Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Etna Harvest 2013 Report from Salvo Foti & "I Vigneri"

This just in from my winemaking friend Salvo Foti. Salvo is bringing in the last of the harvest from his Etna vineyards and this is a report, word for word, from his letter. Sharing it with you, dear reader.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Italian Exodus

It seems wine isn’t the only thing that is trying to get out of Italy. Her people are looking outward again. All this while less fortunate ones risk their lives to get into Italy, many often dying in the process. What does this global diaspora mean for Italy, for America and for the world at large?

These are pretty big questions for a Sunday night. Earlier in the day I went to see my friend Mario. He just turned 97, and he’s slowing down. I wanted to talk to him about something he witnessed during World War II. He was in the battle of Hürtgen Forest, where over 60,000 soldiers perished. Mario was captured and taken prisoner by the Germans. He spent the rest of the war in a P.O.W. camp and lost 40 pounds. He never took food for granted after that.

But Mario didn’t want to talk about that. He wanted to reminisce about his father and mother and my grandfather and grandmother; they had come over from Sicily about the same time, and they were friends. Their lives were intertwined and they looked out for each other. When I came to Dallas, my dad called Mario and he looked out after me, gave me a job and essentially helped to start me out on the path, this wine trail that has led me back to Italy so many times.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Changing Face of Italian-American Food and Wine

After the seemingly endless exercise of packing on a Sunday night and heading out to the airport on a Monday morning, I found myself at home wondering what to eat. I’d been in restaurant after restaurant, been fed this Carbonara and that Carbonara. I’d narrowly escaped truffle oil but still had to deal with crappy balsamic vinegar and overly cooked malloreddus drowning in cream. My veins were crying out for simple; for sustenance, not recreation. I gathered up some fresh vegetables, a nice protein and a bottle of Chianti I knew wouldn’t disappoint.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Everything I know about America I learned from Sergio Leone

Some of the characters I encounter, ones who want to sell their wine to America, have some of the darndest ideas about this market. I get all kind of inquiries, probably enough to write a book about, or at the very least a textbook. But the one that intrigued me was when I met with a winemaker from Italy who thought America was more or less like the way it was portrayed in films like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “For a Fistful of Dollars.” Fascinated by this history-cultural slant and feeling like this deserved further elaboration, I have taken said interpretation to the edge and imagined what our world might have been if Italian wine had come west with the great expansion in the 1800’s.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Death of Rosé

I remember my first time. It was summer. I was in Tuscany. Invited to dinner at the Villa San Michele in Fiesole. I drove my little car up the hill from Florence. Somewhere along the way I got a little lost and stepped out of the car to ask for directions. The town I stopped in was having a party. They were having some kind of Marxist celebration. Wine was flowing; someone pressed a glass of rough red wine into my hand and tried to get me to dance with them.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

For Us, There is Only the Trying

And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate —but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
                                                                                 -T.S. Eliot

Unable to post on Thursday; travel, work, distraction, exhaustion. Sometimes it happens. It’s only a blog, not some heraldic solution to the world’s problems. Life gets in the way, princess.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Five Hot Italian Wines to Bag for Autumn

Someone turned off the summer switch and turned on the autumn one. To celebrate these cooler days and our procession to the holidays, I have found five wines from Italy that I’m bagging up and taking to the celebrations. They are:

Thursday, October 03, 2013

2007 – The Second Tuscan Coming

How many times has it happened to you? You’re in some place where you are just backed up against a wall and have nowhere to go but straight on through it? In the wine business, we’re in the “O” of O-N-D and already it seems like we’ve been at this for a while. We’re backed up against a wall and we still have three months to go.
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