In Vino Veritas – Enoteca Al Duomo (Orvieto, Italy)

The Enoteca Al Duomo: My husband and I loved this place so much that we came here twice in one day during our honeymoon back in October.  Aptly named, this enoteca is literally next to the famous Duomo in Orvieto, Italy. Looking at the front of the amazing façade, it’s on the left-hand side, on the side of the building (facing the beautiful striped sides of the duomo). Can’t miss it.

It was truffle season so we opted for a full-on truffle lunch: bruschetta assortment including truffle bruschetta, tagliolini with fresh truffles, and then a prosciutto and truffle sandwich on fresh ciabatta.

Enoteca al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy
Bruschetta

 

Enoteca Al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy
Cheese plate…including truffled cheese

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In Vino Veritas – Winterose Portofino (Portofino, Italy)

A day in Portofino should never be complete without a visit to Winterose Portofino, a wine store and wine bar right on the edge of the marina, to sip champagne and fine Italian wines lazily at a little table or even sitting on the edge of the water, while you enjoy the Italian Riviera sunshine and rest your weary legs after a long day of shopping and being fabulous.
One of my absolute favorite things about Italy, and its wine bars and cafés in particular, is that when you order wine, it comes with a very nice plate of antipasti, gratis. In a world where nothing comes for free, it’s nice that this is still what I would say the “norm”.  So, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve sat and ordered your drinks until you order a small bite – a snack might already be on the way.

We found Winterose after I connected to some local WiFi and was looking for a wine bar with good ratings on TripAdvisor. Winterose had the highest rating of any, and was right on the water. We headed over faster than I could close the browser on my iPhone, and lucked out, finding two seats at a cafe table right in front.

After a brief panic attack wondering if I had just accidentally spent all of our wedding gift money by sitting at a wine bar in the Italian Riviera without looking at a menu, Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – San Pier Wine Bar Cafe (Mdina, Malta)

My husband and I happened upon the San Pier Wine Bar Café, tucked away in one of the ancient bastions of the city wall of Mdina, Malta during our honeymoon… and I’m so glad we did.
San Pier Wine Bar Cafe
Entrance – photo courtesy of the San Pier Wine Bar Café Facebook Page – Used with permission
Joanna Stellini, the daughter in the Stellini family, who own and operate the place, greeted us cheerfully and plopped down what was a very reasonably priced drink list on our high-top cocktail table, as well as a food menu, just in case we felt peckish.  After reviewing the offerings on the list, we enlisted Joanna’s help picking the perfect glasses of wine to enjoy before dinner.
Since we indicated we would like to try a local offering, she recommended a delicious Maltese red. Aptly named Medina, the young 2013 blend (Syrah, Carignan and Grenache) usually popular in the French Languedoc region and in Catalonia in Spain (where Grenache is, of course, known as Garnacha…those pesky Spanish with their special Spanish grape names!) is made by the Emmanuel Delicata Family winery. It was a beautiful Continue reading

Bodegas Twitter Event

A week ago today (Saturday March 26), I was lucky enough to have a ticket to attend a huge winetasting event here in Mendoza called Bodegas Twitter.  The event was a fundraiser for Fundación CONIN, which is a charity that works with underprivileged children.

So why was it called Bodegas Twitter? The entire event was supposedly organized using solely Twitter.  And, if you tweeted from the event using the hashtag #bodegastw , your tweet would be broadcast to the entire party via a giant screen behind the stage.

Bodegas Twitter

Held at the Auditorio Angel Bustelo in downtown Mendoza, the event brought together bodegas all around the Mendoza region (and Patagonia), including some Continue reading

Winetasting on a Saturday

Last Saturday, a few friends invited me to come along on a bodega-hopping adventure. Bodega, just in case you weren’t sure, is the fancy word for winery/vineyard here.  We had a rental car (a zippy little Ford Fiesta) and a full day to go taste wines in the Mendoza region.

My friend is a sommelier in training, so she knows her stuff. We started on our trip heading to San Carlos (a fairly far-away land from the ciudad) to O’Fournier. The trip was WELL worth it. The bodega itself is breathtaking; it’s super modern but also really uniquely designed to take advantage of the use of gravity during the winemaking process. Plus, it looks like something you’d see an evil villain living in a James Bond movie, or perhaps Dr. Evil’s summer home.

Mr. Bigglesworth loves the view.

It is also home to the largest wine cellar in all of North and South America combined. Pretty freaking cool. The bodega uses its cellar also as an art gallery, so it makes it a bit more interesting than staring at barrels of wine.

Best place to take shelter in an earthquake?

 Lunch at O’Fournier was good, but we had heard it was great, so it was a bit disappointing. This was mostly due to the portion sizes (a shot-glass of two different appetizers were called “two courses”, for example). Still, it was tasty and well done. And the view was spectacular.

After O’Fournier, we made our way to La Azul, but we were 20 minutes late. Turns out, they’re not so much on Argentine time when they’re waiting for you. They were gone, and not a soul was in sight. We knocked on a door of a neighboring house to see if they knew if anyone was there, and they couldn’t help us. Ah well.

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

Backup plan: We went to Jean Bousquet, who were very kind and received us as well as they could receive a surprise visitor. We wine-tasted with the staff and had a great day.

Our drive back to the city was interesting, as we missed a main road entrance and ended up on a dirt desert road going up and down hills and having to get out and push the car across a few points. It was really, really fun though. It may or may not have had anything to do with the alcohol. But it was a great day, with a beautiful sunset, and a great time with new friends.

Megadegustacion 2011

Ok, so during the Vendimia time they have a wine-tasting festival. It lasts for 3 consecutive days and features bodegas from all around Mendoza and Argentina in general where you can taste it all in one place. It’s called Megadegustación and it. is. awesome.

This year, I hear, was more tame than the years before because we were limited to a certain number of glasses of wine by buying our entrance tickets. Tickets for premium tasting were 60 pesos (divide that by 4 and you have your price in dollars), while the regular tasting was 30 pesos (I think). With that, you got coupons for 5 glasses of wine. Or maybe 4. I don’t remember. It was a good time.  The city shuts down Sarmiento (a major street) for 4 blocks between the Plaza Independencia and Belgrano for this epic shindig.  There’s the wine and they also sell food if you’re hungry (empanadas, etc).

My personal favorite for the evening was the wines from bodega Azul. It was a cab-malbec reserva blend, I think. Soooo good. I also tried reservas from Altos las Hormigas (someone check me on that spelling/name), aand…yeah I’m gonna have to check and see which wines I tasted.

My favorite part of the evening was when my BEAUROCRAT BOYFRIEND approached me and said “Hey, remember me?!”… I said “Yes, of course I do” and he laughed and said “Hey, I’m sorry about today. Cheers!” and toasted me, and walked off.

The city of Mendoza is just a really big town.