Posts Filed Under Italian Wine

A Tale of Three Oh-Fives

Vinted on April 22, 2010 binned in California wine, Italian Wine, wine review

As in, three 2005s, or 3 different wines all from the 2005 vintage.

Other than their harvest year, they’ve got little in common apart from the fact that I tasted all three as samples over the last week or so, and in a rare case of vinous serendipity found all three to be excellent (a real treat for me) and probably worthy of your time (and your cash).  So much so that I decided to write a “what-I-drank-last-week” style article, which I don’t often do (not to be taken as a “statement” on the validity of such pieces, by the way).

An alternative title for today’s post might be “Dude-i-locks And the Three Reds,” seeing as how one of these wines is a bit overpriced, the other a bit underpriced, and the price of the third is juuuuust riiiiight.

Let’s start with the slightly overpriced wine, Trefethen’s 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley), which you can sample as part of their ingenious “mini bottle” offering before you decide to plunk down $100 on a full 750 ml bottle.  This wine is most decidedly not a wine for now.  It’s a wine for 5-7 years from now.  Tasting it right out of the bottle now, you might exude a heavy sigh and a look that says “Oh shit, what did I just spend a hundred clams on?!???” – a veritable mess of dense dark fruits, tight tannic grip, vanillin oak and booze all vying for your attention. BUT… a day in the decanter will show what this wine is capable of becoming in a few years, which is downright magical.  It’s like a miracle will happen in that decanter, which on day two will greet you with an enormous wine of power and depth, waves of black fruits, red jams, chocolate, and tiny amounts of nuts and black olives to really seal the deal into awesomeness.  If you don’t think Napa Cabs are capable of aging, then you and I ought to split a bottle of this, come back to it in 2015, and see who won the bet.

And now, our second wine, which is probably slightly underpriced (I know, right?)…

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Wine and Music: The Latin Party With Italian Wine Edition (Giveaway!)

Vinted on April 15, 2010 binned in giveaways, Italian Wine, wine review

Alright folks – time for another giveaway, this week featuring a brand new release from leading World Music label Putumayo.  The new CD, titled Latin Party, is a funky, dance-infused, eclectic mix of tunes from Latin American artists, and features bands hailing from Cuba, the U.S., Peru, Columbia, Mexico, and Jamaica.

From the album press release:

“It includes a mix of boogaloo, funk, cumbia, son, salsa, ska and dancehall and spotlights cutting-edge bands and rising stars that pay homage to Latin music’s past while creatively moving it into the 21st century… features songs from New York-based hip-hop collective Brooklyn Funk essentials, Texas-raised Mexican-American musician and producer A.B. Quintanilla III (Selena’s brother), Peruvian salsera Cecilia Noël, multicultural French/Cuban collective Mas Bajo, Afro-Cuban group Luis Mangual y su Conjunto Mangual featuring José Mangual Jr. and from Colombia, three respected groups: salsa super group Fruko Y Orquesta, popular salsa band Orquesta Lo Nuestro and ska/reggae band Coffee Makers. The CD liner notes also feature a drink recipe by Food Network chef Daisy Martinez and an appetizer recipe by leading Mexican chef Patricia Quintana, owner of renowned Mexican restaurant Izote.”

And YOU can win a copy of Latin Party just by commenting on this here post!

Here’s the dilly-yo:

Leave a comment and tell us what wine would you pair with this album of funky Latin dance grooves?  At the end of next week, a winner will be randomly selected from the commenters using a super-secret, totally objective process that involves my dog (details are best left unexplained).  That winner could, of course, be YOU!

I’ll kick things off with my choice of wine pairing…

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“If I was anywhere but rural Italy, I’d feel like a total scumbag” (Guest Post by Matthew Gavin Frank)

Vinted on April 13, 2010 binned in guest posts, Italian Wine, wine books

Following is a guest post from Chicago-born poet and food-and-travel writer Matthew Gavin Frank, who is, by the account of any reasonably sane person, a very interesting guy.

Frank has, at turns, held the following jobs:

  • proprietor of an Alaskan breakfast joint
  • menu designer for Julia Roberts’s private parties in Taos
  • sommelier for Chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand in Chicago
  • instructor of creative writing to undergraduates in Phoenixa
  • poetry teacher to soldiers and their families near Fort Drum in upstate New York.

I told you he was an interesting character.

If that doesn’t totally sell you, this probably will:

Frank has just released the book Barolo (The University of Nebraska Press, 2010), which, as he described it to me, is “about my illegal work in the Piemontese Italian food and wine industry,” during which he spent six months “living out of a tent in the garden of the local Pittatore farmhouse.”

Frank’s guest post is excerpted (with permission) from Barolo (around $17 at, and describes his first meeting with Piemontese vintner Luciano Sandrone, who sounds like the Italian version of Wolverine.  I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, though I suppose that we’re going to have to get the book to find out how what happens next in this intriguing tale…

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Sting Like a “B” (Bastianich’s Ass-Kicking Friuli Goodness)

Vinted on April 7, 2010 binned in Italian Wine, wine review

Usually I prefer to know when wine samples are coming to my door.  For the most part this has to do with the vagaries of logistics (will someone be around to sign for the package?), but just as importantly I prefer to know that the wine has some potential value for readers (you folks like that hard-to-find, more interesting juice).

Also, I need to find room in my basement, which is overrun with Styrofoam packing material that needs to be driven down to DE for recycling.  Either that, or I’m gonna build a huge Styrofoam wall, and then bust out of it and scare the living shit out of my dog…

Anyway, it’s a really, really nice surprise when an unsolicited sample actually rocks the Kasbah and does have potential value for the 1WD crowd; when that random bottle that just shows up and causes my dog to absolutely freak out beyond all reason at the approach of the UPS truck (if you ever want to know what it’s like to dislocate your shoulder, just walk my dog around my neighborhood during UPS delivery time) is all worth it.

Which is why I recently did a double-head fake after tasting the 2006 Bastianich Tocai Plus – a rare moment when the odd random sample provided true blogging serendipity. I dare say it was even worth all of the mad barking, as this wine offers a nice helping of Friulian ass-kickery…

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