Tag archives for James Conaway

Wine Tasting 101

Wine-drinking’s pretty much self-explanatory. But no matter what’s in the glass, it will reveal itself best when approached systematically and when all sensory apparati are exposed to it (well, not your ears). That doesn’t mean making a spectacle of your examination, or trying to out-inhale the person next to you. It does mean thinking about…

Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art is an awesome trove, but approaching it requires planning. Most of the gallery’s art is not on display at any one time, of course, but some spectacular pieces always are, and they provide the best starting point. Here are ten must-see works recommended by curator Eric Denker.

High on Wine in New Zealand

If Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy were real it would still take place in New Zealand because no other place has so much natural enchantment. But the ring wraiths would be searching for grape clones instead of the gold ring, and Frodo would be uncorking a 2010 vintage Pinot Noir and not sweating the small stuff.

Iconic Greece: Thessaloniki

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Icons are, for the uninitiated (that means most of us), an encounter with the unknown: religious paintings on wooden panels of great antiquity. For others, they take on great spiritual significance. And there’s no better place to see them than Thessaloniki in northern Greece.

James Conaway’s long love affair with wine began with a column at the Washington Post and inspired him to pen two non-fiction books on the subject — but he eventually came to realize that fiction has advantages over journalism when dealing with “a subculture as broad as the Earth and as deep as history itself.”

Great Scotch: A Primer

The whiskey industry is no longer in precipitous decline and sales of single-malt scotch have romped for a couple of decades now. Its popularity reflects the heightened awareness of quality among drinkers of everything from tequila to cognac — and a willingness to pay for it.

You’ve heard of the Napa Valley wine auction, that stellar, expensive summer dueling among high-end wines for celebrity. But have you heard of Premiere Napa Valley, a similar vinous stand-off held every winter? Probably not, unless you trade in wine and have clients willing to put down as much as, say, $1,000 for a bottle…

Homage to Catalonia — and Miró

It’s spitting snow in Mont-roig del Camp the day I arrive, the coldest day in living memory in Catalonia. An hour and a half south of Barcelona, this one-time home of the famous painter Joan Miró is worth a day-long distraction from the sensual intensity up the coast. Joan – pronounced sho-ahn, a Catalan variation…

Oil and Water at the Corcoran

Contributing editor James Conaway is also our resident art buff, so we’ve asked him to review some of the best exhibits he visits in his travels. Today he contrasts two exhibits currently on display at the Corcoran Gallery in D.C. Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Corcoran Gallery of Art currently has two oddly complementary exhibits of special…

Selected Works at the National Gallery

Contributing editor James Conaway is also our resident art buff, so and we always appreciate his willingness to offer us a tour of some of the new exhibits he finds during his travels. National Gallery of Art in Washington: so-called “modern” art has ingeniously been made not just accessible, but practically participatory. We’re not talking…

Fall into Art in Massachusetts

Traveler Contributing Editor James Conaway is inspired by the New England’s fall foliage, and goes looking for other inspirational art at two local museums. The foliage factor’s just beginning to radically alter the New England landscape. I wanted something thoughtful to add to the palette of fiery reds and yellows of just-turning maples as I…

What’s New at the National Gallery

Contributing editor Jim Conaway is an admitted art buff, so he’s offered to begin reviewing the many exhibits in D.C.’s galleries. Today he discusses two new shows at the National Gallery of Art. The National Gallery of Art is possibly the best deal for travelers in Washington, D.C.  It has one of the world’s great,…

Contributing Writer Jim Conaway gets the dirt, literally, on Napa Valley’s organic wine business. The barn is old, red, and lovely, topped by a droll weathervane – an elongated frog in mid-jump – and surrounded by a riot of blooming mustard and other chest-high nitrogen-fixers. This dense, nutritious jungle overruns the nearby vineyard and nearly…