It’s my understanding that you either know Lugana or you don’t; It’s that simple. And yet, this 1200 hectare region near Lake Garda, Italy is anything but simple. With this small of an area, and with over 120 producers of Lugana (five styles of one grape: Turbiana) there’s lots of information to cover although easy navigable, once we dig in. Over four-plus weeks time during #winestudio, we’ll dig deep and come out at the end of our series as Lugana experts, or at the very least, Lugana Lovers! Lying on the border between the two Provinces of Brescia and Verona, the Lugana denomination stretches along the plains of Morainic origin to the south of Lake Garda, within the communes of Sirmione, Pozzolengo, Desenzano and Lonato (in Lombardy) and Peschiera del Garda in the Veneto.
The name would appear to derive from the early-medieval word “lucus” (“a wood”). This zone was in fact covered in the past by the Selva Lucana, a dense and marshy forest. But the presence of vines in this area dates back much further – at least to the Bronze Age – and is proven by the famous Vitis Silvestris grape seeds found around the pile dwellings of Peschiera del Garda.
Today it is an area that is characterized by very particular soil, made up predominantly of white clays and limestone, capable of giving the grapes cultivated here extraordinary elegance and tanginess as well as longevity.
As with most grapes, the white Turbiana becomes a reflection of where it’s grown, how it’s treated, dependent on soil characteristics and of course the winemaker’s characteristics; it transforms into a Lugana wine with many iterations of itself. And although that may seem super confusing, each Lugana wine affords us views into this small region and an even smaller snapshot into each winery’s style. And we’ll be tasting and discussing a lot of wine!
Andrea Bottarel, the recently appointed Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC Director puts it this way: “It is extremely important to understand that, unlike some other regions, due to the territory being mainly flat and with subtle differences in soil composition and climate, there may be a difference in wine profiles, but not in quality. Vineyards closer to [Lake Garda] will tend to produce slightly sharper wines with a more distinctive salinity, and the ones closer to the lower and sandier hillside, will tend to produce slightly bolder whites, sometimes with bolder fruit. This of course applies to single vineyard wines, but there are also producers aiming for balance and either growing or buying grapes from different parcels.”
We're joined by Susannah Gold, DWS, FWS - Vigneto Communications as she moves us through the region and introduces #winestudio to the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC.
Twitter hashtag #winestudio Tuesday evenings 9-10pmET June 9, 16, 23, 30
Click here for the full program.
The Group formerly known as Grupo Bodegas San Valero is celebrating 75 years of quality winemaking with the launch of a new corporate structure and the same dedication to Quality Wine Production.
Bodega San Valero (BSV) has produced new proprietary brands that maintain the passion and spirit of the founding winemakers of 1944. Quality as a competitive advantage remains the goal as Cooperativa Vinícola San Valero now celebrates 75 harvests. We'll discuss the new brands while tasting through these reasonably priced wines.
Follow the hashtag #winestudio for the entire program.
April 7, 14, 21, 28 - 9:00pm - 10:00pm ET
Wine Educator: Kat Thomas, Training Manager, Hakkasan Group Las Vegas @yoga_kat
Week 1 - A Tale of Monte Ducay - the Prized Terroir of Cariñena
Week 2 - Celebrities - Rise of the Cariñena Indigenous Monovarietals
Week 3 - Celebrities - International Varieties and the Roles they Play in Cariñena
Week 4 - 75 Years - Quality and Community - The Advantages of Co-Operation
The history of Italy cannot be told without including the prominent contributions of the Ricasoli family, who have produced wine since 1141. Ricasoli is documented as the oldest winery in Italy and the fourth oldest family business in the world. A beautiful illustration of the family tree in 1584 is one of the first images of the Chianti area and the family archives include export receipts dating back to the late 1600s. However, perhaps the most famous historical contribution came from Baron Bettino Ricasoli, who was not only twice the prime minister of Italy, but after 30 years of experimentation and documentation, developed the original formula for the Chianti wine that became the standard for the region.
The heart of the Ricasoli wine production comes from the Brolio castello, a magnificent castle located in the commune of Gaiole in Chianti, which was built as an outpost to defend Florence from the rival city of Siena. Within the estate, ancient cannonballs and even more recent WWII artillery shells have been found, evidence of the historical strategic importance of the castle with views of the entire Chianti Classico area. The 3,000 acre estate includes 580 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards, ranging in altitude from 800 to 1,500 feet. Each plot is harvested and fermented separately with meticulous dedication.
Baron Francesco Ricasoli has been at the helm of the winery since 1993 and with the deepest respect for his renowned ancestors, he has guided the estate in innovation and sustainable vineyard practices. The ongoing study of soil types and the clonal selection of the Brolio Sangiovese are among his greatest passions and he has been responsible for total renovation and re-mapping of the vineyards. Today, the wines are a reflection of the family’s nine hundred year dedication to quality winemaking and innovation at the Brolio estate. - Folio Fine Wine
Follow the Ricasoli #winestudio chat on Twitter
January 14, 21, 28, February 4 - 9:00pm - 10:00pm ET
WSET Wine Educator Lyn Farmer @fizzfan
Week 1 - January 14: Ricasoli and the Birth of Modern Chianti
Week 2 - January 21: Legacy and Romance of the Brolio Estate
Week 3 - January 28: The Power of Chianti Classico Terroir - How Merlot Imbues the Flavors of Tuscany
Week 4 - February 4: Ricasoli Single Vineyard Crus: Clonal Research and Soil Mapping at Brolio
Bodegas LAN: Rioja Innovation and Evolution
Every wine brand has a culture, strategically built or cultivated. For Bodegas LAN, a relative newcomer on the Rioja scene, comparative to its peers, it seems strategy and cultivation go hand in hand.
LAN - an acronym based on the initials of each of the three provinces that form the D.O.Ca. Rioja: Logroño, Alava and Navarra - was founded in 1972 in the heart of Rioja Alta. Bodegas LAN’s attention to detail, pristine raw material and pioneering use of mixed oak barrels results in personality-first wines with vintage consistency.
LAN prides itself on its technical advances which ensure the protection and sustainability of its vineyards and the surrounding fauna and flora. This nurturing of viticulture creates the correct environment to pursue winemaker / technical director Maria Barúa’s tailored ageing system, which is the first of its kind in Rioja.
Follow the Bodegas LAN #winestudio chat on Twitter
November 5, 12, 19, 26 - 9:00pm - 10:00pm ET
WSET Wine Educator Lyn Farmer @fizzfan
Week 1 - November 5: Bodegas LAN Introduction > Historical & Topographical Overview
Week 2 - November 12: Modern Innovation
Week 3 - November 19: Viña Lanciano > The Relationship between Vineyard & Oak
· American oak. Sourced in Ohio and Missouri, from the Appalachian forests, it adds intense aromas of vanilla, coconut and aromatic plants.
· Russian oak. From the Caucasus and the Republic of Adygea. It is similar in aromas to French oak, although it is less pungent, respecting the primary aromas of the grape.
· Hungarian oak. It is very similar in aromas to French oak. In the case of Tempranillo it adds slightly more lactic notes.
. Pyrenean oak. It is high in polyphenols, adding vanilla, caramel, almond, clove and resinous notes. It is the latest type of oak to be added to our constantly evolving ageing process.
Week 4 - November 26: Tech and Sustainability
Introducing our Seasonal Beverage Club - elemental Salon!
A beverage club based on the seasons, paired with art and locally-made foods through our community creatives.
Included each Season (4 times per year):
Our introductory salon features Virginia Beach local Cindy Pennybacker > business owner, artist, designer and overall badass! Cindy has been featured in some of the hottest magazines such as Distinction, Southern Living and Coastal Virginia. Many of you may know her as Chartreuse Interiors owner in the Vibe District before she closed to concentrate exclusively on her art, which is now sought after by collectors.
Sign up today and receive:
Tina Morey Certified Sommelier | Crystal Cameron-Schaad DipWSET
[a Crystal Palate & #winestudio production]
Dirt, Regenerative Farming and What Farming Truly Means to Today’s Young American Farmers - The Burnt Hill Project via Old Westminster Winery
Just six years ago, Maryland's Old Westminster Winery turned heads at Boston's Drink Local Conference. Today, they're in the midst of producing, as they call it, "an iconic Maryland red" at their newly planted Burnt Hill. Drew calls this particular area the "mid-Maryland ridge," west of Sugarloaf Mountain and the BlueRidge.
“We’re going to challenge current beliefs with unique and transparent wines – wines that offer balance, nuance, and character. We’re going to farm thoughtfully, using biodiverse cover crops, biodynamic principles and incorporating animals. And then, in the winery, we’re going to craft wines with a light hand, ferment with indigenous yeast, and bottle it all without fining or filtration. These wines will be made without makeup – a pure reflection of the time and place where they’re grown and the people who guided the process." Drew Baker.
Follow the conversation:
Tuesdays - 9-10pm Twitter, hashtag: #winestudio
Week 1 - Tuesday 4 June: The American Family Farm > How Old Westminster Winery is Establishing a Farming Legacy
Introduction to the Baker family.
Week 2 - Tuesday 11 June: The Burnt Hill Project - “Wind blows, fire burns…”
Climate, Grapes, Soil and Biodynamics
Week 3 - Tuesday 18 June: Summer Solstice Festival - A Natural Wine Celebration
The Wine Festival is Dead, Long live the Wine Festival! Why this particular wine festival matters for the Mid-Atlantic Wine Region
Week 4 - Tuesday 25 June: The Afterglow of Solstice > Now What? A Family Moving Forward
More info to come!
We’re all searching for something: purpose, love, money, religion, justice, truth, beauty. At the core of it all is this idea that something must represent that search; perhaps something that provides an outstretched hand, an embrace, a satisfying beverage or a field of flowers. Whatever that “something” is, it provides us a connection.
Understanding our world through wine and our part in that world
The historically tragic, yet brilliant outcome of “critter” labels is that it polarized wine drinkers. Critter, or rather picture labels with that “animal” slant were fun; they made wine choices easy for those just looking for a good bottle on a Wednesday night without the worry of becoming overwhelmed or making a “bad” choice. In a world where we’re bombarded by numerous products daily, this choice needed to be seamless. And the same could be said for “wordy” wine labels; who wants to decipher those after a long day?
Perhaps the advent of the “critter” label was just the logical “next thing” in wine labeling. But there was an inherent problem: many of the wines associated were seen as inferior, the labels, subterfuge. And as these critter labels flooded the market, we soon figured out their purpose. So, what now? Maybe the answer lies within a palette of pink.
Evolution in Wine Thinking
The enigmatic part about rosé is its ever-changing landscape: a profusion of colors, complexity, grape varieties, production methods, bottle shapes and flavour profiles. Rosé is neither governed by any set of wine rules nor would it want to be anything other than what it is. Which, when you really think about it, is kind of cool, and dare I say, desirable, next-level thinking.
So then, what’s next for an evolution within the context of labels, and therefore connecting to a polarized group? Wine drinkers have at least a “working” relationship with rosé now, meaning only that we understand the “pink” liquid can be and mean many things depending on how, where, why and with whom we’re drinking. We’re having a good time with rosé.
According to Wines and Vines, it’s seen the strongest growth of any wine type at 48% and shipments totaling $48 million. And because there are inherently no particular rules within the world of rosé, there’s an even playing field for our polarized group. Now that’s exciting!
“Wine is kind of like going to a live show. Every performance is distinct, the audience enjoying it influences the experience, and every so often the band knows when they just created their next big hit. That’s why I keep coming back to wine.” Jaleh Najafali, Wine enthusiast / law student
Elizabeth Gabay MW and author of Rosé - Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution wrote: “...the real pink revolution is only just beginning.” I agree, and I think through rosé, there’s an infinite amount of learning and possibilities to be had! As wine lovers and well, human beings, we look to food and wine to nourish us, to connect us, to elevate us to something else. We want to feel good, even to make us look “cool” to our friends. What better way to find fulfillment than with another culturally-nourishing endeavour - art.
Design and Human Nature
I recently connected with oenographic: Graphic Design + Wine founder Jeff Gilligan whose Instagram account reads like only cool profiles could: “oenographic celebrate(s) the best of DESIGN + WINE.” And I thought, how forward-thinking is that!
Anyone can like art. Much like rosé, art can be and mean many things depending on where, why and with whom we’re enjoying it. There are no rules, no parameters, only a desire to experience, to feel, to connect with something that encourages us to look outside of ourselves while simultaneously looking in.
“Art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time. Research has shown art affects the fundamental sense of self. Art preserves what fact-based historical records cannot: how it felt to exist in a particular place at a particular time. Art in this sense is communication; it allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, sounds and stories. Art is often a vehicle for social change.” Reference.com
Much like artists, winemakers are creatives who see the potential in their grapes, in the soil, in the world around them, pushing winemaking boundaries every day, so what better way to showcase their bottled wine than with an artist’s label.
Kent Humphrey and his wife and business partner Colleen Teitgen, owners of Eric Kent Wine Cellars, know the value of wine and art. While Kent crafts their wines, Colleen, an artist and curator of their galleries, oversees their dream of combining their shared passions in wine and art. I asked them their goals for the artist labels and if they feel people are drawn to bottle art. “Definitely! You can’t help but choose a bottle on a shelf based on how it looks. I think we all do it.” Kent Humphrey
“Order wines and it's like having your personal art gallery at your table!! Zelda Sydney Illustrated Wine
“We are trying to expose our customers and the general public to lesser known artists and get them an audience for their work. There is a lot of stereotypical wine art out there and we want our labels to represent the artists, not wine country. Be different. Be true. Help artists. Get attention. Bring pleasure. Yes, we can say definitively that many people have discovered they love our wines after being drawn in by the art labels. They were happy to learn the wine was good too!” Colleen Teitgen
The couple “encourage(s) up-and-coming local artists by commissioning them to design the beautiful Eric Kent back labels, as well as by supporting Sonoma arts events.” Sommelier Journal
Eric Kent Wine Cellars, 2017 Rosé, Sonoma County, CA Artist Yellena James
Blogger Cathie Schafer, CSW writes: “I realized rosé is the ideal medium to connect us with its evolving landscape with an art-inspired label. It shows that we want something more than the alcohol in the bottle--it tells an even bigger story. I like to believe that the label creates an unspoken connection between the winemaker and the consumer.”
Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, NY has been in business since 1980, now growing 75 acres of sustainably farmed grapes. Since 2000, owner and art collector Michael Lynne, (April 1941 - March 2019) a trustee for New York's Museum of Modern Art, commissioned artwork for the wine labels from artists like Barbara Kruger and Eric Fischl.
Bedell Cellars 2017 Taste Rosé, Long Island, NY, Artist Barbara Kruger
Bedell Cellars is considered to be a benchmark for quality in the Eastern US, and winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich crafts his Long Island rosé with a unique blend every year, made by gently pressing whole clusters of sustainably grown estate fruit, before fermenting with indigenous yeasts.
The artwork that graces the rosé is by Barbara Kruger, an internationally renowned American conceptual artist. She created the image “Taste” exclusively for Bedell Cellars, suggesting the notion that taste can influence what we love, how we live, and who we think we are. Bedell Cellars
“Art opens everything up to such a bigger spectrum of people. And this is why I personally believe art is powerful, because art saved my life.” Artist David Tovey, Museum of Homelessness, Tate Exchange
Perhaps rosé is the connection for polarized wine drinkers after all.
Last February, Amy Bess and a few of her member wineries joined #winestudio to discuss her new project. We listened, we tasted and we loved her spirit and drive.
Over a year in and Amy Bess has created a community of advocacy and solutions for women in the wine industry.
She is a mighty force! Consider supporting today.
February 2018 #winestudio Program:
Beginnings: Woman-Owned Wineries of Sonoma County
I met Amy Bess Cook on a writer retreat last September and I knew this was someone I wanted in my life.
After Amy Bess released her new project, Woman-owned Wineries (WoW) of Sonoma I contacted her immediately to offer #winestudio as a platform to get the message out.
From Amy Bess:
"I was compelled to create this site because, during my eight years of helping to operate a boutique winery, I witnessed hardworking women throughout the industry being marginalized every place from sales meetings to the cellar floor. I wanted to do something positive to celebrate their work. This project is my love letter to them."
Tuesdays, February 6, 13, 20 - 6:00pm -7:00pm Pacific | 9:00pm – 10:00pm Eastern - hashtag #winestudio
Tuesday 6 February 6pmPT / 9pmET
Who is Breathless Wines?
Aesthetics and Mission
Breathless North Coast Brut SRP $25
Vineyards, Grapes, Winemaking
Breathless Blanc de Noirs SRP $30
Art, Sabering, and Building Connections through Crowdfunding
Tuesday 13 February 6pmPT / 9pmET
Amy Bess Cook and WoW
March (1) Launch
Tuesday 20 February 6pmPT / 9pmET
How to find your voice and your calling amidst a family business
Necessity is the mother of all invention
Pedroncelli 2017 Friends.White SRP $14
A go-to winery - 90 years worth!
Pedroncelli 2015 Mother Clone Zinfandel SRP $19
When the Smithsonian National Museum of American History comes knocking
I was recently interviewed by the team at Mix + Shine Marketing + PR here in Virginia Beach and it was a killer experience.
Being your own boss is great, but it's good to face yourself head on sometimes and evaluate past decisions, good and bad so that you're always innovating, challenging others and yourself.
Big thanks to Rachael and April who forced me to rethink in ways I hadn't yet.
What's in this episode –
Listen here for the full Podcast.
For our 2019 Sensory kick-off event, we'll be visiting ski regions around the world! Join Sommeliers Tina Morey and Crystal Cameron-Schaad as we explore which wine regions sport the Après Ski mindset > skiing, warming fires, wine! No matter if you ski or not, wine and snacks are always welcome at the end of the day. Come explore some fabulous mountain wines and learn how high altitude can produce some of the world's most stunning wines paired with a variety of goodies.
As always, we'll be tasting and sniffing through our Sensory Table to reflect what's in our glasses.
Tickets $35 from Eventbrite
Date And Time
Sat, March 2, 2019
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM EST
Add to Calendar
Crystal Palate Wine & Gourmet
4500 Pretty Lake Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23518