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Winecast 22: Jerry Lockspeiser, wine guru

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Jerry LockspeiserJerry Lockspeiser has done many things during his wine career in the United Kingdom — producer, negociant, consultant, salesman, and writer. Through much of it, his focus on been on cheap wine and what Lockspeiser calls the normal wine drinker; those of us who want to buy a bottle to have with dinner and who don’t want to mess with any of wine’s foolishness.

The biggest lesson in wine over the past decade? That consumers discovered “they didn’t need to pay a lot of money for a good drink,” he said. That’s preaching the gospel, no?

Lockspeiser and I talked about:

• The improved quality of cheap wine, and that the improvement was led by the Australians and Californians.

• Why the wine business insists on selling expensive wine and trading up perfectly happy wine drinkers. Hint: It’s about money.

• How winespeak is one of the biggest problems facing consumers, and why the wine business doesn’t understand the problem.

• Some of the best advice I’ve seen for negotiating the Great Wall of Wine at the grocery store (yes, they have it in Britain, too), including tips on pricing.

Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 16 minutes long and takes up almost 8 megabytes. The sound quality is very good, with only a couple of squeaks and hisses even though Lockspeiser was in London. Skype — the unofficial VoIP provider for the blog — was in exceptionally fine form.

The WC on iWineRadio

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My chat with Lynn Krielow at iWineRadio has posted, and it covers the gamut — lots of cheap wine talk, how I pick the $10 Hall of Fame, and why some of the wines made it this year. You can listen here. It’s about nine minutes long.

Winecast 20: Don Brady, Robert Hall Winery

don-bradyDon Brady, the winemaker at Paso Robles’ Robert Hall Winery, is something of a legend in Texas. He worked for three of the state’s best-known producers before going to California, where he has become one of the best winemakers there.

Brady is also, for some reason, not as well known as he should be. His wines not only offer value – the $10 rose, the $15 sauvignon blanc, and the $15 Rhone de Robles red blend are revelations in a world of over-priced, cute label plonk – but they reflect the terroir of his part of Paso Robles without concern for scores or ratings.  Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay: I once voted to give his 14 1/2 percent, oaked viogner a gold medal, and regular visitors know how I feel about high alcohol, over-oaked wine.

We talked about Don’s start in Texas, his approach to winemaking, and how he manages to make such wonderful wines. Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 19 minutes long and takes up 18 1/2 megabytes. One caveat: Skype didn’t cooperate the way it usually does, and there is a hum in certain parts of the recording.

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