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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Wine heals: Friuli charity wine helps Udine Hospital

Situated on one of the highest hills in the Spessa di Cividale area, the heart of the Friuli Colli Orientali, Zorzettig has long been devoted to the culture of the vine. In the face of extraordinary challenges, Zorzettig  is also spreading love and support to the Hospital of Udine by doing what it does best – making wine. The newly-released, limited edition Andrà Tutto Bene (meaning everything will be alright) is a Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso made from the eponymous…

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Marisa Finetti ranked among top 30 alcohol blogs & influencers

Wow, that’s sweet! This is quite an honor to be #24 (currently) and among some of the greatest digital reads, including Punch, New York Times, Imbibe, Shanken Daily News and others. The top alcohol blogs, websites and influencers are selected from thousands in Feedspot’s index, with rankings based on such criteria as Google rank, social influence, quality, frequency, and Feedspot’s own editorial review. On my site, readers will find a mix of essays, stories and reviews about the things I…

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Pairing Italian wine & cheese 101

Italy produces some of the finest wines and cheeses in the world. Separately, they are already delicious. But, as with any food and wine pairing, when enjoyed together wine and cheese, can elevate the flavors and take the tasting experience to a new level.

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Renzo Cotarella’s first love: Antinori’s Cervaro della Sala

“Firsts” are special. For Renzo Cotarella, CEO of Marchesi Antinori and director of winemaking, Cervaro della Sala might as well been his first child. Excitement, loving devotion, and emotional connection for this wine was clearly evident during a vertical tasting before a group of sommeliers and myself. “This is a wine which I really love, particularly because it’s the first wine I made,” says Cotarella. With that in mind, glasses upon glasses of Cervaro della Sala, which lined the table…

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Grignolino: The underrated gem from Piedmont

I was smitten. The first time I tasted Grignolino was inside the castle of Costigliole d’Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy. In the glass was this incredibly alluring light ruby-colored wine, perfumed with rose hips, violets, and flavors of crunchy pomegranate, barely ripe berries, and spice. The juice-inducing acidity of the wine made me want more of this freshness and this crispness that had an enjoyable tannic clench. Could it be that I was charmed by Grignolino because I…

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