Archive for the ‘Castel Sallegg’ Category

Four varieties you never knew you loved

December 12, 2008

Viognier? Schiava? Lacrima? Ruché? They may not be famous (yet), but they all make for some great wines

While everybody loves a Sangiovese or Nebbiolo, at Domenico Valentino we do our best to provide you with some of the more obscure wines found throughout Italy, still often relatively unknown on these shores. One of the aspects which makes Italian wine so fascinating is its great variety, both in winemaking styles and in its grape varieties. This week we are excited to introduce four wines made from four different grapes, each of which might not yet roll off the tongue of the average U.S. wine consumer. But the commitment of these producers to making wine from local varieties, plus our determination to introduce them to a wider audience, can only mean these rare grapes won’t remain unknown for much longer.

abbonaCinerino 2006 Abbona / Piemonte
Although the Viognier grape is cultivated traditionally in the Rhône valley of France where small amounts are blended with Syrah in the Côte Rôtie appellation, recent DNA analysis of the grape has shown that it is a “white” cousin of Nebbiolo, the variety used to make Barolo and Barbaresco. Ever since, the experimenter Marziano Abbona has produced this Viognier from grapes grown in Dogliani (since no appellation exists for Viognier there, it is simply called a Vino da Tavola or “table wine”). He named it after the elegant gray heron of Northern Italy, the airone cinerino meaning the “ashen heron” (from the Italian cenere or “ash”).

Schiava Bischofsleiten 2007 Castel 1344Sallegg / Trentino-Alto Adige
That mouthful of a name means Schiava at its best. A grape variety that has grown for generations on the steep slopes of sub-Alpine Alto Adige, Schiava produces a lightly-colored red wine that is a local favorite. The variety finds its greatest expression on the western side of Lake Caldaro where, trained in the traditional pergola system, grapes can achieve maximum ripeness and attain the most unique reflection of their terroir. Bischofsleiten, or “Bishop’s Slope”, is a vineyard named for its founder, the Bishop of Trento, and is considered by many area producers to be the zone’s best site.

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2007 Enzo Mecella / Marche
lacrima-enzo3The Marche town Morro d’Alba (not to be confused with the town of Alba in the Langhe), is home to the grape Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, and one of the most exciting recent DOC varieties to emerge from Central Italy. Enzo Mecella specializes in local varieties, and his Lacrima is a fine expression of the fruit. The name lacrima, meaning “tear drop”, is still the subject of some debate. Many say it simply refers to the oval shape of the grape, or the formation of the grape clusters. Others argue the name is due to the “tears” that this rich grape shows in hot summer months when the skins of some berries split and the grapes “cry.”

Ruché di Castiglione Monferrato 2007 Luca Ferraris / Piemonte
ruche-72Luca Ferraris’ flagship wine comes from his “Bric d’Bianc” vineyard, part of an entire hill between Castagnole Monferrato and Scurzolengo which he purchased in 2000. The cultivation of Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato is limited to the town of Castagnole Monferrato near Asti, making it one of the smallest denominations in Italy. Though once of modest output, production is now expanding due to its award of DOC status, and Ferraris remains one of only a handful of producers who focus on the grape. Luca recently showed us his Salotto del Ruché or “Ruché Parlour”, a network of underground chambers where he vinifies and ages his wine.

If you wish to make a tasting appointment please call 718-902-1140 or email Further information is available on our website.

La vita in rosa!

August 8, 2008

Four diverse rosé wines from four unique producers hailing from four different regions of Italy

August, with its sunny days and sultry evenings, is the best time of year for dining al fresco. And when temperatures are high, there’s no greater accompaniment to a meal than a chilled glass of rosato. Though often wrongly overlooked by some wine enthusiasts, Italian rosé is certainly enjoying an increase in popularity stateside this summer.

This week we are pleased to feature four of our finest rosé wines, from four unique wineries. Though Italy’s climate and attitudes towards food vary tremendously up and down the country, each region still produces its rosé, or “rosato” as it is known by Italians. In fact our four featured wines originate from four wildly different regions: Alto-Adige, Tuscany, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna.

Lagrein Rosato Nives 2007 Castel Sallegg
Grown on the slopes of Lake Caldaro in the German-speaking region of Alto-Adige, the tannic Lagrein grapes give this wine complexity and structure while the enologist at Castel Sallegg ensures that the wine expresses the pillars of rosato: refreshing, easy-to-drink and adaptable. Named Nives (a reference to the region’s snowcapped mountains) this refreshing screw-capped Lagrein Rosato is the perfect outdoor picnic wine for summer.

Vino Rosato 2007 Guido Gualandi
Archeologist, artist, writer and wine producer: Tuscan renaissance man Guido Gualandi produces all-organic and sustainable wines in the Chianti Classico subzone of Montespertoli. Full bodied and smooth, this 100% Sangiovese rosato owes its character to the ripeness of the fruit before harvest and Guido’s innovative practice of ageing the wine for six months in old acacia and chestnut barrels.

Canavese Rosato Rubiconda 2007 Orsolani
Piemontese producer Gianluigi Orsolani’s family name may be synonymous with local white variety Erbaluce, but this year the fourth-generation producer has broken with tradition. Using Nebbiolo, Barbera and Uva Rara, Orsolani has created a small production of Canavese Rosato named “Rubiconda“. This fresh, fragrant and exquisitely dry rosato, a blend with enough structure to stand up to summer favorites like ribs and barbecue grilled chicken.

Lambrusco Rosé 2007 Lini 910
In the Lambrusco heartland of Emilia Romagna, Lini has been making wine for nearly 100 years. While most of Lini’s Lambruscos are made with the Lambrusco Salamino grape, Lambrusco Rosé is made with Lambrusco Sorbara. The light skins of this clone give the wine its gorgeous rosy hue. Lini Lambrusco Rosé is one of our favorite picnic wines: gently sparkling and low in alcohol, it’s the ideal wine to take to the park on a hot summer day and pairs well with anything grilled — from vegetables and seafood to burgers.

The wines featured above 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

Screw-cap summer wines: encourage spontaneous picnicking

June 13, 2008

With temperatures rising this week, we’re excited to introduce two refreshing wines from Alto Adige producer Castel Sallegg. These wines are definitely made to be enjoyed on a hot summer’s day, and each of these bottles is available with a screw-cap closure, making them perfect for an outdoor picnic or serving by the glass.

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 and pricing is available at

Castel Sallegg
Nestled in the Dolomite Alps, the winemaking subzone around Lake Caldaro in the German-speaking region of Trentino-Alto Adige represents a fascinating combination of high altitude, warm days, cool summer nights, plus excellent ventilation. In 1851 Castel Sallegg and its surrounding vineyard were bought by Archduke Rainer of Austria, Viceroy of Lombardy-Veneto, who eventually passed it on to the Von Kuenburg counts. Today, Count Georg Kuenburg carries on the family tradition of producing a line of excellent wines, typical of Alto Adige’s quality and style, with grapes sourced from some of the finest vineyards in the Lago di Caldaro district.

Lagrein Rosato Nives 2007
Nives is made from the same Lagrein grapes as those sourced for Count Kuenberg’s velvety Lagrein Riserva. The tannic Lagrein grapes give this wine complexity and structure while the enologist at Castel Sallegg ensures that the wine expresses the pillars of rosato: refreshing, easy-to-drink and adaptable. The screw-cap bottling is an invitation for spontaneous gatherings, preferably outdoors.

Pinot Bianco 2007
The sandy, pebbly lime subsoil in the slopes that surround Lake Caldaro are ideal for creating mineral-driven, fresh-in-the-mouth Pinot Bianco. Traditionally, Pinot Bianco is vinified in a dry style in Trentino-Alto Adige. This wine’s crisp, balanced acidity makes it a great “food-friendly” wine that pairs well with the often sharp flavors of the local cuisine (like the smoky flavors of speck, the Alpine prosciutto). This year Castel Sallegg’s Pinot Bianco is available with either cork or screw-cap closures.

Indigenous varieties from Northern Italy

June 6, 2008

This week, we’re excited to introduce three diverse wines from three regions in Northern Italy. Each wine is made from 100% indigenous varieties, and perfect to be enjoyed during these warm summer months.

All three 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 and pricing is available at

Friulano 2007 Ronco dei Tassi

Ronco dei Tassi owner and winemaker Fabio Coser may have won Gambero Rosso’s “White Wine of the Year” in 2005 for his blend “Fosarin”, but he also makes award-winning mono-varietal or single-grape wines. Using the Tocai Friulano grape found in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and neighboring Slovenia, this wine is a classic expression of both the variety and the Collio appellation.

After Hungary’s accession to the E.U., in 2007 European law stated that Tocai Friulano exported from Italy be renamed, in order to protect the Hungarian Tokaji. Some Italian Tocai producers have been reluctant to accept this new ruling, and there is still no official verdict on what the appellation should now be called. Ronco dei Tassi seems more concerned with continuing the job of winemaking, and its 2007 Tocai is known simply as “Friulano”.

Pelaverga Basadone 2007 Castello di Verduno

Used in blended wines since the 18th Century, and bottled as a single-grape wine since the 1920s, Verduno Pelaverga finally achieved DOC status in 1995. Today the appellation is one of Italy’s smallest: the wine is made from the rare pelaverga piccolo variety, found exclusively in the piemontese hamlet of Verduno, in the Barolo zone.

The wine’s label depicts one of the many poppy flowers which bloom among Castello di Verduno‘s Pelaverga vines. Local’s believe both the flower and the grape possess aphrodisiacal properties, hence the name Basadone or baciadonne in Italian, the “lady kisser.” Fruity, spicy and aromatic, the medium-bodied Pelaverga Basadone 2006 is excellent paired with lighter dishes.

Schiava Bischofsleiten 2007 Castel Sallegg

In the village of Caldaro it is custom to have your first slightly chilled glass of Schiava at noon (Pinot Bianco is appropriate before noon). Schiava is perhaps the grape most associated with red wine production in Alto Adige. While Schiava was by far the most widely planted variety in Alto Adige for many years, it was often seen as only having local interest (with the only major exports going to Germany). As international varieties entered the scene, many Schiava vineyards were ripped up to make space for the more “exportable” varieties.

The Lago di Caldaro DOC is a small zone on the western side of Lake Caldaro, recognized as the premier Schiava site in Alto Adige. The Castel Sallegg vineyard was originally planted by the Bishop of Trento, hence the name Bischofsleiten, or “Bishop’s Slope”.

Domenico Valentino Spring Portfolio Tasting

May 13, 2008

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
25 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012
(Between Mercer and Greene)

For more information:
Jim Hutchinson


We love fresh Lambrusco!

2007 Labrusca Rosso

2007 Labrusca Bianco

2007 Rosé

Dry, sparkling, delicious!

Castel Sallegg

Lagrein Rosé Screw Cap Sensation!

Great selections for summer from Count Kuenburg and the team at Castel Sallegg. Grapes are sourced from some of the finest sites on the slopes above Lago di Caldaro.

2007 Lagrein Rosé Screwcap

2007 Pinot Bianco Screwcap & Cork

2007 Schiava Bischofsleiten

2007 Moscato Giallo


Natural wines from a Renaissance Man!

Archaeologist, painter, musician and wine-maker, Guido Gualandi is a true Renaissance Man, and one of the most interesting producers to emerge from the Montespertoli subzone of Chianti in recent memory. All of Guido’s wines are made using 100% natural vinification: no herbicides or pesticides are used in the vineyard, only organic fertilizers are used.

2007 Rosato

2006 Galante

2005 Cavalleresco

2005 Gualandus

Conti Sertoli Salis

Prime sites help produce great wine!

That the Salis family first bottled wine in 1869 tells us they had an unusual commitment to quality and an unwavering confidence in the potential of their land. Producers at the time seldom chose to meet the expense of such a labor-intensive process, prefering instead to store and ship wine in cask or demijohn. Today Conti Sertoli Salis continues to make superb examples of Valtellina Sforzato and Superiore using the local Chiavennasca, a type of Nebbiolo that has been cultivated in sub-Alpine Lombardia for generations.

2006 Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo vinified white)

2004 Valtellina Superiore Sassella

2003 Valtellina Sforzato Canua


Canavese Rosato in limited supply!

Gian Luigi is the fourth-generation Orsolani to commit to Erbaluce, the Piedmontese variety known for its luscious acidity and grass-and-melon perfume. The family is also one of only three commercial producers of the rare Nebbiolo-based Carema, a wine named for a lovely sub-Alpine village where the vines are grown a pergola on terraces carved into a steep south-facing slope. This year, in addition to his usual line-up, Orsolani has produced a limited quantity of Canavese Rosato.

2006 Erbaluce di Caluso La Rustià

2004 Erbaluce Metodo Classico Cuvee’ Tradizione

2007 Canavese Rosato Rubiconda

2006 Canavese Rosso Acini Sparsi

2003 Carema Le Tabbie

2001 Caluso Passito Sulè