Archive for July, 2008

Sparkling whites

July 25, 2008

Introducing Prosecco from Col de’ Salici, and the return of Lini’s Labrusca Bianco

This week we are featuring two sparkling whites, Prosecco Brut from Col de’ Salici and Lini’s Labrusca Bianco. We are excited to add Prosecco to our portfolio, having found an excellent Prosecco producer, Col de’ Salici. We are also happy to announce the return of Lini’s Lambrusco Labrusca Bianco, which had been sold out due to its popularity (now on both coasts).Both wines are the perfect bottles to be enjoyed by the glass on a warm summer’s evening. The wines will be available for tasting by appointment next week. If you are interested in tasting the featured wines and wish to arrange a meeting, please email or call 718 902-1140.

Our full portfolio is available at

Col de’ Salici
The Veneto town of Valdobbiadene, and its neighbor Conegliano, are home to Prosecco, one of Italy’s most popular grape varieties, and a local source of pride in the area. Valdobbiadene is listed as one of Italy’s “Città del Vino” (“Wine Cities”) and for over forty years has hosted a sparkling wine fair, today known as Forum Spumanti d’Italia. For over a century meanwhile, Conegliano has housed the renowned Scuola di Viticultura e Enologia (School of Viticulture and Enology) which was founded in 1876 and today continues to ensure quality of production is maintained in the region.

Prosecco Brut di Valdobbiadene
Lately Col de’ Salici has taken important decisions regarding its Prosecco. Recognizing that their location in the hilly subzone of Valdobbiadene would produce a superior crop, the company has chosen to focus solely on producing a line of high-quality sparkling proseccos. The firm believes that the Spumante Prosecco is the finest expression of the DOC variety, and having this wine it’s hard to disagree. Prosecco Brut di Valdobbiadene is a dry and structured spumante, typically aromatic and fruity, possessing an unmistakable elegance.

Lini 910
Lini has been producing wines from Emilia Romagna’s Lambrusco grape for nearly 90 years, where the variety pairs beautifully with the region’s food. Since our introduction of Lini’s line of Lambruscos to the U.S. market last summer, the wines have enjoyed tremendous success in the New York area, garnering much attention in the local press. Most recently, Alicia Lini (fourth-generation Lambrusco producer and international spokesperson for the brand) was featured in the June/July issue of Men’s Vogue, in an article written by Lawrence Osborne assessing the resurrection of this variety’s somewhat tarnished image in this country.

Labrusca Bianco
White Lambrusco? Yes, indeed: Fabio Lini, the enologist at Lini, makes this wonderfully light, bright Lambrusco by not allowing any contact with the skins of the grapes during fermentation. Labrusca Bianco is inspired by the wines that local farmers made in Fabio’s youth. Made from Salamino and Ancellotta grapes, this Lambrusco is fermented and allowed to rest for at least three months in large stainless steel vats. Fabio does not like to hurry fermentation. “Otherwise,” he says, “I wouldn’t be able to achieve the wonderful mouthfeel of this wine.”

These wines will be available for tasting by appointment next week. If you are interested in tasting the featured wines and wish to arrange a meeting, please email or call 718-902-1140. Our full portfolio is available at

Classic Barbera

July 18, 2008

This week we are thrilled to introduce the wines from the Castello di Montegrosso, where some of Piemonte’s finest Barbera is produced. Ruleja is classic expression of the much-loved Barbera variety, and we are excited to have obtained the 2001 and 2003 vintages.

The wine will be available for tasting by appointment next week. If you are interested in tasting the featured wines and wish to arrange a meeting, please email or call 718 902-1140.

Our full portfolio is available at, and information about this tasting and future events is available on the Domenico Valentino blog.

Castello di Montegrosso

The Montegrosso winery is steeped in history: documents show that its present owners, the Motta family, have been producing wine since 1794. The company itself takes its name from the feudal Castel di Montegrosso d’Asti (pictured above), built in 1134 by order of the Marquis Bonifacio del Vasto, which dominates the hilly area around Asti in Piemonte. This historical awareness is evident in the Mottas’ approach to wine-making. Ruleja is left to age within the castle’s old cellars, bringing forth the Barbera d’Asti’s most marked yet delicate characteristics.

Ruleja 2001 and 2003

The Ruleja vineyard is located outside the town of Montaldo Scarampi, 9 kilometres south-east of Asti. The vineyard’s two hectares were planted with Barbera over 60 years ago. The calcareous and clayey nature of the soil and optimum exposure create ideal conditions for cultivating Barbera.

Following fermentation, during the winter, Ruleja is stabilized naturally in vats outside the cellar. It is then transferred into French barriques, where it matures for twelve months. The wine is then racked into in 25-hectoliter Slavonian-oak barrels in preparation for bottling.

Ruleja is a fine expression of Barbera d’Asti, full-bodied with medium-to-high acidity, moderate tannin and earthy hints of sour black cherries and subtle wood on the nose. Enjoy it with veal stew, truffled canapés, chicken-filled crespelle, onion and salame tart or the local toma cheese.

Erbaluce Innovator: Gianluigi Orsolani

July 11, 2008

Often compared to the Greco grape variety found in Central and Southern Italy, Erbaluce is a white grape grown around the small town of Caluso, located a few miles north-west of Torino, where it is synonymous with the Orsolani family name. In the last forty years the Orsolani company has developed three benchmark wines made of Erbaluce, confirming their expertise and burnishing their reputation as masters of the variety.

All three of these wines will be available for tasting by appointment next week, July 14-18. If you are interested in tasting the featured wines and wish to arrange a meeting, please email or call 718-902-1140.

Caluso Sulé 2001
The ancient Erbaluce grape gets its colorful name (literally “Grassy Light”) from the remarkable green-to-amber hue it obtains as it ripens in the gentle autumnal sunlight in the Alpine foothills of northern Piedmont. The small town of Caluso was already renowned for its Erbaluce long before the arrival of the Orsolani company — it was appreciated by the Romans for its ability to produce a luscious dried-grape passito. The gentle use of barrique gives the wine a rich auburn color and a nutty overtone.

Cuvée Tradizione Caluso Spumante 2004
In 1967, Francesco Orsolani (Gianluigi’s father) created the zone’s first metodo classico Erbaluce. The Caluso Spumante Cuvée Tradizione is made from 100% Erbaluce grapes using the metodo classico, whereby the wine is undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle to create its fine pinpoint bubbles, yeasty aromas and white stone-fruit flavors. Orsolani’s groundbreaking sparkling wine lent credibility to an otherwise dismissed variety and showed that the estate was willing to take risks in support of the region’s rich winemaking heritage.

La Rustìa 2007
Orsolani has been making La Rustìa since 1985. While dry Erbaluce had been common in the area for years, the concept of selecting the ripest grapes from the best sites in Caluso’s trellised vineyards had not yet taken hold. The Orsolanis understood that selecting such fruit would result in a wine that was richer on the palate and milder in its acidity, resulting in a remarkably fresh, balanced white. Orsolani calls this Erbaluce di Caluso “La Rustìa“, a dialectal reference to the “roasted” slopes where the grapes are grown with an ideal exposure.

Our full portfolio is available at