Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

Salve* everybody! I could not have picked a better way to start our second blog posting than to announce the winner of the fantastic prize that Shop Wine and Dine was proud to offer to all participants at the Divinale-Women in Wine Week events which concluded last week at City Winery. The prize which includes a three-night stay for two in the fabulous Langhe at the 5* Relais Monforte,  dinner for two including wines at the Michelin 1* Ristorante Guido in Pollenzo as well as a wine tasting with a top wine producer, is going to Judith Peterson!

Auguri* Judith, it is safe to assume that you and your traveling companion will have a fabulous time! Apart from Shop Wine and Dine’s prize, Divinale was a resounding success! What else could a wine lover, be it a woman or a man, want? It had it all, great winemakers who personally and proudly presented their wines such as Alessia Antinori and Cristina Mariani-May, seminars, tastings and of course great food. Divinale is sure to become a yearly event so mark your calendars for March 2011!

As I mentioned on our last posting, on and off over the next few weeks, we will be telling you bits from the lives of some of the Amazing Women of Piemonte. Lucky for me Bruna Grimaldi was in New York City a couple of weeks ago and I took the opportunity to meet her at her hotel for a chat over coffee. What struck me immediately was her warmth and the passion she conveyed for her work as well as her total dedication to her craft, something that certainly is the case with all great winemakers particularly those who have “grown up” in the vineyards. Such was indeed the case with Bruna Grimaldi whose fondest memories of her life in the luscious vineyards of Serralunga d’Alba are of her maternal grandmother, Nonna* Angela with whom Bruna spent most of  her summers as a child. As she tells it, tending to the vines is hard work but when the summer midday sun was scorching the earth and her grandfather after lunch retreated for the obligatory pennichella*, Bruna and Nonna Angela would go to the vineyards, tending to the grapes, pruning where needed or even applying sulphur, by all accounts a back-breaking job. Inspired by her nonna, a true and original donna del vino*, Bruna eventually became one herself.

Of the three sisters in her family Bruna was the only one who pursued studies in enology, studies that led her to her husband, also an enologist. In 1999 she eventually inherited the estate and aided by her husband, her father, and during harvest mamma e figli*,  Nonna Angela’s Serralunga d’Alba Badarina vineyards were replanted to facilitate the work and are now where Bruna’s top wine, Barolo D.O.C.G. Badarina Vigna Regnola is cultivated. She also inherited her father’s estate in Grinzane Cavour where from newly planted vines, in 2011 she will be releasing for the first time another Barolo. From her recently purchased Roddi vineyards, look out for another new release, the 2011 Barolo Bricco Ambrogio; yielded from existing 15 year old vines, it is destined to become another classic.

As her outstanding wines have garnered accolades from both press  and consumers alike, Bruna’s future dream is to build a baita * immersed in the hills of one of her vineyards. A simple refuge, just one big room with unimpeded views of the magnificent vineyards, where her visitors can in total harmony with the environment, savor and appreciate the fruits of her hard labor. Given her proven success as a winemaker and a businesswoman, I have no doubt that this dream will become a reality.

But in spite of Bruna’s great achievements or perhaps because of them, she has only one regret, it being that Nonna Angela did not live long enough to rejoice in her successes as a winemaker and most of all to see how her Badarina vineyards have become the jewel in Bruna Grimaldi’s well deserved crown! As a practical note, Bruna Grimaldi has maintained the cost of all her wines at 2002 levels making them a superb value not to be overlooked!

Finally our promise to share some of the recipes created by our Amazing Women Chefs of Piemonte. As a first step toward providing a “complete” Piemontese meal, one of the most traditional antipasto langarolo* is Carne Cruda all’Albese as served by Clelia Costa of Tra Arte e Querce.

Our featured primo piatto* is the quintessential Piemonte classic, Tagliolini con Sugo alle Tre Carni, a home recipe that has become a trademark for Claudia Francalanci of La Contea.

I wonder what great Piemonte wines you would pair with these two fabulous recipes…. share your picks with us and at our prossima puntata* we will share the chef’s own preferred pairing!

Arrivederci alla prossima*!

Anna Maria

*Italian Words of the Week

Auguri-best wishes or congratulations
Donna del vino-winemaking woman
Mamma e figli-mother and children
Antipasto langarolo-appetizer from the Langhe (the Langhe is the main wine-producing wine are of Piemonte)
Primo piatto-needs no translation!
Prossima puntata-next episode
Arrivederci alla prossima-till the next time


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I have been very patient over the last year or so, something that is not very easy for me to do, wondering when the right time might be to launch the Shop Wine and Dine Wine Travels blog.

Certainly our tours featuring some of the top wine makers in Italy, indeed the world, have given us plenty of material to draw upon, but something has held me back until now.

I didn’t want this to be just another blog, but as in our tours, I wanted to be able to offer a glimpse into Shop Wine and Dine’s unique perspective on what a wine tour to Italy should offer, along of course with some useful information and interesting anecdotes that visits to these winemakers “immancabilmente”* provide.

And so I decided that “Divinale-Women of Wine Week” to be held at City Winery from March 8-13, in honor of Women’s History Month, was going to be our debut into the world of blogs!

Apart from being present at the Grand Tasting on Saturday March 13 from 1-5PM, Shop Wine and Dine will be raffling off a three night package for two featuring the 5* Relais Monforte, dinner for two with wines at a Michelin 1* restaurant and a visit at a top winery in the Langhe! So if you have been dreaming of a wine tour to Piemonte, this may be the time to make your dreams come true!

But how else could we have honored Women’s History Month? Well, in true Shop Wine and Dine’s fashion we created an exceptional tour-Amazing Women of Piemonte, an Italy wine tour like no other that will feature only women winemakers and chefs, some of the best of the region, also encompassing the International Alba Truffle Fair!

In the coming weeks we will be featuring stories about these “Amazing Women of Piemonte” sharing some insights about their lives, dreams and visions for the future. We will also share some special recipes that our women chefs have generously shared with us so please look for our next posting for further details.

Lastly, Shop Wine and Dine’s mission is also about sharing insight and knowledge about Italy and Italians. As an Italian-born living in this country for many years but still thankfully deeply steeped in the Italian culture, when I speak or write I have a habit, albeit annoying even to me at times, of switching back and forth between the two languages. This happens mostly because in Italian there are certain words that defy translation as they convey a very specific thought or sentiment. I have therefore thought that rather than fighting this impulse, when this happens, I would simply use the Italian words and share them with you as my “Italian Words of the Day” with the albeit poor English translation below.

*Allora, I apologize if this initial posting is a bit longer than most might like but I certainly hope you will enjoy hearing from us with the next posting featuring one of the “Amazing Women of Piemonte”

*Un caro saluto,
Anna Maria

*Italian Words of the Day:
Immancabilmente: without fail
Allora: well then….
Un caro saluto: fond greetings (this is one of those poor English translations!)

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