Monthly Archives: April 2017

Spanish Sundays: Calcari from Parés Baltà

Today’s wine hails from Spain, specifically from the Penedes region from Parés Baltà. I tried it at a Wine Media Guild lunch I was lucky to be invited to at the beginning of the month. The theme was all about Spanish white wines. It was an exciting line-up in general and this one stuck out to me. I was also sitting with the export manager of the winery and that is always helpful. Then I found out the amazing story of the family and the two winemakers who are women and it seemed like a perfect fit for this blog.


The wine in question is made from Xarel·lo at one of their vineyards which is at 254 meters above sea level. I am always interested in monovarietal wines made from varieties that are usually blended. Xarel-lo is one of the principal grapes in Cava, Spain’s famed sparkling wine.

The wine ferments in stainless steel tanks and then rests on its lees with daily battonage for four months.

The texture of this wine indeed was one of the things that drew me to it. It paired perfectly with a variety of tapas dishes that were served at the luncheon. It also seemed to me like a wine which would lend itself to drinking more than one bottle at a time. At an average of $15 around the country, that is also a feasible option for a party wine of a great during the week wine with a chicken or fish based dinner.


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Filed under Memorable Events, Penedes, spain, Spanish indigenous varieties, wines

New Series: Climate Change and Effects on Wine Regions


I think it’s appropriate to start a new blog series today, April 29, the day of the climate march in DC and sister cities. Unfortunately I can’t get to the march today with my son but I am thinking of climate change and the havoc it will and has caused on our lives, our cities, our crops and the wine industry. I am going to start a new blog series where I discuss different topics and regions and what they are experiences in terms of climate change. I am also going to be linking to resources that I have found and articles on the topic. Additionally I will be speaking to winemakers that I meet about what they have found and reporting their answers. While I was briefly in the MW program, this was the topic that I was considering doing my research on.

There are so many issues involved when discussing climate change and wine grapes and the subsequent wines that are made using those grapes. I will be getting into many of the issues but this post is just an overview.

The most obvious one is the rise in average alcohol levels as  hotter growing season. This issue cannot be overstated and California is a prime example of this problem as are some other new world countries. I have read the stories about how this might be better for regions such as Burgundy where cold and frost can cause serious damage while a hotter albeit shorter season could theoretically produce riper grapes, they would no doubt be from grapes that weren’t necessarily with balanced phenols and the sugars and acidity would likely be out of whack.

Nowhere is this truer than in some parts of the States, i.e. California. Some have even predicted that California will have to grub up many of its vineyards with rising heat challenges.

“Indeed southern Europe in general and California are particularly susceptible to the threat of global warming and the climate change which goes along with it. Specialists foresee the reduction of wine regions due to the climate strain, with California only being able to use the coastal wine growing areas cooled by the sea breeze toward the end of the century,” according to a website called Climate & Weather. While no one can say for sure, it is certainly a concern.

I remember a conversation with Josko Gravner years ago when he told me that California would have to grub up their vines. He said it rather gleefully at a seminar/tasting in Monza,

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Filed under calfiornia, Climate change, wines

Liguria On My Mind

Ligurian Hill Towns

I have had the good fortune to spend many a day and numerous weekends in Liguria throughout the years that I lived in Italy and since I have moved home to the States. A few years ago thanks to Filippo Rondelli from Terre Bianche who just got a great write up in the Wall Street Journal recently, I was introduced to the Enoteca Regionale della Liguria. Two years ago I began to do a few projects in the States with the Enoteca and to do seminars on Ligurian wines at  wine conferences. This summer I had a meeting in Sarzana with the group to plan our next series of activities.

Yesterday I got the terrible news that their President, Federico Ricci, passed away at the age of 52. I knew he was sick but I honestly thought that he would recover and most certainly not that two weeks after Vinitaly I would hear of his passing. Today is his funeral and I am stunned. He leaves behind his wife and youngish son not yet a teenager who I met when they came to New York in October 2015. Life is really a heartbeat and these events just underline how fleeting it can be. I am very saddened by this turn of events.



sadly today I am reminded just how brief it can be. Very sad indeed.

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Crodino & Chips – A Tried and True Combination

I felt like reblogging this because I enjoyed many a crodino at a recent trip to Italy and I wish we had that habit here. I also enjoyed a daily spritz, a tradition that has made it stateside but it’s somehow just not the same. I guess there’s nothing like being there…


I am enjoying the first day of summer in Italy, it came a bit later than expected. I also had my first Crodino of the year this weekend. Crodino is a trademark brand owned by the Campari Group since the mid-1990s but it is often used as a generic term for an “analcolico” or drinks without alcohol. This slightly bitter orange-yellow drink is pehaps the most widely ordered analcolico in the world. Italians have it at ever time of the day, generally with chips. I had mine last weekend after a trip to the estetista (beauty parlor) with my friend as part of the preparations for her wedding in Zagarolo on Saturday.

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Italian Indigenous Varieties: Malvasia Nera di Brindisi


This Malvasia hails from Puglia or Apulia as we say in English. It tends to grow around Lecce, Taranto and Brindisi.


Malvasia Nera di Brindisi which is also sometimes called Malvasia Nera di Lecce, Malvasia di Bitonto and Malvasia di Trani is usually used in rose wines for which the Salento is very well known as well as in red wines blended with other indigenous grapes from the area such as Negro Amaro and Susamaniello. It can be found in a host of DOC wines such as Aezio, Leverano, Copertino, Lizzano, Nardò, Salice Salentino,and Squinzano. Some producers do make a 100% monovarietal.

The variety is quite resistant to hot temperatures which works perfectly in that region which is very hot for much of the spring and summer. It has a think skin and is very sensitive to various diseases such as oidium and botrytis. It makes wines that have good tannins, alcohol and body. It can bring color to the blend but it lacks a bit of acidity. I have had this wine from Cantine San Marzano made with Malvasia Nera.  Tenuta Americo, from Otranto also makes many versions of Malvasia.

I love Puglia, the people, the food, the wines. I spent a week in the Salento in 2002 and it was truly memorable. I felt as if I was swimming in an emerald. I have never seen such green water in my life despite sailing in many parts of the Mediterranean, including Greece and Turkey.

My last trip in 2010 was more wine focused. I used to find that many of the best wines from Puglia don’t make it to the USA and those that do, at times have too much oak. That has changed in recent years and I am happy about it. They have so many fantastic indigenous varieties that I would like to taste without having them layered in oak flavors. It’s all about your personal palate at the end of the day and mine tends to try to stay away from oaky wines, especially if I am having light fare or I am at the beach. I highly recommend traveling there for the wines, the food, the people, the towns and the sea, its the Mediterranean at it’s best.

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Filed under Indigenous Italian Varieties, Italian DOC Wines, Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Puglia, wines

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017


The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. Today is that day. I usually think of the date being January 27 which is the liberation of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Some 80 members of my family and millions of other people were murdered there. They are not forgotten. I hate thinking what they might have contributed to the world and of the millions of children who were murdered. I am not heartened by the news of increased anti-semitic acts in the US, up 86% in the first three months of 2017. It’s fundamental in today’s America that people remember the past. I know full well that atrocities take place everyday on this planet and that many are tired of talking about the Holocaust. History often repeats itself however and we need to keep the record straight so that it is not whitewashed or rewritten for political or other needs.

Candles 911

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Vive La France


Today’s post is about politics and not wine. Sadly politics has been on my mind much more often than wine these days. I am hopeful however that the far right party did not win the French elections outright. As I have often written on my blog, I was a Francophile long before I became an Italophile. My father always loved and promoted everything about France. How great the country was, the food, the wine, their democracy, the healthcare system, workers rights, etc. Naturally, I became obsessed with France as a young girl, lived in Dijon in college and majored in French language and literature at university. Then of course I went on a vacation to Italy and fell in love in what has proved to be my most enduring love affair. All of that said, I am very keyed into what is going on in France and relieved that the far right did not win although I am not looking forward to the nasty campaign we will see.


I think I may actually finally get down to studying for my French wine degrees as a way to participate in all things French in the next few months. My most recent post about a French wine was this one <a href=””&gt;.</a> I should be posting much more often about French wines.


French wine was this one . I should be posting much more often about French wines.

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