Last year, I did a sort of double-dip on the Italian wine community. I traveled on a media tour to Asti in the north (to eat fried cow brain and other fantastically odd delicacies, while getting immersed in all things Ruchè). And, since I was in Italy anyway, I was taken on another media tour with Zonin 1821, wrapping around the southern coast of Sicily on a trip with other wine writers and sommeliers. Because, well, Italy.
The Sicily jaunt focused specifically on pairing the various wine brands under the Zonin umbrella with artisan fare from producers of some of the world’s most authentic ancient grain pasta; its historic chocolates; its mind-(and-adrenaline-)blowing coffee; its unparalleled seafoods; and its almost life-alteringly-good cheeses.
I’d thought about if/how/when I was going to write about this trip, but Zonin one-upped me and put together this amazing video of the trip, which I’m happy to report they’ve allowed me to share with you (in which you can see Lorenzo Zonin go for a swim, and me doing my best Family Guy impersonation)…
We’ve got a brand new episode in my ongoing Furmint Adventures series, this time exploring the modern-take-on-tradition that is Holdvölgy Winery.
That modern take on well-proven styles isn’t just part of the winemaking; it’s literally built into the winery operation itself, as you’ll clearly see from the video that the FurmintUSA folks have expertly put together (what you won’t see are the outtakes, in which we explored the massive cellar system at Holdvölgy, and filmed several takes of me running up and down long, steep, narrow flights of stairs… I swear that I will enact my revenge on the film crew in some way for this…). You will also get a glimpse at what might be one of the coolest label designs in the business right now.
Just in case you’re not quite totally sick of me yet, my latest feature for Palate Press was recently published, with the focus (words and photos) on the unsung red grape variety of Piedmont: Ruchè (I traveled the area last year as a media guest).
Actually, it’s more correct to state that my article (one of two at Palate Press that highlight Ruchè) focuses on the people behind the resurgence of that once-all-but-lost grape variety.
Bricco views of Ruchè country. I get this kind of stuff all of the time. Yet another reason to hate me!
And a colorful cast of characters those people are; not surprising, I suppose, given the nature and the story of the variety itself. The Palate Press feature profiles the main vintners behind four of the driving Ruchè forces in the region: Crivelli, Ferraris, Pierfrancesco Gatto, and Garrone.
During dinner, our traveling group had a bit of an impromptu video recording session with one of the leaders of the FurmintUSA project, Laszlo Balint. Not only is Laszlo a winemaker, wine writer, and wine critic, he’s also a passionate consumer/collector of Hungarian wine. He’s the emotional heartbeat of the FurmintUSA program, and he’s also a family man, and a good friend.
You get a chance to meet Laszlo (albeit virtually) in the latest video release from FurmintUSA (see embed below), taken from the conversation that was filmed between him and me during our stop at Barta (you also get a chance to see how many “uhms” I utter on video when jet-lagged). If more indigenous grape varieties had guys like Laszlo pushing them into wine marketing modernity, we’d be overrun with more interesting and geeky wine choices in the States…
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