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Teruzzi & Puthod Terre di tufi (2007) Tuscany

Date: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 Wine Tasting

A delicious summer white from Teruzzi & Puthod, a Tuscan winery owned by global branded beverage industry titan Gruppo Campari, whose 40 brands like Wild Turkey, Skyy vodka, Cinzano are distributed in over 190 countries worldwide. Founded in 1974, the winery has over 90 hectares under vine and produces more than a million bottles of wine a year. Their Terre di tufi is a blend of 80% Vernaccia, 7% Chardonnay, 7% Malvasia, and 6% Vermentino. Brilliant straw yellow in color with a fresh nose of apples - pine and otherwise. Synthetic cork.

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Caldora Trebbiano D' Abruzzo (2005) Abruzzo

Date: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 Wine Tasting

"Caldora, Caldora, what makes you big ass so round?" I picked up this leftover old bottle at Cost Plus World Market and was pleasantly surprised that it had held up so well. Caldora is a partnership between Valentino Sciotti, renowned winemaker Mario Ercolino and one of the largest cooperatives in Abruzzo. The cooperatives total holdings are around 1,200 hectares but only the best 200 or so are selected, vinified, and bottled under the Caldora name. The 2005 Trebbiano is light gold in color with a nice floral/citrus nose (still!) Stainless steel. Nice finish.

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Masciarelli Trebbiano d' Abruzzo (2008) Abruzzo

Date: Sat, Jun 5, 2010 Wine Tasting

A wonderful summer white from Masciarelli; Italy's 2004 "winery of the year". Marsciarelli is the largest organically farmed estate in Italy, with over 1,000 acres scattered across Abruzzo. In addition to Trebbiano, they grow Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Falanghina, and olives for pressing into premium oil. Their Trebbiano d' Abruzzo is fermented and aged in stainless steel. Clean and crisp. Hints of apple, stone fruit, and freshly bathed pug. Refreshingly delicious. An outstanding value at $8.99 a bottle.

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Lee Dewyze; Italian Wine Lover; 2010 American Idol Winner

Date: Thu, May 27, 2010 Wine Tasting

Thanks to an "All-Access" backstage pass that was granted to Hollywood insider, The Italian Cellar, we were afforded an opportunity to briefly speak with season nine American Idol winner Lee Dewyze after his upset victory last night:

Lee, congratulations on your being voted 2010 American Idol. What was the first wine that made you realize you loved wine?

Damijan Ribolla Gialla 2002 made me change the way I look at white wine, and the first time I had Quintarelli Amarone I knew I’d never tasted anything even close to that before. However I have to say that the wine that did it for me, that truly made me realize that I love wine was Bartolo Mascarello’s 1989 Barolo (out of a magnum). Like the Quintarelli it possessed layers and depth that I could draw few comparisons to, and definitely had the "what was that?" impact on me. However the one thing that made this one truly stand out was it’s elegance. To this day if you asked me to describe my idea of “elegance” I would have to say that that wine is an example that I would use.

Describe your perfect meal and the wine you'd pair with it.

Well, prior to Idol, I was in Piemonte, so how could I not mention white truffles on Tajarin with aged Barolo. But there is also something to be said about the simplicity of a white like Verdicchio from Le Marche (look for Sartarelli) that work their magic with the seafood of the Adriatic on a summer day. The zing and citrus nuances bring just about any fish back to life - no sauces needed here - just some grilled fish and lemon. A Rosso di Montalcino with some pici topped with wild boar ragu is also a nice, simple classic pair.

Simon sounded sincere last night - don't you think?

He was very gracious indeed.

Well, congratulations again, and thank you for your time.

It was my pleasure.

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A Message From the ROK

Date: Mon, May 10, 2010 Wine Tasting

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La Corte Salice Salento (2007) Puglia

Date: Mon, May 10, 2010 Wine Tasting

A delicious quaffer from La Corte, a Lecce-area winery owned by the Tuscan firm of Renideo, who produce a number of spicy Italian reds made from Negroamaro and Primitivo grapes. Their Salice Salentino is a blend of 80-85% Negroamaro and 15-20% Malvasia Nera that is aged in a combination of stainless steel tanks and oak for 18 months. Dark brick red in color, with a spicy, earthy nose. Peppery, but smooth finish. Terrific food wine. Not complex, but well made.

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Paolo Scavino Langhe Bianco (2008) Piemonte

Date: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 Wine Tasting

A pleasant-enough (I’m trying) Italian white blend from noted Barolo maker Paolo Scavino. The winery, founded in 1921 by Paolo Scavino, is now run by his son Enrico and granddaughters Enrica and Elisa. The 2008 Langhe Bianco is a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc (vinified in steel) and 30% Chardonnay (vinified in oak). The two grapes, however, are not particularly well-integrated. The wine seems to have competing citrusy/grassy/herbal notes – a problem for me with white blends generally. The stature of the producer will make me try it again - maybe warmer weather might help.

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Emilio Bulfon Pecol Ros La Santissima (2008) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Date: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 Wine Tasting

Some 30 years ago, winemaker Emilio Bulfon rediscovered and replanted several ancient native Friulian grape varieties in the hills of the province of Pordenone in western Friuli. Today, Bulfon produces wines exclusively from these ancient grapes. While I have enjoyed Bulfon's single varietals (especially the whites), his Pecol Ros, a kitchen-sink blend of 35% Piculit Neri, 35% Refosco del Peduncolo Rosso, 15%, Forgiarin, and 15% Cianorie is a disconnected mess. Deep ruby-red color. Minty, peppery, blackberry fruit nose. Not particularly well balanced. Fiery finish. 14% alcohol. As a side note, each of Bulfon's wines are adorned with a different color label designed by Bulfon that depict a detail of a medieval fresco of the last supper found on a wall of a local church.

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Jermann Vinae (2006) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Date: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 Wine Tasting

A terrific Italian white wine from master winemaker Silvio Jermann, whose 100 year old family winery is known for the character and varietal correctness of their wines. The 2006 Vinnae is a blend of 90% Ribolla Gialla and 10% Tocai and Riesling. Bright straw-yellow in color. Beautiful fruity nose. A small portion of the blend is aged in oak barrels for six months to give the wine some added weight. Prior to bottling, the oak-aged wine is incorporated with the rest of the wine that was aged in stainless steel. The Ribolla grape is high in acid, making it great match with a variety of foods. Terrific balance.

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Cantine Sant'Agata Barbera D'Asti "Baby" (2007) Piemonte

Date: Sat, Apr 10, 2010 Wine Tasting

Abort this baby. Perhaps the worst wine I have ever had. An expressionless effort from Cantine Sant'Agata, a Piemontese winery founded in the 1970's that produces three levels of Barbera; their baseline "Baby", their second tier "Altea", and their top of the line "Caval". Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Smith Brothers quality fruit. No nose to speak of. Completely lacking in any of the qualities that make Barbera such a terrific wine. I would defy anyone to guess the varietal in a blind tasting. Only wine in the sense that it is presumably made from grapes that have been fermented in some manner. Criminal at $15 a bottle.

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Marco Felluga Friulano (2007) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Date: Tue, Apr 6, 2010 Wine Tasting

A Friulian delight from Marco Felluga, a multi-generational organic winery that controls over 250 acres of vineyards, most of which are family owned and operated, within the Collio Goriziano, or Collio; one of the most important DOC's in Friuli. While most of their production is dedicated to white wines, including Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Chardonnay, they do produce a small number of reds as well. The 2007 Friulano is a brilliant straw yellow wine with a slight greenish tint. Nut-bush floral nose. Silky mouthfeel. Well structured acidity and balance. Crisp. Fermented and aged in stainless steel.

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La Quercia Montepulciano d' Abruzzo (2008) Abruzzo

Date: Sat, Mar 27, 2010 Wine Tasting

A tasty, inexpensive Italian red wine from La Quercia, a small organic winery (total estate production of only 12,000 bottles a year) that lies within spitting distance (ok, maybe not spitting distance; but real close) of the Adriatic Sea. Owned by Antonio Lamona, the winery has been practicing organic farming methods since the 1960's. Antonio’s farm is also entirely self-sustaining, producing their own salami, bread, vegetables, olive oil and cheese. Their 2008 Montepulciano d' Abruzzo is very dark ruby red in color with a ripe nose of dark berries. Terrific balance. Smooth finish. Aged for 4-6 months in 10 year old Slavonian oak barrels. Synthetic cork.

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Seiterre Tenuta San Leone Bianco di Custoza (2006) Veneto

Date: Sun, Mar 21, 2010 Wine Tasting

An interesting Italian white from Seiterre, a cooperative with vineyards that run from Trentino to Romania. Their Bianco di Custoza is named after the 1866 battle of Custoza (which we all know resulted in Valeggio and Veneto being annexed to Italy - take that Austrian Empire!). The wine is made from a blend of Garganega, Trebbiano, Tocai and Cortese grapes that are grown on the 60 plus hectares of vineyards that comprise the San Leone Farm, which is located in the Province of Verona. Yellow/greenish in color. Tropical fruit nose. Bright acidity. Fermented and aged in stainless steel.

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Araldica "La Luciana" (2008) Piemonte

Date: Thu, Mar 18, 2010 Wine Tasting

A too-light-for-my-tastes Gavi from Araldica, a piemontese cooperative that produces tens of millions of bottles of wine annually. For years, Gavi, made from the Cortese grape, was the standard for Italian white wine in the United States. Thankfully, other more interesting Italian whites (Pinot Grigio excluded) have pushed Gavi to the side. The 2008 "La Luciana" is light straw in color with a fresh, floral/apple nose. Crisp acidity. Light, clean finish. Emaciated body. Maybe OK as a summertime quaffer on the patio, but beyond that, open something with a little more there there.

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