Mulligan Stew Podcast

EP 288 | Remembering Winemaker Mike Grgich – The man who changed the World of Wine

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Mike Grgich – His 1976 Napa Chardonnay in USA/France blind tasting in Paris was The Shot Heard Round the World.

 

Winemaker Mike Grgich died Dec 13th 2023.  He was 100 years old.

This is his story,  as told to yours truly into a nasty microphone in the lobby of the Hotel Vancouver 2016.

He had just released his memoir A Glass Full of Miracles.

(Note – on his way from Croatia to Napa he travelled across the Atlantic and by train across Canada to Vancouver for a lumberjack job he had applied for. The job was gone by the time he reached the west coast. So,  Mike washed dishes until he heard of a winemaking job in Napa and South he went)

Steven Spurrier, a wine expert from England who ran a fine wine shop in Paris, decided it would be fun to organize a blind tasting to coincide with America’s Bicentennial celebrations in 1976. For the tasting, he gathered together the best French judges, and the finest French wines, and to salute America on its 200th anniversary he added in a few wines from some upstart winemakers in California. Steven hoped the tasting would bring favourable attention to his wine shop. But he didn’t have any idea of the impact that his Bicentennial tasting would have on the world of wine.

André Tchelistcheff, along with Jim Barrett, had hand-carried an armload of California wines to Paris for the competition. The blind tasting was held at the InterContinental Hotel in the center of Paris. The morning competition was devoted to white wines and the afternoon to reds. And Steven Spurrier brought together the very best white wines of Burgundy: a 1973 Meursault-Charmes, a 1973 Beaune Clos des Mouches, a 1973 Bâtard-Montrachet, and a 1972 Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles.

Alongside these French legends, there was the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay crafted by Mike Grgich, and other Chardonnays from California that the French judges had never heard of either. The judges expected to sniff and gag when they tasted the California wines.

But it didn’t happen that way. The nine French judges blind-tasted the white wines and graded each of them. The winner was the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that Mike Grgich had made, with 132 points, the highest total scored of any of the wines, red or white, in the tasting. It was the champion! Then, to add insult to injury, the third and fourth places went to Chalone Vineyard and Spring Mountain Vineyard.

In the afternoon tasting of the red wines, the French judges gave their top ranking to Warren Winiarski for his 1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, beating the best wines of Bordeaux, among them a 1970 Château Mouton-Rothschild, a 1970 Château Haut Brion, a 1970 Château Montrose from Saint-Estèphe, and a 1971 Château Léoville-Las-Cases from Saint-Julien.

The judges were shocked as was Steven Spurrier.

 

Upstarts from Napa Valley had won both categories, against the very best wines of France. The French judges were speechless and a few tried to suppress the results, but without success. The following week, George Tabor’s story in Time magazine announced the American triumph, and it sent shock waves throughout the world of wine. Mike received the news that they had won by a congratulatory telegram from Jim Barrett in Paris. That was the first he learned that his wine was even in the competition.

Soon, though, the importance of what had happened began to sink in..

On July 4, 1977, Mike Grgich and Austin Hills, of the Hills Bros. Coffee Company, broke ground to start Grgich Hills Cellar, which from the start sold wines that were in high demand, based on Mike Grgich’s reputation as the winemaker who won the Paris Tasting. Gradually, the winery purchased 366 acres, spread over five vineyards within the Napa Valley, allowing all Grgich Hills wines to be produced solely from estate-grown grapes. In recognition of that significant achievement, the winery changed its name to Grgich Hills Estate.

The Paris Tasting revolutionized the wine world, establishing Napa Valley’s reputation as a world-class wine region! First, it shattered the myth that only French soil can produce world-class wines. For decades New World winemakers had all been stuck in that mindset and this finally broke through it.  Second, the victory pumped new energy into the California wine industry, particularly in Napa Valley. Vintners were proud to be part of what was a revolution in American wine but they still had a long way to go. So they redoubled their efforts to make better wines each year.

California’s victory also inspired other winemakers in different parts of the world. Breaking the myth of French superiority gave new hope and energy to winemakers in South Africa, Italy, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and even in Mike’s native Croatia. Now they joined the race to make world-class wines, and as the years unfolded California winemakers also shared with them their technology and know-how. As part of that effort, Mike returned to Croatia in 1996 and started a new winery in order to share what he had learned with young winemakers in his homeland.

George Taber, the Time magazine journalist who first reported the tasting, in 2005 wrote a detailed account of the event and its impact in his book, “Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine.”

As a result of his historic contributions to making world-class wine in CaliforniaMiljenko “Mike” Grgich was inducted into the Vintner Hall of Fame in 2008.

 

A Hollywood version of this story was true but not by much.  It was called Bottleshock.

 

We salute the great Mike Grgich.

 

EP 282 | The Trans Canada Highwaymen

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It’s like having The Beatles on Saturday’s Mulligan Stew. But you can only have two. Do you want Ringo and Paul or George and John?
Saturday our guests are Steven Page (BNL & Steven Page Trio) and Chris Murphy (Sloan).
The other members of TCH are Moe Berg (Pursuit of Happiness) and Craig Northey (odds and SP Trio)
Each leads his own group but they got together to sing covers of each other’s music. Then the K-Tel idea came along. For younger music fans  – K-Tel albums were Canadian hits crammed into 8 tracks,  cassettes and albums. With garish labels that you couldn’t miss in your local store or gasoline station.  Great hits – horrid packaging. Which is why the guys covered the best hits and copied the artwork. Steven makes the point that they loved these hits because they were Canadian.  They were ours. Our American friends had never heard these songs but to us, they were Northern memories.
They each take turns singing the lead vocal and back each other up.
Covering hits by The Guess Who, Joni Mitchell, Paul Anka, April Wine, Bim (Roy Forbes), Lighthouse, Poppy Family etc.

 

EP 287 | Christmas in the Round 2020 Revisited!

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This Christmas Stew features the last Christmas in the Round recording we did.

The year was 2020 – full Covid lockdown. Many good people lost to this virus. Far too many.

We gathered online at Dan Mangan’s Sidedoor Access.

Shari Ulrich and Barney Bentall.

Both are on Bowen Island. Opposite Horseshoe Bay!

Bill Henderson

It’s not too far down the Georgia Strait on Salt Spring Island.

TDM

This Christmas Stew features the last Christmas in the Round recording we did.

The year was 2020 – full Covid lockdown. Many good people lost to this virus. Far too many.

We gathered online at Dan Mangan’s Sidedoor Access.

 

Shari Ulrich and Barney Bentall.

Both are on Bowen Island. Opposite Horseshoe Bay!

 

Bill Henderson

It’s not too far down the Georgia Strait on Salt Spring Island.

 

TDM

Then I was in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island, just outside Parksville!

 

Murray McLachlan

Above the Danforth in Toronto.

 

 

All four friends were asked to bring songs for the season and  Christmas moments they’d like to share. In typical songwriter’s circle fashion song selection changed depending on who sang what before them.

What we captured in the recording were memories of darker days, a lot of laughs, heartfelt goodness and strong songs.

The video version of this special can be screened on the terrydavidmulligan YouTube Channel.

Important note:

During these two hours of The Christmas Stew, we’re asking listeners to consider donating to the Food Banks of Alberta.

All the details and agencies involved can be found on the CKUA  Website.

www.ckua.com

 

 

 

 

 

EP 286 | Christmas in the Round 2018 Revisited

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It all started as a Christmas Tradition many years ago at the CBC.
Christmas songs and stories were exchanged in a studio with artists who knew and respected each other.  Roy Forbes and Shari Ulrich


were in that studio years ago and over the years
we’ve always talked about keeping that tradition alive.
(As always in memory of our producer Susan Englebert, who lost her battle
with Cancer)

When Barney Bentall started doing Christmas Food Bank Tours with his Cariboo Express the possibility of gathering once again became a reality.
On the next Stew, a repeat of Christmas in the Round – Year One.  Recorded  2018 in the boardroom at Roundhouse Radio in Vancouver.  Thank You Don Shafer.

The Rounders are:

Shari Ulrich – iconic singer, songwriter, and musician.
Roy Forbes – Host of Roy’s Record Room and much-admired artist.
Barney Bentall – He’s everywhere and always making great music. Bringing joy!
Shaun Verreault –  One half of Wide Mouth Mason.  String Slinger. Sings like a bird
Jim Byrnes – St Louis born…West Coast raised. Carries the blues with him.  Fine actor.
Craig Northey – co-founder of  Odds. Touring with Steven Page Trio. Currently a member of Trans Canada Highwaymen.   Solid Songwriter.
Everyone brings a favorite Christmas song and personal story to exchange.
Fun was had by all…  Hope you like.
Susan would have loved it.

Merry Christmas all!
-TDM

EP 285 | Matt Layzell brings The Matinee new album ‘Change Of Scene’

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Our guest is Matt Layzell from The Matinee.

They have released a new album Change of Scene

They’ve been friends making music for 15 years. This feels like the album that pays off all the hard work.

Produced by Steve Dawson who brought with him into the studio Allison Russell and The McCrary Sisters.

Two-time ‘Roots Artist of the Year’ winners at the BCCMA awards, The Matinee have established themselves as one of Western Canada’s finest live acts.  Four albums later, and with countless tours under their belts (and 5 tour vans… 1 caught on fire but that’s another story), the band has matured their sound and honed their live show and is set to release their latest effort, which was recorded live off the floor at fabled Armoury Studios in their hometown Vancouver. The album was produced by Nashville’s own Steve Dawson and features a guest performance by 3-time Grammy nominee Allison Russell. Always leaving their hearts and buckets of sweat on stage, and with comparisons to Nathaniel Rateliff, The Band, and Dawes, it’s once again showtime for The Matinee

EP 284 | Devin Cuddy & New Album ‘Dear Jane’

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Mulligan Stew Podcast  Guest is Devin Cuddy. (Devin Cuddy band)

Son of Jim Cuddy and very definitely his own man.

Jim has said, on this very podcast, that he offered to school Devin and son Sam on the fine art of songwriting and playing but the guys went their separate ways.

Now, Jim says he’s very impressed with their growth and creativity.

They’ve been singing together some for years but just casually at fundraising events. Devin talks about a maritime tour they just did.

Devin has released his first new music in 5 years. The album is called Dear Jane – with a reference to Hotlips Houlihan on the Mash TV series.

The album is a soulful mix of New Orleans, honky tonk, roots and Randy Newman. Devin’s originals are storytelling taken to another level. He’s become his own storyteller.

Devin is creating his place in Canada’s music world, just like his Father.

One of the great surprises is Devin’s cover of Barney Bentall’s hit Come Back to Me. Barney sings on the track. Barney, Jim and Devin have been friends a long time.

Devin says he’s been waiting to sing these songs for 5 years. Should be a great 2024 for The Devin Cuddy Band.

Tracks included in the podcast.

EP 283 | Robbie Revisited and the 47th Anniversary of the Last Waltz

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Nov 25 1976.  The Band played their last gig at San Francisco’s legendary Winterland Ballroom.

 

I was honoured to be at The Last Waltz as a guest of Robbie Robertson.

Robbie knew there would be special moments on a night of special moments. Some of them would be uniquely Canadian.

The biggest focus of the night was to honour their music, the friends who mentored and supported them along the way and correct a bad memory.

Their first ever  concert was at the same  Winterland Ballroom April 17-18-19 1969.  Even though there were rave reviews from some, Robbie and The Band were not happy with their performances.

That dark cloud stayed with them for a long time.

That is until 7 years later they decided to end their brotherhood with a final, “lets invite everyone” concert back at Winterland.

The Band decided to film the entire event and the director chosen  was Martin Scorsese.

These four Canadians and one American had been making music together for 16 years. From The Hawk to Dylan. It was time to say goodbye.

Last Waltz is considered one of the very best music films ever made. Scorsese and Robbie would go on to become best friends.

Of course, we lost Robbie Robertson August 9 of this year.

To honour Robbie, The Band and this music history I’ve gathered several Robbie interviews from over the years.

A prime storyteller, he covers The Irishman film, 50th anniversary of their 1969 album The Band.

The Band documentary Once were brothers, their influence on artists that followed, Testimony his book, their influence on Dylan,  how  Robbie wrote The Weight, Cripple Creek and Dixie Down.

And finally , his thoughts on the moment at The Last Waltz

When The Canadians took over and sang together.

The Band, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.

Enjoy Robbie and his stories & music.

 

 

EP 282 | The Trans Canada Highwaymen

hello

It’s like having The Beatles on Saturday’s Mulligan Stew. But you can only have two. Do you want Ringo and Paul or George and John?
Saturday our guests are Steven Page (BNL & Steven Page Trio) and Chris Murphy (Sloan).
The other members of TCH are Moe Berg (Pursuit of Happiness) and Craig Northey (odds and SP Trio)
Each leads his own group but they got together to sing covers of each other’s music. Then the K-Tel idea came along. For younger music fans  – K-Tel albums were Canadian hits crammed into 8 tracks,  cassettes and albums. With garish labels that you couldn’t miss in your local store or gasoline station.  Great hits – horrid packaging. Which is why the guys covered the best hits and copied the artwork. Steven makes the point that they loved these hits because they were Canadian.  They were ours. Our American friends had never heard these songs but to us, they were Northern memories.
They each take turns singing the lead vocal and back each other up.
Covering hits by The Guess Who, Joni Mitchell, Paul Anka, April Wine, Bim (Roy Forbes), Lighthouse, Poppy Family etc.

 

EP 281 | Tom Cochrane Songs & Stories.The Duo. Canada West Tour

hello

In the spectrum of popular music in Canada, which is as wide as the country, Tom Cochrane falls somewhere between an electrified Gordon Lightfoot and a solo Gordon Downie.

Between the universal prose of Leonard Cohen and the blood passion of Tom Wilson.

Three times we went to the war-torn fields and roads of Africa for World Vision and became lifelong friends. That’s what seeing men, women and children dead or dying will do to you. You seek humanity. Tom’s got humanity in spades.

He came back from the first trip under a heavy dark load and sought out the only thing that he knew would lift him up. Music. He wrote a song called Life is a Highway. It became an anthem for millions. All lifted up by his music.

Tom Cochrane is heading back West now. The tour is called Duo.

Friday night in Medicine Hat, Saturday night  in Edmonton (Expo Centre)

Then to the coast and a complete tour of Vancouver Island.

Wednesday Victoria

Thursday Courtney

Friday Nanaimo

Sunday Campbell River

Monday, Nov 20 – Duncan (in the Cowichan)

www.tomcochrane.com

 

EP 280 | Jeremy Dutcher and Susan Tedeschi

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Jeremy Dutcher has the smarts., look, feel and sound of a star in the making.
The Polaris Prize and Juno Award Winner has released his first album in 5 years.
Motewolonywok is out now.
Jeremy just finished a tour through the West.  He’s now headed to a  Nov 8 date at Nat Arts Center in Ottawa and Dec 9 at Massey Hall.
The new album marks the first time Jeremy has written and sung in English.
We talk about his creative process and translating indigenous stories into poetry and lyrics.
His voice is pure and as he says in the interview “my life is an open book

Oct 14 – Susan Tedeschi (Tedeschi Trucks Band) Celebrates the 25th year of her second solo album Just Won’t Burn. (1998)

It kickstarted her career as a female blues singer/player/writer and sold outstanding numbers.  Susan was nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist. Rave reviews followed – comparing her to Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt.

Speaking of Bonnie, Susan absolutely nails John Prine’s Angel from Montgomery which Bonnie made famous. John told Susan it was his favourite version.

Shortly after releasing Just Won’t Burn, Susan was to meet and fall in love with Derek Trucks and the rest is music history.

The new re-release also has outtakes, alternate takes and two of her songs re-done live in New York by Tedeschi Trucks.

 

Along with Dave Grohl, Gloria and Emilio Estevan,  Susan was  honoured by The Smithsonian Institute for  “distinguished contributions to the advancement of areas of interest to the institution”