Family Traditions

Cleto Chiarli e Figli
Vecchia Modena
Premium Honorable Mention
Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC
100% Lambrusco di Sorbara
Castelvetro, Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Owners: Mauro & Anselmo Chiarli

Sunset rose with tiny light Pinky (Tuscadero) bubbly foam that later trace active designs on the surface. Nose tickling scents pop up of raspberry, strawberry, light Oreo center, cherry blossoms on a cool breeze, and on the back a little alpine herb but not overly. The moment it hits my tongue and there’s those strawberries again (green, pink & red), raspberries, cranberry, a little young blackberry, sorrel, wild backyard sourgrass tang, and a crisp tingly sizzle spark. It’s a little joyful party in a bottle that has a reminder of a Sour Patch Kid in a good adult way.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: BIG NO

This noble sparkler’s roots stem back to the 1800s, when their founder Cleto Chiarli was making wines for his own restaurant, and it’s just continued to grow in estates, vineyards & prestige. This groundbreaker even created his own wine producing company that was the 1st in Emilia-Romagna. Over the years the family has continued to look to the future, how to push & grow, and only stopped for two years after a bombing in WWII, but they rebuilt and kept the momentum going. I was way too young to drink back in the 70s, but I still remember hearing of crappy supposed “Lambruscos”…Cleto has NEVER been one of them. They have from the very beginning been about keeping traditions & quality which can be found in the commitments the current generation has made. Sure you can take my word for it, or just see the awards they’ve garnered, but the best way you can truly know is to pop a bottle for yourself. Once it hits your lips, you’ll get it, your eyes will brighten, and maybe you might even do a little happy dance like I did on my 2nd glass. 💋

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Lighter On Their Feet

Core Wines (their house wines)
Crispy White
Organic & vegan
Abruzzo, Italy

Starlight with a blip of yellow green crayon. Breathing in and as it opens it starts off with Texas toast, then emerges honeydew & other melon balls, pears both crisp & full, fresh cool rained on paving stones that turn into creek rocks, and a smidge of wild chives/onions that I used to pick by the lake as a kid…that fresh sweet but savory green moment. All of the scents are in the sip with crisp green & crab apples, a lemon/lime crisp squish, and garden fresh peeled cucumbers. It’s easy-peasy fresh, crisp and lively.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: scrumptiously delicious

Djuce started popping up in my feeds maybe a week or so ago, so when I saw one in person of course had to try one. They work with organic/natural/biodynamic/like minded European winemakers and pair them with a cool assortment of artists whose work makes it a little hard to toss in recycling because you might want to make a little art shelf to display your collection (this can’s little creature is by Johan Alenius and check out the animation here ). Speaking on recycling & the good it does for the environment…since they are using cans, it also trims back on their carbon footprint. They’re also very portable and can be cracked anywhere like hanging by the pool, hiking in the woods (just remember if you bring it with you, take it back out with you when you leave),  dancing at a concert under the stars, or like me chilling on a hot summer night at home. Anyway, I bet you’ll find your favorite sipping spot. Oh and I know a some of you are still iffy on wine in a can. I’ve had my share of stinkers too, but these are definitely a hit.

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Tasty, Colorful & Timeless Expressions

Cantina di Mogoro
Le Giare (The Jars) 2022
Vermentino di Sardegna DOC
100% Vermentino
Mogoro (Mòguru), Alta Marmilla, OR, Sardegna, Italy

Light spun straw yellow. Breathing in apricots, peaches, honeydew, something like a cool/fresh stream running over rocks, smidge of baguette, and as it opens a citrus blend emerges of kumquat, lemon, and more. Taking a few sips and the citrus blend starts, soon  followed by apricots & white peaches, tart pears, even a touch of crabapple, a good lemon/lime squeeze and a shave of zest, s sprinkle of thyme & oregano, along with a bit of fresh cut grass. Absolutely delicious!

Pairs with Cheez-Its: brings out more of an herbiness

Cantina di Mogoro (dates back to 1956) and is still making fabulous wines that truly represent the beauty of Sardinia. Just another reason for me to ask myself (as I did even last week)…why haven’t I traveled there to experience all of this wonderful wine & food in person? I have to stop putting things off! Anyway, I’ve written before about Sardinia’s beautiful woven arts and it turns out Mogoro has their own art & craft festival (or artisan might be a better word albeit at times overused), “Fiera dell Artigianato Artistico della Sardegna“ (textiles, clay, metalwork like knives, etc. & more) where you can just look or it you’re so inclined can bring some home. The local women also have their own group passing down the history of their looms, “Su Trobasciu”, and I love this description of how they are set apart from other weavers…“In Mogoro the joyful floral explosions, capable of escaping the rigid schematisms more typical of other areas of Sardinia.” Way back in time they used to even have more than 600 of these looms which turns out was “more than one per family.” No wonder it is so important to carry on this beautiful & passionate tradition, and see how their members artistically & creatively grow in modern times. Now, when should I start packing a bag? 🧳❤️

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“Reverse Migration”

Santa Tresa
Rina Russa 2022
Frappato Terre Siciliane IGP
100% Frappato di Vittoria
Organic & biodiverse
Sicily, Italy
Stefano and Marina Girelli (brother & sister)

Bright shining light cherry. There’s scents of cherries & blossoms, lilacs, raspberries, strawberries (and their caps & greenery), a little cola, and light orange zest. Tasting cherries of all sorts & tart ones too, raspberries, young strawberries, drop of blackberry, citrus bend & zest, tart dark & bright plums & pits, and it’s all just full of a lively spirit.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: brings out a smooth depth

Stefano & Marina, originally from Trentino, along with generations of their family in the wine business, fell for Sicily (in particular Vittoria) and as they called it they did a “kind of ‘reverse migration’ of coming from the North to the South, rather than the opposite way round”. Now not only do they have Santa Tresa but also Azienda Agricola Cortese. Brother & sis saw Sicily as a welcoming community built through history of differing cultures/countries that colonized, mixed, meshed and each contributed to the language, dialects, dishes, and the arts of all forms…and also in its wines. They celebrate the local grapes, reignite forgotten ones, work with traditions & still experiment to breathe new life into others, and let the land tell its unique tales through their bottles. ❤️

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What’s In A Name Or A Number

Contini 1898
Flor 2019
100% Vernaccia
Vernaccia di Oristano DOC
Cabras, Oristano, Sardegna, Italy
Contini Famiy

Golden burnt orange amber. Sniffing and it has a headiness that reminds me of sherry, apricots dried & fresh, peaches, dried brown figs & little date thrown in with hazelnuts & almonds, orange blossoms, and a salty breeze. All of the scents are on the sip with honeyhoneycomb, preserved lemon, lime zest, almond biscotti, ginger, a little baked goodness like the caramelized/burnt edges of chewies my mom used to make, and a lick of salt.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: just say no

I was so excited to try this glass! The Continis are so proud of their origins and have a darn good reason to be. They spell it out on their site, “A name and a number define our company and mark the origins of our story. We are proud to be the first and oldest winery in Sardinia, an honor that we owe entirely to our founder, Salvatore Contini, and his wife Anna Maria Dessi.” There’s so much more of their history in this bottle than just the vintage. Sipping this makes me feel a part of their timeless world which is on my bucket list to visit (hopefully soon).

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Family…Past, Present & Future

Casa Vinicola Triacca
Alpi Retiche IGT
Villa di Tirano, Sondrio, Lombardy, Italy
Triacca family

Ruby stained glass. Breathing in cherries (fresh & dried), tart plums, red currants, wild flowers & Queen Anne’s Lace, mix of anise, juniper, and a smidge of eucalyptus/cedar. Sipping and it’s light & young with tastes of cherries, red & yellow plums with skins, fruit, pits, and all. There’s also red currants, green & pink strawberries, juniper/pine, horehound, even a little dandelion greens, and black pepper.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: smooooth

Triacca has deep roots that date back to Domenico Triacca purchasing his first vineyards in Valtellina in 1897. Their history in wine could have taken a different path when he was killed in an accident in 1910, but his wife (Orsola) and son (Eugenio) stayed fast and true to Dominica’s plans and vision. Over the years they expanded their holdings, vineyards, estates (La Gatta, La Madonnina, & Santavenere), and headquarters in Campascio-Zalende, Switzerland. Yes, with all this expansion they are a company, but one that is still all about their family, their history, their wonderful wine, and where the future will take them.

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A Musical History

Vallis Mareni
Treviso D.O.C.
Premaor di Miane, Veneto, Italy
Giovanni Gregoletto & family (they date back to 1600s in wine & vine)

Pale yellow/green starlight with tiny active bubbles. Floating up to my nose are scents of gentle pear, lemon/lime, green apples, a light smidge of allspice, and a sliver of white melon. Sipping and there’s again pears & green apples now joined with crabapples, lemon & lime and their zest, and a touch of oregano. It’s bright, fresh, alive, and one classy glass.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: savory deliciousness

So this bottle comes with a soundtrack. Well, it’s more than just that…Giovanni & Giuseppe Gregoletto (brothers)  produced an album “The Music Of Fine Wine” composed by musicians Paki Zennaro & Guido Vianello. It’s a musical history of wine through time, techniques & the steps of winemaking, and the songs are not just based around Italy but they also move across Europe. There’s also a song for Noé or Noah, who they attribute as the “first vine grower in history, a fascinating figure who knew the secrets of the vine and the birth of wine as well as the effects of its excessive consumption.” I had totally forgotten about Noah’s drunken episode, and now I can’t unsee it. Ah well, maybe another glass will help wash that away. 🥂

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Wine Of Joy & Freedom

Azienda Agricola Bugno Martino
Rosso Matilde 2022
Provincia di Mantova Lambrusco IGP
Lambrusco Salamino & Ancellotta
Sparkling Wine
Organic, biodynamic, hand harvested
San Benedetto Po, Mantua, Lombardy, Italy
Raffaella and Giuseppe Merlin

Deep ruby with dark pink bubbles. Scents floating up of cherries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, red currants, a little balsamic reduction, red delicious apples, and violets. Going in for the taste and all of those scents are there with a little puff of smoke, and tiny twist of lemon on the back. Lovely, lively and elegant.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: ick

As many of you know, I just love finding out how people end up making wine. The Merlins tale started with Giuseppe whisking Raffaella off on a romantic weekend only to arrive at a cellar to taste wine, and told they don’t have an appointment. Yikes, so much for romance! Actually, the busy winemaker took pity on them and invited both in if they would help him in the vineyard by sampling the grapes. I’d say that’s a pretty great deal. Then the magic happens, they “went to the cellar and felt the wines”. Just imagine being in the dark with very little candle light and becoming immersed in the whole experience. The seed of an idea or inclination had been planted. When life offered them an opportunity in Giuseppe’s dad retiring from working the family farm, the adventure of planting their own vines had begun. Now, they are all about Lambrusco…their own way or as they say, “Lambrusco is freedom, to be yourself, to free yourself from preconceptions and homologations, to toast with friends, to have a carefree evening. Lambrusco is the wine of joy.” Along with that joy, they’ve also brought along 2 flowering fields of happiness where you’ll find hives of my favorite little buzzers. 🐝❤️

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Marriage Of Art & Wine

Tenute Orestiadi
Molino a Vento
Carricante 2022
Terre Siciliane IGP
Organic, biodynamic, native yeasts
Gibellina, Sicily, Italy

Bright very festive orange. Breathing in oranges, mandarins, Circus Peanuts, orange blossoms & other orchard blooms on a hot evening, a creamy Orangesicle touch or vanilla, magnolia headiness, and over time persimmons and kumquat join in. Sipping and it’s just like the scents and ALL the different oranges, fun orange and pineapple gummy bears, ripe pears, and a tart zest pop. This carricante is purely delicious and very chuggable.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: walk away from the bag and don’t ruin this wine

Back in 1968, the Belìce earthquake shook and crumbled Gibellina; but from the devastation an idea of necessity was born that became an inspiration for the future. A new city was planned a little away from the old ruins, and these designs/buildings have now grown over the years into a contemporary art destination both open air and indoors. Early on it was championed by Ludovico Corrao (politician, lawyer & art lover) who convinced artists to come & create, and also helped launch the Orestiadi Foundation which led to the Estate, and Tenute Orestiadi (Molino a Vento is their line of monovarietal wines with organic grapes). All of their work is a beautiful marriage of art, wine, exhibitions, and a festival including artists in all forms from visual, music, poetry, theater, etc. There’s also a very cool collaboration with the Brera Academy of Fine Arts to be found in the cellar where the barrels are now wooden canvases, “immersed in the suspended time of the slow evolution of wine, contemporary art finds a new temple” in the “Barriques Museum”. Orestiadi are building and preserving this “essence of contemporary stories”.

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A Welcome Kiss Of Spring

DOC Superiore 2021
Grechetto, Procanico, Malvasia, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
Orvieto (just NW), Italy
The Bonollo Family
Latest generation: Giulia di Cosimo

Shining straw yellow with a green shimmer. During the pour scents start emerging and growing of mango, pineapple, guava, jasmine & freesia, grapefruit, splash of tangerine, limes, a salty breeze, and fresh rained on slate. Now onto the taste. There’s a lemon/lime spark, pineapple, mango, crabapples, drop of grapefruit sizzle, salt and that lick of slate again. It’s dry, fresh, zingy, and feels like a welcome kiss of Spring.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: blerg

“Our terroir is our soul and our main source of inspiration. It discloses all our potential and draws all our limits.”

Terroir was so important in Giuseppe Bonollo’s decision to buy land in Umbria. Their soil is comprised of clay, sand, limestone, rocks and something else very special…fossils. These creatures that rambled or swam back in the Pliocene period now bring the magic to Argillae’s wine. The estate’s name even is a nod to their earth, since Argillae = clay in Latin. The Bonollo family and their team also look out for their whole surroundings with their “project” of sustainability that spreads from farming, the cellar’s 1st floor is underground so they don’t waste energy on temperature control and when they have to turn up the heat it’s powered by green energy, and then there’s the bottles made of 80% recycled glass & are lighter to transport so less CO2. They are making choices that not only benefit their environ and wines, but also the world. I can raise a glass to that!

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