Sunday, December 30, 2018

What does it take to be a lover of Italian wine?

Everyone has their idea about what it means to be a lover of Italian wine. Some folks love to go for the rare, the old, the soaring Pegasus wines that are clever and coveted and so very desirable. Others are content to sip on a simple quaff, night after night, with their pappardelle Bolognese or trofie con pesto, maybe a glass of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo or Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

A middle-aged man walks into the little Italian store in my neck of the woods, looking for a Cabernet. A young woman is also here on a mission to find a Pinot Noir. We are in a store with only Italian wine, it can be a challenge. Sure, I can point the man to a Veneto Cab or even a throatier version from the Maremma. And likewise, I can put a nice bottle of Pinot in the young lady’s cart, from Alto-Adige or Piedmont. But there are so many other wines with the texture, the flavor, the pleasure that they can derive, that they don’t have to be stuck in the Cabernet or Pinot Noir box, when it comes to Italy. Save it for France.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Native and Indigenous Italian Grapes Series Round-up

Over the summer I was motivated to produce a mini series on Native and Indigenous Italian Grapes. This is a round-up of those posts, in case one or two slipped past your feed.

The seven posts are:

These are personal recollections, not necessarily mementos, although there is a little bit of history. Moreover, my intent was to enliven the discussion about native and indigenous Italian grapes beyond a PowerPoint presentation and a tasting lineup. While those are also a necessary evil in today’s time-crunched world, I thought it important to tell a back story for some of these grapes, to give them light and life, and to highlight the impact they’ve had on me and those of us who walk on the wine trail in Italy. And, by the way, this post marks the completion of the 13th year of this blog.

Enjoy, happy perusing and Happy New Year!

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Sunday, December 23, 2018

It's a Wonderful Life - with Buttercup, Coconut & Luigi

Baby Luigi
When I "retired" in April, I didn’t really quit working. But in the last month or so I’ve retroceded a bit more than when I first got into this stage of my life.

At first, I thought my friends and colleagues in the business would stay a part of my life. But folks in the fast lane don’t have time for those of us in the eddy. Out of sight = out of mind.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

La fille Américaine in France, making wine (naturally) in Italy - Pt II

Uncle Emilio’s wife, Serafina, sent Anne Marie a note. “Uncle Emilio isn’t doing so well. After his last fall in the vineyard, he just hasn’t been the same. I guess, after 63 harvests, he’s been very fortunate. But the grapes won’t wait for him to feel better. Is there any chance we could have you here for harvest?”

As it turned out, this was good timing for Anne Marie. The winery she worked in as a cellar rat in was changing. The owner was leaving the winery to his kids. They lived in the larger cities and were more interested in the value of the land. She felt the call of Italy.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Les vins naturels – 2 new releases – one from France and one from Italy

Two new wines that have recently graced the dinner table. Both made with biodynamic practices and are Vin Demeter.

La fille Américaine in France, making wine (naturally) in Italy - Pt I

Anne Marie was from a new generation of global citizens. Born in America in the late 1980’s, from parents who immigrated from Europe, her mother was from France, father from Italy, and they met among the vast plains of West Texas. Both looking for space, for freedom from convention, for a patch of blue sky they could claim. Along the way they found each other, fell in love, settled down and gave birth to Anne Marie and her twin brothers.

Neither were farmers, the father was an engineer, the mother was a doctor. Both their families had roots in the farm and in grape growing. But that was a long time ago in an entirely different world. This was America and The Dream was still alive.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

The State of Natural Wine in Flyover Country

New series: "Au Naturel "       

While researching an upcoming article for the Dallas Morning News, I’ve had the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the state of natural wine here in flyover country. In a surprising turnabout from the often-contentious atmosphere found over the internet, what I’ve experienced has been a refreshingly open-minded and clear-eyed take on wine made in the various manners of what we have come to regard as natural. Without going into some of the information I will cover in the article (and really not the intention of this post), I want to explore how we got here, those of us in the middle of the country, who are often cast aside from the more seemingly progressive and undeniably trendy west and east coasts. And just for good measure, this is not an us vs. them piece. It is simply a snapshot of what I see and have observed over the past few months while working on the newspaper piece.

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