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The End of Summer Vacation ~ The Beginning of Autumn Harvest

It happens like this every year. It’s been a great month at the beach. Now we must pack up our belongings, shut down the cabana and head back to the …

Summer Vacation

A World Beyond Wine Blogging ~ Musings on a Ferragosto Evening

I’m stealing time right now. There’s a 2,100 word, multi-segment piece on the desk that needs polishing, with a deadline in a few days. And another …

Wine

TEXSOM through the ages

TEXSOM and On the Wine Train in Italy have something in common - we both started about the same time - and hopefully those who noticed such things …

Wine

Italy and their Wine Debt to France

For as long as I can remember there have been oblique encounters between Italophiles and Francophiles. In years past, it seemed there was always that …

Wine

Sardegna and wine - a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

By chance, I’m sitting in a restaurant and nearby me is a table of four. Urban dwellers, well-traveled, by the looks of their garb and little …

Hidden Calabria and the dawn of a new day

Feral, untouched, wild, unknown – Calabria is a wine frontier. Long passed over by wine connoisseurs in favor of Piedmont and Tuscany, Calabria is …

The California Drought Report: Déjà vu and other ramblings while driving on the Silverado Trail at midnight.

It was déjà vu. The tinderbox conditions we were sitting in must have made it seem like it. It was an early summer night, just like before. And there …

A little bit of Americana for our friends in Italy

A pictorial journey through West Texas on July 4th weekend

Three weeks ago, I was sitting in a basement in Bari judging Italian wine made from any …

Lucania ~ As I See It

From the Radici del Sud notebook

Forget anything you know about Basilicata and Southern Italy. Disregard anyone telling you this is the poorest region …

Radici del Sud ~ An Emotional Pilgrimage to One’s Origins

One soul's radical search for the ideal on an imbalanced planet

Do you have a lifelong quest? What about life in this world lights up your spirit? Is …

Master Class in Indigenous Wines ~ As Taught by a Donkey, a Rooster and the Spirit of Place

There are aspects to life that don’t travel so well on the road. One of them is the lack of interaction with creatures other than humans. Maybe it is …

What the World Needs Now is Passerina, Sweet #Passerina

Rome, if anything, is a mirror of all that is good and bad in the world. From my first trip here, in 1971, and with all the times I have come into …

The Death of a Loved One

From the "not quite back on the wine trail, yet" dept.

In a world where there are so many tragic events ̶ from the father who lost his wife and …

On turning 100 +1: How many times do you get to say this and it really happens?

You hear it all the time at the Italian table. Someone has a birthday and everyone picks up a glass of wine to toast them. Someone else shouts out …

Italy

“All Italian White Wines Taste Alike”

I’m sitting at a table, in a restaurant, with a seminal figure in white wine. The beverage director comes up to us to say hello. A few pleasantries …

Italy

Counter-Lust in Austin: A Seductive New Dining Spot in Texas

No Tables. No Servers. No Tipping.
Let’s see, where have I been? Monday, it was in San Francisco. Tuesday, back in Dallas. Wednesday? Houston. And …

Texas

Chianti for the Commoner

“When will you talk about it?” My friend was pouring me a Sangiovese, in purezza, leaning in. “You and I discussed it over a year ago. Isn’t it time …

Chianti

Italian Wine Appellations that are Downright Confounding

After having spent most of April crisscrossing Texas in my covered wagon to teach hundreds of people about Italian wine, there were a few moments …

Wine

Sacrificing the Basics for Babel

This weekend I listened to a panel of chefs from Texas who brought national attention to Southwest cuisine. They were Robert Del Grande, Dean Fearing …

What young Americans can learn from an old German ~ The Rudi Wiest register

Rudi Wiest will turn 79 this year. But as he likes to say, “I have a long ways to go to catch up with your mom. She’s going to be 101 this year, …

Making the Case for Darker Rosė Wines ~ Countering the "Brangelina" Effect

In no small way, we all need to thank the Perrin family (and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) for resuscitating the rosė wine category. Before the …

Meditations on the '51

Sooner or later we encounter the mirror. As much as we try, with makeup, with dye, with dark glasses and soft focus, time ultimately wins the race. …

The Penetrating Magic of Burlotto

Running into Fabio Alessandria in the Piedmont Hall at Vinitaly, he called me by my name. How he remembered I cannot imagine. But in such a hectic …

Why this might be our last Vinitaly in Verona: A Dear Giovanni letter to Veronafiere

Dear Veronafiere,

We have been coming to Verona and Vinitaly since 1967. We have watched it expand over the years and have endured the labor pains of …

The Wine to Come: Observations from the Langhe on the First Day of Spring

A well-dressed group from around the world milling around an open courtyard in the Langhe on this first day of spring. A motion to move inside to the …

"Vineyards Barolo lovers should seek out, without getting bogged down in tar and roses."

When I recently took a week off, it was to take time from work so I could get caught up on a few writing projects. One that I am particularly proud …

"Venice was the Dubai of the 13th Century"

On a nippy winter night, while having a quiet meal in a dining room in Venice overlooking the Grand Canal, the subject of Dubai arose. A city of two …

On the Wine Trail in Italy in other places – Solid advice for Italians looking to enter the US market and a primer on Italian wine for young sommeliers

In the almost ten years that I have been writing this blog, there has been, more or less, a natural development of it. My blog voice, I’ve been told, …

The Master Class

Opportunities abound for learning about Italian wine and culture. All it takes is time. There is no fast-track. No amount of cramming, memorization, …

Italian Wine

Comfort me with Nebbiolo

The waking world is fraught with disappointment, large and small. From the land mine of the news cycle to something as simple as overexposure to …

Wine