California vs. France #MerlotMe with squash, chard, pasta #WinePW

Many wines have days devoted to them, and some regions or states have months. For example, California’s month was in September and the final Thursday in August is Cabernet Day.

Coming up, we’ve got–

As Sue and I would be competing in a blind tasting in France today Oct 12, before we left we decided to test ourselves — could we tell the difference between Merlot from the US and France? Continue reading

A Biodynamic Checklist for Pilgrims to Champagne and Loire

Sue and Gwendolyn on the TGV to Champagne -- super fast! Only 30 minutes from the main Paris airport to Reims!

On the TGV to Champagne — super fast! Only 30 minutes from the main Paris airport to Reims! photo c. by Gwendolyn Alley

With the World Wine Tasting Championship coming up this Saturday Oct 12 at Chateau Chambord in the beautiful green Loire Valley in France, the US Team has arrived and is preparing!

Well, at least you think we’d be!

Instead, Sue and I spent four nights in the Champagne region visiting biodynamic producers, vineyards, cellars, and tasting biodynamic still and champagne wines, then we drove to the Loire where we have been tasting — you guessed it– biodynamic cremant and still wines!

Biodynamic wines, while varietally correct, do not always taste like a typical wine. Bonus: you can enjoy more of them as they also do not give a hangover unless you drink WAY too much!

We did spend one evening at a friend’s opening many bottles from around the world with an emphasis on France and older unusual vintages. We did really well with our tasting notes, according to the somm who hosted the small dinner party and tasting.

Practice makes permanent: a few of the wines we tasted and studied last weekend… the Condrieu was a favorite of mine!

What’s wrong with this? Well nothing to be honest! We feel like we already won by winning a place on the US team and thereby winning our plane tickets and accommodations at Chateau  Chambord!

Instead of trying to travel and taste as widely as possible in France of commercial and typical wines, we’ve been Pilgrims on a journey to biodynamic Champagne and Loire.

We’ve lots of notes and photos for many articles to come but for now, I offer up–

A Biodynamic Checklist for Pilgrims — and a quick photo journey to whet your appetite for what’s to come: Continue reading

Beautiful Abruzzo: 3 Montepulciano and 1 Trebbiano with simple Italian cuisine #ItalianFWT


Stretching from the Adriatic Sea to the jagged Apennines mountains, Abruzzo has the most national parks and fore­sts of any region in Italy. Famous for being green and frequently referred to as “the lung” of Italy, Abruzzo’s rivers cut through from the mountains through the hills where the wine grows. Continue reading