robert camuto

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Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Free Beppe

How Italy’s new cru labeling rules stifle Barolo traditionalists

Posted: March 24, 2014  By Robert Camuto

Giuseppe Rinaldi has always danced to his own tune. A producer of great old-school, cask-fermented Barolos, Rinaldi has been guided by his own gut and local tradition—not others' rules or expectations.

Now, Italy's wine authorities have hemmed in the maestro and provocateur at the age of 65 with a new law dictating how producers blend and label designated crus. Since the death of his father 22 years ago, Rinaldi has bucked the modern, French-influenced trend of single-cru Barolos in favor of a traditional approach of blending from different vineyards.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Avant-Garde Meets Tradition on the Plate

A visit with the Italian culinary master every wine connoisseur should know

Posted: March 10, 2014  By Robert Camuto

If there were a Nobel Prize for Parmigiano cheese, Massimo Bottura would certainly be its first laureate.

For more than 20 years, Bottura, Italy's most acclaimed modern chef, has worked to perfect a signature dish founded on the belief that this famous aged cheese made near his native Modena wasn't getting the respect it deserved. "Why did we only use this incredible cheese—this symbol of our land—just to grate on pasta?" The 50-year-old Bottura, clad in chef's jacket and jeans, is nearly shouting.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Uprooting France’s ‘Louvre of the Vine’

The world’s greatest collection of vinestock is in play and vignerons sound the alarm

Posted: February 24, 2014  By Robert Camuto

One of France's greatest wine treasures lies off a dead-end road on a wind-swept strip of Mediterranean coastline.

Here, Blaise Genna, 60, sporting a white handlebar mustache direct from central vigneron casting, greets wine pilgrims (scientists, viticulturists and other professionals) who come for the world's greatest collection of vine stock: 2,600 separate grape varieties—7,500 genotypes—from 50 countries.

And like any wine lover should be, I am concerned about the tentative future of the collection, caught in a lease dispute after 65 years at this site.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

Après-Yquem: Not Down for the Count

Alexandre de Lur Saluces has brought his exacting Sauternes methods to another family estate

Posted: February 10, 2014  By Robert Camuto

Ten years ago, when the board of Château d'Yquem fired him, president and former owner Count Alexandre de Lur Saluces was expected to fade into the Sauternes sunset.

Instead, Lur Saluces picked himself up off the mat. The 80-year-old aristocrat continues making great Sauternes a few miles away at his Château de Fargues. Here, since 2005, he has produced seven wines in the outstanding range or better by Wine Spectator. The most recently released, 2009 (97 points), sold for $170.

Not bad for a man who doesn't even consider himself a winemaker.

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

The Son Rises at Biondi-Santi

Working solo for the first time, Jacopo takes on the challenges of running the venerable Brunello estate

Posted: January 27, 2014  By Robert Camuto

The 2013 vintage was tough for all of Montalcino, Tuscany's premier wine region. But for Jacopo Biondi Santi, it was a moment of truth.

It was the first harvest at his family's legendary estate following the death of his father, Franco Biondi Santi, this past spring at the age of 91.

"I have been harvesting here since I was eight years old, first with grandfather, then with my father," Jacopo, 63, said in his office over the winery. "This was the first time I did it alone."

Blogs  :  Robert Camuto: Letter from Europe

The Human Face of Wine

Wine's personality comes from the winemakers and grapegrowers behind the labels

Posted: January 13, 2014  By Robert Camuto

There are lots of reasons to love wine, but for me the most important reason is people. Wine is, after all, a story of humans working within the dynamics of nature, culture and history. When you put those forces together, you are bound to have tales of operatic proportions. These are the stories I love telling and will share in my new twice-monthly blog, Letter from Europe, reporting from the wine regions of France, Italy and beyond.

Dec. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Touring Champagne

Northern France is home to great bubbly and a bucolic wine country that has upped its game

Posted: December 15, 2013  By Robert Camuto, Alison Napjus

Nov. 15, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Wachau Pioneers

The leaders of an Austrian wine renaissance coax stunning whites from stony hillsides

Posted: November 15, 2013  By Robert Camuto

Oct. 31, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Southern Maestros

The Mastroberardino family helped spark a quality revolution in the high hills of Campania

Posted: October 31, 2013  By Robert Camuto

Aug. 31, 2013 Issue  :  Features

La Ciau del Tornavento

A vault of great wine in the Piedmont hills

Posted: August 31, 2013  By Robert Camuto

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