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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Passopisciaro: Volcanic wines from Mount Etna

During a dramatic eruption in Sicily, fountains of fiery red lava from Europe’s most active and fearsome volcano, Mount Etna, spewed into the night sky last May, not far from the vineyards growing on its northern slopes. It is seemingly an unlikely place for producing quality wines, but Etna’s wine producers don’t dwell on the vicissitude of her unpredictable nature; they embrace it. Vines grown in the shadow of an active volcano are an inherently risky proposition, but they are…

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Raisin Wines of Italy

Wines made from dried grapes are a centuries old tradition dating back to the Roman times.  Called passum, “raisin wine” was made from half-dried grapes which were often left on the vine.  In many ways this practice remains today.  The style of wine is produced in both in sweet and dry versions and central to this unique style is appassimento, the process which involves drying grapes in ventilated drying rooms through the cooler months. Intoxicatingly delicious, these wines are charming…

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Collisioni 2018 shines bright with the Vino & Food Project

I saw a firefly for the first time in my life. While taking an evening stroll with colleagues after a sumptuous dinner at the Michelin Star Laconda del Pilone, as if like a miniature shooting star, the firefly appeared amongst the grape vines under June’s waning moon.  Quite literally, this was the spark that marked the beginning of my experience at the 2018 Collisioni Festival Vino & Food Project. More than 70 selected wine experts, writers, and importers, sommeliers from 11 countries…

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