The Wines of Donnachiara: Five Generations of Irpinian Tradition

Last month I was invited to a winemaker’s luncheon in Campania, Italy. I didn’t have to travel far, though; just to West 54th Street in mid-town Manhattan, to a chic southern Italian restaurant. As I strolled toward my destination, I marveled at the hustle-and-bustle around me, which seemed exceptional even for New York: construction cranes peeked over office buildings, hinting at the sky-high aspirations of … Continue reading The Wines of Donnachiara: Five Generations of Irpinian Tradition

Reacquainting Myself with an Old Friend: #MerlotMe #WinePW

During the month of October, the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers (#WinePW) set their sights on American Merlot, using their tasting and writing skills to remind the world just how good it is.  Many of us started out loving Merlot, enjoying the ripe fruit and silky tannins that make it go down easy. It’s a charming wine and makes such an amiable partner at the table that it’s difficult to understand how it fell out of favor.

Yes, Miles from the movie Sideways threw a forestful of shade on the wine when he professed his abhorrence of it. But those of us who knew the truth about Merlot weren’t swayed by his opinion. We scoffed at his disdain for the grape, especially when he later professed passion for a trophy French wine dominated by Merlot. We dismissed his generalization as rubbish, but how much Merlot were we actually buying? Speaking for myself, not much. Why?

Maybe I’m an outlier but, although I considered myself a fan of Merlot, not much made its way into my shopping cart. Where was the disconnect? Looking back at my wine journey over the past 15 years, I think I can identify the root of my inconsistent approach: an abundance of choices. Pursuing that theme, I guess you could call it Fear of Missing Out on the latest, weirdest wine capturing the attention of the hip sommeliers across the country. There was nothing wrong with Merlot but, in my quest to track down obscure grapes and taste the latest “must-have” wine, I simply forgot about it. Merlot, the trusted friend, loyal to the end, even after being relegated to second-class status. I don’t deserve you. Continue reading “Reacquainting Myself with an Old Friend: #MerlotMe #WinePW”

Your Holiday Wine Plan, Part 1: Stock Up on Affordable, Everyday Bottles

As we cruise into November, we can be sure of a few things: Pumpkin Spice Everything will morph into Gingerbread Everything; our party schedules will have us on the go from morning until night; and we’ll get used to feeling stressed and excited at the same time. Yes, the holidays are right around the corner! (Ugh, my stomach just sank a little . . .) … Continue reading Your Holiday Wine Plan, Part 1: Stock Up on Affordable, Everyday Bottles

Chianti and Chianti Classico: Two Wines to Pump Up a Weeknight Menu (#ItalianFWT)

Cooking a great dinner on a weeknight is easy: all you need is time to plan, time to shop, and time to prepare a delectable dish. Right? I’m laughing to myself as I type this because, yes, it does sound easy; reality, however, usually looks a little different, at least in my house. Sometimes I’ve got a fridge full of beautiful ingredients just waiting for … Continue reading Chianti and Chianti Classico: Two Wines to Pump Up a Weeknight Menu (#ItalianFWT)

The Magic of Chianti: #ItalianFWT Uncovers Its Secrets

This Saturday, November 4th, the Italian Food Wine & Travel group takes a deep dive into Chianti, a region as famous for its pastoral beauty as for its food and wine traditions. In our October event hosted by Jeff Burrows at FoodWineClick, we began to explore the broad appeal of wines from Chianti and Chianti Classico (yes, they are separate areas), how they differ depending … Continue reading The Magic of Chianti: #ItalianFWT Uncovers Its Secrets

Chianti: It’s So Nice, We’re Doing It Twice! (#ItalianFWT)

Last month, Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick led the Italian Food Wine & Travel group on a tour of Chianti, proving that this much-beloved wine is at home in a wide range of scenarios. Whether you’re paying tribute to your grandmother’s Sunday ragú or grilling up a Fred Flintstone-sized bistecca alla Fiorentina, Chianti is the perfect accompaniment. For links to the articles written by our #ItalianFWT … Continue reading Chianti: It’s So Nice, We’re Doing It Twice! (#ItalianFWT)

You Say Grenache, I Say Garnacha: A Toast to #GrenacheDay

“Grenache is for me, the wild, wild woman of wine, the sex on wheels and devil take the hindmost, the don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  –  Oz Clarke I rather like Oz’s description of Grenache, the wine grape of many personalities.  Having spent a bit of time in Spain, I myself have fallen prey to her charms:  sometimes in the magenta-hued guise of a … Continue reading You Say Grenache, I Say Garnacha: A Toast to #GrenacheDay