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Amazon Prime Video has debuted a terrific new three-part documentary series, “It Stars With Wine,” that travels to Uruguay, Argentina and California’s Mendocino County to profile winemakers, chefs and the cultures that have produced these areas’ unique approach to food and wine.

One thing I can pretty much guarantee you is that in addition to making you hungry, “It Starts With Wine” will have you wondering how to score an invitation to hang with the people it visits. In Uruguay, the filmmakers visit chef and restaurateur Francis Mallmann and winemaker Alberto Antonini, at that country’s Bodega Garzon winery. As they tell us about their passions and beliefs, we see them cooking with fire - all sorts of fire - on an open beach and eating grilled fish with local Albariño (one of my favorite wines) and grilled steak with Tanna (which is a wine about which I know almost nothing, though I plan to change that).

In the second episode, we’re introduced to Laura Catena, who works as a doctor in the US in addition to her winemaking duties in Argentina - she compares the careful care she takes of her patients with the way she feels about the soil in her vineyard. In her part of Argentina, the Adrianna Vineyards are at a high altitude and produces “single parcel wine” vintages and styles that come from a small piece of land. And she’s joined for the piece by Deborah de Corral, a chef and musician who makes a meal of food that only comes from the land where they are standing. Remarkable.

And finally, the third episode takes us to California for a passionate - and persuasive - discussion of biodynamic farming and viticulture, conducted by Joseph Brinkley, vineyard director at Bonterra Organic Vineyards, and chef Garrett Sathre - as they surf and cook and drink wine and eat what look like the best fish tacos and hamburgers ever made.

While the title of the series is “It Starts With Wine,” the argument really is that it all starts with terroir - a deep respect for the earth and the bounty it can provide us as long as we take care of it, nurture it, and believe in both its fragility and robustness.

Good stuff.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.


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