Surrounded by dazzling turquoise-blue waters, the mountainous island of Cephalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands in western Greece. It’s also an island with its very own white grape variety: Robola.

Blessed with chalky soils, limestone bedrock, high altitude, and hot, dry summers, Cephalonia is the perfect place for the expression of this delightful indigenous grape.

I, for one, completely fell in love with Robola the very first time I tasted its wine.

It happened to be a bottle from Gentilini, a family-run winery that has found its bliss growing local, classic grape varieties with modern, up-to-the-minute growing and winemaking techniques.

And the 2009 Robola is a beautiful specimen of Gentilini’s expertise…

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I’ve always had a soft spot for Viognier, and judging from the popularity the aromatic grape is enjoying today, I’m far from the only one.

Viognier was once a common crop in Northern Rhône, but by the mid-1960s, because of its low yields and susceptibility to powdery mildew, it had almost disappeared. Thankfully, since the late 1990s Viognier has experienced a resurgence – and is now widely planted in the South of France and California, with new vineyards popping up in lands as distant as Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

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On a beautiful day in late September my husband and I decided to take a little road trip to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Although we very much needed a break from our relentlessly hectic schedules, the truth is that I had an ulterior motive: I wanted to taste wines.

Four wineries were on my list, and Hermann J. Wiemer was at the top. We had tasted their Magdalena Vineyard Dry Riesling at the notorious Terroir Wine Bar in Tribeca (New York) just a few weeks before. My wine notes read: “Wiemer. Must order.”

Instead of picking up the telephone, though, we jumped in the car.

As it turned out, we also got to meet Evan Dawson, managing editor of The New York Cork Report, whom I’d been following on Twitter. Evan writes an informative and passionate column about Finger Lakes wines for the notable online magazine.

“Come to Wiemer whenever you like!” he wrote me in an email early that Sunday. “I’ll be arriving at Wiemer somewhere around 11:00 this morning to help them sort grapes… I never cease to learn when my hands are stained with grapes.”

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