Monthly Archives: January 2012

Family, Wines and A Big Birthday Hello

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.

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The Sweet Spot: Sunday With La Coume Du Roy AOC Maury


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 cooked tomato sauce. I also like to drink sweet wines on Sundays. Some of my favorites are Vin Santo as well as Torcolato. 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.

La Coume Du Roy

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.

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Il Giorno della Memoria – Remembrance Day

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.

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Wine of the Week: Dashe 2009 Dry Creek Zinfandel

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.

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Italian Indigenous Varieties: Caloria from Tuscany

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.

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Wednesday Wine of the Week: Tenuta Ca Vescovo Pinot Grigio

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.

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Filed under Friuli, Indigeous varieties, Italian regions, Italian wineries, italy, Wine of the Week, wines

Loss – Personal, Public, Professional

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. 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.

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