clark smith returns

Clark Smith returns to California Wine Country

clark smith returns

Dan Berger and Clark Smith.

Clark Smith returns to California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger today, to talk about pairing wine with music and other vinous subjects. His last episode was this one on December 8, 2021. He talked about his book on pairing wine with music. His website, called Who Is Clark Smith dot com, explains all about his consulting practice and his writing. His other website, called WineSmith Wines dot com, is all about his winemaking, including his use of many unusual grapes and winemaking techniques. Finally, Clark’s website about wine and music is called Pairing Wine and Music dot com.

Clark Smith returns to California Wine Country today for the sixth time. He was actually our guest seven years ago, on the first podcast edition of CWC with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger, here on March 15, 2017. To celebrate the 2017 start date, Dan Berger has chosen a 2017 bottle from his personal cellar, to open and taste on today’s show. It is a 2017 Zinfandel from Ridge Vineyards.

It all started with Mateus Rosé

When Clark Smith came to California, there were only about 250 wineries in the United States. The average alcohol of a California wine in the 1960s was 18.5%, but by 1970 the average had dropped to 11%. “Everyone wanted to make Blue Nun knock-offs.” Steve Jaxon’s first experiene with wine was Mateus Rosé. (They had a catchy jingle on their radio and TV ads.) Clark admits that half of the wines he sold in the 1970s  were “crap” but “we have cleaned up our act” since then.

Mateus Rosé TV Ad, 1972

They are able to pair a song with a wine. This dark angry music from the Doors matches the dark angry 2013 Cabernet. The opposite of that music would be Beer Barrel Polka, which played against the same wine, ruins the wine. “Wine is liquid music,” says Clark. He and his colleague Don Blackburn were consulting to Benziger in the 1990s. Originally, it was Don that demonstrated the pairing of music and wine to Clark.

They are tasting a wine made with a grape called Norton, which was a native American grape, not a European strain. Doctor Norton discovered it in the 1800s and he gave his name to the grape. It is popular in Missouri and Virginia, where it grows. They will taste this wine against the Bing Crosby song, Moonlight Becomes You.

Winesmith makes wine from about 12 different vineyards in California and one in Kansas City. Clark coaches about another 120 wineries spread out all over the world.

Clark and Dan were both involved in the website Appellation America which was an attempt to produce a complete catalog of American wine production. The website is still in existence, “on life support” as Clark describes. it.

Posted in Uncategorized.