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Tuesday Tributes: Best of the Blogs
WINE SLEUTH: A California Chick in London
       --Italian Sweet Red Muscat

Recommended by Charles Olken

About three decades ago, my dear wife asked for her living room back. I would not have minded, but I was running a business there. And that business was beginning to make money—something it had not done for the first half decade of its existence. So, when she requested that I do something to return the house to some semblance of normality, I was not exactly happy. Here I was contemplating retirement from the world of finance and economics, and she was dreaming of a major construction project. You see, it all goes back to when I started Connoisseurs’ Guide some years earlier than that. We put a large tasting table in the living room—it being the only room in the house able to hold a platform for our tasters to gather around. Now she wanted the room back.

I drew up plans, and quickly rejected them. We then hired the leading architect in our little town, a creative genius by the name of Italo Calpestri, and Italo designed us the house of our dreams. Never mind that I had to work another five years. And when architect Calpestri was done and we had a little dinner party in our new grand dining room, he and the house were the guests of honor. He brought along with him a wine that his grandfather had carried to the United States from the old country—an 1886 Passito, a sweet wine. Years later in 1986, we gathered again with Mr. Calpestri and opened the wine on its hundredth birthday. It was, as advertised, a sweet wine made from dried grapes, and it was served with thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Heavenly. The bottle resides in a place of honor in our kitchen—the one that Mr. Calpestri designed because my dear wife also, and correctly I might add, decided that it also needed to be upgraded.

It turns out that a California chick over in Jolly Olde is currently touring Italy and has come across a sweet red dessert wine. It is a wine that is more youthfully simple than a 100-year old bottle, but it reminds me of the joy we all felt when the 1886 Passito turned out to be not just tolerable but actually still quite good. Her blog, WINE SLEUTH: A California Chick In London is worth a look for its attractive photography of the Italian country side and because it introduces a wine that is not an everyday commodity but is worth a try if you can find it.








by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:10/12/2010 3:54:30 PM

Dunno about anyone else but this seems like a pretty personal, and very connecting piece to me Charlie. Oh, and I loved it

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