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Bring on the Bubbly!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and no matter what your mood, the bubbly will improve it! So since this is the ITALIAN Grapevine, make sure the bubbly that graces your New Year’s table is something from the Bel Paese: Spumante – that’s the Italian word for bubbly, but don’t jump to conclusions! It doesn’t […]

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The Culture of Wine Part III: Montefalco and Benozzo

Benozzo Gozzoli has always been one of my favorite Quattrocento painters. How could you not love a guy with a name like that? Or a face like this? Benozzo was a busy guy: besides frescoing one of the great masterpieces of the Quattrocento for the Medici family in Florence, an Adoration of the Magi in […]

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This First Lady is No Prima Donna!

No, I am not talking politics! I am talking about Donatella Cinelli Colombini, one of Italy’s premier Brunello di Montalcino winemakers. This week we visited Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda and Casato Prime Donne, Donatella’s two estates that have been in the family since the 1500s. This is big red country, but Donatella does it […]

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Harvest Time in Milan… What Luxury!

You didn’t know there was a vendemmia in Milan, did you? Let me tell you, this is one hell of a harvest festival in a city that rarely sleeps! It is such a hard life writing about Italian food, wine and culture… Last night I made my way through the throngs of people enjoying the […]

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When you Wear a Coat in Summer… The Palio of Siena and the Double Victory of the Lupa!

Something rare and wonderful happened in Siena the other day: the Contrada della Lupa (the neighborhood of the she-wolf) won the Palio. Only, what’s better than winning the Palio? Winning the Palio twice in one summer! That is called cappotto, or winter coat. And it is highly unusual. But bring together a fabulous horse called […]

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A Midsummer Night’s Wild Dream

Collisioni – that’s what this mega-festival in the tiny hamlet of Barolo is called. And collide you do! With people, with ideas, with tastes, with energy. Talk about bringing things together. I’d heard about Collisioni for years. I’d viewed their over-stuffed programs with skepticism: how could they lure Elton John, Sting, Mark Knopfler to this […]

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The Prince of Chefs

When they invite you to a party in Portofino, you go. When they invite you to a party honoring Gualtiero Marchesi, you go. When they invite you to a party in Portofino honoring Gualtiero Marchesi, you can’t believe your good luck. The famous ‘cook’ (as he prefers to be called!), is the founder of new […]

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Great Italian Wine You Can Bank On!

For those of you who don’t know it, the University of Gastronomical Sciences in Pollenzo was the world’s first university entirely dedicated to the science of Food & Wine, promoting a new, ecologically sustainable, quality-based standard that also focuses on what is right and just for producers. Founded on an idea from guru Carlo Petrini, […]

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The Culture of Wine Part II: Masi Agricola

Talk about brand recognition! Masi‘s unmistakable label is synonymous with Amarone. The Boscaini family, with papà Sandro at the helm – but also Sandro’s children Alessandra and Raffaele, not to forget brothers Bruno and Mario – are giving back in spades! Their devotion to culture equals their passion for great wine. For seven generations this […]

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The Culture of Wine Part 1: Tasca d’Almerita

Did you know that Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world? All that art and nature… wonderful, right? But how can one little country afford to preserve and promote all that beauty? We all have to pitch in, that’s how! And the world of wine is doing its […]