The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more
In today’s episode, we’re chatting with the rockstar Californian winemaker Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon winery who blends wit and wisdom unlike any other person in the wine world. He’s brilliant both in his insights and his metaphors.
That’s why I chose to help him with the fall harvest for my second book “Unquenchable: A Tipsy Search for the World’s Best Bargain Wines.” His wines are also often favourites of the students of my online courses.
Randall Grahm was born in Los Angeles in 1953 and attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where he was a permanent Liberal Arts major. Sometime later he found himself working at the Wine Merchant in Beverly Hills sweeping floors. By dint of exceptionally good karma, he was given the opportunity to taste an ungodly number of great French wines and this singular experience turned him into a complete and insufferable wine fanatic. He returned to the University of California at Davis to complete a degree in Plant Sciences in 1979, where owing to his single-minded obsession with Pinot Noir he was regarded as a bit of a holy terroir in the hallowed halls of the sober and sedate Department of Viticulture and Enology.
With his family’s assistance, Randall purchased property in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a quaint eponymous hamlet known as Bonny Doon, intent on producing the Great American Pinot Noir. The GAPN proved to be systematically elusive but he was greatly encouraged by experimental batches of Rhône varieties, and he has been a tireless champion of the grapes of the Rhône since the inaugural vintage of Le Cigare Volant. His idiosyncratic newsletters and articles have been collected, carefully redacted, and with the inclusion of some timely new material, published as the award-winning book, Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology in 2009.
To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the show notes.
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