Chiaretto Goes With Everything: Italy’s Versatile Rosé Wine

Chiaretto is short for Chiaretto di Bardolino, a pale, dry rose-colored wine produced on the shores of Lake Garda in Lombardy, Northern Italy.

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Vermentino from Maremma, Land of the Butteri Tuscan Cowboys

Maremma lies south of Florence, north of Rome — a Tuscan region along the Thyrrenian coast. Nicknamed the wild frontier, this spot is home to vineyards, rich agriturismo, a sweeping natural preserve and a prestigious thermal spa. Also: there are cowboys — the butteri — horseback cattle breeders with roots dating back to Etruscan days.

Aglianico Connections in the Napa Valley

According to the California Grape Acreage Report – 2016 Crop, approximately 70 acres of Aglianico exist in California. San Luis Obispo, San Joquin, and Amador Counties being the relative leaders in plantings with double-digit teen registers. Napa County, where Benessere acquires the grapes for their wine, has a lonely one acre.

A Romantic Italian Christmas At Home

Of dinners with jazz, and great wine, and succulent things that children don’t always appreciate. Of woks and fondue pots, and the glorious leisure of the 70’s when it was acceptable for adults to ignore the kids in favor of pleasure. Of keeping the little drink umbrellas in the bar, rather than the Barbie house. Why not celebrate a romantic holiday at home now, even when the kids are still here?

Chianti Lessons

Sometimes I wonder if what I read and hear is actually true – especially about wine. It seems that the line between subjective and objective, between opinion and fact, between authenticity and artificiality has been blurred, even rubbed out, at times. And even on this, opinions very. WSET standards are intact to codify taste and…

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 –…

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…

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%…

Fresh Wines from Lazio and Umbria: Falesco

When I wrote in my notes… Create curiosity and knowledge. …I knew I’d come to admire Dominga Cotarella. Dominga (I’ll use first names throughout, to avoid confusion) is a second-generation owner in the Cotarella family winemaking business, Falesco, originated in 1979 by her father Riccardo Cotarella and her uncle Renzo Cotarella. Dominga and her cousins Marta…

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…

Winemaker Rendezvous: Lucio Matricardi Ph.D. of Stemmari

TODAY WE WELCOME A RENDEZVOUS WITH WINEMAKER LUCIO MATRICARDI, Ph.D. WINEMAKER AT STEMMARI ON THE ISLAND OF SICILY. LUCIO IS ALSO THE WINEMAKER AT ROTARI TRENTODOC AND MEZZACORONA IN ITALY. I’ll tell you what I was thinking, in the days leading up to my call with Lucio Matricardi. Have you ever heard someone say to a young…

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]…

The Terraced Vineyards of Liguria

The first time we visited Liguria was on a drive along the French Riviera from Provence. This particular route is one of life’s travel pleasures. One the one hand, there are the stunning beaches, white and sometimes rocky skirts for the glittering Mediterranean sea. On the other hand are the cliffs and towering outcroppings, often…