ITALIAN WINE

Chianti Comes To Town

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Sassello and awesome reserve production CHianti from Castello Verrazzano

by Luigi Cappellini

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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

CHIANTI

CHIANTI

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

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

WHAT WINE For SUNDAY SAUCE? ITALIAN GRAVY?

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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!”

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

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La TAVOLA Is Aailable in Paperback and KINDLE on AMAZON.com

Clemenza’s Meatball Sunday Sauce

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Well, it seems we’ve been waiting forever, 41 years to be exact since the release of one of America’s most epic movies, The Godfather by Italian-American Director Francis Ford Coppola. What have we been waiting for? A book dedicated to the legendary scene when Corleone Family Caporegime Peter Clemenza teaches Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) how to make “Sauce,” Sunday Sauce that is, aka Gravy, the beloved, monumental, most important dish in all of Italian-America, its cooking, eating and gathering of the family. Clemenza fries up some garlic with tomatoes and Tomato Paste, then “throw in your Meatballs and Sausage,” he adds a little wine, a bit of sugar, and that’s his secret. It’s a piece of movie, AMerican, and Italian American History, purely classical and it’s in Daniel B. Bellino’s new book Clemenza’s Meatball Sunday Sauce, the most anticipated cookbook of 2013 ..

Yes, Clemenza’s Meatball Sunday Sauce “Gravy” recipe is in their in all its fabulousness, as is Charlie & Big Paulie’s Goodfellas Sunday Sauce and Henry’s Veal & Peppers recipes. LEarn how to make Meatballs, Pasta Fazool, Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Mussels Marinara and much more. Daniel even includes the top secret recipe for Salsa Segreta, the “Secret Sauce” of beloved (now defunct) New York Italian favorite restaurant Gino’s …

There’s Daniel’s own famed Sunday Sauce and Amatriciana recipes and much more. This book is an absolute Gem “Must Have” for anyone interested in the wonderful Food and History of Italian-American, Italian Food and of course the star of the show, Sunday Sauce. You will delight in every recipe and the whimsical stories and anecdotes of the Italian American lifestyle, particularly in New York and of Mob Movies. As I’ve said it is a must have and especially now with Daniel’s generous introductory offer of just .99 Cents a copy. It’s a steal.

ClemzaMBSunSauceCOVER copy