Joe Campanale pours Lini on NBC!

May 22, 2009

Hot New York restaurateur pours Lambrusco on national television!

joe campanale lini blogJoe Campanale selected Lini’s Lambrusco as one of his favorite wines for summer on NBC’s Today show this morning. In a live segment, the co-owner of Dell’Anima and L’Artusi poured Lini’s Labrusca Bianco and Rosso as part of a selection of his picks for Memorial Day weekend.

In case you missed it, click here to watch the full clip!

One of New York’s youngest restaurateurs, the 25-year old Campanale’s star has risen spectacularly since he opened Dell’Anima in 2007 with Chef Gabe Thompson (below with Campanale outside Dell’Anima). The rapid success of the small West Village hotspot spurred the duo to expand to L’Artusi just one year later. Now, both restaurants are favorite neighborhood destinations for anyone seeking delicious and inventive Italian fare and an excellent selection of wine.


The growing popularity of Lini in New York in many ways mirrors Campanale’s recent success. Since Domenico Valentino’s introduction of Labrusca in 2007, Lini’s range of sparkling, classic Lambrusco has proven a universal hit throughout the city’s restaurant and wine industry, giving rebirth to a unique variety. Now, with an exciting line of refreshing and affordable wines, the Lini brand continues to gather momentum across the United States.

Campanale, whose wine experience extends to sommelier and retailer in some of New York’s most respected establishments, personally oversees the wine programs at Dell’Anima and L’Artusi. A huge fan of Lini and Lambrusco, he didn’t hesitate in adding Labrusca Bianco to both restaurants’ wine lists. Now Joe has helped introduce Lini’s Lambrusco to over two million Today viewers nationwide!

Taste Lini in Greenpoint, Brooklyn!

May 10, 2009

lini dandelion poster blog

Save The Date: Spring Portfolio Tasting, April 14

March 26, 2009

Domenico Valentino presents portfolio at Centovini

Basket Press at Podere Gualandi, photographed by Guido Gualandi.

Basket Press at Podere Gualandi, Poppiano, Italy. Photograph by Guido Gualandi.

Spring is here, which means its time for Domenico Valentino to host its semi-annual portfolio tasting. On Tuesday, April 14, Domenico Valentino will be pouring its complete portfolio at Centovini in New York’s SoHo. It’s a great occasion for restaurants, retailers and distributors to taste some fabulous wines, many of which are being featured for the first time. We are also excited to present brand new vintages of some of our favorite wines from the last twelve months. Click here for our full portfolio!

For  more information and to RSVP please call 212-679-0822 or email us at We look forward to seeing you at Centovini on April 14!

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.

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.

Inferno: The Hottest Side of Valtellina

October 31, 2008

We’ve chosen this Halloween weekend to introduce Conti Sertoli Salis’ 100% Nebbiolo from Valtellina Superiore’s smallest (and warmest) subzone

A spectacular panorama of the Valtellina Superiore subzone.

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

Valtellina Superiore Inferno 2004
Conti Sertoli Salis’ 100% Nebbiolo Inferno comes from the renowned subzone of the same name. The smallest subzone within the Valtellina Superiore DOCG is so-called for its warm micro-climate. From the steep sub-alpine slopes, the juice is aged for 12 to 18 months in barrels of Slavonian oak. Conti Sertoli Salis has some choice blocks in the Inferno zone and, using their natural advantage, produce one of the richest and most aromatic Valtalinnas we have had the pleasure to try.

Conti Sertoli Salis
The sub-alpine valley known as Valtellina has long drawn interest from wine drinkers. Leonardo da Vinci even spoke of its winemaking potential in his Codice Atlantico. Today, the Valtellina Superiore DOCG produces some of Lombardia’s most prestigious wines. It is here, in the town of Tirano in the province of Sondrio, not many miles from the Swiss border, that we find Conti Sertoli Salis, a noble family which has been bottling wine since 1869. The company’s cellars are still located beneath the Palazzo Salis, the family’s 17th century palace which is one of Tirano’s most popular tourist attractions.

Built between 1630 and 1690, the Palazzo Salis still houses the winery's cellars.

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