About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Culin Ariane

A couple of weeks ago our wine group met at Culin Ariane in Montclair, NJ for our monthly wine dinner.  It was Howard’s turn to provide the wines and he did a superb job with his selection of red Burgundies with some age on them.  The marvelous cuisine of chef Ariane Duarte was a perfect compliment to these glorious wines.

Fried Oysters w/ Horseradish Cream
Our appetizers consisted of Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with Horseradish Cream & Micro Greens.  Anyone who eats here with any regularity has become addicted to these perfectly fried crustaceans.  The combination of the brininess of the oysters with the "bite" of the horseradish cream works to perfection in this amazing dish.

Manila Clams with Spanish Chorizo, Cherry Tomatoes and an olive Olive Oil Herbed Crouton and Sashimi Tuna Flower with Crispy Wontons, Pickled Cucumber & Wasabi Crème Fraiche rounded out the appetizers.  As with the oysters, both dishes were a magnificent explosion of textures and tastes on the palate.  As always we also consumed way too many of the ethereal buttery homemade croissants that were served with the appetizers.

We began the evening with a 1978 Camille Giroud Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru.  While the nose had an enticing and earthy bouquet, the palate at first lacked fruit.  As the wine sat in the glass the fruit began to evolve nicely.  As I have this wine in my personal cellar, I opened another bottle a few nights later and decanted it for 3 hours and the wine really responded.  The earthy bouquet really soared from the glass and the fruit was much more vibrant.  While I don’t think this wine has a lot of time left, it should be enjoyable for another 3-5 years.  While the 1978 will not be easy to find and will be pricey, more recent vintages from this producer are highly recommended.

We followed this with a 1989 Joseph Drouhin Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru, which like the Giroud drank very nicely.  I found the wine to have a terrific feminine elegance with good fruit and a very nice finish.  Joseph Drouhin is a terrific producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  He owns three wineries: one in Beaune (his headquarters), one in Chablis, and, since 1988, a third in Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Drouhin follows biodynamic principles all of vineyards and organic farming is being practiced throughout all Drouhin properties. Annual production of Drouhin's Burgundy wines range from 300,000 to 400,000 cases per year, depending on the vintage.  You can pay as little as $25 a bottle or as much as several hundred dollars a bottle for his wines.  They are superb at all levels.  Since the wine we drank will be very difficult to find, allow me to suggest the 2010 Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune Villages Red at around $23 a bottle.  From the fantastic 2010 vintage, this wine, while not a Grand Cru, is an incredible value and should be widely available.

Fettuccine w/ Wild Boar Ragu

Main course choices included Thai Chile Garlic Seasoned Monkfish Osso Bucco with Quinoa “Fried Rice,” Summer Vegetables, Ginger Thai Basil Beurre Blanc; braised Short Ribs of Beef; homemade Fettuccine with Wild Boar Ragu and the same homemade Fettucine served Carbonara Style.  The Fettucine with the Wild Boar was fantastic, the Carbonara, while very tasty, lacked the textural component of the Carbonara I had here a week previously.  This was through no fault of Ariane.  The previous week she made the dish with Spaghettini and it was so good I asked her if she would make it again.  Alas, she had only Fettuccine and I gave it a try.  The dish needs Spaghetti or similar type pasta to get the textural component that makes the dish so special, especially at Culin Ariane.

The first wine we tasted with our entrées was 1990 Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes Villages.  As with the first two wines this wine had an enticing earthy bouquet, however the fruit lacked focus and it finished a bit short.

The next wine, 1996 Domaine Bertagna Clos St. Denis Grand Cru, was terrific.  On the palate the lively fruit was soft and pure and it finished with length, complexity and elegance.  A terrific bottle of wine.  Will not be easy to find.  If you do expect to pay around $100.

The final wine, 1997 Domaine Joseph Roty Mazy-Chambertin Grand Cru, was an equal match to the Bertagna.  In fact it was the consensus of the group that these two wines were the wines of the evening.  The wine had a beautiful translucent red hue and the unmistakable bouquet of great Burgundy.  On the palate it displayed wonderful ripe fruit and finished with considerable length.

It was a great evening of food & wine.  Thank you Howard and Ariane. 

A week prior to this Carol and I were joined by good friends Tony and Fran at Culin Ariane for another wonderful meal paired with a terrific selection of eclectic wines.  We began with a 2007 Scarbolo My Time.  A blend of Chardonnay, Friulano and Sauvignon Blanc, this white from Friuli Venezia, Italy had great focus and lush fruit.  Rich and pure on the palate it had a wonderfully long and soft finish.  About $35 a bottle, however it will not be easy to find.  The wine is imported by Soilair, NYC.

We visted the Northern Rhone Valley of France for two extraordinary wines that we drank side-by-side.  2003 René Rostaing Cote-Rotie La Landonne.  This single vineyard Syrah showed beautifully. On the palate the fruit was fresh and concentrated and tannins were soft and well integrated.  It finished with a lengthy richness.  The 1999 Jean Louis Chave Hermitage, also 100% Syrah, we drank alongside also showed beautifully.  It possessed a magnificent nose and on the palate it had pure, focused fruit and considerable complexity.  As with the Rostaing, the tannins were soft and well integrated, and it finished with a lengthy, soft elegance.  These were simply two round and delicious wines with considerable soul.   

The final wine of the evening was 2005 Huet Vouvray Cuvée Constance.  This is a magnificent dessert wine that is graceful with an impeccable balance of residual sugar and fruit.  The wine soars on the palate, has a long rich finish and will last for decades.  

Culin Ariane and great wine is an unbeatable combination.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Fantastic Wine Experience

On many occasions I have commented in WWN about “experiencing” wine, not just tasting it.  Let me see if I can explain what I mean by that statement.  When you experience a wine you are transported to the vineyard, its soil and climate, and the cellar of the winemaker.  You get to experience how good wine can be when it is crafted by those who understand that their mission is to take the grapes that Mother Nature has provided them and extract from them their full potential.  When this is accomplished, each sip seems speak to you as the wine evolves in the glass, soars on the palate and provides ever changing and wonderful tasting experiences.  Not easy to explain, but if you drink wines from artisans like Gravner, Massolino and Huet you will begin to understand what I mean.

A few weeks ago I was invited, along with a group of wine loving friends, to an industry wine tasting at the Pluckemin Inn.  The tasting consisted mainly of Bordeaux, not a favorite of mine, thus I tasted only a few wines.  Why then did I go?  Two reasons, our group planned to have dinner at the Pluckemin Inn after the tasting and partake of the superb wine selection wine director Brian Hider has amassed.  Brian offers many extraordinary wines from some of the most gifted winemakers in the world and at reasonable prices.

For dinner there were pristinely fresh, ice-cold oysters, NY Strip Steak and Braised Short Ribs.  While all were excellent the wines stole the show.

We began with a 1995 Chateau Leoville Barton that Allen in our group brought along.  As stated above I am not a fan of Bordeauxs as they are usually a blend of grapes, specifically Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which I do not like.  This wine is from a top producer and I did try it.  While the fruit was still young and the tannins were soft, it was a bit massive for for my palate.  The wine was enjoyed by the rest of the group who do not share my feelings on Bordeaux.  About $100.

In my last post I wrote about a bottle of 2005 Gravner Breg Anfora.  As you may recall the wine is made in large beeswax-lined clay amphorae.  The wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.  What I have learned since that post is that Gravner did not start to use Amphorae until the 2001 vintage.  Prior to 1997 Gravner experimented with modern techniques for a brief time. 1997-2000 marked the period of Gravner's brief transitional phase. During this phase he made his wine in large open top wood vats.  Says Gravner, "I am convinced that wine is a product of Nature, not of Man, whose role therefore is to accompany its maturation process while avoiding any artificial intervention."

On this evening we got to try two wines from this period, 1999 Gravner Breg and 1999 Gravner Ribolla Gialla.  All I can say is “Wow! Wow! Wow!  Both of these wines were beautiful.  As with his Amphorae made wines the same gorgeous orange hue was present as was the impeccable purity and intoxicating earthy bouquet.  They were round and delicious. A fantastic wine experience.  Were they better or worse than the Amphorae wines?  No, they were on the same amazing level.  For three of my friends, this was their first experience with Gravner.  They echoed Wow! Wow! Wow!  As I mentioned in my last post these are white wines that should be decanted for at least four hours and drunk at red wine temperature.  While they are not for everyone, they provide a unique and incredible experience.  Unfortunately the 1999 is impossible to find.  The Pluckemin Inn Wine Shop may have some 2000 available and Italian Wine Merchants in NYC may still have some 1998.  Expect to pay $90 and above, depending on the vintage.

In case you are wondering what happened to the open vats that Gravner abandoned, they have since found a home in Barolo with the great Giuseppe Rinaldi, whose wines, like Gravner’s, are of a different world.  

What do you drink after wines like this?  Like I said earlier, Brian’s list facilitates the challenge.  We selected a 1999 Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda Riserva that was superb.  Another round and delicious wine, with an earthy bouquet, clean fruit and a monster finish.  This wine is just coming into it’s drinking window and has many more years ahead of it.  $99.

Brian treated us to the final wine of the evening, 2003 Huet Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1ere Trie.  I wrote of this wine in an April post.  From the Loire Valley this 100% Chenin Blanc white provides one great wine experience. The wine had a peachy bouquet that seduced the olfactory senses.  On the palate it was full-bodied with pure, ripe fruit, and a delicious mid-level sweetness.  It finished with considerable length.  A round and delicious wine experience.  Like all Huet wines they are built to age and this is certainly no exception.  $50

Thanks Brian for making such a great evening possible.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Mangia e Beve in Italia

Carol and I recently returned from a ten-day vacation in Italy with our good friends Tony and Anita.  We visited the Amalfi coast, and a number of small hill towns in the Provinces of Avellino and Perugia.  It was a great trip.   
Our ten days were filled with terrific meals and delicious wines under absolutely gorgeous Italian skies.  As Tony likes to say, “Italy is a country in search of a bad meal”.  This trip did nothing to negate his comment. 

Our trip began with a four-night stay at the Palazzo Murat Hotel in the heart of Positano.  What a terrific and reasonably priced hotel this is.  Clean and spacious suites with a complete buffet breakfast for $330 Euro’s a night is indeed a bargain in this day and age.  

Positano is a gorgeous seaside hill town in the heart of the Amalfi Coast.  While it is a big tourist attraction, the restaurants do a magnificent job with fresh local seafood and pastas.  On this trip we revisited a number of our favorites.  At La Cambusa, one of the many beachfront ristorantes in Positano, we enjoyed an assortment of fried fish, eggplant parmigianno and spaghetti puttanesca.

Calamarata alla Calamarelle
Located directly below La Cambusa is Ristorante Le Tre Sorelle, my favorite restaurant in Positano.  Friendly and knowledgeable waiters serve up incredibly fresh seafood.  Highlights on this trip were Calamarata alla Calamarelle, pasta rings with local baby squid in a cherry tomato sauce; Spaghetti with basil and cherry tomatoesgrilled seafood and grilled langoustine.

Polpo Luciano
Also located on the beach and directly adjacent to Le Tre Sorelle is Ristorante Chez Black.  Once again the fish and pasta dishes here are exquisite.  Standout dishes included tender pieces of Polpo Luciano (octopus in a spicy tomato sauce) and Spaghetti with Fried Zucchini.

Whitefish Gratinata
Just a couple of hundred years to the left of Chez Black isCovo Dei Saraceni Ristorante. With food that is equal to the other restaurants we ate at, the wine list is one of the better lists in Positano.  Starters included Risotto with Lobster and Malfatti with Bacala e Porcini, followed by entrée selections of local Whitefish Gratinata and Risotto Frutti di Mare.  Each simply prepared dish was superb and tasted of the sea.  

No visit to Positano would be complete without diving into a plate of Spaghetti con Vongole at Buca Di Baco Ristorante.  Made with fresh baby clams and a hint of tomato, this may be the ultimate pasta with clam sauce on the planet.

Spaghetti con Vongole

We drank some absolutely delicious white wines that complimented our meals in Positano and were very kind to our wallets.  At about $20 a bottle Pieropan Soave 2010 is a crisp, fruity and delicious wine from the Veneto region of Italy.  A blend of Garganega and Trebbiano it is one of the better Soaves produced in Italy.  It is readily available in the states.

The Fiano grape is a white wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Campania region of Italy.  A De Conciliis Fiano Donnaluna 2011 was wonderfully vibrant on the palate and went beautifully with the Polpo Luciano.  At about $20 a bottle, it is a bargain worth looking for. Try Italian Wine Merchants, NYC, DeVino, NYC and 56º Wine, Bernardsville, NJ.  

Another Fiano that we enjoyed was a bottle of 2010 Pietracupa Fiano Di Avellino.   It was wonderfully crisp and round on the palate.  Unfortunately, it does not seem to be available in the states.  

Most of my favorite Italian white wines come from Italy’s most North Eastern region of Friuli-Venezia.  On the border of Slovania, the wines from this region are simply stunning.  We enjoyed a number of them during this vacation beginning with a 2010 Schiopetto Colio Friuliano here in Positano.  This wine is made with 100% Tocai Fruiliano grapes and is fermented and fined in stainless steel.  It is crisp, fruity and has exhibits wonderful balance on the palate.  Good availability at about $25.  

A little further northwest is the Alto-Adige region of Italy, which also produces some wonderful wines, especially white wines such as Kerner.  We enjoyed a 2010 Abbazia di Novacella Kerner.  This bottle was round and elegant with a wonderful finish.  Abbazia Di Novacella is a monestary run by the order of St. Augustine.  The monks make all of the wine.  Finding it may take some time, but at $15 a bottle it is well worth the effort.  

As I alluded to previously, Positano wine lists are on the weak side, especially when it comes to red wines like Barolo. Conterno Fantino is one of the more modern style wine makers (he uses roto-fermentors and ages his wines in French Barrique) who’s wines I do enjoy.  The estate Conterno Fantino Barolo 2005 is a blend of grapes from his single vineyards that do not make it into the single vineyard wines.  The wine was okay but lacked the earthiness and complexity of more traditional Baroli.  At about $75 a bottle, I would pass on adding this to my cellar.  

Approximately 15 miles up the Amalfi coast is the picturesque town of Ravello.  It boasts a magnificent view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, is home to some of Italy’s most beautiful hand crafted pottery (yes we bought some) and has a number of good eating spots such as Cumpa Di Cosimo.  Run by “Mamma Netta”, the food is quite good and the service is friendly.  We filled our bellies with tomato and onion salad, Coniglio (rabbit) and sausage.  We washed our food down with a bottle of 2010 Episcopio Vigna S. Lorenzo.  This was a crisp and delicious local white wine made from grapes that I was not familiar with, Ravello Ginestrella, Pepella, St. Nicholas and Biancazita e Biancatenera.  I don’t think this is available in the US.  If you can find it, expect to pay about $10 -$12 a bottle. 

Ocone Giano Greco 2010 was another local white wine that we thoroughly enjoyed.  Made from the Greco grape it was crisp, vibrant, unoaked with good acidity and balance.  It was a nice compliment to our Pizza Margharita and Gnocci alla Sorrentino at Basilica Ristorante in Sorrento.  At about $15 a bottle, try it if you can find it.

Coniglio Cacciatore
Tony’s grandparents as well as mine come from the Province in Avellino, which is located about 40 miles east of Naples.  Our first stop was to my grandfather’s hometown of Melito Irpino, about 30 miles north of Avellino.  This was the first time I visited this tiny town.  Unfortunately I did not have any living relatives whom I could visit, so we did the next best thing, we stopped for lunch at one of the few restaurants in town, Matullo Trattoria-Pizzeria.  We were very glad we did.  Talk about a great meal at a fantastic bargain, we began with an enormous antipasto that consisted of a vegetable frittata, grilled zucchini, roasted hot & sweet peppers, prosciutto, homemade soprasatta, boccincino, basket ricotta cheese, mashed potatoes with porcini & prosciutto, grilled mortadella, fried mozzarella, potato croquets and baked fagioli (beans).  It was amazing and all for 10 Euros.  The antipasto was followed by an absolutely delicious Coniglo Cacciatore (rabbit cacciatore) for 6 Euros.  A carafe of local homemade Alianico red wine went perfect with both courses.  Alianico is the red grape of choice in the province.  This wine was young, had terrific pure fruit and was served with a slight chill.  It was delicious.  

The next day we visited Tony’s cousins in Santo Stefano de Sole Montevirgine in the suberbs of Avellino.  What a delightful day.  We really enjoyed meeting these wonderful people and in the tradition of genuine Italian hospitality we were treated to a feast at Sunday dinner with the entire family.  The meal was prepared by Tony’s 77 year old cousin Sina and it was “off-the-charts”.  We began with an antipasto of homemade soprasatta, salami and mozzarella.  And of course there were ripe plump figs from their fig trees.  This was followed by a fantastic homemade lasagna that I could have eaten all day long.  Homemade eggplant Parmesan that was moist, light and brimming with flavor; beef braciole and peas with prosciutto, followed the lasagna.  We tried to cry uncle, but to no avail as we were served medallions of stuffed Tacchino (turkey) in a savory gravy and complimented by roasted potatoes.  Everything was cooked in cousin Luigi’s enormous brick oven lending that old world authenticity to the entire meal.  Cousin Luigi’s homemade red wine, Alianico of course, from his current vintage complimented the meal to perfection.  The wine had young, vibrant fruit on the palate with a clean and delicious finish.  For dessert there was homemade Nocellino cake, Baba Rum cake and an assortment of grappas and other after dinner liquors.  Needless to say we left there with full bellies and even fuller smiles. 
Cousin Luigi's Oven
During our two-day visit to the area we stayed at the Hotel Serino in Serino, a lovely hotel with an accommodating staff and at 98 Euro a night, the bargain of the century.  We also dined in the hotel’s restaurant, Antica Osteria O’Calabrisuotto Serino.  Risotto with Castagne (chestnuts) and Asparagus, Fagiano (pheasant) roasted with tomatoes, veal scallopine and homemade Fussili al Forno made up a delicious meal.  We drank yet another Fiano di Avellino, Terradora 2010, with the meal.  It had a bracing acidity and impeccable balance.  $25.

I Capricci di Merion
Our final destination was the town of Tuoro sul Trasimeno in Umbria in the region of Umbria.  We camped out at the historic 9-room bed and breakfast villa I Capricci di Merion situated above beautiful Lago sul Trasimeno.  This was yet another great hotel that Tony sourced.  Our rooms were clean and spacious.  The staff was professional, pleasant and accommodating and the tariff was very reasonable.

Our dinner, with the exception of a delicious Pork Tenderloin bathed in an exquisite wine sauce, was not up to the traditional rustic dishes we had become accustomed to.  The cooking was more Nouvelle Cuisine.  We drank a bottle of Tabarrini Sagrantino Campo Alla Cerqua 2007.  The Sagrantino grape, native to this region, is one of my favorite red grapes from Italy.  It had a nice balance of fruit and spice, however was a bit tannic, suggesting it could use a few more years of bottle age.  About $50.

The next day we visited the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.  Magnificent!  We lunched in a local pizzeria, La Pasterisa, in the town of Perugia.  Here we drank a bottle of 2010 Forchir Ribolla Gialla.  From Fruili-Venezia the wine was crisp and round.  About $10.

Pici with Cingiale Ragu
We dined that evening at Osteria LaBucaccia in Cortona.   The restaurant is known for its Chianina beef and delicious pastas.  Pici is thick, hand-rolled pasta that looks like a fat spaghetti.  It is the traditional pasta of the region.  On this night I had it with Cinghiale (wild boar ragu).  It was magnificent and paved the way for our grilled Chianina beef, which was very tasty.  The wine list here was reasonably priced and well thought out.  We began with Isole e Olena Chardonnay 2010.  This is a great producer of artisanal wines from the Chianti region of Italy.  I have enjoyed his Chiantis on many occasions but this way first taste of his Chardonnay.  It had forward fruit and was crisp on the palate but a bit too much oak for me.  $50.  For red we thoroughly enjoyed a 2009 Salvioni Rosso di Montalcino.  Salvioni is one of the greatest producers of Brunello di Montalcino in Italy.  The rosso is also made from 100% Sangiovese grapes as is the Brunello, but does not see the aging time the Brunello sees.  It is bottled young for early drinking.  The wine had terrific purity, balance, complexity and a soft elegant finish.  $40.

Cappelli Ripiene
From here we were off to lunch at one of Tony’s favorite spots in the area, Siro Ristorante in Torgiano.   After the meal I could easily see why he felt that way.  We all ordered pasta and each dish was superb, but the Cappelli Ripiene, hat shaped pasta bundles stuffed with Scamorza (a cow's milk cheese similar to mozzarella) and eggplant in a fresh cherry tomato sauce, stole the show.  Each bite had you hurrying back for another forkful. Homemade Tagliatelle with a meat ragu and Papparadelle con Lepre (wild hare) also brought huge smiles to our face.  For wines we went with two whites, beginning with a delightful Lungoroti Grechetto 2010.  Made from the Grechetto grape which is one of the local grapes it showed young fruit, vibrancy and nice acidity.  At $7 Euros it was hard to pass up.  I also could not pass up the 2011 Elena Walch Pinot Grigio at $13 Euros.  Elena Walch is a rock star producer from the Alto Adige region of Italy.  Her wines are not easy to find, but widely sought after.  They are beautifully crafted wines.  Rich and fruity, they have a wonderful stony minerality that dances on the palate.

Bronzino alla Cartoccio
For dinner we dined at Ristorante Sottovento on Lago Trasimeno.  As you might expect be situated on a lake, fish is the real star here.  Pristinely fresh Crudo (raw fish) of salmon, tuna & shrimp, Fettucine di Mare, Scallop Gratinata, Lobster Risotto, Risotto with Sausage & Saffron and Bronzino alla Cartoccio (oven baked in a paper bag) made up our menu for the evening.  Each dish echoed the sea and brought huge grins to our faces.  Another Elena Walch white complimented the meal.  This time it was a Muller Thurgau 2011.  The Muller Thurgau grape is a cross between the Sylvaner and Reisling vines and is principally grown in Germany, Austria and the Alto Adige region of Italy.  It is a mild white wine that should be drunk young.   It pairs well with fish and is inexpensive.

Parslied Pasta w/ Vegetable Ragu
Our final meal of the trip was at La Badiaccia Restaurant in Castiglione del Lago. Great food and a spectacular wine list made for a wonderful end to a wonderful vacation. Highlights of the meal were Spaghetti Carbonara w/ black truffles (one of the best versions of this Roman classic I have ever had), homemade parsley imprinted pasta triangles in a vegetable ragu, and Birramesu, a take off of Tiramesu that uses Italian beer in place espresso.  Tony selected a local wine, Bianco del Cavaliere Grechetto di Todi 2010 while I chose a Gravner Breg Anfora  2005.  Made in large beeswax-lined clay amphorae, the wine is a blend Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.   I did not taste the Grechcetto, opting instead for the Gravner.  I have written about this wine in previous blogs.  It is spectacular.  It has a gorgeous orange hue, a compelling earthy bouquet and incredible purity.  This is a unique and quite special white wine that must be drunk at red wine temperature to be fully appreciated.  In fact the wine should be decanted for at least 4 hours before being served.  Once opened it can last for a month if re-corked and place back in your cellar or refrigerator.  It is not a wine for everyone.  You either love it or hate it.  On this evening I was only able to share the wine with Elisa, proprietor/sommelier.  We both enjoyed it immensely.  According to Elisa the 2005 vintage will be his last for Breg.  He will instead only make Ribolla Gialla in the amphorae going forward.  Available at Italian Wine Merchants, NYC for $90.

A rather long post, but it was a lengthy trip.  Needless to say we had a great time and were unable to find a bad meal or a bad wine (fortunately)!

Salut a tutti!