Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Valentine Pick Under $20: Caparra & Siciliani Solagi Ciro

With Valentine's Day right around corner you may be thinking which wine you want to celebrate with whether it's with a loved one or by yourself.  Some are thinking of going above and beyond and splurging to celebrate the occasion, but in my opinion Valentine's Day is just another made up holiday that the stores can profit off of so why not be different.  Let's think outside the box than the usual popular wines of Italy and let's even keep it under $20.  My selection is the 2013 Solagi Ciro by Caparra & Siciliani.   

Their Solagi Ciro wine hails from the region of Calabria, not a region we talk about often.  Ciro wines are named after the town of which they reside off the coast of Taranto.  Here Ciro Rosso is primarily made up of the gaglioppo grape.  Gaglioppo can be a light to medium bodied wine showcasing mostly cherry with a hint of spice backed by good acidity and low tannin. 
gaglioppo grapes
Gaglioppo grapes photo by Fabio Ingrosso
The Caparra & Siciliani winery is located right along the sea where the sun shines over the fertile flatlands and low hills.  The winery started in 1963, but had been making wine since the 19th century.  Their winemaking is overseen by the well regarded Italian consulting enologist, Fabrizio Ciufoli.   

2013 Caparra & Siciliani Solagi Ciro Rosso Classico
Ciro DOC / ABV 13.5% / SRP $15-17 
100% produced from the gaglioppo grape and a nice expression of the grape itself.  Ruby red in color with a tinge of orange on the rim and rich in aromatics.  Medium to fuller bodied with dried cherries on the palate with nice acidity and refined tannins.  Reminds me of a sangiovese.  Drinking well now. Aged in stainless steel and oak casks. 
2013 Caparra & Siciliani Solagi Ciro gaglioppo
I wish you all a wonderful Valentine's Day and let me know what you plan on enjoying for wine this day. 

Side note: A friend of mine, Bob Lipinski, has written a book called Italian Wine Notes.  He shared his book with me and I found it to be a succinct way of explaining Italian grapes, laws and regions.  It's perfect for understanding grapes such as gaglioppo and places like Ciro.  It's easy to carry and is a great reference when shopping for your next purchase of Italian wine. 

Italian Wine Notes (Second Edition)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Win a Case of Piedmont Wine for a Worthy Cause

Happy New YearBuon Anno Nuovo!  I wanted to share some information on a contest being conducted by a fellow wine blogger and friend, Valerie of Girl's Gotta Drink.  She is raising money for a well worthy cause close to Valerie's heart.  Plus, it gives you the opportunity to win a case of wine with some expensive, quality wines from the Piedmont wine region.

I met Valerie initially some years back via blogging and we finally got to meet face-to-face when I was in Verona for the Anteprima Amarone event back in 2015.  I had dinner with her and her husband Evan whom live in Piedmont and conduct food and wine tours.  I'd check them out and what they have to offer if you'll be visiting Piedmont. 

Unfortunately Valerie's friend was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to her liver.  Valerie started this fundraiser to help provide financial relief by utilizing her connections in the wine producing areas of the Langhe and Roero in Piedmont by collecting wine bottle donations from local producers.   You can win this fantastic case of wine by purchasing entries valued at about $650.

The mix features big names, cult producers, up-and-coming producers, bottles from the acclaimed 2013 Barolo vintage, top single-vineyard Barolo and Barbaresco wines, and other unique wines that tell a regional story.
Win a case of Piedmont wine against cancer
The case includes 8 standard sized bottles and 2 magnums including mostly wines made from the nebbiolo grape, but also included are wines produced from the arneis and barbera grapes, indigenous to Piedmont.  Here is a list of what the case includes:
  • 2012 Domenico Clerico Pajana Barolo DOCG
  • 2013 E.Pire & Figli/Chiara Boschis Masconi Barolo DOCG
  • 2013 Palladino Ornato Barolo DOCG
  • 2013 Palladino Parafada Barolo DOCG
  • 2013 Josetta Saffirio Barolo DOCG
  • 2014 Marchesi di Gresy Martinenga Barbaresco DOCG
  • 2014 Ca' del Baio Asili Barbaresco DOCG
  • 2013 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco DOCG
  • Deltetto Barbera d'Alba Rocca della Marasche (magnum donated by the Alba wine bar Voglia di Vino)
  • Demarie For You Roero Arneis Spumante Extra Brut (magnum)

How to Enter: Simply donate $25 per entry and fill out the entry form.  The last day for entry is January 17, 2018.  One lucky winner will be selected at random.  Find all the details for the wine, on the donors, the recipient and entry instructions here.

For every $25 donated, you will receive one entry into a random drawing for the case.  There is a 10 per person cap on entries, but please feel free to donate more.  The cap is in place to generate as much interest as possible from different parties.  The last day for the fundraiser is January 17, 2018 and the drawing will take place on January 18, 2018.  The winner will be notified for shipping details (for shipping eligibility, see terms and conditions at Girl's Gotta Drink).

Meet Michelle: At 39 years old, Michelle is a single mother, now undergoing chemotherapy with a 50% chance of survival.  As a single mother, Michelle has been struggling to make ends meet working 2 jobs to provide for her and her 10 year old daughter.  She gives on a daily basis both in her personal life and as an emergency dispatcher.  Between health insurance and a loss of income due to the physical toll of both the illness and the chemo, the goal of the fundraiser is to provide financial relief while also providing a little pot of gold for 1 lucky donor.

Meet the donors
Domenico Clerico: Those familiar with the region surely know of the legendary Barolo winemaker, Domenico Clerico.
Over the summer Domenico passed away at 67 years of age
from a long battle with cancer. That makes the bottle
donated by the winery bearing his name even more poignant.

E. Pira & Figlia/Chiara Boschis: Chiara Boschis is a Barolo legne in her own righta s the lone  Barolo girl in the Barolo
Boys movement.  Her wines sell out every year and 2013 was no different; she has few 2013 Barolo left at the winery.

Palladino: The historic Palladino winery sits at the base of the village of Serralunga, surrounded by the Serralunga hills.  The winery itself dates back to 1870, making most revered winemaking areas.  In 1978, it was purchased by Mauro whose grandchildren now oversee the winemaking and operations.  Here you find wines classic in style with the signature Serralunga power and elegance.  The 2 wines donated are ones to cellar.

Josetta Saffirio: Josetta Saffirio is a small biological and sustainable producer nestles in the Monforte hills.  The winery is run by Sara Vezza, who represents the fifth generation of farmers in Castelletto of Monforte; the torch for this winery has passed through a line of female winemakers.  the winery is committed to limiting its environmental impact, particularly at the energy level.  The cellar was designed to minimize energy needs; they have cultivated a forest to bring oxygen into the environment creating space where viticulture is king.

Voglia di Vino Wine Bar, Shop & Restaurant (Alba, Italy): Voglia di Vino is a wine bar in the Langhe.  If you make it to the area, you can't miss the primary wine town of Alba and you will find Voglia di Vino in Alba's historic center.  Run by husband and wife Luca and Daniela, you can enjoy area wines by the glass, curated tasting flights, and unique wines (older bottles, big name producers, etc) via their Coravin program as well as a traditional dinner menu.  Luca, Daniela and their friendly staff are always on hand to make recommendations and provide insight into the wines in your glass.

Marchesi di Gresy: The historic Marchesi di Gresy winery dates back to the 18th century.  It is located in the middle of a primary wine growing area of Barbaresco, surrounded by the Martinenga vineyards.  They make 3 labels of their prestigious Barbaresco DOCG, which are the only Barbaresco wines permitted to have "Martinenga" on the label.

Ca' del Baio: The winery is run by winemaker Giulio and his wife Luciana.  The supporting cast includes their 3 daughters: Paola, Valentina and Federica.  When the girls were deciding the direction they wanted to take their careers, Giulio and Luciana insisted they try something else and not simply go into the family business.  The girls all did just that, but each returned to carve out their own place in the winery operations.  The wines from this family are a beautiful expression of Piemonte featuring a portfolio of the traditional wines of the region as well as Riesling and 3 single vineyard Barbaresco and a recent addition of a single vineyard Riserva.

Cantina del Pino: The winery sits a stone's throw from the village of Barbaresco with the landmark Tower of Barbaresco visible from the porch. Renato is a 4th generation Barbaresco producer who is very much both a grower and winemaker.  His great-grandfather worked the land 70 years ago, planting many of the same vines he tends today.  His production is small and renowned all over the world.

Azienda Agricola Demarie:  The Demarie winery is located in the lesser known Roero section of Piedmont.  The area sits to the left of the Tanaro River, neighboring the Langhe and Monferrato.  The nebbiolo based wines drink a little younger, so you can get all the quality for less the price.  The area is not to be missed for its indigenous white, Roero arneis.  Demarie offers a still and sparkling Roero arneis.  The wine they gave to honor Michelle's fight is their For You Metodo Classico Spumante, which they only producer in the best years.

*Pictures property of Girls Gotta Drink.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top 5 Italian Wine Blogs of 2017

Happy New Year!  It's hard to believe another year has passed us  by.  Vino Travels is welcoming our 5th year anniversary.  I apologize for the lack of blogging in comparison to other years, but as all my dedicated readers know we have just welcomed our 2nd son into our family in November and another little guy of 18 months running around so to say the least I have my hands full. 
Italian wine blog
Although, I'm always dedicated to learning and sharing information on wines I have discovered or information I have learned along the way.  

Here is a flashback to my top 5 wine blogs of 2017.  

#1 Negroamaro of Salice Salento with Leone de Castris 

#2 The Land and Soul of Ceretto 

#3 Journey to Trentino with Teroldego and Spaghetti alla Carbonara 

#4 Italian Red Wines to Enjoy in the Summer 

#5 The Development of Cantina Primo Re 

If you'd like to see more of something or have enjoyed particular topics or themes I love hearing from my readers and encourage comments or emails.  I look forward to another great year and getting back on the horse to share some great articles with you in 2018.