When it comes to what’s in your glass — that sumptuous work of
art, do you resign to the visceral or let a wine rating or tasting note dictate
While I understand that tasting notes are needed in the industry as a means to sort, order, classify and make a wine brand marketable, should the rest of us be controlled by this numbered rating? Must we fill our thoughts with aromas of wildflowers or forest floor before we even take a sniff or sip?
Wine Newbie Me, is not trying to diminish in any way the credibility of the world’s wine experts and big names such as Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, or James Suckling, just to name a few. In fact, I learn a lot from them and love to read their reviews and articles, especially Jancis Robinson.
Or, if you explore (hashtag) #wine and try to keep up with the ever-growing Instagram and Twitter world of sommeliers and wine lovers, you can become easily swayed by the next up-and-coming wine critic’s notes because he/she has over 30.5K followers. That’s fine I guess, but before I get called self-righteous, I do have a point…
The Mom Factor
Would you tell a mother that you know more about her child than
she does? You better not — that is if you value your life! I imagine a
winemaker might not be so quick to react as strongly as your mother. However,
he or she is the creator of the wine: from the soil tilled, to the excitement
of bud break, to the blisters on the hands. He/she loses sleep over that
unexpected wind, rain or cold spell, or even Corona Virus!
The winemaker is ever present. He/she celebrates the joyful
moments and courageously plows through the suffering (pardon the pun.)
He/she too can express in words the wine better than anyone
With that being said, I found this little poetry in motion.
Baron de Brane
Margaux 2015: Château Brane-Cantenac
Henri Lurton is the composer of what he describes, “Une vraie
valse de fruits rouges, arrivés à parfaites maturité. La robe est grenat,
intense et profonde.” — A waltz of red fruits at perfect maturity. A garnet
dress, intense and profound.
Bottles from the world’s greatest wine producers have a story to tell and when you go beyond the tasting notes and pairing recommendations, you’ll find both the history and the story. By story, I mean what is present and what the possibilities can be.
Learn more about Château Brane-Cantenac at this link.
Miami, FL…October 3, 2019…The Italian Wine School based in Miami, Florida is pleased to announce that it will offer
the first course certified by Vinitaly International Academy (VIA): Maestro
Italian Wine Course certification study program. Designed for wine industry professionals and
aficionados, the eight session course will distinguish itself from other wine
certifications in that it not only provides a comprehensive look at the major
wine producing regions in Italy, but will delve into learning about indigenous
grapes and wine regions not commonly discussed.
Italy has 500+ wine regions and to date, 590 officially recognized
native wine grape varieties which sums up to more varieties than France, Spain
and Greece combined.
The Maestro Italian Wine Course will provide groundbreaking
materials which wine industry professionals can use when crafting their wine
lists. That is a key tool in communicating to clients and will offer a new and
“The Maestro Italian Wine
Course will expose a wealth of unknown information which they can in turn,
present to their clients,” states Stefano Campanini, Italian Wine
Ambassador and founder of the Italian Wine School. “Through the digital
landscape, VIA is providing updates on industry developments by the minute.
This will be key to crafting a broad wine list and communicating a new and
different narrative. As a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador, I must constantly
be out in the field rather than just inside a textbook. It’s my objective to help
people navigate through this labyrinth of Italian wine with the most current
information and curated selections.”
The Italian Wine Maestro course is the intermediate level from the
Vinitaly International Academy (VIA). A number of outstanding students from the
VIA Maestro course may be eligible for direct entry to the VIA Ambassador
The complete course consists of 24 hours of lessons and tastings
and is divided in 8 sessions of 3 hours each and concludes with a written exam
and tasting component.
Introduction: families and groups and focus on Italian sparkling
Piedmont’s native grapes
Native grapes of and Valle d’Aosta
Native grapes of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige
Native grapes of Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Umbria
Native grapes of Le Marche, Abruzzo and Puglia
Native grapes of Lazio, Campania and Calabria
Native grapes of Sicily and Sardegna
included guided tastings of 85 wines representing the best producers and every
region, while also exploring culture, history and regional food.
The first session will take place in January, 2020 and costs
$895.00. Students who successfully pass the Italian Wine Maestro level course
and wish to further their study may apply to enroll in the rigorous VIA study
program held annually in Verona and abroad, wherein students pursue either the
Ambassador or Expert credentials.
Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) aims to be the gold standard
of Italian wine education. VIA offers a complete educational path with
standardized courses that will teach professionals and educators to master the
diversity of Italian wine in a rigorous, organized manner. VIA’s main objective
is to foster a global network of highly qualified professionals such as Italian
Wine Ambassadors and Italian Wine Experts: in turn, they will support and
promote Italian wine throughout the world. VIA’s ecosystem comprising the main
institutional bodies and associations in the Italian wine industry strives to
be the conduit between the leading players in the Italian wine scene and
There are currently three levels of certification available
through the VIA program:
Italian Wine Maestro
Italian Wine Ambassador
Italian Wine Expert (VIA’S Highest Qualification Level)
About Stefano Campanini, IWA
Founder of Italian Wine School, Stefano Campanini is one of the
216 Italian Wine Ambassadors representing 33 different countries and one of
only twelve people to receive the Italian Wine Ambassador pin of the
thirty-nine people who wrote the exam in New York this past June.
Campanini ’s discerning palate was cultivated in his birthplace,
Parma, Emilia Romagna named by Forbes: “Italy’s Greatest Gastronomic Treasure”
and has travelled extensively in different wine regions. He has a strong expertise in French and
German wines. Campanini’s dream of sharing pleasure at the table began in 2011
when he opened Wine by the Bay. Since then, it has quickly become recognized as
one of South Florida’s leading Champagne and boutique wine stores and was most
recently awarded Wine-Searcher Gold in Overall and French lists in Miami. “Wine is an education and not just a drink,”
he’ll say while handcrafting a ‘tale of wine cities’ to both novices and
TGIF and Happy #GarnachaDay! Following a hurricane postponement of the Miami Home Show and rushing to get all of my work done and in place before flying to Spain, I began ignoring emails and was too busy to send what looked like junk to trash.
A quick glance at one particular email made me think it was a press pitch or sales offer. I was in fact, ignoring a politely written message offering me wine from Cariñena. A few days later and on the same day that I’m flying to Madrid, a follow-up email came through. I responded with an apology and passed up on the opportunity, quickly noting that I was on my way to Spain in pursuit of interesting wine stories.
After declining an invitation to have it sent to my hotel in Spain, to my delight the sender insisted that the wine be sent to my home so that it arrived in time for Garnacha Day, September 20th.
So, here I am on September 20th writing a little tribute. Due to the time crunch, I’m not going to be very original here, so if you need to find the source of the facts below, I heartily ask you to visit my gracious host, Vinos Cariñena (DOP) here: https://wineregiontowatch.com/
You can also follow them on Instagram and Twitter @vinoscarinena
Since it will take me a while to do some further research, here are some important facts:
The Aragon region of Spain is the land where Garnacha cultivation began in Roman times.
The vineyards of Cariñena lie in northwest Spain, rooted in the dry rocky soils that cover a 32-square-mile plain on the south side of the Ebro River valley, halfway between coastal Barcelona and dry, inland Madrid, in the autonomous community of Aragon which was once a medieval kingdom.
In Aragon, there are 5 Denominación de Origens (DO) of which Cariñena is one. Can you name the other 4?
DO members had to resist the temptation to uproot their gnarled heritage vines ranging in age from 40 to over 100 years that each yielded, on average, a measly two pounds of grapes.
DYK? In 1932, Cariñena is the second wine region in Spain named an official “Denomination of Origin.”
While older vines yield less fruit, their grapes yield more complexity and more concentrated flavors than those grown on young vines.
During the ripening season, temperatures drop 30°F (15°C) helping grapes hold their acidity levels high as they build sugars and phenolic ripeness in daytime. This results in flavor intensity and structure particularly in the appellation’s Garnacha and Cariñena/Mazuelo vines.
Single-varietal Garnacha wines are common throughout D.O.P. Cariñena. Old, bush-trained Garnacha vines abound here, some more than 100 years old.
Characteristics of Garnacha from Cariñena are: cherry, mandarin, red currant, white pepper and licorice
Founded in 1953, Bodegas Paniza is named for the village where the winery is located, and where growers have cared for their vineyards for generations. The winery is situated in the highest elevation area of D.O.P. Cariñena to the south, at the rise of the Sistema Ibérico Mountain range, which brings cooling influences even in the peak of summer.
The flagship of the winery is almost 200 acres of old vines, ranging from 50 years in age to a vineyard first planted in 1906 with Garnacha, Cariñena, Tempranillo and Moristel varieties. These singular plots produce very low yield, highly complex fruit and are entirely hand-harvested to preserve them for future generations.
Fábula Garnacha from Bodegas Paniza | 100% Garnacha
Black cherry colour with violet bues. Intense aroma of forest fruit, especially blackberries and black cherries. On tasting it is smooth, open, fleshy and well-structured.
Grandes Vinos has the distinction of working with vineyards in each of the 14 growing areas of D.O.P. Cariñena.
About one third of the company’s total production is dedicated to Garnacha, although the company is also well known for the local Cariñena variety and many others. The range of vineyard plantings allows the winemaking team to isolate a tremendous specificity of styles and to parcel-select wines for young, value seekers such as Beso de Vino, or cellar-worthy selections, including Anayón.
Beso de Vino Garnacha Viñas Viejas 2017 from Grandes Vinos | 100% Garnacha
A lively purple color with fresh and fruity aromas of blackberries, strawberries and cocoa powder. It’s easy drinking with flavors of crushed berries, cherries and a touch of toast.
A leading winery since 1944, Bodegas San Valero (Grupo BSV) has the longest history in Cariñena and has benefitted from access to some of the most prominent vineyards in the region for over 70 years.
San Valero focuses on indigenous varieties which account for 70% of plantings, including 25% dedicated to Garnacha. A long history in the region brings key advantages – some 20% of their Garnacha is classified as “old vines”, ranging from 30 to 100 years of age and situated at extreme altitudes in very rocky soils. These low-yield plots are cultivated with meticulous care to produce complex wines with rich flavors and a signature minerality drawn from ancient layers of stone.
Sierra de Viento 2018 from Bodegas San Valero | 100% Garnacha
Attractive cherry red color with blue sparkles. Elegant and fine aromas with a touch of ripe red fruits over a flowery background. Fresh and tasty in the mouth with an ample and elegant finish.
I’m not sure which wine I should try first and I will also need to find a suitable pairing. To be continued…
There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction. ~ Salvador Dali
Until next time, keep your glass empty and your inbox full. You never know what tasty surprises may arise before you click delete.
is one of twelve people to receive the Italian Wine Ambassador pin of the
thirty-nine people who wrote the exam in New York this past Sunday.
Miami, FL…July 2, 2019…On Sunday, June 30th,
Miami-based wine educator and Wine by the Bay owner, Stefano Campanini
received the prestigious, Italian Wine Ambassador pin and certification,
at the New York City presentation of the Vinitaly International Academy
(VIA) Ambassador Course.
With the support of the ICE – Italian Trade Agency, VIA staged
the Italian Wine Ambassador course at the 3 West Club from June 26th
to 30th, concluding with a four-part vigorous examination: multiple
choice test; a video presentation describing an assigned native grape’s history
and territory; a blind tasting; and a two essay, written portion. Students are
encouraged to prepare for the course with text book and tasting studies, at
least two months ahead of the actual course and during the course receive
theory classes, as well as taste approximately 250 wines.
“It’s an honor to be among 200 people from all over the
world sharing the mission to instill passion and education to new and seasoned
wine lovers,” says Campanini.
Campanini is one of twelve people to receive the Italian
Wine Ambassador pin of the thirty-nine people who wrote the exam in New York
this past Sunday. Not including the most recent recipients, VIA has trained 204
Wine Ambassadors from 33 countries, making Campanini one of only three
educators to have received this prestigious title in South Florida.
A native of Parma, Italy, Campanini began his career in the
United States as an art dealer in New York. Foreseeing the demand for collectible,
contemporary and Latin American art in South Florida with the emergence of Art
Basel (Miami), he would become one of the first gallerists to open a space in
the Miami Design District in 2004, followed by two moves: Wynwood and now in
its current location, Little Haiti.
In 2011, he decided to merge his passion for wine, food and
art by opening a boutique, retail wine store in Downtown Miami. He envisioned an
intimate space where both wine enthusiasts and experts could meet socially
while exploring both the lesser known and most commonly known wine regions of
the world, plus learn food and wine pairings and tips on cellar management.
Today, he continues classes and services from his gallery, Etra Fine Art and at
other locations offering both private and public events.
With his most recent title (he also holds the Wine and
Spirits Education Trust, WSET Level 2), Campanini hopes to be South Florida’s
first voice in Italian wine knowledge.
“Many people don’t know that there are 590 indigenous
Italian grape varieties! I strive to represent wines that are lesser known, but
much higher in quality than what most people get to experience based on the
limited selection available in big-box stores,” concludes Campanini. “With each
bottle that you open, there’s a story to be told. I’d like to introduce people
to this narrative and help them learn more about the territory, history,
cultivation and culture that adds to the uniqueness of Italian wines.”
About Wine by the Bay
Established in 2011, Wine by the Bay is an award-winning
wine retail store specializing in rare and collectible wines and Champagne.
Named Best Wine Store in New Times (2015); One of the Five Best New Wine Stores
in the Nation by Details Magazine (2012) and most recently recipient of the
Wine-Searcher Gold Awards for best European, French and Overall Lists in Miami
(2018.) Wine by the Bay prides itself on presenting educational events for both
the wine connoisseur and neophyte. Other services offered are: staff training
or strategic wine list design for restaurants; cellar curatorship and
management; private cellar selection purchasing; private and corporate events.
The grand Vinitaly 2019 was held from April 7th to the 10th.
Every year, Vinitaly counts more than 4,000 exhibitors on a 100,000+ square
meter area and 130,000 visitors from over 140 different countries with more
than 30,000 top international buyers. The premier event to Vinitaly, OperaWine
“Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers,” which will be held on the 6th of
April, one day prior to Vinitaly will unite international wine professionals in
the heart of Verona, offering them the unique opportunity to discover and taste
the wines of the 100 Best Italian Producers, as selected by Wine Spectator.
Since 1998 Vinitaly International travels to several countries such as Russia,
China, USA and Hong Kong thanks to its strategic arm abroad, Vinitaly
International. In February 2014, Vinitaly International launched an educational
project, the Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) with the aim of divulging and
broadcasting the excellence and diversity of Italian wine around the globe. VIA
this year launched the fourteenth edition of its Certification Course and today
counts 204 Italian Wine Ambassadors and 14 Italian Wine Experts. For more
information, visit www.vinitalyinternational.com.
Just when I thought I knew something about grapes, I
realized that I was wrong. I’ll be forever a wine newbie, but I’m happy about that.
Today, I’ll tell you why.
I’m now working on Chapter 4 of the SWE textbook, I’ve begun reading another textbook that focuses on Italian grapes, plus any other wine literature that captures my attention. I’ve discovered that the root (pardon the pun) of my growing interest in wine is vested in viticulture (or wine growing.) However, the more I read, the more I’m stumped. Pardon the second pun.
G is for…
Grapes: Did you ever wonder why wine comes from grapes and not apples or cherries? For one reason, no other fruit has so many varieties that are grown commercially. And, within the varieties, grapes develop different characteristics based on factors such as soil, climate and the way they are cultivated and harvested aka “viticulture.” Then, you have to examine all of the factors involved with fermentation, aging etc. There are so many variables in the evolution of that little bundle of juice!
Gargantuan: In Italy, there are 590 indigenous grapes for wine and more than one million vineyards. Yes, just in Italy. You can get the global picture here. It’s gargantuan.
Genetics: As you dive into the sea of wine knowledge,
you may find yourself like me drowning in terminology: clone, hybrid, grafting,
mutation, cross, etc. Now, the wine scholars may not appreciate my
oversimplification of wine, but when it comes to genetics, I’ve broken it down
to three major branches of understanding:
(a) Science: If a wine grower wants to attempt to keep
producing a successful wine-making grape, reproduction can’t be left to the
“birds and the bees.” Among other factors, he/she may rely on cloning or what I
like to think of as the single parent, vine child. Read more about clones here.
(b) History: I’ll get more into today’s wine shortly, but genetic
studies of grape varieties have disrupted some popular assumptions. For
example, Italian grapes thought to have originated in Greece may in fact, not
have. It could have been a marketing tactic during a time when Greek wine was
thought of as superior to Roman wine. I’m not making this up. Jancis Robinson,
one of the world’s most respected wine critics and journalists has presented
this DNA focused argument found here.
(3) Research: Climate change and an ongoing need to manage diseases with the least amount of chemicals possible, depends upon grape genetics research while avoiding GMOs. In March, Wine Spectator wrote that the federal government is allocating 68.9 million to build a grape-genetics research lab.
The Wine: Fonzone, Greco di Tufo 2017
Now here’s when things get really interesting (or confusing.) Greco is a grape variety or type and Greco di Tufo is the name of the denomination in Campania. There’s a bunch of other grapes (not another pun?) that sound like Greco, but are not related, genetically speaking. Straying from the letter ‘g,’ Malavia di Lipari is apparently the exact same as Greco Bianco that’s not related to the Greco. Greco Bianco is a grape. Greco di Bianco a denomination. And neither has anything to do with today’s wine. Got it?
The Greco grape of Greco di Tufo, is the oldest grape variety of the province of Avellino in the Campania region of southern Italy. If you ignore the Jancis Robinson article referenced above, Google’s highest ranking articles say that it was imported from the Greek region of Thessaly by the Pelasgian peoples.
FACT: Foreigner didn’t sing it first! A fresco at
Pompeii that traces back to the 1st century B.C. has an inscription
that says: “You are truly cold, Bytis, made of ice, if last night not even
Greco wine could warm you up.”
When learning about a new wine, here’s the part I love the
most: how the technical data paints a sensorial picture.
The Fonzone Greco di Tufo is made of 100% Greco from Santa
Paolina and harvested in early October. SOIL: sandy clay with veins sulphurous
underlying; ALTITUDE: 500 m above sea level; EXPOSURE: south-west; YEAR OF
PLANTATION: 1994; PLANTING DENSITY: 2600 stumps per hectare; VINE TRAINING
SYSTEM: espalier; PRUNING: Guyot
A brief understanding connects your glass to its territory. Do some more research and you’ll find out how all of these conditions affect the final product.
Since we’re playing with the letter ‘g,’ I’ll go briefly into the term “Guyot.” Vines as you know when left to their own devices will run amuck. High quality grape production is the direct result of proper pruning. Guyot also called cane pruning, is named after Dr Jules Guyot, a 19th century French scientist. Simply put, all old growth is cut back to leave either one cane (single Guyot) or two (double Guyot.) Canes are shoots that have reached about one year. This process is labor intensive and can only been done by hand. This technique is used by some of the world’s most prestigious wine growing regions. Read more about pruning techniques here.
I really liked the Fonzone, Greco di Tufo. To me, it was like biting into a luscious piece of pineapple, although the wine is not sweet. Its golden hue is like a perfect summer day.
The Dish: Scallops in a White Wine Sauce
I wanted to make steamed clams in wine, but couldn’t find fresh clams. I felt the recipe needed to be as simple as possible:
Sear the scallops in olive oil and then add ½ cup of wine (I used the Greco di Tufo);
Remove the scallops and make the sauce from 1 ½ cups of wine, 1 tbsp of lemon juice and minced garlic; reduce the liquid by half and them add 1 tbsp of butter and chopped parsley.
G is for Gratitude
When it comes to wine, there’s an infinite amount of information
out there shared through wine critics, journalists, scientists and the ever so
popular, Instagram influencer. While I respect all of these positions (except
maybe the latter), my study goal is not to become one of them.
I’m not interested in ratings or tasting notes other than guides to help me associate and classify my knowledge. Take some time to read an argument on this point written by my wine hero, Eric Asimov.
I am grateful for the ability to learn and totally comfortable
in my place as student rather than expert. I can make mistakes and that’s okay,
rely on just good judgment or instincts and process facts, but not be absorbed
by them. Or, I can say that wine is yummy and leave it there.
It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. ~ Pablo Picasso
Until next time, swirl your glass with gratitude. A story
from the earth will rise to your nose. It’s there to discover: forever a wine
NOTE: If you can’t make it to Calabria, you can find the Fonzone Greco di Tufo at Wine by the Bay.
There’s no connection really between the rom-com and wine. Just word nerd, wine newbie (hopeless romantic) me playing. I suppose we could make up some far-fetched, metaphorical association like, look beyond the superficial…but still, there’s no connection.
Just when I thought I knew something about rosé, I realized I wasn’t even close after attending Winebow’s #RosebytheBay held at Smith & Wollensky, South Pointe Park. Members of the wine trade were invited to discover over 100 rosé wines from Europe, South America, North America, Australia and South Africa.
How does a wine newbie like me choose what to taste with over 100, various shades of pink? With such sleek branding, it’s very tempting to be drawn to beautiful labels and bottle design. However, that’s like choosing a car for its color. So, I tried to select between old world and new world; a region or grape variety that I may have read about, but had not tried; and what was easiest to reach because at times, there wasn’t much elbow room. In fact, I totally missed seeing the wines from Australia and South Africa.
The fun part was that evening when I took a chance to learn more about what I drank and search for a good story. (If only I had each wine in front of me while reading and taking notes!)
As I had mentioned before, Côtes de Provence is France’s oldest wine region and rosé, although different from what we know it as today, was the first type of wine produced there by Greeks who had brought the vines to the area. At the Winebow event, there were rosé wines from at least eight other regions of France.
2017 Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris: I chose this wine because I was attracted to its golden color and knew nothing about “Gris de Gris.” Corbières is an important appellation of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. It is made up of five grape varieties: 50% Grenache Gris; 40% Grenache Noir and Carignan; 10% Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Yves Laboucarié established Fontsainte in its current incarnation in 1971 and is one among the first to use “carbonic maceration” which simply put, is when whole grapes are gently placed in an enclosed fermentation vessel and blanketed with carbon dioxide (Ch 5 of the CSW.) If you’re curious about Grenache Gris or Noir, see this article. Read more about Domaine de Fontsainte here.
2017 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Rosé Jeunes Vigne: While still only ankle deep into the CSW textbook, I’ve learned that Sancerre is not a grape (and I can now avoid a future soirée faux pas), but an appellation (see the link above) located in the Loire Valley. The grape BTW is Pinot Noir — indigenous to France, but grown elsewhere too. You can read all about the wine at this link.
2018 Raffault Chinon Rosé: When the Wine Therapist (see note at the end) tells you, “drink this one,” you do. Chinon like Sancerre is an appellation and Domaine Olga Raffault is stated as being, “one of the long-time reference points for top-quality, traditional Chinon wines.” Left widowed when her children were very young, Olga would operate the wine estate with a German WWII prisoner who would eventually become the winemaker. If you enjoy a good story like me, click here. 100% Cabernet Franc. If you’re new to wine like me, you may also wish to review, Saignée (“bled”) rosé and the twoother methods: maceration and blending.
2018 Viña Real Rosado: I am not very familiar with Spanish wines, so I chose to try one from Rioja and another from Ribera del Duero. The Viña Real is made from Viura: 75%, Tempranillo: 15%, and 10% Garnacha (Grenache in French.) Viura is the most important grape from Rioja. In Catalonia it is called Macabeo and in Southern France, Macabeu. Read more about this grape here and the winery here.
2018 Cepa 21 Hito Rosado: Made from 100% Tempranillo, Cepa 21 (Ribera del Duero) aims to get the most out of the grape’s characteristics and of the unique environment where they are created. They use traditional methods, but customize them to modern trends. You can find out more about this young winery led by brothers José and Javier Moro at this link.
(Side Note: Future Spanish Wine
and Blog posts to come, as I’ve just booked myself a trip to Spain!)
2018 Wölffer Estate Rosé: Long Island (Sagaponack) is the appellation and it is made up of: 52% Merlot, 20% Chardonnay, 13% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% Riesling and 1% Pinot Noir. Read more about the estate here. This was the first time I’ve tried a wine from New York and I really liked it!
2018 Argiolas Serra Lori Rosato: Founded in 1938 by Antonio Argiolas, Argiolas is the foremost wine estate on the island of Sardinia producing archetypal wines from native varietals. Serra Lori is a dry rosato blended from Cannonau, Monica, Carignano, and Bovale Sardo. Read more here.
2019 Pico Maccario Rosé Lavignone Rosato Piemonte: The rose (flower) on the bottle symbolizes the estate where there are 4,500 rosebushes all from the same clone and there’s one planted at the end of each vine row. Read the full story and details about this 100% Barbera wine here.
2011 Contratto For England Brut Rosé: Who can resist pink bubbles and surely, this wine must have been one of the best ones there! I think this says it all: old vine, 100% Pinot Noir, Metodo Classico aka Traditional Method, Méthode Champenoise, etc. Read more here. Someone spoil me: I’ll take ten!
2018 GD Vajra Rosabella: “Tasting the wine is like seeing a star. If you only see a star, you’ve lost the beauty of the universe,” says Aldo Vaira who made his first vintage when only 19 years old. From there, I encourage you to explore the rest. Here is the video and website at this link. Nebbiolo 85%, Barbera 5%, Dolcetto 10%
On that delightful note, it’s best to wine-down this post.
Now two months into the CSW textbook, I’m finding that learning about wine gives me the same sensation as understanding a work of art. It begins with a visceral response, but then the true beauty reveals itself when an investigation begins. The pursuit of knowledge is infinite, or in the great words of Albert Einstein:
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.
Until next time, raise your glass and listen to what it tells you and know that at least when it comes to rosé, Summer is with you for as long as you want! (Oops, strike out paragraph 1!!)
My wine journey would never have begun or continue without The Wine Therapist’s (aka Stefano at Wine by the Bay) guidance. No wine passes from his hand to mine (or any of his loyal clients and friends) without an anecdote and a smile. Follow him at @WinebytheBay
Postscript: There’s no such thing as Rosé Season apart from marketing! Grapes (like any other fruit or vegetable) follow a growth and harvest season as it relates to its region’s climate timeline. What differentiates wines are all of the other winemaking variables like fermentation. As you can see by the release years, most probably spent more time getting from their place of origin to your table, than in a bottle! What makes Summer a Rosé season is comparable to why you’d choose an iced latté over a hot one. It’s poolside chill that pairs well with typical summer weather dishes.
If you are fortunate to live somewhere in the tropics like me, it’s wrong to complain about the weather. However, we do and I’m going to right now. It’s October and the sun’s position says fall back, but it feels like July with no cool breeze to be felt.
I’m originally from the north, so at this time of the year my biological or more likely, my psychological clock says, store the cotton/linens and bring out the knits. My stomach says, stop grilling and eating salad and start slow cooking.
As a child I loved to go apple picking and have fond memories of tractor rides, ladders and picking apples off the ground. Yes, you don’t need a ladder to pick apples off the ground. My mother was a practical woman and she knew that windfalls were cheaper and could be stewed and the ones we could climb up the ladder to pick would be packed into lunches. Oh the smell, of stewed apples and cinnamon!
Here’s some more ways to not let windfalls go to waste.
Fall in the Pot
This evening’s recipe, Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder with Caramelized Onions is a tribute to my apple picking memories. There are many versions to be found and plenty of video tutorials too. Choose the one you like best. I tried to find the origin of this recipe and although there are Italian, German and French versions, I’d like to conclude that my dinner is American and the hard cider that I chose is, Angry Orchard Crisp Apple.
True to my practical roots, I am choosing the cheapest cut, pork shoulder. You could do chops or tenderloin, but if you are cooking slow, there’s no need to spend a lot.
From just five simple ingredients, a sumptuous autumn aroma will permeate your house!
Why Riesling and Why Not Red?
Once again, I gave into #TheWineTherapist’s recommendation. I’ve always preferred red over white, but according to Stefano, I’ve been cheating my taste buds by not choosing any good ones. The conclusion is, listen to your wine consultant!
On my door step with enough time to be chilled, was the 2009 Peter Jakob Kühn Quarzit Riesling Trocken. I took enough German in high school to pronounce it correctly (I hope), but not enough to understand the website, so finding information was a challenge. Here’s one review and some tasting notes on this 89 Point wine (Wine Advocate) can be found here.
Riesling is the 18th most planted varietal in the world and 20% of all grapes are planted in Germany. The one that I’m drinking today is from the Rheingau region. Do you know what distinguishes Riesling from the Rheingau and Mosel regions apart from other areas in the world? Hint: Slope, south, sun.
Catch Me If I Fall
This week I became a member of the Society of Wine Educators and am enrolled in the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) course. I have a year to get through a large textbook, participate in online tutorials, take notes and complete exercises in preparation for the certification exam that consists of 100 questions. Of course, theory must be supplemented with practice and I’ll be tasting my way through regions and vineyards from around the world!
I’m an art enthusiast and not a critic; love to cook, but not a chef; a wine enthusiast, but not a sommelier. When I write about art or wine, my goal is to be easily understood and, hopefully, enjoyed by many.
As I embark on this wine adventure, if my approach ever becomes unapproachable, “catch me if I fall” and send me your feedback.
We first taste to enjoy and the joy of tasting allows us to tap into our memories or create new ones.
Until next time, remember that seasons are a state of mind. While you may have to wait before wearing the sweater, nothing stops you from Fall-ing in the pot.