Decoding Chianti

greppone-mazzi-vineyardsThese are the three things everyone knows about Chianti: it’s an Italian red, it comes in cute straw-covered bottles that double as candleholders, and, at least according to one movie villain, it pairs well with fava beans and a certain type of organ meat.

We can’t speak to that last assertion, but the first two aren’t as true as you might think. Here’s what is true about the famous, and delicious, wines made under the Tuscan sun.

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Dog Friendly Wineries in the Napa Valley

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AP Photo by Eric Risberg

You love your dog. You love wine. But sometimes it feels like your pooch just doesn’t fit in to wine culture.

Lucky for you and Fido there are actually a number of Napa Valley wineries where you don’t have to choose between the two.

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Puttin’ on the Spritz



What do you drink when you’re sitting on the Sound of Music lakeside terrace?  An Aperol spritz, naturally. At least, that’s what I drank when I visited Salzburg recently, channeling Baroness Schraeder for all I was worth. (Sorry, Maria fans, I’m not really a tea-with-jam-and-bread kind of girl.)

Turns out Austria isn’t such a strange setting for the quintessential Italian cocktail. One version of the spritz’ genesis is that it goes back to the days when northern Italy was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and to the Austrian practice of adding a spray (spritz) of water to the regional wines, which they found a little heavy on the palate.

Orange Genius

The Aperol side of the equation, of course, is all-Italian, part of the national tradition of bitter liqueurs. Brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri created Aperol in 1919, launching it at the Padua International Fair. Silvio came up with the name Aperol, inspired by the French shorthand for aperitif, apéro, which he’d discovered when visiting France.

The drink was always a bright orange …

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Best of Florence


florence-david-accademiaFLORENCE, Italy (AP) — The skies were clouding over as I strode briskly across that famous bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, ready for a productive day checking off Florentine must-sees.

Slight problem: The first museum on my list was open, but the ticket office was closed.

OK, then, on to the Uffizi Gallery. Except this time both ticket office and museum were closed; I had forgotten it was Monday.

A fine rain began to fall as I wandered listlessly past the open arches of the building next door, the statue-studded Loggia dei Lanzi. This wasn’t going at all as planned.

And then it hit me. Wait. This was the Piazza della Signoria, where novelist E.M. Forster‘s adorable Lucy Honeychurchwitnessed a stabbing moments after complaining about the dullness of life in “A Room With a View.” And those had to be THE steps where the brooding George Emerson carried Lucy’s fainting form.

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Presidential Pinots

cosecha pourWine and the White House have long been a solid pairing. Start with George Washington, who sent a four-bottle silver wine cooler to Alexander Hamilton “as a token of my sincere regard and friendship for you.”
Contrast that with stingy Richard Nixon. He kept the good bottles for himself, trickily palming off cheaper stuff on his guests.Almost no one knows more about POTUS and Pinot than Brian Abrams, author of the 2015 book Party Like a President, which chronicles the presidential vices.He calls Thomas Jefferson the “Connoisseur-in-Chief” for spending a small fortune stocking the White House cellar and introducing fine French wines to America. But he certainly wasn’t the only founding father to put the party in party politics.

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How to fly high in Wine Country

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — You know it’s fun to take in the wine country sights. But have you thought about trying the heights?

Whether you’re zooming down a zip line or floating through the air (with the greatest of ease) in a hot-air balloon, there are quite a few ways to experience the high life in wine country.

Here are five options ranging from thrill to chill.

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Make the most of Montevideo

This picture taken March 13, 2016, shows grilled vegetables as served at El Palenque, one of the parillas, or grill restaurants, in Montevideo's Mercardo del Puerto, a popular place for lunch. Montevideo may not be as well known to travelers as some other Latin American destinations but there is plenty to see and do in this friendly, laid-back city, from beach strolls to late-night dinners.  (Michelle Locke via AP)

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) – Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, may not be as well-known to international travelers as some of Latin America’s other destinations. But there’s plenty here to see and do, and it’s a relatively short hop and worthy side trip from Buenos Aires.

Laid-back and friendly, Montevideo has a mellow vibe. Experience it as you savor a tasty chivito (steak sandwich) at a sidewalk cafe, or on a sunny stroll along a wide sandy beach. Gaze over the rooftops of the old city at sunset and take in the oddly appealing mix of elegant buildings rubbing stone shoulders with squat, concrete blocks.
Here are a few suggestions on making the most of your visit.

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Becoming Bogle

As a kid growing up in a California winemaking family, Jody Bogle had the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up—literally—sometimes getting out of bed at first light to work the fields during the long, hot summers.

She hated it.

“It’s just not what a 13-year-old girl wants to be doing,” Bogle says now with a laugh.

That’s changed.

Bogle_FamilyToday, Bogle couldn’t be happier to be director of public relations for the winery, working alongside brothers Warren, president and vineyard director, and Ryan, vice president and chief financial officer. Each has their own niche, but all have the same goal: keeping the business true to their family values.

“We never set a number. Our growth has been very organic,” says Bogle. “We’ve been amazingly blessed by the fact that folks have sought out our wine, have enjoyed it, and have shared it with friends. The word-of-mouth marketing of our wines has been amazing and is really the reason for the growth over the years.”

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