Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hyperindividualism in Italy and the Obstruction of the Collective Well-Being

It seems everywhere we turn, someone is shoving it in our face. Maybe it is part of the price we pay for this hyper-connectivity. Perhaps some needy souls are just not ready to share the stage with their brothers. However it plays out in our time, for now, the world of the hyper-individual seems to be controlling the remote.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dallas and JFK – 50 years later

Dallas, Texas
November 22, 2013

Unlike the scene 50 years ago, when it was bright and brisk and shiny, the scene was dark, windy and cold, with flashes of lightening threatening to spill buckets of water. For 50 years, Dallas and the world have cried rivers of tears over those fateful seconds when a deranged soul let his rage boil over onto Elm Street.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Well I’ve never been to Heaven but I’ve been to Bufalina"

Frank Cornelissen's Etna Harvest 2013 wrap party in Austin

Etna Nov 11 - Photo: VolcanoDiscovery.com
Is wine and pizza a divine combination or a marriage of convenience? That debate is ongoing while America is enjoying a pizza renaissance as evidenced by landmark places like Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Spacca Napoli in Chicago and Kesté in New York. And while I personally enjoy a good beer with pizza, there is a surge of dedication to matching the best pizza one can make with some of the best wines on the planet.

Little old Texas, always a few years behind the trends, has been doing a fabulous job of catching up. One of the rising stars on the pizza (and wine) scene is Bufalina in Austin. Bufalina has a limited (but pristine) menu of pizza and a noteworthy wine list, which focuses on wines from Italy, France (yes, France) and California producers who hail from the natural wine school. Proprietor Steven Dilley is building a reputation as one of the most serious pizza meccas in Texas, if not beyond. Local Austin pal, Jeremy Parzen has a great primer on the place, recommended reading.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

One Word to Sommeliers (and Chefs): Travel

Colline Teramane
If there is any one thing that can expand your world, it is simply stepping away from your familiar (and comfortable) surroundings and immersing yourself in another world.

For years now, I have taken this advice, foisted upon me at an early age by a teacher and mentor who told me I had to step outside of the world I thought I knew. At first it was intimidating and scary. Going to a place where you don’t understand the language and the culture, it challenges all the preconceptions one has about the world on the inner screen of the mind. The realm one thinks is real.

How I wish every wine director I meet would take this advice. How much easier my job would be. Let’s drill down a bit.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Remembering Dad, Dallas, JFK & a bottle of Thunderbird

Today would have been my dad’s 98th birthday. How the world has changed since he left us in 1985. I was thinking about that as I was driving past Dealey Plaza and the Texas Book Depository yesterday, while in downtown Dallas on business. Dallas, the place where so many things happened that affected me, my family and ultimately our country.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A last supper with an old friend

The internets are rife with social media sites where folks post great wines they just had. This is not one of them. This is a story about an old friend who has been living with me for thirty years. We celebrated his passing with a meal fitting his life, his character and his destiny.

I first met Morello in a cellar in Florence in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata. It must have been 1984. I remember the area because years before I had spent three weeks above in a pensione. I remember we didn’t have the budget for warm water in the bathroom, but I found a way to turn on the water heater when we showered. We were traveling with our two children, one 8 and one 11 months. Wine was still a few years off in the distant horizon.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Etna Harvest 2013 Report from Salvo Foti - Images from VignaBosco

The latest note from Salvo Foti on Mt. Etna is a series of images - They pulled fruit off the old vineyard the Vignabosco (elev 1300 mt.) on Nov 4. The Bosco vineyard is 100+ year old field blend of bush-trained Alicante, Grecanico, Minella and other minor varieties in the area of Bronte, where the great pistacchios come from. This is a grand-mother vineyard of Etna, in my estimation. Great fruit. Great farmers. Solemn and holy place for a Sicilian. The wine being made, as we witness, is the Vinudilice, a rosé beloved by the Etneans and those lucky enough to have tried it. According to the Quincunx site, “It is cultivated by hand and with the help of Ciccio the mule. No refrigeration, yeasts or filtration are used in the wine making process. Decanting and bottling follow the phases of the moon.”

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Remember Me? I’m Your Brother

Grappling among the Offshoots ~ Gaglioppo and Nerello Mascalese

I’m the one who played tag with you and listened to you sing and play the piano. I’m the one who fell, more than once, sometimes just to the earth and sometimes out of sight. I’m your brother.

In the vineyards, when the grapes were full, you called from afar to pick the ripe ones for wine. You made pasta and poured red wine and gave shelter for the time. And when the harvest was over you bid adieu, until the next time you were in need. You paid just enough to make it through the winter.
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