Showing posts with label Italian Wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian Wine. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Italian Bars New York NYC


Dante Bar has 12 different varieties of Negronis that they offers from their well-stocked bar. In particular? Dante seeks to bring the European tradition of the aperitivo, a refreshing cocktail or glass of Prosecco or Italian Wine, enjoyed late afternoon, or early evening, all over Italy, and of late, the hottest thing to do in New York as well.


Monte's Trattoria

Greenwich Village

Monte's has been around a long time. One-Hundred and One Years as a matter of fact. The restaurant opened in 1918 and has been owned and operated by 3 Italian Families in the restaurants 101 year (so far) history. Originally opened in 1918 by the Monteverdi family. The Monteverde family first opened a Wine & Liquor store on the site, and in 1918 opened the restaurant, it is said as the family had heard of the oncoming event of Prohibition and the 18th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which would prohibit and outlaw the sale and consumption of alcholic berverages. The Monteverde's took smart action and opened an Italian Restaurant in the highly concentrated Italian neighborhood of the southern part of Greenwich Village, and the rest Greenwich Village Italian New York history. The Rosasco family of Greenwich Village became the 2nd Italian family to own Monte's. 

In 1983 the Mosconi Family who came from Piacenza, Italy in Emilia Romagna, bought the restaurant in 1983, and have been running it ever since, and had a big 100 Year Anniversary Party in 2018, Celebrating the restaurants 100 Birthday. 

Monte's Trattoria is one of the few restaurants in New York that fits into the genre that New Yorker's know as an Old School New York Italian Restaurant of which there used to be many all over Manhattan, but now few remain, and Monte's Trattoria is one of them The restaurant is headed by Chef Pietro Mosconi with the help of his son Peter Mosconi who handles front of house operations, the business end of things and whatever else needs being done. This partnership works quite well, as Monte's many regulars will attest to, as the restaurant is World Famous, and not only has "Local Regulars," but regulars from all over America, and even the World.
Now most wouldn't think of Monte's as having one of the Best Bars in the city, or even Greenwich Village, but it does. And we mentioned the regulars? Well some of Monte's most loyal regulars are the folks who hang out at the bar, and not just to drink, but have what many know as one of the best places to get great Italian food in all of New York City, especially Chef Pietro's wonderful home-made pasta, like: Tortelloni, Agnolotti, Lasagna, Gnocchi, and both Meat and Cheese Ravioli.

Yes, the food is fine, as is the service, and ambiance of the place, but, "weren't we talking about the bar?" Yes, lets' get back to the bar. It's one of those little known facts, by a few hundred (or thousands) of those in the know, and it's more or less those in-the-know, and those who merely serendipitous stumble upon the place by accident who truly know, the secret of the bar at Monte's. Yeah the regulars like; John B., Julio, Dr. Mike, and all the rest know that Tony The Bartender (and Peter Mosconi now & then) mix up one of the Best Old Fashion Cocktails in town, as well as perfect Negroni's (Superior to the more famous Dante Negroni), Killer Margarita's made with Grand Marnier, spot-on Martinis, Manhattans, and anything else your little heart may desire. Yes the barmen (Tony & Peter) really know their stuff, and take pride in what they do. So if you're looking for an Aperol Spritz or properly made Negroni, Monte's is the go to Italian-Bar in Greenwich Village New York.



The Bar at BABBO
Well, Mario is gone, and the place is  famous for its Italian Food. It used to be uber hard to get a reservation to procure a table there, but it's a lot easier, ever since the departure of Celebrity Chef Mario Batali (we'll not talk of his departure). Anyway, although Babbo may have lost a little of its luster, it's still a dam good place to eat, and has, along with Monte's Trattoria, one of the Best Italian Bars in Greenwich Village, New York. Yes, a great Italian Bar, and not just for its restaurant and food. What constitutes a great Italian Bar? Well first and foremost, the bartenders must be versed in the art of making a Negroni, as well as pulling a perfect Espresso Italian Coffee. You should know how to make a good Manhattan, and Martini's, as well as have a solid knowledge of Italian Wine which are served at the bar as well. Having a great personality is  required and of utmost importance. Now we don't want to knock the bartenders at Babbo, they are professional and courtesy, and make great Negroni's and other cocktails, but we have to say were lacking in having the personality that makes the Greatest of Bartenders, and a great Bar requires great bartenders, it's the # 1 element in the equation. Not the liquor, nor the ambiance, though very important, the single most important aspect of a Great Bar is a great bartender, who must have all the elements required; have a outstanding personality, mix great drinks, be friendly and efficient, "that's it." 
We found, on our rounds of the Italian Bars of Greenwich Village, our two favorite Italian Bartenders were Tony and Peter, both of Monte's. The bartenders at Dante were quite good as well, Bar Pisellino "Not So Much."
Someone once told me, that "going to Volare is like going to your favorite Aunt's house for dinner." That's assuming that your aunt (my Aunts Helen & Fran) is a great Italian cook. Everyone treats you like you were part of the family. That's the kind of place Ristorante Volare is. And it's an Old School this great city of ours is losing fast. Lucky for us, Volare still survives, and it survives very well "Thank You." Yes it's an old school "Red Sauce Joint," that serves all the New York Italian Red Sauce Classics, like Spaghetti & Meatballs, Baked Clams, Veal and Chicken Parmigiana just the way  you like it. Yes, you''ll be fed all your classic Italian dishes, and you'll be fed well. And if you're hankering for just a little cocktail or two, in cool old New York Italian joint, going to Volare will fit the bill quite well. Your not going to get any new style so-called Mixologist Cocktails at all. But if you're into the old classics, like a properly made Martini or Manhattan, then you've gone to the right place. And if you want a nice plate of Spaghetti with Clam Sauce or a  nice thick Italian Style Veal Chop, again, "you've come to the right place."

RISTORANTE VOLARE ....  147 West 3rd Street, GREENWICH VILLAGE, New York


Bar Pisellino


Bar Pisellino has all the elements to make a great bar one day, and one of the best Italian Bars in Greenwich Village. As of now, they're not. Yes they have, if not all, then many elements to make it a great Greenwich Village Italian Bar. They make good Negroni's, and Aperol Spritz's, have a good selection of Amari (Amaro), and the place is well appointed, however it's missing quite a lot, the place just doesn't have a great vibe. When I first walked in and looked at the menu, I thought, "Wow," this place is great, but as I sat there looking a the menu, and then getting my drink, the place just didn't feel right. The vibe was not good, a combination of being quite contrived (not Organic), and because of this fact, drawing a crowd that just wasn't right, not cool, but a crowd filled with followers, the types of  people who only go to a place that's one of the hottest spots in town, and unable to find a truly cool unpretentious great restaurant or bar on their own. They have to read about it on Eater, Instgram, or wherever.
Anyway, Bar Pisellino has a lot of potential, and maybe after all the noise dies, the followers stop going there indroves, and the place starts filling with neighborhood people, along with well-healed tourists, and business people, the bar just might get a better vibe than it does now, which is, "not so good."
  John's of 12th Street is not in Greenwich Village technically, but we've just got to include it in our Best Greenwich Village Italian Bars. John's is in the East Village, east of Greenwich Village, so, close enough. The fact that this place has been there on East 12th Street in New York, that it has all its original decor, including the 110 year old bar, and that the place was once a Speakeasy that saw that likes of one Charles "Lucky" Luciano who  a couple blocks away, and the fact that it has many famous celebrities and famed Mobsters (Joe Maseria), we've just gotta include it here as well.
Belly up to the bar that Lucky Luciano drank at, and where the great John Lennon once ate at, and the likes of legendary Italian Prize Fighter "Rocky Graziano," also of the neighborhood. Have the bartender make you a Campari & Soda and just soak up over 100 years of New York Italian History, you'll not find another place like it, as sadly two great 100 year old Italian Food Establishments, DeRobertis Italian Pastries, and Lanza's Restaurant (Sicilian American) closed down in the past few years (A Sin!).
John's of 12th East Street (302 East) East Village ... New York NY  
John's of 12th Street
photo Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Documentary Film
"JOHN'S of 12th STREET
by Vanessa McDonell
and More ...
Fanelli Cafe
  Cafe Fanelli is one of New York's oldest we, preserved Old Bars. What is w Cafe Fanelli's first opened  as a bar on the corner of Prince Street & Mercer as Prince Cafe in the year 1872 by Italian immigrant Nicholas Volpe. The Fanelli family bought the bar in 1922 and re-named it Fanelli's Cafe. The building was first erected in 1847 and its commercial space was operated as a grocery store from 1863, before a var opened there in 1872. During Prohibition Fanelli's was a Speakeasy from he years of 1920 to 1933. Though no longer owned by Italians, nor in Greenwich Village, because of its Italian-American history and the fact that Fanelli's has retained so much of its former old-bar decor, we've include it in this piece. So if you're looking to experience a wonderful piece of old New York, go have a couple drinks at Cafe Fanelli.  

West 11th Street

  Gene's first opened it's doors in 1919, and operated as a "Speakeasy" during Prohibition. Gene's has a long storied history of Italian and Artistic Greenwich Village, providing, staving artists, poets, and writers of the Beat Generation, and other eras, with inexpensive affordable Italian meals.  

Old Vintage Postcard

The Bar at GENE'S





"Nicky The Vest"

Tending Bar at RAO'S




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

Monday, October 21, 2013


Trattoria GUGINO
Tribeca NEW YORK

With Antonio (Palm Bay Imports)
and Author
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Been invited to a Wine Dinner tonight by Cinzia Travaglini to be held at Gigino Trattoria in Tribeca (New York, NY) ... Can't wait! Will be dining with Cinzia Travaglini, Chef Luigi, Antonio from Palm Bay and other restaurant wine people who have been lucky enough to get this rare and coveted invitation .. I don't know who the other guest are ..  Will report back tomorrow on the evening, the food, wine, and guests, etc..



We drank, we ate, whe talked we enjoyed .. A private tasting dinner with Cinzia Travaglini. Actually I thought there were going to be more people. Basically it was just me and Cinzia Travaglini tasting me on Travaglini's current vintages of fine wines. We were joined by ANtonio from Palm Bay, Travaglini's Importer, and then when we were finished eating, Chef Luigi joined our table as well. Cinzia started us out with her Nebbiolo Coste Della Sesia .. Travaglini is the unquestionable King of Gattinara, a small zone in northern Peidmonte .. The zone is only about 200 acres of which Travaglini comprises have of the entire zone. Gattinara is made mostly of Nebbiolo at 90 to 100% .. Gattinara may have up to 10% of Bonarda and Vespolina grapes, but all of the Travaglini Gattinara wines are made of 100% Nebbiolo ... Travaglini are Kings of Nebbiolo of which about 97% of their entire vineyards are planted to the grape, along with a very small amount of Uva Rara, Bonarda, and Vespolina .. Yes they are masters of Nebbiolo of which they have been growing since the 1920's ...
So Nenniolo and Gattinara are the thing of Travaglini .. They are the biggest as well as the most famous Gattinara with their signature Trademarked Gattinara Bottle .. OK, so we started out with the Nebbiolo Coste della Sesia which blew my mind. I absolutely loved the wine. It was in perfect balance, full of flavor, yet light in weight, the perfect combination in an Italian Wine which are among the most food friendly wines in the world. And that's what we were doing, food and wine, and yes friendliness too. This wine Coste della Sesia was an absolute marvel of a wine, that is very reasonably price and half to a third the price of the Travaglini Gattinara's which are at their price points quite reasonable for wines of the highest of quality. This is thought of as an entry level wine, but it is anything but. Yes I loved this wine that was perfectly in balance in flavor, tannic and acidic elements along with the correct weight and wonderful flavor of ripe berry fruits with a nice twinge of licorice, just lovely. Cinzia poured me just a little, but it was so good I had to ask for a little more, and then more a thrid and forth time. That's when you know a wine is good.
After the lovely Nebbiolo we moved on to the Gattinara's, thee wine of Travaglini .. We ordered some grilled Clamari and a Pizza Margherita and Chef Luigi sent us some special bread and a platter of Salumi. We all flipped for the Pizza which we all thought was the equal of the finest Pizza from Napoli "The Pizza Capital of The World." Well after all Chef Luigi is from Positano in the area near Naples on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. We drank the Gattinara 2007 which as well as the Nebbiolo before was absolutely wonderful and a wine in perfect balance. Just delisous. It was then on to the Gattinara Riserva 2006, another winner, and then a very special and rare wine.
The special rare wine in question was il Sogno, which was a special project created by Cinzia's father Giancarlo Travaglini in 2004 ... Giancarlo wanted to make a dry table wine using the appassimento method of drying grapes before the fermentation process as with the famed wines of Amarone and the lesser known Sforvato of Lombardia. Giancarlo picked some of his best Nebbiolo Grapes and set them out to dry on matts. Unfortunately Giancarlo passed away in November of 20024 when the grapes had only been drying for 1 month. Cinzia and her winemaker husband continued the project.  They finished drying thr Nebbiolo grapes, fermented them and made the wine that tey called il Sogno "The Dream." 
So Cinzia poured me a glass of il Sogno, and again my mind was blown. The wine an absolute gem had all sorts of wonderful flavors running through my mouth. It was delisious, it had power, but not too much as some big AMarone sometimes do. The wine was a delight and I'm looking forward to putting it on my own list.
We also drank the Gattinara "Tre Vigna," The Three Vineyards .. The fruit for Tre Vigna comes from 3 very special small vineyards on the Travaglini Estate. These 3 different vineyards have different geographical vineyards on the estate and bring different characteristics to the wine to make up one complete and wonderful structure of a wine, 
Travaglini Gattinara "Tre Vigne"
 So we drank the fine wines from Cinzia Travaglini, we had perfect Pizza, Antipasti, followed by some wonderful Tagiatelle con Tartufo and Brasato di Manzo (Braised Beef), and finished up with some tasty desserts. It was a fine night and a dinner that along with the many wonderful private luncheons and dinners I have had over the years with some of Italy's most prestigious winemakers, like Cinzia, I remeber them all, and I will always remember this one, absolutely Wonderful!

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke


Looking Down From GUGINO'S
October  21, 2013
Tribeca, NEW YORK, NY

Friday, February 8, 2013


In the whimsical Adriatic city of Venice, the citizens practice a wonderful little custom called the "giro di ombre" (the wheel of shade). It is not a custom of all Venetians, but mostly men and usually older men. However, this being said, you do not have to be a man to participate. You not have to be old. Anyone can do it, and in fact many younger Venetians (including women) are now caught up in this thing called the giro. Mostly though, you will see groups of men, three, five, or six, maybe more, one can even do it solo. I often go solo myself. Don't worry about being alone. You will make many friends along the way, for that's part of the "giro," making new friends, eating, imbibing, in general, having a great time.

     What is this giro di ombre you ask? The giro di ombre is a splendid little ritual that began around venice's rialto market some 600 years ago. The merchants of the rialto market, wanting to take a little break from hawking their wares, would run to the nearest wine bar to get out of the sun and have a little nip of wine accompanied by little tidbits of food(cichetti) to go with the wine. When these merchants went to the wine bars, known as bacari, translating to "House of Bachus," they'd say they wanted a "Ombra," the Latin word for shade. They wanted to get out of the sun and into the shade. In time, a glass of wine in Venice became know as an "ombra." So if one day you have the good fortune to make it to one of Venice's many enchanting little wine-bars (bacaro), you belly up to the bar, order "un Ombra Rosso" if you want a glass of the house red, or "un ombra bianco" if you'd like a glass of white wine. It's as simple as that, and you are speaking in the wonderful venetian dialect. Like a true Venetian!

    When you go into the wine-bars of Venice, you will undoubtedly see a tantalizing display of food attractively displayed in platters on the bar. These items of food are "Cichetti," tidbits of prepared food that come in very small portions so you can try three, four, five, maybe even six or more. The cichetti generally cost about $1.00-$2.50. They are made to be very affordable and are in small portions so people can order a few different items for variety.

   What are the cichetti, you ask? Just what the Venetian dialect means, cichetti are small tidbits of food. There exist quite a good variety of items as far as cichetti are concerned. The most traditional and popular cichetti are; grilled shrimp or squid, braised or fried meatballs, Cotechino, Musetto (pigs snout sausage, "yum!"), nerveti, octopus salad, Bacala Mantecato (whipped salt-cod), and sarde en saour(sardines marinated with vinegar and onions). You might also find a nice array of small sandwiches (Panini & Tramezzini) that are filled with all sorts of tasty fillings such as crab salad, speck (smoked prosciutto), shrimp, ham with mushrooms and tomato, and much, much more. These sandwiches are also part of the Cichetti and are priced around $1.00 or two as well.

You might be thinking that Cichetti are like Spanish tapas. "Yes," exactly. I might add that the venetians started this ritual a couple hundred years before the Spanish did, only the "Cichetti" of Venice never caught on all over the Italian peninsular the way that tapas did throughout Spain where tapas and tapas bars are a way of life.

So you go into the bacaro and order your ombra rosso or bianco. Survey the fabulous array of cichetti and order a few items of your choice. A typical sample plate of these marvelous little tidbits might go like this; a couple pieces of grilled squid, one sarde en saor, a crostino of baccala montecato (whipped salt cod), and maybe a couple fried meatballs. "Bon apetito!" All this should not cost you more than seven or eight dollars. In the happy days prior to the euro an ombra and a say four pieces of cichetti would cost you about $4.50, nowadays it will be almost double that. Unfortunately, that's life. Things change, never-the-less, it's still a pretty good deal.

So you've just had your first wonderful experience in a venetian wine-bar. What to do next? Go check out another one of course! Ask one of the locals for a suggestions or cross one off your own personal list. If you have one.

Ahh, you're at you second bacaro. Why not try one of Venice's most popular aperitifs? A "Spritz." A spritz is simply white wine with a splash of compari or aperol with soda and a twist of lemon. Quite refreshing. Very venetian. For those of you who love prosecco, you'll be happy to know that Venice is the "prosecco capital of the world" and you can order one in any bacaro. Save the Bellini's for harry's bar, and if you do, save your money as well, for at this point in time, a Bellini at the ultra chic harry's bar will cost you about $15 u.S. Dollars. They are absolutely delicious, but they go down like water.

Order a prosecco. Some nice treats to go with your venetian bubbly, would be a couple little crab tramezzini or one shrimp and one crab, both go perfectly with a crisp, fresh glass of local prosecco.

     Besides the tasty food and splendid Italian wine, you will find wonderful atmosphere in venetian wine-bars. You'll meet and chat with locals as well as people who come to Venice from all around the world. The venetian bacaro, which incidentally translates to house of bacchus, bacchus, the roman god of wine.

Go to venice, engross yourself in its many bacari (bacaro is singular, bacari plural) and you are sure to be entranced in a true bacchanalia sort of way.

Suggested Bacari (Wine Bars of Venice):

Al Volto: located on the calli cavalli, San Marco

A great old style bacaro, serving good inexpensive local wine, traditional cihetti, wonderful pasta, risotto, and fresh seafood from the Rialto Market.

Alla Vedova: cannaregio 3912, ramo ca'd'oro

Tucked in a small alleyway off the strada nuova, alla vedova is the authors pick for as one of Venice's best bacaro. Alla vedova has the quintessential bacaro décor and ambiance, they serve superb cichetti at the bar, which is always filled with fun loving regulars of the giro de ombre. This bar gets very crowded at times and you will have to vie for a spot at the bar for tasty baccala and the best fried meatballs in town. As you enjoy yourself at the bar while watching diners sitting at table in the lovely little dining-room, you may get the urge to sit down for a wonderful meal with some pasta, risotto, or calves liver venenziana. Do it!

All'Arco, san palo 436, calle dell'occhialer

this tiny little (14'x 8') wine-bar is one of Venice's most traditional. You will usually only find locals here, but they love to see the occasional foreigner drop in. They will welcome you with open arms, as they did to me when I stumbled upon this little establishment on my first ever "Giro de Ombar." You will find very traditional old style cichetti that not many place make any more, such as nerveti (nerve), tetina (cows udder), rumegal, and other funky items like Musetto (pigs snout sausage). These guys delight in turning novices on to the real deal. The close quarters are great, as they precipitate interaction between you and the locals who are very nice in this wonderful little "gem."

Do Mori, san palo 429, calle dei do mori

You might want to check out do mori as it is one of Venice's most historical wine-bars. However, you might be a little disappointed. I was, as the owners are cold and not very cordial. Their coldness pervades through the place, which is a shame as this place could be wonderful if only the proprietors did not posses the personalities of some "dead fish" lying around the Rialto Market. "Sorry fish, didn't mean to insult you." "Get my drift?"

Al Paradiso Perduto, on the Fondamenta Miscordia in Cannaregio

You know when you stubble across a place you have never been to before and go in to have one of the best times imaginable? That's what happened to me when I was on one of my typical exploratory walks around venice one fine sunday afternoon in april of 2001. I was walking by and saw that al paradiso was my kind of place; cool, old, with lots of character. The place was jumping with a very hip looking crowd. I sat down for a nice little lunch of antipasto misto and some Adriatic Sole. Halfway through my meal, I was more than pleasantly surprised when a jazz quartet set up on the fondumenta right outside the restaurant. There was a bass player, guitar, trumpet, and even a piano player who rolled his "baby grande" right up to the place. The band was exceptional.  What a combination, Venice on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon sitting at the Paradiso Perduto, drinking local wine, eating perfectly prepared Adriatic Soglio and listening to the lovely sounds of a great little jazz band playing beside the canal. "Who could possibly for more?" "Not me."

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 
Creator of "BAR CICHETTI" America's First Venetian Wine Bar and author of La Tavola



Dining Room alla Vedova

Bar alla Vedova

A Typical Array of CICHETTI

Chopping on CICHETTI


At Cantina da Schiava

One of Venice's Best Wine Bars (Bacaro)

Demi Johns of Wine

at Do Mori, VENICE

Friday, May 11, 2012


with a Bottloe of His Great Brunello

with a Bottle of His Famed

 Well I was wondering what to expect when my cousin Joe asked me if I wanted to go to Brunello tasting at City Winery with him. He said it was with James Suckling (a Top guy at Wine Spectator and # 1 with Italian Wines for WSp) and David Suckiling.. Joe didn't give me details so I figured it was a Wine Spectator Event which is usually more about a lot of BSing making Money for the Wine Spectator and Markin Shanken as well as sucking up than anything else. Well me being in the wine and restaurant industry for more than 20 years, I go to a multitude of industry Wine Tastings, Wine Luncheons and Wine Dinners along with other events of the highest caliber. this tasting was geared toward retail buyers and novice wine enthusiast, a pay to go to event. Not the kind I usually go to, mine are more of the insider type. Well my cousin Joe wanted to go, so I went along for the ride. The day of the event I went on line to see what it was all about. It was not a Wine Spectator Event but one held and organized by James Suckling and David Sokolin. Ok. I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. My cousin drove in from Long island and met me at my house (apartment in Greenwich Village). We walked over to City Winery. I saw my friend Marco poring a wine and went over to his table. It was the Brunello Normale 2007 from Fabio Tassi. Wow! It was great and a precursor of things to come. The Tassi Brunello 2007 was outstanding. i couldn't beleive my eyes. My tastebuds. This wine was a perfect textbook Brunello, perfectly balance, correct in weight, not too heavy not too light but full of wonderful and perfect Sangiovese Grosss taste. The tasi Brunello Franci Riserva 2006 was equally good. Excuse me great! oh and by the way, this tasting was one special one as the wines being tasted, the Brunello di Montalcino 2007 and Brunello Riservas 2006 where two back to back vintages where of the highest caliber of ratings of mid-90s fro each vintage as a vintage overall. Outstanding, the pair of 2007 Normale and 2006 Riserva Brunellos. It's hard for me to remember back when I tasted so many great wines at one tasting. I was shocked. when after wine, Brunello after marvelous Brunello were oustanding. I couldn't believe it. they were almost all good. "Excuse me, Great!" All except for those offerings of Capanna and Uccelliera fo which neither of these producers thrilled me with their offerings as almost all others did.
   As I stated, pretty much all the the Brunello on hand were outstanding, well balanced, tasty and indicative of what great Brunello should taste like. 

Here is a list of the standouts:

Valdcava Brunello Di Montalcino 2007
Valdcava Brunello Di Montalcino Del Piano Riserva 2006
Carpzao Brunello Di Montalcino 2007
Carparzo Brunello Di Montalcino 2006 Riserva
Poderina Brunello Di Montalcino 2007
 Poderina Brunello Di Montalcino 2006 Riserva
Lisini Brunello Di Montalcino 2007
Livio Sassetti Brunello Di Montalcino "Pertamali" 2007
Tassi Brunello Di Montalcino 2007
Brunello Di Montalcino Castello Banfi 2007
Silvio Nardi Brunello Di Montalcino 2007
Silvio Nardi Brunello Di Montalcino Vigneto Manachiara 2006

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big Guns of Italian Wine in Town

Giuseppe Tasca D'Almerita and Daniel Bellino Zwicke, Vittorio Fiore with Marilisa Allegrini, and Angela Macullan at Winebow Tasting 2008

Some ot the "Big Guns" of ITALIAN WINE where in Town and at the Winebow Portfolio Tasting on September 16th & 17th. First-Off was Vittorio Fiore, one of the Greatest Italian Winemakers of this time or anytime. Vittorio was Show his renowned Super Tuscan Wine "Il Carbbonione"
Vittorio produces Il Carbbonione on his beautiful wine estate Podere Poggio Scalette high up in one of Greve's highest vineyards where you can see the whole Chianti Classico wine zone from this vantage point. It is a beautiful sight where I have been forunate on two occasions to spend time tasting wine with Vittorio and his sons while nibbling on the wonderful homemade Salami and Prosciutto that son and Vineyard Manager Jyuri Fiore makes with the help from great old friend "Dante." Dante is a wonderful old village farmer who knows how to make fantastic Salumi, among other things. He's a absolute gem!

Il Carbbonione is made of 100% Sangiovese. The 2004 vintage that Vittorio was pouring at the tasting was absolute perfection, strong but not too concentrated, exhibiting nice Black Cherry and earthiness in ,the mouth. Vittorio says it is one of his best vintage ever, "I agree completely."

Merilisa Allegrini (another Heavy Hitter) was on hand as well. Showing all the great Allegrini wines, including; La Grolla, La Poja, and thier 2003 Amarone, which as usual is one of the regions top producers of famed Amarone.

Giuseppe Tasca d' Almerita was present. Giuseppe and his family make one of Sicily's most famous and renowned wines "Rosso del Conte" Rosso del Conte is mad of 100% Nero d'Avola. This wine along with "Duca Enrico" is the greatest and most prestigious in all of Sicily. When tasted, I had a incrediable explosion of Ripe Red Fruit flavors in my mouth. The wine was phenominal, smooth, silky, and perfectly balance as Rosso del Conte usually is. This is one of Italy most consistenly wonderful primium wines. "Always Great!"

reported by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

$1.00a Slice Pizza on St. Marks

Sign in front of 2 Bros. Pizza, 32 St. Marks Place, "Inflation Fighters" $1.00 a Slice or 2 Slices and a Soda for just $2.75 "How can you beat That?"
A 2 Bros. Pizza $1.00 slice.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hottest New Wine in Town, Macari's Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Daniel Bellino Zwicke with cousin Joe Macari Jr., famed Austrian winemaker Helmut Giengel, and Nick the Driver eating Lunch at Bar Pitti, 6th Avenue, NY, NY...

Macari Sauvignon Blanc "Katherines Feild" 2007 winemaker: Helmut Geingel

One of the Hottest wines for Spring and Summer of 2008 is Macari Vineyards
Sauvignon Blanc "Katherines Feild" 2007. The wine has received rave reveiws from Wine Spectator, Newsday, The NEW YORK TIMES, and others. This Sauvignon Blanc is textbook Savignon, it's clean and crispy and has wonderful flavors of Gooseberrie, Fennel, and Sage and Classic Sauvignon Blanc Grassiness.

The Macari Sauvignon Blanc is being served at such restaurants as Baronda, Per Lei, and Bar Pitti the Hottest Italian Restaurant in Greenwich Village.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Daniel Bellino Zwicke & Joe Macari Jr., Venice

Daniel Bellino Zwicke and cousin Joe Macari Jr. (right) enjoying a glass of Prosecco in a Wine Bar (Bacaro) in VENICE.


Macari Vineyards recent release Sauvignon Blanc "Katherines Feild" seems to be one of the Hottest Wines of the Summer of 2008. The vintage 2007 has been seen being sipped by the Fashionable, Beautiful, "In-the-Know-Set" at the Ultra Hot Celebrity Spot "BAR PITTI" in Greenwich Village. An even Hotter Celebrity destination in The Village is "The Waverly Inn," owned by Vanity Fair Magazine Editor Graydon Carter and Hotel and Nightclub "Super Empressario" Eric Goode. Celebs have been seen sipping Macari's "Early Wine," Cabernet Franc, and the Lush Desert Wine, Macari's "Block E"

Macari's Sauvignon Blanc 2007 is Textbook Perfect Sauvignon. It's Clean and Crispy with Classic Grassiness, Gooseberry, and Sage Flavors. The perfect choice to go with all Shellfish, especially OYSTERS and any Fish at all.