Italian Beauties

Italian Beauties

There was time in my younger days when a press and trade tasting in San Francisco was a small affair. The press, usually 10 to 15 wine writers, were treated to a quiet hour or so to make our notes in peace, before the trade were let in. In those days (1980s to early...
Vecchio Amaro del Capo

Vecchio Amaro del Capo

  You’ve probably never head of this amazing after-dinner drink, perfect for the conclusion of a heavy holiday repast! A digestif and a liqueur, Vecchio Amaro del Capo is sweeter than the former but sharper than the latter: Grand Marnier meets Fernet...
Sipping the Light Fantastic

Sipping the Light Fantastic

Here’s a light and lovely red that has all the charm of a Beaujolais but is made right here in California. I admit that I knew nothing about this grape variety, which is also known as Napa Gamay or Napa Gamay 15. At its point of origin in the Longueduc-Rousillon...
The Pros of Prosecco

The Pros of Prosecco

The “pro” in Prosecco might just mean that this reasonably priced Italian charmer is one to consider if Champagne—the real stuff—is not in your budget. If you like champagne but don’t appreciate the price tag, I’d like to suggest a high quality Prosecco....
Pinot Precision

Pinot Precision

Once again there was an embarrassment of riches among the many excellent Pinot Noir offerings at the May 2016 SLH Gala. Pinots from the Santa Lucia Highlands tend to be bigger and bolder than their Burgundian counterparts, darker and denser and milder in their...
Venice Drinking

Venice Drinking

The truism “you can’t get a bad meal in Italy” takes a beating in Venice, sad to say. Venice scores low in fine dining, and it’s inevitable. Ninety-nine percent of visitors have one meal and never return, and that doesn’t inspire restaurateurs to always do their best....
Grenache Blanc for savory egg dishes

Grenache Blanc for savory egg dishes

Egg-based dishes present a problem from a wine-pairing standpoint; Rieslings, even dry ones, are too citrus-forward and acid-edged, and any other white will overpower the delicate fluffy-flavored egg-cheese balance. So I’m happy to say that I’ve found a...