Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to Champagne?

Nestled in the lake district at the foot of the Alps, the small appellation of Franciacorta is a gem waiting to be discovered.  Located about 70km east of Milan on the south shore of Lake Iseo, Franciacorta consists of 19 villages in an amphitheater-like area rich in mineral deposits from the glacial era. In the last few years, Franciacorta has become more famous within Italy … Continue reading Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to Champagne?

The Wines of Abruzzo: Between the Mountains and the Sea

Abruzzo, land of fisherman and shepherds. The regional economy, originally based on fishing, agriculture and pasture, has diversified, but it maintains its reputation for high-quality, natural products. Although geographically small, Abruzzo is one of the most important wine-producing regions in central and southern Italy. The Land Abruzzo is located in Central Italy, bordering the Adriatic Sea which runs for 130km from north to south along the … Continue reading The Wines of Abruzzo: Between the Mountains and the Sea

My New Year Wine Resolutions for 2022

Let’s admit it, 2021 wasn’t really the best of years.  Earlier in the pandemic many of us, myself included, believed that we’d be back to normal sometime in 2021 and were disappointed and fatigued by end of the year. Personally, I mostly missed the social and professional gatherings – formal and informal – that I enjoyed before 2020: wine dinners with friends, tasting groups, trade … Continue reading My New Year Wine Resolutions for 2022

Etna Wines: The Power of the Volcano

It was 5.40am on a Sunday morning. I was sound asleep when I suddenly felt the deep rumblings that turned into a prolonged, loud roar. My first thoughts were: “Is it an earthquake?  A bomb?  A strong thunderstorm?” (Having grown up in Central America, I’m used to all three of them). Then I realized the noise coming from deep within the center of the earth … Continue reading Etna Wines: The Power of the Volcano

Lesser-known Italian grapes: Central Italy

For the second post of the series on native Italian grapes, we’ll explore a few of the most notable varieties from the regions of Umbria, Lazio, Marche, and Abruzzo in Central Italy. SAGRANTINO (Region: Umbria) Native to the medieval hilltop village of Montefalco in eastern Umbria between Perugia and Spoleto. Historically known for its sweet passito-style wines, the grape almost disappeared in the mid-20th century, … Continue reading Lesser-known Italian grapes: Central Italy

On becoming a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador

This past June I became an Italian Wine Ambassador. Yes! I attended and passed the rigorous exam organized by Vinitaly International Academy (VIA), which awards the certification which has become the gold standard of Italian wine education and expertise. VIA’s main goal is to build a global network of qualified professionals who will promote and advocate for Italian wines throughout the world. The program consists … Continue reading On becoming a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador

Chianti Classico: The black rooster is back

“Who cares, it’s just a Chianti”, responded the sales rep at one of the wine chain retail stores when I asked about the storage condition of the three older bottles of Chianti Classico that were on display. After engaging in a short conversation with her (and purchasing something else), I wondered if this was a common perception of the popular Tuscan wines among both wine … Continue reading Chianti Classico: The black rooster is back

Brunello: The Highest Expression of Sangiovese

Widely considered as Tuscany’s finest and most lauded wine and the highest expression of the Sangiovese grape, Brunello di Montalcino is a wine like no other: dense, elegant and extremely long-lived, and has recently become a darling of collectors and connoisseurs worldwide. After spending a few days in northern Italy, I made my way to beautiful Tuscany to visit the famed areas of Montalcino, Montepulciano … Continue reading Brunello: The Highest Expression of Sangiovese

Soave Classico: 6 must-try wines

Located northeast of Verona in the foothills of Monti Lessini, the Soave DOC is one of Italy’s most important dry white wine appellations. In the 1970’s and 80’s, the wines of Soave achieved great reputation, but this success led to the extension of the production zone to lesser sites which resulted in a significant drop in quality, as most wineries focused on quantity over quality. … Continue reading Soave Classico: 6 must-try wines

Valpolicella, home of Amarone

On the foothills of the Alps, in the region of Veneto in north-central Italy, Valpolicella -whose name is a mix of Latin and Greek “Vallis-polis-cellae”, or “valley of many cellars”- extends northwest from Verona like an open hand: its five fingers create four distinct valleys, where the cool winds from the Lessini Mountains meet with the warmth of Lake Garda and provide the area an … Continue reading Valpolicella, home of Amarone