Half Bottles: The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

Taste 7 Half Bottles at Vino this Fri. and Sat.

Fri. & Sat., December 15-16
Half Bottles: the perfect stocking stuffer
Fri., 5:30-7:30 – Sat. 4:30-6:30 @ Vino

This Friday and Saturday we will be pouring 7 wines in half bottle, including the inimitable Barolo La Rocca e La Pira 1996 from Roagna (see below).

Three other wines, besides those below, will also be poured.

Erbaluce La Rustia 2004 (375 ml) Orsolani
100% Erbaluce from one of the appellation’s masters, Gian Luigi Orsolani.

Chianti Rufina Riserva 2001 (375 ml) Travignoli
100% Sangiovese aged in traditional large oak casks.

San Clemente 2001 (375 ml) Travignoli
A Super Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese aged in traditional large oak casks.

Barolo La Rocca e La Pira 1997 (375 ml) Roagna
A single-vineyard Barolo from one of our favorite traditional-style producers.

* * *

Half Bottle, Will Travel

Question: When you drink half of a half bottle, is the half bottle half full or half empty?

Often, many customers ask me, “how do I preserve my wine once I’ve opened a bottle and drank half of it?” They all say they tried the pump, the spray, the gas, and many other different contraptions. All I tell them to do is to buy a half bottle, drink it, clean it, and next time they drink half of a full bottle, they can pour the remaining wine into the half bottle and re-cork it. If the half bottle is full, all the air is taken up with wine and the wine should last a few days longer and still be in good condition. I hope this sheds light on the age-old conundrum, is the bottle half full or half empty?

There seems to be some controversy on whether or not wine in half-bottle ages more quickly than wines in regular 750 ml bottles and large-format bottles (i.e., magnums, 3- and 6-liters). It would seem to me that wine in a half-bottle would age more quickly because there is less wine and less space taken up by the wine. In my opinion, the more wine you have, the longer it will age. Whether or not this has ever been proven, I do not know, but if anybody out there has scientific proof of this or has done studies, please let me know.

There are a number of reasons why winemakers bottle some of their wine in what are often “pony” bottles or 375 ml bottles (some people call erroneously call them “splits,” but splits are actually half of a half bottle or 187 ml). The historic reason behind smaller bottle sizes is that dried-grape wines and botrytized wines, by their nature, were always low in volume, although high in alcohol. In other words, when you sell Vin Santo, for example, it is usually in a half bottle because that amount is sufficient to serve six persons one glass of wine each. The wine is so concentrated in flavor that a full 5-ounce glass would be overpowering.

Half-bottles are also appealing to restaurateurs and restaurant-goers because it allows the customer to try more types of wine during a seating. If two persons are dining together and one is having fish, the other meat, they can order two half bottles, one of white, the other red. Or if you want to try two different wines, the half bottle also solves that problem. Half bottles are also great for travelers and in Italy, you’ll often see them in train dining cars, where it is much more convenient and tidy to use smaller bottle sizes. And, of course, half bottles also solve the age-old problem of not having a dining companion: if you are dining alone, a half bottle is the perfect size, three glasses, one for each course of proper meal.

This time of year, half bottles make for perfect holiday gifts: they can be put under the tree, they can be stuffed into stockings, and best of all, they are affordable and fun. When you give someone a half bottle, it’s more of an individual gift: the recipient doesn’t have to wait for company to open the gift. It’s a gift just for them.

We just received some new half bottles: these include the single-vineyard Barolo La Rocca e La Pira 1996 from one of our favorite producers Roagna. I can’t think of a better gift than some 1996 Barolo (in case you’ve got me on your holiday gift shopping list). But we also have many other half bottles, including the traditional-style Chianti and Super Tuscan San Clemente from Travignoli; Erbaluce from Orsolani; Chianti and Super Tuscans from Carobbio. So please come down to Vino on Friday and Saturday and taste some of these wines with me. After all, who should feel guilty about opening a half bottle?
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

* * *

Featured Gift Pack: Claret Sampler $135

This super-charged Claret sampler includes three Bordeaux-style wines from three different regions of Italy, each a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.

The San Leonardo 2000 San Leonardo is from the Alpine region of Trentino, where high altitudes and cool summer nights make for long-lived wines with rich color and intense flavors.

The Cjarandon 2002 by Ronco dei Tassi is a single-vineyard wine made from grapes grown in the hills of Friuli where the clay-rich subsoil gives the wine great structure and depth.

La Stoppa’s Stoppa 2001 is sourced from vines in the hills outside Piacenza (Emilia), where Cabernet has been grown for centuries and the hearty local cuisine pairs well with this powerfully elegant wine.

inlcudes gift boxand a note on each of the wines

ships already packed in gift box

Click here to purchase.

* * *

Charles on TV! Well, kinda…

Vino’s Wine Director Charles Scicolone was recently featured in Men’s Vogue in an article on grappa by writer Lawrence Osborne, author of The Accidental Connoisseur.

Click here to watch a Men’s Vogue video of Charles and Lawrence as they “share a table at i Trulli… and sample a few of the better grappas available in the U.S.”

For the grappas currently available at Vino, please click here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: