Truffles 2020: Why Now is a Buying Opportunity

Truffles 2020

Truffles 2020: is it a season to buy?  

I just talked to Urbani Truffles’ Vittorio Giordano about the 2020 truffle season. Good news: the pandemic has kept prices from skyrocketing in what would have been an especially expensive season for white truffles. View the video report here.

To save your sanity, get yourself a bottle of Barolo (or Barbera d’Alba) and some thin pasta, butter, and a white truffle from Alba.

For some groovy, truffle-y escapism, check out this “Truffle Remix” music video I made a few years ago after a trip to Alba.

Virtual Wine Tasting: Secrets of a Napa Legend with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Join me for a virtual tasting and interview with Marcus Notaro, winemaker of iconic Napa winery Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is no less than an American legend, its Cabernet having beaten the French in the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting that put California wineries on the global map.

Free registration for this event is here.

Wine Globe Being Finished: a Mark Oldman collaboration with Bellerby Globemakers

wine globe
“With geography and travel so critical to wine appreciation, why isn’t there a high-quality wine globe,” I asked myself a few years ago.
After contacting the world’s finest globemakers, Bellerby & Co., and visiting its remarkable London studio last summer, I partnered with them to create the first-ever globe of the world’s wine regions. 🍷 🌎  It is the culmination of 15 months of laborious research. All of the world’s major wine regions are represented, including appellations and districts in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the United States, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Portugal, New Zealand, Uruguay, Croatia, Georgia, and others. Based on my quarter century of writing and speaking on wine, it also includes “Oldman’s Icons,” a listing of the most iconic wine producers in the world.
Above is a photo of my prototype being (hand)made today in London. Our beautiful vinous globe will soon be available to order and will make an unparalleled gift for wine connoisseurs, especially in this era of Covid-curtailed travel. For inquiries, please email Alf ( Stay tuned for updates.

Cameron Diaz’s “Clean Wine” Stumbles in “War of the White Wines”; Sting and Dave Matthews Score Big

Cameron Diaz is a beloved A-lister but her newly released white wine doesn’t quite match her golden reputation, a survey of celebrity wines found.

Cameron Diaz’s “clean wine” was voted least favorite (14%) of the celebrity white wines, while musicians Sting and Dave Matthews triumphed – tying for top spot, the survey found.

With celebrity wines gaining plenty of attention of late, wine expert and author Mark Oldman wanted to determine which star’s beverage was the best, and hosted the first ever virtual “Celebrity White Wine Showdown”.

‘One of the most interesting findings was that almost everyone (88%) agreed that celebrities should not call themselves “winemakers,” said Oldman. “That is a title best left to trained professionals,” Oldman said.

With 386 households logged in via Zoom, Oldman instructed the group on how to evaluate white wine and then presented the contenders. Under scrutiny were five celebrity white wines by Dave Matthews, Zac Brown, Cameron Diaz, Lisa Vanderpump, and Sting. (Drew Barrymore’s Carmel Road Chardonnay was disqualified before the event as the actress is no longer associated with the label.) Attendees purchased the wines in advance of the tasting.

The competition comes on the heels of Oldman’s “Celebrity Rosé Deathmatch,” in which Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s wine was voted top rosé.

The results for best celebrity wine white were as follows:

1] tie) The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2018 (Dave Matthews)  (co-winner) (26%)

1] tie) Il Palagio Roxanne Toscana Bianco 2018 (Sting) (co-winner) (26%)

3] Vanderpump Chardonnay 2018 (Lisa Vanderpump) (20%)

4] Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Chardonnay 2017 (Zac Brown) (16%)

5] Avaline White Blend (Cameron Diaz) (14%)

The survey also revealed:

  • 90% said they are no more likely to buy a wine advertised as “clean” but 56% believe that wines should disclose more information on their labels
  • Only 23% of respondents think celebrities drink their own wine “often”

The next celebrity wine competition happens this Wednesday (August 26th, 8pm ET), when Oldman hosts the “Celebrity War of the Sparkling Wines” in which Christie Brinkley, Isiah Thomas, Francis Ford Coppola, Giuliana Rancic, John Legend, and Drake (aka “Champagne Papi”) compete for sparkling supremacy, Free registration is here:

For full survey results, please see below.

                                 Celebrity White Showdown: Full Results

Poll: August 18, 2020

Via: Zoom Polling

Respondents: 386 households


1.Which wine was most delicious/tasted the best?

1] tie The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2018 (Dave Matthews) (26%) co-winner

1] tie Il Palagio Roxanne Toscana Bianco 2018 (Sting & Trudie Styler) (26%) co-winner

3] Vanderpump Chardonnay 2018 (Lisa Vanderpump) (20%)

4] Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Chardonnay 2017 (Zac Brown) (16%)

5] Avaline White Blend (Cameron Diaz) (14%)


2. Which wine had the best label/packaging?

1] The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2018 (Dave Matthews) (37%) winner

2] Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Chardonnay 2017 (Zac Brown) (21%)

3] tie) Avaline White Blend (Cameron Diaz) (16%)

3] tie) Vanderpump Chardonnay 2018 (Lisa Vanderpump) (16%)

5] Il Palagio Roxanne Toscana Bianco 2018 (Sting & Trudie Styler) (9%)


3. Does it matter to you if a wine calls itself “clean”? Are you more likely to buy it?

Yes (10%)

No (90%)


4. Do wines need to disclose more on their labels beyond sulfites (e.g., additives like lactic acid, sugar)?

Yes (56%)

No (44%)


5. How much do you think celebrities drink their own wine?

A lot (23%)

A little (60%)

Never (7%)


6. Should a (non-formally-trained) celebrity who has his/her own wine be able to call themselves a “winemaker”

Yes (12%)

No (88%)

Wine Fraud: Rudy Kurniawan Saga with Author Peter Hellman

wine fraud

Wine fraud is an ever-increasing problem for winemakers and wine lovers. And it often goes undetected. To quote Peter Hellman’s In Vino Duplicitas, “A good con man never takes your money. Instead, you thrust it into his hands.” ⚠️

Be sure to register for my FREE virtual event (THIS Tuesday, 8pm ET) with Peter, who covered the Rudy Kurniawan saga from the very beginning for Wine Spectator and published the award-winning book, In Vino Duplicitas: The Rise and Fall of a Wine Forger Extraordinaire (Workman Publishing/The Experiment). We will get into the mind of the most notorious forger 💀 in wine history and learn the inside scoop on Hellman’s extensive research. And Peter will share some rare primary materials relating to the Kurniawan affair. I’ll also reveal a bottle of “Rudy wine” that I personally tasted.

If you’d like, sip along with a special wine (just make sure it is the real thing). Register for this FREE virtual wine tasting here.

In Vino Duplicitas is the best account of fraudster Rudy Kurniawan to date. Riveting, deftly-researched, entertaining, it’s a page-turner that reveals all sorts of new details about the largest wine fraud in history. Purchase it here

And I write about wine fraud and one of the Rudy bottles I’ve had in this piece for Bloomberg Pursuits.

See all of my upcoming virtual wine tastings here.