Posts belonging to Category Southern Italy



Southern Italy in Southern Utah

mario-balotelli_headerCROPW Getting a decent martini in Utah is almost as tough as Mexico winning in the World Cup round of 16. Neither is gonna happen. While the World watched soccer, tBoW played five consecutive rounds of golf in St George Utah. Each course was more frightening than the previous. Each course was a thrill. The state of Utah is kind of unique too. Thrilling in its own poly-amoric way.

Forget about buying wine in Mormonia. We purchased a few bottles in Mesquite Nevada which is 40 minutes south of red canyon country. I guess you need to get outside a major metro center to find the really rare stuff. Sitting on the racks at Lees Discount Liquor were two special Tuscan wines, reviewed below. It is against Utah law to pull a cork in a Utah restaurant on a wine not purchased in Utah. Thankfully, the waiter asked us without winking to assure him that “these wines were purchased in Utah correct?”

Southern Utah has beautiful terrain. St George is very near Zion and two hours from Bryce Canyon. St George has its own red rock spectacle Snow Canyon. This is terrific place to visit if you like hiking or golfing. Or you just like to turn in by 10:00 PM. Here are the wines.

tenutadelterre12WEB2012 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso $19: Dark and powerful like Mario Balotelli [ed. see above]. Plenty of life left in this brooder. Here is what Steve Goldun says on his Eno Fine Wine website: “Etna’s magic is all about embracing the local terroir and indigenous varieties planted here thousands of years ago by the islands Greek conquerors. Terre Nere’s founders and present owners, Marco De Grazia and his brother Iano, first came to Etna 30 years ago and are credited as being the first to discover the potential of these vineyards and producing the first commercial release of Terre Nere (Italian for black earth) in 2002. Farming is organic and yields are kept at around 35 hectolitres per hectare.” Etna has attracted notable winemakers like Frank Cornelissen whose wine has been reviewed on this site. There is plenty to read about on Etna wines.Falanghina-2010WEB Here is another report from Food and Wine. This is an exciting region that is a likely travel destination for Mr. and Mrs. tBoW. U20. 14%

2010 Beneventano IGT Falanghina “Flora” I Pentri $20: Fleshy exotic white wine from Campania near Napoli, made organistically sans oak. Marzipan flavors. Unusual, old vine wine. Big enough to complement plenty of foods. Yummy. Very good value. 14%

COS-2011WEB2009 COS Terasuolo $24: Another Eno pick. Another tremendous Southern Italy value. This makes the Etna wine seem like a Rosé. This Sicilian hot blooded drink is a bit too zin-like for tBoW but others love it. The O in COS refers to Occhipinti and you know how we feel about her. 14%

2004 Lamborghini Campoleone Rosso $25: This is one of the bottles purchased in Mesquite. Fortunately, we were able to locate it in Los Angeles at our local hang Woodland Hills Wine Co. Half Sangiovese and half Merlot from Umbria (not in the south). The wine is earthy with cherry flavors. A tres bicchieri rating from Gambero Rosso which is the Italian premium rating source. Wine Spectator could learn a lot from these guys. 14%

Whether you like futbol or not… this Ronaldo tribute is worth a view [ed. the Brit announcer prefers ray-naaal-doe].

Remastering Greatness: Zeppelin and Summer Wines

prpl_cact3dCROPWEBJimmy Page spent two years remastering nine Led Zeppelin studio albums. The first three albums are newly released. Please someone send me a copy. Jimmy Page is 70 years old. What if winemakers could remaster their original wines? Would they review their old notes, revisit formative blends and do their best to replicate weather conditions? The weather piece sounds difficult. Not so much when we are talking about Southwest France or California where weather patterns are practically identical vintage upon vintage. It must easier to improve on Zeppelin than on great wines.

One of the all time great rock guitarists looks back and thinks things over. What we think about is the fantastic range of music which Zeppelin recorded. This is what tBoW thought about when considering wines recently tasted.

daminalo-chinatoWEBDamilano Chinato $60 (Liquid Wine): Sweeter than the Vergano Chinato tasted recently. It is the quinine base that throws off many tasters. Too strange for some. This is sweeter than we prefer. Give us the dry, the ginseng, cloves. We shall continue looking. We’re thinking Zep’s Four Sticks which mixes many ideas, meters and has Robert Plant singing at his whiniest. Tough for even the most hearty Zepophiles to swallow. 16.5%

tondoni10WEB2010 Tondini Taroni Cannonau Di Sardena $16 (Eno Fine Wine): The new wave of Sardinian and Southern Italy wines in general. Old style was heavy red wines that helpful for washing graffiti of the wall. The new style is lighter, barely middle weight, red to be sure with exotic fruit such as cinnammon, mildly spicy. Grenache is Cannonau in Sardinia. Nice change up. Eno Fine Wine has more wines like this one which will be reporting on. This summer it’s Southern Italy! Zeppelin recorded D’yer Mak’er as a lightly rollicking song with minimal lyrics. It begins “ohohohohohoh…you don’t have to go ohohohohoh.” Straightforward nursery rhyme rock with pretensions of being forlorn. Goes down easy. Pull the next cork please. 14.5%

milfloresWEBNV Bodegas Palacio Mil Flores Rioja Tempranillo Rosé $15 (Whole Wallet): We love Spanish Rose wines. They are a teeny bit heftier in alcohol which is offset by the ripe red Spanish fruit, often Tempranillo. Spanish “panks” are not pink at all. They are ruby red and beautiful. Like that 2009 Bach Vina Extremisima Rosado on the rooftop in Sevilla? Chill them down and suck them up. This wine is dry but definitely not Provencal dry. Zep’s Bron Y’Aur Stomp is a mid tempo rock ‘n roll acoustic hoe down complete with clapping that shows the versatility still unfamiliar to many music fans. Like Spanish Rosé wines. 13.5%

Most serious wine taster snobs are also big Zeppelin fans. We wanted close this post with Boogie With Stu but could not find a live performance. Bonham’s clackety drumming sets up John Paul Jones’ boogie woogie barrel house piano which in turn sets up Jimmy Page’s mandolin that keeps it all rocking. This vintage Canteen footage from WWII really caught us by surprise. Bet you watch to the end. Rock rock rock…. hey ay hey ay hey ay….

Hustling round Atlanta in his alligator shoes….

Local3-AtlantaWEBAtlanta is a cool town. It helps having a guide who knows wine and spent the past two years circling Decatur, Buckhead, Druid Hills and 5 Points. The dining is fine (Local Three pictured above) and the living is easy. Eric Brown’s Le Caveau is a cool wine store with the best wine selection in the city. The Brick Store in Decatur has a hundred thousand beers in their cellar.

Would you like to learn more?

Butt first… LA has a superb new restaurant in Faith and Flower one block from the Original Pantry on 9th Street in the ground floor of the Watermark Tower. FnFWEBVery cool vibe with murals by street artist Robert Vargas adorning the walls and tres hip style. Orel Hershiser eats oysters there…but not Donald Sterling. Mrs. tBoW had a birthday dinner to die for. Cockteles prepared by a mixologist with cred that shows in his beverages. Dinner begins at the bar. Once seated and having ordered, the food arrives in grand plates set in the table center so that the tres hip setting may convert to family style dining. Chef Micheal Hung spins out plate after plate of foods – spicy deviled eggs, oxtail agnolotti and seared branzino; each fixation complementing the one to follow. Wine service is cheerfully attentive. Our wine was decanted in a vintage Riedel vessel we had never seen. I mean… when have we ever been impressed with the decanter?! No need to wait for a trip to NoCal for a memorable dining experience. We shall return.

2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel $45 (at the winery): We brought it in. Stunning somm Bahara put it right into the stunning decanter. Took a couple hours to open up. TC wines need time as is often the case with certain great wines. Toasty, brawny, with elegantly refined Mourvedre character. 14.5%

Back to Atlanta. We hit several dining spots guided by the Senior Young’Un. Here is some of what we enjoyed… and learned. Would you like to learn more?

dornferlderCROPWEB2010 Dornfelder Dry Reichsrat von Buhl $14: Larchmont Village Wines in LA asks “Must we always be overwhelmed by a wine? Is power and concentration really all it’s cracked up to be? What if we just want elegance, refreshment, drinkability and a certain lightness-of-being?” This is the wine that answers the question. We had it with burgers. Fresh, fruity without being forward. An unusual hybrid only the Bosch could figure. Brilliant. U20 buy. 13%

fine-du-mondeWEBLA Fin Du Monde Belgian Ale $12: BEER! We tasted this and a couple other Belgian ales at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur GA. Beer awakening. Server and beer guide Lee suggested we get serious and abandon the lagers and stouts we were about to order. He seemed quite serious. He suggested a couple of Belgian ales. This was one and… where once we wuz iggerunt, now we understand. Here is more info from a very helpful website for the cognoscenti: Triple style golden ale, Floral bouquet, aromas of honey, spice, coriander, malt, and alcohol at 5.5%. He said these beers are “sour.” Yes. And refreshing, intriguing. More beer reviews to come.

Good as Atlanta is… Charleston is the bomb. Cool as Nawlins and more fun than Savannah. So sez the tBoW travel team! Here are a few dining and drinking highlights.

I-GrecoSavu-RosatoCROPWEBObstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island – sleepy teeny coastal town, one of four or five adjacent to Charleston. Wonderful beach town vibe. Something happening here cuisine-wise. Here is the scallop ceviche with jalapeno slices. jalapeno-scallop-cevicheWEBInspiring. We enjoyed a pink 2011 I Greco Savu Rosato from Calabria. The grape is Gaglioppo and we would not have it any other way. The entire wine list is southern Italy. Food and cocktails were superb but most memorable was the cool ocean breeze drifting through the window. Ding ding ding ding! A U20 winner at $19 and 12%!!

foggyridegseriousWEBOn a hot family tip we dined at Husk in downtown Charleston. The Obstinate Daughter is located across the Cooper River on Sullivan’s Island which was the site of the first victory in the Revolutionary War. This place is full of “firsts” like that. Some better than others. Another memorable meal which is a label we do not assign lightly. We have three in this post. While the food was wonderfully prepared and the service was once again friendly and careful, the somm – Matt – started us off with the right step – bubbly. We were poured a glass of Virginia Hard Cider from Foggy Ridge Serious Cider that he claimed would taste like a bone dry champagne. Big claim for apple juice. By now you have figured that he was correct. Remarkable. Where will we find this drink from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Dugspur VA? At 7% this tops any other Moscato or Vinho Verde that would be frequently served in the summertime. At $18 and 7% this is another U20 winner.

Holiday Road Trip to The City

pray for parking

the dao of parking

It is hard to go wrong with a quick trip to San Francisco. In the Wintertime the San Francisco air is exceptionally crisp. The sunlight can cut glass. What’s not to like? OK. Cars are strongly discouraged. It can cost twice to park overnight as it does to rent for a day. The scene at Union Square is bright and cheery and overly commercial; full of holiday shoppers.

However, if you want to try another cultural flavor the city is hardly bereft of captivating neighborhoods. arlequinWEBThe Mission bustles with local shops and plenty of homeless people crashing in the alleys. The mural filled alleys of the Mission are tourist destinations. Thank you Trip Advisor. Hayes Street Gulch has two blocks of shops, food spots and a very appealing wine shop/bar/deli. The sign says Arlequin. If you like a combo wine shop/deli this should work. tBoW purchased a bottle of Cowan Cellars Ribollo Gialla that came highly recommended as an “orange wine.” This Eastern Mendocino product tasted nothing like oranges but it was pretty cool even though we did not decant as recommended. We opened and poured on the spot.

Cowan-2012-Ribolla_400WEB2012 Cowan Cellars Ribollo Gialla $24: From the website: “Light gold color, brilliant; aromas of apricot, light honey, persimmon, nutmeg and a floral note might give the impression of a sweet wine but the palate is dry; the flavors echo the nose, concentrated texture, lively acids and grippy tannins; good length but needs a year in bottle to become integrated. Should be cellared for at least a year and should drink well for another decade. This wine should never be over-chilled; cellar temperature or warmer for service.” The wine has an orange tint. The winemaker stops fermentation so “retain acidity.” What a great idea! As Kris-B touted, this is a good sign of the thinking winemaker figuring how to make wines more food friendly and generally interesting. As Cowan’s website states “fine wines for lighter meals…if you want a wine of personality and quality at a reasonable price…” We’re convinced. 12.5%

Mission mojo hand

Mission mojo hand

tBoW dined at Foreign Cinema in the Mission. The expansive restaurant is set in an old movie house. A movie plays on the rear wall in the (heated) outdoor patio. The rustic interior hall is noisy and alive. We shared half a fresh Dungeness crab with a glass of Old World white from the more than satisfying wine list. This is how it is in SF dining. In fact, wine is passe. The cocktail culture has gripped on the city. tBoW ordered a muddled something with Bourbon and cane sugar. Yum.

Here are some pretty impressive bottles recently cracked.

TAMI12WEB2012 Arianna Occhipinti ‘Tami’ Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane $15: Soulful, luscious, inspiring in the most sensual ways. But enough of Arianna Occhipinti. How’s her wine? Blackberry fruit, bright acid, light to middle weight. The label says typical for Southern Italian wine AND at a price everyone can afford? What’s not to like? Ms. Occhipinti is a terrific winemaker. We hope she gets out a little. All that time stirring the cap and beating down the must has to make a girl lonesome. A U20 deal. 13%

PerraudMaconVillages09WEB2009 Domaine Perraud Macon-Villages Vielles Vignes $19: Nobody can say it better. “A wine made by XXX censored2WEB so you can count on lots of oak/batonnage, etc. Whatever they have to do to make it slutty. And they’re not picky about farming practices.” Hey. Don’t shoot the reporter. We thought we were crossing the line sexualizing Arianna O. Slutty wine? We liked this little Chard but we would not buy it again, especially now that we could get herpes or something worse. Screw top Chardonnay [ed. big tip right there] from Burgundy’s bargain basement. I feel so dirty. 13%

2007 Angelo Germano Barolo $34: Entry level Barolo from Germans. Very good buy from Eno Fine Wine. Bro’ in law flipped and the last time that happened with wine was when I showed him the Arianna O googleimages page. Dark red black color, not thick. Anise nose on the open, full of life, could take decanting but it is so exciting right away. Not much chance to see it develop as it got sucked up tout suite. Higher alcohol not even noticed. Listed online for less $$ but not usually in stock. 14.5%

Papa Fred Memorial Saturday.

Ciao Bello! Il Topo di Vino Ritorno con Vino di Nuovo

fit for a Mouse King

fit for a Mouse King

[ed. Our prized least coast correspondent has returned with Italian discoveries. Why does it often seem whatever he has been drinking… we just started? The more mice the more bella il vino.

It’s been hectic, irrational and nonsensical, therefore the appropriate choice here targets Italian wine. More and more, when we approach the cellar for the habitual nightly offering, we land in the peninsula whose offerings present a host of personalities.

eternal dilemma

dilemma eterna

Schizophrenic comes to mind. We love dozens. The Nebbiolos of Piedmont, while less reliable than Cotes de Nuits, either beguile, intrigue, astonish, or all three. I’m flat in love with Sangiovese, either alone, or better yet, with a dash of Cabernet or Merlot. Cab Franc (sorry Milo) from the northeast, makes increasingly more sense. Nero d’Avola from that big island near Tunisia continually represents tremendous value. Love Dolcetto, Barbera, Arneis, Moscato, and Umbria’s Sagrantinos and Grechettos. Love them all. And, without being too freaking trite, great chow wine. So, here goes… (more…)