What an honor and pleasure it’s been for me to become Amistà’s ambassador in the U.S. and the winery’s English-language blogger!
My career in Italian food and wine began many years ago when I worked on a team translation of Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, the landmark 19th-century cookery book (published by University of Toronto Press). I had recently completed my Ph.D. in Italian studies but quickly switched my focus to food and wine when I moved to New York City in the late 1990s and saw that the Italian food and wine renaissance was taking shape. Let’s just say I was in the right place at the right time. It didn’t take long for me to land a job at the newly launched English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana, Italy’s legacy gastronomy journal, first published in 1922.
In the mid-2000s, when wine blogging was just beginning to explode across the U.S. and Europe and social media was on the near-distant horizon, my own blog, Do Bianchi, got off the ground. And that was what really launched my career as an Italian focused-winery media consultant. My blog was even featured in the New York Times.
In the meantime, I have also developed my interest in ancient writings on Italian food and wine, including my translation of the Renaissance-era Italian cookery book The Art of Cooking by Maestro Martino (University of California Press).
It was thanks to my gig teaching at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, where I’ve taught for the last eight years, that I met Michele Marsiaj, the owner of Amistà. His son was a student at the university at the time, although not in any of my classes. But a classmate of his suggested that he bring me a bottle of his father’s wine for me to taste. I was blown away by the wine and I was also intrigued. I had tasted quite a bit of Nizza DOCG since the appellation was first created in 2014 and I was familiar with many of the Nizza wines that preceded the newly established designation. But I had never — and I really mean this — I had never tasted a Nizza like this, with the clarity of fruit, focus, balance, and elegance that make Amistà stand apart from its peers. But the thing that really did it for me was that it was not barriqued. This brave new style is something that I’m looking forward to writing about over the next 12 months.
A conversation about the wine led to a lunch with Michele. And it just seemed as if it were written in the stars. I just loved him and his family, his approach to winemaking, the people he’s involved in this pioneering project, and the whole ethos behind the winery, the property, and the wines.
I honestly could not be more thrilled to have joined the Amistà team. And I’m really looking forward to our year together and beyond. This is going to be a blast and the wines are stunningly good.
If you ever happen to be in Houston where I live with my wife Tracie, a realtor, Georgia and Lila Jane, 9 and 11, our two daughters, and Paco and RooRoo, our Chihuahua and Chihuahua mix, please let me know so we can connect over a glass of Nizza DOCG. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to tasting with you the next time I make it to your market. Please stay in touch.
One thing that a lot of people don’t know about me? I was the guitar player and one of the song writers in the band Nous Non Plus. We used to be a top NYC-Lower East Side rock band and you have probably heard our music in the many films and TV shows that used our tracks.
Thanks for being here.