Torre Zambra Pecorino, The Wine That Sealed The Deal

Saturday, October 20, 2018 9:15 PM

Torre Zambra Pecorino, The Wine That Sealed The Deal

What a beautiful day in SF's Dogpatch ...

While walking the streets of our neighborhood this afternoon, I couldn't help noticing the general good vibe of throngs of folks out enjoying the warm weather, sitting in parklets and outdoor tables, sharing the weekend with those of us who work and live here. We had more than a couple of first timers poke their heads in our shop today, asking what we're all about. As many of you know, we are always happy to share our stories, answer questions, and put quality juice in your hands. Now that we're moving deeper into autumn, days like today will be fewer, but the vibe this afternoon has me longing for something chilled and delicious. What's this week's Saturday night wine and how did it come to us? It's the 2017 Torre Zambra Colle Maggio Pecorino and to answer the second part, good connections.

41 years is a long time to be in business, and we will turn 41 in less than two weeks! (Pssst - Yes, there will be an Anniversary Sale - stay tuned!) And when you're in business that long, you're bound to make connections. It hadn't been that long after we signed up Tiziana Settimo and her line of wines from Aurelio Settimo:  Dolcetto, Langhe Nebbiolo, and those amazing Baroli, that a package arrived with a range of samples from a producer in d'Abruzzo. Tiziana highly recommended that we try them and let her know what we thought. Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves in the tasting room with the samples. There were the usual suspects one finds in d'Abruzzo, Trebbiano and Montepulciano, but there were a couple of other wines including a Pecorino.

Pecorino was not named from the sheep's cheese, its name actually was derived from sheepherders who ate these grapes while tending to their flocks in search of food. Italian wine grape maven, Ian d'Agata wrote in his tome Native Wine Grapes of Italy"Pecorino is not just a grape variety; it is also one of Italy's biggest wine success stories of the twenty-first century."

Wine Glass, Bottle of Pecorino, and Ian d'Agata Book
I have been on a Pecorino kick ever since Anya brought one in for The Dirty Dozen back in 2010. It's gotten to a point where I just have to have it when I see it on a wine list in a restaurant. So when we were tasting the Torre Zambra wines, my inner wine enthusiast was giddy for a taste of the Pecorino. It did not disappoint. That's an understatement. It was remarkably delicious! The aromas are of stone fruit, orchard fruit, and citrus blossoms. Its aromas alone are captivating. On the palate, it has a medium body and bright acidity which sweeps the aromatic complexity into harmony. I still can't get enough of this wine. Another reason I can't lay off in a restaurant, is its ability to pair with food. Often times, when one chooses the wine before the food, your dining options diminish if looking to dial in a perfect pairing. Not so much with Pecorino. This wine works with most seafood entrees and appetizers, and lighter land meats such as porchetta or turkey breast. I was over the moon for the Colle Maggio Pecorino! Heck, I didn't even have to taste any of the other wines to know we would be bringing them in, but for the record, all of the wines were outstanding, and they all represented excellent value at their respective price points. David and our staff were all in agreement. Any guesses who now imports Torre Zambra into California?  TWH, of course.

Things are getting interesting, we've got Halloween coming right up, and our 41st Anniversary the very next day! The rest of 2018 is looking like a rip-roaring good time. Oh yeah, Dungeness Crab season begins November 3. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Pecorino for the win. - Peter Zavialoff
0 Comments | Posted in 0 1

2016 Ca' Lojera Lugana

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 5:04 PM

Like Italian Whites?  

Don't Miss The 2016 Lugana

The Ca' Lojera Facility

Catching up with the times ...

It's been a memorable week.  The Union De Grands Crus De Bordeaux passed through town pouring the newly bottled 2015 vintage.  This came with several visits from our friends overseas.  The tasting was a success, as the wines from Pomerol, Saint-Emilion, and the reds from Pessac-Leognan showed great expression and balance in consistent fashion.  I recently wrote about the 2015 Château Olivier rouge, and after having tasted it this past Thursday, I stand behind my recommendation.  That's all I'm going to say about Bordeaux for now, as the subject of tonight's email is a new arrival from Italy - the 2016 Lugana from Ca' Lojera.

A new container from Italy recently arrived, and we're breaking down pallets in an effort to get these new goodies onto our sales floor and into your hands!  I don't know why this is, but consistently, I seem to have more need for white wine in the winter than any other season.  Last week, I filled up my six bottle wine bag with six different bottles from the container's bounty.  There are some evenings in which any formality around the ritual of opening and serving a bottle of wine is dispelled, and this particular night was one of them.  A couple of after-work errands had me home later than usual, so in a hurry, I stir fried some chicken with vegetables.  A peek into the fridge left me with a few choices.  Knowing what I knew at the time, I felt the new Lugana from Ca' Lojera would work well with what would eventually end up on my plate.  So I popped it.  I poured out a glass and went on supervising the stove top.  At one point, I reached for the glass and had a sip.  I stopped in my tracks, my focus now on this wonderful, fresh, lively white wine in my glass.  I didn't know what was happening; I've enjoyed the Ca' Lojera wines very much over the years, but I hadn't had an experience like this one!  The aromas were clean and fresh, citrus blossoms, grapefruit, honeydew melon, and a hint of a minty nuance.  Then, on the palate, this aromatic goodness lingered and was bolstered by a medium bodied, impeccably balanced mouth feel.  I was smitten.  Needless to say, the bottle didn't last very long.  Not very long at all.

The catalyst of this experience was from an interaction with a customer who lives in the neighborhood.  She regularly purchases Franco and Ambra Tiraboschi's Lugana made from a grape the locals call Turbiana.  She was in the day before this happened and asked us if we had tried the new vintage.  Shrugged shoulders and blank stares were the responses, but that question alone is how a bottle ended up in my wine tote.  She bought two bottles that day and promised to report back with her impressions.  When I came to work the day after I tasted it, I asked my colleagues,  "Holy Cow, you guys.  Have you tasted the 2016 Lugana yet?"  At that point, nobody else had.  That's changed now.  I was pretty excited about it all day.  At the end of the day, this customer was back.  I looked at her and beamed, "I just tried it last night, and man oh man, you must be happy. I think this is the best vintage for them to date!"  Her glowing smile in return was all I needed to know she enjoyed it very much.  She bought six more bottles.  A couple of days later, a bottle was opened as a sample for a wholesale customer.  When the sample made its way back to the shop, Chris and David got to taste it.  Chris was first to reply - he told me I was spot on with my assessment, and pointed in particular to the fresh acidity of the wine which helped fan the complexity across the palate.  David nodded his head and smiled.  He told me that the customer he poured it for liked it a lot. 

Anya's take was more philosophical.  "Here's a wine which I've enjoyed in every vintage we've carried it.  Each vintage puts its own stamp on the wine, and the variation is what makes wine tasting enjoyable and thought provoking.  One can get in trouble proclaiming a wine 'the best ever', because other vintages will follow.  Remember when we first made the deal to import their wines?  We got a call from a well-known boutique importer who took the time to congratulate us on the addition to our portfolio.  The wines are that good.  Their reputation is that good.  They're a first round draft pick.  We're very lucky.  Is the 2016 Lugana their best?  I have to say yes."

There's plenty more to talk about - another new producer and more goodies from our Italian container, more Bordeaux stuff, and 2015 red Burgundy, but that will have to wait for another time.  January is always a very busy time for me, and this one was no exception.  Now that it's almost over, I can relax.  And eat.  Sounds like Dungeness Crab is in order.  You already know which wine I will drink with it.  - Peter Zavialoff

Tags:

0 Comments | Posted in 0

2015 Antonio Sanguineti Cannonau Di Sardegna

Friday, January 5, 2018 4:47 PM


2015 ANTONIO SANGUINETI CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA

Our Bestselling Sardinian Red Is Back In Stock!


Our third vintage of Antonio Sanguineti's Cannonau di Sardegna has recently arrived, ushering in what is a new Summer tradition here at The Wine House. There is just something about this accessible, soft-tannin red that resonates with our customers. I've already managed to tote a few bottles home and each time, I've been delighted by the restrained cherry flavors and distinct underbrush notes. Because the tannins are tempered and the fruit, forward and warm like berry pie filling, it is perfect for casual, outdoor summer dining. To date, I've served it with Cevapcici, a type of Balkan ground meat delicacy, that I make with a combination of beef and lamb and another time with grilled salmon doused in garlic and olive oil. Whether surf or turf, it worked beautifully!
 

Cannonau di Sardegna is an appellation that covers most of the island. The Cannonau grape is not identical to Grenache, though is closely related and is surely as far as taste goes - very similar. An ampelographer could write 2015 ANTONIO SANGUINETI CANNONAU DI SARDEGNAvolumes on Cannonau's genetic background, but for most wine historians, it seems reasonable to believe that the grape is closely linked to Grenache, whether originating from France or Spain. Though able to produce dark, complex, age-worthy wines, Sanguineti's Cannonau di Sardegna is meant for early consumption; a sort of elevated table wine. 


Summer break in my household is coming to a close - for many families, the new school year has already begun. I prefer to think of Summer as the full three month season it is and not just as the time between the end of school year and the start of the new one. To that end, I expect to spend a few more days at the beach and/or throw an impromptu backyard dinner party or two. Still, school starts up for my husband, a teacher, and my daughter, a student, next week.  I think my daughter put it best when she said to me, "I'm sort of excited and sort of not." Raising a glass of Sanguineti's 2015 Cannonau di Sardegna to all the students and teachers out there starting off the new school year!
- Anya Balistreri

0 Comments | Posted in 0 1 2

Award-Winning Carmignano Riserva – Le Farnete 2013

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 12:52 PM

In my last post I wrote that Enrico Pierazzuoli was in San Francisco to pour his wines at Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri World Tour held at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavillon. Enrico is a practical man who does not place too much importance on scores, awards and such, but when his estate in Carmignano, Le Farnete, received a “Tre Bicchieri” for their 2013 Carmignano Riserva, he was clearly honored. It feels good to be recognized for your efforts, especially when it’s by Italy’s most influential wine and food publication.



Tuscany’s Carmignano is a lesser-known appellation, but its history of wine growing traces back centuries. In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici legally recognized and identified this area for wine growing. Enrico appreciated the timing of receiving his first-ever “Tre Bicchieri” while celebrating Carmignano’s 300th Anniversary! The 2013 Carmignano Riserva is a blend of 80% Sangiovese with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in small oak barrel for a year and then another year in bottle before being released to market, it is a full-bodied expression of Sangiovese. The inclusion of a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is enough to give the wine significant back-bone and structure. Less than 200 cases are produced of the Riserva and only in the best years. It is a wine with a long life ahead of it.



The Pierazzuoli’s run a traditional osteria on their estate in Chianti Montalbano. They sent out a notice earlier this week that they no longer have any reservations open for Easter. Of course there is lamb on the menu, so I am guessing patrons will be enjoying the 2013 Carmignano Riserva as it should be a perfect match. Shame I can’t be there! Buona Pasqua! -Anya Balistreri

0 Comments | Posted in 0 1 2 3 4

Enrico’s Chianti – Life’s A Beach!

Monday, March 27, 2017 12:18 PM

This year’s visit from the Enrico and Gianlorenzo Show coincided with the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri World Tour’s stop in San Francisco on February 15. Enrico was pouring his wine on the tour and Gianlorenzo Picollo, his friend, fellow winemaker, and traveling companion, came along too. Those two usually travel to the States together, which works out perfectly for us because we get the pleasure of meeting with two of our favorite Italian producers at the same time. I lovingly call their visit a “show” because they remind me of a duo á la Jay and Silent Bob, as Enrico is the talkative one and Gianlorenzo, shy and less sure of his English, taking on the role of the sidekick.



Enrico, Gianlorenzo and David


The “show” begins with Gianlorenzo pouring his fabulous Gavis. Pete wrote about the Rovereto earlier in the year. Since there are only two Gavis and the winemaking here is fairly straight forward, this portion of the show is quick. Next up is Enrico with his line-up from two estates; one from Chianti Montalbano and the other from Carmignano. This can take a while because Enrico is adamant on explaining all aspects of his wine production, not to mention that he is not one to hold back on sharing his opinion on, well, most things. I for one relish these presentations by Enrico. His enthusiasm and devotion to his work comes through with equal parts seriousness and humor. Enrico has a dry wit and delivers it with grand hand gestures and animated facial expressions.



2015 Chianti Montalbano


The first wine Enrico poured for us was the 2015 Chianti Montalbano and it was clear right off the bat that this is one of his finest efforts. Enrico, swinging his arms up and folding them behind his head, explained it this way, “in 2014 you really needed to make the wine, in 2015 it made itself…you could go to the beach”. 2015 was a favorable vintage across Italy and Montalbano was no exception. The Sangiovese fully ripened while retaining all the necessary structure, acid and tannin to make great wine. In general, Enrico’s Chianti Montalbano tends to be fruit-driven and light-to-medium bodied, but the 2015 is noticeably fuller and dense. The vines are now over twenty years old and that also contributes to the quality of the grapes.



Tenute Pierazzuoli


TWH staff and Enrico spoke at length about the challenges of making and selling Chianti. So much of what is produced is what Enrico calls “industrially made”. These mass produced Chiantis are antithesis to the approach Enrico and his family take to making wine. For the Pierazzuoli’s, it is a real family affair. In addition to making wine, they produce their own olive oil as well as other food delicacies like vegetable conserves and fruit jams. They renovated their farmhouse into an agriturismo and most recently converted an ancient hayloft into a traditional Tuscan osteria. Last summer, my niece had the pleasure of staying a night at one of their apartments during a tour through Italy. She and her fiancé had dinner at the osteria. It was the highlight of their trip. I think I’m due a trip there myself! In the meantime, it’ll be bowls of pasta Puttanesca and glasses of 2015 Chianti Montalbano to tie me over until then.– Anya Balistreri

0 Comments | Posted in 0 1 2 3

1-5 of 50

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5