Wine Situation Final Five (Now With Drunk Dialing!)

The Wine Situation hosts everyone from winemakers to writers to find out what a person’s situation is…with wine. It’s the solo season with host Ellen Clifford, but listen in with a glass, and nobody is drinking alone! In lieu of guests, at the end of every action-packed episode Ellen is phoning a friend with her Final Five questions. This week Ellen talks to John Taylor, the founder of Pairs with Life Cellars! Check out the full episode here THE FINAL FIVE (Ever so slightly edited for length!): QUESTION ONE Ellen: Do you have a holiday drink? John: My mom has a traditional holiday drink which has sort of been passed on. It wassal, or wassail depending how Euro you are. It’s basically a hot spiced apple cider with brandy in it, and it’s delicious. It’s apple cider, maybe slices of orange, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, all just heating together for several hours, then you put some brandy in there. QUESTION TWO Ellen: Question number two, what do you drink when you’re not drinking wine? John: The boring thing is I drink water, especially since I drink wine every day. And on the alcohol side, gin and tonics are number one on the spirits list, followed very closely by scotch, love me some scotch. QUESTION THREE Ellen: Next question—if you were trapped on a desert island with a wine celebrity—it can be a winemaker, it can be an influencer…just a wine celebrity—who would you stay on the island with? John: I’ve got two. If I’m feeling wine-wonky and obtuse I’d go with Randall Graham, founder of Bonny Doon Vineyards . He is an amazing winemaker who has an unbelievable amount of knowledge about wine. But he’s also a marketing genius. If I wanted to party on the island, then Jean-Charles Boisset. Just a party guy. If you ever want to look into the soul of Jen-Charles, just go to the tasting room in Yountville and sip his incredible sparkling wine and look at all of the various sex toys you can buy there—crops, bustiers, masks—it’s all there for a good time. He’s married to Gina Gallo, so they are like the wine power couple. QUESTION FOUR Ellen: Question number four is, before there was Tous Les Jours, did you have a house wine? John: Back in the day my favorite everyday wine was Ravenswood . Ravenswood was so good when it first came out. It was under ten dollars and it was so good. I drank it all the time. QUESTION FIVE Ellen: Last question is just what’s bringing you joy these days? John: That’s a question everyone should ask themselves every day. My family is bringing me joy. I have a son and two daughters and I got to spend a lot of time with them over this holiday, and that was fantastic. *** Follow John on Instagram @pairswithlifecellars and @jatauthor, and find his wine at Check out the previous Wine Situation podcast with Anush O’Connor here .

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Wolff Vineyard Syrah 2020

Cherry, oak, a wine producer founded in 1983 and located in Santa Cruz on California's Central Coast and is well-known for its unconventional array of wines with quirky labels. Red, rich, intense. Highly rated by critics. — 2 years ago

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Réserve Vin Gris De Cigare Rosé Grenache Blend 2016

Everything I want in a rose. Fruit, flower, mineral, in a word, springtime in the nose. Great flavor intensity but very light on its feet, just so compelling to drink. Love this. — 3 years ago

Aravind, Severn and 15 others liked this
William Feinstein

William Feinstein

Always great

Ravenswood Winery

Rancho Salina Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2013

Jesse Pender

68% Cabernet Franc and 32% Cabernet. Impeccable tannins and a very age worthy wine. Could be misplaced for a high end Napa Cab. — 5 years ago

Jonathan, Stephen and 5 others liked this
Jonathan Wall

Jonathan Wall Influencer Badge

Their single bottling are impressive

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Le Cigare Volant Réserve en Bonbonne Red Rhone Blend Reserve 2012

Ridiculously good. Nose is rich but not overwhelming. Iodine, cracked stone minerality, dark pungent berry, roasted green herbs, cedar, an animal note. On the palate, it’s rich but not heavy, with intense flavor concentration. Gorgeous fruit. Fruity, savory, long. Still some fine tannin. Seems more youthful than it is. Love this. — 2 years ago

Angelo Casagrande
with Angelo
Angelo, Hugh and 13 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

Severn Goodwin Influencer Badge Premium Badge

Honestly, I ❤️ the Bonny Doon reds with this amount of age, they are wonderful.

Royal Oporto (Real Companhia Velha)

Quinta das Carvalhas LBV Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014

Blackberry/black cherry upfront, then a burst of tannins and a raisin finish. Great on its own, with cheese, or in wassail — 3 years ago


10 Year Old Tawny Porto

Perennial winter favorite. Raisiny without being cloying. Nice bitter notes. Wassail! — 7 years ago

Alsu Shakirova
with Alsu
Alsu, Anthony and 1 other liked this
Abraham Axler

Abraham Axler

They do a really odd tasting with chocolate

Ravenswood Winery

Sonoma County Zinfandel 1980

After 6hr open was still concentrated and tight. And then had an almost magical transformation after another hour or so into a beautiful and delicious experience. Incredible that a 40 year old wine can still have that much fruit and life. — 2 years ago

Randall Brater
with Randall
Randall, Peter and 15 others liked this

Ravenswood Winery

Alexander Valley Zinfandel 1991

I couldn’t believe this bottle was as fresh as I was told it would be. Utter magic. Beautiful color, only ever so slightly bricked. Raspberry coulis, blood orange and new saddle leather, barely diminished acid and heavenly pillow-soft tannin. It actually opened up with air. Let it be known Joel Peterson’s legacy is still waiting to blow your mind. — 3 years ago

Yen, Arden and 11 others liked this
David L

David L Influencer Badge Premium Badge

That’s simply incredible. Release price couldn’t have been more then $20+ dollars either. Cheers & nicely done.
Keaton Kail

Keaton Kail

@David L some very savvy Somms in my area apparently were in on the secret. Don’t miss a chance if you come across old Ravenswood!

Cidrerie Dujardin Conde-sur-Vire

Cuvée Spéciale Dan Armor Brut Cidre

We turned it into wassail and it was delicious. — 7 years ago

Melanie Houselog
with Melanie