What’s it like tasting wines with the legendary wine critic Robert Parker? How does food take wine to the next level? What’s it like to have dinner with celebrities of the wine world?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with wine journalist and host of the Vine Guy Podcast, Scott Greenberg.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
Join me for the debut Watch Party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live-streaming for the very first time on Zoom on Wednesday, June 16th at 7 pm eastern.
You can save your spot for free right here. I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.
I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?
- How did a glass of wine at a dinner party change Scott’s life?
- What have been the top highlights of Scott’s wine career so far?
- How did a surprising phone call lead to Scott partnering up with Robert Parker?
- What is Robert Parker’s unique wine tasting process like?
- Where did the Vine Guy moniker come from?
- How did an old bottle of Champagne open Scott’s eyes to a whole new world of wine?
- What differences in taste would you experience in old versus young Champagne?
- In what ways has wine played a central role for Scott in meeting several fascinating friends?
- How did Scott’s radio voice get him the opportunity to meet French winemaker Christian Moueix?
- Why does Scott especially love food and wine pairing?
- Most of us remember a pivotal wine that changed our lives and drinking habits. I enjoyed hearing about Scott’s aha wine at a dinner party.
- I also liked Scott’s story about tasting with the legendary Robert Parker and a sneak peek at that critic’s unique tasting process.
- Mature Champagne is a treat worth trying if you haven’t yet.
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So many of my friends have that aha moment when they’re like, oh my God, THIS is wine. - Scott Greenberg Click to tweet
It was amazing when I think just how fast Robert Parker was but how incredibly accurate. - Scott Greenberg Click to tweet
I remember very clearly tasting that wine and thinking, Wow, how does it taste like that? What have I been missing my whole life? - Scott Greenberg Click to tweet
Lots of people think all bubbly should be served fresh – and certainly there’s a delight in that – but they also say aged Champagne is an acquired taste. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
About Scott Greenberg
Scott Greenberg, also known as “The Vine Guy”, is the host of the “Wine of the Week” show on WTOP radio in Washington, DC and the Vine Guy Podcast. Scott started his career in wine journalism as the syndicated wine columnist for the Washington Journal Newspaper and continues to contribute to Tasting Panel Magazine.
He’s also hosted numerous wine tastings, judged wine competitions and has taught a course on North American Wineries for the Smithsonian Associates program in Washington. Scott is To Kalon Vineyard Specialist and Italian Wine Scholar. He recently relocated from Maryland to Park City, Utah, where he lives with his wife, Cindy, and a rescue dog named Frankie.
- Connect with Scott Greenberg
- The Vine Guy Podcast | ‘Delicious does not require an explanation’ – A conversation with John Terlato
- Kevin Zraly’s Book | Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: Revised, Updated & Expanded Edition
- Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting & Auction
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 28: Father’s Day Wines
- Make it a Rosé Day (and evening) with me on Thursday, June 10 at 7 pm:
- Discover which foods pair best with rosé and which ones are a disaster
- Learn how modern rosé is made in a crisp, dry and refreshing style, like the wines we’ll taste
- Master serving rosé for maximum enjoyment: glassware, temperature and other tips
- Know how to create a delicious rosé cocktail with mixologist Zac Kvas
- Roald Dahl’s Book | Boy: Tales of Childhood
- Michelle Obama’s Book | Becoming
- George W. Bush’s Book | Decision Points
- Anne de Courcy’s Book | The Viceroy’s Daughters: The Lives Of The Curzon Sisters
- Tara Westover’s Book | Educated
- Cheryl Strayed’s Book | Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
- Jeannette Walls’ Book | The Glass Castle: A Memoir
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Scott Greenberg 0:00
My friend Jim was hosting a wine dinner. He was already in a tasting group and he wanted to introduce me to the group as a new member. Everybody’s supposed to bring a special bottle of wine. This fellow brings a 1985 Salon champagne, one of the premier champagnes available. 1985 was a spectacular vintage. But I’m a knucklehead and I don’t know anything about champagne. And I whispered to Jim, who’s the guy who brought the old champagne, I thought this was supposed to be a special dinner. I’m not drinking that. Jim’s like, Oh, you may want to try it. And it was another one of those aha moments, Natalie, where I remember very clearly tasting that wine and thinking, Wow, how does it taste like that? What have I been missing all my life?
Natalie MacLean 0:58
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 132. What’s it like tasting wines with the legendary wine critic Robert Parker? How does food take wine to the next level? And what’s it like to have dinner with celebrities in the wine world? You’ll get those stories and more wine tips in today’s chat with Scott Greenberg, host of both the Vine Guy podcast and the Wine of the Week show on WTOP radio in Washington DC. If you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published you have one more day to register for the online tasting with me tomorrow, June 10, that’s Thursday of some wonderful Rosé wines, or you can just crack open your favourite Rosé. I’ll give you tips on pairing Rosé with food and serving it in the right glass for maximising your pleasure all summer long. I think you’ll be surprised just how far Rosé has come both in its quality and complexity, its taste and its dryness. There is no cost but space is limited. So register today at Nataliemaclean.com/rose. I’ll also include this link in the show notes along with a full transcript of our conversation today, how you can join me in another online food wine pairing class and where you can find me on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/132.
Now on a personal note before we dive into the show, a couple weeks ago I mentioned that I’m now binge listening to memoirs as I write my own. And several of you emailed me to share your favourite memoirs and autobiographies including Laureen, who recommended Boy: Tales of Childhood by the British writer, Roald Dahl, who also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach and one of my favourite short stories of all time about the ridiculousness of blind tasting wine. Laureen found the book riveting and I can’t wait to listen to it. I listen to books on Audible, rather than, you know the old fashioned print way. I’m also going to watch the movie The Witches that’s based on another of his books. And that’s another fascination of mine, witches. So when I googled the book, I discovered that Dahl’s family buried him with his snooker cues, HB pencils, chocolates, top notch good Burgundy. Yay, he was a Pinot Noir man! And a power saw; a power saw, that is hilarious. I guess it was to cut his way out of the coffin if he revived. What’s really touching is that children still leave toys and flowers on his grave. Several people including my mother mentioned Michelle Obama’s Becoming and I’ve got that book queued up next. Carly enjoyed Decision Points by George W. Bush much more than she expected. Rosemary just finished The Viceroy’s Daughters: The Lives Of The Curzon Sisters by Anne de Courcy. And here are a few memoirs that I’ve enjoyed recently: Educated by Tara Westover, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Winters. I’ll link to all of these books in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/132. All right, on with the show.
Natalie MacLean 5:27
Scott Greenberg is also known as the Vine Guy, and we’re going to find out why in a moment. He’s the host of the Wine of the Week programme on WTOP in Washington, DC as well as the Vine Guy podcast. Scott started his career in wine journalism with the Washington Journal newspaper, and continues to contribute to Tastings Panel magazine. He’s also hosted numerous wine tastings, judged lots of wine competitions, and he’s even taught a course on North American wineries for the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, which is really cool. Scott is a To Kalon vineyard expert, or specialist I should say, and an Italian Wine Scholar. He recently moved from Maryland to Park City, Utah, where he lives with his wife Cindy and a rescue dog named Frankie. Thank you so much for joining us here this evening Scott. Welcome.
Scott Greenberg 6:21
Thank you Natalie, it’s so wonderful to be here and hopefully Frankie won’t butt in so we’ll see what happens
Natalie MacLean 6:27
You did give me the snowplough warning. So if we hear him, he’s not in trouble but he’s very excited about the snowplough. Alright, so let’s start Scott with kind of how did you get into wine? What was the moment when you realised, wow, I want to make wine what I do full time.
Scott Greenberg 6:43
You know, so many of my friends have that Ah Hah moment. When they’re like, Oh, my God, this is wine. And I had the same thing. It was back in 1994. My day job is, I’m an insurance advisor. I run an insurance advisory firm in Washington, DC. And there was this one tax attorney who was very famous, and I really wanted to get to know him. But it was impossible to get on his schedule, he was just fully booked always, couldn’t get any time with him. And then somebody told me that he was into wine. Now I had no idea what into wine. I didn’t know if he was bathing in wine.
But I called his secretary and I said, Hey, I know I’ve been trying to get on this guy’s calendar, but it has nothing to do with insurance. I just am really super interested in wine. Do you think he would talk to me about wine? Well, within a week, I had a date with him. And we met for lunch. And of course, I had no interest in wine, I just wanted to meet him. And it turned out that as he spoke about why it became a living breathing thing for me. And I really was curious. And he said, Listen, I can tell you all about wine. But you really have to taste it. I’m hosting a dinner party this weekend for my new partner. Would you and your wife like to come over? Come on. I mean, Natalie this was Holy Grail stuff for me. Being invited to his home for dinner, and again, no interest in wine, but I was going to form a relationship. We get to his house. My wife, who is not the most social creature in the world says okay, but you owe me good. And it turns out that this dinner party is three couples. It’s Jim and his wife, his new partner and his wife, and Cindy, my wife and myself. And he goes downstairs and he pulls up this bottle and sort of, you know, blows off the dust and whatever and opens it up. And he goes around and he pours everybody a glass. And as he comes to me, I said to Jim, the attorneys name, I said, Jim, I don’t need a glass I’ll just share with my wife and she looked over at me and went no, not sharing. You’re going to want your own glass and she poured a glass and I tasted it. And Natalie, it’s not hyperbole. When I tell you that this wine changed my life. Oh, wow. It literally changed my life for several reasons. One of which is it has cost me 1000s of dollars in wine purchasing since then. But Jim has since become one of my dearest closest friends. It has started me on a path to wine that has led me to you today which I’m thrilled about. And the wine for those of everybody who’s wondering what it was, yes. A 1981 Château Beaucastel from Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley. And I can taste it to this day.
Natalie MacLean 9:38
What did it taste like to you? What memories do you have of it?
Scott Greenberg 9:41
I remember turning to Jim and say, I didn’t know wine could taste like this. And he said with a twinkle in his eye because he’s mischievous. He said but it can; it just costs just a little bit more. It tasted like saddle leather. I remember very distinctly getting this saddle leather, and kind of this wonderful, earthy tone to it. And I’d never experienced anything like that in a wine before. Well, first of all, I don’t think I’ve ever had wine out of a bottle before. So it was ethereal. And as I said, it really started me on a path that I’m very grateful for to this day.
Natalie MacLean 10:28
Did you take courses or what did you do next? After you sort of had that Ah Hah moment?
Scott Greenberg 10:33
Well, I started buying books and I started reading books and I did take a very interesting course, a one on one type of a course that was incredibly helpful that taught me how to identify what I thought I was tasting in my head or what I was smelling. And it was very valuable in terms of being able to sort of delineate those descriptors.
Natalie MacLean 10:53
That’s great. Wow
Scott Greenberg 10:55
The wine books were really the best.
Natalie MacLean 10:57
Is there a favourite wine book from those early days?
Scott Greenberg 11:00
Well, the first one’s always your favourite, right? Windows on the World by Kevin Zraly really is still to this day something I go back and visit often.
Natalie MacLean 11:08
That’s a great book. Really great resource. So sort of moving forward now. What would you say has been one of the highlights of your wine career so far?
Scott Greenberg 11:16
Oh, today; absolutely, meeting you
Natalie MacLean 11:18
Oh you are so sweet. It caught me off guard.
Scott Greenberg 11:21
This is it. I don’t know how it gets any better. Oh, it’s kind of the pinnacle.
Natalie MacLean 11:29
That’s a plant. No, thank you Scott. That’s very nice.
Scott Greenberg 11:33
But in a close second. given that we just lost Steven Spurrier recently, I did have the pleasure of having dinner with Steven, about 18 months ago before the world shut down, in San Francisco. So that was really quite memorable.
Natalie MacLean 11:50
And he was a real leading light in the wine world and for those who don’t know him, tell us a little bit about him.
Scott Greenberg 11:53
Oh, well, he’s really probably the most famous for what we know as the movie Bottle Shock, where he hosted a tasting of French wines and California wines that rocked the world. I believe it was called if I’m not mistaken tasting of Paris?
Natalie MacLean 12:13
Yes, the Judgement of Paris. But yes, Judgement of Paris. Absolutely; 1976. That’s right blind tasting, lining them up blind tasting, right?
Scott Greenberg 12:18
Where I believe Chateau Montelena Chardonnay beat out all the white burgundies. And it just it rocked the world. And it literally started a wine revolution. And he loves talking about it. And it was really great. Matter of fact, I interviewed him in the back of a limo that we shared to the airport for my podcast, and I was so excited about it, and the file got corrupted. I was never able to recover it. So that was a close second. But Natalie, this is this is the highlight.
Natalie MacLean 12:52
Oh, you’re so sweet. Okay, so let’s talk about the fundraiser that you’ve been involved in? How did that start?
Scott Greenberg 13:01
Oh wow, so my wine world started in, as I said, in 1994. And in 1996, 97,98, in that range, I started buying wine. And I started buying futures. I started really exploring a lot of different things like, you know, kind of sort of cut my teeth on those big Australian Shiraz in the day, and then kind of migrated over to California, and never lost my love for Rhône wines; that was always sort of the top; but I stuck my toe in the water with Bordeaux futures. At some point I was buying from a local wine shop in Washington, DC. When the owner’s son, who I had become very close with, matter of fact we were getting ready to go to the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux
Natalie MacLean 13:47
Which is a tasting of futures right.
Scott Greenberg 13:49
Yeah, big tasting of futures
Natalie MacLean 13:51
Futures being wine that’s in the barrel that hasn’t been bottled yet. So you really are tasting wine before it’s even complete, so to speak, it is kind of buying the future.
Scott Greenberg 14:03
Absolutely. And you know, thank you for pointing that out. Because I forget that I will geek out sometimes
Natalie MacLean 14:08
That’s okay. We all love to geek out.
Scott Greenberg 14:12
I forget who I’m, you know, who I’m talking to. But yes, so we were getting ready to go to the Union des Grands Crus to taste some of the futures in barrel and Bruce suddenly passed away of a heart attack at the age of 40. Three young children, lovely wife, and I was devastated. And so I was on the board of the American Heart Association at the time and decided, let’s do something in his honour, just to raise a little bit of money. Myself and a few other people got together and we decided what we would do is a Bordeaux tasting in my living room. Our goal was to raise $15,000 to be able to buy a defibrillator for the airport, which at the time airports didn’t have defibrillators at the gate. And I think if there was a defibrillator; Bruce while waiting for his plane, may be alive today. So that was the start of it.
And we said, well, let’s, you know, let’s do this fundraiser and my phone rings one day and I pick it up and I’m like. “Hello.” Hey, Scott, this is Bob, I heard you’re doing this fundraiser for Bruce, I’d really like to get involved. What do you think about doing? I said, we’re going to get a few bottles of Bordeaux, we’re going to open them up because Bruce loved Bordeaux, we’ll have a few people over, we’ll charge admission, and we’ll see if we can raise a few bucks. He said, Well, I think I can really help you. Maybe I can get some other Bordelaise to actually come over with their wines, and have a tasting and put on a tasting for you.
And I said, Oh Bob, that’s great, that’s amazing. But you know, my living room is not that big. We were thinking about 35 people. And he said, Well, I think we might need a bigger venue. And I said, well, Bob, how are you going to get these people over here? We can’t afford to fly them over. I mean, he goes, No, no, they’ll come over on their own. They’ll bring their wines everything will be gratis. How are you planning on doing this? Why? Who are you? How are you connected? Bob’s connected, right, Bob? I’m starting to get either a little paranoid or a little annoyed? I couldn’t remember which. It’s like, dude, who are you? And he said, Well, I have this newsletter called the Wine Advocate. Bob. Robert Parker?
Natalie MacLean 16:27
Robert Parker! Wow. The renowned US critic. Holy smokes.
Scott Greenberg 16:32
And Natalie, this is how I flipped out I was; I am so embarrassed to tell you this story. But this is how flipped out I was what he called. I said, Robert Parker. He said, Yeah, and I said this. “How did you get this number?”
Natalie MacLean 16:51
That’s great, that’s an honest response. Fantastic.
Scott Greenberg 16:55
The rest, as they say is history. The event started in 1999. Obviously, it did not start in my living room. We actually had to find a ballroom at the last minute. We raised $117,000 that year, which was amazing. Heart’s Delight in its 20th year, we raised over $20 million for the American Heart Association. And Bob and I developed a wonderful relationship over that time. He was very gracious by hosting the first 10 years; he stepped in and did the panels. It was great.
Natalie MacLean 17:30
Oh, Scott, that’s a great story. Oh, my goodness
Scott Greenberg 17:33
Very proud of it very.
Natalie MacLean 17:35
That’s fantastic. Well done. Is there any relation to that event and how you got the name Vine Guy, the Vine Guy?
Scott Greenberg 17:43
More embarrassing stories. So as I said, Bob, and I started to develop, sorry, Robert Parker, started to develop a relationship. And he took me to a few wine tastings with him. And I’ll never forget, one of the tastings we went to was a California barrel sample, where a lot of the California wine makers had sent barrel samples out to Bob. And he invited me to come along and taste with him, which was a great experience to begin with. I mean, he would just run through 20 wines at a time. As I recall, there were maybe about 100 wines. So there were five flights, 20 wines each.
Natalie MacLean 18:25
So he was tasting them. He was going that fast.
Scott Greenberg 18:28
I was tasting it, taking it out, tasting it, taking it, taking it out, and he was getting annoyed. Because he was just right, exactly. He was just tasting them through and then he would go back and then selectively taste others. And then he would write his notes. Fascinating. absolutely fascinating.
Natalie MacLean 18:44
And did he have any sort of technique that you noticed? Like was he doing one nose than the other nose or anything like that?
Scott Greenberg 18:49
Both noses? Ah,nostrils, right. Yeah, he was he was in there deep. It was amazing, I think just how fast he was. But how incredibly accurate he was. Now, of course, he’d had years of experience and I was still a newbie. But at one point, he looks over at my notes, and like a kid in high school so I went to cover up my notes.
Natalie MacLean 19:10
Ha! Ha! Don’t look at my homework.
Scott Greenberg 19:17
And he looked at me and he said really
Natalie MacLean 19:25
Oh no. Oh, no.
Scott Greenberg 19:31
Really. It’s kind of like, I’m Robert Parker. You’re like, you know what? So that day at lunch, I actually did share my notes with him and he read them and he said, you know, Scott, you should actually start writing. These notes are great. There’s something here. I would really encourage you. He said you should get a website and just start posting stuff. Now back then, by the way, Natalie, there was no blog. This is still pretty early on in the early 2000s, where you actually had to write away for a website name to one location that issued all the website names, right? And I said, well, Bob, that’s great. But what would I call the website? And he said, the Vine Guy.
Natalie MacLean 20:12
Oh, he named you.
Scott Greenberg 20:13
That’s it. That’s how I got the moniker.
Natalie MacLean 20:16
Fantastic. Oh my gosh. Wow. And so do you still taste? Do you still see him at all? I know he’s retired. So
Scott Greenberg 20:27
Yeah, no, I haven’t seen Bob in about five years.
Natalie MacLean 20:32
Because you’ve moved too. Okay. Wow, what great experiences from Steven Spurrier to Robert Parker. Holy smokes.
Scott Greenberg 20:37
And to Natalie MacLean.
Natalie MacLean 20:39
Oh, well. Thank you. Let’s go to a special dinner you had; now this might be backtracking. I’m not sure where; they’re pouring a particular champagne. Tell me about that.
Scott Greenberg 20:53
No, no, that actually did happen. Afterwards. Again, my friend Jim was hosting a wine dinner and he invited several of his friends. He was already in a tasting group. And he wanted to introduce me to the group as a new member, if you will. And I was really thrilled. I mean, this was kind of like, Oh my gosh, I this would be so much fun. And everybody is supposed to bring a special bottle of wine. I actually at that time, still didn’t have a very deep collection. So I had to purchase one from Jim to bring to this dinner.. And this fellow brings a 1985 Salon Champagne. Now, for those of you who don’t know Salon, is, I think probably one of the premier Champagnes available. 85 was a spectacular vintage. But I’m a knucklehead. And I don’t know anything about Champagne other than it’s got bubbles, and I take a look at the bottle. And I whispered to Jim, who’s the guy who brought the old champagne? I thought this was supposed to be a special dinner. I’m, I’m not drinking that. The old stuff, right? Jim’s like, Oh, you may want to try it. And again, it was another one of those Ah Ha moments, Natalie, where I remember very clearly tasting that wine and thinking, wow, how does it taste like that way? What am I’ve been missing all my life?
Natalie MacLean 22:21
What did it taste like to you?
Scott Greenberg 22:23
Oh my gosh, it tasted like fresh baked bread. Oh, it was it was good. But it also kind of had this slightly maderized edge, that “Sherryized” edge, which I adore. I adore. But a little bit of like, maybe dried apricot, a little bit of maybe super, super ripe nectarine. But it was the balance, the acidity and the bubbles, just the way that this wine swooned in the mouth. It was just delicious. And again, love being wrong!
Natalie MacLean 22:59
Scott Greenberg 23:00
Since then I’ve become kind of a, I don’t know if this is a family show, but kind of a Champagne wh***
Natalie MacLean 23:08
You’ll try anything?
Scott Greenberg 23:10
Oh, yeah, pretty much and unfortunately, so is my wife.
Natalie MacLean 23:15
That’s great! But they say that aged champagne, well, first of all, a lot of people think all bubbly should be served fresh and certainly there’s lots of delight in that. But they also say aged champagne is an acquired taste. I don’t know if the British started it or whatever but it’s quite a different experience. It can be as you say, a bit maderized, a bit nutty, but I think it’s worth exploring. It’s a rare treat too, to even be able to try vintage, like old champion, old mature champagne. Reminds me of the Steve Martin skit where he says don’t bring me that old stuff. I want a fresh wine.
Scott Greenberg 23:55
That’s right, that was the reason why. And again, the gentleman who brought that champagne and I have become the dearest of friends. And as a matter of fact, of the many special bottles. I have had the privilege of tasting. Most of them have been with him.
Natalie MacLean 24:08
Nice. Wow. Lots of friendships formed over good bottles as great. You have another time where you met someone while you were ski-ing in Deer Valley. Where is Deer Valley first of all?
Scott Greenberg 24:21
Deer Valley is in Park City, Utah. It’s one of the mountains. Deer Valley is kind of a neighbourhood if you will, inside Park City. And it’s actually a wonderful, wonderful place to ski; just great. And I was taking a break one day from skiing, just to grab a bite to eat, and I’m standing in line to get some food. And I started talking to the guy behind me and I was like oh, you know, where are you from? I’m from Chicago. Where are you from? I’m from the DC area. Oh, what do you do? And he said, Oh, I’m into wine. Now by this time I do know what into wine means. I no longer knew that that he was bathing in wine. I said oh what end of the business are you in? He said, Well, we do both importing and distribution. I said, Oh, that’s pretty cool. Who do you work for? He said, Well, I’m John Terlato.
Natalie MacLean 25:10
Oh, wow. Oh, and explain for those who may not know that name, who he is
Scott Greenberg 25:16
John Terlato of the Terlato Wine Group. I think they’re definitely top 10, maybe top five importers, distributors in the United States. Such notable wines, for example, as Gaia from Italy, Italy, a very top tier wine, as you probably know, and even their own brands. So John is, I believe, third generation in the business and now runs it with his brother. And it was just funny, because the week before the Terlato Wine Group had sent out a PR package to 10 people in the country, which included several bottles of their wine and a pizza oven that you put on the grill and make pizza. And I said, you’re John Terlato. I just got one of your pizza oven. He said, Wait, you got a pizza oven? Yeah. You got a pizza oven. I felt like I was in The Godfather or something, as you know, you go “What are those numbers again?” Yes. Who are you again? And that was it. We were off and running and became good friends. John became a wonderful sponsor of Hearts Delight, the charity we talked, about donating wines and donating really some special treats and visits. And again, you know, you just meet the most wonderful people through wine
Natalie MacLean 26:34
You tend to stumble into them when you’re not looking; but fortunately, you strike up these conversations wherever you are.
Scott Greenberg 26:42
I’m a friendly guy.
Natalie MacLean 26:44
Yes, you are. And you interviewed John on your podcast? Is that right?
Scott Greenberg 26:49
He was actually my very first guest. I told John that I was starting this podcast. He said let me know if I can help. I said help; How about if you’re my first guest? And to this day, it’s one of the top three downloaded interviews on the podcast, which is now going into its second year
Natalie MacLean 27:08
Terrific. I’ll have to go back and take a listen to that one.
Scott Greenberg 27:11
That’s a lot of fun.
Natalie MacLean 27:12
Cool. Well, you have a great Radio Podcast voice so
Scott Greenberg 27:15
Well, thank you, Natalie.
Natalie MacLean 27:18
You’re welcome. One time you were in a restaurant, somebody recognised your voice, which is pretty uncanny. It’s one thing to be spotted, but to have your voice recognised? What happened there?
Scott Greenberg 27:29
Well, due to the radio show on WTOP, which, not to be immodest, it’s the largest terrestrial radio station in the Washington DC area. So gets a lot of airplay. The fellow at the table next to us at the restaurant said, sorry to interrupt but are you that guy on the radio, I hear every Friday. And this annoys my wife to no end, because my egos big enough, and she does not want it to get any bigger. And I say I happen to be that very same fellow that is on the radio every Friday. And he said, Listen, I’ve been wanting to meet you. We’re getting together. We’re having a wine dinner. And we have a very special guest. And I’d love it if you would be my guest. I’d love to introduce you to some of my friends who are again into wine and again I love that phrase. And I said, that’s great. Do I need to bring anything as , “Oh no, no, no, we’re having a winemaker. And he’s going to bring all the wines and I’ll cover your charges. Don’t worry, I just want you to be my guest.” Well, turns out that the special guest was Christian Moueix from France, who is responsible for both Petrus, a very well known Bordeaux wine, top tier, top tier, I certainly can’t afford it and Dominus
Natalie MacLean 28:40
In Napa and Napa, again, top tier. Wow,
Scott Greenberg 28:44
Christian was there with his wife and I sat right next to them and had a remarkably wonderful experience, charming, charming, charming people and delicious wines. And I came home that evening worse for the wear if you can imagine. It was a slow day, the next day
Natalie MacLean 29:07
You’re not to spit when you’re tasting those wines, please, that would be rude
Scott Greenberg 29:13
A single glass. And I said to my wife and that my dear is what my radio voice gets me.
Natalie MacLean 29:20
Did she give you a roll of the eyes?
Scott Greenberg 29:25
Actually, she just suggested I sleep in the next room. My long suffering wife.
Natalie MacLean 29:36
So how many different wines were you tasting? Was it kind of like in flights or?
Scott Greenberg 29:41
It was by course; I want to say that to my best recollection it was four courses. And we just had amazing pairings. So probably over the course of the evening, there were eight or 10 wines.
Natalie MacLean 29:54
Was there a particular pairing that stood out for you, that you remember?
Scott Greenberg 29:58
Yeah, I think definitely the lamb loine with the Petrus and I apologise, I cannot recall the vintage of the Petrus. But I am super into pairings. I’m obsessed with pairings.
Natalie MacLean 30:13
You are obsessed with pairings? That’s great! I have found my people. This is great.
Scott Greenberg 30:14
You have found your people.
Natalie MacLean 30:15
I am totally into pairings. So what is it about wine pairing that you love most?
Scott Greenberg 30:21
That’s easy. I think wine enhances the food and food enhances the wine
Natalie MacLean 30:24
Scott Greenberg 30:27
And I love all God’s children. I really do. I drink and enjoy a lot of different styles of wine. But what I really look forward the most, you know, in a wine is, what can I pair it with? Is it food friendly? And yeah, occasionally I’ll drink wine just on its own for the sake of drinking wine, but I really, really enjoy wine with food.
Natalie MacLean 30:55
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Scott Greenberg. Here are my takeaways.
Number one, I think a lot of us remember that pivotal wine that changed our lives and drinking habits. I really enjoyed listening to Scott’s story about his Ah Ha wine at a dinner party.
Two, I also like his story about tasting with the legendary Robert Parker and getting a sneak peek at the critics unique tasting process.
And three, mature champagne is worth trying if you haven’t done so yet. You never know you just might love it.
In the show notes you’ll find a link to that free Rosé tasting I’m hosting tomorrow, June 10. There’s no cost but space is limited. So go to Nataliemaclean.com/rose or rose I should say, no accent. I’ll also put that link in the show notes, where you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation today, how you can join me in another free online food and wine pairing class and where you can find me on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm including this evening. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/132.
You won’t want to miss next week when we continue our chat with Scott Greenberg. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 28 go back and take a listen. I talked about Father’s Day wines and are there such things as manly wines versus womanly wines outside a marketing managers Dreamworld? I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
One California winery has sponsored a NASCAR event on Father’s Day for several years now. Others have taken a more direct approach in naming their wines for men. The Slammer is a robust Syrah from Big House Wines whose winery is close to a California state prison, aka the Big House. The dude on the label is absolute Gangsta. Gnarly Head, another California winery aims its marketing at men who love beer from a keg. Carnivore, a Gallo brand, uses the hashtag Devour Life, aiming at millennial males. Then there’s the popular gag gift wine named Fat Bas*****, you can fill in the last part. I always thought that they missed a golden marketing opportunity not featuring, oh a rather rotund man on the label with jeans plunging to plumber half mast, or should I say half assed?
Natalie MacLean 33:40
If you like this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the tips that Scott shared. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your class this week. Perhaps a wine that pairs beautifully with a moving memoir.
Natalie MacLean 34:05
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 Nataliemaclean.com/subscribe. Meet me here next week. Cheers!