Tag Archives: wine

Drinking Wine in Provence

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I remember when I first moved to New York in 2003 the sticker shock I had over the cost of food and drinks. A poor college student, underage, I didn’t drink back then and even if I did, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. It took a long time in my late twenties to finally accept the fact that cocktails can cost $18 apiece and a good bottle of wine at dinner will be half of the bill if not more. When I cooked at home, on average, the cost of wine for dinner was between $20 to $30 a bottle.

Then I moved to France.

I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the wine shop here and looked at the prices. The average cost for a locally produced bottle of wine was under $10. And we are talking very good wine. Standing there confused I was having the inverted sticker shock sensation I once felt in New York. I must have looked completely bewildered, staring at the shelves of bottles motionless. One of the shop keepers asked me if I needed help and after fumbling shyly through in French “I’m sorry I don’t speak French, do you speak English?” we started a dialog which has continued to this day to enrich my knowledge slowing unlocking the French wine regions one bottle at a time.

We started first with what I was making for dinner, honey and herb roasted pork loin. You do not have to know anything about wine but you do have to know what you’re eating. The French are experts on pairing wines to flavors and I find this to be the best way to start a conversation and begin to make sense of a wine region.

It’s very funny being in a place so different from home. In Provence, and one of the reasons I love it so much here, there is a matter of fact approach to wine making. It’s not overly glamorized, commercialized, hyped, locked away behind gilded gates and sold to you in an expensive package. The goal is not to get rich, the goal is to make good wine for your community.

Wine is treated as a right, not a privilege. We all have the right to good wine.

Driving from village to village in the Luberon is a beautiful tango between small winding roads and blankets of vineyards tangled with life. In a word, it’s breathtaking. It’s a symbolic view of the cycle of life. If Napa Valley is a beautiful woman with her coiffed hair and makeup dripping in diamonds and high heels, Provence is her tomboy sister with striking natural beauty, long wild hair barefoot in the dirt draped in a linen dress. The locals here talk about the region’s vineyards and what years yielded the best wines. I visited one vineyard at the footsteps of Bonnieux on a recommendation to buy a bottle of theirs from a specific year. The French woman who helped me was quite unapologetic while she informed me they were sold out. That’s just the way it is. There will be more good years.

Perhaps my favorite moment from last autumn’s harvest was the sight of an old farmer happily bobbing along driving his tractor through the middle of town pulling a large bed overflowing with grape clusters. I assume he was en route to our town’s CSA winery where the local farmers can bring their grapes to be mixed together and made into wine. It is here where you can buy bottles of wine for around $3! An American I had met some years ago that once lived in Provence told me “they pump wine like gas down there” which at the time I thought was a metaphor but found, it is actually true! It is here at the CSA where you can watch people come in with their large empty plastic jugs and just like a gas pump, fill-er-up. No fills, just good table wine made from the community. (I’ve snapchatted / Instagram storied this)

It’s been a fun and interesting experience and I can tell you one thing… it’s going to be very hard to go back to New York prices after this.

Wearing in portrait above:

Monogrammed (check cuff!) “Husband Shirt” by Misha Nonoo, vintage vest from my favorite vintage store on earth Melet Merchantile, linen scarf from Merci-Merci Paris, leather boots by Lucchese Boots, IWC Portofino Watch, “The Perfect Vintage Jean” by Madewell and red lips are a mix of Nars Cruella and a top swipe of MAC’s Lady Danger.

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A Provencal Holiday Party with Ecco Domani Wine

If there is one thing to do in Provence it is to eat. The food and especially the ingredients in the south of France, combined with the nearby wine regions both here and in Italy, are insanely good. After being here this past May I swore I could never eat strawberries from anywhere else in the world again. It was a transformative experience and made me rethink the power of good food.

The farmer’s market… NYC vs. Provence

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A Summer Soirée with Zac Posen & Ecco Domani

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I love New York in the summer. The parties are always at their most magical, and the people so beautiful. You would never know walking down a bustling street in Soho that behind a secret walled garden a glamorous summer soirée hosted by fashion designer Zac Posen is underway.

Under sparkling lights and fitted cocktail dresses, it was a perfect way to celebrate the newest collaboration between designer and wine maker. For two years now Zac Posen has been creating limited-edition bottle designs for Ecco Domani‘s Italian Pinot Grigio. Last year’s bottle was silvery burst of flowers and this year’s inspiration, taken from Mr. Posen’s 2016 collection, is reminiscent of joyful dancing bubbles in tones playing off of the wine’s crisp floral notes.

If Zac Posen is the go-to designer for the glamorous, classic Hollywood, lady-like women of the world then it is of no exception that his Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio design would be anything less. Perfect for a summer party table, the bottle is dressed for the occasion and all the joy that comes with….

Happy Summer! 

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Ecco’s Sparkling Rosa Cocktail

  • 1 bottle Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio
  • 12 oz Fresh Lemonade
  • 12 oz Fresh Grapefruit juice
  • 24 oz Club soda or sparkling water
  • lemon-lime soda
  • Mint for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Serve in wine glasses or low ball glasses with ice and garnished with fresh mint leaves and lemon slices. 

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Dom Pérignon P2 1998

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From the fields of France to the tables in Barcelona, we have been on some amazing journeys with Dom Pérignon. The latest adventure has us standing over the Californian desert horizon of Joshua Tree, drawing parallels between a 100 million year old natural park with its rich history of change and Dom Pérignon’s 1998 vintage which is now, according to Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy, entering its Second Pléntitude on its own journey through time and change.

The Second Pléntitude, or P2 as they call it, happens around year fifteen in the champagne aging process. According to Geoffroy, champagne has three peak stages: The first at around seven years, the second at fifteen and the final stage around thirty. For the sake of comparison, a typical champagne is aged around three years. When you contrast the aging of Joshua Tree and how it has had many stages created and affected by nature you see how the stages of champagne are a small mirror to a vast landscape, both displaying their beautiful triumphs as a result of mother nature.

I love champagne, of course, it is greatly heightened by the master craft and artisanship of a wine like Dom, but I don’t drink it because of the name on the label. I love champagne because I’ve never had a bad time with it. It evokes memories of celebration, joy, friendship, laughter, perfect sunsets and even perfect sunrises. When we toast with champagne it is that sparkle in our eyes that effortlessly compliments the golden movements of the silent symphony inside that golden glass leaving your memories to float up into the night-sky and dance among the stars.

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