Chilean Wine in the Driest Place on Earth & England’s Storied Wine History with Janina Doyle



Are you curious about British wines and their history that dates back to King Henry VIII? How is wine made in the driest place on Earth and where is that exactly? Are stemless wine glasses better than traditional stemware?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Janina Doyle, sommelier and host of the Eat Sleep Wine Repeat podcast.

You can find the wines we discussed here.


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  • How are English wines connected to King Henry VIII and the Domesday Book?
  • Which wine makes a great pairing with classic English fish and chips?
  • What English wine brands should you look for on North American shelves?
  • How do you use Coravin wine preservation systems?
  • What does Janina love about Hush Heath Estate Balfour Luke’s Pinot Noir?
  • What are suitcase clones and where do they show up in the wine world?
  • Which hallmarks should be present in a good quality Pinot Noir?
  • Can you pair Pinot Noir with fish or chicken?
  • What critical tip should you keep in mind when choosing a corkscrew?
  • How can you open your wine like a professional?
  • How did the Pais grape variety end up in Chile?
  • What’s the tasting profile of Ventisquero País Moscatel like?
  • Why shouldn’t you chill an oaked wine?
  • How is viticulture possible in the driest desert on Earth?
  • What features should you look for in a good wine glass?
  • Why does Janina prefer stemless wine glasses?
  • Which wine would Janina now pair with her favourite birthday cake from childhood?
  • Which person outside of the wine world would Janina most want to share a bottle of wine with?


Key Takeaways

  • British wines have a fascinating history dating back to King Henry VIII. Now that was a man who enjoyed his food and drink.
  • It was interesting to hear how wine is made in the driest place on Earth in Chile. I look forward to trying some of those wines.
  • The debate about stemless wine glasses versus traditional stemware continues.

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About Janina Doyle

Janina Doyle started her wine career in several top-notch restaurants in London, UK, rising from waitress to head sommelier as she completed her WSET diploma. She has spent the last six years creating Eat Sleep Wine Repeat where she offers wine tastings, events and services. She also created the Bromley Wine Society, a local monthly wine group, and her podcast, Eat Sleep Wine Repeat. She is also Brand Ambassador for Ventisquero Wine Estates in Chile.



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Janina Doyle 0:00
The Atacama desert, this is the driest desert on Earth. They have grown vines in the desert, but it’s a cool climate. So it’s about 20 kilometres from the coast is cooling breezes coming in. So surprisingly, this desert doesn’t reach more than 26 degrees Celsius. The soils are super salty, 60 times more salty than is possible to grow vines. They have found a watering system where if you flood irrigate in one hit, it pushes the water down to the roots and the soil up to the surface and that way you separate it and you can actually give the vines the water they need. It’s just a very crazy project, creating very low yields, more concentrated flavours. So there’s beautiful Pinot Noir Chardonnay and Syrah and they’re unfiltered, unfined, bottled by hand; pressed by feet

Natalie MacLean 0:54
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you  love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places and amusingly awkward social situations? Well, that’s the blend here on the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie Maclean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please and let’s get started!

Welcome to Episode 171. Are you curious about English wines and their history that dates back to King Henry the Eighth?. How is wine made in the driest place on Earth? And where is that exactly? Are stemless wine glasses better than traditional stemware? You’ll hear those stories and more during part two of our chat with Janina Doyle who hosts her own podcast Eat Sleep Wine Repeat. You don’t need to have listened to part one from last week first, but I hope you’ll go back if you missed it after you finish this one. One of you will win a one hour online masterclass with Janina tailored to you and which wines you have access to and what you want to learn about. You can have the class just for yourself or gather a whole group together. To qualify all you have to do is email me at Natalie at and tell me that you heard about this giveaway on the podcast. I’ll pick one of you randomly to win it.

Now if you’re listening to this podcast on or before March 12 I’d like to invite you to an outrageously fun online Drink and Drag wine party unlike any other wine tasting you’ve ever attended. Join Queenston winemaker Rob Power and me Saturday March 12 at 7pm Eastern. This entertaining over the top virtual event will feature the Queen’s of Queenston Mile Vineyard Katinka Kature and Carlotta Carlisle. Get your groove on with wine in hand. Enjoy the Queen’s on the mainstage sporting their favourite wines, bodacious bods, over the top makeup and glamorous wigs, dancing to their favourite songs. End  the evening in an online session lounge featuring local music and a fun Q&A with Rob, Katinka, Carlotta and yours truly, Drink and Drag will be hosted online and your virtual event link will be emailed to you in advance of the event. I can’t wait to see you there. And yes, I’m still debating which of my Fluevog shoes to wear. I’ll put a link in the show notes as to where you can get your ticket before they sell out. Can’t make the date? Buy your ticket today and sip on the Wines as you watch the replay. Hey, that rhymes.

Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show with the continuing story of publishing my new wine memoir, Why so much Hobbit hate? one of my beta readers asked me recently. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Lord of the Rings, books and movies and even quote some of the author JRR Tolkien’s insightful phrases in my memoir. However, I do write about getting back into the dating game following my divorce after 20 years of marriage. In the book, I meet with the owner of a matchmaking company and I say to her, Look, I don’t want to date a man I can easily throw over my shoulder, and no more hairy hobbits. “No more what?” she asked me. Short men with lots of back hair I said. So hobbits are the heroes in Tolkien stories, but not as a real life dinner and dancing companion when you’re almost five foot 10 and his head nuzzles into your tummy or slightly higher. That’ll be a challenge she sighed; at least come down to five foot eight. What? A guy who’s shorter than I am? I can’t do it. So I’ll compromise on the back hair. He can shave that if he truly loves me. She just shook her head and rolled her eyes. So my beta reader said, you know that Hobbit comment; it’s a real gut punch for shorter guys. Actually, I said, it’s more of a swat across the top of your forehead. But let’s not nitpick.

I really don’t have anything against hobbits or short men. It was awkward and scary dating again, especially after being off the market, so to speak for two decades. And at that point, I really didn’t know who I was, much less what I really wanted or needed in a companion or even if I wanted one. There’s more in the memoir about these romantic escapades outside the Shire.

In the show notes at, you’ll find a link to a blog post called Diary of a Book Launch where I share more behind the scenes stories about the journey of taking this memoir from idea to publication. If you want a more intimate insider seat beside me on this journey, please let me know that you’d like to become a beta reader and get a sneak peek at the manuscript. Email me at Natalie, at In the show notes at, you’ll find my email contact, a link to the Drink and Drag event, the full transcript of my conversation with Janina, links to her website and podcast, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class and where you can find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. Okay, on with the show!

Natalie MacLean 6:54
Tell us about the connection between your wines and King Henry the Eighth and something called the Domesday Book?

Janina Doyle 7:00
Okay, so in the Domesday Book: Well don’t ask me to talk about history too much.

Natalie MacLean 7:04
What is that by the

Janina Doyle 7:06
Oh my god, I’m gonna look so bad for my history. The Domesday book is a record of a lot of stuff and it was after some fighting and stuff. We’re gonna leave it at that. Well  the Domesday Book is really important

Natalie MacLean 7:18
About  predictions maybe?

Janina Doyle 7:21
No, it wasn’t predictions. It’s definitely records. Okay, everybody go Google. Google’s our friend,  I’m terrible on history.  But in the Domesday Book in 1086, that is when Nyetimber was first mentioned, they know that the history of basically the area was like kind of named after the valley. But inside the valley is like the house, the house that apparently still stand,  or at least part of it was called Nyetimber. But it had a slightly different twist. It wasn’t quite Nyetimber, had a little bit of a different name, but it was there. And then you state about King Henry the Eighth. I mean, that’s the best of the Tudors right, you know, he was going around killing everyone and being really intense and everyone loves his bloody history. Apparently he started off actually quite skinny, and he was very physical, and then he got super fat by the end. He got hold of this property. And he first of all gave it to Thomas Cromwell, who was his fave at the time. So he was one of the ministers, they were besties, I believe, again, I actually know some of the history of the Tudors, not the Domesday Book. So the history of the Tudors, he then goes and kills him because that’s what King Henry the Eighth did, I think probably got his head chopped off or whatever, because he didn’t like him anymore. And then one of his wives, because he had six, was Anne of Cleves, and he gave it to her. She was one of the lucky ones, she didn’t get killed. They got annulled, I don’t know, I think she wasn’t sexy enough, whatever. Anyway, so I guess she had to give it back. I don’t know. So anyway, this Nyetimber, not only has created the effect of people planting more sparkling champion grape varieties and where we are today, but they have an incredible history. And as we said, like the Tudors in the War of the Roses, it’s an awesome, well, probably wasn’t awesome for them, but it’s an awesome stories for us to learn about. It’s amazing the connection that they have,

Natalie MacLean 9:06
Yeah, the fact that wine is tied in way back to them. So thinking about English wines and traditional English dishes, what are some of your favourite pairings?

Janina Doyle 9:16
There’s one, and that’s it and it’s fish and chips. It’s fish and chips because, One that is literally probably the most classic English dish, but Two; sparkling wine has beautiful acidity. So you could do this with champagne or you could do this with English sparkling wine, it doesn’t matter. But with an English sparkling wine, it’s going to cut through the grease, the fat of course, it’s that lovely white Cod, or it’s a fresh fillet that’s going to go beautifully with this lovely , especially like a classic cuvée rather than say a blanc de Noirs or something, but it works perfectly and English sparkling wine is on par in terms of pricing like Champagne, so there’s something quite indulgent about having a pretty expensive bottle of wine with a good old takeaway  fish and chips, maybe not even on a plate, you know, just open up the wrapper and just, it’s all greasy and messy and it’s a bit dirty and it’s yummy.

Natalie MacLean 10:07
Yes ,I love that high low, shabby chic pairing. They’re always the most fun.

Janina Doyle 10:12
Yes they are. Yes they are.

Natalie MacLean 10:14
What wines or brands are we most likely to find in Canada or the US? The big names. Would Nyetimber be here or are they too small of a production I guess.

Janina Doyle 10:24
No, no, no, they are one of the bigger ones. Nyetimber and Ridgeview. Ridgeview, I know they told me they were exporting and they make stunning wines. They often have their wines in you know House of Commons, House of Parliament, the Queen’s Birthday sort of thing. They’ve won so many awards. And again their winemaker recently won one of the, you know, best winemaker of the year. I wrote down,  currently there is in America, it’s very hard, you know, when you use Google it knows where you are, your location and it won’t take you to Canada or America but Vine Street imports ( is importing Harrow & Hope, Bolney,I love Bolney for their still wines actually. Actually, Hush Heath (, I have one of their bottles. They’re an amazing Kent producer that does great sparkling and still, so get on the Hush Heath and also Digby Fine English. So that’s definitely in America. Now whether that stretches to Canada, but the fact that they’re going to America, I think would be; so other than that, Nyetimber, Ridgeview and also Chapel Down is our biggest winery.

Natalie MacLean 11:24
I recognise that one. I’m pretty sure we’ve had that one in Canada. Yeah,

Natalie MacLean 11:24
I recognise that one. I’m pretty sure we’ve had that one in Canada. Yeah,

Janina Doyle 11:28
I am sure you would find Chapel Down and Chapel Down is great. I like to use the kind of explanation; if you think of Penfolds in Australia, the you know, they have the kind of level entry wines you might find as a house Port, and then, of course, they’ve got Penfolds Grange, and they have everything in between. Chapel Down are kind of like that. They have your cheaper end; and when I say cheap, we don’t do cheap. With  scale of economy in England, you might find a 10 pound bottle wine. So you might find like a $15. But really, the stills start at say $20 to $25. And your sparklings are gonna start at $25 to $30. Really the good stuff starts at $40. So yeah, but Chapel Down does the lowest level all the way to the top.

Natalie MacLean 12:11
Great. All right, so we should taste and we’ll talk more about the Chilean wine that you have with you. But you have two wines. So tell us about the first one you’d like to taste.

Janina Doyle 12:21
We’re talking English wine, aren’t we? So I suppose I should do that. I have my Coravin. Yeah. So this is literally the first Coravin that ever, ever was made. Do you know which edition we’re on now?

Natalie MacLean 12:35
I have no idea. But I would love to use it on this bottle or the next if you can. I don’t know if you can do this mid air on the camera. But we can try. Tell us first what the Coravin is for people who are just listening to the podcast and can’t see you on video, although you do have to find the video of us here, folks and watch this demonstration. So tell us

Janina Doyle 12:55
Yes, exactly. Okay, so it’s got this argon gas in the bottom of it. And then you have this needle; so the needle goes through the cork, once it’s gone through, you literally push the little button and what it does, it sucks out the wine through the needle and then comes out into a glass. But then the gas will then go into the bottle. So it replaces that area where the wine was. So it seals it, so it’s not going to oxidise. Now, it’s an amazing piece of kit, they do try to claim that if you use this Coravin, you can preserve your wine for years. That’s so not true. If you speak to many people, I always say a month, it’s very dependent on the cork and how porous it is and all this kind of stuff. But it’s amazing. If you’ve got a whole bottle and you’re by yourself and you might want just one glass a week or perhaps your partner is pregnant or you’re pregnant and you want to do something very smaller. It just, it’s amazing, that then over the course of I say four weeks, that’s where you’re going to get the ultimate enjoyment before oxidisation starts maybe coming in. I just think it’s really, it’s fancy. So all I do and I’ll try and do it because I’m going to hold it up. So you clip it on the neck of the bottle. Obviously then hold on to the bottom. You just push it down. I’m gonna push on my stomach. Hang on.

Natalie MacLean 14:14
There we go. There we go. Pushing the needle into the cork

Janina Doyle 14:17
Yeah, exactly. Now I’m gonna have to put it on a hard surface; it’s not working. Don’t break a rib there. Almost. So there we go. So it’s now in the bottle. And then all I’m going to do and I’m actually probably not  going to be able to show it, so I’ll just, I know I can’t, it’s just not gonna happen. So I’ve got my glass, and then I’m just going to push it down and then I can tell you right now you can see wine is coming out. The wine is coming out of the bottle. It’s being replaced with argon gas, so we’re all good and I am now pouring myself without opening up the bottle. I am pouring myself a glass of Pinot Noir. So I decided to bring a curveball because there aren’t that many producers that can do good Pinot Noir. But Hush Heath estate, all of their wines actually just to confuse everyone, are called Balfour, so the actual wine are Balfour, but the estate is Hush Heath, so it kind of gets used interchangeably. And you see this is a very, very cool label. So they always get artists to do a design for this collection. So it’s called the winemakers collection. So it’s basically limited edition, tiny, tiny plot where the winemakers really play around. And no, there’s like 5000 bottles of this made. So unfortunately, this is probably not going to be in the US, but this is 2018. So if anyone ever wants a red variety, which is most likely going to be Pinot Noir, if it’s England, you’re actually going to get a wine that’s probably ripe enough any other year. Maybe not so much.

Natalie MacLean 15:42
Was 2020 good for you? It was really hot here.

Janina Doyle 15:45
Yes. 19 and 20 basically, not as good as 18. Nothing was ever as good as  18 really. But yeah, not so bad, yields down a little bit, but still good enough to produce some pretty good fruit. They’re saying 2021, I need to speak to winemakers. We had a really, we had like three weeks of constant rain in May. That’s  really screwed us up. So I think it basically from speaking to different wine makers. It’s hit or miss. I spoke to one winemaker who’s into organic and biodynamic farming, he lost a third of all of his vines. I spoke to another wine maker and they were kind of okay, so it depends, I think where you were. This is called The Suitcase, The Suitcase Pinot Noir. And it’s called that because, funnily enough in America, they took some Burgundy clones from top Grand Cru sites, 777 clone, and 828 actually, I think it’s on the back of the, Yes, 828. So these are top, top, Pinot Noir clones, and they took them like illegally to America in the 60s. So they were called Suitcase clones because they were just snuck into suitcases. So because they used the top two Burgundy clones. And obviously if you use the right clones, it makes such a difference with Pinot Noir and so even in England where it’s really really tough. With these clones, apparently, I haven’t tasted it yet, apparently, you can make some very, very special wine. They have tiny berries so you get very low yields. But then the flavour is more concentrated. Hence why this is limited; hey’re not making a lot of it. And I just thought I would bring it along today.

Natalie MacLean 17:13
Absolutely. So I’ll give you a chance to taste there. Well, yeah. What are you getting on the nose? Yeah, are you getting berries and that type of thing?

Janina Doyle 17:21
I am which is good. So that’s the one tick right? A Pinot Noir, typically obviously, is going to give you if it’s good, red fruits and hopefully maybe a little earthy, savoury herbal note. And this really has some dried flowers and red cherries, and it’s like, I get some dried roses and a little bit of kind of even some thyme in there. So it’s a lot more subtle. It’s not about big, juicy red strawberries and raspberries; not just big boom of red fruits, which sometimes is an example of cheaper Pinot Noir and what the New World will produce. This actually is definitely, just on the nose, a much more of a nod to Burgundy, which is you know more of the savoury, mushroomy, in fact, it almost even has a bit of a hint of truffle, truffle mushroom, so it’s lovely on the nose. Seems delicate.

Natalie MacLean 18:08
Yeah, Pinot is my go to wine and grape personally, it’s the one I’m always drinking. I just find it so versatile. And I love that it isn’t heavy in oak, alcohol or tannin usually,

Janina Doyle 18:20
Absolutely. And you can have it with fish everyone. You can have it with chicken; it’s really good.People think red wine needs to go with red meat; but Pinot Noir totally destroys that theory and salmon it’s beautiful. But it you know, this is very elegant. It’s very ethereal. It’s very, very light; and not thin because that’s very, very different when it just tastes watery. It’s got a slight smokiness to it. But just very, very beautiful fruits and almost like more wild strawberries. It’s a little bit more like you feel like you’re outside in the garden. It’s lovely. And I expected it to be lovely. So I’m glad it’s not bad. Because it’s not cheap. It’s not cheap at all. it would probably be about maybe $35 or so if it was in America,

Natalie MacLean 19:00
So probably $45 here. 45-50 in Canada; 30% markup usually on the US dollar.

Janina Doyle 19:07
Oh, okay. Let’s not talk about that. That doesn’t sound fair. I’ll drink for you.

Natalie MacLean 19:12
Yes, absolutely. That’s wonderful. That sounds like a great Pinot to have and I love the Suitcase story.

Janina Doyle 19:19
Oh, it’s really nice. I’m so glad I’ve still got more. I’m just gonna;  now I’m now allowed to drink, right?

Natalie MacLean 19:23
Yes, absolutely. You’ve officially opened the bottle. And yeah, it’s all research.

Janina Doyle 19:28
I’m researching for you. And yeah, English wines still good.

Natalie MacLean 19:31
Well, good. It’s good to have that confirmed. You’ve also got a wine from Chile. Tell us about that wine and your association with the winery.

Janina Doyle 19:41
Okay, fine. So this is the wine and it’s very different and I picked it just because it’s varieties that most people might not have you heard of. More certainly Pais, Pais, which is a red grape variety and it’s got 15% Muscatel. So Muscat people probably have heard of, and people often think that Muscat is always sweet. Well, that’s not true. You can have dry Muscat, so that’s absolutely fine. Now I’ll tell you one quick tip. If you are opening out your wine, take the point of your bottle opener. Also, friends don’t use the little man with his wings. No, no, no. If you’ve got one there, man, he has to go. Yeah, he has to go. Always take a little waiters friend, one of these little things and the basic corkscrew.. And they’re really cheap. So you take the point, but many people would go here, which is on the top lip. Don’t do that. So if you want to be professional, you go to the bottom lip, and you go to the bottom lip for two reasons. One, it looks much neater, it just looks much nicer. Cleaner. Actually, it was quite an easy one. Sometimes they’re not as easy. So one, that and two, when you go to pour, you haven’t then got a whole load of like messy foil at the top, which could then take your wine and then it will dribble everywhere. And so it looks nicer. But actually, it makes life easier with pouring. So there’s a little tip for everyone.

So and then of course, take your little spiral, put it directly in the middle, push down and twist. And obviously, then you are pretty much good to go. And then we can okay,, that was a lot easier than doing the Coravin.  So this is just a beautiful wine that is really easy drinking, it would probably be about maybe even $1 in the US. It’s from Maule. And the reason I said it’s just it’s nice to talk about Maule, it’s a region that’s just at the beginning of the southern part of Chile. So it’s a little bit cooler, it’s  still Mediterranean climate, but there’s a bit more rain. So because it’s a bit fresher and not as hot, you get kind of maybe less alcohol in the wines. There’s a lot of old vines because the first vines that ever came to Chile were in Atata and Maule, so vines that are 150 years old, like in this bottle, and 200 250; some really old vines.

And Pais is the original grape variety that came across to Chile from the Canary Islands in Spain. And it’s Listán Prieto. And hardly any of it grows in the Canary Islands now. And the majority of this variety, named Pais, meaning country in Spanish, that’s what they called it in Chile, is now in Chile. There’s a little bit in America, Mission. Anyone who has Mission, it’s the same thing because the missionaries, the Spanish missionaries brought it up and it’s called Criolla Chica in Argentina; so there’s a little bit in places. But Chile is the main place where you’re going to find it and Pais, I like to call, it it’s like a bit like Gamay or Pinot Noir, but more rustic

Natalie MacLean 22:35
It looks lighter in your glass there. It looks lighter, like not too dark.


Janina Doyle 22:39
It’s just an interesting grape variety that before because it would have a lot of tannin but it was quite light; nobody wants that kind of wine. But winemakers have learned to soften the tannins, extract more colour ,concentrate it. But it’s a lovely wine, it’s fresh red berries, obviously some rusticity, but quite easy drinking and the Muscatel in this wine makes this wine unique. So this is from Ventisquero , Ventisquero wine estate. So I work for these guys. So I’m biassed, I’m biassed, but I work for them because I love them. And I think their wines are  top top quality so you can trust me,

Natalie MacLean 23:10
And you’re transparent, so that’s fine. What that reminds me of is that traditional Rhône blend of the Syrah red grape and then a Viognier for the floral lift and lightening. So they’re doing some creative blending there between a red primarily wine and then a splash of white.

Janina Doyle 23:26
It literally gives you, so you’ve got all that red berries, a little bit of and it’s also smoky at the same time. It’s got real smokiness, so instead of rusticity, it’s almost gone a bit smoky, but then lovely orange peachy notes. I don’t know if in America or Canada, you have the Petits Filous  yoghurts, or I mean, I haven’t seen them since I was a child. We used to have these Petits Filous yoghurts that your mom used to put in your lunchbox, they were actually French, but we had them. It tastes just like a peach Petits Filous. So I don’t know if anyone understands what I’m saying right now.

Natalie MacLean 23:54
That’s okay. We had little mini yoghurts. I don’t know if that was the same brand name. But yeah, I get what you’re saying.

Janina Doyle 24:01
Floral, peachy and yoghurt, but lovely red berries, aand a bit of smoke. So this is a great barbecue wine, you know, you can have it chilled down as well because this doesn’t have any oak wines. Wines that don’t have any oak or are lower in alcohol are great chilled down. So you know, you could have it ideal temperature like 10 degrees. Whilst there’s some you know, sausages on the barbecue or like some. I mean, if we’re going to be fancy, like venison charcuterie you know, because it’s got that smoky vibe. Yeah, I mean, that’s getting a bit fancy, isn’t it? Let’s just stick with sausages.

Natalie MacLean 24:30
Creative.What happens if you chill an oaked wine? What’s happening there? Why doesn’t that work?

Janina Doyle 24:34
I mean, it’s two things really, because a lot of the time as well with oak, you might also be because the wine is probably more concentrated, so the alcohol might be higher. Number one, definitely, from my own research, when you’ve got a lot more alcohol, if you go colder, it’s just gonna seem a lot more clumsier and the fruit as we all know. It’s like when you take a beer and you know, it’s a rubbish beer, so definitely like put it in the freezer and then you’re like, Oh, lovely. It’s refreshing because you’ve killed all the taste. So you basically find that the fruit disappears and then the oak is going to show more. It’s just going to take everything out of balance and the same way actually, red wine even a big powerful oaky 15% red should not be above 18 degrees Celsius.  Screw the Fahrenheit people, don’t know what it is basically, people go oh, but read room temperature. Well that was before we had a central heating. And so actually, if you go too high like everyone, if you’re ever in Spain in the middle of the summer, take your red wine and drink it straightaway it is disgusting. So then with the alcohol levels, it will just be so apparent, it will just be all alcohol and then nothing else, you know, but obviously it’s personal preference. Whatever you enjoy, if you like a well done steak and you like a 25 degrees red wine, you go for it and you enjoy. Just don’t come to me. Absolutely.

Natalie MacLean 26:06
Oh, that’s great. And so you mentioned barbecue wines with this one. And now you have written about the world’s driest area to make wine. Is that associated with this winery or somewhere else in Chile?

Janina Doyle 26:19
No, I’m very, very lucky. So my winery, Ventisquero wine estates, I hope they pay me extra for this because this is in my own time, they are fantastic, they’re pioneer, they are all about doing things that are different. And they are a premium winery and you can definitely get it in Canada and America so you’re all good. And up in the Atacama desert, this is the driest desert on Earth, we have the only commercial vineyards. So basically, they have grown vines in the desert, but it’s a cool climate desert it so it’s about 20 kilometres give or take from the coast. So you have these freezing cooling breezes coming in. So surprisingly, this desert doesn’t reach more than 26 degrees Celsius, sorry everyone Celsius, in the middle of summer in the middle of the afternoon. It’s incredible. So it’s actually on par with kind of the coolest parts of Leyda, which is a much further down coastal region in Chile. And you have this incredible fog coming in, which really makes viticulture possible. However, in the Atacama Desert, there are salty soils, so the soils are super salty, apparently like 60 times more salty than is possible to grow vines. So when they first planted, everything died. The long story short, so I know, we don’t have two and a half more hours to describe how they manage this. They have found a watering system where if you kind of flood irrigate in one hit, it pushes the water down to the roots and the soil up to the surface and that way you separate it and you can actually give the vines the water they need. Of course it doesn’t rain so you have to irrigate but it’s just a very crazy project, creating very low yields, lower yield often and in this case it does create more concentrated flavours. So there’s beautiful Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah in a range called Tara and they’re unfiltered, unfined, bottled by hand pressed by feet. So it’s all about just terroir, terroir, terroir. They happen to basically be natural. They do a little bit of sulphur in there, and they’re just gorgeous. And then there’s also a Sauvignon Blanc as well in the Ventisquero range, and they’re just beautiful. And you won’t find any other wines, but from Ventisquero wine estates, making these wines in the Atacama Desert, and it’s just if you’re a wine geek, we know when you have to take a wine to somebody’s house,

Natalie MacLean 28:30
and you want a story behind it. Yeah.

Janina Doyle 28:32
And you’re like, Oh, which one? Yeah, if you can get a hold of this, you know, for a fact, they’re gonna be like, what? Oh, my God, you know, so and hit me up anyone, if you get a bottle, and you want to know more, and you need all the tasting notes, so you can show off, come I love talking about this area, this property because it’s so unique. So I’d be very happy to talk about the Atacama desert for hours.

Natalie MacLean 28:50
That’s great. We’ll put a link to the winery and the wines in the show notes. And I’ll get at least a few of the wines posted on the site separately, too, so that people, if they’re looking for that label can find them because people do like to try some of the wines we talk about on the podcast. So this has been so great. I want to finish up with some sort of what I call lightning round questions.

Janina Doyle 29:14
Okay. I’m ready. All right. Okay.

Natalie MacLean 29:15
How about: Is there something you believe about wine with which a lot of people would disagree with you?

Janina Doyle 29:22
Oh, that’s difficult. I mean, I tell you what, no, I think I’m quite a conventionalist actually, when it comes to wine, but I tell you something that sometimes I have arguments with people, which is as you may have noticed, wine without a stem. So for me ultimately, these are Riedel glasses. So the most important thing with the wine glass is that you want it to have like a thin lip. So that wine gets into the mouth, it goes in beautifully and it’s not clunky. And also you want something with a wide enough bowl, so you can swill the glass and the wine around to get the aromas out. That is all you need. The stem for me, One: it means you’re not going to have dirty fingers, if they happen to be dirty on the glass. That’s great. But Two, it’s more just it looks nicer. But sometimes come on, you’re drinking wine, you’re having it with pizza, you know, it’s a Wednesday night like, do you always have to have the fanciest glasses? I think it’s nice to bring it down a notch. And actually, if you want to warm up the glass, because maybe the red is actually too cold or maybe the white is too cold, you can still do the exact same thing. I don’t have a problem with it. I quite like stemless glasses and also less likely to get knocked over at the table. So if you have a partner like mine who likes to smash all your nice glasses, basically, my Salta  glasses come out just when it’s special. And then during the week we drink from these Riedel glasses, which hfor 2 cost me 20 pounds. So what’s that? Maybe $20 -$25? You know, I think they’re great. So

Natalie 30:49
It’s true. It’s expensive breaking good wine classes. I mean, the original, you know, if you want to demystify or de- snob wine, I mean, the original wine glasses were tumblers and Bistro is tumbler glasses. They weren’t all about fine stemware. So I don’t think we need to get too caught up in it. So good answer. Do you have a favourite childhood food that you pair with wine as an adult today?

Janina Doyle 31:12
So I was thinking about this and the only actual food that I remembered I have such good memories, was my mum used to make, she used to make sponge cake, so like a Victoria sponge cake. So again, this is quite English, but I’m sure you guys have it ;Victoria sponge cake. So light sponge, cream, bit of jam in there. And then she used to melt chocolate over the top. And that was my birthday cake for years and years and years. Parents just get three of them then literally decorate them with Smarties or jellies or sprinkles and like it’s so much cheaper than magical castle cakes, whatever. Anyway, I loved it. And I was thinking about that. And I was like, what would I pair with that now and a Brachetto d’Acqui, which typically you can have still versions you can have slight different versions, but the majority are sparkling. It comes from Piemonte. They’re very fun wines the majority of the time. They’re not too complex. So northern Italy, placing it. In Northern Italy and Brachetto is the grape. Acqui is one of the regions but it can be made in surrounding regions there but basically Piemonte, and just lovely beautiful red fruit flavours lovely, sparkling, as I said, generally fun and not too complicated. And it’s really good with kind of strawberries and cream, or cakes and chocolate. And I just thought you know, I haven’t tried that pairing, because I haven’t had my cake since I was perhaps 10 years old. I don’t know. But the fact you asked me that now I’m like, I’m gonna have to go to my mom and ask her. It’s my birthday in April. So you know what, I think I’m going to get a bottle of Brachetto d’Acqui and get her to make me a childhood birthday cake.

Natalie MacLean 32:49
You bet and you report back on if the pairing works, please.

Janina Doyle 32:53
I hope so. Because that’s what I’m thinking in my head. High expectations now.

Natalie MacLean 32:58
That sounds great. Do you have a favourite wine book?

Janina Doyle 33:01
Yes, I have wine books. And am I allowed to show three?

Natalie MacLean 33:05
Yes, of course. We always like good wine book recommendations.

Janina Doyle 33:08
Sorry, this is totally classic. Yes, English Wine (Oz Clarke). I know that most of you are going to be like, I don’t want to learn about English wine because we don’t have much of it. But get on it now, because I tell you now in a few more years, you’ll start the trend. He talks about the history of it. I mean, it’s crazy as if anyone’s been to London, back in even the 1800s, the River Thames used to freeze over and they used to have winter markets on the River Thames because there was like an ice age between like the 1400s and the 1850s. Like we’ve come a long way in terms of climate change. So anyway, everything, all the different grape varieties, all the wineries everything. It’s so beautiful. So it’s just a classic, no colour pictures. It’s all just like wine geeky. The next book I got this year, which I loved by a wonderful author, and actually a friend of mine, we met through wine. She’s called Amanda Barnes (The South America Wine Guide). And she’s just obsessed with South American wine. And she’s a wonderful writer. Literally, it’s a beautiful book, you can see it’s purple. And inside, there’s the most beautiful photos and it’s just, it’s just a gorgeous book to read.

Natalie MacLean 34:14
Wow beautiful photos. Yeah,

Janina Doyle 34:17
That’s so funny. I just opened up on the Atacama Desert. Can you see the salt? I can see there’s the salt in the soil that so you know, it’s probably I was gonna say, Wow, that’s fate. It’s not it’s probably because I’ve opened it up on that page. But that’s a beautiful book. And I was talking about Bolivian wine on one of my last podcasts. And there was so much information about Bolivia. I mean, there’s so much stuff about South America and Peru. And so you can really learn about some; it’s quite again, really detailed and quite geeky. And then the last book, it’s just a classic. The World Atlas of Wine, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson; this is the latest edition the eighth. I don’t know if I actually prefer the seventh, in the seventh they actually had wine labels in it. So you could kind of just like look for recommendations. But this has more detail and they change them. So actually, that’s not a huge difference from the seven. But there are differences, but they’re just incredible for maps, you’re not going to get a detailed, crazy amount on a region, you’re going to get a nice little overview. But it’s so cool to just have a look. And then you’ve got this map in there. And you can see where all the wineries are. And especially when you get to places like Burgundy, that’s when you start going; “Okay, this is complex”, but they really map it out. And you can see the Grand Cru sites, the Premier Cru sites, and you can see all the soils and you can see there are certain things in there that you know, you can get a bit geeky, so yeah, they’re my faves,

Natalie MacLean 35:37
Great recommendations. And we’ll link to those books as well in the show notes. And we’ve already talked about your favourite gadget. If there’s one person outside the wine world living or dead, you’d like to share a bottle with, does someone come to mind?

Janina Doyle 35:50
Well, firstly, Jesus, because he turned water into wine.. You’d never run out? Wouldn’t you want  to talk to him. Yes, dude. How did you do that? But I imagine he’s pretty busy.

Natalie MacLean 35:59
Great answer.

Janina Doyle 36:02
Exactly. So Jesus, number one, and also plus, if you meet Jesus, he’ll be like, do you want to meet my dad? And you’d be like, yeah, don’t I get a get into heaven  free pass?. I mean, could be useful. But Dalai Lama? Dalai Lama. And you know what, One: because actually, I just love everything about internal peace and happiness and spirituality. And it’s my long journey to find beautiful happiness just by myself without the need of anything. But he has a vineyard. He has the smallest vineyard in the world. So yeah, he must drink wine. He has a vineyard in Switzerland in Valais. So he surely know something about wine. I would like to talk to him about that. Like, I think it’s like this, like there’s  three vines. Like, whatever. Why do you have this vineyard in Switzerland? I’d like to talk to him as well. I’d like to get  him and Jesus together, actually. And let’s see, like the spirituality and like the Christianity. Let’s see what happens there. I mean, that could be interesting as well,

Natalie MacLean 37:04
That could be great. Especially if the wine doesn’t run out.

Janina Doyle 37:08
It won’t run out  with Jesus around

Natalie MacLean 37:11
Well, no, it won’t. That’s right. And since we’re already into the afterlife here, what why would you like served at your own funeral?

Janina Doyle 37:18
It’s gonna have to be English sparkling wine. Because a natural answer would be Champagne, wouldn’t it because celebration, or commiseration, Champagne is the answer. And considering I truly from the bottom of my heart, believe English sparkling wine is entirely on par , why would I not have an English sparkling wine when I’m dead? Well, I wouldn’t be having it.

Natalie MacLean 37:40
Anyway, we’d all raise a glass to you. Yes, yes, we’d remember you fondly. Thank you. This has been such a great chat Janina, is there anything before we wrap up that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share now or mention?

Janina Doyle 37:53
Or forever hold your peace? No, it’s been fantastic. I’m sure everyone’s enjoyed themselves. But they’re also like Janina , can you shut up? Enough? Well, if you’re not bored of me, as you mentioned, I have my podcast. So that’s Eat Sleep Wine Repeat, because that’s basically what I do: I eat, I sleep, I wine and I do repeat that. So it’s quite an easy name. And yeah, you can find it on any podcast app. And of course, yeah, I’m around for weird, wonderful wine tastings. And of course, hey, the last few years has been a bit rubbish. But it has meant we’ve got quite virtual. So now, my services are not just for England, they’re for the world. I can bring my services to you. Praise be!. It was I don’t know. I was going to try and say something from the Bible. And then I don’t know, so I’ll stop now, stop rambling. Get in touch. I like to talk

Natalie MacLean 38:42
Your website? I’m going to let you say it so I don’t muck it up. What is your website URL?

Janina Doyle 38:47

Natalie MacLean 38:54
Okay, great, simple. I assume that’s your central hub. And then we can find you on social through that and all the rest of it

Janina Doyle 39:00
Exactly. It’s all there. And to be honest, it’s pretty much that name. So even on Instagram, which I’m very active @eatsleep_winerepeat

Natalie MacLean 39:09
There you go. Ah, Janina this is wonderful. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to chat again, which will be very soon on your podcast. So I’m looking forward to that,

Janina Doyle 39:18
Yes, everyone come over. Because yes, Natalie will be on my

Natalie MacLean 39:24
Alright, so thank you and look forward to continuing our conversation soon.

Janina Doyle 39:29
Lovely. Well, thank God it’s not today because you know, I’ve got quite a lot of wine to drink. So I’m busy now.

Natalie MacLean 39:34
Well, thank God Jesus is not there right now. Anyway.

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed our chat with Janina.

Here my takeaways.

Number one, British wines do have a fascinating history dating back to King Henry the eighth. Now that was a man who enjoyed his food and drink

Two. It was interesting to hear how wine is made in the driest place on Earth, which is in Chili. I look forward to trying some of those wines.

And three the debate about stemless wine glasses versus traditional stemware continues.

In the show notes at you’ll find my email contact, a link to the post called Diary of a Book Launch, the link to the Drink and Drag event, a full transcript of my conversation with Janina , links to her website and podcast, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class and where you can find the live stream video version of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. Email me if you have a sip tip question or would like to be a beta reader of my new book at Natalie at You won’t want to miss next week when I chat with Lawrence Francis, host of the Interpreting Wine podcast. In the meantime, if you missed episode 74 go back and take a listen. I chat with Dr. Laura Catena about Malbec and her family’s wineries in Argentina. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

Laura Catena 41:20
Malbec has an extraordinary history in the world since Roman times. It was very famous in the Middle Ages when it was called the Le Vin Noir, the black wine and it was often used to enrich wines and when the French had the 1855 classification, 40 to 60% of the blend of those wines was Malbec. The Borderie ( realised that with Malbec, they could add this texture and colour to their wines and so they planted it. If there’s a little bit of cold weather, the yields go down dramatically. Cabernet is much tougher, Merlot is much tougher and it’s also earlier ripening

Natalie MacLean 41:52
Given Malbec is such a robust wine I would have never thought it was a delicate grape.

Laura Catena 41:57
What happened was that when it was brought to Argentina in 1852 it was brought as this famous French grape that was planted in Bordeaux. I had a viticulturist from Italy; asked him why don’t you plant some varieties from Italy here in your vineyard? And he said the only thing that grows well and makes great wine in this vineyard of mine is Malbec. Malbec just did well, it just tasted good and it made great wine

Natalie MacLean 42:25
if you like this episode please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wines and stories we discussed. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a full bodied Chilean or Argentinian wine. You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Meet me here next week. Cheers

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