Tuesday, September 28, 2021
The Negroni? A question? A question to some? Most of America probably. Many so-called sophisticates have been drinking this “The Negroni” quite a bit in the past 4 years or so. The truly sophisticated, worldly folks have known about them far longer. Me? I’ve been drinking this great Italian-Cocktail for some 28 years now. Yes, I’ve been drinking Negroni’s ever since my first at a Bar in la Bella Roma back in the Summer of 1985. Rome, “The Eternal City” is where I had my first, on that marvelous first trip to Bella Italia. I was quite a young man, and that trip was completely magical, discovering real Italian “Italian Food” for the very first time, I had my first true Bolognese, Spaghetti Carbonara, Coda di Vacinara, Bucatini Amatriciana, Gelato, and a true Italian Espresso, “Oh Bliss!” Yes it was. I saw The Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s Moses at San Pietro en Vincole (Saint Peter in Chains), I saw the Coliseum, The Roman Forum, The Duomo in Florence, Venice and The Grand Canal, Positano, Capri, Napoli, and so much more. Yes the trip was magical. It was magical hanging out at a Bar in the Piazza Popolo drinking my first Campari, and that first of a thousand Negroni’s, or more. Many American’s are just discovering its charms, “me and the Negroni,” we go way back; in Rome, Venice, , Positano, Capri, Verona, Bologna, I’ve had Negroni’s all over. And many in New York in restaurants and bars all over Manhattan, and Staten Island where I drink some of the best Negroni’s I’ve ever had, certainly in New York, at my buddy Pat Parotta’s house in Staten Island.
Pat pours an awesome Negroni better than any bartender in the city. He makes them with love and when I go to one of his wonderful little dinner parties, that’s the first thing I have. It’s tradition for us now. Leaving my house in Greenwich Village, I hop on the 1 Train and take it down to the Battery to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. I hop on the ferry, ride across New York Harbor, passing the gorgeous Lady Liberty (The Statue of Liberty) along the way. I get off the ferry.
Pat picks me up at the terminal on the Staten Island side. We go to house, and I’m not through the door two minutes and he’s mixing up a nice one. A Negroni that is!
Well 2 that is, one for me, and a Negroni for himself. We drink great Italian Wine at those dinner parties, and some of Pat’s tasty food. But we always start it off with our ritualistic Negroni’s alla Patty “P” and you should too.
THE NEGRONI Basic Recipe:
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
1 ounce Gin
1. Fill a Rocks-Glass or Highball Glass with Ice.
2) Add Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Gin.
3) Stir ingredients. Garnish with a piece of Orange Peel or slice of Orange.
Note: Orsen Wells after discovering the Negroni while writing a screenplay in Rome, wrote in a correspondence back home thathe had discovered a delightful Italian Cocktail, “The Negroni.” Welles stated, “It is made of Bitter Campari which is good for the liver, and of Gin which is bad. The two balance each other out.”
photo Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
THE BELLINO NEGRONI
For me, this is the Perfect Negroni. The basic Negroni recipe calls for 3 equal parts(1 oz.) each of Camapari, Sweet Vermouth, and Gin in a glass filled with ice, and garnished with an Orange Peel. For the most perfectly balanced Negroni, I put in slightly less Campari (3/4 oz.), ¾ ounce of Gin, a little moreSweet Vermouth with 1 ¼ ounces, over Ice, add a tiny spalsh of Club Soda and Garnish with a good size piece of Orange. Voila! The Perfect Negroni. Enjoy!
THE NEGRONI is Excerpted From Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 's SUNDAY SAUCE
READ : "ITALIAN COCKTAILS in NEW YORK"
"NEGRONI'S Make Me HAPPY" !!!
The NEGRONI Cocktail
AMARONE Producer Owners of BOTTEGA del VINO
People have enjoyed drinking wine for thousands of years ever since its ancient origins in Mesopotamia, near present-day Iran. Italian and French wines are among the best and Italy is the largest producer of wine. This makes sense because the Romans made the most contributions to the ancient art of viniculture.
The Greeks, who settled in southern Italy and Sicily, exported the art of wine-growing to Italy. They were so impressed with the mild Italian climate which was perfect for producing wines that they called Italy, Oenotria, or the land of trained vines.
The Etruscans, who settled in central Italy, also produced wines. The Romans improved the techniques that the Greeks and Etruscans used.
Demand for wine increased greatly with the population explosion in Rome from 300B.C. to the beginning of the Christian era. It increased to over one million people and, as even the slaves drank wine, much more wine had to be produced.
The Romans loved their wine, drinking it with every meal. However, as the alcohol content was stronger than ours, they mixed it with large quantities of water. They preferred sweet wine and strangely enough their most prized wine was white. This came from the area that they thought was the best wine-growing region, the Falernian region near Naples.
Unusual flavors were often added to the wine. The Romans liked to mix honey with this drink to make an aperitif called mulsum. They often added herbs and spices, but were known to mix wine with salt water which must have given it an extremely bitter taste. Even chalk was sometimes mixed with wine to reduce acidity!
The many contributions the Romans made to the art of wine-growing included using props and trellises, improving the Greek presses used for extracting juice, classifying which grapes grew best in which climate, and increasing the yields.
The Romans exhibited good taste by deciding that aged wines tasted better and preferred wines that were ten to twenty-five years old. They discovered that wines which were kept in tightly closed containers improved with age and became the first to store it in wooden barrels. They may also have been the first to use glass jars and they also used corks.
They exported their excellent wine-growing techniques to other areas of Europe and these were not changed for centuries. But demand for wine decreased with the fall of the Roman Empire. Surprisingly Roman Catholic monks continued to produce wine during the Dark Ages but it only became popular again during the Renaissance.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Italian wine was often criticized for its poor quality and the government decided that steps had to be taken. DOCG or new wine regulations were introduced to improved the quality of the wine.
Today Italian wines are considered by critics to be amongst the best in the world. As there are twenty different regions to choose from, each with different varieties, it is never difficult to find a fine Italian wine!
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
"AMERICA'S 1st ESPRESSO MACHINE"
MINETTA TAVERN / CAFE WHA
GREENWICH VILLAGE NEW YORK
GREENWICH VILLAGE ITALIAN
NEW YORK ITALIAN RECIPES
And More ..
Monday, September 20, 2021
BELLINO on BAROLO
Barolo is a red Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy's greatest wines. The zone of production extends into the communes of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d'Alba and parts of the communes of Cherasco, Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d'Alba, Novello, Roddi, Verduno, all in the province of Cuneo, south-west of Alba. Although production codes have always stipulated that vineyards must be located on hillsides, the most recent revision of the production code released in 2010 goes further, categorically excluding valley floors, humid and flat areas, areas without sufficient sunlight, and areas with full-on northern exposures. Barolo is often described as having the aromas of tar and roses, and the wines are noted for their ability to age and usually take on a rust red tinge as they mature. Barolo needs to be aged for at least 38 months after the harvest before release, of which at least 18 months must be in wood. When subjected to aging of at least five years before release, the wine can be labeled a Riserva.
In the past, Barolo wines tended to be rich in tannin. It could take more than 10 years for the wine to soften and become ready for drinking. Fermenting wine sat on the grape skins for at least three weeks extracting huge amounts of tannins and was then aged in large, wooden casks for years. In order to appeal to more modern international tastes, those that prefer fruitier, earlier drinking wine styles, several producers began to cut fermentation times to a maximum of ten days and age the wine in new French oak barriques (small barrels). "Traditionalists" have argued that the wines produced in this way are not recognizable as Barolo and taste more of new oak than of wine.
Some Great BAROLO Producers
Bruno Giacos, Giaccamo Conterno, Francesco Rinaldi,
Aldo Conterno, Giuseppe Mascarello
Barolo is one of the hottest wine collectibles today. But Italian laws and classifications can make navigating the landscape a tar pit for the collector who simply wants to get in, find the best of these great Italian wines, and get out. Unlike Burgundy, which has official categorizations for vineyards and the Médoc, which ranks its estates, Italy's Piedmont region has no official hierarchy of the great Barolo vineyards.
It was Renato Ratti who first put his imprimatur on a map ranking the top "prima" categories in the 1970s. Ratti's map was inspired by an unofficial Barolo classification written by Francesco Arrigoni and Elio Ghisalberti for Luigi Veronelli's book "The Wines of Italy". His became the map everyone hung in their winery or office. And while Ratti was a visionary, winemaking practices, vineyard management and global climate have changed since his day.
Two of my Favorite of ALL BAROLO VINTAGES -1989 and 1996
from one of my Favorite producers BARTOLO MASCARELLO
The Town of Barolo in the Piedmont Hills
Barolo, also known as “the king of wines”, is a fine Italian red wine with complex and powerful aromas. It’s produced in an area called Barolo DOCG in Piedmont, north-west Italy. The wine is made from a grape called Nebbiolo, which is famous for its flavours of dried rose and liquorice. The typical harvest time is the second half of October. According to DOCG rules, Barolo must be aged for at least 38 months, and Barolo Riserva for at least 62 months. This is because Nebbiolo grapes are very high in tannins. A long ageing process is required to soften and mellow the tannins, and give Barolo more time to develop its fine aromas. The recommended minimum time for bottle ageing is between 5 and 10 years. 14 million bottles of Barolo are produced each year – five times fewer than Chianti. If you’re wondering when the best vintages for Barolo are, 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016 are considered the best years. As for vintages to be careful with, 2011, 2012 and 2014 were challenging.
MAP of BAROLO
ITALIAN FOOD MEMORIES
BAROLO "The KING of WINES"
TRATTORIA Dalle OSTE
ANTHONY & DARIO
ANTHONY BOURDAIN Meets DARIO
The KING OF FLORENTINE STEAK
A DAY With DARIO CECCHINI
STEAK ITALIAN STYLE
COOK The PERFECT STEAK
ITALIAN STYLE RECIPE
"WANT a GREAT BISTECCA" ???
"MAMMA'S GOT The BISTECA"
Posted by xpicassox at 9:25 AM
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
I first tasted the Fontodi Chianti 20018 on September 2018. I remember the date easily as it was just last week, and I remember it was on a Monday, and the sad 20 Year Anniversary of 9/11 and the attack of The World Reade Center Twin Towers on Tuesday September 11th, 2000.
I was at the bar at Monte's Trattoria in Greenwich Village when I first tasted this wine. Now I want to point out as your average person soesn't think of these things, that when it comes to wine, vintages are different, and no vintage of any given named wine ever taste exactly the same. They may sometimes one vintage may taste similar to another, but never exactly the same. So when I said this was the first time that I tasted the 2018 Fontodi Chianti, one might think it was the first time I ever drank it. No, no, no. I first drank Fontodi Chianti Chianti curiously enough, in 1997 at the Fontodi Estate in Panzano, with none other than Mr. Giovanni Manetti, one of the family members who own the Fontodi Estate, and wines. This was in my early years and second stage of really delving into Italian Wine in a major way. My friend Fianfranco had set up the tasting, so it was way back in 1997 that I first tasted the famed Super Tuscan wine Flacinella produced by the Manetti Family in Panzano at Fontodi, along with their Chianti, and Reserve Chianti "Vigna del Sorbo" as well as their Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Vin Santo wines. Giovanni is a wonderful host, and treated us well, and over the yearsm I gave attended numerous luncheons, wine tastings, and Wine Dinners with the man.
Now back to the current vintage. So, I first started drinking the Chainti, Flacinella, and Vin Santo of the Fontodi Estate, and I've have drunk most every vintage of these wines since then, and have had many good times drinking these wonderful wines, usually occopanied by some tasty Italian food.
So it was on this day in 2021 that I first tasted this wonderful wine, the Fontodi Chianti 2018, and what a day it was. I poured the wine into the glass, gave it a little sniff, then took my first taste. Wow! It blew my mind. The wine was spectacular. It tasted oh so good, and I took another sip. Wow. I noticed the wine to be fully flavored, with what I call perfect balance of the fruit, with wonderful flavors of sour cherry and black fruits that filled my mouth and gave me a most wonderful feeling. The wine was simply great, and I was enjoyng it immensly as I had recalled another Fonodi wine a couple years before that was one of those special wines, like this wine, I wine that I go bonkers for, and just cant't get it out of my mind. That other Fontodi wine I'm speaking of was the 2010 vintage of Fontodi's famed Super Tuscan wine Flacinello, another wine I went simply bonkers for, and remember it to this very day. There are other wines that have givien ne the same reaction, especially any nunber of Barolo's and Barbaresco from the 1996 vintage of thise wine, the 1996 being my favorite vinatge all time for these wines, and that includes the much lauded 2000, 2001, and 1997 vintage, I like the 1996 vintage Barolo the best, Anyway, lets get back to the Fontodi Chianti and the 2018 at that.
When I describe a wine, I don't like to go crazy with too much descriptions, going on and on, if you know what I mean. If I say I love it, and that the wine is in perfect balance, of having some nice fruit, the right weight, and just the right amount of acid and tannins in the wines make-up, then I don't need to say a whole lot more, other than 1 to 3 prominent taste (flavors) of the wine. That's it. Basta!
So in closing, I think you already know I love this wine. I feel it is a great wine, and perfectly balanced, and thouhg I might want to tell friends about it, and talk on it a bit, the main thing I want to do is drink it.
In the Spring of 1997 I had a most wonderful time at the Villa Calcinaia in Greve, Italy. The wine estate is owned by the Noble Florentien Family the Capponi's of Florence Italy and Greve who have been making wine for some 600 years now. My friend Hilda who was a friend of the two young Italian Counts Niccola and Sebastiano Conti Capponi. We met Hilda at her shop in Flroence and then walked a couple blocks to the Capponi Family Palazzo just about 100 feet from The Onte Vecchio (bridge) on the Arno River in Fierenze. Niccola came out and we were introduced. We chatted a few minutes, then Moran hopped in Niccola's Fiat Panda and headed to the Villa Calcinaia estate in Greve. It's just about 17 miles south of FLorence and we arrived about 40 minutes later. Niccola's brother, Conti Sebastiano Capponi met us outside the castle. A few minutes later we went inside, and walked into the 500 kitchen, where the cook was there preparing our meal on a open-hearth fire. A few minutes later Niccolabegan our tour of the castle and cellars below. He lead us down a stone hallway and announced "I will now take you to our 300 year old Mother." What, I thought.
Niccoloa lead us into a room and said, "Here is our Mother. She is 300 years old." He explained that the mother was the starter to make Chianti Vinegar from wine. The mother must be kept alive, and this one was 300 years old. "Wow!" Afterseeing the mother, Niccola took us to another special room, were Trebbiano grapes were hanging and drying in order to make the Tuscan Elixir known as Vin Santo. Niccola explained the process which wasthe first time I learnt of how Vin Santo was made, and from an Italian Count no less. Niccola then took us into one of the barrel rooms, where there were many large Slovenian Oak Botte, filled with Chiant. Niccola pulled out a theif and removed some of the aging Chianti with it, and filled our glasses with some of the wine. Wow, I loved it, my first ever barrel sample. "I loved it."
After talking about their process of making Chianti, and other tidbits of info, Niccola lead us outside to look at some of the vineyards and vegetable and herb garden. It was a beautiful Summer's day in Chianti Classico, in Tuscan, and here I was being given a personal wine tour by two of the Conti Capponi at their beautiful wine estate Villa Calcinaia in Greve, and we were about to have lunch inside the castle with the two counts. This was awesome.
Sebastiano lead us to the dining room. It was lovely. I really liked the country elgance of it. We settled in, as Sbeasiano poured us some wine. It was Villa Calcinaia Chianti of course. It was the 1995, and it was quite nice. We also drank some of 1993 vintage as well. The cook brough in platters of Salumi and Pecorino Toscano, both made in house on the property. I dug in, and savored every bite of the tasty cheese and salami. I really loved the wine. The second course was a simple, yet tasty plate of Macccheroni Pomodoro.For the main course, we had Roast Wild Boar that we saw the cook preparing previously in the kitchen when we entered the castle. We finished the meal with the wonderful Vin Santo of Villa Calcinaia with some homemade biscotti as Sebastiano and Niccola continued talking about the wine and the history of Villa Calcinaia, while my business partner Tom and I told them of the Venetian Wine Bar (Bacaro), Bar Cichetti that we were opening in New York.
Our time with the Conti Capponi could not have been better. The counts we wonderful host, showing us around and especially to treat us to such a memeroable lunch. It was truly spectacular. "Grazie Mille."
We left Villa Calcinaia and turned right and south toward Panzano. We were on the Chiantiagana Road which runs the entire length of the Chianti Classico region, from north to south. The road is an ancient old Roman Road, and is quite beautiful. It was a shor 15 minute ride to the Fontodi Wine Estate in Panzano. We pulled in and were greeted by Mr. Giovanni Manetti, one of the owners of Fontodi. Fontodi is one of the top wine estates in the area, producing fine Chianti, Vin Santo, and their famous 100% Sangiovese Super Tuscan wine Flacinello. Giovanno showed us around the estate, then brought us to the tasting room were he tasted us on the full line-up of Fontodi Wines. He told us about all the wine as we tasted each, and he gave us a breif history of the estate.We finished up and jumped in our car to head back to Florence.
The day was absolutely wonderful, visiting Villa Calcinaia, having lunch with the Counts of Capponi, and spending some nice time tasting Fontodi wines with Giovanni. We went back to our hotels to rest. If the day wasn't already wonderful enough, that night we had one of the most wonderfully memorable meals of my entire life. I was staying at a modest hotel, while Tom and Moran were staying at The Grand Hotel just off the Arno near the Ponte Vecchio. After taking a little nap and a shower I went over to The Grand to meet-up with the guys for dinner. I waited in the lobby and Tome came down. Moran arrived a few minutes later. We had a coupke Campari's in the beautiful lobby of the hotel, which is one of the most stunning hotels I've ever been in in my life. And I've been in some of the World's most luxurious hotels all around the World. The Grand of Florence, Italy may very well have them all beat, as far as beauty is concerned.
We enjoyed our coctails until our taxi arrived, then jump in and made our way to the restaurant. The Concierge at The GRand reccomended it to Tom. The restaurant is called Pandomonio, and the dinner that dinght might vert well be the most wonderful and enjoyable of my life. It is a wonderful trattoria, run by a lady that everyone calls "Mamma," and she runs the restauarant with the help of her sister-in-law in the dining-room and her son in the kitchen.
We had some Crostini Toscana (Chicken Liver), Artichokes, and varous Salumi, and cheese for our antipasto. For the main course, we ordered a beautiful Bisteca Fiorentina for the three of us, and a bottle of Bioni Sante Brunello 1993. Mamma rolled over a cart with the wine and 4 wine glasses. She open the wine, and pour Brunello into our three glasses. She smiled and said, "some for Mamma," and pour a little Brunello for herself. We all laughed and smiled, clicked our glasses together with Mamma and said. "Cento Anni," meaning, may you live 100 years. Our meal was most enjoyable. Tom, Moran, and I really enjoyed the wine, antipasti, and the delcious T-Bone Steak, but even more chit chatting, Mamma and her interactions with us, and the whole feel of the room.
After we were done eating and there were just about 8 or 10 people left in the place, Mamma pushed all the tables together so everyone left in the trattoria were all sitting together. And so we all continued drinking, chatting and making merry for another hour and a half before leaving the restaurant, kissing Mamma good night, and we headed back to our hotels. "Wow! What a day," and still I must say oen of the best days of my life and one I shall never foregt.
A little foot note. I had such a great time at Pandomonio that night, I was able to return a couple more times, for more wonderful meals, and hanging out with Mamma. And I have sent some friends and family to Pandomonio over the years, and everyone I have ever told to go there, and they went, every single person has told me that their meal at Pandomonio was the best and most fun of their entire trip. Now that's saying something. "Bravo to Mamma!"
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
POSITANO The AMALFI COAST
TRAVEL GUIDE & COOKBOOK
GO SEE MAMMA at PANDOMONIO
SOPHIA LOREN with PIZZA
SOPHIA with PIZZA
"TIME to GET THAT ROLEX"