Lugana: Lake Garda’s imbibable breeze

There is something enticing about Lugana. It’s the wine that shimmers with reflections at the southern shores of Lake Garda. A purity, a light, kissed by the sun, fresh and breezy, invigorating. A single sip begs for another. Even on this cool overcast December day, the crisp, dry wine from this corner of the world energizes the soul – mine especially – knowing that it may very well had its beginnings right where I was standing. For three generations, Le…

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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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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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