“Fire and Wine: Boccaccio and the end of ampelophobia” Oct. 16, a virtual tasting available across the U.S.

Dante only mentions wine once in the 100 cantos of his poem the Commedia.

Petrarch never mentions wine in his Italian songbook, the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Fragments of Vernacular Things) even as he rails against ubiquitous alcoholism and gluttonous cardinals thirsty for (French) wine in his Latin writings.

But with Boccaccio, their successor to the Italian literary crown, wine suddenly emerges as a diegetic and extra-diegetic element central to mimesis. In the Florentine writer’s Decameron, wine not only plays a key narrative role but also transcends its alimentary value and becomes a quasi-epistemological device.

On Friday, October 16, I’ll be leading a virtual tasting where I’ll share some of my research into Boccaccio’s unique textual relationship with wine and discuss how he vanquished his predecessors’ ampelophobia.

I promise it won’t be as boring as it sounds! And even more importantly, the event is open to anyone who lives in a state where Chambers St. Wines can ship.

The tasting, organized by Italian poet Luigi Ballerini, Lacanian psychoanalyst Paola Mieli, and New York gallerist Robert Simon, benefits Animal Zone International.

Click here for details (deeply discounted early-bird tickets available as of this posting). I would love for you to join us.

And for Houstonians and Texans at large, here are some other tastings that should be on your radar…

Sommelier Riccardo Guerrieri and the good folks at Vinology wine bar and shop in Houston have mounted a savory “week-long exhibition of skin-contact wines,” September 28-October 5. Visit their site for forthcoming details. The event will feature discounted macerated white wines and accompanying videos. Give me some skin! Tracie and I are HUGE skin-contact enthusiasts!

On Thursday, September 24, Court of Sommeliers members Jack Mason and Steven McDonald will be leading a superb virtual wine tasting to benefit She Has Hope, “a Houston-based human trafficking response initiative operating programs for vulnerable girls and women in Asia and Africa.” It’s always an amazing experience to taste with these dudes.

There is still time to sign up for virtual tastings with Italian wine and food producers September 21-22 at the Taste of Italy virtual trade fair organized by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce South Central. Click here for participating producers and appointment portal. All trade members and wine and food-focused media active in Texas (Austin, Dallas, San Antonio included) are eligible to take part. Free wine and food delivered to your doorstep? It’s a no brainer, if you ask me.

Lastly, I continue to lead virtual wine dinners every Thursday night for my restaurant client here in Houston Roma. Each week, we host an Italian winemaker and the cost is $119 for 3 bottles of wine and dinner for two. See the restaurant’s website for weekly details and click here if you’d like me to add you to our distribution list.

Thanks for reading, speaking, tasting, and supporting Italian wine! Italian winemakers and the wine and food professionals who rely on them need our support more than ever!

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