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%…

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…

Dog Friendly Wineries in California

So where are the top dog friendly wineries in California? On a recent trip to Napa I found myself charmed by all of the friendly faces in the tasting rooms – not just staff and visitors, but the pets that seem to feel as at home in a winery than at a dog park. It…

Historic Vineyards of Mâcon

Burgundy, known as Bourgogne in France, is one of the world’s most incredible wine regions. Due to an intense history dedicated to winemaking, there are stories to be told, lifetimes to preserve. Let this video, from Bourgogne Wines provide an introduction:   Vineyards in Burgundy have been cultivated for over 2,000 years, first by the…

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,…

Thomas Jefferson in Burgundy

There is a phrase in the French language – déformation professionnnelle – which describes one’s tendency to perceive every situation through the biased eyes of one’s profession. But consider the constant shape-shifting of reality for a man with armloads of professions: inventor, farmer, author, diplomat, ambassador, drafter, architect, teacher, United States President, archaeologist and onward. Jefferson, Wine Lover Thomas…

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…

The Good Wines of Lirac

Last fall I spent some time with winemakers in Lirac, a cru located across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I covered a significant conversation with Rodolphe de Pins, winemaker at Château de Montfaucon and Co-President of Lirac AOP in a recent piece published on Palate Press: I’m in a vineyard on top of a graceful…