Wine Making Radio - March 21 to April 3, 2005
Rob Linder:Welcome to another episode of WineMaking Radio. I trust you will enjoy the next twenty minutes as we explore the world of winemaking from all different perspectives and interests. If youíre new to WineMaking Radio, I encourage you to visit our website, winemakingradio.com and learn about our past episodes and subscribe to the free biweekly e-mail newsletter that announces future episode information and special offers available only to program guide subscribers.
In todayís episode we will begin with an interview by Dr. Stephen Reiss, whoís book Juice Jargon will guide us on how to talk about the fruits of our labor. In other words, how to describe the wine you love to make and drink. We will continue with both parts two and three of our three part series on introduction to winemaking. Finally, we will have news about wine that may be of interest to the people who make it. I trust you will enjoy the next 20 minutes as we explore the world of winemaking from all different perspectives and interests.
Robert Linder: Hello Iím with Dr. Stephen Reiss today. How you doing Dr. Reiss?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Iím well thank you.
Robert Linder: Could you tell us a little bit about your interest in wines: where it began and how it has blossomed?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: In the early Ď80s I was apprentice to a chef here in Aspen. Every night after work the waiters would bring any leftover wine into the kitchen and everyone would taste it and try to guess what it was. One night I guessed Ď64 Margot and the waiter was floored. He asked me how I could know and my response was, ďWell we just tasted it last month.Ē Still shocked the waiter asked, ďHow can you remember something you tasted a month ago?Ē And that it was really my first inkling that I should start paying more attention to wine.
Robert Linder: Now you have written a book called Juice Jargon and when did you write that book and what inspired you to write that book?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Well, remember when there was aĖ there was something in your life that you just had to know about and for me it was wine. When I decided I was going to learn about wine I started out reading everything I could get my hands on. The textbooks advised that I never say anything about wine that cannot be confirmed in a laboratory. But I had no idea what those chemicals tasted like. And then I turned to the wine writers and read about Linden and white truffle aromas; I wasnít even sure what those smelled like much less trying to find them in a wine. I was confused and more than a little frustrated and it almost scared me away from learning more about wine but I persevered and eventually I could say that I knew what all those chemicals and things like white truffle smelled like and, you know, what kind of wines I could expect to find them in. It didnít happen over night.
It took me a decade of hard study to gain the knowledge. I then went to the next level. I started teaching about wine where I experienced a new level of frustration. I asked myself the most obvious question: how was I going to teach in a week what took me a decade to learn. Again, it took years but by listening to how my students spoke about wine I found that there was a simple common ground and out of that Juice Jargon was born.
Robert Linder: So who would benefit from your book?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Well really any and everyone has a reason to reach for Juice Jargon. For those new to wine it introduces the concepts that you need to gain confidence to talk about wine, and for those of you that have been around wine Juice Jargon serves a reference for all of the terms youíre likely to run into.
Robert Linder: Well, one my concerns about a book that tells you about how to taste wine or how to talk about wine is that youíre going to feed us a bunch of exhaustive supply of descriptive words again about wine tasting. And do you put it in a much more everyday language or are you just giving us some new adjectives to use?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: In fact when you start talking about wine you really only need to use 15 simple everyday words and youíll find these in the first two pages of Juice Jargon. When youíre reading chapter one you learn about a new and simple way to eliminate the ever-illusive language of the wine world. Your value here, your gain, is that by picking up the glass of wine offered in Juice Jargon and following along your social skills will skyrocket to new heights and your ability to talk about what you taste will turn heads. But most importantly youíll have fun. And more fun as you go through chapter two youíll find and learn all of those industry terms used to describe wine, including the pronunciations of the foreign words. This really helps you to decide which words you want to use and just as importantly the ones you want to avoid.
As I was reading my e-mails this morning I got a nice note from one of my readers who she told me that sheís one of a group of friends that had started to meet once a month to go out to a fine dinner.
Each month they took turns being in charge of the whole dining experience and she said she enjoyed the dinners but that she was stressing over the fact that her turn was coming up. She went on to tell me that she found Juice Jargon on a Web site and was anxious to get a copy in time to learn something before her turn came around. She recalled how anxious she was when she got the book only a few days before the dinner but how delighted she was that after only reading the first chapter she was already confident that sheíd have something to say. And she finished by explaining that not only did she sound like she knew what she was saying but all of her friends started asking her questions about wine. And she was thrilled-- excuse me, she was thrilled that she had gone from hiding in the background to being the groupís wine expert in only a few days.
Robert Linder: Does your book help guide you through imported wine?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Chapter three of Juice Jargonís a must read. Itís an expose of the hidden secrets of wine: what the different grapes and the regions of a wine are- different regions of the world are and the value of this for you is to get the certainty. You have an inkling of what the wine will be like just from reading the label. This can open up a whole new world of wine for you taking away much of the risk inherent in discovering new wines.
Robert Linder: Do you find that then itís easier to talk to the wine merchant?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Absolutely. Once you have some idea of what youíre looking at on the wine label youíll have the confidence to not only be able to buy the wine but to talk to people about what other wines you might want to try.
Robert Linder: You know, thatís always a problem with buying a wine in a store is you really donít know what youíre getting until youíve opened it up and tasted the wine. But when you go through Juice Jargon it helps you identify the words on the wine, what the grape varieties are, what the general flavor of the wine is going to be so you at least have some sense going into it. It makes it a lot easier to decide after youíve opened it up whether or not itís worth going out and buying it again.
Weíll be back with more of our interview with Dr. Stephen Reiss. Youíre listening to winemaking radio.
You have just heard Dr. Stephen Reiss talk about his book Juice Jargon: how to talk about wine. Now winemaking radio has a special offer made available to those who have signed up for our free e-mail newsletter, the winemaking program guide. If you sign up for the free e-mail newsletter today, or you have signed up in the past, you will be entered in a contest to win a free copy of Dr. Reissís book, Juice Jargon. To get a chance to win the Juice Jargon book simply go to our web site www.winemakingradio.com and click on the subscribe button on the left side of the screen. Simply provide your e-mail and you will be entered to win Juice Jargon: how to talk about wine, by Dr. Stephen Reiss. The contest will expire at midnight Pacific time April 3, 2005. The free program guide newsletter is a bi-weekly e-mail that tells of upcoming stories and interviews in the audio program of winemaking radio, with special offers to the recipients of the e-mail newsletter.
So sign up today if you havenít yet and maybe you will win a free copy of Dr. Reissís book, Juice Jargon. You will be knowledgeable about how to talk about wine and what is coming up on future winemaking radio shows.
Introduction to WineMaking a discussion with Jon Mendrick Part Two
Robert Linder:We return to our Introduction to Wine Making series with Jon Mendrick, owner of Mountain Homebrew and Wine Supply Store in Kirkland Washington.
Robert Linder: What are we looking at as far as ingredients here? Iím looking at your kit and Iím not really seeing a whole heck of a lot as far as chemicals. Is winemaking for the most part a- kind of a chemical free hobby?
Jon Mendrick: It can be. And when you putĖ theyíre not really chemicals, theyíre additives that are actually naturally derived from wine grapes. It depends on the recipe and say your- you know, typical additives youíd add to a wine would be acid. Tartaric acid is the main acid derived from the wine- you know, wine grape. And such things you can add tannin which gives you that dry taste, really dries the wine out and gives it a little bite. And then thereís sulfites. Everyone hears about sulfites you can add. And all that is is it just helps preserve the wine, it helps prevent oxidation and you add typically sulfites to the wine prior to fermentation. And what that does is it takes care of any wild yeast that maybe on the fruit naturally because although that yeast will eventually start to ferment the results are very unpredictable.
So youíre better off dosing it with a mild sulfite and after a 24-hour period thatíll actually gas off and then you add your good yeast that you know is going to give you good varietal character. Cause of a succense- a successful vintage greatly by adding sulfite.
Robert Linder: So typically if I were to come in here and I had aĖ like I say maybe an over abundance of fruit in my garden or I was going to look at a wine kit, you would allot- you would usually have a book or something that would tell us what of those additives to add in at what time.
Jon Mendrick: Thereís actually a great little book we recommend for fruit winemakers called the Winemakers Recipe Handbook. Itís just a little 30-page pamphlet almost; lots of great recipes ranging fromĖ thereís even a recipe for onion wine in there. But other than that onion wine that sounds a littleĖ little scary but, you know, blackberry, peach, plum, pear, if you can name a fruit, you can make wine with it.
Robert Linder: Okay, now weíre at the glass carboy. Weíve alreadyĖ weíve racked over the wine to the secondary carboy which is a glass carboy. Weíve talked a little bit about that being a size that theĖ and itís considered wine at this time.
Jon Mendrick: Oh yes, absolutely.
Robert Linder: Okay. Once itís fermented itís considered wine, is that correct?
Jon Mendrick: Thatís correct.
Robert Linder: We now have this pretty much sized to the proper glass carboy so that minimum air exposure. We want to make sure that thereís very little air exposure. Now how long will we keep that in the glass carboy?
Jon Mendrick: That can vary. Iíd say your average time on a wine kit is about a month. If your- wine made from scratch, from- straight from grapes takes a while longer because in the kits they do the process of the concentration, theyíre able to reduce some of the elements that you wait so long for a fresh grape wine to come around. If you were doing wine from scratch it typically is in the carboy up to a year before you bottle it and what that does is it really softens the wine, it blends it, it comes together. If you were to taste a young wine right away it would be veryĖ it tends to be somewhat harsh, it has a bite. And through that aging period in the carboy itíll mellow it out and itíll blend itself and become a much better wine.
Robert Linder: So your typical advice maybe to a newcomer would be to buy a primary fermenter but maybe several carboys because...
Jon Mendrick: Several carboys because your first batch youíre always going to want to drink right away so itís always good to have several wines going at a time and it helps with the impatience issue.
Robert Linder: Weíll be back with more intro to winemaking later in the program.
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Bold news for people who make bold wine.
Sweet news for people who make sweet wine.
Robert Linder: We return now to our interview with Dr. Stephen Reiss, author of the book "Juice Jargon".
Now our audio program is geared towards the winemaker yet I have found that in my own experience as a winemaker that as my level of complexity grows in the wines that Iím making and as Iím trying toĖ or as Iím starting to share my wines the conversation will turn back to them asking me some questions about my wine and I find it sometimes hard to communicate. For example, what are some of the basic wine terms even us winemakers should be familiar with to talk about our own wines?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: You know the three key words of wine are balance, balance, and balance. Do you remember tasting lemonade? Sometimes itís too sweet and sometimes itís too sour. When itís just right itís balanced and this is the Holy Grail for wine as well. But most consumers donít know or even want to know about hang time or maceration. They may or may not be able to discern the blackberry fruit you find in the wine. But they can understand the concept of jammy. By using 15 everyday words in Juice Jargon, words like jammy and tart and light, you communicate your experience of the wine very effectively. Juice Jargon has great definitions and pronunciations of the technical words too but theyíre best used when discussing the technical aspects of the wine and not just what it tastes like.
Robert Linder: Thatís great to know. Now do you make wine yourself?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: You know, I wish I could say I did. Iím one of those people that advises and tells lots of people what theyíre doing wrong without the benefit of having done it them self. I think you call that a critic.
Robert Linder: We tend to sometimes make the wine and we put it out there and people give us oh, yes, itís a good wine but if we can start using the terms to understand what they like about our particular wines it will help us as winemakers to correct that or to enhance that in future vintages. So obviously a good book for winemakers and wine lovers alike.
Dr. Stephen Reiss: I appreciate that; I certainly think so.
Robert Linder: Now how can people go about and purchase your book?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Well Juice Jargonís available from your favorite bookstore or online retailer. But if you go to juicejargon.com Iíll be happy to sign a book for you as well as give you a handy wine tasting reminder card and a full color bookmark to make it easy to discern the colors of wine. Remember, you only get these extras at juicejargon.com and Iíll even throw in a free report, 10 Tips and Tricks for Buying Wine Like a Pro, just for visiting juicejargon.com
Robert Linder: Well thatís wonderful. And weíll have that link also posted on winemakingradio.com Web site. Now you mentioned a little bit of this- thereís a card thatís available. Is that like a little business-sized card or what is...
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Thatís exactly right. In fact in the book thereís a page that has the card but if you buy the book from somewhere like Amazon you can copy that card yourself and make a little Xerox of it. But if you buy from my Web site Iíve already printed the cards out.
Robert Linder: Do you have any other plans in the works with the Juice Jargon or other things that youíre doing?
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Well thereís always my wine school, the Aspen Wine Program, which I teach a couple of times a year and I have a few seminars lined up for corporate clients. And my other Web site wineeducation.com is also an ongoing endeavor with new topics being explored all the time. But mostly Iím having fun spreading the word about Juice Jargon.
Robert Linder: Well thatís great. Well itís been a pleasure talking to you about this and I, you know, would like to get feedback from our listeners and I invite them to go to juicejargon.com and wineeducation.com to explore your sites, give us some feedback, and maybe we can have you back on on future shows, you can talk about some more specific things about how to talk about wine.
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Iíd love to.
Robert Linder: Okay, well thank you Dr. Reiss for your time. Again, I hope we hear from in future.
Dr. Stephen Reiss: Thank you very much.
Introduction to WineMaking a discussion with Jon Mendrick Part Three
Rob Linder:Weíre back with Jon Mendrick at Mountain Home Brew and Wine Supply Store, asking him the question: So when you are ready now to bottle the wine itís at a stage where you taste it, you like it, itís coming along very well, you need to put it into a bottle cause you donít want all your neighbors to come over and drink it from the large carboy. So what would be a part of the kit and what would be part of the process removing the wine from the carboy?
Jon Mendrick: Again, youíd go through the process of racking or transferring. The difference being that you have a piece of equipment called a bottle filler and what that is is when youíreĖ it goes on the end of a siphon hose and itís got a spring tip valve on the end. And you donít want to splash the wine, you donít want toĖ when you fill the bottle you donít want to just splash the wine into the bottle, you want to gentle fill the bottle as not to minimize the aeration or- which can lead to oxidation. And so this b- springlet bottle filler when you push it into the bottom of the bottle itíll actually fill the bottle from the bottom up minimizing the splashing and the oxidation factor.
And then when you get to your proper level, which is approximately about a half inch from the topĖ about an inch from the top actually, you want it about a half to a quarter inch from the bottom of the cork, you just pull up on this bottle filler, itíll stop the flow. Put a cork in the little hand corker here, put a cork in the bottle, and give it some time.
Robert Linder: Weíre looking at this device and you could probably see a picture of it on the Web site but essentially itís a very easy to use device where you- like I say you stick the cork into the opening and itís got two handles that you just literallyĖ you put this on top of the bottle, you put the handles and you bring the handles down and it in the process will squeeze the cork and a plunger will stick it into the bottle itself and then it releases itself.
Jon Mendrick: Thatís correct. And actually youíre correct in that it actually shoves the cork through the tapered hole and so as youíre forcing it down through this hole the diameter is getting smaller so it squeezes the cork and then when the cork is in the bottle it actually reexpands to make the seal.
Robert Linder: Thereís a lot of talk about then once youíve got it bottled what do you do? Do you- is it important to have that bottle put on its side? How do you store your bottles?
Jon Mendrick: That is a- itís a debate thatís not reallyĖ thereís no clear answer on that. If you have good quality cork you want to keep the cork moist and you want to prevent the cork from drying out. If youíre using a whole good quality cork go ahead and lay the bottles on their sides, itíll keep the cork moist, prevent it from drying out, which will eventually just lead to rot and then you have oxidation. And so by keeping the cork moist it keeps the cork expanded and keeps your seal. If youíre using synthetic corks which are becoming very popular these days, it doesn't really matter.
That about wraps it up for the third episode of Wine Making Radio. I hope you've enjoyed the show and found the information useful. I encourage you to sign up for the Wine Making Radio Audio Program Guide. The free email newsletter will provide information on upcoming audio shows and contain a special offer or promotion available only to the Program Guide subscribers. It's free. To sign up, visit our web site, www.WineMakingRadio.com. Wine improves with age, and hopefully, so will this show. Visit us at www.WineMakingRadio.com, and give us some feedback about our show.
Thanks to Dr. Stephen Reiss Ph.D., author of "Juice Jargon" and Jon Mendrick of Mountain Homebrew and Wine Supply Store; sound recorded by Otto Schwebbe Studios. Edited by Ollo Rudd Post production by Forest Rain Studios. I am your host and producer, Rob Linder. The opinions expressed on Wine Making Radio are those of its hosts and guests and may not represent the opinions and advice of Clear Data and its employees. Wine Making Radio is copyrighted 2005 by Clear Data. All rights reserved. Until next episode, keep crushing, keep fermenting, and most of all, keep listening. Spread the word. www.WineMakingRadio.com.
#### End of WineMaking Radio Episode Three####
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