably good choice for an induction into a new stage one's life. Subsequently he traded in Burgundy at his own import company and then for Berry Bros. & Rudd in the UK. Over the course of many years in the trade Jasper learned quite a few details about the individual Burgundy crus, and his 2010 book Inside Burgundy put down on the page the specifics. This interview finds Jasper reminiscing about his import days, as well as sharing his thoughts about some of the "big topics" of Burgundy today: winemaking trends, vineyard work specifics, premox, and the market for the wines, just to name a few. But the real strength of this discussion is in Jasper's guided tour through the Côte d'Or, as he shares with listeners his thoughts about different Burgundy villages and crus. This topic was also the focus of Jasper's book on Burgundy, so it is no surprise that he knows the territory quite well. If you'd like to hear more about, for instance, the different sectors of Nuits-Saint-Georges, this is an interview to check out.

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: 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