Sunday, December 15, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
It's here! The Brandywine Book of the Seasons! In time for the holidays, we've stocked all our partner shops, museums, wineries and stores with our book about Brandywine's regional chefs, artisan food and wine producers and just plain foodies with 45 illustrated recipes. The book is glossy stock with full color photos and illustrations on every page. Buy them at these places which accept money (no euros or bitcoins, please!): Centreville Cafe, Bakers at Doe Run, Longwood Gardens, Talula's Table and Talula's Daily (Philadelphia), 9th Street Books, Chester County Books, Winterthur Museum & Gardens, Brandywine River Museum, Hagley Museum, Apropos, The Mushroom Cap, Va La Vineyards, Fairville Inn, Willowdale Shop, Capers & Lemons, Twelves, Harvest Market, The Kitchen Sink. If you don't live near any of these shops, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for shopping by mail info.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I have a new slide show posted to The Daily Meal on the Venissa estate in the Venice Lagoon where the Bisol family has resurrected a golden, ancient grape - Dorona - and is making delicious wine from it. And Venissa is a great launching pad with its quiet guest house and elegant restaurant if you are exploring Venice. More at http://www.thedailymeal.com/golden-wine-forgotten-grape-island-near-venice/110513
Saturday, November 2, 2013
The Writer's Yearbook 2014 is now on newsstands with my article containing ideas on how independent writers can better grow their business. Here's the opening page:
Monday, October 28, 2013
The mountains of Alto Adige around Bolzano produce some of the prettiest scenery and best wines in the world. Cortaccia winery, a top-quality co-op, invited me to participate in one of its programs that makes the best of both. One day each month, they invite customers from near and far to take a somewhat scary ride to the top of a prominent escarpment and drink their way down, guided through vineyards and on trails to drink four different wines beside the vineyards where the grapes for each wine were grown. They are accompanied by someone from the winery who carries the bottles in his backpack, in my case wine expert Michael Anrather. "Where we are starting, at about 850 meters in the village of Graun, we had snow last week," Anrather tells me as we drive up mountain tracks. As with most wine trails in Alto Adige - also called the Sud Tirol, there are stations of the cross leading the faithful through the mountains to ancient churches in the highland villages. In our case, I think, we are enjoying stations of the glass - the first one a Muller-Thurgau grown at Graun. Anrather pauses for a view from above the filtering clouds. By the time we get to the second station of the glass, we have descended through a cleft in the cliffs and are at the small village of Hofstatt, where Anrather tests the wine - a 2012 Hofstatt Weissburgunder or Pinot Bianco - while we read the sign that tells its origin. It is delicious, with lots of chalk and acidity to balance the floral and creamy notes and the crisp-apple fruitiness. It is by far the best wine I have ever tasted while taking a arduous, if downhill, hike. Anrather recorks the bottle, and we are ready to move on - still high above the valley floor and two more stations to go.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Monday, September 16, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
In a profession that loves to blend all kinds of wines, the thought of making non-vintage or multi-vintage wines still sends most winemakers running. Here is the opening spread of an article in the current issue of The Drinks Business on a few winemakers who are daring to think differently.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
For those in the retail business, my article on controlling overhead costs is in the July issue of the Beverage Media publications that serve as the wine and spirits buying guides in most states. Here's a link: http://www.beveragemedia.com/wp-content/themes/bevnetwork/flipbook/bm0713/index.html
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Sunday, June 30, 2013
I just returned late last week from a delightful trip to Crete, mainly to taste the wines, but also to meet winemakers and to enjoy the Greek island's food and culture. I will be writing several in-depth stories, but first impressions are at www.isantemagazine.com. I visited several wineries and vineyards, including the stunning mountaintop estate, pictured above, at Domaine Zacharioudakis near Plouti not far from the southern coast and the Libyan Sea.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Just posted to Details.com, the online site for Details magazine, my article on the best California small-batch sparkling wines, that state's answer to France's grower Champagnes. More at http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2013/06/californias-best-small-batch-sparkling-wines.html.
Friday, June 21, 2013
The July 15 issue of Sommelier Journal on its way to your mailbox has my four-page feature on Va La Vineyards - or you can check it out soon at the Sommelier Journal website. Here's a preview...
Monday, June 17, 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Stefano Inama and Eric Miller are two of my favorite winemakers - not only do they know how to get what they want out of the grapes they grow, they also are good conversionalists, not only about winegrowing but about whatever topic you may want to bring up. "Am I still a winemaker?" Eric asks over our BYOB dinner at Twelves restaurant in West Grove. Ella and I have known Lee and Eric almost from the time they first established Chaddsford Winery over 25 years ago. "Of course, you are," I say. "Once a winemaker, always a winemaker, even if you are temporarily a retired one." Twelves is one of our favorite restaurants, true to its "grill and cafe" subtitle. Tonight, I am making a second introduction of winemaker Miller to winemaker Inama through the latter's wines. The Millers are visiting the Veneto in the fall, and I suggested they drop by Inama's winery and vineyards in Soave - that's now on the calendar. And as I had recently received Inama samples from Dalla Terra, his U.S. agent, I thought they would go well with Tim Smith's cuisine. And so we start off with Inama's 100% Garganega "Vigneti di Foscarino," a single-vineyard Soave Classico, which I have with sauteed calamari. Next comes the Inama Carmenere "Piu" (with 30% Merlot), which I have with Tim's very succulent lamb chops. Of course, the Millers have brought wines as well, including an older red Burgundy and a sparkler from Clos Pepe. Hold on to your seatbelts; it's going to be a long evening...
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Foraging was common practice growing up on a hillside farm in West Virginia - wild greens, blackberries by the bucket, walnuts and hickory nuts,sassafras tea, an occasional squirrel or rabbit. I got back to my roots, so to speak, in the mountains of Mendocinio and Marin counties of California for this text-and-pix piece for Intermezzo. Unlike with the city sidewalks, what you almost step on there may be something good to eat.
I love writing for the London-based publication, The Drinks Business, because the editors allow me to fully explore interesting wine topics. In this case, they asked me to examine current wine trends in the U.S. and how they were impacting California's American wine sales. The headline metaphor is not mine, but it accurately reflects what they are doing out on the coast. If you want to know more, please send me an e-mail.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Not everyone in Napa Valley wants to make wine. Here is the opening spread of my article on "Meet the Grape Growers of Napa Valley" in the May issue of Wine Enthusiast.
Friday, April 5, 2013
One of the treats in being a wine writer is that I get the opportunity to taste a wine with the person who made it. Recently I sat down at the Benjamin Steakhouse in New York with Concha y Toro's Enrique Tirado, who has been making their iconic Cabernet Sauvignon blend, Don Melchor, since 1997. In front of us were glasses of the 1995, 2001, 2005 and 2009 vintages. A shipment of the latter, Tirado said, was somewhere on the high seas and will be the "current vintage" when it arrives in the United States. After we sniffed, swirled, sipped and spat, we discussed the wines and why each tasted as delicious as it did. Although my favorite at the moment is the 2005, it was interesting to note the family resemblances of all four - delicious, concentrated, dark-berry flavors, big tannins that are nevertheless harmonious, lean finishes, some mint and some earth. And all remind me of why Chile is one of the world's best producers of both high-end and affordable Cabernets.
Friday, March 29, 2013
The new May/June issue of Writer's Digest arrived in the mail yesterday with my "anti-revision" article in it. It's part of a very well done section telling fiction and non-fiction writers how to handle revisions or to avoid them entirely. I've posted the cover and the first page of the article. You can pick up the issue at most major newsstands or order a subscription online.