Sunday, August 07, 2022

How to destroy your Italian wine legacy in one generation

The following is a pirated Zoom transcript from a putative conversation between two old friends – an ancient matriarch (Maria, or, M) of a renown Italian wine estate and her venerable importer (Carl, or, C) in the US. Howdy-do from an innermost and very particular cyber-labyrinth, seldom penetrated by we mere mortals.  

C: Hello darling, how goes it in the bowels of Italy in August? Are you somewhere cool and wet, I hope?

M: I wish, my dear. No, I am sequestered on our family estate, as my three nieces have Covid. They came for a visit and brought this dreadful virus with them.

C: Oh no! You poor dear. I hope your satellite internet is working, so the children can document their every breath on their Insta.

M: Of course. They live such fascinating lives and we all must keep up with it. What a time we live in, yes?

C: Tell me about it. Shall we jump right in?

M: Of course. Fire away, maestro.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Are “The Best Italian Wines” the Best We Can Do?

From the archives
I thought we might have dodged the bullet. You know, the one whereby all the wines of the country are judged by a few? France has had that moment a time or two. Lately it’s been in China, where Lafite ruled. Now it’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s turn.

Italy, ah Italy, land of wine for the everyday person. Maybe in Italy. But in the rest of the world, has Italy managed to escape the curse of the wine snob?

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Exclusive: Interview with a Bottle of Italian Wine

It’s been a while since we last chatted, so I figured it was time to set up the recorder and ask my favorite bottle of Italian wine how their life is these days. Come along for the ride, let’s see what they have to say for themself.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Italian Table & The Venus Flytrap

I grew up in a home where most of the meals were made from scratch. We didn’t eat a lot of frozen anything, except for ice cream. And we didn’t live in a time when processed foods were as prevalent as they are now. So, when I went to Italy for the first time, it wasn’t the revelatory experience it might have been for the average American. Most of the foods were pretty familiar, with a few regional exceptions. None the less, when I went to Italy, and I went a lot, I always looked forward to dining at the Italian table.

And at those tables, whether they were commercial enterprises like a restaurant or a trattoria, or a farm side or village meal, made by the local people who were involved with the farm or lived in the villages, it always seemed to be an uplifting experience, compared to what I was experiencing back in the US when working in the wine trade. Mind you, I had to eat at a lot of Italian restaurants in America for business. But they rarely achieved the heights of enjoying a meal in Italy.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Wine Trade’s Dirty Little Secret

For the past three weeks I’ve not been imbibing in alcoholic beverages, part of a seasonal cleanse, taking an active part in becoming healthier. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying wine isn’t healthy for you. Actually, wine has alcohol in it, and alcohol is pretty toxic. But we usually give wine a pass, because it is so delicious, and we have it with meals. And we age it, and fetishize it, and worship it. So, that must make it OK.

But really folks, the wine trade has a problem. A drinking problem.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

How to Optimize Your Wine Brand ~ A Press Junket Punch List

As promised, a constructive follow-up from an earlier post, Keep On Trucklin’ – Press Junkets in the Age of Disruption.

If you are a winery owner or a winemaker, here are some simple suggestions for you when pondering over sponsoring a wine junket for journalists/bloggers/micro bloggers, whether it be to Italy, South Africa or California’s Central Coast, etc.

First thing that I’d suggest is to consider why you are inviting strangers into your home. Are you trying to grow your brand? Increase your brand awareness? Throw some marketing money at the wine in the hopes it will differentiate you from your neighbor? You want it to stick, yes?

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Gone Fishin'

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Featured Father ~ Albert Moulin

from the archives...He's been gone fifteen years, this son of New Orleans, father and mentor to so many of us. Al was one of the forefathers of wine in America. He was there at the beginning, right after World War II, when the budding wine industry got its start. A great story teller, a proud grandfather, a lover of women, a classic New Orleans chef, and a slave to the wine god, in the very best sense.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Keep On Trucklin’ – Press Junkets in the Age of Disruption.

Sunday, June 05, 2022

“For Chrissake, enough about the evils of the world and the unfairness of life. Just tell us what wines you are enjoying lately. Is that so friggin’ hard?”

How’s your week been? Here, the past week has been challenging. Family health issues, the heat, the economy, the war, the dead babies, the endless gun battles, ya feel me? Yeah, I bet you do. Well, (at least) one of you out there has had it with my perpetual hand-wringing and endless jeremiads. And this person wrote me to tell me so:

“Look, man, we’re all seeing it, feeling it, hurting from it. I didn’t come here to have more of it shoved in my face. I came here to escape. I know how you loathe wine writing and wine writers, but for Chrissake, enough about the evils of the world and the unfairness of life. Just tell us what wines you are enjoying lately. Is that so friggin’ hard?”

OK. Alright. I surrender. Truce. I’ll write about wine. Even some wine notes. Will that make you happy? Because I want you, all of you, to be happy. Oh, at least those of you who have survived the last few years of pandemic, war, active shooters and the general (and rapid) dissolution of civil society. So, let’s go!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Looking for a safe place to tell my stories

…or, looking for a safe place to buy groceries…

…or, looking for a safe place to worship…

…or, looking for a safe place to go to school…

…or, looking for a safe place to live out my life in peace…

So, it has come down to this. Americans committing genocide upon Americans. Not Russians upon Ukrainians. Americans killing Americans. First the bang, and then the whimper, the endless recitation by our “leaders” telling us it’s a mental issue. Ya think? Starting with the pols. We are watching the killing of our country, in real time, in our lifetime. Not by the commies. Not by the Nazis. Not by the Jews, or by the Blacks, or by the Mexican immigrants or by the Irish or the Italians or the Poles. By Americans. On Americans. We are burying ourselves.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Want To Be a Better Italian Wine Expert? Study French Wine

don’t know how it happened, but recently I was talking to an acquaintance who never knew what I did in my career. I mentioned something about being a wine guy, with a particular focus on Italian wine. Right after I said the word “Italian” I noticed a facial micro-expression on the person I was chatting with. It was as if to indicate, “What? No Californian? No French? WTF?”

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Living My Best Life in the Age of Social Media

Sunday, May 08, 2022

“All Italian White Wines Taste Alike”

from the archives
I’m sitting at a table, in a restaurant, with a seminal figure in white wine. The beverage director comes up to us to say hello. A few pleasantries are exchanged. After all, we are guests, even if we are part of the “trade.” Our money spends as well.

We’re talking to the beverage director about which wines do and do not work in his place, which is seafood centric. We come to find out that in this place of his, he says his best-selling category is Cabernet Sauvignon. We are close to a huge body of water; the city is cosmopolitan and diverse. The clientele is well-heeled. The menu is seafood. And Cabernet is the big hit here.

We then approach the subject of Italian wine. I’m beginning to think this fellow isn’t a white wine drinker. But he confirms it when he declares “all Italian white wines taste alike.” He then went on to remark that he had never had a memorable one.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Monday is the new Saturday

Ten years ago on this blog, I was still working, and I wrote a post called An Eternity of Mondays.

“Your job isn’t who you are,” the little monkey voice inside the head kept chattering. Yeah, yeah, heard it all so many times before in a been-there-done-that kind of way. Wave after wave of images roll onto the shores of my short-term recall, trying to evoke a response or any sign of life. Only to return back to the abyss of the deep sea of memory. It’s going to be a long night, but when it’s all said and done it’ll be another Monday.

Ten years later Monday looks a lot different. On Saturday I start looking forward to Monday. I know that’s when I get my world back. It’s when folks go back to work, and the stores are less crowded. The traffic is less congested. And a day when I once felt trapped and pinned in, now fells like I just got sprung. It’s liberating.

Flora Purim sang, when she was with Chick Corea, these lines:

Look around you my people

If you look then you will see

How to love, life is paradise all together

What game shall we play today?


Monday has become the day I ask that question, what game shall we play today?

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