Busy! With Good News

Great news for our friend Suzanne!  Labor of Love is now to be found in Mario Batali’s Eataly stores.  That is awesome, and we are very excited about more people having the chance to read this wonderful story.

So it’s been light blogging here lately, as we’ve been quite swept away with preparations for fall tours and also some Piemonte related excitement.

We can now announce that the Labor of Love Piemonte Wine Tour, in conjunction with Under Discovered Publishing, is now live!  That’s the good news.  The bad news is the first iteration is already sold out; but do not despair, we’re taking reservations now for Fall 2017’s trip.  This is the best way to get a feel for the most important wine region in Italy–having an author who’s spent a decade and a half getting to know the Piemontese wine families intimately giving you a personal introduction.  Follow Wine Families of the World on Facebook for future updates!  We will definitely accept your name now for the 2017 waitlist if you’ve been hoping for a chance to really experience Piemonte.  Inquire for details!

Why Bother with Italian Bubbles?

It has been entertaining watching winebloggers discover Italian whites, both sparkling and otherwise, in recent years. I can only add “where y’all been?”

Mark Twain famously quipped travel was fatal to bigotry, prejudice, and ignorance. It is also quite the potent remedy for bias against Italian whites, bubbly and otherwise.

And wait til they discover the less heralded but equally wonderful spumante metodo classico coming from Piemonte.

the drunken cyclist

What really is the point of Italian sparkling wine? I mean that sincerely. What is the point? As you all know, I am a self-admitted bubble hound (after all my motto is “If it doesn’t sparkle it doesn’t matter”), but I have never really understood why anyone in the entire country of Italy even bothers to try to capture bubbles in a bottle.wine-stain1-3

I would guess that many of the sommeliers who read this blog (wait, are there any somms reading this?), are all up in arms since Franciacorta is nearly every somm’s darling go-to sparkler. Those irrepressible wine professionals love to foist the latest, the “greatest,” and above all “obscure” wines upon their hapless horde. Until relatively recently, almost everyone in the United States had never heard of Franciacorta (and even fewer could actually pronounce it).

The same is essentially true for the other region that produces traditional method wines…

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Dinner with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow

Sounds like a fantastic exploration of various regions and perfect pairings.

Charles Scicolone on Wine

It is always a pleasure to be invited to dinner at the home of Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow. Tom is a well-known wine writer and both he http://www.ubriaco.wordpress.com and Diane http://www.dianescookbooks.wordpress.com have their own blogs. Together they have written a number of books on Italian food.
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Tom always starts with something sparkling. This time it was Prosecco Brut “Rustico” NVNino Franco (Veneto) 100% Glera from the classic production area, hillside vineyards situated at medium altitude. Pressing, destemming, then cooling of the must and fermentation is in steel tanks at controlled temperature. The second fermentation is in cuvee close (autoclave). The wine has nice bubbles, and it is fruity and flowery with a hint of pear.img_1120

It was a perfect combination with open faced smoked salmon sandwiches on dark bread, topped with either pickled ginger. capers and ginger.img_1121

Greco di Tufo 2014Ag Agr Benito Ferrara (Campania) 100% Greco from a 4.65 hectare vineyard…

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Breaking news: Nebbiolo power brokers agree to create Piemonte Nebbiolo DOC

This is a tough one. On the one hand that Nebbiolo cultivation is a somewhat exclusive affair replete with the rules, traditions, and regulatory nosiness you’d expect for any noble standard bearer of the Italian wine industry is to be expected. The Piemontese are proud of what the name Nebbiolo stands for, and with good reason. They should want to avoid having it watered down with lesser quality wines sneaking in under the radar and riding the coattails of what’s really the best red wine in the world that you can drink regularly for $15-35.

On the other, given the difficulties and economic realities facing vignaioli in Piemonte of late (see earlier rants about the Vietti sale), I can see why some relaxation and expansion in what bottles the label Nebbiolo can be slapped upon might well be inevitable. Who really owns the name “Nebbiolo” anyway?

Do Bianchi

nebbiolo-grapes-docAbove: Nebbiolo grapes ripening this week in an appellation that lies outside the hallowed Langhe Hills. If approved, new Piedmont appellation regulations would allow growers across the region to label their Nebbiolo as “Piemonte Nebbiolo DOC.” Currently, only growers in select townships can use the grape name in labeling.

According to a person familiar with their discussions, the Barolo-Barbaresco-Alba-Langhe-Dogliani Consortium and the Barbera d’Asti-Wines of Monferrato Consortium have agreed this week to move forward with the creation of a Piemonte Nebbiolo DOC.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the agreement have not yet been made public.

After the Asti-Monferrato Consortium circulated proposed language for a new Piemonte Nebbiolo DOC among its members in August, vice presidents of the Barolo-Barbaresco-Alba-Langhe-Dogliani Consortium Pietro Ratti and Aldo Vacca publicly shared their opposition.

“It’s obvious that the big producers have caught a whiff of a good bargain,” said Vacca…

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