Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cepa 21 (A taste of Spain in the U.S.)

Dear Wine Lovers,
Are you suddenly craving Spanish wines but tired of making the same redundant choices? Many wine enthusiasts settle into the routine of making the same predictable wine picks and look for ways to excite their tasting experience. If this is you, your’re in luck!  In this blog I will give you a quick introduction to Cepa 21 wines so you can incorporate it to your wine list and open yourself up to a new experience.
Monday night I was invited to taste the Cepa 21 wines that I will list below. The wine dinner was in Coya, a wonderful restaurant of South American cuisine, located in Miami. But, before we get into discussing the wines I want to give you a brief background on the brand.

Cepa 21 was founded by the third generation of the Moro family (who also owns Emilio Moro). It is located in Castrillo de Duero, a village within Ribera del Duero, that has the highest altitude in Spain. Cepa 21 has the coldest terroir in Ribera del Duero and represents the modern mentality of the 21st century in winemaking, while respecting tradition.
“This new wine, Cepa 21, is aimed at consumers who have the expertise and open-mindedness to discover new tasting characteristics and who also appreciate the subtlety and elegance of a wine that is soft and sweet on the palate with bold aromatics.
Cepa 21 is the pure expression of the wine-making revolution that has been taking place in our country over the last years.” –
Click on the video above to hear Jose Moro ( winemaker of Cepa 21 and Emilio Moro) talk about the brand’s balance of tradition, innovation, and social responsibility in the wine making process.


100% Tinto Fino.

The dinner started with Hito Rosado 2016. It has a beautiful color that grabbed my attention. It expresses aromas of red fruit (strawberry, raspberry, cherry) and a touch of flowers. Very fresh but at the same time it shows personality for being a rosé which was a nice surprise. Delicious after taste that will be popular for the hot weather. So don’t forget to include it in your Spring/Summer wine list!

P.S. Paired perfectly with the Peruvian ceviche in the dinner.

HITO 2015 

100% Tinto Fino. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels.

Nice cherry color with beautiful nose that express red and black fruit; such as cherries, strawberry, blackcurrant, and spices. Complex wine, that shows blackcurrant, licorice, meaty, and leather. Good tannin and acidity that gives you a long finish.

CEPA 21 2015

100% Tinto Fino. 12 months in French oak barrels.

This aromatic red expresses excellent quality of fruit, such as cherry, strawberry, candied black fruit, berries, licorice, and plum. Complex on the palate with great tannin and acidity. Delicious long finish.  You can enjoy it now but some of you may want to wait a few years to experience its full expression.

For those of you foodies, if you are in the mood for Peruvian food you can’t go wrong pairing it with a great Anticucho or Lomo Saltado. Salud! Enjoy!

P.S. Click on the video to hear about Jose Moro’s love for this wine.


This was the last wine in the dinner. The variety is a 100% Tinto Fino, and for those of you who are not familiar with it, Tinto Fino is a clone of Tempranillo located in Ribera del Duero. Also, Tinto Fino tends to be more thick-skinned than Tempranillo, making the wines darker in color and more powerful. On a side note, Malabrigo 2011 comes from a single vineyard and remained 18 months in French oak barrels.

This wine really grabbed my attention due to its aromas and palate. It shows a deep expression of black fruit, plum, licorice, cassis, spice notes, leather, and a touch of balsamic. On the palate, powerful wine that shows dark fruit with great tannin and acidity. It has a long finish that will give you a unique experience.

P.S. Small production

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Thursday, March 9, 2017


My 15 superstars from James Suckling's Great Wines of Italy event in Miami !
The event took place on Monday night (March 6th) at the Design District, which as some of you know showcases art, fashion, and wine. The event was quickly filled with wine enthusiasts and professionals passionate about Italian wine. It was a great event and later I took the opportunity to try some wonderful restaurants (for all of you foodies) that I will later upload on the website.
So finally I just got back from a wonderful trip in Miami and I have chosen some bottles for this blog that stood out to me from the wineries that attended, and most importantly, I think they'll be a great addition to your cellar.
So lets dive into these gems!
(In no particular order)



Marco Bacci owns three wineries in Tuscany: Renieri in Montalcino, Castello di Bossi in Chianti Classico, and Terre di Talamo in Maremma. In this event he presented two excellent Brunello wines: Renieri Brunello di Montalcino 2012 and Renieri Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2011. Both wines show beautiful balance and well structure. My favorite is the Riserva 2011.


Argiano is owned by a group of Brazilian investors. At the event I met the CEO, Bernardino Sani, who presented Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2012 and Argiano Toscana Solengo 2014. I love both wines, but then again, I have never been disappointed by Argiano wines. I especially want to highlight their Brunello di Montalcino 2012. Its aromas and flavors are impressive, as well as its structure. It has a long lovely finish. A must-try for wine lovers!


San Filippo is owned by Roberto Gianelli. Year by year he produces great Brunello wines. I remember interviewing him in one of my visits to Vinitaly fair and tasting his 2010 vintage which left me impressed due to its structure and quality. In this event he presented his Brunello di Montalcino Le Lucére 2012 and Brunello di Montalcino 2012. Both are beautiful wines. Le Lucére 2012 is a rich wine with excellent tannin, acidity, and full body. Terrific wine! (Better in 3-4 years).
Winos don't miss out on trying it!
P.S. - You can check out his Vinitaly interview in my website by clicking on the 'Gallery' icon.


Giacomo Neri is an excellent wine producer! His wines never disappoint. His passion for wine making shines through his unique Burnellos. His son Giovanni (shown in the picture above) works with his dad in the vineyard throughout the whole process. It was nice to see the young Millennials learning from their parents and doing such a great job, as Giovanni did, in the Miami event. The wines presented were Brunello di Montalcino 2012 and Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2012. Both are great but pay special attention to Tenuta Nuova 2012. It has a perfect structure, delicious palate with impressive aromas. The long finish was spectacular. Keep an eye on it, it will be a great addition to your cellar.


I met Paolo Bianchini, the wine producer, several years ago. He (and his sister Lucia) own a beautiful property in Montalcino that I recommend you to visit. He produces excellent wines and Grappa. Paolo's daughter, Ester, attended the event and it was nice to see her represent the Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona brand so well. She showcased her professionalism and passion for wine!
She presented the Rosso di Montalcino Rossofonte 2014 which I found it to be a great Rosso. Try it, you will love it!
 The one that grabbed my attention the most was the Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso 2010. Incredible wine! It shows delicious aromas and flavors such as berries, flowers, mint, spices, and leather. Big Brunello!
P.S. - Tasting it was a great experience  but I would recommend waiting several years.


Allegrini always makes fantastic wines! Marilisa Allegrini presented her Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012 and Veronese Palazzo della Torre 2013. Both spectacular but the Classico 2012 definitely stands out. It is ready to enjoy but also has potential to age. This Amarone expresses dark fruit such as blueberry, plum, spices, chocolate, tobacco and coffee. Beautiful Amarone that you can drink alone or pair it with your favorite dish because it is ready to drink.


Castiglion del Bosco has a beautiful property in Montalcino. I visited years ago and it definitely gives winos a memorable experience. The two bottles presented at the event were Brunello di Montalcino 2012 and Brunello di Montalcino Millecento Riserva 2010. The 2012 is a delicious wine with great fruit, balance and finish. I enjoyed it but I would recommend waiting a few (2-3) years. The Millecento Riserva 2010 was one of my favorites. I tried it in 2016 at the Vinitaly fair with Massimo Ferragamo, during my interview with him, and the structure of the wine impressed me. Elegant wine! The bouquet expresses beautiful aromas of red fruit, cherry, plum, cassis, licorice, flowers, cinnamon, mint, and tobacco. On the palate, perfect balance with spectacular finish.

P.S. - You can check out Massimo's Vinitaly interview in my website:


Luigi Fabro and Katia Nussbaum own San Polino. I met Katia years ago and I was always fascinated with her wines. San Polino focuses on having a biodynamic vineyard. Wine collectors, keep an eye on San Polino Brunello wines for your cellar  since they are unique and you won't be disappointed! The wines presented were Brunello di Montalcino 2011 and Brunello di Montalcino Helichrysum 2012. Both were delightful but Helichrysum 2012 stood out to me. The wine has excellent structure, fruit, acidity, and a lovely finish. I truly recommend you to try it but be patient because it is young.
Great things come to those who wait! Cheers


I met Luca years ago and Petrolo seems to be one of those brands that always gets it right. If you are a wine enthusiast that loves Italian wines you are probably already acquainted with the brand. The two wines that were presented in the event were Valdarno di Sopra Galatrona 2014 and Valdarno di Sopra Rosso Boggina 2014. Galatrona 2014 is a 100% Merlot and it's in the list of one of my favorites in Italy. Don't miss out on the opportunity to get one since it's a small production, only 7000 bottles.


Duccio Corsini is the owner of Principe Corsini and he has been making a variety of great Italian wines. Costa Toscana Birillo 2013 and Chianti Classico Don Tommaso Gran Selezione 2013 were presented at the event. I want to highlight his Don Tommaso Gran Selezione 2013. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. It shows delicious aromas of dark fruit, flowers, and spices. Powerful on the palate, that expresses mocha, black cherry, with well integrated tannin and long finish.
For the foodies reading this blog, this Chianti Classico Gran Selezione pairs marvelously with risotto!


It was a great surprise to see Sofia, another young millennial, representing the Valdicava brand alongside her dad Vincenzo Abbruzzese. For those of you that have read my previous blogs, you already know I'm a big fan of Valdicava wines. They never disappoint! Vincenzo and Sofia presented their Brunello di Montalcino 2007 and Brunello di Montalcino Madonna del Piano Riserva 2010. The 2007 is ready to drink and presently enjoyable. The Madonna del Piano Riserva 2010 is a perfect wine! It is evident why James Suckling gave it a 100 points. Valdicava only comes out with Madonna del Piano Riservas on excellent vintages, such as the 2010. Age it a few years in your cellar.
A true gem!


It was a pleasure to meet Primo Franco at the event and his passion for making prosecco was evident. I have been a fan of his proseccos for a long time and I consider Nino Franco one of the top prosecco brands. He presented Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Rustico and Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Primo Franco Dry 2015. Both are excellent! The Prosecco di Vadobbiadene Superiore Primo Franco Dry 2015 shows beautiful fruit aromas that grabbed my attention. On the palate, nice acidity with fruit expression and clean finish. Perfect for the Florida weather!


I met Bibi several years ago. You can find out how and why he started making wine as well as his philosophy on wine making in the Vinitaly interview I gave him in my website's gallery
( ). In it, Bibi will give you better insight on the history of his brand and what makes his Colore stand out. He presented his Toscana Testamatta 2013 an Toscana Colore 2011. Both magnificent wines but my superstar pick was the Toscana Colore 2011. He produced a small quantity of bottles so don't miss out on the opportunity to try it.


I met Rosalba Vitanza and Guido Andretta a few years back. They presented Andretta Brunello di Montalcino 2012 which is a new label and Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino Tradizione 2012. Both wines were great but I'm still more of a fan of Vitanza Tradizione style since I have been acquainted with it for several years.  It shows great personality with concentrated fruit and delicious finish.
P.S. - Try both of them and let me know what you think through my website.


Bellavista is located in a great territory of Lombardia. I have been drinking Bellavista sparkling wines for a while now. They are very enjoyable! Bellavista presented Franciacorta Alma Gran Cuvée Brut NV and Franciacorta Teatro Alla Scala Brut 2011. My superstar pick was the latter. Franciacorta Teatro Alla Scala Brut 2011 has a composition of 72% Chardonnay and 28% Pinot Nero. It shows delightful aromas of fruit such as white peach, apple, citrus note, and pear. On the palate, it evokes delicious ripe fruit mixed with the feeling of soft delicate bubbles combined with perfect acidity and long finish.

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Also you can write me any questions you have or comments through my website!

For more recommendations on upcoming wine events go to

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tulia Osteria (Naples, Florida, USA)

Tulia is an Italian restaurant located on the famous 5th Ave in the city of Naples. This Osteria offers an extensive Italian wine list compared to other restaurants in Naples and chef Vincenzo Betulia (who is also a co-owner of the Osteria) makes sure to enhance your palate through each dish. Tulia has been opened for almost 3 years and has grabbed the attention of the locals, tourists, as well as tons of media attention being named one of the top restaurants in Naples, Florida. Its rustic friendly ambiance enhances one’s dining experience and it is definitely an attention grabber for wine lovers who enjoy Italian cuisine.

Brujas de Cachiche (Lima, Peru)

This restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Lima, and its well known for its classic Peruvian food. If you want to try a great Pisco Sour with an amazing variety of ‘criollo’ dishes, then go to Miraflores to enjoy a lunch here. Brujas de Cachice specializes in their variety of Pisco.
Some of my favorite plates were: Piqueo Criollo (shown in the top right picture above) it includes some of the most famous Peruvian food. Also for dessert, two of my favorites are ‘Picarones’ and ‘Suspiro a la Limeña.’

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Raise a Glass to the U.S.

Happy 4th of July Weekend Wine Lovers!

We are a few days away from our 4th of July celebration and since we have a multicultural nation I thought it would be a great idea to do a blog on international wines paired with typical American 4th of July dishes.


I'm going to do a short list of red wines for you to choose from that range in budget in order to accommodate all different kinds of parties and gatherings. I'm sure by now you have a pretty good idea of the kind of party and decorations you are going to have on the 4th, but the one thing most parties have in common on this holiday is the food so I'm positive some of my choices will be similar to your picks.

Before I get into the good stuff (my wine picks, of course) I want to let you know a little bit about my plans. Although most of the time I like a sophisticated/elegant decor, on this particular holiday I have always preferred more of a relaxed BBQ experience for my guests. The 4th of July is a time where most of us gather with family and friends and my family takes full advantage of the summer, spending most of the time in the pool with wine, then we all gather for lunch and indulge on some delicious carbs.

Treat yourself to some nice 4th of July wine shopping! 


Delicious Amarone that expresses dried black fruit, blueberries, prune, chocolate, flower, and some spices. Full body with silk tannin and perfect acidity.  Definitely a must-try!


This Bordeaux has 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot.
It opens with black plum, blackberry, coffee bean, cassis, and floral aromas. Very rich, lots of fruit with great acidity and polished finish.


This Rioja came from a single vineyard 'La Plana' planted in 1950 and located on a plateau at the highest point of the Finca Ygay. The varieties are 86% Tempranillo and 14%% Mazuelo.
It shows amazing aromas of flowers, herbs, red fruit, licorice, and truffle. Elegant wine that is full-bodied and has satin texture.
It is still young but you can enjoy it now if you decanter it for about 3 hours.


This great Bordeaux has 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc.
Fruit concentrated, red berry, plum, violet, tobacco, and spices. It has polished tannin with delightful finish.
You can enjoy it now or age it.


Elegant wine with aromas of black currant, black cherries, chocolate, cassis, licorice, and leather. Full body with integrated tannin and lovely finish.


This delicious Argentine wine is a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.
It shows aromas of cassis, licorice, violet, tobacco, and black fruit.
This is an elegant wine with full body, smooth texture, nice acidity, and delicious finish.


Powerful and elegant wine with aromas of cherry, plum, mint, spices, coffee, cassis, and chocolate. Full-bodied with concentrated flavors and silky tannin.


Delicious aromas of dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, black olive, and coffee. Black fruit and spicy on the palate. Fine tannin with nice acidity and long finish.

PS: I have a gluten allergy so for those of you that have to eat gluten-free don't worry I have you covered. Below I have listed the brands you can buy to not get left out of the BBQ fun!

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I hope everyone has a fantastic 4th of July celebration with their family and remember to drink responsibly!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Beauty of Italian Wine #Vinitaly2016

Welcome back wine lovers! 

I'm back at my office and ready to show you my journey in Vinitaly 2016. For those of you who are not acquainted with Italian wine fairs, Vinitaly was held in Verona from Sunday April 10th through Wednesday April 13th. 
Vinitaly is very important as it is one of the biggest wine fairs in the world and it showcases the variety of Italian grapes from every region in Italy (and some international exhibitors as well). 

So, Why Should You Attend Vinitaly? 
The answer is very simple. For every kind of wine consumer, but especially for serious young consumers and collectors, Vinitaly doesn't just provide the opportunity of introducing you to new wineries, but most importantly it exposes you to a one on one experience with the wine producers themselves resulting in an authentic understanding of the wine and the message behind each brand.

Therefore, whether you are starting out your cellar or you are an avid collector, Italian wine acts as a unifier since it serves of great purpose for both consumers. Great Italian wine stands out from other wines around the world through its ability to be ready to drink as well as have great potential to age.
Young consumers can presently familiarize themselves with the variety of Italian grapes and long-time wine collectors can enjoy the aging process of the wine a bit more by being able to compare their notes while enjoying the cases of wine year after year. 

There are so many wine labels out on the market that I realize it can be very confusing and even overwhelming to go out of your confort zone as consumers to invest your time in wineries you don't know much about. This is why I have provided you with the following interviews of some of the top Italian wine producers and also some small unique wineries to give you a broader perspective on labels you should keep an eye on for your cellar; but most importantly, to give you some insight on the faces behind the brand and how their view on wine making and unique distinct personalities are reflected on their wines.  


With Maurizio Zanella 

Having an interview with Maurizio Zanella, founder of Ca' del Bosco as well as President of Franciacorta region, was very special because I have been consuming his sparkling wine for years. In my cellar I always have different labels from Ca' del Bosco including Annamaria Clementi, which in the interview Maurizio recommends for collectors. With this interview you will get to know Maurizio Zanella better and find out how a series of unplanned events led to the wonderful creation of Ca' del Bosco.

 Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Riserva 2005
Grapes: 55% Chardonnay - 25% Pinot Bianco - 20% Pinot Nero
Only the finest grapes are used and it is only made in the best years. The name of this special cuvée is in honor of Maurizio Zanella's mother. The maturation sur lies has an average of 7 years. The dosage and disgorgement is equivalent to 1.5 grams of sugar per liter.

Notes: Masterpiece! It has a great body with remarkable bubbles. The bouquet is complex and rich expressing white apricot, honey, golden apple, exotic spices, white flowers, and a touch of candied lemon. The mouthfeel is delicious, golden apple, honey, white spices, almond, biscuit / brioche, and nut. It has perfect fresh acidity with a long elegant finish.
This special cuvée, Annamaria Clementi riserva 2005, has more aging potential so my special recommendation is to add it to your private collection. 


With Giacomo Neri

Giacomo Neri is one of the top wine producers in Montalcino. His Brunello di Montalcino always has perfect structure, balance, and has huge potential to age.
Giacomo was greatly influenced by his father, Giovanni Neri, who began making wines 50 years ago. Giacomo mentions in the interview that his father taught him the importance of the land and the respect of the tradition, "I'm lucky because my father gave me the estate, the passion, and the culture for producing unique wine."
Since 1991 Giacomo has been in charge of the production of Casanova di Neri. 
In the interview you will get to know about his opinion on the 2011 vintage and also get to know him better as a wine producer.

Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 2010
Grape: 100% Sangiovese
Notes: Such a powerful Brunello! This unique Brunello expresses the land of Casanova di Neri. It has an incredible bouquet of plum, violet, sweet spices, licorice, red roses, herbs, and blackberries.
Full body with great acidity and spectacular finish. This is a very well-balanced Brunello. This wine will have a very long life in the cellar.
I recommend it to wine collectors or serious young consumers that want to have a jewel in their cellar.


Dott. Sandro Boscaini

My interview with Dott. Sandro Boscaini was fascinating. He explained in great detail his journey that ultimately led him to work in the family business. His knowledge and passion for wine deeply contributes to Masi Agricola's success in becoming one of the top wine brands in the world. Masi makes spectacular Amarone della Valpolicella that's great for aging. 
Mr. Sandro Boscaini is president of Masi Agricola, as well as president of FEDERVINI (which is the Italian association of industrial producers, exporters and importers of wines). He is an ambassador of Amarone della Valpolicella around the world. 

Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Mazzano 2007
Grapes: Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara
Notes: This wine is a perfect example of an Amarone della Valpoliclla classico. 
It has beautiful deep ruby color. It expresses aromas of black cherry, violet, plum, black spices, vanilla, and a hint of cocoa. It is full-bodied with an impressive mouthfeel. Such an elegant wine!
This is a wine that collectors should have due to its potential to age beautifully.


With Bibi Graetz

Talking with Bibi was so much fun! In the video you will get to see that he has a charismatic personality that shines throughout the interview. I consider him to be one of Italy's most ingenious winemakers due to the quality of his wine and the fact that he started making it without any formal training. Click play on the interview to get the full story on what pushed him to get to follow his passion and turn it into a business. Today his wines are rated among the top collectable Tuscan wines. Such an accomplishment! 

Colore Toscana 2008
Grapes: 1/3 Sangiovese  -  1/3 Canaiolo  -  1/3 Colorino
Notes: When I tasted the wine I was impressed for the structure and balance that it has. Delicious wine that express unique bouquet and palate. It has notes of cherry, floral, toast, spices, chocolate and hint of tobacco. Very elegant wine that has perfect acidity silky tanning and long finish.
It has a small production. This wine is perfect for wine collectors that will be totally satisfied with the evolution of the wine in the cellar since it has huge potential to age longer.


With Massimo Ferragamo

Massimo Ferragamo owns Castiglion del Bosco. He always dreamed of having his own vineyard, as he mentions in the interview, "My biggest inspiration came from the land where I was born, which is Tuscany. I always had a desire to one day not only drink wine from my region but also produce wine in Tuscany." I had the pleasure of visiting Castiglion del Bosco and I can truly say that he owns an spectacular property.
Massimo produces several labels and recently he changed the design of some of them. Press play on the interview to get the full story!
PS: If you are an avid wine collector, look into the Millecento Wine Club that Castiglion del Bosco offers. 

I tasted a variety of his wines but for this review I want to focus on the new release Brunello di Montalcino 2011, and the special Brunello di Montalcino Millecento 2010 Riserva

Brunello di Montalcino 2011 
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
Notes: This is a blend from different vineyards that have different attitudes. This Brunello expresses aromas of dried fruit, plum, earth, cassis, and some violet. On the palate , hint of coffee, spices, and dark fruit. Its full body with silky tannin make this elegant Brunello ready to enjoy now.

Brunello di Montalcino Millecento Riserva 2010
Grapes: 100 % Sangiovese
This wine has a new label. What makes this wine so special is that it is only produced in exceptional years. The maturation is 36 months in French Oak barriques. 35% new - 65% once or twice used. Bottle aging: 36 months
Notes: Complex and elegant wine. The bouquet expresses beautiful aromas of red fruit, cherry, plum, blackberry, cassis, licorice, crunched flowers, vanilla, cinnamon, a hint of mint and leather. On the palate, structured and balanced expressing delicious dark fruit, licorice, and special spices. It has a full body with chewy tannin and perfect acidity giving a very long elegant finish.
I recommend enjoying it now, but it definitely has potential to age longer.
Fanastic job by Castiglion del Bosco! Collectors should keep a close eye on this wine!


With Camilla Lunelli

My interview with Camilla Lunelli was delightful. Her personality is very charismatic and she is a smart business woman. Camilla is the PR and Communication Director of Ferrari Trento. In the interview she explains why Ferrari is such a unique sparkling wine and should not just be asked for special occasions but thought of as a lifestyle. The philosophy of the Lunelli family is to respect tradition, which is what the terroir reflects when you taste Farrari Trento. Its characteristics is what separates it from its competition and slowly making it an international household name. If you have not heard of Ferrari Trento keep an eye on the brand because you are going to want to fill your cellar with it after you take your first sip.
Click play on the interview so you get a better insight look on what has made Ferrari win so many awards. Also, Camilla speaks about the new release Ferrari Riserva Lunelli 2007, and the importance of Ferrari Trento's location.

Ferrari Riserva Lunelli 2007
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay
Notes: I'm impressed with the aromas and the mouthfeel of this elegant sparkling wine. This vintage has extraordinary structure. Great balance, full body with perfect acidity and a very long finish. I personally think this unique sparkling wine greatly pairs with food, and Camilla actually touches on this  point during the interview.
Congratulations to the Lunelli family on this new release.
I truly recommend you to try it!


With Valentina Abbona

 I had the pleasure of meeting the Abbona family and all of them have such wonderful personalities. They truly try to connect with the consumers on  personal level. 
The interview will give you a better understanding of Marchesi di Barolo, what makes the brand so special, and what has lead to their international success. Also, Valentina talks about their new label of white wine (Bric Amel Langhe 2015).
We did an interesting tasting whereby I was able to appreciate the evolution of their Barolos, comparing a Barolo from 1990 with the new release 2011.

Barolo Sarmassa 2011
Grapes: 100% Nebbiolo that came from a single vineyard.
Beautiful aromas of licorice, black fruit, plum, spices, and a touch of leather. On the palate, full body with a structured tannin and perfect acidity. Very powerful Barolo.
Special for Barolo lovers because it has a lot of character that will age beautifully in the cellar. Needs time to fully develop.

Barolo 1990
Grapes: 100% Nebbiolo
Notes: I'm impressed with the bouquet and the mouthfeel. Beautiful garnet color, perfect balance, everything is integrated in the right proportion. Delicious aromas of dried red roses, licorice, black spices, plum, tobacco, clove, and chocolate. On the mouth, full-bodied with great acidity, and silky tannin that has a delicious unique long finish. This Barolo has more years to develop in the cellar.
Bravo to the Abbona family!
A must-have in your cellar

New label release: Bric Amel, Langhe 2015 
Fresh white wine that has a special character due to the combination of the three grapes Arneis, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
You should try it! It will be one of your go-to white wines this summer.


With Paolo Bianchini

In this interview you will get to know Paolo Bianchini, the famous cyclist that decided to follow his passion for making wines. Paolo's father, Guiseppe Bianchini, inherited the estate in 1985. Presently, the estate is owned by the brother and sister Paolo and Lucia Bianchini.
I had the opportunity to visit his vineyard and cellar both being equally impressive. Besides his passion for wine, Paolo is also known for his passion for cycling, which is the reason he created a new tasting room dedicated to wine and cycling lovers. Listen to the interview with Paolo where he talks about the comparison between the 2011 and 2010 vintage.

I tasted with him his new releases, Rosso di Montalcino 2014 and Brunello di Montalcino 2011. 
In my opinion his Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino have unique aromas and palate that express his land.
For all serious wine consumers try his several labels and start to build your private cellar with Paolo's wines.

Video summary translation: I ask Paolo two questions. One was to know what he thinks of the 2011 vintage compared to 2010, and the other one was to know how he would introduce his wines to serious wine consumers. Paolo goes on to say that he considers 2011 to be a good vintage. He explains that it is totally different than the 2010 vintage. Paolo describes the 2010 vintage detailing that it has very good concentration of fruit , great structure, and great potential to age. He highlights again that the 2011 is completely different vintage, but that he considers it great as well because you can enjoy it now and it has some potential to age. I agreed with him that one of the positive things about the 2011 vintage is that it is ready to drink. Furthermore, to answer the second question, Paolo goes on to say that Azienda Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona respects tradition and its land and that he is very involved throughout the whole wine making process. 

Rosso di Montalcino 2014
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
Notes: Delicious bouquet that express red currant, cherries, red roses, spices, and a hint of leather. On the palate, great fruit expression that has a good acidity with delicious finish. Amazing Rosso!

Brunello di Montalcino 2011
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
Notes: Beautiful Brunello that has aromas of dark and red fruit, touch of licorice and balsamic, red roses, violet, special spices, clove and a hint of mint. Great mouthfeel that expresses plum, sour cherry, blackberry, spices and a hint of mocha. Full-bodied with great acidity and smooth tannin. It has a delicious finish. It's ready to drink with potential to age more years. Cheers!


With Tilli Rizzo and Pia Donata 

Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi is located in Bergonato di Cortefrancia in the heart of Franciacorta and owned by 5 brothers and sisters. Pia Donata, president of Fratelli Berlucchi, is a very charismatic elegant woman. She introduced me to her daughter Tilli Rizzo who is also now in charge of the company. Such a great mother-daughter duo!

I did the interview with Tilli, who also has a grand and charming personality.
Tilli explains the philosophy of the brand and the beauty of Franciacorta. She states, "Franciacorta is the highest level of Italian sparkling wine. We are the Italian answer to Champagne."

Plus, she opens up about her other passion (besides wine) and I know everybody in Naples, Florida is going to love her answer since we are known for this activity!

Freccianera Nature 2011
Grapes: 85% Chardonnay  -  15% Pinot Nero
45 months on yeast. They produce 10,000 bottles and use traditional method. 
Notes: The bouquet expresses honey, pear, white peaches, spices, and white flowers. The vibrant palate expresses yellow apple, ginger, white flowers, and citrus candid. It's dry with a very nice long finish.

Casa delle Colonne Brut Riserva 2008
Grapes: 80% Chardonnay  -  20% Pinot Nero
This delicious sparkling wine has more than 80 months in contact with the yeast, as Tilli mentioned during our tasting, and it has a small production of only 3,500 bottles.
Notes: It captured my attention due to its perfume and elegance. Very complex aromas that express white flower, spices, almond, brioche, candied citrus, and golden apple. On the palate, elegant texture with notes of golden apple, nut, white spices, and bread. It is dry with an elegant long finish.


Clara Monaci

Four years ago I met Clara Monaci in an Italian wine event. Her wines quickly caught my attention, especially her Rosso di Montalcino, which is very structured with a nice balance.
What I find wonderful about Corte dei Venti wines is that each year Clara improves the structure of her Brunello di Montalcino.
In the interview you will get to know Clara Monaci, the wine producer that has a strong passion for making wines.
I did a full tasting of her new release, including Sant' Antimo 2014, Rosso di Montalcino 2014, Brunello di Montalcino 2011, and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2010.
In this review I will focus on the 2011 Vintage and her Riserva 2010.

Question #1: What do you think about the 2011 vintage?
Answer (Summary translation): Clara believes 2011 is a vintage that is ready to drink. She explains that it is not a vintage like the 2010, and that everybody talks about the 2010 but the 2011 has a very good personality.

Question #2: How would you introduce your brand to young wine consumers?
Answer (Summary translation): Clara starts by talking about the importance in having young wine consumers learn how to drink wine and taste it. She explains that to taste a wine means to take the time to appreciate the aromas and palate. 

Brunello di Montalcino 2011
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese 
Notes: Great quality with good harmony especially for the weather conditions of 2011.  
It has delicious fruit aromas that express violet, red roses, spices, clove, mushroom, mint, grilled herb and a touch of leather. On the palate, black fruit, black cherry, blackberry, licorice, touch of mint and tobacco. It has a very good acidity with a silky tannin and delicious finish. You can enjoy now and keep some bottles in your cellar.

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2010
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese 
Notes: Great Riserva from Corte dei Venti. It's spicy and full-bodied. Shows aromas of black cherry, violets, roses, spices, clove, licorice, earth, and mint. On the palate, it opens with truffle,dark fruit, leather, and spices. Good acidity with an elegant finish. You can drink it now or keep it in your cellar.


With Roberto Terzuoli

Azienda Agricola Sassodisole is owned by the Terzuoli family. I have been tasting Sassodisole wines for several years and I continue to be impressed by its aromas and palate. The Terzuoli family has done a great job producing their wines in a way that they carry specific characteristics that make them easily recognized by consumers. 
Click play on the interview to hear Roberto's opinion on the 2011 vintage.

In the interview, I ask Roberto two questions regarding his message to American wine consumers about SassodiSole and his opinion on the 2011 vintage. He made sure to let us know that the main message that SassodiSole transmits through his wines is the importance of tradition and the representation of the land. Roberto also mentions that 2011 is a good vintage that evokes fruit and great color. He also highlights that one of the good things about the vintage 2011 is that it is ready to drink. 

Brunello di Montalcino 2011
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
This nice Brunello expresses aromas of black fruit, red roses, clove, spices, and a hint of mint. On the palate it has delicious harmonious flavors, while the acidity is nicely integrated giving you a perfect finish. Ready to enjoy with potential to age.

Brunello di Montalcino 2007 Riserva
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese 
Well-balanced Brunello. This Riserva completely grabbed my attention for the beautiful aromas and structure of the wine. It expresses aromas of dried flower, prune, blackberries, dark spices, licorice, chocolate, and tobacco. Full body with silky tannin and nice acidity that has long delicious finish.
I truly recommend to try this Riserva if you are a serious young wine consumer and want to start to build your cellar.


With Vincenzo Abbruzzese

Every year that I visit Vinitaly and Opera Wine I have to pass by the stand of Vincenzo Abbruzzese since for me Vincenzo is one of the top master in making Brunellos. His Brunello di Montalcino and especially his Madonna del Piano have very long life. For both, young serious wine consumers and for collectors you should keep bottles of Valdicava in your cellar, since you will never be disappointed with the evolution of his wines.
This year  I tried the Rosso di Montalcino 2013, Brunello di Montalcino 2010, and the Brunello di Montalcino Madonna del Piano Riserva 2010.

Rosso di Montalcino 2013
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
I call this a "Baby Brunello." Excellent Rosso that expresses violets, clove, with a hint of balsamic and spices. On the palate, fresh acidity with great body. Lots of red fruit, clove, red roses, a touch of leather and mushroom. Delicious long finish. 

Brunello di Montalcino 2010
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
I tasted this Brunello last year in Vinitaly 2015 and this year it is even better, which shows the evolution that it had in the bottle in just a year. Amazing!
Delicious concentrated fruit such as dark cherry, plum, licorice, mint, truffle, clove and olives. Full body with an integrated acidity and tannin that has a long elegant finish.

Brunello di Montalcino Madonna del Piano Riserva 2010
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese 
It's an amazing wine. It's a classic Valdicava that expresses the special terroir of Madonna del Piano. It is powerful but elegant. It has aromas that express black cherry, licorice, truffle, mint, special and unique spices and touch of chocolate. Excellent balance that shows great acidity and tannin. The long, long finish is forever. It is still young so be patient to give it time to open up.
Collectors, keep an eye on this bottle!


With  katia Nussbaum 

San Polino is a small family farm in Montalcino. It produces certified organic-biodynamic Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino. Luigi Fabbro and Katia Nussbaum are the owners and it is always a pleasure to speak with them. I'm a big fan of their Brunellos, especially the Helichrysum that comes from a special part of the Vineyard.
I did a tasting of the Brunello di Montalcino 2011 and  Brunello di Montalcino 2011 Helichrysum

Brunello di Montalcino 2011
Grape: 100% Sangiovese
Notes: Nice Brunello that expresses aromas of red roses, violet, balsamic, lots of fruit and spices. On the palate, full-bodied with nice acidity and chewy tannin that gives you a nice long finish. It's ready to enjoy with the potential to age longer.

Brunello di Montalcino 2011 Helichrysum
Grape: 100% Sangiovese
Notes: Very structured Brunello that has black and red fruit, very concentrated floral notes, licorice, truffle, olive and sweet spices with a hint of chocolate. On the palate, full body with chewy tannin and integrated acidity, lots of fruit, mint, mocha and herbs. It has a nice long finish. It will need a little more time to open up but even now it is already delicious.


I could not end my blog without highlighting the 300 YEARS OF CHIANTI CLASSICO that I was invited by IEEM.

Click on the video to get an inside look into the celebration of this amazing region.

Well this is the end of my report. I hope as consumers, the interviews allowed you to get to know the faces behind the top Italian brands and facilitated your connection with the wine producers a bit more. If you have any questions on my picks for this year don't hesitate to email me your questions through my website 

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