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Chianti is For Lovers

Or at least that is the message the producers wanted to send on this Saint Valentine’s Day, when surely an extra bottle or two was uncorked to celebrate! Because this week of Anteprime Toscane – the new wine releases in Tuscany – coincided with that most romantic of holidays, and everything was red passion. Held […]

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Wine&Siena, Wine&Friends

Still reflecting on last weekend’s event in Siena. The fun thing about these wine events is that you see old friends and make new ones. I haven’t been to a wine event yet where I haven’t met someone new or run into someone I wish I spent more time with. For instance, these two movers […]

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You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

The second grueling day of Wine&Siena found yours truly participating in a tasting – here called Wine Master Classes – of 8 Chianti Classicos, starting bright and early at 11 a.m. in the stunning Palazzo Sansedoni located right on Piazza del Campo. Is every room in Tuscany A Room With a View? (Is it time […]

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Wine&Siena: Small is Beautiful

This weekend in Tuscany, the 2nd annual Wine&Siena was held in this charming medieval jewel of a hilltop city that is still contained by its ancient walls. Organized by the same people who put together Merano Wine Festival, it was an opportunity to taste the bounty of the land that is Italy, both wine and […]

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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 […]