I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Andy Erickson

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Episode 353 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Andy Erickson, the co-owner of Favia Wines with his wife Annie Favia, and a winemaking consultant for a number of Napa Valley wineries, including Mayacamas and Dalla Valle Vineyards.

Andy Erickson has worked with several of the Bold Faced winery names of the Napa Valley, and so it is quite a comparative tour to go with him behind the scenes as he recounts his career working with wine. Learning about the “Euro Funk” from John Kongsgaard, working with the precision tuned philosophy of Bob Levy, identifying soil types through the local foliage with David Abreu: there is a lot of mentorship in place before Andy finds himself helping to design wineries at Staglin and elsewhere. And you sense that as the high end Napa Valley wine scene really accelerated into high gear in the late 1990s and early 2000s, so did Andy’s career. Pretty soon he is exploring the vineyard at Screaming Eagle, which is an experience that very few other people would be able to speak to, and at this point he has worked with more than one of the original cult Napa wineries. His familiarity with Pritchard Hill is especially notable, as Andy has worked with the red soil of Pritchard Hill at multiple elevations: from the valley floor of Screaming Eagle, up through Dalla Valle and on to Ovid. And then, even higher in altitude and later in the narrative, Andy arrives at Mayacamas. Which may prove to be a whole other chapter not just for that winery, but for Andy’s approach in general. Working with the Mayacamas fruit, he says, has affected how he is approaching the winemaking at all of his other projects, including his own Favia label. It is a lot to take in. This episode gives you the keys for a tour of some of Napa’s most esteemed wineries and vineyards.

This episode also contains a Warm Up from Erin about tannic bonding. This warm up sort of mirrors Andy’s career of joining wineries for awhile before moving on to others. The parallel is so perfectly apt that you would think that we planned it, but in fact it was entirely coincidental. Anyway, the interview hits up a number of wineries Andy worked with, including Newton with John Kongsgaard, Merryvale with Bob Levy, Staglin, Ovid, Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Mayacamas, and Andy’s own Favia.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out in iTunes.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine