Sunday, November 14, 2010


The HOLIDAY SEASON is upon us and through the years I have recommemded wines to purchase as gifts or to serve for the Holidays or Special Occassion.

I realize that we all have our DAILY Wines to drink and SPECIAL Wines just waiting to be opened for that special meal or occassion.

I just returned from Italy and actually brought four bottles of the SPECIAL Wines with me, hidden in my suitcase, to open on our balcony at our Hotel ( Villa Brunella) on the Isle of Capri.

It was our 10th Wedding Anniversary and I wanted to make the event SPECIAL with wine that I knew would shine for this Special Occassion.

These wines I am recommending are for those Special Occassions.


I have SIX WINE SUGGESTIONS for those SPECIAL OCCASSIONS. They are all ITALIAN Wines and include wines from ALTO ADIGE to SICILY.

As a wine consumer in 2010, I judge wine on Value and Quality. All of my Recommendations meet these standards and are available throughout America. Many of these wines are distributed by SHERBROOKE CELLARS and Imported by MASSANOIS Imports of Washington, D.C.

MULLER THURGAU 2009 bottled by NALS MARGREID fron Sudtirol/Alto Adige.
I lived in Nuernberg, Germany for four years, and taught journalism at an American school.
We lived within two hours from the Italian border. My favorite memories involve driving my Volkswagon camper through Sudtirol/Alto Adige and buying wines from the NALS MARGREID Vineyard.

MULLER THURGAU is a mix between the Riesling grape and the Silvaner grape. The expression of the two grapes create a delicious wine that is medium-bodied, crisp, floral and full of minerality. The aromas on the nose include peach, apricot and green apple. It is one of those special wines young wines you can't drink enough of.

At $17.99 a bottle this wine is a real steal!!

ASSISI GRECHETTO 2009 bottled by SPORTOLETTI from Umbria.
My favorite moments in Italy involve visiting vineyards in Umbria. One of my favorite vineyards is SPORTOLETTI. I discovered their wines several years ago, while working at SPARROW Wine of Hoboken. There was a damaged bottle which we couldn't sell because the bottle was labelless (Is that a word?).

Of course, as fate had it, Armando Luis, one of Sparrow's owners proudly gave it to me. This 'secret wine', labelless and still unknown to my taste buds was properly cooled and opened for the shrimp dinner I had planned for the evening.

What I tasted from this 'LABELESS Bottle' was a wine like none other. The indigenous grape, GRECHETTO, shines with minerality, sporting notes of honey, pear and flowers from the hills of Umbria. This wine is a full-bodied (13.5%) white with an abundance of fruit and highly expressive aromatics, followed by a long, pleasing finish.

ASSISI GRECHETTO 2009 retails for $13.99 and is a MUST white wine buy.


In the heart of Umbrian wine country lies the estate of FONGOLI. On my most recent visit to Umbria, I was entertained by the FONGOLI Family for an afternoon of wine tasting, traditional food and a tour of this FAMILY owned Vineyard. (That is another story which I plan to write )

What I learned was quite simple. Hand harvest grapes on the fifty acre estate and walk the vineyard daily and you will produce exceptional wines. Three generations of the Fongoli family have been doing this for the past 80 years. The results are EXCEPTIONAL.

The noble SAGRANTINO grape is indigenous to Umbria. The grape was originally used for dessert wines, dried, passito style.

In 1991 Sagrantino was awarded a D.O.C.G. rating.

MONTEFALCO SAGRANTINO 2005 exceeeds expectations. This hearty red is aged 30 months in Slovenian-oak barrels. The barrels are toasted medium. The color of the wine is dark and deep with garnet hues. This richness in color is an avenue to a chewy, well balanced, tannin laden wine that is full of ripe fruit and exotic spices. This SAGRANTINO is a Special wine that can be enjoyed with rich, hearty meals.

Rated 92 points by the Wine Advocate and priced around $35, this wine is a true Bargain.

EFESTO, ETNA ROSSO 2003 RESERVE bottled by CANTINA MOSE from Sicily.
In my early travels I spent four monts in Sicily, much of that time hiking near MOUNT ETNA.
Who would imagine a vineyard, 3600 feet above the sea creating wines that are unlike no others.
Well, CANTINA MOSE and pioneer winemaker Giuseppe "PIPPO" Musmeci took that leap with his son, Rosario, to produce one of the most interesting wines on earth.

EFESTO 2003 RESERVE is a very complex red wine that has aromas of dark fruit, cherries and plums, mixed with tobacco and tar. The volcanic soil from Mount Etna plays a symphony with the garpes used in this wine: 80% Nerello Mascalese; 10% Nerello Cappuccio and 10% Minnella Catarrato and Curricante. The wine is hearty, yet satisfying and pairs well with most foods. Under 500 cases are produced yearly. The wine is aged in un-toasted chestnut barrels for one year and rests for fifty days in the bottle.

EFESTO 2003 RESERVE is a special wine with an unmatched history.
Look for it or ask for it at your local wine shop.


This 100% Sangiovese grape wine of famed producer SASSETTI is a perfect balance of harmony, combining rich fruit with elegance and character known only to the Sangiovese grape.
The vineyard has been in existence for over 100 years. Livio and his two sons hand harvest the grapes and follow time hoinored traditions in the winemaking process.

Montecucco is a rather new appellation. MONTECUCCO 2007 SANGIOVESE represents a perfect wine that is rich in flavor and character and is well balanced for pasta and meats.
This is a PERFECT bottle of wine for dinner parties and entertaining.

Priced in the mid $20 range.

BRUNELLO Di MONTALCINO 2005 bottled by FANTI from Tuscany.

The San Filippo estate has belonged to the FANTI Family since the 1700's. The estate consists of six hundred acres, of which one hundred acres are devoted to wine.

The FANTI family makes wine with passion.

The BRUNELLO Di MONTALCINO 2005 is stored for 12 months in french oak, then another another 12 months in oak followed by an additional six months in the bottle. This wine is elegant with hints of ripe fruit mixed with mushroom and flowers. The layers of flavor are complex and compelling to the taste buds. The wine is both rich and smooth and is sure to become a true classic.

At $47 a bottle this special wine lives up it's name, BRUNELLO Di MONTALCINO.
Rated at 92 points by the Wine Spectator, Fanti's Brunello Di Montalcino 2005 is a screaming BUY!

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