Rise and sparkle with a bubbly wine

Rise and wine!

Golden bubbles by the thousands.

It’s a time to let the world sparkle with bubbly love and affection.

Let’s break out the Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco, American sparkling wines and French champagne.

To me, Valentine’s Day is every day when it comes to sparkling wine. I don’t wait for a special occasion to enjoy their silky elegance and neither should you. Here’s my rundown:

Cava represents one of the best values among sparkling wines. This Spanish bubbly is made just like French champagne with two fermentations, the second in bottle, which creates tons of tiny, bursting bubbles and a creamy, distinctive mousse. The biggest difference is the grapes...

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A simple feast and Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano

By Jim Campanini

The meal was simple and superb – mussels, shrimp, spaghetti, and spicy pasta sauce sprinkled with parmesan cheese. The Wine Goddess, my wife Mary Lee, cooked it in 15 minutes, about the time it takes me to shave in the morning.

A simple surprise: Mussels, shrimp and spaghetti in a red tomato sauce.

The WG never ceases to amaze me. After a long day of looking at her laptop computer screen and charting the progress of her new seedlings growing throughout the house, she just jumps up, grabs a pot or pan, and creates gustatory miracles.

While I contribute a green salad now and then, my primary role is serving as sommelier and selecting the wine – giving all due consideration to WG’s admirable talent to use herbs and spices to produce compelling flavors in the food.

Le Pupille ...

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From Bolgheri to Verona, Allegrini wines shine with flavor

RICH, VIBRANT colors of Valpolicella: Allegrini’s Palazzo Delle Torre, La Grola, and Amarone.

AMBASSADOR OF AMARONE Marilisa Allegrini tells writer Jim Campanini that Allegrini Amarone is a wine to be enjoyed with food, even barbecue.

REDS AND WHITE: Allegrini’s Amarone, La Grola, and Palazzo Delle Torre from Valpolicella and the Solosole Vermentino from Bolgheri.

By Jm Campanini


Mention the name Allegrini and two things quickly come to mind: voluptuous Valpolicella and lovely Verona, an enchanting place not far from Venice where the romantic story of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Marilisa Allegrini expressed her vision for Bolgheri white wine in Solosole Vermentino.

But there is another “V” word in...

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Heading Rhone with Domaine De Mourchon Tradition

By Jim Campanini


Craig Gandolf of Cynthia Hurley French Wines.

Craig Gandolf’s got a new and exciting position as National Sales Director for #CynthiaHurleyFrenchWines of West Newton, and he’s looking forward to someday expanding the import company’s select portfolio to include a few quality Spanish brands. Gandolf’s not shooting in the dark; for nearly two decades he was the director of Jorge Ordonez Selections, the largest U.S. importer of Spanish wines, and a Boston restaurateur.

The Mourchon Tradition 2015 is a southern Rhone beauty.

Gandolf’s broad industry experience and Spanish connections factored in President Robert Hurley’s decision to bring Gandolf on board in May 2018...

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A big night out with Washington State wines

The Washington State wine night brought together a personable group of tasters: From left, John Cox, Rady Mom, Buntho Sa, Steve Shorrock, Sokhary Chau, T.J. McCarthy, Song Khem, Soeun “Sonny” Sok, Kevin Coughlin and Andrew Oun.

By Jim Campanini


Washington State wines are no longer a secret to savvy sommeliers. So why aren’t more bottlings from the majestic Pacific Northwest showing up on restaurant wine lists?

I made this point to a group of 10 friends while hosting a tasting of some of my best Washington State club member wines from the 2013 vintage. It was interesting to hear their comments and watch their faces light up as they experienced for the first time these energetic Syrahs, fabulous Bordeaux-style blends, and powerful Cabernet Sauvignons.

For three hours, ...

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Costco’s Oregon Pinot Noir is a delightful composition

By Jim Campanini


I tagged along with the Wine Goddess (my wife Mary Lee) on her recent Costco shopping excursion when I saw this gem in the wine section: Kirkland Signature Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2016. She said she was buying salmon for dinner, so I went ahead and put this bottle in her cart. I’m glad I did. The Oregon red turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the $12.99 price. Coming from the Willamette Valley, where Pinot Noir is king, the Kirkland brand is no slouch for an every-day, easy drinking wine. The color was a bit duller than the normal ruby shade that I prefer, yet that was my only complaint. It was mildly fragrant in cherry and plum, and both descriptors carried over onto the palate in a juicy, silky quaff...

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Wining and dining to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot

The Hercule Poirot party guests were dressed to the nines: From left, front row, Mike Kiskiel, Pat Montaperto, Lisa Corey and Mary Lee Harrington; back row, Alex Madsen, Erika Larson, Betty Santagati, Tracey Clark and Dean Serrentino.

By Jim Campanini, IWS


If you’re thinking of doing something new and exciting in a the new year, why not go on an adventurous food and wine tour – and from home.

Sound interesting? It’s fabulous. It’s also less expensive than going on a wine cruise.

The Wine Novice in the (brief) role of Hercule Poirot with the Wine Goddess.

Books, bottles and a Belgian feast...

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You read it first here: Wines that made a hit in 2018

By Jim Campanini


It’s great to be back and the new year promises to be very exciting in the wine world.

A majority of the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riservas, now aged for more than 60 months, should be coming to market as well as other long-lived wines that will be sold to consumers for the first time.

Michele Chiarlo Cipressi Nizza 2015 topped Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 List of 2018.

The vintage years of 2015, 2016, and 2017 were pretty good in most parts of the world, so there’s nothing to fear when purchasing a fresh, young red or white. Remember, nearly 98 percent of the world’s wines produced in any one year should be consumed right away or within one or two years...

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Champagne venture is a layup for NBA legend Thomas

Cheurlin Brut Speciale is the winery’s flagship champagne.

By Jim Campanini


Is that former NBA Hall of Fame great Isiah Thomas now wearing the Cheurlin Champagne polo jersey?

Yes, it is. And why not?

Isiah Thomas with Lisa Marie-Booth, owner of Fortitude Health and Training, and Manchester (N.N.) Mayor Joyce Craig.

Thomas, 57, is no stranger to the French bubbly – even if in an odd way.

For years during his illustrious career with the Detroit Pistons (1981-94), Thomas said he enjoyed his share of wet, wild and elegant championship celebrations when “champagne was poured all over my head” – even if he didn’t drink it back them.

Later, however, Thomas learned to appreciate the refined, exquisite taste of champagne, as well as where it comes from, the people farming t...

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Make a sensation with a holiday gift of wine

A wine basket creation by the Wine Goddess combines elegance and wine.

By Jim Campanini


Wine makes a great gift for the holidays, and how you present it can make a significant statement to the recipient.

Do you want to be regarded highly? Do you want to become a special friend? Do you want to firm up a so-so relationship?

There’s nothing wrong with giving someone a bottle of wine. It shows appreciation, love and respect in many ways. But what if you were to spruce up that bottle a bit, adding a nice festive holiday wrap and a simple red, silver or gold ribbon bow?

Ruffino Il Ducale Toscana red is fresh and expressive.

It’s very easy to go a little extra and got a whole lot more in return for your caring generosity...

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