EATALY NY OPENS TOMORROW @ 4.30PM
Come taste Cascina Gilli Freisa and Malvasia.
Meet Domenico Selections.
Buy something, already.
200 Fifth Avenue
EATALY NY OPENS TOMORROW @ 4.30PM
Come taste Cascina Gilli Freisa and Malvasia.
Meet Domenico Selections.
Buy something, already.
200 Fifth Avenue
Back in June the wine was awarded 94 points in a glowing review by Josh Greene, W&S publisher and editor.
We're delighted by the recognition, and not only from a sales point of view. We're happy for the serious, hard-working Elisabetta (Betty) Musto Carmelitano as well as her enologo, Fortunato (Lucky) Sebastiano. By the way, we hope to get both of them over to the States in February or so for a tour of our markets.
NB: The Serra 2008 is now on the market. The 2007 sold out rather quickly.
* Be sure to note W&S's
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the New York avatar of Slow Food-inspired Eataly is opening to the public on Tuesday at 4 pm. I was going to write "at last" because so much has been written, gossiped and hyped about it for well over a year now, it felt as though it never would open.
See today's story on Eater.com. The headline refers to the place as a "50,000 sq ft Food Funhouse." The story gives you some hint of why. And, by the way, 50K square feet in Manhattan is huge.
Domenico Selections was asked by the lovely and talented Chiara of Cascina Gilli to represent them at the opening. As I mentioned in the most recent post, we have had no idea what that entails.
Dan Amatuzzi at Otto last December. A tasting of Mustilli wines from Campania
Dan Amatuzzi, formerly of Otto, who is the Eataly wine buyer, wrote today and said that it means we re-present the wines to the throngs, he assumes by pouring and explaining them in the complex's wine shop. That we can do. We will be pouring Cascina Gilli's Freisa "Vigna del Forno" and their sparkling Malvasia.
Finally, in all of the local frenzy over Eataly NY's opening, let me quote the New York Post story that's online today:
With an entrance on East 23rd Street, this [wine] shop will sell only Italian vino, including those from the Bastianich vineyards. “It’s really an encyclopedic representation of the best of Italian wines,” says Joe Bastianich.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/lifestyle/food/welcome_to_eataly_G5QHOIVyNtzG44tyFb5GVM/1#ixzz0xe7pUtoD
Domenico Selections is pleased to report that we will be present at the opening of the New York outpost of Eataly, on August 31. This is an exciting development for New York, and we can only hope that it will be as transformative here as the original Eataly, an offshoot of the Slow Food movement, has been in Turin.
And we are delighted to represent one of our producers, Cascina Gilli, two of whose wines will be available in at least one of the restaurants within this giant complex devoted to fine foods and wines from Italia, not to mention the retail shop which will feature all of the wines sold in the eateries.*
But now could someone at Eataly tell us when and where we are supposed to present ourselves at the 31 August event? What are we supposed to do?
Entreaties to Turin have been ignored. Chiara Martinotti, our liaison at Cascina Gilli, has said that she has been told no details. "Nobody's answered my calls either," she wrote me last week.
We had been hoping for a winning combination of Italian charm and New York efficiency.
Well, folks, the big day is two whole weeks away. I suppose that, in Italian terms, that's like two months for Americans. We send new entreaties and hope for a reply before the morning of the 31st. We'll share whatever information we receive.
Ciao for nao.
* Featured at Eataly will be Cascina Gilli's wonderful Freisa, Vigna del Forno, and their highly rated (91 Tanzer) sweet sparkling Malvasia.
The first half of the trip was in and around Covington, KY, the home of DEPS Fine Wine, the HQ of our excellent friend Kevin Keith. We poured 6 wines in each store on successive days. The Friday evening pour at the main store in Covington was jam-packed the whole four hours. Funny thing: I saw a lot of the same faces as in February. They seemed to favor the most expensive wines and kept coming back for additional 1-oz. pours. They said they loved the wines all over again but had never bought the ones they craved. I finally shamed a couple of guys into buying the damned wine and went so far as to march one over to the cash register to make sure he actually bought it.
Yes, that was pushy. In a delightful, jocular way, of course. (Kevin, don't tell me he returned it for a credit. I'll be crushed.)
Then a 3-day visit in Columbus, Ohio, where John Hughes' start-up Old World Wines of Ohio is opening up some cool accounts. I was impressed at what John's been able to accomplish in just 2 months, since I saw a lot of Domenico's SKUs in Weiland's Gourmet Market and a seriously geeky wine bar and shop named The Twisted Vine. There were plenty of others -- and here's hoping John gets us into a couple of the top restos in the area. Based on recent tastings, I think that will happen very soon.
Now -- no rest for the wicked. There's a tremendous amount of copy to be written for the Domenico Selections site, and that's you-know-who's job. I fear this will be a weekend behind the barricades as I crank out a passel of overdue copy.
Meanwhile, some fun facts and observations about NKY and Columbus:
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.
It's been hot and often quite humid, every day in the 30 - 34 degree range -- 86 - 94F. It's remained hot at night.
Before that both winter and spring were exceptionally wet and cold. A continuation of hot weather, accompanied by some dry spells, would seem in order right now.
Well, it's still early. Around Treviso we went among the 33C vineyards which were exploding with growth, and the infant grapes seemed fine. Here's to a fine growing season.
Once our newest shipment of fine Italian wines clears customs and hits the warehouse, we'll be sending a refrigerated truck to Los Angeles. Initially, the wise and lucky customers are going to be:
Terroni -- the hot restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in west LA. Click here for info and directions. This is a highly successful spin-off of an established Toronto restaurant. "Terroni" is a derogatory term for Southern Italians. Aglianico heaven.
Wine House -- the biggest wine retailer in greater LA. Click here for info and directions. Lucky Californians. Their laws allow wine stores to have restaurants, wine bars, etc., under the same roof. The picture is of Wine House's "Upstairs 2" eatery. By the way, when looking for pictures of "Wine House Los Angeles" I got mostly ones of that garbagey singer. I like looking at this photo a lot more.
Rosso Wine Shop -- a small but expanding wine shop in Glendale. Click here for more on Rosso Wine Shop.
Rosso Wine Shop plays a special part in our foray into California. Jeff Zimmitti, the store owner, tasted some samples that were sent to a potential distributor in Los Angeles. He tasted a number of our wines, was bowled over by them, and volunteered to start raising interest among some of his friends in the wine business. A few months later, and here we are.
It's just the beginning, and we're all hoping the wines take off and win a loyal group of fans in Southern California. A loyal and ever-larger group of fans.
There's no way we can thank Jeff Zimmitti enough for the missionary work he's done for Domenico Selections. But his success in stimulating interest shows that a committed retailer can make all the difference in a new market. For a small company like Domenico, this is vitally important.
Anyway, by the end of June -- in time for the July 4th holiday -- check out these three marvelous places to find your Domenico Selections wines.
Our friend at Cascina Gilli, Chiara Martinotti, sent us some excellent news yesterday:
We are very proud to announce you that our Freisa "Vigna del Forno" 2007,
which you all know!, was awarded with the SILVER MEDAL at the Decanter
Wine World Awards 2010.
We really believe this is an excellent result for a Freisa!
Glad to share with you all this news.
Freisa is a little-heralded grape native to Piemonte, a relative of the noble Nebbiolo. According to Chiara and other folks we've spoken with, the country folk of their area near Turin traditionally drank the simple, rather light-bodied wine as their everyday drink. Often produced in a vivace or slightly fizzy fashion, Freisa is meant to be drunk young and with a wide variety of dishes.
When it's made by Gianni Vergnano and his enologo Bruno Tamagnone, this simple, rather one-dimensional wine becomes something else. The tangy fruit is still much in evidence, but it's now complemented by a structure and length that elevates it to something like its full expression.
Sometimes the traditional treatment of a grape doesn't do it justice. Sometimes the winemaker has to throw away the old "rulebook" and re-imagine the grape and its potential. At Cascina Gilli, which is something of a Freisa specialist, Gianni and his team restrict the yields of Vigna del Forno, which was never done traditionally, since the farmers wanted a cheap and plentiful drink suitable for the entire family. (Click here for a spec sheet.)
The awarded wine, Vigna del Forno 2007, will soon be in America, available for delivery around June 4.
I wrote a short piece about Natale Simonetta, his hairdo and his delicious, organic wines while I was at Vinitaly. In short, a rave review. Not only that, but Natale is such an enthusiastic, warm-hearted guy, it's hard not to take an immediate shine to him. I feel I must add the cliché "passionate winemaker" here, so I will. It's certainly true in Natale's case.
Now I'm pleased to announce that Natale, his hairdo and his delicious, organic wines are all joining the Domenico Selections, er, selections. Available this fall.
Located in Neviglie, Cascina Baricchi straddles the line between Barbaresco and non-Barbaresco territory. Literally. Which is why Natale's extraordinary Nebbiolo Langhe is arguably his best wine. If the vineyard were 20 meters away, on the other side of the road, it would have the Barbaresco appellation. I guess there has to be a boundary somewhere, but this is one instance where quality is blind to such distinctions. (You can see the road in question, all snowy and such, on the Baricchi web site.)
Not to detract from Natale's other wines. A Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and a metodo classico Nebbiolo rose' spumante "Visages de Canailles" are among his fantastic lineup. Believe me, they're all worth seeking out, or will be when they land here late in the summer.
Benvenuto alla nostra banda, Natale! Anche tu, l'Acconciatura.*
It was late February. The sky over Barbaresco was low and dark.The landscape was bedraggled from the rains and snows of winter. Our friend Christian drove us down a series of rutted dirt tracks to arrive at a big, dejected farmhouse with tractors and tools lying around a U-shaped courtyard. A tall, bulky young man with a baby face emerged from the cantina. He introduced himself as Paolo. We walked around the edges of the deeply muddy vineyard, which faced south to southwest. The slope of the land was here gentle and there steep. The river Tanaro flowed, swollen with winter, at the edge of the property.
Paolo Veglio is a young man, barely 30, but he has been working in the fields since he was a little boy. He comes from a family of professional people -- his father is an architect -- but the only work he ever desired was in the fields and among the vines of his family's small estate at the edge of Barbaresco. All of which is to say he learned about wine-making from the old tenant farmers who used to work the property.
We stood outdoors chatting for a while. Then Paolo led us into a cellar that was as spotless and beautiful as any I'd ever seen. His mother had made up plates of tasting snacks, which we welcomed because we hadn't eaten lunch. She was watchful. We took our first sip of his base wine, a Dolcetto. We looked at each other in astonishment. The best Dolcetto any of us had ever tasted. Paolo's mother relaxed a little. But she watched everything we did and said; she spoke no English, but in truth our facial language communicated everything she needed to know.
Cascina Roccalini produces small quantities of four different wines: Dolcetto, Barbera, Barbera Superiore and Barbaresco. Domenico Selections will have them for this autumn. We can't wait.
Pedigree via Bruno Giacosa and Dante Scaglione: an interesting backstory
Paolo started making demijohns of Dolcetto for family and friends. In 1994 he was given Freisa to work with as a test. Bruno Giacosa's enologo, Dante Scaglione, took an interest in what the young man was doing. Soon Giacosa was buying Paolo’s grapes. This arrangement continued for a number of years.
Photo by Alessandro Franceschini, Lavinium
In 2005 Paolo started making wine under his own label. Paolo was the first (and still only) producer that Scaglione approached to offer his services after Dante set up his own consultancy in 2007. According to Paolo, Scaglione has no “formula” for making wine. He works to bring out the best in the fruit – and the fruit here is very good, especially as much of it comes from vines that are up to 50 years old.As Dante said in an interview on the excellent Italia wine site Lavinium last July, "Ma io collaborerò solo con chi penso abbia grandissime vigne".
I will only work with someone who I think has a great vineyard.
Paolo Veglio has the land, the vines, the knowledge and the passion to become one of the best Piedmontese producers of his generation.
gets a high one. Like a 94.
Right now, I love scores.
We just got the June 1 issue of Wine & Spirits
Right there on page 78, under "Year's Best
Southern Italian Reds",
Publisher Josh Greene wrote something
of a love letter to
Betty Musto Carmelitano (pictured with wine
in question) who is the gifted maker of
Serra del Prete as well as the
unreviewed Pian del Moro.
Here is part of his review:
This is pretty astonishing wine, truly a 'nebbiolo' of the South, with scents of anise
and tart cranberry that seem to be mirrored in the glow of its color.
It starts off sunny and dark, with a gamey aspect like the dark meat of a
roast turkey and the brisk mineral blackness of a ripe olive.
The tannins are immense but not at all hard. Instead, they expand into
a lush character that contrasts the dark minerality. Call it extreme
deliciousness or southern elegance, and serve it with
a rack of lamb.
(Domenico Selections, NY)
What a great review. Not only did Josh totally get the wine, he made pairing
it so easy, and so mouth-watering.
Serra del Prete is aged in cement. No wood at all.
It's what I call a hardcore Italian wine. The essence of
its region and its grape.
Old World Wines, based in Columbus, will be taking on the big job of getting Domenico Selections wines placed in the best restaurants and shops in the state. The owner of this company is John Hughes, a veteran salesman, great guy and, ahem, Strappo's youngest brother.
For information or, better yet, a tasting appointment, write John at [email protected]
Advice to John: Maybe you'll want to get an Italian-wine compatible email address. And don't get smart by telling me that Zinfandel and Primitivo have the same DNA. I don't play that.
We first met Daniele Galluzzi at Da Anna, a very nice fish restaurant in Castiglione della Pescaia, a resort town near Grosseto, Tuscany. To make a long story short, Daniele introduced himself to us, found out we liked Montecucco wines and gave us a business card, of course inviting us to visit his winery some time. Its name is Casale Pozzuolo (link to the English version of the web site), and it's on an ancient estate with sweeping views of the Val d'Orcia.
Part of the agriturismo at Casale Pozzuolo. There's a nice swimming pool and grassy terrace right behind this building. No, it isn't ancient. They built it to look that way so you wouldn't be disappointed
We were there a month later and were immediately convinced by his wines. Two wines, one grape: Sangiovese. One a Rosso, one a Riserva. All organic, all easy on the wood. Assisted by his cousin, Giuseppe, the very able agronomo, Daniele makes wines of uncommon purity and elegance. The land is dry-farmed -- in stark contrast to his neighbors, whose vineyards are hooked up to hoses and sometimes languish under stagnant pools of water -- and the yields are low. Everything is done by hand, including, of course, the harvest.
The result is a "base" wine (Rosso della Porticcia) that blows you away with its vibrant fruit and elegant balance; and a Riserva, a selection of grapes form the property, that seems like a Platonic ideal of "Sangiovese." The wine has everything: that zippy fruit, thanks to its acidity; that layered, subtle use of oak to reveal the wine's depth; and that fascinating quality that makes you drink and drink to try and discover what makes it so good. You get a little loopy in the process, but what a way to go.
Sometimes, when we've met winemakers, we've observed that the man (or woman) is truly alive, and so are the wines that he or she makes. We felt that way when we met the wonderful Mario Pojer, and we felt that way when we met Daniele. Fortunately, Daniele is one of "us" at Domenico Selections now. (Mario, are you listening?)
The vibrant, delicious Casale Pozzuolo wines will be available in the US this fall. To taste em is to love em.
Jeff Mazen just brought this to my attention. Ian D'Agata, who reviews Italian wines for Steve Tanzer, has given high marks to two wines from Cascina Gilli -- the Freisa "Vigna del Forno" 2007, which is soon to arrive here, and the Malvasia. (We don't carry that yet. But something tells me we will be soon.)
You have to be a subscriber to access the Tanzer site, so I can't give you links to the reviews. Jeff did, however, cut and paste them for me. (Grazie, Jeff.)
By Ian D'Agata
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Mar 10
($20) Bright, dark red. Pungent, sexy aromas of red cherry and
red currant are nicely lifted by floral and light herbal nuances. Suave
and ripe, with decent complexity to its red fruit and almond paste
flavors. Pretty lively acidity nicely extends the flavors on the
smooth, long finish, which hints at a little residual sugar. 90 points
We've been hemming and hawing about the Malvasia -- a sweet red sparkler that we've perceived to be a hard sell in the US of A. Granted, it's a pleasing wine that would enhance any fruit and cheese course. I confess that I found myself liking it more than I would have thought possible. Well, maybe the review will kick us all hard enough in the butt to get us going:
By Ian D'Agata
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Mar 10
($20; 100% malvasia di Schierano) Bright, light red with a delicate
froth. Multifaceted nose is drop-dead gorgeous, offering raspberry,
sweet red cherry and blackcurrant aromas along with hints of cinnamon
and vanilla. Light and sweet, with a creamy mouthfeel and flavors
similar to the aromas. As close to a very lightly alcoholic cream soda
as any wine you will ever drink, this is utterly lip-smacking and
delicious-and only 5.5% alcohol! (Tosco Wines, Richmond CA; Domenico
Selections, New York NY) 91 points
You know, the Tanzer reviewers don't hand out 90+ scores like surplus government cheese. These are very fine scores indeed.
I'll bet the PR brains behind the current junket of seven American bloggers in the Asti area are kicking themselves right now.
I can imagine the people who dreamt up Barbera Meeting 2010 believed the Yanks would sing the praises of the mostly oak-ridden, unbalanced wines as good Yanks are supposed to do. That they'd be doling out 95's and 96's like nobody's business. That Barbera d'Asti would receive a badly needed boost in awareness and perception in the United States.
The "Barbera Boys" (6 boys, 1 girl, actually) -- the Barbera Boys were supposed to have accomplished a PR slam dunk for the various regional and consortial entities that put the whole thing together. This naive goal is now about as fraught with controversy and polemics as another slam-dunk situation of recent memory. That would be the war in Iraq, ladies and gentlemen.
The Barbera 7's frequent posts -- becoming ever more outspoken and negative -- show them reaching a consensus on the lack of a consistent, recognizable varietal character in the Barberas. (A problem I have long had with them.) The bloggers have also reacted sharply to the producers' hostility -- defensiveness built on the evident fear that they HAVE lost their way and their markets -- so that some of their dispatches have taken on the tone of war correspondence. It's all highly entertaining and revelatory. It's also a must-read: go here to catch up on the reportage.
This, by the way, will be the breakthrough to "importance" that wine bloggers have been seeking. (See the quotes from US-side organizer Jeremy Parzen in Turin's La Stampa.)
Let's hear it for the Barbera Boys.
Betty? Elisabetta Musto-Carmelitano. Of the small but spectacularly promising winery Musto-Carmelitano in Basilicata. Our Betty, maker of Serra del Prete, an Aglianico del Vulture aged in concrete, which sells out every time we get a shipment in.
She will be at one of the don't-miss fringe events of Vinitaly, VinNatur, which, as you might have guessed, features organic wines from Italy and elsewhere (especially France, the biodynamic leaders of the world.) VinNatur will take place this year, as usual, at Villa Favorita, on April 12. In celebration of Strappo's 64th birthday. (Aw, shucks, folks, you SHOULDN'T have! So where are the presents?)
Which one of these is Betty?
This is a wonderful kind of recognition for this excellent young winemaker.
Auguri, Betty, siamo orgogliosi di te!*
*Congratulations, Betty, we're proud of you!
The big event started yesterday, giving the lie to its name. It's really more like "Italian Wine Two and a Half Days." Despite the old-fashioned grandeur of the setting (the Waldorf Astoria Hotel), there is a hang-dog air of desperation hanging over the event. Never have masses of Italians been less ebullient. Never so many brows creased by frowns. Never have so many been so eager to play let's make a deal.
Producers ask if La Crisi is over with here, if we're on the rebound. No, not really. It's still like an economic Baghdad. A quagmire. A dull ache until the next mortgage bomb goes off. Message to producers: some dinky 20% discount won't even register. Go lower if you want to get rid of all that cellared wine the Germans and Scandinavians can't soak up.
Then there's still an issue of quality and style. I went to a seminar tasting moderated by Alfonso Cevola, aka The Italian Wine Guy. The subject was Calabrian wines. My personal verdict: No way Giosuè'.
Today should be interesting.
Catchy title, eh?
Like most catchy titles, it's quite misleading. I have no intention of being yet another to lament the stupid vulgarity of Italy's ag minister, Luca Zaia, who has launched some initiative, with McDonalds, intended to show that Italy gets the modern world of food, or something. All to give young people the world over a genuine taste of Italy.
See, they do amazing things like adding Italian cheeses and such to Mickey D's burgers:
You can read the whole article about this laughable program here (in English).
Another depressing thing from Italy that I saw on Twitter the other day: a link to an article that asked if we needed the food word and concept to parallel that of terroir for wine: Foodoir. Yes, my friends, things have gone too far.
Good, that's out of the way.
I would now like to vent about the follies of foodism -- which I define as an excessive preoccupation with food along with the moral judgments that informs it.
In the last 20 years we have seen a baffling number of "health scares" and fashions in food, most of which have served to 1) cast an admonitory finger at those who consumed "bad" foods and 2) elevate the self-perceived moral superiority of the castigators. And, I suspect, not a few of these high-dudgeon scare campaigns have been concocted by the food industry to pave the way for "new and healthier" products.
Off the top of my head:
- Coffee, tea and all beverages containing caffeine
- Oat bran, a miracle food
- Bread is always bad. Empty calories. Makes you fat. Right to the hips! Substitute with oat bran muffins, rolls, breads, cookies
- Cholesterol, especially in its bloody form as "red meat"
- High-fat foods, not only salty snacks but, of course, anything made from the flesh of innocent beasts of the field and air (industrially farmed chicken, oddly enough, wasn't a moral problem until comparatively few years ago -- but chickens aren't mammals). Skip the steaks -- and please don't eat veal, ever -- and if you must kill a creature, make it a fish
- Tuna. Not because we're killing tuna, which is deemed to be good for us, but because we coincidently kill mammals
- Fat-free snacks. Yes, they reduce fat intake. But they contain more sugar than fatty snacks, setting up the poor and ignorant to suffer more obesity (if they could be persuaded to buy such untasty goodies)
- Fish. Forget the tuna, there's too much mercury and so forth in it. Plus we're depleting the oceans! Factory fishing boats of all things; did they never read "Captains Courageous" or at least see the film with that marvelous Spencer Tracy? What do you expect, they're Japanese and Koreans
- Canola oil is acceptable for cooking and dressing salads. Nothing else is, including olive oil (monosaturates or some other word that sounds wicked). Must say "polyunsaturated" somewhere on the bottle
-Coffee can actually be rather beneficial for mental function. Astonishingly, researchers have found that it keeps people more alert and able to process complex tasks
- Tea is terrific if it's some milky mess called "chai" (that would mean "tea" in India) and costs a lot more than a couple of cents per ordinary teabags, which are acceptable for down-home items like ice tea
- OK, you can eat salmon -- it's high in this oil and that -- but not the farmed kind, which pollutes coastlines in pristine parts of the world. Anyway, it's cheaper and doesn't taste as good
- Actually, red meat is acceptable because there is now doubt that a high-carb diet is as good for the human body as one rich in meat protein. Even Kate Moss is an omnivore! Until she throws it up
- Alcohol is fine as long as it's red wine and drunk in medicinal moderation. Any more than 2 glasses a day for a man or 1 for a woman -- well, get yourself to an AA meeting, lush
- Canned and frozen foods are wrong. Everyone should go to a farmer's market and buy fruits and vegetables and $6 loaves of artisanal bread. Or at least to Whole Foods despite the company's dreadful right-wing president
- Sorry, turns out olive oil is very very good for you indeed. Something about monosaturates, which help reduce cholesterol. Part of the Mediterranean diet, which permits you to sneak in some of that old enemy, pasta
- Bread is acceptable if it's made of unmilled flour or something, comes in a strange shape and has lots of kernels or husks or something in it. It seems our neolithic farmer ancestors knew something about the benefits of roughage and avoiding polyps. Besides, it's traditional and organic and so on
- It used to be exciting to eat Chilean sea bass, tilapia, mahi mahi and fruits from all over the southern hemisphere. "Globalization" seemed cool, like the @ in your new electronic mail address on the infobahn. These things are now out of fashion for a very good reason: we got sick of them, AND the carbon footprint to get them to our greedy exploitative maws was discovered to be unacceptably high
- Foams were all the rage until we realized they were very expensive AND didn't fill us up. There's a reason the founder of the craze has closed his resto down for a couple of years. Steakhouses are acceptable again if you are one of the few to have an expense account
- Sweets are unacceptable. Junk food. A prime cause of the obesity epidemic afflicting our children and the unmotivated, slovenly, Palin-loving proletariat. Unless they (the desserts, or as we in the know prefer to call them, "dolci") are made from very fine ingredients and come from a chef with a pedigree. Then they are acceptable
- Cocktails are in. Especially if made from fresh infusions of weird herbs and fruits prepared by a mixologist with obscure, costly brands of artisanal booze
- Wine is more popular than ever especially if it's from some obscure place and made from a grape no one ever heard of. Extra cool points awarded if fermented in a buried clay pot or a disused chicken coop. Floating matter and vile smells enhance its charm and discussability
- One has an obligation to "eat local." It's a moral, planet-saving one that takes, alas, no account of the sufferings of the Chilean farmer who hoed his way out of poverty after living under a brutal dictatorship for about 20 years. In a place like Scotland, this would lead to a year-round diet of haggis and barley soup. In New York City, a diet of park weeds and rats
Clearly, this doctrine requires more analysis and discussion over pad thai and Alsatian gewurztraminer.
I refer to today's article on Bigger Than Your Head by Fredric Koeppel.
With his customary thoughtfulness, FK lays out what his criteria are, methodically listing them in non-points order. (He eschews points.)
The two DS wines he included in his top 50 list are:
Borgo di Gete -- a very old-vine, 100% Tintore rarity from the small Amalfi area winery of Luigi Reale.
Serra del Prete -- another very-old vine wine -- this time made of Algianico del Vulture -- by the extremely young and talented Elisabetta Musto Carmelitano.
(By the way, these vignaioli share the same enologo, the Irpinia (Campagna) native, Fortunato Sebastiano.)
As you may have read here or on mondosapore many times, I regard Fredric as the best wine reviewer around. Unmoved by ideology and fads, he writes clearly and precisely about each wine. A fine palate tempered by decades of tasting and reviewing, Fredric gives you a vivid preview of the wine's sensory effects, from perfume to initial taste, to its finish. And he never fails to relate sensory impressions and perceptions of quality to price -- something too many well-known reviewers fail to do. While his prose is crystalline, and his mastery of both matter and medium evident, he never indulges himself at the expense of the wine. Really, it is all about the wine with him.
Grazie per il riconoscimento, Federico.