Wineries of the Month
Codice Citra Vineyards
Citra Vini, founded in 1973, is the reference point of a geographical area where viticulture is a common practice. Codice Citra gathers nine winegrowers associations of proven experience, which are all located in a territory with extraordinary potentials, the historic cradle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.
Codice Citra’s mission has been represented by the gathering of the most important grape varieties within the province of Chieti, whose wine production is selected, controlled and appraised in order to enhance it in terms of quality.
Cataldi Madonna Vineyards
Founded in 1920, Cataldi Madonna has been carried forward by three generations of the family. Consisting of just over 65 acres, the estate is home to Abruzzo’s native varietal range and has been bottling its own wines since 1975. Balance lies at the heart of Cataldi Madonna’s vineyard and winery philosophy. The focus in the vineyard is to achieve equilibrium in the vine in order to best express the characteristics of the territory, rather than achieving a specific yield. This approach is continued in the winery, where all techniques are oriented to preserve the grit, freshness and distinct flavors of the grapes, as they naturally occur. Since 2003, Lorenzo Landi has consulted with Cataldi Madonna’s agronomist and winemaker, Raffaele Orlandini, in order to achieve ever increasing levels of quality in the wines.
Valle Reale Vineyards
Valle Reale was founded in 2000 with the goal of producing world-class wines. Working primarily with the Montepulciano varietal, the Pizzolo family strives to make wines that highlight the grape’s intrinsic qualities: strength, exuberance, vitality, color, elegance, balance and depth.
Winery of the Month
One hundred thirty years ago, the York family settled in the rolling hills of southern Mendocino County. They endured wet winters and sweltering hot summer days. They made their living raising sheep and farming a small plot of land, carefully respecting the balance of nature.
Today, Yorkville Cellars continues to uphold the wonder of this area by farming organically and respecting this beautiful land. In March 1998, the area was recognized for its uniqueness and given a special designation by the BATF: as “Yorkville Highlands.” All bottles now proudly carry the Yorkville Highlands AVA designation on the label.
Our primary goal is to let the vineyards speak in each bottle of wine we produce—spotlighting the unique impression of landscape, soil and climate here where our grapes were grown. All of our wines are made from the vineyards on our ranch. We believe that old chestnut – “Our wines are made in the vineyard”. The vineyard is the base, the foundation that allows a winemaker to build a wine. Without a strong foundation, a wine has virtually no chance of being great tasting.
We use old world methods to handcraft unique vineyard designated wines.
What can be described as minimalistic in the winery, we attempt to make tasty wine that makes good food taste better consumed together. Our flavorful wines are designed to be part of a meal and complement food, whether it’s a casual meal at home or a dinner at a top restaurant.
ITALIAN Wines of the Month
2017 Citra Trebbiano D’Abruzzo DOP
Soft, floral and pleasantly dry with crisp, fresh citrus flavors. Delicate with a savory appeal, this wine is excellent on its own as an aperitif or ideal with fish, white meat, or slightly seasoned cheeses.
2017 Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOP
Deep ruby in color with purple highlights. Classic Montepulciano aromas of wild berry, dried herbs, and black pepper are framed by chewy tannin and bright acidity. With a full body, yet mild tannins, this wine pairs well with a variety of foods, including sauce based first courses, roasts and mixed grills, game and seasoned cheeses.
2017 Cataldi Madonna Guilia Pecorino Terre Acquilane IGT
Brilliant greenish yellow color. The bouquet on the nose is very elegant with aromas of white flowers, grapefruit, lime and fresh herbs. On the palate it is fresh and juicy, confirming the aromas perceived on the nose, with a long lemony finish. Ideal on its own, pairs well with fish crudo, seafood and crustaceans.
2017 Cataldi Madonna Malandrino Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC
100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Deep ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The bouquet on the nose is intense, clean and pleasing, with aromas of black cherry, blueberry, plum, carob and violet followed by pleasing aromas of walnut-husk. On the palate it is balanced, with agreeable tannins, good body and intense flavors; persistent finish with flavors of black cherry and plum. Ideal throughout the meal and can stand up to strong flavors.
2011 Valle Reale Vigneto di Popoli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC
Ruby-red in color, this wine is surprisingly concentrated. With silky tannins and layers of dark berry fruit and spices, this is a rich and aromatic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Full-bodied and firm, yet supple. It is ready to be enjoyed with hearty pasta dishes, roasted poultry or lamb, and slow cooked ribs.
2015 Cataldi Madonna Toni Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC
100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Bright ruby red color. The bouquet on the nose is a rich, textured expression of dark fruit with balanced oak and smoky notes. On the palate it is dry and warm with elegant tannins and medium body; mature fruit notes accompanied by pleasant acidity give this wine a fresh full character, very refined and long on the finish. Pair with a steak, lamb, or a hearty pasta dish.
ITALIAN Region of the Month
Abruzzo has its fair share of art and architecture throughout its hill towns and mountain villages, but the Apennine Mountains dominate the region. The vast Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo is one of Europe’s most important nature preserves. Descendants of various hill tribes, who settled the region in the Bronze Age, were difficult to unite, although the Greeks, Romans, Swabians, Aragonese, and Bourbons all tried. After the 12th Century, the Abruzzesi were ruled by a succession of dynasties based in Naples. As a result, their diet, speech, and customs are similar to their southern neighbors. The hills in the region are highly favorable for grapevines. The two classified wines are Trebbiano and Montepulciano, not to be confused with the town of that name in Toscana, where Vino Nobile is made. When grown on the lower hills, Montepulciano has an irresistible character, full bodied and smooth with the capacity to age. In the higher areas, the vines produce a lighter version, Cerasuolo, which is a sturdy, cherry-colored Rosé. At its best, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo develops a Burgundy-like complexity after four or five years of aging.
CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month
2018 Yorkville Cellars VIN D’Une Nuit Malbec Rosé
Aroma of wool, fancy lavender soap, and blackberry leaf. Taste of crushed pineapple and under-ripe cherry. Dry, yet fruity. Pair with Grilled Chicken, Turkey, or grilled salmon.
2017 Yorkville Cellars Hi-Rollr Red
56% Malbec, 29% Merlot, 10% Carignan, 5% Petit Verdot
An easy drinkin’ wine that’s as comfortable with a mid-week pizza as an elegant Sunday roast. On the palate it is a lively wine with rich flavors of cherries, boysenberries and warm spices, all backed with bright acidity and a satisfying finish. This comes together to create a real crowd pleaser. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a High Roller to drink this wine often.
2017 Yorkville Cellars, Randle Gill Vineyard Eleanor of Aquitaine
65% Semillon, 35% Sauvignon Blanc
Multiple award winning wine, 93 points Gold, Tastings. Full of refreshing citrus with notes of pink grapefruit to balance the richness and nuance of French oak. Flavors of ripe peaches, cantaloupe and medjool dates and a long finish with a hint of pears. Favorite pairing: pan seared sea scallops.
2016 Yorkville Cellars, Rennie Vineyard Malbec
Color is deep purple. Pleasant on the nose with deep aromas. Palate is cranberry, forest, cranberry, leather. Medium tannins with a moderate amount of oak. Pair with ribs, a nice steak, or salmon.
2016 Yorkville Cellars Petit Verdot
100% Petit Verdot
Multiple award winning wine. 93 points Tastings.com. Aromas of licorice and cloves and flavors of cranberry and red currants that help make us like it with game dishes; for example: duck breast, rabbit pate or venison. It also is a great match with barbecued food or more hearty dishes.
2016 Yorkville Cellars, Rennie Vineyard Carmenere
The “Lost” Red Grape of the Bordeaux Region. Thought to be nearly extinct, but rediscovered in Chile, extremely rare grape with only 57 bearing acres. Deeply colored, dark and brooding. Prominent blackberry and boysenberry. Dark chocolate aromas with undertones of pepper and earth. Pair with braised meats and stews.
2015 Yorkville Cellars, Rennie Vineyard Richard the Lion-Heart
30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 5% Carmenere
Multiple award winning wine. 95 points, Gold, Best of Class, California State Fair, S.F. Chronicle Wine Competition. “Garnet black color. Aromas of black currant
cordial, cracked black pepper and fresh bell pepper with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, amusing, medium-long red cassis, thyme, tobacco, and rosemary finish with grippy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A well-structured red blend that will be a great partner to steaks; drink now or cellar.” –Tastings.com
CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month
Russians planted the first vineyards after establishing a colony at Fort Ross on the Pacific in 1812. In 1824 while he built the Mission in the Town of Sonoma, Father José Altimira planted grapevines to provide sacramental wine for religious services and for the table. Sonoma County is large and boasts a huge diversity of vines and wine styles because micro climates, soils, and topography are infinite. Some of these micro climates are hospitable to grapes that require warmer temperatures, like Cabernet Sauvignon and associated Bordeaux varieties or Zinfandel and other Mediterranean grapes. The County also offers cooler areas where Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and additional white varieties thrive. Marine fog, breezes, and cool nights prolong ripening to produce complex flavors. Sonoma County so far includes 16 distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) recognized by the Federal government. AVAs include Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Carneros, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Fort Ross-Seaview, Green Valley, Knights Valley, Moon Mountain District, Northern Sonoma, Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, and Sonoma Valley.
DINNER WITH DEBRA
By Debra Williams
Creamy Polenta and Red Wine Mushrooms
4 cups water
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 cup corn meal
3 Tbsp. butter (Earth Balance to a great vegan choice)
Red Wine Mushrooms
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
16 ounces Mushrooms, baby bella and shiitake, sliced
1 tsp Rosemary, dried
½ cup red wine
¾ cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. corn starch
Salt and pepper to taste
Polenta, bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan. Pour the corn meal into the water in a slow steady stream, whisking the whole time. Make sure it is very slow, or the corn meal will clump together. Make sure it is all combined and there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir every few minutes. It is done when it is nice and thick and has absorbed all the liquid.
In the meantime, make the red wine mushrooms. Heat the olive oil on medium high in a nonstick skillet. Add the chopped garlic. Sauté for a minute. Then add the sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms have released their liquid and are starting to brown. Add rosemary and red wine. Simmer 5-7 minutes until mushrooms have absorbed most of the wine. Whisk together the veggie broth and corn starch in a small bowl, add to mushrooms, and simmer for three minutes until thickened. Add butter to polenta when thickened. Serve immediately by putting polenta in bowl and topping with mushrooms.