Since opening 2 months ago, Tar & Roses has been filling the dining room, which seats about 45 in the main dining room, eight at the bar, and 20 on the patio, every night. Finally, with a little advance planning, I was able to coordinate my dining partners and get a reservation. Tar & Roses offers a “modern and rustic” menu with small and large plates.
Call it “Mixology 101” and put it in a shopping mall and it doesn’t sound like a craft cocktail bar. Oh! But it IS! The Maestro Salvatore Calabrese and his Conductor Joseph Brooke have created a top-notch drink experience….whether you are a cocktail geek or a weary shopper. Located at the Original Farmers Market, Mixology 101 is located next to its sister restaurant Planet Dailies.
“Italy is not complicated, it’s complex.” That’s what they told us on the first day of the Italian Wine Specialist Certification Course. That is an understatement. Wine is produced in each of the 20 regions, each different for its climate, soil, grapes, history, cuisine, even language. There are 73 DOCG wines and almost 400 DOC wines and hundreds of native varietals.
Having lived in Piemonte many years ago, my love for wine began over bottles of dolcetto, barbera, nebbiolo and brachetto. However, at the time, little did I know what I was drinking. Over the years, I have enjoyed tasting and learning about the regions of Italy and felt that I had a base of knowledge. I have taken press trips to Piemonte, Tuscany, Veneto and even Puglia where I have visited wineries, met with winemakers and tasted hundreds of wines. But last year at VIVA VINO LA, of which I am one of the organizers, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of unfamiliar varietals. Tai, Glera, Vespaiola, Nosiola, Raboso, Bombino Bianco, Schiava…..and the list goes on. As we prepare for the 2nd Annual VIVA VINO LA, I wanted to have a better understanding of the regions, varietals and appellations, so I signed up for the Italian Wine Specialist Program.
The Italian Wine Specialist Certification Program is offered by the North American Sommelier Association. It is the first of its kind and the teachers are all native Italian certified sommeliers and wine professionals. It is an intense 4-day program, followed by an exam. In the 4 days, the wine laws, regulations, grape varietals, traditions, trends, history, typicality as well as key characteristics for all 20 regions of Italy are explored.