Wineries of the Month
De Conciliis is located in the relatively uncharted Cilento zone on the Campania coast. From highaltitude vineyards looking out toward the Mediterranean, Bruno De Conciliis specializes in full-bodied, fruit-forward wines from Aglianico, which, in the relatively hot climate of the Cilento, makes wines that are a little more accessible than young wines from Taurasi. The signature red is 100% Aglianico. Wine production began in 1996 with the philosophy of respect. First, respecting nature and the land. This means the lowest possible use of chemicals and a move to organic and then biodynamic viticulture. Secondly, respecting the culture of the area.
I Cacciagalli is a burgeoning estate in the northern region of Caserta, located at the foot of the spectacular, inactive volcano of Roccamonfina, in the land of the ancient Romans called Campania Feliz, a particularly fertile terrain which continues to yield exceptional products to this day. Diana is a young agronomist who decided to follow non-invasive methods of cultivation to respect the land of her family’s estate and Mario is a passionate wine connoisseur, not only for taste and aroma but also for the wine’s individual story, the story of the men and women and the territorial peculiarities that a good wine can recall.
This is where the 25 total acres are located, six of which are vineyards. Organic and biodynamic farming allows Diana and Giovanni to cultivate the terrain, grow the vines and produce their wine with an approach that is completely natural and simple.
Viticoltori Del Casavecchia
Viticoltori Del Casavecchia was developed on ideals of passion, tradition, and respect for the planet. This is the recipe of the small cooperative with offices in Pontelatone with the province of Caserta. Viticoltori del Casavecchia was born only a few years ago, but they have a long history of viticulture on their shoulders. They are 40 associates, all working from small vineyards, who have put a communal factor on the wine-making process for more than a decade – sometimes even with pre phylioxera vines dating back from the beginning of the century, reared with the local method of the espalier and now converted to largely qualitative criteria. Our vines are grown in single-row plots and are always conducted in a rigorous and traditional manner, without any mechanization.
Winery of the Month
Hahn Family Wines
During the 1790s, Spanish missionaries recognized the rare soils and favorable climate of the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey and planted grapevines there. Yet nearly two hundred years later when our founder Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn and his wife Gaby first purchased land in the Highlands, cattle, sheep and horses ranged over the hills. Vineyards were a secondary concern. Nicky immediately saw that the land he’d purchased was destined for greater things than grazing stock. He wasted no time. In 1980, the Hahns released their first wine from SLH. A mere eight years later, Nicky led the charge to establish SLH as an American Viticultural Area, a dream he saw realized in 1991. Today, Hahn Family Wines, now run by Nicky and Gaby’s son Philip, owns and sustainably farms 650 acres of estate vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. SLH enjoys worldwide acclaim for the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made there.
The four estate vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands comprise more than 10 percent of the total acreage planted in the AVA. All of the meticulously planted, hillside sites are situated at elevation and overlook the Salinas Valley. Their southeastern slopes assure plentiful morning sun.
The setting of these vineyards is dramatic, with massive alluvial fans of decomposed, metamorphic rock curtaining in and out across the hillsides. These well-draining soils are one of the two main reasons for the intensity and complexity of the Pinot Noirs. The second is wind. As Salinas Valley heats up during the day, air rises and is replaced by the cool air over the deep and cold Monterey Bay, creating a wind tunnel. Hahn Family Wines also produce the Lucienne and SLV label of wines.
ITALIAN Wines of the Month
Viticoltori del Casavecchia 100% Palagrello Bianco 2015
Grape Variety: 100% Palagrello Bianco
The Viticoltori del Casavecchia Palagrello Bianco 2015 is clear light yellow in color. On the nose, the aromas are strong with a generously floral base, and rich mineral tones. The palate exhibits a burst of fruity flavor that boldly comes through first, with a rich, persistent, slightly salty taste as the follow up. Perfect with white meats and complex fish and seafood pastas.
DeConciliis, Aglianico/Barbera “Bacio il Cielo” 2015
Grape Variety: 60% Aglianico, 30% Barbera and 10% primitivo
The De Conciliis Aglianico Barbera Bacio il Cielo 2015 opens with a well-developed bouquet of great intensity, with dark berry and forest-like spice aromas. Cherry, blackberry, and spices are present on the palate, finishing with notable yet supple tannins. Pairs well with grilled Beef, Bollito (boiled or braised meats), aged cheeses, lamb, and goat.
DeConciliis, Fiano “Donnaluna” 2015
Grape Variety: 100% Fiano
The De Conciliis Fiano Donnaluna 2015 is straw yellow in color. The nose is met with aromas of pear, chamomile, and delicate flowers. The tongue is greeted with citrus fruits, apple, and wild berries. This is a fullbodied wine that is fresh on the palate, with cleansing acidity in the finish. Will pair with fish, all first courses, and white meat.
DeConciliis, Aglianico “Donnaluna” 2015
Grape Variety: 90% Aglianico, 10% Primitivo
The De Conciliis Aglianico Donnaluna 2015 is dark in color. The nose is met with aromas of black cherries and wild berries. The palate explodes with dark fruits, earth, and spice. This wine displays vibrant acidity and supple tannins on the tongue, with hints of minerals among the fruit flavors. Pairs with lasagna, red meat, pasta al ragù.
I Cacciagalli, Palagrello aged in Anphora “Spheranera” 2015
Grape Variety: 100% Pallagrello Nero
The I Cacciagalli Palagrello Spheranera 2015 is deep garnet in color bursts with aromas of ripe cherry and raspberry. This wine is deliciously smooth and consistent, displays bright flavors of red and black fruit. This wine is complex without being overly aggressive, with a beautiful texture. Pairs will with beef and venison.
I Cacciagalli, 60% Aglianico 40% Palagrello “Masseria” 2010
Grape Variety: Aglianico 100%
The I Cacciagalli Masseria displays bouquets of cassis and other primary and friendly fruits with hints of leather and oak. On the palate, you will notice bell pepper, fruit yoghurt, dark cherry, and black currant. This is a well-balanced wine with a strong backbone. Compliments well with grilled meats, vegetables and aged cheeses.
DeConciliis, Aglianico “Naima” 2009
Grape Variety: 100% Aglianico
The De Conciliis Aglianico Naima 2009 is ruby red in color with some purple hues. A developed nose of great intensity, with dark berry and forestry aromas. Red fruits, minerals, and licorice settles nicely on the tongue. Notable yet supple tannins on the palate finish this smooth and well-rounded wine. Pairs well with bollito (boiled meats), aged cheeses, lamb, and goat.
ITALIAN Region of the Month
The capital of Campania, Naples was founded by the Greeks, enlarged by the Romans, and subsequently invaded by the Normans, Hohenstaufen, French, and Spanish among others. Established by the Greeks in the 11th Century BCE, Naples was the earliest of a cluster of far flung settlements throughout southern Italy. Many important figures of the age lived in these settlements, and today some of the best ruins of the ancient Greek world can be found there. Along with mathematics, architecture, and drama, the ancient art of winemaking also flourished. Aglianico and Greco, vines that the Greeks introduced, are still highly prized. The Greek historian Herodotus called this part of Italy Oenotria, the land of wine. Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are among Italy’s most distinguished white wines, while Taurasi from Aglianico has been called the “Barolo of the South” because of its aging ability. Taurasi, Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Aglianico del Taburno are the four DOCG wines to date in the government system of laws that regulate wine production. There are 17 DOC areas and nine IGTs.
CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month
Hahn 2016 Pinot Gris Monterey County
Grape: 100% Pinot Gris
The Hahn 2016 Pinot Gris is a beautiful golden color with aromas of pear, banana, honey, river stones, lemon tree blossoms, and freshly mown hay. The thick and viscous mouthfeel is accompanied by flavors of tropical fruits, white peach, and crème brûlée, followed with a bright, lively finish. Pairs with spicy grilled prawns, pasta with cream sauce, and seared sea bass.
Hahn 2016 Merlot Central Coast
Grape: 86% Merlot and 24% Zinfandel
The Hahn 2016 Merlot is a rich, dark garnet color in the glass with vibrant purple shimmer. This Merlot displays aromas of ripe plum, rich cocoa, blueberry, and violet with hints of juicy black cherry. A luscious mouthfeel full of dark fruit, hints of sweet spice, and restrained astringency lead into a delicious, lingering finish filled with toasty oak undertone. Pair with Italian style sausages, jambalaya, or seared blackened salmon.
Hahn 2016 SLH Chardonnay
Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Hahn 2016 SLH Chardonnay greets the nose with citrus, stone fruit and hints of banana and vanilla. A viscous mouthfeel with welcoming acidity that showcases stone fruits, citrus and hints of apple and spices. Pairs well with seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads.
Boneshaker 2015 Zinfandel
Grape Variety: 81% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon
The Boneshaker 2015 Zinfandel is brick red and deep purple in the glass, with a bit of sweetness with a structured palate. It is fruity at ﬁrst, vanilla cream mid, and cacao chocolate with a bit of oak to ﬁnish. A delicious bright, and fruit forward with many deep fruit characteristics standing out such as plum, cherry, and boysenberry. Pairs well with cioppino, lasagna, or pizza.
Hahn 2016 GSM
Grape Variety: 71% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 7% Mourvedre
The Hawn 2016 GSM exhibits enticing aromas of strawberry, black cherry, white pepper and cinnamon. On the palate, notes of raspberry, a hint of cinnamon spice, along with strawberry and black cherry. This well-balanced wine finishes with a smooth and luscious mouth feel. Pairs with BBQ beef, Italian sausage with sweet and sour peppers, grilled mushrooms, and aged or hard cheese.
Lucienne 2015 Pinot Noir
Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
The Lucienne 2015 Pinot Noir is dark in the glass with nuanced aromas of dried mushrooms, ripe cherry and raspberry, with hints of wild game and spice. This wine displays rich dark fruit flavors, vibrant acidity and elegant, silky texture. 765 cases produced. Pairs with chicken, quail, and especially duck, and most any dish that features mushrooms.
Smith & Hook 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast
Grape Variety: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
The Smith & Hook 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon hosts a bouquet bursting with notes of mocha, coffee, toasted oak, vanilla, black currant, and licorice. Expansive flavors and the round viscous mouth-feel are backed with concentrated tannic structure that carry through to the smooth, lavish finish. It is a great complement to braised short ribs, mushroom stroganoff, or a charred Gruyère burger.
CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month
Monterey County was the capital of California under Spanish and Mexican rule before California statehood in 1850 and is home to some famous destinations, including three historic missions built in the 1700s, Pebble Beech Golf Links, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, 99 miles of spectacular coastline, and various state parks, including Big Sur. But the County also has an agricultural sector that produces almost $4.5 billion in revenues mostly from row crops and grapevines. The Monterey American Viticural Area is located in the eastern part of the County and is part of the larger Central Coast AVA. Arroyo Secco, Hames Valley, San Bernabe, San Lucas, and Santa Lucia Highlands are all sub AVAs. Chardonnay comprises almost 50% of vineyards. In the north, Riesling and Pinot noir are popular, while in the south, Bordeaux varietals are most often grown. The County has three distinct areas, the Salinas Valley, the Galiban Mountains in the east, and the Santa Lucia Mountains along the Pacific Coast. These diverse micro climates, soils, and elevations accommodate a wide variety of grapes, including French, Italian, Spanish, and German, altogether about 36,000 acres and 100 wineries.
DINNER WITH DEBRA
By Debra Williams
Both of these recipes are super easy and have been in my collections since the early 80’s. They are part of the My Great Recipes collection.
12 large mushrooms
¼ cup butter
1 tsp dried basil leaves
¼ tsp salt
½ cup whipping cream
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Remove stems from mushrooms and chop into ¼ inch pieces. Heat butter in heavy skillet. Add mushroom caps. Sauté’ quickly over high heat for 30 seconds on each side or until just browned (do not let mushrooms get watery by over cooking). Transfer mushrooms to heatproof serving tray with bottom sides up. Add mushroom stems to skillet and sauté’ over high heat about 2 min. Add basil, salt, and cream. Heat to boiling and cook until cream is reduced by half and slightly thickened. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Spoon creamy mixture into mushroom caps, dividing evenly and mounding the filling slightly. Place stuffed mushrooms under preheated broiler and boil until heated through and lightly browned. Serves four.
Orange Marinated Flank Steak
1 flank steak, about 2 lbs
½ cup orange marmalade
½ cup soy sauce
2 tsp ground ginger
4 oz. Italian salad dressing
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
¼ cup orange juice
Dash garlic powder
Place the meat in a glass or plastic bowl. Combine all the remaining marinade ingredients and pour over the meat. Cover and marinate the steak overnight. Barbecue on the grill for 15 minutes on each side; baste frequently. Slice thin against the grain and enjoy. Serves four.