La Collina Biodynamic Bubbles — Lambrusco!


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modern lambrusco
La Collina Lambrusco at Rolf and Daughters in Nashville. Photo Credit: Jill Barth

On a recent trip to Nashville to cover the city’s wine scene for USA Today (you can read about it here) I had poured over lists and menus before making reservations.

A couple of things really stood out to me, one of them being the cool by the glass list at Rolf and Daughters in the Germantown neighborhood.

They had something I really wanted to try and I have to say, it was very appealing option: La Collina Quaresimo Lambrusco!

Biodynamic Italian wine, coop wine, organic wine
Photo Credit: Indie Wineries

Then I popped into Woodland Wine Merchant and there it was on the shelf. Wish I’d grabbed a couple of bottles.

This wine comes from a Demeter-certified biodynamic farm and native yeasts were used in the making. It contains 20% Lambrusco Salamino, 40% Maestri, 30% Grasparossa and 10% Malbo Gentile. The …

A Name To Know: Gérard Bertrand


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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When I visited the Languedoc for the first time, it was with the name Gérard Bertrand fresh in my mind.

I’d had the opportunity to read about Bertrand’s work and my friend had mentioned, more than once, the outstanding Festival de Jazz à l’Hospitalet that happens on the property each July.

As a writer with a biodynamics beat, Bertrand was on my radar as a leader in the field. Bertrand’s network includes Cigalus, the Aigle Estate, the Clos du Temple, Château La Sauvageonne, Château l’Hospitalet, Château des Karantes, Château Tarailhan, Château Aigues Vives, Château des Deux Rocs and Château de la Soujeole — all in compliance with Demeter Biodynamic® Farm and Processing Standards.

Bertrand has significant reach a stone’s throw from major hotspots in Herault and Aude: Carcassonne, Narbonne and Montpellier. Esteemed appellations such as Limoux, Corbiers and Minervois are represented by Gérard Bertrand releases.

Carcassonne, Narbonne, wine, Corbiers, Terrasses du Larzac, Montpellier, Minervois
French food and wine pairings, grilled food and white wine
sud de france wine. Languedoc wine, organic wine

A Name To Know: Gérard Bertrand


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Languedoc white wine, biodynamic French wine
Photo Credit: Jill Barth

When I visited the Languedoc for the first time, it was with the name Gérard Bertrand fresh in my mind.

I’d had the opportunity to read about Bertrand’s work and my friend had mentioned, more than once, the outstanding Festival de Jazz à l’Hospitalet that happens on the property each July.

As a writer with a biodynamics beat, Bertrand was on my radar as a leader in the field. Bertrand’s network includes Cigalus, the Aigle Estate, the Clos du Temple, Château La Sauvageonne, Château l’Hospitalet, Château des Karantes, Château Tarailhan, Château Aigues Vives, Château des Deux Rocs and Château de la Soujeole — all in compliance with Demeter Biodynamic® Farm and Processing Standards.

Bertrand has significant reach a stone’s throw from major hotspots in Herault and Aude: Carcassonne, Narbonne and Montpellier. Esteemed appellations such as Limoux, Corbiers and Minervois are represented by Gérard Bertrand.

wildflowers, blue sky, south of France
South …
Carcassonne, Narbonne, wine, Corbiers, Terrasses du Larzac, Montpellier, Minervois
French food and wine pairings, grilled food and white wine
sud de france wine. Languedoc wine, organic wine

A Tóth Ferenc Wine from Eger, Hungary


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Egri Csillag, a white wine from Hungary

Late yesterday afternoon, we enjoyed a white wine from Tóth Ferenc, a winery in the Eger wine region of Hungary. The Egri Csillag 2018 was 13% alchol. The light yellow colored wine offered floral and tropical aroma notes. The taste included peaches, citrus, daisies and honeysuckle. The finish was crisp and the aftertaste had a hint of minerality.

The Egri Csillag 2018 was a blend produced with Hungarian grape varieties and international grapes. The blend included Hárslevel?, Királyleányka, Leányka, Olaszrizling, Ottonel Muskotály and Sauvignon Blanc. Egri Csillag is a white blend of wines, a white wine answer to the regions’ Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood), a red blend.

We enjoyed our glass of wine on a small deck while relaxing after working in the gardens with planting flowers as well as attempting to rid ourselves of bamboo encroaching on our vegetable garden and lawn. By …

4 Wineries Along Lake Erie


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Courtyard Winery, North East, PA

On our way back home from spending Easter with family in Ohio, we took a detour to North East, Pennsylvania. It is always interesting to realize that North East, PA is actually in the north western part of the state of Pennsylvania.

We visited four wineries in North East on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday our visits were to Lakeview Wine Cellars and Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co. The winery Lakeview Wine Cellars is located at a higher altitude and offers views of Lake Erie in the distance. The winery is owned by a friendly and congenial couple who are passionate about producing quality wines. Our second stop of the day was to Arundel Cellars & Brewing Co. The Arundel Cellars is owned by four couples. The winemaker, also one of the owners, worked at Presque Isle Wine Cellars for many years before establishing …

Day 13 Traveled from Hungary to Austria


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Cement tanks at Domäne Wachau in Austria’s Wachau wine region

Our last day of our two week visit to Hungary and Austria was completed when we visited Domäne Wachau and later F. J. Gritsch in Austria.

Our first winery of the day was Domäne Wachau, a large winery consisting of a group of wine growers. The winery has a special history with old cellars and a special historic building now used for events. The wine cellar includes old and modern winemaking equipment including stainless steel tanks, cement eggs and old casks. The tasting room is modern. During our wine tasting, we noticed that the floor has a large image of the renowned Danube River embedded in it.

Tasting wines at F. J. Gritsch winery in Austria

We then traveled to a small Austrian town. After parking, we walked past a large church and entered a small walkway leading past the …

Day 12 Traveling from Hungary to Austria


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Our last Hungarian winery to visit was at the Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey. We received a tour of the Abbey established in 996. The Ottomans occupied the abbey three times. For the past 200 years education has been the emphasis of the abbey. We had a guided tour of many of the historic parts of the abbey including the magnificent library, two stories tall with thousands of books. One book dates back to 886; unfortunately for us, the book is locked away in a safe. The elegance of the library appeared to prove that education was very important at the abbey.

Benedictine Abbey Library

Apátság wine

A short time later we were guided to the winery on the abbey property. The winery is named Apátság meaning abbey. A document shows winemaking taking place since 996.

Nikolaihof has several old ornate oak casks.

Later in the day, our driver escorted us past the …

Day 11 of Visiting Hungarian Wineries


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Pálffy in Hungary

On Thursday, our 11th day of visiting Hungary, we stopped at Pálffy Since and visited with Mr. Gyula Pálffy, who is the owner and winemaker. The winery is a boutique style. We walked to a small knoll where Gyula provided with us with a detailed description of the region. He commented that the land was once under the sea. One of his best comments was, “You  just don’t sit down and drink wine, you have to work.” After viewing the landscape, we entered the cozy tasting room where he showed us rocks embedded with fossils from the area. We also enjoyed tasting  a few of his wines.

Kreinbacher Estate

We then traveled to  the second smaller wine region of Hungary, Somló, to learn about the Kreinbacher cellar in this region. At this modern-style winery we tasted wines and enjoyed lunch. In the Somló region, …

‘300 Days of Sunshine’: The Vineyards of Sicilian DOC Interview with Alberto Tasca


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Tenuta-Regaleali-1
Tenuta Regaleali in Sicily. Photo Credit: Tasca d’Almerita

Sicilia DOC is a consortium of 300 Sicilian+ wine producers with a rich history of winemaking and a connection to the ecology of the island via a significant commitment to organics. In fact, Sicily winemakers are responsible for 38% of organically cultivated wine in all of all Italy.

Alberto Tasca is a member of the board of Sicilia DOC. He’s also the seventh-generation of a winemaking family with a legendary history. In his work on his own estates as well as with the consortium, Tasca has a reputation for championing indigenous grapes and preservation of the Sicilian ecosystem. I had the opportunity to converse with Tasca about his perspective.

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Tenuta Tascante in Mt. Etna, Sicily. Photo Credit: Tasca D’Almerita

Jill Barth: What is the landscape for production of indigenous grapes in Sicily? Are producers tending towards native grapes or international varieties?

Alberto …

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Ospitalita-Tascante
Tenuta-Regaleali-5
Ospitalita-Regaleali-Mangiare
Tascante red
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Italian Island Wine: One Estate At A Time with Sicilian Organic Winery Feudo di Santa Tresa and #ItalianFWT


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FST with cactus
The sights are evocative at Feudo di Santa Tresa in Sicily. Photo Credit: Feudo di Santa Tresa

Earlier this week I read an upsetting story about plastics in the ocean. By no means, the first or the last that will cross my desk, this piece was particularly haunting and it occurred to me that aside from lessening plastic use in my own life, I would make it my goal to highlight wine producers that have their hands in the clay on this issue.

Italian Food, Wine and Travel

Simultaneous to this contemplation, I am in the midst of covering Italian island wines, Sicily in particular, as part of a this month’s Italian Wine, Food and Travel (#ItalianWFT) event. Sicily has a lot going on right now, wine-wise, so I have stumbled upon several totally compelling stories to share with readers.

When I got the opportunity to interview the team from

FST vineyards
FST beehive
FST well
Sicilian bubbly, sparkling wine from Italy
FST cellar
FST cover crop
FST puppy

Day 10 Near Lake Balaton, Hungary


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Pezsgö, sparkling wine at Garamvári.

On the 10th day we traveled about two hours to reach Lake Balaton,the largest lake in Central Europe. The area around the lake to home to tourist spots, traditional homes and not far away are wineries. A ferry provides easy transportation across the lake.

The first visit of the day was at Garamvári where we met one of the owners and the winemaker. Garamvári was established 25 years ago. Today the winery, an 85 hectare estate, produces sparkling and still wines. The temperatures of the vineyards are moderated by Lake Balaton. 

We then enjoyed lunch at Kistücsök, a restaurant owned by a brother and sister. The restaurant menu offers a variety of Hungarian foods. The atmosphere is friendly with touches of low-key elegance including fabric tablecloths. After lunch we reached the far side of Lake Balaton by a short ferry ride.

Weeping vines at …

Day 6 in Hungary


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Tasting rooms in the Valley of Beautiful Women

On our sixth day of visiting Hungary, we returned to The Valley of the Beautiful Women in search of the two statues that we had read about. The Valley of Beautiful Women includes two rows of tasting rooms.

We also visited the Farmer’s Market of Eger, where the outside of the building was filled with an array of colorful plants. Inside the market were many farmers offering a variety of vegetables and fruits. Sweet and hot ground paprika was available in various sizes. Unfortunately for us, we knew that in order to take paprika back to the US, we needed to purchase the paprika in “sealed” packages.

 

The cellar at Gal Tibor is 500 years old.

Our final visit to a winery in Eger was to Gal Tibor. The cellar at Gal Tibor is 500 years old. This is a second …

The Fourth Day of Visiting Hungary


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Árvay Family Cellars in Tokaj, Hungary

Our fourth day in Hungary began with a visit to Árvay Family Cellars. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by family members who are very involved in the winemaking, vineyards and marketing of the Árvay  wines. The vineyards of 17 hectares are organic. The vineyards consist of Hungarian and international grapevines. Upon entering the tasting room, visitors will quickly see a large display of the rocks that have been found over the years in the vineyards. The family knows details of the rocks including the ones that have fossils. Later our discussion included the improvements to the Hungarian wine industry including the more recently produced good, food friendly, dry wines.

Wine at Tóth Ferenc in Eger, Hungary

While we were excited to visit the next wine region of Hungary, we were sorry to leave Tokaj, a world renowned wine region that …

A Third Day in the Tokaj, Hungary Wine Region


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Our wine in Hungary continued for the third day. We spent the entire day in Tokaj exploring and tasting the sweet Azu wines as well as the new and upcoming dry wines. After leaving our lodging site of Gróf Degenfeld Castle, we visited Kikelit Cellars , Hetszolo Estate Vineyard and Oremus.

At Oremus, a large winery, we saw several carboys aging gallons of Eszencia. Oremus was established by a Spanish company. The winery was named for a vineyard. Grape varieties in the Oremus vineyards include Furmint, Hárslevelü, Sárgamuskotály and Zéta. The cellars of the winery remain a constant 11 to 12 degrees Celsius (52 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit).

As soon as we reached Kikelit, we stopped in a room where the types of soil and rocks from the vineyards were displayed. One drawer displayed fossils, another rocks and stones and then the third displayed artifacts found in the vineyards. Guesses …

A Second Day in Tokaj, Hungary


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Gergely Somogyi is a very knowledgeable guide.

On our second full day in Hungary, we arrived in the Tokaj wine region and met our knowledgeable wine guide an expert on the wines of Tokaj, Gergely Somogyi at Barta Cellars. Gergely guided us through the 400-year-old structure while also explaining the history of winemaking in Hungary beginning at least 1,000 years ago. He noted that the vineyards of Tokaj were classified in 1670. In 1737, the wine region was demarcated  and it became the first demarcated wine region in the world. A wall in one of the Barta buildings displayed a large map of the wine region in 1865.

As many of the world’s wine region did, Hungary and the Tokaj wine region has had its ups and downs throughout the centuries. The Hungarian wine industry also saw the loss of vineyards due to phylloxera as did many other wine …

Catavino’s new space! Welcome to theLAB


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After 15 years of living in Iberia, we can look back with pride at a very long and satisfying list of adventures, experiences, and travels. We’ve soared all over Europe to taste homemade foods in the comfort of people’s homes, old wines in even older cellars, swanky bars in the limelight of the cities, and everything in between. It’s been amazing, but the time had come to settle…

Source

Island Wines Of Italy: How Many Do You Know (#ItalianFWT)


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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landscape photography of gray rock formation
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

This month I’m hosting a wine writer’s event centered on the Island Wines of Italy. In researching for the event I’ve learned that there are more than 450 Italian islands. 350 of them are in the sea, either as an element of an archipelago or a singleton. There are 100 lake and lagoon islands, of which Venice comprises 32 of them.

Maybe, when I chose my topic, I should have been more specific?

There’s Sicily, a prominent and significant Italian wine region. There’s Sardinia, a mélange of French and Italian varieties and methods. But what else is out to sea?

Look in the Bay of Naples for Ischia and Capri and Pantelleria reaching off towards Tunisa. The Aeolian Islands produce a signature… but what else is out to sea?

If you know, here is your chance to join in our event which is …

amalfi coast bay beach blue
bay beach beautiful blue

Behind The Scenes: #WinePW Writers On Wine And Food From Uruguay


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If you follow along on L’Occasion or our social media, you’ve noticed an uptick in coverage of South American wine, Uruguayan wine in particular. Hopefully, it’s been enjoyable, because this weekend I’m hosting a wine writers’ collaboration event—Wine Pairing Weekend—during which a group of wine, food and travel bloggers zoom in on a particular topic. On Saturday, February 9, 2019, at 10am that topic is Uruguay!

Tannat, Albarino, Sauvigon Blanc,












Here’s what to expect…we each write a post and join together for a chat. And YOU are invited, no need to do anything but pop on Twitter and find us to say hello and ask questions.

Join us on our blogs and on twitter with the hashtag #WinePW to go behind the curtain on our discoveries:

Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings presents Uruguay’s Bodega Garzon Tannat Paired with Lamb Skewers and Beef Short Ribs

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla gives us

Azienda Agricola Fongoli: Making Natural Wine In Umbria


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IMG_2942

Angelo Fongoli of Azienda Agricola Fongoli in Montefalco is a winemaker I’m getting to know in the process of mentally shadowing biodynamic wine growers and makers.

I’ve covered the basics and then some—more on that here if you are new to the topic—so I have a growing interest in how these farms and wineries achieve and maintain balance. It seems to me that the system works unless it doesn’t (or it isn’t attempted) and I’m curious about the tipping point. More to come on this project, but the bottom line is, I’m learning from Angelo Fongoli others that work and think like him.

I’ve sampled his wines, a selection of Sagrantino made in several methods as well as red blends and single varietal whites including Grechetto and Trebbiano. Fongoli also produces grappa and olive oil, which I haven’t tasted.

Montefalco

Montefalco is situated in Umbria, a hillside town that earned …

Straight From Uruguay: Wine, Food and #WinePW Stories


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The view from Viña Edén, a winery in Uruguay’s Maldonado Department. Photo Credit: Jill Barth

It’s a 9+hour flight from Miami to Uruguay’s capital city, Montevideo. It’s worth it if you love wine, excellent food, natural beauty and enriching conversation.

Sure you do, right? But if a ticket to Uruguay isn’t in your airline reservation app just yet, join the Wine Pairing Weekend group as we report back. Featuring wines from around the country, we invite you to follow along for our Twitter chat on February 9, 2019 at 10am central.

I’ve recently returned from a trip to the wine regions of Uruguay, peppered with intriguing spots such as Montevideo, Garzón, Punta del Este and José Ignacio. I have tons of gorgeous photos and tasting notes to share with you and I’ll be sampling the wines of El Capricho Winery especially for the #WinePW event.













For more of my coverage …