La Clarine Farm rosè: touch it, kiss it, smell it, drink it… it’s finally here (almost) @amyatwoodwine @lcfwino @SottoLA

From the department of “dreams do come true”…

Thanks to the coolest lady on the Los Angeles wine scene, Amy Atwood, of the 90 or so cases produced, we were able to score enough of Hank Beckmeyer’s off-the-charts good La Clarine Farm rosè for a by-the-glass campaign at Sotto (to be launched shortly).

Think: a judicious schmear of qunce jam and lightly salted crème fraîche on gently toasted crusty bread. I cannot wait for Tracie P to taste this wine. It’s salty and crunchy and utterly satisfying.

Domaine LA is the best retail outlet for Hank’s wines in the Southland and I was able to secure some for Do Bianchi Wine Selections (my wine club) for later this spring.

Where I want to be all the time (the greatest love)

Unfortunately, I’ve got to leave Austin again tomorrow for a few days. But it sure has been nice to be in one place for a while.

Most early evenings, I tune out around 5 p.m. and play guitar and sing for Georgia P until she’s ready for her bath. All she has to do is look at me and another love song just seems to flow from my finger tips. She’s such an inspiration and such a joy for us…

Taurasi, Italian Grape Name & Appellation Pronunciation Project @SottoLA

It was great to see the response yesterday to a new entry in the Italian Grape Name & Appellation Project. Thanks to everyone for all the retweets!

Since I’ll be heading to Los Angeles later this week to work the floor at Sotto (where I curate the wine list) on Thursday and Friday nights, I also wanted to post this entry (above) on Taurasi by one of my favorite producers, Struzziero.

Struzziero is old-school Taurasi all the way and we’ve featured a vertical of the wines — 92, 97, 01 — on our list since we first were able to secure an allocation last year.

I love the wines…

And I couldn’t resist making this “outtake” video of my “shoot” with Mario Struzziero at Vinitaly.

With true campano style, he added a short gloss using a word that has a particular meaning in Italian: peripezia or peripeteia (“In classical tragedy [and hence in other forms of drama, fiction, etc.]: a point in the plot at which a sudden reversal occurs. In extended use: a sudden or dramatic change; a crisis,” Oxford English Dictionary). It’s an ancient Greek word that is still used regularly in Italian today, especially in Rome and southward. In workaday language, it means simply mishaps or vicissitudes. But in this case, his usage has layered meanings… It’s one of the things I love about Italy and Italian language…

And I love his family’s wines…

Pizza & Bollinger? Ummm… I think I told you so…

From the department of “ubi major minor cessat”…

Eric the Red writes today on the virtues of pairing pizza and, ahem, Champagne

Bolly is one of his top picks.

Umm, where have I heard that before?

Our good friend Charles Scicolone (above) – with whom we have shared many a pizza and great wine — also gets a nice shout out in Eric’s piece

McMalbec, my post today @EatingOurWords @HoustonPress

My editor asked me to write something about a wine from Argentina and so I just couldn’t help myself…

When my wife Tracie P and I pulled the synthetic cork out of a bottle of Terrazas de los Andes Altos del Plata Malbec on Saturday evening at a family function, we joked that we could write the tasting note without even sampling the contents: “Bright jammy fruit, with an intense blueberry note, aggressive but balanced alcohol, reluctant acidity but quaffable nonetheless, a crowd-pleaser for under $10.”

Let’s face it. Wines from Argentina are like McDonald’s. And that’s a good thing, people! No matter where you go, you know that a Big Mac will taste exactly like the Big Mac you enjoy (when hungover) at your corner franchise.

And like Mickey D’s secret sauce, the Argentine wine formula is a winner all over the world.

Click here for my post today for the Houston Press…

Lagrein: Italian Grape Name & Appelllation Pronunciation Project @EricAsimov

Eric the Red was right to “have a little fun with it” when he wrote me asking about the pronunciation of the Italian grape name Lagrein last year.

“FEW things are simple in northeastern Italy,” he wrote, “least of all lagrein, a red grape that can produce fresh, aromatic, highly seductive wines. Why, just last week, I asked a linguistically minded friend who is fluent in Italian for the proper pronunciation of lagrein. Here is his response, or part of it:”

    “Lagrein is a tough one,” he said, “in part because it’s pronounced using a Germanic, as opposed to an Italianate vowel system.” He went on to offer his preference, lah-GRAH’EEN, but allowed that lah-GRINE and lah-GREYE’NE (where greye rhymes with eye) were also acceptable. Well, linguists are nothing if not perfectionists. But even allowing for such hairsplitting, lagrein comes with ample grounds for confusion. It is grown primarily in Alto Adige, a region so far to the north in Alpine Italy that it practically touches Austria and Switzerland. There, the culture is more Tyrolean than Italian, and the first language is often German. Many wines from the region are labeled in both Italian and in German. Even the name of the region, Alto Adige, does not speak for itself; it is generally rendered bilingually with its German counterpart, Südtirol (South Tyrol, using the Germanic vowel system, of course).

Here’s the link to his profile of Lagrein and tasting panel notes.

When I headed to Italy at the end of March to attend the annual Italian wine trade fair, Lagrein was on the top of my list of new ampelonyms to capture for the Italian Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project.

And so I made a beeline to the Franz Gojer stand — in my view, one of the greatest producers of Lagrein — and asked Franz’s son Florian to speak for my camera. While Florian is bilingual (and of course, we spoke in Italian), German is his first language. And as per what I told Eric above, Lagrein, linguistically speaking, is first and foremost Germanic.

Thanks for speaking Italian (grapes)!

Breakfast tacos back in the Groover’s Paradise

Had a to take a few days off to decompress, beat the nasty jetlag, catch up on my sleep, and “love on” Tracie and Georgia P this weekend.

When I travel to Europe for the trade fair, only to stay on to lead a blogger project, I hit the ground running and the pace never slows down… And then, back in Texas, where Tracie P is now a stay-at-home mom and we are a one-income household, my plate is piled high with new clients and editorial responsibilities as we try to make our business grow.

And so early Sunday morning, as baby and mamma still slumbered, I warmed some handmade flour tortillas, melted some colby jack, hard scrambled some eggs with Parmigiano Reggiano, milk, and nutmeg, and topped it all with a dollop of creamy guacamole, a tablespoon of frijoles negros (Goya, of course), and a generous splash of Herdez salsa casera.

There’s a whole wide world of enogastronomic adventure out there… but there’s no place like home…

Happy Monday, yall…