Monday, September 20, 2021

Wines of Ischia




 


The Casa D’Ambra vineyard and production complex sits in a natural amphitheatre overlooking the bay of Citara in Forio d’Ischia. 

Renowned as one of the foremost wine producers in Ischia, with awards and DOC ratings for their bottles, Casa D’Ambra is one of the first names on the lips when it comes to the history and art of wine production in Ischia.

Ischia Review were lucky enough to be invited along to Casa D’Ambra to witness at first-hand, exactly what a visitor to their cantina and vineyards can expect. As we were welcomed by the sisters, Marina and Sara D’Ambra, the family traditions of Casa D’Ambra are immediately apparent. It was back in 1888 that the sisters’ great grandfather, Francesco D’Ambra, first started producing wine in Ischia and the business has stayed in the family ever since, with generation after generation taking over the reins of the business when it was passed down to them.

The most recent recipient of the baton was Mario D’Ambra who took control of operations in 2000 and has been carefully nurturing the business through its development into a prolific producer of high-quality wines in the modern era.

It is immediately obvious that Mario D’Ambra carries the passion started by his great grandfather, when hearing his daughters Marina and Sara enthuse about the wines and their production. The young sisters are keen students of wine and the wine industry with their depth of knowledge and ability to answer any questions fired at them very impressive.

Our tour of Casa D’Ambra began in the museum where Marina and Sara explained the early days of Casa D’Ambra with the aid of some fascinating exhibits. Situated on the first floor of the main building of the complex, the museum charts the history of the family business, right back to its roots in 1888. Monica explains how her great great grandfather,”Don Ciccio” (Francesco D’Ambra), cleverly manipulated the local laws to ensure he became the leading of exporter of wine from Ischia to the mainland in Naples.

The photographic montage on the museum’s walls is a fascinating passage through time, not only of Ischia during its pre-tourism days, but also of the wine-making industry in general. Photos of ships being loaded with barrels of wine in Ischia Porto show the island in a very different light to how it is today and it’s interesting to think that the place where you now arrive on your ferry was once used mainly used for trade with the mainland.

The great thing about the museum is that it shows some of the tools that were first used to create the Casa D’Ambra wine. The wide variety of implements serve to emphasise the care and precision with which the wine has been produced over the years. The exhibits also show how wine production has slowly evolved over the years with items shown from every period of the company’s existence. 

Possibly the most eye-catching of the exhibits on display, is the papier-mache mini recreation of Ischia’s streets and houses from the days when the company was born in 1888. The attention to detail of these scenes is incredible and echoes those found in the streets of Naples where it is considered an art-form. The “mini Ischia” contains many sights that still exist in Ischia today such as the unmistakable Chiesa del Soccorso in Forio.

After spending time in the museum, the tour then moves on to the larger building which houses the machinery and equipment used to facilitate the production of the wines, such as the huge vats and barrels in which the wines are stored at various stages.  It is within this building that you can really understand what a sophisticated operation exists at Casa D’Ambra as you follow the journey from grape to bottle. From the vinification in stainless steel tanks, red wine ageing in wooden barrels, bottling, packaging and then distribution, it’s fascinating to witness at first hand the complex process that has to occur in order to create these high-quality wines.

Casa D’Ambra sources grapes from around 150 carefully selected vineyards around Ischia and with their clever machinery they are able to produce a staggering number of bottles per year. For example, the bottling machines which you can watch in operation as part of the tour, bottles, labels and seals 3,000 bottles per hour, helping the company to produce around half a million bottles annually. The staff are all on hand to answer questions or to show you in more detail how they go about their various tasks, from the machine-operators through to the packaging and distribution team.

One of the most memorable parts of our day at Casa D’Ambra was the trip to the family’s Frassitelli vineyards, high up on the slopes of Mount Epomeo. As the car winds its way up around the twisting roads in Serrara Fontana, the scenery outside becomes more dramatic and breathtaking at every turn. However, despite witnessing the gradual change in scenery during the 15 minute journey, nothing quite prepares you for the awe-inspiring vista that you are presented with on arrival at the Frassitelli vineyard. Situated at around 800 metres above sea-level, the vineyard is one of the highest peaks in Ischia and it is due to this fact that the views are difficult to match anywhere on the island. The panoramic views of the north-western part of the island take in Forio, The Bay of Citara and Sant’Angelo, but also the islands that neighbour Ischia such as VentoteneProcida and Capri

Of course, this area was not chosen for its views but for the impact that the high altitude has on the wine production. The height, type of soil and particularly the tufa stone that can be found around Ischia and Mount Epomeo in particular, combine to create the perfect growing conditions for the D’Ambra wines. The peace and tranquility is palpable at the Frassitelli vineyard but the area can also be used to stage parties or romantic meals. Next to the vineyard and carved out of stone,  sits a small house with a kitchen and lounge which is used to create local specialities such as coniglio Ischitano which can be enjoyed along with carefully selected wines.

The meals are served in an outdoor seating area where groups are entertained with guitar music, food and great conversation while enjoying the range of wines that the D’Ambra sisters carefully select for you to perfectly complement your chosen meal. Just a short walk along from the main seating area, the most romantic location imaginable awaits couples who have chosen the “Wine in Love” tour. As the sun sets over Ischia, the couple can enjoy the area to themselves with an intimate table and chairs made of the tufa stone, carved out to create a promontory from which to enjoy the spectacular views. A personalised waiter brings out the home-cooked Ischian specialities as you are left to dine alone in peace while enjoying the Casa D’Ambra wines.

The “Wine in Love” experience has to be booked in advance, with prices on application, but part of the regular visit to Casa D’Ambra incorporates the best part of all, the wine-tasting! The tastings take place in the same building as the museum, in a room filled with beautiful antique furniture. Sara and Monica serve the wines and explain how best to enjoy them with different foods or at different stages of a meal. The antique room is also a reminder to the D’Ambra heritage as photographs of famous visitors from years gone by can be seen in various volumes that you are allowed to peruse. Whilst trying the different wines you are given specially chosen cheese or salami which is designed to perfectly complement the various bottles. 
















Trattoria Pandomonio Chianti Steak Brunello

 




FONTODI CHIANTI

2018





CONCA d'ORO

PANZANO


Nestled below the hilltop town of Panzano is a “golden basin” known as the conca d’oro, an amphitheater-shaped ring of vineyards that produce some of Tuscany’s most celebrated wines. Since 1968, the Fontodi estate has been the most prominent producer in the region. Fontodi and the master butcher, Dario Cecchini (whose shop is just up the hill), have given the hilltown of Panzano an international reputation.  









Daniel Bellino Zwicke


I first tasted the Fontodi Chianti 20018 on September 2018. I remember the date easily as it was just last week, and I remember it was on a Monday, and the sad 20 Year Anniversary of 9/11 and the attack of The World Reade Center Twin Towers on Tuesday September 11th, 2000. 

I was at the bar at Monte's Trattoria in Greenwich Village when I first tasted this wine. Now I want to point out as your average person soesn't think of these things, that when it comes to wine, vintages are different, and no vintage of any given named wine ever taste exactly the same. They may sometimes one vintage may taste similar to another, but never exactly the same. So when I said this was the first time that I tasted the 2018 Fontodi Chianti, one might think it was the first time I ever drank it. No, no, no. I first drank Fontodi Chianti Chianti curiously enough, in 1997 at the Fontodi Estate in Panzano, with none other than Mr. Giovanni Manetti, one of the family members who own  the Fontodi Estate, and wines. This was in my early years and second stage of really delving into Italian Wine in a major way. My friend Fianfranco had set up the tasting, so it was way back in 1997 that I first tasted the famed Super Tuscan wine Flacinella produced by the Manetti Family in Panzano at Fontodi, along with their Chianti, and Reserve Chianti "Vigna del Sorbo" as well as their Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Vin Santo wines. Giovanni is a wonderful host, and treated us well, and over the yearsm I gave attended numerous luncheons, wine tastings, and Wine Dinners with the man.

Now back to the current vintage. So, I first started drinking the Chainti, Flacinella, and Vin Santo of the Fontodi Estate, and I've have drunk most every vintage of these wines since then, and have had many good times drinking these wonderful wines, usually occopanied by some tasty Italian food.

So it was on this day in 2021 that I first tasted this wonderful wine, the Fontodi Chianti 2018, and what a day it was. I poured the wine into the glass, gave it a little sniff, then took my first taste. Wow! It blew my mind. The wine was spectacular. It tasted oh so good, and I took another sip. Wow. I noticed the wine to be fully flavored, with what I call perfect balance of the fruit, with wonderful flavors of sour cherry and black fruits that filled my mouth and gave me a most wonderful feeling. The wine was simply great, and I was enjoyng it immensly as I had recalled another Fonodi wine a couple years before that was one of those special wines, like this wine, I wine that I go bonkers for, and just cant't get it out of my mind. That other Fontodi wine I'm speaking of was the 2010 vintage of Fontodi's famed Super Tuscan wine Flacinello, another wine I went simply bonkers for, and remember it to this very day. There are other wines that have givien ne the same reaction, especially any nunber of Barolo's and Barbaresco from the 1996 vintage of thise wine, the 1996 being my favorite vinatge all time for these wines, and that includes the much lauded 2000, 2001, and 1997 vintage, I like the 1996 vintage Barolo the best, Anyway, lets get back to the Fontodi Chianti and the 2018 at that.

When I describe a wine, I don't like to go crazy with too much descriptions, going on and on, if you know what I mean. If I say I love it, and that the wine is in perfect balance, of having some nice fruit, the right weight, and just the right amount of acid and tannins in the wines make-up, then I don't need to say a whole lot more, other than 1 to 3 prominent taste (flavors) of the wine. That's it. Basta!

So in closing, I think you already know I love this wine. I feel it is a great wine, and perfectly balanced, and thouhg I might want to tell friends about it, and talk on it a bit, the main thing I want to do is drink it.











Giovanni Manetti

FONTODI

PANZANO




In the Spring of 1997 I had a most wonderful time at the Villa Calcinaia in Greve, Italy. The wine estate is owned by the Noble Florentien Family the Capponi's of Florence Italy and Greve who have been making wine for some 600 years now. My friend Hilda who was a friend of the two young Italian Counts Niccola and Sebastiano Conti Capponi. We met Hilda at her shop in Flroence and then walked a couple blocks to the Capponi Family Palazzo just about 100 feet from The Onte Vecchio (bridge) on the Arno River in Fierenze. Niccola came out and we were introduced. We chatted a few minutes, then Moran hopped in Niccola's Fiat Panda and headed to the Villa Calcinaia estate in Greve. It's just about 17 miles south of FLorence and we arrived about 40 minutes later. Niccola's brother, Conti Sebastiano Capponi met us outside the castle. A few minutes later we went inside, and walked into the 500 kitchen, where the cook was there preparing our meal on a open-hearth fire. A few minutes later Niccolabegan our tour of the castle and cellars below. He lead us down a stone hallway and announced "I will now take you to our 300 year old Mother." What, I thought. 

Niccoloa lead us into a room and said, "Here is our Mother. She is 300 years old." He explained that the mother was the starter to make Chianti Vinegar from wine. The mother must be kept alive, and this one was 300 years old. "Wow!"  Afterseeing the mother, Niccola took us to another special room, were Trebbiano grapes were hanging and drying in order to make the Tuscan Elixir known as Vin Santo. Niccola explained the process which wasthe first time I learnt of how Vin Santo was made, and from an Italian Count no less. Niccola then took us into one of the barrel rooms, where there were many large Slovenian Oak Botte, filled with Chiant. Niccola pulled out a theif and removed some of the aging Chianti with it, and filled our glasses with some of the wine. Wow, I loved it, my first ever barrel sample. "I loved it."

After talking about their process of making Chianti, and other tidbits of info, Niccola lead us outside to look at some of the vineyards and vegetable and herb garden. It was a beautiful Summer's day in Chianti Classico, in Tuscan, and here I was being given a personal wine tour by two of the Conti Capponi at their beautiful wine estate Villa Calcinaia in Greve, and we were about to have lunch inside the castle with the two counts. This was awesome.


Sebastiano lead us to the dining room. It was lovely. I really liked the country elgance of it. We settled in, as Sbeasiano poured us some wine. It was Villa Calcinaia Chianti of course. It was the 1995, and it was quite nice. We also drank some of 1993 vintage as well. The cook brough in platters of Salumi and Pecorino Toscano, both made in house on the property. I dug in, and savored every bite of the tasty cheese and salami. I really loved the wine. The second course was a simple, yet tasty plate of Macccheroni Pomodoro.For the main course, we had Roast Wild Boar that we saw the cook preparing previously in the kitchen when we entered the castle. We finished the meal with the wonderful Vin Santo of Villa Calcinaia with some homemade biscotti as Sebastiano and Niccola continued talking about the wine and the history of Villa Calcinaia, while my business partner Tom and I told them of the Venetian Wine Bar (Bacaro), Bar Cichetti that we were opening in New York. 

Our time with the Conti Capponi could not have been better. The counts we wonderful host, showing us around and especially to treat us to such a memeroable lunch. It was truly spectacular. "Grazie Mille."

We left Villa Calcinaia and turned right and south toward Panzano. We were on the Chiantiagana Road which runs the entire length of the Chianti Classico region, from north to south. The road is an ancient old Roman Road, and is quite beautiful. It was a shor 15 minute ride to the Fontodi Wine Estate in Panzano. We pulled in and were greeted by Mr. Giovanni Manetti, one of the owners of Fontodi. Fontodi is one of the top wine estates in the area, producing fine Chianti, Vin Santo, and their famous 100% Sangiovese Super Tuscan wine Flacinello. Giovanno showed us around the estate, then brought us to the tasting room were he tasted us on the full line-up of Fontodi Wines. He told us about all the wine as we tasted each, and he gave us a breif history of the estate.We finished up and jumped in our car to head back to Florence. 

The day was absolutely wonderful, visiting Villa Calcinaia, having lunch with the Counts of Capponi, and spending some nice time tasting Fontodi wines with Giovanni. We went back to our hotels to rest. If the day wasn't already wonderful enough, that night we had one of the most wonderfully memorable meals of my entire life. I was staying at a modest hotel, while Tom and Moran were staying at The Grand Hotel just off the Arno near the Ponte Vecchio. After taking a little nap and a shower I went over to The Grand to meet-up with the guys for dinner.  I waited in the lobby and Tome came down. Moran arrived a few minutes later. We had a coupke Campari's in the beautiful lobby of the hotel, which is one of the most stunning hotels I've ever been in in my life. And I've been in some of the World's most luxurious hotels all around the World. The Grand of Florence, Italy may very well have them all beat, as far as beauty is concerned. 

We enjoyed our coctails until our taxi arrived, then jump in and made our way to the restaurant. The Concierge at The GRand reccomended it to Tom. The restaurant is called Pandomonio, and the dinner that dinght might vert well be the most wonderful and enjoyable of my life. It is a wonderful trattoria, run by a lady that everyone calls "Mamma," and she runs the restauarant with the help of her sister-in-law in the dining-room and her son in the kitchen.

We had some Crostini Toscana (Chicken Liver), Artichokes, and varous Salumi, and cheese for our antipasto. For the main course, we ordered a beautiful Bisteca Fiorentina for the three of us, and a bottle of Bioni Sante Brunello 1993. Mamma rolled over a cart with the wine and 4 wine glasses. She open the wine, and pour Brunello into our three glasses. She smiled and said, "some for Mamma," and pour a little Brunello for herself. We all laughed and smiled, clicked our glasses together with Mamma and said. "Cento Anni," meaning, may you live 100 years. Our meal was most enjoyable. Tom, Moran, and I really enjoyed the wine, antipasti, and the delcious T-Bone Steak, but even more chit chatting, Mamma and her interactions with us, and the whole feel of the room.

After we were done eating and there were just about 8 or 10 people left in the place, Mamma pushed all the tables together so everyone left in the trattoria were all sitting together. And so we all continued drinking, chatting and making merry for another hour and a half before leaving the restaurant, kissing Mamma good night, and we headed back to our hotels. "Wow! What a day," and still I must say oen of the best days of my life and one I shall never foregt.

A little foot note. I had such a great time at Pandomonio that night, I was able to return a couple more times, for more wonderful meals, and hanging out with Mamma. And I have sent some friends and family to Pandomonio over the years, and everyone I have ever told to go there, and they went, every single person has told me that their meal at Pandomonio was the best and most fun of their entire trip. Now that's saying something. "Bravo to Mamma!"

Basta.




Daniel Bellino Zwicke

September 







POSITANO The AMALFI COAST

TRAVEL GUIDE & COOKBOOK

AMAZON.com






"MAMMA GIOVANNA"

GO SEE MAMMA at PANDOMONIO

FLORENCE ITALY









Sunday, December 1, 2019

Movie Wine Pairing with Champagne Mumms

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 4.00.24 PM


Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts (L)

The POPE of GREENWICH VILLAGE



How to watch a movie? You go to the cinema or pop something on at home, no? Yes that one way. You can watch a movie and maybe it's good and maybe it's not. You got to a movie theater? Well not so much today, with Netflix, Cable TV, streaming, or picking out a Video (yes some still have them), or DVD from your home collection. Nowadays there are many ways to see a movie. There's the old fashion way of going to the cinema, paying money and seeing the latest movie of your choice. That was fun, and it was an event, a night out, and much more affordable than today. "Isn't everything?" Well yeah, most things are a lot more expensive than they were in years past, and somethings not. Candy bars for example are about 20 times more than they were when I was a kid. WHen I first started buying candy bars (Hershey Bar etc.) they were only 5 Cents. And guess what? They were only 5 Cents when my father was a boy, 30 years before. In 30 years, the price of a candy bar (all candy) hadn't gone up at all. When I first started buying Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Bars, Almond Joys and such, they where just 5 cents, a Nickel a piece. Then they started going up, a nickel at a time, until they got to the point they are now, between 1 Dollar and a Buck 25 depending on where you buy one. That's as muc as 25 times increase since I was a boy. The average workers weekly income has gone up only 2 1/2 to 3 times since then, yet a Hershey Bar has gone up 20 times or more. A home has gone up close to 20 times as well, yet the price of long distance phone calls have decreased 20 times. What's a person to do. The price of a movie ticket? Yes it's gone up about 25 times since I started paying for my own movie ticket 50 years gone buy at the Rivoli Theater in Rutherford, New Jersey when it was just .75 for for a "Double Feature," two movies with Cartoons in between. No more Double Features, no more cartoons, doesn't exist. And boy did I Love, and did I have oh so much fun and fantasy, seeing all those great movies as a boy, back in 1960s America, it was just great, it was a "Wonderland," the movies and movie houses of your.

Well, again, I've gone way off the track again. Weren't we talking about how to watch a movie? Yep. Now watching a movie in your normal way, and watching a movie with my winemaker cousin Joseph Macari Jr. of the North Fork of Long Island, New York is a whole other story. First off, you're got to have a great movie. A movie with great actors and a great director always helps. When Joe and I would be watching movies, most of them would tend to be what you'd call guy films, such as Mob Movies made by the likes of Italian-American Directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Movies like the Godfather I and II, Goodfellas, Casino, and Raging Bull.  The Pope of Greenwich Village by Vincent Partrick, and starring Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts is one of our all-time favorites, as is State of Greace about the Irish Mafia of Hell's Kitchen , New York, and which Gary Oldman turned in one hell of an incredible performance, playing Irish Mob Boss (Ed Harris) crazy brother, Irish Mob Soldier.

So we'd pick a movie, get it ready, then Joe would go down into his wine cellar and grab an amazing bottle of Champagne. And I'm not talking about  Vueve Cliquot (Orange Label) or MOET - White Star, I'm talking some really serious Champagne, "The Best of The Best." Joe came back that night with a bottle of BILLECART - SALMON Rose. "Wow!" Well I never had this Champagne before, I'd never even heard of it. Joe popped the cork and poured me a glass. We toasted, and then I took my first sip. Again, "Wow," It was absolutely amazing. And I was in love. Yes I do love that Champagne, Billecart - Salmon Rose. It is so very delicious, and some have said, the Brut Rose Champagne produced by the Champagne House of Billecart - Salmon is a reference point as to how a great French Rose Champagne should taste, and that's absolutely marvelous. And it should "Blow Your Mind" so to speak as that wine did for my that night, way back in the Fall of the year 2000. Yes Billecart Rose, as we call it, has to be my number 1 al-time favorite of all the great CHampagnes of France. And I've had many great champagnes, and ones that are far more expensive, and some might think better, than the Rose of Billecart Salmon, but not me. It was that special night, hanging out with my cousin Joe, watching Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts in The Pope of Greenwich Village, enjoying the film, laughing, talking about it, and savoring that fine Champagne. 




Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 7.37.34 PM.png

Billecart - Salmon

Brut Rose


  The champagnes of Maison Billecart-Salmon are above all created thanks to the knowledge of the men who rigorously cultivate an estate of 100 hectares, obtaining grapes from an area totaling 300 hectares across 40 crus of the Champagne region.
   The majority of the grapes used for vinification come from a radius of 20km around Epernay, where the Grand Crus of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay co-exist, in the ethereal vineyards of the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs.
  Yes, we do love our Champagne, we're music lover, gourmands, and film buffs, and we combine these interests into some very sepcial times. Over the years we watched Man on Fire with Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, The Silence of The Lambs and other great movies. And we drank wines like Solaia, Tiganello, Taittinger's Comtes di Champagne and other great wines, and vintage Champagne. Our, and by the way, I haven't completely set the scene. When Joe and I watched these movies and drank Champagne, it was after the whole family, after a long day at Macari Vineyards, we'd all have a nice dinner together. We cooked, ate, chatted, and drank some nice wine with dinner. Then, as everyone was quite tired and would retire to bed, Joe and I would get our movie, an awesome bottle of Champagne, and we'd dig in. Dig into a classic film and some Vintage Champagne.
"Now that my friends, is How You Watch a Movie. Wouldn't you agree?"


  Basta !





Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 4.26.17 PM


Me and Cousin Joe

Drinking Prosecco in VENICE



.
Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.04.49 PM.png



James Caan, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and John Cazale
As The CORELONE FAMILY

Sonny, Don Vito, Michael, and Freddo
In FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S The GODFATHER

"Joe and I drank "MILLE Una NOTTE" from our friends The RALLO FAMILY of DONNAFUGATA , Marsala, SICILY when we watched this one. We had to, great Sicilian Wine and a Sicilian Family, The CORLEONES of Corleone, Sicilia ...



Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.11.26 PM.png

Gary Oldman

STATE of GRACE



Wine Pairing ?

IRISH WHISKEY of Course !

TULLAMORE DEW



Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.15.34 PM.png


PULP FICTION

Our Wine Pairing ?

RUINART BLANC di BLANC




Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.17.23 PM.png



RUINART

BLANC de BLANCS


Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) would approve of the Champagne selection, "I'm sure."
For me, Pulp Fiction was an absolute Masterpiece, and easily director Quentin Tarrantino's greatest film. I really liked Tarrantino's first film Resevoir Dogs, but not nearly as much as Pulp Fiction, which is in my Top 10 Films. 

John Travolta, Ving Raimes, Eric Stolz, Harvey Keitel, and Samuel L. Jackson were awesome in the film, as was Uma.

The screenplay by Tarrantio and Roger Avery was the base of this great film. I'm still waiting for tarrantino to make at least one more great film, but just for this masterpiece alone, for me he's a genius. And I love another screenplay that Tarrantino wrote, but didn't direct the movie. And that would be the movie True Romance, directed by the late great Tony Scott (RIP).



Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.21.32 PM.png


Robert DeNiro as JAKE LaMOTTA

In Martin Scorsese 's RAGING BULL



Wine Pairing ?



Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.23.52 PM





KRUG

Grande Cuvee

Raging Bull, another great film classic from director Martin Scorsese. 

KRUG Grande Cuvee, what can you say, "This Champagne is Amazing!" 

It's KRUG after all?




Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.44.31 PM.png


Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper

TONY SCOTT'S "TRUE ROMANCE"

As Vincenzo Cocotti and Cliff Worley

WINE PAIRING for TRUE ROMANCE ?

POL ROGER "SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL"


Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.49.45 PM


POL ROGER - SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL


"Dam I Love this Champagne!" What's not to Love? Pol Roger- Sir Winston Churchill is one of the Best Champagne's money can buy, "you just can't get any better." Full of those yeasty bready Brioche flavors that I love in fine Vintage Champagne. And the movie True Romance, what can I say? Dam, I just flipped for this film the first time I saw it. And seeing this movie and Christian Slater's awesome performance as Clarence Worly, just blew my mind, and I finally gained respect for Christian's acting abilities. I've know Christian since he was about 10 years old, and his mother, powerhouse Casting Director Mary Jo Slater used to bring him to a restaurant I worked in long ago (the 1980s).

This film was awesome from beginning to end, and is one of Quentin Tarrantino's greatest works. he wrote the screenplay, but didn't make the movie, which was directed by Tony Scott. The movie is filled with one awesome ensemble cast which includes: the stars Slater and Patricia Arquette (ALabama), along with cameos by Dennis Hopper (Slater's father), Christopher Walkin as Mob Boss Vincenzo Cocotti, Brad Pitt as Michael Rappaport's "Stoner Friend," Val Kilmer plays ELVIS PRESLEY, Gary Oldman is aboslutely Electrifying as wannabe Rastafarian Drug Dealer / Pimp called Drexl.

Anyway, I love the movie, and was oh so happy to turn Joe on to it. He had never seen it before, and he abolutely loved it. We had a great time watching it together, and The Sir Winston Chruchill Champagne did not hurt at all. "It was incredible!"
to be Continued .... 

I will add to my reviews of both the Movies, Actors, and Champagne's at a later date. Hope you all enjoy this for now. So until the next great movie, and the next great French Champagne. As Arnold would say, "Hasta la Vista Baby!"







SUNDAY SAUCE

WHEN ITALIAN-AMERICANS COOK

GREAT RECIPES For MOVIES

The GODFATHER

GOODFELLAS

The IRISHMAN

STATE of GRACE




.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Champagne Watch a Movie Goodfellas

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 4.00.24 PM

Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts (L)

The POPE of GREENWICH VILLAGE

How to watch a movie? You go to the cinema or pop something on at home, no? Yes that one way. You can watch a movie and maybe it's good and maybe it's not. You got to a movie theater? Well not so much today, with Netflix, Cable TV, streaming, or picking out a Video (yes some still have them), or DVD from your home collection. Nowadays there are many ways to see a movie. There's the old fashion way of going to the cinema, paying money and seeing the latest movie of your choice. That was fun, and it was an event, a night out, and much more affordable than today. "Isn't everything?" Well yeah, most things are a lot more expensive than they were in years past, and somethings not. Candy bars for example are about 20 times more than they were when I was a kid. WHen I first started buying candy bars (Hershey Bar etc.) they were only 5 Cents. And guess what? They were only 5 Cents when my father was a boy, 30 years before. In 30 years, the price of a candy bar (all candy) hadn't gone up at all. When I first started buying Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Bars, Almond Joys and such, they where just 5 cents, a Nickel a piece. Then they started going up, a nickel at a time, until they got to the point they are now, between 1 Dollar and a Buck 25 depending on where you buy one. That's as muc as 25 times increase since I was a boy. The average workers weekly income has gone up only 2 1/2 to 3 times since then, yet a Hershey Bar has gone up 20 times or more. A home has gone up close to 20 times as well, yet the price of long distance phone calls have decreased 20 times. What's a person to do. The price of a movie ticket? Yes it's gone up about 25 times since I started paying for my own movie ticket 50 years gone buy at the Rivoli Theater in Rutherford, New Jersey when it was just .75 for for a "Double Feature," two movies with Cartoons in between. No more Double Features, no more cartoons, doesn't exist. And boy did I Love, and did I have oh so much fun and fantasy, seeing all those great movies as a boy, back in 1960s America, it was just great, it was a "Wonderland," the movies and movie houses of yor.

Well, again, I've gone way off the track again. Were'nt we talking about how to watch a movie? Yep. Now watching a movie in your normal way, and watching a movie with my winemaker cousin Joseph Macari Jr. of the North Fork of Long Island, New York is a whole other story. First off, you're got to have a great movie. A movie with great actors and a great director always helps. When Joe and I would be watching movies, most of them would tend to be what you'd call guy films, such as Mob Movies made by the likes of Italian-American Directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Movies like the Godfather I and II, Goodfellas, Casino, and Raging Bull.  The Pope of Greenwich Village by Vincent Partrick, and starring Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts is one of our all-time favorites, as is State of Greace about the Irish Mafia of Hell's Kitchen , New York, and which Gary Oldman turned in one hell of an incredible performance, playing Irish Mob Boss (Ed Harris) crazy brother, Irish Mob Soldier.

So we'd pick a movie, get it ready, then Joe would go down into his wine cellar and grab an amazing bottle of Champagne. And I'm not talking about  Vueve Cliquot (Orange Label) or MOET - White Star, I'm talking some really serious Champagne, "The Best of The Best." Joe came back that night with a bottle of BILLECART - SALMON Rose. "Wow!" Well I never had this Champagne before, I'd never even heard of it. Joe popped the cork and poured me a glass. We toasted, and then I took my first sip. Again, "Wow," It was absolutely amazing. And I was in love. Yes I do love that Champagne, Billecart - Salmon Rose. It is so very delicious, and some have said, the Brut Rose Champagne produced by the Champagne House of Billecart - Salmon is a reference point as to how a great French Rose Champagne should taste, and that's absolutely marvelous. And it should "Blow Your Mind" so to speak as that wine did for my that night, way back in the Fall of the year 2000. Yes Billecart Rose, as we call it, has to be my number 1 al-time favorite of all the great CHampagnes of France. And I've had many great champagnes, and ones that are far more expensive, and some might think better, than the Rose of Billecart Salmon, but not me. It was that special night, hanging out with my cousin Joe, watching Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts in The Pope of Greenwich Village, enjoying the film, laughing, talking about it, and savoring that fine Champagne. 

   

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 7.37.34 PM.png

Billecart - Salmon

Brut Rose

The champagnes of Maison Billecart-Salmon are above all created thanks to the knowledge of the men who rigorously cultivate an estate of 100 hectares, obtaining grapes from an area totaling 300 hectares across 40 crus of the Champagne region.

The majority of the grapes used for vinification come from a radius of 20km around Epernay, where the Grand Crus of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay co-exist, in the ethereal vineyards of the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs.

Yes, we do love our Champagne, we're music lover, gourmands, and film buffs, and we combine these interests into some very sepcial times. Over the years we watched Man on Fire with Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, The Silence of The Lambs and other great movies. And we drank wines like Solaia, Tiganello, Taittinger's Comtes di Champagne and other great wines, and vintage Champagne. Our, and by the way, I haven't completely set the scene. When Joe and I watched these movies and drank Champagne, it was after the whole family, after a long day at Macari Vineyards, we'd all have a nice dinner together. We cooked, ate, chatted, and drank some nice wine with dinner. Then, as everyone was quite tired and would retire to bed, Joe and I would get our movie, an awesome bottle of Champagne, and we'd dig in. Dig into a classic film and some Vintage Champagne.

"Now that my friends, is How You Watch a Movie. Wouldn't you agree?" Basta !  

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 4.26.17 PM

Me & Cousin Joe

Drinking Prosecco in VENICE

 

.

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.04.49 PM.png

James Caan, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and John Cazale

As The CORELONE FAMILY

Sonny, Don Vito, Michael, and Freddo

In FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S The GODFATHER

"Joe and I drank "MILLE Una NOTTE" from our friends The RALLO FAMILY of DONNAFUGATA , Marsala, SICILY when we watched this one. We had to, great Sicilian Wine and a Sicilian Family, The CORLEONES of Corleone, Sicilia ...

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.11.26 PM.png

Gary Oldman

STATE of GRACE

Wine Pairing ?

IRISH WHISKEY of Course !

TULLAMORE DEW

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.15.34 PM.png

PULP FICTION

Our Wine Pairing ?

RUINART BLANC di BLANC

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.17.23 PM.png

RUINART

BLANC de BLANCS

Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) would approve of the Champagne selection, "I'm sure."

For me, Pulp Fiction was an absolute Masterpiece, and easily director Quentin Tarrantino's greatest film. I really liked Tarrantino's first film Resevoir Dogs, but not nearly as much as Pulp Fiction, which is in my Top 10 Films. 

John Travolta, Ving Raimes, Eric Stolz, Harvey Keitel, and Samuel L. Jackson were awesome in the film, as was Uma.

The screenplay by Tarrantio and Roger Avery was the base of this great film. I'm still waiting for tarrantino to make at least one more great film, but just for this masterpiece alone, for me he's a genius. And I love another screenplay that Tarrantino wrote, but didn't direct the movie. And that would be the movie True Romance, directed by the late great Tony Scott (RIP).

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.21.32 PM.png

Robert DeNiro as JAKE LaMOTTA

In Martin Scorsese 's RAGING BULL

Wine Pairing ?

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.23.52 PM

KRUG

Grande Cuvee

Raging Bull, another great film classic from director Martin Scorsese. KRUG Grande Cuvee, what can you say, "This Champagne is Amazing!" It's KRUG after all?

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.44.31 PM.png

Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper

TONY SCOTT'S "TRUE ROMANCE"

As Vincenzo Cocotti and Cliff Worley

WINE PAIRING for TRUE ROMANCE ?

POL ROGER "SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL"

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 8.49.45 PM

POL ROGER - SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

 

"Dam I Love this Champagne!" What's not to Love? Pol Roger- Sir Winston Churchill is one of the Best Champagne's money can buy, "you just can't get any better." Full of those yeasty bready Brioche flavors that I love in fine Vintage Champagne. And the movie True Romance, what can I say? Dam, I just flipped for this film the first time I saw it. And seeing this movie and Christian Slater's awesome performance as Clarence Worly, just blew my mind, and I finally gained respect for Christian's acting abilities. I've know Christian since he was about 10 years old, and his mother, powerhouse Casting Director Mary Jo Slater used to bring him to a restaurant I worked in long ago (the 1980s).

This film was awesome from beginning to end, and is one of Quentin Tarrantino's greatest works. he wrote the screenplay, but didn't make the movie, which was directed by Tony Scott. The movie is filled with one awesome ensemble cast which includes: the stars Slater and Patricia Arquette (ALabama), along with cameos by Dennis Hopper (Slater's father), Christopher Walkin as Mob Boss Vincenzo Cocotti, Brad Pitt as Michael Rappaport's "Stoner Friend," Val Kilmer plays ELVIS PRESLEY, Gary Oldman is aboslutely Electrifying as wannabe Rastafarian Drug Dealer / Pimp called Drexl.

Anyway, I love the movie, and was oh so happy to turn Joe on to it. He had never seen it before, and he abolutely loved it. We had a great time watching it together, and The Sir Winston Chruchill Champagne did not hurt at all. "It was incredible!"

to be Continued .... 

I will add to my reviews of both the Movies, Actors, and Champagne's at a later date. Hope you all enjoy this for now. So until the next great movie, and the next great French Champagne. As Arnold would say, "Hasta la Vista Baby!"

Friday, June 14, 2019

Some Yummy Italian Wine FLACCIANELLO 2010 LOVE IT



The Vigna della Piave Vineyard

In The CONCA d'ORO

FONTODI ESTATE


PANZANO , ITALY



"Oh My God" is what I sputtered after taking a taste of some Flaccianello the other night. OMG as the kids say, and it was just the natural reaction of tasting one of the tastiest wines I've ever tasted in my life, and I've tasted quite a lot: many great Barolo's of all the best vintages, Brunello, Barbaresco, Amarone, Champagne, Burgundy's, and all the great Bordeaux 's. The Flaccianello 2010 I drank the other night at Trattoria Monte's in Greenwich Village was absolutely spectacular, it was a perfect wine, and I don't often through that phrase out there other than a couple times a year, after drinking hundreds of wines a year, each and every year for the past 25 years or so, this was one of the best, and I'm sure one I'll long remember.

There have been other wines like this, one that stick out in my mind and will always remember, while thousands of others I don't. Yes I'll long remember that I drank that Flaccianello 2010 that night at Monte's, it was that good. I poured some of the wine into my glass, not knowing that it would be one of those great ones, an unforgettable wine. I poured it in the glass, smelled it, it smelled good, but I didn't know that once I drank it, and took that first sip, "Wow," was not all I could say. I told my friends, "Oh my God, this wine is amazing, I love it." I don't need to go into a whole "it taste like this (adjective) and that (adjective)," I don't like doing that. What I do like saying, is that it tasted so dam good, and I just loved it. It was delicious and in perfect balance, and a wine I'm sure that I'll remember drinking for a long time.

The Fontodi Estate, nestled in the famed "Conca D'Oro" (Gold Shell) in thee town of Panzano in the Chianti Classico zone in Tuscany is about 22 miles south of Florence. It's a beautifu estate sitting there in the Golden Shell. Fontodi was one of the first vineyards I had ever visited, way back in 1996 when I was doing research for the Venetian Wine Bar / Trattoria that I created in 1997, hwich just so happened to be the Vintage of the Century for wine all over the World. Anyway a friend set up the visit with the owner Giovanni Manetti to have a private tasting and tour of Fontodi, needless to say we had a wonderful time, and I have loved Mr. Manetti's wines ever since, especailly the Chianti, Chianti Vigna del Sorbo, and of course the Flaccianello elle Piave. I a have tasted almost every vintage of Flaccianello since, and have enjoyed many of them, but I teell you, none as much as the 2010, the wine is phenomenal, and I'm looking forward, I hope to drinking it again. Bravo Giovanni.

Basta!



Daniel Bellino Zwicke


June 14, 2019

.





The CELLARS at FONTODI



9622f-flaccianello






FLACIANELLO della PIAVE 2010
100% Sangiovese
FONTODI ESTATE , Panzano in Chianti Classico
Giovanni Manetti





THIS is what ROBERT PARKER Said about the FLACCIANELLO 2010

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Now to a superstar of Italian enology: The 2010 Flaccianello della Pieve will take your breath away. This is a seriously beautiful Sangiovese-based wine with the kind of intensity and aromatic purity you only experience every 1,000 wines or so. There's a lot to say here. First, the wine’s beautiful appearance shows dark garnet colors with highlights of ruby and purple gemstone. The bouquet delivers a steady and seductive evolution with dark cherry, chocolate, spice, tobacco and sweet almond all seamlessly balanced one against the other. Its texture and inner fabric is rich, velvety and firm. There's a brilliant spot of acidity that hits you at the back of the mouth and helps the wine from feeling too heavy or dense. In fact, outstanding elegance is what ultimately sets it apart. The temptation to drink it now is huge, but those still young tannins definitely need a few more years to unwind. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2035.
.
FLACCIANELLO

Back Label




I'm looking for the pictures that I took when I visited the Fontodi Estate back in 1996. If I find them, I'll post here at a later date.





Giovanni Manetti

At FONTODI

"He Makes OLIVE OIL Too"
.