Thursday, September 16, 2021

By the Bottle: Esther Mobley

Sunday, September 12, 2021

50 years ago ~ notes from Positano ~ September, 1971

Positano ~ 1971
It had been several weeks since I’d first landed in Italy. I’d seen Rome, I’d seen Florence, I’d visited my family and seen lots of Sicily. I needed to see some water, to swim in the sea, and to kick back before going home. Positano called.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

By the Bottle: Carmen Castorina

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life


I’ve known Carmen for awhile now. He’s one of the best storytellers in the wine biz. He knows everybody. He’s been around for ages, so he has “all the dirt” on almost anyone who's anyone. Not that he’d ever go down that road. No, Carmen is a guy who loves life, family and wine. In 2014, he retired as the chief storyteller for the Gallo family. And before you put your high-hat on, don’t. We all started out somewhere, and in the early days the paths were fewer and far between. But he navigated through a large family company during one of the most historic epochs for wine, and especially wine in California. That said, Carmen isn’t the man in the grey flannel suit. No, he’s more of a stretchy polo and linen shorts guy now, especially in North Texas, where we are still enduring high 90+⁰F days, blistering sun and heat, heat, heat. And you wonder why we drink so much white (and rosé) wine down here? Anyway, I am a huge fan of Carmen, and now you can be too, if you so desire.


What wines do you have standing up right now?

As I continue to purposefully “drink down my cellar”….

Peter Lehmann The “Mudflat” Shiraz 2000, Fontanafredda Barolo 1974, Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 1988, A. Rafanelli Zinfandel 1997, Clarendon Hills Romas Grenache 2006, Summus 1997, Benanti Serra Della Contessa 2001.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

50 years ago ~ notes from Florence ~ September, 1971

Saying goodbye to my Sicilian family at the dock, I got on the boat and returned to Naples. From there I took a train to Florence. I was an art student (mainly photography, but a well-rounded course of classes), and Florence seemed like a good place to visit. The Italian holiday was tapering off, people were returning to their towns and villages, so I did as well. I had two more weeks in Italy before I had to be back at class in Santa Clara.

Looking back now, probably the best thing would have been to stay in Sicily, and dive in deeper. But I didn’t want to take too much advantage of my relatives’ hospitality. And I knew I’d be back. Florence called.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

By the Bottle: Emily Huang

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

I met Emily in Barolo a few years ago, where we were both attending Collisioni at the invitation of Ian D’Agata. Emily lives in Taiwan, and on social media her nom de plume is @unpoalticcia. She radiates a quiet serenity, or as we used to say in Rome a couple of millennia ago, “Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi.” She is essential to the future of wine and Italian wine. I learned some new things from our exchange below. So glad she contributed and participated in this series, please give Emily a warm welcome.

What wines do you have standing up right now?

I am having a Freisa from G.D. Vajra. I found it most interesting is the spark between the wildness in Freisa and the elegance from Vajra. Theirs is a bigger wine with darker fruit accents than usual, but that like all Freisa wines ages extremely well and expressing aromas and flavours with age that are remarkably similar to Nebbiolo’s.

To be honest, I am so obsessed with Italian native grapes and Freisa is really one of the greatest, but the simple truth is that the country has just so many great wine grapes, many of which most wine lovers have never even heard of, it is nothing short of amazing.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

50 years ago ~ notes from Palermo ~ August, 1971

After booking passage on the ship from Naples, I spotted the bay of Palermo, the Conca d’Oro. My family was supposed to be meeting me at the dock. I felt like Vasco da Gama, or Amerigo Vespucci, in reverse.

My grand aunt and uncle were there with their family, welcoming this young, gawky Americano in jeans, carrying a back pack. I must have been a sight.

They spoke very little English, the younger ones more conversant than the elders. I spoke a smattering of Italian. But we were family! We can do this!

In fact, learning Italian by immersion works. I’m not saying it worked on me then, but I was thrust into a culture and a language and I had to find oxygen. I had to speak Italian.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

By the Bottle: Darrell Corti

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

In my mind, Darrell Corti embodies that often-quoted motto from Joseph Campbell, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” He is one of my heroes. We share California as our native state and Italy as our place of ancestral descent. He knows almost more about anything, food, wine and otherwise, than I or many of us will ever be able to comprehend. Underlying all of that is a kindness and an openness that imprint Darrell as incomparable. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me to have him on our series, and in our world.

What wines do you have standing up right now?

Most of the samples that I have received. During the summer, wines with deposit are really not interesting.

What’s the last great wine you drank?

What do you mean by great? Expensive? There are not many really great wines around, but a lot of expensive ones!

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

Again, what do you mean by “classic?” I can imagine what you mean, but perhaps there are not so many “classic” wines around. Classic to me, may not be “classic” to someone else.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

50 years ago ~ Postcard from Naples ~ August 22, 1971

From the archives
Dear Mom and Dad,

Well, I'm in Italy. I finally made it to Rome. The last week has been warm. Hotter than where I came from. Rome was miserable. And empty, save for a few Americans who actually had lire. Wartime in America. Nixon devalued the dollar the day I arrived in Rome to get more European countries to buy things from us. We need the money to pay for the war in Vietnam. And it looks like we are going into a recession that could last for years.

I got to Naples from Rome on a train. I have a day before the ferry takes me to Palermo. I have a day to kill.
Now, I'm walking.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

By the Bottle: Eric Asimov

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

  I first met Eric in Napa Valley, California. Since then, we’ve traveled, supped and opened a bottle or two in New York City, Austin, Texas and Sicily. Eric has the distinction of being one of the most influential wine critics today, a position he doesn’t take lightly (nor would he probably admit to it). Nonetheless, it is what it is. He’s riding that tiger. Let’s jump on board with him and take a spin, shall we?

What wines do you have standing up right now?

Most of the time, what I’m planning to drink is a function of what I’m planning to write about. I will keep that private other than to say I’ve just enjoyed some excellent bottles for my Wine School unit on dark rosés.

What’s the last great wine you drank?

I prefer to think of “greatness” in terms of context, expectations and fulfillment rather than on some universal scale in which the great wines are profound examples of historic terroirs or estates. With that in mind I would say a Château de Béru Chablis Montserre 2018 was a great wine. I love Chablis, though I’m not a particularly a fan of the 2018 vintage. Nonetheless, this wine was beautiful, intense in the way of the vintage yet full of characteristic Chablis minerality rather than fruitiness, pure and unmediated. I loved it.

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

I can’t think of any sorts of wine, though I can think of plenty of legendary bottles that I’ve never had, and probably never will. Cheval Blanc 1947, for one.  

Sunday, August 15, 2021

My 50 year anniversary, or Nozze d'Oro, with Italy

It was on this day, August 15th, in 1971, that I first landed in Italy. It was a 20th birthday gift, with a little help from my friends. The plane flight from Los Angeles International airport to Aeroporto Internazionale di Roma–Fiumicino "Leonardo da Vinci" cost $900.00 (about $6,0000.00 today). No small sum for a college student then. But I wanted to visit the birthplace of my grandparents, and see the country where it all started for this young student, budding photographer and eventually, an Italian wine lover.

Once I landed, I decided to walk to Rome. Not thinking it that far away, and trying to conserve my money, in addition to the fact that I didn’t have many lire on me, I headed outside.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

By the bottle: Anthony D'Anna

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

Anthony and I met in Italy and fast became pals. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, he and his family have made wine, and especially Italian wine, a priority in their corner of the world. Endowed with a youthful vigor and a curious mind, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Anthony, and I hope the rest of you will also take pleasure in his insights, his impeccable taste and his exuberant joy about wine and life.


What wines do you have standing up right now?

One of the few benefits of lock-down in Oz has been a lot more time at home. That has meant I have had the opportunity to drink wines that have been cellared for 10-15 years and are now ready to be drunk. Over the last few weeks I have had a good look at 2006 Barolo with the highlights being Borgogno Barolo Classico 2006 and Piero Benevelli Ravera di Monforte Barolo 2006. These 2006 are in a great spot right now.

Sunday, August 08, 2021

On photography, personal passion and a significant occurrence

his past week I’ve been out of pocket at a photography workshop retreat in northern Wisconsin bordering Lake Superior. The weather was cooler than it was in Texas, but warmer than normal (for Wisconsin). But I wasn’t there for the climate.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

By the Bottle: Joanie Bonfiglio

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

Joanie Bonfiglio is the epitome of hope wrapped inside a bundle of energy that could power the city of Las Vegas. I’ve tasted, supped and enjoyed wines with her in Italy and California, and am always overjoyed at the questions she asks, the wines that show up at the table and her enduring effort to polish that giant chunk of marble we call life. Joanie is young, female and undaunted – perfect for the 21st century wine trade. We need more Joanie’s in this world, but for now I am overjoyed we have her in our midst, taking us into the future. I can't wait for our next dinner together. [all photos by Joanie – she is also an accomplished shooter!]


What wines do you have standing up right now?

There are so many wines to open right now. I just started a new role as a national sales manager (in the West) for Kermit Lynch, so I have been happily working my way through the portfolio trying to get a feel for all the producers.  Leaning about and tasting all the new wines has the be the most fun part about a new job in this industry.

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

By the Bottle: Alder Yarrow

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

I made Alder’s acquaintance through wine blogging, and have spent time with him in Napa and Italy. Alder is considered one of the pioneers of wine blogging with Vinography, and
has been a columnist for Jancis Robinson, since 2011, at He has traveled the world, to quench his thirst for wine and beyond. Alder is moved by wines that “have distinct personalities, strong voices, and reveal themselves in layers."


What wines do you have standing up right now?

At the moment I’ve got a bottle of 2019 Sandlands Red Table Wine in the fridge preserved with the new Coravin Pivot system, which is proving to be quite a handy device for keeping weeknight bottles fresh. In any case, Tegan Passalacqua has been making such wonderfully delicious wines under his Sandlands label, and this old-vine field blend from Contra Costa county is deliciously gulpable. It’s 55% Carignane and 45% Mataro and weighs in at only 12.8% alcohol. I like to drink it with a slight chill on it, and man, is it great.

In addition to that bottle, I’ve got the dregs of a couple of press samples that have been sent to me lately, a white Pinot Noir from Anne Amie Vineyards called “Prismé,” and a Vermentino di Gallura from the Sardegna producer Surrau.


What’s the last great wine you drank?

I’m not fully vaccinated yet (10 days and counting), so I’ve been easing my way back into social dining. I have a group of friends that have all been very careful and are partway through their vaccination regime too, and so we decided to go sit outside at The Morris restaurant in San Francisco a week or so ago, and we ordered some lovely wines. The star of the night was a 2011 Domaine du Collier “La Charpentrie” Saumur Blanc from the Loire Valley. It was just singing.


Describe your ideal drinking experience (when, where, what, how).

There are few things better than a long afternoon sitting around outside with good friends and great wine. If we’re talking ideal, it would be Spring, where the air is cool enough to keep the wines from getting warm, but warm enough to be comfortable. We’d be in the shade, at a picnic table, with an epic view, maybe of mountains or of the sea, and enough to eat so that we can keep drinking without needing a nap or to break away for a big meal.

I think if you had asked me this question 2 years ago, my answer might have been more grand, but right now, what I really want to do more than anything is just enjoy the company of great friends with no other encumbrances or obligations.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

10 Wines that Forever Changed the How the World Sees Italian Wine

From 8½ by Federico Fellini
Italy was once a forlorn country, vinously speaking. The wines were made haphazardly. The flavors were sometimes off, especially the white wines. They didn’t “travel” well to foreign countries. And the producers and the importers thought, in order to get a foothold in the market, that the wines had to be cheap. So they were. And, in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, they “didn’t get no respect.”

We’re talking the 1960-70’s here, which is a universe away from the world we live in now. But to get from there to here took a revolution that hammered away at the commercial, cultural, logistical and financial worlds that prevailed. It was a long, slow climb to the top, where now Italian wine enjoys a reputation as one of the great wine producing countries of the world. No longer is Italy in the shadow of France, as it was when I started out. But it took some dogged determination, and the blood, sweat and tears of a diverse group of producers (and importers) in order to pull this revolution off. Here are ten of those fomenters who created a new reality for Italian wine, and changed forever how all of us see wine from Italy.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

By the Bottle: Ian D'Agata

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Gone Fission...

Going off the grid for the holiday. Back Thursday with the By the Bottle series.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Thursday, May 27, 2021

By the Bottle: Patricia Guy

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Saying Goodbye to Italy

“You may have the universe, if I may have Italy.” – Giuseppe Verdi

Rome - 1971

This year will mark 50 years since I first visited Italy. That alone is cause for dismay. The good news? Life in the last 50 years has been so much better, thanks to Italy.

But eventually one must say goodbye.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not bidding adieu just yet. But the sun is getting lower on the horizon.

Italy has been my mentor, my guide, my friend, and sometimes, my foe. I’ve loved Italy with all my heart. And at times, I’ve wanted to walk away and never look back. Italy has tried to kill me, at least once. And it has cured me, also, at least once. And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve experienced a rebirth, all because of Italy.

That’s a pretty tall order, to lay all of this off onto a peninsula in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

By the Bottle: Raffaella Guidi Federzoni

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

This week we’re hearing from Raffaella Guidi Federzoni in Montalcino. She is, from time to time, my muse. But always a friend. She is fierce. She is charismatic. And a consummate wine professional. Raffaella is a thinker and, to me, the embodiment of the best of the modern Italian woman. Not that she or anyone needs my endorsement. But I admire her, and, hopefully do not idealize her too much. But maybe just a little. The world needs more Raffaella’s. And today I am sharing her story.


What wines do you have standing up right now?

Sangiovese Superiore Le Papesse 2019 and Sangiovese I Probi 2016, both from Villa Papiano. I am quite intrigued by Romagna’s wines, especially the ones made with Sangiovese. I know nothing about them and it is high time to start learning.


What’s the last great wine you drank?

I consider a wine great when it is – or is going to be - unforgettable for its qualities of balance, depth, personality, persistence, promise. In this case the last were actually two, both from the vintage 2017: the future Brunellos from Le Chiuse and Fattoria dei Barbi, tasted secretly and prematurely, one from the bottle and the second from the barrel.


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

If the concept of “recently” could be consider elastic in terms of time, as it happened a few years ago, I must quote the Cannonau made by Alessandro Dettori in three different crus: Tuderi, Tenores and Dettori. These wines struck me for being already totally classic.


Describe your ideal drinking experience (when, where, what, how).

In the evening, somewhere comfortable, two or three wines maximum, with the feeling of having all the time of the world. And, of course, with the right company which could consist in a small group of friends, or, myself and just one more person.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sardegna and wine - a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

From the archives
By chance, I’m sitting in a restaurant and nearby me is a table of four. Urban dwellers, well-traveled, by the looks of their garb and little snippets of conversation that float into the dining room for all to hear. One in the group starts talking about wine and Italy. The usual suspects are cited – Rome, Florence, Venice, The Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre. And then someone mentions Costa Smeralda in Sardegna. By this time the wine has been flowing, social lubrication amplifies the voices and one in the group states, for all to hear, “I love the Costa Smeralda, the beaches are great, the seafood holds a candle to no one and the people are friendly. But honestly, I don’t get Sardinian wine.”

It was one of those moments. In a busy dining room it was as if time had stood still. A conversational lull in the room had occurred at that time, and the last statement, “I don’t get Sardinian wine” bellowed throughout the room and careened off the walls. Had the wine gods issued a dispatch?

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