Tag Archives: SommTalks Podcast

SommTalks Set to Release One of the First All-Audio Wine Books: Wine Talks


Wine Talks Book Soon to be Released by SommTalks

Tune in here to listen to the audio overview of our soon-to-be-released :

Wine Talks: 23 Conversations to Becoming a Wine Connoisseur

Wine Talks is one of the first all-audio wine books available online.  An extension of the veteran journalist’s popular podcast SommTalks on iTunes, the audio book covers every aspect of wine through conversations with winemakers Blair and Caroline Guthrie of Guthrie Family Wines and Stewart Cellars, along with special expert-guests Redd Restaurant Master Sommelier William Sherer and K. Laz Wine Collections Founder Kerrin Laz. The audio book has 13 conversations that average 35-40 minutes each, along with 10 wine tasting interviews from SommTalks podcast. This ultimate guide to wine can be accessed anywhere and anytime through mobile device earbuds. Click here for an audio overview of Wine Talks.

“We feel the best way to educate consumers on wine today is through live conversations around a table full of wine glasses,” Ms Shatkin says.  “The growth and popularity of podcasts and widespread use of mobile devices motivated us to deliver this engaging wine resource in this audio format,” she adds. Wine Talks makes an ideal companion for a long flight, daily commute or active work out.

“Our  audio book makes you feel like you’re part of the conversation, making it much more approachable and relatable than a written book, just like wine should be,” says contributor and winemaker Blair Guthrie.

The chapters cover issues of great interest for all consumers, including:  

  • How to buy wine you like, in store or online wine clubs;
  • Ways to serve and store wine;
  • Best stemware to use;
  • Handling and storing for aging or just for tomorrow;
  • Debunking wine myths;
  • Styles of wine, distinguished by body and flavor, not just by color white or red
  • Fundamentals of food and wine pairing.

The book is sold at Downpour,  Amazon, Blackstone Library.   It costs approximately $29.95.

About the Authors: Laura Levy Shatkin, a veteran multimedia journalist and host of SommTalks podcast, has spent eighteen years crafting well-researched wine and food content for Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Napa/Sonoma Magazine and on broadcast TV show Taste on NBC5 Chicago. Her never-ending passion for wine and food led her to Blair and Caroline Guthrie, who established their own wine label Guthrie Family Wines in 2013 and also make wine for their family winery Stewart Cellars in Yountville, California. The book was recorded in the Napa Valley, during the monsoon rainstorms in winter of 2017.

And of course, if you’ve missed any past Somm Talks episodes, here are those included in the book :

Wine Talks Audio Book:  SommTalks Wine Tastings with the Pros

Napa Valley Wine Harvest with Opus One Winemaker Michael Silacci


Andrew Algren, Chicago Athletic Association Wine Director

Wines Tasted: Bourgeois-Diaz Brut Trois Cepages

2008 Nervi Gattinara, Piedmont, Italy


Charles Ford, The Bristol & Ambassador to Spain’s Rueda and Ribera Del Duero Spain

Wines Tasted:Rueda Verdejo

2013 Bodegas Naia “Naia” Verdejo

2013 Bodegas Naia “Naiades” Verdejo

Ribera del Duero Reds

2013 Antidoto Soria Ribera Del Duero DO

2010 Vega Sicilia Valbuena, Ribera del Duero


Amy Lutchen, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse Chicago

Wines Taste: 2015 Saint Bris, Sauvignon, Chablis, Burgundy

2012 Van Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon


Hugh Davies, Owner, Schramsberg Vineyards and J. Davies

Wines Tasted: 2007 J Schram Sparkling Wine

2013 Schramsberg Brut Rose Sparkling Wine


Parag Lalit, 16 at Trump Tower Chicago

Wines Tasted: Domaine Roulot, Meursault “Luchets”, Côte de Beaune, France 2008

Domaine Thibault Liger Belair, Chambolle Musigny “Les Gruenchers” 1er Cru, Côte de Nuits, France 2012


Rachel Driver Speckan, City Winery

Wines Tasted: 2011 Big Table Farm Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon

2013 Storm Pinot Noir, Hemel-en-Aarde, Southern Cape of South Africa


Three Sticks Winemaker Bob Cabral

Wines Tasted: 2015 Three Sticks Gap’s Crown Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

2015 PFV Estate Pinot Noir


Tom Hinde Talks Yao Family Wines

Wines Tasted:2015 Yao Family Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Yao Ming Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Tony Rossi at Enolo Wine Cafe

Wines Tasted:2012 Domaine Koutsoyannopoulos Santorini Assyrtiko, Greece

Blank Bottle Winery   “The Life of a Black Valentine”



Elena Pozzolini of Tenuta Sette Cieli with Laura Levy Shatkin of SommTalks Podcast

Elena Pozzolini of Tenuta Sette Cieli Joins us at Tenzing Wine & Spirits


We had the good fortune to partake in Tenzing Wine & Spirits “The Italians are Coming” tasting this month. Hear Elena Pozzolini, Winemaker at Tenuta Sette Cieli discuss this Tuscan property in Bolgheri. It’s located close to the sea with cool nights, creating slower ripening of the Bordeaux varietals grown here. Pozzolini, a Florence Italy native, brings her skills from stints as a winemaker around the world, back to her homeland in Italy.

Through her travels, she especially appreciated the open mindedness of the wineries of California.  Listen as she talks of this special area where the famed Sassicaia originates. Pozzoini explains that Sassicaia means “full of stones” which describes the land where her vines grow organically and with an open mind, rather than a recipe.

“Every year is different and you need to treat the land in different ways each season,” Pozzolini says. The vineyards of Tenuta Sette Cieli are planted strictly to Bordeaux varietals grown on the Coast of Tuscany, 400 meters above sea level.

The wines we tasted included:

2013 Yantra,  Tenuta Sette Cieli, a wine that’s 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, is fermented in stainless steel then aged in 5-6 year old barrels for nine months. Pozzolini uses an excessively slow fermentation to keep the tannins extremely round yet the acidity moderately high.

2009 Scipio Cabernet Franc, Tenuta Sette Cieli. This wine is aged in barrel for 24 months then bottle for another 24 months. It’s a small production gem that’s not produced each year, rather only in the best vintages. Tune in and meet Elena virtually and hear more on these wines.

Remember to tune in regularly for great interviews with Sommeliers, Wine Makers, Wine Directors and Top Chefs. Also, virtually taste wines with top wine experts then go taste them yourselves. SommTalks is your weekly podcast for the inside scoop on the restaurant and wine scene. Please SUBSCRIBE here, on iTunes , on TuneIn Radio or on Stitcher. Send us your thoughts, ideas, and names of peeps you’d like us to interview.

You can check out the past few episodes but if you SUBSCRIBE , you’ll receive each new episode right to your device, whichever one you listen to your podcasts on.  Share episodes across social media channels, as well, to let others discover our wine conversations. A few of the most recent include:

Quentin Paillard of Pierre Paillard in Bouzy Champagne on Family, Grower Champagne

Matthew Bills of David Burke’s Primehouse on Wine with Aged Beef

Marco Caprai of Arnaldo Caprai in Umbria Talks Sagrantino di Montefalco

Parag Lalit of Sixteen at Trump Tower Chicago on Wine Pairing, Greek Wine, Burgundy

Ryan Baldwin of Blue Crane Imports on Wines of South Africa

Andrew Algren Talks Cherry Circle Room, His Wine List, Chicago Athletic Association

Liz Mendez of Vera, Chicago Takes Top Somm Award at Jean Banchet Awards

Charles Ford, The Bristol Chicago on Wine Inspiration and Teamwork

Napa Valley Then & Now Author Kelli White at Press Napa Valley

Dishing on Life and Wine with Somm and Restauranteur Alpana Singh

City Winery Chicago’s Wine Director Rachel Driver Speckan Moves Up


Wine Tasting Series:

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series: Rachel Driver Speckan of City Winery Chicago

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series : Liz Mendez of Purple Pig

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series: Michael Muser of Grace Restaurant Chicago tasting Wines of Loire Valley

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series: Charles Ford, The Bristol Chicago Tastes Pouilly-Fumé , Lake County Sauvignon Blanc and Canadian Pinot Noir

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series with Erica Wosky of Petit Crenn San Francisco

More Intriguing Interviews:

Catch you next time.