Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nizza: The Long Tail of Italy’s 74th DOCG and the Waiting Game

It seems ridiculous to still be in limbo over this proposed 74th Italian wine DOCG, held hostage by the governing EU body, waiting, for their final approval. It isn’t as if they have more important things to worry about. Why don’t they just stamp the document and let the winemakers of Nizza get on with their lives? What exactly is holding them up in Brussels? It’s a scandal, this waiting game; let’s just get on with it.

Ah yes, our little insular world of wine, where the whole world waits on our next proclamation, revelation, inspiration. We got the world through another Thanksgiving holiday, matching wine for their turkey, ham and pumpkin pie just in time. Again. So why doesn’t the world give us what we want? What we need? We need this 74th DOCG; we really, really need it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Old Nebbiolo’s Influence on Napa Valley and New California Wine

“I think it’s safe to say I drank more Nebbiolo on my last visit to Napa Valley than Cabernet. And that’s beginning to be more the rule than the exception.” There’s more to that quote than the mere act of opening bottles of Barolo and Barbaresco. We're witnessing a minor revolution in California and it is one that has enlisted winemakers, sommeliers, importers and restaurateurs.

Last week, while in wine country for meetings, my friend Dan Petroski arranged for an informal wine get together in the home of Chef Sarah and sommelier Jason Heller. There were a dozen of us, and we all brought various bottles of Nebbiolo, some aged and some newer, like those of us in the group. And yes, we ate crazy good food, including white truffles and fresh tajarin (from Chef Sarah) and we drank ridiculously awesome wines. And I’d like to tell you about that, really, just for the bragging rights. But there’s something else going on, something much more important than one great meal with some of the most iconic wines on earth. Would you like to know?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dear Dad, Happy 100th – If only you could have been here

We spent much of the weekend moving a 100 year old man. His wife recently died and his family wanted him to be closer to them. He’s a pretty mellow fellow – likes to eat good food, drink a little wine, read the papers and get a good night’s sleep. He doesn’t get too riled up about anything – always pretty much an even keel fellow. He told me yesterday, “I have to get my mind back in working order.” In January he will be 101.

I talked to my mom today. She’s already 101. She told me today, “I’m 101 and ½.” She’s slowed down somewhat, but her mind is still going 100 MPH.

My dad would have been 100 today. He was born just down the street from where my son lives. Today my son and I worked in the garden, readying it for the winter. He talked to me about his life, his love and his ongoing search for meaning and happiness in life. It wasn't unlike the conversations I had with my dad in days long past.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Blood, Sweat and Tiers - Speading a Wine Culture in America

From the “my world and welcome to it” dept…

GOVERNMENT WARNING: According to the Surgeon General, women
and men who enjoy Italian wine, run the risk of becoming happy.
“That was one hell of a week,” I thought to myself as I landed in rain-soaked Dallas late Friday night. Earlier in the week I’d driven from Dallas to Austin in the fog, and then again the next day from Austin to San Antonio (again, in the fog). After two days of work in the streets with salespeople, I drove home that same day. 700 miles in two days. And then on a plane to New Orleans, for two more days of the same. It was in the French Quarter that I had one of those wonderful epiphanies about the wine business. I mentioned it to my colleague, that at this very time all over the US, people like us were doing the same thing – showing wine to restaurateurs and wine shop owners – and people like us had been doing this for years and years. To me, it was a most wonderful moment, a realization that we are many who are devoted to elevating the culture of food and wine in our world. We, reviled members of a three-tier system. It was revelatory and wonderful.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Will the real Franciacorta please stand up?

I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The good news is that young, urban wine lovers are really enjoying Franciacorta. The bad news is, many folks still don’t know what exactly Franciacorta is, including some producers.

First off, Franciacorta isn’t Champagne. And Franciacorta isn’t Prosecco. And Franciacorta isn’t something in between Champagne and Prosecco. I’ve heard all of those recently in tastings, and I cringed more than slightly.

Let me dip my pole in the pond and see if we can muddy the water even further.

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