Upcoming Events, Wines of the Veneto

January 30, 2007

Wines of the Veneto
Fri. (5:30-7:30) & Sat. (4:30-6:30)
February 2 and 3
at Vino
FREE

See details below.

Serena PalazzoloMeet Winemaker Serena Palazzolo
of Ronco del Gnemiz (Friuli)
and Taste Her Wines
Thursday, Feb. 8, 5:30-7:30
at Vino
FREE

Taste Serena’s blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, “Bianco di Jacopo,” and her rare bottling of Schioppettino (among other wines).

To register, please send an email to events@vinosite.com.

Produttori del Barbaresco
Vertical Dinner
with Charles Scicolone
Monday, March 5
at I Trulli
$250 (inclusive)

A seven-course dinner paired with Produttori del Barbaresco going back to the late 1970s. Moderated by Wine Director Charles Scicolone.

To register and for more information, please send an email to events@vinosite.com.

Puglia dinner
with Michele and Charles Scicolone
Weds., April 18
at I Trulli

Details TBA.

To register and for more information, please send an email to events@vinosite.com.

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This Week’s Tasting: Wines of the Veneto

Come join us at Vino this Friday (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30) for our FREE weekly tasting. This week we’re featuring wines from the Veneto.

Charles and the Vino staff will be pouring these wines (among others):*

  • Bardolino Saint Valery 2005 Giarola, $12
    Giarola’s Bardolino is made from Corvina, Rondinella, and Sangiovese grapes. Because of its proximity to the Lago di Garda, the Saint Valery vineyard site benefits from the excellent ventilation provided by the body of water and the cooler temperature also help the fruit to ripen more slowly and thus achieve greater richness and flavor.
  • Incrocio Manzoni 2002 Collalto, $16
    The Incrocio Manzoni 2.15 grape (Manzoni Graft 2.15) was created by the famous Professor of Enology Luigi Manzoni in the 1920s by grafting the Prosecco grape and Cabernet Sauvignon. His intent was to use Sauvignon Blanc but a laboratory mistake led to the birth of this interesting cross of white and red.
  • Amarone 2001 Sant’Eugenio, $48
    Arnaldo and Marta Galli of Capitel Sant’Eugenio are firm believers in terroir and tradition. 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.

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Featured Class:
Southern Italy: Ancient Grapes, Hidden Gems
Wednesday, February 28, 6:30 p.m.

“Nunc est bibendum.” (“Now is the time for drinking.”). This famous line by Latin poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65-8 BCE) were probably inspired by the Aglianico del Vulture that he drank in his youth in Basilicata (the region that forms the insole of Italy’s boot). Indeed, he grew up in the shadow of Mt. Vulture where the volcanic subsoil of the highlands is ideal for creating mineral-driven, complex, structured red wine. From the writings of Latin authors like Pliny and Columella, we discover that southern Italy abounded in grape varieties and sophisticated vine-growing techniques. Indeed, when the Greeks began to colonize Italy in the fourth and third centuries BCE, they were so impressed with the Etruscan viticulture they found there that they called the Italic peninsula Oenotria, the “land of wine.” Today, winemakers in the south have “re-discovered” many of the ancient varieties through careful grafting of DNA culled from Roman ruins with modern-day rootstock. Vino and I Trulli’s Operations Manager Jim Hutchinson leads participants through a guided tasting of southern Italy’s ancient grape varietals.

To register for the class, please email register@vinosite.com.

*Wines subject to change depending on availability.

* * *

Wine Opinion: An Amarone Is an Amarone Is an …

Please join us this Friday (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30) for our FREE weekly tastings. This week, Charles and the Vino staff will be pouring wines from the Veneto.

For more information on this and other events at Vino, please email events@vinosite.com.

It is almost that time of year again when we make our annual pilgrimage to the wine fair in Verona, Vinitaly. It is the largest wine fair in the world and this year we are all going, Nicola, Jim Hutchinson (our Operations Manager), Jeremy Parzen (our Marketing Director), and myself.

The fair this year takes place the last week of March and the weather is always rainy and cold. It has a way of coming quicker than you think and since we are going to do wines of the Veneto this week for our weekly tasting, I thought that we could discuss Veneto wines but also the fair.

When we come back in April, we will give you an update on the fair and this time, from three or four different points of view.

Since the wine fair takes place in Verona, it is easy, if one wants, to take some time off from the fair and visit some of the winemakers in the Veneto. Part of the problem is that most of them are at the fair. However, some of them have special events and will send a bus to pick you up so you can spend a pleasant afternoon or evening at the winery tasting the wines and eating the local food.

One year at the fair, we were very pleased with the wines from Le Ragose, a winery that makes excellent Amarone and Valpolicella Classico. Unfortunately, they were being brought into the United States by another company. After some negotiations, they agreed to make our own private label using their family name, Galli. All went well and the wines were on our shelves and selling. Then one day, out of the blue, Nicola received a letter from an attorney representing the Gallo winery of California. The letter stated that the name Galli was “too close” to the name Gallo and, therefore, it stated, that Nicola had to “cease and desist” selling the wine. Not wanting to endure the wrath of the great wine company of the west, Nicola decided to contact the Galli family and tell them the problem. They responded by making a new label and now the wine is called Capitel Sant’Eugenio. It’s named after a lovely small chapel, devoted to Sant’Eugenio (St. Eugene), which lies on the Galli family estate.

Even though the wines have gone through three different labels, they are great wines, having all the characteristics of Amarone and Valpolicella Classico. These are traditional-style aged in large botti, the old oak casks that we at Vino prefer over new barrique. The botti give you all the big luscious flavor or Amarone but at the same time you still have the good acidity and a wine that can go with food. Last year, we drank Capitel Sant’Eugenio Amarone by the Galli for Thanksgiving.

In the immortal words of the great bard Shakespeare, who, although he never traveled to Italy, knew it well and loved the country: “an Amarone by any other name…” But don’t tell the Gallo family.
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

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


Stemware Now Online; International Grapes, Italian Style

January 23, 2007

Schott Zwiesel Stemware Now Available for Purchase Online

The type of wine glass you use can greatly affect your drinking experience — whether for the better or the worse. Few wines benefit from being poured into a Dixie cup. We love to pour ours into Schott Zwiesel glasses, favorites of discerning food and wine professionals everywhere.

At our online shop, you’ll find a variety of beautiful and durable stemware to suit your needs, whether you’re looking for something to complement the reds or whites in your collection, flutes to make the most of your sparkling wines or grappa glasses for your distilled libations.

Since 1872, the Schott Zwiesel glass works have been making some of Europe’s finest crystal and stemware. The Forte glass line (pictured above, click to see individual glasses) is made with a new type of crystal, Tritan, created especially by the company. This unique and revolutionary crystal is dishwasher safe but still offers the wine lover all the benefits of lightness and heat dispersion (essential in bringing out the character of wine and spirits).

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International Grapes, Italian Style

Come join us at Vino this Friday (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30) for our FREE weekly tasting. This week we’re featuring international grape varieties, as interpreted by Italian winemakers.

Charles and the Vino staff will be pouring these wines:*

  • Chardonnay Rupis 2004 Ascevi, $23
    Ascevi’s Chardonnay is sourced from a single-vineyard called Rupis, meaning “rock” or “cliff” in Latin, a reference to the growing-site’s steep incline, which creates excellent exposure for this world-class Chardonnay.
  • Sauvignon Ronco dei Sassi 2005, $25
    This single-vineyard Sauvignon from Ascevi is made using grapes sourced from 25-year-old vines in one of the estate’s highest and most prized growing sites. It is a classic expression of the grape variety, with tom cat notes on the nose and richness in color and in the mouth.
  • Pietraforte 1999 Carobbio, $44
    This wine is everything a classic Super Tuscan should be: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, bold and big in the mouth, with the classic vanilla and toasty flavors and aromas of barrique.
  • Gaudio Merlot 2001 Le Velette, $32
    Gaudio is Latin for “gladness, joy, or delight.” This thoroughly modern wine by Tenuta Le Velette is a 100% Merlot intended, as the winemaker puts it, for pure pleasure. The ancient volcanic subsoil of Orvieto gives it a distinctive flavor with respect to Merlots made in other parts of the world.
  • Praepositus 2003 Novacella, $51
    The high-altitudes and pebbly soil of Alto Adige are ideal for the production of richly flavored and intensely colored wines. The friars of Novacella have made wine for more than eight centuries and the presence of Pinot Nero dates back to the mid-eighteenth century.

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Featured Class: Brunello, Chianti, and Super Tuscans (Feb. 14)
Wednesday, February 14, 6:30 p.m.

To register, please send an email to register@vinosite.com

In the late 1860s, the “Iron Baron” Bettino Ricasoli hailed Sangiovese as the grape that “married best” with the Tuscan soil and he wrote the first officialformula for Chianti, with Sangiovese as the primary grape for the blend. In the 1880s, Tancredi Biondi Santi produced the first Brunello di Montalcino by experimenting with growing sites and different clones of Sangiovese. The Brunello grape (also known as Sangiovese Grosso and Prugnolo Gentile), he discovered, was ideal for making long-lived, complex red wines. In the 1960s, the marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, owner of the legendary race horse, Ribot, released the first vintage of Sassicaia as a vino da tavola or “table wine,” the first Super Tuscan. Inspired by the wines of Bordeaux and its famous Graves terroir (named after the “gravelly” soil), he had planted Cabernet Sauvignon in the pebbly soil of Bolgheri (hence the name Sassicaia from the Italian sassi meaning “pebbles”). In the twenty-first century, the legacy of these historic wines continues to resonate across the globe. Some would even say that they should be credited with the current renaissance and overwhelming popularity of Italian wines today. Wine Director Charles Scicolone leads participants through a guided tasting of some of Toscana’s greatest wines.

Charles will pour 10 wines for the February 14 Brunello, Chianti and Super Tuscan class (to register for the class, please email register@vinosite.com), including the following:*

* * *

Wine Opinion: You Can Take Italian Grapes Out of Italy, But…

Please join us this Friday (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30) for our FREE weekly tastings. This week Charles and the Vino staff will be pouring five international grape varietals as interpreted by several talented Italian winemakers.

For more information on this and other events at Vino, please email events@vinosite.com.

Charles Scicolone, Wine DirectorLast week, we spoke about how the Italians make wine to suit almost every taste and every occasion. They can make wines that are very traditional, make wines that are very international in style, and many wines that fall in between. If someone comes into Vino and says, “I want a wine that tastes like a Californian wine,” or “an Australian wine,” or a wine from almost anywhere in the world, we can almost always find a wine to make that person happy.

The Italians have been using international grapes for a very long time. In fact, in northeastern Italy, these grapes were introduced by Napoleon when he set up various members of his family as the rulers of different Italian principalities. So the tradition of international grapes goes back at least over 200 years and in some cases beyond.

You might ask, “why are these grapes called international grapes?” Grapes like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, grapes that originated in France. They are called “international” varieties because historically they have been grown all over the world with great success. Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, has been grown for many years in California and has produced many famous wines. When it comes to Italy, however, “international” grapes do very well there, even though Italian indigenous grapes don’t do well in other parts of the world. In other words, you grow almost anything in Italy but you can’t grow Italian – at least not with much success, historically – outside of Italy.

Chardonnay is grown all over Italy, in every style possible, from wines that are done in stainless-steel to those like the Chardonnay single-vineyard Rupis from Ascevi (Friuli), which we’ll be pouring this week, to the Planeta Chardonnay (Sicilia) which is done in more of an international style.

Another popular international grape in Italy is Sauvignon Blanc, one of my favorite wines because I feel it goes better with food than a lot of other whites. When in doubt of what to drink with a particular dish that calls for white wine, Sauvignon Blanc is usually a very good choice. Most Italian Sauvignon Blancs come from the northern part of Italy and are usually vinified in stainless steel. These wines are very herbaceous, grassy, and have very good acidity.

Even though the most famous wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot seem to come from Toscana, these grapes are grown all over Italy. The great enologist Riccardo Cottarella has said that Umbria, for example, is the best place in Italy to grow Merlot. All one has to do is taste the Castello delle Regine 100% Merlot and you understand what he’s talking about. And for those of you who know San Leonardo, a wine we also carry in the store, you know that even in Trentino-Alto Adige they make world-class, international Bordeaux blends from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot there.

So please join us this Friday and Saturday as we taste a number international grapes grown on Italian soil, some modern, some traditional, some in between these two styles.

And remember again, while you can take international grapes and grow them in Italy, you can take Italian grapes outside of Italy. As a very wise person once said, or should have said, you can take grapes out of Italy but you can’t take Italy out of the grapes.
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

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


Carema and Gutturno in New York magazine

January 17, 2007

Carema and Gutturnio Featured in New York Magazine

We have to admit: we were a little surprised when a writer from New York called to tell us that Nebbiolo and Croatina (a grape that we also know fondly as Bonarda) have significant quantities of melatonin, a hormone that, among offering many other possible health benefits, can help the mind unwind. Do we care all that much about melatonin? No. But we sure do like how these wines taste.

The following text is taken from this week’s issue of New York:

Seek Out the Nebbiolo
Red wine, good for the body and mind.
By Ira Boudway

The past year was a salubrious one for red-wine drinkers. Not only did researchers announce that resveratrol (found in vin rouge) could help you live longer – or at least help lab mice run farther on treadmills – but a study conducted by Iriti Marcello at the University of Milan discovered the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin in several varieties of red-wine grapes. While it’s hardly news that uncorking a bottle of red is a great way to unwind, it may be more than just the alcohol that mellows the mind. Melatonin made a big splash as a supplement in health-food stores a few years back when Newsweek called it “the all-natural nightcap” and research suggested it could do everything from slow the aging process to protect the immune system. But Dr. Alfred Lewy, an expert on sleep at Oregon Health and Science University, tempers the hype. The hormone, which is released by a tiny gland in the brain and triggered by darkness, definitely helps to set the “body clock” or “circadian rhythm,” he says, “but there is only anecdotal evidence that it may, as a side effect, help with relaxation.” If you want to conduct your own “study,” two varieties of grape – the noble Nebbiolo and the more common Croatina – prove to be especially loaded. Jeremy Parzen of Vino Italian Wine and Spirits offers recommendations for a moderately priced wine made from each grape:

NEBBIOLO
Carema le Tabbie 2001, Orsolani ($30).
While Barolos and Barbarescos need at least a few years to soften (i.e., lose some of their tannic taste), this wild-berry-flavored wine is “already drinking very well.”

CROATINA
Gutturnio 2004, La Stoppa ($18).
A blend of Barbera and Bonarda, Gutturnio comes both still and sparkling. It’s got an old-fashioned “barnyard” aroma and is great with pizza. “It smells like cow chips,” says Parzen, “and that’s a good thing.”

* * *

The class schedule is available online: click here to view the complete schedule.

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED CLASS:

Homemade Pasta with Dora Marzovilla
Saturday, February 10 ($85)

Come every November, as marathon runners from all over the globe pour into Manhattan to partake in the world-famous race, I Trulli is invariably inundated with Italians who know that Dora Marzovilla makes all of the restaurant’s pasta daily by hand. After all, who can blame them? Homemade pasta is the Italian runner’s ideal meal for training: pure, delicious carbs, good for the body and good for the soul. Dora Marzovilla has been making homemade pasta every day since I Trulli opened in 1994. Join her and Chef Patrick Nuti as they lead one of our most popular classes on how to make pasta at home. Of course, participants sample a number of pastas and sauces. Wine pairings included.

To register or for more information, please email register@vinosite.com.

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Wines for the Barolo and Barbaresco Class

Charles will pour 10 wines for the February 7 Barolo and Barbaresco class (to register for the class, please email register@vinosite.com), including the following*:

*Subject to change with availability.

* * *

Please join us this Friday (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30) for our FREE weekly tastings. This week Charles and the Vino staff will be pouring six unusual wines from northern Italy.

For more information on this and other events at Vino, please email events@vinosite.com.

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Wine Opinion: Life Beyond Piemonte and Toscana

Charles Scicolone, Wine DirectorOften, people will ask the same question when they come into Vino: Why do you just carry Italian wines?

The answer is both simple and complex. In my opinion, Italians make wine to suit every palate and every pocket book. The mosaic of Italian wines is so vast that we could take out all the wines in the store now (and there are nearly 400 on any given day) and replace them all with entirely new wines. What’s more is that we could repeat this process every week for a month without running out of new wines to fill our shelves.

In fact, if we wanted to, we could just have wines from Toscana and Piemonte and it would be more than enough to fill all the slots on the shelves in the store.

When someone comes into the store and they want to buy a Super Tuscan or a Barolo or a Brunello or an Amarone, we’re always very happy to accommodate them. But we also have a wide range of wines which are unusual and unique. Part of our mission is to introduce these wines to our customers in the hope that they will find them of interest and will broaden their palates and their enologic horizons. For those of you who follow my wine opinion, you know that I love Barolo. But, as I often say to my friends and colleagues, you can’t drink Barolo every night. Therefore, you need something which is going to excite your palate and pique your interest so that you’ll be more likely to experiment with different types of wines and increase your enjoyment. I’m not the first to say this, but it certainly rings true: viva la differenza!

I’m not going to tell you about these wines or the other wines. I want you to come in and taste them for yourself. For the tasting this week, one of the wines we are going to have is called “Uvarara,” which in Italian means “rare grape.” We also have a dry Moscato, from the Val d’Aosta. A Cabernet Franc from Friuli. A Ribolla Gialla, also from Friuli. A Gewurztraminer from Trentino-Alto Adige. This, I feel, is a tasting that will not only please your palate but will show the range of Italian wines just from northern Italy (where all these wines are from).

So, I hope you’ll join me this Friday and Saturday in celebrating the wonderful diversity of Italian wines.
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

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


Brunello, Chianti, and Super Tuscan Seminar; Wines of Roma

January 10, 2007

The class schedule is available online: click here to view the complete schedule.

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED CLASS:

Heavy Hitters II: Brunello, Chianti, and Super Tuscans
Wednesday, February 14 ($95)

In the late 1860s, the Iron Baron Bettino Ricasoli hailed Sangiovese as the grape that “married best” with the Tuscan soil and he wrote the first official formula for Chianti, with Sangiovese as the primary grape for the blend. In the 1880s, Tancredi Biondi Santi produced the first Brunello di Montalcino by experimenting with growing sites and different clones of Sangiovese. The Brunello grape (also known as Sangiovese Grosso and Prugnolo Gentile), he discovered, was ideal for making long-lived, complex red wines. In the 1960s, Nicolo’ Incisa della Rocchetta, owner of the legendary race horse, Ribot, released the first vintage of Sassicaia as a vino da tavola or table wine, the first Super Tuscan. Inspired by the wines of Bordeaux and its famous Graves terroir (named after the “gravelly” soil), he had planted Cabernet Sauvignon in the pebbly soil of Bolgheri (hence the name Sassicaia from the Italian sassi meaning “pebbles”). In the twenty-first century, the legacy of these historic wines continues to resonate across the globe. Some would even say that they should be credited with the current renaissance and overwhelming popularity of Italian wines today. Wine Director Charles Scicolone leads participants through a guided tasting of some of Toscana’s greatest wines.

To register or for more information, please email register@vinosite.com.

* * *

Please join us this Friday (5:30-7:30) and Saturday (4:30-6:30) for our FREE weekly tastings. This week Charles and the Vino staff will be pouring six wines from Lazio.

For more information on this and other events at Vino, please email events@vinosite.com.

Charles Scicolone, Wine DirectorLazio is known for Frascati but what people don’t realize is that it is one of the best places to grow French varietals. These red varietals, basically, Cabernet and Merlot, in my opinion, do better in Lazio than in any other part of Italy and even better than in some places where they are the native grapes.

One of these is the Colli Picchioni from Paola di Mauro, which is Cabernet, Merlot, and perhaps a little bit of Cesanese. This is a classic wine that can age very well. I have been to the winery a number of times and every time I go there, her son Armando, who I believe still owns a restaurant in Roma, opens up a 1985 Colle Picchioni, which is always spectacular. Paola gives cooking lessons at the estate and for lunch always makes fried, breaded lamb chops, which go very well with the 1985 Colle Picchioni.

Another one of my favorites is the Quattro Mori, made from four French red varietals: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The wine is called Quattro Mori (or “Four Moors”) not because it is made from four grapes but because the ancestor of the present owner was a commander in the battle of Lepanto (1571) where the Italians defeated the forces of the Sultan. The commander brought four Moors back to the town of Marino (Lazio) with him and a fountain with their likeness was erected in the town square to commemorate the victory (in the sculpture, they are supporting the fountain). From the dining from of the winery, one can see St. Peter’s and the lights of Roma at night. This is a wonderful wine, which has that leathery flavor with a lot of fruit. It is a wine that could probably be enjoyed now but that will also age gracefully. We’ll also be tasting two white wines from the same producer, Castel de Paolis.

This Friday and Saturday, we’ll also be tasting a new wine, the Rosso del Frusinate by Casale della Ioria. Some of you may know the 100% Cesanese that this winery makes. When I was in Roma, I had the Cesanese with my favorite dish, which is lamb. I don’t remember if it was grilled, roasted, or fried, but it was a great combination. Even though it is very difficult to find in this country, Casale della Ioria’s wines are very popular in Roma. The Rosso del Frusinate is made from Cabernet, Merlot, and Cesanese.

So when in Roma, do what the Romans do, drink wine that’s made just outside of Roma and from the Castelli Romani.
–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

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


Wines of Puglia

January 3, 2007

Taste Wines from Puglia at Vino this Fri. & Sat.

Fri. & Sat., January 5-6
see Charles’ “Dispatch from Puglia” below
FREE
Fri., 5:30-7:30 – Sat. 4:30-6:30 @ Vino

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

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Winter/Spring 2007 Class Schedule

We are pleased to announce that the Winter/Spring 2007 class schedule is now online. We’ve added a number of classes, including “Brunello, Chianti, and Super Tuscans” and “Handmade Pasta with Dora Marzovilla.”

Click here to view the 2007 schedule.

* * *

Wine Opinion: Dispatch from Lecce

Charles Scicolone, Wine DirectorIn November, the Region of Puglia, Puglia DOC, invited Michele and myself for seven days to tour the southern part of Puglia. For those of you who don’t know, Puglia is the region that forms the heel of Italy’s boot. And, of course, the owner of I Trulli and Vino, Nicola Marzovilla, and his family are from the town of Rutigliano in the province of Bari, Puglia.

The restaurant I Trulli takes its name from the famous UNESCO-protected cone-shaped houses that are found in the picturesque town of Alberobello (see the pictures, right, by Nicola’s brother Michael Marzovilla). If you’ve ever been to I Trulli, you know that the wood-fired oven is shaped just like a trullo (singular of trulli). The interesting part is that one half of the trulli are in the sunlight and one half are in the shade. The half that is in sunlight is where all the people have turned one of the cones into some kind of tourist shop. The other half, in the shade, is where “the other half” lives… in other words, all the normal people. In Alberobello, the church is a trullo, the restaurants are trulli, and there is even a trulli hotel.

We visited the cities of Lecce, a great baroque city, Martina Franca, Locorotondo, and Trani, which is noted for its famous dessert wine, Moscato di Trani. One of the highlights of the trip was the visit to Conti Zecca in Leverano. Conti Zecca is one of our favorite wineries and we carry a number of its wines, like the popular Rosato which is made from Negro Amaro and Malvasia Nera, and the Cantalupi, a classic Salice Salentino made from the same grapes, of course, the Nero, a modern-style wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Negro Amaro, a label that has won the coveted Tre Bicchieri award and a wine that I know many of you enjoy.

I first visited Conti Zecca twelve years ago with Michele and Nicola and that was when I first tasted their wines and I really liked them. Now, finally, after all these years, we have them in the store. We were introduced to Conti Zecca by a mutual acquaintance. That night one of the counts invited us for dinner at the estate. This mutual acquaintance was not planning to dine with us but rather was going to meet his wife for dinner in Lecce. However, when the count counted the number of people, there were exactly thirteen. He told our friend that he either needed to take one person away to dine with him in Lecce or he had to stay and eat dinner so that there would either be twelve or fourteen at the table. He did this, he explained, because thirteen people at a table is an unlucky number. The count was not kidding. Our mutual friend called his wife and told her what was the situation was. She understood and he did not leave until dessert was served. That’s a true story.

We also visited the area where some of the best Primitivo is made. That is the Primitivo di Manduria. (This Friday and Saturday at Vino we will be tasting the Primitivo di Manduria Tradizione del Nonno, a traditional wine made in the classic style, one of my absolute favorites.)

In the beginning of September, our friends at Tour de Forks are doing a tour of Puglia which looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. What makes it even better is that they have invited Michele and myself to go along on the trip. Michele, of course, will be the food expert, and I, of course, will say something about the wines. We hope that some of you will be able to join us but if you are otherwise engaged, please come this Friday and Saturday and taste some of Puglia’s best wines with us at Vino. Until then…

–Charles Scicolone, Wine Director, I Trulli and Vino

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