The DOCG You Didn’t Know Existed… @Montelvini

AsoloI picked up this bottle of Prosecco from Venegazzù Montelvini and studied the label carefully.  “DOCG Asolo” was written clearly, and yet, Italian Wine Geek that I am, I could not tell you that I had ever tasted a wine from this DOCG before.  A little digging revealed the reason- Asolo produces only 125,000 cases of DOCG Asolo Prosecco each year- compared to Conegliano-Valdobiadenne’s nearly 8 million cases of DOCG Prosecco!  Asolo DOCG

As you can see (in red above), Asolo sits just south of Conegliano- Valdobiadenne, and is much smaller.  Both DOCGs are surrounded by a (bubbly) sea of Prosecco, from the rest of the DOC zones.  As far as I understand, all Prosecco from the DOCGs and DOCs must be made with 100% Glera grapes.  It is the individual vineyards’ terroir and expositions that truly sets each bottling apart.Famiglia Serena

La Famiglia Serena… in vigna.

Venegazzù Montelvini is very recently being sold in the US- the Serena family has only found distribution here since 2013- but if the American thirst for Prosecco is any indication, I am sure they will be met with great success.  This bottle of bubbles was simply delicious!Mugsy loves the bubbles

The first thing I noticed, as soon as I popped the cork, was the explosion of aromatics- even before I poured the wine in the glass I could smell the ripe pears and yellow apples that are trademarks for great Prosecco.

Dinner

Wines like this are perfect apperitivi wines- to go with little snacks and appetizers, also known as stuzzichini.  The bubbles are fine and frothy- celebratory and just plain fun to drink.  A wine like this, with such structure and balanced acidity, can also hold up to a sturdy dinner- even grilled steak and quinoa!

Diapositiva9 - Copia

Photo of Asolo- Land of Prosecco

I have never visited the production areas for Prosecco, but thanks to images like this photo of Asolo, it is high on my list of places to see.  I love sparkling wines and I drink them all the time. When there are so many terrible imitation-proseccos in the great sea of wine available to the American consumer, it is always a joy to find one like Venegazzù Montelvini that rings true of terroir and hand-crafted passion.

Thank you, famiglia Serena, for teaching us all a little bit more about what we affectionately call Proseccoland, and thank you for fighting the good (bubbly) fight.

Viva Asolo DOCG!

 

A Few More Things to Love About Italia…

Tre Amici

Allison Amato, Luciano Brussolo (a Real Italian) and me…

Italy is a complicated place: quintessential Beautiful Chaos.  It’s full of people who are passionate, messy, political, religious, scandalous and sometimes just a little crazy.  But they’re magnificent and compelling, too.  Italy is defined by its precious embrace of tradition, history, art and human expression.  There is a reason so much of the world is fascinated with Italy!   In times of so much bad political press within the wine world of Italy, sometimes it’s good to be reminded of the beautiful things as well.

My friend Allison Amato (another card-carrying member of the Italian-American Club) sent me a link to this short video created by the Perennial Plate and I just had to share it…

If you have 4 minutes, check it out.  I’d bet you’ll want to go see Bella Italia in person, too.

She’s waiting for you!

 

Everybody wants to be Italian. @LeMetroWine @TheWineDad

Special Delivery

Special Delivery:  It’s a happy day when this shows up on your front porch!

I was really flattered when my friend Aaron Epstein asked me to help him with a project he started a few months ago: Le Metro. Wine. Underground.  Every month he sends out a 6-bottle package of carefully curated wines to his small (but Wakagrowing) group of consumers.  Weird, wacky wines.  Tasty and surprisingly affordable finds.  New.  Fresh.  Inspiring!

Subscribers receive the wines each shipment, along with a beautiful piece of artwork filled with Aaron’s  notes on the wines, the winemakers, and the terroir of the wineries.  The other side of the poster (which arrives artfully tucked into a record sleeve-holder) is filled with an info-graphic designed by the queen of graphic wine education herself, Elaine Chukan Brown.

This isn’t your daddy’s wine club. Continue reading

Give me Nebbiolo… Or Give me Death! @aiselections #damminebbiolo

The shirt says it all.  “Dammi Nebbiolo.  OR GIVE ME DEATH!”Amici

 

 

David Weitzenhoffer, owner of AI Selections, and his friend, Alessio Cighetti (owner of the Vinoteca Centro Storico in Serralunga).

Baldo e Maria

 

Teobaldo and Maria Rivella in their home (overlooking Montestefano!)

Lemon

#DammiNebbiolo

Food is Love @ClusiBatusi

Clusi CatI know in general, it’s a pizzeria.  It’s not fancy-pants Italian food. The location is very casual, and in the middle of a stretch of Japanese noodle houses, boba shops, and soup dumpling places.  But honestly, I have had some of the best, and most honest, good-old-fashioned eating experiences here at Clusi Batusi.  Chef

The chef/ owner, Michele Gargani is one of my favorite inspirations.  Young, full of energy.  Enthusiastic for feeding people well. Somebody asked me recently what my best meal of 2013 had been, and I couldn’t think of anything other than Michele’s pork bollito misto (with freshly grated horseradish)… paired with, (naturally) Vitovska!Carne

Pork Bollito Misto.

I love Michele’s food because it is clearly prepared with a lot of love.  I had a pork chop the other day that nearly ruined me for all other pork chops.  It wasn’t anything fancy or rarefied or super expensive.  It was just a quality ingredient, prepared and seasoned perfectly.  So simple.  So infinitely satisfying.

Latke

 

Another perfect dish.  Crab and potato fritatta with a poached egg and fresh Marjoram.  Again- perfect raw materials, simple and flawless execution.  This kind of cooking makes me swoon.

BacalaBaccala on toast.  One word:  Ethereal.  Yes really- even in the form of whipped salt cod.  How does Chef Michele do it?  I think he just loves food, and he loves feeding people.  Los Angeles is a better place for it, too.Benji and Michele

Benjamin Zidarich and Michele Gargani discuss Carso wines.

 

 

Winter. Italian Style. @michaelnemcik

While the temperature manages to hover between 65 and 72 degrees (and sunny) here in Southern California, I am still dreaming of those white mountains staggering high over Abruzzo.  Whoever thought a ski outfit could still look so… Italian?

Ski Patrol

 

La Bella Figura, even on the side of a mountain.  I love Italia.

Rosanna, Rosanna! @omcwines

NYE 2013

 

“All I wanna do in the middle of the evening is hold you tight.  Rosanna, Rosanna”

Champagne-style Nebbiolo.  Are you salivating yet?

I tasted Ettore Germano’s “Rosanna” Brut Rose for the first time this New Year’s Eve.  100% Nebbiolo, 100% delicious.  This bottle is everything you want in a sparkling wine- structure from the acidity and the tannic nature of the grape, alongside a layered density from the time spent fermenting in the bottle and then resting on the lees.  Fresh, cool, vertically mineral.  A real Tour de Force of bubbles.

On a Boat

Perfect boating wine… just make sure to bring a few bottles as one will never suffice!  Do you make this in Magnums, Sergio?!

Not surprising that a Piemontese man, famous for his elegant Barolo and also his highly prized white wines would craft such an explosive and delectable sparkler. The Piemontese are famous for their love of Champagne, and Sergio Germano is renowned for his loving embrace of acidity, as well his understanding of terroir.  This wine is one to cellar, one to open with friends, one to savor at midnight on the dawn of a new year.

 

Warning: Terroir Threat Level Orange @aiselections @StVincentSF

Lynch Agent OrangeDavid Lynch @StVincentSF, photo by Levi Dalton @Levi_Opens_Wine

I’m on my way to one of my favorite cities in the world- San Francisco. Benjamin Zidarich, one of the most wonderful human beings ever to put wine in a bottle, is starting his California tour today.  We begin our trip with a seminar on the Carso region at St. Vincent, followed by a whirlwind of meetings and appointments.

Azienda Zidarich was founded in 1988. The winery is located in a beautiful and unique corner of Italy’s Friuli region, known as the Karst (Carso in Italian.)
With his strong personality, innovative spirit and great determination, Benjamin Zidarich revolutionized his father’s company by expanding the vineyards and focusing on native grape varieties, including the elusive Vitovska, a special white varietal found nowhere else in the world.Benjamin Zidarich and his Vitovska

Benjamin Zidarich:  Photo Credit: 52todo.com

It is my pleasure and my honor to help represent these magical Carso wines.  Looking forward to seeing you all along the way- from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the Carso Chaos Tour 2013 begins today!

 

 

Come Taste the Magic @winehouseLA #EnzoBrezza

What an amazing couple of days.  Enzo Brezza is in town, showcasing his heart-stopping wines.  Come by the Wine House tonight and taste for yourself- this is pure Nebbiolo Magic.

Enzo

Enzo, looking happy with the 2014 tank sample at the winery this October.

The Brezza family has been making Barolo for over 4 generations.  This is the real Langhe.  As Enzo puts it, “I like to use a very soft style- we want to take the grapes to the glass”.  No filtering, no added yeasts, spontaneous, natural fermentation.  A very down-to-earth approach centered around expressing terroir.

Come meet Enzo tonight, Friday, November 15 at the Wine House (7:30-8:30pm) and find out for yourself why we are all so completely charmed by this man, and his wines.  $10 to taste some serious wines!  

Hope to see you there!

Go where the Joy is. @paoloscavino

Winery DogLino Scavino, relaxing on one of his many dog beds at the Paolo Scavino winery…

I was having a rough time this morning, trying to generate something worthwhile here.  And then I remembered, I can always go back to the places I am happiest.

I am no wine critic- I’m just a girl with a blog and a passion for Italian wine.  I work in the wine business too, and sometimes my hobby (wine) and my career (more wine) intersect with my personal life (even more wine).  No place is this more true than within the warm brick walls of the Paolo Scavino winery.  I used to sell these wines.  Then I met Elisa, Enrica and Enrico Scavino and I fell in love with this family. As both a professional and a hobbyist, I truly believe in the work they are doing here.  The proof is in the wines! Continue reading