Food Month podcast: Lilly Higgins and John Wilson
With global warming, what is the future of wine-making in Ireland?
What do biodynamic wines have in common with punk music?
You might be surprised to hear where the wine chat wanders when John Wilson and Lilly Higgins riff on a range of wine-related subjects, in a new podcast. The subject comes up in the first of a series of podcasts for Food Month where Lilly Higgins chats with Irish Times food writers .
In the first podcast, Irish Times wine critic and author of best-selling wine guides (Wilson on Wine 2018 is recently published) talks about his journey to becoming a wine critic – after starting with a history degree, and nearly opting to be a chef.
He properly discovered the pleasure of wine in college, he says, when he bought a bottle of Beaujolais for a party, and loved the “explosion of juicy fresh flavour in a bottle of Beaujolais. It was the lightbulb moment.”
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Beaujolais Nouveau Day, which celebrates the harvest and the birth of a new vintage, is coming up on November 15th, and he extols the pleasure, still, of a bottle of light, refreshing – and inexpensive – Nouveau.
He and Higgins talk about the back-breaking work of picking grapes, and how some wines are still made by crushing them underfoot. Both of them bemoan the lack of information on wine (or beer or spirit) labels – all the more surprising in an era where everyone is very conscious of the ingredients in the food we eat.
Other topics include low intervention biodynamic wines; terroir and indigenous grape varieties; and the question of whether global warming will lead to a possible future for wine making in Ireland.
Wilson is refreshingly didactic about choosing wines for dinner on Christmas Day, suggesting that people just go for wines you enjoy – a nice Chardonnay would go with both a starter and turkey, or a rioja or pinot noir, he says.