Is Pigato Vermentino?

You say Pigato. I say Vermentino. Pigato. Vermentio. Favorita. Piccabon Lets call them all wine grapes! Last year I came across two Italian wines from the same producer. Nothing new there, but one was from a grape I had never heard of, Pigato. When I came home I looked it up in Jancis’s book Wine Grapes and the entry said, Vermentino. WTF? So I reached out to the producer who was kind enough to respond. Dear Jay, Concerning your question about Vermentino and Pigato, it is a debated topic and in the last years in there were different studies about that. (for example Carlone 1962; Romisondo 1963; Shneider Mannini 1990; Fregoini et al.) Vermentino and Pigato belong both to Malvasia family and they are two different clones. The border between clone and cultivar is a subtle difference. In according with my personal experience, in the vineyards if you compare leafs and clusters you can see some differences: Pigato leaf is bigger and it has dark green colour, Vermentino leaf is smaller and less dark, and Pigato cluster is more compact compared to Vermentino cluster. Pigato it is also considered a clone more aromatic. The confusion about Italian grapes grew. A little more digging and […]

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Gorgona Wine

  Gorgona, is both an island off the coast of Tuscany, and the name of the wine that is made on that island. The island is home to a small prison, which houses about 50-60 inmates. The white wine is a blend of Vermentino and Ansonica (a.k.a. Insolia or Inzolia in Sicily) grape varieties. The project is headed up by one of Italy’s oldest wine making family’s, Frescabaldi. It all started when Carlo Mazzerbo, the Gorgona penitentiary director, put out a call to find some help with the vines that they planted. The Frescabaldi family jumped on a boat and went directly to see how they could assist. Most of the inmates have been transferred from other prisons and are at the end of their sentences. To combat recidivism and help to integrate inmates once released, the prison planted a vineyard and even pay the inmates to grow the grapes and make the wines. Since then three former inmates have found work in cellars in Italy and a fourth is soon to be hired by Frescabaldi. The 2015 vintage of Gorgona wine, is the fourth vintage produced from the 1.8 hectare vineyard which was planted in 1999. There are roughly roughly about 2,000 bottles and […]

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Staff Meal Follow up

Now that 2016 is in the books, the naive idealist in me wants to believe that all the hard work the hospitality industry has done over the holidays will be rewarded by management and owners. I’d like to think that the flus and colds that made the long hours ever longer, have settled down and everyone is ready for a new year and the challenges it will bring. Sometimes it is hard to recall the passion that got us all in the restaurant game in the first place, and it is never harder than it is during the holidays. After many years of working in Whistler, the holidays took on a totally new meaning for me. It was the time put your head down and get shit done. Almost everyone I worked with didn’t have family close and the long hours cemented our relationships. But it was during our staff meals that we all truly got to know each other.Since I inquired about who eats what during staff meal, I was overwhelmed and grateful for all who responded. Thank you. And for all the front of house people I asked when I went out to different restaurants, thank you.What did […]

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Staff Meals

There is evidence to suggest that happy staff will treat their guests well. And studies, like this one, say restaurant guests are willing to pay more when they are treated better. Of course there are many ways to keep staff happy, but a simple way is to feed them well. That’s right: staff meal. It shows respect and makes staff feel appreciated. But with margins razor slim in most restaurants, often there isn’t a staff meal. In most places staff meal is a luxury. For the restaurants that do provide a staff meal, it is often made from whatever is in the back of the walk-in. Pureed hot-dogs anyone? Stale bread and cold cuts? That won’t sustain a hungry army for the long service ahead. Staff meal can be a time for everyone to get to know each other and help bring a team together. There is long service ahead and the stress is going to be high, it is important to take 15 minutes to sit down and eat to help nourish the body. We all spend a great deal of time being “on” and the pressure of a busy restaurant is not a place for an empty stomach. […]

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Gaia Gaja in Toronto

Gaia Gaja is Angelo Gaja’s daughter and the fourth generation in the family to become the face of the Gaja wines. She was in Toronto recently speaking about what has been taking place in the vineyards and how this is affecting the quality of wines.Gaia spoke about the social changes happening in the vineyards of Italy. Over the last 20 years, fewer Italians are working the vines, as there are many other opportunities for young people. These days many Eastern Europeans living and working in Italy are growing the indigenous grape varieties. By having to train new workers, the team has been forced to look more closely at what is happening in the vineyards. The biggest change is the climate and its unpredictable affects. Seasonal diseases are happening at different times, pests are coming at different times and the team is looking at making the vines in the area naturally more resilient. As the earth becomes warmer and drier so does the soil where the vines are grown. Like most farmers they are looking at ways to combat this threat and one solution they have found effective is grass. In some vineyards the grass grows very long and instead of […]

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Writings about my passion for wine, and the people, places, and stories connected to it.