Marisa Finetti joins the Circle of Wine Writers

Cheers! I’m excited to announce that I’ve been accepted into the Circle of Wine Writers. Based in the UK and established in 1960 by the late English author and journalist Cyril Ray, the Circle is an association comprised of esteemed authors, writers, journalists, broadcasters, photographers, and educators who communicate about wines and spirits. Currently, there are 240 international members. I am proud to be one of 15 in the U.S. The Circle of Wine Writers aims to “improve the standard of…

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Drops of emotion

I cried on my third day in Italy.  I cried hard in the shower after a full day of tasting the most delicious wines of Piedmont during Ian D’Agata’s week-long 3iC course on Piedmontese food and wine. Why?  It wasn’t because I was sad, or was suffering from jet lag or was overwhelmed by the material, or from being homesick. It wasn’t from having too much to drink.  It was a dream be there in Barolo, surrounded by the beautiful vineyards…

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Stirring with Vintage Swizzle Sticks

In the world of vintage bar accessories, amid colorful glassware and shakers in sparkling chrome, swizzle sticks were an important part of the lounge’s decor. In fact, a drink of any kind would have simply been considered uncivilized without one. I recently came upon a collection of vintage stir sticks from the 1960s and 1970s. This was indeed the Golden Age of the swizzle stick. Many were collected by my mom in Tokyo, most of them from the swanky Hotel New Otani. It…

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Beyond the bubbles: Borgoluce’s environmental heritage

Between Venice and the northern Italian Alps is an agricultural area that has been respectfully tended for centuries. The Conegliano and Valdobbiadenne hillsides, recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a rural landscape largely devoted to viticulture. Here is where Glera, the celebrated grape of Prosecco, has taken root for hundreds of years. It is also home to Borgoluce, a sprawling wine estate and agricultural powerhouse that is as much invested in their production of lively bubbles as…

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Cascina Spinasse: A taste of Piedmont in Seattle

The moment I arrived at Spinasse in the gastronomically-gifted Capitol Hill area of Seattle, I was in love.  On the street level of this handsome, multi-storied brick building,  an intimate spot welcomes us with charming outdoor seating consisting of wooden plank tables, surrounded by a whimsy of colorful chairs. An old-world iron sign hangs above the quaint entrance door, of which the window is tastefully etched “Cascina Spinasse.” A peek through the glass is like looking into a rustic Italian farmhouse. Wooden trestle…

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Foundation provides sommeliers relief during COVID-19

Chris Blanchard remembers the night on St. Patrick’s Day when he received a phone call from a Las Vegas sommelier. The single father of two boys had been laid off that week. It was also the day Governor Mayor Carolyn Goodman officially declared the City of Las Vegas a state of emergency in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. “He was terrified about not having money for groceries, moreover rent, and had nowhere to turn,” said Blanchard, a Master Sommelier and…

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Field Study: Tasting the land at Cain Vineyard

The drive was slow, steep, and bumpy. But, the rugged surroundings from the windows of the vintage four-wheel-drive vehicle eventually led to a clearing at the top. We emerged high above the fog line that morning. And, while carefully treading the peak which straddled both Sonoma and Napa valleys, Cain Vineyard winemaker Christopher Howell reached down to pull a weed firmly from the ground. “Here, smell this. It’s tarweed,” he said. Tarweed, a sticky, hairy plant with little drab beige…

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You Never Truly Drink Alone

By Kirk Peterson and Marisa Finetti Great wine is art that must be destroyed to be enjoyed. It is an anachronism, a vestige of another time and another way of living. Vines are fussed and fawned over, cajoled and supplicated to give up their fruit for wine to then be locked away from the world, aging and changing and developing at a rate entirely its own. It presents an opportunity to taste the labors of people long gone, a bottled…

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Notes from Italy’s vineyards: signs of hope and renewal

“Agriculture is the most magical example we have of nature’s strong resilience,” says Cristiana Tiberio of Agricola Tiberio. Words like this from Italy during a time that she describes to be the “most challenging period after the Second World War” due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a refreshing reminder that life does go on. Situated in Abruzzo, approximately twenty miles inland from the seaside city of Pescara near the hillside town of Cugnoli, Tiberio and her family produce Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Cersauolo…

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Wine is social. What now?

We are all doing what’s necessary in this time of crisis to stay healthy and protect the health of family, friends, co-workers, everyone. But, we are social animals who love to get together and be among family and friends. Furthermore, if you’re in the business of food and beverage – like many of my friends – more than ever, gatherings are what keep our hearts beating. It’s our work. It’s our love. It’s our life. But at the moment, we…

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