Sunday, July 28, 2013

Italian Restaurants in America with Great Italian Wine Lists

Rainbow over the Tanaro
I got a call recently from a pal in back home. He was going to try out a new Italian spot and would report back to me.

A few hours later he texted me. “I called the owner over, complimented them on the food. Said I won’t come back on (account of) the wine list. There are many great Italian wines in the $40-60 range. With entrees at $25, a wine at $100 isn’t a balanced list.”

He then called me to give me the blow-by-blow. The bottom line was the owner asked him which wines he wanted on the list. My friend said it wasn’t a matter of which individual wine; it was a matter of having a better balanced wine list. He remarked to me, in closing, that he didn't think the owner of the restaurant got the message.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Familiar Faces: California Vines ~ California Wines

California is my kind if déjà vu. Wherever I go, there is a memory. When I talk to someone from California, we share commonalities, whether it be the schools we went to, the wines we grew up drinking or the ways we think about planet earth. It’s a great place for aspirations, especially in a world where, it seems, politicians are constantly reverting to gridlock and breaking things down. Sure, California has their share of extremists, like anywhere, but the state is so large, one can almost believe there is a place where others feel and think like oneself.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What does a native Californian drink in California on his birthday?

There’s nothing like breaking one’s obsession by going in a totally opposite direction. Thusly, I headed for Napa Valley this week, leaving Sicily behind. I’m not a Napa Cab basher, per se, but I’m pretty picky. I am also an unrepentant white and rosé wine lover. For it to be red it has to rub me like fine grain sandpaper – nothing coarse and heady. That said, we mixed it up pretty good this week. I managed to get a few Italian wines in, but I was there to taste what was in front of me.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wherever the wind shall take me....

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stuck on the Island - My Sicilian Obsession

The ferry is closed, rough waters in the Strait of Messina. Airplanes cannot fly in and out of Catania airport, too much ash from Etna. And the long anticipated bridge has yet to be built. I’m stuck on the island.

I’ve been home two weeks now and am going away again, soon. But I am obsessed with Sicily. I fear I need an intervention.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

La Muntagna – Etna’s influence beyond Etna

In trying to comprehend what Etna means, to the area, to Sicily and to the world beyond, one visit will not reveal much. There are those whose lives have been swallowed up by the mountain, so many willing Empedocles. But as an outsider, I can only observe, listen and hope to transmit the energy that is reverberating throughout the island. Believe me when I tell you, the energy is there. All that is necessary is for one to silence their chattering monkey brain, set it aside for the time being, and breathe in deep. The mysteries of the fiery mountain are available to all with open ears, eyes and hearts. It’s that simple.

What isn’t simple is trying to decode the striation of activity, both physical and metaphysical, that hovers right below the delicate topsoil. There are a few places to look for guidance, our own personal Don Juan Matus, if you will. Actually, La Muntagna has no shortage of shamans to guide one in the ways of the volcano.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Palermo ~ The Persistence of Memory

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m awake. Done with sleep. My rattled skeleton is still trying to pull itself together. Coughing is painful at times. And that darn left leg is still swollen. But all I can think about is Palermo.

I’m not necessarily an urban lover. When I go to Italy I usually avoid cities. Yes, I still manage to get in and out of Rome and Milan when a flight calls for me to be there. But I can’t wait to get out into the country, with the vines and the wind and the silence. Palermo, that’s a different story.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Drinking My Way Through Sicily (and Rome)

Every day during this last trip to Sicily there were wines to be tasted. Fortunately most of the wines were tasted with food, although there were some official-like tastings as well. The following recaps some of the best wines I had while in Sicily and in Rome.