Chianti Comes To Town


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



"La TAVOLA" is Greenwich Village Italian by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

“La TAVOLA” is Greenwich Village Italian by Daniel Bellino Zwicke



Giuseppe Vajra with His Wonerful BAROLO CERRETTA LUIGI BAUDAN 2008

The Big Guns of Italian Wine were out at the annual Tre Bicchieri Tasting held at the Metropolitan Pavillion on West 18th Street yesterday. M. Rallo of Fiarrato was on hand with 3 Glass Winner Rebecca 2010 as was famed wine-maker Sebastiano Rosa who makes a great Sardenian Wine based on 100% Carrignan. It’s called Barrua and a joint venture with Cantina Santadi and Mr. Rosa. Sebastiano just so happens to be the winemaker of Italy’s most prestigious wine “SASSICAIA” which won Red Wine of The Year this year for the 2009 Vintage at the 2013 Tre Bicchieri. Wow, this is the “Best Vintage of Sassicaia” that I’ve had in the last 10 years. The wine is perfectly balanced, and when a wine is in perfect balance, there’s nothing else to say except that “It’s as Good as It Gets.” Bravo Sebastiano! Sebastiano Rosa is a member of the Incis Rochetta family who own the famed Tenuta San Guido Estate that makes Sassicaia in Bolgheri on the Tuscan Coast. Sebastiano’s cousin (Cujino) Piero Incisa Rochetta, who is usually on hand at the Tre Bicchieri Events was nowhere to be seen today. No matter, I had a nice little chat with the affable Sebastiano before I went on to taste more wine.

More wine yes. And if I was to pick out just two wines on the day that really blew me away, it was the Sassicaia 2009 and a great Barolo from my friend Giuseppe Vjra and his offering of Barolo Cerretta Luigi Baudana 2008. This wine was amazing and a perfect example of what a great and classical Barolo should taste like, with wonderful Earth, Mushroom, and fruit. The wine, if I must use the phrase again, was in perfect balance and a text-book Barolo. So if you know Barolo, you know what I’m talking about, it is a great wine. Basta!

So another Tre Bicchieri in the bag, my 17th, and as usual a great day to drink great Italian Wine, but even more so, see and hang-out with a few Wine-Making friends from Italy and fellow New York Italian Wine Guys. A great day.


SASSICAIA Winemaker SEBASTIANO ROSA with Author / New York Wine Guy Daniel Bellino-Zwicke .. Sebastiano holding a bottle of one of his other great wines that he makes in Sardinia “Barua” of 100 % Carrignano


RED WINE of THE YEAR Tre Bicchieri 2013 is SASSICAIA  2009

Winemaker Sebastiano Rosa





Firriato "REBECCA"

Firriato “REBECCA

Marco De Bartoli of Firriato


“La TAVOLA” by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke Available on

Five Great Italian Wines


Hey folks! These are some of my Faves from some of my Best Friends in The ITALIAN WINE WORLD; a great Sauvignon Blanc Venica “Ronco di Mele” from bud Giampaulo Venica, a great Nero di’Avola Donnafugata “Mille Una Notte” A Thousand and One Nights from friends Jose and Antonio Rallo of Donnafugata, “awesome People.” Also from Sicily (My Family’s Home Territory, Lecara Freddi) is my good friend Francesca Planeta’s offering of Cerasaulo di Vittoria Planeta, love this baby, my Favorite Brunello of all from Fattoria Barbi in Montalcino and let us not forget my good ol friend Roberto Gundler of Terrabianca and his famed Super Tuscan Wine “Campaccio.”




Daniel Bellino Zwicke