Matching Wine with Asian Food: New Frontiers in Taste
.  My colleague Edwin Soon and I wrote this book out of our common love of cooking and our shared passion for wine. In it we have distilled our experience into an uncomplicated method for matching wines from around the world with the flavours of Asian cuisines. The book contains fifty recipes from China, India, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia, along with ample wine suggestions.

How this book came to be:

This book sprang from some snapshots of vineyard dogs and was nurtured at swimming pools in Italy and Singapore. I met Edwin Soon on a journalists trip.  He had a camera and I did not.  I love dogs of all shapes and sizes and on this particular trip we saw a pack of fine, sweet-faced animals. Edwin took some photos and promised to send them to me once he was back in Singapore. Frankly, I did not expect to see these photos because promises made on journalist trips are seldom kept. However, a few weeks later a large envelop arrived from Singapore. I wrote Edwin a “thank you” email.  Soon we were regularly exchanging emails. Naturally we began to write to each other about matching food and wine. We both kept coming across the notion that Sauvignon Blanc made an ideal partner for Thai food, an idea with which neither of us agreed. We felt that a less herbaceous wine was called for and settled on the floral and slightly mineral notes of a top-flight Soave. Every snippet of wine pairing lore that struck us as inappropriate inspired a fresh volley of e-mails. From hypothetical musings we began to test our theories in Singapore and Verona and points in-between.  We would meet up periodically on journalist trips and, by the pool while our colleagues were resting, we began developing our ideas on pairing Asian food with wines from around the world. So, dear readers, this book exists because I wanted a picture of a dog!

Wines of Italy. I tasted and researched the history of over 300 Italian grape varieties for this book. I wrote it for wine lovers and those who work with Italian wines. I also include recipes, which can enhance the pleasure offered by wines made by these unusual varieties. You will find all the old favourites – such as Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio,  Primitivo and Nero d’Avola –  as well as varieties with potential – such as Garganega, Timoraso and Uva di Troia.

How this book came to be:

I have worked with Italian wines for some twenty-five years, often taking trips to various parts of the country to visit producers and taste their wines. Invariably in the late 1990s and early years of the new century producers would present me with wines made from Cabernet and Chardonnay grapes. This disturbed me deeply as I knew of Italy’s patrimony of unique varieties. I would always ask the producers if they had anything else to show me and slyly they would pull out other bottles of wines made from local grapes. When I asked why they had not presented these first, producers replied that American, English and European wine buyers had told them that “international” consumers would not be able to understand the flavors and fragrances of these varieties and therefore would not buy them. This, made my blood boil. My feeling was that consumers would appreciate these wines if information about them was presented properly. So I decided to write a book about indigenous grape varieties that would help sommeliers, wine buyers and consumers make informed decisions.

Bacchus at Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes and Victorian Wine Lore. The great friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson began with a chance meeting in a bar. Bearing this in mind, I decided to write about every wine, spirit and beer mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes stories. This developed into a study of Victorian drinking habits, including information about the best vintages (with tasting notes written in an age when people were not afraid to express their exuberant enthusiasm or icy contempt), details on drinks advertising, a look at a Victorian cellar and medicinal uses of wine, along with a fine compendium of popular Victorian and Edwardian cocktail recipes. Of course, there are chapters comparing the art of wine tasting with the art of detection, and the way Sherlock Holmes’s knowledge of wine led to the resolution of criminal investigations, as well as an essay on what drives wine merchants to crime (their motives have not changed).

Baker Street Irregulars on Bacchus at Baker Street:

“Patricia Guy discusses the wine, beer and spirits, and the barkeepers and wine-merchants found in the Canon with flavor and humor.” Peter Blau, BSI, ASH

“Ms. Guy speculates with expert authority setting the references firmly in their historical context. She goes intofascinating detail…” Roger Joohnson, BSI

How this book came to be:

Several years ago I gave a speech during the Sherlock Holmes birthday celebration held in New York City. I choose to speak about the kinds of wines and spirits Dr. Watson would have administered. At the end of the event I was stopped by a platoon of ladies and gentlemen who asked if I were writing a book about this subject. After thirty minutes of reflection, I said to myself: Why not!  And thus Bacchus at Baker Street, my first book, was born. I recently reworked the manuscript, adding new chapters, more Victorian cocktail recipes and updating the information on contemporary wine. I will always love this little book. I am happy to say that it is now available on

Katherine Karlson and I edited and contributed to Ladies, Ladies! The Women in the Life of Sherlock Holmes. These ladies – whether love interests, femmes fatales, or independent career women – faithfully mirror the changes and challenges real women faced in the nearly half century during which the famous detective stories were published.  This illuminating and entertaining anthology of original essays, poems, classic British music hall ditties, and insightful pockets of history examine topics ranging from libations to libido, perfumes to prejudice, in the context of the Sherlock Holmes stories.  It will delight all explorers through the cultural landscape of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

How this book came to be:

For nine years I lived in New York City. My first job there was as manager of the Mysterious  Bookshop. Not surprisingly all my closest friends in the city then as now are mystery book readers. I became an Adventuress of Sherlock Holmes and, later when I started to travel and then live in Europe, I kept up my friendships via post and the occasional visits to the city for the Sherlock Holmes Birthday Bash in January. I moved to Verona in 1991 and while I love living in Italy, it is safe to say that Sherlockians are scarce. I began to miss the camaraderie of mystery buffs and the Adventuresses in particular. So I devised a plan that would keep up our contacts.  Why not, I thought, compile a book about the women in the Sherlock Holmes stories and invite all my pals to contribute. Everyone I asked happily jumped on board! And that is how Ladies was born.

Speaking of Wine is written in English (with a precise Italian translation on every facing page).  It includes terms used in viticulture, winemaking, tasting and business. It is designed as a language aid for Italians and English-speakers who work with Italian wines.

How this book came to be:

I was asked to join Le Donne del Vino, an organization made up of women who work with Italian wine either as winemakers, producers, marketers or journalists. I was whining one afternoon to the president of the Veneto chapter, Nadia Zenato, about how I missed teaching tasting. I am good at it and it gives great pleasure to help people hone their abilities. She promptly suggested that I do a “Wine Tasting in English” course for Italian wine producers and restaurateurs. I repeated this course several times, each time adding to my list of Italian-English words about tasting, viticulture, winemaking and sales. Often during Vinitaly, the annual wine trade fair held in Verona, I would be approached by former students who would ask for another photocopy of my wine vocabulary because, they said, their importers from the United States and England had taken (some used the word “stolen”) their copy of my text.  At a tasting in Piedmont I met two English teachers and we teamed up to make this useful little book.

Great Wine Tours of the World is a glossy, photo-filled book that takes a look at famous wine zones in Europe and the New World.

How this book came to be:

There is no story of creative serendipity here. I merely opened my email one day to find a request from the editor to do the Italian chapters for this book.  Writing about Tuscany and the Veneto is so easy for me.





Other books which I wrote or contributed to:

JULY 2011

Sparkling wine, please
It is hot and humid. In this kind of weather my favorite beverages are in order of preference: sparkling water with a slice of lime, unsweetened ice tea with a slice of lemon, ice-cold beer or….good sparkling wine.

Here are the sparkling wines that have buoyed me through this hotisimo and humidisimo month.
Franciacorta Rose Brut 2006 from Villa (fruity and elegant), Equipe5 Brut Riserva (fresh and easy), Guistino B. 2010 from Ruggeri (juicy fruit and sprightly), Zamuner Rosé (crisp, with a fine weave of berry fruit).

Amarone fans can leap down to the July 11&12 entry. I was fortunate enough to be able to taste 144 Amarones blind over a 2 day period.

July 26 A San Gio Idle at Le Vigne di San Pietro
Carlo Nerozzi and his business partner Giovanni Boscaini host the San Gio Video Festival ( jury and participants at their immaculate Le Vigne di San Pietro estate (

Carlo Nerozzi prepares to dish up the eggplant parmigiano
Giovanni Boscaini

2010 Custoza (made from a blend of Garganega, Trebbiano, Cotese, Tocai and Incrocio Manzoni) Bright. Very fresh and fruity. Apricot and pear flavors unfold on the palate. Pure and supple. The flavors and fragrances are still firm and bright after 15 minutes in the glass. This is excellent wine.

Rita and her lover Bertino
Haruna Kawanishi posing

July 25 San Gio invades Accordini’s new winery

Ugo ponders while Tiziano Accordini discusses indiginous varieties

For the past 17 years our pal Ugo has organized the San Gio Video Festival. Jurors and film types from around the world – Japan, China, The US, France, Spain, Iran…and the list goes on – descend on Verona from the 23 to the 27th of July. Ugo always arranges morning visits to vineyards for the visitors. Today we are off to visit Accordini. I have long been a fan of this estate’s wines and it is a pleasure to see their new hilltop winery.

2010 Valpolicella Classico Vibrant ruby. Fresh, fruity. Almost grapefruit at first. Bright cherry flavor that expands with a bit of time in the glass. Very clean and appealing on the palate.

2008 Valpolicella Classico Ripasso “Acinatico” Deep ruby color. The nose is immediately appealing, with clear cherry fruit fragrances. Mouth-filling an lively.

The 2007 Amarone is deeply colored ruby. Ripe cherry notes dance across the palate, a cinnamon spiciness infuses the flavor.

July 15 More Wine…107 to be exact!!

Greta & Bernie

Bernardo picks me up in his little convertible, which to me looks like something Malibu Barbie would drive, and we head out to Valpolicella for round three for me and round six for Bernie in the tasting marathon.

Today we do whites, Veneto IGTs made from indigenous varieties and sweet wines. Again all the wines are tasted blind.

The high scorers (90) for me are the following:
Teroldego 2007 and Calto 2005, both produced by Marion and Palazzo della Torre 2008 and La Poja 2007, both produced by Allegrini

For sweet wines, I gave my highest score (90) to 2007 Recioto de Valpolicella from Santa Sofia.

July 13 My Cesar Milan Moment
I am walking home from the vegetable market. I stop to chat with a woman and her dog Coco (well, I chat mostly with the dog.) The woman asks me what to do about her little (10 pound), nervous dog, who barks every time another dog passes the windows of her office. I tell her to say no in a firm way and to place her hand on the dog’s shoulders/neck – nothing aggressive, just enough to get his attention and communicate that she are in charge.

“So, it is not a good idea to hit the dog,” she says.

“No,” I say, shocked at the very idea of hitting a creature that weighs less than my handbag. “All you will do is create a dog who is afraid of you. Image how sad life would be if you were afraid of your master,” I say.

There is a song in my heart when I leave this woman: (if she follows my advice) I will have saved a doggie from a series of useless whacks!

July 11 & 12 The Big Amarone Tasting 144 – yes 144 – wines!

All the wines are tasted blind (this means that the tasters are unaware of the wine’s identity) in an air conditioned room in the Valpolicella Consorzio office. Greta, who works for the Consorzio, has bagged and tagged all the bottles. (For those not used to large-scale blind tastings, the preceding phrase refers to slipping all the bottles into cloth bags with draw string tops and attaching a numbered tag.).

There are six tasters. The tasting has been organized by Bernardo Pasquali for the Vini Buoni d’Italia Guide. The guide only lists wines that are made from indigenous varieties.

My absolute favorite Amarone in this blind tasting (the one that got my highest score ever – 95 ++) was 2006 Amarone “Casa dei Beppe” from Viviani.

I have long been a fan of Viviani wines and it was wonderful to have my convictions confirmed within the context of a blind tasting that included 144 wines. Hip, hip, hip hooray!

Second: Marion (score: 93) I was also delighted that my esteem for the wines of Marion were confirmed in this blind tasting.

Other producers who presented a wine that scored 90 on my list include: Venturini, Ca’La Bionda, Speri, Tommasi, Guerrieri Rizzardi, Villa Bella, Brunelli, Tenuta Sant Antonio (with “Campo degli Giglio”), Musella, Castellani, Villa Monteleone, Accordini, Bertani, Corteforte, Cantina de Negrar, Zeni, and Monte Tondo. I was completely surprised by this last entry because I always think of Monte Tondo as a producer of first-rate Soaves. So I was doubly pleased to see that the estate’s Amarone was also of very high quality.

Those producers who had a wine with a score between 85 and 89: Masi, Begali, Nicolis, Fabiano, Aldegheri, Cecelia Beretta, Corte Forte, Ruffo and Zardini.

Photos just in

It is all very romantic living in a 15th century palazzo in the centro storico of Verona. However, this is not the best location for wireless internet service. There are days when the only way to get a firm connection is to sit on a crate in a certain corner of the back balcony. (I do not believe the crate is essential in this process but location certainly is.) I have decided to blame the random placement of the photos in this month’s diary on the iffy connection.
At any rate, two very nice images arrived today and I thought they should be added to the June Diary. The first is Burt Bacharach and Franco Ziliani, taken at the concert organized by Berlucchi. The second is from Lorenza Vitali, of Witaly ( It is a photo of me and Sra. Pezzi, owner of Fattoria Paradiso.

These Photos Just In

It is all very romantic living in a 15th century palazzo in the centro storico of Verona. However, this is not the best location for wireless internet service. There are days when the only way to get a firm connection is to sit on a crate in a certain corner of the back balcony. (I do not believe the crate is essential in this process but location certainly is.) I have decided to blame the random placement of the photos in June diary on the iffy connection.

At any rate, two very nice images arrived today and I thought they should be added to the June Diary. The first is from Lorenza Vitali, of Witaly ( It is a photo of me and Sra. Pezzi, owner of Fattoria Paradiso and the other is Burt Bacharach and Franco Ziliani, taken at the concert organized by Berlucchi.