SUNDAY SIP TRIP: The Valtellina

Located in Italy’s northernmost part of the Lombardy region near the Swiss border, Valtellina is known for its extreme vineyards and is the home of Chiavennasca, a local Nebbiolo biotype. The only valley in Italy to run east to west, Valtellina was formed during the last ice age by glaciers that carved out the granite mountains. The Adda River flows from the Swiss Alps toward Lake Como, and along this path, there are more than 25 miles of interconnected vineyards…

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Local Las Vegas wine scene diversifies through pandemic

Marisa's Las Vegas Wine Doodle

Most recently, I’ve been returning to a ritual that I’d practiced very sparingly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: going out to restaurants. Las Vegas locals like myself are starting to feel a bit safer and eager to get out, now that vaccines are readily available. Along with this feeling of emergence – a metamorphosis, if you will – is taking place, with locals taking flight into restaurants and wine bars and showing interest and exploration into new wines.…

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Sip Trip through Italy: Vermentino, Fiano, Chianti Classico

Situated in the Mediterranean Sea about 115 miles off mainland Italy, Sardinia is rich with charming beauty and eccentricities. It’s the place of sugar-fine sandy beaches, near-Alpine forests, scenic roads, and breathtaking hikes that bring you deeper into the lush and silent interior. Sardinia is also like a pebble polished by waves of history and tradition. Scattered with thousands of nuraghi, Bronze Age settlements, these prehistory remnants are waiting to be solved like the most intricate game of Clue. VERMENTINOA…

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My Good Fellas

It’s passionate. It’s emotional. It takes attitude and persistence and a few drinks, and that includes beers. There is so much to be said about the life-long journey of wine. When I entered the wine world, I was extremely fortunate. Everyone from sommeliers to educators to wine producers opened the door, inspired me, educated me, held me accountable, rooted for me. My Good Fellas are mia famiglia. Comprised of wine professionals with some serious chops, creds, and clout. In the…

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Ridge releases the “original” Croatian Zinfandel: Tribidrag

Zinfandel was long-touted as California’s wine. And, for many years, Zinfandel was thought to even be of American origin. But as it turns out, Zinfandel’s story was suggestive of a non-fiction mystery novel, where the beloved grape’s mystique had fascinated wine lovers and winemakers of the golden state for nearly a century. And to their surprise, its roots were determined to be of the old world and from as far as 6,000 miles away in Croatia. We can thank the…

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Tom Gamble’s land, family, and wine

On that warm August afternoon, Tom Gamble greeted us with a glass of rosé, helped us onto his flatbed trailer as we took an open-top tour through his land. This was the first thing we would do upon arriving at Gamble Family Vineyards to appreciate where his love for this place comes from. Only then would we discover why the third generation rancher would make wine at all. Along the way, the vintage GMC crawls to a stop for a…

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Head to the Rive: Aim high with Prosecco

When we think of Prosecco, what comes to mind is the easy-drinking, cheerful, bubbly, white wine that is made throughout the Veneto and Friuli regions of Northern Italy. Lovers of Prosecco can’t seem to get enough. And thankfully, there’s plenty to go around. In fact, an estimated one billion bottles are produced annually to meet the continuing demand. This also means there are differences in quality from one to the next. In a sea of bubbles, where do we begin?   One…

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Ridge Monte Bello: On the edge of North America

The view from Monte Bello Ridge on Black Mountain forms a scenic backdrop that is relatively undiscovered in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, native oaks, redwoods, and madrones stud the deep and shady canyons that draw cyclists, hikers, and nature lovers alike. From the rich riparian habitat flows streams that trickle their way into the Bay. And hugging this natural landscape is Silicon Valley, the epicenter of technological innovation, which makes this entire area…

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Etna’s Hotspot: Benanti

Etna’s greatest great winemakers are fierce and passionate, working under Mother’s Nature’s unapologetic direction season after season, they remain steady ambassadors of their land. The winemakers of the Etna region of Sicily are a remarkably different breed. Resilient and courageous, they risk many of the climatic challenges, from scorching hot summers to untimely rain and hail, plus a decidedly active volcano – all in the pursuit of making some of the greatest wines in the world.  “The eruptions are frequent. I…

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Wine Field Study: Look down and taste Santorini

Santorini is already special. It’s the only inhabited cauldron in the world. Formed by volcanic eruptions, the crescent-shaped island, which sits half way between Athens and Crete, offers an astonishing array of contrasts.  Jagged rocky promontories and smooth downhill slopes meet the Aegean Sea. Arable land crawls with volcanic rocks. Deep ravines break up the scrubby plains. Native grape vines showcase their curious shapes, and the wine is unequivocally “Santorini.” What makes Santorini’s wines so special? We can start by…

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