Alto Piemonte’s Cantine Garrone In-Store This Monday

Join us this Monday, March 12th, from 5 to 7pm, as we welcome some of our favorite Alto Piemonte winemakers to the shop. Just like their neighbors to the south, this winery focuses on the Nebbiolo grape and all that it can do. They produce one wine that is 100% Prunent Nebbiolo, a regional clone of Nebbiolo, from vines between 60 and 80 years old. They also produce two blends, still primarily Nebbiolo but with other indigenous grapes -- Barbera and Croatina -- that add lightness and juiciness. The Ca d' Mate  is 20% Barbera, while the Munaloss is a blend of Barbera, Croatina and that beautiful Nebbiolo. These are serious wines, yet they are replete with joy and pretty red fruit. The winemakers ... Read More »

What about that cheap wine in Europe?

In New York we have a lot of European visitors. Some of them complain about our prices. Not: "Oh, I can get this same wine back home for 30% less," which would sometimes be true (though often not). Rather, it’s more of a blanket statement like: "At home wines cost just 5 or 6 euros.” I happen to be in Europe for a few weeks so I decided to investigate. You may remember Turin, a very sophisticated city in Northern Italy, from the Winter Olympics a few years back. But it’s more important to us a center for the wine trade just a few miles from the Langhe, one of the world's greatest wine regions and home, not only of (expensive, age-worthy) Barolo and Barbaresco, but also of more humble ... Read More »

Terre Nere Rosato 2016

"Best Rosato from Terre Nere in years" — Ian d'Agata, Vinous Media The volcanic mountain of Etna—still active, still changing the terroir every day—has proven to be a remarkable place to make wine. Etna now lays claim to true Italian wine-region greatness, alongside Piedmont and Tuscany. It's just that nobody figured it out until quite recently (and that includes most of the locals!) The reds are becoming famous, as are, to a lesser extent, the whites. It turns out they can also make some magnificent rosato. Some of Etna's wines seem to nod towards Barolo, emphasizing structure, crushed herbs, and savory flavors. Others nod towards Burgundy, with greater focus on fruit purity, ... Read More »

Ferrando’s Erbaluce

If you've traveled around Italy, you know things change fast. The ragù in one town is nothing like the ragù two towns over. The cheese in one valley is completely unknown on the other side of the hills. Perhaps only Japan can rival Italy in its incredible tapestry of hyper-local specialties. It's what makes Italy such a fascinating place for eating, drinking, and exploring. Today's exploring brings us north of the Langhe, past Turin and into the mountains. We're still in Piedmont, but only just. If we went any farther we'd be in the truly Alpine country of the Vallée d'Aoste. This is Caluso and Carema, where our friend Luigi Ferrando makes some of the most beautiful Nebbiolos of Alto Piemonte—or ... Read More »

La Torre 2012

"If you love elegant, age-worthy Sangiovese, then stock your wine cellar with 2012 Brunello di Montalcino." - Kerin O'Keefe We've had a few Brunellos from the classic 2012 vintage and by now you've hopefully had a chance to try a bottle. If so, you see why we (and Kerin O'Keefe and other Brunello experts) are so excited about the vintage. It's not a massive vintage like glories past—2010 or 2001. It's not a ripe vintage like 2007 or 1997. Instead, it is utterly classic in just the way that Sangiovese wants to be, interweaving Brunello's generous fruit with nervosity, ethereality, and savory notes. It's surprisingly approachable (the acidity really helps), but also with the structure ... Read More »

Top Five Steak Wines

Grilling season is now upon us, and a good grilled steak is just about the only excuse you need in warmer weather to open up a big red wine. But some red wines work with steak better than others.  Here is a top 5 list, in no particular order: 1.  Brunello di Montalcino.  Anyone who has had Steak Florentine in Tuscany knows that Sangiovese is the perfect partner for steak, and Brunello is the grandest and noblest Sangiovese. Keep it on the young side, to ensure good fruit vigor and lively tannins. Consider giving your steak full Tuscan treatment: cook it rare but with a crusty exterior (which should be coated in salt, pepper and if you like some minced rosemary or sage), and then dress ... Read More »

Musso

Piedmont is still, slowly, climbing its way into the ranks of great wine regions. It's a fun moment. There are still plenty of discoveries to be made. This is especially true in Barbaresco, a DOC with a remarkable number of small producers who make fabulous wines that only intermittently make their way over to the U.S. Why bother with exporting when you can sell everything you make to local restaurants? An example is Musso. Small and off-the-radar, Musso has only six hectares of vineyards in the DOC of Barbaresco. What they do have are well situated, as they lie entirely within the Crus of Rio Sordo and Pora. They have been bottling their own Barbarescos since the 1930s. One of our ... Read More »

Brezza’s Barolo

“Brezza remains one of Piedmont’s great undiscovered gems. The estate’s Barolos, made in a rigorously traditional style, show tons of vintage and vineyard character in the classic, mid-weight style that is the signature of traditionally- made Barolos.” –Antonio Galloni If Brezza remains undiscovered, it's in part because until the middle part of the last decade the wines did not live up to their potential. But then the current owner, Enzo, took over and guess where he learned to make wine? Across the street with his cousin Bartolo Mascarello!  Located in the center of the village of Barolo, since their founding in 1885 Brezza has owned and operated their winery and vineyards ... Read More »

Barbaresco & Barolo: What’s the Difference?

They are both made 100% from Nebbiolo grown in the Langhe. But Barolo and Barbaresco are clearly not the same wine. What's the difference? The easy answer is the legal one: Barolo and Barbaresco are two different DOCs. They are located in slightly different parts of the Langhe (see the map below). There are slightly different rules that they have to follow -- for example Barolos have to be aged for 38 months, of which at least 18 months are in barrel, while Barbaresco only requires 26 months, of which 9 must be in barrel. Barolos have to hit 13% alcohol and Barbarescos only 12.5%   I guess that sort of thing is great to know for your WSET exam, but it doesn't get you into the heart and soul ... Read More »

The Reasonable Cellar: Fontodi Chianti Classico

Fontodi's Chianti Classico is a remarkably fine and elegant expression of Sangiovese for a very reasonable price that will drink well for years to come. It's the kind of wine you should have in any reasonable cellar, and when we visited Fontodi in the fall we tasted examples that went back decades and were still delicious and full of life. 2013 is already considered to be a spectacular and classic vintage by both Tuscan wine-makers and the critics; and we agree that this is a wine and vintage you don't want to miss! Fontodi is not a "new" name to fans of great Tuscan wine. In fact they have been known and celebrated for decades. But there was some concern among Chianti purists that the wines ... Read More »