Archive for the ‘producers’ Category

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August 25, 2009

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Domenico Valentino Fall Portfolio Tasting
Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Trulli
122 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

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.

Certified Organic

October 24, 2008

Introducing wines by our most natural producers

Tuscan producer Guido Gualandi personally oversees every aspect of the winemaking process.

Although Domenico Valentino prides itself on a portfolio full of artisinal wines from producers dedicated to a natural wine-making process and full enological expression, it is hard to argue with an official stamp of certification.

In our portfolio we have three wonderful producers, who, by various motivations and methods, achieve ICEA organic certification. The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of the 1990 Farm Bill established a method of ensuring uniform standards for the production and handling of foods labeled as “organic.” The National Organic Program (NOP) certifies that products labeled Organic meet USDA standards, and also accredits the 40 foreign Accredited Certifying Agents, including ICEA (Instituto per la Certificazione Etica ed Ambientale), that uphold these standards abroad.

If you wish to arrange a tasting please call 719-902-1140 or email Our full portfolio is available at

Cascina Corte (Piemonte)
Sandro Barossi and Amalia Battaglia have spent the last six years rehabilitating the centuries-old Casa Corte and its adjoining vineyards atop Dogliani’s famed San Luigi Hill. They have coaxed their 60-year-old Dolcetto vines into successfully accepting sustainable viticultural methods.

Dolcetto di Dogliani 2006
Dolcetto 750ml

Vigna Pirochetta 2005
Dolcetto 750ml

Guido Gualandi (Toscana)
Dedicated to hand-making natural wines in the methods of ages past, Guido Gualandi meets ICEA viticultural standards and carries this philosophy into vinification. The winery and residence use 90% renewable energy sources, with a goal of reaching 100% in the next 2 years. Gualandi also cultivates antique varieties such as Fogliatonda and Pugnitello, as well as older varieties of Sangiovese, such as Abrusco. The materials used in the winemaking are the same as those used one hundred years ago, if not five hundred. The fermentation takes place in semi-conical vats or in Italian-style Slavonian oak and chestnut barrels. The pressing takes place with the use of a single hand press.

Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2007
Sangiovese, Foglia Tonda, Colorino / 750ml

Cavalleresco 2005
Sangiovese, Merlot / 750ml

Gualandus 2005
Sangiovese / 750ml

ERA (Sicilia)
ERA brings together talented Italian enologist Carlo Volpi, Bottle Green (an importer and agent for organic wines in the UK), and Sicilian organic viticulture specialists certified under EEC law. The first vintage was produced in 2001, after much research, careful selection and tending of vineyards in Marche, Abruzzo and Sicily. ERA, meaning “as it was”, is a return to the past when the use of chemicals and fertilizers did not exist and producers had more respect for nature and biodynamic processes. The juice is brought to the Volpi Cantina in Piedmont where Carlo Volpi oversees vinification and bottling in his state of the art cellars.

Inzolia 2007
Inzolia / 750ml

Nero d’Avola 2007
Nero d’Avola / 750ml

How sweet it is…

October 10, 2008

Presenting four passito dessert wines

Straw mats like this are used in the grape-drying process.

Straw mats like this are used in the grape-drying process.

Originating with the Greek passum, a wine made from partially dried grapes as early as 800BCE, comes one of the world’s finest wine traditions. The drying of grapes after harvest results in added aromatic complexity and naturally concentrated sugars that produce sweetness in the wines. In Italy, this style is most commonly referred to as passito, but can be found under a number of names more specific to the traditions of a particular region.

Vin Santo Chianti Rufina 1999 Travignoli
Although it is perhaps Italy’s most famous passito, there is some debate as to the origin of the name Vin Santo, or “Holy Wine”: some say that a 16th-century Greek humanist compared it to the wines of Xantos when he tasted it on a visit to Florence; others believe the name derives from the wine’s “miraculous” second fermentation in the spring, just coinciding just the resurrection of Christ. One thing is certain: Vin Santo represents an entirely distinct tradition of winemaking unique to Tuscany.

Picolit 2005 Ronco dei Tassi
Picolit is one of Italy’s rarest and most coveted dessert wines. Unfortunately, the wine due to the difficulty of cultivating the Picolit grape variety, and many producers have abandoned it in favor of more profitable international varieties. Ever true to tradition and great believers in their Friulan terroir, Enrico Coser and his father Fabio continue to produce this excellent, sweet wine.

Sulé Caluso Passito 2001 Orsolani
Often compared to the Greco variety of Central and Southern Italy, Erbaluce is a white grape grown exclusively in the Canavese district of Northern Piemonte. For his flagship wine, of which he is the fourth-generation winemaker, Gian Luigi Orsolani uses late harvest grapes, some affected by botrytis, dried on mats through winter. Slow fermentation in oak casks lasts up to a few months, followed by three years in casks.

Ambrato Le Muraglie 2000 Ezio Voyat
The name of late winemaker Ezio Voyat‘s Ambrato Le Muraglie refers both to the wine’s rich “amber” color, and to the ancient cloister walls (“le mura“, in contemporary Italian). Partly due to technique and partly a result of this narrow valley’s extreme conditions, the wine has a unique flavor and aromatic character. Ezio’s daughter, Marilena, tells us that she recently enjoyed bottles of the Ambrato from the 1950s: this dessert wine is ready to drink but also offers remarkable aging potential.

Northern Whites, New Vintages

August 29, 2008

Introducing new vintages of two of our favorite northern whites

Domenico Valentino is excited to announce the arrival of new vintages of two of our finest white wines from Northern Italy. From Conti Sertoli Salis in Lombardy comes the 2007 Chiavennasca, an opulent wine made from a clone of Nebbiolo, while Friulan producer Ronco dei Tassi presents the latest vintage of the award-winning Fosarin.

Both of these wines will be available for tasting by appointment next week. If you wish to arrange a tasting, please call 718-902-1140 or email info@domenicovalentino.

Our full portfolio is available at And don’t forget our Fall Portfolio Tasting on September 15th! Scroll down for more details.

Chiavennasca 2007 Conti Sertoli Salis

Chiavennasca is the local name for a clone of Nebbiolo grown almost exclusively in the northern Italian region of Lombardia. The winemaker at Conti Sertoli Salis creates this opulent white wine by vinifying the grapes without skin contact during maceration, thus preventing color from being imparted to the wine. The resulting wine retains the nobility of the Nebbiolo grape but is fresh and clean on the palate.

Wines vinified “in bianco” or “in white” have been made in Lombardia for as long as anyone can remember and represent a connection to ancient winemaking techniques Indeed, in antiquity, all wines were vinified “in bianco” in order to avoid bacteria present on the skins of the grapes after harvest.

Fosarin 2007 Ronco dei Tassi

Ronco dei Tassi is an artisanal producer located in the heart of the Collio Goriziano appellation of Friuli in north-eastern Italy. Here, just a few kilometers from the Slovenian border, the sandy subsoil is ideal for the cultivation of both indigenous and international grape varieties. The estate was founded in 1989 by Fabio Coser, who has since gained recognition as one of the area’s leading winemakers. His award-winning wines are characterized by their balance. The name Ronco dei Tassi means “hilltop of the badgers”, as pictured on the wines’ labels.

The company’s flagship wine blends barrel-fermented Pinot Bianco with stainless steel-vinified Friulano and Malvasia Istriana to produce a medium-to-full-bodied white with a creamy palate and luscious acidity. Fosarin is a three-time Tre Bicchieri winner at Gambero Rosso‘s annual Guide to Italian Wines and won “White Wine of the Year” in 2006.

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

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

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