Drinking well with Peter Wasserman in Austin, thank you very much

Above: What a treat to get to taste with Peter Wasserman (center) yesterday! He led a superb tasting at Jeff Courington’s Vino Vino (that’s Jeff, right). And we were joined by our friend Julio Hernández (left), who made a name for himself in the wine world as Emeril’s wine director and now distributes fine wine here in Texas.

In case you were concerned that there weren’t any good wine for Tracie P and me to drink in Austin, Texas, I just thought I’d share yesterday’s flight.

Before heading to dinner in the home of friends, we got to taste some fantastic French wines with Peter Wasserman, who was in town to “work the market” as they say in wine parlance. I’d never met Peter in person and what a delightful, charming, and engaging fellow he is! There were some impressive wines in his flight (including the 2007 Domaine Mugnier Nuits–Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de La Maréchale).

But the wine that blew me away was this 2007 Aligoté by Lafarge. Some late ripening and large, old cask aging give this wine a richness and gorgeous unctuous character I’d never experienced in Aligoté. Stunning wine (not cheap, unfortunately).

Regretfully, I had to leave Peter’s excellent tasting, as Tracie P and I had a long-standing invitation to dine in the home of our new friends Sonia and Steven (check out Sonia’s very exciting new gallery in Austin).

Steven hadn’t revealed what he was making for dinner and surprised us with one of my FAVORITE things in the world to eat…

Lasagne verdi, the way they make them in Emilia. Steven is a fascinating dude (from a Taiwanese-Veneto family) who’s lived in NYC and Italy, a top wine collector, and an AMAZING cook (I like his taste in music, too, with the playlist ranging from virtuoso country guitar to Nino Rota).

We paired with the Rivetto 2004 Barolo (Serralunga d’Alba) Riserva which had been sent to me by my friend Enrico Rivetto (Enrico is perhaps the most prolific Italian winemaker blogger I know).

The Barolo showed nicely (great acidity from this very classic vintage in Langa) but Steven also opened a 2004 Domane de Montille Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret because Tracie P was in the mood for some white and he just happened to have some in the fridge.

So, in case you were concerned that Tracie P and I weren’t eating and drinking well in Austin, you can sleep soundly tonight…

Thanks for reading! Buon weekend ya’ll!

A big tree and a little tree in Montalcino

Above: Alessandro Bindocci (above) and his father are “on a roll,” wrote one of my favorite wine writers, Antonio Galloni in the April issue of The Wine Advocate published today. I took the photo of Ale in September 2008 at Tenuta il Poggione.

Alfonso does a series of posts on his blog about “big trees” and “little trees,” in other words, mothers and fathers and daughters and sons who work and live in the Italian wine industry. Alfonso’s worked in Italian wine for some time now and let’s just say that he’s seen a few big trees go and a few little trees sprout up.

One of the things that Tracie P and I thought and talked a lot about on our February trip to Italy was the relationships between mothers and fathers who make wine and their children. In some cases, the children aren’t interested in furthering the legacy of their parents, in other cases they are. Sometimes the conflict that arises thereof can lead to bitter quarrels. Other times there is a harmony — not always perfect but ultimately sturdy — that ensures the continuity of the parents’s legacy.

In March when I went back to Piedmont, I asked Enrico Rivetto’s father what he thought about his son’s newfangled blog. “I think he’s crazy,” he replied. “But, then again, my father thought I was crazy when I told him we should make a single-vineyard Barolo.” However reluctantly, the elder Rivetto supports his son’s blogging project.

My friend Alessandro Bindocci is a blogger as well. His father Fabrizio the winemaker at Tenuta Il Poggione (one of my favorite Brunello producers and my long-time friend), can’t even send an email. Alessandro can monitor vinfication using his blackberry.

I was thrilled to read Antonio Galloni’s glowing words for Fabrizio and Alessandro’s wines on Ale’s blog this morning.

As Tracie P and I talk about us making little trees ourselves, it’s a wonderful and warm thought to think that some day they may get to taste wines in the same traditional style Brunello that we love so much. By the time our putative children will be old enough to appreciate fine wine, the wines won’t be Fabrizio’s any longer. They’ll be Alessandro’s.

Mazel tov, Ale. Congrats on your superb scores from Galloni!