Wineries of the Month

Zenato Winery

Zenato Winery
Founded in 1960 by Sergio and Carla Zenato and located in the Lake Garda region, this winery is committed to producing affordable wine of exceptional quality. With a passion for the land and dedication for vigorous research, innovation, and quality improvement, Serio crafted wines that are known for their quality and consistency. The winery has been passed to Sergio’s children. Nadia handles the marketing and Alberto oversees all aspects of production.

Today, the winery operates under a philosophy and mission of Quality (from the vineyard to the bottler and consumer), Passion, and Tradition (respecting the roots of the territory and local culture).

Remo Farina Winery
The Farina family has roots in agriculture and winewaking tracing back to the beginning of the 16th century. Inspired by this long family history, Remo Farina was able to combine the most modern concepts in winemaking technology with ancient, time-tested methods to produce rich, elegant wines. Today the winery is managed by the new generation and continues to produce lovely fresh white wine and exquisite red wines.

In 2015, Farina was name “Best Italian Wine Producer of the Year” at the International Wine & Spirit Competition and received a Gold award for the variety of indigenous grape with their Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva Montefante. These would only be two of the many awards their wines have received.



Winery of the Month

Union Sacre Winery

Union Sacre Winery
“It’s 9:33 p.m. in October 2012. Xavier and I have been here since 6:30 a.m. There’s just one last press load to finish. He and I have been friends for a while, but this is our first harvest together, so we’ve easily spent more time together the past two months than in the prior six years. We’re too tired for jokes, so talk turns to wine, specifically our friends’ wines, the wines we miss, and the wines we would love to make if only we could. As we share stories, two disparate worlds begin to collide into a simple Pangaea.” -Philip Muzzy, Partner, Union Sacre Wines

Union Sacre is the work of two friends, Xavier and Philip. Xavier the winemaker and Philip writes and designs. Despite their disparate origins, they both have lived and worked together in California’s Central Coast for a decade.

Odonata Winery
Odonata Wines is a small family winery owned and operated by Denis Hoey, also the winemaker. Denis, Sacramento native, grew up in a wine centric family. This helped develop his palate. After graduating from University of California, Denis met Jeff Emery, owner and winemaker at Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard. Denis would begin an apprenticeship, but would later become the production manager for SCMV before starting Odonata Wines in Santa Cruz 2005.

In 2014 Denis left SCMV to concentrate full time on Odonata Wines. That same year he purchased the Marilyn Remark Winery, now headquarters for Odonata.

Denis blends old world methods with new world technique to make nouveau-style wines. He strives to produce wines that are rick, textured, and balanced, and that respect terroir and varietal character. His success is based on attention to detail and the purposeful use of each step in winemaking. The result is clean, focused wines. Damselfly is also an Odonata label.


ITALIAN Wines of the Month


2016 Zenato Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT
Grape: 100% Pinot Grigio
Alcohol: 12%
It offers classic citrus and floral notes in a balanced, elegant style. Lemon-green in color, aromas of Key limes and white peaches complement undertones of green apples and grains of paradise. On the palate, it is smooth and refreshing with a long, pleasant finish. It is ideal with hors d’oeuvres, vegetable soups, fresh garden salads, and gilled sole.

2014 Remo Farina Appassilento Rosso del Veneto IGT
Grape Varieties: 80% Corvina, 10%
Cabernet, and 10% Merlot
Alcohol: 13%
This wine is a deep ruby red. It has aromas of red fruit, dried flowers, and sour cherries. It is perfect served with red meat, roasted meat in general, and pairs well with mild cheeses. Excellent with appetizers and any light meal.


2016 Zenato Lugana di San Benedetto DOC 2016
Grape: 100% Trebbiano di Lugana
Alcohol: 13.0%
Harvested from the San Benedetto parcel on the south shore of Lake Garda, this wine is lemon-green in color, offers appealing notes of peaches, citrus, bananas, and herbs. This is underscored by crisp acidity and supple body on the palate. This wine pairs well with grilled skate, risi a bisi, carbonara dishes, and roasted chicken.

2015 Remo Farina Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC
Grape varieties: 50% Corvina, 15%
Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 5%
Molinara, and 10% Oseleta
Alcohol: 13.5%
The grapes used to make this wine are harvested from the hills of San Pietro in Cariano and Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella. The wine has a dark ruby-red color, with the fragrance of pepper, fruit marmalade (cherries, prunes) and spices, licorice and ginger. It is excellent served with roasted meats and cheeses.

2015 Zenato Valpolicella Superiore DOC
Grape Varieties: 85% Corvina, 10%
Rondinella, 5% Corvinone
Alcohol: 13.5%
Ruby red in color, this Valpolicella Superiore offers fleshy aromas of wild berries, black currants, black cherries, and spices, with hints of chocolate. On the palate, the wine is dry and robust with velvety textures. Pair this wine with antipasti, arrabbiata sauces, seared sashimi tuna, or orange- glazed duck.


2014 Remo Farina Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC
Grape Varieties: 70% Corvina, 20%
Rondinella, and 10% Molinara
Alcohol 14.5%
This wine presents itself in a red-garnet color with orange edges, and with an ethereal and spicy fragrance. In the mouth, it is warm, robust, full-bodied, velvety, pleasantly bitter and harmonious. An excellent wine for game dishes and seasoned cheeses.

2013 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2013
Grape Varieties: 80% Corvina, 10%
Rondinella, 5% Croatina, 5% Oseleta
Alcohol: 16.5%
Ruby red in color, this wine has intoxicating aromas of dried black cherries, cassis, truffles, and chocolate fudge that leap out of the glass. The resulting wine is silky, luscious, and complex, with a lingering finish. Pair this wine with osso bucco, Bordelaise sauces, wild boar ravioli, or grilled cowboy ribeyes.

ITALIAN Region of the Month


Venezia, a city built into the sea, is haunted by the princes and poets of its past and by centuries of tourists. The cities of Padova, Vicenza, and Verona, originally frontier posts on the Roman trade route between Venezia and Genova, grew into Renaissance splendor. Nature exhibits its own marvels, the Dolomite Mountains in the north, the Euganean hills in the south, vast Lake Garda in the east, and to the west, the Adriatic with its beaches and ports. Today, Veneto is a thriving agricultural center, ranking first with classified DOC wines. There are three areas of premium production: the western province of Verona, the central hills, and the eastern plains. Verona is the leader in classified DOC wines, especially Soave, Bardolino, and Valpolicella, a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. When young, Valpolicella is a fruity red, but when the grapes are partly dried, they become Amarone, one of Italy’s most noble wines. Bardolino is made from the same grapes but is a lighter version. The central hills produce Soave, Tocai, the Pinots, Merlot, Cabernet, and sparkling Prosecco. The eastern plains have been dominated by Merlot and Cabernet Franc for decades.


CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month


Union Sacre 2015 Belle du Nuit Gewurztraminer
200 cases produced
Grape: 100% Gewurztraminer
Alcohol: 14.2%
Floral scents and perfume fill the nose while the palate finds pear, lychee, and a hint of spice. After primary fermentation was complete, wine was racked from the lees and transferred to stainless steel barrel where it was aged for six months. It will pair with chili’s and other hot spicy foods.

2014 Damselfly Ruby Stop California
Grape Variety: 60% Petite Syrah, 20%
Grenache, 20% Mourvedre
Alcohol: 14.5%
Soft and rich with dark berry, mocha, vanilla bean and subtle spice on the smooth finish. Very round, fruit driven, meant to be a soft, fun drinking wine. High treble fruit comes from the Mourvedre, dense core of blackness from the Petite Syrah and raspberry fruit from the Grenache! Pairs with lamb dishes.


2016 Union Sacre Fraulien Riesling
225 cases produced
Grape: 100% Riesling
Alcohol: 13.3%
Fermented in 50% stainless steel, 50% neutral French Oak barrels over 24 days. After primary fermentation was complete, wine was racked off gross lees and into barrel. Aged 6 months in 50% stainless steel barrels and 50% neutral French Oak barrels. This Riesling brings flavors of Meyer lemon, white smoke, apple blossom, finger lime, Lily of the Valley, and coriander. Pairs with white fish and salads.

2015 Union Sacre Le Clandestin
163 cases produced
Grape Variety: 35% Cabernet Sauvignon,
65% Syrah
Alcohol: 15.2
Heavy clay soils mature fruit more slowly and show more spice and earth characteristics. Warm days and cold nights contribute spicy notes to the Syrah. Aromas of black fruit and dust find the nose while flavors of Black currant, red plum, thyme, long pepper, broken bark, and blueberry jam find the pallet. Pairs with savory braised meats. Must be aerated several hours or even overnight.

2016 Union Sacre Le Confident Cabernet Sauvignon
Grape: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
480 cases produced
Alcohol: 15.1
Happy Canyon is the warmest micro-climate in the Santa Ynez Valley. Mid-morning fog lifts to sunshine. Aromas of boysenberry and huckleberry find flavors of blueberry cobbler, clove oil, cherry skin, pipe tobacco, tilled earth, Turkish delight, broiled toast, and Verona chocolate. Should be aerated several hours or best overnight. Pair with strong grilled meats and dishes with red sauce.


2016 Union Sacre Squire Pinot Noir
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 13.8%
Squire is an homage to the manifold nature of Pinot Noir. It is at once feminine, masculine, esoteric, popular, and above all else noble. This wine has flavors of soft luscious raspberry, red licorice, white pepper, river stone, sun warmed strawberry, and elegant spice. Pairs well with lightly seared wild salmon.

2014 Odonata Pinot Noir
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 14.1%
This organically grown wine is round, rich, with flavors of woodsy spice, forest floor and Subtle earth matched with a black cherry center. This is textbook Santa Cruz mountains pinot noir both in complexity and flavor. This wine will age for many years to come. Pairs with beef, veal, venison and poultry.

CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month

San Luis Obispo

Grapes were first introduced into the Paso Robles area, in 1797 by missionaries. They planted more than one thousand vines. Commercial wine growing, however, wasn’t started until the 1880s. Since 1990, when there were fewer than 20 wineries in Paso Robles, a large expansion of activity has seen the number rise to more than 200 wineries today.The Paso Robles AVA is acknowledged for its heritage grape, Zinfandel, but has gained recognition from a wider range of grape varietals as well. In the 1950s and 1960s, growers began to plant Bordeaux varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. In the 1980s, there were increased plantings of many Rhône varieties, including the first Syrah planted in California, as well as Viognier and Roussanne. The emerging popularity of the region’s wines led it to become the
first site of the annual “Hospice du Rhône” conference on Rhône style wine. Today, Paso Robles Wine Country is receiving attention for its unique blends. These wines are unique to the area, and with varietal make-ups that do not follow traditional rules and expectations of winemaking, as characteristic in other regions of the wine world.



By Debra Williams

Both recipes are from My Great Recipes, which is something I’ve relied on for nearly 35 years.

Trout Amandine

Perfect with Lugana di San Benedetto DOC 2016

4 fresh water, cleaned trout
¼ cup butter
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/3 cup blanched almonds, sliced crosswise
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Wipe the fish lightly with a damp paper towel and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Coat trout lightly with flour, shaking off excess. Heat 2 tpsb of the butter and oil in a large frying pan over moderately high heat. Add trout. Cook until well browned, about 3 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, sauté almonds in remainng 2 tbsp butter, heated in a small frying pan, until lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt, and keep mixture warm. Arrange cooked trout in a warm serving dish. Spoon almond butter over them and enjoy. Serves 4.

Artichoke Squares

This is a light appetizer dish that should pair nicely with Remo Farina Appassilento Rosso del Veneto IGT

The following will make 64 1-inch appetizers:
2 jars, 6 oz, marinated artichoke hearts
6 green sliced onions
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, well packed
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
4 eggs
¾ cup fine dry bread crumbs
¼ cup melted butter or margarine
Minced parsley for garnish

Drain artichoke hearts. Save marinade. Chop artichokes. Set aside. Put sliced onions and garlic into frying pan, along with 2 tbsp marinade from the artichokes. Cook for 2 min. over moderate heat or until onions are soft Combine with artichoke hearts, shredded cheese, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and eggs. Turn mixture into 8-inch square buttered baking pan. Mix crumbs and butter. Sprinkle evenly over mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 min. or until set. Chill for 2 hours or longer. Sprinkle with parsley before serving and cut into 1 inch squares.