Tag Archives: travel

An Amarone for October: Le Ragose 2007

Cold fixes in this side of the hemisphere. Leaves catch fire. Grey and rain dampen the ether. It is not Port season yet. But it is Fall. And I have the perfect wine.

Fly to Valpolicella, valley of many cellars. In the hills overlooking fair Verona grow swaths of vines. The Galli family tend 70 terraced acres near 1,200 feet above sea level: the highest in the region. They bought the abandoned vineyard in 1969.  Here, it is dry, above the fog line, cool yet sunny: perfect for appassimento, aka grape-drying. Continue reading

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A Wild Fall White Wine: Nino Negri, Ca’Brione, Valtellina, Italy 2015

For all intents and purposes, it is basically Fall. Actually Halloween as my wife started decorating in August.  But with temperatures dropping and rain falling, I want a white wine with some meat on its bones.  Tired of the same old Chardonnay? Then you have come to the right post.

Let us fly to the crown of Italy, 30 minutes from Switzerland, where the valley of Valtellina slices open a couple Alps. Continue reading

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Virginian Wine is for Lovers? Drinking Local -VS- Trendsetting

My wife’s conference brings baby and I to Virginia. We stay in Alexandria: namesake of our ten month old and posh tourist excursion from Washington DC.

“Really Dad?”

Now, with a week to kill, between eponymous photo-ops, I explore Alexandria’s wine shops and bottle bars.  Years have passed since I last sold or tried wine from Virginia. I remember liking it. Lean and structured, like Bordeaux, Baboursville Octagon Red seemed solid.

But a concern slowly creeps in.  Alexandria’s shelves and lists feature fab Sancerre, German bubblies, Rhône growers, interesting South African Chenin Blanc, Langhe Nebbiolo, and Californian classics.  Heck, every shop has at least three Oregon Pinot Noir, even unseen single vineyards, and I come from Oregon. Continue reading

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Tired of Malbec? Try Cabernet Franc from Argentina

Think of Argentinian wine. If Malbec comes to mind followed by a shrug or shudder, I feel your pain. Argentina has tumbled down this monovariety’s path, much like Australia did with Shiraz decades ago.  Malbec became the recession’s answer to find a big red for less.  But it is a race to the bottom that backfires.  The grape, and Argentina by association, are now caged by their success.  They exist in most minds as a cheap alternative. Continue reading

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Family Matters: Winery Tour of Trefethen Family Vineyards Oak Knoll Napa Valley California

Go to Napa or read the back of a wine label: most wineries will insist that a family owns them. This selling tactic attempts to ground all the Disney-land glamour onto something parochial and familiar.  But family ownership is not unique, roughly 80% of wineries in Napa are. Nor does family ownership ensure smallness or quality. Gallo is a family. So are mafias. Heck, corporations are people these days.

Thus, I visit Trefethen with trepidation. They too point to the Trefethen family’s ownership as a defining feature. But is it? Continue reading

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