A Brunello For All Seasons

One of Italy’s big B wines (Brunello, Barolo, Barbaresco, maybe even Bolgheri) that command universal respect, Brunello di Montalcino is perhaps the most exquisite expression of that versatile grape Sangiovese. Of course in this area of Tuscany, the grape itself is called Brunello, whereas in nearby Montepulciano, it goes by the name of Prugnolo Gentile!…

Fifty Shades of Aglianico

One of Italy's best under-appreciated native grape varieties is Aglianico. Can I say how much I love it? It grows principally in the South of Italy, mostly in the regions of Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Calabria. Whether a wine is 100% Aglianico, or a blend, there is a lot to be said for this grape,…

Roaring Roero

Roero may not be a name on everybody’s lips, but it is certainly the Italian area with the most roaring name. Try practicing the difficult Italian ‘R’ sound: Roero! Along with the Langhe and Monferrato, Roero is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Vineyard Landscapes of Piedmont. Roero takes its name from a noble…

The Magic of Very Old Vines

The national association of Le Donne del Vino - the Women of Wine - today presented a special tasting on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the association's founding: wines made from very old vines. That means even 80-year-old vines, and sometimes even older! You knew that some wines improve with age, but did…

Stars and Stripes Forever!

Get the party started! Wine Spectator's mega-event kick-off to Vinitaly, Opera Wine, is a feel-good event that showcases Italy's Top 100 wines (which for some reason, this year were 107!) Maybe because it was the 7th annual Opera Wine? The event sported an oddly American stars-and-stripes theme. Crank up the volume, because this blog post has…

Countdown Vinitaly: Time to Detox!

Breaking with tradition: we are not going to talk about wine. This is the Lent period in preparation for Vinitaly: time to give things up, purify, detox, and get ready for the biggest wine event in Italy, held every year in Verona. This year, from Sunday, April 15 to Wednesday, April 18, tens of thousands…

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…