Friday, September 21, 2018

Big Dogs of Italian Wine in New York


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Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi 
with Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 

and Marchese Leonardo Frescobaldi


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with Friends Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 


Marchese Piero Antinori with Writer Daniel Bellino-Zwicke in NEW YORK

Marchese Piero Antinori 
with New York Writer Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Ferdinando Frescobaldi and Daniel Bellino Zwicke in NEW YORK

meets with Friend DANIEL BELLINO ZWICKE 


Daniel Bellino-Zwicke & Calvalieri Luigi Cappellini at DeGrezia Restorante NEW YORK


the Proprietor of CASTELO VERRAZZANO 




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Count Francesco Muroni Cinzano (R) 

Proprietor of Col D'ORCIA



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Giampaolo Motta 
& Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke

at Bottega del Vino, Verona Italy


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Antonio Rallo of Donnafugata
with Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke




Winemaker of Sassicaia & Punica Wines SEBASTIANO ROSA
with Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke and Roberta Morrel of Morrel WInes
Get Together for a little Wine and Chat at Kobrand Italian Portfolio Tasting
at The Bowery Hotel, New York, New York


Alberto Chiarlo with Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Alberto Chiarlo the proprietor of Michele Chiarlo  Wines 
of Piemonte got together for a tasting of Alberto's latest vintages
of wine, including Barbera Le Orme, Barolo Tortoniano 2010,
Michele Chairlo Barbaresco 2011, Barolo Cerequio 2010,
and Barolo Canubi Michele Chairlo 2007 & 2001 Vintges ..
Daniel said the whole line-up of wines was absolutely Amazing! 
everything was in perfect balance, full of flavor and a joy to drink.


Emelia Nardi with Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Tasting some Great Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino

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The 1999 Il PARETO From Nozzole Was ROCKING !!!

I normally don't go crazy for non-native Italian Varietals when drinking Italian Wine. That said, I absolutely loved the 1999 Vintage of Tenuta Nozzole's "Il PARETO" a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon based wine that was amazing. It was full of flavor,perfecting and a absolute Joy to Drink. I loved It!

The WINES From MASI Where Also AMAZING !!!

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Masi Agricola

I loved all of the Amarone 's that Masi was showing at the Italian Portfolio Tasting ..
The were showing Amarone Mazano 2007 which was really nice and heavy on the prune flavors.
The 2007 Amarone Campolongo was awesome as was the Amarone Costera 2009 ..
My favorite Amarone of the day was Seregho Aligheri 2008 which is one of the few wines in the world aged in large Cherry Wood Cask .. The wine was AMAZING !!!

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 The Biog Guns of New York Italian Wine were out and about yesterday. Two of New York's Top Italian Wine Guys, Renzo Raspiacolli (Wine Director Barbetta) and author Daniel Bellino Zwicke (Wine Director DeGrezia / Writer) were spotted at The Terlato Tasting at Harlow in New York tasting and smoozing with non other than Gaia Gaja (daughter of Angelo Gaja) and other wine luminaries. The good friends and two of America's top Italian Wine Authorities hung out and tasted from table-to-table: Chapoutier, great Bollinger Vintage Chamagne, Nino Franco Prosecco from good friend Primo Franco, IL Poggione Brunello and other wines. The highlight of course being the Gaja Barbaresco Brunello and Barolo offerings of which Gaia Gaja poured for the 2 Bug Wine Dogs personally. Daniel said he especially loved the Gaja Coste Russi 2009 .. Daniel also loved the Bollinger Vintage Champagnes, but was quite disappointed with the Brunello's from Il Poggone of which he said were extremely dissapointing. He said the Il Poggione Brunello's at the tasting were flat, and lacked flavor and overall balance. He stated that he has always loved this producer, and for this reason he was so surprised at the showing of these wines.

Daniel and Renzo then moved on to The Palm Bay tasting at Quality Meats a few blocks away on 58th Street. The two Italian Wine Guys were greeted by some great sparklers from Italy's Premier Sparkling Wine Produce Ferrari. They tasted  Giulio Ferrari Brut 2001,  Perle Brut 1999,  and Perle Nero Brut  2006 .. The two agreed that these wines were all spectacular and quite a treat as they were only expecting to taste the Non-Vintage Wines of Ferrari and not the special vintages.
Daniel and Renzo then moved on to taste with Francesco Mazzie of Mazzei. 

They tasted Mix 36 (100 % Sangiovese) and "Philip" 2008  100% Cabernet Sauvignon and then moved on to the special treat of the table a vertical of Mazzei's famed Super Tuscan "Siepi" 2003  2005  2006 and 2007 vintages. All were outstanding and Daniel said he liked them all, but the 2003 vintage with its concentrated exotic flavors was his fave.

Daniel tasted the wines of Santa Rita (Chile) with owner Cecilia. They chatted about mutual friend Alvaro Espinosa. Daniel liked all the wines from Cecilia and Santa Rita, his favorite being th Carmenere "Pehuen" 2005, but thought the wines were a bit expensive at mid 30's 40's and $50 the bottle for wines from Chile, Daniel said, "They're a hard sell."

Above :  Tasca D'Almerita and Daniel Bellino Zwicke, Vittorio Fiore with Marilisa Allegrini, and Angela Macullan at Winebow Tasting 2008 Some ot the "Big Guns" of ITALIAN WINE where in Town and at the Winebow Portfolio Tasting on September 16th & 17th. 

First-Off was Vittorio Fiore, one of the Greatest Italian Winemakers of this time or anytime. Vittorio was Show his renowned Super Tuscan Wine "Il Carbonaione" Vittorio produces Il Carbonaione on his beautiful wine estate Podere Poggio Scalette high up in one of Greve's highest vineyards where you can see the whole Chianti Classico wine zone from this vantage point. It is a beautiful sight where I have been fortunate on two occasions to spend time tasting wine with Vittorio and his sons while nibbling on the wonderful homemade Salami and Prosciutto that son and Vineyard Manager Jyuri Fiore makes with the help from great old friend "Dante." Dante is a wonderful old village farmer who knows how to make fantastic Salumi, among other things. He's a absolute gem! 

 Il Carbonaione is made of 100% Sangiovese. The 2004 vintage that Vittorio was pouring at the tasting was absolute perfection, strong but not too concentrated, exhibiting nice Black Cherry and earthiness in ,the mouth. Vittorio says it is one of his best vintage ever, "I agree completely." Marilisa Allegrini (another Heavy Hitter) was on hand as well. Showing all the great Allegrini wines, including; La Grolla, La Poja, and their 2003 Amarone, which as usual is one of the regions top producers of famed Amarone. Giuseppe Tasca d' Almerita was present. Giuseppe and his family make one of Sicily's most famous and renowned wines "Rosso del Conte" Rosso del Conte is mad of 100% Nero d'Avola. This wine along with "Duca Enrico" is the greatest and most prestigious in all of Sicily. When tasted, I had a incredible explosion of Ripe Red Fruit flavors in my mouth. The wine was phenomenal, smooth, silky, and perfectly balance as Rosso del Conte usually is. This is one of Italy most consistently wonderful premium wines. "Always Great!" 

... reported by Daniel Bellino Zwicke



also BARUA 100% Carignano 

Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
And a Pretty Italian Girl

Famed Winemaker of SASSICAIA and BURUA
with Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

The Big Guns of Italian Wine were out at the annual Tre Bicchieri Tasting held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street yesterday. M. Rallo of Fiarrato was on hand with 3 Glass Winner Rebecca 2010 as was famed wine-maker Sebastiano Rosa who makes a great Sardenian Wine based on 100% Carignan. It's called Barrua and a joint venture with Cantina Santadi and Mr. Rosa. Sebastiano just so happens to be the winemaker of Italy's most prestigious wine "SASSICAIA" which won Red Wine of The Year this year for the 2009 Vintage at the 2013 Tre Bicchieri. Wow, this is the "Best Vintage of Sassicaia" that I've had in the last 10 years. The wine is perfectly balanced, and when a wine is in perfect balance, there's nothing else to say except that "It's as Good as It Gets." Bravo Sebastiano! Sebastiano Rosa is a member of the Incisa Rochetta family who own the famed Tenuta San Guido Estate that makes Sassicaia in Bolgheri on the Tuscan Coast. Sebastiano's cousin (Cujino) Piero Incisa Rochetta, who is usually on hand at the Tre Bicchieri Events was nowhere to be seen today. No matter, I had a nice little chat with the affable Sebastiano before I went on to taste more wine.

More wine yes. And if I was to pick out just two wines on the day that really blew me away, it was the Sassicaia 2009 and a great Barolo from my friend Giuseppe Vjra and his offering of Barolo Cerretta Luigi Baudana 2008. This wine was amazing and a perfect example of what a great and classical Barolo should taste like, with wonderful Earth, Mushroom, and fruit. The wine, if I must use the phrase again, was in perfect balance and a text-book Barolo. So if you know Barolo, you know what I'm talking about, it is a great wine. Basta!
So another Tre Bicchieri in the bag, my 17th, and as usual a great day to drink great italian Wine, but even more so, see and hang-out with a few Wine-Making friends from Italy and fellow New York Italian Wine Guys. A great day.

Giuseppe Vajra
with a Bottle of His

"Bravo Giuseppe" !!!

Raffaele Cani of SANTADI
Antonio D'Ambrosio


Trapani, Sicily
Whose Family The De Bartoli's and Rallo's
Make The World's Greatest Marsala and Other Wines
Like Donnafugata Mille Una Notte (Cousin Antonio Rallo) 
and Ben Rye Passito D' Pantelleria
Marco Holds a Bottle of His Ribecca 





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

  .   .

Tasting Chianti in New York




   The 2011 Wine Gala Wine Tasting held by the Italian Trade Commission was not as fat as years past. In these lean economic times, what really is these days? Macs, iPads, iPhones, and all things Apple? What else.

    Yes things were lean but there were a few bright spots to be sure. Let me start with the wines of the uber popular estate of "Ruffino" and its most popular wines Chianti Riserva Ducale and its prestigious Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva "ORO," Gold Label. To the most serious and knowledgeable of Italian Wine Aficionados these wine are normally dismissed as commercial and passe, but to many Italian-Americans and older slightly moneyed New York Italian-Americans and "Guys with Bent Noses," and guys who like to emulate Guys with Bent Noses, Ruffino Ducale Gold Label is held in quite high esteem. This wine has a history and presence in New York when it was one of more or less a handful of Italian Wines in this country compared to the thousands available today. Back in the 60's and 70's Ruffino along with the wines of Bertani, Masi, and Pio Cesare were thee top of the line, and people dining at the many Old-School Italian Restaurants of the day gravitated to these wines like Flies on you know what.

   Anyway, many more wines became available, more people visited Italy and explored the wines, many more wines became available and to many, the so-called "Old School" wines like Ruffino and Pio Cesare lost some of their luster. That being said, there is still a quite considerable number of people, especially men over the age of 50 (Italian New Yorker's) who still hold these wine in high esteem, and order them often in the Italian Restaurants of the day.

   OK, so let's talk about the wine tasted this day. As usual the Ruffino Ducale Oro Gold Label 2005 disappointed. The wine which is a Premium Wine at a "Premium Price" quite often disappoints, as it did on this day. It just was not well balanced, it lacked fruit, and just was not enjoyable to put it in the simplest terms possible. The much cheaper wine in the Ruffino Ducale Chianti Riserva 2006 (Tan Label) on the other hand was very enjoyable and a "Superior Wine" to the Ducale "Oro" (Gold Label) 2005. The Ruffino Tan Label Chianti  Riserva was well rounded with proper tannic and acidic components, with a generous amount of Fruit and weight that was just right, not too much nor too little. It was a pleasant wine to drink.  And for those of the general public who don't normally know a great deal about wine as far as all the intricacies are concerned (which can be just a bunch of BS), but they know when they like and totally enjoy a wine, you should know that quite often the lesser simple wine's of any particular estate are better, tastier, more enjoyable than the supposedly "Better" more costly Premium wines, which is the case once again with the current vintages available from the estate of Ruffino. The cheaper wine, the Chianti Riserva (Tan Label) is far superior than the estates more expensive premium wine, the  Ruffino Chianti Classic Gold Label.

   At this Gala Tasting, the fine wines of Franco and Son Jacopo Biondi Santi were on hand from their two Tuscan estates Castello Di Montepo and their famed Brunello estate Tenuta Il Greppo where Franco and Jacopo's forefather "Created" Brunello.

     First I tried the whole line of Super Tuscans and Morellino Di Scansano from the Montepo Estate. A wine that is one of my all-time favorite Super Tuscans, "Sassoalloro" was a bit of a disappointment this time around with the 2007 vintage. I have loved this wine over the years especially the 1993 Vintage which I drank with Jacopo Biondi Santi and 14 other noted New York Italian Wine Guys, which included; Renzo Rapiscoli, Charles Sciccoilone and myself at a wonderful Wine Tasting Dinner Jacopo hosted at Spark's Steak House back in 1998. The wines that evening where outstanding, including; the Sassoalloro, Schidione, Moscadello, and several vintages (1988, 90, and 93) of Biondi Santi's "Famed" Brunello.

    So, back to the wines on this day. The Schidione was quite nice, the Morrellino good. The two Brunello's on hand for the day were showing nicely but will be at their optimum in a few years, as these wines are made to age, drinking best with 15 to 20 years or more on them. The Brunello's this day were the 2005 Normale and the 2004 Riserva, both excellent and showing great promise down the road. Bravo Jacopo.

     Now down to the stars of the show and the wines of Castello Di Querceto in Greve in Chianti.
    I met with Dottt. Alessandro Francois and Maria Antonietta Corsi of Castello Querceto and they tasted me on their wines, of which 3 of the 6 I tasted were absolutely outstanding. The base Chianti in the Querceto Chianti Classico 2008 was a enjoyable textbook Chianti, medium bodied, good Cherry fruit flavors, with a bit of zippy acid and just perfectly balance. Next up was the Chianti Classico Riserva "Il Picchio" 2007. A beautiful wine that had all the great characteristics of the previous Chianti with just a notch upward of fruit and bodied. I loved the Super Tuscan offering in the Querceto "Il Quercioaia" 2005. The wine had great balance, it was full in flavor with beautiful Cherry and Black Fruit flavors. made of 65% Sangiovese and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine was a joy to drink.

  Let me note that all the Chianti's of Castello Querceto are "Real Chianti" and not aborted sacrilegious so-called Chianti that contain Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, which are allowed by the government because of political reasons in Chianti which is a "Complete and Total Sacrilege" which any true Chianti aficionado will tell you that, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syhrah or any none native grape should "Ever be Allowed" in bottle of wine labeled Chianti. Chianti is a great wine made primarily of Sangiovese with small quantities of other minor native grapes such as; Colorino, Malvasia Nero, Cielliegiollo, and Canaiolo.

    All the Chianti of Castello Di Querceto are real Chianti in that they are all made with only native grapes which include about 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo. Thank you Castello Querceto and all other Chianti producers like Mansanto, Castello Verrazzano and others who make "Real Authentic Chianti," Chianti that contains only "Native Grape Varietals" and no trace of International Grapes such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.


Stop letting non-native Chianti Grape Varieties in CHIANTI !"

"PLEASE" !!!



Note :  Making this note, on Tuesday September 28, 2021, some 12 years or so after I wrote the above article. I am a big fan of Chianti, as you may have gathered. I love it, and have been drinking Chianti for some 40 plus years now. I'm a purest and traditionalist, and love the Chianti of older days, and current ones as well, that are made according to the old tradition, Chianti that is made of only native Chianti grapes, primarily of Sangiovese, with small amounts of native blending grapes like: Canaiolo, Malvasia Nero, and Ciliegiolo, with absolutely no Internaltiona Grape Varietals such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. My words may sound harsh, but I am a passionate person, and hate to see Chianti being ruined. And especially for no reason at all. There is no need to put Merlot or Chianti into Chianti, when the perfectly suited native blending grapes I've just mentioned are available.

I say to producers in Chianti, "If you have international variety grapes on your estate in Chianti Classico and want to make wine with them, then by all means, do so. Just don't call it Chianti. Use your Merlot, and or Cabernet to make a rosso or Super Tyscan bottling, and make your Chianti with of course primarily Sangiovese and small amounts of either Canaiolo, Malvasia, Colorino, and Ciliegiolo, please!"

Also to the Goverment of Italy and Italian Wine laws. Please change the horrible ammendment you made in 1994 that allows Chianti to be made with international non-native Chainti grapes into Chainti Wine. Only allow natice grapes of the region, and ban Merlot and Cabernet from the make-up of Chianti Classico wine. Also, change the rules back to making Chianti as a blend of grapes, with 94% Sangiovese and 6% of native grapes, such as: Colorino, Malvasia Nero, Canaiolo, and Ciliegiolo grapes. Make Chianti, Chianti again! Please!

Basta !

Daniel Bellino Zwicke ... September 28, 2021


with his friend Cavaliere Luigi Cappelini


Greve in Chianti








Sebastiano Capponi (L) with Daniel Bellino Zwicke

and Joe Macari (far right)

Chianti Classico Tasting 

On Monday , April 21st 2008 the greatly anticipated Chianti Classic Tasting was held at 583 Park Avenue. Hosted by the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, which is a Consortium of Professionals who are made up of Wine Producers (Proprietors and Winemakers) of the wine Chianti Classico. This group is not a Governmental Body but a private group of individuals that was created in 1924 to define the area of Chianti Classico and its wines, also called Chianti Classico and the manner and guidelines of how the wine was to be made and the parameters of what constitutes a Chianti Classico. Yes the name of the zone and the wine are the same, “Chianti Classico,’and the wine was actually name after the zone. When the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico was created in 1924, there did not exist any governmental bodies that now do to set guidelines and laws to which wines have to adhere to all over Italy.This is why the consorzio was created in the first place, in order to define which area was the “Classico” area and to maintain quality and consistency. This Grand tasting held in New York on April 21, 2008 by the Chianti Consorzio was personally hosted by the President of the Consorzio, Marco Pallanti who is also the Enologist and proprietor along with Lorenza of the renowned estate of the Castelo Di Ama in Gaiole in Chianti. As for myself, if feel that the wines of Castelo Di Ama are overrated, grossly overpriced, and not worth the money. I actually have personally monikered the the “Gaja of Chianti” of Angelo Gaja and his wines, which are highly overrated and even more grossly overpriced, but that is all for another discussion. Along with Dr. Pallanti the event was also hosted by esteemed Sommelier and wine writer David Lynch, who co-authored one of the Italian Wine Worlds most renowned books on the subject of Italian Wine, Vino Italiano along with Joseph Bastianich. The tasting was made up of 40 producers of Chianti Classico of which there were over 150 different Chianti offered for tasting. The Chianti presented were both Chianti Normale (base Chianti) and Chianti Riserva and the vintages ranged from 2001 to 2006. Note that “Chianti Normale” or base Chianti does not infer that these Chianti are of a lesser quality. The styles are different and the base Chianti are to me and many others, actually more the true and traditional of Chianti as the weight is lighter more correct and less concentrated than the weight (body) of Chianti Reserva. As with many subjects there is debate and differences of and agreement of what is true traditional Chianti is and what is not. I as a Wine Professional of many years who has focused mainly on Italian Wine and a great lover of Chianti and a traditionalist at heart, of course I am of the Old-School Traditional Chianti. I do feel that the laws of the Chianti Consorzio are not correct and are not for the Great Tradition of Chianti in that the wine Chianti when created by the Baron Ricasoli almost 150 years ago was created as a wine made up as a blend of local grapes that was dominated by Sangiovese as its main grape and that Sangiovese was to be the primary grape of Chianti and to give it its special character along with small percentages of other local blending grapes such as Cannaiolo, Colorino, Trebbiano, Ceiligiolo, Malvasia Nera, and Mammolo. I feel, as do other respected authorities on Italian Wine, such as one of my esteemed peers Charles Scicilnoe feel that the Italian Government and Chianti Consorzio are by allowing Cabernet, Merlot, and Syhrah into Chianti, are ruining this “Great Wine” Chianti and its great traditions. Just a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot in what is allowed to be Chianti, completely changes the feel and taste of Chianti and what, according to tradition it should be. “It’s not Chianti anymore!” Not it if has the slightest trace of Cabernet or Merlot, and traditionalist like myself, Charles Scicilone and others will not cease our Crusade until the day that the Italian Government and Chianti Consorzio come to their sense and completely eliminate Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, or any non-native grape variety from ever entering Chianti again.” We wait patiently, but why is it taking these people so long to act. They ruin one of their own National Treasures and every year that these grapes that are not of Chianti Classico, is another bad vintage for any producer that uses them. Let’s note that although the sacrilege of allowing Cabernet, Merlot, and others into Chianti, it is not mandatory and is at each individual producers (Wine Estate) choice whether to put these grapes in their wine or to leave them out and thus make “Real,” True, Traditional Chianti. There are a number of Estates that make real true Chianti devoid of any trace what so ever, of the dreaded Cabernet or Merlot. Some of these estate are; Castello Volpaia, Castello Verrazzano, Monsanto, Castello Querceto, and Castel Vicchiomaggio to name a few. These estates are to be highly commended and there should be more. If all the producers in Chianti had enough pride, non would ever permit a bottle of wine that they label be called Chianti if it has Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot or any non-native grapes in it. Hey if you have acres of Cabernet or Merlot planted on your estate and want to use them, “Fine.” Just don’t call the wine Chianti! Classify it as IGT and call it “Super Tuscan,” it’s OK by me, “Just don’t call it Chianti!” If you want to make a wine and call it Chianti, make sure it is a blend. A wine that is made of 100% Sangiovese is allowed to be called Chianti, though it should not. As per the original Chianti Recipe, Chianti is always a blend, made primarily of Sangiovese with other native grape varieties such as; Mammolo, Cannaiolo, Malvasia Nera, Trebbiano, and Colorino and Chinati should always be made with mostly Sangiovese with other minor blending grapes. It should never be made solely of Sangiovese (though according to the Government it can, but what does the Gov’t. know?) but have at least one or more other native grapes, even if it’s just 2 or 3%, there “Must” be at least one other native grape varietal accompanying the Sangiovese, it should not stand alone. This must be changed in order to make true Traditional Chianti. Daniel Bellino Zwicke April 2008 Some of our Favorites of the Chianti 


Sebastiano Rosa with Daniel Bellino Zwicke

and Giovanni Folnari


The three friends drank Chianti, Brunello,
and Sassicaia (Super Tuscan Wine) 
at The Tre Bicchieri Italian Wine Tasting, by Slow Foods
in New York. Sebastiano Rosa was the former winemaker
of Sassicaia at his family's wine estate Tenuta San Guido,
Bolgheri, Italy. Sebastiano now works with Agri Punica
in Sardenia, Italy, making Barua and Montessu.

Giovanno Folnari is one of the owners of Nozzole in Greve, Italy,
and hsi family makes Nozzole Chianti Classico and the Super Tuscan Wine
"IL Pareto" (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) at their estate Tenuta Nozzole in Greve.
The Folnari family also makes Brunello La Fuga in Montalcino.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke is a Best Selling Author of Italian Cookbooks, Trave and Wine Guides, the creator of Bar Cichetti, America's 1st ever Venetian Wine Bar (Bacaro), and was the former WIne Director of Barbetta Ristorante in
New York, running the wine program of what has been considered the greatest
Italian Wine Cellar in the United States at Barbetta. 

Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke





Chianti Brunello Super Tuscan



The Italian Wine Masters met at the New York Hilton for their Annual Chianti Brunello Tasting on Tuesday, February 8th. Many fine wines where on hand, including a Prosecco Tasting with many producers on hand including from Conegliano Valdobbiadene Consorzio along with numerous Vino Nobile, Chianti , and Brunello estates on hand. The stars of the show were of course the wines of Brunello di Montalcino. Not to take anything away from the zones of Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Chianti, or Prosecco that wonderful refreshingly light bubbly from the Veneto and the Wine Bars of Venice, Prosecco.
    I must say, as being a great lover of Chianti and one of its Biggest Advocates in all the United States as well as being one of the country's top authorities on the subject, I was a bit disappointed with the Chianti offerings on hand. Two of my favorites in Fontodi and Vignamaggio from Panzano and Greve respectively were present, such notables and top producers as : Villa Calcainaia, Monsanto, Badia Coltobuono, and Castello Verrazzno were not where in sight. Si La Vie.
     Let's get to Brunello. The tasting was of the latest vintage on release. This being the 2006 vintage Brunello and 2004 and 2005 Brunello Riserva. There were some solid offerings with favorites of the tasting going to Fattoria Barbi, Ffrescobaldi, Col d'Orcia, Livio Sassetti, and Tenuta Greppone Mazzi.
     Favorite of all were the normale Brunello 2006 by both Fattoria Barbi and Brunello Castel Giocondo from Marchese Frescobaldi of whom my good friend the Marchese Ferdinado Frescobaldi was on hand, and as always great to see. The Rosso di Montalcino's of which the 2009 vintage were shown at the tasting were a wonderful surprise. Most were drinking beautifully, medium in body, full of flavor, and just pleasantly enjoyable drinking wines. I particularlly loved the Barbi Rosso and Frescobaldi Rosso di Montalcino Campo ai Sasso 2009, of which I could have sat there drinking and chatting all day with the Marchese Frescobaldi. Quite a wonderful experience.
    My favorite Brunello of the day was the Brunello Riserva 2005 from Fattoria Barbi. A awesome wine that was absolute perfection. And for overall the best table that just edged out Barbi by a hair was the table of the Noble Frescobaldi Family, with the lovely Rosso Campo ai Sasso, the Brunello 2006, and the Brunello Riserva 2005. The only dissapointment on the table was the Brunello Luce della Vite 2006 Of Castelgiocondo of which was quite tannic and lacking in overall balance.
      I was pleasantly surprised  with a selection from Castello Romitorio, who was showing a wonderful wine in the San'Antimo Rosso 2006. This wine was a real winner and a joy to drink. Made up made up of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo, and 20% of Cabernet Sauvignon, perfectly balance and a joy to drink.

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke


"One of My Favorites"






60% Cab Sauv 20%Cab FRanc 15% Sangiovese 5% Petit Verdot



A great Vintage for Brunello di Montalcino


Mangia Italiano

Memories of Italian Food