GOOD SOLID DINER, a GREENWICH VILLAGE INSTITUTION
GREENWICH VILLAGE NEW YORK
Sassello and awesome reserve production CHianti from Castello Verrazzano
by Luigi Cappellini
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke and Cavalier Luigi Cappellini of Castello Verrazzano at DeGrzia Restaurant
New York …
Yes Chianti came to town the other day. The town? New York City. The Chianti, Castello Verrazzanno … Luigi Cappellini of Castello Verrazzano (Owner) visited with me and tasted me on his latest offerings from his equisite wine estate in Greve in Chianti Classico .. Chianti Classico is the great wine region in Tuscany that produces Italy’s most storied wine “Chianti” along with Vin Santo and porprietory Super Tuscan Wines .. Mr. Cappellini is the proud owner of one of Chianti Classico’s and Italy’s finest most beautiful wine estates. They produce three different Chianti wines; a Chianti normale, Chianti Riserva, and a special limited edition Cru Chianti in Sassello which was formally bottled as a Super Tuscan but has by a good choice of Mr. Cappellini been made and classified into Chianti Classico Riserva status. Luigi brought the Sassello to me to taste along with other fine wines. Let me tell you, when I tasted the Sassello, it blew my wine. The “Sassello” Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 is one of the finest wines that I have tasted of a few thousand wines this year. The wine has everything going on for it, and I’m not going to go into some drrwn out boring discription other than to say it was delicious, tasty, “In Perfect Balance,” and just one of those extra special wines. I love it, and ordered 2 6 packs on the spot. We have many great wines in our extensive cellars of Big Names of great prestige and storied vintages, and I can easily say, that when we take delivery of this wine next week it will be among our greatest wines in our cellars of a couple thousand, the wine is great as great can be, “Basta!”
Luigi also brought his 2009 Chianti normale and Chianti Reserva 2007, both quite tasty. Unfortunately, I wasn’t tasted on their (Verrazzano’s) great Vin Santo, which I’ve drank on numerous occasions in Greve at the Verrazzano Estate .. I wasn’t tasted on it, as the importer Palm Bay does not import that particular wine from Verrazzano, but I can tell you from experience, the wine is nutty, lush, and just perfect …
One wine that Luigi tasted me on and of which I just bought 2 cases as I love it, is a wine called Verrazzano Rosso, with a subtitle of MiniTuscan … The wine is super tasty and very affordable … It is made of Sangiovese, Cannaiolo, Mavasia, and a tiny bit of Trebbiano. This wine is made in the classic true old style of Chianti of which white grapes were allowed in the blend of mostly Sangiovese Grapes along with the native Cannaiolo, and white native grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia. The wine is quite tasty of medium body and ripe as well as a tad of bitter fruit flavors. As I said, this wine as made in the way that Chianti used to be made with native grapes of the Chianti Classico wine region. The laws and rules of what is a Chianti Classico by the law of the Italian Goverment and Chianti Consorzio were changed in 1996 to incude the sacraligious inclusion of international grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon … For those who know me, they know I distane this practice along with a few other people who are Chinati lovers and purest. We wish for the laws to change back and exclude all “non-native Grapes” like Merlot, Cabernet Suavignon and any others, and for Chianti to incude only native grapes and a blend of mostly Sangiovese and including small amounts of native grapes like; Cannaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia Nero, and very tiny amounts if a property so chooses of the white grapes of Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianco. This is true CHianti and the kind of Chianti Luigi Cappellini makes at the Verrazzano Estate.
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Wine for Sunday Sauce? What do you drink? Which wine pairs best with Sunday Sauce, thee Supreme Dish of Italian-America? Is it Chianti, most iconic of all Italian Wines? Perhaps Aglianico or Piedrossa from the region of Campania where the roots of Italian-American Sunday Sauce Gravy begin? Or a Sicilian Wine like Nero d’Avola or Norello Mascallese? If you trace the roots of Italian-American Sunday Sauce and the people who created it, Sicilians are among the top of the list. Now, I know since you came to this page that bottle of Carlo Rossi “Paisano” just had to catch your eye. And I’m sure most of you are asking the question, “Carlo Rossi Paisano, are You Kidding?” The answer. “No, Not Really.” Well I’m not saying it’s the best choice. OK so we have to match a good wine with that fabulous Sunday Sauce of yours. What to drink?
I’m here to tell you, it can be one or more of many wines, and don’t count a wine like Carlo Rossi Paisano out. “You’re Joking?” You say. No. Listen, this can be your wine, maybe not. I myself have drank some of the World’s Priciest, and so-called greatest wines in the World, “Trophy Wines,” like; Sassicaia, Gaja Barbaresco. La Tache, Chateau Petrus, Cahteau Haute Brion, Petrus, Chateasu Cheval Blanc, Chateau Latour, all the great Brunello and barolo wines, great vintage Champagnes, you name it, “I’ve had it.” And with my knowledge of wine, I can tell you, a lot of it is hype, and Marketing BS, and sometimes not. And I’ll tell you this, do not be so much of a snob, a Wine Snob. You see that Carlo Rossi, with all the prestigous wines that I’ve consumed over the years, I’m not above drinking that. Carlo Rossi .. The wine has special meaning and affection for me. It’s one of the two wines my uncles always bought for our Sunday Family Meals. Meals of Meatballs, Sunday Sauce “Gravy,” Ravioli, Veal Marsala, Chicken Cactitore. My Uncles Tony and Frank always had either Carlo Rossi paisano or Gallo Hearty Burgungy on hand. They were their wines, and they only had other wines if someone brought something like Bolla Valpolicella, Rufino Chianti or some other wine. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Paisano or Gallo Hearty Burgundy are great wines, “No.” But they are not that bad. They are Italian-American Wines made by Italian-Americans and have social significance to Italian-Americans. These wines are part of our history, as are the wines from the great Robert Mondavi, The Mondavi Family, Francis Ford Coppola and other Italian Families in America.
So what am I saying? What wines to drink with the Sunday Sauce or any home-made Italian American Meal? Well, actually most of the time I do drink wines from Italy with my Sunday Sauce or whatever Italian food we’re making. The Carlo Rossi is just when we eat over Uncle Tony’s house with Uncle Frank and all the wonderful meals with Aunt Fran, Aunt Helen, Mommy, Cousin Tony, and my brothers and sister and the whole family. No, I’m not above drinking Carlo Rossi or Gallo if my Uncles are serving it. When we’re eating at home, we usually love to drink Chianti, most times, sometimes Barolo, Barbera, or Brunello. But most often it’s Chianti which I love and it goes quite well with just about anything we eat, especially Meatballs, Sausage, and Sunday Sauce. Chinati comes from Tuscany and is a medium bodied wine made mostly from Sangiovese (The Blood of Jobe), and with small percentages of other native Tuscan grapes like; Colorino, Malvasia Nero, Cannaiolo, or Ciegolo.
One thing I must say is, that I usually don’t like wines like Big, concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah from California or Australia. To me, these are the last wines I would ever want to drink with Italian food. Reason. These wines are usually to rich, and because of that, they clash with the food instead of complementing them. the wines you want to drink should have good flavor, but be light to medium in body and weight. Not Bif, Fat, Rich, and concentrated. “No Bueno!”
La TAVOLA Is Aailable in Paperback and KINDLE on AMAZON.com
Plans for Carbone – Torissi Boys Lobster Club that 3rd partner Jeff Zalaznick was hot on have been scrapped. The Carbone – torissi Team is opening a small clam-bar instead (12 seats) called ZZ Clam Bar a couple doors downstream from their highly sucessful “Carbone” Old-School Red-Sauce Italian Joint. This teams first venture was named after Rich Torissi, the 2nd “Carbone” after Mario Carbone, and now ZZ Clam Bar will be named after Jeff Zalaznick and his nickname “ZZ”
NEW YORK MAGAZINE 1 STAR … Adam Platt
NEW YORK TIMES 3 STARS of Possible 4 … Pete Wells
NEW YORK POST 2 STARS of Possible 4 .. Steve Cuozzo
BLOOMBERG NETWORK 3 1/2 STARS
THE NEW YORK OBSERVER …. Joshua David Stein says “Carbone Makes a Case Greatness In A Red Sauce Joint”
GAEL GREEME The Insatiable Critic Gives CARBONE (Greenwich Village) High Marks After Going to “Wrong Carbone” in Hells Kitchen ...
BLOGS OVERALL: Most like or Love Carbone. Some Don’t, but Carbone defiantely comes out on the Plus Side with Bloggers.
The PIZZA MAESTRO “Dom DeMarco”
“Yes,” Eating Pizza Made by The Maestro DOM DeMARCO
Is a Religious Experience !!!
Much has been said of the now famed Pizzeria (DiFarra Pizza) on Avenue J in Brooklyn, New York the Capital of Thee Best Pizza in the whole United States of America, bar-none, even Manhattan. Brooklyn lays claim to the Top two Pizzerias in the country, the top of the list 1 and 2, number 1, The Best and number 2, the second best. Well no, I don’t know if I should put it that way, as it sound s as one is better than the other, which is not ht e case, as they are both equally good, equally Great and equally the Best Pizza and the Best Pizzerias in the United States, though they are are little different than one another. The Pizza at both Totonno’s on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York and Di Farra Pizza on Avenue J in Brooklyn are both otherworldly specimens of some the Finest Pizza on other and the Undisputed Best Pizza in America.
Wow, got off on a tangent about both Di Farra and Totonno’s when I just intended to talk about Di Farra Pizza, Dom DeMarco the Maestro of Di Farra’s and the Religious experience that it is to go there, watch Dominic masterfully make Pizza after glorious Pizza (without the help of anyone else), to watch in awe and anticipation and Salivation til you finally get yours (after about a hour or hour and a half wait), you hold it in your hand like a precious baby, and then to sink your teeth into it, savoring each wondrous bite after the other. “Yes,” it is truly a religious experience, that is, if you are a great lover of this wonderful invention, created in Napoli, spread throughout the the Italian Peninsular and then across the Atlantic to America from Italian Immigrants where Gennaro Lombardi opened the First Pizzeria in America on Prince Street in New York City some 100 years ago or so.
Back to Di Farra and Pizzaiolo Extraordinaire, Mr. Dominic DeMarco. It is Dominic that makes Di Farra what it is, it certainly isn’t the Pizzeria itself which is ultra plain and even appalling to some. Mr. DeMarco’s pizzas are just about as close to absolute perfection in the Pizza Making World, a world in which New York City excels and has only one rival in Naples, Italy and the whole of Italy itself. Mr. De Marco has the magic touch, with perfect dough, the perfect balance of ingredients, tomato and other ingredient ratio to cheese, and this include Mr. Demarcos judicious use of Olive Oil which is right-on and a little magic touch that whoever complains about it, just does not know there Pizza and Italian Food on a whole. We Italians love our olive oil. And those who complain are unaware that it is a condiment that adds the final last touch to many dishes before they are eaten. Dominic knows this and should not be discourage against his generous use of it by those who do not understand the proper essence of the Italian Table. So please, keep your traps shut, if you don’t like it don’t eat it, this countries finest examples of the Pizza Art.
And on to the religious experience of Di Farra, Dom DeMarco and the mans artistry with Pizza. There is nothing quite like it in the entire Pizza World. There does not exist, to my knowledge any place in the world that has an elderly man making a hundred plus Pizzas a day in a place that has endless lines, day and night. Pizza that are so perfect, words can not describe People line up for greatness and artistry, and for a couple of slices of the most marvelous pizza this side of Naples, and to watch this passionate little old man work his heart out, not getting, not allowing anyone else to make a pie at his beloved Pizzeria. The man is elderly. He’s worked his whole life. He makes such a magical thing that people line up each and every day to see him and eat one of his many masterpieces. With business like this, he could hire to other Pizzaiolos to help him, doubling or tripling his business and and financial intake. He could hire two guys and make pizza aloing with them, or sit back and get three guys to do it. At his age, he’s entitled to. But know, Dom DeMarco loves what he does, he loves his Pizza, each and every one that passes that counter and into thousands of appreciative hands. The man feels that no one else can make a Pizza the way he does and wants to serve to his customers. No one else who has his skills, his passion and love for the Pizza, thus he does it all himself. And this my friends is the reason that going to Di Farra’s to watch Dominic the maestro in action, all by himself while hundreds of people line up every day, waiting an hour and a half to two hours just to get a Pizza (not just any old Pizza mind you). “It’s a Religious Experience.” Truly! A show and there is nothing like it in the World, Dom DeMarco, a man and his Pizza, America’s Best, and something to rival that other World Pizza Capital, Napoli.