Make Zibibbo Your Holiday Dessert Wine

Sweet wines – that is, wines that are generally intended as dessert wines – get far too little attention and respect. This is tragic, because many of the world’s finest, most eloquent wines are, in fact, sweet wines. They can command astronomic prices, too, when coming from the right place and producer. Any grape can […]

Rethinking Primitivo

Oh, Primitivo, I’m sorry! I should never have doubted you and your potential. Continuing on the theme of “breaking stereotypes”, allow me to share what I discovered in Apulia recently: there is Primitivo being made there that can easily compete with the great Zinfandel wines of California. Wines with freshness (!) and elegance (!!), fruit […]

Apulia Sparkles

It is a long-standing stereotype that “the south” cannot make sparkling wines of any real interest because the climate is too hot and sunny, meaning the grapes that thrive there lack the necessary acidity for great sparkling wine the grapes that are generally acknowledged as making the best sparkling wines (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, even Riesling) […]

Montecucco Sangiovese Comes of Age

Montecucco Historical Tasting In 1998, a small appellation for Sangiovese-based wines was carved from the Maremma. Forged on the slopes of Mount Amiata, the extinct volcano that is also the hallmark and birthright of Montalcino, Montecucco DOC celebrates 20 years of appellation status this year. The elevation of Montecucco Sangiovese to DOCG, now the calling card of Montecucco, was granted […]

Stop and Smell the Vinegar

Recently I wrote a couple of articles about Ciliegiolo and the Maremma. This was made possible because I had been invited to Grosseto to take part in the Maremmachevini event, showcasing the wines and producers from the area. Normally, it is necessary to fly to these kind of events – particularly if the events are […]

A five-barrel Solera found at Ermete Medici

Solera and the Solera System

Solera You may have encountered this word before. If you drink Sherry or Spanish Brandy, you almost certainly have. But what does it mean? Let us first get some possible confusion out of the way. “Solera” is not to be confused with “Solaris”, which is both 1: a disease-resistant grape variety first created in Freiburg […]

The colour of Ciliegiolo

Ciliegiolo: Jewel of the Maremma

Ciliegiolo, Jewel of the Maremma For all my talk – and writing – about little-known or forgotten native grapes, there is another category that is no less worthy of closer examination. Not forgotten, perhaps, but overlooked. An ensemble player – often in the scene playing a supporting role, but seldom in the spotlight: the blending […]

Pitigliano in Tuscany

Maremma, Che Vini!

Maremma, Tuscany’s Underestimated Corner Driving south from Siena, I enjoyed experiencing the landscape and climate of Tuscany undergo nuanced changes. The vegetation became more spaced, the fields wider. The hills became more rolling. It was palpably warmer. Below the vines, the grains and the cypress trees the soils, which I obviously was not able to […]