In vino veritas?

“Whatever gets said, it’s probably what the person has always felt, and the alcohol just let it out,” says Tina Fey’s character Tammy in the Netflix movie “Wine Country,” streaming May 10.

Top female comics, including Amy Poehler (who directs and stars) are assembled in this movie. The characters are celebrating a reunion against a “Big 5-oh!” birthday, all set in wine country. Given the players, this feels like “Sideways” — only naughtier.

Want a taste? Google Netflix for the trailer. You’ll be reaching for a second glass.


Five Italian wines worth considering:

  • 2017 Caleo Salice Salentino ($10): From Italy’s Puglia region, an affordable red that blends Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera. Black cherry, plum, anise and balsamic undertones for bracing acidity.
  • 2017 NeroOro Appassimento Nero d’Avola ($13): Nero d’Avola is the signature red from Sicily, dense and dark but the tannins rarely overpower the fruit. This has the added twist of appassimento style production — the grapes are dried, evaporating water and concentrating juice. Brambly blackberry and black cherry and a silky long finish.
  • 2017 Donnachira Falanghina Resilienza ($17): To my mind, there’s a nuanced nuttiness to this, maybe pistachio, to this crisp white with citrus overtones. Falanghina is among the most ancient of grapes, likely migrating from Greece.
  • 2013 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva ($22): Reliable producer from the Chianti region with this Sangiovese grape. Almond and flint undergird bright cherry, cassis and leather.
  • 2016 Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Reserva Giatl ($38): Not an everyday white quaff. From Italy’s northeast border, this juice spent time fermenting in French oak, then stirred on the lees, then hibernating for a time in bottle. An unctuously creamy Pinot Grigio with vanilla and toast and Fuji apple and blood orange. Only the bright acidity separates it from a Chardonnay.


It’s wine festival month in North Carolina, celebrating wines from across the Old North State.


A reader and French winemaker — Jean-Baptiste Lagnie — put me in my place over last month’s misspelling of Marechal Foch. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve redistributed that wandering “e.”

Jean-Baptiste volunteers that he grows Chardonnay. So we’re swapping emails, my sniffing column fodder about a French winemaker schooling me in a grape varietal named after a famed World War I French general.

He writes: “Ha ha, I wouldn’t say ‘schooled’ though! My wife’s job is based out of Greensboro ... I was born in Reims, France — in the heart of Champagne — to a family of winemakers (over 10 generations).

My wife is Georgian (like the Rkatsiteli, the Kindzmarauli, etc.) and had a job opportunity in the U.S. I decided to follow her since the vineyard back home could be taken care of. We will probably be heading back to France this year as her project will likely be completed by this summer ... As soon as I get back home, my goal is to develop a natural still wine from “ancient” varietals (Epinette de Champagne, etc.). Hope this finds you well!”

Here’s raising a glass to Jean-Baptiste. Safe travels and good luck.

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Ed Williams is Marketing Director at Alamance Community College. This column appears the first Wednesday of each month. If you have wine news, email

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