Monthly Archives: June 2016

Musing On Wine Education: New Course from Vinexpo


According to an email I received today, Vinexpo and KEDGE Business School have a new program for the Global Wine Industry. The certificate is called the VINEXPO EDU Wine & Spirits Marketing Certificate. It will be taught in Paris at Kedge in January of 2017 in English. They note that it, “combines worldwide experts’ speeches with master classes led by specialized professors as well as networking events. Applied marketing, negotiation strategies and consumer behavior courses are at the heart of this process. The program also supports the professional development of participants by providing individual coaching sessions, helping you build your own marketing and business plans.” The initial course will be offered from January 16 to 20, 2017. They mention as well that it should be a great networking opportunity. Very interesting. Everyone is getting very serious about their educational offerings in the wine industry from all angles.

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Memories of Liguria In the Summer

Part of my upcoming trip will also be to Liguria. I can’t wait to hang out on the beach, eat delicious trofie al pesto, foccaccia and the like and of course drink the great wines they have in that region. Check out the Italian Wine and Food group’s posts on Liguria from last month. You can find them on my site under an article I wrote about the unsung wines from this region. Cheers!


Ligurian Hill Towns

July is a special month for me. It’s my birthday month, summer, and one that always reminds me of the years that I lived in Italy and went on holiday in Liguria. I rented a house for a few years with friends in a small town called FinalBorgo.

Final Borgo


It was a very near the larger town of Finale Ligure where we went to the beach. Our little town though only had a couple of cafes, a pizzeria and the main piazza where we ate gelato. We always took long walks up and town the coast as well and bought summer dresses from ladies who came to the beach with multicolored products. The whole experience was slow and relaxing, except for my friend Loredana’s crazy driving on the road down from Milan, smoking a cigarette, singing and texting wildly. Other than that, every weekend was a joy and a discovery…

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Chianti Lovers: Chianti Colli Fiorentini

Very excited for my first stop on the Italy trip, Villa Medicea di Lilliano. Not only do I get to see this beautiful Villa and grounds but I can do it while drinking these lovely wines from the Malenchini family. Looking really forward to it.


Duomo di Firenze

The denomination Chianti Colli Fiorentini Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G.) is one of the seven sub-zones of Chianti D.O.C.G. This production zone is located in and around Florence and the Arno river valleys. Like its other six cousins, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Colli Aretini, Chianti Colli Senesi, Chianti Colline Pisane, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Montespertoli, producers can chose to use the denomination or not. The area was defined in 1932. With DPR 290 of July 2, 1984, the Chianti Colli Fiorentini area was officially granted DOCG recognition; The Chianti Colli Fiorentini Consortium was founded on September 20, 1994.

The wines must be at least 70% Sangiovese. They can also contain Canaiolo and Colorino, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in small quantities. I was introduced to the Chianti Colli Fiorentini in 2010 by their wonderful PR manager, Stefano. Despite living in Florence for many years, I didn’t know…

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Women In Wine: Susanna Crociani From Crociani Winery in Montepulciano

So looking forward to our trip to Italy and visiting Susanna. Vin Santo awaits!


I have been meaning to write about Susanna Crociani since we first met at Vinitaly 2007. In the interest of transparency, I want to point out that I have spent considerable amounts of time with her and we are good friends. In fact, Susanna was just staying with me for the past week during Vino 2010 and we were speaking together on a panel regarding Social Media on Wednesday together with Alder Yarrow of Vinography, Doug Cook, Head of search at Twitter and founder of Able Grape, Steve Raye of Brand Action and Anthony Dias Blue.

Susanna spoke at length about her experiences writing her wine blog which she began in 2006. To view the panel, please click here.

I have been tasting and drinking Susanna’s wines for about three years now and think they are terrific. My favorite is her Vin Santo. We just opened a…

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BREXIT: Shocking News Calls For Copious Amounts of Alcohol


Like many others, I am shocked by today’s news of the win for those in Britain who wanted to leave Europe. I know this is a wine blog but I still am a former news correspondent, international relations graduate and internationalist so it is very hard for me to not to comment. I am shocked and dismayed by this turn of events for so many reasons. It bodes poorly for the US elections in November and that is a scary idea to me. It shows that anti-immigration policies are on the rise as is fear of the other. Lastly, the stock market and my account took a big nose dive today and will be reeling for the foreseeable future. Stormy seas ahead it seems and that always calls for copious amounts of alcohol. Most sailors I know drink Rum when they are out or at least keep it on hand.

Smooth Sailing

I haven’t written about any Rum I see as I troll through my files but I have written extensively about another drink which comes to mind, Amaro.

For many, myself included, today’s news is a bitter pill to slow and a digestif such as Amaro might well do the trick. Who knows what will happen in the coming weeks. I had hoped that the world would be coming together not splitting up into ever smaller units. It reminds me of the break-up of Yugoslavia albeit not the violence that ensued there, thank goodness. As a graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a specialization in Europe, this is really not what I would have expected when I graduated. A sad day.

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Italian Indigenous Varieties: Lambrusca di Alessandria and Lambrusco a Foglia Frastagliata

italy 600

Lambrusco is one of the most widely discussed and maligned grape varieties grown in Italy, together with Albana and Pinot Grigio. There are many different grapes with Lambrusco as part of their name, mostly grown in Emilia Romagna but not all. It is likely that they are related to a wild grapevine that was already known to both Pliny and Virgil in antiquity. The first one mentioned today in fact does not grow in Emilia but in Piedmont and Lombardy. It was much more amply planted before phylloxera hit but after was less widely seen. Today it is often blended with Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa and Bonarda.

The latter grape, Lambrusco a Foglia Frastagliata is grown in Trentino and is more widely known by the name Enantio. I actually tried this wine a few years ago but only recently learned of its connection to Lambrusco. This one is often used for making rose wines.

A fellow blogger who often writes on Italian wines, Jennifer Martin on Vino Travels published this article on Lambrusco ahead of Lambrusco day which was apparently June 20. It’s a good read and a good primer on Lambrusco.

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Wine Wednesday: Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec


Another one of the rose’ wines I had this week, by Susana Balbo from Argentina, was a real treat. This 2015 was made from 100% Malbec in the Uco Valley in Argentina. The vineyards are very high, 1200 meters above sea level here and are hand harvested. While the alcohol was high, 14.5%, I didn’t find it overwhelming even on a hot Saturday afternoon in Williamsburg. It was fruity but not over the top with nice acidity thanks to the elevation, subtle aromatics and a long finish made it a great wine to pair with summer foods. It is also very affordable at around $13.


I love the fact that these wines are made by an Argentine woman, Susana Balbo. Susana got her degree in oenology in 1981, and became the first woman in Argentina to do so. Her career started in Cafayate, Salta province at Michel Torino winery, she then worked at other well-regarded wineries such as Martins and Catena Zapata.  According to her website, “She was the first Argentinean woman hired as a consultant to wineries worldwide: Spain, Chile, Italy, Brazil, Australia, and California. This experience allowed her to always be ahead of market trends and wine styles.” In 1999 she founded her own winery, Dominio del Plata. It is  located in the Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza. I loved Argentina when I visited some time ago. For a time I danced tango a bit and was quite taken with it.  I didn’t visit her winery at the time of my visit but  there is always a reason to go back.




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