March 6, 2019

Great wine lovers throughout history have set a very high standard for the rest of us. Collectors (and imbibers) of the past have made wine more accessible to us all.

The cunning warrior Odysseus was a famous lover of wine. Wine didn’t just keep him and his men going at the long journey at sea; it actually saved his life. He had brought some wine along with him (of course) when he camped out on the cyclops’ island. When he found himself trapped in a cave, he came up with a plan to escape. You see, Odysseus’ wine was too good for the cyclops to pass up. After drinking deep of the good Greek wine, the cyclops was too slow to stop Odysseus from tricking him and making a daring escape. Afterwards, the men celebrated with what else? More wine!

Ano...

February 7, 2019

This month, Lamberti’s tastings and special events are geared toward American wines.  Why focus on American wines at an Italian restaurant?  Let me explain our thought process.

The movement in the States to support local, handmade products is relatively new, but it’s a way of life for Italians.  Their way is to trust and support the good things that they grew up with in their homeland.  Historically, produce was bought from il mercato, and meats purchased from the town macelleria.  And guess where both vendors found their products! Rather than importing every wine on the list, we want to find the good things made on our continent and make them more available. I’ll admit, California seems far away to most Texans.  But they are our neighb...

January 8, 2019

One of the most common questions I get asked is “what should I pick at the grocery store?” In the long pause that follows, I always imagine the same thing. Anyone who drinks wine has experienced it:  the excitement as you pass rows of pasta, plastic plates, and valentine’s stuff (ALREADY?!), the rush of turning the corner past the displays on the end of the aisle, and the quite bewilderment as you arrive.  You have entered the wine aisle.  You plod along, mouth slightly agape, staring up at a wall of brightly-labeled black glass.  In creeps that awful feeling of being surrounded by thousands of bottles of wine and not knowing where to start.  You’ve got Wine Aisle Dread. 

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Wine Aisle Dr...

December 6, 2018

Is expensive wine better? The general attitude I’ve encountered is an implied, but obvious yes. I’ve heard it a few times from my clients that they’ve found a direct correlation between the cost of a bottle of wine and their enjoyment of it.

There are a lot of factors that can push the price of wine upwards, but “good wine” isn’t reserved for the wealthy, and a price tag is not a foolproof guide for picking out the right bottle. There’s just more to it than that. I’d like to share a few paradigms to consider when thinking about which wines are worth your money.

First and foremost, it helps to know about the producer. The truth is, a lot of New World producers have mortgages, or buy grapes from another grower, or even buy juice from another wi...

November 5, 2018

Each type of wine grape has its own unique characteristics. Some grapes are known for making elegant, soft elixirs, and others are known for making big, bold food wines. For some reason, rich wine tastes better in the cooler weather. Trusting the gods to bless us with a northern wind, we’re turning to taste bold wines this November.

Keep in mind that nature’s work is only part of the process! Winemakers also have major influence in the final product. Using certain techniques, winemakers can produce rich, bold wine from a typically mild grape (like Pinot Noir), or make elegant, restrained wine from an otherwise very-bold variety (like a Petit Verdot rosé). The grape itself provides raw material for the winemaker to work with. The winemaker (a...

October 8, 2018

How’d we get to the New World?

There is a great stylistic divide in the world of wine between the Old World and the New World. The distinction is drawn between places, but not necessarily bound by place. The difference is between styles of wine, and between understandings of wine’s place in the various cultures. Old World wines tend to be less sweet, more subtle, more prone to ageing, and better suited to classic cuisine. Old World wines are meant to be taken with food, and some are even meant to age for 15 years before they are enjoyable. Wine from the old world occupies an important cultural place, where the old ways are respected, and wine tradition is bigger than any individual label or winemaker. It is a tradition to be respected and ma...

September 3, 2018

I am a wine person. I have spent hours drinking wine and talking about wine with other wine people. It’s a natural impulse for people to try to describe the delicious new things they consume. All men and women, by nature, desire to know. When wine is involved, this natural pursuit can get weird. The occasion usually begins harmlessly enough, with folks tossing around words like rich, bold, or crisp. Easy enough, and “yeah, this wine is a little smoky!”

Then someone says tannic grip. Oh boy, here we go.

The gates of winespeak have opened, and everyone has something different to say about each sip. I have heard (and uttered) any number of strange notes. Among the highlights: stemmy, mineralic, freshly dried lavender (how is this possible?), die...

August 2, 2018

Ciao, amici!

August’s theme for wine tastings is “Italian Locations.” Italy is known the world over as home to the finest wines being made today. I want to bring some of that tradition to the table this month at Lamberti’s.

Italy has made strides to protect the great traditions that have sprung up in wine making regions across the country. Knowing a little about the law can help you pick out the right wine (even if you don’t speak Italian!), and gain some appreciation for just what goes into each bottle. In Italy, there are four basic divisions: IGP, IGT, DOC, and DOCG.

Before we delve into detail, keep in mind that these divisions are NOT straight indicators of quality. Rather, they tell you about how and where the wine was made. It’s true th...