April 15, 2013
Last week I was back on Roger Hedgecock’s TV show pouring three Syrah-based wines, Cabot, Big Basin and St. Cosme. I so enjoy sharing my favorite wines with Roger’s audience. I hope you have as much fun watching it as we did filming it!
Click on this link to view:
Links to the winery websites:
February 24, 2013
Last week I was on Roger Hedgecock’s TV show pouring High Quality-to-Price Ratio Cali Cabs. We were having too much fun for a Friday morning!
I’ll be doing these wine segments on a monthly basis and I’m open to suggestion for future shows
Click on this link to watch:
September 21, 2009
I knew my group would be in for a major learning experience when I scheduled our visits in Barbaresco. The first stop was Gaja, the most exclusive winery in the region, and the second a visit to Produttori di Barbaresco, the co-op that produces wines for a collective of 54 farmers. Angelo Gaja has done more to put Piedmont on the map than anyone. He is an ambassador that has promoted these wines and this region for decades. His single-vineyard Barbarescos are extremely hard to find and command prices of over $300.
Gaja bought and renovated the Castello di Barbaresco. It is decorated with art commisioned from countries where the Gaja wines are most popular.
Alessandra Forlani, Gaja import director, showed us around the winery, which is joined to the Barbaresco castle, an incredible building which they have restored into an incredible wine tasting facility and art gallery. Halfway through the tour, she took me aside and said that Angelo Gaja remembered me from last time, and would join us for the tasting. Turns out that Angelo is an avid cyclist, and rides some of the toughest hills in Piedmont!
Everyone was blown away by our tasting with Gaya. I put him up there with Piero Antinori and the late Robert Mondavi as someone with so much charisma that people who have contact with him are buzzing for days afterwards.
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September 15, 2009
It was back in February when I met with Richard and Ann Opper, a couple who asked me to put a bike and wine trip together for them and their friends. They said it could be in any wine region, my choice, and that the biking should be challenging, but not ridiculously hard. It took me all of a minute to come up with the Piedmont region of Italy. It is incredibly beautiful, I love the wines (Barlo, Barbaresco, Barbera) and the hills are more difficult than Tuscany, but not as crazy as the Dolomites.
My good friend Maru Davilla decided to join the trip just one week before we left. This is a typical view … it was like this the entire week!
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January 17, 2009
Now that Bottle Shock, the movie about the famous Judgment of Paris tasting, is coming out on DVD, it seemed like a good time to post about our restaging of this famous wine event.
For anyone that is not familiar with the history, this is the competition in 1976 where ten top French wines were put up in a blind tasting against ten of California’s best. The judges, all French, included luminaries in the wine industry. To everyone’s shock, the California wines came out on top, Chateau Montelena won for the whites, and Stag’s Leap for the red.
Bottle Shock, the movie based on this historical wine event, was chosen for the Sundance Film Festival last year, and will be out on DVD in February. As a fundraiser for the Museum of Photographic Arts, we organized a restaging of the Judgment with updated vintages of the wines from the original tasting. There were 50 attendees and we began the evening by … Read the rest of this entry »
November 1, 2008
As a student of Renaissance art, I’ve been obsessed for years with the following question: “Am I the only one that’s noticed there is nothing from the New Testament in the entire Sistine Chapel Ceiling?” Think about it. The most important work of Catholic art ever, in the Pope’s personal chapel, consists of panels depicting Genesis, Noah, Jonah … scenes entirely from the Old Testament. Surrounding these panels are prophets, sibyls from pagan mythology, and a frat-house-worth of nudes. 300 figures in all, and not one Saint, Virgin or Savior, the subject matter of 99% of the Renaissance art found in Catholic churches.
So there I was, my first night in Rome, mentioning this to my friend James Barron, an ex-pat art-dealer who has lived there from years, and he replied “Actually there’s a new book about it, a collaboration between a Rabbi and a Vatican tour guide. It made the NY Times best-seller list.” That night I googled it and found, The Secrets of The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican, by Roy Derliner and Rabbi Benjamin Blech. The book argues that Michelangelo, unhappy with the Church and the Pope that commissioned him, drew heavily on Jewish culture and the doctrine of Kabbalah in designing the Sistine Chapel.
So my first point of biz in Rome …
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October 13, 2008
I’m here in Rome, camping out between bike trips. While looking up wine bars, I happened across an entry in Hungry Girl, where she runs into Mario Batali and he tells her “I only eat at wine bars in Rome. That’s where the best food is.” So I decided to put my list of bars up against Mario’s. The research has been exhausting! In checking them out, I found some new favorites, found that some of my old faves had gone downhill, and verified that the tried-and-true great wine bars of Rome are NOT resting on their laurels! For this “best of” list assume fabulous wine selections and good food … wine bars with sh**y selections didn’t make the list. Each address below is linked to the google map.
Cul de Sac – This has always been my favorite. Why? Walls lined with bottles, outdoor seating, always crowded, perfect location, great array of cheeses and meats, darn good food, too. Along a cute sidestreet close to the Piazza Navona. Piazza di Pasquino, 73
Il Simposio di Constantini – Classy place connected to a very good restaurant. I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a glass of Pinot Nero and the free hors d’oeuvres, and I met a group of ex-pat journalists, which led to two more glasses of wine, which led to … Read the rest of this entry »