A Summary of Wine Spectator’s 2022 “Grand Award” Winners

Wine Spectator has been honouring top international restaurants with extraordinary wine programs since 1981 with the “Grand Award.”  This award is granted to restaurants that show extraordinary commitment to wine service. The 2022 winners are profiled and listed alphabetically.  I highly recommend to all wine lovers and foodies that these global dining establishments should be on your wish list as you start travelling again!

Here is the full list of “Grand Award” winners:

https://www.winespectator.com/articles/snapshots-of-wine-spectator-s-grand-award-winners

 

#winespectator  #grandaward #winelist #WSrestaurantaward #WSgrandaward #winelovers #wine #winenews #finedining #winelifestyle #winetravels #wineandfood @wine_spectator

Garda Wine Stories: Exploring the Territory and Wines of Lake Garda – Filippo Magnani

From the 8th to 11th of June, the Garda DOC Consortium organized ‘Garda Wine Stories’, an event dedicated to the extraordinary peculiarities of the wine territory of Lake Garda. It was a full-scheduled press tour which included: seminars, masterclasses, in-depth analysis, guided cellar tours, and a stunning sailboat ride with tasting, aboard a cutter (equipped with the ancient trapezoidal sails). It was not only an opportunity for the Italian and international press to discuss in-depth the complex and vast territory, but also for wine lovers. On Friday, June 10th we attended a tasting with 20 producers, representing the best winemaking areas. The impeccable event was organized by the Consortium.

Discovering Garda DOC
The denomination Garda DOC was founded in 1996. It represents a large geographical area that groups in the same macro area other important Italian DOCs for a total of around 31,100 hectares under vine, of which 27,889 hectares are in the province of Verona, the outlying hectares are spread between the towns of Mantua and Brescia. Today, it has around 4,000 associated producers and a production of 21 million bottles, with a good prospect of further growth. The objective of the Consortium is to enhance the value of the varietal wines produced in these historical appellations and to give further opportunities of identification for those who grow in the outlying zones. The Consortium is playing an important role in pursuing a circular strategy that conveys all the resources that Lake Garda has, and the dialogue between the wine system, wine tourism and hospitality, sport activities, and gastronomy.

Garda – A Wine Territory around the Lake
Lake Garda is the largest body of water in Italy, extending for about 370 km2, it is encompassed by 3 Italian regions: Lombardy, Veneto, and Trentino Alto Adige. Its banks extend for 50 km from north to south and for about 17 km from east to west. In the imaginary triangle composed of the provinces of Trento (north), Brescia (south-west) and Verona (south-east), an extraordinary natural and cultural heritage is preserved. The landscape, from any point you look, is a jubilation of biodiversity, corners of extraordinary scenic beauty. Mountains, hills, and beaches are covered by the typical Mediterranean vegetation with olive trees, caper bushes, lemon and citron trees, agave plants and vines; all framed by historical and cultural sites, castles, harbours, charming villages, traces of human activities that have always influenced the appearance of Lake Garda shores.

The climate is mild in all its extension despite the northerly longitude. There are many factors that contribute to the incredible climatic conditions that make Lake Garda one of the most heterogeneous and interesting wine areas. The northern cone-shaped narrow area is surrounded by the Alps providing a shield from the cold currents from the North. The lake also plays an important mitigating action, lifting colder fogs in the mornings allowing the ventilation among the vines, and by absorbing heat and releasing it in relation to the external temperature. Winters are never harsh, and summers are hot. The daily temperature range is quite high due to the presence of a breeze blowing south in the morning and north in the afternoon, thermal excursion is an extremely important factor for the perfect ripening of the grapes.

From the gentle morainic hills of the southern basin to the extreme peaks of the Alps, the soil around Lake Garda is a puzzle of different compositions but perhaps the most distinctive and fascinating element has to do with the light. This place is glowing. The phenomenon of light refraction made possible by the size and depth of the lake is an element of great uniqueness in the territory. Here the vine finds a perfect place to grow, in a bright and lush nature, helped by the meticulous hands of brilliant winemakers. The wide area that covers Garda Doc includes countless grape varieties and many interpretations of them.

Each of the wine districts that stretch around Lake Garda bring traditions in production methods, history and, of course, the most representative vines from the different areas: Garganega, Trebbiano (Trebbiano di Soave and/or Trebbiano di Lugana), Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Corvina, Marzemino, and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Altogether, they constitute the backbone of Garda DOC wine production. Great importance is given to the sparkling wines using the varieties from the different wine areas: Garganega for white wines, Corvina for rosé, crémant method Chardonnay, but also Pinot Grigio, Reno, and Muller Thurgau.

The boundaries of DOC Garda embrace a wide area. Considering the extraordinary attitude of Italian wine territories to change connotations in a few meters, it’s hard to imagine how many environments coexist around the lake. The Consortium has been stimulating scientific research in order to improve the understanding of the pedoclimatic and oenological aspects of the Lake Garda territory, with the ultimate goal of proposing models with a sustainable footprint to enhance wine productions and to defend our extraordinary natural heritage.

Lake Garda: A Paradise for Wine Enthusiasts
Lake Garda is one of the most romantic locations and it represents the charm of the Dolce Vita Italiana. It is a real paradise for those who love wine, food, stunning natural scenery, sports, art and culture… in short, there is everything for everyone!  It is no coincidence, that the territory around the lake is one of the favorite destinations of lovers of our country (Italy). The road network and the water transport that connect the various areas of the lake allow wine enthusiasts and foodies to concentrate their exploration of the wines of the DOC Garda even on a short holiday.  A journey in a journey, a shining example of how wine tourism became the “art of hospitality”.  The Consorizio Garda DOC is proposed as a promoter of the territory of Lake Garda as a wine escape, collecting and communicating the infinite experiences that can be carried out and proposing them through multiple channels. Visit where official site www.gardadocvino.it  where you learn about amazing stays on these shores, in the section “experience”.

#gardadoc #staywithus #wine #gardalake #italy #italianwineregion #GardaWineStories #LakegardaItaly #italianwinelover #winelover #gastronomy #wine #vino #gardawines #wineexperience #winetasting #winetourism #sailing

Hermitage Launches Online Charity Wine Auction

Hermitage, the Rhône Valley wine appellation has launched its online wine auction, which is now open for bidding until Tuesday, June 21-  4 pm via the fine wine auction marketplace Bid For Wine https://www.bidforwine.co.uk/legendary-hermitage.

The lots available to bid on have been donated by Hermitage winemakers with some unique vintages for wine lovers and collectors.

The Centre Médical de La Teppe (France) and The Epilepsy Society (UK) are the two charities that have been chosen for the auction, with all proceeds being donated equally between the two.

Hermitage is also hosting their ‘Legendary Hermitage’ event at the Four Seasons Hotel, London, at Ten Trinity Square on Monday June 20th. The event is hosted by several of the Hermitage winemakers which includes a tasting of the prestigious cuvées available on the UK market, and a gastronomic dinner curated by award-winning chef, Anne-Sophie Pic. Chef Pic is the most decorated female chef in the world, with eight Michelin stars to her name.

Michel Chapoutier, president of the Hermitage appellation, said: “Our Legendary Hermitage event is an opportunity to share our wines with the UK wine trade, and along with our online charity wine auction, we are also helping out some charities which are important to our winemakers. We can’t wait to meet everyone and allow them to taste some exciting wines, some of which they won’t have tasted before.”

The auction lots include:

Lot 1 – Maison Les Alexandrins 2020, White – 6 bottles

Lot 2 – Christelle Betton, Arpège 2004-2011-2019, White (3 bottles)

Lot 3 – Maison M.Chapoutier, Vin de Paille 1999, Magnum

Lot 4 – Maison M.Chapoutier, Pavillon 2007, Red, Magnum

Lot 5 – Maison M.Chapoutier, De l’Orée 2007, White, Mathusalem

Lot 6 – Maison Jean-Louis Chave, Red 2015, Jeroboam

Lot 7 – Delas Frères, Domaine des Tourettes 2015, White, Jeroboam

Lot 8 – Ferraton Père & Fils – 6 bottles

Les Miaux 1998, White (2 bottles)

Les Dionnières 2001, Red (2 bottles)

Le Méal 2001, Red (2 bottles)

Lot 9- Ferraton Père & Fils – 6 bottles

Les Miaux 1998, White (2 bottles)

Les Dionnières 2001, Red (2 bottles)

Le Méal 2001, Red (2 bottles)

Lot 10 – Maison Guigal – 6 bottles

Ex-Voto 2012, Red (3 bottles)

Ex-Voto 2012, White (3 bottles)

Lot 11 – Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, La Chapelle 2006, Red, Jeroboam

Lot 12 – Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, La Chapelle 1982-1985-2009-2012-2015-2016, Red (6 bottles)

Lot 13 – Domaine des Martinelles – 6 magnums

Domaine des Martinelles 2013, Red, Magnum (2 magnums)

Domaine des Martinelles 2015, Red, Magnum (2 magnums)

Domaine des Martinelles 2020, White, Magnum (2 magnums)

Lot 14 – Gabriel Meffre, Laurus 2015, Red – 3 bottles

Lot 15 – Domaine Marc Sorrel, Le Gréal 2018, Red – 3 bottles

Lot 16 – Cave de Tain, Gambert de Loche 2015, Red, Jeroboam

Lot 17 – Maison Tardieu-Laurent 2006, White – 6 bottles

Lot 18 – Maison Tardieu-Laurent 2005, Red – 6 bottles

Lot 19 – Les Vins de Vienne, La Bachole 2010, White – 2 bottles

Lot 20 – Les Vins de Vienne, Les Chirats de Saint-Christophe 2009, Red – 2 bottles

#rhonevalley #hermitage #bidforwine #AnneSophiePic #rhonewine #wineauction #wine #redwine #whitewine #winelovers #winecollectors #wineinvestors #wineandfood #womeninfood #womeninwine #Michelinstarred #Michelin #chef  #RhoneValleyWines

List of Michelin-starred Restaurants in Europe Under 30 Euros

Travel restrictions are FINALLY relaxing across Europe and it’s now time to travel and spoil yourself!  Good News! You can surprisingly dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant without breaking the bank and here is their advice – shift from a dinner reservation to a lunch reservation. Most restaurants offer a menu du jour, or menu of the day at lunch, which is more affordable than the regular tasting menu at dinner.

Chef’s Pencil recently featured a map of the top Michelin-starred “most affordable” restaurants in Europe (under 30 Euros) – here is their top 10 for you to try!

  1. L’Antic Molí, Ulldecona, Spain – 20 euros / person

 L’Antic Molí is one of the best restaurants in Spain and is about a two-hour drive south of Barcelona, ​​is the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in Europe. Here, surrounded by greenery and with a beautiful panoramic view, you’ll spend 20 /person for a lunch by chef Vicent Guimerà Sales, if you choose to have lunch in the Espai Bistro.

  1. La Robe, Montaigu, France – 24 euros / person

La Robe restaurant in Montaigu, France, is in the Pays de la Loire region. The dining room is spread over two floors. Here you can taste chef Xavier Giraudet’s lunch dishes at affordable prices.

  1. Hostellerie la Montagne, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, France – 25 euros / person

The Hostellerie la Montagne – a Michelin-star restaurant located in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises in the Haute-Marne department of France’s Grande Est region.  This is the region where the former French president Charles de Gaulle lived (and later buried). This is why the restaurant’s dining room is called A la table du General (at the General’s table). Chef Jean-Baptiste Natali proposes a lunch ‘menu du marché’, a market menu, starting at 25 euros, consisting of an entrée, main course and dessert.

  1. Les Clefs d’Argent, Mont-de-Marsan, France – 25 euros / person

Another French restaurant, Les Clefs d’Argent in Mont-de-Marsan, is located in the southwestern part of the Hexagon. Here, chef Christophe Dupouy offers a menu that interprets the flavours of the territory in a contemporary key, with an exotic spin. A ‘très chic’ address, where you can stop and try ‘Le Menu Retour du Marché’, three dishes prepared according to the produce of the day and Christophe’s inspiration, available only for lunch from Tuesday to Friday.

  1. Essência, Budapest, Hungary – 25 euros / person

Essência can be found in Budapest, and is the restaurant led by the Portuguese-Hungarian couple Tiago and Éva Sabarigo. Guests can savour an original menu that draws on Hungarian and Portuguese cuisine, choosing a “fusion” tasting-menu that combines the two cultures. Among the most convenient options, there is no shortage of proposals for lunch starting from 25 euros / person.

  1. Hotel Restaurant Le France, Villers-le-Lac, France – 26 euros / person

The Hotel Restaurant Le France is in the heart of the Haut-Doubs. Here, chef Hugues Droz tempts you with creative dishes, capable of blending flavours, colours and great technique. All can be savoured in a warm environment, where design meets the territory, including refined details and decorative elements made with local materials.

  1. Le Mascaret, Blainville-sur-Mer, France – 26 euros / person

Le Mascaret is located in the spaces of a former convent for women in Blainville-sur-Mer, a small town in Normandy. The setting is decidedly baroque, but with a modern touch, while the dishes by chef Philippe Hardy are super-creative and well defined. With a ‘la petite table’ formula, at lunch, guests can try a very economical fine-dining experience: at 26 euros / person, the menu includes dishes revisited by the chef with a ‘French touch’, capable of combining tradition and modernity.

  1. Silabario, Vigo, Spain – 27 euros / person

The Silabario restaurant is located in Vigo, in the region of Galicia, in the north-west of Spain. Here, right under an imposing glass dome that houses the headquarters of the Real Club Celta de Vigo football team, chef Alberto González Prelcic prepares a delicious array of dishes with fresh ingredients from the local market at a very affordable price. The menu, at 27 euros / person, is available from Monday – Thursday for lunch and dinner, while only for lunch on Friday.

  1. Auberge du Cep, Fleurie, France – 27 euros / person

Auberge du Cep is located on a famous Burgundy wine route, in the Beaujolais region. The restaurant is led by chef Aurélien Merot, who stands out for iconic dishes with a very French style, mainly focused on jus and sauces. There are several tasting menus to combine with the remarkable selection of regional wines. Try the ‘menu du marché Grille-Midi’ for 27 euros, served every day for lunch, except Saturdays and public holidays (one starter, one main course and one dessert).

  1. La Grange de Belle-Église, Belle-Église, France – 27 euros / person

The Michelin-starred restaurant La Grange de Belle-Église, located in Belle-Église, in northern France, expresses the quintessence of French gastronomic attitude according to Chef’s Pencil. Directed by chef Marc Duval, who offers dishes prepared with high-quality ingredients and a wide selection of Bordeaux wines and champagnes. The menu du marché is served at midday, during the week (except holidays), and offers fresh seasonal produce.

 

Sources:  Michelin/Chef’s Pencil

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Abruzzo Wine Region is in an Exciting Phase of Transformation – Part l

I discovered, during my recent trip to the Abruzzo wine region, that it’s in an “exciting phase of transformation” – there are a higher number of family estates; I see more wineries adopting organic farming; and the winemakers are moving toward terroir-focused wines – which are more complex and have distinctive characteristics of the region.

In the early 1970s through to 1980s, this region was dominated by large co-op wineries. During this period most families sold their grapes directly to the co-ops.

About the Abruzzo Wine Region
Abruzzo is an Italian wine region which is on the East coast of Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. I found the geographical features of Abruzzo to be quite extraordinary. It’s a rugged, mountainous region with an extensive rugged coastline, a landscape of lush green, scattered with national parks and forests. Abruzzo is situated between the Adriatic Sea (to the East), the Apennine Mountain range with the Maiella massif (to the West). Gran Sasso, one of Italy’s highest peaks at 2,912m (9,554 ft) can also be found here.

There is only one DOCG, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane, and there are three DOCs: Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and one white: Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

The grape varieties include native red Montepulciano and native white Trebbiano. Other native grape varieties include Sangiovese, Passerina, Pecorino and Cococciola. Other international varieties include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Please Note: Abruzzo’s signature red grape “Montepulciano de Abruzzo” should not be confused with Vino Nobile de Montepulciano from Tuscany.

Fun Fact: According to local legend the native white grape “Pecorino” was named after the sheep that ate this grape in the vineyards.

According to the Consorzio Vini d’Abruzzo (the Consortium for the Protection of Wines of Abruzzo) this region currently has approximately 250 wineries, 35 co-ops, 34,000 hectares of vineyards – which produces over 1.2 million bottles of wine per year.

Weather
The coast has a Mediterranean climate – abundant sunshine, with average rainfall of 26 inches per year, followed by cold winters. Inland has more of a continental climate. with snow in the winter. In the high altitudes there are measurable diurnal temperature variations, combined with cool mountain air currents. There are also moderate temperatures on the slope-vineyards, which provides a mesoclimate for the vines.

Abruzzo Viticulture – Vine Training
80% of the vines are Abruzzo-pergola training system which was designed to shade bunches and to make harvest less arduous. The remaining 20%, which are mainly new plantings, have planted in rows with spurred cordon, free cordon, GDC.

Interesting Facts

  • Winemaking traditions in Abruzzo date back to the sixth century BC due to the Etruscans, who played a major role in introducing viniculture to the area.
  • There is also evidence that vine-growing goes back further, as far as the fourth century BC, when sweet, Moscato-style grape “Apianae” was grown. It is also believed that when Hannibal made his epic journey over the Alps, his soldiers were given Abruzzo wine from Teramo, previously known as Pretuzi.
  • In terms of quantitative wine production, Abruzzo is Italy’s fifth most notable wine region followed by Sicily, Puglia, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

Located a scenic two-hour drive east from Rome, the Abruzzo wine region marries centuries of tradition with modern style. Cin-cin!

Stay tuned for Part ll – Abruzzo Wine Region is in an Exciting Phase of Transformation, where I will do a deep dive into some of the estates.

#vinidabruzzo #abruzzowines #abruzzo #abruzzoitaly #abruzzowine #wine #winelover  #winetravel #winetourism #womeninwine #wineexperience #winetravels #winetasting #wineinfluencer #wineadventures #winenews #instawine #italianwines #vin #abruzzowines #vinidabruzzo #abruzzolovers #abruzzo #abruzzodocpecorino #montepulcianodabruzzo #trebbianodabruzzo
#abruzzodoc #cerasuolodabruzzo #italianwinelovers