So much wine, so little time

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Do you ever feel like the person in this picture? I know I do. When I’m at a big wine show, I am always taken with how many great wines there are to try. This was the case with the Slow Wine event this week. I basically only tried whites and two reds but I felt as if I only got to try a few of the wines that were available. Many were quite memorable. I loved one of the wines from Tabarrini, a producer from Umbria.

Most people associate Umbria with big red wines such as Sagrantino but this wine made from the Trebbiano Spoletino grape was a real eye opener for me the first time I tasted it. Tabarrini also makes Sagrantino.

Their winery is located just outside of Montefalco and they cultivate 22 hectares, 11 of which are dedicated to Sagrantino. The winery has been in the family for four generations but it is only in the last 15-20 years that they have begun to bottle their own grapes.

Giampaolo is the current owner of the winery and he runs it with a small team, which includes his partner in life and work – Federica. He was very casual and warm, a change of pace from what you usual see at these shows.

The wine that I tried is an I.G.T. Bianco made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino. The vineyard is at 350 meters above sea level, faces South-East and the vines are between 50-60 years of age. From what I read, the vines are planted on their own root stocks as well. There are 3000 vines per hectare. The wine spends about four months in stainless steel before being released. Some 3500 bottles are produced.

I thought the wine was beautiful with white fruit and floral notes, more citrus notes than tropical. It also had good minerality, acidity and some sapidity to it with a hint of an earthy character. In Italian you would say it brought forth the idea of the “macchia mediterranea.” Loosely translated that means the scrub bush you find in Italy around the coast that often smells of rosemary, thyme, linden trees, etc. I thought it was fairly complex for a Trebbiano albeit it was my first Trebbiano Spoletino. From some internet research, it appears that it is not genetically related to the more well-known Trebbiano Toscano.

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The Italians Are Coming, The Italians Are Coming

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During the next two weeks, New York City will host so many Italian wine-focused events that everyone in the area has an opportunity to try Italian wines from producers they know and those that they don’t. The week begins on Wednesday with the Slow Wine tour and continues next week with Vino 2016, Doctor Wine’s Book Launch and olive oil tasting and Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri event. Seminars, masterclasses and the like are on offer. Many of these events are listed on Nicholas Palazzi’s great calendar at http://www.pmspirits.com and others on their own websites. I for one have lots of producers and clients coming to town so expect to be really busy but not too much to be able to meet and greet new ones. Salute and happy tasting. It looks like the weather is even going to be our friend. Check out Wine Openers interesting article on the role of Italians in US viticultural history and business.

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Ode to Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni

Yesterday was the anniversary of Austrian composer Mozart’s birth and I wanted to mark the day that created this genius. I looked far and wide for a winery named after my favorite opera – Don Giovanni – and of course found one, here in California. I have never tried their wines so I can’t vouch for them but I like the story and the name of course. I heard on the radio yesterday that half of Mozart’s works were composed between the ages of 9-19. Quite a legacy. I was forced to listen to Don Giovanni and other operas throughout my twenties by a boyfriend who was obsessed with those works. While the boyfriend didn’t last past that decade, my love of opera and Don Giovanni in particular did. I remember an amazing performance of it in Ferrara with Claudio Abbado performing, a once in a lifetime experience.

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Holocaust Remembrance Day – Il Giorno della Memoria

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Today I don’t want to write about wine but rather about family. All the families that lost people in the Shoah, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors, friends, lovers, husbands, and wives. My family lost 80 people – all of my great grandfather’s brothers and sisters and all of their children, 11 siblings. I can’t stand it as I watch people being attacked the world over still just because they are Jewish. Two people survived from the family, in Poland, two. They made their way to the United States and appeared at the Seder at my grandmother’s house in the late 1940s. I was watching the stories of what went on in the train cars that brought people to the camps today.  I am overwhelmed with sadness at what people went through. Having a small son has made it even harder to bear as I imagine mothers saying goodbye to their babies.  All I want to do today is hug my happy baby and pray that we will never forget and will fight the rise of anti-semitism when it rears its ugly head, as is happening today.

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Drinking Austrian Riesling in St. Anton

It’s been five years since this trip to St. Anton, my ripped ACL and my last skiing experience. I didn’t grow up skiing but started at 15 with a friend’s family in Vermont. I loved to ski all through my teens, twenties and beyond. Then I started to get scared. I think that was around the time that snowboarding became everyone’s favorite sport. These days, with a very young child, I’m looking forward to getting back on the slopes. The small ones and starting over. This weekend’s blizzard has really made me miss ife on the slopes, all of it. I always remember the panini with speck and asiago cheese that I would eat when skiing in Italy and the desire to drink Vin Brule but the knowledge that too much of it would make me a worse skier. Hopefully, a settimana bianca will again be part of my life as Niccolo’ learns to ski and wants to go. It’s a great February tradition in Italy that I miss.

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I´m finally in St. Anton, a ski paradise in Austria. We had great weather yesterday as you can see from the color of the sky in this picture. New Year´s Eve in ski towns all over Europe are generally the same, fireworks everywhere, much revelry and prix fixe dinners.

I went to the Hotel Montana for dinner to celebrate and had an eight course meal which I must say was delicious. I had expected the food here to be basic fare but instead have had one great meal after another much to my surprise.

I also have been able to taste some great wines including the Weninger Blaufranckish that I mentioned on my last blog post.
Last night I tried some great Zweigelt and amazing riesling from Martin Donabaum from the Wachau. I had both the Federspiel and the Smaragd. They were both great but the Smaragd was beyond lovely…

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Snow

This is a photo from a storm last year around this time. The scene outside the window today is much more white. I love the snow, albeit more so when I am in the mountains than in the city or the suburbs. That said, today’s storm is a nice forced moment to stay inside and think, something that is hard to do with such busy lives.

Over the last week, I have seen changes to New York City that brought me back to my first year in town, right after college. I used to live on 13th street and University. Back in those days, my world was about law school and being a paralegal. I had a homeless man living on my stoop who used to make little circles out of matches and leave them for us. The city was very different than as was my block.

Today 13th street is a thriving and hip place and the location of the great local for wine, Corkbuzz but back then, the arrival of a Korean run deli was a big deal. Sure we had Souen and the New York Health and Racquet club which are still there but nothing else that is on the street is the same. My sister went through a macrobiotic phase and I remember eating often in that place which seemed to me to be the opposite of joyful eating.

I was downtown on Thursday and saw that even Bowlmor, a famed bowling alley is gone. University between 12th and 13th is going to become one big development project. I also noticed that the Quad Cinema closed. All signs maybe of progress but the constantly changing landscape does take my breath away. I remember that in the back room of the apartment, the bowling alley sounded like an ocean and could help one get to sleep, except for Thursday when they would constantly announce “Ladies drink for free.” One restaurant that is still the same is Cafe Loup which brings me to another memory from that time, I only really drank French wine.

As a devoted francophile until I was around 22, the wines that I drank and thought of were all French. I was a French major, lived in Dijon in college and was obsessed with all things French and Burgundy. My uncle, also a great lover of French wines and a lawyer, had this bottle that I shared with my parents earlier this year.

Monthelie 1997

Monthelie, in the Cote de Beaune has had an appellation since 1937. While mostly known for their red, pinot noir based wines, they also produced some good chardonnay. Not the most prestigious of Burgundy appellations but nonetheless, a nice expression of a very approachable Burgundy. I wish I had another bottle to share today during this blizzard. I think it would go well with the Risotto ai Funghi that I am making for lunch. Alas, we will have to drink something else.

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Women In Wine Fridays: Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Donatella Cinelli Colombini is the new president of Le Donne del Vino. Sono felice di averla conosciuta in passato e contenta di vedere dove porta l’associazione nel prossimo futuro. Auguri!

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Today is International Women’s day or La Festa delle Donne. It has always annoyed me that only one day a year is dedicated to women but nevertheless, I always mark it in some way. It is a perfect day to write about Donatella Cinelli Colombini . Donatella was the second woman that I met in 2005 who worked in the wine business and was part of the organization, Le Donne del Vino.

I met Donatella when I was writing the first piece of my as of yet unfinished opera on wine. I just got a copy of Tom Hyland’s book today so maybe that will push me to write my own. Donatella ran one of the first all female wineries, Casato Prime Donne. She told me in a brief interview in January that she decided to hire all woman when she went looking for a cellar master and they said…

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