Sunday, February 28, 2021

Wanted: Wine Tastemakers – Older White Men Need Not Apply?

Feb. 29, 2040

Dear Salem Morgon,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the position we posted. We are currently screening the next level candidate for our wine tastemaker stint and you have made the cut. Congratulations!

As you know, we are currently recruiting candidates to form a dynamic new team for ViniVer§Ω as THE preeminent and never-before-seen #WineInfluencer Neoteric Eno-zine. The next step for us, with you, is to further ascertain if you will be a good fit, on our soon-to-be award-winning squad!

So, let’s get down to it, por qué no?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Do you know what it means?

ew Orleans has been on my mind lately. Maybe because last week should have been Mardi Gras. Or perhaps I am just missing a place I got to know well. And it got to know me too. I love that place. It was my American Palermo, and if I had to, I could always fly there in an hour or take the longer scenic drive.

I’ll just admit it, I miss New Orleans. But also, Louisiana. Real bad. It was the only place in America I’d take my passport with me when I went. Well, that was more for practical purposes, as I once learned in Alexandria. I got a moving violation and the local gendarme took my license until I settled the whole affair (guilty until innocent in Louisiana – Napoleonic law). My friend further down by Lafayette excoriated me for paying the fine right then and there when I got it. “My friend, we have judge friends, you didn’t need to do that.” Lesson learned. But I took my passport with me, anyway, when I flew, just in case. I wanted to be able to get back home if it happened again.

And it was like a foreign country to me. Not like the rest of America, all 44+ states I’ve seen anyway. It was old. And slower paced. Like Italy. Wine and food were appreciated and understood in Louisiana, in ways I never saw in my travels for work or play, with the possible exception of Napa Valley.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

My Funny Valentine

Sunday, February 07, 2021

the Immerging Wine Writer of the Year

During a recent communique with a wine writer friend, I noticed this person sounded just shy of despondent. Knowing that, of late, many of us are dealing with loss and disruption, I hesitated to press further. But the feeling kept circling like a kettle of vultures, just waiting for the prey down below to take its last breath. “Ok,” I said, “let it out. What the hell is bothering you?”

My friends gasped as if I wasn’t there having the conversation with them. “Oh my God, I talk to myself so often these days, I forgot you, or anyone, were actually there, listening.”

“And?” I pressed.

“I just hope when I die that I can be reincarnated as a young, Black female,” my friend said with an air of resignation that such a thing would never happen in this, or the next, life.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Come back, Trebbiano, we miss you so

Dearest Trebb,

It seemed just like yesterday we were sitting by the beach enjoying each other’s company, the gentle waves lilting to the cadence of the soft Italian jazz music coming from Chalet Federico. Lordy, I miss you so.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to move on. I’ve tried almost everything in the book. I’ve tried your neighbor, Verdicchio. It just wasn’t the same. I’ve ventured further north, and tried Soave and Lugana, no luck. I even ventured to France and had a fling or two with Ugni Blanc. But I kept coming back to you, Trebb. There’s something about Trebbiano Abruzzese.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Will we ever get back?

In this period of sequestration, some have had time to peer into the well and reflect. What do we miss? What have we lost? What have we gained? Where do we go from here? Can we survive this?

More questions than answers. And that, coming from a world and a time when so many thought they had the answers right in front of them. And then the unimaginable happened.

The question, for so many of us, is how do we find our way through the fog? Will we ever get back?

Sunday, January 17, 2021

What Miles Davis and John Coltrane taught me about wine

ately, I’ve been organizing my musical recordings. I’m a big jazz fan. Somewhere along the line, during college, while I loved to listen to rock, especially the San Francisco style in the 1970’s, I veered over to jazz. There was a great FM radio station in Los Gatos, California, KTAO. But even before that, I was interested. I remember going to a Miles Davis concert in1967 at UCLA. It was his quintet, with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams and Wayne Shorter. Miles didn’t allow any photography, we had to take our cameras back to the car. But the music was brilliant.

Living in California after college, I got into all kinds of jazz. John Coltrane, what’s not to love? So, when I got a Miles/Coltrane CD for Christmas, I was really excited. And then I got to listening to the music.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Epiphany (and the room where it happened)

nce, on a fast run up the autostrada from Ancona to Verona, an old friend and I were talking about epiphanies. He’d had many in his life and had distilled it down to its essence. “It’s a bolt of lightning - Il Fulmine.” I’ve thought about those moments lately, as it seems we’ve been having more than our share of “Il Fulmine” in today’s world. And as we sail through time, many of us have those moments when our purpose is distilled in a flash, and everything is bright and clear, if only for that moment.

It’s much like a photograph. 1/100th of a second. And then something else. Not gone, but no longer there with the energy and the force it initially struck with. I guess you could say it’s a bit like those times when you are intimate with someone and for a moment everything disappears and there is only light and passion, and emotion and energy.

And while it wasn’t quite that dramatic when it happened, looking back on that day, I realize I was then bound to wine, it made an indelible impression. Let me tell you about it.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

How Italian wine will thrive in the 21st century

Transformational over Transactional

omething I am detecting, acutely, in these early days of 2021, are the relationships that were shaped while working in the wine trade. How many times did I sit at someone’s mother (or grandmother) table enjoying a home-cooked meal while tasting the wines they also made? What did they get out of it? Another meal for a bunch of American wine buyers. Another lost night. More free wine consumed, eating into the margins.

It’s something I ask a lot. Then, maybe it was because they knew I had buying power. But not now. I’m done with that. So, why, if at all, do some of those folks still stay in touch?

Monday, December 28, 2020

Happy Birthday to the Dinosaur ~ On the Wine Trail in Italy Turns 15

If only this blog were a young girl who was turning into a woman. It would surely be more apt for these times. But a quinceañera it is not going to be for this old dinosaur of a blog, on the wine trail in Italy.

Fifteen years in most cases is a relatively young age. But for a wine blog? It’s ancient. Some would say passé. Lord knows, I’ve tried a lot of different things to keep it upright and sailing right along. But It is work. No doubt about it. Although it is also a labor of love.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Alacrity of Hope

Sunday, December 13, 2020

5 of the greatest Italian wines (that I want to drink in 2021)

Sunday, December 06, 2020

The current state of Italian wine in the world

I remember as a kid, going to a birthday party. I was living in the desert of Southern California, Palm Springs. And the parents of the birthday child were proud Mexican-Americans. The food was great (they had a fabulous restaurant), the music was cheerful, it was a fun, fun party. And to top it off, after the birthday girl opened all her presents, we all took a swing at a stuffed piñata shaped like a donkey.

When all the kids took their swing, the poor creature finally burst opened and all manner of shiny and sweet things flew about the field and we all scrambled for the treasures. I don’t know why, but that memory reminds me of 2020 and Italian wine.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Everyday Italian Wines for Everyday People in Extraordinary Times

For some, this is a way with a deep-seated furrow. The road often taken. The commonplace. The not-so-out-of-the-ordinary. But predictable? Not necessarily so. Wine is a living, breathing, evolving thing. And with that, even an ordinary wine can act extraordinary in these unprecedented times.

That was how I started out with this odd holiday, Thanksgiving. Like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving has come under fire by some who see it as having racist origins, representing a celebration of the conquest of Native Americans. I get that. I also know we, as a country, need something to unify us in this time of discord. I don’t think cooking a bird or smoking a ham will save us, I’m not that naïve. But I do see people finding ways to make moments for peace and serenity. And if celebrating Thanksgiving in the old way that the story was told to us is behind the times, can we not shift from that to a less highly charged observance? We cannot go back and undo what the Anglo-western world did to the indigenous souls here in America. But we can recast the day with thoughts of gratitude and clarity. No, we Americans aren’t the greatest nation the world has ever seen. We aren’t even handling something like this pandemic as well as many other nations on the planet. We have failed miserably. But we cannot shirk away and pretend that all that came before didn’t. We must admit, even concede, that we are not great again, and we must start over again, with the hindsight that we didn’t do it right, all these years. We must change now.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Doctor Notti on Italy, wine and the intergalactic dust storm of 2016

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