Milano, Sant’Ambrogio, Pearl Harbor

December 7th is always a strange day. On the one hand, I think of Pearl Harbor, the day that will live in infamy and how the USA got into World War II and all that that meant and all the lives that were lost on this day.

On the other, I think of my adopted city of Milan which celebrates its patron saint on this day, Sant’Ambrogio. I lived in Milan for about 10 years so I got very used to its people, their culture and habits. In fact, I feel like I too should be having a long holiday weekend taking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off as my friends in Italy are doing at this time.

December 7th is also the start of Opera season in Milan at La Scala. It is also the opening of the ski season. I spent many a year skiing at a friend’s home in France. Those were the days….

As I sit in my office in New York, I do feel that Christmas has come to town. I guess it’s the cold and the flurries we saw yesterday. Thoughts of holidays and good will or something similar come to mind. I of course, like to celebrate with a drink of sparkling wine.

I hope to toast Milan, our fallen heroes and such with a glass of Franciacorta. While not made in Milan, it is made in Lombardy in an area near the city of Brescia. I did a long interview some months ago with Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, a Franciacorta producer on this blog. Oddly enough, having nothing to do with me, the shop I work in once a week, Maslow6 in Tribeca sells the Brut from this lovely producer.

Franciacorta wines are not inexpensive compared to Prosecco but I think they are more similar to Champagne than their friendly cousin from the Veneto. Firstly, they are made using the traditional method, with secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle. Secondly, most Franciacorta wines rest on their lees for 3 years, some for 5 years. This long lees aging yields nutty and delicious wines but they are also more costly. It’s a style I like and recommend trying at least once this holiday season.


  1. Hello Susannah,

    this has nothing to do with opera, Franciacorta and even less with Pearl Harbor, so please apologize if I hook my request for recommendations into this blog. I have recently discovered the Freisa grape and wanted to know if you can recommend producers and/or wines of this really interesting variety.

    Viva Italia,

  2. Uwe,

    How lovely to see you again after so many years. Congratulations on your Diploma. Very exciting. Freisa is a nice grape variety indeed from Piedmont. Not too popular, I know a few producers because I have tasted the wines and some others that I know have a good reputation. I looked on Wine-Searcher and it appears that La Montagnetta is sold at Sip in Park Slope. I have tasted that wine and liked it very much.

    Also, Cascina Gilli and La Casaccia seem to be in market. Cascina Gilli is brought in by Domenico Selections. Terence Hughes who chooses their wines is a friend and I trust his palate immensely.

    Hope that is helpful.

    See you soon.

  3. Reblogged this on avvinare and commented:

    I wrote this post back in 2010 and it still all rings true to me. I would love to toast my Great Uncle Murray, a Pearl Harbor survivor today. It would be great to be at La Scala again as well. Maybe one day I will attend La Prima. Intanto, cin cin!

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