Pét-Nat: The Perfect Picnic Wine

Fizzy, refreshing and lower in alcohol – that describes the perfect wine for a casual summer picnic. It also describes pét-nat, short for pétillant-naturel.

Add Some Sparkle to Kick Up Your Rosé Style

I have a tradition of opening a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne for my New Year’s birthday each year. The elegant bottle delivers a burst of fine bubbles and wild strawberries and orange zest on the nose and palate that add a sensuous bling to the celebration. But one doesn’t need a special occasion... Read More

A Drink to Your Health: Ayurvedic Cocktails

Many restaurants have added low-alcohol and- no alcohol drinks to their bar menus, incorporating healthier ingredients. ROOH, an urban Indian restaurant and bar in San Francisco, takes it a step further with its Ayurvedic cocktail menu.  “Taste, or Rasa, has a special significance in Ayurveda, as it is not only a potent instrument that governs how... Read More

Warm Weather Cocktails: High in Flavor and Low in Alcohol

A recent trip to Italy reminded me of the pleasures of sipping an apéritif before dinner. A drinking tradition in Europe, an apéritif is a light, dry, low alcohol beverage served before a meal. It’s never too sweet or heavy since its intention is to stimulate the appetite without impacting one’s taste buds for enjoying... Read More

Melanie Sips the World: Discovering Virginia Wine Country

While many wine lovers are familiar with the lush Zinfandels, peppy Pinot Noirs and splendid Cabernet Sauvignons of California, there is a treasure trove of East Coast wines to discover that will open your eyes and palate. Many are in Virginia. Virginia’s wine history dates to the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. The Virginia Company of... Read More

Some Like it Raw: Deciphering Natural, Organic, Vegan & Biodynamic Wines

A growing population of health and environmentally-conscious individuals are concerned about what goes into their foods, such as chemicals, preservatives and genetically modified ingredients. Naturally this is spreading to winemaking. Natural or “minimal intervention” winemaking is nothing new. After all, wine has been made for centuries, well before agriculture went industrial and technology infiltrated our... Read More

Ribollita: Tuscany’s Ultimate Comfort Dish

Who doesn’t crave a rib-sticking soup or stew in the winter? Ribollita, a vegetable and bread-based soup, is one of Tuscany’s culinary treasures. Like much of the heartier fare in the Tuscan countryside, Ribollita was a dish of the peasants, which used simply farmed ingredients to make a one-dish meal consisting of vegetables, beans, herbs... Read More

Melanie Sips the World: Italy’s Sweet “Straw” Wines

While each wine has its own distinct flavor profile, they have a lot in common: the process is arduous, and the wines are usually made in small batches since much of the grapes’ juice evaporates in the drying process. That’s why many Italian families bring these wines out for special occasions.