Above: last month, Alicia Lini and her daughters hosted Tracie, our girls, and me at her family’s winery in Correggio (Reggio Emilia province). I’ll be pouring her family’s wines a week from Saturday at Jaynes Gastropub in San Diego. Please join me. I’ll also be playing a show the night before (Friday) and attending the Nat Diego Grand Tasting Saturday morning. Click here for details.
The first iPhone had just been released two months prior.
And in just a few weeks the Financial Crisis would officially begin with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Earlier that year, a food and wine media consultant in the last year of his 30s had traveled to Italy in search of a classic method Lambrusco.
It seems like a lifetime ago.
It was back in 2007 that I first met and tasted with Alicia Lini (above) at her family’s winery in Correggio in the heart of Lambrusco country. A tip from the owner of a wonderful restaurant an hour’s drive to the east had led me to her doorstep.
New York City had been my home for nearly 10 years and my 9-to-5 was a gig as marketing director for a high-profile restaurant and wine imports group.
In August of that year, Alicia flew to New York where I had organized a series of tastings and meetings with top wine media. The highlight was her appearance on a WNYC talk show. The other guest that morning was Pattie Boyd, who had just published her memoir. When we met her in the green room, I discreetly whispered to Alicia (in Italian, hoping that the famous model wouldn’t pick up on how starstruck our handshake had left me).
“Do you realize who that is, Alicia???!!! It’s Pattie Boyd! George Harrison wrote ‘Something’ for her… Eric Clapton wrote ‘Wonderful Tonight’ for her.”
Alicia did great on the show and she and the wines ended up appearing in some of the top wine columns of the day.
I decided to leave New York later that year and return to California where I grew up. By the end of the following year, I had moved to Texas to be with Tracie.
The Financial Crisis devastated and decimated the New York restaurant scene. The upscale Italian where the above photo was taken closed not long after the bubble had burst.
But Alicia’s family’s wines had already been woven into the fabric of the city’s wine community. And Alicia and I stayed in touch, thanks in part to our fond memories of our work together.
When we met at Vinitaly this year, the Lini family asked me to come back into the fold. And we’ve set out to expand their presence in Texas and California, where the wines are now imported directly.
Back in 2007 when we first met, the wine blogging world had just begun to take shape. I had launched my own blog just a few months earlier.
It seems like a lifetime ago and it seems like yesterday.