Vine Buzz

Currently featured on SlaveToTheGrape  from the French wine press: In the News – take a peek at the new, world-class wine palace coming soon to the city of Bordeaux;  A La Une (news en français) – check out what the dames du vin have to say when L’Express magazine goes straight to the source for interviews with three, top sommeliers […]

The Golden Rules!

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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 […]

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!

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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!

Upper Po valley

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.

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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.

Santa-Maria

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

Here it begins - the source of the Loire river at Mont du Gerbier

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!

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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 […]

Cavalonia!

Art begets art - tile art of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, Barcelona metro

On the northwestern rim of the Mediterranean Sea lies the beating heart of all things Catalan – the ancient port city of Barcelona. For centuries this powerhouse of maritime commerce has bustled with a vibrant mix of cultures from southern Europe to the Middle East to Africa and beyond. And, if you have ever had […]