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  August 6, 2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Paul Reubens (1952-2023) as Pee Wee Herman




By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani



By John Mariani


        The 1985 film A View to a Kill took the title only from an Ian Fleming short story entitled “From a View to a Kill” in the collection For Your Eyes Only (1960), which was the basis for a never-filmed James Bond TV series (as well as another movie title). The short story’s plot contains no references to Bond’s food and drink, but the film, which used nothing from the short story plot, begins in Siberia (filmed in Iceland) with Bond on a ski mobile, escaping assassins in a helicopter, which he destroys with a flare gun and is then picked up by a submarine breaking through the ice. Inside is gorgeous MI6 agent Kimberly Jones, whom Bond plies with a tin of sevruga caviar and a bottle of Stolichnaya.
         Returning to London with a sought-after micro-chip, 007 goes to the Ascot Race Track, dressed in appropriate garb with M, Moneypenny and Q, where he meets wealthy government contractor Max Zorin (Christopher Walken; originally David Bowie was cast), who plans to destroy Silicon Valley with the microchip—something about knocking out all the world’s communications—and his panther-like henchwoman May Day (Grace Jones). 
M then sends Bond to Paris, where he meets Detective Achille Aubergine over dinner at the Jules Verne restaurant within the Eiffel Tower, where the detective sips vichyssoise and Bond has foie gras en brioche. He shows off his connoisseurship by tasting and easily identifying the wines as Bollinger ‘75 and Château Lafite Rothschild ’59. By this time in the Bond film series Bollinger Champagne was paying the producers for product placement after the first few films when Bond drank either Moët or Taittinger (the latter was 007’s favorite in the Fleming novels).
        The restaurant, located on the second floor of the tower, was recreated for the scene because it was not usable to shoot in. The restaurant’s interior was by Aline Asmar d’Ammam. Under chef Louis Grondard, it was one of the most expensive in Paris. Alain Ducasse would later become chef in 2007.
        Suddenly May Day appears, kills Aubergine  and leads Bond on a chase all over the Eiffel Tower, from which she escapes by parachute and lands on one of the Bateaux Mouches tourist boats on the Seine. Bond jumps off the Pont Alexandre III bridge to land on the boat.
         Zorin, who is a very similar character to Auric Goldfinger, was holding a horse auction at his palatial estate at the Château Chantilly (below) outside Paris, dating back to 1560 in Picardy, covering 10 hectares and containing masterpieces by Poussin, Tintoretto and Titian. There, Bond, along with his assistant Sir Godfrey Tibbettt (Patrick McNee), meets the beautiful geologist Stacy Sutton (Tanya Roberts; originally to be played by Priscilla Presley), and they drink Bollinger Champagne together.
         It turns out Zorin is an ex-KGB agent funded by the Russians and now gone rogue. Bond infiltrates his laboratories, where Zonin kills Tibbett and attempts to kill Bond.
         Bond follows Zorin to San Francisco and meets with CIA agent Chuck Lee, posing as a fishmonger at Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, strolling past Fisherman’s Grotto and Castagnola’s restaurant. He also visits Stacey at her estate Dunsmuir-Hellman, set on 50 acres in Oakland, built by Alexander Dunsmuir for his bride in 1899 (below).
Bond then investigates a nearby oil rig owned by Zorin, and discovers KGB agent Pola Ivanova recording conversations while her partner, Klottoff, plants explosives on the rig. Klottoff is caught and killed by Zorin's guards, but Ivanova and Bond escape. Bond had switched recorded tapes with one of Japanese music.
        Bond finds out that Zorin is trying to buy Stacey’s family oil business. May Day kills Lee at Stacey’s home, and Zorin kills Stacey's boss. They trap Bond and Stacey in an elevator between floors, and set fire to the building in an attempt to frame them for the murder and then kill them. Bond carries Stacey down a fire truck's ladder and flee from the police in a fire truck to Zorin's mine, where they find Zorin’s plan is to blow up the lakes along the Howard and San Andreas fault lines that would cause Silicon Valley to flood.
        Bond fights May Day, but after Zorin abandons her, she helps Bond remove a bomb that she rides on a mine car but it explodes and kills her. Zorin abducts Stacey on a blimp, which Bond manages to moor on the Golden Gate Bridge. Stacey joins Bond out on the bridge, where  Zorin follows with an axe. Bond and Zorin fight and Zorin falls into the Bay.
        Russian general Gogol awards Bond the Order of the Lamb for foiling Zorin’s plot.





132 West 44th Street




         As you might expect, New York is home to restaurants that date back well into the 19th century, starting with the first actual restaurant in America, Delmonico’s (1831), followed by Gage & Tollner (1879), Peter Luger (1887) and Keen’s (1885), this last being the location of the Lambs social club, after relocating from West 26th Street; later it moved to West 44th Street.
       Named in honor of English essayist Charles Lamb, author of the satiric “Dissertation on Roast Pig,” it was opened by five actors in 1874, and it was considered a great honor to be invited to join. Fred Astaire exclaimed, “When I was made a Lamb, I felt I had been knighted.”
      The club itself, now on West 36th Street, still exists, while the restaurant is now within the Chatwal hotel, where its premises—designed by the great Sanford White—have been restored to a polished sophistication as a New York landmark. And chef Jack Logue, Gotham born and bred, is doing equally refined cuisine largely in the American style.
         The 85-seat room is done in rich Burgundy colors, with white tablecloths, elegant leather banquettes with end lights and stunning padded chairs with 1960s-style chrome tubing. At the ceiling’s edge are scores of photos of famous Lambs, but, sadly, the lighting in this gorgeous room is set so low that you can’t see those images, the clientele coming and going or the lovely plate presentations. I asked if the lights could be turned up a tad and it made all the difference.
         Logue, whose work I admired at midtown’s Betony, studied in fine ristoranti in Italy, then at Daniel Boulud in New York, Rockpool in Sydney and did stints in Tokyo, Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Now, with partners David Rabin and Chris Miller,  Logue is putting all that global experience to good use in transforming dishes that sound so familiar yet open your eyes to new interpretations.
Case in point is the perfectly seasoned tuna tartare ($33) that comes as a patty set with avocado and a swirl of cut radishes, sitting in a deep, dark ponzu sauce you can sip with a spoon (left). Steak tartare ($30) has a spicy horseradish-laced crème fraîche and caviar with a grilled baguette. A special that night was a lovely presentation of razor clams ($26) done Casino style: the clams are first steamed with a mixture of kombu kelp and white wine then nestled with panko breadcrumbs, chopped littlenecks, clams, razor clam juice, butter, roasted garlic, chopped parsley, oregano, lemon zest and smoked onion confit, finished with a clam butter and baked with a gratin.
A fluke crudo ($26) had a good balance of citrus and sweetness, in a marinade of kombu and pink trout roe and cuddled with tiny summer’s tomatoes, macerated kumquats, pickled Fresno chilies, fragrant baby basil leaves and basil oil. Particularly pretty was a sunburst of ravioli stuffed with pureed carrots and peas in lemon, ricotta and mint ($28), while the chilled corn soup was a bright yellow with morsels of melon and garlic scapes ($22).
         There is one other pasta dish I highly recommend: Purists may howl that Logue’s carbonara ($39) bears scant resemblance to a classic Roman rendering, owing to the addition of very hot, spicy ‘nduja condiment, but it is a ravishing dish nonetheless that’s also good to share as an appetizer.
         Fat sea scallops ($48) were quickly seared so the interior was creamy and briny, given a New England touch of bacon, potatoes, leeks and a fume blanc. Roasted lamb loin ($58) was delicious, but the addition of slowly braised leg of lamb into a deep succulence with white beans and fennel was an unexpected pleasure. The New York strip steak ($68) was about par for upscale steakhouse beef but could use more minerality.
         Hamburgers as chefs’ display pieces have already jumped the shark, and, although the meat in Logue’s six-inch-high extravaganza ($30) is of fine quality, it is overwhelmed by layers of Gruyère, pickled onions, lettuce and a bulbous bun. The menu calls it “the Stanford White burger” but it’s architecture better suggests Bernini. The French fries are an abundance of goodness.
         Desserts have a little more restraint but are nonetheless delightful surprises, especially the caramel apple with mascarpone cream, apple cider, Valrhona caramella, oats and hazelnuts ($18). Once tasted, it will be hard not to hog the sundae with popcorn ice cream, candied peanuts, salted caramel sauce and, for good measure, a chocolate chip cookie ($16). The prices are high but the desserts are meant to be shared.
         The multi-national service staff is very well meaning and exceptionally cordial, if sometimes distracted.
        David Jovic oversees an extensive wine list, with 22 by the glass. Mark-ups range from about 100% to 300%.  I liked the idea that a straight-up Martini came with an accompanying additional pour from an iced cruet. 
I  may never be invited to join the Lambs social society, but I’d much rather dine splendidly on such imaginatively crafted cuisine at the Lambs Club restaurant and happily bring in out-of-town friends to show what New York swank can be.


Open for breakfast Sat. & Sun.; lunch Mon.-Thurs.; dinner Tues.-Sat.



By  John Mariani



To read previous chapters of GOING AFTER HARRY LIME go to the archive



        Back at their hotel rooms Katie and David checked their messages.  One, David was surprised and relieved to see, was from Lentov. Just two words: “Five PM.” Nothing from Southey. There was nothing for Katie, but a few minutes later her phone rang. It was Spollen, who sounded quite cheery.
         “I have a bit more information for you, Katie,” he announced. “When I got back to the office I asked to see the file on Pogue. Nothing there about his asking to go to Moscow, but there is a scribbled note saying ‛contact’ and a name and number. It must be the person Pogue said the paper could contact if he was out of the country. The name is Margaret Stinchfield. Here’s the number. It’s ten years old, so it may pan out to be a dead end, but there it is.”
         Katie thanked Spollen profusely and said she’d follow up and get back to him if she found out anything of interest. She hung up, waited five seconds and dialed the number.  An answering machine picked up with the message, “Hi, thanks for calling. Leave a number and I’ll get back to you soon as I can.” The voice had a decided American accent.
         Katie left the number of her cell phone and hotel line, then called David to tell him the news. David said he had heard from Lentov and was going out to Southall to see him at five.
         “I’ve got to hustle,” he said. “You wanna come with me?” He actually hoped Katie would say no, because he had to move fast and told her, “I want to spend some quality time with the old Ruskie.”
         “That’s okay,” she said. “I’m going to wait around to see if I hear from Margaret Stinchfield. At least I know she’s still in London ten years later. Give Lentov my best.”
         David hurried off to the train station, lucky to find a train leaving for Southall in the next half hour, meaning he’d arrive around 4:30.  While waiting he picked up copies of The Times and The Guardian to see what kind of stuff Spollen and Boyer published.
         Around the time David arrived at Southall, Katie’s cell phone rang.
       “Hello, is this Katie Caputo?”
         “Cavuto, actually.”
         “Oh, sorry about that. This is Margaret Stinchfield. You called a little while ago?”
         The voice was definitely American but Katie noted a slight British inflection Stinchfield must have acquired over the past decade.
         “Yes,” said Katie, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m a writer for an American magazine called McClure’s”—she didn’t want to say “reporter”—“and I’m interested in finding someone who knew Jonathan Pogue.”
         There was silence on the other end.
         “I was given your number by a colleague who found it in a file at his paper, The Guardian, from ten years ago, indicating you were a contact for Mr. Pogue.”
         Stinchfield spoke slowly. “Yes, well, I did know Pogue, but haven’t had any contact with him in all that time.”
         “Sorry to ask, but didn’t Mr. Pogue pass away in 1989?”
         Another pause on the line, then, “Can I call you Katie?”
         “Well, then, Katie, all I can tell you is that Pogue left London that summer, and I never heard from him again. He’s been missing ever since.”
         Katie tried not to sound quite so surprised as she actually was, fumbling a “wow” then asked, “May I ask you, if you two were close back then?”
         “Call me Peggy. Yes, we were about as close as two people intending to get married that fall could be, I suppose.”
         Katie did not want to carry on the conversation over the phone, so she said, “Peggy, let me tell you a little about why I’m asking about Mr. Pogue. The story I’m working on involves a trip to Moscow Mr. Pogue might have taken around that time and—”
         “Let me cut you off there. Can we meet in person tomorrow around lunchtime at Harrods?  I’m a buyer there.”
         Katie answered, “Whenever you want.”
         “All right, then, how about twelve-thirty?  I’ll meet you at the elevator on the sixth floor
         “See you then,” said Katie, who was buoyed by what had just occurred. It meant her story was still alive and perhaps even darkening with intrigue. She couldn’t wait to tell David, who was at that moment knocking on Leonid Lent
         It took a while for Lentov to appear. David had picked up the two days’ of newspapers on the stoop and handed it to the Russian, saying, “Thanks for seeing me again.”
         Leonid was dressed exactly the way he had been on their first meeting, but then, so was David. Lentov was already in his topcoat, saying “Let us take a walk outside.”
         “And so,” Lentov began, sitting on the same bench in the park. “You are back.”
         “We are, although a little earlier than we’d planned,” said David. “Actually, we got thrown out of Moscow and didn’t exactly get a warm welcome getting back to London.”
         Lentov smiled. “So I assume you did meet with Philby. How is he feeling?”
         “Not well at all.  He thinks he’s at death’s door.”
         “I’m not surprised. He’s probably looking forward to it.”
         “But he’s also very concerned about his reputation. Katie and I were actually surprised he was so open about everything.”
         “Kim has nothing to lose at this point. And, if you believe all he told you and you print that, he may die with a smile on his face. I assume you also met his wife.”
         David told Lentov as little as possible about the meeting, wanting instead to find out if the Russian was in any way involved with their quick exit from Moscow.
         “Does the name Kovalyov mean anything to you?” asked David.
         Lentov smiled and nodded like a man expecting that question right at that moment.
         “I do indeed. And he’s done very well for himself, both when he was KGB and now as head of FSS. And now, Mr. Greco, let me tell you what I’m sure he told you.”
         Lentov went on to describe, in a general way, how Kovalyov tried to make David and Katie believe their interview had all been a ridiculous hoax cooked up by two actors and himself, that Philby had died as intended in 1988, and how the two Americans should not attempt to publish anything to the contrary. 
David had more or less expected this, and Lentov’s narrative suggested, though he hadn’t brought it up, there was something to Kovalyov’s assertion that Lentov had been involved.
         “And just how would you know all that? And how did Kovalyov know about you?” asked David.
         “I’d like to say something like ‘word gets around,’” answered the Russian, “but it’s simpler than that. In answer to your second question, I am well known to Kovalyov for obvious reasons. In fact, since the fall of the Soviet Union he has even contacted me, as if my treason no longer looked so terrible to him, now that he was back to being a proud Russian oligarch.
         “The answer to your first question is that he assumed I was the only one in London who would tell you the truth about Philby being alive, so he had to make up this fantasy about me being paid to send reporters like you to Moscow to meet the fake Philbys.”
         “And that’s not even remotely true?” asked David. “Then how was it that Kovalyov and even the MI6 agents at Heathrow knew every detail about our trip over there? They scooped us up the minute we left the Philbys’ apartment.”
         “Ah, there are two possibilities how that happened. The one is quite simple: At first the Russians had no idea why you were in Moscow.  You had your visas, your hotel, they knew your colleague was a journalist, perhaps even that you were a former police officer. But with only that little information they could hardly come to a conclusion as to your going to see the Philbys.”
         Lentov lit a cigarette and paused to watch the first puff blow into the air.  “They only came to such a conclusion after those two men you met the first day to ask directions to the Philby apartment reported back to their superiors that two Americans had done just that. Their only job was to do surveillance in that neighborhood.”
         David balked. “You mean that, even if though Philby had supposedly died more than ten years ago, they still plant two goons outside his apartment in case some pesky foreign reporters came snooping around?”
         Lentov laughed. “Old habits die hard in Russia. Those two men and before them another two men and before them, and so on had been standing outside the Philbys’ apartment since the day Kim and his wife were assigned to live there. It’s not that they think people like you and Miss Cavuto were coming to expose the truth about the Philbys; it’s just that the address of the apartment had long ago been known, perhaps even published. 
“Graham Greene visited them there back in the 1970s and they had other foreign visitors, up until Kim supposedly died in 1988. So you have to assume there had been—what do you call them?—curiosity seekers going to see that apartment, at least from the outside. And the two neighborhood watchdogs would shoo them away, if necessary.  Unfortunately, you and Miss Cavuto were seen by them being let into the building by Rufina Philby, and all hell broke loose. They would immediately contact Kovalyov’s office and within twenty-four hours—when you actually got into the building—they had a dossier on you.  I’m not surprised they didn’t rush up the stairs after you. After all, this is the ‘new’ Russia. Instead, Kovalyov just tried to make you think you had been on what you call a wild goose chase, and that I, Leonid Lentov, had set it all up for you. Then they tried to frighten you a little and rushed you out of Moscow the next morning. Very clean. Meanwhile, they called their friends at MI6 and told them when you were landing back at Heathrow.  And MI6, as I’m sure you can imagine, has all the same reasons for keeping Philby dead.  I assume Philby did not ask you for any money.”
         David viewed Lentov’s pat explanation with suspicion, though it made a certain amount of sense. Whatever the Russians and MI6 knew about the two Americans would have been easy enough to find out within hours. It was certainly no secret that Katie was a writer for McClure’s. But how did they know he and Katie had been to see Lentov before leaving for Moscow?
         “You said there were two possibilities,” David said. “What was the other one?”
         Lentov stamped out his cigarette under his shoe. “Ah, for that, perhaps you should ask your friend Joseph Southey.”



John Mariani, 2016




By John Mariani



        The most familiar wines of Veneto have long been Bardolino, Valpolicella and Soave, with sparkling Prosecco soaring in popularity. As such, few vintners in Veneto have garnered the attention and reputation as have colleagues in Tuscany, Piedmont and Campania. Pasqua is an estate dating back to 1925 that hopes to change such perceptions and to do it at very reasonable prices with wines of small production.
         I had dinner in New York with Alessandro Pasqua, 39, president of  Pasqua USA LLC, who has been in charge of sales and marketing for the North American market since 2016. As the youngest member of the family, Alessandro has always been keenly aware of the need to speak to the 21- to 35-year-old demographic that has been drinking less wine worldwide than their parents. He has targeted language and wine projects that meet this age group’s expectations of inclusion, sustainability and innovation, supported by investments of 6 million euros in the technical area in the past year.

All studies show that the younger generations are drifting away from wine in favor of other beverages. What are the reasons for this?

Millennials and Gen Z have very different buying habits from their parents when it comes to both products and values. This is partly due to the generational gap that has always pitted younger generations against older ones and is connected to how lifestyle habits have changed over the years. Let’s think about diet, for example, social behavior or how social media have changed our approach to daily life, including today’s buying experience. In order to explore Millennials and Gen Z’s choices and better understand the reasons behind them, earlier this year we partnered with Toluna, a market research company. Together, we’ve carried out a survey on Millennials and Gen Z in three different markets: Italy, which is our domestic market, along with two other important markets for us, the US and UK. The study has involved over 800 people in each country. The results have highlighted how sustainability is a crucial value for both these groups when buying wine, with Gen Z paying huge attention also to inclusion. Gen Z is also very keen on the intersection between art, digital art, and products they buy. They want the wine to be relevant to their other interests. Also, young generations look for brands which they can trust and which are able to offer quality and innovation. We believe that by tackling these topics, we can address young consumers and their specific demands, and make wine relevant to their daily habits.”

You refer to Pasqua’s “winemaking approach to their long-lasting intersection with the art, design and literature environment .” How have you done this in the past  and currently?

With a long history behind us dating back to 1925, we have always embraced innovation as a key element, first in the vineyard, then in the cellar, and, finally, within wine communication. We are deeply rooted in the territory and strongly projected into the future. For us winemaking is deeply intertwined with wine-reinventing and this has become even more important with the third generation now leading the winery, as represented by my brother Riccardo and me. The company's ambition is to bring all the grape growing and winemaking experience we have developed over a century of history into the future through renewed stylistic codes, in order to honor the interests of the consumers, especially when it comes to the next generation. This is why we have also presented the Pasqua: House of the Unconventional manifesto, which describes our vision to be a research laboratory and a creative hub. The aim is to combine our century-old experience and full understanding of the potential of the Valpolicella terroir with innovation in winemaking style and communication strategies deeply intertwined with the art and design scene. At Pasqua Wines we strongly believe in art and its universal creative language. Over the years we have been working with artists all over the world, from our hometown Verona to London and New York. We have collaborated with names such as UK poet Arch Hades, Havana-born artist CB Hoyo— a self-taught young wünderkind who has been creatively questioning the authenticity of some great works of art—and then the Italian collective fuse* that produces mesmerizing video projects, along with local projects such as 67 Colonne per l’Arena, which aims at preserving the Arena in Verona, and the New York Fashion Week. We want to be a space of research, exchange and dialogue, a house open to everybody, where quality and creativity are protagonists.

What was Luna Somnium by fuse* you presented at Vinitaly?

We presented a brand new wine, Fear No Dark, which belongs to our iconic Mai Dire Mai line and further focuses Pasqua Wines' commitment to innovation beyond the traditional and the familiar. Positioned in the ultra-premium segment, Fear No Dark is a high-end blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Oseleta, which will be released on the market at the end of September 2023. The grapes come from a single parcel of 5.1 hectares located in the most secluded part of the Montevegro vineyard facing north-east. For us, havingno fear of the darkalso means “being brave enoughto believe in a vineyard located in one of the shadiest, coldest, and inaccessible areas of the extraordinary Mai Dire Mai vineyard, which the family has been farming since 2010.
    To launch the wine, we wanted something that could embody all these concepts and to do so we worked with fuse*. Luna Somnium is the site-specific installation, redesigned by fuse* for the space of  Gallerie Mercatali in Verona, representing an ever-changing moon suspended inside this industrial space and suggesting a new vision of reality through the emotional power of art, urging the observer not to remain anchored to prejudices, to what is already known, but to be open to changing point of view and modifying their perception, evaluation, and judgment on reality. Luna Somnium thus becomes an invitation for free experimentation, a dream come true with human creativity, capable of combining vision and technology. An ideal similarity with the very vision of Pasqua Wines, which Fear No Dark and Mai Dire Mai embody to perfection: a lab of constant research, open dialogue and discussion, unafraid of the unexplored and the new.

Your rosato is a unique blend of several grapes. What are they and why?

11 Minutes rosé is a fine and fairly unusual blend created with the combination of two native varieties, namely Corvina and Trebbiano di Lugana, and two international grapes, Syrah and Carmenère. The wine’s name refers to the duration of the skin contact and conveys the identity of the four grapes and the Lake Garda terroir, with its distinctive minerality and freshness. The Corvina varietal, which dominates in terms of percentage, was chosen for the floral aromas as well as the significant acidity it gives to the wine. Trebbiano brings elegance and a long finish; Syrah gives fine fruit and spice notes to the glass and finally, Carmenère creates structure, ensuring stability over time. This is a fresh, enveloping rosé with an intense and complex bouquet, created to accompany spring or summer evenings and more.

Did you come up with the provocative wine label called "Hey French, You Could Have Made This But You Didn’t.” Wouldn’t that antagonize French wine drinkers?

We wanted to challenge ourselves with the production of a great Italian white, so we decided to craft a multi-vintage white, released on the market in 2019. The name of the wine refers to the fact that the French invented the idea of the cuvée but have exploited it only for sparkling wines not for still wines, which we did. The name intends to have a playful tone as it actually pays homage to a great French invention, and aims at intriguing the consumer. Hey French is definitely our bravest and boldest creation. The wine is made from different vintages and is now at its third edition, a blend of the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 harvests. The wine is made mainly from Garganega, a native grape that provides acidity and long aging potential, along with minor percentages of Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc coming from the family’s single property on Monte  Calvarina, one of Soave’s best volcanic spots characterized by eruptive basalt and located at 650 meters above sea level. The captivating label is a creation by CB Hoyo.

Tell me about your style of Amarones.

Amarone is a classic wine of Valpolicella, and we offer consumers several interpretations of this fantastic wine. Famiglia Pasqua Amarone and Mai Dire Mai Amarone represent two quality and stylistic peaks of this wine, but, while Famiglia Pasqua is a more classic interpretation of Valpolicella, namely Valpantena, with a very traditional aromatic profile and a rounder personality, Mai Dire Mai has a more vertical and incisive personality and is a wine coming from a specific area that challenges time and craftsmanship. Grapes for both wines are hand-picked and undergo the traditional drying process for three months, becoming more concentrated and losing about 25-30% of their weight. Whereas the grapes for the Famiglia Pasqua come from different vineyards we have across all Valpolicella; Mai Dire Mai bunches come from a 23-hectare single plot in Montevegro. The first vintage we produced was the Mai Dire Mai Amarone 2010, which we released in 2016. The current vintage on sale is 2013. This is an iconic wine characterized by elegance, complexity, and a unique long-lasting finish.

Tell me about the International Wine and Spirit Competition Award for the Emerging Talent in Wine Hospitality.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition’s Emerging Talent awards are an unparalleled opportunity for new and exciting voices within the industry to make their name and to build exposure and recognition for their work. We decided to sponsor the Emerging Talent in Wine Hospitality, which is awarded to professionals demonstrating a real dedication and passion within their role in the hospitality industry while disrupting the norms front of house, conveying to consumers a unique experience and redefining the way customers interact with wine—basically what we do with our productive and communication approach.

What is behind your decision to make wines from different vintages?

Multi-vintage wines express the identity of the terroir beyond the characteristics of a specific vintage. For us, terroir has always been a key concept and this was another way to highlight the great potential of our vineyards. 

Riccardo, Umberto and
Alessandro Pasqua

Tell me about your tasting room.

We want to offer consumers a unique experience when exploring our wines, be it either on our interactive website or at the winery, which is  located in Valpantena, in a building where wine and art converge, where consumers can experience wine at a different level. Among the several experiences available at the winery, we offer the “Blend Your Wine Experience” that allows consumers to become “winemaker” for one day and create their own personalized bottle of wine.”

What is the Mai Dire Mai project?

Mai Dire Mai is a project we had been nurturing for many years before it became reality. We had been looking for the perfect spot for a long time before finally finding it and the Mai Dire Mai name, which means ‘never say never,’ pays homage to long-lasting dreams and commitments such as this one. Needless to say, time and excellence play a key role in the Mai Dire Mai label, the most powerful and radical expression among the different interpretations of Valpolicella wines produced by Pasqua Wines. Let’s just think of the fact that the current vintage on sale of Mai Dire Mai Amarone is the 2013. Montevegro is a hillside vineyard located at 350 meters, which overlooks the Illasi and Mezzane valleys. The volcanic Lessini mountains nearby protect the plot from cold winds, frosts and hail. The soil is basalt and chalk, allowing for great minerality. The first vintages we produced were a Valpolicella Superiore 2012 and an Amarone 2010. The characteristic that sets them apart from other wines from the region is the fact that these wines can be considered “classics” as far as grapes used, origin and appellation, but are definitely innovative in terms of vinification technique and market approach.

Realistically speaking, how do you think you can bring more young people into drinking more wine, or any wine at all?

Innovation both in the vineyard and communication is helping us fill that gap and communicating wine as a dynamic product which can add some fizz to their daily life.

What have you seen in climate change that is challenging in Veneto?

Currently, we are seeing more irregular weather patterns, such as longer dry seasons or more intense rain. To counterbalance these, the quality of the vineyard is key. Healthy vines with deep roots can resist drought better and allow for greater quality even in more challenging years.


"Michael Cecchi-Azzolina won’t be mad if people have sex in the bathroom of his new restaurant. To be clear, he’s not promoting the idea, and he’ll kick out anybody that’s caught in the act, but in principle, the idea is fine."—Jason Diamond, "Café Loup Will be Reborn As Cecchi’s," Grub Street (7/23)





 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from

   The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) is a  novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured  favorite. The  story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring his master back from the edge of despair. 


“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw

“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.

“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.

“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.

“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.


The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury USA, $35)

Modesty forbids me to praise my own new book, but let me proudly say that it is an extensive revision of the 4th edition that appeared more than a decade ago, before locavores, molecular cuisine, modernist cuisine, the Food Network and so much more, now included. Word origins have been completely updated, as have per capita consumption and production stats. Most important, for the first time since publication in the 1980s, the book includes more than 100 biographies of Americans who have changed the way we cook, eat and drink -- from Fannie Farmer and Julia Child to Robert Mondavi and Thomas Keller.

"This book is amazing! It has entries for everything from `abalone' to `zwieback,' plus more than 500 recipes for classic American dishes and drinks."--Devra First, The Boston Globe.

"Much needed in any kitchen library."--Bon Appetit.

Now in Paperback, too--How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)  has won top prize  from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today. 

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily

"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe,  The Modern, and Maialino.



MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Gerry Dawes, Geoff Kalish. Contributing Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.


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