Sardinian Splendour


Italy’s Mediterranean paradise offers stunning nature, fresh cuisine and a delicious variety of wines

By Robert Camuto -- Wine Spectator  Oct. 31, 2012

If you were holding a cool glass of Vermentino and standing on a white-sand beach with an endless view of clear, turquoise sea, you'd be forgiven for not wanting to leave. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia's "Emerald Coast"—a 34-mile-long stretch of prime Mediterranean coastline developed in the 1960s by Prince Aga Khan—remains one of the world's most luxurious destinations, with suites costing up to $15,000 a night in high season and yachts the size of aircraft carriers a not-uncommon sight.

What you should really do if you're in Sardinia, however, is travel across the island to take in the region's equally magnificent natural treasures, from its pastoral, low-mountainous interior to its awe-inspiring 1,100 miles of coastline, which includes dramatic cliffs and caves as well as hundreds of wild, secluded beaches.

A Chef and a Winemaker's Basque Feast

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By Robert V. Camuto

New York chef Alex Raij loves a Basque red called El Chaparral so much that she befriended its creator. Here, she visits Spain to find out just how food-friendly “Chappy” really is.  

Read the article in July Food & Wine

Italy's Back-to-the-Land Vintners


Individualistic and sometimes iconoclastic, these winemakers look to the past for clues on making distinctive wines

By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator May 31, 2012

For a new wave of Italian winemakers, great wine is about mixing modern wine knowledge with old-fashioned know-how. In the past 10 years, some young Italians have returned to the land, leaving city life behind and often taking radical steps to shift winemaking back toward its local, small-scale roots.Though many are armed with university degrees having nothing to do with agriculture or enology, they are returning to their ancestral soils to work for themselves. And they are looking to the past, making boutique wines using artigianale (artisanal) methods and green farming, bolstered by a minimum of modern enology. Read full article in the Wine Spectator

Corsica's Hidden Charms

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A Mediterranean island that has it all: sea, sun, mountains, great food and an exciting wine scene

By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator April 30, 2012

There are long stretches of Corsica's coastline so stunningly beautiful and wild they make you feel like you could be in one of the Mediterranean's most legendary spots-like the Amalfi Coast or the French Riviera-of a hundred years ago.

As you drive miles and miles of narrow and often rutted two-lane roads through knuckle-whitening turns, it's difficult not to be awed by the scene. Corsica's west coast is nearly devoid of mankind's influence-it's just you and steep, granite cliffs in shades of red and gold that plunge to a pristine the full article in the Wine Spectator.

Getting to Roussillon before everyone else does


France's Roussillon region is known for dessert wines—to the extent that it's known at all. Yet it's becoming a source for bottlings that compare to the world's best reds, thanks to visionary winemakers like California's Dave Phinney.

By Robert Camuto

"Can we buy this?" Dave Phinney asked, pointing to a Grenache vineyard clinging to soil so dense that it looked more like more in Food & Wine Magazine.

Surf and Sun in Mirleft: Morocco's New Wave

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By Robert V. Camuto

Special to the Washington Post

Our group landed at the Agadir airport at dusk and drove south for more than two hours along two-lane roads, through tiny Moroccan towns filled with mud puddles after recent rains. At Mirleft, we turned off the coastal road into the town — a grid of a few dirt streets lined with low white- and turquoise-painted cinder-block buildings.

Men cloaked in Jedi-like robes — traditional North African djellabas — sipped hot mint tea on the terraces of small cafes. Women veiled in brightly colored, patterned Saharan fabrics walked home from evening errands. Children played and fought in the street alongside lost-looking dogs. Meat hung out in the open in front of butcher stalls; Berber music blared from a few shops showing off silver and stone trinkets, brightly colored soccer balls, woven baskets, fabrics and other household goods.

Berlin Fusion: Energy, art and nightlife

ROBERT V. CAMUTO Special to Newsday 

A funny thing happened on the way to 21st century: Berlin became cool.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the German capital has been rebuilt with an extraordinary mix of modern architecture, frankness about its past and an abundance of artistic energy.

Once neglected, war-damaged areas in the heart of Berlin have sprouted new museums, art galleries and design houses. Art more in Newsday

Palmento tour ends in Dallas and on Dallas Public Radio


The Palmento US tour ended in Dallas Monday with a fantastic Palmento Sicilian wine dinner at Jimmy's Food Store in Dallas-- an old-timey Italian grocery with a beautiful dining room (in what had once been a beauty salon) tucked in back. Visiting Chef Sharon Hage (beloved in Dallas for her former restaurant York St.) and Matt Balkeproduced a five course Sicilian-inspired meal to pair with a variety of wines. Biggest surprise was a cheese course of  gorgonzola stuffed cannoli with carmelized honey and pistachios paired with Arancio Hekate Passito. Owner Paul DiCarlo made it all come together and the event sold out in a day. LIsten to Robert on KERA Dallas's Think program (1 hr. broadcast)

Listen to Robert on KGO San Francisco's Dining Around program 1/2 hr. broadcast after news. (Mp3 format).

Best of Barolo

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For Wine Country Travel, Piedmont is one of Italy's most rewarding destinations

By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator Issue: April 30, 2011

Barolo is more than one of the world's great wines and a partner to one of Italy's most varied and refined cuisines. It's an evocative landscape of gently rolling hills covered by a quilt of vineyards and topped by medieval villages with winding cobblestone streets and views to the Alps.  Read the full article in the Wine Spectator...

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