Reading through an old online argument about how one had to understand the local wine and food culture to have any idea what to say about certain styles of wine (in this case sparkling Barbera meant to be served cold with salty cured meats), we came across this Q&A between a friend of ours (yo, Bruce!) and Roberto :

“What’s so culturally relevant about selling farmhouse wines from Italy in SoCal where authentic Cibo Italiano is hard to come by and Dim Sum, BBQ, Oaxacan, Thai, Persian and Korean food are everywhere?

“Fair enough. This is actually the BEST part: once you understand WHY a Terrano is so acidic or a Vivace Barbera is so refreshing or an Alto Adige Kerner is so perfumed and how that is used in its NATIVE context you can then find culinary doppelgängers in other cultures and apply the same principles to match the wines. Joshua Wesson, David Rosengarten and I once talked about this for hours while they were preparing an article about my wine program at a Chinese restaurant for The Food & Wine Companion. The conclusions? The same reason that Fino Sherry is so good with Tapas makes it excellent with a broad range of Dim Sum, the same thing that makes Refosco and Wild Hare with Paprika so good in Friuli ALSO works with Mongolian Hot Pot Venison. The basic chemistries of acid, tannin, fruit and bubbles and how they work with fat, protein, char, spices and fruit acids does not change and understanding that gives you great tools to make culinary magic with. That’s when the fun really BEGINS!”

This is really no different than “which wine should I serve first and why?’, just broader in scope. Perhaps the bottom line is that, as Louis Armstrong used to say about Swing,“If I have to explain it to you then you will never understand…” ?

Bubblies perfect for Easter Ham OR a Dim Sum Brunch:

Le Manzane Pròseo Rosé Brut, Veneto  

Ernesto Balbinot is constantly innovating and fine tuning both his wines and their packaging. The big wave recently was Rosé Prosecco and his is still the best: 95% Prosecco, 2% Merlot for color, 3% Moscato for aromatics (this is the bit that makes this one the best we’ve tried). VERY small bead, creamy texture, light salmon color, bone dry finish and really gorgeous packaging.


Col Saliz Prosecco di Valdobiaddene Extra Dry, Veneto  

This is truly delicious fizz with intense fruit and flower aromas plus a slight sweetness perfectly balanced by fresh acidity making it ultra food friendly and a big crowd pleaser. Get yours before it is gone, this one sold out in a flash last time and there are just 25 cases this shipment…


Mary had a little lamb, little lamb…. so she stuffed it with 30 gloves of garlic, covered it with rosemary and slow roasted it to perfection…


Avide Nero d’Avola Herea 2009, Sicilia  

Weather you are following an ancient lamb prep from southern France or northern Spain OR making a mongolian hot pot out of that sucker, this works (and for the same reasons).


Vidigal Tinto Reserva dos Amigos 2009, Estremadura  

This was one of the first “serious” wines in the Estremadura and is making friends worldwide. Blended from Tinta Roriz (70%), Castelão (20%) and a splash of Tinto Miúda for fun, this is sure to win you new amigos wherever you take a bottle.