Wineries of the Month

Campi Valerio Winery

Ferrante Vineyards
In the early 1900’s, Ferrante Castellani embarked on a courageous journey to move his family from Guiliano di Roma to America. Bringing with him nothing more than his family and desire to find a place in the New World, Ferrante came through Ellis Island as many Europeans did and eventually settled in New York. Today, his grandsons and great grandsons have collaborated with Piergiorgio Castellani to craft wines from Italy. Piergiorgio’s family has been a prominent in the Tuscan wine community for over a century.

Campi Valerio Winery
Since 1974 Valerio winery produces fine wines with great character. On the estate, that belonged to Prince Pignatelli, through the recovery of small local viticulture, the family combines their passion for agriculture to the love for their land, resulting in a wine production that aims at enhancing the native grapes of Sannio Pentro (Molise). The company stands out also for being the first to produce though Classic Method in its own territory, as the only producer of wine Pentro.

Contucci Winery
As far back as the Renaissance the Contucci family were cultivating the grape and by 1700 this activity of theirs’ was much appreciated. In fact they were one of the “founding fathers” of Vino Nobile, as is documented in 1773; having a major role in making it world famous: “a noble wine destined for the table of nobles”.

By 1800 the fame of their wine was demonstrated by numerous medals and testimonials, which they had won. The building of the Contucci cellars took place before the mansion of the same name, which was once inhabited by Pope Giulio III and the by the Grand Duke Ferdinand I. The mansion was built by Antonio Sangallo the older and painted internally with affrescoes by Andrea Pozzo. One can therefore say that both house and cellars were built in the XIII century and were part of the old inner walls of Montepulciano.



Winery of the Month

Midnight Cellars Winery

Midnight Cellars Winery
Welcome to Midnight Cellars Winery, home to the Hartenberger family and their small production of award-winning Paso Robles wines. The 28 acre estate vineyard is situated in the newly established Willow Creek District, known for its strong marine influence, mountainous landscape and calcareous soils. This climate, topography and soil composition create an environment for growing quality, low-yield, sustainably farmed grapes. Planted on south facing slopes are Bordeaux varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec; terraced is eight acres of Zinfandel and a five acre lot of Chardonnay. Known for their true to character straight varietals, Midnight Cellars also produces highly acclaimed blends, including the flagship Full Moon Red, and reserves including Mare Nectaris and Zenith Estate Cuvee.

The Midnight adventure began on a family vacation to Northern California. As father and son were sipping wine and overlooking a beautiful valley, the casual comment was made: “Hey Dad, you should buy a winery when you retire, and we’ll run it for you!” As fate would have it two years later, when Dad’s retirement became a reality, the winery idea resurfaced. The family sold their Chicago homes and converged on Paso Robles where they started their dream venture, Midnight Cellars Winery. In 1995 they purchased their 160 acre ranch in Paso Robles, which is now home to three generations of Hartenbergers.


ITALIAN Wines of the Month


2016 Ferrante Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
90 % Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo
Alcohol: 12.5%
Made from grapes harvested in the restricted Siena Province. Ruby red color with intense and characteristic bouquet, fruity with cherry and black cherry tints. Dry, balanced and sapid, fresh and velvety. Ideal with pasta with tomato sauce, hearty cheeses, or hearty stew.

2018 Ferrante Pinot Grigio
100% Pinot Grigio
Alcohol: 12.5%
From selected hilly vineyards of the Venezie region. Light straw yellow. Crisp fresh and fruity bouquet. Tropical aromas and flavors of pear, melon and citrus with a creamy finish. Pair with white fish, mild cheeses, or a light salad.


2014 Campi Valerio Calido Rosso
100% Montepulcrano
Alcohol: 13%
Intense red color. Floral bouquet that recalls violets, mixing with notes of small red fruits, such as morello cherry, and herbaceous aromas. In the mouth the wine is dry, austere and of good acidity; very rich body. Rightly tannic. We suggest serving it at a temperature of 64 °F.

Calidio Rosso del Molise DOC by Campi Valerio is an excellent red wine to pair with grilled pork and sheep or aged cheeses.

2014 Campi Sannazzaro Rosso
100% Montepulcrano
Alcohol: 14%
Sannazzaro Molise Rosso DOC has a ruby red colour. Intense bouquet, hints of black currant, black cherry and ripe plum. Delicate notes of vanilla and herbal nuances. Mouth feel is determined and rounded with sweet and soft tannins in a well-structured body. Perfect balance and aromatic persistence.

The ideal food matching for Sannazzaro Molise Rosso DOC? Red meats, cold cuts and sausages of Molise tradition.

2017 Campi Falanghina Fannia DOC
100% Falanghina
Smells of salt, musk, orange blossom, rose and limoncella apple. A touch of tropical fruit, pineapple and shades of vanilla. The mineral finish of rough stone and plaster is beautiful. On the palate there is aromatic clarity and precision. Firm freshness and final sapidity. In the closing phase leaves a memory of tea leaves and walnut husk on tropical fruit Pairings: Cold cuts and salami, fish and shellfish, rice and risotto


Contucci 2014 VCino Nobile di Montepulciano Mulinvecchio
80% Prugnolo gentile, 10% Canaiolo nero, 10% Colorino
Alcohol: 14%
Fragrant blue flower, rose, berry, new leather, sandalwood and underbrush aromas lead the way in this wine. Structured and elegant, the vibrant palate delivers crushed strawberry, juicy sour cherry, white pepper and star anise notes framed by tightly knit, refined tannins. It’s still youthfully austere, but will develop beautifully. Pair with aged cheeses, venison, or rich, tomato sauce based pasta dishes.

2012 Ciabot Berton Barolo Roggeri
100% Nebbiolo
Alcohol: 14.5%
Aromas of French oak, coconut, scorched earth and underbrush lead the way. Reflecting the nose, the taut palate shows vanilla, oak-driven spice, licorice and candied red cherry framed in assertive, closegrained tannins. A coffee bean note lingers on the firm, drying finish. Serve with salmon, a lentil stew, or wild game.

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


2015 Midnight Cellars Full Moon Paso Robles
60% Syrah, 40% Zinfandel
Alcohol: 15.5%
Beautifully clean, ripe, and fruity in the nose. Red fruits abound as the wine greets your palate. A wonderfully balanced mouthfeel leads to an amazing array of flavors. Blackberries, spice and stewed red fruit cascade about the tongue. The wine finishes fresh and fruity. Buy it, bring it home and drink it with burgers, pizza, spaghetti or just by itself!

2018 Midnight Cellars Estate Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay
Alcohol 14.9%
Your nose will capture the essence of this 100% Estate Chardonnay right away. Note the minerality and the clean aroma this wine presents. The body is crisp with fresh cut green apples, hand squeezed tangerines and racy Asian Pears. After months in oak barrels, this wine is rounded with a luscious touch of vanilla. Great with white fish, mild cheeses, or scallops


2016 Midnight Cellars Nebula Cabernet
90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot
Alcohol: 15.3%
Deep, dark color. Full mouthfeel with firm structure. Flavors of ripe black fruit, leather, dried earth and minerals abound. The impossibly long finish is framed with spice, moist leather, black cherry and plum. Pair with ribs, beef, aged cheeses, or venison.

2015 Midnight Cellars Tannat “Titan”
100% Tannat
Alcohol: 15.3%
This 100% varietal tannat showcases red raspberry and hides among dusty tannins on the nose. Echoes of violets haunt the first sip, making way for blackberry and more raspberry, with a hint of earth and baking spice on the finish. Great with salmon, spaghetti in a hearty marinara sauce.

2018 Midnight Cellars Aurora Reserve White
28% Viognier, 28% Picpoul Blanc, 28% Grenache Blanc, 16% Roussanne
Alcohol: 13.3%
Ripe pear and white blossoms dominate the nose with hints of lemon. Tropical fruit and citrus notes create weight in the midpalate and lead to a crisp, lingering finish one would expect from our reserve white blend. Serve with a light summer salad, white fish, or a pasta salad.


2014 Midnight Cellars Zenith Estate Cuvee
35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 20% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot
Alcohol 15.5%
91 points-Wine Enthusiast It is a brilliant garnet in color, with robust aromas of dark red fruits, currants and boysenberry. Find flavors of black cherry, dark plum and a touch of minerality, vanilla spice and smoky oak. The succulent, full body leads into a well-structured, lasting, smooth finish. Serve with ribs, a steak, venison, or well-aged cheeses.

2014 Midnight Cellars Gemini Reserve
28% Malbec, 28% Tannat, 15% Syrah, 15% Petite Sirah, 14% Grenache
Alcohol: 15.9%
This wine is dark, dense, and purple. On the nose hints of ripe black fruit and bay leaves entice. The palate shows ripe, dark fruit seamlessly with hints of maple, dried herbs, and leather. A wine evolves with aeration, making it all the more lovely and silky.

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

Teriyaki Glazed Chicken

Taste of Home recipes.
Pair with one of this month’s white wines.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
4 medium carrots, julienned
1 sweet onion, julienned
½ cup soy sauce. Recommend a lower sodium version.
¼ cup packed brown sugar
Hot cooked rice
Toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions, optional

In a skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in 2 Tbsp. oil until cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. In the same skillet, stir-fry carrots in the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil for two minutes. Add julienned onion; stir-fry until vegetables are tender, 2-4 minutes longer.

Combine soy sauce and brown sugar; add to skillet. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet. Boil until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve with rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

Coconut Milk Strawberry-Banana Pops

1 can coconut milk
1 pint fresh strawberries, chopped divided
1 medium banana, sliced
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
12 paper cups (3 oz. each) and wooden pop sticks.

Place coconut milk, 1 ½ strawberries, banana, and syrup in blender. Cover and process until smooth. Divide the remaining strawberries among paper ups. Pour pureed mixture into molds, filling ¾ full. Top with holders, tin foil, and insert sticks through foils. Freeze till firm.