Wine of the Week: Celebrating 10 years at WTOP with big news

Time is a funny thing. Depending on the circumstances, it can go by in the blink of an eye or it can drag on for an eternity.

In my case, the last 10 years working as the wine columnist for WTOP has gone by so fast that it seems like only yesterday that I was stumbling through my first Wine of the Week broadcast. I was nervous and a bit clunky, but the anchors made be feel like I was a star.

It has been a genuine privilege to work with Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard. During our time together, we have become more than colleagues — we have become good friends, sharing laughter, stories and of course wine. A lot of wine.

I estimate that I have tasted, sampled, spit and swallowed over 2,000 different wines in the name of Wine of the Week. Some of it good, some of it not so good, and a few were downright amazing.

I have enjoyed bringing many of these wines to life through the radio. I have received a lot of emails from listeners, as well as unmitigated ribbing from friends, particularly about my enunciation of French wines. (I did not take French when I was in school, and I am afraid it shows.)

On several occasions, I have been stopped in grocery stores and restaurants by people who “recognized” my voice. (“Hey, aren’t you that guy on the radio who talks about wine?”) Once, I was even referred to as a minor celebrity — whatever that means.

By far, the best part of this job has been meeting all of the fascinating people and traveling to a few pretty incredible places.

I have had the pleasure of hanging out with some of the most interesting winemakers, producers, vineyard managers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, sommeliers and collectors in winedom. In addition, I have traveled to a lot of major wine regions and learned that it is not just the land that makes a particular wine so unique … it’s also the people.

Yes, time is a funny thing. And while I am grateful for my time at WTOP, like Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a changing,” and so I must change along with them.

Like a caterpillar — a very slow caterpillar — it’s time that I metamorphose into a wine-colored butterfly. And what better way to make that transformation than on the occasion of my 10th anniversary at WTOP News.

Drumroll please …

I am launching a WTOP podcast called “The Vine Guy.” It can be found on PodcastOne and soon on other popular podcast platforms.

I am sincerely grateful to WTOP for producing this new effort, and I hope you will not only continue to tune in to WTOP each Friday to listen to the Wine of the Week, but will also check out my weekly podcast where I will delve into the world of wine with winemakers, wine producers, wine professionals and wine lovers. I’ll even sample a few wines and share which ones I think are worth your while.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast on Podcast One.

So exactly how do I plan to celebrate 10 wonderful years of Wine of the Week and the launch of my new podcast? With a 10-year old Champagne of course.

I am going to pop the cork on the 2009 Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut. This rich wine is a beautiful blend of 50% pinot noir, 36% chardonnay, and 14% pinot Meunier. It is a sleek and sexy Champagne with an expressive nose of brioche toast and dried apricot. The mouthfeel is beautifully balanced and tiny, precise bubbles carry notes of ripe pear, candied lemon, and toasted almonds. Just a delight to drink and a relative bargain for a vintage Champagne. $65

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