The Meunier Institute Shines The Spotlight On Pinot Meunier

Fanny and I were having fun talking about the Institute's passion for Pinot Meunier.

Fanny and I were having fun talking about the Institute's passion for Pinot Meunier.

Interesting things happen when people band together over a shared passion, especially when they’re on a mission to break tradition. In Champagne, the two year old Meunier Institute, created by a group of nine progressive winemakers, is trying to shake things up.  They are tirelessly promoting the Pinot Meunier grape which usually plays a supporting role to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in traditional Champagne blends. The members of the Institute believe that Meunier has what it takes to play the leading part.

Read more about this versatile grape at where I interviewed one of the Institute's members, Fanny Heucq of Champagne Heucq Père et Fils. 

Pascal Jolivet

A few years ago, on a cold winter morning in Manhattan, a man walked into the wine shop l was working at and introduced himself as the producer of one of my favorite Loire Valley wines, Pascal Jolivet. It was great to finally put the face behind a bottle I had been selling (with pleasure!) for years. We got to chatting about wine and travel and life in general. l then mentioned to him that my colleague James, who had the day off that day, was soon getting married at a beautiful château in the Loire Valley to a French woman he had met while on vacation the year before. By the end of our conversation, Pascal had offered to send six magnums of his delicious white Sancerre as a wedding gift to James and his bride-to-be. Don’t you just love when serendipitous things like that happen?

l caught up with Pascal recently by email to talk about life (again!) and his natural approach to winemaking. Read the full article and interview at Grape Collective.   



Why You Should Have Sauternes In Your Fridge And In Your Pocket!

When I first met Bérénice Lurton, owner of the historic Château Climens in Barsac, Sauternes, she mentioned something funny that I often think of as I'm running around on my busy days in New York City. She told me that, every so often, when she's feeling famished in between appointments with no time to stop and eat, she takes one little sip of her Sauternes. And this one little taste, besides leaving lingering flavors of vanilla, apricot, peach, nectarine, pineapple, honey and mint on her palate (just like a real fruit salad!), abates the hunger and she can continue on her busy day until it's time for the next meal. So, you know what? Sauternes in the fridge isn't the only way to go. Maybe you need to carry some in your pocket as well.  Cheers!!


Getting ready for "lights, camera, action" with Bérénice Lurton (at left) and Christopher Barnes of Grape Collective (at right).

Château Climens produces one of the finest sweet wines in the world. Read the article and interview with Bérénice at


Who would believe that the moldy grapes above would make such beautiful wines below?!


As a Sauterne ages, its color changes from light gold to a deep amber color.  Notice the difference between the 2005 on the left and the 1997 on the right — eight years makes a big difference!


Feudi Di San Gregorio Wines - Finding Beauty In The Ashes Of Destruction


Feudi di San Gregorio is an innovative producer of high-quality wines in the Campania region of southwestern Italy.  There has been a long history of volcanic eruptions here, some having destroyed entire communities in just one day.  Yet, throughout history people have continued to risk everything to settle close to volcanoes.  Why?  It all comes down to the rich, fertile soils which evolve over time from the deposits of lava, ash and other materials.  

Last month I sat down with Antonio Capaldo, president and second generation winemaker to discuss the impact of these soils on the Feudi di San Gregorio wines.  "Volcanic soils bring minerality to the wine ... they give stronger body, longer finish, and then almost a salty aftertaste that is incredibly interesting when you're pairing them with food".

See the video interview and read the full article about this innovative winery at

Feudi di San Gregorio makes aromatic wines of great complexity using indigenous grape varieties — Aglianico for its reds and Fiano, Greco and Falanghina for the whites.