Tag Archives: Columbia Valley AVA

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© The Missoula Winery and Event Center

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 11:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast and full length conversation with Kevin Van Dort VP of Sales and Events at the Missoula Winery and Event Center; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/08/wine-guy-mike-for-july-8/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This weeks show and blog post is a best of show from earlier this year.

I had the pleasure of hosting featured guests Frederique Leiritz, aka “Frenchie,” and Kevin Van Dort from the Missoula Winery and Event Center.  The winery is owned by Phillipe and Frederique Leiritz, both whom are from France.  Kevin a very well known local blues musician is Vice President of sales and events.

Frenchie, Kevin, and I sat down in the studio this week and tasted through the flight of Marc Raphael wines, The Missoula Red, and Roller Girl Red.  The Marc Raphael wines are named for the Leiritzes son Marc, while the Missoula Red or as it is better known as “Soul Red” was blended to capture the spiritual soul of the musician and artist.  The Roller Girl Red a wine honoring Missoula’s own all girl roller derby team, the Hellgate Roller Girls, a very popular team and activity indeed.

Sustainability is a core value of the Missoula Winery whether they’re reclaiming lumber from the old Liberty Lanes bowling alley to build the outdoor concert venue at the winery or recycling wine bottles to use to for their own wine bottling.  The Missoula Winery family really is sustainable minded but also applies sustainability in very practical ways.

Family and community are very important to the Missoula Winery.  It’s refreshing to see relatively new members of the Missoula community have such an impact.  The winery frequently has events benefiting people or causes at the winery or they are supporting events happening throughout the community. 

If you like music and wine, the Missoula Winery is the place for you.  This family friendly atmosphere is a great place to bring the family, enjoy some wine and listen to great music.  For a schedule of the excellent entertainment and events going on at the winery please visit the wineries website; http://www.missoulawinery.com/ .  The tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 2-7 PM and Sunday’s 2-5 PM, these are their summertime hours.

Wines at the Missoula Winery are very good.  I have been tasting wines that winemaker/owner Frenchie has made over the last three years and the wines have evolved significantly.  It was a real treat to taste through the flight of wines from the Missoula Winery this week.

Please stop out and visit the Missoula Winery which is located just six minutes from downtown via I-90.  You can taste all of their wines while enjoying a barbeque, game of French Bocce Ball (Petunque), or taking in a wide array of musical talent performing regularly at the winery.  

I want to thank Frenchie and Kevin for joining me on the show this week to share their wines and passion for the community we call home, Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

Some of the wine selections from today’s show are available today at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Christophe Hedges of Hedges Family Estate

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 11:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This Weeks Podcast featuring Christophe Hedges of Hedges Family Estate; http://www.trail1033.com/Podcasts/Podcast-Wine-Guy-Mike-for-December-9-554603

YouTube preview for this week’s show featuring Christophe Hedges of Hedges Family Estate;

Recent podcast with Courtney Kingston of Kingston Family Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/15/wine-guy-mike-for-september-16/

Recent Podcast with head winemaker of Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Mr. Anthony Beckman; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebookhttp://on.fb.me/hvHsil please “like”

Twitter; https://twitter.com/WineGuyMike

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Today’s written story will be available later this afternoon, but here is what you really need to know. The wine notes…everyone a great wine and a great value. Listen to the full length conversation between featured guest Christophe Hedges and WineGuyMike right here; http://www.trail1033.com/Podcasts/Podcast-Wine-Guy-Mike-for-December-9-554603

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

For a great selection on wine visit Liquid Planet, Missoula’s Best of Beverage, located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The Hedges Family Estate wines reviewed today receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™  

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com or visit the new website at www.wineguymike.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

Perfect Patio Wine – KECI NBC Montana Today and WineGuyMike

This mornings KECI Montana Today Feature with Rob Hudson and WineGuyMike; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© The Missoula Winery and Event Center

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast and full length conversation with Kevin Van Dort VP of Sales and Events at the Missoula Winery and Event Center; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/08/wine-guy-mike-for-july-8/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

I had the pleasure of hosting featured guests Frederique Leiritz, aka “Frenchie,” and Kevin Van Dort from the Missoula Winery and Event Center.  The winery is owned by Phillipe and Frederique Leiritz, both whom are from France.  Kevin a very well known local blues musician is Vice President of sales and events.

Frenchie, Kevin, and I sat down in the studio this week and tasted through the flight of Marc Raphael wines, The Missoula Red, and Roller Girl Red.  The Marc Raphael wines are named for the Leiritzes son Marc, while the Missoula Red or as it is better known as “Soul Red” was blended to capture the spiritual soul of the musician and artist.  The Roller Girl Red a wine honoring Missoula’s own all girl roller derby team, the Hellgate Roller Girls, a very popular team and activity indeed.

Sustainability is a core value of the Missoula Winery whether they’re reclaiming lumber from the old Liberty Lanes bowling alley to build the outdoor concert venue at the winery or recycling wine bottles to use to for their own wine bottling.  The Missoula Winery family really is sustainable minded but also applies sustainability in very practical ways.

Family and community are very important to the Missoula Winery.  It’s refreshing to see relatively new members of the Missoula community have such an impact.  The winery frequently has events benefiting people or causes at the winery or they are supporting events happening throughout the community. 

If you like music and wine, the Missoula Winery is the place for you.  This family friendly atmosphere is a great place to bring the family, enjoy some wine and listen to great music.  For a schedule of the excellent entertainment and events going on at the winery please visit the wineries website; http://www.missoulawinery.com/ .  The tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 2-7 PM and Sunday’s 2-5 PM, these are their summertime hours.

Wines at the Missoula Winery are very good.  I have been tasting wines that winemaker/owner Frenchie has made over the last three years and the wines have evolved significantly.  It was a real treat to taste through the flight of wines from the Missoula Winery this week.

Please stop out and visit the Missoula Winery which is located just six minutes from downtown via I-90.  You can taste all of their wines while enjoying a barbeque, game of French Bocce Ball (Petunque), or taking in a wide array of musical talent performing regularly at the winery.  

I want to thank Frenchie and Kevin for joining me on the show this week to share their wines and passion for the community we call home, Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

Some of the wine selections from today’s show are available today at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Perfect Wines to Enjoy on the Patio

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Last Week’s(full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

The weather has finally turned, the days are getting hot and the mountains remain emerald green from the spring’s plentiful rainfall.  A refreshing wine to suit everyone’s palate is welcome on a warm summer’s night.  Wine is seasonal and personal, dictated by your individual taste. 

This week I have a diverse selection of wines to share that will please even the most discriminating palate.  Not only do these wines offer great value in quality but they are budget minded too.  You will find the WineGuyMike recommendations at Liquid Planet located in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced from 7/1 until 7/6, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Special Father's and Special Wines

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Today is Father’s Day and I thought it would be a great opportunity to pay homage to some of the men who are or were father’s, whom I have really respected and loved, and have made such an impression that they have impacted my life.  

President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in 1966.  It was six years later, in 1972, when President Nixon made the day a permanent national holiday by signing it into law.

I thought it would be fun to share a little of my life with you, of course let us not forget this show is all about wine.  I put a great deal of thought into these men who have been important to me and thought about what wines that I have enjoyed recently that reminded me of these special men on Father’s Day.

First I’ll talk about my dad, his name is Frederick.  My dad grew up in a very poor family in Upstate New York, which is also where I grew up.  My Dad’s life growing up was not easy, he is a survivor who has had to scrap for everything in life, but my dad was a dreamer.  My dad went after his dreams and fought as hard as he could to live and achieve all that he could dream.  For my Dad I raise my glass and toast him with a great Syrah from Walla Walla in Washington State from Reynvann Vineyards.  For this toast I chose their Syrah “The Contender”, they make three great Syrah’s but this one that I think is one of the finest varietal examples seemed appropriate for my Dad.

My Father-in-law, Paul Wright who was one of the toughest men I have known, and not due to his physical strength.  He was tough enough to be a great man. Paul a recipient of the Purple Heart from the Korean War was hospitalized for nearly one year having been shot in the war, but he survived.  Paul was a Nuclear Engineer, the father of five children, foster father to over 2,000 children who needed emergency short term(Ha Ha) care.  These kids were raised alongside his own children wearing the same clothing, taking the same music lessons, and playing the same sports.  My Father-in-law just lost a long and hard fought battle to Pancreatic Cancer, he seemed to even beat that though, he lived nearly two years after diagnosis.  I raise a glass of Pinot Noir from Balletto Vineyards and Winery in the Russian River Valley.  This is a great Pinot Noir that expresses true and real terroir at the hands of winemaker Anthony Beckman, that is what my father-in-law was true, real, and an example of something to model oneself after.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side, Alfred Gates, was a survivor of World War II.  He spent his time in the war on destroyer escorts, the support team for the big battleships.  His boat survived the war and all the unbelievable storms at sea.  This man taught me self respect, how to treat others, how to be a leader of a family.  Al was loved by everyone who ever met him, and he enjoyed everyone he met.  He is a person I miss a lot and think about from time to time even though he has been gone for over thirty years.  I’m grateful for this man who always had a twinkle in his eye, for him I toast him with no other than a great sparkling wine, Gruet Brut Rose.

Last but not least by any means, my Grandfather Tornatore from Sicily.  My Grandfather came to this country with nothing through Ellis Island in New York.  He eventually settled in a tiny place in Upstate New York named Mexico, New York.  This man was a bull of a man, as wide as he was short, he was a pheasant who worked in a steel foundry and raised everything on his land to feed his family.  I am forever grateful to this man for instilling my love and passion of wine, my grandfather also loved wine.  As powerful a man as he was, his hand for the vine was gentle.  He was a master of grafting fruit trees and grapevines, I followed him and learned a love of the land, a love of the vine, and he instilled his amazing passion for the wine to me.  For this I’m eternally grateful, to him I raise a glass of Boroli Quattro Fratelli

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

These wonderful Father’s Day wine selections are available today at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Biodynamic Grape Farming

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; Biodynamic grape farming; http://www.trail1033.com/Podcasts/Podcast-Wine-Guy-Mike-for-April-29-441372

Last week’s podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Green farming is a part of the “Green” movement we hear about every day.  The word “Green” is the politically correct buzzword that is attached it seems to every advertising and marketing campaign initiative in the world today.

When green farming is utilized in the viticulture and winemaking process there are real consumer benefits.  It is important as wine consumers to understand a little bit about all of this.

There are three levels of green farming; Certified Sustainable, Certified Organic, and Certified Biodynamic.  My focus of this article is Biodynamic Farming but first let’s understand all three green farming methods.

Certified Sustainable – This farming method employs farming techniques that are environmentally sound.  Biodiversity, soil revitalization and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are all techniques that are a part of this farming method.  This viticulture program results in the cultivation of grapes with better varietal character of flavors and aromas.  For the consumer this means more distinct wine products.

Certified Organic – This method of farming combines the Certified Sustainable practices with the organic grape growing techniques. Organic Farming permits no use of synthetic chemicals and uses natural methods of farming such as crop rotation, tillage and natural composting to maintain and promote healthy soil.  Natural techniques to control weeds, insects and other pest management are implemented.  Grape growers who utilize these farming methods can see the results in their vineyards and are inspired to continue their natural progression of green farming.

Certified Biodynamic – This method of farming developed as a result of instincts shared by philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924.  Biodynamic farming is the culmination of sustainable and organic farming methods and the incorporation of these harmonious philosophy developed by Steiner that he referred to as “Anthrophosophy” which in this case views a vineyard as a single organism.  Biodynamic farming incorporates biodiversity, independent nutrient system, homeopathic preparations, and a true spiritual connection with the land.  This farming method utilizes sheep to control weeds, cattle for manure and compost, chickens for pest control, and the instinct and intuitive trust of the viticulturist working with the land and vineyards in a harmonious way.

Biodynamic farming has the capability to combine with terroir, or sense of place, to produce individual grapes of distinct varietal character with robust flavor and aroma.  This is true value for the consumer, wines that are naturally healthy with enhanced flavors and aromas.

Biodynamic farming is an overall concept that is simple in theory, more difficult to implement.  Let’s use an analogy of the human race and Biodynamic farming to better understand this concept.  Every person is a unique individual who grows and develops and comes to a better understanding of who they are throughout the process.  Through this process of evolution, growth, and understanding we become better at accepting who we are as a person.  There is an understanding that allows an individual to work with their unique characteristics.  A person in concept becomes whole and healthy spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Each wine region, area, vineyard, and vineyard block is unique unto itself in all respects.  Biodynamic farming respects and understands this and approaches it as such.

There are some very interesting aspects of Biodynamic farming such as planting on the new moon and bottling wine on the waning moon and generally recognizing seasonal changes and effects.  Horns from cattle are collected and stuffed with manure and buried.  They are dug up in spring and the manure has been transformed into a rich hummus that is combined with water as a rich tincture treatment for the soil.  This promotes healthy soil and root systems.  Over summer months cow’s horns are packed with quartz and silica crystals and then buried.  They are then dug up in the fall and combined with water making a tincture that is used on the grape leaves aiding in photosynthesis and naturally enhancing the flavor of the grapes.

Plants are also used in the Biodynamic farming process; Fermented Yarrow is used to help breakdown compost, fermented Chamomile aides the composting process and also nourishes the soil and stabilizes the nitrogen within the soil, Stinging Nettle, Oak Bark, Dandelion, and Valerion aid composting and enrich the nutrients in soil, Horsetail Plant is made into tea and sprayed on vines to prevent fungal disease. 

Conventional agricultural thinking views itself as a commodity while Biodynamic farming is focused on developing individuality.  The concept of Biodynamic farming is a perfect fit for the grape farming sector of agriculture.  The Biodynamic farming method has taken hold in the wine world as it is truly one area of agriculture that desires premium quality.  Throughout history there are special places in the world that produce wine of distinct character just as there are unique individuals who can discern these characteristics while blind tasting wines.  Few agricultural sectors in the world can match the ability of a unique vineyard for complete harmony of land, people, animals, plants, and environment.  This is Biodynamic farming and as farmers embrace ecology, sustainability, and energy this concept of farming will become prevalent.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Justin Wylie of Va Piano Vineyards

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Walla Walla in Washington State is located in one of the world’s premier grape growing and wine producing areas of the world; this is also home to Justin Wylie owner and winemaker of Va Piano Vineyards.

Walla Walla is one of 11 different AVA’s within the great Columbia Valley AVA which was established in 1984.  This area was first settled by Italian immigrants in the 1850’s but in 1984 became an officially recognized AVA.

The farming community of Walla Walla has been transformed from an agriculture area that produced some of the best onions and wheat in the world to a special place that will be recognized as one of the significant wine producing areas of the world. 

There are now over 125 wineries in the Walla Walla area.  One of those wineries is Va Piano Vineyards.  This week on the WineGuyMike show owner and winemaker Justin Wylie took timeout to join me for a conversation and a tasting of the Va Piano wines.

Justin Wylie graduated from Gonzaga University but it was during his senior year in 1995 that he had a life changing experience.  The fourth generation Walla Wallan and spent the year in Florence, Italy studying humanities under the tutelage of Italian native, Bruno Segatta.

The plan for Wylie was to return to Walla Walla and join the family’s stone monument business, but something happened along the way.  As many have he fell in love with the culture and lifestyle of Italy, he was inspired to do something different.  Italians understand that great wines are made in the vineyard and the winemaker is the caretaker of the grapes once they have been harvested.  This became Wylie’s passion.

Father Bruno Segatta not only was a teacher he became a mentor for Wylie and inspired him to believe in himself and his dreams.  Chi va piano va sano y va lontano is a bit of wisdom that Segatta shared with Wylie: He who goes slowly goes safely and goes far.  This was imprinted within the heart of Wylie.

La Famiglia is the soul of Italy and was also very important to Wylie who is married with three children.  Wylie’s wife Liz is business partner and critical to the operations at Va Piano.  La Famiglia is everything at the vineyard, when you visit you are a part of the Va Piano family.  The wonderful theme of community transcends all of the Walla Walla wine collaborative with an attitude of; “One for all, and all for one”.

When you visit the Va Piano Vineyards property you have a sense of Old World charm as Liz and Justin have worked very hard to create an atmosphere of Italy.  Together they have built an Italian style home and winery with heart and soul, this is a winery you don’t want to miss when you visit Walla Walla.

Wylie spent five years in his garage making test lots, and a cult following formed around the Vino del Garage wines.  In order to hone his skills as a viticulturist and winemaker he traveled back and forth to UC Davis taking countless classes in the renowned department of viticulture and enology.

 His philosophy as a winemaker is rooted in the word balance: balance in the vineyard, balance in the wines, and balance in our lives. His goal is to showcase the wines with a sense of place and respect for the fruit, and always remember to be a grower first and winemaker second. 

Father Bruno still has a significant place in the Wylie families lives.  Segatta who is not only a humanitarian and scholar is also a gifted artist who is quite well known.  Va Piano’s tasting room is filled with his original oil paintings depicting iconic Florence architecture and Tuscan landscapes.  Justin and Liz created Bruno’s Blend, a multi-vintage red blend and white blend in his honor. A different original Bruno painting is used to create the label each vintage, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to a charity of Bruno’s choice.

With over 125 wineries in Walla Walla and a little less than 2000 acres devoted to vineyards, the predominant varietals grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Sangiovese also grows very well in Walla Walla which is one reason why the Italians chose to settle this area.  There are a multitude of other red and white varietals being grown and developed in the area too.

The soil in this region is the result of layers of alluvial soil from the Lake Missoula floods and volcanic eruptions.  The Missoula Floods were a series of perhaps 35-40 geologic cataclysms that swept across Eastern Washington and down the Columbia Gorge at the end of the last ice age around 12,000 and 15,000 years ago.  These massive floods were a result of ruptures in the glacial ice dam that created Montana’s Glacial Lake Missoula.  The flood level reached 1200 feet at its greatest depth which resulted in layers of soil and deposits from volcanic eruptions.  This left behind a layer of bedrock that facilitates an incredible terrior that imparts itself into the grapes grown in this unique hamlet of the wine world.

Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano; He who goes slowly, goes safely and goes far. This old Italian saying sums up Va Piano Vineyards approach to winemaking, and to life.  Wylie’s winemaking philosophy; grow the best grapes we can and don’t screw it up in the cellar. Va Piano wines display intense flavors, fine tannin structure and intense aromas.

Va Piano’s 20-acre estate property, located in the Southeast corner of the Walla Walla Valley, has been producing grapes since 1999.  Seventy percent of our grape production is used by our winery and the balance is sold to premium Walla Walla Valley wineries such as L’Ecole #41, Saviah Cellars and Dunham Cellars.

In December of 2005, Va Piano celebrated their grand opening by releasing their first vintages, a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2003 Syrah which have been given outstanding reviews.

Wylie also sources grapes from a number of other vineyards in the region so that every Va Piano wine has the flavor profile he strives for in each of his wines.  Justin and I tasted three of his Va Piano Vineyards wines; the 2009 Brunos Blend, The 2008 Syrah, and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

As Old World tradition would have it all three of the Va Piano wines will be an exceptional complement to a correctly paired meal.  Bruno’s Blend is very forgiving and will pair with a wide array on meals as this was the lightest bodied of the three wines I tasted with Wylie.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were both varietally correct and very enjoyable to taste.  All three wines have very good balance of fruit and acidity, very nice structure.  Wylie has really struck a nice balance between the Old World and New World with these wines, I look forward to watching him grow as a winemaker.  He has talent and potential as a winemaker, two things that I love.

The Tasting Flight

2009 Brunos Blend

Nose – fruit, earth, smoke

Palate – easy, silky tannin, fruit to acid is great

Finish – nice finish to complement food and not get in the way of it

2008 Syrah

Nose – red fruits, raspberry and boysenberry, clean minerality

Palate – nice fruit and acidity, gaminess, and spice

Finish – lingering spice and fruit, delicious

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Nose – black cherry, underlying berry, chocolate, spice

Palate – just right tannin, restrained fruit, very slight sweet vanilla

Finish – long, smooth, luscious

The Va Piano Vineyards wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Steve McKenna from the TV Series Drinking Made Easy

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/02/26/wine-guy-mike-for-february-26/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

All photo’s courtesy of HDNet.

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike show.  This week I decided to step away from the wine box for a minute or two and have a little fun.  About one month ago I received an email from HDNet a network production company that produces more original sports, music, news, and entertainment with attitude and independence than any other domestic network.

HDNet wondered if I would be interested in interviewing one of the hosts of a TV series, Drinking Made Easy.  This of course peeked my interest so I did a little discovery work to see what this show was all about.  I noticed as I went back and read the email that the show’s host was Zane Lamprey.   Zane’s name was very familiar to me as I was a frequent flyer with his previous series “Three Sheets”.

Zane is from Syracuse, New York in the real Upstate of New York, not the one that people who live in the city refer to as Upstate.  I needed to clarify (rant about)  that point as I too am from Upstate and all of a sudden in the last five years I hear incorrect references all the time about “Upstate”.  Zane majored in fine arts and minored in theater which has led him to a diverse career in the entertainment field.  Early on in Zane’s career he was involved in several projects for Comedy Central, VH1 and Nickelodeon.  He also did a stint as a cast member on MTV’s Damage Control and as host for VH1′s Motormouth, a reality show.

He is best known though for his show Three Sheets, originally featured on MOJO HD from 2006 through 2008, the Fine Living channel in 2009, most recently in 2010 on the Travel Channel.  Zane was also host to Have Fork, Will Travel, which previously ran on Food Network.

My guest this week on the WineGuyMike show is Zane’s co-host Steve McKenna.  Steve’s job titled beside co-host is “Stunt Drinker”, needles to say this stimulated my curiosity.  Zane claims that “Steve’s job, co-hosting ‘Drinking Made Easy’, is so easy, a monkey could do it”.  This comment is from the Three Sheets day’s when Zane at that time had tried to get the network to hire Steve.  Zane was in Greece prior to filming and Steve had asked where he was going in Greece.  Being the prankster that he is Zane knew Steve was not familiar with Greece so he told Steve that he was traveling to the island of Pleepeus.  He told Steve that the island was overrun with monkeys and Steve took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.  While filming this Three Sheets show in Greece Zane had a large stuffed monkey named Pleepeus on the set just to taunt his good friend Steve.  This is where Zane’s comment, “co-hosting ‘Drinking Made Easy’, is so easy, a monkey could do it”.

Steve appeared in 52 episodes of Three Sheets and developed a cult following as Zane’s stunt drinking side kick.  During the course of four seasons Steve became an integral part of the show and a drinking game developed as a result.  When Zane would mention his friend Steve, referred to as Rule #2, it’s a social and everyone would have a drink.

When one peruses the Drinking Made Easy dictionary there is a new official definition; Steve Mc-Kenn-a’d: inebriated to the point where one loses control of one’s actions. Examples include: drunk dialing, streaking, etc. “Sorry I hit on your mom last night, I was Steve McKenna’d”.

Steve and I had a great time on this week’s show, he was a great guest and put up with my silly questions.  The episode that was filmed in the Garden City, the place I call home in Missoula, Montana will be airing this week on Wednesday the 29th at 8PM Eastern.  In this episode stops into the Iron Horse Brew Pub to sample their “Montana Duck Fart” and their “Hop, Skip, and Go Naked,” sips on a “Dump Truck” at The Rhino, and samples the “Tapeworm Shot” at Bodega.  All that and a lot more on “Drinking Made Easy, Missoula.”  Watch this episode on DIRECTV Channel #306 and DISH Network Channel #362 in this area.  Check the local listings for your area so you don’t miss this whimsical show that is pure mindless fun.

This wouldn’t be the WineGuyMike show without a great wine recommendation, and do I have one for you this week.  This bottle of wine was so good it was almost wicked.  Honestly this bottle of wine that I tasted was one of the best I’ve had in a while, it was extremely well made and well structure.  This wine is young and a bit tight yet and would do well to be layed down for another two years.  To fully enjoy this wine you must decant the wine and let it open up for a couple of hours prior to drinking, I’ll be getting a few of these for the cellar.  Nuances of smoke, red fruit, and earth on the nose.  On the palate you know you have a perfectly balanced and well structured wine with wonderful mouthfeel.  Lush red fruit balanced with acidity and firm tannin.  This finish is long lasting and very desirable, you must sip more.

2008 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain

Flagship wine of the estate, the HFE Red Mountain consistently displays dense color, firm tannins, and well-defined acidity. Always a majority blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine is suitable for drinking upon release, but will reward those with the patience to age it. This wine represents all vineyard blocks farmed within the Hedges Family Estate vineyard portfolio. A true chateau-production bottling, the HFE Red Mountain is the epitome of classic style, and one that represents the Terroir of the Red Mountain AVA in a pure and elegant form.

This beautiful wine receives the WineGuyMike Seal of Approval®

Seek out new wines that suit your seasonal palate at Liquid Planet, the place for your ultimate wine shopping experience.  Liquid Planet offers you a diverse valued selection of fine wines.  With the Vino Trio you can purchase your weekday and weekend wine and then get 20% off that wine for a special occasion.  You may not be traveling right now but how about getting prepared with your Wine Passport from Liquid Planet.  Take a virtual trip around the wine world and get your passport stamped in 10 different countries and when you finish your world tour you will have a complementary 10 dollar gift card to use for a great bottle of wine at Liquid Planet.

Liquid Planet for your wine shopping experience in the heart of downtown Missoula, the very best of beverage.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

What’s Your Wine Style? This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast;  will be posted as soon as it is available, thank you.

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  It’s 2012 and I’m ready to rock this year’s vintage with you.  Together we are going to take a new approach and a new look at great wines that I can’t wait to share with you.

Pick up your empty glass and hold it up to the sky as you look out the window.  Imagine the beautiful color of your favorite wine adorning the glass, bend your elbow and pull the glass close and tip your nose deep into the glass.  Breathe deeply and imagine the wildest exotic aromas of your favorite wine rising from the juice in your glass.  Lower the glass to your lips, tilt your head gently back and take an imaginary sip of the finest wine you have ever tasted.  Swish the wine all about as it invigorates your palate.  Swallow the liquid nectar and imagine The Trail that it has left behind, the finish of the best wine you have ever tasted.  It lingers on your palate just like a song you hear on the radio and then it is stuck in your head.  You play it over and over, on your palate and in your mind.

That’s right this I’m going to take you on a new virtual wine journey week after week in 2012.  We are going to meet interesting new people from the vast world of wine.  Virtually traveling to new places we have yet to visit, experiencing wine in a way you and I have never imagined.  

Welcome to 2012.  Today I’m going to talk about style, your wine style preference is what I’m referring to.  So far this winter Western Montana has been a little bit strange.  Why you ask, well it has in the high 30’s to low 50’s and the last time I checked it is early January.  As memory serves me it is usually about zeroish this time of year in the Rocky Mountains.  This is more than a little disconcerting, it is just downright unusual.

Did you know that all throughout the decade of the 60’s that grape farmers in Burgundy, France harvested their grapes on average at the end of September?  In the first few years of the millennium that harvest took place in the first week of September.  I don’t begin to know what that means but it is a huge change.  When I think about having Spring in the middle of Winter in the Rocky Mountains and major climate changes in wine country around the world it is one of those circumstances that make me go hmm……………..

Old World, New World, what’s your style?  Let’s take a closer look and see if we can define this.  First of all let’s consider these terms; Old World wine, Old World winemaking, New World wine, and New World winemaking.  What do these terms mean and why are they relevant?

When I think about terminology that best describes Old World vs. New World these are a few thoughts that come to mind.

Old World; Ancient, Europe, tried, apprenticeships, craftsman, details, tradition, experience, patience, aged, practical, these are my thoughts when I think of Old World.

New World; Young, new, melting pot, now, in the moment, technology, science, instant gratification, excess, impatient, brash, learn as I go, these are a few terms that come to mind when I think of New World.

I’m not suggesting that one is better that the other, what I am suggesting is that when it comes to wine, these are styles.  Styles should be considered for the situation, perhaps a style to suite your mood, or your frame of mind.

For me Old World vs. New World could be compared to the difference between those who cook with feel and experience and those who cook with recipes.  Old World draws on centuries of experience thus allowing for intuitive multi-dimensional winemaking.   New World has decades of experience, it may still be developing its formula, striving to become more dimensional.  Experience enables chef’s to create and cook with intuition; the same can be said for winemakers as well.

Winemakers from the Old World are very much in the background.  Current winemakers are a result of many years of understudy and apprenticeship with the winemaker who made wines at that particular Chateau or Estate. Rarely do you know the name of a famous Old World winemaker, but it is common to be aware of a famous Chateau or Estate that produces excellent wine.  This is because European wine laws typically dictate what grapes can be grown, how much of them can be grown, harvested, and dictate how the wines are made.  Wine regions of the Old World have be growing grapes and making wine for centuries.  The New World does not yet have this type of experience to draw from.  The Old World quite literally has this down to a formula and they understand their terroir, or sense of place.

Let’s remember that Old World wine is made by design, it is made to complement foods that are indigenous to that particular region.  These wines are blends of grapes that are smooth and easy to drink and are easily enjoyed with foods they are designed to pair with.  Old World wines exude restraint but express subtle nuances of sense of place, are understated yet complex, these are sophisticated wines that present as simple.

Wine in the New World in the most historic sense may only be a century old.  Cavalier vineyard owners and young winemakers are still discovering new places to grow grapes as they understand terrior.  Historic floods, fossils, seismic activities, and cataclysmic eruptions up and down the west coasts of North and South America are now the home of multitudes of renowned vineyards with serious potential.

If you look closely at the pedigrees of New World winemakers almost all have wine related degrees of Enology or Viticulture from UC Davis or Oregon State.  What does this mean for you and me?  Most new young winemakers have these degrees prior to having the opportunity to utilize their specialties at a wine estate. This is unlike the Old World that is steeped in the tradition of apprenticeship.  New World winemaking comes at wine from a very different direction than Old World in some respects and I believe it is reflected in the wine, not that this is bad, it is just different. 

New World wines are not made as a result of foods indigenous to regions.  These wines are driven by science and now are also by an understanding of the terroir.  Vineyard owners and winemakers understand terroir now in a way the Old World has for centuries.  So how are the wines different, well to start with most New World wines are single varietal wines, although many winemakers that are beginning to blend wines well.  Most New World wine has a much higher percentage of alcohol than Old World wine.  This presents wines that are much bigger, much bolder than their European counterparts.  In general most New World wines are designed to drink and not necessarily made with a food pairing purpose in mind.  That is not to say New World wines do not pair well with food, they are not made to complement food localized to a region.

I find that New World wines have a much sturdier frame or structure, are much more pronounced visually, aromatically, and certainly on the palate.  This is the New World style of wine, is this better, less than, no they really cannot be compared because they are simply different.   As for me it really comes down to what is the circumstance and what kind of mood I’m in.  Do you want wine to enjoy dinner with or do I want to sip on wine to be social, a lot to consider.  New World and Old World alike both produce wonderful wines, but perhaps with a different focus.

2009 “In the Rocks” Syrah from Reynvaan Family Vineyards

This is an example of an Old World style of wine made by Matt Reynvaan who last year was noted as one of the top 30 winemakers under 30 years of age in the world.  Nobody does wine better that Reynvaan Vineyards from Walla Walla in the Columbia Valley AVA.

The 2009 “In The Rocks” is packed with dark fruit aromatics, smoked meats, crushed gravel, and white pepper.  It is very animalistic with hints of sweet creme brulee and will benefit from 5 years of cellaring if you are able to resist the temptation to drink it.  Terroir driven wine that is outstanding, you don’t want to miss this.  Check this wine out at Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

2009 Truchard Vineyards Syrah from Carneros Napa Valley

The 2009 vintage produced fruity wines with intense flavors, great texture, and beautiful balance.  This terrific example of a New World style of wine from the Carneros area in the Napa Valley has aromas of plum, boysenberry, and blackberry; highlighted with vanilla, earth, and white pepper.  On the palate this wine is fills your mouth with rich flavors of cassis and black cherry; followed by mineral and cracked black pepper.  Ripe tannins provide an opulent, long finish of fruit and spice.  This wine is well made and a beautiful wine to drink.

*Both of these wines are upscale wines that represent the Old World vs. New World styles reffered to in today’s blog.  There will be selections of both styles available at  your favorite place to shop for affordable wines too.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"