Wineries of the Month
Badia di Morrona
In 1939, the Gaslini Alberti family purchased what is now the Badia di Morrona estate. It totals 1,500 acres, with 282 of those acres dedicated to their vineyards. The strengths of this estate lies in the quality of its vineyards, where focus is placed higher on vine density and improved training systems. The sheer size of the vineyard surface allows the property to rigorously select the grapes being used. The different variety of soil types allows for the growth of a variety of grapes to very high standards and makes Badia di Morrona wines recognizable at all levels, both domestic and international.
Colombaio di Santa Chiara
The Colombaio di Santa Chiara estate is located near San Gimignano in north central Italy. This area is famous for the production of the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape, which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area. Since the Renaissance, this area produces one of Italy’s finest white wines. Colombaio di Santa Chiara has won countless awards each year since 2007 for the uniquely structured wines.
Villa Le Prata
Villa Le Prata was built in 1860 by count De’Vecchi as a hunting lodge and later became a country side home for the Bishop of Moltalcino. In 1980, it was purchased by Massino Losappios and his wife, where the first vineyard was planted. Later, two more vineyards were added to the estate. These three vineyards located in three different areas, make the perfect combination of elegance, aromas conveyed by altitude, and the body and structure of the land south of Montalcino. Villa Le Prata is a very small estate run by the family members who work with passion to obtain exclusively fine wines.
Winery of the Month
The Bargetto winemaking heritage began with brothers Phillip and John Bargetto who immigrated to the banks of Soquel Creek in California, from Castelnuovo Don Bosco in Italy in 1891. The original Bargetto family winery was located in San Francisco, but the winery closed in 1917 with Prohibition looming. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the brothers began a wine wholesale business at the present site of Bargetto Winery. The third generation of Bargetto family, John, Loretta and Martin, now direct the operation of the winery. Bargetto Regan Estate Vineyards, near Corralitos, California was established in 1992. The family also incorporates northern Italian varietals from its estate vineyard to its flagship, La Vita wine. Regan Estate Vineyards is located on the hilly knoll in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with forty acres planted to twelve different varietals. This makes Bargetto Winery and Regan Estate Vineyards one of the largest, most diverse, and longest continual operating wineries in California. Due to the combination of excellent sun exposure, cool climate, and dark soil, the wines produced tend to be rich in flavor, have good acidity, and deep in color.
ITALIAN Wines of the Month
Colombaio di Santa Chiara Vernaccia
di San Giminiano 2014
This 100% Vernaccia is straw yellow in color with gentle floral and citrus aromas. The balanced acidity is noteworthy. This wine has flavors of lemon zest, sage, and minerality with hints of anise, almonds, stone fruits, and fresh herbs. This medium-bodied wine boasts of a fresh crisp finish. Best chilled before serving
Badia di Morrona Chianti 2014
Chianti is Italy’s most famous wine. This Chianti is comprised of 85% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. It was aged 10 months in stainless and provides clear freshness on the nose with perceptive notes of fresh fruit and flowers on the palate. This wine is pleasurable and versatile, soft in its tannins, and ripe in flavor. The smooth tannins will impress.
Colombaio di Santa Chiara L’Albereta
Vernaccia di San Giminiano Riserva 2013
Vernaccia was a wine considered fit for a king. Pope Martin IV was said to be especially partial to eels cooked in Vernaccia. Vines are at 1300 feet in soil rich in sand and organic material with medium calcareous content. It was aged in barriques for about 8 months. This wine is 100% Vernaccia and is recognized for its goldenhued color and powerful full-bodied nature. This wine provides a delicate bouquet of white-pulp fruit with a hint of bitter almond and finishes with a pleasant finale of spiced vanilla. Chill for a wonderful summertime treat.
Villa Le Prata Rosso di Montalcino,
This wine hails from 3 vineyards ranging from 750 to 1500 feet above sea level. It is considered the younger and fresher expression of Brunello. This is a bold wine with aromas of cherry, black pepper, and leather. The spicy palate offers allspice, anisette, black cherries, and juicy raspberry alongside strapping tannins. It is 100% Sangiovese Grosso, aged a year in tonneaux with French oak. This wine is good right out of the bottle, but will improve with decanting.
Badia di Morrona Taneto Super Tuscan 2014
This wine is 70% Syrah, 15% Sangiovese, and 15% Merlot. It’s vines are just above sea level at 180 feet with an East exposure. It is aged 12 months in French oak and another 5 months in bottle. It is intense with color with delicate aromas of cinnamon, chocolate, and a hint of black pepper. This wine is very supple on the palate with a velvety texture. It boasts of a long finish that is both warm and intense. This wine will pair well with pasta dishes with tomato sauce, lamb chops, and veal.
Villa Le Prata Brunello di Montalcino 2011
This 100% Sangiovese Grosso is aged one year in French oak tonneaux and 3 years in 60 gallon Slavonian barrels. It is both smooth and curvaceous with aromas of cherry, Spanish cedar, licorice, dried rosemary, and roasted almond. This wine fills the bottle with mature richness and depth. The palate is greeted with dried cherries, fresh fruits, and dark chocolate. It finishes with great length and strong tannins. This wine will stand up to gamey meats, steak, and spicy pasta dishes. It is 13.5% alcohol and is best decanted for an hour.
Badia di Morrona “N’Antia” Super
This masterful blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The vines have a southern exposure and grow 450 feet above sea level. The deep ruby color, along with the ample nose and complex, spicy, and balsamic notes make for a special treat. It is fused with lovely aromas of ripe fruits, subtle in their suggestions of black currants, tobacco, and vanilla. This wine is intense in flavor, freshly supple, with a long and deeply pleasurable finish and aftertaste. You will marvel at the deep color. It is full bodied and ready for your palate. Decanting a powerful wine is always suggested and this is no exception.
ITALIAN Region of the Month
The name Toscana comes from the Latin Tuscia, which the Romans called the area to honor the Etruscans, who developed an advanced civilization there before the Romans subjugated them. The Etruscans were wine makers, but the Romans preferred stronger southern wines. Thus the Etruscan wine trade faded until monks revived viticulture in the region. Wine became a daily beverage in the medieval cities of Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Arezzo. During the Renaissance, which began in Florence, the wines of Toscana were transported throughout Europe. The noble red grape variety of Toscana is Sangiovese. Although many clones of Sangiovese exist, the superior ones are among the world’s finest vines, such as Montalcino’s Brunello, Chianti’s Sangioveto, and Montepulciano’s Prugnolo Gentile. Among other fine Sangiovese based wines are Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile, and Carmignano. Tuscan wines also include the “Super Tuscans,” which are100% Cabernet or Sangiovese-Cabernet blends. Vernaccia de San Gimignano is the most prestigious white wine in Toscana, and Vin Santo its highly prized dessert wine. In the government system of laws that regulate wine production, Toscana boasts 11 DOCG areas, 39 DOC areas, and 6 ITG.
CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month
2015 Pinot Grigio Monterey County
The Pinot Grigio 2015 is introduced with a light straw color and perfect clarity. Lively aromas of stone and tropical fruits blend nicely with honeysuckle and light floral notes. The palate is fresh and fruity with bright tangy line, sweet pear, apple, and passion fruit flavors. The finish is smooth with a nice kick of acidity followed by a subtle sweetness that lingers on the finish. This is a great wine for the hot summer months. Chill well before serving for a very refreshing wine.
2013 Central Coast Merlot
This Merlot contains aromas rich in spice, fruit, and oak. Hints of black pepper, cherries, vanilla bean, and toasted cedar also hit the nose. Flavors of mocha, raspberries, and plumbs are rich on the palate. This wine is full-bodied and fruity on the finish. This wine is ready to drink now, is very smooth, and won’t disappoint.
2013 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains
This Santa Cruz Mountains 2013 Chardonnay has a rich straw color and perfect clarity.Aromas on the nose are vibrant with honey, fig, and peach. Flavors of pear, brown sugar, and spiced apples fill the palate and linger on the finish. This medium- bodied wine has hints of butter and vanilla balanced with crisp acidity. Only 448 cases of this Chardonnay were produced. This is an easy drinking wine that will please any Chardonnay lover.
2013 Merlot Santa Cruz Mountains
This merlot is deep ruby in color and aromas are rich in spice, fruit, and oak. There are also hints of black pepper, dried cherries, vanilla bean, and toasted cedar. Flavors of ripe raspberries and plumbs are rich on the palate. 448 cases of this easy drinking Merlot were produced. This wine is full-bodied with a long fruity finish.
2013 Dolcetto Santa Cruz Mountains
The 2013 Dolcetto has a bright garnet color with complex aromas rich in spicy potpourri, anise, cherry, and black currants. You will experience the influence of oak with hints of vanilla of vanilla and roasted coffee beans. This wine is medium-bodied with bold flavor that extends to the finish. The tannins are soft and developed with hints of oak and a light earthiness linger on the finish. There were only 191 cases produced.
La Vita 2010
All La Vita vintages are from Regan Vineyards atop a knoll in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Monterey Bay. It is a 3 acre section of the vineyard dedicated to Italian varietals. With a combination of shoot and cluster removal, 75% of the crop is thinned, yielding wines with deep color and depth of flavor. Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, and Refosco all produce large majestic clusters. The wine is burnt garnet in color with a lighter hue at the rim of the glass and hints of purple at the center. On the nose you will get cedar, cranberries, and fresh ground cinnamon and fruit leathers. This wine has medium tannins that take over the mouth with bright acidity on the finish. While ready to be enjoyed now, this wine will age nicely through 2018. Decant an hour to bring out the full flavor profile. 350 cases produced.
La Vita 2012
A blend of Regan Estate Refosco, Nebbiolo, and Docetto. Each varietal brings intrigue and layers to the final La Vita blend. This wine is busting with dark fruit, spicy potpourri, and rich tannins. They Nebbiolo adds juicy bright cranberry, structure, and acidity. The Dolcetto adds layers of red fruit, floral notes, and soft tannins. Also added hints of spice, vanilla oak, and toasted cedar. This 2012 finishes bright with acidity and hint of hot tamale cinnamon. Let this gem open up for an hour before drinking and you will be delighted. A portion of La Vita sales goes to a Santa Cruz area non-profit organization. 350 cases produced. 350 cases produced.
CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month
Geographically, it’s a very large appellation, going from the Watsonville area all the way out to Half Moon Bay, spanning three counties, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and San Mateo. It was recognized as an AVA in 1981 and was one of the first to be defined by its mountain topography. Based on elevation, it largely follows the fog line along the coast, extending down to 800 feet in the East (San Francisco Bay side) and 400 feet in the West (Monterey Bay side), and encompasses the highest ridgetops at 3000+ feet elevation. The mountain terrain, the Pacific Ocean, and the nearby San Francisco Bay have wide ranging effects on the appellation, creating a myriad of microclimates in the region, depending on the elevation of the vineyard, on which side of the mountains the vineyard is on, the effects of the fog, sun exposure, and soil type among others. There are over 200 small wineries that total about 1,500 acres of vineyards. The region’s vineyards and wineries actively support sustainable practices and some grow organically. Some of the oldest wineries in California are in this region of which two participated in the 1976 Judgement of Paris wine tasting. It is a very diverse region.
MENU OF THE MONTH
Sweet Summer Time
Sliced tomato, avocado, and buffalo mozzarella,
drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with slivered basil
Butterflied, marinated, and grilled chicken, served with Padron
peppers, sautéed in olive oil (or grilled with the chicken)
Mixed baby lettuces with coarsely chopped parsley
and lemon-garlic-olive oil dressing
Mixed berries, served with vanilla gelato and a drizzle of triple sec
Butterflied Chicken on the Grill
Whether grilled, broiled, or roasted, butterflying a chicken is a much over-looked technique that greatly rewards cook and diner alike. Butterfly means simply that the backbone is removed and the bird flattened, roughly taking the shape of a butterfly. In this form, a chicken requires less cooking time than a whole one, avoids the risk of uneven cooking that a whole chicken always presents, and employs less labor than turning individual pieces. Instead, the flattened chicken needs only one flip on a grill or broiler from one side to the other. If you’re roasting the bird, you need not turn it. Check it out and enjoy!
1 whole chicken butterflied
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest and juice of one lemon
Place the chicken on the grill breast-side down and cook for about 15 minutes until skin browns. Turn the chicken over and press down on the breast, flattening it. Whisk together the olive oil, 2 tablespoons each of the garlic, oregano, and lemon zest with juice. Transfer marinade to a baking dish, add chicken, and coat both sides, placing the chicken skin-side down in the marinade for 2 to 8 hours, covered and refrigerated. Preheat grill to medium, remove chicken from the marinade, and sprinkle both sides with salt. Place the chicken on the grill, breast side down, and cook for about 15 minutes until skin browns. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 20 minutes, testing with a meat thermometer. Remove chicken from the grill, sprinkle with remaining garlic, oregano, and lemon zest, tent, and then let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.