Domaine Tempier's Golden Age

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By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator March 31, 2013

France's Mediterranean coast is best known for crisp rosés that pour like water in cafés and restaurants in summer. But just inland from the sandy beaches and fishing ports between Toulon and Marseille lie the hills of Bandol, where vineyards of Mourvèdre yield rosés of depth and seductive, ageworthy reds. These wines are full of Mourvèdre's ripeness and power, with aromas of spices, tobacco and the wild Mediterranean brush known as garrigue.

Comprising eight communes from the seaside port of Bandol to a ring of ancient hillside villages, the region forms a natural amphitheater with enough sea air to cool vines during the heat of summer and enough mountainous protection to mitigate the harsh mistral winds. The conditions are just right for the late-ripening Mourvèdre—a temperamental grape brought here from Spain centuries ago.

Russia Silences Wine Advertising

By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator

Russia's latest salvo in a long battle against alcohol abuse by its citizens is a sweeping ban on alcohol advertising in media outlets. It's likely to have an unforeseen victim: the country's small but booming wine culture... Read full article in the Wine Spectator online.

 

The Douro Delights

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By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator December 15, 2012

Nothing quite prepares you for the sheer beauty of Portugal's Douro Valley. Terraced vineyards, precariously steep, twist their way down from the ridges and mountains that flank the Douro River. The complex landscape encompasses more than 100,000 acres of vineyards that fill the rugged terrain and spread to the horizon. This is as good as wine country scenery gets. The Douro is one of theworld's great wine rivers, flowing from Spain (where it is known as the Duero) across more than 120 miles of northern Portugal before entering the Atlantic at Porto, the bustling port city that gave name to the region's famous fortified wines.

The tradition of fine wine here dates to the mid-18th century, when the Douro became the world's first demarcated wine appellation—100 years before Bordeaux's famed 1855 Classification. But up until recently, the area was a hinterland with few opportunities for travelers to visit and taste the local offerings.

The First Lady of Teroldego

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By Robert Camuto Cucina Italiana November, 2012

Elisabetta Foradori arrives at the top of a wooden staircase at the entrance to her family's 19th century home dressed in a fitted T-shirt and white pants, her straight salt-and-pepper hair loosely knotted behind an angular face. At 46, she appears far too stylish to be a winemaker who has worked the vines all her adult life.Her storybook-perfect winery and vineyards rest on the floor of Campo Rotaliano—the alluvial plain wedged between sheer limestone mountain cliffs in the once-Austrian Trentino. The view from here is a picture postcard of vineyards, mountains and blue sky. The Foradori estate, housed in a sprawling Tyrolean manor that is reminiscent of the home of 's The Sound of Music's Von Trapp family, lies at the edge of the village of Mezzolombardo, a small town of almost 7,000. It’s marked only by a discreet brass plaque on the front gate, which opens onto a large courtyard of period Alpine buildings draped with vines hanging from massive eave timbers...Read the full story in La Cucina Italiana

Bastion of Brunello

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The Biondi-Santi estate stands as a bulwark of tradition against a tide of change

By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator October 31, 2012

The historic birthplace of Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy's great red wines, lies at the end of a long, dirt road lined with tall cypresses leading to a centuries-old farmhouse. This is Il Greppo, an estate located just south of the small hilltop town of Montalcino and where generations of the Biondi Santi family have lived. Il Greppo is picture-perfect Tuscany, with its English gardens, walls covered with climbing vines and graceful wisteria, and expansive views over the rippling hills of the Val d'Orcia.  Read full article in the Wine Spectator

 

Sardinian Splendour

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Italy’s Mediterranean paradise offers stunning nature, fresh cuisine and a delicious variety of wines

By Robert Camuto -- Wine Spectator  Oct. 31, 2012

If you were holding a cool glass of Vermentino and standing on a white-sand beach with an endless view of clear, turquoise sea, you'd be forgiven for not wanting to leave. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia's "Emerald Coast"—a 34-mile-long stretch of prime Mediterranean coastline developed in the 1960s by Prince Aga Khan—remains one of the world's most luxurious destinations, with suites costing up to $15,000 a night in high season and yachts the size of aircraft carriers a not-uncommon sight.

What you should really do if you're in Sardinia, however, is travel across the island to take in the region's equally magnificent natural treasures, from its pastoral, low-mountainous interior to its awe-inspiring 1,100 miles of coastline, which includes dramatic cliffs and caves as well as hundreds of wild, secluded beaches.

A Chef and a Winemaker's Basque Feast

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By Robert V. Camuto

New York chef Alex Raij loves a Basque red called El Chaparral so much that she befriended its creator. Here, she visits Spain to find out just how food-friendly “Chappy” really is.  

Read the article in July Food & Wine

Italy's Back-to-the-Land Vintners

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Individualistic and sometimes iconoclastic, these winemakers look to the past for clues on making distinctive wines

By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator May 31, 2012

For a new wave of Italian winemakers, great wine is about mixing modern wine knowledge with old-fashioned know-how. In the past 10 years, some young Italians have returned to the land, leaving city life behind and often taking radical steps to shift winemaking back toward its local, small-scale roots.Though many are armed with university degrees having nothing to do with agriculture or enology, they are returning to their ancestral soils to work for themselves. And they are looking to the past, making boutique wines using artigianale (artisanal) methods and green farming, bolstered by a minimum of modern enology. Read full article in the Wine Spectator

Corsica's Hidden Charms

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A Mediterranean island that has it all: sea, sun, mountains, great food and an exciting wine scene

By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator April 30, 2012

There are long stretches of Corsica's coastline so stunningly beautiful and wild they make you feel like you could be in one of the Mediterranean's most legendary spots-like the Amalfi Coast or the French Riviera-of a hundred years ago.

As you drive miles and miles of narrow and often rutted two-lane roads through knuckle-whitening turns, it's difficult not to be awed by the scene. Corsica's west coast is nearly devoid of mankind's influence-it's just you and steep, granite cliffs in shades of red and gold that plunge to a pristine sea.....read the full article in the Wine Spectator.

Getting to Roussillon before everyone else does

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France's Roussillon region is known for dessert wines—to the extent that it's known at all. Yet it's becoming a source for bottlings that compare to the world's best reds, thanks to visionary winemakers like California's Dave Phinney.

By Robert Camuto

"Can we buy this?" Dave Phinney asked, pointing to a Grenache vineyard clinging to soil so dense that it looked more like rock....read more in Food & Wine Magazine.

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