Arturo Ciompi

Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.

Winter’s Last Gasp

There are many who welcome springtime, especially after our soggy winter, with open arms. Yet there are those who still crave lighting the evening fire, feeling a nip in the air and sipping a warming libation to banish the chill. When a wine can warm your heart and stay fresh four weeks after opening, that …

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Zinfandel’s Rocky Ride

Ah, the ups and downs of red Zinfandel. Not so long ago, nobody was sure where it originated (it is genetically identical to southern Italy’s primitivo), although it was found throughout California. Next, nobody seemed to care about it anymore, so acre upon acre of old vines were torn out, replaced predominantly by cabernet sauvignon, …

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A Classic Napa Valley Cabernet

Many of you know the Charles Krug name as Napa Valley’s oldest winery. Established in 1861, during the very distant American Civil War, it has had a storied but checkered history. The Mondavi family, owners since 1943, endured a split between sons Robert and Peter. Robert left in 1965 to start his own eponymous estate, …

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Not Your Everyday Tuscan Wine

One of today’s trends worldwide is to make wine using indigenous grape varieties. Badia a Coltibuono is a famed Chianti Classico producer using the traditional (and indigenous) sangiovese grape to produce outstanding wines. But a few years back they began bottling a red wine made from sangiovese and a handful of other indigenous grapes. Eight others, …

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Bubbly for Your Boo

Lovers of all kinds, but perhaps Prosecco lovers, might like to try today’s bubbly as a fun alternative. Riesling is no stranger to sparkling wine, with Henkell German sparkling a perennial favorite. Today’s wine comes from Argentina and is comprised of 80% riesling and 20% torrontes, Argentina’s well-known, brisk white grape. Amalaya Brut Nature is …

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Instead of a Whole Bouquet, Try a Valentine’s Rosé!

The Anderson Valley is, more and more, a ”go-to” county for seductive pinot noir. And that goes for brilliant rosés made from the pinot grape as well. Today’s example is from the small estate of Long Meadow Ranch Winery. Winemaker Stéphane Vivier works beautifully with these grapes that carry the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) …

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Make Room for Merlot

It was 15 years ago that the movie “Sideways” put the kibosh on merlot. It made for a good story, but many pundits and customers alike still avoid it without good reason. (Just why do some people stand in line to pay hundreds of dollars for Italy’s “Masseto,” a merlot wine?) Markham Vineyards, with 350 …

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