Situated atop a hill overlooking both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, with sweeping views of San Pablo Bay, Artesa Winery produces vintages that artfully display the best that both wine regions have to offer. In a bottle of its newly released 2016 Pinot Noir are grapes from both its acclaimed hilltop Estate vineyards and grapes from the coveted Sangiacomo Vineyard in the celebrated Carneros district. The result is an intricate and intriguing wine that displays the best of California's two great wine growing regions. Intense red fruit flavors are punctuated by layers of complexity brought about by a mixture of ancient and modern winemaking techniques that both reflects the winery's roots in the Pyrenees of the Basque region of northern Spain and the preeminence of the Napa Valley.
Treviso is the ancestral home of Prosecco and the Alta Marca area is renowned for its excellent wines dating as far back as the Middle Ages. Historical records show that as early as 1606, wines were exported from Treviso throughout Europe. After much trial and error, the Glera grape, formerly called the Prosecco grape, became the standard variety used in the making of Prosecco, It is the grape variety of choice in the Alta Marca, home Adriano Adami Prosecco Superiore. It is especially so in the Valdobbiadene, where the variety dominates the steep slopes of its many hillsides. With the Dolomites looming in the background, the region is sheltered from the harsh winds and bathed in the warmth of midday sun, which nourishes the grapes. It was here that Abel Adami purchased a natural amphitheater vineyard where he began nurturing the Glera grape with his son Adriano. History was made in 1933, when Abelhad the intuition to make a presentation to the 1st Mostra Mercato del Vini Tipci d'Italia in Siena. His Riva (the name given to hillside vineyards) Giardino Asciutto was the first real vineyard selection from Valdobbiadene. Adriano Adami continued the family, tradition. Continuing in his father's footsteps, Adriano made a name for himself, producing quality Prosecco.
All is well in the Napa Valley. The mustard blossoms are in full bloom. The Napa Valley Wine Train sits sleepily on a side track, undergoing refurbishment and routine repairs in anticipation of the onslaught of spring and summer tourists that have made the Valley the number one tourist attraction in California, outside of Disneyland. The devastating fires and recent flooding are mere memories as the tasting rooms break out the latest vintages for the lucky few off-season tourists who get to sidle up to the tasting room bar or grab a seat at the table in one of the many local farm-to-tale wine-themed restaurants along Highway 29.
Direct from the home of Prosecco in Valdobbiadene, northeastern Italy, comes this delightfully dry, yet refreshing Prosecco that is perfect for today's lighter, varied cuisine. Zesty with aromas of white flowers and juicy, tart, lemons and hints of green apple, this is a well-made example of what Prosecco was meant to be; uncomplicated.
Arriving in the U.S. hand-in-hand with the New Year is Tenuta Carretta Cascina Bordino Barbaresco Riserva ($39.99). A lean, bracing young wine with plenty of running room for long aging, this is a superb rendition of the Nebbiolo grape from northern Italy. Made from grapes grown on steep hillsides, with maximum exposure to the sun for lush, ripe fruitiness and sandy soil with silty, grey marly inserts, the wine is elegant and complex, bursting with ripe fruit. The wine is also well balanced and elegant. Perfect for a Prime Rib or Dry Aged Porterhouse.
Prosecco is America's favorite sparkling wine. For 2019, its popularity is expected to explode. A gift from northern Italy, Prosecco Superiore is the ultimate versatile beverage. Le Contesse Prosecco Superiore Brut DOCG ($18) is a sparkling wine from Conegliano Valdobbiadene, the birthplace of Prosecco. The grapes are 100% Glera, the original grape used in Prosecco, which is hand harvested. the grapes are then fermented under cold temperatures in controlled conditions to preserve their fresh fruit character. The resulting wine then spends a second fermentation in pressurized vats with selected years before being bottled, where it is allowed to further age in a temperature controlled setting before being released.
You could call him "the Tiger Woods of boxing." According to his father, 11-year-old Joseph Awinongya Jr. is on his way to becoming the biggest athlete to come out of Illinois. The senior Awinongya should know, he's been training the four-time national junior boxing champion since he was two years old. Last year, Joseph Jr. won the national championship in Utah and just a few weeks ago, from the nationals in Utah with the number two spot in the country. "I would like to have finished number one," Joseph Jr. said, but that just makes me try harder to win." His father, Joseph Sr. was a professional boxer. A native of Ghana, he was brought to this country from Italy by the iconic boxing and controversial promoter Don King. After retiring with a string of championship titles under his belt, he devoted his time to training the youth in Joliet in the "sweet science" of boxing.
Arriving fresh for 2019 from the rolling hills of Piedmont in Northwestern Italy is the lustrous Tenuta Carretta Cannubi Barolo DOCG 2012-$45. A bold expressive wine made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, it is aged for 36 months-2 years in oak casks and the rest in the bottle, to preserve all of the wine's expressive character. Cannubi is the oldest cry of the tiny denomination of Barolo.
Binny's Beverage Depot was the scene of one of the Chicago area's most opulent Champagne gala. Champagne producers, from France's largest and most prestigious houses, to small "Grand Marque" producers were among the more than 50 types offered for sampling. The annual event, to be duplicated at Binny's throughout the Chicagoland area, brought out oenophiles and Champagne aficionados from far and wide. Among the many treasures sampled were Dom Perignon 2009 ($159.00 SRP) and Moet and Chandon 2009 ($64.99 SRP). While representing the same vintage years, the two could not be more different. The Dom Perignon is light and somewhat restrained. For those who want to stay away from the sharp mineral overtones found in many dry (read Brut) Champagnes, this may be the one for you if price is no object. Dom delivers with an abundance of ripe citrus on the nose with a smattering of more complex lemon custard, warm apple pie made with tart green apples and hints of honeycomb and ginger. The mineral notes translate into a nice acidity that, combined with the citrus fruit, makes for a nice creamy sensation in the mouth. People tend to say that Dom asks a high price for so little punch. But that's not what this one is about. Take your time and focus on the subtleties. You'll find the experience more than rewarding. Moet and Chandon 2009 is considerably easier on the pocketbook, but no less laden with its own hidden treasures.
Villadoria Langhe Rosso DOC Bricco Magno - $16
Barolo is one of the most distinctive of all Italian wines. Rich and bold, it is often compared to the legendary wines of Burgundy in France. The good news is that Italian Barolo of excellent quality can be had for a fraction of the cost. Barolo DOCG is blessed with the highest classification for Italian wines and its quality is therefore guaranteed.