In October, after checking out more than 100 wines, my choice for November is a red Sicilian: "Helios" from Di Giovanna Di Giovanna - one of the oldest wine families in Sicily - is located in the province of Agrigento. If I have to describe the wine for what it is, I would say: “The quiet before the storm". This blend of Nero d’Avola and Syrah opens slowly and quietly. It then releases incredible sensations - like a storm! Helios takes its name from the father, Aurelio, and represents the best expression of the vineyards of the winery. It has a ruby red color with notes of berries and black cherry. The tannins are very soft with an incredibly long persistence.This wine also awarded by James Suckling with 91 points, deserves all the pride of the Sicilian lands!
All Stories in "italy"
Diplomacy and hip-hop are two things that should always be celebrated. Let's get into some wines for both occasions. Angela Merkel Angela don't take no shit. Germany's Chancellor held the task of hosting the G20 Summit in her hometown of Hamburg last week. It's where the world's most powerful leaders come together to address pressing issues facing humanity...and witness the carnival sideshow that is Donald Trump. Chancellor Merkel, 1 of only 2 women participants in this year's summit, isn't shy about expressing displeasure. She rolls her eyes when things are "man-splained" and reminds the world how dumb it is to not invest in climate protection. So what do you (politely) slam on the table when seated next to Angela Merkel? If not a beer stein filled with Bavarian ale, you go with a classic bottle of Gewürztraminer. Gewürztraminer is an aromatic grape where lychee, pineapple, and apricot are the common, dominant flavors. The grape's proverbial roots are German but it has thrived among the foothills of the Alps, particularly within France and Italy. Let's aim for Domaine Zind-Humbrecht's 2014 vintage of this cold-climate wine. The winery is located in Alsace, technically in France, but the region sits right along the border with Germany. Gewürztraminer is also one of Alsace's four noble varieties produced, which means you're definitely getting the best version of the grape in this terroir. The Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer is a dry, easy drinker with more subtle notes than a typical "würz". This is probably due to the wine being grown on a completely organic and biodynamic vineyard - a serious plus for the environment. Make sure you tell Angela. JAY-Z Hova pulled back the curtains on 4:44, his first album in 4 years, a couple of weeks ago. The kicker: it was only released on TIDAL (JAY-Z's streaming music service) as a one-week exclusive to the frustration of many. The cut is now available on Apple Music and Amazon but still noticeably absent from Spotify. J is no stranger to throwing velvet ropes around product he's invested in. Surely you've heard of Armand de Brignac, a.k.a. Ace of Spades - a Champagne brand JAY-Z owns that will run you no less than $300 a pop. And you thought having to buy a TIDAL subscription is rough... If that price tag ain't cutting it for a Sunday afternoon on the patio with Hova, there are potential alternatives that will still impress his palate and your accountant. We'll roll with a bottle of Bellavista's Brut Cuvée Franciacorta - a divine Italian sparkling wine. Now when you're thinking bubbly Italian vino, Prosecco is probably what first comes to mind. However, Franciacorta - which comes from Lombardy in northern Italy - is, indeed, a closer relative to Champagne as its second round of fermentation happens in the bottle (Prosecco's happens in a tank). Bellavista's version of Franciacorta is 90% Chardonnay with 10% Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero (a.k.a. Pinot Noir). The result is a tasty, effervescent mouthful of citrus, vanilla, and bread - like Mama's homemade lemon cake. It's also 90% cheaper at roughly 30 bucks a bottle. No red rope necessary.
Warmer weather is just about here. We all know what that means. Patio furniture gets hosed off, the white & floral print ensembles come out and wide, floppy hats have some faces to smack. It's brunch season. Wait, brunch happens all year. It doesn't matter - it's a beautiful day out and we're going to day drink over some eggs benny, Jenny. It's difficult to stray far from the bottomless champagne option. It's a classy, tasty beverage that pairs well with just about any brunch item and cleanses the palate in hot weather. Even if it's relatively shitty sparkling wine, you'll hardly notice after your 6th "top off". Despite its comfortable familiarity, sometimes an alternative to champagne is good for the soul. No, not mango juice or a strawberry to toss in it. I'm talking about a fizzy replacement that's just as versatile and twice as interesting.
Tuscany ain't the only game in town when it comes to exceptional Italian wine, peeps. Sure, you have your treasured legacy of Chianti Classicos and Barberas, but the country has SO much to offer in the way of under-the-radar grapes that will knock your socks off.So let's talk about the excellent wines of Lazio, the region that hosts Rome a.k.a. the Eternal City. In order to get the best possible insight, we turned to Andrea Zigrossi. Andrea is a bonafide Roman and certified sommelier. Who better than him to advise us on the beautiful wines of his city?Here's the scoop from Andrea:Well first of all, when we talk about Lazio, we talk about two grapes: Bellone for white wine and Cesanese for red wine. These are the native grapes of the area. I suggest two good wines with each of these grapes, as well as another wine that absolutely deserves to be tasted:Marco Carpineti Capolemole BiancoThe BiancaMarco Carpineti Capolemole BiancoThis winery is located in Cori, an ancient town situaded 56 km south of Rome, about 400 meters above sea level on ancient territory. The grape of Capolemole is 100% Bellone and fermented in stainless steel. The color is light yellow, with floral and fruity scents. In addition to being an incredible value for the money, it is the simplicity of this wine that surprises me. You know from the first moment the great love and work that is behind this wine.Pileum Bolla Di UrbanoThe RossoPileum Bolla Di UrbanoThe Pileum family's soil grows in the hills of Piglio, a territory of excellence within Cesanese. The vineyards are between 220 and 980 meters s.l.m. with a variable slope. Bolla di Urbano is the best wine in the region with this grape (100% Cesanese). Grape harvesting is manual and maceration is 20 days long. The fermentation is malolactic, refining 24 months in barrels and 6 months in bottle. With a ruby red color, the taste is rich and very concentrated with spicy and fruity notes, as well as soft and velvety tannins.Tenuta di Fiorano Fiorano RossoThe BonusTenuta di Fiorano Fiorano RossoThe composition of the soil of the vineyards at Tenuta di Fiorano is volcanic due to the nearby Latium Volcano. The winery's Fiorano Rosso is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Grapes. It has a bright, intense ruby color with medium concentration. Particular notes of tar, with balsamic notes of blueberry create extraordinary elegance. Full-bodied wine with fine tannins. No doubt it is a very particular wine to taste.Andrea ZigrossiYou should follow Andrea on Instagram and be jealous of his life as a Roman wine expert.
Pope Francis is an active pontiff who's been weighing in on many global issues from climate change, embracing technological transformation of the economy, and of course this past week he had the Trumps. The popular pontiff didn't mince facial expressions while meeting with the First Family. Needless to say, it was a visit wrought full of bias interpretation depending on which side of the aisle you may fall. There was no shortage of memes and trolling .gifs flooding the internet thanks to the visit. If you were going to drink wine with the Pope you may think to reach for a big, showy, fancy bottle. But it's well documented this Pope's austere and humble character. Also, I'm not sure if the Vatican will let us chill with the pontiff for a few hours as our Bordeaux decants! As such, if we were to settle into a humble chair across from the pontiff we'd have to drink Fatty Pope - a new offering from the Italian Chef, and celebrity Fabio Viviani. Chef launched his wine offerings over the last 2 years focusing on uncomplicated quality wines. The wine is made from Paso Robles fruit; it's big, lush, bloated (in a good way!), and blessed with flavors galore at a modest price point. The wine is currently available at limited Whole Foods in the midwest. Until the wine makes it to your retailer, check out Chef's Cabernet (ready to drink now, dark chocolate, fresh black currants and vanilla with caramelized oak and a rich mouthfeel; BUY for $16) or his Chardonnay (Lush and fresh with accents of golden apple and summer pear. Toasty vanilla spices compliment a long, smooth finish; BUY for $16).
You read that correctly: Michael Jordan! But not the hall-of-fame NBA legend who was arguably one of the best to ever pick up a ball. This Michael Jordan is a legend in wine and arguably one the best sommeliers to ever pick up a glass. Jordan is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators and a Master Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers -- one of only 15 people in the world to hold both diplomas! Thus, when he recommends wines, we take notes! Question: Michael, if you were to advise young wine drinkers - who are open to trying new wines - what 3 would you recommend? Answer: For those newer to wine that are eager to try and discover new things I am going to stay with soft, easy drinking AND DELICIOUS, rather than super complex, tannic or dry. Let's stay on the affordable side of things too. The following wines are all just good wines that will make lunch and dinner taste better, or be enjoyed on their own without any food. Rosé: Barrymore Rosé of Pinot Noir - made at Carmel Road in Monterey County. Strawberries and cherries – it’s like liquid love. Definitely foreplay! This is not just her name slapped on “shiners” (meaning, it's not just 'whitelabeled') but Drew actually is making the wine with winemaker Kris Kato, choosing the vineyard blocks, blending and deciding the final wines. Remarkably pretty…soft and delicate. Available for $15. Cenyth, Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Sonoma County has a very different flavor profile, more plummy and cherry with almost a tangerine freshness. Available for $23. BUY Domaine des Carteresses, Tavel is step up in intensity, color (and a trip to South of France) for an excellent Dry Rosé from the Tavel AOC in the Southern Rhône – an AOC that produces only Rosé wines! White Wines: For those that have already discovered how well the “fresh lemon zest” in a light Italian Pinot Grigio refreshes you and goes with antipasto and crispy fried calamari, the new world version is a great discovery. Pieropan, Soave, Veneto, Italy Soft and bright apples and citrus made from Garganega grapes from close to the romantic town of Verona…‘nuff said. Available for $35, BUY Paco & Lola, Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain Albariño grapes create a white wine with stone fruit flavors of nectarine, peach and sometimes apricot along with apple and tangerine. Great for anything from the sea with fins or shells. Available for $19. BUY Tangent, Albariño, Edna Valley, California is a California version with those same peach and apple flavors. Delicious! Available for $14, BUY WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon is a fun and delicious wine with plusher texture than the Italians and has not only crisp flavors of citrus and apples, but a layer of Rainier cherry – and I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like that flavor! Available for $20, BUY New logo tee for her! BUY! Red Wines: I am a true devotee of the seductive Pinot Noir grape; it's truly the most sexy grape ever fermented. Grenache/Garnacha and Tempranillo are also delicious grapes when made into plush and fruity wines. WillaKenzie Estate, Gisèle Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon is one of the most pretty and light-styled Pinot Noirs from the west coast. The “Gisèle” is a soft and light bouquet of roses and fresh raspberries – a delight! They also make three or four more Pinot Noirs with varying degrees of intensity and tannin. Available for $28, BUY Beronia, Rioja Gran Reserva, Spain Tempranillo is the primary grape in the blend of the Rioja region, aged and softened in barrel until the vanilla-laden cherry and plum flavors dance together! These wines are quite good values also when you consider the amount of aging required by Spanish law. (A "Gran Reserva" means that the wine was aged at least five years, with a minimum of two years in oak. Gran Reserva wines are typically only made in outstanding vintages/years.) Available for $30, a steal! BUY Radio Boca, Tempranillo, Valencia, Spain is a super affordable and soft version of this grape's plush appeal from the South Eastern region of Spain . They also make a Garnacha that’s more intense but just as smooth, and the winery’s website is quite creative and fun. “GSM” Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blends from Côtes-du-Rhône in the Southern Rhône Valley are very approachable and plush with rich texture and rich red and black fruit while being ultimately soft and smooth. These are great for everyday dishes like pizza and burgers or more extravagant pairings like rack of lamb and pork chops. Also great with vegetarian stews and roasted mushrooms and veggies! Perrin, Réserve, Côtes-du-Rhône, France All the bells and whistles, everything you expect from a classic GSM blend with the addition of Carignan grapes. BUY E. Guigal (available for $15, BUY), Delas (available for $12, BUY), Chapoutier (available for $15, BUY) and Mont-Redon are all good producers of classic and inexpensive Côtes-du-Rhône Well, this list should keep you busy for the at least a few weeks! We thank Michael for his time and for sharing his wisdom with us. Michael is serial restaurateur, beverage consultant, and Director of Global Accounts for Jackson Family Wines. If you have any questions you'd like to ask a Sommelier, just send us an email cheers AT ilikethisgrape.com, or hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.