10 Questions for Craig Camp

 


Welcome to The Grapevine! In this new weekly feature, we'll be asking our favorite experts the questions that really matter: how they fell in love with wine, what wine trend they'd love to see end, and what they'll be drinking on their deathbed.
You'll find no 100-point scale at Craig Camp's award-winning Wine Camp Blog, just thoughtful commentary on underrated finds, overrated bottles, and tons of gorgeous vineyard photography. A wine pro for nearly three decades, Camp now works as general manager of Cornerstone Cellars in Napa.

1.) Which wine first won your heart?

In 1973, I had just finished a semester on a university exchange program in Salzburg, Austria and then spent some time bumming around Europe. My first stop in France was Strasbourg and, thinking it a very French thing to do, I ordered a pitcher of Edelzwicker at a weinstube. That was it for me. I drank (that was before I found out you were supposed to call it tasting) every wine I could afford and when I got home I bought the Signet Book of Wine by Alexis Bespaloff. Then I started tasting everything I could find. I remember doing blind tastings between jugs of Almaden Claret and Burgundy. That’s funny, because they were probably the same wine.

My first wine “investment” was a case of 1971 Chateau Carbonnieux, Graves Rouge in 1975. I think it cost about $10 a bottle, which seemed very expensive to me at the time. I’ve always kept an emotional attachment to that Chateau and still buy the wines.

2.) If you could have an endless supply of just one bottle, what would it be?

That sounds more like a nightmare than a dream to me. It’s the diversity of wine and food combinations I find exciting. To go along with the premise I’ll pick 2004 Poderi Colla Barolo Bussia Dardi le Rose. It’s an incredible wine that will outlive me, always be delicious and with every year of aging will become a new wine as it evolves.

3.) What would you pour for someone who swears they don't like wine?

Iron Horse Wedding Cuveé, Sonoma-Green Valley Sparkling Wine

4.) If you could settle in any major wine region, which would it be (and why)?

I’m living in the Napa Valley now and before that in the Willamette Valley and the Piedmont region of Italy. I love them all, but I’d have to pick Barolo/Barbaresco for the incredible combination of wine, food, natural beauty, and lifestyle. After all, if you live in Barolo you can drive to Burgundy, Rhone, Tuscany or Trentino/Alto Adige in one day and Champagne, Chablis, Alsace, Rioja or the Rheingau in two. Not a bad place to be.

5.) What wine trend do you think (or hope) is almost over?

Points and high-alcohol, over-oaked wines that don’t match well with food.

6.) What trends do you see on the horizon?

New media and Social Media is changing the way everything is sold. The potential for empowering small producers at the cost of mass produced industrial wines is very exciting. Hopefully it will start to break down the three tier system supported only by the new-prohibitionists and giant wholesalers.

7.) What are the biggest values on the market today?

For some reason that’s hard to explain they’re all from Europe. That’s pretty embarrassing for Americans as they have to put that wine in boats and ship it over here - not a cheap thing to do. My daily wines tend to be Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Loire whites and reds, Cava, German whites; Soave, Barbera and Dolcetto from Italy.

8.) What’s the biggest myth about wine you’d like to dispel?

That the greatest wines are the most expensive. It’s the big lie of the wine world.

9.) What’s the best food and wine pairing you’ve ever had?

Tie:

1. Foie Gras Ravioli with 1989 Huet Vouvray Moelleux at Alain Ducasse in Paris.

2. That generic Edelzwicker with choucroute in 1973 it was a revelation that I was not expecting and it blew me away. The memory still does.

10.) You're on your deathbed, and you can get one final glass: What’ll it be?

A great old Armagnac. It’s my favorite ending to a great meal and I can’t think of a better finish.

Barolo Bussia Dardi le Rose Poderi Colla 2004
"It’s an incredible wine that will outlive me, always be delicious and with every year of aging will become a new wine as it evolves."

Iron Horse Vineyards Blanc de Noirs Wedding Cuvee
Pour this light, citrus-rich sparkler for friends who aren't (yet!) committed wine lovers.


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Comments

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,268

    Nice start to a very interesting looking interview series, Carly. Hope to see it grow, and to be reading complex answers from interesting people in the industry.

    Mar 30, 2010 at 11:05 AM


  • Thanks Carly! This is a great format... Very informative and entertaining to read. It's a nice peek into the head of an expert!

    Mar 30, 2010 at 1:16 PM


  • Snooth User: nvansicklen
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    211788 549

    Really love this format and article. Look forward to the next feature.

    Mar 30, 2010 at 4:31 PM


  • Snooth User: amour
    Hand of Snooth
    218530 1,748

    Well done all!
    So delighted to hear an Alain Ducasse restaurant being mentioned.
    I liked the one in London at the Dorchester Hotel.

    I also appreciated someone praising at least one HUEY wine (the VOUVRAY) as they are all really delightful indeed!
    Morrell Wine Bar in NY serves them by the glass.

    Keep putting the brilliant ideas into action.
    Very stimulating for us all!

    Mar 30, 2010 at 4:36 PM


  • Snooth User: Cathy Shore
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    375980 177

    Huet Vouvray - Sublime! What a great food and wine match. Huet continues to produce wines of the highest quality, with razor-like purity and incredible elegance. Delicious.

    Mar 30, 2010 at 5:11 PM


  • Snooth User: amour
    Hand of Snooth
    218530 1,748

    CathyShore, thank you for the polite correction to my terrible typing......
    Domaine Huet L'Echansonne
    ....from sec to moelleux........fantastic! and biodynamic...I am reliably informed!

    Mar 30, 2010 at 6:16 PM


  • Snooth User: enotheque
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    45898 1,165

    Great little interview with someone we all really like. Keep it up, Snooth.

    Our daily wines seem to be really similar, except I've got a lot of Salta, San Juan and Patagonia in there.

    I'd also part with the world alongside an Armagnac. What a way to go!

    Mar 31, 2010 at 11:08 AM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 207,777

    I love the food and wine pairings. Just was commenting about Muscadet and how they have remained reasonably priced. Huet pricing is seeing some upwards pressure, especially the older bottlings, time to buy while the buying is good as they are among the greatest wines in the world that are not (yet) among the most expensive.

    Apr 03, 2010 at 11:35 AM


  • Snooth User: drherbm
    377616 22

    Nice interview Carly! Hung with Craig a couple times at Vinitaly.He knows his wines. I fully agree on the barolo.

    Apr 12, 2010 at 12:15 PM


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