Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Finally a Pinot Grigio I Like by Philip S. Kampe

                                                          Terlato Pinot Grigio 2017

Its really been a long time since I have truly liked a Pinot Grigio to the point that I want to write about my experience. For years, Pinot Grigio wines seem to be the wines one drinks at receptions or weddings. Its been quite awhile since I have taken the initiative to purchase a bottle on my own.

Recently, a wine friend influenced my decision to purchase a bottle (under $20) of Estate Grown Pinot Grigio from Terlato Vineyards. The vineyards are in northeastern Italy, in the Fruili Colli Orientali region.
Doing a little homework on the wine before sampling the bottle, I learned that this wine was handcrafted from start to finish. The vineyards are hillside and lie on soils of schist and marl. The vines are 20-30 years old and are Guyot-trained. They are hand harvested and bottled in darker bottles to help protect the quality of the wine from the sun.

My first sip of the wine found the 2017 to be complex and crisp. Flavors of fresh fruit burst in my mouth.It was obvious to me that concentrated flavors of peach and grapefruit sang their tune, while pears and apricots pierced my palate in-between the primary notes. The combination lent itself to a floral, fruity bouguet, one that was appealing in all aspects. Layers of fruit filled my mouth which burst into a crisp, acidic finish.

This luscious wine is 13% abv and is aged 6-8 months on the yeasts with weekly battonage. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks. There is no malolactic fermentation used in the process.

As of late, this is the best Pinot Grigio I have tasted in several years. Its worth a buy and should be rated at 94 points.
Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Experience by Philip S. Kampe

                The San Miguel de Allende Experience

(We took a little break from the wine world for a  month or so to see what the world has to offer, tourist wise. We traveled to California, New Orleans and Mexico. This article is on one of the highlights of our travels)

San Miguel de Allende was the first town in Mexico, that I visited that was home to a large number of ex-pats. Close to twenty per cent of the population, or about 28,000 retires from America plus thousands from Canada line the cobblestone streets in numbers, searching for cultural events, restaurants, outdoor markets and that street side taco stand. Besides all of the above, San Miguel is an artistic learning center, full of art related lectures that educate and stimulate the mind, strolling musicians, opera, flamingo and musical entertainment in a hefty number of restaurants and bars. Many of the ex-pats are artists or are on their way to becoming artists. Every block has art galleries,some owned by ex-pats and others owned by locals.

If art is your thing, then San Miguel de Allende should be on your bucket list.

A multitude of art studios and art galleries dot the colorful town in all of the districts. The houses and businesses are all painted in similar dark red, brown and orange colors, making this town of 140,000 unique.

If you desire to visit or even move to San Miguel, the easiest route to visit this elegant town is to fly into Mexico City. Once at the airport, you will prepay a taxi vendor to book a taxi that will take you to the Norte bus station. It’s a 20-30 minute drive that will set you back $10-$15 dollars. At the bus station, you must book a bus to San Miguel de Allende. There are two reputable companies that vie for the four hour ride. Both ETN and Primera Plus follow the same route. It’s always best to take the next bus that is leaving.

Once in San Miguel, another taxi will be required to get you to your destination. Ours was a weeks stay at a penthouse above the popular Arroyo Gallery, located within walking distance of everything in San Miguel.

The owner of the penthouse and studio is Suzy Taylor, an ex-pat, who most recently (2007) lived in Washington Depot, Connecticut. Like so many others, she realized that San Miguel would fill her dream of opening a working studio and gallery. After purchasing land, Suzy Taylor designed the 3,000 sf multi-purpose building. Her dream became reality.

Today, Ms.Taylor, is a successful gallery owner that not only paints, but, designs clothes, focusing on women’s blouses ($85-$200) and furniture, which is made by local artisans. She also has a line of  jewelry that she sells.

Suzy’s background is in interior design. She was a photo stylist and magazine editor for Victoria Magazine and other publications. Her painting career has evolved through the years. Focusing on light, airy colors and composition, Suzy’s artwork is like none other in San Miguel.

The third floor penthouse that we stayed in was breathtaking, both inside and out. The views of the city, with its architecture and countless steeples could not have been better. A beautiful silhouette of the city could be seen from inside the penthouse. There are two outside terraces, as well, to take in the scenery while having a cocktail on the veranda. We preferred to hear the birds sing as we took breakfast on the covered terrace. The apartment has a galley kitchen, a coffee maker (coffee beans and milk provided) and a two burner hotplate with utensils as needed. With so many restaurants within walking distance,why cook?

San Miguel has happy hours daily. Normally 2x1 Margaritas are the prize. The Margaritas are not made with a mix. They are only made with two parts of Tequila, one part lime juice and one part Contreau (you can use triple sec).

With a Mardi Gras attitude and art mixed with local architecture, San Miguel is hard to beat.
Beware--Summers are very hot.

If you want to stay at Suzy Taylor’s penthouse or visit her studio at Arroyo Gallery, visit her at

                                                                 Arroyo Gallery

                                                       Artist Suzy Taylor, at work.

‘ART of Earth’ Affordable Organic Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC by Philip S. Kampe

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