Wine Studies Level 1- USA

Compared to European countries, the United States does not have a very long tradition of winemaking. What many might be surprised to learn, however, is that wine was actually made here in the US as early a the 1600s. Most of these early vineyards were planted in New York, Virginia, Michigan, and even Ohio (a fact which makes Ohio ever so slightly more exciting). Many of the indigenous grape varieties that existed in North America were not necessarily making the best wine so of course settlers tried to plant vinifera grape varietals from Europe. While those were suffering at the hands of phylloxera they were able to create hybrids from local varieties and the vinifera varieties. Nothing came easy in colonial America, apparently.   Continue reading


Wine Studies Level 1- Grape Varieties

The second class focused mainly on the different grape varieties. Not all the different varietals because there are thousands, of course, but the most well known and distinctive. All of the grapes covered are known as Vitis vinifera grape varieties. Vitis vinifera is actually the genus and species name of these grapes. For those of you interested in etymology, vitis is the latin word for vine. Vinifera is a bit more interesting as it is a combination of two words, vinum meaning wine and ferus meaning wild or untamed. Just by looking at the breakdown of these two words you can understand what exactly a Vitis vinifera grape is, one of the indigenous species of grapes that were growing prior to any sort of cultivation in Europe. Among this illustrious classification are many favorites: Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, and one of my personal favorites Sangiovese.  Continue reading

Wine Studies Level 1-A Little Bit of Everything

In my quest to learn more about the world of wine I have started taking the Wine Studies courses offered in the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center at Boston University. Since I am currently working on my Master’s in Gastronomy I can actually take these classes for credit, which makes a lot of people I know pretty jealous. As fun as it sounds to take a class where you get to try a bunch of wine, these classes are quite intensive and very educational. So, I have decided to start a new blog series where I will chronicle my experiences class by class. Continue reading

Bottle of The Week- Maison Arnoux & Fils Les Pimentiers Savigny-les-Beaune Pinot Noir

Today, in Boston, we are in the midst of a winter storm. What better to do when you’re snowed in than take a quick trip to your local wine shop and grab a nice bottle to enjoy while catching up on episodes of your latest TV series binge? While I am currently snowed in at a wine shop myself I have hundreds of bottles to choose from, so I will tell you a bit about a lovely and affordable Burgundy I tried recently. Continue reading

Bottle of The Week- Banfi Col di Sasso Toscana IGT 2015

You might recall a few of my posts from when I was vineyard hopping in Tuscany back in March (like this one, or this one, or this one). One of the other wineries that we had a chance to visit was the popular Banfi. This week’s bottle was not one that we tasted while at the winery itself, but I’ll tell you about it anyway. If you are ever in Tuscany I would highly suggest taking a trip to Banfi, the drive alone is well worth it. It’s exactly what you would picture when you think of the Tuscan countryside with winding roads lined by cypress trees. Continue reading

Bottle of The Week- Lavau Gigondas Red Rhône Blend 2013

If you recall the last post you might wonder why I am writing about wine from the same winery two weeks in a row! Well, I thought it would be an interesting comparison to do a back-to-back (if you can consider a week back-to-back) of two different Southern Rhône blends from the same winery. I also happened to receive this bottle for free because it was left over from a wine tasting, so there’s that, too.   Continue reading

Bottle of the Week- Lavau Côtes du Rhône 2013

I’ve written about Côtes du Rhône before, which you can check out if you need a quick background. So, for this post I’d like to focus more on Grenache, which makes up 60% of the blend in this wine. Grenache is one of the most widely planted varieties in the world, it is grown practically everywhere wine is produced, from northern Spain (where it originated) to Washington State. Continue reading