New Vino Gift Card

November 29, 2006

It’s that time of year again and there’s no better gift than the Vino Gift Card — whether for family, friends, or corporate gifts.

The Vino Gift Card is a pre-loaded Vino charge card and can be used for any and all of our more than 500 wines.

For more information or to order, please email contact@vinosite.com or call 800-965-VINO (8466).

Fri. & Sat., December 1-2
Gift Pack Tasting
FREE Fri., 5:30-7:30 – Sat. 4:30-6:30 @ Vino
This week’s tastings will feature a variety of wines from the Vino Gift Packs. Please stop by and taste the wines (and maybe even a Negroni!) with us.

Click here to read more about the Vino gift packs.

Please note that the wines will vary on both days.

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Sangiovese: Un’uva tutta toscana

Vino’s Wine Director Charles Scicolone is traveling in Italy for the next few weeks. Please check back soon for his Wine Opinion.

In 1839, when Count Giorgio Gallesio published the last installment of his landmark work La pomona italiana, a survey of Italy’s fruit trees and fruits, he had devoted an entire chapter to Uva Sangioveto. He was referring to a variety that we know today as Sangiovese, a grape used in some of Italy’s greatest and most collectible wines. (See his drawing of “Uva Sangioveto” right.)

“E’ un’uva tutta toscana,” wrote the Count. Sangioveto “is an utterly Tuscan grape. It is perhaps the most precious of grapes in this country, a land so dear to Bacchus.”

Today, Sangiovese is the most widely cultivated grape variety in Italy: more than 11% of the country’s acreage under vine is planted with Sangiovese and more than 30 DOCs use Sangiovese as the primary variety. The most famous appellations are, of course, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano (Toscana), and Sangiovese di Romagna (Emilia-Romagna). But Sangiovese is also grown as far north as the Veneto, where it is used in Bardolino, and in the Marche along the Adriatic, where it is the primary grape used in Rosso Piceno. It is even planted — a surprise to many — in certain parts of Southern Italy.

The grape’s name most likely derives from a Tuscan dialectal term, sangiovannina, meaning a vine that buds early (perhaps akin to the Italian giovane or “young”). Others believe that the name refers to the giogo or “yoke” formed by the Apennine mountain range that separates Toscana and Romagna to the north. A more recent theory proposes the ancient Etruscan sanisve, a term that meant “father” or “ancestor,” possibly a reference to the “wine of the father” or master. (The folkloric etymology, sangue di Giove, or “blood of Jove,” has long been dismissed by Italian scholars.)

The earliest known mention of Sangiovese dates back to the late sixteenth century when agriculturist Gianvettorio Soderini praised Sangiogheto for its ability to produce copious amounts of wine. But it was not until the early eighteenth century that Sangiovese clearly emerged as a grape use for the production of superior wine. In a 1716 edict, Grand Duke of Toscana Cosimo III de’ Medici created Italy’s first officially sanctioned appellations, Carmignano and Chianti, among others. (Many believe erroneously that Cosimo was trying to protect winemakers in Chianti from imitators but the exact opposite is true: he owned vineyards in Carmignano.)

By the mid-nineteenth century, Italy’s Iron Baron, Bettino Ricasoli had already begun to make long-lived Sangiovese in Chianti Classico. And by the end of that century, the first Brunello di Montalcino would be produced, an appellation considered by many to be one of Sangiovese’s finest expressions.

For those of you who read our weekly newsletter, you know that Sangiovese is one of our wine director Charles Scicolone’s favorite grapes. He has often praised Sangiovese as the ideal “food wine”: while it makes for a tannic wine, it also has a bright acidity, thus making it perfect for a wide variety of foods. Charles also likes to remind us that, when grown at proper altitudes and vinified in the traditional manner, Sangiovese can age beautifully.

A few years ago, while in Chianti Rufina, Charles and owner Nicola Marzovilla discovered some traditional-style, barrel-aged, declassified Chianti from the 1979, 82, and 88 vintages. The Villa di Vetrice estate bottled the wine for us and we now sell it under their Grato Grati label. The 1988 paired perfectly with some wild boar stew that Chef Patrick Nuti served with creamy polenta the other night at I Trulli.

Whether you call it Sangioveto or Sangiovese, Sangiovese Grosso or Sangiovese Piccolo, Brunello or Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino or Uva Tosca (the different names and clones used across Italy are seemingly endless), there’s no denying that this grape has conquered the world. Just think of how many producers of Brunello appear in the myriad end-of-the-year “Top 100 Wine” lists. Italy had not yet been unified when Count Gallesio wrote his book (unification would come only a few short years after the last installment of his survey was published). If he were to revisit his work today, perhaps he would write: “Uva Sangioveto… un’uva tutta italiana.”

The wines below represent just a handful of the appellations where Sangiovese is used as the primary grape.

POGGIO ALLE GHIANDE ROSSO 2003 CASTELLO DELLE REGINE (UMBRIA)
$12.00

ROSSO PICENO MALVANO 2002 ENZO MECELLA (MARCHE)
$14.00

CHIANTI RUFINA RISERVA 2001 TRAVIGNOLI (TOSCANA)
$18.00

CHIANTI RUFINA RISERVA 1990 VILLA DI VETRICE (TOSCANA)
$34.00

CARMIGNANO RISERVA 1996 VILLA DI CAPEZZANA (TOSCANA)
$46.00

GRATO GRATI VECCHIA ANNATA 1979 VILLA DI VETRICE (TOSCANA)
$50.00

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2000 LA FORNACE (TOSCANA)
$60.00

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Featured Gift Pack: Nebbiolo 1996

The 1996 vintage in Piemonte is widely considered to be one of the greatest of the last century (it was first in a string of remarkable harvests, 1996-2001). Early on, devotees of Langhe wines hailed it as a vintage that would last upwards of 20 and 30 years.

This holiday season marks ten years that these wines have aged in cask and bottle and they are already beginning to show their power and elegance.

We have chosen three of our favorite expressions of Nebbiolo:

Barbaresco Ovello, one of the most famous crus produced by Produttori del Barbaresco; Barolo Massara, a single-vineyard Barolo from Castello di Verduno; and Ghemme Collis Carellae by Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, another single-vineyard wine from the lesser known but equally powerful Ghemme appellation.

While these wines are beginning to show well, they will only continue to evolve (we recommend cellaring for 5-10 years).

$135.00

includes gift box

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Passum Grappa in New York Magazine

November 22, 2006

The staff at Vino was very pleased to see Passum Grappa (pictured right) in last week’s edition of New York.

“If you’re stuffed,” wrote Rima Suqi in “Thanksgiving without Tears” (“Best Bets”), “a post-dinner snifter of a digestivo will help quiet your stomach… Passum Grappa.”

Passum Grappa is distilled using the pomace (skins and pulp) of grapes that have been pressed to make Passum, widely regarded as the top dried-grape Barbera d’Asti (Piemonte). Represented by the artist’s “p” on the bottle, passum was the Romans’ word for passiti or dried-grape wines. After the Barbera grapes are harvested for the wine, they are dried for up to three months before pressing. Their concentrated sugar makes for a deeply colored and intensely flavored sweet wine, high in alcohol and opulent in the mouth. After a second pressing, the sugar-rich pomace is transformed into a sublime distillate, subtly yet distinctly fragranced, complex in the mouth with multiple layers of flavor.

Winemaker Maria Borio of the Cascina Castle’t winery (Asti, Piedmont) is one of the Italian wine world’s leading women producers. A vibrant, colorful woman, she is known for her creative artist labels and her superior wines, often cited among the best Barbera to hail from Asti.

To purchase Passum Grappa from Cascina Castle’t, please click here.

Fri. & Sat., November 24-25
Gift Pack Tasting
FREE Fri., 5:30-7:30 – Sat. 4:30-6:30 @ Vino
This week’s tastings will feature a variety of wines from the Vino Gift Packs. Please stop by and taste the wines (and maybe even a Negroni!) with us.

Click here to read more about the Vino gift packs.

Please note that the wines will vary on both days.

* * *

Amarone: Recioto That Got Away

Vino’s Wine Director Charles Scicolone is traveling in Italy for the next few weeks, tasting wines and meeting with some of our favorite producers. Please check back soon for his Wine Opinion.

Although one of Italy’s most coveted and collected wines, Amarone della Valpolicella remains one of the world’s most misunderstood. Made primarily from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes (indigenous varieties grown exclusively in the Veneto), Amarone — a blended, dried-grape wine made in a dry style — represents a unique winemaking tradition in the panorama of Italian viticulture.

Before pressing, the grapes are dried on straw mats (see dried Corvina grapes pictured right). The winemaker then vinifies each variety separately before tasting and blending according to vintage characteristics to evoke the estate’s style.

Amarone is a remarkably powerful and long-lived wine and has been known to age for upwards of 40 and 50 years if made properly and cellared well. It is traditionally paired with hearty stews (in particular the famous pastissada, a horse-meal stew, a specialty of Verona).

The word Amarone comes from the Italian amaro or “bitter.” The first known reference to the wine as “Amarone” dates back to the 1930s (Amarone appears on an invoice for wine sent to a purchaser in Udine in Friuli by the Cantina Sociale della Valpolicella). Before its appearance, Recioto, made similarly to Amarone but in a sweet style, was the top wine of Valpolicella.

The term recioto comes from recia, Venetian dialect for “ear” (orecchia in Italian): the grapes used to make Recioto are taken from the “ears” of the vine, in other words, the top bunches that enjoy the best exposure and become ripe sooner than the others. For Recioto, fermentation is stopped so that much of the sugar remains and a sweet wine is created.

Legend holds that an absent-minded winemaker in Valpolicella neglected his Recioto’s fermentation, forgetting to stop it (in the olden days, winemakers stopped fermentation by opening the cellar doors and allowing cool air to enter). When he realized what had happened, fermentation had completed, all of the sugar had been consumed by the yeast, and a dry wine had been created. Thus was born what was called a recioto scapa’ in Venetian dialect (recioto scappato in Italian): the recioto that “got away.”

A more plausible explanation of Amarone’s origins points to the fact that during Italy’s period of industrialization in the 1920s and 30s, Italian tastes began to change and Italian winemaking styles began to emulate the drier style of Bordeaux and Burgundy where vintners had been making dry wines for centuries. Most Italian wine was vinified as sweet wine until that time because the wine was easier to conserve. Count Camillo Cavour in Barolo and Baron Bettino Ricasoli in Chianti (united Italy’s first two prime ministers, both winemakers!) were among the first to begin making wines inspired by the dry French style as early as the mid-nineteenth century.

Whether the result of a recioto that “got away” or a natural evolution of a local wine tradition, Amarone stands apart as one of the world’s greatest wines. Its power is unique and its ability to age exceptional. As Vino’s Wine Director Charles Scicolone has pointed out on numerous occasions, Amarone is one of the best wines to pair with holiday meals. Its flavors are so intense that they stand up to “all the trimmings,” yet its tannin and structure so rich that it pairs gorgeously with the heavy main courses of wintry celebrations.

The following wines are just some of Vino’s current selection of Amarone.

AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2001 SANT’EUGENIO (GALLI)
(click here to order)
$42.00

Capitel Sant’Eugenio is a label created for this country by the famed Galli family, who produces traditional-style Amarone that is never aged in barrique.

AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2000 BEGALI
(click here to order)
$48.00

Begali is a small, family-run, artisanal producer. Its excellent wines are done in a moderately modern style, bringing out the classic characterstics of Amarone with spicy overtones.

AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2000 ALLEGRINI
(click here to order)
$65.00

Adored by American wine writers, Allegrini is the undisputed king of modern-style Amarone. Its wines are luscious, opulent, and simply delicious.

AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA MARANO 1993 BOSCAINI
(click here to order)
$65.00

As is made clear by this flight of single-vineyard Amarone stretching back to 1988 (see below), Boscaini is a traditional-style producer that makes long-lived wines. These wines are a classic example of how Amarone achieves a lightness in mouthfeel while retaining its powerful flavors. Look for subtle secondary and teritiary notes in the 1990 and 1988.

AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA MARANO 1990 BOSCAINI
(click here to order)
$75.00

AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA MARANO 1988 BOSCAINI
(click here to order)
$78.00


Basadone in the Times

November 16, 2006

We were thrilled to see that Basadone (one of our favorite wines, pictured right) was Frank Bruni’s pick for Thanksgiving in yesterday’s Dining section.

“This lithe, peppery wine hit the spot,” wrote Eric Asimov. “Distinctive and easy to drink, with unusual flavors of earth, pepper and spice that go well with food.”

The Times tasting panel gave the Basadone 3 out of 4 stars (“Excellent”).

Please note that the price reported by the Times was incorrect: the price is, and has always been, $22.00. Of course, a 10% discount applies for purchases of 12 or more bottles.

In other news…

This afternoon, the staff at Vino is very proud to host winemakers from Collemattoni and Fornace, both producers of some of the best Brunello di Montalcino to emerge from the appellation in recent memory. Today, they will be pouring their entire line of wines, including their Rosso di Montalcino (seven wines total).

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet and chat with the winemakers and to taste their wines with them.

WHEN: TODAY, 5:30-7:30
WHERE: VINO (121 East 27th St. between Park and Lex.)
212-725-6516
events@vinosite.com

And for those of you who still need wines for the holiday next week, don’t forget that we’ll be pouring our Holiday Wine selection tomorrow (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30). Receive a 10% discount if you buy all six (online or in-store).

We hope to see you soon!

For information on these or any other events at Vino and/or I Trulli, please email events@vinosite.com.


Holidays with the Scicolones

November 14, 2006

Upcoming Events

Thurs., November 16
Brunello di Montalcino: Fornace and Collemattoni
Meet winemakers Marcello Bucci (Collemattoni) and Fabio Giannetti (Fornace), taste and discuss their wines.
FREE Thurs., 5:30-7:30 @ Vino

Fri. & Sat., November 17-18
Holiday Wines Tasting
FREE Fri., 5:30-7:30 – Sat. 4:30-6:30 @ Vino
BUY ALL SIX WINES AND RECEIVE A 10% DISCOUNT
www.VinoSiteShop.com.

See the Tasting Notes below for more information on the sale.

To register, please email events@vinosite.com

* * *

This Week’s Tasting: Vino Holiday Six Pack

This week’s tastings feature our Holiday Wine selection: receive 10% off this week at www.VinoSiteShop.com when you buy all six in the Vino Holiday Six Pack.

This Friday (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30)
121 East 27th St.
between Park and Lex.
FREE
800-965-VINO
contact@vinosite.com

Regularly $193
$173.70 sale price (limited availability)

The Vino Holiday Gift pack includes a wine for every course in the holiday meal:

Traditional Method Sparkling Erbaluce ’01 Orsolani (sparkling white, Piemonte) to greet your guests as they arrive…

Tocai Friulano ’04 Ronco dei Tassi (white, Friuli) and Primitivo ’04 Conti Zecca (red, Puglia) for antipasti…

Litina Single-Vineyard Barbera ’03 Cascina Castle’t (red, Piemonte) for first courses…

Amarone della Valpolicella 01 Capitel Sant’Eugenio (Veneto) for the main dish and trimmings…

and Vin Santo 1994 Travignoli (Toscana) for dessert.

Ideally serves 5-6 persons (one glass of each wine per person).

CALUSO SPUMANTE 2001 ORSOLANI
$42.00

The Caluso Spumante Cuvée Tradizione is one of the most interesting Italian wines to reach North America in recent memory. Current owner Gian Luigi Orsolani’s father was the first winemaker to vinify Erbaluce as a sparkling, traditional-method wine in the late 1960s. Today, Gian Luigi is the president and founder of the assocation of Italian Producers of Sparkling Wines Made from Indigenous Grape Varieties. This traditional- or classic-method wine is double fermented in bottle like the wines of Champagne.

TOCAI FRIULANO 2004 RONCO DEI TASSI
$19.00

Owner and winemaker of Ronco dei Tassi, Fabio Coser, was so pleased with the 2004 vintage that he decided not only to make his award-winning Collio “Fosarin” (the 2006 Tre Bicchieri “White Wine of the Year”) but he also made a series of mono-varietal or single-grape wines. This Tocai Friulano, an indigenous grape of Friuli, is a classic expression of both the variety and the Collio appellation.

PRIMITIVO 2004 CONTI ZECCA
$16.00

There’s no doubt: the Primitivo grape is closely related to the famed Zinfandel grape of California. But which came first? We’ll probably never know (most agree that Primitivo probably originated in the Mediterranean and that a “related” grape was later introduced in America where it was popularized as Zinfandel). The name primitivo means literally “primitive” or “precocious” and refers to the grape’s early ripening. However long the conundrum of Zinfandel and Primitivo may endure, one thing is clear: the Conti Zecca winery, unlike many of its Californian counterparts, does not oak their Primitivo and as a result you taste the grape and not the wood.

LITINA (SINGLE-VINEYARD) BARBERA D’ASTI 2003 CASCINA CASTLE’T
$23.00

Litina was the name of winemaker Maria Borio’s great aunt, whose dowry included the vineyards in Asti where the grapes are still grown for this wine, the winery’s flagship Barbera (a small plot only 1.5 hectares in size that still bears Litina’s name). The name is also reference to the fact that women have worked and played key roles in the winery since Maria took over its operation in the 1970s. Extended aging in cask and in bottle gives this wine the qualification superiore or “superior,” denoting the increased alcohol achieved by the winemaker.

AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2001 SANT’EUGENIO (GALLI)
$48.00

Arnaldo and Marta Galli of Capitel Sant’Eugenio are firm believers in terroir and tradition. For them, a wine is much more than fermented grape juice: it is a result of the land where those grapes are grown and the people who grow them. The estate-owned vineyards for their Amarone were planted in 1969 when they launched their now historic winery. They use only indigenous, naturally occurring yeasts for fermentation and they age the wine in traditional large oak barrels. Wine Director Charles Scicolone credits his discovery of Amarone “as the perfect Thanksgiving wine” to famed wine writer Sheldon Wasserman (see Charles’ Wine Opinion below).

VIN SANTO 1994 TRAVIGNOLI
$45.00

There are numerous explanations for the origin of the name vin santo or “holy wine”: some believe that a 16th-century Greek humanist who compared it to the wines of Xantos (translated erroneously into Italian as santo) when he tasted it on a visit to Florence; others believe that the name derives from the fact that the wine undergoes a “miraculous” second fermentation in the spring just as Christ rose from the tomb. One thing is certain: Vin Santo represents an entirely distinct tradition of winemaking that is unique to Toscana: while Vin Santo can now be called a passito, dried-grape wines made outside of Toscana (passiti) cannot be labeled “vin santo,” regardless of how they are made.

Limited supply!!!

Please note that this offer cannot be combined with any other offer or discount.

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Wine Opinion: Holidays at the Scicolone Residence

When I was younger, we would have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother was from Palermo and would make the same meal every Thanksgiving. We would start with antipasti and then go to her baked maccheroni. This was baked in a pan like lasagne with the addition of peas. Afterward, we would have Turkey with all the trimmings and finish the meal with dessert, usually cannoli. After that, we would all sit around the table and eat nuts and raw fennel and play Italian card games. The wine at the time was simple jug wine and no one really paid much attention to it. The wine was on the table the same way that the bread was on the table: you took the wine when you wanted to and you took the bread when you wanted to.

Looking back, I miss those days with my grandmother and my thirty-or-so relatives. I miss the food but do not miss the wine.

Now, for Thanksgiving, it becomes a multi-wine affair, pairing wine with every course. The wine now has a prominent place on the table. To begin, Michele makes an appetizer consisting of crostini, olives, nuts, and fennel. This we serve with a sparkling white wine like the Orsolani Spumante that we’ll be tasting this week at Vino. The second course would, of course, be pasta: either spaghetti or ravioli. This we usually serve with a Barbera, like the Litina by Cascina Castle’t, another wine featured in this week’s tasting. If Michele does the turkey with all the trimmings (potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc. etc.), we do an Amarone. This big wine, in my opinion, stands up to all the different flavors on the table. This week at the tasting, we’ll be opening the Capitel Sant’Eugenio Amarone, a wine made in the traditional style, with no barrique whatsoever. Unfortunately or fortunately, we do not play cards anymore after dinner but we sit around eating cannoli, cantucci, and nuts, and we drink Vin Santo, which to me is the perfect end to a meal (unless one wants grappa). The 1994 Vin Santo from Travignoli that we’re pouring this Friday and Saturday is one of my favorites.

A few years ago, Michele came back from a trip to Sicilia. She had been invited to a woman’s home and the woman served turkey. What made this unusual was that the turkey was stuffed with pasta. Michele asked the woman if this was a traditional Sicilian recipe and she said, “You’re in Palermo, aren’t you?” With this, the Conti Zecca Primitivo is a very good choice, not with the turkey but with the pasta, which is eaten separately. The Amarone still goes with the turkey.

One year, many years ago, we had Thanksgiving with the late Sheldon Wasserman, an expert on Italian wine and author of the important book Italy’s Noble Red Wines (see the frontespiece pictured above right). Sheldon was the one who introduced me to the idea of Amarone with turkey. He said that it was the only wine that could really stand up to turkey with all the trimmings. Also, he said something very interesting: “If you serve the turkey alone, without all the trimmings, the Amarone is much too powerful.” Valpolicella would probably then work much better.

This year, however, I will be in Puglia during Thanksgiving with a number of journalists and wine writers. Some of them are good friends and we often spend Thanksgiving together here in New York. Maybe we will get the Italians to serve us turkey.
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

Look for Charles’ dispatches from Italy in upcoming issues of the Vino newsletter.

Charles would love to hear from you: please email him at charles@vinosite.com.


Planeta High Fashion

November 7, 2006

Francesca Planeta featured in Times fashion magazine

We, the ever-fashion-conscious at Vino, were thrilled to see Francesca Planeta (pictured right) in last Sunday’s T Style Magazine “Vintage Chic” article. Her wines are as fashionable as her high style and her family’s business. To order Planeta’s ground-breaking Chardonnay (a wine that helped to put Sicilia on the map as a producer of world-class wine), click here (20% discount online only). For its worldly Merlot, please click here.

Upcoming Events at Vino

Tues., Nov. 7
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Tasting
Winemaker Alessandro Bindocci will pour current vintages of his Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello.
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino
to register, please email events@vinosite.com

Weds., Nov. 8
Grappa and Digestivi Class
Jim Hutchinson leads a demonstration on how to make infused grappas. The tasting will include grappas and digestivi.
$75 6:30 p.m. @ Vinoteca
to register, please email register@vinosite.com

Thurs., Nov. 9
Ronco dei Tassi (Friuli) Tasting
Winemaker Enrico Coser will pour current vintages of his award-winning wines.
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino
to register, please email events@vinosite.com

Fri. & Sat., November 10-11
Brunello Tasting
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino
The wines are available at a 10% discount all week in-store.
BUY THE WINES AT A 20% DISCOUNT ONLINE AT
www.VinoSiteShop.com.

See the Tasting Notes below for more information on the sale.

To register, please email events@vinosite.com

for information on these or any other events at Vino and/or I Trulli, please email events@vinosite.com.

Next week at Vino:
Winemakers Marcello Bucci (Collemattoni) and Fabio Giannetti (Fornace) pour their Brunello on Thurs., Nov. 16.

* * *
This Week’s Tasting: Brunello di Montalcino

This week’s tastings feature the wines of Montalcino: receive 20% off this week at www.VinoSiteShop.com or come in to the store on Fri. and/or Sat. to taste them (10% off in-store all week).

This Thursday and Friday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
121 East 27th St.
between Park and Lex.
FREE
800-965-VINO
contact@vinosite.com

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2003 MARTINOZZI

REGULARLY $25
$20.00 (web exclusive)

The Castelli Martinozzi estate is located in Santa Restituta at some of the highest altitudes in the appellation. The elevation allows the grapes to ripen slowly as they are cooled during the evening even as temperatures rise in summer. Proximity to the seaside created ventilation and thus reduces the risk of mildew.

Martinozzi uses no barrique (new oak) for his Rosso di Montalcino. The resulting wine is everything that a wine from Montalcino should be: earth + sun + grapes = wine.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 1999 MARTINOZZI

REGULARLY $64
$51.20 (web exclusive)

Martinozzi uses no barrique for the aging of this wine. The wine ages in large, traditional old-oak barrels. The resulting wine is one of the best traditional-style Brunellos to come from the appellation.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA 1995 MARTINOZZI

REGULARLY $92
$73.60 (web exclusive)

Martinozzi uses gentle oak aging for this Riserva which he only makes in superior years.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA 1999 COLOMBINI

REGULARLY $58
$46.40 (web exclusive)

Donatella Cinelli Colombini is one of Italian wine’s most noted and notable women winemakers. From her Prime Donne literary prize to her acclaimed Brunello di Montalcino, whatever she does, she does so with style and verve. In a country where women winemakers have had to struggle to make a name for themselves, she emerged early on as a leading producer of Brunello, making a subtly modern Brunello that is greatly enjoyed on both sides of the Atlantic. She is also the founder of the ground-breaking Women of Italian Wine association.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2000 LA FORNACE
(click here to order)

REGULARLY $60
$48.00 (web exclusive)

La Fornace is a small family-run estate in the heart of the Brunello di Montalcino appellation. The estate makes extremely limited amounts of wine using grapes grown exclusively in estate-owned vineyards. By limiting production, the winemaker can supervise every aspect of the process. The resulting wine is an artisanal product that reflects the essence of viticulture in Montalcino. The 2000 vintage for this wine was one of the highest rated in recent memory.

Limited supply!!!

Please note that these offers cannot be combined with any other offer or discount.

* * *

Wine Opinion: Only One Grappa After Dinner

Ever since I appeared in Men’s Vogue, where I was interviewed by Lawrence Osborne on Grappa, people have been asking my opinions on grappa and distillates. (The video of our conversation should be posted soon on the magazine’s website.)

Many years ago, when I first went to Italy, after lunch, they came around with the grappa cart. It was late in the afternoon and the waiter left the grappa cart and said, “Help yourself.” In the interest of research, and trying to find which were the best grappas, I, of course, tasted all of them. Going back to the hotel, Michele was laughing hysterically because I was holding on to the railing of the building (we were in Firenze at the time). The only thing that kept me upright were the walls of the building. Block after block Michele kept on whispering the same thing in my ear: “As the man told you, ‘Only one grappa after dinner.'”

I have always heeded those words since.

The Italians drink grappa as a digestivo, in other words, a drink that helps them to digest after a heavy meal. For the most part, they only drink it after dinner. Grappa is made from what is called the vinacce in Italian, what we call the pomace in English: the skins and the pulp of the fruit left over after the grapes have been pressed to make wine. This juice is distilled using the bagno maria method, in other words, a double-boiler distillation system. The one thing that one can say about grappa is that if it’s good grappa, it always tastes like grappa. Some producers age the grappa in wood for many years and this gives it a much smoother taste along the lines of cognac.

After dinner, the Italians also drink such digestivi like amaro such as Averna, Ramazzotti, Montenegro, and one of my favorites, the amaro by the famous grappa-distilling Nonino family in Friuli. The word amaro literally means “bitter”: amaros can range in flavor from semi-sweet to very, very bitter, as in the case of Fernet-Branca. Most amaros are made from herbs, spices, and “secret ingredients,” and in the case of Cynar, it is made from artichokes.

At home, many Italians “flavor” their grappas by infusing them with different types of fruits and herbs. For example, rue, cinnamon, or chamomile, or oranges, lemons, cherries, figs… The list goes on and on.

At tomorrow night’s grappa and digestivi class, Vino’s Operations Manager Jim Hutchinson (of Philadelphia) will be leading the group in infusing, tasting, and bottling grappa: this is a great holiday gift idea and, indeed, many in Italy give home-infused grappas as gifts during the holiday season.
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

To register for tomorrow night’s Grappa and Digestivi class, please email register@vinosite.com.

Look for Charles’ picture in our New York Times ad tomorrow!


Upcoming Tastings at Vino

November 3, 2006

Wine Director Charles Scicolone and the Vino staff invite you to come taste some wine with us: next week is Brunello week at Vino (Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday) and on Thurs. we will also be hosting Enrico Coser of the Ronco dei Tassi winery, Friuli (whose Fosarin was the Gambero Rosso’s “White Wine of the Year” in 2006). Please join us for these and other FREE tastings at Vino.

What should Charles say in the New York Times?

For those of you who have seen Charles’ picture in our New York Times ad, please email him with suggestions for his weekly quote and/or suggestions/questions for his weekly wine opinion: charles@vinosite.com.

Today
Super South Tasting
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino
The wines are available at a 10% discount all week in-store.
BUY THE WINES AT A 20% DISCOUNT ONLINE AT
www.VinoSiteShop.com.

See the Tasting Notes below for more information on the sale.

Sat., Nov. 4
Naturalmente Italiano Tasting, 5 wines
FREE 4:00-6:00 p.m. @ Vino

Tues., Nov. 7
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Tasting
Winemaker Alessandro Bindocci will pour current vintages of his Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello.
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino
please register by emailing events@vinosite.com

Thurs., Nov. 9
Ronco dei Tassi (Friuli)
Winemaker Enrico Coser will pour current vintages of his award-winning wines
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino

Fri.-Sat., Nov. 10-11
TASTE 6 BRUNELLOS AT VINO
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino

for information on these or any other events at Vino and/or I Trulli, please email events@vinosite.com.

* * *

Super South Tasting TODAY

This week’s tastings feature 6 Southern Wines: receive 20% off all of these wines all week at www.VinoSiteShop.com or come in to the store on Thurs. and/or Friday to taste them (10% off in-store all week).

This Thursday and Friday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
121 East 27th St.
between Park and Lex.
FREE
800-965-VINO
contact@vinosite.com

CHARDONNAY 2004 PLANETA

REGULARLY $40
$32.00 (web exclusive)

Planeta’s 100% Chardonnay put the winery on the map when it was first released in 1994. Fermented in small French oak barrels, this wine showed that Sicilia offered an ideal environment for the production of modern-style Chardonnay: great weather and lots of sun. Today, Planeta and its Chardonnay continue to lead the Southern Italian wine revolution, producing approachable, fruit-driven wines that it offers to modern-style lovers at a reasonable price point.

TUDERI 2002 DETTORI

REGULARLY $64
$51.20 (web exclusive)

This 100% Cannonau from the Romangia zone of Northern Sardegna is sourced from 60-year-old vines on the winery’s estate and is vinified and aged in glass-lined cement vats before bottling. No new oak is used for this unusual and intensely flavored Cannonau, which is technically classified as an IGT. Although winemaker Alessandro Dettori is not a member of the Vini Veri (or “Real Wines”), many compare his approach to winemaking to the style of the “natural” wines that are beginning to emerge with ever more frequency in Italy.

IL FALCONE RISERVA 2002 RIVERA

REGULARLY $34
$27.20 (web exclusive)

Rivera calls this extraordinary blend of Negroamaro and Uva di Troia “Il Falcone” or “the falcon” as a nod to the thirteenth-century enlightened Sicilian King Frederick II, who enjoyed hunting with his falcon in Puglia where the grapes for this wine are sourced today. This bold red wine pairs beautifully with grills and roast meats.

NERO 2003 CONTI ZECCA

REGULARLY $38
$30.40 (web exclusive)

Sourced from top growing areas in Leverano and Salice Salentino, Conti Zecca’s Rosso del Salento is a blend of Negroamaro with smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon. Negroamaro is one of the region’s most ancient red grapes. Some believe its name to mean “black bitter” (from the Italian negro and amaro) but others believe that it means “black black” from the Italian negro and the Greek maurus for black, perhaps a reference to its dark color. Although Cabernet Sauvignon has been cultivated in Puglia for more than two centuries, innovative producers like Conti Zecca have just begun to experiment with modern-style blends like this one. Their Nero has been one of the first Super Pugliese wine to emerge on the scene, receiving great praise on both sides of the Atlantic.

PIAN DEL CARRO 2001 TENUTA DEL PORTALE

REGULARLY $42
$33.60 (web exclusive)

Pian del Carro or “wagon flats” is named after the vineyard where the grapes are grown for Filena Ruppi’s top Aglianico. For this wine, she uses gentle oak aging to tame the deep tannins of this Aglianico, which is grown at one of the highest vineyards in the appellation. Aggressive pruning in the vineyards results in extremely low yields for this sure-to-be long-lived wine (Filena estimates that it will reach its peak in roughly fifteen years).

NAIMA 2003 DE CONCILIIS

REGULARLY $64
$51.20 (web exclusive)

De Conciliis’ Naima is a 100% Aglianico made from grapes grown in Cilento (in Campania). The wine under goes temperature-controlled fermentation in small French-oak barrels. The result is a gorgeously modern expression of Aglianico. The wine takes its name from the famous composition by jazz musician John Coltrane, a reflection of the family’s interest in jazz and their desire to push the envelope of winemaking tradition.


Upcoming Events at Vino and I Trulli

November 1, 2006

Thurs. & Fri., November 2-3
Super South Tasting
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino
The wines are available at a 10% discount all week in-store.
BUY THE WINES AT A 20% DISCOUNT ONLINE AT
www.VinoSiteShop.com.

See the Tasting Notes below for more information on the sale.

Sat., Nov. 4
Naturalmente Italiano Tasting, 5 wines
FREE 4:00-6:00 p.m. @ Vino

Tues., Nov. 7
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Tasting
Winemaker Alessandro Bindocci will pour current vintages of his Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello.
FREE 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ Vino

for information on these or any other events at Vino and/or I Trulli, please email events@vinosite.com.

Vino is located at:
121 East 27th St. between Park and Lex.
800-965-VINO
contact@vinosite.com

Tues., Nov. 7
Vertical Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Dinner
Ristorante I Trulli
SOLD OUT!!!

To be added to waiting list, please email events coordinator Jeremy Parzen at events@vinosite.com. Many of the older vintages (going back to 1978) are also available exclusively to Vino customers and are sourced directly from Il Poggione’s cellar in Sant’Angelo in Colle. If you’d like to receive a list of available wines and prices, please contact Jeremy. Sales are subject to availability.

In other news…

It’s official: on Monday Oct. 30, Ristorante I Trulli hosted a party to celebrate its new chef, Patrick Nuti (pictured top right). More than 75 persons gathered (old friends and new) to celebrate Tuscan-born Patrick who began his career many years ago in high style at the celebrated trattoria Cibreo in Florence.

Among the wines served: Cuvee Tradizione Erbaluce 2001 Orsolani (a classic-method sparkling white made from Erbaluce), Pelaverga Basadone 2004 Castello di Verduno, and the 2001 Barolo Massara also from Castello di Verduno, winner of the 2007 Tre Bicchieri award (this wine will not be available at Vino until next spring).

Also in attendance, owner Nicola Marzovilla and his sister Domenica (pictured right), and Mario Andrion, winemaker at Castello di Verduno (pictured bottom right) with his companion Giovanna, chef of the Castello di Verduno agriturismo in Verduno, Piemonte.

* * *

This Week’s Tasting: Super South

This week’s tastings feature 6 Southern Wines: receive 20% off all of these wines all week at www.VinoSiteShop.com or come in to the store on Thurs. and/or Friday to taste them (10% off in-store all week).

This Thursday and Friday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
121 East 27th St.
between Park and Lex.
FREE
800-965-VINO
contact@vinosite.com

CHARDONNAY 2004 PLANETA
(click here to order)

REGULARLY $40
$32.00 (web exclusive)

Planeta’s 100% Chardonnay put the winery on the map when it was first released in 1994. Fermented in small French oak barrels, this wine showed that Sicilia offered an ideal environment for the production of modern-style Chardonnay: great weather and lots of sun. Today, Planeta and its Chardonnay continue to lead the Southern Italian wine revolution, producing approachable, fruit-driven wines that it offers to modern-style lovers at a reasonable price point.

TUDERI 2002 DETTORI

REGULARLY $64
$51.20 (web exclusive)

This 100% Cannonau from the Romangia zone of Northern Sardegna is sourced from 60-year-old vines on the winery’s estate and is vinified and aged in glass-lined cement vats before bottling. No new oak is used for this unusual and intensely flavored Cannonau, which is technically classified as an IGT. Although winemaker Alessandro Dettori is not a member of the Vini Veri (or “Real Wines”), many compare his approach to winemaking to the style of the “natural” wines that are beginning to emerge with ever more frequency in Italy.

IL FALCONE RISERVA 2002 RIVERA
(click here to order)

REGULARLY $34

Rivera calls this extraordinary blend of Negroamaro and Uva di Troia “Il Falcone” or “the falcon” as a nod to the thirteenth-century enlightened Sicilian King Frederick II, who enjoyed hunting with his falcon in Puglia where the grapes for this wine are sourced today. This bold red wine pairs beautifully with grills and roast meats.

NERO 2003 CONTI ZECCA

REGULARLY $38
$30.40 (web exclusive)

Sourced from top growing areas in Leverano and Salice Salentino, Conti Zecca’s Rosso del Salento is a blend of Negroamaro with smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon. Negroamaro is one of the region’s most ancient red grapes. Some believe its name to mean “black bitter” (from the Italian negro and amaro) but others believe that it means “black black” from the Italian negro and the Greek maurus for black, perhaps a reference to its dark color. Although Cabernet Sauvignon has been cultivated in Puglia for more than two centuries, innovative producers like Conti Zecca have just begun to experiment with modern-style blends like this one. Their Nero has been one of the first Super Pugliese wine to emerge on the scene, receiving great praise on both sides of the Atlantic.

PIAN DEL CARRO 2001 TENUTA DEL PORTALE

REGULARLY $42
$33.60 (web exclusive)

Pian del Carro or “wagon flats” is named after the vineyard where the grapes are grown for Filena Ruppi’s top Aglianico. For this wine, she uses gentle oak aging to tame the deep tannins of this Aglianico, which is grown at one of the highest vineyards in the appellation. Aggressive pruning in the vineyards results in extremely low yields for this sure-to-be long-lived wine (Filena estimates that it will reach its peak in roughly fifteen years).

NAIMA 2003 DE CONCILIIS

REGULARLY $64
$51.20 (web exclusive)

De Conciliis’ Naima is a 100% Aglianico made from grapes grown in Cilento (in Campania). The wine under goes temperature-controlled fermentation in small French-oak barrels. The result is a gorgeously modern expression of Aglianico. The wine takes its name from the famous composition by jazz musician John Coltrane, a reflection of the family’s interest in jazz and their desire to push the envelope of winemaking tradition.

* * *

Wine Opinion: 2001 Bartolo Mascarello

The other day, our good friend and esteemed colleague, Alice Feiring, mentioned to us that she was surprised when she read that one of the world’s most popular wine magazines gave one of our favorite wines a very low score. For those of you who read my Wine Opinion every week, you know what I think of wine scores. The wine in question was the 2001 Barolo from Bartolo Mascarello. Neither Alice nor I had had a chance to taste the wine and so we asked Vino’s Marketing Director Jeremy Parzen to set up a blind tasting along with other Barolos from the same vintage that had received high scores from the publication in question as well as in other magazines. Operations Manager Jim Hutchinson decanted the wines in the afternoon and I tasted them blind and later that evening, Alice joined the Vino staff for the event. (The only person who knew which wine was which was Jim.)

For those of you who don’t know her, Alice Feiring (pictured right at the tasting) is a widely read wine writer and journalist, who’s won numerous awards for her reporting and most recently for her excellent wine blog (www.alicefeiring.com). She and I share a passion for traditional-style wines and the natural wines of Italy.

Even in off years, Bartolo Mascarello — and now his daughter Maria Teresa, who took the reins at the winery after he died last year — has made and makes a great wine. A number of years ago, I had the 1983 at a blind tasting and loved the wine so much that I was shocked to see that it was an ’83, which was not a good year, until I saw that it was made by Bartolo Mascarello.

The highlight of this blind tasting was the 2001 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. This wine was made in the same style of all his other wines. I met Bartolo on many occasions and discussed and tasted his wines with him. He never made a “cru” Barolo (in other words, he never made a single-vineyard wine) but rather blended his wine using grapes from different vineyards. In this way, he felt that he could get the perfect expression of Barolo. And in fact, many believe that the true Barolo is a wine made from the best-showing vineyards and not from a single vineyard. It is also well known he employed the traditional submerged cap technique during maceration, where the winemaker uses a grill to keep the cap (in other words, the surface formed by the grape skins) submerged.

One of his more famous slogans, which appeared an artist label that he had designed for his wines, was “no barrique, no Berlusconi” in reference to his feeling about new oak and the then new prime minister of Italy. Another was a play on a quote from Robespierre: “use wood for barricades not barriques.”

This is all very close to my heart because he was one of the few making wine the way wine is supposed to be made and doing a great job at it. And his daughter has continued this noble tradition — thank goodness!

The 2001 Mascarello was a classic example of what Barolo should be. It had all those flavors of mushrooms, faded roses, and tar, with hints of licorice. This is a wine that will last for many years. If you can, I would suggest buying a case: taste one bottle now and over the next few years, keep on tasting them until they are ready to drink (in my opinion, 15-20 years, even more if cellared properly). Your wait will be well rewarded.
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

Charles would love to hear from you. Please email him at charles@vinosite.com.
Click here to purchase 2001 Bartolo Mascarello.

* * *

Dolcetto di Dogliani 2004 Abbona $20

Marziano Abbona’s Dolcetto di Dogliani is named Papa Celso after his father who planted Dolcetto vines two World Wars. Today, the wines are still made from these “old vines” (the older the vine, the deeper the roots grow as they search for water in the subsoil; the resulting fruit becomes richer and richer with each passing year). Marziano often reminds us that while in Asti and Alba, the best growing sites are reserved for Nebbiolo and Barbera, in Dogliani (where this wine is made) the best sites are used exclusively for Dolcetto.

In today’s New York Times, Eric Asimov writes that Abbona’s Dolcetto di Dogliani is “Lightly tannic and well balanced with fruit and spice aromas and flavors.”*

“Typically, [Dolcetto] has bright cherry flavors that contrast with a bitter chocolate edge that comes directly from the grape rather than from an oaky varnishing. It’s a delight, but not a demanding one; light verse rather than an epic. No need to chew it over. Immediate pleasure is the goal; it doesn’t require appreciation.”

*Eric was tasting the 2003 vintage. Like the 2003, the current 2004 vintage won the Tre Bicchieri award in the Gambero Rosso Guide to the Wines of Italy.

Click here to purchase.