Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wine of the Week-Feudo Zirtari Rosso Sicilia IGT 2013-$12

A Red Hot Red From Sicily is perfect for summer Barbe

A Red Hot Red From Sicily is perfect for summer Barbeque

by Dwight Casimere

I know that summer is the time to think about refreshing Rose's, semi-dry sparkling wines and lighter-than-air Pinto Gris, but my preferred activity is heading to the grill with some spicy, marinated meats and a red hot red wine on the side. If youyre not familiar with the wines of Sicily, now is a good time to start. Feudo Zirtari Rosso is an I.G.T. blend of native Nero d'Avola and Syrah that delivers a wallop of luscious fresh red fruit flavor with a hint of delicate spice and a delicate aroma of fresh cut violets for starters---and all for just $12. Deep ruby red in color, the look alone gives you an idea of whats in store; lots of delicious fruit and a nice structure backboned by the limestone mineral-rich soil afforded by Sicily's volcanic mountains. Lamb or chicken marinated in Tagine spices, even a meaty white fish like grouper or Chilean Sea Bass, cooked over hot coals with a hint of wood,  makes for a perfect afternoon of al fresco dining. Add a mix of veggies sliced and drizzled with garlic-infused olive oil and a dash of coarse sea salt and you have the perfect lunch, Sicilian style. Start out of with an appetizer of grilled peel and eat shrimp or, for the adventurous, grilled rabbit smothered in fresh oregano, and you'll be eating just like the folks I met in Terreliade.
 The lush vineyards of Sicily with spring wildflowers and volcanic mountains as a backdrop
Ancient ruins left by the Moors dot the landscape and the vineyards

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wine of the Week-Benziger Coelo Pinot Noir Terra Nuema-$75

2013 Benziger Coelo Pinot Noir-Terra Neuma-Sonoma Coast-$75

Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

I normally don't recommend wines to my readers that are above the $35 price point, but Benziger Coelo Pinot Noir Terra Nuema is such an excellent example of how fine a wine can be made from this elusive and finicky grape, that I've made a rare exception. The aroma, first of all, is an enticing mix of crushed red flowers and hints of luscious, dripping ripe blackberries. The fruit flavors continue to caress the palate and blend with cranberry, pomegranate and black pepper, followed by hints of handfuls of black earth just after the rain. A sophisticated edge of English Breakfast tea and a whiff of newly oiled  leather completes the overwhelmingly satisfying flavor experience. This is a sterling example of the type of true-to-the-terroir wines that are being produced on the Sonoma Coast. With its rich, dark volcanic soil and climate of bright, sunny, hot afternoons, bookended by Pacific Ocean breezes and dampening fog, the Sonoma Coast is an ideal environment for growing this delicate grape variety. The region doesn't nearly get the glowing press that its cousins to the north in Washington State and Oregon get. Perhaps the arrival of this wholly balanced and appealing offering will turn some heads in Sonoma's direction. Perfect as a sipping wine for solace and contemplation or a magnificent companion with your favorite food indulgence (please, no burgers or pizza, splurge on the lobster, duck or fois gras, prime aged steak grilled on an open wood fire, or a simple homemade pasta dish drizzled in butter and shaved white truffles.
 Chris Benziger and his 2013 Coelo Pinot Noir-Terra Nuema
 Harvesting Sonoma County Pinot Noir
 The lush vineyards of Sonoma County-photos by Dwight Casimere

Tuesday, April 5, 2016



by Dwight Casimere

Vistarenni, Greve in Chianti, Italy--There's a new Chianti Classico in town, and its a bright, intense, fruity wine with all of the floral aromatic sensations and sweetness associated with spring. Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Raccolto 2012 ($19)  starts with a deep ruby red color with hints of sparkling garnet jewel flecks along the rim followed by the fragrance of fresh cut violets, redolent of spring. This stunning  blend of Sangiovese, with a hint of Cabernet gives off the elegant perfume that is so characteristic of Chianti Classico. If you've never been to Tuscany, you can take a trip there just by opening a bottle. Swirl the wine in an appropriately large bowled wine glass with a narrowing rim to focus the aromas and you're in for a potpourri of sensations on the palate; baking spices, well integrated oak and tannic austerity reigned in by intense fruit. This is just the wine to serve with spring lamb, smothered in garlic and fresh rosemary or oregano and drizzled with olive oil and a dash of the wine and cooked quickly on a flaming grill to just the right temperature of semi-pink doneness. Serve with a side of grilled asparagus or gently sauteed kale or spinach with a hint of garlic and thinly sliced shallots or red onion for a heart-pounding flavor sensation. A cheese course of severely ripe Gorgonzola or fresh figs drizzled with balsamic and you have another food pairing idea altogether. Dare I mention that after dinner Cuban cigar that a good friend just brought back from their now-legal trip to Havana? I digress to the outer edge of hedonism!