Ten years is a long time. It’s almost as long as my second marriage! So I had to throw a going-away dinner for my colleague Jo Cooke, who is leaving the magazine to open his own English school in Grosseto, a coastal town in Tuscany.
I just got back from what may have been one of the highest blind tastings I have done in a while. I was on top of a mountain overlooking the town of Merano in the wine region of Alto Adige. I came up for a few days with my two children to hang out with friends as well as check out some new wines that my friend and sommelier Marco Unterhauser was raving about.
Brunello di Montalcino has been in the news again in Italy following an Italian finance police press conference this past Saturday in Siena when it recapped its nearly two-year investigation into fraudulent winemaking practices in the region.
I just received a telephone call from a supposed Italian correspondent for People magazine. I was so stoked when I heard it. Me and the late-Michael Jackson in the same magazine! Finally, I would get the fame I deserved for all the hard work and wine tasting in Europe for 24 years! My colleague in my office, Rosanne Quagliata, sent me the message.
I went to dinner with a great friend from Hong Kong last night and Florentine vintner Francesco Mazzei at a "funky town," tiny restaurant in Florence called Tre Panche. The owner works in the 18-seat restaurant with his wife and it’s almost impossible to get a seat.
I will admit to you today that I can be a hypochondriac. The slight cough, pain or bump, and I am freaking out that it might be "the big one." Take for example a 2-inch bump that showed up on my forehead about a month ago.
I get sick and tired of some wine merchants misusing my scores. And I have to wonder how many of the other scores or ratings they use to flog wines they misrepresent. Just the other day a wine merchant friend from Hong Kong e-mailed me with an offer from a wine broker in Switzerland that included my scores and the Wine Advocate ’s on 2004 Brunello di Montalcino.
I really admire the idea of handmade, holistic wines that focus on the goodness that earth gave them and much less on science and agro-industrial technology and methodology. The less man intervenes and the more nature gives us her true essence in the bottle, the better—or at least when it is possible—it seems to me.
Denis Durantou is one of my favorite winemakers in Bordeaux. He is eccentric and passionate, and his Pomerol estate, L'Église Clinet , makes wonderfully fragrant and beautifully proportioned reds from about 85 percent Merlot and the remainder in Cabernet Franc.
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