Podere Giardino ‘Suoli Cataldi’ Reggiano Lambrusco Rosso 2013


Estate: Since the end of the 19th century, the Crotti family have been farming Podere Giardino, located in a “small hamlet alongside the historic Via Emilia in the direction of Modena” in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. At that time the estate was headed by Donnino Crotti and was primarily for raising cows in order to produce the famed Parmigiano Reggiano cheese of the region. In 2001 his grandchildren, Paolo, Marco and Federica Crotti took over the estate from their parents and began combing family tradition along with modern technology to produce Lambrusco on a larger scale. They are devoted to organic viticulture and production methods “that respects human well-being and defends environmental biodiversity, it is a model of sustainable development aimed at protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of the soil and the resources of local communities”.

Philosophy: Carrying the family’s traditions into the future, they are committed to “the respect of the natural rhythms imposed by nature and our constant effort to recover the authentic tastes and fragrances of the products of our land: these are our values, the ones that allow us to respect the certified biological method”.

Winemaking: The estate has been certified organic since 2003, and GMO free since 2005 in regards to vine stock and feed for the Parmigiano Reggiano cows. Grapes for the Lambrusco Rosso are sourced from clay soil vineyards located near the city of Reggio Emilia, in the “Cataldi”estate”.

Tasting Notes: Dark red violet in colour with aromas of cherry, traces of balsamic and earthy funk. Morello cherry, blackberry and earth elements ride along a currant of smooth, low key bubbles that magnify the velvety texture. A cleansing acidity and dry mineral finish make this fantastic with a wide variety of dishes, especially rich ones. [It was spectacular with an array of Italian cheese, including Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Fosso and Provolone Mandarone]

30% Marani, 30% Salamino, 30% Oliva, 5% Ancellotta
Reggiano Lambrusco
Emilia Romagna
Produced by Azienda Agricola Podere Giardino, Bottled by ICQRF 2019/RE
11.5% Alcohol
$17 [average price]
Enjoy now

Ricci Curbastro Sparkling Wines: Innovation Becomes Tradition


Dr. Riccardo Ricci Curbastro leading the Quality Italian Wines and Franciacorta Seminar at Simply Italian Great Wines US Tour 2014 New York. Image courtesy of Ricci Curbastro Azienda Agricola.

I had the pleasure of attending an enlightening seminar given by the incredibly interesting and multifarious Dr. Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, who is the owner, Managing Director and head of marketing of Ricci Curbastro Farm Estate Winery located in Lombardy, northern Italy. In addition to explaining the numerous safeguarding components of Federoc [National Confederation for Voluntary Consortia for the oversight of the Denominations of Origin], he passionately described his distinctive sparkling wines and progressive, unique estate.

The Franciacorta region [‘free courts’] takes its name from the 11th century winery French monks from Cluny had there and refers to the fact that the land and monks were free from Italian authority. Regarded as Italy’s best sparkling wines, Franciacorta received DOC status in 1967, followed by DOCG in 1995. Non-vintage wines are aged for 18 months, Rosé and Satèn wines for 24 months, vintage wines are 30 months, and Riserva wines are aged for an astounding 60 months.

The Curbastro family has been farming the estate since the 13th century. Close to the Alps, ancient glaciers left the valley soil rich in minerals. The estate consists of 32 hectares, 27.5 of which are vineyards. With such a remarkable history they consider the land as “a gift from our fathers”, and therefore do not use any chemicals or fertilizers. Their carbon neutral initiatives are incredibly progressive, so much so that their carbon footprint is under zero. In addition to producing all of their own electricity, all facets of every process has been proactively examined and transformed. Lubricants for tractors, renewal of barrels, office supplies, bottles, labels, pallets, even the flight from Italy to NY is included in the evaluation and rating.

Dr. Riccardo Ricci Curbastro is renowned for his pioneering work regarding the role of yeast and amino acids in wine production. Through cutting edge experimentation he has been able to replace sulphur with amino acids from extract yeast. The amino acids act as an antioxidant and protective component, entirely eliminating the need for sulphur. For detailed information on his work and the role of amino acids, please see click here.

He so eloquently summarized his family’s history along with the pioneering technological advances as “innovation becomes tradition”. As to be expected, his wines are a reflection of this synthesis, displaying complexity and refinement.


Top left: Brut NV, top right: Satèn Brut 2010, bottom left: Rosé Brut NV

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut NV
Straw yellow in colour with aromas of white flowers, pear and peach. Well structured with light fruit notes harmonizing with nutmeg and honey notes, culminating in a lengthy dry finish. Dr. Curbastro recommends enjoying this as an apertivo, yet it can also carry thru the entire meal.
60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Bianco, 10% Pinot Nero
12.5% Alcohol
$40 [average price]

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Satèn Brut 2010
My personal favourite, with intricate notes of lemon, peach, fresh bread and floral hints that harmonized with consistent, delicate bubbles. The incredibly light, crisp finish makes this fantastic with any dish.
100% Chardonnay
12.5% Alcohol
$45 [average price]

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Rosé Brut NV
Pale coral pink in colour with compelling aromas of honeycomb and rose. Delicate red berries, honey and herbaceous hints raced along a backdrop of silky bubbles, whilst lightly sweet notes evaporated in the dry, cleansing finish. Elegant, versatile and wonderfully easy drinking, Dr. Curbastro refers to this as “a summer tuxedo”.
80% Pinot Nero, 20% Chardonnay
12.5% Alcohol
$52 [average price]

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Ameztoi ‘Rubentis’ Getariako Txakolina Rosado 2013


Snappy and fun, this is a wonderfully food friendly Rosé. With its modest alcohol content it will vanish before you realize it.

Estate: The Ameztoi family has been making wines in the Basque region of northern Spain for 7 generations. The vineyards are located near the ocean in the town of Getaria. They are known for crafting wines with exuberant character that are the “most representative and classic txakoli”. Their Rosé is produced in limited amounts and has gained a cult following in New York City and the California Bay area.

Winemaking: White Hondarrabi Zuri grapes are fermented and then blended with the red Hondarrabi Beltza grapes.

Tasting Notes: Rose pink in color with aromas of wild strawberry and clean minerals. Fresh strawberry and raspberry notes ran atop a racing undercurrent of bright acidity in the slightly effervescent body, whilst the snappy finish displayed an edge of clean minerals along with flashes of tart green apple.

50% Hondarrabi Zuri, 50% Hondarrabi Beltza
Getariako Txakolina
Bottled by Amesguren S,L.
11.5% Alcohol
$24 [average price]
Enjoy now

Vigneto Saetti Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce Rosso Viola 2012


Lively and charming this is an easygoing sparkler fantastic with simple dishes and lovely for sipping on its own.

Estate: Founded in 1998 by Luciano Saetti, the Vignetti Saetti Winery is comprised of 2.8 contiguous hectares located in the Santa Croce appellation of the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. The Saetti family has been growing grapes for many generations, and practice traditional viticulture, without the use of any chemicals.

Philosophy: Crafting wine that is “capable of unleashing fragrances and flavors that evoke the time-honored traditions and display sincere flavor”.

Winemaking: The vineyards were planted in 1964, and “every effort has been made to not upset the natural organic harmony of the
vineyard”. The vineyards are farmed using organic methods without the use of any chemicals, only native yeasts are used during fermentation, and sulphur is not added.

Tasting Notes: Dark ruby red in colour with aromas of black cherry and rain-washed slate. Black cherry, grape and herbaceous notes culminated in a fizzy, clean mineral finish.

Pairing: Cured Italian meats and cheeses [from the winery].

100% Lambrusco Salamino
Santa Croce / Emilia-Romagna
12% Alcohol
$19 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2015

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Bocelli Prosecco Extra Dry NV


Following my husband’s Bar Association swearing in ceremony yesterday, we headed to one of our favourite restaurants for a late lunch and celebratory drinks. I selected Bocelli Prosecco from the sparkling list as Prosecco is my favorite budget friendly alternative to champagne.

As well as being famous for their music, the Bocelli’s are a 3rd generation wine producing family. Established in 1730 by Bartolomeo Bocelli, the Bocelli family has been crafting wines on their small estate in Tuscany. In 2011 they collaborated with the Trevisiol family, who operate the longest, continuously family-run estate in Valdobbiadene to produce their Prosecco. All Bocelli wines are farmed from chemical and pesticide free vineyards that are dry farmed and hand-harvested.

An extra dry, refined sparkler with tart granny smith apple, citrus blossom and honey flavours, finishing with crisp bubbles and stone minerals. Light and bright, this is a perky bubbly fantastic for sipping on its own or with a wide variety of dishes. [It was great with vegetable tempura, fries and curry remoulade.]

100% Prosecco/Glera
Valdobbiadene, Veneto
Bottled by TV10260 for Bocelli Wine SRL
12% Alcohol
$14 [average price]
Enjoy now