Archive for September, 2018

Sep
17

A Pink Wine Dinner @ VINO 09-16-18

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The category of rosé wine is thankfully totally happening and still growing. Along the Mediterranean basin, the cafes and bistros seemingly have carafes of pink wines on every table. They are refreshing, wonderfully food friendly and really add to the enjoyment of the moment, it’s a way of life. Our goal for this night was to create such a moment—good, homey foods (the kind one would cook for themselves at home), served with a trio of our favorite pink wines (each from a different indigenous grape variety (s), soil & region, each family own & operated just to show participants that not all pink wines are created equal)–pure enjoyment–on an early Sunday night, so one can go home and sleep early. Let’s get together and hang out.

VINO Ahi Niçoise Salad– roasted fingerling potatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, tomatoes & red wine vinaigrette 

wine: Eric Chevaler Grolleau Rosé–What a fabulous discovery this has been for us! VERY mineral driven, light, ethereal and zippy–produced from a nearly forgotten grape variety and a lesser known appellation of France. Yes, we needed something light, very minerally & zippy like this to keep the palate refreshed between bites.

 

Grilled Vegetable Pizza–fennel, peppers, garlic, olives, tomatoes and kale 

wine: Chateau des Deux Rocs Rosé a dry, very savory, masculine styled Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah rosé , grown in deep schist soils at 1000 feet in elevation within a remote, secluded valley down in southern France.  This is the handiwork of Jean-Claude Zabalia, a name you certainly will hear more & more about.  We purposely chose pizza as many people do cook pizzas at home, & therefore why not sip on a much more savory pink like this on such occasions.  Makes total sense.

 

Herb Roasted Organic Chickensmoked ham hock stew & penne 

wine: Maestracci Corse Calvi Rosé “E Prove”I have dreamed of going to Corsica for well over thirty years. Yes, it is about the culture, its unique, remote setting, but mainly for the authentic foods and wines like this. I am enamored with the savoriness of its core and how it works magic with savory foods like this.

 

Peach & Blueberry Cobblercinnamon streusel

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Sep
14

Pictures from Way Back When

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A picture someone sent to me. OMG!!! Look how young we were back then.

 

Back row–left to right–Fred Dame, Wayne Belding, Richard Dean, Emanuel Kemiji, Ronn Wiegand

Front row–left to right–CF; Ed Osterland; Evan Goldstein; Barrie Larvin; Brian Julyan; Larry Stone & Nunzio Alioto.

Wow!

 

Then, how about this one?

Back row–left to right–Fred Dame, Steve Morey, Nunzio Alioto, CF, Richard Dean, Steve Geddes

Second Row–left to right–Scott Carney, Bob Bath, Wayne Belding, Ira Harmon, Angelo Tavernaro

Front Row–left to right–Barrie Larvin, Brian Julyan, Sally Mohr, Madeline Triffon, Evan Goldstein

 

Finally, how about this one?  Taken at the Sardine factory in Monterey, the day Fran & I passed!

Left to right–Fred Dame, Brian Julyan, Fran Kysela, Barrie Larvin & CF

 

 

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Here are FOUR wines from islands within the Mediterranean realm—Sardegna, Sicily & Corsica. Each are interesting, tasty and very unique.. These islands are definitely on my bucket list, not only because of the wines, but the countryside, foods, the smells, the people, culture and the list goes on. All 5 somehow seem tainted by the western world. These wines remind us of that.  I can’t wait to trek on down & visit each & experience their magic first hand.

2016 Vigne Rada Vermentino di Sardegna “Stria”  

This is a dry, minerally, vivacious, uplifting, completely refreshing white wine from Alghero on the northwest coast of Sardegna, an area “surrounded by stunning beaches and breathtaking limestone cliffs on either side. Conditions here are ideal for growing high-quality grapes: fresh maritime breezes, while the poor, rocky soils are perfectly suited to the production of balanced, characterful wines. Farming is sustainable, by hand, with help from the whole family. Vigne Rada’s Vermentino is reminiscent of wildflowers and Mediterranean herbs, with a mouth-coating texture and clean, saline finish”.

2016 Vignetti Vecchio Etna Rosso “Sciave Vive” 

The adventuresome sommeliers throughout the U.S. are sniffing/searching around Etna, down in Sicily for the next “discovery” to be found.  It is a very hot topic nowadays–Nerello Mascalese grown in high altitude volcanic soils–, although I would say, finding really good ones are hard to come by.  “Husband, Carmelo Vecchio and wife, Rosa La Guzza are true locals to the Island of Sicily. Their “Sciare Vive” Rosso—comes from 1.5 hectares (1600 to 2000 feet in elevation) and innately captures the rustic character of the wild countryside it is grown in and definitely the most interesting of the Sicilian red wines we have had to date. 90% Nerello Mascalese, 10% mostly white indigenous varieties (Minnella, Inzolia, Carricante, Grecanico, Catarratto, Malvasia) for aromatics, refinement and texture.

2015 Terre Nere Etna Rosso “Guardiola” 

With all of the hoopla amongst the sommelier community across the country for Etna wines, we ran across this one.  It has the masculinity of the Nerello Mascalese as its core–intriguing, savory, dark characters–smoke, espresso, musky, slightly singed sandalwood, with a very savory charm & presence.  Guardiola is a 1.6 hectare parcel, mostly pre-phylloxera vines, located between 800 to 1000 meters in elevation.  This is certainly is a wine to pay attention to.

2017 Marquiliani Rosé Gris

I am a huge fan of this wine & this winery.  Finally, the 2017 has arrived, all the way from Corsica. We sadly did not get much of it this year, so here is your opportunity to try it . As importer Kermit Lynch once said—“this wine is like drinking a cloud. There’s an absolute weightlessness to it.  Nothing is left on the palate but perfume”. This is much more than a romantic notion. It is captured in the bottle.  “The Amalric family has farmed Domaine de Marquiliani since the 1950s. The village of Aghione is not far from the old Roman capitol of Corsica on the eastern coast of the island, poetically known as the Costa Serena. Flanked against the Corsican Mountains where the flats begin to rise into the hills, this small village of 235 inhabitants is just as celebrated today for its sulfur springs, olive groves, and vineyards as it was thousands of years ago. The enduring legacy is no coincidence—cool nights, high altitude, and the soil help the grapes retain their freshness and allow for a slow, even ripening. The terraced land of Aghione is a mix of schist and granite gravel with silt that has descended from the mountains over the last ten thousand years.”

2016 Giovanni Montisci “Modestu” 

This is a VERY unique white wine to say the least.  Other worldly, I would say…..as I haven’t had anything quite like it.  One can tell this is Moscato, just from smelling it–fragrant, lime blossoms, star fruit with a thickness/viscous mouthfeel, surprisingly done with lots of charm, freshness, intriguing stoniness AND vinosity.   Yes, this wine really blindsided me on how interesting it really is to savor, taste after taste.  What??????   Giovanni started with only 2 hectares in Mamoiada, located in the more remote, mountainous inland–60 year old vine Moscato, grown in sandy, granite, clay soils, wild yeast fermented in 1000 liter stainless, NO ML, then aged for 6 months in OLD barrique.   A VERY interesting drink….& somewhat pricey, which makes sense given what it takes to grown & produce such a wine!

Categories : General, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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Yes, at VINO, we really work hard to find and feature wines from the Mediterranean basin, especially those based on indigenous grape varieties. I recently read that one person said there were 511 different grape vairieties in Italy alone and another said there were under 2000. The point is—there are many. They somehow work well with our style of cooking. I would say their innate savory nuances has at least something to do with it. In this tasting, we look to feature wines from four different islands. Yes, in these cases it does make a difference in the resulting wines. Indigenous grape varieties grown on islands……..how often do opportunities to taste such a line up like this come around?

 

 

 

 

2014 Portelli Cerasuolo di Vittoria (Sicily)–A 5TH generation of this family is now running the domaine. Their home is in southern Sicily where they toil in vineyards comprised of mainly clay and limestone. This bottling is 70% Calabrese and 30% Frappato —“a joyful drink—luscious & charming with firm structure—country wrapped in suede.”

.2014 Giacometti Patrimonio “Cru des Agriate” (Corsica)–A wine grown in a very remote (4 ½ hours of rugged 4 wheeling to get there), wild “countryside on the northern end of the Island of Corsica. 97% Niellucciu, 3% Grenache, we love its real & distinct savoriness and while very masculine in character, it thankfully has mesmerizing transparency & an even kiel.

2017 Sigalas Assyrtiko (Santorini)–Paris Sigalas is the iconic winemaking superstar of Greece. His home turf is in Oia, on the island of Santorini. This is a very unique winegrowing niche—flat, mercilessly sun baked vineyards with light weighted pumice soils, lack of much rainfall and gusting, often pounding coastal winds (certainly very warm during the day). The island has, in response to these severe conditions, developed a unique koulara style of training their vines to protect the grapes. This wine is all about mesmerizing minerality with a touch of salinity, a very masculine personality & a slight piquant bitterness to the finish.

2016 Caravaglio Salina Bianco (Salina)–The Caravaglio family have worked their land in the Aeolian Islands, off the coast of Sicily for over 500 years. Their family is in fact credited for first planting the Malvasia, Corinto Nero and other local grapes on both the Lipari and Salina islands. This 2016 combines a wonderful, exotic, perfume with strong minerality, structure and a touch of salinity.

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