Tuesday, February 26, 2013


"Leave The GUN, Take The CANNOLIS" Clemenza (Richard Castellano of Jersey) tells Rocco who just "Made His Bones" whacking Paulie who set up Don Corleone ...  Sonny finds out and this Clemenza he doesn't want to see him any more (WHACK Him "Kill")

This is a Classic scene in the Mario Puzzo - Francis Ford Coppola classic "The Godfather"
We see Clemanza holding the box of Cannolis for his wife who was the one who told Clemenza when he was leaving their house "Don't Forget the CANNOLIS"
This is One of The Most Famous and most-quoted lines in movie history.




Yes, "don't Forget The Cannolis," Clemenza's wife tells him as he leaves the house. And if you've ever tried the Cannolis at Rocco's Pastries on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village New York, you won't want to forget thes tasty Sicilian Specialties either. Yes Cannolis are Sicilian. And speaking of Sicilian Pastries, fi you don't already know, Sicily is renowned for having both the Best Gelato and best pastries in the whole of Italy. I'm Sicilian American and I was practically weaned on these tasty little treats. And Rocco's around the block from my apartment (Lucky Me) makes the best in The City. Believe me! Rocco's is a truly wonderful Pastry Shop that makes all sorts of amazing Italian Cookies, Cakes, and Pastries like Cannoli, Sfogiatelle, Eclairs, Rhum Baba, Lobster Tails and much more. 
When you walk into the place, you'll just love it. It's absolutely wonderful, with showcases that stretch about 30 feet, filled with Rocco's Mouthwatering Cookies, Cakes, and Pastries. They've got Coffee and Italian Ices too. The ambiance is wonderful, and you can sit down at the caffe tables for an Espresso, Cappuccino, and whatever marvelous sweets you decide to eat. They are all quite Irresistible.  You are sure to have a little quandary as you try to decide which of the huge selection you will take home. But it is quite a good Quandary to be in. Enjoy!

The Best Cannolis in Town
Rocco's Pastries
Greenwich Village, New York

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke




Recipe in SUNDAY SAUCE  by Daniel Bellino



by Danny Bolognese


Monday, February 18, 2013


LETTER From MAKER'S MARK CHAIRMAN And Chief Operating Officer to Customers

Dear Friends,

Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker’s Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.
You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.
So effective immediately, we are reversing our decision to lower the ABV of Maker’s Mark, and resuming production at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof). Just like we’ve made it since the very beginning.
The unanticipated dramatic growth rate of Maker’s Mark is a good problem to have, and we appreciate some of you telling us you’d even put up with occasional shortages. We promise we'll deal with them as best we can, as we work to expand capacity at the distillery.
Your trust, loyalty and passion are what’s most important. We realize we can’t lose sight of that. Thanks for your honesty and for reminding us what makes Maker’s Mark, and its fans, so special.
We’ll set about getting back to bottling the handcrafted bourbon that our father/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr. created. Same recipe. Same production process. Same product.
As always, we will continue to let you know first about developments at the distillery. In the meantime please keep telling us what’s on your mind and come down and visit us at the distillery. It means a lot to us.

Rob Samuels                     Bill Samuels, Jr
Chief Operating Officer       Chairman Emeritus

With Trademark Red Wax


Maker's Mark is quite the popular Bourbon of which the popularity has soured in the past couple of years. There is a great demand for it and all Bourbon with a new interest in Whiskey,: Scotch, American and Canadian Rye Whiskey, and Kentucky Bourbon. Maker's Mark makes a very good Bourbon at a fair price, there's quality and well liked packaging, the Red Wax and bottle.
   With a renewed interest in cocktails  spurned on by so called Mixologist and one Cocktail in particular The Old Fashion which can be made with Rye or Kentucky Bourbon, the Bourbon of Maker's Mark has found itself called for by many people ordering this tasty drink The Old Fashion, Bourbon Old Fashion, or as many people seem to be ordering these days, a Maker's Old Fashion. Thus this fine Bourbon has seen a huge spike in sales. The spike in sales of which the distillery is unable keep up completely with the great demand for its product Maker's Mark Bourbon. And as Bourbon takes a few years to age after it is distilled, you can't just pull it out of the hat so to speak. The Maker's mark Distillery as all Whiskey Distillery's have thousands of barrels of Whiskey aging in various points of age, newly distilled barrels, 1 year old, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 or maybe slightly more with Makers. So with all these barrels the people (Samuel's Family founded and still own Makers Mark) will be able to Bottle a certain specific amount of Bourbon Bottles at any given point in time. Maker's Mark Bourbon is and has always been 45 % Alcohol by Volume or 90 Proof Bourbon from its beginning, now and always. The people at Maker's Mark Distillery with the great demand for their Bourbon in the year 2013 and into the near future, and their production ability unable to keep up with demand for their Bourbon had an idea. they figured if they diluted their Bourbon a little bit and made it with 42 % Alcohol instead of the 45% it has always been made with, making their Bourbon 84 Proof instead of the usual 90 Proof,  this little change wouldn't make any discernible difference in taste, people wouldn't notice and they'd be able to bottle 5-6 % more Bourbon with the same amount of Whiskey. Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea, all except one problem, Their Customers and loyal  drinkers of Maker's Mark didn't like this idea and they said so. These people are discerning customers and they didn't want the "Recipe" of their Bourbon of choice messed with, and they let the World and the people at Maker's Mark, The Samuels Family know. A couple thousand loyal Maker's Devotes sent the people at the Maker's mark Distillery a couple thousand emails voicing their displeasure at the distillery's decision to Dilute their Bourbon from 45 % Alcohol to 42 % .. "No Bueno," they said, "We Won't Stand for This." Well the Customers Spoke and guess what?  The people at Maker's Mark, The Samuels Family Listened. They never did make any of their Bourbon 84 Proof, they wanted to, but with a Back-Lash from their loyal customers, the Samuels listened and have decided not to change the recipe. They said, "Our Bourbon will remain being made as it always has, with 45% Alcohol  90 Proof Kentucky Bourbon." Bravo! We Salute You.

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

NOTE:  Who out their remembers when the people at Coca-Cola had the bright idea of changing the formula of Coke in 1985? They did, Millions of people stopped drinking Coke and switched to Pepsi (as I did at the time .. Thankfully I do not drink any Cola for 15 years now, but back in 85 I was a big Coca-Cola drinker).. As a result of Coke changing the recipe of Coca-Cola, their sales plummeted  Coca-Cola lost many millions in sales and were forced to change the recipe back.

When The People at Coca-Cola
Had The Bright Idea to Change The RECIPE of COKE
Their Sales Plummeted and Coca-Cola Lost Many Millions of Dollars
Needless to Say They Changed The Recipe Back
"So They Say, But I SAY THEY DIDN'T"

Saturday, February 16, 2013




also BARUA 100% Carrignano 

Lambrusco Grassparossa di Castelvetro
And a Pretty Italian Girl

Famed Winemaker of SASSICAIA and BURUA
with Author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

The Big Guns of Italian Wine were out at the annual Tre Bicchieri Tasting held at the Metropolitan Pavillion on West 18th Street yesterday. M. Rallo of Fiarrato was on hand with 3 Glass Winner Rebecca 2010 as was famed wine-maker Sebastiano Rosa who makes a great Sardenian Wine based on 100% Carrignan. It's called Barrua and a joint venture with Cantina Santadi and Mr. Rosa. Sebastiano just so happens to be the winemaker of Italy's most prestigious wine "SASSICAIA" which won Red Wine of The Year this year for the 2009 Vintage at the 2013 Tre Bicchieri. Wow, this is the "Best Vintage of Sassicaia" that I've had in the last 10 years. The wine is perfectly balanced, and when a wine is in perfect balance, there's nothing else to say except that "It's as Good as It Gets." Bravo Sebastiano! Sebastiano Rosa is a member of the Incis Rochetta family who own the famed Tenuta San Guido Estate that makes Sassicaia in Bolgheri on the Tuscan Coast. Sebastiano's cousin (Cujino) Piero Incisa Rochetta, who is usually on hand at the Tre Bicchieri Events was nowhere to be seen today. No matter, I had a nice little chat with the affable Sebastiano before I went on to taste more wine.
More wine yes. And if I was to pick out just two wines on the day that really blew me away, it was the Sassicaia 2009 and a great Barolo from my friend Giuseppe Vjra and his offering of Barolo Cerretta Luigi Baudana 2008. This wine was amazing and a perfect example of what a great and classical Barolo should taste like, with wonderful Earth, Mushroom, and fruit. The wine, if I must use the phrase again, was in perfect balance and a text-book Barolo. So if you know Barolo, you know what I'm talking about, it is a great wine. Basta!
So another Tre Bicchieri in the bag, my 17th, and as usual a great day to drink great italian Wine, but even more so, see and hang-out with a few Wine-Making friends from Italy and fellow New York Italian Wine Guys. A great day.

Giuseppe Vajra
with a Bottle of His
"Bravo Giuseppe" !!!

Raffaele Cani
Antonio D'Ambrosio

Trapani, Sicily
Whose Family The De Bartoli's and Rallo's
Make The World's Greatest Marsala and Other Wines
Like Donnafugata Mille Una Notte (Cousin Antonio Rallo) 
and Ben Rye Passito D' Pantelleria
Marco Holds a Bottle of His Ribecca Here

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



Since 1720

But For a PRICE !




Sunday, February 10, 2013



Pork and Why do I Love all Products Made from it So! Spareribs are the "Best," Bacon, Sausages, Pork Chops, Ham, Spam, McRibs, and? Yes I Love them all so! And Why? Why? What else? They're Tasty! It's Tasty! Pork and all things made from it. I Pity Vegetarians and Others who do not eat it, Pork, Ham, and Spam.
Robin Raisfeld in her story "Trendlet: It's Baloney," this week in New York spark my interest when I say the big beautiful picture of a slice of tasty Mortadella, "King of All Baloneys."
As I read farther into the article, I was so happy to see a picture of a gorgeous "Taylor Ham and Egg Sandwich." And it immediately brought out the in Jerseyite in me. As anyone who grew up or ever lived in New Jersey, they'll tell you of their Love of "Taylor Ham," the unofficial "State Meat." Taylor Ham? Why? Well, first off, Taylor Ham was invented in Trenton New Jersey. It's super tasty. Jerseyites and former ones (like Me) Love it, and you can only get it in New Jersey. More or less. Why? I don't know. Can Jerseyites be smarter than New Yorkers who have never caught on to this wonderful Pork product from the Garden State. After moving to New York some 26 years ago, besides from missing my family, my only other regret of leaving New Jersey, is missing and yearning for my beloved Taylor Ham. You just can't get it in the Big City. Well, hardly ever. Do New Yorkers not like it? Is it reserved for Jerseyites only? Don't know! All I know is I miss it inside a Taylor Ham and Egg Sandwich or on my breakfast plate accompanying a couple fried eggs.
Reading the article and be reminded of my "Long Lost Love," Taylor Ham, I'm also painfully reminded of another recent dumping by a Loved one. That being my beloved "McRib." How I Love it so! After a brief Love Affair with her, way back in 1989. She disappeared! Why? I do not know. And for some 21 years. And then one lovely day last year. It was in October, what day I do not know. She reappeared. Back into my life once again. And the Love Affair was on again. On my part like it never ended. I Loved, as much and more than ever. Forgiving her and not think of the long cruel Separation brought on by her. She had deserted me. But I didn't care. We got together more than 20 times this passed October, November, and was it a few days into December? I do not know. Once again, my beloved McRib disappeared. Into a dark December night. Why? I do not know? I only know that however long it may take. I'l wait. Just please my Love, do not make it another 21 years. My beloved McRib.

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Living Here 30 Years
But One of Things I Miss Most About Jersey
"I Friggin LOVE IT"
And You Can't Get It in NEW YORK !!!!




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

Wednesday, February 6, 2013




An Old Fashion and New Orleans. Two things this guy loves dearly. And drinking Old Fashions in New Orleans and Bourbon Old Fashions to be more specific is a favorite pastime of mine, especially at such fine Bars as Napoleon House, The Long Bar at Tujague's, at Arnaud's or Galatoire's.

    The first thing I order from my waiter at my beloved Galatoire's is a Bourbon Old Fashion. They make them perfectly here, muddling an Orange Slice with sugar, Maraschino Cherry, Soda, and Angostora Bitters before filling the glass with Ice and adding my Bourbon. The waiter brings my Old Fashion and I'm in my element, quite satisfied. I'm at Galatoire's in New Orleans. It's one of my favorite restaurants in the World. I have my drink, sitting in the main dining room looking the menu over. "Oh Bliss."

What to have for lunch. Shall I get a Gumbo, Raw Oysters, or Oysters Rockefeller to start? Decisions, Decisions! And my main Course? Trout Almondine (a House Specialty), Shrimp Clemenceau, or Filet Mignon topped with Fried Oysters and Hollandaise. Think I'll go for a Cup of Gumbo, followed by the Oysters Rockefeller  and Trout Almondine for my main. They should go with my Bourbon Old Fashion quite nicely.

  What, "No Wine with Your Meal," you ask, knowing what a Wine freak I am.
"No, not in New Orleans my friends." I do not drink Wine in the Cresent City. It's all pretty much Cocktails when I'm down there, maybe a Beer or two, but no Wine what-so-ever in New Orleans for me. Hey it's the way to go in New Orleans. That's what you do down there, Cocktails are preferred throughout the meal over Wine. And that's fine by me. It just seems to go better. My Bourbon Old Fashion and all the fine Creole Cuisine. I Love it.

   So, if you're ever down there, in that wonderful city on the Mighty Mississippi, New Orleans, go to Galatoire's, Antoine's, Arnauds's. Order yourself a nice Lunch or Dinner, and don't forget to get a couple Bourbon Old Fashions to go with your meal. It's a match made in Heaven, Creole Food  an Old Fashion and New Orleans, "Do it."

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Author of "La Tavola"

My Waiter Reinhart ...

 Galatoire's, New Orleans, Louisiana

Lunch at Galatoire's

"I Love It!"

Friday, February 1, 2013


Brunello Il Poggione
at New York brunello tasting 2013



The Great Kevin Zraly held a Brunello Seminar at The New York Brunello Tasting 2013 ...And for the few lucky enough to attend, it was quite a great event. Great, yes great, and Mr. Keven Zraly in my book is quite great when it comes to knowledge of wine, his Love and approach to it, drinking, tasting for his own pleasure and knowledge as well as the Drinking, Tasting, and Education Kevin imparts on those in his classes, readers and owners of his famed Windows On The World Wine Course (Book), and anyone as I've Just said "Lucky Enough to Attend One of Mr. Zraly's Wine Seminars," in this case for one of Italy's and The World's most esteemed wines and one of Kevin's 3 Favorite Wines (Kevin's words) Brunello di Montalcino.

   "Don't Touch It! Don't touch it !!!" shouts Kevin Zraly, near the beginning of his seminar. He know there are always people on every level of experience at any one of the many wine seminars he has conducted over the years, including the most experienced and at least one or maybe several people who have never ever been to a Seminar Wine Tasting like this in their lives. This maybe their first one, "Don't Touch Don't touch!!!" It's quite funny and a bit shocking the way Kevin does these as he sets the tone for his style of wine seminar, which is "No Muss No Fuss No BS," and as Mr. Zraly says no English Poetry, in an effort to say there will be none of that overdone pontification, just straight normal talk, and talk even a beginner could grasp about wine, and with Kevin his approach will make you love the object and the subject of "Wine" even more. That's what a great wine educator does. There are not many better than Kevin Zraly, "if any?"
   Yes, the seminar was quite wonderful. If being at the most important Brunello Tasting of the year wasn't enough, and being the first in the World to taste the 2008 Vintage and 07 Riservas, in a beautiful setting like Gotham Hall, in The Greatest City in The World, and as the Head of The Brunello Consorzio stated this glorious day, "New York Is The Greatest and Most Important Market in The World For The Producers of Brunello di Montalcino." Yes Sir "It Is." Yes those at The New York Brunello Tasting were among-st the first in the World to taste these fine wines, and Mr.s Zraly made that point, as well as stating how wonderful the Wines were, that we were very fortunate to be drinking them, and that Brunello was along with Bordeaux, one of his 3 Favorite wines in the World to drink. Myself and Michael Colameco (Who is The fine host of "Real Food" one of TV's Best Cooking Shows on PBS) sitting next to me at the seminar, we both surmised the third  of Kevin's 3 Favorite Wines of The World had to be Burgundy. This we need to find out.
    "Smell it 3 times. Cover the glass with your hand. Sniff! Toast the person sitting next to you and drink. Think about it for 1 minute at 15 second intervals. Do you still taste it? What do you taste?" Well, we tasted 8 very fine offerings of this fabulous wine, Brunello di Montalcino. The wines were all wonderful, and being at Benvenuto Brunello in such a gorgeous setting as Gotham Hall and being led in a Tasting of Great Brunello by one of the World's Greatest Authorities on Wine, this was a combination that was unbeatable. Being in the Italian Wine and Restaurant Business for more than 25 and writing for another 8, I can tell your that I've been to many a incredible wine event, like: a Vertical Wine tasting and Luncheon with the Marchese Piero Antinori, Dinner at Spark's Steak-House with Jacopo Biondi Santi and his wines, as well as lunches and dinners on many great wine estates in Italy. The kind of events people would kill to be able to attend, I've been to many, and this Brunello Seminar tasting with kevin Zraly shall be filed in my head with some of those other great wine moments. It was most enjoyable, and I'm so glad I made it (almost din't go).
   So Bravo Brunello! And Bravo Kevin for your passion, love of the wine, and the way you lead others, in your very Zraly Direction.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

BRUNELLO SEMINAR with KEVEN ZRALY .. January 31, 2013 .... Afternoon Seminar


1.   Palazzo - 2008
2.   Fanti -2008
3.   Tenute Sivio Nardi - 2008
4.   Donatella Cinelli Colombini - 2008
5.   Uccelliera - 2008
6.   Palazzo - Riserva 2004
7.   Col D'Orcia 2001
8.   IL Poggione Riserva 1999

An overall assessment and thoughts on the 8 Brunello's we tasted. First off, they were all very good to wonderful to remarkable. A great line-up including some excellent producers and very fine vintages of recent years. It seemed an overall consensus that pretty much everyone (Writers, Restaurant People, Wine Professionals,and Hobbyists) in the room liked each and every wine we drank, all wonderful wines, and with Kevin "Cheer-Leading" us with his love of wine and Brunello, I believe everyone enjoyed these wines even more than if they had tasted all 8 in another manner than this great tasting-seminar.
   As all wines were wonderful, I must admit that there were 3 wines that we all got a bit more excited and super-charged over. These wines were; the Brunello Uccelliera 2008, the Brunello Col D'Orcia 2001, and the Brunello IL Poggione 1999 ... Without going into any, as Kevin Zraly would say "English Poetry" these 3 wines were just wonderful. The kind of wines you light up over and just saying "Wow," is enough to say that they had everything you want in a great Brunello or any great wine, great aroma, Wonderful Taste combined with "Perfect Balance," and simply greatness.
   Again, a great tasting, overall Benvenuto Brunello, lots of great wines, wonderful people, and a fine Seminar-Tasting of Brunello conducted by Mr. Kevin Zraly. Again, Bravo!

Kevin Zraly Conducting Brunello Seminar
at Benvenuto Brunello 2013
New York, NY



Brunello Time in New York! Hey I think i just coined a new phrase for our great city New York.   Yes I know it can never catch on like the poetic "Autumn in New York" ... Autumn in New York, the phrase started as a song in 1937, a song that became quite famous and sung by many musical greats like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitgerald to name just two. The phrase has been made into a movie, and tough it has been a hugely successful song, it's greatest popularity and famed comes as a "Saying" and Slogan of The Great City of New York, "Autumn in New York." Brunello Time in New York. No it will never be as famed as the Autumn of New York, but if you're as big as an Italian Wine Geek and Lover like me, this phrase Brunello Time in New York will sound quite wonderful to you.
    Yes, yesterday, January 31, 2013 was Brunello Time in New York with for all us Italian Wine Guys (Girls too), one of our biggest and most cherished days of the year, The New York Italian Wine Year anyway. It is the Brunello Tasting, as we New York Wine Guys call it. The official named used by The Consorzio Del Vino Brunello Di Montalcino, the governing body of the famed Italian Wine Brunello, these are the people who organize this great show and tasting of the release of the latest vintage of Brunello, the tasting officially known as Benvenuto Brunello.
  As I said, this tasting (event) is one of the most dear of the year to me. That is along with the 
Tri Bicchieri Tasting, the biggest of the year. The Brunello Tasting is quite dear to me, as Sangiovese is my favorite of all grapes, as are the great wines made of it, especially Chianti and Brunello, my favorites, along with Morellino de Scansano, Vino Nobile, and some Super Tuscans that are based on this noble grape Sangiovese. And speaking of Sngiovese and Brunello, the wine Brunello is made of 100% Sangiovese, and of Snagiovese Grosso, also known as Brunello. And Brunello can only be made in Montalcino, and no-where else in the World, and it must be made to the exacting standards of The Consorzio del Brunello Di Montalcino, of whose President was on hand for the event.
    The event "The Brunello Tasting" consist of 52 of the more than 200 producers of Brunello. The main reason for this Brunello Tasting is the "Release of The Newest Vintage of Brunello di Montalcino," in this case The 2013 Brunello Tasting is for the Release of The 2008 Brunello's and The 2007 Brunello Riservas. These are the two main wines of the tasting, but other wines are shown and offered, along with Moscadello the famed Dessert Wine of Montalcino based on Moscato. All producers will have on hand their Rosso di Montalcino made with the same grapes (100% Sangiovese Grosso "Brunello") as the Brunello. The Rosso's are not aged as long, and the grape yeild is slighly higher. The 2010 Rosso di Montalcino where on hand, and one of the nice things about drinking these Rossos is that you can get an advanced glimpse of what the 2010 Brunello's will be like when they are released in 2016.

     Well, some Big Guns of Italian Wine were out at the Brunello Tasting. Big Guns from Italy along with some Big New York Italian Wine Guys like; Renzo Raspiacolli (Wine Director Barolo), Phillipo Debarladino, and Charles Scicolone, one of America's Greatest Authorities of Italian Wine "If Not Thee # 1 Top Guy." And speaking of Big Guns, as far as Italian Wine goes, The Biggest Gun of Them All, "The Marchese Piero Antinori" was on hand at this, one, along with The Count Cinzano of Col d'Orcia and other Italian Wine luminaries.

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

                                                 ME And The MARCHESE

and Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke