“The Tormaresca project began with the dream, now a reality, to discover and enhance the precious native varietals of Puglia, leading the wine renaissance of the region.”  Tormaresca Website We actually cheered when we finally saw a building in the distance.  We had been driving for hours across Italy from Rome and in the last half hour, we had seen very few signs and only one indicator of our goal: Tormaresca Winery, in the Castel del Monte DOC in the southeastern tip of Italy known as Puglia. The Tormaresca estate is almost as remote as Tasca D’Almerita’s Regaleali in central Sicily,…Continue reading Tormaresca

JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB

Jean-Charles Boisset is known as a winemaker with inimitable style, and he’s curated some of his favorite things and put them on offer at the JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier in Yountville, California. And the glamorous and decadent JCB tasting salon is not your average tasting room, either.  The room sparkles as brightly as the JCB bubbles, punctuated by a glorious chandelier over a gigantic extended table in the center of the room.  The myriad of gilded mirrors hung upside down on the ceiling set off the scene, including the Surrealist Boutique glimmering with fine luxury products such as JCB’s…Continue reading JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB

The Baths of Bormio

Bormio, just south of the Swiss border and smack in the middle of the Italian Alps just a few hours from Milan. The natural hot springs of the area have been in continuous use for thousands of years and are now contained in a lovely resort called the Bagni di Bormio, (the Baths of Bormio). Pliny the Elder was already going on about their beneficial properties back in the first century A.D. And throughout the ages, Leonardo Da Vinci, European royalty and the like, regularly flocked here to “take the waters”. The Hotel Bagni Vecchi (Older Bath Hotel) is a…Continue reading The Baths of Bormio


If you happen to see Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger behind a bar pouring his family’s almost 300-year-old label’s champagne, with a Black River Caviar bar on one side of him and a Hog Island Oyster bar on the other, either you are dreaming or you are at the first night Welcome Party of the GourmetFest Carmel 2016. The four-day foodie extravaganza featuring an exclusive roster of Relais & Châteaux chefs and the world’s best wine estates took place Feb. 25-28, and we’re still in recovery mode from the decadent offerings. Each year, a world-renowned team of wine experts and Relais & Châteaux…Continue reading Carmel-by-the-Sea

Adriatic Coast of Puglia, Italy.

Salento: Italy’s Best Kept Secret

  Years ago, I lived in the seaside village of Otranto, Italy, and studied Italian at Porta d’Oriente, a school that advertised a half-day sea/half-day school approach to learning. Since then, I have dreamt of this region of Italy known as Salento. It seems God has blessed this part of Italy with glorious treasures: turquoise water, rock cliffs, long stretches of natural beaches, and bleached-white buildings that make up the tiny villages that hang over the sea. This is all topped off with extraordinary southern hospitality, which its natives lavish on visitors. I fell in love with the seemingly untouched beauty,…Continue reading Salento: Italy’s Best Kept Secret