Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Drinker's Notebook #6: Connecting All the Bottles

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

In the current Intermezzo: Foraging in California wilds

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.

In the current Drinks Business: Why California is still winning

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.