Category Flavor of the day

Lacryma Christi may just have you weeping for joy

Terra Mia’s Lacryma Christi has a distinctive label and story to tell.

Just the name – Terra Mia’s Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio Bianco – is enough to intrigue a curious wine drinker to investigate what’s in the bottle. So begins today’s journey into a truly unique white wine from the Italian province of Campania.

According to archaeologists who analyzed residue left on ancient casks, Lacryma Christi comes closest to matching the version of wine drunk by the ancient Romans who lived around the still active volcano Mt. Vesuvius, which overlooks the Bay of Naples.

Lacryma Christi, which means the “tears of Christ”, was a very prized wine in the Middle Ages.  Iit still  lives up to its reputation today although few non-Italians know about it.

Centuries ago, the Romans exported it throughout th...

Read More

Don’t blush to judgment with rosé

A friend asked me why I liked to drink rosé. This was back during Christmas season. He said rosé is a “summer wine.”

I laughed. “Think pink when you drink,” I replied.

Then I explained that rosé has actually become a year-round dry, refreshing wine. It’s a great for as a dinner aperitif, party sipper, or to finish a long day with a vibrant pick-me-up.

But my real affinity for rosé is that it’s not my father’s — or mother’s — sweet White Zinfandel of the 1970s and 1980s.

Naturally, tastes change. Sweet, “blush” Zinfandel wines still sell — 17.2 million cases in 2016 in the United States alone — but total sales are declining each year.

Sales of dry and drier rosés, on the other hand, are soaring. Imports from France, particularly from Provence, are up 44 percent in the U.S...

Read More

Part 2: There’s a lavish Brunello for most budgets

La Poderina 2004 is bright, energetic and silky smooth as it celebrates its 14th birthday.

In a recent column, I wrote about the versatility of the sangiovese grape, and focused on the high end Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino from Tenuta Il Greppo in Tuscany. Biondi-Santi is a collector’s wine, selling for high prices. But you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to enjoy this exquisite and highly revered Italian red. Listed below are several Brunellos from my own cellar that I’ve cracked open in recent months as they hit their peak drinking window.

La Velona is modest in scope but still very pleasant.

Il Valentiano Brunello Campo di Marzo 2007 – The years have been kind to this middle-tier Brunello, which sold for $24 a bottle  when it hit our shores six years ago...

Read More

Biondi-Santi Brunello: Sangiovese at its best

Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino has a rich history in Italian viticulture.

Sangiovese is the most widely planted red grape in Italy and also among the most versatile.

It reigns supreme in Tuscany, where sangiovese (translation: blood of Jove or Jupiter) is the primary grape for four distinctly incredible wines: Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile Montepulciano (not to be confused with the southern Italian varietal and wine Montepuciano D’Abruzzi).
Sangiovese is also used to craft iconic Super Tuscan wines, mostly from Bolgheri, where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

So how can the same grape produce uniquely, different tasting wines?

It’s all in the varietal’s multiple clones and, of course, the terroir (land, soils, cl...

Read More

Prosecco Part Two: Cartizze ‘cru’ and 4 DOCG delights

A nice holiday selection of Prosecco Superiore DOCG bottlings. See tasting notes below.

By Jim Campanini

So what’s the difference between Prosecco DOC and Prosecco Superiore DOCG sparkling wines?

Location, location, location. And a few more production details.
The Prosecco DOC classification zone is broader, covering about 44,000
acres under vine in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions
around Treviso.

Prosecco Superiore DOCG zone is much smaller — only 17,000 acres — and runs from Valdobbiadene in the west to Conegliano in the east. This small zone has
the steepest hillsides which form an embroidered network of   sloping vineyards.

Fagher Valdobbiadene Le Colture Brut.

The Belluno Prealps to the north creates annamphitheater effect to shield  vineyards from harsh winter weat...

Read More

For a road trip, bring a six-pack — of vino

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

It’s party pack time, a six-bottle sampler for a weekend getaway or an extended trip to the beach.

In my mind, the key to any good summer road trip includes a rosé, a crisp white wine, and a punchier red varietal or blend.

Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

THE ROSATTOS: There are simple, good rosés, and then there are the complex, intriguing styles that turn happiness into total bliss.

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Two sublime examples are Rosa dei Masi from Italy’s Veneto region and Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia. (Both are available for less than $15 in New Hampshire.)

The Masi company is one of Italy’s leading wine innovators as well as producer of the prestigious Costasera Amarone...

Read More

Wilson Creek’s Peach Bellini: A unique holiday sparkler

So what will I be drinking with the Wine Goddess, Bella the cat, and the rest of the family on Thanksgiving Day?

<a href=”http://blogs.lowellsun.com/winenovice/files/2016/11/Bellini.jpg”><img class=”size-medium wp-image-3531″ src=”http://blogs.lowellsun.com/winenovice/files/2016/11/Bellini-225×300.jpg” alt=”Wilson Creek Winery’s Peach Bellini is fine holiday starter.” width=”225″ height=”300″ /></a> Wilson Creek Winery’s Peach Bellini is fine holiday starter.

There’s one definite on my list, and I got it several weeks ago from Sam Messina of the Wine ConneXtion.
At the time of the store’s Grand Wine Tasting event, Sam said Wilson Creek Winery Sparkling Peach Bellini ($12.99) from Temecula Valley, Calif., would steal the show. I tasted it and he was right.
I drank my first Bellini (Prosecco...

Read More

These four 2011 Brunellos are gifts to the early birds

CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino

CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino

La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino

La Fuga Brunello

Brunello di Montalcino is one of my favorite wines in the world.
It’s a gorgeous wine of great complexity and character that relies on Mother Nature and incredible patience to produce. Under Italian law, regular Brunello must be aged for five years before it can be released for sale; the riservas must wait six years. From a drinking standpoint, the 2011 vintage is the current release on the market just as Tuscan winemakers today are fermenting grapes for the 2016 vintage to be sold in 2021.
Recently, I attended an exquisite Brunello di Montalcino six-course wine dinner at David Maione’s Vino Italiano fine wine store located on Main Street in Waltham. It featured four of the 2011 Brunellos...

Read More

Two wines that clear up the confusion on Montepulciano

What’s the difference between Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Montepulciano D’Abruzzo?
The answer is simple: Both are wines made entirely from different grapes grown in different regions.

Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepuliciano is enjoyed with a caprese salad.

Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepuliciano is enjoyed with a caprese salad.


Vino nobile di Montepulciano is named for the town/region in Tuscany where ancient Etruscans first planted vineyards. The wine is made from a clone of the Sangiovese grape; it is called prugnolo. (The red-skinned Sangiovese also furnishes unique clones to make Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino wines.) According to Karen MacNeil’s excellent book The Wine Bible, the wine was popular among “noblemen, poets and popes” and in the 18th century picked up the name “vino nobile” (noble wine).
On the other hand, the wine Monte...

Read More

Tenuta Sette Ponti’s Crognolo: A consistently elegant Super Tuscan

The 2014 viintage of Tenuta Sette Ponti’s “Crognolo” — a Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot — was released several months ago and is now available in Massachusetts and New Hampshire wine outlets.

A solid Super Tuscan blend for the price: Crognolo 2014

A solid Super Tuscan blend for the price: Crognolo 2014


If you like full-bodied, dry Italian red wines with a lot of character and smoothness, this one is worth a try. As far as Super Tuscans go, the price is a bargain. The suggested retail price for Crognolo is $35 but it’s now being offered at several locations at a deep discount. (It’s $26 at Vino Italiano in Waltham and $27.99 over the border.)
Crognolo, named for the wild bush Cornus, has a track record for quality and taste dating to its debut vintage in 1998...

Read More