Sunday, August 01, 2021

Gone Shootin'

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Thursday, July 29, 2021

By the Bottle: Walter Speller

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life 

Walter Speller is one of the top experts in Italian wine. He writes for Jancis Robinson as well as managing his wine consultancy, Hunt & Speller. Reading his writing is like looking at a very calm sea after a huge storm. You know there is a lot going on there, for when the storm was raging, our boat almost sank and we were almost lost at sea. But who would know it now?

Walter is a deep current. He has learned to convey peace and calmness, but he knows things. Life isn’t neat. And his writing ferries one across depths. When I read about a wine that I think I know very well, when Walter writes about it, it’s like I’d never tasted the wine before. And he makes me want to open a bottle right away, to see what he sees, feel what he feels. He’s a fabulous influence on me in my wine life. I learned new things with this interview. That’s how it is with Walter, always learning something new. Please welcome him to our little series.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

There is no box wine in Heaven. Or is there?

don’t know what gets into me. I was reading an obituary and it just sent me down a rabbit hole. Maybe it’s because my ice cream is melting and I’m getting closer to the abyss. Ah, whatever! I’m not sure, when I no longer breathe, wine will mean much to me (or anything at all, for that matter), but this line from the obit a few weeks ago really lit me up, in a good way:

“On July 2, 2021, Betty Kuhne Sawyer Hitchings, 93, marched through the gates of Heaven and immediately asked for directions to the River of Boxed Chardonnay.”

[Read Betty’s obituary, it really does sound like she had a wonderful life, regardless of her choice in wine]

What I do know is this: If I’ve been a good boy and minded all my P’s and Q’s, there better be something better than Franzia waiting for me at the Pearly Gate Café.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

By The Bottle: Zachary Sussman

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.


Zachary is one of the bright young stars rising in the world of wine writing. Not yet 40, he has a list of accomplishments that folks at 60 would love to brag about. He is a Brooklyn-based wine writer, educator, and consultant whose work has appeared in Saveur, Food & Wine, Wine & Spirits, The World of Fine Wine, and The Wall Street Journal Magazine, among others. He is a regular contributor to PUNCH and was formerly named the Champagne Louis Roederer Emerging Wine Writer of the Year. A thinker’s writer and a humanist as well, Zachary’s latest book (along with the editors of Punch) is The Essential Wine Book: A Modern Guide to the Changing World of Wine, with another one coming, hard on the heels, in November, Sparkling Wine for Modern Times: A Drinker's Guide to the Freewheeling World of Bubbles. At this rate, if he keeps going, he’s likely to out-write Hugh Johnson. Please welcome Zachary and enjoy a perspective from someone I admire and enjoy communicating with. 

What wines do you have standing up right now?

I’m cooking a chicken tagine for a dinner party tomorrow and pulled a few bottles from the wine fridge that I thought might make interesting pairings:

2013 Recaredo Corpinnat Terrers Brut Nature

2016 Château Lapuyade Jurançon Sec "Cuvée Dentelle"

1996 Ridge Zinfandel “Pagani Ranch”

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Batti il Ferro Finché È Caldo! *

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Thursday, July 15, 2021

By the Bottle: Dan Petroski

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

I first met Dan in Napa Valley, where he is a winemaker at the historical winery Larkmead and also has his own label, Massican, which focuses on Italian grapes, among others. Dan is an inquisitive soul, constantly searching into corners of the winemaking (and greater) world, looking for answers. A really generous person, I’ve tasted Italian wines with Dan in Napa Valley that I’ve never seen or had the opportunity to taste in Italy. Really glad to have him on these pages today with his perspective and passion.


What wines do you have standing up right now?

I don’t have any standing up, but I do have a lot lying down.


What’s the last great wine you drank?

As we are deep into the summer here in Napa, drinking white wines is top of mind and always topped-up in my glass. And the greatest so far has been the Clos Saint-Joseph Blanc 2019 from Villars-Sur-Var. Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano), Rolle (Vermentino) and Semillon. A perfect wine! I could drink this everyday this Summer.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

On Turning 35 – The Wine, Women and Song Version

“Overall, the 1986 vintage was lackluster for much of the world but some regions got lucky.”

“A very good if slightly underrated vintage.”

“Largely good but stopped short of excellent.”

Looking on my wine closet, there are some stragglers still hanging on from 1986. One red wine from Friuli, a couple of reds from California, a Colheita Port and “from way out in left field,” a Texas red. No more Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscan or Piedmont wines. All gone, drunk up. I mean, look at what the experts said?

Thursday, July 08, 2021

By the Bottle: DLynn Proctor

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

I first met DLynn in Dallas, when we both lived there. I’ve had the pleasure to open bottles with him in Texas, in Napa Valley (where he now lives) and in Italy. Presently he is the director of Fantesca estate and winery in St. Helena. He is also an actor and producer, known for SOMM (2012) and SOMM: Into the Bottle (2015) and Uncorked (2020), a film loosely based on the life of DLynn and his journey to become a Master Sommelier.

And because he needs only 2 hours of sleep a night, in 2020 DLynn co-founded (with Martin R. Reyes MW, Mary Margaret McCamic MW) Wine Unify, a platform that champions diversity and inclusion for underrepresented minorities in the wine industry. Armed with three initiatives – to welcome, to elevate, and to amplify underrepresented minorities – Wine Unify seeks to create more visibility and opportunity for people of color.

DLynn has forged a path in the wine world that is uniquely his. He constantly updates and reinvents himself.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Open Letter to Graduates: The Wine Trade Could be Injurious to Your Health

…with apologies for length 

Dear Grad,

Greetings! I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile. But you know how it goes, one gets busy and forgets about things. Oh, and the last 16 months or so have been extraordinary. I’ve dusted off my notes and am now sending this long overdue letter. Feel free to share it publicly with any potential (or current) members of the wine trade. It might save them a lot of time and trouble.

Where to begin? How about in the beginning? You saw those folks at that fancy Italian restaurant, having a leisurely lunch with several bottles, talking to the wine buyer and tasting, clinking glasses, in what looks like a scene where everybody is having a good time? Well, looks can be deceiving. Let’s dig in.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

By the Bottle: Christy Canterbury, MW

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

Photograph by Michael Seto

I first encountered Christy Canterbury at a wine symposium in Texas, where she originally hails from. She now makes her home in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood with her husband Kirk Tashjian. Christy was the 7th woman in the US to earn the MW (Master of Wine) title. If Christy were a Texas tornado, she’d be at least an F3 - Christy is a force of nature!

What wines do you have standing up right now?

Pierre Gimonnet 2012 Champagne Oger Grand Cru Special Club

F.X. Pichler 2005 Durnsteiner Kellerberg Riesling

Pierre Matrot 2010 Meursault Perrieres 

Domaine de Montille 2002 Volnay La Carelle Sous La Chapelle

Bruno Giacosa 1998 Barbaresco Gallina

Château d'Yquem 1996

My husband and I are having over friends this weekend for the first time since right before COVID hit, and we're in a mood to splurge!


What’s the last great wine you drank?

That's easy! Last week I had the Tio Pepe Quatros Palmas Amontillado (2020 Bottling). It was exhilarating in complexity and only four casks remain of this "museum solera". Definitely history in a glass.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

5 wines from Italy that are helping the return to normal life

Dear readers,

You’ve endured a lot from me over the years. From my sci-fi worlds of the future to my incessant gyrations about the wine trade, the state of the world and whatever else erupts from this mind. Today, I am cycling back to wine and recommending 5 wines that have crossed my path lately. They are all good, if not always available. But they found their way to me. So, they must exist somewhere else in reality. Read on:

Thursday, June 24, 2021

By the Bottle: Robert Camuto

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

Robert Camuto is an American wine writer based in Italy. I first met him in Dallas, where he was promoting his brilliant book about Sicily, Palmento.

Author of forthcoming South of Somewhere: Wine, Food and the Soul of Italy (October 2021) At Table University of Nebraska, and Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (2010).

Writer of twice monthly on line column Robert Camuto Meets… @


What wines do you have standing up right now?

A lot of Chianti Classicos. This spring after all those months in lockdown in Italy (including a bout with Christmas Covid), the first place I headed to was Tuscany for the comfort of good old Sangiovese.

I am on a Sangiovese tear right now. It’s possibly the most emblematic Italian grape. I love the different expressions from all the different parts of Chianti Classico—austere, mineral and vertical in Radda to softer and sunnier around Castellina. Sangiovese cries out for hearty classic Italian foods and salumi. In C.C, you have the pure Sangioveses and the blends. It’s a world.


What’s the last great wine you drank?

Yesterday at lunch with a friend in Verona, we drank a bottle of Le Ragnaie 2015 Brunello di Montalcino. Long, smooth, earthy and elegant.


Are there any classic wines that you only recently had for the first time?

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I first tried (speaking of Sangiovese) Montevertine’s mythic Le Pergola Torte. It was at the end of a central Italy summer dinner with a bunch of crazy winemakers. Sadly, I can’t remember what the wine tasted like. (One of those evenings!)

Sunday, June 20, 2021

John the Apostle Talks with Jesus: On Water, Natural Winemaking and Large Gatherings

  From the archives

One of the most misunderstood winemakers in all of time is Jesus Christ. After his miracle at the marriage feast of Cana, criticisms of his wine style stirred the temple. Jesus, a man born to love, was reviled. But what about his wine? Was it the ultimate supernatural wine?

Jesus’ mercurial behavior, like the time he went ballistic in the marketplace, have contributed to his reputation as a flesh and blood being, only to be balanced with the events at Cana and subsequent actions with Lazarus.

Criticism of Jesus seems to outpace his actions, many of which have changed history. Denial of his importance in the world of wine and natural winemaking, especially, was common throughout the Roman Empire. After winemaking shifted to Italy, it was as if Jesus the winemaker never existed.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

By the Bottle: Ron Washam

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

Ron Washam is an acquired taste, like a fried brain sandwich, or Rigatoni con la pajata, made with the intestines of an unweaned calf, only fed on its mother's milk. A long-time sommelier in southern California, Ron is now superannuated in Sonoma County where he lives undisturbed with his wife, who is the love of his life. She has taken the vows, for better or for worse, to be a solemn oath. As they say in Venice, "Love is blind."


What wines do you have standing up right now?

Well, I’m not standing up right now, I’m sitting here filling out this stupid questionnaire which I intend to use to demonstrate my superior knowledge of wine because that’s what this kind of thing is about. The truth is, we all drink lots of wines we’re somewhat ashamed to admit we drank. Like wines we got on sale at Safeway, or were recommended by some beauty blogger on Instagram. That said, I couldn’t quite finish the bottle of ’85 Chave Hermitage I opened last night to go with my fish sticks, so that’s standing up right now looking really embarrassed.


What’s the last great wine you drank?

Is there an adjective more abused in the wine business than “great?” Maybe “natural” or “yummy,” which are polar opposites. Greatness is hard to measure, like your own inseam. Also, whatever it was, I hope it wasn’t the last great wine I drink. I’d like to have more great wines. Mainly, yours. I did recently drink a 2010 Dom Perignon that would make a blind monk see. I suppose the Champagne could have been better, now that I think about it. It could have been Dom and Dommer.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

2021-The future of wine wholesale distribution – Post Covid 19

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