Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Top 9 of 2013



Well, another year has passed and it seems fitting to list some of my top wine, craft beer and food moments of 2013. Studies and the success of sites like BuzzFeed show that people respond positively to lists, so I have decided to end 2013 with a new feature on my blog, and that is The Top 9. Why 9 and not some other arbitrary number? The obvious reason is my love of cats and the fact that they have 9 lives, so 9 it is.

A tasting of fortified wines during a WSET class
9.  Discovering I actually love dry Sherries like Fino and Manzanilla. Actually considering my love of rotten, fermented food and my passion for Kombucha brewing, lacto-fermentation and yeast in general, it is no wonder I have a newfound appreciation for FLOR, which infuses wonderful nutty notes to these often salty wines that are perfect with olives (another lacto-fermented food I make).

GianMarco and his lovely dirt
8.  Visiting one of my favorite Laziale wine producer's for Katie Parla's birthday. Gianmarco Antonuzi of Le Coste gave us an in-depth tour of his vineyards, showing us the health and life of the soil, the young bush trained vines and then taking us to the cellar where we tasted many different wines from the barrel for about two hours. Gianmarco can easily be described as a wine anarchist and a hardcore naturalist. No compromising, ever. Lazio is a region of incredible potential, and Gianmarco is the poster child of natural wine making in Lazio if not all of Italy. A true visionary. 
Umbria wine Master class with Patrick Farrell, MD, MW
7.  Participating in the first #winelover anniversary wine weekend over Valentine's weekend in Umbria. We tasted some interesting wines and I met a great group of people that share a passion for wine. Cool wine friends are always welcome!
Picking grapes, 2013
6.  Participating in my third grape harvest and helping make Roèt.  Since Roèt is essentially a field blend it is difficult to say how much of each variety is in the wine. This year, as I picked grapes, I got to know each grape and was able to identify them.  This still doesn't help me with my next-to-zero math skills.

Flora and my favorite beer
5.  Finally getting over my hatred of hipsters in San Diego and embracing the craft beer scene thanks to my best friend Hanna. We enjoyed amazing raw, unfiltered sour beer from all over the West Coast. My favorites came from California wine making region the Russian River Valley and Oregon. Another thing I discovered- in beer- Brettanomyces is delicious. My favorite beer on sour beer night was the Logston Seizoen Brett Farmhouse Ale from Oregon. I could drink this beer for days. 
 
TRD at DWCC
4.  Launching The Rome Digest in March with Gina, Irene, Katie and Hande. It has been an extremely positive experience and feedback from the community has been great. Along with launching TRD, we spoke on blog collaboration at the Digital Wine CommunicationsConference in Spain, which was, of course, a huge honor. 
 
Soul mates?
3.  Meeting and bonding with Dora and Patrizia of Poderi Sanguineto I and II. Not only do they make wonderful, earthy Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, they are real salt-of-the.earth people. They make honest, traditional Tuscan wines which are a rarity amoung today's overly-polished wines of the region. They also have dozens of cats and Patrizia and I bonded over our great love of cats. She offered me a cat and introduced me to her favorite queen, a very old and noble lady. I fell in love with these endearing women.

Kopke's 1940 Colheita Tawny Port
2.  Port wine. We were chosen to participate in a press trip host by Greengrape through the Douro Valley in October pre dwcc with some fellow delegates. What can I say? I fell in love. Vinho Verde, Port Wine, Douro Doc are all fantastic. The Douro Valley is a place of extreme beauty, ancient history, gorgeous wine and unique terrior. I had the opportunity to taste many different types of port from Vintage to Ruby to LBV to Tawny to the benchmark 2011. The look like jewels in a glass. The most incredible wine I tasted during our trip in Portugal was Kopke's 1940 Colheita Tawny Port. (An entire post will be dedicated to this trip) This is a special edition wine to celebrate 375 years of the oldest Port Wine House. Only 375 bottles were produced. It was an ethereal and delicious moment.

My love...

1.  And last but not least, it should be no surprise for those who have joined the cult of Fiorano. My number one wine, food or beer moment of 2013 was at my birthday dinner. Ettore and I shared a 1975 Fiorano Semillon Vino da Tavola. These wines are the world's greatest wines and fairly unknown except to a few crazy cultish people. Another great example of the incredible potential of Lazio as a wine making region. Let's get beyond cheap Frascati in 2014!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!