Today is my lovely niece’s 13th birthday. I find that a shocking fact but yes it’s true. I recently signed up for a new website called Tiny Buddha and I find it very on point most days.
Anyone who knows me even a little bit is aware of how I feel about family, my family and in particular these two cuties – my nephew and my niece.
Like all families, we have some things in common and many not. One thing that we do a lot together is eat. They each have their own particularities and “heavens” as they call their favorite foods.
Being in the wine industry is always a bit confusing for kids, they never know what exactly you do. I remember when my niece asked me how my job in the soda industry was going. I gently told her that it was wine that I was dealing with not soda but she was fixated on soda, probably because she wasn’t allowed to drink too much, if any of it.
As she has gotten older, she has asked me more about the industry, how wine is made and why I want to try so many different types. Now she seems genuinely interested but she often warns me that there is always a bottle of wine at my table and that she thinks it’s too much.
Soon I am sure she will see wine as a pleasurable part of her life too. I’m glad that she sees it on a regular basis as something that is a complement to a meal and not just something to drink on a special occasion but everyday.
Legal drinking age is a long way off and I hope the time goes slowly for all but I do relish the idea of teaching her about all of life’s pleasures, when she is ready. For the moment, I will raise my own glass to her and toast to my favorite girl – Lucia.
Filed under events, wines
Sundays are always a mixed bag for me. Like many people I like the weekend and am always sad to see it end. To cure my malaise, this week I decided to sweeten the last hours of Sunday as I watched Downton Abbey. I have to say I am very taken with the series and all of the characters. Saddened by the death of one of them during the Great War, I reached into my frig and found to my delight, a magnificent albeit not new bottle of La Coume Du Roy from the AOC Maury from 2001.
It knocked my socks off, figuratively as I hate socks but truly what a wine. When it was first opened a few days (weeks) ago after dinner I was delighted by its aromas and flavors, in fact blown away would be a better description. A non-wine friend brought it to me as a gift for a dinner party I was having. Friends always hate to bring me wine, afraid to bring a bad bottle. That has never happened but as they say no one wants to bring coals to Newcastle. I’m so glad she brought me this wine.
I am starting a new column on this blog called the “Sweet Spot.” I love sweet wines, always have and always will. Give me a glass of sweet wine over dessert any day of the week. This one was a Vin Doux Naturel from Maury. Maury is a French town near the Spanish border in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The climate is hot and the soil in this area is black schist.
This wine is made from grenache blanche, gris and noir. Vin Doux Naturel or VDN are made by the addition of alcohol to stop the fermentation process. Some 90% of France’s VDN come from this region, according to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson’s “The Concise World Atlas of Wine.”
While I was looking for more information on the wine, I came across this blog which has a great description of the winery if not this particular vintage.
I can’t wait to visit the Languedoc-Roussillon region. I hope to do so soon. In the meantime though, I wish everyone buona domenica even though it’s almost over.
Today is called Il Giorno della Memoria. On January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army entered and liberated Auschwitz. In 2000, Italy, France and Germany established this day as a day of remembrance. As always, on this day, my Italian friends, one in particular, write to me. I will never forget the day that it was made into law.
I remember weeping with joy that the country where I lived and love, would make this a national day. Furio Colombo, a journalist that I followed and a parliamentarian made passage of this day a lifetime goal.
Today I went to the Italian Consulate and stood outside in the rain with others as the names of 8900 Italian deportees were read out loud. It is always a very moving ceremony to me.
I’m glad that there are national days in these nations to remember those who perished merely because of their religion – children, women and men. Many others died in the Holocaust too, not just Jews and this day is of course, for them as well. In my own little world, my family lost 80 relatives because they were Jewish.
This Dashe 2009 Dry Creek Zinfandel made me a believer. That’s been my theme over the last two days. Yes, I believe again. I believe that Obama can win in 2012 after his State of the Union. Yes I believe he has a vision again. Yes I believe he does care about the 99% again. I’m feeling pretty political these days and ready to work for 2012 which I haven’t for awhile. This flush of optimism about our country led me to think about what I love about America.
I must say, Zinfandel was not first on my list. Howard Zinn yes but Zinfandel never made it into my top ranking. That was before I had the Dashe 2009 Dry Creek Zinfandel at a recent Snooth tasting with Greg and friends like Diane Letulle, Eric Guido, Carly Wray, Sasha Smith and Constance Camberlain. We’ve got a little wine writing thing going on and this Dashe was on my hit parade.
It was fruity without being over the top, acidic and minerally to the right degree, persistent and elegant without being slight, powerful and memorable without being aggressive, kind of like what I would like someone to say about me after our first encounter.
Anyway, point being, this is a keeper and at $20-$25 it won’t break the bank either.
This week’s indigenous variety is called Caloria from Tuscany. Specifically it is from the area near the city of Massa, in the province of Massa Carrara.
The grape is used as a blending grape in red wines. It helps to produce light red wines with good acidity, typically Tuscan to my mind.
Many people have heard of Massa Carrara because of the marble quarries. These same quarries were used for many centuries and have provided marble for Michelangelo’s sculptures as well as those of other great Italian sculptors.
Speaking of marble, don’t miss the show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on portraiture. It has wonderful paintings and incredible marble busts from some of Tuscany’s finest artists.
My wine of the week is a Pinot Grigio from Tenuta Ca Vescovo. This wine is from Acquileia, a town in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
I visited Acquileia many years ago and it has forever remained in my mind as one of the most mysterious Italian sites. I loved the basilica with its fascinating ancient mosaics.
I also highly recommend a visit to all who can go there as well as a stop in nearby Grado. My Mom and I loved it.
I was reminded of my trip to Acquileia this month when my dear friend Heather from my Dow Jones days served me this wine at dinner. Her husband had made us Cozze (mussels) and Pasta con le Vongole while her adorable 5-year old served us Salmon tartines. All the while, Heather and I were quietly finishing off this delicious bottle of Pinot Grigio. It had great minerality, acidity and a long fruity finish. The sea breezes gave an extra added “sapidita’” or “saltiness” to the wine. The wine really made a perfect evening with friends an even brighter glow. I love Heather and she is like family to me. Every time I visit them in Milan, they welcome me with open arms and a new wine that I don’t know. This time was no different and this wine is one I would definitely buy here at home, not something I often say about a Pinot Grigio.
This has been quite the weekend of bad news I must say but I know that we all have to look to the future with optimism. Someone I know well lost someone dear to them, that horrible accident on Giglio, then the news of Giuseppe Quintarelli’s death. Like almost everyone else, I was thrilled by his wines and intrigued by the person. There is an article on www. acinoparlante.it by an Italian wine journalist that is a beautiful tribute.
For those who can’t read Italian, Eric Asimov’s tribute in yesterday’s New York Times is touching as well.
Thought and prayers to passengers and crew.
I have spent many a weekend on Giglio, a beautiful island off the cost of Tuscany. It is a truly magical place with lovely people and clear blue seas. This is not the image of have of Giglio. The island is a weekend destination for Florentines and Romams alike.
Italian sailors, that country of “navigatori e marinai,” are among the best in the world. It’s truly impossible to see how this could happen.
My wine of the week is a gem that I discovered purely by chance upon meeting one of the owners of the winery, Serradenari.. I was introduced to Gabriella Spallino through a mutual friend and helped her with some translation work during meetings that she held here in New York City. Instead of payment, I asked for some bottles of wine.
She very kindly sent me samples from her winery in La Morra and this week, I tried the first of them. The wine is called Renoir and is made from the Pinot Nero grape. Interesting I thought when she told me about it but I reserved judgment. Renoir is one of my absolute favorite painters so I will admit that I was naturally predisposed to like this wine .
I opened the bottle on Sunday and had it with some salmon that I made. It was a bit more acidic than I expected but very interesting nonetheless. Then on Monday, I tried the wine with some pork that I made. It was even better, rich and round I was truly hooked. I thought of the lovely blog,
2 Days per Bottle and thought I too should see the evolution of everything I have, if I have some left over.
Last night, I actually tried the wine for the third night in a row and miracle of miracles it was still perfect. I have to say that never happens when I open a bottle of wine. I rarely drink it the second night and never the third.
This beautiful wine is my choice for this week’s wine of the week. I also know the winemaker, Roberto Cipresso, a friend so that makes it an even sweeter experience. Roberto and Giovanni Negri, the owner of Serradenari have written many books on wine together including one I bought this past trip to Milan called Vinosofia.
The Slow Wine Guide in English is almost here with launch events just around the corner on January 30, 2012 and February 2, 2012 in New York and Chicago, respectively. The guide and a number of producers will be the focus of events for the trade during the day and then for consumers in the evening.
The Slow Wine Guide adopts a new approach to wine criticism and looks at a variety of factors to evaluate wineries in their entirety, taking into consideration the wine quality, typicity and adherence to terroir, value for money, environmental sensitivity and ecologically sustainable viticultural practices.
The innovative guide uses three symbols to evaluate each winery:
• The Snail, the Slow Food symbol, signals a cellar that has distinguished itself through its interpretation of sensorial, territorial, environmental and personal values in harmony with the Slow Food philosophy;
• The Bottle, allocated to cellars that show a consistently high quality throughout their range of wines;
• The Coin, an indicator of great value.
I’m really looking forward to trying a number of these wines. I had seen the guide in Italian in Italy last year and meant to buy it but my suitcase was overflowing. I like the fact that this guide doesn’t have a point system and I expect, it will be an catalyst for the creation of other similar guides.