Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bruno Giacosa Barbera d' Alba (2006) Piemonte

Another wonderful, affordable introduction to one of Italy’s finest winemakers, Bruno Giacosa’s 2006 Barbera d' Alba shines as an outstanding food-friendly, approachable wine. The Giacosa family has been making wine in the Langhe region of Piedmont for three generations. Bruno Giacosa credits his winery’s success to his respect for traditional winemaking methods which enhance the characteristics of Piedmont's varietals. The wine is medium-bodied with bright acidity, lots of dried cherry fruit and a rich, smooth finish. Nice, soft use of oak (aged for 11 months in large French oak barrels). Sampling a Piedmontese superstars everyday wines like this Barbera is a great way to enjoy the winemakers skill without spending a $100 and waiting 10 years or more for their Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s to come into their own.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Caldora Montepulciano d' Abruzzo (2006) Abruzzo

A nice, affordable Montepulciano d' Abruzzo from Caldora, a young partnership between Valentino Sciotti, renowned winemaker Mario Ercolino, and one of the largest cooperatives in Abruzzo. Most of their vast holdings lie between the Adriatic coast and Mount Maiella. Their Montepulciano d' Abruzzo is 100% Montepulciano. It has a deep ruby-red color, with a heavy red/black fruit nose. Nice body; balanced acidity. Good everyday food wine.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Brandy Old-Fashioned; Greatest Cocktail Ever

My apologies to the Italian wine world, but I want to share a recipe for what might be the greatest cocktail ever; the Brandy Old-Fashioned.

2 oz. brandy, preferably Korbel
1 oz simple syrup, preferably Stirrings or homemade
2 dashes Angostura bitters
splash of 7-Up
2 maraschino cherries
1 small orange slice

For the cocktail: Fill a 10 oz. old-fashioned glass with ice. Add bitters, simple syrup, brandy and stir. Top with 7-Up and garnish with cherries, threaded on a cocktail spear, and an orange slice. Enjoy. Repeat as necessary.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Montevertine Pian del Ciampolo (2006) Tuscany

A not-so-good Italian red wine from Montevertine, a luxe winery that I have heard great things about. Montevertine is situated in the heart of the Chianti district, halfway between Florence and Siena in the village of Radda. In 1981, the winery gave up its Chianti Classico designation in order to produce wines almost entirely of Sangiovese. The 2006 Pian del Ciampolo is nearly all Sangiovese with a small amount of Canaiolo blended in, and is the basic wine of the estate. Aged eighteen months in Slavonian oak. Montevertine states that the Pian del Ciampolo is the most "precocious" of their wines. Precocious, indeed. I found the wine watery and thin; completely devoid of substance. Absolutely no finish to speak of. Nice, smokey/earthy nose, however. Because of all the good press, I will, however, give the wine another shot.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rod Blagojevich; Corrupt Politician, Potty Mouth, Italian Wine Lover

xx EXCLUSIVE xx The Italian Cellar has obtained a transcript of a secret F.B.I. recording of a recent dinner meeting between despotic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Senate Candidate Number 6 that not only reveals the Governor's psychosis, but his love for Italian wine.

Governor Blagojevich: "Hey (Senate Candidate Number Six) this mother-(Expletive Deleted) Barolo is (Expletive Deleted) golden!"

Senate Candidate Number 6: "Just think; when I'm in Washington, you'll be swimming in the stuff!"

Governor Blagojevich: "(Expletive Deleted)! Its (Expletive Deleted) tannic, acidic bite is excellent with roasted meats and hearty winter pasta. Hey! We're out of (Expletive Deleted) breadsticks! Where the (Expletive Deleted) is our (Expletive Deleted) waiter! Mother-(Expletive Deleted)!"

Senate Candidate #6: "Governor, we really need to get down to business."

Gov. B: "(Expletive Deleted)! Business can (Expletive Deleted) wait! I want my (Expletive Deleted) breadsticks!

Senate Candidate #6: "Governor! Get a hold of yourself!"

Governor Blagojevich: "(Expletive Deleted)! What the (Expletive Deleted)?!? Is this a (Expletive Deleted) microphone?!? Where the (Expletive Deleted) are (Expletive Deleted) breadsticks?!?"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Castel di Salve Armecolo Salento Rosso (2007) Puglia

A spicy Italian red wine from Castel di Salve, the most southerly estate in Puglia. Owned and run by Francesco Marra and Francesco Winspeare, the two began estate bottling small quantities of wine in the late 1980's. Today, they have over 100 acres under vine; producing about 12,000 cases of seven different wines. The 2007 Armecolo is 80% Negroamaro and 20% Malvasia nera di lecce. Strong nose of black fruits; deep color. Lively acidity. A little short on the finish. (like these sentences) Synthetic cork.