Grape harvest calls for a game of bocce!

While living in the California wine country, Mother Nature’s habitual tendencies became intrinsic motivators in our lives. We’d see the fuzzy little bud break on the first warm spring day, anticipate the coastal fog that would blanket the vineyards during the summer every six days like clockwork, observe our beloved chocolate Labrador Retriever quietly plucking berries off the vines. “Kona!”  Oh, how we loved that dog! We’d recognize the telltale rise of steam emanating from piles of fermenting pomace during…

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Daou’s Seeds of Hope

For brothers Daniel and Georges Daou of Daou Vineyards, the desire to find happiness was a result of a near-death experience. At the tender age of 10 and 14, they fled their homeland during the Lebanese civil war after a bomb hit their home. Yet, the times of rubble also marked the beginning of a life that they would learn to love … and share. “Not only did it create a desire to be happy, but it created a bond between…

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Whispering rosés and magic with Alain Riviere

We’ve had a passionate and stormy relationship with rosés. At one time we loved and cherished them. Then we lost interest and banished them, regarding domestic rosés as our grandmother’s tipple – cheap and sweet, in the shade of her “blush.”  And while sweet wine is still widely popular today, dry rosé from Provençe has created an international rosé wine movement unlike any other. So much that being seen with a glass of it elevates our reputation and announces our…

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G.D. VAJRA: Wines Guided by Nature

Standing next to a glistening stainless steel fermentation tank in the cellar of G.D. VAJRA winery, Francesca Vaira draws attention to the stained-glass windows. While the design does not directly reference winemaking, it has everything to do with her family’s philosophy and style, she says. In the hamlet of Vergne, a few miles west and high above the village of Barolo, G.D. VAJRA is a pioneer among Barolo producers, established in the 1970s by Francesca’s father, Aldo Vaira. He had…

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For the love of Pomerol

One of the last things that Christian Moueix said to me at his winemaker dinner showcasing Château La Fleur-Pétrus was, “Love is never lost. It’s diffused in wine.” His sentiment would sum up the evening at SW Steakhouse in Wynn Las Vegas, where 20 guests gathered to taste his wines from the darling appellation of Pomerol. In Bordeaux’s Merlot-driven Right Bank, where Pomerol is located, wines tend to be more immediately seductive, supple and fleshy, next to the more rugged and…

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Tasting Italian Wine: Toe to Leg Warmer

In Italy, where food and wine are fervently wedded, winemaking is an instinctive and magical mingling of heritage, culture, and tradition. Italy’s two million acres of vineyards are home to two-thirds of all known grape varieties.  Each wine bears a story and embodies a specific region; no two are alike. This kind of bewildering diversity seduces us to explore further and taste Italy from the top to bottom. As with any first course, bubbles are a starting point with Italy’s…

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From the endangered list to the wine list

Written by Kirk Peterson and Marisa Finetti Overshadowed by popular—even famous—A-list neighbors, certain grape varieties can fall to the background, even approach extinction. The celebrated versatility and hardiness of well-recognized grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay have also severely diminished diversity, both in the vineyard and in our wine glasses. But in the last half century, rare and indigenous grape varieties are being revived by passionate winemakers and conservationists who believe in their quality and potential, encouraging adventurous…

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SIP TRIP: The school of rocks in the Monferrato

Author Walter Alvarez said, “What makes rocks so wonderful is the fact that they barely change at all, and as a result, they… preserve the way they formed, whether a million years ago or a thousand million years ago.” In his book  The Mountains of Saint Francis he traces Italy’s billion-year geologic history.  Being a lite geology enthusiast myself, as I drove through the Monferrato region last spring, I imagined that this area was under the sea four to five millions…

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Darjeeling tea and why wine lovers drink it

A conversation with a friend the other day reminded me of my long-time favorite tea, Darjeeling. Why it hasn’t made a regular appearance in my cup as of late is something of a mystery, but I’ve been enamored with this tea for over 25 years. I came across Darjeeling at Rosallie, a French café in Las Vegas this week, and as I sipped it on that cold, windy morning feeling utterly content, I thought about owner Jonathan Pluvinet and how…

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Farm to Fizz: Rodolphe Peters on Grower Champagne

Champagne’s international rock star names, such as Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, or Veuve Clicquot, are just a few of France’s prominent Champagne houses that are famous throughout the world. Enjoyed by European royalty for centuries, today, we are still popping their bottles year-round (hopefully not just during the holiday season). These are the Champagne brands – Grandes Marques as they are referred to in France – who buy their grapes from all over the Champagne region to ensure precision year after…

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