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…

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

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…

A Sense of Provence: Domaine Dalmeran

On a recent trip to Provence I met with Ana Lopez from Domaine Dalmeran for a tasting of their red, white and rosé wines. The domaine is located in Les Baux-de-Provence AOP, a region that makes organic and in many cases, biodynamic, practices a thumbprint for the appellation. I’ve written widely about the AOP so…

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…

The Stunning Blessing of The Senses

In June 2016 the people of Chicago waited -cameras focused- for Persephone, a corpse flower, to bloom in her home at the Garfield Park Conservatory. That same year, two more corpse flowers bloomed in Chicago: Alice and Sprout, both at the Chicago Botanical Garden.   Above: Alice the Corpse Flower blooms in time-lapse at the…

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. Have you ever heard someone say to a young mother -several…

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…

The Biodynamic Vineyards of Savoie

When I read the story of Jacques Maillet, Savoie vigneron, it echoed the message I’d heard from other biodynamic winemakers. The chemicals, they say, just aren’t safe. They are toxic to our plants, to our soil, to our wildlife and to us. The Tale of Jacques Maillet Jacques Maillet husbands four hectares of vines, most over 40 years…

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…

Evenings with Merlot

This article is all about Merlot, in conjunction with #MerlotMe and #WinePW, featuring two bottles from the Napa Valley. When I was a younger gal, an early wine drinker, my go-to wine was Merlot. I still remember walking into a Champagne bar and ordering a glass of Merlot instead of bubbly. Merlot proved, and still…

Harvest in Bordeaux

This article visits the regions of Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers as an example of the harvest season in Bordeaux. As I write this, estates harvest. They send their hands and boots to the vines as the grapes they’ve nurtured for months (from the vines they’ve nurtured for years) come into the winery. The harvest comes in…

A Beginner’s Guide to Volcanic Wines

This article introduces Italian wine from grapes grown in volcanic soil. Volcanic Activity It’s one of society’s most fascinating and upsetting stories: Pompeii. …and the walls kept tumbling down, in the city that we love…grey clouds fall over the hills bringing darkness from above… ~Bastille, Pompeii From HISTORY: “Ever since the ancient Greeks settled in the area in…