Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ribera Del Duero Tasting During SnoothPVA at Salinas


Thanks to Snooth, a group of bloggers and I got to have an incredible lunch paired with wines from Ribera del Duero at an appealing restaurant in New York City called Salinas.


As you can see from this photo, everyone was taking notes and quite serious. My fellow bloggers included the Eric Guido, Ben Carter from Benito’s Wine Reviews, and Jon Thorsen, the Reverse Wine Snob.

You can’t see numerous other people who were at the tasting but you can read their reviews here: The V.I.P. Table: Ribera del Duero – Thriving through Adversity, Benito’s Wine Reviews: Snooth PVA – Ribera del Duero, Brunello Bob: Ribera del Duero Lunch -Salinas NYC,
Wine Julia: #SnoothPVA – Experiencing Spain in New York City with Ribera del Duero Wines at Salinas, Vindulge: Wine and food are a great match for Ribera del Duero and Vinespot.

I went back and forth with both Jon, Ben and Dezel of My Vinespot about which wines we preferred and why. I think we all agreed however that the quality level was exceptionally high, the price point generally appealing and the food fantastic.

Short Ribs

I was impressed with the minerality that showed through on all of these wines both on the higher and lower end. Some of the wines had more pronounced oak while others an earthier tinge.

My personal favorites were much in line with those that Jon has very eloquently and extensively outlined on his blog, the Legaris 2005, the Bodegas Barco de Piedra 2011 and the Seleccion de Torres,S.L. Celeste, 2009 .

These were some of the more moderately priced wines and were perfect for food pairings. The Tempranillo aromas and flavors of cherry and earth came through like a charm on each one, making me think I might even recognize them in a blind tasting, always difficult.

The more expensive offerings were also very interesting, my favorite being the Condado de Haza, S.L. Alenza 2001 at $100. Many people I know and respect swear by the wines of Ribera and I was glad to have this opportunity to taste through a number of them so thank you Snooth PVA, thank you Ribera del Duero and thank you Wines of Spain. What I also really enjoyed was tasting with this group of very serious bloggers. Listening to how Jon, Ben and Dezel plan out their posts, tweets and articles while maintaining full time positions in other fields, as well as families and such was pretty impressive. I imagine I will be drinking more Ribera as the nice weather rolls around. It seemed to me that the wines from Ribera del Duero are perfect red wines for a Summer barbecue.


Filed under spain, wine blogs, wines

Wine of the Week: Quimera 2009 from Achaval Ferrer

Malbec at Met

During the past month I have had the opportunity to taste wonderful Italian wines from the Alto Adige and Chianti but the tasting that most impressed me, certainly in terms elegance and splendor was the Wines of Argentina event for Malbec Day on April 17.

The tasting offered wines from 20 producers as well as gorgeous views of the Charles Engelhard Court in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Malbec Day

Oddly enough, two of my former tango teachers were star dancers that evening, Angeles and Michael.

The star of the Wines of Argentina show for me was the Quimera 2009 from Achaval Ferrer. The wine is not 100% Malbec but is a blend of 31% Malbec, 20% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. I am probably a little biased because I know the winemaker, Roberto Cipresso and the first time I tried this wine was with him in Argentina at the winery, tasting from the barrel, using a wine thief. I wrote a very long post about that experience here. Roberto loves blending and this wine is a perfect example of his signature style.

I tried a number of 100% Malbec based wines that evening which I enjoyed, including one from Kaiken and Finca Flichman. Malbec is a great go to wine both at home with a meat dish or to bring to a party. Easy to pronounce and almost always easy to drink, I find it to be a real crowd favorite.

Ambassador + Nora

I am not alone apparently. During the press conference at the event, Ambassador José Luis Pérez-Gabilondo, the Consul General of Argentina in New York, said that Argentina was, for the second consecutive year, the 4th largest exporter of wines to the U.S., both in terms of volume (with more than 61 millions of liters) and in terms of value (with exports reaching $297 million).

Metropolitan Museum

Income from wine exports increased to $741 million in 2012 with Malbec a key contributor to this overall growth. Argentina has 1300 wineries and is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentina’s signature grape arrived in the country from Cahors in France in 1853 thanks to Michel Aime’ Pouget, an agronomist who was hired by the President to run the Quinta Agronomica de Mendoza.

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Filed under Argentina, Meet the Winemaker, Memorable Events, Tango, Tastings, Wine of the Week, wines

Spring Fridays: Massachusetts On My Mind

I’ve only been back from Italy for three days but it seems the world has tilted once again because of the horrific attack in Boston on Monday. I have been consumed by the news but have tried to carry on with daily life, like everyone else. Massachusetts is one of my three favorite states in our land. I know that the latest events will not change the state that I love. I look forward to my Summer sipping there this year which will invariably include, as always, at least one bottle from Truro Vineyards.

In other absurd news, Italy still does not have a government and can’t seem to pick a President. The news is quite discouraging and I am disheartened for all of my friends and colleagues whose lives are impacted by their politicians inadequacies. I’m not too happy with our government after the week’s shameful vote. While this is a wine blog and not a political one, I think we can’t ignore what goes on in the countries we love. Also, I am ill and my alcohol intake has been quite limited this past week:).

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Vinitaly 2013: Press Conferences, Tastings, Blogger Area, Vivit

On day 3 of the fair I finally got to the new blogger area at Vinitaly. I was alone in the room which shows me that people are either writing on the go or not aware of the room in the Palaexpo building. I’m happy for a little time on my own from this crazy world of people,wines and the like but even happier that as soon as I go down the hall, I will find a wealth of wines from Lombardy at my disposition. I like to start the day with bubbles and end with sweet wines.

For the second year in a row, Vinitaly has hosted Vivit, a group of producers who follow certain traditions and are interested in sustainablility, organic and other natural wine practices. The area was packed and somewhat segregated but sustainability is definitely a key word this year at the fair.

I also have noticed an increase in the number of press conferences and exciting tastings taking place, many more than in years past. Many are fascinating but You can’t do everything so I have only gone to one a day. No complaints but I do miss the extra day. Everyone else is happy with the shorter week though and the fair seems much busier to me.

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Vinitaly 2013: Thoughts on Le Donne del Vino 25th Anniversary Tasting

As I wait in the press room to try to get into the Vinitaly today, I am struck by how much the fair has evolved over the years. Probably the biggest difference in the 9 years that I have been coming to Vinitaly is in the number of foreigners that attend from China, Russia, Brazil and other countries as well as the number of women winemakers, producers, sales people, sommeliers and participants.

This last trend is probably the one that excites me the most. It is great to see such a large number of women producers, in all 20 regions. I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful guided tasting yesterday by Alessandro Torcoli of Civilta del Bere, one of the first wine magazines in Italy. The tasting was a celebration of the first 25 years of the association, Le Donne del Vino.

I was thrilled to participate as I have been following developments in the group since I seriously started studying Italian wine in 1997. The tasting in itself will be the subject of a different post. We tasted 10 wines from 1988 from wonderful wineries run by exciting women.

Tastings such as this one remind me of why I love this industry and how exciting I still find it everyday.


Filed under Italian regions, Italian wineries, italy, Vinitaly, Women in Wine

Vinitaly 2013: Opera Wine and Focus on Chinese Market

Vinitaly 2013 started with a bang yesterday with the Wine Spectator Opera Wine tasting of Italy’s top 100 wines. Most of Italy’s most well known wineries were represented and the event was packed, a mix of a chic gathering and a wine tasting. I got to taste a number of wines which I normally can’t afford and meet some producers I didn’t know and see old friends at the same time. I will write about the wines later.

Yesterday was also the Vinitaly International press conference where they announced a new eCommerce site for Italian wines as well as an increased focus on the chinese market. These new changes follow those established last year: Internet for those who want it and a different schedule for the fair- Sunday to Wednesday instead of Thursday – Tuesday.

According to a press release from Veronafiere, “Export of Italian wines was up 6% in the USA, 11% in Canada, 15% in China and 28% in Japan.” Clearly the export market is the focus of this year’s Vinitaly as Italian pro capita consumption dropped to below 40 liters a year. The wine industry and those linked to it account for 1.2 million jobs.

At a time when Italy is having both a political and a financial crisis, our industry is a ray of sunlight in an otherwise depressing scene, producers told me, although they all complained about the level of taxation on small and medium sized companies.

The fair is about to begin and I am going in through the press entrance but I wanted to post before the day began. As anyone who has been to Vinitaly knows, once you are inside, the circus begins. The sheer scale of the show is impressive and a bit overwhelming but I really enjoy it and feel lucky to be here. More to follow.

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Filed under Italian regions, Italian wineries, Memorable Events, Vinitaly, wine critics, wines

Wine Wednesday: Anima Negra Brings Allegria To My Day


Happy Wine Wednesday. Earlier this week I was reminded of why it’s nice to have your local hangout where people know your name and what you like to drink. My local hangout is a Spanish tapas bar called Buceo 95. I go there often, on different occasions and with various people. Some wine people and some non-wine people. Everyone usually finds something they like on the list, thanks to their very helpful staff and John, their sommelier. On Monday, I was very undecided until I looked up and saw the label above.

I love this wine. It’s both profound and easy to get into, like spending time with someone you really enjoy being with and talking to rather than feeling overwhelmed by words. What does it taste like you might ask? Earthy, chewy, with pepper and spice, silky. I found it on wine-searcher priced between $18-$30.

It comes from the island of Mallorca, off the coast of Spain. It is made from a blend of indigenous and international varieties: 65% Callet, 20% Manto Negre and Fogoneu and 15% Syrah. Mallorca is one of the Balearic Islands. The grapes are bush trained on this windy island, as one might expect. Grape growing has been part of the culture here since the 14th century when Phylloxera destroyed the vineyards in France and many looked to plant vineyards in Spain. Mallorca was an early advocate of the cooperative movement as well and created one in the early 19th century to sell their grapes.

I have never visited these islands but look forward to doing so one day, in the meantime, I will keep my Anima Negra nearby.

In other news, I haven’t written a post of late about women in wine but I have a few that will be upcoming. In the meantime, here are some sites I like and think you will too.

Wine Harlots written by Nannette Eaton is a fabulous combination of things that speak to me. Notes about wines, quotes that matter, comparisons to music, general musings, plugs for good causes and I discovered at the Snooth PVA weekend, we share a love of swag. I am not sure if anyone knows that about me but I will say it loud and clear, I love swag, random objects in goodie bags as the end of an event or objects on a table at a wine tasting that catch my eye.

I’m also a fan of wine sayings and think that Lynne’s business at Glasshalfull is a fun, lighthearted way to express our love of the grape.

People often ask me what Avvinare means. Here’s a guest blog post I did on this theme for the Society of Wine Educators on their blog, Wine Wit and Wisdom.

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Filed under Indigenous Varieties, spain, Wednesday Reads, wines, Women in Wine