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Meeting Simone Toninelli of Amiata winery in Montecucco

Published:  31 May, 2014

First off, it was so much fun to meet Simone Toninelli - a really energetic guy who started off in life as a lawyer, and with his father bought a gorgeous piece of mountainside land right under an extinct volcano!

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Visiting Casale Pozzuolo in Montecucco

Published:  31 May, 2014

Casale Pozzuolo, a stunning castle that has been lovingly refurbished by its winemaker owners, was the designated "dinner spot" where I would meet many of the winemakers of the area, each with its own story to tell.

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Meeting the Pieri family of Podere Stenti

Published:  31 May, 2014

Though Eleonora never went to wine school, she learned how to make wine from her father and grandfather, and now makes wine for the family's range of wines with the help of some workers who also care for the animals on the farm.

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Tasting wines of Montecucco, Italy

Published:  31 May, 2014

The Consortium recently had a tasting of several wines from its fifty-five members, with brief notes listed below.

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More wine tastings please!

Published:  29 May, 2014

Wine tasting events, why the taboo?

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Visiting Produttori del Barbaresco

Published:  24 May, 2014

My guide today is the energetic and determined Aldo Vacca, who was born in this village yet worked in various areas of the world in a variety of wine-related positions, including handling exports in the United States. Together we walk through the winery, viewing the gleaming new silver fermentation tanks (the maturation happens in the 'old' winery down the street), and I hear the history of this space.

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Visiting Marchesi di Gresy

Published:  24 May, 2014

So the first thing you notice when you step inside the ancient doors of Marchesi di Gresy and see the tall fair-haired man with his welcoming outstanding hand is the New Zealand accent - and upfront friendliness - of cellar master Jeffrey Chilcott. He came to Italy years ago, having bitten the wine but when he worked as a bar man in several restaurants and gradually learned the wine tade.

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Meeting Emma J. Swain of St. Supery

Published:  24 May, 2014

By "improving" Emma is referring to working with the team at St. Supery to continuously make the signature estate wines better and better. Today Emma and I met over Sauvignon Blanc (the winery grows more than 10% of all the Sauvignon Blanc produced in the Napa Valley) and Cabernet Sauvignon to talk about the wines and her responsibilities at St. Supery, which entail everything from working with the winemakers to overseeing the marketing and public relations.

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A visit to the Elio Grasso winery

Published:  24 May, 2014

Though the home looks quite glamorous today and given the stature of Elio Grasso wine in the world of fine wine, one would think life was always easy, a Latin verse carved into the wood of an ancient cabinet in the tasting room suggests that this was not the case. According to the verse, in 1885 a hailstorm decimated the vineyard and "not a leaf was hanging."

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Visiting Massolino winery in Piedmont

Published:  24 May, 2014

Founded in 1896 by Giovanni Massolino, this winery has remain dedicated through four generations to producing soe of the best high quality wines in the region.The family cultivate 23 hectares including many prized cru vineyards. Some of the best include the Crus Margheria and Parafada which were purchases made by the family in the 1970s. Today Franco Massolino is in charge, the first vigneron in his family to have attended wine school.

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A visit to Pietro Ratti in Barolo

Published:  24 May, 2014

"My father was fresh from Brazil," Pietro explains, giving the reason why his father bought this particular piece of land. "My father knew that monks had a long tradition of finding the best land for winemaking. So he sought this out and it was the first piece of land he bought."

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Visiting Pio Cesare in Alba

Published:  24 May, 2014

Augusto Boffa is a man who likes to drive fast, hugging the vine-filled curves of the tiny hillside road that runs from the winery in downtown Alba to the pretty outdoor La Contea restaurant in Nieve. Maybe he's just hungry, yet there is a certain determination in the way he drives - the same determination that saw the Pio Cesare winery succeed over the past several decades.

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Visiting the G.D. Varja Family

Published:  24 May, 2014

Okay, so here's the story. This is a family of poets and dreamers, with everything beginning with Aldo Varja, an organic winemaker and traditionalist who adheres to old style winemaking methods such as aging his top Barolo in barrel for three and a half years prior to bottling.

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Conversation with Giancarlo Conterno

Published:  24 May, 2014

"My goal is put my signature on my wine," says Giacomo Conterno, speaking about the importance - or not - of critics in the wine world. This statement follows a discussion of the twenty-year debate between the "traditionalists" and "modernists" in Barolo.

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Visiting Sandrone winery in Piedmont

Published:  24 May, 2014

So I remember the first time I met Barbara Sandrone ... it was in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York city, and she was pouring her Barbera in a gorgeous "modernist" yellow and black dress that were the same colors of the New York City taxi cab.

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Visiting the Scavino Winery in Piedmont

Published:  24 May, 2014

The great great grandfather was a farmer who grew various fruit trees, had cattle and other animals, and so forth. He grew grapes yet in those days (1921) the farmers sold grapes to people who bottled and sold the wine.

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Danielle Ponzo Shows Me Terre del Barolo Cooperative

Published:  24 May, 2014

During this visit I was really surprised at how excellent a cooperative to be - yet maybe that is the case when there is an enologist like Daniele involved. His passion as he led me through the winery was really contagious ... I almost felt like I wanted to drop my New York life and move to Piedmont and work with him side by side, learning how to turn the grapes of simple vignerons into the most amazing velvet textured wines.

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Visiting Fenocchio in Monforte d'Alba

Published:  24 May, 2014

This is my first encounter with Giacomo Fenocchio in Monforte d'Alba though this wine has been famous for generations. From the terrace of his newly built house I can see the gorgeous expansion of vineyards (most south east facing, the best) and of course the family has other vineyards in other areas of the region.

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Visiting Oddero winery in Piedmont

Published:  24 May, 2014

The winery goes back to the end of the 18th century with vineyards owned in some of the most prestigious regions of Barolo and Barbaresco, though historical records show the vineyards and estate has belonged to the Oddero family for centuries.

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Conversation with Giacomo Conterno

Published:  23 May, 2014

"My goal is put my signature on my wine," says Giacomo Conterno, speaking about the importance - or not - of critics in the wine world. This statement follows a discussion of the twenty-year debate between the "traditionalists" and "modernists" in Barolo.

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