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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Prunotto’s Vigna Colonnello Barolo Riserva gets its own winery & tasting room

The clouds over Bussia were putting on its best show that day in May. Sun rays burst through intermittent showers while layers of clouds morphed across the sky, casting deep shadows on the verdant Nebbiolo vines. Indeed, it was the perfect day to escape the spring rains and enjoy Barolo made from Prunotto’s tiny little vineyard, Colonnello. The region of Barolo is made up of dozens of perfect little hills that greatly vary when it comes to soil types. The…

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Breakfast with Gaia Gaja

It was early morning inside Aria’s sunlit cafe, and before the server even could ask, Gaia Gaja said with Italian charm and conviction, “I know what I want  – coffee.” The charismatic daughter of Angelo Gaja –  the legendary, dynamic and inventive wine producer who propelled the Piemonte region of Italy into modernity – doesn’t come to Las Vegas very much. So when she visited in October 2017, we sat over Greek yogurt and seasonal berries to talk about her…

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SIP TRIP: Discovering Ruchè inside Castagnole Monferrato’s original castle wall

It was raining off and on as I walked along the ramparts behind the original castle of Castagnole Monferrato until I arrived at 62, the address of La Miraja and Eugenio Gatti, a Ruchè producer. When I first had Ruchè a few years ago I was immediately captivated by its alluring characteristics. It happened to be Eugenio’s bottling and since then I’ve tasted Ruchè from other passionate producers, which have only fortified my love for this wine.  Ruchè’s origins are…

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WINE: Raise your wine IQ with rare and affordable wines worth discovering at Esther’s Kitchen

It happens all the time. We get obsessed with a favorite wine and we end up ordering it over and over again. With a little sense of adventure, we can leverage our obsession with our favorites and use it as a springboard to explore. What’s more, newly discovered wines – whether they be old world gems or a new world up-and-comers – are bound to raise both our eyebrows and our wine IQ. When a wine list clearly states that…

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Things of Beauty: Barolo Chinato and Valentina Abbona

Her appearance is as familiar as the girl next door. Yet, Valentina Abbona is bright, worldly, passionate and the face of the sixth generation of the Marchesi di Barolo estate. She and her family inherited a long-standing winemaking tradition of creating world-renowned wines. Overlooking the quaint village of Barolo located in Piedmont, Italy, it’s hard to miss the canary-yellow building finished with forest-green shutters marked in distinguished, large letters “Marchesi di Barolo.” The name is certainly rooted in history dating back…

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Sauternes: France’s Sensuality in a Glass

In all of Bordeaux, wines can be compared amongst each other and even preferred to one another, but Sauternes is different. As one of the world’s longest-living wines, this sweet, sensual, richly textured flower-scented, luminous liquid gold is often underappreciated yet incomparable. The success of Sauternes depends on the microclimate in the southern part of Graves and a fungus that would seemingly be harmful to the grapes. Yet chateaux owners sit on pins and needles each season in hopes their…

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