Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I struggle with the right balance of routines. While at times I think they can build discipline and foster steady improvement, I also fear the comfort zone they can create. In a perfect world I would try a new form of exercise every three months, buy assorted foods at the grocery store, and explore one of the many places I haven't been to in Southern California on the weekends. But going for walks and bike rides, eating cereal, apples, bell peppers, and shrimp cocktail, and spending every weekend going to my favorite spots in Corona Del Mar makes me happy. 

And that's great. 

But I look back to times in my life when I broke away from a routine or regimented lifestyle and recognize the extreme benefits that these deviations brought to my life. A few examples are transferring high schools my sophomore year, studying and working in London my junior year in college, barely breaking even every month during my first job at Deloitte Consulting in New York City, and leaving Michael and Las Vegas after two years to spend a month in Champagne and Burgundy discovering my passion for wine. Throughout these experiences I was challenged, humbled, inspired, exhausted, exhilarated, sad, and happy. I'm still getting to know Newport Beach and Orange County, but am aware it is going to be very easy to get into a comfortable routine here. I ask of my friends to help me when this happens. It's healthy to get your ass kicked every now and then.

Monday, April 6, 2009

This Makes Me Smile

At Home In The Vines

Born and raised in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, I didn't discover the wine history of my home state until I started studying wine two years ago. When I was back east last fall, my sister and I drove up to Hopkins Vineyard, set on the northern shore or Lake Waramaug, to see just what Litchfield had to offer. Our favorite was Hopkins' sparkling wine made in the methode champenoise. Great acidity, pinpoint bubbles, and mouthwatering granny smith apple and pear notes. Cheers!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pizza and Nebbiolo d'Alba

Had a nice dinner at Pizzeria Ortica (Costa Mesa, California) on Friday. If you're looking for a great value Piedmont wine, give Poderi Colla's 2006 Nebbiolo d'Alba a try. I made this choice from the wine list which was on the shorter side and after being informed they were out of the Dolcetto d'Alba I initially ordered (usually my go-to wine when I'm selecting for palates keen on silky, fruit-forward, dense New World reds and want to introduce them to an Old World option). The bottle was listed for about $60 (a nice price point relative to the $120 Pio Cesare 2004 Barberesco) and we decanted the wine while enjoying a glass of Franciacorta with our appetizers. After having a chance to breathe, the Nebbiolo held up nicely to the food and we had plenty of cheeses, olive oil, and cured meats to help soften some of the (still young) tannin. Overall, this a well balanced wine with excellent concentration that needs a little more time in the bottle. The quality of the producer came across to everyone at the table and those trying their first Nebbiolo appreciated the dynamism the wine added to our fresh and thoughtful antipasti and pizze. The honey gelato and chocolate sorbetto cannot go unmentioned. Vino. Pizze. Dolci. Perfecto.


Effective April 29, 2009, TTB established the 868 square-mile "Haw River Valley" American viticultural area in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Guilford, Orange, and Rockingham Counties in north-central North Carolina.

An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).