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Champagne UncorkedTwo months ago on a stunningly beautiful October day, my wife and I met Alan Tardi at Agriturismo Il Torriglione in La Morra, a small Piemontese village in the Langhe.  Il Torriglione sits atop one of the many rolling hills dotted with grapevines, where the dominant grape is Nebbiolo in the Barolo wine-producing zone.  The Gagliasso family makes the only wines served at the agriturismo and winemaker Luca Gagliasso's mother and sister can be found in the kitchen or greeting hungry patrons on the weekend.

Over a bottle of their Barolo, and through many courses of typical Piemontese cuisine four hours slipped away unnoticed as we talked of family, wine, and champagne.  Our thanks to Alan for a fantastic afternoon that we will always treasure.

Great Taste listeners may remember hearing Alan discuss his James Beard award-winning book Romancing the Vine, previously on the show.  This interview was aired last year after the release of his latest tome about champagne.

The story of Champagne is a complex one with hundreds of years of history.  It is one of the most famous wines made in France.  A wine cannot be named Champagne unless the grapes are grown in one of the 320 appellations that comprise the entire Champagne area.

Fact:  Every champagne is not extraordinary.   I bet you have experienced some like that.

Many, though, can elicit a transcendent experience.  A few years ago, Alan was allowed access to one of the most famous and secretive champagne houses.

Grapes in Field-ChampagneThe result of his exploration is the book Champagne, Uncorked:  The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink.

Alan TardiThe book is an enthralling tale into a world few have been privileged to examine at its source.  It takes the reader on an historical journey layered with eccentric personalities, geographical and climatic subtleties, the alchemy of production techniques, tasting notes, and much more.

I hope you get the opportunity to listen to Alan’s tales and insights. The book is a perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list that loves food, Champagne, or history.