Category Flavor of the day

From Bolgheri to Verona, Allegrini wines shine with flavor

RICH, VIBRANT colors of Valpolicella: Allegrini’s Palazzo Delle Torre, La Grola, and Amarone.

AMBASSADOR OF AMARONE Marilisa Allegrini tells writer Jim Campanini that Allegrini Amarone is a wine to be enjoyed with food, even barbecue.

REDS AND WHITE: Allegrini’s Amarone, La Grola, and Palazzo Delle Torre from Valpolicella and the Solosole Vermentino from Bolgheri.

By Jm Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Mention the name Allegrini and two things quickly come to mind: voluptuous Valpolicella and lovely Verona, an enchanting place not far from Venice where the romantic story of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Marilisa Allegrini expressed her vision for Bolgheri white wine in Solosole Vermentino.

But there is another “V” word in...

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Heading Rhone with Domaine De Mourchon Tradition

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Craig Gandolf of Cynthia Hurley French Wines.

Craig Gandolf’s got a new and exciting position as National Sales Director for #CynthiaHurleyFrenchWines of West Newton, and he’s looking forward to someday expanding the import company’s select portfolio to include a few quality Spanish brands. Gandolf’s not shooting in the dark; for nearly two decades he was the director of Jorge Ordonez Selections, the largest U.S. importer of Spanish wines, and a Boston restaurateur.

The Mourchon Tradition 2015 is a southern Rhone beauty.

Gandolf’s broad industry experience and Spanish connections factored in President Robert Hurley’s decision to bring Gandolf on board in May 2018...

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A big night out with Washington State wines

The Washington State wine night brought together a personable group of tasters: From left, John Cox, Rady Mom, Buntho Sa, Steve Shorrock, Sokhary Chau, T.J. McCarthy, Song Khem, Soeun “Sonny” Sok, Kevin Coughlin and Andrew Oun.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Washington State wines are no longer a secret to savvy sommeliers. So why aren’t more bottlings from the majestic Pacific Northwest showing up on restaurant wine lists?

I made this point to a group of 10 friends while hosting a tasting of some of my best Washington State club member wines from the 2013 vintage. It was interesting to hear their comments and watch their faces light up as they experienced for the first time these energetic Syrahs, fabulous Bordeaux-style blends, and powerful Cabernet Sauvignons.

For three hours, ...

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Costco’s Oregon Pinot Noir is a delightful composition

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

I tagged along with the Wine Goddess (my wife Mary Lee) on her recent Costco shopping excursion when I saw this gem in the wine section: Kirkland Signature Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2016. She said she was buying salmon for dinner, so I went ahead and put this bottle in her cart. I’m glad I did. The Oregon red turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the $12.99 price. Coming from the Willamette Valley, where Pinot Noir is king, the Kirkland brand is no slouch for an every-day, easy drinking wine. The color was a bit duller than the normal ruby shade that I prefer, yet that was my only complaint. It was mildly fragrant in cherry and plum, and both descriptors carried over onto the palate in a juicy, silky quaff...

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Wining and dining to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot

The Hercule Poirot party guests were dressed to the nines: From left, front row, Mike Kiskiel, Pat Montaperto, Lisa Corey and Mary Lee Harrington; back row, Alex Madsen, Erika Larson, Betty Santagati, Tracey Clark and Dean Serrentino.

By Jim Campanini, IWS

jcampanini@comcast.net

If you’re thinking of doing something new and exciting in a the new year, why not go on an adventurous food and wine tour – and from home.

Sound interesting? It’s fabulous. It’s also less expensive than going on a wine cruise.

The Wine Novice in the (brief) role of Hercule Poirot with the Wine Goddess.

Books, bottles and a Belgian feast...

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Champagne venture is a layup for NBA legend Thomas

Cheurlin Brut Speciale is the winery’s flagship champagne.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Is that former NBA Hall of Fame great Isiah Thomas now wearing the Cheurlin Champagne polo jersey?

Yes, it is. And why not?

Isiah Thomas with Lisa Marie-Booth, owner of Fortitude Health and Training, and Manchester (N.N.) Mayor Joyce Craig.

Thomas, 57, is no stranger to the French bubbly – even if in an odd way.

For years during his illustrious career with the Detroit Pistons (1981-94), Thomas said he enjoyed his share of wet, wild and elegant championship celebrations when “champagne was poured all over my head” – even if he didn’t drink it back them.

Later, however, Thomas learned to appreciate the refined, exquisite taste of champagne, as well as where it comes from, the people farming t...

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Make a sensation with a holiday gift of wine

A wine basket creation by the Wine Goddess combines elegance and wine.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Wine makes a great gift for the holidays, and how you present it can make a significant statement to the recipient.

Do you want to be regarded highly? Do you want to become a special friend? Do you want to firm up a so-so relationship?

There’s nothing wrong with giving someone a bottle of wine. It shows appreciation, love and respect in many ways. But what if you were to spruce up that bottle a bit, adding a nice festive holiday wrap and a simple red, silver or gold ribbon bow?

Ruffino Il Ducale Toscana red is fresh and expressive.

It’s very easy to go a little extra and got a whole lot more in return for your caring generosity...

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Star-studded match: Isiah Thomas and Cheurlin Champagne

Cheurlin Brut Speciale is the winery’s flagship champagne.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Is that former NBA Hall of Fame great Isiah Thomas now wearing the Cheurlin Champagne polo jersey?

Yes, it is. And why not?

Isiah Thomas with Lisa Marie-Booth, owner of Fortitude Health and Training, and Manchester (N.N.) Mayor Joyce Craig.

Thomas, 57, is no stranger to the French bubbly – even if in an odd way.

For years during his illustrious career with the Detroit Pistons (1981-94), Thomas said he enjoyed his share of wet, wild and elegant championship celebrations when “champagne was poured all over my head” – even if he didn’t drink it back them.

Later, however, Thomas learned to appreciate the refined, exquisite taste of champagne, as well as where it comes from, the people farming the...

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Six wines (other than Chardonnay) to perk up the palate

Giesen Sauvignon Blanc features rich and vivid grapefruit and tangerine traits.

If you’re suffering from summer Chardonnay overload, here are few white wines — and new vareitals —  that can pep up the palate for autumn.

Pieropan Soave Classico is a gem from the Veneto region.

• Pieropan Soave Classico 2016, $14.99 — Nino Pieropan’s 50th anniversary vintage is quite a knockout, scoring an outstanding 92 point rating from Wine Enthusiast magazine. For less than $15 a bottle at The Wine ConneXtion in North Andover, it’s an outstanding buy.
Soave is made principally from  the native Garganega grape that excels in the Veneto region. Pieropan’s vineyards are located in an historic zone high atop a walled-in  village outside Verona...

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Grapes can’t talk — so the Wine Novice will

By Jim Campanini, The Wine Novice

If grapes could talk – some winemakers insist they can whisper to them – Italy’s more than 1,000 varieties could tell stories of how they fueled papal conquests, Roman legions on the move, and even the seductions of emperors and kings.

When I open a bottle of Italian wine, I often wonder who trod the ancient soil of the vineyard where the grapes were grown. The great Caesar? Augustine? Or maybe a Bendictine monk who would later become pope.

The history, culture and cuisine of Italy remain fascinating to this day.

That said, if you enjoy Italian wines or want to learn more about them, I’ll be holding another fun night of vino viniferous education on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 7-9 p.m. at the gorgeous Nesmith House in Lowell...

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