Winery of the Month 2015 – 2020
Starting in 2023 the Winery of the Month has been replaced with the First Pressings Newsletters
2020 Winery of the Month
I am sure that when most people think of Italian wine country, pictures of rolling Tuscan vineyards pop into their minds. For this reason, we are going to explore Tuscany in February. Eleven areas within Tuscany have been awarded a DOCG (the highest level of quality wine in Italy), while a further 41 have DOC (a step below DOCG) status.
2019 Winery of the Month
We are going to hold an outdoor tasting featuring wines from the Santa Margherita Import portfolio. The tasting will run 6:30 to 7pm on Monday the 20th. There will be finger foods to accompany each of the wines we will be tasting.
This time of year, we get a lot of questions about wines for gifts or holiday parties. We thought we would try to provide a little bit of help.
For November we are going to focus on wines for Thanksgiving. Most of the time the recommendations are French Beaujolais or California Pinot Noir. Very rarely do you hear someone mention Italian wines, so we here at the Italian Market have taken the challenge and are going to recommend only Italian wines.
For October we are traveling south to Sicily and Tasca d’Almerita. The winery’s story begins in 1830 when the Tosca brothers purchased 1200 hectares in the Regaleali region of Sicily. The “Tasca Villa” came into the family as a dowry when one of the brothers married into the Lanza family in 1840. The mid 1800’s saw the family win several accommodations for farming and wine making.
For the last month of summer we are going to stay in the Trentino-Alto Adige Sudtirol region of North Eastern Italy. This region was part of Austria until the end of the First World War. Because of this there are some interesting facts. The end of World War 2 brought some discontent as the region was annexed by Germany in 43 and then given back to Italy in 45.
Schreckbichl Colterenzio is located in the town of Cornaiano, which derives its name from the Latin cornelianum or the estate of Cornelius. Cornelius was a Roman settler who started a wine property here in 15 B.C.E.. In 1960, when 28 vintners got together to form a collective, Colterenzio was born. Over the years many other growers have joined which brings the total today to 300 with around 300 hectares under vine.
In 1967, the Contato family started a winery with 12 hectares of land near Lake Garda in the heart of the Lugana DOC. This region has been producing wines since Roman times. As a matter of fact, the remains of the fabulous roman villa have been found and are believed to be the residence of Catullus, a famous roman poet who wrote about the grandeur of the white wines of the area.
Let’s talk about Rose wines for the summer. Rose is not just a recent fad. It has been around for a long time with many thinking that the first wines were rose. This probably had more to do with technology and knowledge than a stylistic choice. Rose wines have been outselling white wines in France for a little over 10 years now.
When someone mentions sparkling wine what comes to mind. Most of the people I talk to say Champagne and Prosecco. These two regions are the biggest players in the sparkling wine industry. Prosecco is the world wide leader in sales with 544 million bottles sold, but Champagne is still king with sales of more than 5 billion dollars. Even with these impressive numbers there is lots more to sparkling wine than these two regions.
For April we are traveling to the Puglia, the heel of the boot. Puglia is generally a vast flat fertile plain. The cultivation of grapes is one of the predominate crops for the region. It has been this way for as long as we know as all civilizations that have lived here have some record of grape growing and wine making. This is one of the first developed areas of Italy and this is shown with the preponderance of Menhir and Dolmen.
Cantina Mesa is a very new Winery. It was started by Gavino Sanna in 2004. The name Mesa, which means “table” in Sardinian, was chosen to showcase the core values of the winery: make high quality wines that fit perfectly on a table with food and friends as well as proving the quality of native Sardinian grapes.
In the late 60’s Chianti was known more for the wicker basket surrounding the bottle than for great Quality. Giovanni Carlo Sacchet and Antonio Mario Zaccheo set out to change this. They felt that Tuscany had a lot more to give.
2018 Winery of the Month
Every year in December Wine Spectator Magazine comes out with their Top 100 wines that they reviewed for the year.
So, we decided to showcase some of these.
Alright so in November we are going to revisit the region that produces the most wine in all of Italy. No, it is not Tuscany or Piedmont. It is the Veneto. This volume stems from two main commercial successes; Prosecco and Valpolicella. We will focus on Valpolicella. Valpolicella means “valley of the many cellars.”
The biggest island in the Mediterranean holds an interesting vinous history. It has been inhabited by the Sicilians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Germans, and Spanish. The Greeks introduced trellising and pruning methods to increase both quality and quantity. The Romans introduced the wines to the rest of Italy and Europe.
We will be tasting these wines on Labor Day from 5-7:30
For September we are going to travel to the far North to the region of Alto Adige. The region has one of the most complicated histories imaginable. At one point it was controlled by The Romans, Germanic Tribes, Charlegmane, Holy Roman Empire, various Counts and Duchy’s, The Hapsburgs, Bavaria,
For August we are going to the happy land. This region gets its name from the Latin Campania Felix. This phrase roughly translates to happy land. Campania makes up the lower shin of the boot. The regions history dates back almost as far as recorded history. It is home to the most famous wine of Rome, Falernian. This wine was so renowned that there are literally hundreds of surviving writings about it, including a vintage chart.
For July we are going to Emilia-Romagna and Azienda Agricola Giovanna Madonia. The region is a joining of two historic regions. Emilia got its name from the Roman road connecting Rimini to Piacenza, the Via Aemilia which was finished in 187BCE and amazingly parts of it are still in use today. Romagna comes from Romania which is what the Lombards called the Eastern Roman Empire. Today the region is one of the wealthiest in all of Europe.
Valle d’Aosta is the least populated region of Italy with only about 130,000 people living there. It was founded around 25 BCE when the Romans conquered the Salassi. The mountain passes were very important to the Romans and they built many roads and bridges through the mountains. When Rome fell, Aosta became part of the Burgundian and Frankish kingdoms.
How would you like to have a vineyard on the most active volcano in Europe? This is the situation for producers on Mt Etna. While the volcano exists in a constant state of activity there are a lot of advantages to producing wine here. Not surprisingly the soils are volcanic and very mineral rich.
For March, we have chosen the region that produces the most wine in all of Italy. No, it is not Tuscany or Piedmont. It is the Veneto. This volume stems from two main commercial successes; Prosecco and Valpolicella. We will focus on Valpolicella. Valpolicella means “valley of the many cellars.” Only red wines are allowed to be produced under the name Valpolicella.
What wines do you think of when someone mentions Tuscany? Most people think of Chianti and Brunello, but there are over 40 other wine producing regions in Tuscany. So for February we thought we would feature some of these less known regions.
2017 Winery of the Month
Every year in December Wine Spectator Magazine comes out with their Top 100 wines that they reviewed for the year. So, we decided to showcase some of these. Casanova Di Neri is considered among the Brunello elite. Started in 1971 it has since expanded to around 138 acres.
For November we are going to the North West of Italy, and the Piedmont region of Italy. Within Piedmont there are many famous sub-regions, but we are going to focus on the D.O.C.G. of Barolo. The region takes its name from a small town lying just south west of Alba.
For October we will stay on the east coast but head North to Valpolicella. Here we come across a family that has changed the wine making for an entire region. The Allegrini family has been involved with wine since the 16th century, but their fame stems from loss. the Patriarch of the Family, Giovanni, passed. The siblings Marilisa, Walter, and Franco took the reins.
This month we are heading to the central east coast of Italy, and the up and coming region of Abruzzo. It is here that we have one of the fastest rising wineries in Italy, Masciarelli. The winery was started in 1981 to prove that the montepulciano grapes grown in Abruzzo could produce wine as good as anywhere else in the world.
This month takes us to the far north-east of Italy in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. From here come what are considered the best white wines from Italy and some interesting reds. The main white varietal is Friulano which used to be called Tokai Friulano but the Tokai was dropped so as not to confuse it with the Hungarian wine region of the same name.
For July we are going to travel to Puglia, the heel of the boot. Puglia may not get the recognition of some of the areas to the north, but it makes some of the best quality to value wines in the world. The best-known grape is probably Primitivo with the best examples coming from Manduria.
What is a Prosecco? Well, it used to be a grape and a sparkling wine; now it is an area in the Veneto region of Italy. Confused? Let’s see if we can help. There is a town in the suburbs of Trieste that is called Prosecco. Around this town there is a grape variety called Glera that has been cultivated since Roman times.
For the month of May we have chosen to venture way up north to the Swiss Italian border and the region of Valtellina. Here on the feet of the Rhaetian Alps lies a rugged and mountainous area of terraced vineyards. This is not your typical rolling hill wine region that you see in pictures.
What is the fastest growing segment of the wine industry, sweet red blends, think of all those desert titled labels and a real popular brand that begins with an A. What is the second fastest growing wine segment, premium dry rose wine. Rose wine consumption in the U.S. has been increasing for the past decade.
For the month of March we travel to the Eastern Shore of Lake Garda and the town of Bardolino. Here, just outside of the town Affi, we find Matilde Poggi and Le Fraghe Winery. Prior to Poggi taking over in 1962 all the fruit from the property was sold to other wineries. Today she keeps all of her own fruit and makes her own wines.
For February we have decided to travel north to Piedmont and present the wines of Viberti Giovanni. In the early 1900’s our story begins with the purchase of an inn and farm by Antonio Viberti. At this point the farm and winery were only producing wine for the Trattoria located within the Inn.
Every year in December Wine Spectator magazine comes out with their Top 100 wines that they reviewed for the year. So we decided to showcase some of these in January.
2016 Winery of the Month
For this month I thought we would give a brief explanation of some popular sparkling wine types. There are several methods of making a wine sparkle. Read more to learn about the different methods.
Piedmont lies in the Po River Valley in the north west of Italy. It is home to more DOCG and DOC regions than anywhere else in Italy. One third of the population of Italy live with in Piedmont’s borders. The Piedmont region has produced wine since Roman times, but was not mentioned in writing until the 14th century.
How many of you have traveled through Tuscany and seen the old walled cities? Today we are going to discuss one of these; Castello di Volpaia. The first written record of wine from Volpaia dates back to 1172. In 1250, Volpaia was one of the founding members of the “Lega del Chianti.” The Lega was formed as much for defense as anything else as they were mainly frontline garrison towns in the Florentine-Sienese war.
Our fable begins with a marriage. In 1807 the Marquis of Barolo Tancredi Falletti married Juliette Colbert de Maulevrier. She happened to be of French Noble blood and related to a famous minister of Finance. The couple had no heirs so upon their death the assets were donated to a charitable trust, the Opera Pia Barolo.
Feudi di San Gregorio was started in 1986 by the Capaldo and Ercolino families. In the 27 years that the winery has been in existence it has been at the forefront of the quality revolution in Campania wines.
The current version of Fattoria Lecciaia was created in 1983 when Mauro Pacini bought 38 acres in the prestigious Montalcino region. In 2000 the winery expanded again with the purchase of property in southwestern Tuscany around Grosseto.
In 1936 Gerardo Cesari founded a winery to show that wines from the Veneto could rival the great wines from anywhere in the world. His wines have since become synonymous with Valpolicella and Amarone.
This month we are heading to the central east coast of Italy, and the up and coming region of Abruzzo. It is here that we have one of the fastest rising wineries in Italy, Masciarelli. The winery was started in 1981 by Gianni Masciarelli.
When most people think of fine Italian Wine Sardinia does not jump to the tip of the tongue. Well Sella and Mosca are aiming to change this. With the blend of indigenous grape varieties and a few international ones thrown in they are starting to garner a reputation that extends beyond Sardinia all the way to America
The Antinori Family has a history with wine dating back to 1385. While they have been well known for most of this time they became world renowned only relatively recently. In 1900 they purchased several estates around Tuscany, one of which, Tignanello, was to become maybe the best known Italian wine.
Every year Wine Spectator Magazine picks what they believe to be the 100 most exciting wines of the year. The list comes out around the end of November. We decided for January we would also feature some wines that were on the Top 100 list for 2015 that we offer at The Italian Market
2015 Winery of the Month
In the far north east corner of Italy lies the intriguing wine region of Alto Adige. You may also see it called by its German name, South Tyrol. Alto Adige looks and feels like a part of Bavaria and the movie Heidi comes to mind. This region has an interesting history.
Brunello di Montalcino may be the most famous and prestigious of all Italian wines. The wine comes from a region inside of Tuscany about 20 miles south of Sienna. It is made from 100% Sangiovese
Tommasi Viticoltori is a family viticulture company founded with a small vineyard in 1902. Today the company has expanded to 334 acres in Verona and 222 acres in Maremma. It remains a family endeavor as 6 members of the fourth generation run the company.
The name Donnafugata translates to “woman in flight” and has an interesting story behind it. In the early 1800’s when Napoleon was arriving in Naples the Queen Maria Carolina fled to Sicily. She stayed with the Prince of Salina at his country manor. This estate was then given the Name Donnafugata in Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel Il Gattopardo.
In 1967 the Contato family started a winery with 12 hectares of land near Lake Garda in the heart of the Lugana DOC. This region has been producing wines since Roman times. As a matter of fact the remains of fabulous roman villa have been found and are believed to be the residence of Catullus, a famous roman poet,
Masi Agricola is named after the valley and town in the southwest corner of the Veneto Region. The Boscaini family has owned and operated this winery since the late 1700’s. Here they started to master the ancient art of Appasimento, or the process of air-drying grapes to make Amarone.
Umberto Cesari has always had fine wine in his blood. His father ran one of the most successful Osteria’s in Bologna. Instead of following in his fathers footsteps and selling great wine he decided that he would like to make great wine. So in the early 60’s he followed his dream and bought a 20 hectare vineyard in the hills of Castel San Pietro Terme.
In the mid 19th century Luca Ferraris’s grandfather immigrated to America to strike it rich in the gold rush. While he didn’t strike it rich he was able to find some gold and sent the money back to his wife. In 1921 she bought the house in Via al Castello which, until recently, housed the Ferraris Winery.
Schreckbichl Colterenzio is located in the town of Cornaiano, which derives its name from the Latin cornelianum or the estate of Cornelius. Cornelius was a Roman settler who started a wine property here in 15 B.C.E.. In 1960, when 28 vintners got together to form a collective, Colterenzio was born.
The Villa Calcinaia has been home to the Cappone family since 1524. Today Sebastiano Cappone maintains the estate as the first member of the Family to personally oversee the agricultural pursuits of the Villa. Prior to this the vineyards and olive groves were part of the mezzadria and share cropping systems that characterized Tuscany until the late 70’s. Because of his management there has been an appreciable increase in quality