D’Amato & Szabo: Wine Thieves

D’Amato & Szabo: Wine Thieves

A riveting insider's look at the world of fine wine. Telling the stories of the people and the places that shape the world’s most compelling finds. John Szabo, Master Sommelier and Sara d’Amato, a jack of all wine trades, get to the root of the vine.

Episodes

June 18, 2021 57 min

Drink Chenin!
In honour of Drink Chenin Day, June 18th 2021, the Wine Thieves make a special trip to South Africa, a global leader in Chenin Blanc production with 55% of the world's plantings. It’s the #1 most planted grape of any colour in the Cape Winelands, accounting for 17.5% of national acreage. The grape has a complicated history but is likely to have been established in the Anjou region of France as far back as the 9th c...

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The Wine Thieves are thrilled to be back on home soil in beautiful southern Ontario investigating what might just be Ontario's finest and most reliable grape variety, Chardonnay. Of the 51 varieties authorized for VQA production, chardonnay is number one by volume accounting for 13% of total VQA production. This episode gives you an overview of Ontario appellations and sub-appellations, and explanations of some of the major dif...

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An episode devoted to a few lesser known topics relations to New York Wines including growing in the Hudson River Region, Lake Erie and the burgeoning urban winery scene. An historic growing region, the Hudson River Region is one of the oldest established AVAs in the US having received the designation in 1982. It's also home to the oldest commercial vineyard and the oldest continuously active winery, Brotherhood Winery (1839), ...

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May 21, 2021 65 min

The Wine Thieves are back in Europe this spring, the ideal time of year to rediscover Portugal's Vinho Verde. Crisp, delicately perfumed, dry to off-dry, low in alcohol and sometimes with the merest prickle of effervescence, these are classic descriptors of this northern Portuguese specialty (and mostly white, but there are rosé and red versions, too).

But as we'll discover, there is a great deal more to Vinho Verde than jus...

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Continuing their journey through New York, John and Sara take a deeper dive into the red wines grown across the state in search of an elusive flagship variety. The Thieves make the call that New York's signature red grape must surely be cabernet franc, even if their wine producing friends are reluctant to say it themselves. Merlot may be more widely planted but it remains a Long Island specialty, pinot noir demands ultra-specif...

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May 7th is Sauvignon Blanc day but we'll be celebrating all week! Join the Wine Thieves at ground zero for new world sauvignon blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand. John and Sara explore its rise to prominence from the first plantings in the 1970s, through to its explosion on the international scene in the 1990s, and now to the current ‘third wave’ (a good third wave, that is) of producers that are breaking rules and leading the cou...

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April 30, 2021 57 min

The Wine Thieves' weakness for riesling compels them to tarry a little longer in the Finger Lakes region of New York (FLX). Riesling has become a signature grape of FLX, home to 85% of all the riesling planted in New York State. Here it delivers electric, laser-sharp wines the way we like them, bone-dry to sweet, from steep, lakeside slopes on gravelly, shaley, and loamy soils. In this episode, the Thieves get to the bottom of ...

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Last fall we interviewed some of the exceptional speakers of the Femmes du Vin Harvest Series and we are delighted to be able to present them to you now. Femmes du Vin is a grassroots women’s organization dedicated to promoting and amplifying the voices of all women in wine. Visit femmesduvin.org to find out more about their upcoming seminar series. In this episode we welcome two special guests: Femmes du Vin founder, new mom and a...

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April 16, 2021 56 min

The Wine Thieves continue their journey through New York, venturing into the best known wine region of the 4th largest wine producing state in the USA, the Finger Lakes AVA. Encompassing 11 slender,  glacially carved,  finger-like lakes running roughly north-south, this diverse region may be best known for its riesling, but John and Sara discover just how many more grape varieties are actually planted. From widely-praised cabernet ...

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The world clearly loves New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but some industry insiders believe that pinot noir and chardonnay just might be the country's best expressions. In this episode the Wine Thieves speak to two of New Zealand's legendary producers, also counted among the world's best pinot and chard artists: Sherwyn Veldhuizen of Bell Hill in North Canterbury, and Blair Walter of Felton Road in Central Otago.

Did you kno...

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April 2, 2021 36 min

The New Zealand wine industry may be focused on just a handful of grapes, but in this episode, the Wine Thieves go hors-piste in search of the unexpected. New Zealand enjoys a surprisingly wide range of climate zones - more than you might think - making the country suitable for far more than just those headlining grapes, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and chardonnay.  Last week we looked already at syrah, a small but quality player on...

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The Wine Thieves find themselves in a New York state of wine as they begin a new series investigating the disparate terroirs and wealth of wine styles in the only US state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.  Long Island is their first destination, a stone's throw from New York City. This maritime-influenced region was first planted with grapes in the 1600s, and has been producing wine commercially for alm...

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Syrah might offer a quick return on investment in New Zealand but it may just be another grape that puts New Zealand on the world wine map in the future. In this episode the Wine Thieves are in conversation with Kate Radburnd of Radburn Cellars and Warren Gibson of Trinity Hill,  two of New Zealand's top syrah producers, as they attempt to unlock the secret of this dynamic grape variety that is anything but sauvignon blanc, cha...

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March 13, 2021 62 min

The earliest-known written record of Riesling dates back precisely to March 13, 1435 in Germany, in the cellar log of Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen in Rüsselsheim, a town just south of the Rheingau. The log notes a purchase for 22 shillings of “seczreben Rießlingen in die wingarten – “Riesling cuttings for the vineyard”.  That’s why March 13th has been officially designated as Riesling's big day,  and this year, 2021,  mark&#...

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The Wine Thieves begin a new virtual adventure to Aotearoa, the "land of the long white cloud", more commonly known as New Zealand. In this first episode, John and Sara get a handle on what sustainability means to Kiwi grape growers, 96% of which are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand, or SWNZ. Along with their special guest, Dr. Ed Massey, General Manager Sustainability at Wines of New Zealand, they get to th...

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The Wine Thieves get their hands dirty with a star quartet of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano producers to learn why and how soil matters most to sangiovese, more than any other production parameter. Weighing in from their estates in Montepulciano are: Andrea Lonardi of Tenuta Tre Rose, Luca Tiberini of Tiberini, Luca Corrado of Boscarelli and Antonio Zaccheo of Carpineto. Sangiovese can be delicate! It can also be hearty, tannic, hig...

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February 20, 2021 54 min

At some point in every wine lover's deepening obsession , they fall down the cartographic rabbit hole.  If you've fallen prey to this map-centric preoccupation, don't miss this episode of Wine Thieves.  John and Sara speak with mapmaker straordinario Alessandro Masnaghetti,   founder of Enogea, publisher of the  world's most detailed maps of wine regions.  More than just practical tools, these are works of cultural ...

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This week the Wine Thieves head to Tuscany and more specifically to the DOCG of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Italy's first DOCG and "the king of all wines" according to poet Francesco Redi. They foolishly consider rolling an empty barrel  600m up to the top of the medieval hilltop town of Montepulciano  (in the "annual Bravio delle Botti"), to take advantage of the sweeping views of the Val d'Orcia and Val ...

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February 5, 2021 66 min

Our 20th episode is dedicated to Blaufränkisch, the widely acknowledged "grape of the future",  and its epicentre of production in the Federal State of Burgenland on the eastern edge of Austria.  Barbaresco or Côte Rôtie? Chinon or Pommard?  What does Blaufränkisch remind you of? We go straight to two of the world's greatest artists of the ancient grape to get the inside story: Roland Velich (Weingut Moric) and Uwe Schi...

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January 29, 2021 43 min

Think you know Austria's Weinviertel (the "Wine Quarter")? Our continuing journey down the Danube may yet surprise you. We look north of Vienna and the river to this vast DAC , Austria's largest, and first protected designation of origin established in 2002. DAC Weinviertel on the label means fragrant, fresh, oak-free, dry and peppery grüner veltliner, the region's signature. Reserve and Grosses Reserve categori...

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