Wineries of the Month
First Alfo Bartolommei, then his children Paolo, Manuele and Paola, have personally nurtured the estate, which since 1965 has continued to be one of the smaller-scale producers that have established the enviable reputation of Montalcino.
Specifically, Caprili guarantees the quality of the entire wine-making production cycle, vinifying only grapes grown on the estate and closely supervising every stage of production until the wine is released onto the market.
The Caprili property comprises about 49 hectares, located in the south-west part of the Montalcino territory. It lies on the slopes of the hill leading down to the Orcia and the Ombrone rivers. The location is particularly privileged for it is right in the heart of the Brunello and Rosso production zone
The Lusenti Winery is in Vicobarone, near Ziano Piacentino in the Val Tidone. The history of the winery began the early nineteen hundreds when Pietro bought the first farm for growing table grapes. In the 1960’s his son, Gaetano, bought other land and planted vineyards that still produce excellent wine grapes today. Ludovica is the youngest of three daughters and with her husband Giuseppe, decided to dedicate herself to looking after the vineyards.
Today the winery is ideally a junction between past and present, between the wines that make up tradition and the wines created from decisions made in the early 1990s. Lusenti produces wines from local grape varieties: Bonarda, Malvasia di Candia aromatica and Ortrugo among others. It is the wealth of flavors and experience that the consumer has the chance to take away with them.
Noelia Ricci Winery
This winery could be described as a new project with two old vineyards situated within a historic vineyard. The project was started by the family in the Apennine Hills in Fiumana di Predappio with just seven hectares of best and carefully tended vineyards, in order to interpret the Sangiovese traditionally and to return it to its proper aristocracy. The director of the estate, Marco Cirese, would also like to give the Emilia-Romagna, which is undoubtedly internationally less well-known, but of high quality, the rightful place in the wine world. The plants grow on the crests with a view to the southwest, about 250 meters above sea level. The sulfur-rich reddish soils are loamy and partly sandy.
Wineries of the Month
Cass Vineyard & Winery
In 1999 Steve Cass retired from his 20 year career at Charles Schwab. Just 48 at the time, Steve knew he wanted to do more. He loved the area around Paso Robles and the wine business was just coming into bloom there. A great time to get in. In 2000, Steve bought 145 acres of pasture in Paso Robles. The vineyard was established with 12 varietals. He also built a residence and barn at that time on the property. In 2002, the man that built the new Cass residence and barn, Ted Plemons, and Steve Cass took a golfing/wine-tasting trip to South Africa to celebrate the completion of the residence and establishment of the vineyard. During a nice dinner there, with multiple bottles of wine being consumed, the two agreed to become business partners in starting a winery. The Cass Winery tasting room opened its doors in May 2005. Cass Vineyard and Winery is located in the rolling, oak studded hills between Paso Robles and Creston on California’s beautiful Central Coast. Sited due East of the “Templeton Gap”, it receives the evening’s cooling breezes, but also is far enough from the coast to generate the heat needed to optimally ripen the Rhone varieties grown on the estate.
Robert Hall Winery
Tucked into the hillside east of Paso Robles, along California’s enchanting Central Coast is Robert Hall Winery, where years of hard work and infinite attention to detail are invested into every bottle of wine they make. As farmers first, the goal is to nurture the land and coax from it the finest fruit possible from the vineyards on the Hall Ranch — each with its own personality and each expressing unique nuances that strive to capture the essence of Paso Robles.
ITALIAN Wines of the Month
Caprili Toscana Bianco 2015 IGT
This wine is100% Vermentino, displays aromas of orchard fruits, ripe citrus, herb and perhaps a whiff of banana. The palate is seduced by flavors of apple, lemon, honeysuckle and peach. This is a superbly balanced wine with a refreshing palate and a classic subtle herbal nuance on the finish. Great with herbed seafood and fowl dishes. Alcohol 14.0%.
Lusenti Val Tidone “Martin” 2013 IGT
This wine is a Gutturnio blend of 50% Barbera, 40% Croatina, and 10% Merlot that grows at 750 feet above sea level with southwestern exposure. The nose finds aromas of black fruit, cherry, and leather. Blueberry, blackberry, cherry, and a hint of anise is on the palate. Very well balanced and smooth on the finish. Excellent with grilled meat, fillet steak, roasted duck and cheeses. Alcohol 13.0%.
Noelia Ricci Bianco Forli “Bro” 2015 IGT
At 100% Trebbiano, this delicious white wine exposes the nose to delicate fruit, lemon zest, floral, and citrus notes. The palate is graced with flavors of pear, lemon, citrus, and slight herbal notes. Nicely balanced with a crisp medium finish. Pairs well with white meats in general, fatty and tasty, even with sauces as well as Risotto. Alcohol 12.0%.
Noelia Ricci Sangiovese Superiore “Godenza” 2013 DOC
From 100% Sangiovese, this wine boasts aromas of red plum, cranberry, raisin, and dark fruit. The palate finds an earthy cherry, blackberry, and pomegranate notes. Another well balanced wine with a very smooth finish. Pairs well with Cappalletti in broth. Alcohol 13.0%.
Caprili Rosso di Montalcino 2014 DOC
This red is made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso and exhibits aromas of smoky, earthy, leather, cherry, and dates. The palate finds an earthiness of black cherry, leather, chocolate, and spice. It is aged six months in stainless steel and six months in Slavonian Oak. It has a dry, warm, smooth, and slightly tannic palate with a marked bitterish note on the finish. Pairs with pasta with red sauce, risottos, and light meat dishes. Alcohol 14.0%.
Caprili Brunello di Montalcino 2011 DOCG
This wine is 100% Sangiovese Grosso. It comes from a 24 acre vineyard at 1200 feet above sea level. The vines are 10 to 20 years old. It is aged in small French oak barrels for three years. Aromas of forest floor, wet earth, cherry, tobacco, and blackberry find the nose. The palate is surrounded by cherry, pomegranate, cinnamon, and dried fig. It is very silky and polished. Decant for an hour. Pairs well with red meats, roasts, game, and agedcheeses. Alcohol 15.5%.
Lusenti Bonarda “La Picciona” 2010 DOC
This beautiful red is 100% Croatina. The vines grow in calcareous clay at 750 feet above sea level. The wine is aged in oak for 12 months and then in the bottle for at least another 12 months. The nose is rewarded with aromas of cherry, red plum, and raisin. On the palate, you find more cherry and plum along with anise, bubblegum, and blackberry. A very elegant wine that is smooth from start to finish. Pairs with roast or stewed meats. Could decant for half an hour. Alcohol 14.5%.
ITALIAN Region of the Month
On the northern peninsula of Italy lies Emilia-Romagna, a sprawling area that, as the name suggests, was once two distinct regions. Within the region are distinctly different climates and soils, from Emilia’s rolling hills in the west, influenced by the Apennines, to Romagna’s plains to the east of Modena and Bologna. Viticulture began here in the 7th century, when vines were introduced by the Etruscan people. It is difficult to characterize the wines of this region, except to say that the region is unique in its sheer diversity.
CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month
Robert Hall 2015 Sauvignon Blanc
This wine is straw-green in color. Aromas of crisp apple, pear and citrus greet the senses. The palate finds bright fruit flavors of grapefruit, lime, apple, lemongrass, and pear that echo the aromas. It is refreshingly dry and medium bodied with a rich crisp acidity, wrapped around a mineral core. Most seafood and mild cheeses will accompany well. Alcohol 13.5%.
Robert Hall 2014 Merlot
Rich aromas of ripe black cherry and hints of cedar emanate from this 2014 Merlot. The lush ruby red color indicates the level of concentration yielded by this vintage and the vineyards. On the palate, rich flavors mirror the aromas and are complimented by soft, silky tannins on the finish. Most meat dishes will pair well. Alcohol 14.5%.
Cass Vineyard & Winery 2016 MR Blanc
MR = Roussanne and Marsanne with a splash of Viognier. A refreshing Rhone blend. Aromas of hazelnuts, honey dew, and lemoncello are accompanied by a backbone of zesty acidity of lime to a long mineral driven finish. Alcohol 15.5%.
Cass Vineyard & Winery 2013 GSM
GSM = Grenache, Syah, and Mourvedre. The nose initially finds bright red cherry, fresh cranberry and dragon fruit scents. On the palate, bright acidity pops open in the true Mourvedre fashion. Complex flavors of pomegranate, dried cranberries, white peppercorns, and crushed geraniums are found. Subtle tannins and soft acidity underscore the elegant finish delivering nuances of star anise, all-spice and Lingonberry. Alcohol 14.2%.
Cass Vineyard & Winery 2014 Mourvedre
Aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels, this wine exhibits aromas of cherry and dark berries. Mourvedre’s unique varietal characteristics of caramel, forest floor, and charcuterie highlight hints of fresh cut mint. Pepper and dried red fruit are also found on the palate. Will pair well with chicken, pork and some red meats. 600 cases produced. Alcohol 14.3%.
Cass Vineyard & Winery 2012 Backbone Syrah
The nose displays notes of fresh turned earth, rose petals, and cracked pomegranate. Raspberry, boysenberry, pepper, and rich sweet tobacco leaf on the palate finishes with a smooth supple mouthfeel. Enjoy with a nice ribeye or filet of beef and grilled zucchini. 740 cases produced. Alcohol 14.1%.
Cass Vineyard & Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
Boasting 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec, this Cabernet blend is intense and concentrated. A bouquet of rich warm spices, plums and hints of vanilla find the nose. The spice continues on the palate with flavors of black cherries leading to a long finish of big, yet supple tannin and bright acid. Nicely balanced and do decant for 30 minutes or so. Goes well with braised short ribs and pancetta. 1090 cases produced. Alcohol 13.9%.
CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month
San Luis Obispo
Paso Robles – Geneseo District AVA. There are 11 viticultural areas in the Paso Robles AVA, of which one is, Paso Robles Geneseo District and it encompasses 4,163 vineyard acres. In total, there are 17 varietals planted in the district. The Geneseo District sits between the Estrella District to the North and the El Pomar District to the South. The topography is characterized by upfaulted hills through old river terraces along the Huerhuero-La Panza fault. Elevations run from 740 to 1300 feet.
By Chef & Sommelier Robin L. Obert
Chef’s favorite burger day!
2 lbs Ground beef
½ lb Bacon (chopped fine)
1 tsp Garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
¼ C (or to taste) Blue cheese
1 Onion (Red small dice- ¼ inch)
2 Tbl Butter
¼ C + 1 or 2 bottles of Cass Vineyard & Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (for the chef of course)
Brioche style buns or onion buns
Carefully mix (very cold) ground beef with bacon, garlic powder, salt & pepper (be careful not to over mix or meat will become tough).
Slowly sauté onions in the butter, once golden in color add mushrooms and cook through. Add wine and reduce until thick and almost syrupy (is that a word?).
Divide meat into equal portions of choice (this recipe could easily make 4-6 servings)
Grill (or pan fry) patties to desired doneness.
Toast buns to a golden color using additional butter (not listed above) if desired, I would desire this!
Remove burgers from pan then top with a bit of blue cheese and finish with the mushroom, onion mixture.