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 wine writer Kathleen Willcox. Check out the full episode here QUESTION ONE Ellen: Question number one, whatcha drinking these days? Kathleen: It always depends on my mood and it depends on the articles I’m working on, so I just wrote Rioja ; I’ve been diving into Rioja and also other red blends that are reminiscent of Rioja. I’ll drink red wine in the summer and white wine in the summer, but I do somewhat follow the seasons. I’m feeling the chillable reds more. And I always try to take a few days off during the week and drink, you know, seltzer. It’s good for my body and brain to bounce back. It also resets your palate and you’re excited to try a new kind of wine again? QUESTION TWO Ellen: Question number two is, what is either a favorite pairing or unusual pairing that you’ve enjoyed? Kathleen: This is not that unusual, if you’re on Instagram—but I think for quote-unquote “normal people” who aren’t knee-deep in wine culture like we are—I love French fries and Champagne . If I’m having a bad day, it’s great; if I’m having a great, day it’s great. QUESTION THREE Ellen: Question number three is, what is a region or style of wine that you think people need to pay more attention to? Kathleen: Two very different ones that I have gotten into in the past year—I think that wines from Sicily , from grapes that people may not be super familiar with…they’re so good; they’re so full of flavor. I went to Sicily earlier this year and I was blown away. And then one that I’m sure you drink all the time, but I missed the boat on Santa Barbara , but now that I’ve discovered it, I’m obsessed. It’s so good. QUESTION FOUR Ellen: Question number four, if you were to make a wine, what would you make and what would you name your winery? Kathleen: I have to be honest—I would love to invest in a winery and have someone else do it because I do not have a background in science, and I have been to wineries where there’s been a stuck fermentation, or something isn’t going the right way, and I’m like ‘I’ve got nothing’. I love the idea of it. But it’s not my thing. But if I did do it I’d totally want it to be old world style, but very modern. I’d like to be lighter, not as heavy on the oak, and of course organic, sustainable…all that good stuff. I’d probably name it after my kids. QUESTION FIVE Ellen: The last question is just what is bringing you joy these days? Kathleen: There are two things. One, I live in upstate New York, and winter felt like it lasted a million years, so the sun is bringing me joy. And then I’ve really gotten back into reading for pleasure. I’m trying to spend less time on social media, and that’s also bringing me joy. *** You can find Kathleen’s writing all over—Wine Industry Advisor, Wine-Searcher, The Alcohol Professor,, Wine Enthusiast, SommTV…and follow her on Instagram @kathleenwillcox and Twitter @sustainablekw Check out the previous Wine Situation podcast with Katja S. Newman here .


Santa Barbara County Clairette Blanche 2021

Tablas Creek in CA originally brought this varietal to the US. Acid driven, early pick so 12% ABV. Minimal oak. Typically a blending grape, Larry did a good job having this stand on its own. A great alternative to SB for oysters. — a year ago

Eric, Diane and 13 others liked this

Arianna Occhipinti

Siccagno Nero d'Avola 2018

Surprisingly spritely for a Nero d’Avola. Forest floor, herbs and brambly berry on the nose. Red fruited, punchy palate with defining minerality. Very cool! — a year ago

Ericsson liked this

R. López de Heredia

Viña Tondonia Reserva Rioja Tempranillo Blend 2008

Expressive, enticing, aetheric.
Dusty cherries, tobacco leaf, leather, (very) dark chocolate, wood finish, a hint of cigar box. So fresh, so uplifting, so youthful!
On the palate amazing purity, zingy cherry acidity, a hint of orange peel, present, juicy yet very, very fine tannins. After a few hours this shows a darker, richer side. Really nice flow and great energy!
Brilliant, just brilliant. And amazing vale, for this quality!
— a year ago

Daniel, Juan and 13 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

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Fantastic wine 👍

Miguel Merino

Rioja Mazuelo de la Quinta Cruz 2018

12. 5% transparent Ruby. Nose of candied orange peel and bitter cherry. Comes off a little ripe at first, but keep it down at cellar temp with some air and this is real nice. Earthy. Like if Burgundy had a Carignane baby. — a year ago

Josh, Tom and 3 others liked this

Les Vins Du 7

Bulles de Comptoir #9 Tradition Champagne Pinot Noir Blend

And now for something quite different. A champagne rebel and man of his own time and mind, Charles Dufour is producing some extraordinary wines. And they live up to the hype. A nice mild amber color with lazy, small bubbles. The nose is rather intense with a nice bit of nutmeg up front. Plenty of citrus fruit that never overwhelms but is certainly enveloping. Woodsmoke and wood, red apples, and just a little honey.

As natural as natural wine gets. Organic, hand picked, herbicide free. This most certainly tastes natural, in the best way possible. 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and an added 10% of Pinot Blanc. From beautiful Côte des Bar terroir and aged for two years on lees. 80% of the wine comes from the 2018 harvest with the remaining 20% coming from a perpetual reserve dating back to 2010. With an extra brut dosage of 3 g/l, there’s rather zippy acidity and innate purity here.

This really is one of those bottles that unique and highly, highly expressive. Very nuanced with outrageous complexity. The palate is fantastic with apples and a bit of cinnamon to boot. Every sip screams natural and terroir driven. Special, special stuff. Unique and gorgeous.
— a year ago

Kevin, Severn and 4 others liked this


Very nicely reviewed!🍾
Willie Carter

Willie Carter

@Severn Goodwin One of a kind stuff
Willie Carter

Willie Carter

@Trixie Thank you, that means so much to me!


Brut Royal Champagne Blend

It’s good champers, what else to say? Well plenty—I like a rich bubbly. The bready notes take a back seat to fruit n cream, and there is an interesting bit of...well when I first smelled it I thought...”Ricola”? Something herbal and sure to soothe the throat. — a year ago

Aaron, Bob and 21 others liked this


Cheers beautiful one! 🥂
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie awww shucks thanks m’lady! 🥂

Tenuta Scilio di Valle Galfina

Orphéus Etna DOC Rosso Nerello Mascalese Blend 2018

Classic volcanic red. Dark garnet. Abundant nose of blackberry tea, brick, and red apple peel. Echoed on the medium palate with juicy medium plus acidity and fine, earthen medium tannins. Palate continues through the dark and lengthy finish. What Etna is all about. Juicy, earthen fruit that's a fine accompaniment to almost any red wine (and some white wine) fare. Great alternative to Pinot Noir or Garnacha. Drink now through 2026. — a year ago

Paul, Ron and 4 others liked this

Palmento Costanzo

Nero di Sei Rosso Etna Red Blend 2018

Another excellent example of this wine. Big producer for Etna; small producer for Italy. — a year ago

Sarah Bignami
with Sarah
Hermes, Anthony and 14 others liked this

Bodegas Casado Morales

Gran Reserva Rioja Alavesa Tempranillo 2004

Might be a bit past its prime but still quite good. Light ruby color with a brick rim. Aromas and flavors of dark cherry, rose petals, dark chocolate, leather, tobacco and dried herbs. Smooth and dusty tannins. Brimming with acidity. Extremely complex, but maybe just a touch out of balance. Still a pleasure. Thank You John P. — a year ago

Bob, Paul and 1 other liked this