Wine Review with Michael Steinberger
Gary Vaynerchuk tastes wines with Michael Steinberger, a wine columnist from Slate Magazine and the Financial Times. They discuss the troubles in the wine industry and Michael’s new book!
Gary: Hello everybody and welcome to Wine Library TV. I am your host Gary Vaynerchuk and this, my friends is the thunder show a.k.a. the internet’s most passionate wine program and I am delighted to have a wonderful guest here. We haven’t yet that much mainly over the computer and I am going to say really nice here. We will see if he blushes. This might be one of my favorite wine writer in the world.
Mike: Who is that?
Gary: I really enjoy your style.
Mike: Well that is very nice to hear.
Gary: Mainly your article wrote about me.
Mike: That is right. I knew you butter you up before you came in.
Gary: But you see Mike I am really pumped at here.
Mike: I am delighted to be here.
Gary: Please tell the Vayner Nation who you are.
Mike: I am Mike Steinberger. I am Mike Steinberger I am the wine columnist for the online magazine Slate. I’ve been a wine columnist since 2002 so quite a long time. It’s fantastic place to write for. I write for the Financial Times of London as well and did my first book which is published this year which I'm very happy. That is called Bordeaux, all that Food and Wine in the end of France.
Gary: I am in a good mood, just had a huge when we are going to run the table. I am going to Toronto, Thursday for the game with AJ.
Mike: Why I told you I was going to show off with my cowboys dam pocket but it didn’t arrive in time. That would have been an act of war. It would have been a declaration of war written on me.
Gary: Not as much for me as for Mott and the other Giant fans. Just Cowboys, I don’t really.
Mike: There has been no rivalry there but you know Giants, Cowboys that is library.
Gary: But I just broke bad news to Mott about Eli’s foot so he is not very happy.
Mike: There is no team coach by way for us is going very far. So we know that.
Gary: Anyway so tell us little bit about the book?
Mike: It is a book about the rise and fallen future French cuisines set against the backdrop of France’s diminished fortunes. France’s food culture is in real trouble in a certain point. All my travels to France at the side but it was a story written down the book and so I look at the decline. The reasons for the decline, the manifestations of it, now you see for instance you know cheese, Randall cheese has been one of the glories of French cuisine forever and 55 years ago, 100% of the cheese are made in France or grown up lay down to 10%.
I tell the story in one chapter but you could bear which is the most iconic of French cheeses came under threat a few years ago so I tell that story. There is largest story about the decline of France’s cheese culture. One of the other manifestations to this decline of France’s food culture is the success of a dollar to France. It’s a huge business for them in France.
Gary: That is the par of the thing since I have always heard.
Mike: It is the second most profitable market in the world which is amazing. In fact the guys--It is a hard but to slow, I mean the guy who figured their strategy in France did his job so well a few years ago he was made the head of McDonalds Europe, and he is believed to be one of to run McDonalds worldwide.
Gary: Did you interview him?
Mike: I did, he is a terrific guy, a very good guy. I asked him if culture will trade him and he said no and that was it.
Gary: That was a good some question, in front of sitting in there and trying to make him say yes somewhere.
Mike: More exactly, you know. I mean don’t you feel like you are betraying France by doing this and he was very—
Gary: What is his book? You got to read the book if I know the answer?
Mike: More exactly and it’s you know it is a business story, maybe not uplifting cultures story. There is also a big chapter of wine because as you know it’s a very interesting time for wines in France.
Gary: Well, it is a very interesting time for wines period.
Mike: For wines period but you know in France you got a situation where the very top producers until the second on the down turn in business have been ever better. But below this right thin up across you’ve got thousands of small growers throughout France who are in real trouble.
Gary: Actually in really great places like Bordeaux, Lanquedoc and it’s funny I am sorry to interrupt you. Sorry, I know I get 9% of comments but something that you said is really interesting. Something really knows what is going on, you started with Bordeaux but a lot of people don’t recognize is what happens after those 400 or 500 states. You know the people that are front sides and people that are making some of this other wines out there.
Mike: In a family in the periphery of Bordeaux the five miles from Pommerall have seen a million. It is five miles from the vineyards that are producing true Sauvignon Blanc. This is the family fifth generation. The market for their wine has completely collapsed. It is the point —.
Gary: What kind of wine?
Mike: They are making Bordeaux, I mean you have Bordeaux and mostly Merlot. It is on the right bank and the market for their wine completely collapsed for the point where are they really getting Euro provider. So the situation got so bad, bank loans come in due that family left for the choice to keep the winery or keep their houses. They sold their house and end up living in mobile homes on the property.
And it’s five miles from vineyards producing great vintages. You know $1000 bottle of wine. It is astonishing. People don’t realized that is that close that there is this different side of Bordeaux and you see it included the 50% of the wine makers will go under of the next few years with the Languedoc’s.
Gary: That is what we found a little bit of the comment to read and it is both for your letters.
Mike: Exactly, because that is an amazing story, we got a Bordeaux on the table there white Bordeaux.
Gary: So how these wines get here, because I just show up and see what happens. I just show up in here, Mott is here, lights are on and there’s wines you go down and pick for me.
Mike: Why you know, I talked about it before. I talked with Mott and some wines that would tell us interesting stories, we got a champagne here because in the middle of these bad news in France. The champagne region is really incredibly a dynamic place right now, there are having a lot of problems obviously because I am bourbon people so it’s solitary moods these days and show pain is. Champagne is the wine.
Gary: Which a whole problem in itself, I mean as many people watch the show know I am in love with sparkling wine. It is my desert island style of wine, much more than red wine. And I just wish people drink in more scenarios.
Mike: Exactly the great economist John McCain is the guy who is looked to bail us out of our current world. He said his one regret in life is that he didn’t drink enough champagne. That is something I am hoping to correct. I am hoping I never had to say and it sounds you are too. But you know so they got that problem there, they got this luxury image, image of keeping associated with celebration and that is obviously a problem in this economy. But it is the most dynamic region, not only in France, maybe less dynamic wine region in the world right now because you are really re-defining what champagne is about and here is an example.
Gary: I agree and as the Blanc Noir effort from Central Bouchard, the that in Inflorescerce that this is a 93 point and Antonio Galloni who is now interviewing for Robert Parker, wine etiquette is a 100% Pinot and it’s $55.00, double nickels.
Mike: This is in a good price for a really distinct wine. This is a guy who has made a lot of noise last year.
Gary: Are you a big fan of this guy?
Mike: You know very little experience of his wines but—
Gary: Just reading on the side.
Mike: He is been getting a lot of voice. He has been getting a lot of attention and he is doing some incredibly innovative work. He is a single variety, single vineyard, single vintage even in the non-vintage.
Gary: That’s right.
Mike: And he is working on the cocktail bar I think so in the Southern end so right where is basically parallel with Chaplise in the Northern most tip of Burgundy and he is making incredibly distinctive wines.
Gary: Again, I think there is some really intriguing things going on here within the conversation. You notice that he said really well priced and again this is why you are taught and definitely taking ourselves out of the economic situation but for what is this guy is doing, the process. The vineyards and the varietal because we’re talking at a 100% pinot here, not sharp, different price structures, when you are talking about a grower champagne of this caliber. In this hype getting $55.00 for it considering the soft dollar you are talking about a good value.
And so you said nonchalantly knowing kind of that going on and that I could see all the faces in the world. Sorry big time author man, 55 bucks might be lower but the truth is I think when you take this and you put in the likes of a dampy or perrier jouet flower bottle, Winston Churchill thinks like that, half the price and for a whole lot of people, more of the wine.
Mike: And this is the thing too and the other thing with champagne is people need in particular in Blanc Noir. Each time rich or style, we need some wines should be have with food and the Chef and Noir is always talking about we want our wines to be had with food.
Gary: They are just telling that story proper.
Mike: They are not telling that story very well and it's surprising because they are very adapted marketing otherwise.
Gary: Well, this big high five because it always happens.
Mike: The little guys are not having so much success making that, getting that message across. But you know when you think about it, you need people think. What make a little more about these days but you know people will spend $50.00 on the Chateau for Bordeaux.
Gary: Especially Chateau right now.
Mike: Exactly, that is very hot and a bunch you know they will spend a neck of might but then they will think, we have a champagne now we drink that just on special occasions for an aperitif and you know $55.00 is no bargain but it’s not a bad price.
Gary: And what I am really fascinating is here is where you talk about the world economy because it’s really been interesting for me is over the course of last 36 months, you started to seem educated wine drinkers. Not you think the casual one started a debate about something premium Cavas. There are some things that are starting to sneak in that can start the thing.
Now I still I think there is really a rival for the terroir which champagne brings the table for these wines. But you know what, people starting to really look at some of — I think Cava is getting really interesting and I think they are going to be able to put out reserves in single vineyards in that $25.00 to $45.00 range in the next when things get better or things of that nature, so I think that is going to be a true competitor and I think that really have to start telling the story because this is not a flexible level.
Mike: It isn’t and you know the thing is in this kind of market. It’s a downtime now but this is when loyalty is going to be won and this is when people are going that $15.00 or $20 Cava. If they scale up and price people are go along for the ride with times improved and so you know that this is the time to build that sort of wine.
Gary: No question from any business point this is always the opportunity, I think that what is very important for people to understand is this. I bet you if we took a survey from ten of thousand of people watching right now. How many of you raised your hand, we can see you - it’s crazy new technology. How many of you drank champagne outside of that normal aperitif, toast Salvatore environment numbers is scary now and I am talking in single digits.
Mike: People don’t even think about it.
Gary: I mean lobster and if you do lobster fan this is such a major.
Mike: Up to something else, there are sushi restaurants everywhere. I mean is champagne not a fantastic there.
Gary: I posted on the Wine Library TV forum this weekend. I'm back to big dinner, all that and my intuition was to do was.
Mike: She invited my wife.
Gary: She is hardcore.
Mike: She adores you.
Gary: Let’s get into this, let’s sniffy sniff it up. It’s really nice aromatics when you are picking up in nose.
Mike: There is apple, citrus in there.
Gary: Are you getting the rubber burnt kind of thing going on like a muscle car burn out.
Mike: There is a little bit of that, it’s certainly chalkiness.
Gary: I get a dustiness, chalkiness for sure. The apple is the kind of predominant thing we are going to kind talk new one around this apple, kind of grainy smith green apple, smelt.
Mike: I am getting any red fruits.
Gary: Here with pinots you can definitely pick them up. I definitely like this kind of dusty, chalky thing that it really finishes there.
Mike: It is floral note in there and you can pick up on the nose. You can pick up. This is serious wine in there.
Gary: There is a serious wine in there. Let’s give it a whirl
Mike: That richness, great concentration.
Gary: The thing that I love about this, sparkling wine is a completely coats your palate.
Mike: It’s like chalked in thing that across your tongue basically.
Gary: It is extremely, it’s got a greatness gossip. It really does, it is quite thick.
Mike: It got a real presence, I mean it’s elegant but it’s got a real presence in there as a sin - I mean this is something where it is fantastic as a pair of tea. But it would be really good with food.
Gary: You know what we compare this too - Alton. Alton is the former wide receiver for the New York Jets. He was the on the other side of the great Wesley Walker. Alton was number 88 and here is what I love Alton. Alton is a wide receiver and he was very tough who is actually forced out of football because of concussions.
He would take the hit over the middle all top, rugged tough guy. During every off season, Alton did ballet. Every off season that’s was he did. That is what this wine reminds me of. It got this really brute force to it and I would call it extremely masculine wine but a lot of ways. But the finish on this wine has extraordinary finesse. It's kind of like seeing a WWF wrestler talk to Congress and articulates perfectly.
You are like it is stereotyping that is wrong, but you look out. You do that with athletes and other demos that you don’t expect it from unfortunately that is what this wine reminds me of.
Mike: Now, absolutely it means it got to roll out the wine cliché. It’s the classic iron fist velvet glove.
Gary: Yeah, I think that was a really good point, I really like this. I really appreciate there is almost a white peach flavor. Did you catch that a little bit?
Mike: I did, yup. That is just very complex and it’s one of those wines just to going to keep opening up and keep on giving. It’s one of those wines to just really linger over.
Gary: I like this a lot, so I am do my portion. By the way we would be missed to not to talk about how perfect the acidity balances on this. Sometimes they get a little too sharp on the backend. I think it is just really balance.
Mike: This is really harmonious flavor.
Gary: Knowing Galonni is a very big score for him, 93 points and I kind of see why. I am going to jump right on bandwagon. I will go 93 points as well. To me this really shows extremely well, massively balanced and for the price point is extremely attractive and if you can roll like a big time author and afford a $55.00 bottle of champagne this New Year, this is definitely something to look at. I can tell you right now in comparison to some of the fancy stuff that you are going to see on every store. You are going to be able to buy two bottles and get twice the wine. And this is a really good effort.
Mike: Back up the cars.
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