Monthly Archives: December 2015

Five Italian Wine & Spirits Trends We Expect To See In 2016

italy 600Happy New Year to all. Felice Anno Nuovo.  As 2015 draws to a close, we reflect on the past year and what we expect to see in Italian wine & spirits trends in 2016. Our top five trends follow, mind you we may be wrong but we think these items will become ever more important or will burst on the scene:

  1. Sparkling wine category sales will increase with Prosecco still out ahead.
  2.  Italian sparklers will become more main stream be it sparkling wines from indigenous varieties or Franciacorta.
  3.  Italian whites will become ever more important with easy to drink and pronounce Vermentino leading the way.
  4.  Mirtu, a digestif from Sardinia will finally make some headway in the US market.
  5.  Italian wine education classes in the US will become the next hot ticket, with various players getting into the market. The race will be to see whose qualifications are recognized by the Italians themselves.


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Wine of the Week: Ferrari from Trento


I wrote a post the other day about Italian sparkling wine and neglected to mention wines from the Trento Doc classification. A huge oversight on my part. especially because I drink Ferrari at every holiday, including this Christmas. No harm done though because it’s my wine of the week this wine Wednesday. Here is a post I wrote about the winery earlier this tear.

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Vino Santo for Christmas


When writing about wines for Christmas, people tend to think of sparklers and then of heavy reds. In general, I find little writing about sweet wines, a category I love. For Christmas, this year as always, the end of the meal will bring a touch of Vin Santo from my friend, Susanna Crociani,

Crociani Vin Santo

I’m a huge fan of her particular Vin Santo which is neither too sweet nor too dry, rather it is just right. It exceeds in the direction that I like in a dessert wine with aromas and flavors of dried fruit and nuts, honey and caramel. For a long post I wrote about Susanna years ago, click here. I miss her and Christmas is always a time when I think of her and Tuscany and drink her delicious Vin Santo.

She also makes a Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice. These wines are made from Sangiovese and are of course, red. For a very interesting discussion about Vin Santo, please check out Wine Folly’s article here. Madeline Puckette is doing a great job on her site, with her books and maps as well.

Buon Natale amici vicini e lontani.

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Upper West Side At Christmas Time

Beauty copyLooking forward to tomorrow’s festivities at St. John the Divine and the V&T, and celebrating with Ruffino – plus ca change, plus la meme chose. This year though we have another little member of the family at the table, aptly named for a Florentine. Too early for him to be drinking Sangiovese but that will come soon enough,


I don’t know about you but the last week of the year always seems like summation time. What you’ve done, what you haven’t done, what has changed and what has remained the same. It also tends to bring up all of the Christmases of the past and the memories of those who are no longer with us. I always miss my relatives who are no longer with us but also rejoice with the ones who are. I also marvel at how time flies as my lovely niece and nephew grow bigger and wiser. Soon my beautiful niece will be my fashion consultant to give me a younger look. They are still too young to drink wine though so my adult family members and I get to share whatever we have at the table. We have a family tradition that on Christmas Eve we go to hear Christmas carols at St…

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Christmas Has Begun – Toasting With Sparkling Wine & Handel’s Messiah

Met Christmas Tree

Christmas season has officially begun for me. While I haven’t yet seen this gorgeous tree at the Met this year, I am on my way to see Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, a tradition for a number of years and looking forward to toasting with sparkling wine. I love sparkling wine in all of it’s iterations – Champagne, Franciacorta, Prosecco, Cava, Cremant, American sparklers, you name it and I am up for bubbles. With the holidays upon us, I feel it necessary to drink even more sparkling wine than I do normally. Lucky for me, there is an endless supply.

Many Italian wineries are now making sparkling wine from their indigenous grapes. I’ve had sparklers made from Cannonau, Nebbiolo and even Sangiovese. Those that I talk to about this new trend say that in part it is due to the popularity of Prosecco and in part due to their desire to complete the range of wines that they can offer clients. Many also make sweet wines in this same vein – to round out their selections.

Hopefully 2016 will be filled with all kinds of sparking wine and who knows maybe many occasions on which to drink it – although I could drink sparkling wine everyday – occasion or not. Salute!

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Top 10 Culinary Trends in 2016 According To LDE “Next Big Bite Event”

Earlier this year I was accepted as a new member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, in the New York chapter. It is a real honor to be part of such a group of fascinating women in the fine food, beverage and hospitality professions.


As a member I get invited to all sorts of exciting events such as one for Jacques Pepin’s 80th birthday.

Jacques Pepin

Unfortunately I did not attend one of their big events, open to the public called the “Next Big Bite.” LDE luminaries shared their ideas for 2016 and here are some of their conclusions:

1. The end of food elitism as younger chefs open more restaurants in off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods 2. A growing desire for locally sourced food, sustainability of farms, and more organic options
3. The fusion of traditional and exotic cuisine (e.g., Louisiana dishes cooked with West African recipes and
4. Increasing interest in Eastern Mediterranean foods from countries like Israel, Tunisia and Morocco
5. Focus on the root-to-stalk movement that elevates vegetables from side dish to entrée status
6. The shift of meat from center plate to the sidelines, in response to new World Health Organization report
guidelines on the health risks from eating processed and red meat
7. Proliferation of food trucks with multi-cultural cuisine
8. The continuing decline of soda consumption and sales
9. Expanding restaurant business challenges, from all-inclusive tipping policies to new training regimens 10. A more politically-active food community impacting governmental policies and humanitarian causes

To listen to a recording of the event, click here.

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Italian-Swedish Salmon Recipe & Lis Neris

Getting ready for the holidays and missing my friends in Italy and so many fun times I spent with them in this period. I love this wine and this recipe and thought I would share it again.


Recently I started posting a few recipes that my friends had given to me before I left Italy. This one is from Paola Cornelli, a dear friend and a fabulous skipper. I decided to pair it with a wine that I love, Confini 2005 IGT, from Friuli Producer Lis Neris. The wine is made from a blend of grapes with slight changes in the percentages on a yearly basis. The 2005 is a blend of 30% Pinot Grigio, 60% Gewurztraminer and 10% Riesling.


I brought the wine to my tasting group and they had a hard time placing it. The Gewurztraminer’s floral and lychee notes shine through and are well integrated with the minerality and wet stone tones from the Riesling. The wine is truly a celebration on your palate and is rich and full bodied without being overdone. The late harvest aromas and flavors are what makes the…

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