But First…Dessert (with the French Winophiles)

The experience of French dessert wines is textural as much as flavorful. The balance of sweet and savory, viscosity and lightness, of freshness and stability…

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It’s Time for Languedoc Wines

a chance to explore and share the landscape, people, flavors and wine of this beautiful region. Situated near to Provence, Bordeaux and Northern Spain, this region expresses stunning topography and miles and gorgeous vineyards of ever-increasing quality.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

New Column at California Winery Advisor {and whales!}

This year I’ll be hosting a monthly column at California Winery Advisor. I get excited about this because California is such a diverse and interesting place in our world. There is so much to learn and so much to taste. I start out the year with a look at Monterey County in January. Now, this…