Currently Browsing: Italy

To My Surprise: Learning to Make Organic Focaccia and Pasta

I never expected Italian wine to lead me into the kitchen, a place I’ve never felt comfortable or adept. But two women chefs and the local, organic flour mill, Mulino di Val D’Orcia, have inspired me. To my surprise, I’m finding out that it’s much easier to make focaccia and pasta than I thought. Having […]

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Stella di Campalto: Soul, Soil and Biodynamic Brunello

Stella di Campalto is a steel magnolia possessing both charm and grit. Her soft-spoken elegance belies the determination and vision she needed to found an organic winery in 1995 and run it by herself without experience or training. For the first three years, still in her twenties, she lived with her two girls, three and […]

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Forage: The Pleasure of Fresh Food and Italian Natural Wine in Cambridge

The European style of Stan Hilbert’s new farm-to-table restaurant¬†in Cambridge is elegant but low key. Fresh, local organic food and wine pairs with a wine list that leans heavily toward Italian and French. But there isn’t a scrap of snootiness, just fun and pleasure. What would you like to try? The major players (left to […]

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Natural Wine: In Defense of Culture, Agriculture + Freedom

In his provocative and fascinating book, Cultural Insurrection, Jonathon Nossiter explains how in the last ten years independent winegrowers making natural wine have “succeeded in staging a small, calm revolution”* As individuals without an institutionalized organization, they have spontaneously created a model for protecting culture, diversity and freedom. It works because a tiny alternative market […]

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When Italian Wine Is Like Trying On A New Pair Of Jeans

Any wine has structure (some combination of acidity, tannins and minerality) balanced out by softness (alcohol, glycerol and in sweet wines, sugar). Since Italian wine is made to go with food and often also made to age, it typically has more structure than softness. It’s like jeans that you have trouble zipping yourself into in […]

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Ferdinando Principiano: A Natural Bond with the Land and the Past

“If you don’t know where you’ve been,” Ferdinando Principiano asks rhetorically, “how can you possibly know where you’re going?” His philosophy of life and of making wine is deeply rooted in his respect for the Langhe, its history and the community here. Ferdinando’s intense curiosity has led him to research nineteenth century letters written by […]

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Barolo Boys: The Power & Effects of International Wine Marketing

“Barolo Boys” (2014) is a documentary about the Barolo “boom” in the nineties. The strength of the film is its success in chronicling how a group of family owned wineries (7 men + 1 woman)* changed the historical character of their wines for marketing purposes and what happened as a result. The story is important […]

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Senza Filtro (Unfiltered): Artisan Tasting Event at Foradori

On Monday, May 30, Elisabetta Foradori organized an extraordinary event with 65 artisan, [glossary_exclude] terroir [/glossary_exclude] winegrowers and their wines. Senza Filtro in Italian conveys the idea that the wines are immediate, vivacious, true expressions of place (terroir). To have those characteristics, the wines, by definition, have to be made “naturally”, but the event was […]

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Passion On The Vine: a memoir by Sergio Esposito

When I first read Sergio Esposito’s book seven years ago, it changed my understanding of Italian wine. Esposito explains so clearly how the best and most interesting wines of Italy are deeply connected to family, culture, tradition and most of all, place. He begins the book by describing his early life in Naples, then, the […]

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Paolo Bea: Natural Wine Pioneer in Umbria

Paolo Bea’s family has been making wine just outside the walls of the Umbrian town of Montefalco for 500 years. He and his wife, Marina, began in the seventies with a philosophy that is becoming popular but was then radical: make wine with grapes…only grapes…and grapes grown with biodynamic agricultural methods at that. On the […]

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