Restaurant Month!

July 30, 2008

Spectacular success of Restaurant Week spurs I Trulli and Centovini to extend event thru August 29!

For most participating establishments NYC Restaurant Week officially ends this Friday, August 1, but I Trulli and Centovini have other ideas. The success of this summer’s event has prompted Nicola Marzovilla to extend Restaurant Week until August 29!

two of NYC's most unique dining experiences will be available at a special price thru August 29.

I Trulli (left) and Centovini (right): two of NYC's most unique dining experiences will be available at a special price thru August 29.

Both restaurants will continue to offer prix-fixe meals at a fraction of the usual cost, giving restaurant-goers an extra chance to indulge in two of New York’s most unique dining experiences.

Lunch: Three Courses $24.07
Dinner: Three Courses $35.00

Reserve now at OpenTable.com!

For those of you who have yet to experience Restaurant Week this is a special opportunity not to be missed! Further information, including full Restaurant Week menus, is available on the I Trulli and Centovini websites.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

I Trulli
122 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016
(212) 481-7372
www.itrulli.com

Centovini
25 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 219-2113
www.centovininyc.com

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Let the sunshine in

July 28, 2008
Antonio Argiolas (seated with hat) poses for an extended family portrait with his sons, Giuseppe and Franco, and grandchildren.

Antonio Argiolas (seated with hat) poses for an extended family portrait with his twin sons, Giuseppe and Franco, and grandchildren.

Enjoy fine fruit liqueurs enriched by the warmth of the Sardinian sun

Antonio Argiolas is the perhaps the perfect embodiment of the Mediterranean spirit. At 102 years old, he is living proof of the beneficial properties of a healthy diet and plenty of sunshine. The esteemed Argiolas winery, in the town of Serdiana, 20 kilometers north of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia, has been in the family for 90 years, but only began branding its own wines in 1989. Now, as well as its excellent Turriga and Korem wines, producer Mariano Murru also makes fine use of the area’s rich fruit to create liqueurs typical of the region.

Argiolas Tremontis Limoncello
When life gives you lemons, make limoncello! That’s what the inhabitants of Italy’s sun-drenched Amalfi coast have been doing for centuries, where large, thick-skinned lemons grow in abundance. Here, and throughout southern Italy, Limoncello has long been the traditional taste of summer — its dazzling lemon yellow color and sweet perfume make it ideal for sipping chilled on a warm night. Limonsardo comes not from Sorrento but from the renowned Argiolas winery in southern Sardinia. Obtained from the natural infusion of hand-peeled lemons steeped in pure alcohol, this intensely flavored liqueur is perhaps the closest thing to Mediterranean essence in a bottle.

Argiolas Tremontis Mirto
Mirto is a unique liqueur made from the berries of the Myrtle plant. Originating on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, this much-cherished drink is considered an important element of Sardinian tradition, and has even been granted its own denomination, Mirto di Sardegna. Myrtle is one of the most distinctive Mediterranean plants growing on the island, and has long been recognized for its healing properties, while the ancient Greeks believed it was sacred to the goddess Aphrodite. Today Mirto is produced from both the berries (mirto rosso) and the leaves (mirto bianco) of the Myrtle plant. The Argiolas winery produces a violet red-colored liqueur with bittersweet, herbal aromas. Mirto is often served as an after-dinner digestivo, although many enjoy it for aperitivo before a meal.

At Friday afternoon’s tasting, both Limonsardo and Mirto will be served in a variety of fun and refreshing styles by our talented mixologist, Kayt Mathers.

The labels for Limonsardo and Mirto were inspired by Henri Matisse's 1952 series of "gouaches decouppées" Blue Nudes.

The labels for Limonsardo and Mirto were inspired by Henri Matisse's 1952 series of "gouaches decouppées" Blue Nudes. Remarkably, the French painter was born only 37 years before Antonio Argiolas.

FREE Sardinian Liqueur Tasting
Friday, August 1, 5:30pm
121 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

For more information call (212) 725-6516 or visit our website, vinosite.com.


Ancient Abruzzese

July 27, 2008

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Tonì 2003 Cataldi Madonna
$44.00

Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans all tended vines in the shadow of the Gran Sasso d’Italia, Italy’s highest mountain south of the Alps, and today many believe that the vineyards owned by the Cataldi Madonna estate in this mountainous region of Abruzzo are among the most ancient growing sites in the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo appellation.

In a valley on the southern side of Gran Sasso lies the town of Ofena, where the winery was established in 1920 by Barone Luigi Cataldi Madonna. The firm underwent a process of rejuvenation in 1968 when the baron’s son, Antonio, began cultivating new vineyards and updating its resources. Today the company is run by a third generation of wine producer, Antonio’s son, Luigi, who manages vineyards stretching for 24 hectares, most of which are recent plantings.

The small town of Ofena is often called "The Oven of Abruzzo", due to its hot position on a mountainous knoll.

This area provides remarkable possibilities in wine making, thanks to diurnal temperature variations and soil composition. The southern facing slopes (at roughly 380 meters above sea level) offer ideal exposure while the cool winds coming down from the mountain ventilate the vines, reducing risk of rot and mildew. The calcareous-clay subsoil provides excellent drainage, which stresses the vines and results in a richer fruit.

Cataldi Madonna’s Tonì is the winery’s top cru. Luigi uses traditional-style vinification for this wine but also employs some barrique aging to create a bottle judiciously modern in style.

Located in the province of L'Aquila, the village of Ofena is positioned nearly 400 meters above sea level.

In February of this year, the Wine Advocate‘s Antonio Galloni awarded the 2003 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Tonì an impressive 90 points, calling it “another intense, full-bodied, dense wine, offer[ing] a compelling array of smoke, earthiness, spices, herbs and dark cherries on a structured frame, with outstanding length and an engaging personality.”

The wine’s label shows the image of an ancient statue dating from the 6th century B.C., which was only discovered however in 1934 at the site of a pre-Roman necropolis near the nearby medieval town of Capestrano. Though often referred to as “The Warrior of Capestrano”, the statue most probably represents an important local figure of Aufinum, the name of the Roman municipium imposed upon the Vestini, the Sabine tribe which had settled in and around what is now known as Ofena.

The wine's label representing "The Warrior of Capestrano", and the statue itself.

Vino
121 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

For more information call (212) 725-6516 or visit our website, vinositeshop.com.


Featured Producer: Castel Sallegg

July 21, 2008

This Friday taste six wines from Vino’s latest featured producer, Castel Sallegg.

The picture-postcard setting of Lake Caldaro provides a stunning backdrop for the Castel Sallegg winery.

Nestled between the majestic peaks of the Dolomite Alps, the area surrounding Lake Caldaro in the German-speaking region of Alto Adige is an optimum wine producing zone. Amidst this tranquil Alpine valley lie the vineyards of Castel Sallegg, a company fortunate enough to possess some of the most desirable sites on the western slopes of the lake, and in the village of Caldaro.

Three varieties typically cultivated in the region, Schiava and Lagrein, and Moscato Giallo, benefit from Lake Caldaro’s unique climate, providing Castel Sallegg with what are arguably its most distinctive wines. Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero are grown on historic sites in the village center.

Castel Sallegg's enologist Matthias Hauser and owner Count von Kuenberg sample one of their latest vintages.

The Castel Sallegg, in addition to its winemaking reputation, boasts a history steeped in nobility. In 1851 the castle itself and its surrounding vineyard was bought by Archduke Rainer of Austria, Viceroy of Lombardy-Veneto. It was later inherited by the Counts von Kuenburg through Prince Henry of Campofranco. A keen sense of custodial responsibility and continuity are deeply rooted in the Von Kuenburg family, and today Count Georg von Kuenburg oversees the production of each wine, ensuring quality and tradition are forever maintained.

Lagrein Rosato Nives 2007
Named Nives, (a reference to the region’s snowcapped mountains) Lagrein Rosato’s this refreshing screw-capped Lagrein Rosato is the perfect outdoor picnic wine for summer.

Lagrein Riserva 2003
An intensely-colored and flavored wine, Castel Sallegg’s Lagrein Riserva is a warm and velvety red — the perfect accompaniment to some of the region’s winter dishes.

Moscato Giallo 2007
Also known locally as “Goldenmuskateller“, Moscato Giallo is an aromatic grape also considered indigenous to Trentino-Alto Adige. Deep golden in color, it is often paired with richer foods and some of the region’s cow’s milk cheeses.

Pinot Bianco 2007
The crisp, balanced acidity of this Pinot Bianco makes for an approachable and food-friendly wine that pairs well with the often sharp flavors of the local cuisine.

Pinot Nero 2004
Using only judicious small and large cask aging, Castel Sallegg’s Pinot Nero offers beautiful fruit flavors, bright acidity and a clean finish.

Schiava Bischofsleiten 2007
Considered by many producers to be the zone’s finest site, Schiava grapes are grown on the western side of the lake, and produce a lightly-colored red wine. The name means “Bishop’s Slope”, after the vineyard’s founder, the Bishop of Trento.

Castel Sallegg Tasting
FREE
Friday, July 25, 5:30pm

Vino
121 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

For more information call (212) 725-6516 or visit our website, vinosite.com.


On the street… LINI 910

July 19, 2008
LINI 910 makes its New York fashion debut.

The Sartorialist would have been proud of this sighting: LINI 910 makes its New York fashion debut.

Last Wednesday after I rode the 6 train up to Central Park to enjoy New York Grand Opera‘s open-air production of Giuseppe Verdi‘s “La Traviata“. For the occasion, I took a chilled bottle of Lini Labrusca Rosso from Vino. I felt this was an appropriate choice of which I’m certain Verdi himself would have approved — not only did the wine pair perfectly with the selection of soft cheeses my girlfriend had brought in her hamper, but like Lini, the great composer in question also hailed from Emilia Romagna.

Following the somewhat uneven performance, while strolling home along Fifth Avenue we happened upon this elegant young gentleman on the corner of East 75th Street. To my surprise he appeared to be sporting none other than a LINI 910 bag made of shiny black PVC vinyl. I asked him where he obtained the ultra-chic accessory but he swore me to secrecy. It remains to be seen whether these bags will make break out onto the general market, but for now we’re happy to welcome a little Italian style to Manhattan’s Upper East Side.


Recession-busting Barbaresco

July 16, 2008

Vino is excited to offer a new low price on one of our all-time favorite wines!

Barbaresco 2004 Produttori del Barbaresco
$26.00

Nebbiolo, particularly when it is expertly grown and vinified, can be the perfect tonic for tough times. Here is a grape variety, difficult to cultivate and hard to tame in the cellar, that continues to inspire producers and drinkers alike to take satisfaction in tackling their tough row to hoe.

Produttori del Barbaresco is one of Italy’s best cooperative cellars and the Langhe’s leading producer of traditionally-styled, reasonably-priced Barbaresco. Since the 1950s, the cooperative’s member-growers have contributed fruit from the appellation’s best vineyards. Nebbiolo — nothing else — is vinified in a cantina located in the center of the village of Barbaresco.

Their basic Barbaresco, “Torre” (for the image of the village’s tower on the label), is made of fruit from all of the cooperative’s vineyards. It is vinified in stainless steel and cement tanks and aged for 18 months in Slavonian oak.

Since its founding in 1958, Produttori del Barbaresco has selected only the finest grapes its Nebbiolo-growing members' best vineyards

1994 pre-recession era Barbaresco: just 7,125 lire (less than 6 bucks) a bottle! And you thought $26 was a good deal...

Produttori del Barbaresco company director Aldo Vacca (far left) heads a dinner for the cooperative's 56 members.

Barbaresco Torre 2004 Produttori del Barbaresco
$26.00

Vino
121 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

Not applicable in conjunction with other offers.
Standard case discount does not apply.

For more information call (212) 725-6516 or visit our website, vinositeshop.com.


Taste the best of Barbera

July 14, 2008

Try three Barbera d’Asti wines this Friday at Vino!

Though they never shared a bottle, Giosuè Carducci (1835-1907) and Cesare Pavese (1908-1950) were united by a love for Barbera.

One of Piedmont’s oldest grape varieties, Barbera is believed to have originated in the Monferrato hills. Indeed, its first formal citation appeared in a 17th century document now housed in the city hall of Nizza Monferrato. Since the 19th century, Barbera d’Asti has been coveted by some of Italy’s most renowned literary figures. Nobel Prize-winning poet and statesman Giosué Carducci spoke of “generous Barbera” and seemingly imparted his love of the variety to his pupil and replacement at the Università di Bologna, Giovanni Pascoli. More recently, tormented poet and novelist Cesare Pavese, who spent many childhood holidays in the Langhe countryside, called the wine “legendary” in one of his many letters. In his final novel, The Moon and the Bonfires, the narrator is drinking beer in a bar in America, when a man enters whom he recognizes as being from the valleys of Langhe simply by his walk. He speaks to him in dialect suggests swapping the beer for a good bottle of their local wine. A DOC since 1970, Barbera d’Asti vineyards are generally found in calcarious, clayey land in the provinces of Alessandria and Asti.

Ruleja 2001 Montegrosso
The Montegrosso winery is steeped in history: documents show that its present owners, the Motta family, have been producing wine since 1794. The company itself takes its name from the feudal Castello di Montegrosso d’Asti, built in 1134 by order of the Marquis Bonifacio del Vasto, which dominates the hilly area around Asti in Piemonte. This historical awareness is evident in the Mottas’ approach to wine-making, for it is within the castle’s old cellars that the Barbera d’Asti is allowed to amalgamate, bringing forth Ruleja‘s most marked yet delicate characteristics.

Passum 2005 Cascina Castlèt
Noted for its elegant and whimsical label designs, current Cascina Castlèt owner Mariuccia Borio describes the company’s style as “completely feminine.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, since she also acts as Piedmont’s regional delegate for the National Association of the Women of Wine. A partial passito, Borio calls Passum Cascina Castlèt’s flagship wine, believing it to be the finest representation of the company’s philosophy, whereby age-old traditions are given a thoroughly modern interpretation.

Barbera d’Asti 2007 Luca Ferraris
One of the most exciting young producers to emerge from Piemonte in recent years, the Luca Ferraris‘ winery is located in Castagnole Monferrato, a small comune in the province of Asti. Ferraris produces wines from some of the area’s lesser-known varieties, including Ruché and Grignolino. His Barbera d’Asti comes from the Vigna del Martin, a single vineyard named after the producer’s grandfather Martino.

FREE Barbera d’Asti Tasting
Friday, July 18, 5:30pm

Vino
121 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

For more information call (212) 725-6516 or visit our website, vinosite.com.

We do not remember days, we remember moments.” — Cesare Pavese