Yep. I am finally experiencing how the other half lives.
After years on the “supply side” of the wine business, I have dipped my toes into the wonderful, gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking world of the Sommelier. It’s been a few weeks now, standing in for a few of the sommeliers at Terroni in Los Angeles, and I have to say- this is much harder than I thought it would be!
Working with a list of over 700 wine labels, mostly obscure Italian varietals, in a restaurant run by a guy who would sooner lose a customer than have his kitchen cut their pizza, is no simple task. I am shocked, SHOCKED by how many people come in and ask me for a glass of Cabernet. Or a buttery Chardonnay, you say? oh. no.
My favorite Sardo @Terroni.
Have a become so out of touch with the every-day consumer that I don’t know how very little I know? Have I spent so much time around the 2% of the population who drink Grignolino and Erbaluce and Nerello Mascalese like water that I am blind to the real-world-situation for Italian wine? These are the trenches. We are fighting for our lives out here!
We have some work to do- and trust me, it’s not all self-serving. The People Need Vino Italiano. You think you like your Napa Cabernet… but you don’t even know how much you’re going to fall in love with this Aglianico from Basilicata.
I’m coming for you!
Some times I wonder if I will ever stop finding the magic in Italy- if my fascination with this country and all of its beautiful food and wine will slow to a trickle. How long is it possible to sustain such an incredible level of enthusiasm?
That’s when I remember that warm, glowing feeling that comes over me every time I step off a plane in Milano, Catania, Verona, Torino… Equal parts happy anticipation, and peaceful homecoming.
“You may have the entire Universe, if I may have Italy.”
If you think the Cinqueterre are important just for spectacular views and day hiking, think again. Campogrande winery is out to prove that the Cinqueterre means business. Serious wine business, anyway.
This winery is driven by Elio Altare, a renowned Barolo producer, and Antonio Bonanni, a local Ligurian winemaker. Together they craft tiny productions of three wines, which illustrate the world-class potential of Cinqueterre wines.
I first experienced Sciacchetrà wine in college, while travelling through the Cinque Terre with my roommates from Bologna. The locals in the town of Monterosso where we rented a room for a few nights tried to sell us on the idea that this was a magical wine that would make men fall madly in love with us. In reality, we were the one to fall in love- with the local Ligurian pesto and fresh seppia. Continue reading