Sunday, January 31, 2016

Noodles in Negrar Pour Un Homme Brûlant

We live in multi-planar worlds. There is wine. And there is food. Just as there is work. And there is avocation. And while it seems we live in our little protected bubbles, is it really as we imagine? Or are we simply a small fraction of a larger arrangement?

This week, driving in a van with seven other souls, we are driving up the road from Negrar, towards Torbe. I’m talking with a dear friend and start to sense we are arriving to a place not strange to me. I’ve been here before, recognize the tower and the street and the sign, which simply says, TRATTORIA. Oh joy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Montalcino - A trip up my personal Congo River to the (mother of all?) Brunello vineyards

The owl was singing outside my room, at midnight. Fog shrouded the mountain. My hotel had turned off the internet connection. And I couldn’t sleep. I'd snuck in under the fog for a quick tasting of 2011 Brunello.

Admittedly, I’m no expert on these matters. But I have a good sense about things that lie beneath the rational explanation. And at Le Chiuse I sensed a powerful epicenter for one of the most important wines to come out of Italy, maybe the world.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lucid dreaming from the streets of Italy

When I talk to many Italians they like to carp about how unfair life is in Italy. Long lines, lots of bureaucracy, low pay, traffic, corrupt political system, wrecked economy. And yes, there are those factors in Italian society.

How many of us make as much money as we’d like to? We’d all like to make a little more, to save for the future, to maybe help family members or a friend in need. And who of us likes traffic, long lines and unnecessary red tape? I’m sure we could poll folks from Germany, from France, Thailand, even New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Norway, New York and find something that they feel diminishes their quality of life.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Is DOCG in the Future for these Five Hopeful Regions?

From the ♫ Catanzaro dreaming on such a winter's day ♫ department...

With the 74th DOCG, Nizza, now official, Italian oenophiles are asking, “What next?” For five regions, Vallée d’Aoste, Liguria, Trentino-Alto Adige, Molise and Calabria, left at the shoreline without as much as a single DOCG, it begs for some DOCG soul-surfing.

Is there not one wine worthy of a DOCG from each of these regions? Is the DOCG classification even that important, or relevant, as it once was thought to be? If it has lost some of its caché, how come Nizza pushed to become the 74th DOCG after a lengthy recess?

Establishing that there is some emotionality about the subject, as well as a political aspect to this which can be, at times, highly charged with regional fervor, are there wines from these five regions, that if the DOCG floodgates were reopening, might be wines to consider? Let’s take a look.

Monday, January 11, 2016

How Puglia saved my life

“Is this your first trip to Puglia?” I was asked this past week. “No, I have been here a handful of times,” I answered. “In fact the very first time I came here, I was coming from Greece. I had a staph infection and my leg was swollen. My last wish was to die in Italy, not Greece.”

Sunday, January 03, 2016

What Will the Next Ten Years Hold for Italian Wine in America?

Looking back is so much easier than this. But the past is dust. So where are we going? All I have are some educated guesses. Maybe not predictions, but inklings from the tea leaves.

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