Shaw + Smith Pinot Workshop 2015 – 10 benchmark Pinots from around the world

Shaw + Smith Pinot Workshop 2015 – 10 benchmark Pinots from around the world I'll always admire a winery that puts their wines up non-blind against the benchmarks of the world. I mean, it's one thing to upstage with the subterfuge of a wine served blind, but it takes confidence to do the same with a sighted tasting. Even more confidence is required when your winery doesn't have...

Tastes of Chicago from Eataly to Godfrey

I enjoy attending events in Chicago whenever possible and I’ve learned to stuff my trips to get in as much as possible each time I go. When I received an invitation to a wine pairing luncheon I had just the excuse I needed to plan what would be a delicious trip. The first stop of the day was for the luncheon. It was at Baffo, the Mario Batali restaurant that’s a part of the Eataly plaza in Chicago.  The...

A beautiful self-epitaph from Bob McLean

The wine world lost another two leading lights this week, with Anne-Claude Leflaive and Bob McLean both departing this mortal coil, at the age of 59 and 67 respectively. While I know Anne-Claude only be reputation, Bob I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few times over the years and he was quite complementary of this little blog. In person he was an absolute character, with a wisdom that comes...

“And the Road from Radda leads to Ama”

“Ama takes its name from the small borgo, or hamlet, nestled in the hills at almost 500 metres’ elevation. Five centuries past, it was the centre of local farming activities, as well as wine production carried out by a group of families of the area. “Da Radda the road led to Amma, three miles away on a hill, where the Pianigiani, Ricucci, and Montigiani families live, the most prominent...

A Tasting of Wines from Yarimada Winery in Azerbaijan

Wine Tasting at Art Garden Restaurant January 2015 – Several days after arriving in Baku, I received an email invitation from Ibrahim Abdulrahimov, the Commercial Director of Yarimada Winery. He invited me to a private wine tasting and lunch at the Art Garden Restaurant in the Old City of Baku. Ibrahim was kind enough to pick me up from my hotel, and as we drove to the restaurant, he...

A lovely Barossan Grenache from Tim Smith

Tim Smith Barossa Valley Grenache 2014 Is Grenache on the way back, or is it just me? It’s hard to argue against the suitability of Grenache in the Barossa Valley really, particularly on the warm, sandy soils of the Barossa floor. Those old ‘bushies’ just keep on keeping on, even during warm vintage after warm vintage. It’s like they were made for the place. Sadly winemakers...

Tasting the Wines of Savalan from Aspi Winery, Azerbaijan

Tasting with Timur & Jahid of Savalan Wines January 2015 – Before visiting Azerbaijan, I did an Internet search for Azerbaijani wineries and discovered that Aspi Winery (http://aspiwinery.az/) is one of the most sophisticated in that they have a website in four languages. The other wineries either didn’t have websites, or they were not in English. Furthermore I was distressed to...

Barbera Rises From The Ashes

  By Charles Olken A funny thing happened on the way to the ash heap of vinous history. Barbera, a grape that had a respected standing in California back some forty years ago or so, when wineries like Martini and Sebastiani featured it as one of their important varietal bottlings, has recently made a bit of a comeback. We tend to say things like “you can never go back”, and there...

Live from Piedmont: Days 1 & 2

Everyone arrived safely at our rendez-vous in Malpensa for the 2 hour bus ride to Alba, our home for 6 days of wining and dining. Just outside Alba we stopped for a visit at a torrone producer to find out torrone how this confectionary is made-and for some samples of course. After our welcome dinner which included two truffle dishes, we settled in for the evening. (To add truffles to a dish this...

Live from Lombardy: Day 2

Our 3rd day in Lombardy brought us to the biggest name in Valtellina: Nino Negri. In fact the managing director had just returned from New York to receive the winery’s Wine Spectator award as one of the top 100 wineries in the world. Located just outside Sondrio in a former castle, Nino Negri is part of the Gruppo Italiano Vini. It is the feather in their cap having won a case full of 3 Bicchieri...

Say hello to six brilliant summer picnics in the South African Vineyards – by Su Birch from Tastetrip

Come March the harvest is drawing to a close, but the days in South Africa are still warm and autumn hasn’t touched the vines yet. This is the perfect time to discover South Africa and visit some vineyards for a grand picnic. The picnics offered by wineries are often gourmet fare presented in wicker baskets or stylish designer boxes, and in some cases, served at your own table. Here are 6 of our...

Live from Lombardy: Days 3&4 Franciacorta and Lombardy

On the road again- this time on the way to Lake Iseo, home of Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to Champagne. But first we stop for lunch at Vivione, a rural restaurant  where we enjoyed a multi course lunch. Our menu: antipasti of manzo affumicato con noci e scamozza, ricotta con olio del Sebino, carne salata con julienne di cipolla e cannellimi; first courses: malfatti d’erbette e ortica...

On Vacation…but not from Wine

My wife and I look forward to January and February each year when we escape the Northeast with its inevitable snow and cold weather to head south to Miami when our son lives. It’s a vacation from the weather, but not from wine. In fact each year we are able to attend as many wine trade activities as we would in New York. There are trade tastings galore: I’ve already been to the Union des...

Amazing Il Poggione Reviews from Vinous Media

Montalcino Report

Happy Halloween from Il Poggione!

Montalcino Report

A Wine Lover’s Weekly Review Of $10 Wines – A Pinot Grigio From Australia

Drive-in movies- Remember back in the old days, when movie theaters allowed you to enjoy the big screen from the comfort and coziness of your own car? Well, if you visit a quaint town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can still enjoy this blast from the past. Originally started in 1955, the Swan Drive In Theatre operates year round. So no matter what time of year you stay in a North Georgia cabin rental,...

Driving from Salta to Bodega Piattelli in Cafayate, Argentina

Cafes in Salta Along the Plaza (March 2014) We had flown into Salta the evening before, and after checking into our hotel walked several blocks to the main plaza. The sun was just sinking behind the green mountains and cast lovely light on the beautiful pink cathedral that dominated the square. We quickly found a sidewalk café, and enjoyed a bottle of cold Torrontes with a platter of empanadas. ...

Diary from Our Wine Tour to England

Watch out, Champagne producers; there are some serious contenders for great bubbly from Great Britain. Impossible, or improbable, you’re probably thinking- but there are many striking similarities. For instance, I found out today that Epernay is a mere 90 miles away from Kent & Sussex, where the best British sparklers are produced. And those white cliffs of Dover? That’s limestone,...

I Love Australian Wine – A Pinot Noir From Southeastern Australia

The Viognier doesn’t have the honey scents that are so typical of this varietal, but the presence of damp earth, and what is generally regarded as “olive oil” , really brings out a distinctive Verde Valley flavor. The acid and alcohol of this wine are surprisingly well-balanced resulting in one that will pair well with roast chicken or lightly spiced pork dishes. ECQ is one such...

Live from Piedmont: Days 3 & 4

The weather in Piedmont has been sublime since our arrival. Evidently it was a poor Summer with lots of rain and little sun, but nevertheless the winemakers in Barolo think 2014 will be a very good vintage with ripe grapes with optimal weather during harvest, which is almost completed. The Barbaresco producers were not as optimistic although the best vineyard sites had grapes in very good condition....