Thursday, December 8, 2016
Barolo "Cannubi" Damilano
With Cousin Eddy
TOMMY'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
Dinner Brunello Barolo & Barbaresco
Look for My New Book
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Caffe Reggio is a New York City coffeehouse first opened in 1927 at 119 Macdougal Street in the heart of Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Italian cappuccino was introduced in America by the founder of Caffe Reggio, Domenico Parisi, in the early 1920s. Inside the cafe, against the back wall, there is still the original espresso machine, made in 1902, that Domenico Parisi bought with his savings when he opened the cafe in 1927. The Caffe Reggio has been featured in many movies, including The Godfather Part II, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, The Kremlin Letter, Shaft, Serpico, The Next Man, In Good Company, Inside Llewyn Davis and others. Many celebrities have been spotted or photographed in this location. In 1959, presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy made a speech outside the coffee shop. In 2010, the cafe was honored with a Village Award by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation for its status as a beloved and essential part of the neighborhood. Caffe Reggio has a bench from a palazzo of the Florentine Medici family of Renaissance fame. The bench is not roped-off and guests can sit on it and admire a painting from an artist of the school of Caravaggio.
All photos by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
BACCHUS by CARAVAGGIO
Not in Caffe Reggio
is GREENWICH VILLAGE ITALIAN
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
If a good or great Rosso di Montalcino is any indication of how good the Brunello of the same Vintage to be released 3 years later will be, and it usually is, then we are in store for some great Brunello 2009 when they are release in January of 2014.
At the recent "Brunello Tasting" for the 2006 Vintage Brunello's, the 2009 Rosso di Montalcino's that were on hand, where absolutely wonderful and the big surprise of the tasting held at The New York Hilton. Rosso's where on hand by some but not all producers of Brunello, and most that I tasted were outstanding. Some were just about close to perfection, with wonderful balance of an abundance of Fruit, against just the right amount of acid content, and tannic backbone. Some of these wines were an absolute Joy to drink as with examples by; Argiano, Fattoria Barbi, Il Poggione, and the
Rosso di Montalcino from the Castel Giacondo Estate of the Noble Florentine Family, The Frescobaldi's.
I really loved the Rosso from Argiano which reminded me of the year of 2008 when my friends the Rozner Brothers Dave and Michael found ourselves quite a number of times hanging at the highly popular and one of New York's best Trattoria's "Bar Pitti" having some good ole times drinking
Rosso di Montalcino "Argiano" 2006. This was a good year for Rosso from Montalcino and we must of had at least 50 bottles of the stuff that year. One day we were joined by friend Curtis Stone. We had a wonderful 2 1/2 hour lunch that day, eating Tripp, Prosciutto, and Pasta accompanied by 5 bottles of Argiano Rosso which we thoroughly enjoyed. And this is all of what wines should be along with the food that goes with them and the restaurants or homes we share our meals in; good Friends, tasty Food, and great wine. That's the good life or as we Italians would say La Dolce Vital, "The Sweet Life." Enjoy!
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
A bottle of ARGIAN ROSSO di MONTALCINO
"Yes we had many great times drinking this wine at BAR PITTI
GREENWICH VILLAGE, NEW YORK
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Went to the Moon Light Wine Tasting at Panebianco Wines the other night and it was one of my most enjoyable wine-tastings in quite some time. It was more like a wine tasting of friends that are not in the business of buying or selling wine than the many tastings I go to that are more businesslike, though I always make the tastings I go to somewhat of a social event, more so than business. When I go to these numerous tastings held for professionals in the business I always go to have a good time, taste, learn, and socialize. Well at Panebianco's Moon Light Tasting the other night I didn't need to try very hard to relax and enjoy it purely as a party, for that what it was and the evening was most enjoyable, starting out with a nice refreshing glass of Prosecco (actually two), moving on to some Greco di Tufo and Fiano d' Avelino before tasting the fine Pugnane Barolo and La Togato Brunello before moving on to the main event of a vertical tasting of some 8 vintages of Venturini Amarone which was hosted by M. Venturini of the Venturini Family of San Foriano, Italy in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico Wine Region of Italy, which is the zone that produces; Bardolino, Valpolicella, Recioto di Valpolicella, Amarone and other wines.
A bottle of Venturini AMARONE della VALPOLICELLA 2009
One of 8 wonderful offerings of Venturini Amarone we drank that night.
Just Yummy !!!
Our Host for the Evening M. VENTURINI telling us about her family's wines ..
Posted by xpicassox at 11:59 AM
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Bottega del Vino
aka Bottega Vini
One of the oldest and historical Osteria in Verona. Bottega del vinowas founded in 1890 and nowadays is one of the most renowned restaurant in town, especially for the huge wine selection it offers. More than 1500 labels and 40.000 bottles with rarities and exceptionally valuable vintages. A chance to taste and discover not only almost all the local Veronese, but also other Italian and world wines.
Antica Bottega delVino is an illustrious survivor of the hundred osterias that once dotted Verona, meeting places for guilds and corporations. This was where the local dialect poets hung out together with Berto Barbarani, the bard of Verona, joined by journalists from the L'Arena and Gazzettino newspapers. Painters such as Dall’Oca Bianca and Umberto Boccioni came here to down quinti and goti.Antica Bottega del Vino is the only restaurant in Verona to be officially recognised as a “historic establishment” and boasts one of the 10 best restaurant wine cellars in Italy.
Inside The Bottega del Vini
The Board at BOTTEGA del VINO
I first went onto the Bottega Vini on a trip I made to Italy in 1995 .. I fell in love with the place immediately. What Italian Wine lover wouldn't, for the Bottega del Vini iw without quetion Italy's single most famous WIne Bar of all. Some have coined it a Shrine to Wine, and I attend to agree. Over the years I've coined a number of terms myself that no one else had ever thought of until I myself, terms like Meatball Parm Mondays and others including one I thought up for the famed Bottega d' Vini of Verona, Italy ... The term I invented pertains to the Bottega Vini for just 5 days of the year. These 5 days are during the great Italian Wine Expostion held every April in Verona which is known as Vinitaly, which happens to be the largets wine exposition in the world incuding the great one they have in Bordeaux.
Vinitaly for an Italian Wine Freak like me is one of the highlights of the year. I usually go to Veron and the fair the last three days of the event, to see and taste wine at Vinitaly with my many friends who have vineyards all over Italy. Friends like Nadi Zenato (Zenato Amarone), Sebastiano Rosa (winemaker of Sassicaia & Barua), famed wine-maker and owner of Podere Scalette in Greve Mr. Vittorio Fiore, Marchese Ferdinando Frescobaldi, Luigi Cappellini of Castello Verrazzano (Chianti), the Columbini's of Fattori Barbi (Brunello) Raffaela Bologna of Giacomo Bologna (Barbera), The King of Barbaresco my buddy Italo Stupino of Castel Neive and others.
I see all my friends who have vineyards all over Italy, we tatse their wines ; Brunello, Barolo, Chianti and ??? We chi-chat and I make plans with some to visit their vineyards for 5 days after Vinitaly has closed. I wake up, have breakfast, head to the fiar grounds and taste wine for about 6 hours before heading back to my hotel to freshen up, take a shower and a nap for a couple hours before going out for dinner at one of my favorite osteria or trattoria in Verona. We have a splendid meal each night with antipasti, pasta, Amarone, Valpolicella and what-not. After dinner it's off to Bottega Vini which is packed to the gills with Italians, Japanese, New Yorkers and others in the Italian Wine and or restuarant business along with some hardcore Italian Wine Geeks. The place is packed and for a New York Italian Wine Guy (formely Wine DIrector of; Barbetta, Bar Cichetti, and Bar Stuzzuchini) it's pure heaven. After the Italians the second highest number of peoples ahppens to be New York Italian Wine Guys such as myself. These New Yorkers are made up of people who sell wine on either the wholesale level (Wine Distributors and Importers) or the retail level (mostly at Italian Restaurants in NY or wine stores) ... Yes it's great to be in this shrine to Italian Wine in the beautiful little Italian city of Verona during the greatest Italian Wine EVent of all, Vinitaly. We're here at this historical wine bar with our Italian friends who make wine along with our friends and fellow New York Italian Wine Peeps and it's pure Bliss, and thus when describing it one day to a friend who wanted to know a little bit about it, I gave him a description and then just told him that being inside the Bottega Vini during Vinitaly was like the Super Bowl and for Italian Wine Guys it was quite literally The Super Bowl of Wine.
Priming a Grand Burgundy Glass
at Bottega Vini
This is the preferred Wine Glass to Drink Amarone
in Verona and its surrounding wine towns
longtime owner of Bottega Vini
has sold this famed Osteria
to a consortium of Amarone producers
The Amarone Families
as They are Called
Who Now Own The Bottega Vini
MANGIA ITALIANO !
Giampaolo Motta (owner La Massa ... Greve)
and Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke at Bottega Vini
One of The Top Producers
Author / Italian Wine-Guy DANIEL BELLINO
with NADIA ZENATO
INSIDE THE BOTTEGA Del VINI
Joe Macari of Macari Vineyards Mattituk, New York
with Giovanni Folnari of Nozzole
Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke
and Anthony Bellino
Vinitaly 2003, Verona, Italy
The DINING ROOM
VIDEO inside BOTTEGA del VINI
Tasting at VinItaly
with REAL FRANK
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Is Barolo still Italy’s greatest wine? It’s a question I’ve been mulling over for some time. And like some of life’s bigger questions (Is there a God? And what really constitutes a 100-point wine?), it’s not one whose answer is readily known.
Barolo, after all, has been called “the King of Wines” for centuries—never mind that it took a Frenchman to bring this about (more on that later). But what was a certainty some 200 years ago may not necessarily be true in 2007. After all, the Barolos of only two decades ago bear little resemblance to the wines of today.
This is a consequence of what have been dramatically titled the “Barolo Wars,” with French oak and rotary fermenters and maybe a few Cabernet grapes as the weapons of choice. These are the armaments of so-called Modernists, producers whose mission has been to make Barolo a more contemporary and, as they might say, better wine.
To Traditionalists, a.k.a. Classicists, this is nothing short of heresy. (In this way, the Barolo Wars seem a bit like the Crusades.) To Classicists, Barolo has always been, and should always be, made the same way: produced from the native Nebbiolo grape (a thin-skinned, rather acidic and tannic red), then generally aged in big Slovenian casks called botti in a particular (and very lengthy) way.
This was more or less the model created by the Frenchman Louis Oudart back in the mid-19th century. When Oudart arrived in Piedmont, Barolo had been a simple, rustic, even sweet wine. Oudart been hired by the Marchesa of Barolo, who wanted something more noble to be created from her native red and believed a French wine consultant could do the job (a belief that the French have encouraged in various other parts of the wine world up through the present day). Oudart made such an impressive wine that other Piedmontese producers followed suit and a new style of Barolo was born, winning quite a few fans in the process—some of them even royals, like Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy (though probably best known today as a boulevard; I’ve yet to visit an Italian town that doesn’t have its own CorsoVittorio Emanuele).
The style of wine Oudart created is the one that Traditionalists are still making today: wonderfully fragrant, with notes of bitter cherry, truffles, earth and even roses and tar; rather light-colored, quite high in acidity and very tannic, needing several years’ aging in barrel and bottle. In fact, by law Barolo must age a minimum of three years (at least two in barrel), though some producers age their wines longer. And even after Barolo is bottled, it requires many more years’ aging time. As famed Barolo producer Aldo Conterno once said, he made his wine to be “undrinkable” when it was first put into bottle.
Modernists found this style off-putting, not to mention commercially challenging (how to explain to consumers that they could buy a wine but not drink it for a decade or two?) and sometimes even flawed (a wine might take so long to come around that the fruit was gone before the tannins ever softened). And so in the ‘80s, winemakers like Luciano Sandrone and Paolo Scavino, among many others, adopted some techniques employed by winemakers in other parts of the world, like a shorter maceration of the grapes (resulting in softer, less tannic wines, as tannins are extracted during the maceration process), rotary fermenters (another means of softening wine) and the use of smaller French barrels over big Slovenian casks.
The result was a wine that was fruitier and easier to enjoy in its youth (sometimes even upon release), but one that Traditionalists argued lacked much of what made Barolo distinctive: its classic structure, powerful tannins and distinctive aromas. The modern wines were more like a lot of others and smelled mostly like French oak. They were also more pleasurable and less “intellectual”—the one word that Barolo Traditionalists invoke a lot. “Barolo is an intellectual’s wine” was the line I heard most often from sommeliers, wine merchants and collectors when I asked their thoughts on the wine. Barolo collectors, by the way, are almost always men. Why, I don’t know. Maybe wines with firm tannins are a measure of masculinity.
Second only to the suggestion of Barolo’s “intellectuality” is the assertion of its resemblance to Burgundy: “Barolo is the Burgundy of Italy.” This can mean any number of things, though I’ve narrowed it down to three: First, Nebbiolo is a lot like Pinot Noir, the great red grape of Burgundy, in that it is also thin-skinned, difficult to grow and possessed of beguiling aromas. Second, Barolo, like Burgundy, requires its followers to memorize many names—not only dozens of producers (traditional and otherwise) but also names of communes and vineyards. And finally, like Burgundy, Barolo can be quite inconsistent. The highs are high and the lows, very low. And it doesn’t come cheap. More on this a bit later.
I’m not sure how much nebbiolo and pinot Noir ultimately do have in common (for example, few seem to be planting Nebbiolo in any other part of the world, nor is there a movie like Sideways extolling its charms). But in terms of geographic complexity, the Burgundy comparison seems to hold true. Barolo, like Burgundy, comes from a specific set of communes, of which there are eleven in Piedmont’s Langhe hills, although only five truly matter. And Barolo lovers describe the characteristics of these communes in as much detail as Burgophiles do vineyards of the Côte d’ Or.
A few generalizations: The commune of Barolo produces wines famed for their concentration, while the wines from the neighboring La Morra commune are more “feminine.” The three other communes, Serralunga d’ Alba, Castig-lione Falletto and Monforte d’ Alba, are all located on Barolo’s eastern side, and they generally tend to produce wines that are bigger, more structured and slower to mature than those from the communes in the west.
Within these five communes are hundreds of vineyards or crus, whose names may or may not appear on the bottle, and they too have different characteristics and varying degrees of fame. Some of the most famous include Brunate, Cannubi, Cannubi Boschis, Bussia and Fiasc—but, as with Burgundy, a single vineyard name isn’t necessarily a guarantee of greatness. A further complication that not even Burgundy can match is the fact that some of the best producers don’t make single-vineyard wines but blends. (Imagine a great Burgundy producer deciding to put a little Musigny into his Chambertin.) This was the general practice among most Barolo producers until Ceretto and others decided to bottle single-vineyard wines.
With so many variables of producers, communes, vineyards and blends, not to mention variation of vintages (though Barolo has thankfully had quite good ones in recent years), I decided to tackle the question of greatness by simply tasting wines from as many producers and vintages as possible. So I called up various Barolo importers and asked them to send along a few bottles, preferably both new and old. The latter was a bit of a challenge, since older Barolos, like older Burgundies, can be hard to find and quite expensive. (Unlike Burgundy, however, it’s still possible to find good 10-year-old Barolos for under $100 a bottle.)
The latest Barolo vintage is 2003, and the wines were released fairly recently. That was the year of the great summer heat wave in Europe, and I expected the wines to be a little more accessible than traditional Barolo—lighter both in body and color, though still quite tannic and hard. These were the wines I was planning to taste when my friend Kate called to invite me to her dinner party.
“ Barolo? Isn’t that a great Italian wine?” Kate said excitedly when I described my project to her. “Why don’t you bring some along?” I didn’t have time to explain that greatness was exactly the quality I was hoping to determine. To Kate, and to most people I know, “great” was just another word for expensive.
I brought along five bottles of Barolo, all of them from the 2003 vintage, produced by both Modernists and Traditionalists. The Ca’ Rome’ Vigna Cerretta, a Modernist wine, proved the most popular, probably because it was the easiest to drink, with lots of sweet, ripe fruit. Second was the Cascina Bongiovanni, also made in a Modernist, fruit-forward style. The Michele Chiarlo Cerequio, a compromise between Modernist and Traditionalist techniques, pleased the crowd with its depth, richness and high price (almost $100 a bottle) but was denounced for its lack of color (the guests didn’t realize that, with a few notable exceptions, Barolo is almost never a very dark wine).
As for the also-ran wines, the Vietti Lazzarito Castiglione Falletto and the Marcarini, made by two excellent Traditionalist producers, were more difficult for the crowd to appreciate, mostly on account of their firm, tannic structure; both were fairly austere.
“ You can’t drink those wines right now; they’re too young,” I explained to one of the guests as he looked longingly at Kate’s bottle of the 2005 Jim Barry The Cover Drive Australian Cabernet. “Well, when can you drink them?” he replied, though clearly what he meant was, “Then why did you bring them?”
Barolo may or may not be an intellectual’s wine, but this much is certain: It’s definitely not a wine for drinking with a crowd. I decided to taste the rest of the young Barolos myself.
My solo experience, however, was inconclusive. The E. Pira & Figli and the Luigi Einaudi Cannubi, two Modernist wines from the great 2001 vintage, proved surprisingly lush and ripe, full of sweet fruit and soft tannins. But other 2001 Barolos were more difficult to assess at such a young age, like the impressively structured Domenico Clerico Ciabot Mentin Ginestra (Modernist) and the Vietti Brunate (Traditionalist), while some seemed to be mostly tannins and acid (the Modernist Prunotto). Perhaps the challenge wasn’t so much determining Barolo’s greatness but figuring out exactly what Barolo was. Could a Barolo that was enjoyable to drink at a relatively young age (six years or so) still be considered a great wine? Or even a Barolo at all? After all, one of the chief tenets of Traditionalist producers is that Barolo should not be ready to drink without 10 or 15 years of aging—and it should still have the capacity to develop for decades after that, too. Many of the wines I tasted were delicious and well made, but none seemed to have the structure of a wine that was potentially great except the Vietti Brunate and the Clerico—and yet they were made by two different types of producers, one Traditionalist, the other Modernist.
Maybe what I needed was to taste wines from a vintage that Barolo makers themselves acknowledged was ready to drink. According to Luciano Sandrone, one of the most acclaimed of all Modernists, that vintage was 1996. I’d met Sandrone when he was in Manhattan to promote his 2003 wines—big, rich, intense Barolos that were still incredibly youthful.
“ What about 1997?” I’d asked him. My friend Scott Manlin, a wine collector from Chicago, had mentioned he’d opened a bottle of 1997 Sandrone Cannubi Boschis—Sandrone’s most famous wine, which costs hundreds of dollars a bottle—a few weeks ago. “My friend Scott said the wine was terrific.” (Scott had actually said “Great juice,” but I wasn’t sure Sandrone would understand this as a compliment.) “That wine isn’t ready yet,” Sandrone replied.
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Sunday, July 24, 2016
The March 19 is the Feast of St. Joseph , the day when, in Italy , we also celebrate all the dads and is the festival that opens the door to the Spring . The festivities in honor of the Patriarch St. Joseph are widespread in many cities and towns of the Sicilia . the figure of St. Joseph , foster father of Jesus and husband of Maria , is deeply felt and venerated, also demonstrated by the many Sicilians who bear his name. in the memories of most Sicilians is the memory of the picture, the statue or printing of St. Joseph in her arms the Child Jesus , in plain sight in the homes of our grandparents . the Holy Patriarch is loved even today, as a symbol of ' honesty , of' humility , of ' love and family , and sacred values absolutely be protected. in Trapani , in many municipalities belonging to the Diocese ofMazara del Vallo , as Campobello di Mazara , Castelvetrano , Santa Ninfa , Salemi , are set up altars to honor the patriarch St. Joseph . in almost all the countries of the Diocese is celebrated rite of the " Dinner of the Saints ": the Saints knock on the door asking for hospitality; twice they are not accepted. The third opens wide the door and the Saints enter the house, where you will eat dinner. A Salemi you start with dinner on March 19th when we celebrate the religious rite of the " Dinners San Giuseppe ", last a week, with exhibitions and exhibitions food and wine ; are set up altars decorated with lemons , twigs d ' laurel , orangesand the typical " bread " manufactured by local women into veritable works of art. The " bread" in the shape of the symbols of Pentecost , like the fish , the three nails, scale, or make reference to nature; devotees who organize dinner must prepare a meal with 101 dishes , made from vegetables , grains , fish , fruit and sweets of every variety. After dinner there is the rite of the blessing of the " bread " which are then distributed to the children, who represent the Holy Family and the many visitors who came to attend the " Eaten there for Saints ." In Sicily , each holiday has a flat or a traditional sweet and the list would be so vast to enumerate them all to risk of forgetting is always someone. At the Feast of St. Joseph , on the
Sfinci San Giuseppe
St Josephs Day Pastry
tables there was a menu special kind: according tradition imbandire you had a board with various kinds of foods, especially with the bread (symbol of fertility and prosperity) to give refreshment to pilgrims and fugitives; this custom recalls the escape of Mary, Joseph and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod's order to kill all the firstborn males. We start from the first course, as the famous pasta with sardines and wild fennel , or the virdi soup of San Giuseppi (legumes and vegetables with leftover pasta of various types) from Palermo, or even the " ministredda of"Augusta (whose ingredients must be nineteen). the " maccu ", known throughout the region but especially in the Syracuse area, composed of dried beans , lentils , spinach , onions ,dried chestnuts , oil and ... more; He was present in every home and you had to send a sign of hope, family, friends, neighbors and even the poor of the neighborhood. And then the beccaficu sardines , broccoli and " sparaceddi " and many other dishes, not meat, because we are in the period of Lent . Finally the cake, with the preparation of Sfinci of St. Joseph . It is afried sweet typical of Sicily , widespread especially in western areas of the island, originally produced in Palermo , is part of the cultural and traditional heritage of the region.
The origins of sfincia are very old, seem to date back to the Persians, and there are traces both in the Bible and in the Qur'an , although under different names. As for the ' origin of the name , there are several schools of thought: according to some, the name derives from the Latin " spongia " (sponge), while others derive from the Arabic " isfanǧ " (sponge), a name that was given to the special soft pancakes, irregularly shaped, and, precisely spongy, that Arabs ate covered honey or sugar . the transformation of the Arab sweet fried sfincia we know is due to the Poor Clares of theMonastery of the Stigmata of St. Francis (the monastery was demolished in 1875, stood on the site where today we admire the Teatro Massimo ), who dedicated the sweet to the Holy of the Meek , St. Joseph . later, the skill of confectioners Palermo turned the humble sweet delicacy in enriched withricotta cheese and candied fruit that, in recent times, you can enjoy all year round.
Saint Joseph's Day Pasta
RECIPE in GRANDMA BELLINO'S ITALIAN COOKBOOK
RECIPES FROM MY SICILIAN GRANDMOTHER
by Daniel Bellino Z
GREAT SICILIAN HOME-COOKED RECIPES
FROM SCILIAN GRANDMOTHER GIUSEPPINA SALEMI BELLINO