Wineries of the Month

Librandi Winery

The Librandi winery is a modern enterprise founded in 1950 by Antonio and Nicodemo Librandi. Nowadays, the winery is run by Nicodemo, his two sons Paolo and Raffaele, his nephew Francesco and his niece Teresa. To this day, they remain faithful to the principles that inspired their forefathers: a great wine requires love and dedication to the land and its history. Librandi is located in Cirò Marina, a small town in the southern Italian region of Calabria (Italy’s boot tip), on the splendid Ionian coastline. The soil in this area is naturally suited for grape growing, and the geographic position, located between the sea and the Sila Mountains, guarantees an excellent balance between day and nighttime temperatures. All Librandi wines and olive oils are made exclusively from estate-grown grapes and olives. The Librandi family owns a total of 890 acres, 573 of which are vineyards, 247 are olive groves, and the remaining acres are dedicated to the forest. The vineyards are planted with both local varietals (Gaglioppo, Magliocco and Mantonico) and international varietals. Librandi also runs an experimental vineyard with ancient local varietals.

This winery represents one family’s initiative to employ five generations of viticulture experience. In 1994, Antonio Morgante, with the enthusiasm of his sons, Carmelo and Giovanni, decided to vinify their vineyard grapes. This decision represented the beginning of a strong commitment to achieve the best results with indigenous grapes while keeping an eye toward innovation. In 1997, the family hired Riccardo Cotarella as their winemaker. Cotarella, widely recognized for his work crafting compelling wines from Italy’s native varietals, shares the Morgante passion for producing great red wines from Nero d’Avola. The Morgante winery is located in the pristine countryside of southern Sicily, a hilly region located about 1200-1800 feet above sea level and just 45 miles from the splendid Valley of the Temples of Agrigento. The property comprises 500 acres of vineyards and almond trees, and the region is ideal for viticulture, with a Mediterranean climate and soil that ranges from clay and calcareous to marl. In Sicily, Nero d’Avola is the undisputed red grape for wines of excellence, and it is this vine that the Morgante family has always cultivated. All aspects of production — from vineyard to cellar — are rigorously controlled by every member of the family, all of whom are dedicated to making wines of the highest possible quality.


Winery of the Month

Kieu Hoang Winery

Kieu Hoang Winery
Mr. Kieu Hoang is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist originally from Vietnam. He is the CEO of RAAS, Inc (USA) and Vice Chairman of Shanghai RAAS Blood Products, China. Since 2010, Mr. Hoang has focused his research in the areas of wellness that improve the quality of life. Through his studies on different foods and plants, he has come across numerous findings. Studying red wine in particular caught his attention. He found that good healthy cells did not just exist in human plasma but also in red wine. He found that a small grape has 5000 more genes than a human being. In his findings, Kieu Hoang Wines showed the highest level of High Density Lipoprotein among more than 100 tested items. With 38 years of sophisticated fermentation, PH adjustments and cold stabilization, Mr. Hoang presents his exclusive line of wines.

His findings and passion for wellness led him to Napa Valley. He worked closely with winemaker Charles Hendricks to establish Kieu Hoang Winery. The winery is located in the Carneros AVA. The Carneros District is the southernmost wine producing region in Napa Valley. The fog and evening breezes make the Carneros AVA the coolest wine producing region in the valley. Mr. Hoang purchased the property from Michael Mondavi Family Estates in June 2014. He chose this property because of the Mondavi name and winemaking legacy. Kieu Hoang Winery owns a second property located in the exclusive Spring Mountain AVA in Napa Valley. Mr. Hoang purchased the property from John and Shawn Guilliams. The Guilliams family had been operating the Spring Mountain facility since 1979. The Spring Mountain property sits above 2000 feet and has seven acres of vines.

ITALIAN Wines of the Month


Librandi Ciro Bianco DOC 2015
This wine is 100% Greco Bianco, a white variety brought to Calabria by the ancient Greeks. It exudes aromas of peaches, citrus, and hints of herb and flowers. On the palate, zesty acidity show the wine’s subtle hints of toasted almonds and macadamia nuts. This Ciro Bianco will pair with ceviche, gremolata sauces, grilled swordfish or Sicilian involtini. Alcohol 12.0%.

Librandi Ciro Rosso Classico DOC 2013
This wine is made entirely from Gaglioppo, the most important variety from the heart of the Ciro appellation. Aromas of red fruits and spice complement undertones of cranberries, wild berries, and plums. The palate finds ripe tannins and substantial body make for an incredibly rich, yet easy going red wine. Pair with sausage, spicy curry sauces, hot soppressata, and tandoori chicken. Alcohol 13.5%.


Librandi Critone Val di Neto ITGT 2013
This wine is 90% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Critone takes its name from the favorite pupil of the great philosopher, Socrates. It is pale straw-yellow in color and has delicate aromas of green apples and tree fruits with undertones of peaches, wildflowers, and a hint of freshly cut grass. Dry and crisp on the palate, it shows elegance with layers of flavors that reveal themselves well into the finish. Pair with seafood antipasti, baked fish, seafood based pasta dishes, salads, and grilled vegetables. Alcohol 12.4%.

Librandi Duca San Felice Ciro Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva DOC 2011
This wine is 100% Gaglioppo. Duca San Felice is the name of the oldest vineyard owned by the Librandi family. This wine is ruby red and offers rich aromas of fig, sour cherries, and tobacco with hints of chocolate. The palate finds a substantially well-structured wine with tannins that hint at age worthiness and a long spicy finish. Pair it with roasted meats Espagnole sauces, veal saltimbocca, and gyros. Alcohol is 14.0%.

Morgante Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT 2013
This wine is 100% estate grown Nero d’Avola. Fruit is from Western Sicily where Nero d’Avola reaches optimal ripeness. It has an intense ruby red color with aromas of ripe black cherries, blackberries, and hints of vanilla, peppery spice, and smoke. The palate finds flavors of ripe fruit and exotic spices, balanced by a pleasing acidity and silky tannins. Pair with roasted meats, mushroom sauces, caponata spreads, and eggplant parmigiana. Alcohol 14.0%.


Librandi Magno Megonio Val di Neto Rosso IGT 2012
This wine is made entirely from Magliocco Dolce grapes. Magno Megonio is named after a Roman centurion said to be the first to recognize the viticultural promise of the area that Librandi owns today. It is aged 8 months in French oak and 6 months in the bottle. It shows aromas of plums, black fruits, and hints of pepper, tobacco, licorice, and chocolate. The palate finds zesty acidity and velvety tannins that make for an exquisite experience with this indigenous varietal. Pairs with grilled steaks, demi- glaces, risotto with mushrooms, and truffles. Alcohol 14%.

Morgante Don Antonio Nero d’Avola Riserva Sicilia IGT 2011
This wine is 100% Nero d’Avola from the estates oldest vineyards. This wine offers layered aromas of ripe black cherries, raspberries, and wildflowers, followed by spicy notes of chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon. It’s silky yet muscular with lush fruit flavors integrated into a velvety texture with ripe, fine-grained tannins. It is fermented in stainless and aged 12 months in French oak and 12 months in the bottle. It is great with grilled pork chops, roasted beef, barbecued ribs, and rodizio. Alcohol 15.0%.

ITALIAN Region of the Month


At the “toe” of Italy’s peninsula lies the mountainous Calabria region. This region is one of Italy’s most rural and least industrialized with per capita income less than half of the national average. Calabria’s viticulture is dominated by two grape varieties, the red Gaglioppo and the white Greco. However, wines made from these grapes of Greek origin can vary greatly in style from one vineyard to another, and many other grapes are used in smaller quantities to impart different characteristics to the wines. Calabria is a region of contrast, from the cool Sila and Aspromonte massifs to the warmer hills of the coast there are significant variations in temperature and weather conditions, creating many different microclimates for wine production. The region’s versatility is demonstrated by Calabria’s 9 DOC and 10 IGT appellations. Although there is also a recent trend towards plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, historic varietals like the red Magliocco are emerging as local grapes that can make some exceptional and unique wines.

CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month


Kieu Hoang Sauvignon Blanc 2014
This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes from Rutherford, slightly warmer than southern Napa, ripens the fruit to shed any grassiness, and to bloom into fresh aromas of Bartlett pear, honeysuckle, star anise, and hints of allspice. This is a fruit driven style that has a wonderful consistency on the pallet showing flavors of zesty lemon rind and pear with a refreshingly clean finish. Alcohol 14.5%.

Kieu Hoang People’s Wine 2012
This wine is a Cabernet based blend with Merlot aged in French oak to make an easy drinking wine. It is a fruit-driven blend offering aromas of ripe dark berries. The palate has blackberries and cherries with hints of vanilla and a silky finish. Pairs well with a juicy hamburger topped with bleu cheese and caramelized onions on a ciabatta bun. Alcohol 13.9%.


Kieu Hoang Estate Chardonnay 2014
This wine is grown in the Kieu Hoang Estate Vineyards right around the Carneros winery. It is barrel fermented in once used French oak barrels. This gives hints of toast that are not overpowering. This allows the aromas of red apples, honeycomb, and bay leaf to erupt out of the glass. The barrel fermentation delivers a robust rich body. The absence of the secondary Malo/Lactic fermentation allows the spiced apple flavors to shine and fade into a lovey silky finish. Grilled salmon with herbed butter sauce and garlic lemon roasted chicken, oysters, spring rolls, pasta, sharp cheeses and charcuterrie all pair well. Alcohol 14.5%.

Kieu Hoang Merlot 2012
This wine is fruit forward and has aromas of cherry, licorice, leather, dark fruit and baking spices. This merlot is very smooth and easy drinking. The palate shows red plum and creamy cherry with hints of butter. The silky smooth finish allows it to pair well a cheese plate, dry Jack, Gouda and Jarlsberg with dried cranberries and Marcona almonds. Enjoy this Merlot with seared Ahi Tuna seasoned with Kosher salt, cayenne pepper and dill weed, roasted turkey or chicken, seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper, tarragon or thyme, or your favorite grilled food or pork sandwiches like Bah-mi or Cuban.


Kieu Hoang Red Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga and Yountville, both in Napa Valley. The bold flavors of the fruit produce aromas of cherry, plum, a sweet herbal Marjoram, and a fragrant spice. The palate shows a smooth broad feel with flavors of cherries, spice, and hints of vanilla. A perfect match for red wine braised short ribs over buttery mashed potatoes. Decant for half an hour. Alcohol 14.1%.

Kieu Hoang Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. The bold flavors emit aromas of raspberry, toast, herb, and white pepper. On the palate, the subtle tannins play off with the rich red fruit flavors of raspberry, plum, cherry and a bit of earth. Serve with a classic steak with creamy peppercorn sauce and crispy fired shoestring potatoes. Also pairs with prime rib, porcini risotto, rack of lamb, and roasted root vegetables. Decant half hour. Alcohol 14.15%.

CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month


Napa Valley is the heart of California’s wine industry, its vine-covered valley floor and rolling hills the destination for millions of visitors each year. The Valley is home to 43,000 acres of vines, over 400 wineries, and many renowned restaurants. George Calvert Yount, arriving in 1831, planted the first grapes. Notable early but still existing stone wineries, developed between 1859 and 1882, including Charles Krug, Christian Brothers, Beringer, Chateau Montelena, and Beaulieu. Formerly a sanatorium, Inglenook winery began production in1880. San Franciscans provided a huge market for Napa wines, which were easily transported across the San Francisco Bay. But Prohibition, enacted in 1920, closed most of them, except the few that provided sacramental wine for churches. The Valley didn’t begin recovery until Robert Mondavi built his large winery in 1966. Today, the Napa Valley has 16 American Viticultural Areas. The umbrella appellation Napa Valley, specializes in Bordeaux grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. Cooler Los Carneros, stretching into Sonoma County, is ideal for the grapes of Burgundy, including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But other grape varieties, such as Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Italian Sangiovese are planted in Napa County.


By Tere Williams

Bacon Goat Cheese Jalapeno Poppers

Main Course
Grilled Shrimp skewers with charred asparagus and sugar snap peas

Fresh Blackberry Granita with Lemon Syrup
Grilled Shrimp Skewers Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved diagonally
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh basil leaves

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Place shrimp in a large bowl. Pour two-thirds of oil mixture over shrimp; toss to coat. Reserve remaining oil mixture. Chill shrimp mixture in refrigerator 2 hours. Cook snap peas and asparagus in boiling water 45 seconds. Remove from pan. Immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water; drain well.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Remove shrimp from marinade; discard marinade. Thread about 5 shrimp onto each of 4 skewers. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add asparagus and peas; cook 3 minutes or until browned and lightly charred. Remove pan from heat. Add reserved olive oil mixture to asparagus mixture. Return pan to high heat; cook 30 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle with salt and basil. Serve asparagus mixture with skewers.

Recipe From Cooking Light.