Eat An Amatriciana Per Amatrice

Like most Italophiles and people the world over, I am thinking of what to do to participate in helping the area devastated by the recent earthquake in Italy. While there is no way to repair the loss of life, one can lend economic support. Watching the Rai last night ithey mentioned that that is what... Continue Reading →

Vitali – Chocolate Artisans In Bagno A Ripoli

Chocolate is not generally one of the first items that come to mind when thinking about Italy. Chocolate has a long history in Italy linked to regional traditions, specific ingredients from specific terroirs, and superior artisanal craftsmanship. In the chocolate market, Italy competes with Belgium and France, better known chocolate making countries. There are four... Continue Reading →

Wine Wednesday: La Notte di San Lorenzo Calls For A Morellino di Scansano

I’ve been so busy at the society of wine educators conference that I missed writing about this day that always marks mid August. Look up at the sky, you may see shooting atTa.


August 10 is celebrated in Italy and by Italians throughout the world as the night of the shooting stars. This film by the Taviani brothers is one of my old time favorites. This night is famous because you can see a host of shooting stars in the night sky and of course, as we all know, you make a wish when you see one.

Historically, the night of the shooting stars is supposed to commemorate the tears of San Lorenzo who met his end on this day in the III century.

The movie set in Tuscany brings to mind Tuscan wine and “una voglia pazza di essere in Italia” (great desire) to be in Italy watching them this evening. Even if I’m not going anywhere, if I see a star I too can wish it on saying “Stella, mia bella stella, desidero che…”, and waiting for the event…

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New World/Old World Wines: South Africa & Madiba On My Mind

Today at the Society of Wine Educators Conference I sat in on a seminar on South African wines with Jim Clarke. What strides these wines have made since I first tasted them years ago. I am still a fan of Chenin Blanc from SA more than other varieties but there was a blend with some Pinotage that was interesting as well. Wonders never cease. Still always think of Mandela when I see or do anything related to South Africa. Would that we had someone like him in the States in this divisive period of our history.


South African Flag

Like much of the world, I have been watching hours of programs about Nelson Mandela’s life and his example. He is so inspiring that one can only try to be joyous and cheerful when thinking about his spirit despite the fact that he has left our earthly domain. As this is a wine blog, of course, I am thinking about South Africans and the South African wine industry. I had the occasion to try a number of wines from South Africa paired with South African cuisine at the Institute of Culinary Education earlier this year. Jim Clarke led the lecture and the event was part of the Snooth PVA blogger weekend.

I also had the great fortune to work on a project for Stellekaya and to befriend the wonderful Ntsiki Biyela, their wine maker. All this to say that South African wines have a special place in my heart although…

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New World Wines: Varied Bordeaux Blends From Virginia

Spent an exciting day visiting wineries in Virginia. Glad to be back after a long hiatus. Really interesting Cabernet franc blends, Viognier, Petit Mansang and even Tannat. Wonderfully hospitable people. Thanks #virginiawineries.


As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thinking about all of the American wines that I have tried over the past few years. Some stand out, others less so but all interest me in terms of the evolution of the wine industry in the USA.

This past year at the Society of Wine Educators conference, I attended a seminar about wines from Virginia entitled, “Virginia: the Bordeaux of North America?” A pretty big claim but I was willing to listen because the speaker was none other than Jay Youmans from the Capital Wine School. Jay is a wonderful speaker and a lovely person to boot, as well as being an incredibly knowledgeable member of the wine community.

We learned during the lesson that male settlers in Virginia in the 1600s were called to plant at least 10 grape vines. We also learned that Thomas Jefferson tried to grow grapes in…

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