Honfleur's pretty port area

Vinous Table: Le Bréard, Honfleur, France

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2017

Honfleur is one of France’s prettiest, most charming seaside towns, and Le Bréard is its best restaurant.

Ravioli di zucca copy

Vinous Table: Aquila Nigra, Mantova, Italy

Vinous Table, Italy: North

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2017

Aquila Nigra, Mantova’s best restaurant, is where generations of the city’s denizens have spent, at least ones, a family Sunday lunch or celebrated an important life event. It’s one of Italy’s best restaurants for outstanding dishes steeped in local tradition and authenticity.

3 aglianico vines at paternoster copy

The Wines of Basilicata: Paradise Lost and Regained

Italy: Center & South, featured

Ian D'Agata, Apr 2017

The combination of the majestic Vulture volcano’s soil and microclimate and a world-class grape variety, Aglianico, should have ensured Basilicata and its wines worldwide fame and fortune decades ago. But it’s only now that a new generation of young winemakers is making fresh, precise, site-specific wines.

1 balck spaghetti

Vinous Table: Il Ridotto

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

If it’s not Venice’s best restaurant today, Il Ridotto certainly has the city’s most interesting and inventive food. The small dining room offers a gourmet dining experience enhanced by fine ingredients and a fairly priced, well thought out wine list.

The hillsides at turckheim and the zind humbrecht winery cover

Alsace: The 2015s and Late-Released 2014s

France: Alsace, featured

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

Although the 2014 and 2015 vintages posed distinct challenges for growers and winemakers alike, the former year produced some sleek, delicious, brisk whites (especially Rieslings) while the latter vintage yielded many rich, powerful examples, including some of the best Gewürztraminers in decades.

Da wines

Vinous Table: Trattoria Al Pompiere, Verona, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

Readers spending time in Verona and looking for a hearty meal with well-cooked dishes and a fairly priced wine list especially rich in local wines of the Veneto (with some older vintages going back to 1995), would do well to check out Trattoria Al Pompiere. Super popular, Al Pompiere is always packed. Italians and foreigners alike fill the tightly spaced tables in two rooms decorated with exposed wooden beams, old photos of past and current patrons and host of other rustic charms. One caveat - the noteworthy din made up of happy chatter and laughs does not make for an especially romantic evening. The eye gazes over the cheese corner, where about 100 different Italian cheeses are in full view, before moving to the charcuterie corner, which is a filled with about 40 different salumi. As if that weren’t enough, prosciuttos and salamis hang from the rafters in true postcard style.

Da wines unterebner copy

Tramin Pinot Grigio Unterebner: 2002-2015

Italy: North, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

Thinking of Pinot Grigio only in terms of insipid or boring wines is one of the biggest mistake made by wine lovers and wine experts today. The fact is Pinot Grigio is one of the world’s noble grapes. Tramin’s top of the line Unterebner bottling showcases the greatness the variety and wines are capable of.

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Cellar Favorite: 1988 Francesco Rinaldi Barolo La Brunata

Cellar Favorites, Italy: Piedmont

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

I have always enjoyed Francesco Rinaldi’s single vineyard Barolos, both of which are made from two of the denominazione’s greatest sites, Brunate and Cannubi.

1 da fiore's charming entrance copy

Vinous Table: Da Fiore, Venice, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

In the eyes, mind and taste buds of many, Da Fiore is the best restaurant in Venice. A few of the city’s most famous recipes are tweaked with creative touches and lightened up, but the culinary wizardry of owner/chef Mara Martin is such that her traditional renditions of Venetian classics are hard to beat.

Montalcino panorama copy

Brunello di Montalcino: The 2012 Brunellos & 2011 Riservas

Italy: Tuscany, featured

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

The superb 2012 Brunello vintage represents a conundrum: a hot, very dry year that produced a large number of wines in a cooler-climate style. Aromas and flavors are ripe in 2012, but the wines also have the acidity and steely tannic structure to evolve slowly and gracefully in bottle