Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Tale of Two Tastings

Options for tasting wine in the last year have been somewhat curtailed by the events that we’ve all encountered. In-person tastings have not resumed, trade shows have been put on hold, and even larger get-togethers are on hiatus for now. So how does one keep their palate sharp in times like these?

I’ve found two ways to help one through these sparse times. This is how I’ve fashioned a survival strategy, of sorts, to get through these dark days.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Where we've become - And where do we go from here?

his is going to be a mish mash of stuff, as we’re kind of in the doldrums of wine blogging. Also, I have a few things I need to do to clear off my desk. So, here goes.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

10 of my favorite off-the-beaten-path places to eat in Italy

From the archives: Most of us cannot jump on a plane and go to Italy, and those in Italy might not have the mobility in 2021 that we had a year or two ago, especially now, as Italy has imposed a nationwide lock down. But we can always dream about the days to come, eh?


In preparation for an interview, I was looking up places I have really enjoyed eating in Italy. Many of these places don’t even have a website, or a sign. I was lucky enough to be taken there be locals. They represent some of the best eating and drinking I have experienced in Italy. And while most of them are not fancy places, the cooking in these spots have been some of the most memorable meals in a restaurant setting. I eat a lot around the farm table and am lucky to have home cooked meals. They’re great. But if you’re looking to go to Italy that won’t help you. These following 10 spots are open for anyone. It helps to speak Italian, for sure. But it’s Italy; anyone with a little passion can communicate to most Italians.

Note: don’t go looking for spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, lasagna or grilled chicken breasts. Expect the unexpected. Donkey ragù, tiny snails, entrails, tiny piquant sausages in a fiery broth, raw things from the sea (not just fish) and that’s just for starters. You should be adventurous. And not be looking for the best hits from Italy. This is how Italians eat. I love it. If you are lucky enough to find these places, you might find you will too.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Barone Alessandro de Renzis Sonnino – “There was nobody in the world like him.”

hose were the words a close friend of his (and mine) said as he wept into his phone, recounting so many wonderful stories and such a rich history their friendship represented.  Barone Alessandro de Renzis Sonnino passed away last week, another victim of this fierce virus that has been ravaging the planet for over a year now. But his life was one which we should celebrate, not climb into the rabbit hole of despair. Suffice to say, he will be missed, sorely missed. But the life he lived, one for the storybooks now, was singular, unique, a bit naughty, and from a time that is rapidly disappearing, if it hasn’t already vanished in this new millennium, this new century. He was a big tree, a little twisted (he would say "A little? A lot!”), but a big tree nonetheless.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

The Dramas of Life

From the archives - Sunday, April 06, 2014 

This week in Italy, Barone Alessandro de Renzis Sonnino was taken from us by Covid-19. He will be sorely missed - he was "One of a kind."

Here in Italy, as in everywhere on Spaceship Earth, there are the daily dramas. We all have them. For each and every one of us, our personal dramas are often of utmost importance. After all we are the center of our universe. Our life is most important to us. Multiply that by 7,000,000,000 in this moment and probably another 7,000,000,000+ in time. A caveman searching for food for his tribe. An explorer discovering a new route to the Pacific Coast. A winemaker finding a better way to make Sangiovese in Tuscany. Nothing is missed. We are like ants, covering every minute detail of our lives as if the universe wasn’t the large expanse beyond which we could never imagine. And it is probably correct to think often in that way, for to veer into the abyss would surely lead to madness, or worse.

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