Archive for November, 2008

Castello di Verduno

November 28, 2008

Barbaresco, Barolo… plus Pelaverga: classic wines from the heart of the Langhe

At Castello di Verduno, everyone pitches in at harvest time.

At Castello di Verduno, everyone pitches in at harvest time.

When Gabriella Burlotto and Franco Bianco married they brought together two families with rich histories of producing wines in the Langhe. The Burlotto clan has long produced Barolo and Pelaverga in Verduno, where they have blocks in some of that commune’s finest vineyards. The Bianco family comes from Barbaresco, where they have holdings in the historic Rabaja and Faset crus.

Today, Castello di Verduno winemaker Mario Andrion produces a line of excellent wines, including Barolo and Barbaresco, that nod toward the traditional. Yet, he is also one of Piemonte’s up-and-coming “natural” wine-makers, a regular favorite at the Vini Veri (Real Wines) alternative fair held each year outside Verona as a counterpoint to Vinitaly, the Italian wine industry’s annual tradeshow.

If you wish to make a tasting appointment please call 719-902-1140 or email Further information is available on our website.

castello-di-verduno-bottlesPelaverga Basadone 2006
The tiny Verduno or Verduno Pelaverga appellation is perhaps Italy’s smallest: the wine is made from the rare Pelaverga grape exclusively in the hamlet of Verduno. Spicy and aromatic, locals believe that this excellent food-pairing wine possesses aphrodisiacal properties, hence the name Basadone or baciadonne in Italian, the “lady kisser.”

Barbaresco 2004
$420 / case of 12

Castello di Verduno’s classic Barbaresco is blended from two of Barbaresco’s most famous and coveted vineyards, Rabaja and Faset, both known for their longevity and their distinct earthiness. Low-yields and minimalist intervention in the cellar create a traditional-style Barbaresco with impressive aging potential and classic tar and rose petal flavors.

Barbaresco Faset 2001
The grapes for Castello di Verduno’s Faset are sourced from a small, estate-owned (just-under one hectare) growing site in the famed Faset cru of Barbaresco, known for its sometimes “masculine” expression in the otherwise “feminine” Barbaresco appellation. As with all of Castello di Verduno’s wines, the winemaker carries out 100% traditional vinification for this powerful wine: extended maceration and natural fermentation is followed by aging in traditional large oak barrels.

Barolo Massara 2001
Castello di Verduno’s Barolo Massara is sourced from one of the great “crus” or vineyards of Barolo, Massara. Locals call the site a sorì d’la matin, meaning an ideal site that benefits from sunlight in the morning. As a result of the eastern exposure, the grapes sourced from this historic vineyard cool off during the afternoon and can ripen properly even in overly hot summers.

Something bubbly for the holidays

November 14, 2008

Three festive sparklers from Lini to get the season popping


Alicia Lini and baby Alba photographed by Domenico Valentino's Jim Hutchinson at the Lini estate in Correggio, Reggio Emilia, last month.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and at Domenico Valentino we’re already thinking about what to pop this holiday season. That’s why this week we’re featuring three wines from renowned Lambrusco producer LINI910, which are guaranteed to get the party started. Though two of the wines are Lambrusco, two are red, and two are made using the metodo classico, no two are quite the same. The holiday season is the best time to enjoy these very festive sparkling wines from one of our most popular producers.

If you wish to make a tasting appointment please call 719-902-1140 or email

3-bubbly-linisMetodo Classico Bianco 2000
Fabio Lini, a big fan of Champagne, spent years developing and refining his homage to the great French appellation. Lini’s Metodo Classico Bianco is a blend of the classic Champagne varieties Pinot Nero and Chardonnay, and is made using the traditional practice of having the second fermentation happen in bottle. He vintage dates his Metodo Classico and waits at least four years after harvest to release the wine. This remarkable wine is an ideal holiday aperitivo.

Metodo Classico Rosso 2003
“I have discovered the best Lambrusco in the world,” writes Daniele Cernilli, editor-in-chief of Gambero Rosso’s Guide to the Wines of Italy, “and it is called Corrigia Brut. Serve it chilled… paired with charcuterie, fried foods, and flavorful first courses. You can even serve it with just a cracker topped with mortadella: it will make you feel like you can reach up and touch the sky with your finger.” We, like Cernilli, found Lini’s festive and creamy Lambrusco the best we had ever tasted. Pair it with a holiday snack, such as shards of Parmigiano Reggiano and strawberries drizzled ever so gently with a kiss of traditional balsamic vinegar.

Lambrusco Rosso Scuro 2007
Lini’s Lambrusco Scuro is the firmer, more austere relative of our wildly popular Labrusca Rosso. Made of Lambrusco Salamino and Ancelotta, the same Lambrusco sub-varieties that go into the Labrusca, Scuro undergoes a longer maceration and full alcoholic fermentation, resulting in a drier, more structured wine than its cousin. Lambrusco Scuro is perfect with Emilia-Romagna’s meat-based dishes, or even your Thanksgiving turkey.

Fabrizio Santarelli in New York

November 12, 2008

Castel de Paolis winemaker and Lazio consortium president guest of honor at I Trulli

Domenico Valentino's Amelia Di Marco shares an aperitivo of LINI910 Labrusca Bianco with Fabrizio Santarelli at I Trulli.

Domenico Valentino's Amelia Di Marco and Fabrizio Santarelli enjoy an aperitivo of Lini's Labrusca Bianco at I Trulli. Photo James Taylor.

Fabrizio Santarelli of Castel de Paolis arrived in New York this weekend. His visit to the United States provided him with a great opportunity to promote not only his own wines, but also winemaking as a whole in the region of Lazio, and he was our guest of honor at a Lazio-themed dinner for Domenico Valentino clients and wine professionals, held last night at I Trulli.

In addition to owning the Castel de Paolis winery in Grottaferrata, Fabrizio was recently elected president of Le Vigne del Lazio, a consortium of 23 producers whose common aims are wines of quality and the promotion of the region’s product. Lazio is certainly less-revered than Tuscany or Piedmont among wine enthusiasts, particularly outside Italy. But as Fabrizio explained to last night, “The only problem with wines from Lazio is letting people know about them — and taste them!” Fabrizio himself worked in New York until 2001 and delighted in promoting his own wines to buyers and consumers in the city, and of course was “excited and encouraged” by their unanimously enthusiastic response.

I Trulli owner Nicola Marzovilla

Fabrizio's wife Alessandra looks on as Fabrizio and I Trulli owner Nicola Marzovilla discuss wine (probably). Photo Alex Dominguez.

Fabrizio enjoyed the spotlight and was happy to discuss his wines, proving an engaging host together with I Trulli owner Nicola Marzovilla and Domenico Valentino’s Jim Hutchinson. The menu, prepared especially for the occasion by Chef Patti Jackson, featured dishes typical of the region, paired naturally with Fabrizio’s best wines. Guests were treated to the following dishes and wines: saltimbocca di triglie and Campo Vecchio Bianco 2007, timballo di riso and Donna Adriana 2007, and grigliata mista and Campo Vecchio Rosso 2004. To end the meal, a selction of formaggi pecorini were served with two vintages — 2004 and 2001 — of Fabrizio’s blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, otherwise known as I Quattro Mori.

Frank, Nicola Marzovilla, Gianfranco, Alessandra (Fabrizio's wife), Fabrizio, Domenica Marzovilla.

From left: Dr. Frank Butler, Nicola Marzovilla, restaurateur Gianfranco Sorrentino, Alessandra, Fabrizio, I Trulli manager Domenica Marzovilla. Photo James Taylor.

Fabrizio and his wife Alessandra have spent the rest of their time in New York presenting Castel de Paolis’ wines to clients and promoting winemaking in the region. But there was still time to sample some authentic East Coast diner fare, including scrapple sandwiches and microbrewed lager in Williamsburg!

Meet winemaker Fabrizio Santarelli

November 7, 2008

Castel de Paolis producer and Le Vigne del Lazio president in town to present his wines

Fabrizio Santarelli samples wine in the Castel de Paolis cellar.

Domenico Valentino is excited to announce the arrival of Castel de Paolis owner Fabrizio Santarelli to New York! Fabrizio will be in town this week to present his wines to restaurant and retail clients. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity!

In the hills of Grottaferrata, just south of Rome, the Castel de Paolis winery has been revolutionizing Lazio wines for two decades. Giulio Santarelli, Fabrizio’s father, overhauled the estate in the 1980s, replanting the terrain with local grapes and international varieties. Today Fabrizio and Giulio are responsible for some of the finest wines to come out of the region in recent years, helping to enhance the image of winemaking in Lazio.

Fabrizio’s efforts have were recently recognized with his appointment as president of Le Vigne del Lazio, a consortium comprising 23 of the region’s best producers, who each share a commitment to maintaining the highest quality product while promoting Lazio’s cultural identity through its wines.

If you wish to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity, please call 719-902-1140 or email Please note that Fabrizio will be in New York only until Wednesday so check your schedules now! Further information is available on our website.