Showing posts with label Chianti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chianti. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The Super Bowl of Italian Wine in NYC



It's that time of year again. Time for Tre Bicchieri. What's Tre Bicchieri you want to know? Well, as a metaphor, I myself call it "The Super Bowl of Italian Wine" in New York. That's what it's like for me. As the Super Bowl is the greatest most glorious, and Biggest Day of The Year to watch football, that is what Tre Bicchieri is to me, an Italian Wine Geek, it is the biggest, most important day of the year for Italian Wine Lovers like myself.

Tre Bicchieri is an Italian Wine Tasting of what are considered the Best Italian Wines of the year as are deemd by Gambero Rosso, Italy's most influential Italian Food & Wine Magazine, and the people of Slow Foods. Gambero Rosso awards what they considered the top echolon, best Italian Wines are awarded 3 Glasses (Tre Bicchieri), and considered Italy's best wines for that year. Then there are the Tre Bicchieri Wine Events / Tastings held at a few cities around the World to showcase the wines. Some cities that are lucky enough to have these Tre Bicchieri Tastings, are : New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Torino.
I myself love this event most, not just for being able drink so many great Italian Wines, but even more to see all my friends from Italy who own wine estates from all Italy. They are at  eventand I get to visit with them, taste their latest vintages of the variif I have an upcomongous wines, we -chat, and if I have an up-c0ming trip to Italy, We might make plans for when I'll visit th, with all their wine estate, perhaps once again, or for the first time, if I haven't been to their windery before. 

It's great being there. All that great Italian Wine, but even more so, all the great Italian Wine people. People like my good friend Antonio Rallo of Donnafugata in Marsala, Sicily, Francesca Planet of Planet WInes also in  Sicily, my pal Luigi Cappellini who makes my favorite Chianti, at his beautiful wine estate Castello Verrrazzano in Greve, or his nieghbor the Conti Capponi whose wine estate  Villa Calcinaia is also in Greve, and whose Chianti I love so very much as well. And speaking  Chianti, there;s my freind Mr. Giovanni Manetti who not only makes great Chianti and the Super Tuscan Wine Flacianella, but is had of the Chianti Consorzio as well, not to mention that his family makes beautiful terracotta pieces in the factory in Tuscany as well. Yes there will be a lot of wonderful people there, and I hope that I'll see my old buddy Gianpaulo Venica, who along with his father Gianni make some of Italy's greates white wines in their estate - Venica, in Friuli, Italy. :Pve their Ronc d' Mele Sauvignon Blanc. It's killer."

Along with all my Italian fiends from Italy, I will be able to catch up with my New York Italian Wine Friends, like my old pal Pietro Cavallo, and my pals Angelo R, and Vince V, not to mention all the others.

Yes it's going be a Great Day, drinking great Italian Wine, socializing, and what not. That's Tre Biccheri, a day I long forward til all year long.

Basta !

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

I will report back here in a couple days, after the Tasting, and report as usual on the day, and the wines I liked best. So "Caio for now. Daniele"



With Sebastiano Rosa (former Winemaker of SASSICAIA







Greve, Italy


Contii Sebastaino Capponi

Myself (Daniel Bellino Zwicke)

And Giovanni Manetti

Me & Sebastiano Rosa

And a bottle of his BARUA

Vajra Barolo

M. Vajra

M. Argiolis

With a bottke of his Family's  "TURIGA"





Tuesday, September 28, 2021








Friday, March 2, 2018

Slow Wine Tour NewYork 2018

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Long One of The World's Great BAROLO HOUSES

They Did Not Disappoint 


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Antica Casa Scarpa

The House of ANTICA CASA SCARPA was for me the overall winner as far as having the Best Selection on their table. It was Amazing, starting with : Barbera d Asti "La Bogliona" , a wonderful Brachetto Secco (Dry Brachetto) and the undisputed Winner of The Event, The Barbaresco Casa Scarpa 1989 was Kick Ass and probably the Best Wine I've Had so far this year (2018). I really enjoyed the tasting at this table, it was superb.


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Ran into my Old Buddy ALEX at EATALY


Alex and I Opened DEL POSTO Back in 2006



We Worked Dam Hard and Had Fun Working Together along

with The Great MARK LADNER who was The EXECUTIVE CHEF



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  The BUSSIATTA PASTA con SALSICCIA e RAPINI made by Alex and his team and was out of this World. So good that I had 5 portions over the course of 5 hours, along with  , #ProsciuttoDiParma MORTADELLA , PECORINO , and SALAMI and GORGONZOLA . "I kept going back to the Bussiatta." Awesome !!!    


March 1 , 2018
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
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Sunday, November 23, 2014


                                              The Feast of The 7 Fish
The Feast of The 7 Fish

The Feast of The 7 Fish
Kindle Edition

The Italian Christmas Feast of The 7 Fish? Ever Wonder about it" Its meaning, make-up, rituals, and of course "How To Make It?" Well Ladies and Gentlemen, You're in Luck." Renowned Chef and Cookbook author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke has just come up with his latest "THE FEAST of The 7 FISH" An Italian-American Christmas Eve Feast, and just in Time for Christmas. If you've ever wanted to know about this wonderful Italian Christmas Tradition and How to make it, then this book is for you. It has Everything you need to know to make this Wonderful Italian Feast and on all levels ..  



Feast of The 7 Fish
by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

La Vigilia     

 My Aunt Helen used to make the famous Italian Christmas Eve Dinner, The Feast of 7 Fishes, The 7 Fish of the Seven Sacraments. I know she made it because I used to hear her talking about it when I was a little kid. Although I shared many wonderful meals with my dear Aunt Helen, I never had the pleasure of having the famous Christmas Eve Dinner “La Vigilia” Feast of Seven Fish with her. We always had Christmas Eve dinner with the immediate family and Aunt Helen had the Christmas Eve with her brother and sister and other family members. Aunt Helen was born in Salerno, Italy and was my Uncle Franks (1 of my Mother’s 3 brothers) better half. So for our Christmas Dinner my mother would make an Antipasto of Salami, Provolone, Peppers, and Olives, followed by Baked Ziti and a Baked Ham studded with cloves and Pineapple rings.    The first time I ever had the mystical dinner was about 14 years ago with my cousin Joe, his family and my girlfriend Duyen. We had been talking about this famous Italian Feast a few weeks previous, and were thinking of making it. Joe told me he wanted to have the Christmas Eve Meal of The Feast of The 7 Fishes, known in Italy as La Viglia (The Vigil) or “La Festa Dei Sette Pesci,” which is also known in Italian-America as The Feast of The 7 Fish, the 7 Fish representing the 7 Sacraments.    This Dinner, La Viglia originated in Southern Italy, especially in and around the environs of Napoli. The Feast of The 7 Fish is a Southern Italian tradition that does not exist in the rest of Italy, it is of the South. La Viglia, or “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” as it is known to Italian-Americans commemorates the waiting (Vigil) of the Baby Jesus to be Born at Midnight and the Seven Fish represent the Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Some also believe that the Seven Fish might signify the 7 Days of Creation, or The Seven Deadly Sins, but most believe the 7 Fish pertain to the Seven Sacraments.      So Joe asked me if I wanted to make this festive and all important dinner, to perform the ceremony. He didn’t need to ask twice. I had never made it before and was dying to do so. For a long time I had yearned to partake in this celebrated old Southern Italian Ritual, and this was my chance. Naturally I was excited, so was Joe. So it we had great anticipation of the grand Feast to come and we were filled with happy expectations of the meal to come. And what for the menu? I know Aunt Helen made Bacala, Shrimp Oreganata, Mussels, Baked Clams, Calamari, Octopus, and eel, all much loved Southern Italian (especially Napoli and Sicily) creatures of the Sea. We decided which fish we wanted and how to cook each one. Much thought and planning went into the menu and its execution. Joe wanted; Langoustines, Lobster, and Bacala. Alexandra asked if I would make Stuffed Calamari. We also decided on Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Clams Oreganata, and Cozze al Posillipo. The menu was set. Duyen helped me with the Calamari which we stuffed with Shrimp, parsley, breadcrumbs, and Peas. We braised the Calamari with tomato, white wine, and herbs, and if I must say so myself, the Calamari came out superbly. The Stuffed Calamari were a lot of work to make, but well worth the effort as they were a huge hit with all. The Macari boys, Joey, Edward, and Tommy, as well as sister Gabriella, Alexandra, Little Joey, Duyen, Jose, and Sergio from Barcelona were all in attendance.      The Mussels Posillipo, a great favorite of both Neopolitans and their Italian-American brethren, were cooked with garlic, white wine, parsley, and tomato, of which the sauce is always great to dip your bread into. This dish was one of my mother’s favorites back in the days when few Americans other than those of Italian origins ever ate these wonderful little bivalves. Now-a-days every-body does. As a young boy I remember my mother sending me to Bella Pizza in East Rutherford to get an order of them for her. She always gave me a few mussels to eat, and I have loved them ever since.      Joe helped me to cook the Langoustines. They are hard to find and I had to order a ten-pound box from Silvano in order to get them. The best way to cook langoustines is to split them in half and sauté them on each side in olive oil with a little butter and garlic. We served the Langoustines the same way as Silvano does as we feel his recipe is the best and everybody loves them that way. The Langoustines are served with a salad of thinly shaved fennel and celery dressed in olive oil and lemon with some split cherry tomatoes. Absolutely delicious!!!   The Lobsters we prepared the best way possible, the New England way, steamed and served simply with drawn butter and lemon wedges. There’s nothing better on Earth, well except for Sunday Sauce of course.   Well, that Christmas Eve Dinner The Feast of Seven Fishes was quite a wonderful experience. It was a huge success though quite a lot of work and actually, too much food, everyone was kind of full already by the fifth fish. The following year we decided on incorporating the Seven Fish into three courses instead of seven separate. It was a good decision. We still had 7 different fish, which is a must. Serving these 7 Fish in three courses was a good idea as it is much more manageable that way, both to cook and to eat. So, you will see later on that you can have this great Feast of 7 different Fish in a number of ways; either 7 fish in seven courses or do the 7 fish in three, four, 5, or 7 separate courses, whatever you choose, it’s up to you.    On this particular Feast of The 7 Fish in 3 courses, we decided to make the Stuffed Calamari, which I would not have chosen again because it was a lot of work, but it was Alex’s and Joe’s favorite and they said that it was a must whenever we make the meal. We had the Stuffed Calamari as our Antipasto Course. Alexandra and her mom helped me, so the amount of work was cut down and divided into three. The stuffed calamari took care of two of the seven the shrimp that were stuffed into the squid.  The second course (Primi) of Linguine Frutti de Mare consumed four of the Seven Fish required for the meal. It consisted of Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and Scallops cooked with garlic, oil, herbs, and just a touch of tomato.    The seventh and final fish was fresh Cod that I roasted and served with a sweet and sour onion sauce (Bacala Fresca Agro Dolce). Everybody went bananas for it especially cousin Joe who raved at each and every dish I put down. It’s a pleasure cooking for Joe as his passion for eating and for the Italian-American way of life, the food, the wine, the rituals. Joe truly loves and savors the experience, so I always love to cook for him, Alexandra, their children, or just about anyone for who savors the experience so well. This goes the same for my cousin Anthony Bellino his wife Debbie and their three girls Chrissy, Danna, and Allison, along with all my close friends and family who I share my meals with.    It makes cooking a joy rather than a chore, when cooking for family or friends, you give two of life’s great gifts, a tasty Home-Cooked meal combined with a little bit of love. Scratch that, “A Whole Lotta Love!”    If you don’t want to go so crazy, with 7 Fish as it’s quite an undertaking, you should try to do an odd numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11. Three (3) is a Nice Number and represents the Holy Trinity of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Basta, e Buon Natale!   EXCERPTED from THE FEAST of THE 7 FISH   by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke


The Feast of The 7 Fish

The Feast of The 7 Fish

Segreto italiano

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Monday, January 27, 2014

Italian WIne Time New York Brunello


January 27, 2014
Benvenuto Brunello

"Going to Tasting and Brunello Seminar in an hour. Will report back later or tomorrow ..
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Benvenuto Brunello New York 2014

Precious Vines
Sangiovese Grosso 
aka Brunello
Near Sant Antimo
Dam, another year has come and gone .. It's hard to beleive another year has already gone by.
Seems just like yesterday the last Benvenuto Brunello Tasting at Gotham Hall in New York, happily tasting Montalcino's latest release of the 2008 vintage Brunello's along with Brunello Riserva 2007 and Rosso di Montalcino's of 2011 .. Some really wonderful Brunello last year .. i can remember loving the offerings of; Donatella Cinelli Columbini 2008, Col d'Orcia 2008, Barbi Resierva 2007, and Uccelliera 2008, and Silvio Nardi 2008 ..  
I attended a great Siminar on Brunello conducted by the great Kevin Zraly where we tasted some wonderful current vintage Brunello including the just mention offerings as well as
Il Poggione Riserva 1999 and Col d'Orcia Brunello 2001, both great vintages and now aged quite well.
The seminar conducted by Mr. Zraly was phenominal as usual and when I inquired if Kevin was going to do it again, I was dissapointed to hear he wasn't .. They got someone else whose name I do not recognize .. Hopefully the lady will conduct a fun, informative seminar, but after attending Zraly's last year, I doubt if  very many could match Kevin's wonderful performance. "Cie la Vie."
At the tasting last year, one of my suppliers asked if he the Count Francesco Maroni Cinzano by, as he wanted to give me a personal 1-on-1 tasting of his latest offerings. Of course I said yes, "Do you think I'm a Mad-Man?" Maybe? Well the Count came by the next day with some phenominal Brunello's, including; his 2008 Vintage, Rosso di Montalcino 2010, Col d'Orcia Brunello 2001, and the amazing Col d'Orcia Brunell "Col Vento Riserva" 2004 .. That wine is amazing and one of the best bottles of Brunello I tasted all year. And Poggio Al Vento 2004 was just being released in 2013, it was incrediable .. All the Counts wines are quite wonderful, and he also brought along a nice wine he makes at his property in Chile .. The wine "Erasmo" is a very fine Bordeaux Blend that I quite like, I put on my list, along with The Counts Brunello both 2005 and 2008 vintages which have been selling extremely well and our customers just love them ...
"DON'T TOUCH IT !!! DON'T TOUCH IT !!! " Cried Kevin Zraly, startling some, scarring others at last years Brunello Seminar he conducted at Benvento Brunello 2013 at Gotham Hall in New York ...
You can read more on Mr. Zraly and the 2013 Brunello tasting in my article "Brunello Tripel Header" at Ny-Foodie
Fattoria di Barbi Table at NY Brunello Tasting 2013
BARBI BRUNELLO "One of My Favorite Brunello Houses"
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke & Count Francesco Maroni Cinzano
Drinking The Count's Famed Brunello
"One of The BEST BRUNELLO 'S I've Ever Tasted"
MAYBE Thee BEST Ever !!!
Poggio AL Vento
Brunello Di Montalcino
"One of the Best Brunello's I've ever had, and I've had some Great Ones;
Val d' Cava Madonna 1990, Angelo Sassetti 1990, Barbi Riserva 1995, Poggio Antico 1997
and many more ....
Brunello di Montalcino is a visibly limpid, brilliant wine, with a bright garnet colour. It has an intense perfume, persistent, ample and ethereal. One can recognize scents of undergrowth, aromatic wood, berries, light vanilla and jam. 
To the taste the wine has an elegant harmonious body, vigorous and racy, it is dry with a lengthy aromatic persistence.
Because of its characteristics,  BRUNELLO can be aged for a long time, improving as the years go by. It is not easy to determine exactly for how many years it improves. It depends on the vintage. It varies from a minimum of 10 years to around 30 years, but it can be kept for even longer. Naturally it must be kept in the right way: in a cool cellar, but above all with a constant temperature, in the dark, without noises and smells; the bottles should be laid horizontally.
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chianti Comes To New York Town

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Cavalier Luigi Cappellini

Yes Chianti came to town the other day. The town? New York City. The Chianti, Castello Verrazzanno ... Luigi Cappellini of Castello Verrazzano (Owner) visited with me and tasted me on his latest offerings from his equisite wine estate in Greve in Chianti Classico .. Chianti Classico is the great wine region in Tuscany that produces Italy's most storied wine "Chianti" along with Vin Santo and porprietory Super Tuscan Wines .. Mr. Cappellini is the proud owner of one of Chianti Classico's and Italy's finest most beautiful wine estates. They produce three different Chianti wines; a Chianti normale, Chianti Riserva, and a special limited edition Cru Chianti in Sassello which was formally bottled as a Super Tuscan but has by a good choice of Mr. Cappellini been made and classified into Chianti Classico Riserva status. Luigi brought the Sassello to me to taste along with other fine wines. Let me tell you, when I tasted the Sassello, it blew my wine. The "Sassello" Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 is one of the finest wines that I have tasted of a few thousand wines this year. The wine has everything going on for it, and I'm not going to go into some drawn out boring discription other than to say it was delicious, tasty, "In Perfect Balance," and just one of those extra special wines. I love it, and ordered 2 6 packs on the spot. We have many great wines in our extensive cellars of Big Names of great prestige and storied vintages, and I can easily say, that when we take delivery of this wine next week it will be among our greatest wines in our cellars of a couple thousand, the wine is great as great can be, "Basta!"
Luigi also brought his 2009 Chianti  normale and Chianti Reserva 2007, both quite tasty. Unfortunately, I wasn't tasted on their (Verrazzano's) great Vin Santo, which I've drank on numerous occasions in Greve at the Verrazzano Estate .. I wasn't tasted on it, as the importer Palm Bay does not import that particular wine from Verrazzano, but I can tell you from experience, the wine is nutty, lush, and just perfect ...
One wine that Luigi tasted me on and of which I just bought 2 cases as I love it, is a wine called Verrazzano Rosso, with a subtitle of MiniTuscan ... The wine is super tasty and very affordable ... It is made of Sangiovese, Cannaiolo, Mavasia, and a tiny bit of Trebbiano. This wine is made in the classic true old style of Chianti of which white grapes were allowed in the blend of mostly Sangiovese Grapes along with the native Cannaiolo, and white native grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia. The wine is quite tasty of medium body and ripe as well as a tad of bitter fruit flavors. As I said, this wine as made in the way that Chianti used to be made with native grapes of the Chianti Classico wine region. The laws and rules of what is a Chianti Classico by the law of the Italian Government and Chianti Consorzio were changed in 1996 to include the sacraligious inclusion of international grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon ... For those who know me, they know I distane this practice along with a few other people who are Chianti lovers and purest. We wish for the laws to change back and exclude all "non-native Grapes" like Merlot, Cabernet Suavignon and any others, and for Chianti to incude only native grapes and a blend of mostly Sangiovese and including small amounts of native grapes like; Cannaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia Nero, and very tiny amounts if a property so chooses of the white grapes of Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianco. This is true Chianti and the kind of Chianti Luigi Cappellini makes at the Verrazzano Estate.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


My Press Invitation 

Yes, the most important Italian Wine Event of the Year is upon us, The 2013 Tre Bicchieri Tasting of Gambero Rosso is tomorrow (Domani) at The Metropolitan Pavillion. All the Big Guns of Italian Wine will be in attendance, including New York's Top Italian Wine People and many of Italy's top-producers (Italian Wine Estate Owners and Winemakers) will be on hand.
  This tasting, the Tre Bicchieri is of Italy's Top Wines as voted by Gambero Rosso, The Wine Spectator of Italy. Will be tasting many great Italian Wines, like; Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Super Tuscans, Taurasi, and the top White, Dessert, and Sparkling Wines. Oh happy day. Along with tasting all the great Italian Wine, really my favorite aspect of this tasting is a chance to see some of my good friends (Wine Producer), taste their wines and chat a little bit. Always quite a lot of fun.

Stay tuned for tomorrows Report of my favorite wines of the day and who I ran into. Caio for now, Daniel.

Wins 2013 Italian Red Wine of The Year

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Yes Italian Wine mavens. It's that time of the year again. Wow, another year gone by. It's the 2012 Tre Bicchieri Tasting New York, the years most prestigious Italian Wine Event of all. It is this friday February 17 at the Metropolitan Pavillion on West 18th Street and if you don't have an invite or in, forget about getting in. Security is tight at this one, sponsored by Gambero Rosso the Wine Spectator/Robert Parker of Italy and Italian Food and Wine all rolled into one. What is
Tre Biccieri? Well first off it translates to Three Glasses., and this is the system for rating the top wines in Italy by the famed Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Italian Wine Guide compile and published each year by Gamabero Rosso Publications. Italy's top wines are here. Gambero Rosso rates the wines on a 1, 2, and 3 glass system as opposed to others like Robert Parker and WIne Spectator which uses a 100 Point System. So at the Tre Bicchieri Tasting, all of the Tre Bicchieri (3 Glass Wines) Wines will be on hand.
   For an Italian Wine Guy like me, this is my favorite event of the year and although I love and enjoy all the great wines, it's actually more of a social event for me. I get to see my many friends from Italy, winemakers, but mostly the proprietors of the many wine estates on hand. It's just great!
   Needless to say there are going to be many great wines on hand including; Sassicaia 2008, Turiga 2007, Donnafugat "Ben Rye" 2009 from good friend Antonio Rallo, Barolo "Monfortino" Riserva 2004 from Giacomo Conterno (Considered by many Thee Top Dog of All Barolo), Vietti Barolo Villero Riserva 2004, Mastroberadino Taurasi Radici 2007,  Rosso del Conte Tasc d'Almerita 2007 from good friend Conte Giuseppe Tasca, Masi Amrone "Vaio" 2006, Planeta's "Plumbago" (Nero d'Avola), and many more. To many to mention here. Yes a lot of great wines, looking forward to tasting as many as I can, but even more so, seeing the many friends who make these wines, especially, Francesca Planeta, Sebastiano Rosa of Sassicaia fame, Merielisa Allegrini, Antonio Rallo, Giampaulo Venical with his great Sauvignon Blanc "Ronco de Mele," Rafaella Bologna with her renowned Barbera "Bricco dell' Uccellone 2009 and many more.As always, this is going to be a great event, Great Wines and Great Friends from the whole of Thee Italian Peninsular. Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


  Well, I went to the Italian Wine Masters Tasting at The Metropolitan Pavilion (New York, NY) yesterday. The Italian Wine Masters Tasting, better known to New York Italian Wine Guys like myself, as the Brunello Tasting, for this is thee Brunello Tasting of the year and second most important of the year after the Tre Biccheri next week. "The Brunello Tasting. Once Upon a time, not too long ago there was a tasting soley of Brunello. The past 3 years has seen the Brunello Tasting paired up with Chianti and Vino Nobile. Sadly this has brought the prominance and overall quality of Thee Brunello Tasting, way down. Not that I'm against drinking Vino Nobile, Prosecco, and Chianti which is now tagged on to The Brunello Tasting, no, but I can drink these wonderful wines at another tasting. And I do. With the Brunello's coupled with these other wines, instead of getting about 150 Brunello producers, you get just 38. Thirty-Eight
      Great Brunello's of the day were: one of my All-Time Favorites, Fattori Barbi Brunello Riserva 2006 "Awesome," the Brunello Castelgiocondo 2007 from friend Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi of The Nobel Florentine family The Frescobaldi's, This wine was quite tasty, also from the Frescobaldi Family their Brunello Di Montalcino "Luce della Vite" 2007 is absolutely "Superb,"
    The Conti Cinzano who owns the Col D'Orcia Estate in Montalcino had the most amazing line-up of the day as he brought a Vertical of multi vintages of Brunello of which the Brunello Poggio Vento Riserva 1995 won my prize of Most outstanding Brunello of the day. Absolutely "Amazing" and I didn't want to put my glass down after taking three wonderful mouthfuls. Outstanding! Thank You for the special treat oh Conti. And I msut point out that this was a special tasting from the Count Cinzano as this was the release of the 2007 Brunello's and 2006 Riserva counterparts, the 1995 Brunello Poggio Vento was outside the box of the tasting. Of the released date Brunello's the Frescobaldi CastelGiacondo Brunello 2007 gets my vote for Best Normale and top Prize riserva goes to Fattoria Barbi for their Riserva 2006.
  A lot of lovely wines on the day, and looking forward to next year as i received some inside information yesterday that The Brunello tasting is going back to the format it is best at at most loved for, solely Brunello.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Best in SHOW

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Italian Wine Masters "Brunello Tasting" in New York today, February 7, 2012. Today we get to taste one of the greatest Brunello Vintages ever, the 2007 Brunello di Montalcino's are being released and shown at The Italian Masters Tasting in New York. The may very well be one of the greatest tastings ever, with those of us fortunate enough to be at this tasting, we will be drinking the great 2007 Brunello along with the Brunello Riserva's 2006 which are also released and shown today. Wow! And if that wasn't enough we will also be tasting Vino Nobile and some wonderful iconic Chianti as well. That's a lot of Sangiovese. This guys favorite grape. And what's more,
The New York Giants just won their Fourth Super Bowl Victory and are having a Victory
Ticker-Tape Parade in Lower Manhattan at The Canyon of Heroes as we speak. Excuse me, Write.
   What a day in New York.
      Well, heading up to the Brunello Tasting in about an hour. Will report back tomorrow.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

WOW !!!

Friday, July 4, 2008


The Barone Ricasoli with a bottle of his famed Chianti. it was his Great great Granfather who originaly formulated Chianti more than 130 years ago.(Top Left)

(Top Right) Conti Sebastiani Capponi with
Daniel Bellino Zwicke and Joe Macari Jr.

(Bottom) Castel Vicchomaggio in Greve as
seen from the apartment of our Terrazzo
on the Estate of Castello Verazzano, Greve


On Monday , April 21st 2008 the greatly anticipated Chianti Classic Tasting was held at 583 Park Avenue. Hosted by the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, which is a Consortium of Professionals who are made up of Wine Producers (Proprietors and Winemakers) of the wine Chianti Classico. This group is not a Governmental Body but a private group of individuals that was created in 1924 to define the area of Chianti Classico and its wines, also called Chianti Classico and the manner and guidelines of how the wine was to be made and the parameters of what constitutes a Chianti Classico. Yes the name of the zone and the wine are the same, “Chianti Classico,’and the wine was actually name after the zone.
When the Consozvio Vino Chianti Classico was created in 1924, there did not exist any governmental bodies that now do to set guidelines and laws to which wines have to adhere to all over Italy.This is why the consorzio was created in the first place, in order to define which area was the “Classico” area and to maintain quality and consistency.
This Grand tasting held in New York on April 21, 2008 by the Chianti Consorzio was personally hosted by the President of the Consorzio, Marco Pallanti who is also the Enologist and proprietor along with Lorenza of the renowned estate of the
Castelo Di Ama in Gaiole in Chianti. As for myself, if feel that the wines of
Castelo Di Ama are overrated, grossly overpriced, and not worth the money. I actually have personally monikered the the “Gaja of Chianti” of Angelo Gaja and his wines, which are highly overrated and even more grossly overpriced, but that is all for another discussion.
Along with Dr. Pallanti the event was also hosted by esteemed Sommelier and wine writer David Lynch, who co-authored one of the Italian Wine Worlds most renowned books on the subject of Italian Wine, Vino Italiano along with Joseph Bastianich.
The tasting was made up of 40 producers of Chianti Classico of which there were over 150 different Chianti offered for tasting. The Chianti presented were both
Chianti Normale (base Chianti) and Chianti Riserva and the vintages ranged from 2001 to 2006.
Note that “Chianti Normale” or base Chianti does not infer that these Chianti are of a lesser quality. The styles are different and the base Chianti are to me and many others, actually more the true and traditional of Chianti as the weight is lighter more correct and less concentrated than the weight (body) of Chianti Reserva.
As with many subjects there is debate and differences of and agreement of what is true traditional Chianti is and what is not. I as a Wine Professional of many years who has focused mainly on Italian Wine and a great lover of Chianti and a traditionalist at heart, of course I am of the Old-School Traditional Chianti. I do feel that the laws of the Chianti Consorzio are not correct and are not for the Great Tradition of Chianti in that the wine Chianti when created by the Baron Ricasoli almost 150 years ago was created as a wine made up as a blend of local grapes that was dominated by Sangiovese as its main grape and that Sangiovese was to be the primary grape of Chianti and to give it its special character along with small percentages of other local blending grapes such as Cannaiolo, Colorino, Trebbiano, Ceiligiolo, Malvasia Nera, and Mammolo.
I feel, as do other respected authorities on Italian Wine, such as one of my esteemed peers Charles Scicilnoe feel that the Italian Government and Chianti Consorzio are by allowing Cabernet, Merlot, and Syhrah into Chianti, are ruining this “Great Wine” Chianti and its great traditions.
Just a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot in what is allowed to be Chianti, completely changes the feel and taste of Chianti and what, according to tradition it should be.
“It’s not Chianti anymore!” Not it if has the slightest trace of Cabernet or Merlot, and traditionalist like myself, Charles Scicilone and others will not cease our Crusade until the day that the Italian Government and Chianti Consorzio come to their sense and completely eliminate Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, or any non-native grape variety from ever entering Chianti again.” We wait patiently, but why is it taking these people so long to act. They ruin one of their own National Treasures and every year that these grapes that are not of Chianti Classico, is another bad vintage for any producer that uses them.
Let’s note that although the sacrilege of allowing Cabernet, Merlot, and others into Chianti, it is not mandatory and is at each individual producers (Wine Estate) choice whether to put these grapes in their wine or to leave them out and thus make “Real,”
True, Traditional Chianti. There are a number of Estates that make real true Chianti devoid of any trace what so ever, of the dreaded Cabernet or Merlot. Some of these estate are; Castello Volpaia, Castello Verazzno, Monsanto, Castello Querceto, and
Castel Vicchomaggio to name a few. These estates are to be highly commended and there should be more. If all the producers in Chianti had enough pride, non would ever permit a bottle of wine that they label be called Chianti if it has Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot or any non-native grapes in it. Hey if you have acres of Cabernet or Merlot planted on your estate and want to use them, “Fine.” Just don’t call the wine Chianti! Classify it as IGT and call it “Super Tuscan,” it’s OK by me, “Just don’t call it Chianti!”
If you want to make a wine and call it Chianti, make sure it is a blend. A wine that is made of 100% Sangiovese is allowed to be called Chianti, though it should not. As per the original Chianti Recipe, Chianti is always a blend, made primarily of Sangiovese with other native grape varieties such as; Mammolo, Cannaiolo, Malvasia Nera, Trebbiano, and Colorino and Chinati should always be made with mostly Sangiovese with other minor blending grapes. It should never be made solely of Sangiovese (though according to the Government it can, but what does the Gov’t. know?) but have at least one or more other native grapes, even if it’s just 2 or 3%, there “Must” be at least one other native grape varietal accompanying the Sangiovese, it should not stand alone. This must be changed in order to make true Traditional Chianti.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke April 2008

Some of our Favorites of the Chainti Classico Tatsing 2008 were:

CHIANTI CLASSICO, VILLA CALCINAI 2004 from Conti Capponi in Greve
CHIANT CLASSICO, CASTELLO BROLIO 2001 from the Brone Ricasole Gaiole


CHIANTI CLASSICO, FONTERUTOLI 2005 from Marchese Mazzei, Castellina