Teobaldo and Maria Rivella in their home (overlooking Montestefano!)
I 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.
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!
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.
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.
Baccala 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.
Benjamin Zidarich and Michele Gargani discuss Carso wines.
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?
La Bella Figura, even on the side of a mountain. I love Italia.
“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.
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.
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: 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!
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!
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
I am “re-blogging” part of an article we wrote for the AI Selections Blog today, to introduce one of our newest, and most exciting producers, the Institut Agricole Régional (IAR), in Valle d’Aosta. Welcome to the family, IAR!
Pinot Nero Harvesting- check out that steep slope. Back-breaking.
Imagine the most French-sounding Italians ever, clinging to the steep slopes of Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain peak in the Alpine chain, fearlessly daring to grow grapes and make wines in the most inhospitable and vertically challenging place ever. This is what goes through my mind when I think about viticulture in Valle d’Aosta.
This region in Italy is known for a style of wine we love at A.I. Selections; floral, pretty, racing lightning-like acidity throughout, with clean fruit and balance. Sadly there are few wineries in this region, and the ones that exist are often extremely small. This kind of scarcity makes the conservation of the region’s agricultural practices critical to the preservation of history of the Valley. Thankfully a group was formed called the Institut Agricole Régional (IAR), whose mission is to ensure the local agrarian practices are not lost. IAR is not just a winery- it’s an entire winemaking and agricultural University. Continue reading
Sometimes when I travel I find that I am so assaulted with the newness of things, that it takes me a few weeks- even a few months- to truly begin to assimilate what I have learned. That said, I am finally starting to process some of my most recent experiences in the Langhe and Northern Piemonte. I can say now that this was the most important, most rewarding, and most truly educational trip to Italy ever. Continue reading
The ever-changing landscape of the Tuscan countryside, from Casa Emma’s balcony.
One of my favorite aspects of my job is when the Italian winemakers visit the market. They come to meet their customers, get to know the salespeople, and generally learn about the US market. This week we have Alessandro Bucalossi of Casa Emma in town… Chianti for everyone!
Casa Emma is in San Donato in Poggio, very close to Castellina. The elevation is about 420 meters above the sea, sprawling out over a beautiful hillside that is crested with a natural preserve. The sweeping exposure to sunlight, along with the oxygen-producing trees at the top of the incline, help make this vineyard a perfect little ecosystem for the grapes.
Casa Emma cultivates mostly Sangiovese, but also has some precious indigenous varietals as well. Their first Chianti Classico is made with 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cannaiolo and 5% Malvasia Nera. The Cannaiolo is relatively standard in these blends, but the Malvasia Nera is what helps really set this wine apart from other Chianti Classico expressions. There is a black fruit, plums and dried orange peel quality that the Malvasia Nera lends to the blend that I really like. It’s juicy and toothsome- a perfect glass of vino for a lovely afternoon with a view…
*If you’re in LA this Saturday, November 2 from 1-3PM I will be pouring Casa Emma wines with Alessandro at the Wine House. Swing by and have a taste of Tuscany!*