Archive for December, 2010

LINI 910 in The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

If you’re a fan of Vino, chances are you’re also a fan of Lambrusco. Our choice to champion the sparkling wines of Lini 910 three years ago kick-started a national Lambrusco reappraisal which shows no sign of slowing down.

Last Saturday Lini’s wines received high praise in the Wall Street Journal, where they were featured alongside those of other wineries in an article by Lettie Teague. In “Riunite Was Nice, but There’s More to Lambrusco”, the WSJ wine columnist analyzes the sparkling wine’s unusual status as arguably the most commonly misunderstood Italian wine among American consumers. She goes on to explain how true Lambrusco producers such as Lini are helping to reverse such misconceptions surrounding the wine.

The intrepid Ms. Teague traveled to three states to gather as many Lambrusco wines as she could get her hands on, which she then tasted with Michael Avella of Love Lane Kitchen, a restaurant in Mattituck, N.Y. Unsurprisingly (at least to us), Lini’s wines came out on top.

Ms. Teague liked the Lambrusco Scuro best, calling it “big, rich but still beautifully foamy.” Mr. Avella, who lived in Emilia-Romagna for the best part of a decade, had his own favorite: Lini’s Metodo Classico Rosso. “This is what I’m looking for,” he said. “It’s not complex, but it’s lively with a wonderful floral bouquet. And it dances. Lambrusco should always dance on your palate.”

But don’t take their word for it (or even ours): both wines (plus the full range of Lini 910 sparklers) are available at Vino. Take home a bottle (or two) today!

Lini 910 Lambrusco Scuro

Lini 910 Lambrusco Metodo Classico Rosso

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

Cocktail Gift-Packs: A cool way to warm up this holiday!

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Vino is rightly celebrated for its extensive wine selection, but our range of spirits has grown impressively over the last year, affording us the opportunity to present some of our favorite liquid libations to our discerning but adventurous clientele. And if the popularity of our Thursday Cocktail Hour events is anything to go by, New Yorkers are displaying a new-found appreciation for classic tipples and the rediscovered art of mixology. So it’s only natural that we should offer three terrific spirits-based gift-packs this holiday season. The Manhattan and The Brooklyn celebrate the city’s cocktail renaissance, while the Bar in a Box gives you everything you need to concoct your own cocktail creations at home. Cheers!

The Manhattan

Give the gift that contains everything one needs to craft this classic cocktail the way it was originally made — using rye whiskey, not bourbon. This gift pack includes one bottle of Old Overholt Rye, one bottle of Dolin Sweet Vermouth and one bottle of The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters. A recipe card is included so you can mix and taste for yourself why some drinks never go out of style.

The Brooklyn
This gift pack hails from the other side of the East River, and includes the ingredients for a classic Martini. The gin is called Breuckelen, and comes from — you guessed it — Brooklyn. The vermouth is the delicious Dolin Dry. Shake ‘em up as per our special recipe to make a fine Martini-a cool way to warm up this holiday season.

Bar in a Box

This fantastic assortment of spirits is all you need to create your very own bar at home. One bottle of each the basics is included: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Milagro Silver Tequila, Plymouth Gin, Marie Duffau Armagnac, and St. Lucia Chairman’s Reserve Rum. A set of six laminated cocktail recipe cards is enclosed so you’ll know all the proper proportions for classics like the Margarita, Cosmo and Sidecar. Grab some mixers and snacks and the party is set to go!

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

Rhône wonder: Domaine Courtois Côtes du Rhône “La Grande Vigne” 2007

Friday, December 10th, 2010

There are some regions that make loads of tasty, if not transcendent, wines. When the market becomes flooded with wines from appellations like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Côtes du Rhône, the result is incredible value-wines that taste like they should cost double. At Vino we’ve recently added one such gem to our catalog of selections: Domaine Courtois “La Grande Vigne” Côtes du Rhône 2007.

The wine possesses a ton of pedigree without pretention. At $16 a bottle, how could it? The 53 acre property is run by Pascal and Richard Jaume (above, with their father, Claude) who maintain a strict focus on quality. Their 15-20 year old vines hail from the Vinsobres area of the Rhône Valley (about 40 miles north of Chateauneuf-du-Pâpe) where they grow in silty, clay soils. Yields are low for the region-a mere 2.75 tons per acre. The component varieties are aged separately in stainless steel vats for 18 months before assemblage, and the final blend is composed of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. In all, only 12,000 cases are produced (which in a region that produces more than 400 million bottles annually is literally a drop in a bucket).

Add the fact that this wine comes from the spectacular 2007 vintage and it’s little wonder we’re so excited. Perfect for bringing to holiday parties or lazying about at home, this wine constitutes an everyday value, the likes of which we’re proud to offer.

Domaine Courtois “La Grande Vigne” Côtes du Rhône 2007

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

Free ground shipping on all Valentini purchased by Dec. 13, 2010

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Universally recognized as one of the world’s great wineries, Valentini’s considerable legend and legacy do not overshadow the sheer quality of its wines. This year saw the Abbruzzese winery sweep up in Gambero Rosso‘s annual Vini d’Italia Awards. Valentini was not only awarded Winery of the Year, but all three of the company’s wines received the coveted Tre Bicchieri prize, the first time a single estate has taken all the top honors. We’re thrilled that Gambero Rosso has recognized these unique wines, and in celebration of Valentini’s unprecedented achievement, Vino is excited to present a very special holiday offer: enjoy FREE GROUND SHIPPING on all Valentini purchased by December 13, 2010.

Edoardo Valentini (above) produced wine for sale from the 1956 vintage until his death at age 72 in 2006. During that half-century he became widely regarded as Abruzzo’s greatest winemaker. His renown among fans of fine Italian wines grew as bottles of his Montepulciano, Cerasuolo and Trebbiano found their way onto tables and into tastings all over the world. His unique approach to handling vines that were thought inferior by many in the wine community combined with his eccentric personality caused his legend to grow but it was the excellence in bottle that really solidified his reputation as one of Italy’s great craftsmen of natural wines.

Valentini gave up a career in law to return with his family to their ancestral home in the village of Loreto Aprutino, about a half hour inland from Pescara. He tended about 170 acres of vines spread across several vineyard sites as well as hundreds of acres planted to fruit trees and olives. While farming made up a good part of his living, life in a rural village also allowed him to count agriculture and winemaking among his intellectual pursuits. He was famously reluctant to advise visitors on his techniques in the cellar but we do know through the consistent quality of his wines across the decades that whatever those methods were he practiced them with discipline and expected excellence in quality and style.

Valentini became notorious for his shunning of the media and disregard for wine marketing. Consequently, what little information we can glean about the man and his wines only serves to enhance the mystique surrounding both.

Since Edoardo Valentini’s passing his son Francesco Paolo (above) has carried on the production of the family’s much-admired line of Abruzzese wines with fidelity and rigor. It is evident in tasting that the Valentini legacy remains strong and will be well tended.

Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2008

Valentini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo 2008

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

Yo ho ho and a bottle of… Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Venezuelan Rum

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Rum has had a somewhat unfair reputation in the past, with mass-produced and over-hyped brands from Puerto Rico dominating the market. But in the Vino tradition of providing a diverse and unique line of spirits you might not find everywhere else, we are proud to carry the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva — a delicious aged rum from Venezuela.

Rum is a different kind of spirit, in that there aren’t really any rules regarding the production. The base is derived from sugar cane, but after that one is free to add flavor, blend it with other rums, age it any number of years, and do so in any form. Whereas other spirits have strict regulations concerning the kind of barrel they must be aged in, the ingredients they’re made of and so on, rum is a free spirit.

Diplomatico hails from Venezuela, where it was originally created by Don Juancho Nieto Melendez in the late 18th Century. Having been inspired by the methods of production he observed in Jamaica and the Antilles Islands, he began working on his own product, naming it Ron Diplomatico. His process involves fermenting the molasses (the juice extracted from the cooked sugar cane) and then sending it on a triple-distillation journey through a pot-still, a batch-kettle, and finally a continuous distillation, after which the spirit is aged. The Reserva Exclusiva is the oldest and most recognized rum made by Diplomatico. It spends twelve years in small, former bourbon and whiskey oak barrels resulting in a rich and honeyed, slightly sweet, dark rum — ideal for drinking neat or on the rocks.

In addition to producing one of the finest rums on the market (in our humble opinion), Diplomatico recently became the sixth liquor producer in the world to become certified under the ISO 14000 Standard for Environmental Management Systems. This certification ensures the consumer that the practices used to produce the rum are environmentally safe and sustainable. So raise a glass to Diplomatico — for their ecological concern, and just as important, their undying commitment to pleasing our palates.

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Venezuelan Rum

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

The perfect vintage?

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Looking back at the 2005 vintage in Burgundy, most would agree that it was hard to find a wine produced in that region that wasn’t fantastic. Vino is proud to offer one such wine, the 2005 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Champs-Gains” by Jean-Marc Morey.

The domaine was originally created in 1950 by Albert Morey, who was one of the first producers in Chassagne to bottle his own wines. He retired in 1981, leaving the estate to his sons, Jean-Marc and Bernard. Drawing upon the experience he obtained while working with his father, Jean-Marc continues to produce wines that are truly representative of their terroir.

The Burgundy region is situated just North-East of the center of France. Chassagne-Montrachet is a commune located in the area called Cote-d’Or, which is home to 50 Premier Cru (1er Cru) vineyards. The clayish limestone soil is ideal for producing Pinot Noir, the main red grape variety which is allowed to be grown in this area. In 2005, the climate conditions — a hot, dry summer and a timely, cool fall harvest — were nothing short of perfect. These factors contributed largely to what some believe was the classic or perfect vintage in Burgundy.

Jean-Marc Morey’s “Les Champs-Gains” is a fine example of what this vintage has to offer. He only uses wild yeast when making his wine, which allows the vineyard’s native yeast to naturally start the fermentation process, rather than artificially adding yeast to force the start. He lets the grapes age on their lees while in barrel, which adds complexity. He uses a mere one quarter new oak for the barrel aging, which he feels is enough to provide some roundness without overwhelming the fruit. The end result is a wine with finesse, well-balanced fruit aromas and flavors, and beautiful acidity. This wine is already a classic in our book, and we hope that it will find its way onto your table as well.

Jean-Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Champs-Gains” 2005


For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

Holiday Two-Packs: Double the gift, double the fun!

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Diamond earrings, warm leather boots, turtle doves… it seems some of the best holiday gifts come in pairs. With that in mind we’ve put together four holiday twin-packs featuring some of our (and your) favorite wines from Vino’s extensive Italian selection. Some are a match made in heaven, others are a case of opposites attracting, but all are perfect holiday gifts for every occasion and on any budget. Check out our full list of Holiday Gift-Packs at

Dora’s Table
What’s wine without food? Pick up this Pugliese two-pack and get Dora’s own recipe for orecchiette and braised rabbit. Included are two wines — Bacco Malvasia and Piro Varrone Casa Vecchia Primitivo — that act as the ideal complement for these scrumptious dishes. Of course, if you enjoy them on their own no one will blame you; they’re just that good.

The Pair from Piemonte
The region of Piemonte is known for its gastronomic diversity; it is home to everything from tasty cheeses to heavenly truffles to wonderful wine! Explore the liquid treasures and pleasures of Northern Italy with one white and one red. From a great producer of natural wine, Terralba, enjoy a bottle of Timorasso — a rare but much sought-after grape variety — and a classic Barbera.

Tip to Tail
Travel to the ends of Italy with this dynamic duo. Start with a refreshing white called Fosarin from our much-lauded Friuli producer Ronco dei Tassi. A blend of Friulano, Malvasia and Pinot Bianco, this three-time Tre Bicchieri winner is sure to delight. Then head south with a bottle of Conti Zecca Nero. This hearty blend of Negroamaro and Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Puglia’s best reds.

Barolo & Brunello
We call them the killer B’s. Italy’s finest struts its stuff in this two-pack that will surely have collectors and enthusiasts all abuzz. Included in this amazing gift box is one bottle of Castello di Verduno Massara Barolo and one bottle of Cerbaia Brunello di Montalcino. Both hail from the spectacular 2004 vintage, so you can lay them down for a decade or drink them now; either way, you’ll be sure to enjoy these masterpieces.  

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

Raise a glass to FREE GROUND SHIPPING on all orders over $250*

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Vino is always looking improve itself. Since early last year we’ve nearly doubled our product selection and begun offering numerous wine and cocktail tastings (including, everyone’s favorite, our jumbo-sized first Friday tastings). Our motivation to provide the Vino community with the best possible wine and spirits experience has lead to our decision to offer FREE GROUND SHIPPING in the continental United States on all orders over $250.

Sure, we might’ve waited for the holidays to announce this offer, but feel free to take advantage of it anytime because long after we ring in the New Year this promotion will still be available. Effective immediately you can place an order online, over the phone or in the store and receive the benefit of free shipping. How does it work? Choose any combination of wines and/or spirits from our well thought out selection; if your total pre-tax receipt is greater than $250, you’ll receive free ground shipping. No codes, no coupons, just free shipping. Now you can enjoy happier holidays.

Of course, all the excitement from this announcement has probably got you thirsty. We invite you to quench this thirst at our trio of free tastings at the store this weekend. We kick things off with our Gargantuan Tasting tonight from 5:30-7:30pm. We’ll be pouring ten wines from around the globe including a very old Italian red and the Riesling we wrote about earlier this week.

We follow this on Saturday with a tasting of amaros and a liqueur from importer Haus Alpenz. Scott Krahn will be uncorking bottles of Cardamaro, Zucca, and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram from 5:30-7:30. We round things out by celebrating Sunday, December 5th (which happens to be the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition) with two classics, the Bloody Mary and the Mimosa. Whet your whistle from 1:00-3:00pm right around brunch time; with the weather having turned nippy, it’s best to fortify oneself against nature before going about one’s business for the day.

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

NEBBIOLO: Take home 3 expressions of Northern Italy’s most noble grape

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

When talk turns to the world’s great grape varieties, in Italy three species invariably crop up. Southern wine drinkers may vote for Aglianico, while Sangiovese rules in Central Italy. But in the Northern regions one variety is king: Nebbiolo.

Famed the world over for its use in two of Italy’s most celebrated wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, young Nebbiolo is naturally high in tannins thus at its best offers a remarkable potential for aging. Yet many forget that the variety actually goes far beyond these highly revered DOCGs, featuring in wines from some of Piedmont’s lesser-known winemaking zones, including Ghemme and Gattinara in the northern hills of the region. Though most commonly associated with Piedmont, Nebbiolo is also cultivated in Lombardy. Here it is known as Chiavennasca, and is the predominant variety in Valtellina.

Orsolani Carema “Le Tabbie” 2006

In northern Piedmont lies the tiny hamlet of Carema, home to a truly unique viticultural landscape. The Carema DOC’s especially thin topsoil has led to the creation of terraced vineyards supported by monumental granite columns, which rise up dramatically into the mountains towards Valle d’Aosta. Notoriously difficult to cultivate and manage, these demanding terraces are known as “tabbie” in the local dialect. Gian Luigi Orsolani is one of just a handful of producers equal to the challenge, and his resulting wine is called simply, Le Tabbie. Known for his expertise in producing wines from the Erbaluce grape, for this wine Orsolani uses two clones of Nebbiolo, picotener and prugnet, whose high skin-to-pulp ratio lends the wine its rich, ruby color. Aged in oak botti for three years, the wine spends a further twelve months in bottle before its release on the market.

Conti Sertoli Salis Valtellina Superiore “Inferno” 2006

Valtellina is the only significant Nebbiolo zone outside Piemonte. Located in sub-Alpine Lombardia, the vineyards of this unique and historically important appellation are grown on steep, terraced, south-facing slopes along the Adda River. The land under vine is divided into four (or five depending on who you ask) subzones. The smallest, warmest and most evocatively named is Inferno, located between the towns of Sondrio and Chiuro. Conti Sertoli Salis’ version has typical mineral, peat, mint and floral aromas.

Castello di Verduno Barbaresco 2005

Mario Andrion represents a new generation of Langhe winemakers who resist the rigid traditional/modern categorization that has dogged Barolo and Barbaresco for decades. Like many of his contemporaries, he is willing to use advances in viticulture and vinification to produce wines that vibrantly express varietal character and reflect the top quality of the estate’s vineyard sites while requiring minimal technical intervention. Castello di Verduno’s classic Barbaresco is blended from two of the zone’s most famous and coveted vineyards, Rabaja and Faset, both known for their longevity and their distinct earthiness. Low-yields and minimalist intervention in the cellar create a traditional-style Barbaresco with impressive aging potential and classic tar and rose petal flavors.

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or

Prüm Crazy: J.J.Prüm Riesling Kabinett 2008

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Since going international, we at Vino have been happily introducing our loyal customers to a diverse selection of wines from all corners of the world. One of these corners that can be a little intimidating is Germany — the language alone is enough to send one running to the comforts of Italy or France. But we’d like to take a moment here to talk about the J. J. Prüm 2008 Riesling Kabinett, which is a truly fantastic wine from arguably the best wine producer in all of Germany.

The Prüm family’s vineyards rest in the Mosel, one of the thirteen German wine regions where higher quality wines are made. Though the Prüms have been tending vines and making wine here since the 17th century, the modern winery only came about in 1911, when the property was divided between two grandsons. While Sebastien’s  S.A. Prüm remains a successful winery today, it was older brother Johann Josef (above) whose portion went onto receive global recognition. Over the years, other family members have lent a hand in developing the estate which is currently headed by his great-grandson, Dr. Manfred Prüm (below) and his daughter Katharina.

2008 was a cool, classic vintage in Germany; not as affected by global warming as previous years, the Prüm estate experienced a later harvest (in November) which resulted in exemplary conditions in the vineyards. The 2008 Riesling Kabinett is their estate riesling, which means the grapes are sourced from a few different vineyards, while still maintaining Pradikatwein status. This refers to the classification of the wine; Pradikat is the highest quality one can achieve in Germany. Kabinett refers not to the sweetness of the wine, but rather the level of ripeness at which the grapes were picked — this is the first and earliest level.

Traditionally, a Pradikat Kabinett can range from dry to semi-sweet; with low alcohol levels, ripe fruit flavors and aromas, great acidity and excellent aging potential. In fact, Prüm’s wines are known to age better than any other wines in Germany — most (including this one) will improve substantially with 10 years or more of aging. Of course, we encourage you to try one today — this wine is one of the best pairings for spicy Asian or Indian cuisine, but delicious on its own as well. With delicate flavors of peach, slate and citrus, this is a slightly sweet wine that will be sure to please many a palate this holiday season and beyond.

Joh. Jos. Prüm Riesling Kabinett 2008

For more information please contact 212-725-6516 or