Greetings from Napa Valley

Award-winning duo Kirk Peterson and Marisa Finetti are an unlikely match, but they share a love of food and drink. In their column, TasteBuds, (originally published in VEGASSEVEN.com) they devour dishes and demystify drinks. Aside from knowing that having a day job would be more helpful in paying the bills, being a wine writer can be a beautiful thing. And if you visit Napa Valley, like Marisa Finetti and I recently did during the Professional Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood…

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Rhous Winery Exemplifies Passion Behind Crete’s Indigenous Grapes

The gradual roadway to Rhous Winery above the quaint village of Houdetsi on Greece’s largest island, Crete, is perilously narrow, hugging the hill on one side, a sheer drop on the other. But once at the top, the pocket of paradise owned by winemaking couple Maria Tamiolakis and Dimitris Mansolas is a setting for relaxation and exploration into some of Greece’s most stunning indigenous varietals. Crete is home to one of the largest wine-growing regions in Greece and is among…

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Carnevino Italian Steakhouse turns 10

Bodacious, the bronze bovine centurion, known to have been the most dangerous bucking bull in the rodeo ring, stands guard at the entrance to Carnevino Italian Steakhouse. His sheer size indicates what you’re in for when you enter this celebrated steakhouse, whose vibes spin from the soul of Joe Bastianich: Bold and ethereal steaks, superlative wines, voluminous dining rooms (four in all) that seem to go on forever. Everything is purposeful— nothing an afterthought—and that’s how Carnevino has maintained its…

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Holiday Leftovers with the Right Beverage Pairing

Written by Marisa Finetti & Kirk Peterson Originally published in VEGAS SEVEN on November 24, 2015 After the once-glorious, now Tupperware’d holiday dinner leftovers are banished to the fridge for the night, it seems only right to give them the attention they deserve when they inevitably re-emerge the next day. Reheated Thanksgiving dinner plate. You kept declining the offer to “make you a plate,” but they wouldn’t let you leave without it. Now, you’re famished and suddenly that congealed mess…

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SIP TRIP: Beyond Santorini’s Blue and Whites

Striking and charming whitewashed buildings topped with azure-blue domes are perched on sheer caldera cliffs that soar out of the Aegean Sea. This is the Santorini that many people are enchanted by. But, to go beyond the postcard is to discover the true beauty and colors of this volcanic island. As the only inhabited volcano cauldron in the world, Santorini is already special. Sitting  half way between Athens and Crete, its crescent shaped island offers an astonishing array of contrasts.…

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Guess who shows up when I drink wine?

He’s 40ish, Peruvian (maybe), dressed in slouchy indigo jeans and a chambray shirt, standing in broken-in Birkenstocks. And, he is stressed from a recent marital breakup. While this sounds like a person, in actuality, it’s typical of how I describe a wine sometimes. I see people when I taste wine. Looking back, I think my earliest recollection of describing a person when tasting wine is when I wrote a short piece on Amarone and described her as a beautiful woman…

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New Zealand Sips for Summer

Summer beckons us to find something that refreshes and tantalizes the palate. Vibrantly aromatic sauvignon blanc from “The Land of the Long White Cloud” assails the senses with gooseberry and citrus characters, passion and other tropical fruits, and green herbaceous notes. They are distinct and bold enough to carry big flavors of spicy food, capable of cutting into creamy dishes, and lifting seafood dishes. Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2014, MarlboroughThe founding winemaker at Cloudy Bay, Kevin Judd, turns out a lovely…

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They polished the glassware

Written by Marisa Finetti and Kirk Peterson. Originally published in DAVID magazine. Awarded best non-staff writer(s), Nevada Press Association   The lights are extinguished. The room now dark. The only glimmer of light comes through the floor-to-ceiling window panes facing Las Vegas Boulevard, twenty-three floors below. The lowest lumens are enough to keep us from knocking over the wine glasses, enough to find our fork. But that’s about it. There’s no color, only shades of grey. Dinner tonight appears like a…

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The gift of ancient grapes

During his travels through mountain villages of Greece, Dr. Vassalis Logothetis, a professor of oenology, came upon a dilapidated pergola on the southern coastal town of Nafpaktos.  Growing wildly on this ancient arbor was a grape vine called Malagousia.  Until his “discovery” in the 1970s nobody had heard of this indigenous, aromatic white varietal. The vigorous vine had survived from the days when viticulture was abandoned in the area during the 1940s Greek Civil War. Logothetis brought the vine cuttings…

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Pilgrim Era Thanksgiving Ingredients and Lambrusco

Originally published in VEGAS SEVEN By Marisa Finetti & Kirk Peterson (Updated in 2019) The huge, ungainly bird that has become the de facto centerpiece around which the entire Thanksgiving feast is built gives us a feeling of authenticity, as we imagine that America’s settlers might have chomped on a crispy turkey leg in November 1621. But the “first Thanksgiving” meal was far different from our modern holiday offerings. While the starring meats included deer, ducks and geese, cranberry sauce…

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