All posts filed under: English

Pagano Joaquin from Irpinia

The wine bars of Salerno are veritable shrines to the vintages of Irpinia. Cocktail hour means sipping a trendy terroir on a seaside terrace while watching the parade of bearded hipsters. Irpinian’s wines seem to wield a seductive power… To find out why, we head inland. Soon we’re surronded by vineyards, in a landscape of steep hills redolent with fragrant herbs. The resemblance to Tuscany elicits a sense of déjà vu, but Irpinia is more an immense artistic pollinization, echos of the interactive interconnections among people and nature. Here’s Pagano Joaquin, owned by Raffaele Pagano, a man who thwarts fate with humor and razzle-dazzle. This is more a way of life; it’s an acerbic, colorful existentialism. For him, modernity is not enough. It requires experimentation to take things further. And, oddly enough, it works, and has even become necessary to a life outlook. Raffaele is a fair mixture between a lackadaisical farmer and an obsessed with productivity, a union made for our times, a fierce defender of tradition working hand in hand with the nec …

The endlessy attractive world of sweet white

Sweet wines are under a cloud these days. The sporty, health-oriented contemporary trend lists them under « forbidden pleasures ». Everything is lumped together : Tokay, Sauternes and various sweetened atrocities. To like the sweet wines is almost bad form, just try to confess it to neophyte connaisseurs who swear by dry wines and Brut. And yet, there is nothing deeper and more philosophical than communicating with an outstanding Vin Santo or Trockenbeerenauslese. This is actually one of the final steps in taste development. After all, we all go through more or less the same motions. At first we like the light sweetish Moscato d’Asti, then the powerful, tannic dry reds from the New World, then we discover the variety of dry whites, then we proceed to the elegant reds enjoying their gravity and balance. And finally, as the spiral makes yet another turn, we are again enchanted by sweet wines, now by those at the top of wine ratings. We find a spot for them, at the end of a dinner, in the unhurried flow of an …

Korea, the country of morning freshness

In antiquity, wise men have been long locking horns about the harmonious balance of the two principal elements of our being : male and female, black and white, mind and soul, to put it shortly, yin and yang. In one state of the world, South Korea, this problem does not simply figure prominently on the official level, it is displayed on the national flag. Sometimes it seems as if the whole population of this country, those people who manifacture household appliances or cars, those who build idyllic Zen Buddhist monasteries on wood-covered mountain slopes, were taking part in solving the issue. The capital of South Korea greets you with glittering skyscrapers of the business quarter, heavy traffic along busy street, the rhythmical hum of moving stairs in shopping malls. One of the principal symbols of Seoul is the huge Gyeongbokgung palace, erected in the 16th century and many times rebuilt since then. Korean architecture is such that all palaces are not simply separate buildings, but cascades of buildings of varying shapes and sizes, situated on different …

700 Italian restaurants in Seoul and Italian wines haven’t boomed yet, why?

Well, Tuscany was my first love, my first tasting and my first great wine. And my next. And my next. Indeed, I’ve visited Tuscany more than any other wine region and the flavor of these wines, more than those of Burgundy, Rioja, Barolo or Bordeaux, meander teasingly through my taste memory wherever I might be, whatever I might be drinking… And now I’m drinking Majuang, Korea’s first major wine product and it isn’t glitzy. In 1977 Majuang wine began production in Korea; until 1987 it was the most commonly available type of wine, accounting for around 90% of sales. After that time, foreign wines began to be imported and Majuang’s share of the market dropped to around 15%. Majuang wines are not 100% Korean; they contain wines imported from Europe and Chile mixed with the local product. There are a number of types being made, both red and white, and the number and types of varieties change with time. Majuang is produced at the Gyeongsan Winery by Lotte Liquor, a global business group as well …

Florence and the Chianti Classico revolution

Florence has had more influence on European culture than almost any other city in Europe. It was the cradle of the Renaissance, and counts artists Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci among its most famous exports. This was also the city that produced Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, who between them pioneered the use of a language that became the basis for modern Italian. Florentine musicians invented opera; its scientists laid the ground work for modern physics, astronomy and anatomy; its architects influenced the way that every major European city was built; and its political geniuses invented political science. In the 13th century, Florentines reinvented money in the form of the gold florin. The wealth this brought to the city led to the rise of a banking industry unlike any the world had seen before. The Florentine bankers financed industry, culture and exploration across Europe, driving the continent out of the Dark Ages. But despite a reputation for artistic genius and spectacular architecture, Florence’s greatest contribution to history has perhaps been Chianti. There has always been an …

DWCC13-Rioja #1 Manhattan in the Basque Country

What remains of the industrial Bilbao, the power of a city forged by mines and sea, which collapsed with the crisis which affected steel as phylloxera did the vine? My eager eyes do not see the tracks of this recent past, nevertheless they exist : glorious, marine and metallurgical, situated less than a kilometer from the Guggenheim. The place is called Zorrotzaurre, a narrow tongue of land, a peninsula which will become an island like Manhattan, a transformation that will finally enclose a chapter of urban renovation begun in Bilbao at the dawn of the 1990s. Today, warehouses are reduced to rubble, there are only gigantic detached houses, behind secure walls with names carved in the entrances.   I feel both hatred and love towards this city which has become a model of development, showered with money. Urban Committees and their funds are the big Zeus and architects the crazy mutants. Remember… the city was one of the darkest of Spain, dirty and polluted … now people kayak down the river. It is the “ Guggen …

Tenuta l’Impostino, a local myth

The past, with echoes of its legends, permeates the ancient rooms of Tenuta l’Impostino and flavors its wines. Natural therefore that each labels references to a local myth, a patrimony of an oral tradition passed down from generation to generation. Popular legends from Maremma’s have been an inspiration to identify those wines, a real inspiration passing through name and label design: Ballo Angelico, made from Vermentino grapes, tell the story of the Cotone Castle where people used to dance every night under the star. Lupo bianco, 60% Sangiovese and 40% Merlot, is the white wolf wandering in the misty winter nights. Viandante, 100% Sangiovese from the Montecucco DOC, is the soul of the Tenuta, a place where travelers on the road from Siena to Rome used to find shelter and food in places called “Impostini”. Ciarlone, 70% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah and 10% Petit Verdot, is the “babbler”, a genuine, sincere daily companion. Since the Medieval time, the “Impostini” represented a place where wayfarer could take a break and get refreshments and could change …

Cantina Pieve Vecchia

Here is a winery where the word ‘hospitality’ is on its full meaning: guided tours, events, tastings, open spaces and interiors carefully designed by Cini Boeri. This is Pieve Vecchia, a hill that has been hollowed out and then covered back to create a winery with a very low environmental impact. Everything has been successfully designed in order to achieve a smooth integration within the Campagnatico territory. Started in 2007 and ended in 2010, this winery comes from the desire of the Engineer Monaci (also owner of the Locanda del Glicine, still in Campagnatico) to expand his career path to the world of wine. We are here in the Montecucco DOC, a young “denominazione” created in 1997 that is now becoming a safe value among the new Italian wines. The space of fermentation is underground and comprises 32 cuve of steel, the barrel room, a warehouse and the space for bottling. The upper part consists in the wine bar, a shop and a conference room. At present 100 000 bottles are produced but the yield …

Benvenuti!

Welcome on my new BLOG! (BacchicLearningOverGround) Bienvenus sur mon nouveau BLOG! (BoireLireObserverGouter) Benvenuti sul mio nuovo BLOG! (BereLeggereOsservareGustare) But why La Zazzera, the wine’s fringe? La Zazzera  means (in Italian) a head always uncombed provided with a fringe, exactly as mine! And during a tasting, to appreciate the color of a wine, we analyze the tint where the wine meets the glass, a quite small zone called “the fringe”… Mais pourquoi s’appeler La Zazzera, la frange du vin? La Zazzera signifie en italien une tête toujours décoiffée pourvue d’une frange, exactement comme la mienne!  Et en dégustation, pour apprécier la couleur d’un vin,  on analyse la teinte là où le vin rencontre le verre, une toute petite zone appelée “la frange”…  La Zazzera é scapigliata e frangiuta proprio come me. Durante la degustazione, per apprezzare il vero colore di un vino, si deve analizzare la tinta là dove il vino incontra il bicchiere, una piccolissima zona chiama « la frangia »…ecco perché il mio blog si chiama : La Zazzera, la frangia del vino. I am a Sommelier …