The verse of the vine

The bishop, the heathen, the soldier, the muse, All legions, collectives, great nations in turn, Through treachery, treaty, industry, ruse, Have nurtured the vine from the earth to the urn; Through wars of attrition, by sweeping decree, Through alliance, betrayal, entreaties, crusade, Republics’ and empires’ hegemony, Gave wings to the vine and a burgeoning trade; […]

The Golden Rules!

In 1152, in a pivotal moment of European history, Duchess Eléanor of Aquitaine wedded Henry Plantagenet, Count of Anjou who would later become Henry II, Duke of Normandy and king of England. In a testament to the often convoluted, monarchical alliances of Europe, Henry was at once the sovereign of England and vassal to the […]

Stags Leap District Shows its Colors

The year is 1852. Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire has just become the 14th president of the United States. California is a newly minted addition of the American Union, its Sierra foothills teeming with wild-eyed fortune seekers clawing at a purported cache of inexhaustible gold bullion. In the northern valleys of Napa and Sonoma, waves […]

All You Need is Love – and Bubbles!

Valentines Day, like many modern translations of history has not been immune to whimsical adaptations of reality that have transformed its significance from dubious religious rite to that of a full-blown celebration of the affectionate impulses of humankind. It is believed that this most intimate of mid-February observances has its enigmatic roots in late 5th […]

The Republic of Venice – part two.

In the Republic of Venice part one, the delightfully expressive wines of the great northern Italian district of Soave took center stage. Yet, in the land of Shakespeare’s Capulets and Montagues there is another dominant voice of the vine that has celebrated the Veneto’s rich wine heritage for centuries – Valpolicella. Flanked to the west by […]

The Republic of Venice – part one.

This is the first in a two-part series on the wines of the Veneto. The Republic of Venice, through commerce and conquest, flourished for nearly eleven-hundred years! From the late seventh-century until its collapse in the late eighteenth century the Venetian city-state was one of great power and influence. Its strategic position at the intersection […]

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 […]