A Château in Provence

I wrote the book before I’d been there, which may seem a backwards way to craft a novel. But by the time the book had been outlined, characters created, fictional wines made this place had begun to feel like home. My novel isn’t about this place exactly, but it is about the feeling of this…

The Grapemakers: People Behind Napa Valley Harvest

During a recent trip to Napa, I heard this phrase frequently: in the industry – Some of us in the industry get together for a tasting. We offer a special price for others in the industry. My husband are I are both in the industry. People in Napa Valley wine country associate with one another on these…

The Plurality of Portuguese Wine

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to write about The Douro Boys. This is a group of winemakers from five quintas (the Portuguese term for wine estate) that have put their energy together to make wine drinkers more aware of the variety of wine coming out of their UNESCO-recognized region. “Together, they’re putting the…

Growth in Oregon Wine: Here’s Why

The Oregon Wine Board recently released its Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census Report, revealing growth in many aspects of winemaking and grape growing in their state. While the numbers illustrate realities, here are a few wines to try (after all, that is what it’s all about) that bring home salient points from the report. Report…

Ancient + Native: Rural Festival Emilia

Isidoro and Giovanni Lamoretti cultivate indigenous Italian grapes on their hillside farm near Parma, Italy, neighboring the Torrechiara Castle. They maintain dedication to a particular varietal, Lambrusco Maestri, known for soft creamy bubbles. Ancient documentation shows that Lambrusco grapes have been cultivated in the region since 160 BC. To call them ancient is, well, obvious –…

Drink Occitanie: Domaines Paul Mas Winemaker Bastien Lalauze

After a recent trip to the Languedoc (known now, departmentally as Occitanie) I’ve noted several themes running through the wine conversation about the area, present both in southern France and abroad. My recent conversation with Bastien Lalauze, winemaker and estate manager sustainably-farmed Château Martinolles in Limoux, a sparkling wine property in the Domaines Paul Mas family brought to life these themes, illustrating where practice and perception are coming together in a very exciting circuit

Mapping France in Wine Bottles: Where to Get Affordable French Wine

If you have the impression that finding affordable wine in France is hard – it is definitely time to revisit that stance. My husband and I have taken several road-trips through France, meeting winemakers and tasting wine – much of it high-quality, AOP wines with price-tags that need to be forgiven for their modesty. Where…

Find Your New House Wine: French Wine, Priced Right

Before our tastes tended toward the eclectic, my husband and I employed a house wine. A very affordable bottle, a Southern Rhône blend, that we relied upon for nearly any occasion. When recent guests (my cousin and lifelong friend and her husband) came to visit, they asked for recommendations. I shared that lately I’d been…

Affordable French Wine

Affordable is an arbitrary term. We all have our personal price preferences for wine we purchase to drink at home or at a restaurant. For most of us, triple- or quadruple-digit pricetags are out of reach for everyday drinking. Let’s say that around $20 (~€17, ~£15 at the moment) is affordable. Sure, you’ve seen the…

Rosé and Sea Salt

It has come up in conversation – many times – as one of our most extraordinary experiences in France. It is certainly hard to describe and after chatting about this place, I generally feel like I left out the real story. This is because Grussian, a commune in the southern French Aude department, is experiential….

Winemaker Rendezvous: Ivan Giovanett from Castelfeder

Today we welcome Ivan Giovanett, winemaker at Castelfeder located in Cortina, Italy in the Alpine region of Alto Adige. Castelfeder History Ivan Giovanett works in one of the world’s most beautiful spaces, Alpine Italy. The winery was founded in 1970 by Ivan’s grandfather, Alfons Giovanett, an attendee of the renowned wine school in San Michele…

Climb to the Top: Alpine Wines of Italy

Earlier this year, I interviewed Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D, of Mezzacorona Group, where he is the winemaker for Rotari Trentodoc, Mezzacorona and Stemmari. Rotari Trentodoc is located in the Dolomites, in Northeastern Italy, part of the southern limestone Alps. It was this conversation with Matricardi that churned up my enthusiasm for winemaking and grape-growing in the…

Lessons from a Biodynamic Winemaker in France

I take a notes like a squirrel on the bird feeder – fast and and full, getting it all down before someone changes the subject. You’ll know me by my notebooks. More often than not, however, the stuff that really sticks with me doesn’t require a scribble. My memory serves in certain moments where everything…

Périgord Wines: Bergerac and Duras

It was the roses – and the view – that made us pull the car over. Though everyone wanted to make good time, we were compelled to stop, even as other cars whizzed past while we weaseled into a spot across the street from the local cave. Cameras are made with the panorama setting for…

Alpine Wines of Italy

Several years ago my husband and I drove through the Alps of France and Italy, leaving me with a sense of admiration for the natural abundance as well as the man-made influences of the mountains. We drove through the Fréjus Road Tunnel which connects Modane, France to Bardonecchia, Italy under massive Col du Fréjus. 80%…