I’ll Drink to That: 100% Whole Cluster

Episode 416 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it is 100% WHOLE-CLUSTER!

Erin Scala hosts this wide-ranging discussion about whole cluster ferments and grape stems, sourcing interviews with top winemakers from several different growing regions to seek out their insight. This episode features interviews with Jean-Nicolas Méo, Aubert de Villaine, Jeremy Seysses, Greg Harrington, Mark Vlossak, Sashi Moorman, John Lockwood, Kate McIntyre, and Ronnie Sanders.

The use of whole-cluster has become especially fashionable of late with vintners around the world. Erin Scala shows just how diverse the conversation about the use of stems has become today by sourcing interviews with wine producers from across many different regions. She weaves together comments from winemakers in Burgundy, Australia, California, Oregon, and Washington State to better complement an understanding of the topic’s many nuances. Along the way, she highlights how certain totems of the popular discussion are wrong, documenting how, for example, the widely held idea that DRC always uses 100% stems is pure legend (“the answer is more or less in the middle,” comments DRC’s Aubert de Villaine in this episode), and also the diversity of experimentation at producers like Dujac and Méo-Camuzet. Part of the strength of this episode is that it goes straight to the sources, and also brings in a diversity of viewpoints, whether it is Greg Harrington advising that stems lend to a wine what otherwise would be missing, or Mark Vlossak’s determination that stems interfere with the expression of place in a wine. And rather than just leave the discussion at the aesthetic, Erin interviews Moorooduc Estate’s Kate McIntyre to delve into some of the practicalities of handling whole-cluster or destemmed ferments. If you are curious about whole-cluster and what it can imply for the wines you drink, this is the episode for you.

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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: @leviopenswine