Wine for a Summer Cookout

Many years ago I hosted a cookout party for family and friends to celebrate my sister’s achievement of earning her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. I made, truly, the best pulled pork this side of the Mississippi and I thought to myself (as I often do): Rhône reds.  Turns out, I had a houseful…

Like a Local in Languedoc Wine Country

We started May in France and ended it in California, with a bit of sweet ‘real’ life in between. The trips allowed us to bask again in warm favorite spots, and afforded us – in good measure – the opportunity to sit in new seats and chat with new voices. We’ve got stories to tell,…

Fresh American Wines for Brunch

When I was a young mom in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood (hands up if you are from Chicago) the place to be seen with your family was John’s Place for brunch on the weekends. It was a right of passage, you were now adult enough to be up before noon, but were young enough that…

A World of Flavors in Marseille

The Southern French port city of Marseille has been the entry point for the world since the Greeks settled there around 600 BC. The second largest city in France is home to people of scoping nationalities and this diversity makes Marseille the world’s kitchen. Marseille is also in an excellent wine neighborhood, with the best…

5 Italian Easter Dishes and Wine Pairings

A robin made a nest in the wreath on our front door. She’s been out there, fluttering from the edge of the roof, to the twigs in the planter, to the shrub…constantly moving about. My husband called it: she’s going to lay eggs.  New Life and A New Season Now there is one delicate blue…

Champagne avec Les Winophiles Français

Champagne is the focus of this month’s Winophiles treatment. The Winophiles are a group of wine writers and bloggers that love French wine. Each month we focus on an area or aspect of French wine. Topics include regions, routes, food, travel, history, profiles, tastings…we expand widely and seek to learn. Champagne! Just the sound of…

A Gigondas from the Cellar

During a visit to Gigondas last fall, I had lunch with Thierry Faravel, proprietor and winemaker at Domaine le Bouïssière. Thierry and his brother Gilles are second generation vignerons, tending vines planted by their father Antonin, who grew grapes for the co-op for 41 years (not uncommon in Southern France). The family vineyards are in Gigondas,…

A Time + A Place for Champagne

Champagne is… …home to a 15,000-strong team of highly skilled winegrowers. …an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or AOC that’s been in place since 1927. …comprised of four main growing areas: The Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs et the Côte de Sézanne, the vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Bar. …situated at a northerly latitude…

6 Wine Bloggers Cover Corsica

This month we see Corsica. Our French Winophiles group is scheduled to stop at the French island of Corsica via our blogs and we’ll all meet to share notes, pictures and food-parings on Saturday, February 18th at 10 am central on twitter under the hashtag #Winophiles. According to Provence WineZine: Corsica, as a French territory or,…

Cooking at Home: Affordable Bordeaux & Homemade Pasta

“Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” ~Sophia Loren Something elemental happened in our kitchen recently. We began to make our pasta from scratch. For years I’d believed this was a practice we weren’t entitled to, not being Italian and having the oh-so-easy bounty of boxed (and even pre-made fresh) pasta available at our local…

Corsica: Where You Don’t Need an Invitation

My first French teacher was from Marseille. I learned Provençal dialects, accents and lifestyle as my first course in “becoming” French. This began what has been a lifelong connection with Provence leading me there many times, introducing me to many friends and helping me to obtain my Provence Wine Master status (exam next month!). While in…

The Test in Life is Unity: G. D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo

“We produce Barolo and wines of our land, the Langhe. We believe in beauty, in work well done, attention to detail, creativity which respects the tradition.” “We are the most modernist of the traditionalists and most traditional of the modernists.” “Layers flipping one on top of the other. This is the story of [the land]…

Getting Into Savoie with the French #Winophiles

The French Winophiles You may have noticed mention of the Winophiles group on L’occasion lately. The French Winophiles are a group of bloggers that love French wine. Most of the people in the group have some sort of specialty or favorite region. There are writers that are cooks with an interest in wine, wine writers…

The Wines of Red Mountain

The story of how I became familiar with the Wines of Red Mountain, an AVA in southeastern Washington state, is representative of how most of my wine connections are made: organically. Late November I received a note in my inbox from author Boo Walker. His third novel, Red Mountain, had recently been released and he…

Savoie with the French #Winophiles

Unforgettable Savoie January brings a trip through the Savoie wine region, on the eastern edge of central France. People from all of the world are called to this area for natural beauty, with a crown of Alpine features. It is also home to three wine appellations composed of 20 different geographic districts. Dominant Savoie grapes inclue Mondeuse, Pinot…