Italy is a great mosaic of wine styles and wine regions. These 12 wines come from five respectable wine brands of northern Italy.
2010 Castello Banfi "Belnero" Toscana IGT ($29). A lovely blend, especially for the price — mixture of creamy black raspberry and raspy blackberry flavors. Very smooth, medium body, but not a pushover at 14.5 percent alcohol. Good for sipping and with food.
2009 Allegrini "La Grola" Veronese red ($26). Can this wine be only 13.5 per cent alcohol? It’s a wonderful pour, a lot like a ripasso — loads of plummy fruit with seductive notes of balsamic and raspy, citrusy finishing texture. Traditional yet edgy, with smidgeons of syrah and sangiovese to round out the local varieties.
2009 Allegrini Veronese "Palazzo della Torre" ($18). Ripe and juicy cherry flavors up front followed by a tangy, gamey finish. Mild tannins, good structure.
2011 Allegrini Valpolicella ($17). Chunky dark fruit, little cream, touch of spice, chocolate shavings. A good example of how good a basic valpolicella can be when attention is paid.
2012 Cleto Chiarli "Vecchina Modena" lambrusco du Sorba secco ($17). I had this recently at an eight-course BYOB dinner with a pork-belly dish. Great pairing. The wine has a light fizz with tobacco-y dark cherries fruits and lots of acidity.
NV Cleto Chiarli "Enrico Cialdini" lambrusco secco ($15). Dark, marinated cherries with crisp, bitters finish and light bubbles. Great with salmon filet.
NV Cleto Chiarli "Grasparossa di Tasteventro Centenario" lambrusco amabile ($12). A mildly sweet but well-balanced, low-alcohol (8 percent), frizzy wine with dominant tastes of elderberries tempered by savory notes of wet dried herbs. Definitely a food wine, not just for Italian pork dishes, but also as an accompaniment for dim sum.
2009 Biserno Bibblona ($160). Just a fabulous wine from the Antinori brothers. Ripe, rich, creamy, purple fruits with great depth. Rounded like a rolling wave. Hint of brulée just before finish. Great body.
2009 Il Pinto di Biserno ($68). A little more traditional ins tastes and structures that the first wine — a tangy rogue with good fruit and intensity that still carries the blood lines.
2011 Aia Vecchia Maremma Toscano Vermentino ($12) How did this white wine slip in with all these big-shouldered reds? Chalky green fruit flavors, some firm apples, moderate body, fragrance in the finish with a lingering taste of green apple skins.
2010 Aia Vecchia "Lagone" Toscana IGT ($15). This wine represents the brown side of red — lots of forest floor, carbon notes, dried plums, moderate tannins. Nice savory wine, but not as complex as it sounds.
2008 Aia Vecchia "Sor Ugo" Bolgheri superior ($35). Ripe mixture of fruit, oak and light bitters or pepperiness — a Right Bank-style of wine if it were in Bordeaux. Red cherries and a little red Italian vermouth. Comes across as old-school Italian, even though it’s a French twist of varieties — cabernet, merlot, and petite verdot.
5 Favorites: Super-Easy Chicken Dishes
Sometimes you want to get creative in the kitchen, sometimes you just want a surefire success to get you through those days (weeks, months …) when working from home has turned into always working. Enter these chicken dishes, simple enough that you can field homework questions from the kids and keep up with the Slack chatter that's still going after 6 p.m., and impressive enough to demand recognition for how hard you're trying to keep everyone healthy and happy.
These five picks, most from our "8 & $20" series of weeknight recipes, even feature a home-cooked alternative to a delivery favorite for when you're feeling guilty about having ordered takeout the past six nights. And of course, affordable wine pairings to make each meal feel just a little more special, even if it is the 415th dinner in a row that you've eaten at home while waiting until you can finally get a sitter again.
8 & $20: Chicken in Creamy Mushroom and White Wine Sauce
Like salt, alcohol brings out the flavor in food. This recipe for chicken breasts cooked stove-top in white wine and cream of mushroom soup is a great example. While the chicken browns amid a generous pat of melting butter, the kitchen fills with the aromas of wine and mushrooms, and the final meal looks and tastes more gourmet than it actually is. In truth, it’s easy and comforting enough to be the first recipe a college student learns to make after moving away from home.
The white wine used here shouldn't be expensive, but it should be something you enjoy drinking. A light- to medium-bodied Italian white, a Greco di Tufo from the Campania region of southern Italy, had just enough weight to match the cream sauce without the pairing feeling heavy, zipping up the finish with well-cut acidity that brightened the dish.
8 & $20: Sheet-Pan Chicken with Balsamic and Brussels Sprouts
Sheet-pan recipes are great for the busy cook for many reasons: Minimal time in front of the stove and maximum versatility, with fewer dishes to clean. This recipe comes together in under one hour, most of which is spent waiting while the meal is roasting in the oven. And the simple mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which encourages caramelization, can be used to add dimension to numerous other combinations of meat and vegetables.
You should end up with crispy-skinned chicken and very tender vegetables. The roasted Brussels sprouts then get a light toss in honey while they’re still hot, which helps round out the flavors of their charred vinegary exterior and tie them together with the wine: A young, bright Sangiovese from Italy with fragrant herbal notes. With the particularly easy clean-up, you can relax and savor the pairing!
Jacques Pépin's Chicken Suprêmes in Persillade
Though this recipe has a fancy name and comes from a famous French chef, it has only six ingredients (not counting salt, pepper and water) and cooks in under 10 minutes. It comes from Jacques Pépin’s 2017 book, A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey, which he wrote and recipe-tested with his then-13-year-old granddaughter, Shorey Wesen. The book is filled with healthy recipes that are approachable for novice chefs, as well as notes on simple dining etiquette. “My grandfather picked them as something that we could make together,” explained Wesen, “as something that he could teach me and that I would enjoy learning.”
To show her that the white meat of chicken and turkey really can be flavorful and moist, Pépin chose this dish, which is sautéed on high heat for no more than six minutes, then dressed in persillade, a provincial mix of garlic, parsley and scallions. He recommends an easy-drinking Beaujolais or Côtes du Rhône red blend to pair with it.
Chinese Takeout–Inspired Chicken with Charred Garlic String Beans
When savory, crisp chicken meets a sweet, sticky sauce in Chinese-American takeout classics like sesame chicken and General Tso’s, the results are irresistible. If you’d like to mimic the style at home without the effort of deep-frying, this recipe is the solution. Add a low-maintenance side of string beans that you roast while perfectly cooking the rice, and you’ve got a craveable dish that cuts some calories.
The sauce is made with pantry staples and allows plenty of wiggle room for substitutions just keep the key components of sweet, savory and spicy. With that, a Riesling, such as a dry bottling from New York's Finger Lakes, makes a classic wine pairing. The wine’s high acidity balances the richness of the sauce, while tropical and orchard fruit aromas and flavors offer an impression of sweetness to counter the dish's heat. Grab a glass and a pair of chopsticks and dig in.
8 & $20: Grilled Chicken with Spicy Mango Salsa
This dish was inspired by the street food of Los Angeles, where vendors season fresh, juicy tropical fruit with a spicy lime salt—a combination of flavors perfect for a zesty salsa to top chicken breasts. This meal requires minimal cooking time, maybe 15 minutes in front of the stove, though chopping the fruits and vegetables takes a bit more work. Reduce the prep time by buying pre-cut chunks of peeled mango, and dice them down further to the desired size. You can make the salsa the day before and the chicken can marinate overnight, so all you have to do for dinner is sear the meat in a pan or on a barbecue grill.
For a refreshing pairing with the heat in this dish, a Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley offered thirst-quenching citrus and tropical fruit flavors, plus light herbal accents to tie in with the ingredients in the salsa. Warm up some tortillas and serve alongside!
What You Need to Make Wine
Before we get into the task of making delicious wine, we’ll need to head over to the nearest grocery store for basic supplies. Here’s everything to make wine.
We recommend using frozen fruits if you want more flavor. Freezing fruits break down its structure and easily release the juice.
But a fresh fruit would work just as fine. Crushing it and beating it to a pulp does the same trick.
Below are fruit suggestions you can use to make your fruit wines:
- Grapes (white grapes/ white grape juice are for white wine merlot grapes for red wine)
You’ll have to use a lot of sugar when making wine. But don’t be scared, it won’t give you diabetes! Why?
Because all the sugar we’ll be using will be converted into alcohol. That’s why the more sugar you add, the higher the alcohol content would be.
To make wine, you can choose from either granulated sugar or organic cane sugar. There’s not a problem at all. Most wine making kits come with granulated sugar.
Ever wondered what’s the science or magic behind making alcohol? Yeast.
These tiny packets turn all the ingredients into wine. When it comes down to it, we have two options:
- Wild Yeast: These are natural yeasts used in traditional winemaking. It’s a much more difficult route since you have to activate it, but nonetheless, it’s a fun experience!
- Wine Yeast: If you’re a newbie, it’s better to start off with a wine yeast or champagne yeast. It’s easier and has better consistency when you don’t know all the ropes just yet. There are different types that you can choose from such as Montrachet or Red Star Premier Blanc.
The flavor and appearance of your wine are improved by wine additives, and they come in a variety. Here’s a little guide to know which ones you should use:
- Tannin: Wine tannin comes in handy when you want to balance out the sweetness in your wine. It gives it an earthy flavor much like black coffee.
- Pectic Enzyme: This additive breaks down fruits to extract the juice and its nutrients. It’s best used for fruits that are difficult to mash such as rhubarb.
- Acid: If your fruit or white wine has a strong and harsh taste, adding any citrus fruit such as lemon juice will tone it down a bit.
- Yeast Nutrient: When fermentation is slow or there isn’t enough bubble action, then it needs an extra kick of yeast nutrient.
Lastly, we have water. When making wine you should only use filtered water, because tap water can kill your yeast.
Chianti With Dinner: Now That’s Italian!
There are literally dozens of exceptional Italian restaurants in Las Vegas.
You can start with virtually every major resort on The Strip, but they’re also located across the sprawling Vegas valley — from Henderson to North Las Vegas to Summerlin.
Our favorite is Bootlegger, which is owned by a former Lieutenant Governor of Nevada who is married to a singer and radio personality who is helping to keep “The Great American Songbook” alive.
The restaurant has a wide-ranging menu and an extensive wine list, which can make it challenging to select just the right wine for an entire party of people.
As the “wine guy” at the table, I struggled with the bottle selection on several visits. Then, when we were there one day for lunch with a group of six friends, one of the restaurant’s veteran waiters taught me a valuable lesson.
Rather than concerning myself with the “perfect bottle,” he said, just choose a good bottle that everyone would enjoy.
But what about the fact that some would be having a tomato-based sauce, while others would be having a white sauce, and still others would order a dish with no sauce at all?
“Think about the one thing everyone is going to have,” he said. “Our panetti and panetti Italian dipping sauce.”
It’s a red sauce that simulates marinara, to my taste, and is highly addictive. So that meant leaning toward a red, and perhaps a red that we might enjoy with a tomato-based sauce.
When learning how to cook, one of the first “recipes” we typically are taught is for spaghetti. That’s because preparing spaghetti is, basically, akin to learning how to boil water.
We cook the pasta in very hot water, and when making a basic tomato sauce, we place chopped pieces of tomato in a skillet, add some olive oil, pour in a little water and let the conglomeration simmer. We may add some more water and/or salt to influence the thickness and/or flavor. Simple stuff.
As we advance in our cooking skills and confidence, we’ll add other flavors to the spaghetti sauce in the form of herbs, spices and vegetables — basil, oregano, parsley, black pepper, onion, garlic. We have multiple ways to make a tomato sauce recipe our own, but it’s still the base ingredient — tomato — that defines it.
And it’s the tomato that provides the challenge when trying to pair marinara sauce-topped panetti with wine. Specifically, it’s the high acid level of tomatoes.
But in the interest of keeping it simple… and genuinely Italian… the wine choice becomes obvious: Chianti.
Chianti is the Italian wine made from Sangiovese, a wine grape that’s high in natural acidity. And as generations of Italians will tell you, the acid of the sauce and the acid of the wine complement each other quite nicely with their engaging “tang.”
And here’s the other thing about Chianti: Unlike many red wines, it also pairs well with a wide array of dishes, from chicken Parmigiana to orange roughy with a garlic-butter sauce.
So when dining out at your favorite Italian restaurant, or figuring out which bottle to open with your next home-cooked Italian meal, you really can’t go wrong with Chianti.
Welcome in the Italian Summer With Wine and Pesto
Basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, Pecorino, extra virgin olive oil, salt.
A staple of the Italian summer.
Say hello — or welcome back — to pesto alla Genovese, a.k.a., simply, as pesto.
This classic sauce traces its roots to Genoa, part of the Liguria region on the Mediterranean coast, northwest of Tuscany. It’s both pungent in aroma and assertive in flavor. A glance at the ingredients explains that.
Yet it is those alluring traits as a sauce that can make it somewhat challenging to pair with food. In fact, some would say that it’s next to impossible.
When it comes to Italian food and wine, it’s almost always a safe bet to pair region with region. There’s even an old saying about this truism: “If it grows together, it goes together.”
While the most common dish prepared with pesto is pasta, there are other possibilities.
You may want to shake up the classic pizza recipe and replace the tomato sauce with a layer of pesto on the base of the pie.
Or, spice up your soup on a cool summer evening with Minestrone alla Genovese. Simply prepare your soup per usual, ladle it into bowls, and then add a dollop of pesto.
For a classic, easy-to-prepare treat, grab a loaf of rustic country bread, drizzle it with olive oil and toast it in the oven, then spread on some burrata cheese and top with pesto.
Now for the wine. In general, you can pour either white or red wine with pesto-infused dishes. The key is to select a wine that does not have overt oak flavors, but rather emphasizes fruit notes.
For the ultimate pairing partner, follow the “If it grows together, it goes together” mantra and opt for the white wine known as Vermentino, noted for its refreshing acidity and rich flavors of tropical fruit.
Two other simpatico pairing partners for pesto: Sauvignon Blanc and fruit-forward Malbec.
When you pour a wine that complements the personality of this flavorful sauce, it’s the next-best thing to being in Italy.
Groundhog AKA woodchuck AKA PEST!
I have experienced rage, pure murderous, blinding rage only once in my life. It was provoked by a woodchuck.
This woodchuck, or ground hog as some would call it, could distinguish among the different sounds of various car motors and knew when a car pulled into the driveway whether it was one of the roommates who had a dog that would go after the woodchuck. It also knew which car was driven by someone who would go after the woodchuck with a shovel. And it knew the sound of my car. When I pulled in, he would stand on his hind legs and laugh at me. I swear it.
We tumbled rocks down the existing woodchuck holes. We contemplated pouring gasoline down the holes and throwing in burning sticks of wood. We contemplated dynamite. The lettuce was gone. The spinach was gone. The broccoli was sorely nibbled.
We built a fence around the garden. We buried the chicken wire a foot deep in the hard clay soil and swore no woodchuck would breech our defenses. Two new woodchuck holes opened up&mdashright in the middle of the corn patch.
That&rsquos when I experienced rage. I did go after that woodchuck with a shovel. But I never caught up to it. There was always another hole for it to escape into. Eventually, we both moved away.
My friend Jane is a woodchuck warrior of great skill and creativity. Jane lives in town, where woodchucks are particularly voracious and preys on backyard gardens. These gardens are not large enough to share with critters, so she has gathered all the neighbors together and enlisted them as well.
To begin with, Jane makes a woodchuck-hole sachet consisting four layers of 1-inch nylon netting (two layers are 3-feet square, the other layers are scraps. They netting is wrapped around rocks that are bigger than grapefruits. The netting is gathered around the rocks to resemble a purse, or sachet. She stuffs the netting sachet (she calls in a bon-bon) in each hole she finds. Jane also lays that same netting around the perimeter of her garden in sheets that are 25 feet long and 6 feet wide the woodchucks don't like to cross it. She installed a solar-powered sound emitter that repels woodchucks. And she has electric fencing -- with one strand low enough to also deter rabbits.
I asked Jane how much she has spent on her woodchuck war. "Oh, I don't even want to guess," she said.
I don&rsquot worry about woodchucks anymore. My son has a .22 and he knows how to use it. He is pretty firm in his conviction that you only kill what you eat, and I am firm in my conviction that I would rather eat a woodchuck than see one, so it all works out.
He looked huge but weighs only 2.14 pounds.
Woodchucks, for all their mass, don&rsquot yield that much meat. The woodchucks average around 2 pounds after all the fur and organs are discarded. That 2-foot critter was mostly just voracious appetite and fur. It should be noted that woodchucks, as well as most other small food animals such as squirrel, have scent glands that should be cut out as soon as possible to avoid tainting the meat. When dressing woodchucks, look for and carefully remove without damaging any small gray or reddish brown kernels of fat located under the forelegs, on top of the shoulder blades, along the spine in the small of the back, and around the anus.
I have no family tradition to lean back on when it comes to cooking woodchuck, so I use my beef stew recipe. Here I made it with the last of my root-cellared carrots and potatoes, but any root vegetables are in stew. Also any meat.
The meat tastes more like squirrel or rabbit than anything else &ndash they are all rodents, after all. I did not weep to see the stew disappear.
Mystery meat stew? No! It's woodchuck stew!
Serves 4 to 6
This recipe is adapted from a beef stew recipe from Recipes from the Root Cellar. A similar recipe appears in Serving up the Harvest.
2 pounds woodchuck, cut into serving pieces
It's pretty obvious how to cut the critter up.
1/2 to 2/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cups home-canned or store-bought diced tomatoes with juice
12 to 16 ounces rutabaga or turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
12 to 16 ounces carrots, peeled cut into 1-inch cubes
12 to 16 ounces parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
16 ounces thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1. Pat the meat dry. Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and oregano in a shallow bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the meat and toss to coat.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Lift the meat out of the flour, shaking off the excess, and add a single layer to the pot. Do not crowd the pot. Let the meat brown, turning as needed, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat as it browns and set aside. Continue cooking until all the meat is browned.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and onion to the Dutch oven and sauté until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, wine, garlic, and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Stir to scrape up any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Return the meat to the pan. Partially cover the pan and let simmer until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours.
4. Add the rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to the pan and let simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour.
5. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman. ©2010 Andrea Chesman. All rights reserved.
Growing Ethica Wines
Angelini joined the company in 2012, when the new CEO Francesco Ganz had been appointed to put the Ethica Wines back on its feet.
“He asked if I and my colleague wanted to join, and we decided to buy the company in 2016,” says Angelini.
Since then, Ethica has expanded.
“We took our destiny into our own hands and opened the door to producers from other regions,” he says. “We invested every single dollar we made into strengthening our ranks. We now have more than 25 people, almost all Italians. But I’m the only one still left in Italy, all the other people are based across the world.”
A No-Red-Sauce Dish to Serve With Italian Red Wines
I was looking through my recipe box the other day — a mish-mash of index cards, handwritten notes, and old pieces of stationery with tattered edges that I inherited from my Mom — and I came across the recipe that follows.
Obviously, when I was a kid, I did not have this dish with wine. But now, far removed from kid-dom (yes, I just made up that word), it dawns on me that it serves a useful purpose (besides being delicious).
When it comes to Italian pasta dishes, I think most of us automatically presume there will be some kind of rich tomato or meat-based sauce involved. I love such sauces, but they can play havoc with one’s diet.
This dish, on the other hand, garners much of its flavor from garlic. Yes, there is some waist-challenging Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese among the ingredients, but it wouldn’t be Italian without that.
Here’s the best part, though: Even though there’s no red sauce, this is a dish that can be enjoyed with a good Italian red wine — like any of those featured in this Vinesse sampler.
Brush Creek Ranch: 30,000 bottles
This 30,000-acre Wyoming cattle ranch recently debuted The Farm, a food-and-drink dimension with a distillery, brewery, restaurant and state-of-the-art cellar. Gretchen Allen, the head sommelier, hopes to grow the subterranean space to 100,000 bottles. It’s an ode to Bordeaux wines, as evidenced by one of the most extensive collections of First Growth wines from all five houses, along with an array of covetable large-format bottlings.
The Fine Wine Shrine: Franklin, Tennessee
With its neon arch-like tower structures, the Fine Wine Shrine is an elegant wine cellar shaped like a cathedral.
Designed by Beckwith Interiors, the theme was to bring out the distinct religious connection of wine from the past.
The flashy blue lights from the three symmetrical archways are an invitation to the selection of fancy wines.
If a wine cellar with historical themes with a modern twist suits your fancy, the Fine Wine Shrine in Franklin, Tennessee, is a fine destination.
Wine Cellar Design: Transforming A Basement Space
John Papa and his wife, Sara, have had a cave à vin for storing their collection of fine wines in the basement of their Avon Mountain home for 10 years, but it was like Cinderella before the ball: a simple, unfinished, vapor-locked room with a climate-control system, offering safe passage through time for noble French and Italian vintages. No style, charm or flourishes like artifacts or stonework.
For the same 10 years the couple — she’s CEO and majority owner of John Michael Associates, which specializes in corporate branding programs, and he’s JMA’s president — sporadically courted plans to turn their unadorned cave into a true wine cellar.
“It has a little bit of an older look and a natural look, which is what I was looking for,” John Papa says of the cellar Fred Tregaskis of Ridgefield-based Summit Wine Cellars designed and recently completed for them.
For the past quarter-century Tregaskis has created wine cellars for fine homes, restaurants, Relais & Chateaux properties and other clients across the U.S. and around the world. He got his start by seizing an opportunity to design a wine cellar for the storied former Lespinasse restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
Papa was seeking an “older, Tuscan-looking” vibe for his roughly 20-by-16-foot cellar with a capacity of approximately 1,800 bottles, and wanted to use an antique French wine barrel as a kind of counter in the cellar. The final design aligns with at least one trend observed by Ben Lasman, who writes the Private Cellars column in Wine Spectator magazine.
“Some collectors who favor certain regions — France or Italy, for example — have included design features in homage to those places, in the form of souvenirs, signed bottles, paintings and photographs,” says Lasman, whose perspective covering collectors and their wine cellars for the wine industry’s most prominent publication gives him a jeroboam’s worth of valuable design intel.
Most collectors, Lasman says, are inspired to build a cellar when they’re running out of space for storing wine. That puts capacity at the forefront of an initial conversation that turns to researching and finding a cellar designer, collaborating on the design, incorporating decorative elements and choosing the right climate-control system. Maintaining an environment of roughly 55 degrees Fahrenheit with 60 percent humidity — so corks don’t dry out and crack — is an aspect Tregaskis calls “crucial to the cellar but not as sexy” as the design process.
Lasman has seen a temperature-control system in which white wines are stored on one side of a cellar at a slightly lower temperature than red wines on the other side. But the most common trend these days, he says, involves “integrating cellars into living spaces, rather than consigning them to their traditional home in the basement.”
That means not having to hold tastings, hang out or dine in the cellar, where it may be simply too chilly. Instead, “many collectors are putting their cellars adjacent to dedicated dining or entertainment areas so they can pull bottles easily and show off their collections in more public parts of their homes.”
Not the Papas, though. They specifically worked with Tregaskis to create an old-school storage cellar — in the cellar. “We live on top of Avon Mountain and don’t use the basement because here it’s all about the outside view,” John Papa says.
That’s not to say Tregaskis’ design eschewed aesthetics or flourishes. “We built a waterfall of wine racks,” Tregaskis says of cascading racks structured so visitors will see all the labels, rather than just bottle tops and foil caps.
When it comes to design elements, Lasman says, “there’s tons of diversity, from pull-out drawers to slanted shelves intended to show off the front label of a bottle to spinning wheels with spaces for laying bottles on their sides.”
“One guy I interviewed had all his shelving coated in olive oil rather than a chemical finish because he liked the smell and thought it was healthier for the wines,” he says. “Another collector cut down all the wood for his own cellar and developed a meaningful relationship to the materials through that. Someone else told the designers he loved cars and champagne his cellar is finished in leather, recalling luxury car interiors, and has huge pedestals for displaying his bubbly.”