Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Brunello 2015 Vintage in NewYork

Marchesi Ferdinando Frescobaldi with author Daniel Bellino Zwicke


The 2015 vintage is a historical year for Brunello di Montalcino that nobody should miss. The wines show impressive precision of vivid fruit, fine tannins and freshness in acidity despite their ripeness and richness which makes them some of the most exciting in years.

Aside from high tannins and acidity, traditional Brunello di Montalcino wines are often described as earthy with aromas and flavors of sour cherry.  

The diverse soils of the Montalcino region most certainly will add earthiness to the wines, but other traditions enable these large brown grapes to fulfill their potential.  Maceration, the process of leaching color, flavors and tannins from the skins to the juice, is much longer in these wines, adding rich, dark color, flavor and age worthy tannins.

Recording an exceptionally high level of excellence of the grapes harvested, the 2015 vintage was awarded 5-stars at the simple ceremony held last Saturday morning, traditionally the second and final day of Benvenuto Brunello event held every year in Montalcino. The last time a vintage was assigned 5-stars was in 2012 and 2010 before that during this decade. Both 2011 and 2013 were awarded 4-stars by the experts’ panel. The disastrous 2014 had managed only 3 stars, even though a few journalists had felt it was being slightly generous.

"The producers had been waiting for such a flawless vintage for many years. As a beaming President Fabrizio declared in Italian, ‘Our Consortium members are extremely satisfied with this grape harvest. This is the vintage par excellence that they have been waiting for a long time."

The Colombini family has been harvesting grapes from their Montalcino vineyards since 1790.  Still run by the family, the Barbi winery balances old traditions with modern technology such as a cold maceration process called “cyro maceration” that is intended to enhance the aromas of the wines.

From elevated vineyards with rough topography, this is a warm, friendly wine with a bouquet and flavors of sour cherry, a nice minerality, healthy tannins and, of course, a damp earthiness. 



Italian Cookbook Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke (M)

With Lamberto Fresobaldi and Marchesi Leonardo Frescobaldi

Brunello Tasting New York

Like every year, I am looking forward to my two favorite Italian Wine Tastings of the year, in          New York. For myself and any New Yorker heavily into Italian Wine, the two biggest and most important Italian Wine Tasting Events are # 1, the Benevenuto Brunello Tasting held each January in New York, and this years will be on Monday, January 28th, 2020 ..

The other great Italian Wine Tasting Event in New York is the Gambero RossoTre Bicchieri Tasting of Italy's Top Wines which are awarded 3 Glasses (Bicchieri) for the most esteemed Italian Wines of that particular year, in this case of 2020 ..

I love tasting all the wonderful Italian Wines, especially Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti, Taurasi, and all of the great wines of Italy, but even more than tasting the wine, I love seeing my Italian friends who make wine, and also catching up with my New York Italian Wine Friends and Colleagues. So as usual, I'm gearing up fro these two great events as well as Great Wines of Italy by James Suckling on March 4th .. I'm all registered for all these 3 big Italian Wine Events, and I'm ready and rearing to go.

Me and Conti Cinzano

Tasting some of the Counts awesome Brunello

Col d' Orcia

Kevin Zraly 

Gotham Hall 2013

Benvenuto Brunello

Kevin gave an awesome Seminar on Brunello a few years back. 
The best wine seminar I've ever attended. Absolutely Awesome. I just love his style.




Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Rolling Stones Drink Wine


Cheering in The NEW YEAR

with WINE

Probably 1967 or 68


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vini Sfuso Demijohn Wine Venice Italy




Vino sfuso, literally wine from the cask or demijohn, is a delicious staple in the Italian diet. Daily, families take their empty bottles down to the local cantina for a refill of their preferred grape.
Throughout history, wine and beer were consumed by all, as it was often safer than drinking water. Your enemies could easily poison the water supply you know! Drink vino (wine) instead! Table wine usually hovers around the eleven percent alcohol level, making it light enough for lunch. In Venice, each neighborhood has at least one cantina to choose from. These are genuine local businesses that do not cater to tourists. So, be prepared to practice your Italian and pay in cash.
In each region of the country, you will find this type of shop. It’s usually conveniently located near the butcher or baker. Regionalism is a predominant cultural element.

What is vino sfuso? Translated word for word: “loose wine” (no, no, not “promiscuous”… “unpackaged” ). More properly defined: bulk wine, dream come true, wine on tap, wine from the cask (the barrel or container where wine is fermented, matured, stored or shipped).

Nave d'Oro, Canareggio.

As already noted the Nave d'Oro Vino Sfuso shops are quite widespread in Venice although they seem to be owned by different members of the same family and others. This one is a particularly nice one advertising Torbolino (the new partially-fermented sweet red wine) and exceptionally Frizzante wines.

A BACARO Somewhere in VENICE

Vintage Picture


To GO with YOUR WINE !



In this little survey, we were told that the majority of Veneziani take home Raboso for red and Verduzzo for their white vino sfuso. Isn't that amazing?





Raboso is a red wine grape grown primarily in the eastern part of Veneto. It is also called Raboso Piave, from the name of a river near where it is grown. It produces deep-colored wine, with notably high levels of tannin and medium alcohol content and high acid. The name raboxo in the native Venetian language means "angry", because angry is the sensation in the mouth when this wine is drunk young. Raboso was in the past the most cultivated grape variety of eastern Veneto; Venetian navigators called it vin de viajo, "wine of travel", because it was the most resistant to aging and transport. Its popularity decreased in the 20th century, and today the vineyards of Raboxo are just 1–2% of the total amount of vineyards in Veneto.

Verduzzo (or Verduzzo Friulano) is a white Italian wine grape grown predominantly in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy. It is also found in significant plantings in the Piave Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) of the Veneto region, though some of these plantings may be of the separate Verduzzo Trevigiano variety. Verduzzo Friulano is used in varietal and blended wines, many of which fall under DOC as well as vino da tavola designations, that range in style from dry to late harvest wines.[1] According to wine expert Oz Clarke, most of the sweeter examples of Verduzzo can be found in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia with the grape being used for progressively drier styles of the wine the further west into the Veneto.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Casanova in Venice Venetian Seduction









Wine Bars of Venice Bacaro Italian

Cantina del Vino Schiavi

One of Venice's most Popular Wine Bars (Bacaro)

In the whimsical adriatic city of Venice, the citizens practice a wonderful little custom called the "giro di ombre" (the wheel of shade). It is not a custom of all Venetians, but mostly men and usually older men. However, this being said, you do not have to be a man to participate. You not have to be old. Anyone can do it, and in fact many younger Venetians (including women) are now caught up in this thing called the giro. Mostly though, you will see groups of men, three, five, or six, maybe more, one can even do it solo. I often go solo myself. Don't worry about being alone. You will make many friends along the way, for that's part of the "giro," making new friends, eating, imbibing, in general, having a great time.

What is this Giro di Ombre you ask?

The giro di ombre is a splendid little ritual that began around Venice's Rialto market some 600 years ago. The merchants of the Rialto Market, wanting to take a little break from hawking their wares, would run to the nearest wine bar to get out of the sun and have a little nip of wine accompanied by little tidbits of food(cichetti) to go with the wine. When these merchants went to the wine bars, known as Bacari, translating to "House of Bachus," they'd say they wanted a "ombra," the latin word for shade. They wanted to get out of the sun and into the shade. In time, a glass of wine in venice became know as an "ombra." So if one day you have the good fortune to make it to one of venice's many enchanting little wine-bars ( Bacaro ), you belly up to the bar, order "un ombra rosso" if you want a glass of the house red, or "un ombra bianco" if you'd like a glass of white wine. It's as simple as that, and you are speaking in the wonderful venetian dialect. Like a true venetian!

When you go into the wine-bars of Venice, you will undoubtedly see a tantalizing display of food attractively displayed in platters on the bar. These items of food are "cichetti," tidbits of prepared food that come in very small portions so you can try three, four, five, maybe even six or more. The cichetti generally cost about $1.00-$2.50. They are made to be very affordable and are in small portions so people can order a few different items for variety.

What are the cichetti, you ask? Just what the Venetian dialect means, cichetti are small tidbits of food. There exist quite a good variety of items as far as cichetti are concerned. The most traditional and popular cichetti are; grilled shrimp or squid, braised or fried meatballs, Cotechino, Musetto (pigs snout sausage, "yum!"), nerveti, octopus salad, bacala mantecato (whipped salt-cod), and sarde en saour (sardines marinated with vinegar and onions). You might also find a nice array of small sandwiches (panini and Tramezzini ) that are filled with all sorts of tasty fillings such as crab salad, speck (smoked prosciutto), shrimp, ham with mushrooms and tomato, and much, much more. These sandwiches are also part of the cichetti and are priced around $1.00 or two as well.

You might be thinking that Cichetti are like Spanish tapas. "Yes," exactly. I might add that the Venetians started this ritual a couple hundred years before the spanish did, only the "cichetti" of Venice never caught on all over the Italian peninsular the way that tapas did throughout Spain where tapas and tapas bars are a way of life.

So you go into the bacaro and order your ombra rosso or bianco. Survey the fabulous array of Cichetti and order a few items of your choice. A typical sample plate of these marvelous little tidbits might go like this; a couple pieces of grilled squid, one sarde en saor, a crostino of baccala montecato (whipped salt cod), and maybe a couple fried meatballs. "Bon apetito!" All this should not cost you more than seven or eight dollars. In the happy days prior to the euro an ombra and a say four pieces of cichetti would cost you about $4.50, nowadays it will be almost double that. Unfortunately, that's life. Things change, never-the-less, it's still a pretty good deal.

So you've just had your first wonderful experience in a venetian wine-bar. What to do next? Go check out another one of course! Ask one of the locals for a suggestions or cross one off your own personal list. If you have one.

Ahh, you're at you second bacaro. Why not try one of Venice's most popular aperitifs? A "spritz." A spritz is simply white wine with a splash of compari or aperol with soda and a twist of lemon. Quite refreshing. Very venetian. For those of you who love prosecco, you'll be happy to know that Venice is the "prosecco capital of the world" and you can order one in any bacaro. Save the bellini's for harry's bar, and if you do, save your money as well, for at this point in time, a bellini at the ultra chic harry's bar will cost you about $15 u.S. Dollars. They are absolutely delicious, but they go down like water.

Order a Prosecco. Some nice treats to go with your venetian bubbly, would be a couple little crab tramezzini or one shrimp and one crab, both go perfectly with a crisp, fresh glass of local prosecco.

Besides the tasty food and splendid Italian wine, you will find wonderful atmosphere in Venetian Wine Bars. You'll meet and chat with locals as well as people who come to Venice from all around the world. The venetian bacaro, which incidentally translates to house of Bacchus, Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.

Go to Venice, engross yourself in its many bacari (bacaro is singular, bacari plural) and you are sure to be entranced in a true bacchanalia sort of way.

Suggested bacari (wine bars of Venice):

Al Volto: located on the calli cavalli, San Marco

A great old style bacaro, serving good inexpensive local wine, traditional cihetti, wonderful pasta, risotto, and fresh seafood from the rialto market.

Alla Vedova: cannaregio 3912, ramo ca'd'oro

Tucked in a small alleyway off the strada nuova, alla Vedova is the authors pick for as one of Venice's best Bacaro. Alla Vedova has the quintessential bacaro décor and ambiance, they serve superb cichetti at the bar, which is always filled with fun loving regulars of the giro de ombre. This bar gets very crowded at times and you will have to vie for a spot at the bar for tasty baccala and the best fried meatballs in town. As you enjoy yourself at the bar while watching diners sitting at table in the lovely little dining-room, you may get the urge to sit down for a wonderful meal with some pasta, risotto, or calves liver Venenziana. Do it!

All'arco, san palo 436, calle dell'occhialer

This tiny little (14'x 8') wine-bar is one of Venice's most traditional. You will usually only find locals here, but they love to see the occasional foreigner drop in. They will welcome you with open arms, as they did to me when I stumbled upon this little establishment on my first ever "giro de ombar." You will find very traditional old style cichetti that not many place make any more, such as Nerveti (nerve), tetina (cows udder), rumegal, and other funky items like Musetto (pigs snout sausage). These guys delight in turning novices on to the real deal. The close quarters are great, as they precipitate interaction between you and the locals who are very nice in this wonderful little "gem."

This was the 1st person ever to ever serve me Cichetti

All Arco


Do Mori, san palo 429, calle dei do mori

You might want to check out Do Mori as it is one of Venice's most historical wine-bars. However, you might be a little disappointed. I was, as the owners are cold and not very cordial. Their coldness pervades through the place, which is a shame as this place could be wonderful if only the proprietors did not posses the personalities of some "dead fish" lying around the Rialto Market. "Sorry fish, didn't mean to insult you." "Get my drift?"

Al Paradiso Perduto, on the fondamenta miscordia in Cannaregio

You know when you stubble across a place you have never been to before and go in to have one of the best times imaginable? That's what happened to me when I was on one of my typical exploratory walks around Venice one fine Sunday afternoon in april of 2001. I was walking by and saw that al Paradiso was my kind of place; cool, old, with lots of character. The place was jumping with a very hip looking crowd. I sat down for a nice little lunch of antipasto misto and some Adriatic Sole. Halfway through my meal, I was more than pleasantly surprised when a jazz quartet set up on the fondumenta right outside the restaurant. There was a bass player, guitar, trumpet, and even a piano player who rolled his "baby grande" right up to the place. The band was exceptional.

What a combination, Venice on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon sitting at the Paradiso Perduto, drinking local wine, eating perfectly prepared Adriatic Soglio and listening to the lovely sounds of a great little jazz band playing beside the canal. "Who could possibly for more?" "Not me."

Paridiso Perdutto

Fondamenta Misericordia


"I stumbled upon Paradiso Perduto when I was walking around Venice one lovely Sunday afternoon. The second I spotted it, I knew it was the place. The place to have my lunch. The place seemed to be the hot spot of the locals in the neighborhood of Misericordia. I sat down, order some wine, a Antipasti Misti di Pesce, and Artichoke Lasagna. As I was eating my antipasto, some musicians pushed a Baby Grande Piano up onto the Fondumenta in front of the restaurant and started playing. It was awesome, sitting there, sipping wine and eating my local Venetian Cuisine. The atmosphere was as good as it get and I had the most wonderful time. I highly recommend."

Daniel Bellino Zwicke is a former Chef and now one of New York and the United States foremost authorities on Italian Wine and Venetian Wine Bars (Bacari). Daniel was the former Wine Director of Barbetta Restaurant in New York City as well as the Chef, Wine Director, and Managing Partner at Bar Cichetti which he created. Bar Cichetti was the first ever Venetian Wine Bar to exist in the United States.

The Chef relaxes outside Paradiso Perdutto




Paradiso Perdutto Tripadvisor Review


And The FEAST of The 7 FISH





Best Selling Italian Cookbook Author

Enjoying a Prosecco with his Cousin Joe Macari

At a Bacaro (Wine Bar) in Venice



Sunday, December 15, 2019

Worlds Greatest Wine Bar Italian



"Yes, it's the World's Greatest Wine Bar by far. Nothing can touch it."

Read About The BOTTEGA di VINI




Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Catherine Scorsese Sunday Sauce Recipe ItalianAmerican

Catherine Scorsese makes Sunday Sauce Italian Gravy in her apartment

on Elizabeth Street, Little Italy, New York ...

"This is what my mother in-law taught me. You take a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, and put in here (with the chopped meat)."

"It keeps the meatballs soft. Not like some people. You get invited to some peoples house, and the Meatballs are hard. I better be careful. I have a lot of friends. If they see this."

At The Home of Catherine and Charles Scorsese

Elizabeth Street, New York NY



by Martin Scorsese

Starring : Catherine Scorsese and Charles Scorsese

with Martin Scorsese


Charlie : "I remember the first Radio we got. It was in the shape of a Church."

Charlie :  "Sometimes it's been known, that a man is a better cook than a woman. It's the truth."

Catherine : "Then, why don't you cook?"

Charlie : "It's not my thing."

Catherine : "We didn't have our Honeymoon, so went to Italy years later"

"This is us in Palermo. That's my aunt. She's 80 years old. That's me standing."

Marty has Dinner with his parents Catherine & Charlie, at their home on Elizabeth Street


Charlie : "There's more Maccheroni coming out"

Catherine :  "I made a pound of maccheroni. And there's some meat they can have."

Marty : "You want some cheese"

Charlie : You want some Mozzarell Cheese?"

"I get it from my sisters, They have a garden, and they give it to me. It last all year."

Marty :  "You have some Cheese? The kind I like"

Marty : "That's it. That's the kind I like. What is it"

Catherine : "Cheese in a Basket"

Marty : "No what do you call it?"

Charlie : "That's what we call it. Cheese in a Basket"

Marty :  "No what is its name?"

Charlie : "Cheese in a basket. It's Special Cheese"

Marty : "No, isn't that Ricotta?"

On Filming - It Not You Murray

Catherine  "He got my up 5 O'Clock in the morning to make Spaghetti.  He had to have a scene with hot Spaghetti. It was up in the Bronx. It was freezing up there."

Charlie "Yeah Ricotta. It's special cheese."

Catherine:  "Come on, the Raviolis are getting cold!"

Marty : "Where is that Mozzarella from?"

"That's DiPalo, it's famous"

Charlie Scorsese at home on Elizabeth Street

New York NY

Having dinner with his wife Catherine and son Martin

Marty : "The wine is from California. It's not Italian?"

Marty is a little upset that the wine that his mother bought for their Italian Dinner on Elizabeth Street is from California, and not Italian.

Dam? I'd be Upset too!






And More ...