Fine Wine Source Wine


February 2020

Caruso E. Minini: Located on Sicily’s western-most coast near the town of Marsala, Caruso & Minini boasts a history that harks back to the late 1800’s when Antonio Caruso bought the company to grow grapes for the nearby Marsala factories. The company was passed through subsequent generations until Nino Caruso finally decided to begin making and bottling his own wine in the mid 1900’s. In 2004, Stefano Caruso joined forces with Mario Minini of Lombardy to launch the present-day winery, producing wines from indigenous Sicilian varietals such as Catarratto, Nero d’Avola, Frappato, Inzolia, and Nerello Mascalese. Today, Stefano’s daughter Giovanna works closely with her father to head up this historic winery. The winery now boasts 120 hectares at 200-400 meters above sea level, including 5 hectares that are farmed organically and dedicated to Giovanna Caruso’s BIO project. Located 20 kilometers from the sea, the area is cooled by strong winds, yet is far enough from them to avoid any potential damage. The area, which was under water millions of years ago, is characterized by its alluvial soil, rich in water and organic substances. Most notable are the large stones called cuti in local dialect. The softball-sized cuti not only impart a distinct minerality on the grapes grown in them, but also soak up heat from the sun which they transfer to the vines, allowing for an earlier ripening of the grapes thus making harvest possible at a stage which will allow for higher acidity in the wines.

Terre di Giumara Frappato Nerello Mascalese: Carefully picked by hand. The maceration and fermentation of the destemmed grapes in stainless steel tanks occurs at controlled temperature of 25°C for 15-20 days. It then undergoes malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged 30% in large 225 Liter barriques for 4 months, and the balance is aged in stainless steel tanks for 8 months. This blend reaches perfect equilibrium between the notable tannins of the Nerello Mascalese and the lower tannins of the Frappato

Varietal: Undisclosed amounts of Frappato & Nerello Mascalese

Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes(from the producer): This blend reaches perfect equilibrium between the notable tannins of the Nerello Mascalese and the low tannins content of Frappato. Light refreshing wine with a full bouquet. Notes of spices and wild berries. Notable acidity.

Food Pairings: Perfectly matched to both fish and meat; can also be paired with medium-aged cheeses.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Yummy, deep, and dense; loaded with intensity. Best served with spicy and barbecued foods.

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: 2017 Bodegas Alto Moncayo Old Vine Garnacha…The 2017 Alto is now available. Sixty to One Hundred years old vine Garnacha grown in some of Spain’s highest altitude vineyards and aged in both French and American Oak; the best of both worlds!!! Wine Club Member Price $49.99 & Special Pricing of $39.99 on a full case purchase!

Fine Wine Source Wine


August 2019

Le Siepi di San Giovani: The Estate of Le Siepi di San Giovanni is located in the Northern Appennines, in the picturesque Santerno River Valley near the ancient city of Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region. The Estate, owned by the Zuffa family was started in 1960. The second and third generation family members are now gearing up for the third-millennium wine making era, founded on the strength of a long tradition based on consistently using natural products and many years of industry-specific experience. The property is about 40
hectares and comprises about 11 hectares of vineyards. The grape production is located in the heart of the
property on the slopes of the gentle rolling hills that surround the property and are an integral part of the lush
landscape. The elevation of the vineyards is around 550 to 650 feet.

Le Siepi di San Giovani Sangiovese Superiore: Entirely manual harvesting in late September/early October, followed by a short trip to the grape pressing area for immediate crushing, fermentation for 10/12 days at 27/28 °C (80F).

Varietal: 100% Sangiovese

Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes: Intensely bright ruby red colored wine opening with fresh notes of mulberry & floral notes on
the nose. Slightly tannic but with a suitable level of softness, and a peppery aftertaste on the palate. Perfect for a summer’s evening patio chill session with charcuterie or meats on the BBQ.

Food Pairings: Pairs well with fresh egg pasta dishes, meat sauces, grilled, roasted and stewed red meat, but also with hard to semi-hard mild cheeses.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Elegant Sangiovese perfectly aged over the past seven years. Earthy mushroom pork flavors makes this great to serve with fowl and oily fish dishes.

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: 2015 Bos Wine Moon Bos Harvest Red…This lovely red blend from Michigan native turned California wine maker David Bos, is a quaffable stunner! Syrah and Mourvedre are complimented with Zinfandel and make this a perfect summer sunset sipper. Wine Club Member Price $34.99.

Fine Wine Source Wine


May 2019

Franco Serra: Franco Serra is produced by the Sperone family who has been making affordable premium wines for four generations. In 1920, Antonio Sperone opened a small wine shop in Torino where he sold bulk wine directly to consumers. Unsatisfied with the quality and price of the local wine, Antonio started his own winery in Puglia and built a bottling facility in Torino. He was soon able to offer his customers quality wines at prices everyone could afford. Sadly, it was destroyed when the city was bombed in WWII. The winery in Puglia survived the war and enabled Antonio’s grandson Giacomo to open a new facility near Milan where he produced vermouth, sparkling wines, spirits and fine wines. In 1965, the family purchased 75 acres of prime vineyards in Piedmont and built the current winery in the small town of Mombaruzzo just outside Monferrato.

About The Gavi DOCG: DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) is the highest classification for Italian wines. It denotes controlled (controllata) production methods and guaranteed (garantita) wine quality. There are strict rules governing the production of DOCG wines, most obviously the permitted grape varieties, yields limits, grape ripeness, winemaking procedures and barrel/bottle maturation. Every DOCG wine is subject to official tasting procedures. To prevent counterfeiting, the bottles have a numbered government seal across the neck. The Gavi, or Cortese di Gavi, is located in the southern part of Piedmont, in northwest Italy. The town of Gavi is at the center of the production zone while Cortese is the indigenous white grape varietal from which it is made. Due to its close proximity with Liguria (A small Mediterranean Coastal region between the French Border and Tuscany) its winemaking and gastronomic traditions are more Ligurian than Piemontese, which could explain the light and fruity style of this white wine. Gavi wine is considered Italy’s “white jewel in the crown” and acquired its DOCG status in 1998.Made exclusively from the Cortese grape, a variety which has a heritage dating back to the 1600s, this is a wine that reflects its terroir. It is noted for its bone-dry character and crisp, flinty and fresh acidity, coming from the mineral-rich soils of the area. The bouquet is particularly floral, offering delicate aromas reminiscent of white flowers, lemons, green apples and honeydew. It also often shows hints of almonds on the finish. The grapes do not offer high levels of potential alcohol, but it is certainly an age-worthy wine.

Varietal: 100% Cortese

Alcohol: 12%

Tasting Notes: Light-bodied, crisp and clean with wonderful sweet fruit and floral aromas. Dry and pleasant with soft fruit flavors, buoyant acidity and hints of minerality.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Clean with zippy acidity, great fruit flavor of cucumber and lime. Best served with antipasti and/or any Mediterranean dish!

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: Another great Spring/Summer Italian white…2018 Tenuta di Altavilla ‘Villa Matilde’ Greco di Tufo. Greco is a rare indigenous varietal from Campania. Wine Club Member Price $19.99…a savings of $5!!!

Fine Wine Source Wine


April 2019

Le Croci: Le Croci (“The Crosses”) is produced by the Sperone family who have been making affordable premium wines for four generations. In 1911, Antonio Sperone opened a small wine shop in Torino where he sold bulk wine directly to consumers. Unsatisfied with the quality and price of the local wine, Antonio started his own winery in Puglia and built a bottling facility in Torino. He was soon able to offer his customers quality wines at prices everyone could afford. Sadly, it was destroyed when the city was bombed in WWII. The winery in Puglia survived the war and enabled Antonio’s grandson Giacomo to open a new facility in 1965 near Milan where he produced vermouth, sparkling wines, spirits and fine wines. In 1983, the family purchased 75 acres of prime vineyards in Piedmont and built the current winery in the small town of Mombaruzzo just outside Monferrato.

The Wine: Select grapes are hand harvested from the Le Croci (“The Crosses”) vineyard. This special site sits right outside the winery on a modest hill side facing south-east. The soil here is calcareous, and produces concentrated, deeply colored Barbera grapes, fit for producing rich wines with the capacity to age gracefully. Three weeks of maceration is followed by fermentation in stainless steel for four weeks at 77°F. The wine is aged for one year in small oak casks and six months in bottle before release.

Varietal: 100% Barbera

Alcohol: 14%

Tasting Notes: Dark crimson color in the glass, and the nose has a modern, full-bodied, ripe cherry and toast aroma. Lush and smooth on the palate, with wild blackberry flavors framed by ripe tannins, bright acidity and hints of vanilla.

Food Pairings: Served with cured, grilled or roasted meats, hearty pasta dishes, or rich cheeses.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: A pop of fresh blackberry and blueberry fruit with a long and silky finish. Best served with pasta and a classic tomato sauce!

Wine Club Member HOT Deal: 2013 Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni. This lovely Super Tuscan comes from one of Italy’s oldest premier Tuscan wineries, with roots dating back to the 16th Century. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese is in limited supply with a great price! FWS Wine Club Member Price $19.99, A $10 savings with your Wine Club Member Discount!!!

Fine Wine Source Wine


February 2019

Domaine Laroque & Cite de Carcassonne:

Laroque is made from historical vineyards in the ancient region of Carcassonne that produce an extraordinary and unique wine made from 100% Cabernet Franc. Laroque (from the Latin roqua) translated ‘The Rock,’ derives its name from the Menhir (single lone-standing stones that date back to the middle of the Bronze Age) which are found around Carcassonne. During the Middle Ages, the vineyards belonged to the Bishop of Carcassonne, who was renowned for making the best wines in the region. Local legend has it that the devil, upset with the Bishop of Carcassonne for stealing his ‘clients,’ tried to stone the Bishop with giant rocks. Following the attack, the Bishop constructed the fortress of Cazilhac with these Menhirs and marked the event by placing a cross on the last remaining Menhir. After this, processions were undertaken around this oratory and all the parcels of vines that surrounded it, including those of Laroque, in order to ward off the devil. The vineyards which produce Laroque have been making wine since the 6th century. Laroque Cabernet Franc is an easy-drinking wine that combines the structure, minerality, and dusty rose characteristics of Cabernet Franc with the lively, fruitiness of wines from the south of France. The Laroque vineyards are located near the city of Carcassonne, famous all over the world for its medieval city and the Canal du Midi, both classed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Situated between the Pyrenees to the south and the Black Mountains to the north, Carcassonne enjoys a privileged climatic position where the excesses of the Mediterranean climate are tempered by the softness of the Atlantic. This results in sunny, hot, dry days, but very cool nights. This extraordinary harmony in nature creates wines that are fresh, fruity, elegant, rich and balanced.

About:

The average age of the vines for Larouqe is around 25+ years. They are grown in clay and limestone soils on hillside vineyards that experience alternating warm winds from the Mediterranean, humid winds from north-west Narbonne, and dry temperate winds from the Atlantic. The grapes are destemmed and pressed gently. Fermentation is completed with fresh oak to enhance aromas and structure. A ‘remontage’ (pump-over) is performed 3 times a day until ‘delestage’ (racking of the wine during fermentation to soften tannins). Then 2 pump-overs daily are done toward the end of the maceration period and there is no fining, but filtering is done prior to bottling.

Varietal:

100% Cabernet Franc

Alcohol:

13%

Tasting Notes:

Appears as a crimson robe in the glass, the nose hints of subtle raspberry, rhubarb, with spicy and tobacco aromas. In the mouth the elegant and silky tannins bring a very feminine touch to this wine. Laroque Cabernet Franc is a special wine that defies competition. It is unique in its combination of concentration of fruit, attractive aromatics and body. 90pts from James Suckling

Food Pairings:

Domaine Laroque is a medium-bodied, fresh and fruity wine, with luscious flavors of red berry and vanilla. Enjoy it alone or paired with Mediterranean cuisine, Asian cuisine, pasta, lamb, chicken, pizza and hamburgers.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

Spicy, rich, and layers of complexity with a long and lingering finish. Best with spicy meat dishes!

Fine Wine Source Wine


January 2019

Agricole Vallone:

Basking in the balmy Adriatic-cooled microclimate of the Salento peninsula in Puglia, on Italy’s heel, Agricole Vallone is a large multi-tasking agricultural concern with 170 hectares of vines interspersed with other crops; mostly olive trees, artichokes, and vegetables. It was founded in 1934, but like others at the time, sold grapes to the local co-operative. It was only in the late 1990s that it began bottling its own wines, but it quickly made its name with its flagship wine Graticciaia, a partially barrel-aged red made largely from negromaro grapes dried on mats (graticci) in the autumn sunshine. Designated IGT Salento, this is a very special wine with powerful, concentrated flavors that ages beautifully. The Vallone family started the winery in the 1930s, and many years before then they were Puglian bankers. Now, Francesco Vallone is running the business. He is a tall, usually immaculately dressed, always polite, and very driven Italian, who spends a vast amount of his time doing business in Milan. Francesco only took over the business recently following the tragic and premature death of his father (it had previously been run for many years by his two aunts, Vittoria and Maria Teresa Vallone). The family still owns a grand building in the heart of the beautiful southern Italian city of Lecce, where the company’s office is located, as well as where the family lives. The ‘building’ is actually a 400 year old castle that was used as a fortress to protect the locals from the Crusaders as well as to produce olive oil and wines. Francisco plans to restore and transform the castle into a resort with private rooms, where guests can enjoy facilities such as private swimming pools, private dining rooms, private cooking facilities, and an exclusive spa.

About IGT Classification:

The IGT, DOC and DOCG acronyms are designations used for the Italian wine appellation system (similar to the French AOP system, from which most countries have modeled their industries). Each individual designation has specific rules controlling the various factors of winegrowing: what grapes are allowed, grapes to yield per hectare (@2.5 acres), geographic borders, alcohol levels, ageing, etc. These strict regulations ensure that certified growers have a safeguard on the quality and the authenticity of their products. Indicazione di Geografica Tipica, or Indication of Typical Geography (IGT), is the 1st level of designation for Italian wines. With this designation, winegrowers do not have to follow the specific growing and winemaking rules as they do with the DOC & G, and thus have more creative freedom. You can find beautiful IGT wines all across Italy; however, the only rule is that the wines must originate in the stated region.

Varietal:

100% Negroamaro

Alcohol:

13%

Tasting Notes:

An elegant nose leads to flavors of ripe plum, baked raspberries, and spice-cabinet notes like anise, allspice and cinnamon. Even though Negroamaro is full bodied it is not too tannic or acidic, and instead leads with bombastic fruit which makes it easy to chug, especially alongside meatballs or pizza.

Food Pairings:

This fruit-forward gem can pair with many foods because the wine’s personality is not overly dominant. You could pair spicy foods, fatty meats like Lamb, red sauce dishes, and hard and soft cheeses.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

A silky wine with a strong, long finish that’s loaded with Asian spices on the palate, best served with tomato sauce dishes

Fine Wine Source Wine


December 2018

Lanciola:

Just a few kilometers outside Florence, on the rolling hills of Impruneta near Pozzolatico, lies Azienda Agrícola Lanciola. It is immersed in the distinctive Tuscan countryside, amidst olive-groves, cypress trees and vineyards. The estate totals around 80 hectares, with 40 hectares covered by vineyards and the remainder devoted to olive groves. The property has a very illustrious past. In Medicean times it belonged to the noble Ricci family, who was also responsible for organizing the estate’s early farming and winemaking activities. The goal of the present owners, the Guarnieri family, has been to maximize the use of the land. The estate’s vineyards – formerly called “Terre dei Ricci” – produce ”Terricci”, an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) red table wine which is obtained mainly from large berry Sangiovese Grosso and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes; “Ricciobianco,” a white wine with excellent structure obtained from Chardonnay grapes; a Chianti Colli Fiorentini, a Vinsanto fortified wine; and finally, “Riccionero,” a pure Pinot and top quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. In Greve, in the heart of the Chianti Classico area, the Azienda Agrícola Lanciola occupies roughly 14 hectares. Ten of those are devoted to specialized vineyards with optimum south-west exposure, on particularly favorable soil, at an altitude of approximately 300 meters. In addition to Sangiovese, the vineyards also contain Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Canaiolo and Colorino grapes.

About:

In Greve, in the heart of the Chianti Classico area the Azienda Agricola Lanciola has around 14 hectares, 10 of which are devoted to specialized vineyards with optimum south-west exposure, on particularly favorable soil, at an altitude of approximately 300 meters. In addition to Sangiovese, the vineyards contain Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,Syrah, Canaiolo and Colorino grapes. The soil is comprised of shale and loam, and the vineyards are situated at 250 meters with a south-west exposure. The fruit was harvested during the first week of October and aged in stainless steel tanks for a minimum of six months.

Varietal:

90% Sangiovese and 10% Local Grapes (either Colorino, Cab, Merlot, or a blend of the lot)

Alcohol:

13.5%

Tasting Notes:

Deep and slightly violet blood red with a lively ruby rim in the glass. The bouquet is fairly intense and fresh with forest berry fruit, cherry, and black currant that gains definition from hints of earthiness balanced with fruit acidity and slight floral accents. On the palate it is ample and smooth with dark berry fruit flavors supported by fresh acidity and slight tannins leading to a clean berry fruit finish.

Food Pairings:

Grilled meats, light stews, venison, pasta Bolognese , or just to drink by the glass at holiday parties with family and/or friends; essentially, this wine pairs great with family, friends, and a good time!

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

Elegant with a plummy mouthfeel and a long lingering finish; great to serve with something tomato saucy!

Fine Wine Source Wine


November 2018

Podere Ciona:

Franca and Franco Gatteschi were looking for a place in the countryside to retire to, after many years of working in Italy and abroad, when they came across a small, beautiful, albeit run down property: 100 acres of land, mostly wooded with 10 acres set aside for cultivation, of which 2.5 acres already had vineyards; a house from the 18th Century, abandoned for more than 40 years; and, above all, a view without equal on the Chianti hills, with Siena in the distance. They purchased the estate at the beginning of 1990 and they immediately started the reconstruction work on the main house (it took nearly three years). They also set up a small but well equipped wine cellar for making wine. In 1996 they permanently moved to live on the estate and the following year, the great 1997 vintage, saw the birth of the first “official” wine of Podere Ciona: a Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva.Between 2000 and 2003, the Gatteschis decided to replant all the available land with vines, build a new wine cellar that would be needed for the larger production and purchase another small property not far from their residence at Podere Ciona, destined to become their “agriturismo”, today Le Diacce. Today the estate is humming with activity, as the agriturismo is populated with guests throughout the tourist season, and the cooking classes by Franca’s cooking school, Tutti-A-Tavola are always in high demand. Our wine production has grown throughout the years and has been awarded in the United States and Italy. Truly a family owned and operated estate, Franca manages the Agriturismo and Franco manages the vineyards. Son, Lorenzo is the winemaker and daughter-in-law, Jennifer handles all the sales and marketing.

About:

This is only the second vintage of the Rose that Lorenzo has produced! The first vintage was blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc, Lorenzo was so happy with the way it turned out that he decided to make it a permanent offering and increase its production. As fate would have it, during the growing season of 2016 a pesky group of local wild boars decided that the Cabernet Franc would be more suited to their dietary needs than for the 2016 Rose. Lorenzo did not let that deter him from producing what we believe is one of the finest Rose wines that we stock on Fine Wine Source’s shelves. The 2016 Ciona Rose is produced from 100% Sangiovese that is grown from vineyards that sit on a mixture of quartz arenite (aka sandstone) clay, schist, and marl soil at an altitude of 535-625 Meters above sea level. The vines are horizontal and double-spurred cordon trained and have an age of 6 to 16 years with an average yield of 1.1 Kilograms per plant. Lorenzo and his father Franco produced only 1,200 cases (100 cases) and we at FWS have worked out an exclusive deal to be the ONLY US location to offer it for purchase! Lorenzo will be joining us for the Post-Thanksgiving days and regaling us with stories from the 2018 Harvest and Wine Production. Please mark November 28th through December 1st on your calendars so you don’t miss this opportunity to speak and sip with Lorenzo Gatteschi!!!

Varietal:

100% Sangiovese

Alcohol:

13.44%

Tasting Notes:

Dark Salmon Pink in color with a fresh fragrance of fruits and slightly herbal & earthy tones. Well-balanced on the palate with lovely notes of strawberry, watermelon, and red licorice.

Food Pairings:

We believe that a good Rose is a great wine pairing for Turkey Day; however, this Rose is GREAT and therefore a Great Pairing for all the Thanksgiving traditions! Salute!!!

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

Red licorice on the nose and the palate…WOW!!! Loaded with flavor and fruit burst on the finish and best served with Turkey, Chicken, or Salmon, Cheers!

Fine Wine Source Wine


October 2018

Cantina Cardeto:

On August 30th of 1949, the Wine Cooperative of the Orvieto community in Umbria was founded. It is one of the oldest wine cooperatives of central Italy. The winery, which was born with the articles of incorporation signed by the Farmer’s Association together with 13 wine producers, was initially set up in lower Orvieto and was expanded several times over the years that followed. On August 7th 1971, the DOC of Orvieto white wine was recognized by a decree issued by the president of the Italian Republic. During the same year, the production regulations of this wine were determined; subsequently, they were subject to some modifications. Currently the typologies of the Orvieto DOC include: dry, semi-dry, slightly sweet, sweet, and late harvest. In 2002, “Rosso Orvietano” (“Orvieto Red”) is given its DOCG. These red wines, with particularly excellent organoleptic characteristics, have been produced on the lands surrounding the cliff since medieval times, especially on the properties belonging to the powerful Della Greca family. We dedicated one of our top wines, our “Nero della Greca” to them. It is made from Sangiovese grapes and is aged in French oak barriques for 14 months. This wine is always rated one of the best in international competitions and has won acclaim in journalist Luca Maroni’s annual wine review as being the third best red wine from Italy. Today, Cardeto has 150 members who cultivate 820 hectares of vineyards and provide an average of 80-90 thousand quintals (quintal = 100kgs or 112lbs) of grapes. Cardeto has always followed the objective of reducing the sale of the wine of Orvieto in bulk form, in order to improve the wine’s image and to contribute to the region’s economy.

About:

The characteristic landscape of volcanic origins, the impressive cliffs of tuff, the rolling hills, and the intense greenery of the Orvieto countryside are very striking both to the mind and to the eye. It is an uncontaminated panorama where the dense woods convey the feeling of a maternal and generous nature, who every year offers us the gifts of her precious fruits. In this rich and thriving land, man’s efforts have skillfully and patiently cultivated the soil year after year, showing off one of Orvieto’s symbolic talents: wine growing. The vineyards for the Rosso contain Guyot and Spurred Cordon trained vines concentrated at 3,300 vines per hectare and have a predominantly southeastern exposure. The volcanic soils are comprised of Pliocene and Sand with the average age of the vines being 15 years. Yields of 12,000 kilograms per hectare are typically harvested at the end of September, sorted, macerated in stainless steel tanks, and fermented for two weeks at a controlled temperature of twenty-five degrees Celsius; finally, aged two months in bottle.

Varietal:

90% Merlot & 10% Sangiovese

Alcohol:

14%

Tasting Notes:

A deep ruby red color is displayed in the glass, with an intense fruit-forward aroma of sour cherry, blackberry, and black currant on the nose. The flavor is smooth and elegant, with nice balanced tannins and acidity.

Food Pairings:

Perfect with red grilled meats, but smooth and elegant enough to not overpower pork or lamb. Great with chili or stews, and pastas with marinara or vodka sauce.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

Purple in color with rich fruit, an elegant mid-palate feel, and a long lingering finish. Best served with tomato sauce based dishes and pastas!

Fine Wine Source Wine


August 2018

Agricole Vallone:

Basking in the balmy Adriatic-cooled microclimate of the Salento peninsula in Puglia, on Italy’s heel, Agricole Vallone is a large multi-tasking agricultural concern with 170 hectares of vines interspersed with other crops; mostly olive trees, artichokes, and vegetables. It was founded in 1934, but like others at the time, sold grapes to the local co-operative. It was only in the late 1990s that it began bottling its own wines, but it quickly made its name with its flagship wine Graticciaia, a partially barrel-aged red made largely from negromaro grapes dried on mats (graticci) in the autumn sunshine. Designated IGT Salento, this is a very special wine with powerful, concentrated flavors that ages beautifully. The Vallone family started the winery in the 1930s, and many years before then they were Puglian bankers. Now, Francesco Vallone is running the business. He is a tall, usually immaculately dressed, always polite, and very driven Italian, who spends a vast amount of his time doing business in Milan. Francesco only took over the business recently following the tragic and premature death of his father (it had previously been run for many years by his two aunts, Vittoria and Maria Teresa Vallone). The family still owns a grand building in the heart of the beautiful southern Italian city of Lecce, where the company’s office is located, as well as where the family lives. The ‘building’ is actually a 400 year old castle that was used as a fortress to protect the locals from the Crusaders as well as to produce olive oil and wines. Francisco plans to restore and transform the castle into a resort with private rooms, where guests can enjoy facilities such as private swimming pools, private dining rooms, private cooking facilities, and an exclusive spa.

About:

The IGT, DOC and DOCG acronyms are designations used for the Italian wine appellation system (similar to the French AOP system, from which most countries have modeled their industries). Each individual designation has specific rules controlling the various factors of winegrowing: what grapes are allowed, grapes to yield per hectare (@2.5 acres), geographic borders, alcohol levels, ageing, etc. These strict regulations ensure that certified growers have a safeguard on the quality and the authenticity of their products. Indicazione di Geografica Tipica, or Indication of Typical Geography (IGT), is the 1st level of designation for Italian wines. With this designation, winegrowers do not have to follow the specific growing and winemaking rules as they do with the DOC & G, and thus have more creative freedom. You can find beautiful IGT wines all across Italy; however, the only rule is that the wines must originate in the stated region.

Varietal:

100% Primitivo (Very closely related to Zinfandel, likely originated from Croatian Crljenak. A Primitivo wine is rumored to be the wine served at The Last Supper).

Alcohol:

13%

Tasting Notes:

Notes of blueberry, blackberry, violets and leather on the nose lead into earthy-sweet plum and ripe fig flavors, with luscious depth and a plush juicy finish.

Food Pairings:

PIZZA!!! Basically anything tomato based; spaghetti bolognese, chicken parmigiana, veal parmigiana, eggplant parmigiana, chicken cacciatore, earthy vegetables, and dry firm cheeses.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

A great Italian wine from Puglia in the boot of Italy. Loaded with dark fruit and layers of complexity; best served with veal, pork, or tomato based dishes!