Wineries of the Month

Cantina Di Gallura

Cantina Di Gallura
Established in 1956 in Tempio Pausania, at the foot of Limbara Mountain, this winery has collected the age-old tradition of wine-growers of high Gallura, already known in the nineteenth century as outside islanders for producing a muscat(moscato) of excellence. With the strict selection systems, modern winemaking processes and aging in barrels, Catina Di Gallura produces high quality wines with organoleptic characteristics attuned to the changing tastes and needs of consumers. Spearhead of the Cantina Gallura is the “Vermentino di Gallura”, the only wine in Sardinia awarded, since 1996, of the aspired Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed. The five product types are Canayli and Genesis (the Superior), Piras, Gemellae and Mavriana, all of excellent quality, are the result of the most advanced technologies. Besides the native cultivars, Vermentino, Cannonau, Moscato, Pascale, and Caricagiola, members of the Cantina Gallura grow the “Nebbiolo” vine, imported from Piedmont in 1700.

Azienda Vinicola Malaspina
The Malaspina winery was founded in 1967, when Consolato Malaspina decided to devote his life to his passion for the world of wine. Since then he has dedicated himself to using the resource of a land greatly suited to the production of wines. To his merit, he has also been able to transmit his love of working the land, and making the traditional wines of Calabira, to his four daughters, Domenica, Caterina, Irene and Patrizia. Azienda Vinicola Malaspina is located on the furthest tip of Calabria, a proud, wild and fascinating region that continues to amaze with its constant changes. Calabria is a region of a thousand faces, its hills, shades of green in deep winter and yellow in the summer, descend to the sea happily providing its scents and flavors. The hills on which the vineyards are located are near the sea but the altitude of 700 meters gives rise to excellent climactic conditions which favor the production of remarkable quality. Vineyards that produce the Nerello Cappuccio, Castiglione and Calabrese Nero are situated in the town of Palizzi, near the districts of Dareri, Catania and Stavro’. Noises of the so called “civilized” or modern world do not penetrate and the surrounding landscape is beautiful and wild. The rugged hills are like high terraces overlooking the sea. The rest of the Malaspina wines come from grapes that come from expert grape growers of the region, with whom there is an established relationship of trust and cooperation.


Winery of the Month

Brutocao Cellars

Brutocao Cellars
Winemaking traditions often begin around the table. Brutocao Cellars’ roots go back four generations to a Venice, Italy dinner table. When the Brutocao family came to the New World and married into the Bliss family of farmers, it was only natural that they would combine their passions and become grape growers and winemakers. Today, the family still blends their Italian heritage with their rural agricultural lifestyle to make some of California’s finest wines. Grandfather Irv Bliss purchased our Mendocino County property in 1943. The Brutocao family released their first wine with the 1980 vintage. Shortly thereafter, they chose the Lion of St. Mark, modeled after the lion on top of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy, as their symbol of family tradition and quality. That quality comes from the location of their 400 acres of vineyards in southern Mendocino County. The Brutocao family tradition of serving wine at the table means wines are produced with good food and good friends in mind. Brutocao Cellars produces both the Brutocao and the Bliss labels.

ITALIAN Wines of the Month


Cantina Di Gallura
2015 Vermentino “Piras” DOCG
This 100% Vermentino is aged for 2 months. Yellow with some green tinges portrays its freshness. Floral and fruity notes hit the nose, finding a balanced wine on the palate and a finish of nectarine, pear, and citrus. It pairs well with fish. 13.0% Alcohol.

Malaspina Calabria Rosso
2012 “Palikos” IGT
This wine is produced from 60% Gaglioppo and 40% Nerello Calabrese grapes in Palizzi of the Calabria region. It is soft pressed and aged in barrels for 5 months and in bottle for 2 months. The nose finds cherry, black currant and earth. The palate will find plum, leather, truffle, and fig. It pairs with red meat stews and aged cheeses. Alcohol 13.5%.


Cantina Di Gallura 2014 Vermentino
“Canayli” late harvest DOCG
A 100% Vermentino dry white wine from the granite soils and weathering sand that provide very low water retention and few nutrients. The slightly overripe grapes are softly pressed and fermented at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks. It is aged not more than a couple of months in stainless steel tanks before bottling. The aromas of marmalade, lemon, grapefruit and apricot fill the nose. Lavender, dried fruit, apricot and honey find the palate with a medium crisp finish. Shrimp scampi, Alfredo dishes, chicken dishes, and of course most fish dishes will pair well. A mild Pecorino cheese will also go well. 15% alcohol.

Malaspina Calabria Rosso
2012 “Palizzi” IGT
This wine boasts 50% Calabrese Nero and 50% Nocera. The finds black cherry, plum, salted nuts, dark fruit, leather and berries. It has a medium full body that is very smooth and balanced. Tastes of blueberry, leather, black tea, and smoke with find the palate. It has good persistence and is slightly tannic. It will pair with pork ragu, roasted lamb, sausage, steak and bold blue cheeses. 14.5% alcohol.

Cantina Di Gallura 2015 “Karana” IGT
This wine is from 90% Nebbiolo, with Sangiovese and Carigagiola making up the other 10%. It is aged in the cellar for five to eight months. Hints of new leather, black currant, tobacco, earth, and cranberry titillate the nose while flavors of raspberry, cocao, and black cherry sooths the palate. This is a medium bodied wine that could stand a little decanting. Tasty first courses with meat sauces, grilled or roasted meats go well. It is very young, but already drinks well. 13.5% alcohol.


Cantine Di Gallura
2009 “Dolmen” IGT
“Dolmen” is produced from 90% Nebbiolo and 10% Sangiovese, pomace macerated for 12 to 15 days, maturing in barriques for 15 to 20 days. It is then cellar aged for six months in the bottle. This wine is medium bodied, very balanced and extremely smooth. It surrenders aromas of cherry, toffee, white pepper, forest floor, black cherry and leather. The palate enjoys pomegranate, allspice and black cherry. It will enhance most red meats, heavy meat sauces, pungent cheeses, game dishes and mushroom dishes. You will want to decant for an hour prior to serving. Alcohol 13.5%.

Malaspina 2012 “Patros Pietro” IGT
This wine is 100% Magliocco, one of the most interesting and appreciated Calabrian grape varietals manifesting power and elegance. It is fermented in steel tanks and aged in French oak for eight months. This is a full bodied smooth wine with firm tannins. Notes of leather, wood, black pepper, black cherry, and plum settle in the nose while flavors of red fruit, black raspberry, cherry and a hint of creaminess massage the palate. This wine should be decanted for an hour prior to serving. Alcohol 13.5%.

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 microcli-mates 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


Bliss Family Vineyards Sauvignon
Blanc 2015
This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is light, crisp, and brimming with gorgeous flavors of zesty lime, grapefruit, and melon. These fruit flavors are perfectly complemented with subtle herbal flavors. Some say that Sauvignon Blanc smells like freshly mowed grass. This wine is impressively balanced with the citrus and tropical fruit that is a hallmark of this particular grape. Invigorating acidity and a refreshingly tangy finish underscore the wine’s youthful energy. Alcohol 13.5%.

Bliss Family Vineyards Blissful Red
The Blissful Red is a blend of 44% Sangiovese, 30% Barbera, 9% Syrah, 9% Primitivo, and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose finds wafts of dried cherries, plums, and clove, followed by a rich mouth feel bursting with bright raspberries and cinnamon notes. It exhibits satisfying layers of ripe fruit flavor, a rich mouthfeel and smoky oak accents. This wine finishes big with integrated tannins and perfect acidity. Alcohol 13.5%.


Brutocao Hopland Ranches
Chardonnay 2014
This 100% Chardonnay exhibits notes of Pear with honey, melon, pineapple, dried persimmons and butterscotch flavors and expresses the unique vineyard where the Brutocao Hopland Ranches Chardonnay is grown. These aromas are followed by crisp, bright cantaloupe and mango, a creamy lush mouth feel and honeydew on the mid palate. The lingering finish boasts of honey and hints of caramel. Alcohol 14.5%.

Brutocao Family Vineyards
Quadriga 2012
This is a deftly-balanced wine of 45% Sangiovese, 41% Primitivo, 9% Barbera, and 5% Dolcetto that opens with zesty scents of red raspberry and red plum along with richer notes of dark plum, black fig, vanilla, cedar and some leafy dried herbal hints. The red fruit tones that dominate the nose are joined on the palate by flavors of red cherry, blueberry, violet, rose and cedar. The finish is slightly juicy and lingering and as easy-going as the varietal blend suggests. 1000 cases produced at 14.5% alcohol.

Brutocao Family Vineyards Uber
Tuscan 2012
This is the seventh release of this “Uberlicous” wine. It boasts 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Wonderful aromas of strawberry and honey lead the way, followed by succulent flavors of plum, earth and vanilla spice. All wrapped up with traditional Sangiovese acidity, perfect balance for a very smooth finish. This classic combination will bring out the Italian in any dish. 350 cases produced. Alcohol 13.5%.


Burtocao Family Vineyard Reserve
Quadriga Leonard’s Cuvee 2010
A blend of Sangiovese, Primitivo, Barbera, and Dolcetto, this Reserve Quadriga produces aromas of cloves, milk chocolate, and plums. Notes of raspberries, strawberries and chocolate covered cherries will fill your senses. A balance of mocha, toast, and a long fruit finish complete this journey. Let this decant for 30 minutes and you will be amazed. Only 100 cases produced at 14.5% alcohol.

Brutocao Family Vineyard Reserve
Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Aromas of blueberries, plums and mocha are met with flavors of cassis, dark fruit and coffee. You might even find a hint of vanilla and some wood on the palate. This Reserve Cabernet has big round tannins which help lift up the fruit and lead into a long, structured finish with hints of chocolate covered cherries. This is an age worthy Cabernet from the beautiful hillside Contento vineyard. You will want to decant for at least 30 minutes. Only 590 cases produced at 14.5% alcohol.

CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month


Created in 1850 at the time of California statehood, Mendocino County is located 90 miles north of San Francisco and is noted for its Pacific Ocean coastline, redwood forests, wine production, microbreweries, and liberal views on the use of cannibis. Nearly 25% of vineyards are cultivated organically. In 2004, residents voted to become the first GMO-free county in the United States, an initiative that was supported by the county’s largest wineries. The Mendocino Range segment essentially divides the region into two climatic spheres. The land to the west of the ranges, closest to the coast, has a maritime climate that includes cooling and rain influences from the Pacific Ocean. Among the wine regions in this cooler area are the AVAs Mendocino Ridge, Anderson Valley, and Yor-kville Highlands. East of the ranges, the climate turns warmer around Ukiah and along the path of the Russian River. Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Cole Ranch, McDowell Valley, Covelo, Dos Rios AVAs and most of the large general Mendocino AVA are in this warmer area. The climatic and geographical diversity of Mendocino County allows the region to produce a wide range of grape varieties.


by Debra Williams

Bertha’s Cookery

I was very fortunate to have been raised by a grandmother born in 1914. Wow, could she cook. Just to do something different, I wanted to share a few of the recipes she preserved in writing and in her books from many, many years ago. I’m editing nothing and relaying them to you as written. I hope you enjoy.

First Course
Avacados stuffed with gorganzola and walnut cream.

Main Course
Filet Flounder with Shrimp Sauce
Place flounder on a dish with lemon juice squeezed over it, and place on ice for 4 hours. Put over pan of boiling water, dot with butter and steam ½ hour.
Make a cream sauce, using the lemon juice from the fish, and adding shrimps.
Pour hot over the fish on a platter.

Carrot Soufflé
Add 1 cup carrots, boiled and mashed, and 1 tablespoon minced onion to 1 cup white sauce. Then add the beaten yolks of 2 eggs and fold in the stiffly
beaten whites. Turn the mixture into a buttered baking dish. Set dish in a pan of hot water and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Serve at once.

A light side salad of mixed greens with a Balsamic Vinegar drizzle. I love a balsamic fresh from the vineyard like Arroyo’s Cabernet Sauvignon Balsamic
Vinegar from Calistoga, CA. Yum!

Finish with a dessert of fresh mixed berries with a touch of honey. That was one of my grandmother’s favorites as well.
I hope you enjoy. As usual, I’d love to get your feedback. Please check us out on Facebook, like us, and leave a comment.