Beaujolais beyond nouveau!

Every individual recalls the moment that they succumbed to wine. It is unique and unforgettable like a first kiss or the sensation of absolute freedom when a bicycle is unshackled from training wheels! Mine came in 1988 in the raucous halls of the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris – an agricultural extravaganza where every conceivable, […]

Franciacorta – bellissima!

Many vineyard lands in the world regale our senses with wines that proffer the joyful frivolity of effervescence. Legions are those who have sworn fealty to their refined expression as witnessed in the consistently captivating and oftentimes remarkable wines of Champagne. Yet the land of Gaul is not alone in delivering delicious sparkling wines to […]

Madeira, Wine for the Ages – part two.

This is the second of a two-part segment entitled, Madeira, Wine for the Ages. Let’s talk grape varietals. Sercial is wonderfully focused and bright with almond-like aromatics and searing acidity and is often transformed with cask aging to something of poise and beauty. Verdelho ripens more easily and can produce smoky and seductive wines of a […]

Madeira, Wine for the Ages – part one.

As an ominous easterly wind howled across the Atlantic ocean two intrepid ship captains in the service of the illustrious Portuguese explorer Henrique o Navigador, vessels battered by the unforgiving waters of the open sea, were blown off course making landfall on a small island that they would christen Porto Santo. The following year, in […]

Water into Wine

Each time I have crossed the majestic Loire river in north-central France I have been silenced by its magnitude and power. Gushing from the earth at the base of the 5,000 ft. peak, the Mont Gerbier du Jonc in the southeastern departement of the Ardeche, the last major wild river in Europe that defines the […]

Gay Paris!

Slave to the grape – worse fates there have been! Paris, the city of lights, seduction, mirth and madness – just when you think you’ve understood her sultry pout she changes visages and saunters off, cloaked in the balmy summer night’s air, turning for one, final, lusty stare that drives you mad! The year is […]

Calvados – of apples, not oranges!

For many Americans, Normandy elicits memories of both pain and pride. Vast swaths of deserted beaches with names like Omaha, Juno and Sword resonate with a special historic and emotional intensity. On a pivotal day in June 1944 while French resistance cells sabotaged Nazi supply routes and troop movements (enduring summary executions and torture), their Anglo-American […]

Sonoma Shines!

I recently attended Sonoma in the City, the largest gathering of Sonoma wineries ever assembled under one roof (outside of Sonoma itself). With 100+ domains representing all 13 of the county’s AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) the range of styles, blends and winemaking philosophies was vast – not that this was unexpected but when you fill the ornate, Grand ballroom […]

SugarLoaf Ridge – Dining with the stars

Dusting off the propane lamps and heading for the great outdoors is a time-honored ritual of summer for many Americans. The draw of our cherished state and national parks is primal and the camping tradition touches us in a visceral way. Pitch a tent, stoke a roaring fire and you’re reminded of how critical it is […]

King of Spain

As a matter of state, it is an undisputed fact that King Juan Carlos 1st (baptized Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Siciliasis) is the crowned head of Spain. As a matter of the vine, the undisputed king of Spain is Garnacha! Spreading far and wide across the Iberian peninsula and pushing […]