Italian values, and a movie recommendation

by Russ Anderson on April 6, 2020

Hello from The Caviste,
Here is hoping you are safe and staying healthy at home.  We’ve just begun this journey and hopefully everyone is getting through these times healthy and perhaps with a bit of humor from time to time.
We are still open and hopefully can help with some of your food and beverage needs.  We are truly grateful for the wonderful support we have gotten so far and are glad to meet you at your car or even deliver to your house as we can.  I was going to try and write an engaging and captivating wine letter to inspire you to buy some wine.  I was also going to focus on Italy this week.  Then one of our core suppliers, Jay Murrie, did it for me.  Many of you know Jay and the quality of wines he imports.  You and I have grown to depend on him for not just value but delicious and also conscientious wine selections.
Jay’s words capture them and their producers better than I could, so I will just address their pricing.  The prices you see below are per bottle but if you buy between 6 and 11 bottles, we will discount them 10%. If you buy 12 or more, we will discount them 20%.  Feel free to mix and match as well at stock up.  (Note: don’t miss our latest movie suggestion below as well.)
From Jay Murrie –
I feel a sense of urgency in highlighting the necessary work these farms do, to sustain their local economies, and to sustain us. I’ve been on the line with Italians more often than not in recent days. Over the last eight years we’ve developed relationships that feel akin to friendship, not simply business partnerships. I care about how they are doing.
 
If you feel an affinity for or solidarity with the people of Italy, today is a good time to support them by purchasing the wine they make on small family farms. Right now it matters a lot. 
 
PWI - 2020 Small farm bottles 1.JPG
Corzano e Paterno Il Corzanello Bianco ($16) 
How visionary was he? When Wendelin Gelpke left behind a successful career as an architect for a life of hardscrabble farming at admittedly beautiful but (50 years ago) essentially ruined Corzano, did he know the oasis would be perfect shelter in this moment for his heirs? I doubt it. But going back to the land in 1970 did lay the groundwork for the self-sustaining ecosystem that is Corzano e Paterno today. Grazing land. 700 sheep. A dairy and creamery. Olive groves. Acres of certified-organic vineyard. Wendelin’s widow still lives at Paterno, and his daughter is the steady hand guiding this vibrant white wine along its path. Nephews, cousins: the operation sustains (and today it seems keeps safe) a thriving extended family. I’ve always been a little jealous. Moreso now. 
 
Il Corzanello Bianco is a multivarietale blend, but the ballast is Chardonnay. Exotic Petit Manseng and a cast of lesser characters give it sunny, porch weather appeal. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, and kept on the lees for several months to improve texture and stability. Serve it with grilled shrimp, Ligurian trofie pasta with pesto, pecorino cheese, and grilled slabs of homemade sourdough bread. Why not? We all have a little extra time on our hands.
 
Pietralta Bianco Toscano ($14)
Franca Lattuada’s farmhouse was built in the 12th century. With the help of her son Stefano, Franca cultivates vineyards that were planted in the late 1960s, and have been organically farmed since she took charge in 1983. Most of the property is hilly uncultivated forest, full of boar. The winemaking is simple. Fermentation and aging in enamel-lined cement tank. The place is tiny, remote, wild. A real oasis of calm, and a treat to visit. Franca cooks wonderfully old-school Tuscan fare, wily old dogs amble about, wind and wildlife are the only sounds. I’ll be drinking this Trebbiano/Malvasia blend with early spring lettuce salads, or (on cooler evenings) tortellini in brodo. 
 
Borgo Moncalvo Dolcetto ($14)
This vintage’s Dolcetto has an appealing violet color and high-intensity floral aromas, preamble to way more pure berry fruit than would seem possible in a light-ish wine. Borgo Moncalvo is small but ambitious. The cellar and estate run on solar power. The wines are certified organic. Borgo Moncalvo is sustainability at its best. A small farm maintained by multiple generations of the same family, producing a high-quality regional product in a setting that allows space for the natural world to coexist. Their vines grow in a mix of terra bianca calcareous marls, and terra rossa clay-limestone. 
 
PWI - 2020 Small farm bottles 2.JPG
La Casaccia Barbera ($18)
The Giuanin Barbera has broad appeal. Unfettered, showcasing perfectly ripe certified-organic grapes. Giovanni and Elena have been organically farming the hilly, sun-exposed sites in their home village of Cella Monte (Monferrato) that provided the grapes for the Giuanin (the name means little Giovanni.) Barbera for 17 years now. All the fruit for the wine is harvested by hand into 20-kg small baskets. The cellar work is careful, minimal.  La Casaccia uses only free-run and delicate first press juice for their wines.  It keeps the bottles-per-kilo low and the wine fine, precise in flavor. Temperature-controlled fermentation occurs in a cool cellar carved into stone underneath the Rava family’s house.. Large concentrations of healthy yeast and other microorganisms are the backbone of successful organic farming. La Casaccia’s wines are clean and stable because, in the fields and the cellar, they nurture and protect this unseen resource.
 
Drinking Giuanin with pork loin and caramelized onions can’t be a bad move, though I’d also recommend the wine with tender lamb and rosemary. Vegetarian: Rancho Gordo Good Mother Stallard beans, brown rice and sautéed Swiss chard.
 
Visintini Pinot Grigio ($17)
The three Visintini siblings are as strong-willed as any farmers I’ve met. I worry about everyone in Italy today. If resilience is the key to getting past this moment in time I’m sure their centuries-old, 40-acre family farm will survive. After all, the first shots in World War I were fired in Corrno di Rosazzo, their hometown. The 13th-century Castello di Gramogliano, in whose cellar this wine is made, has been ruined and rebuilt several times, has seen waves of plague and conflict. At the intersection of cultures, on the border of Italy, Austria, and Slovenia, the style of wine made at Visintini faces both east and west. It’s almost a pink wine, ramato-style in local parlance, picked later than most Pinot Grigio, certainly picked riper thanks to Oliviero Visintini’s certified-organic (de facto biodynamic) farming practices. At home I’d serve it with poached salmon and asparagus, or fresh pasta with butter and foraged mushrooms, or even pierogi, or meaty Austrian cuisine. Unlike most PG it has texture to match pork, dumplings, game, butter, fat. 
 
Cantina Morone Monaci Falanghina ($16)
My admiration of oenologist Anna della Porta is well-documented. Her work for childhood friend Eleonora Morone at certified-organic Cantina Morone is inspiring. It also feels like their collaboration is just getting started. Every visit, something has improved. The wines are getting more precise. The cellar is changing, new amphora, the addition of a nice upfitted agriturismo upstairs from the cantina.. Pasquale (Eleonora’s father) is tireless in the vineyard, in spite of being a septuagenarian who suffered a tractor accident two years ago. The Morone clan are generous, full of life, and blessed with a verdant  mountainous homeland ideal for growing Falanghina. This year’s Monaci Falanghina Benevento IGP (from vines previously farmed for the local monastery in Guardia Sanframondi)  has a gram more total acidity than its predecessor. Bright, clean, fresh, saline: it has all my favorite markers for Falanghina in Campania. Fresh mozzarella di bufala is the perfect pairing, though I’d also love to try it with chicken saltimbocca, or a pizza from Pepe in Grani in Caizzo, arguably Italy’s greatest pizzeria. If we’re dreaming, why not go for it? 
 
Thanks for sustaining the work of farmers we love. It feels like a moment out of time. Forced quiet. Let’s make the best of it, share food and conversation with loved ones, alone together in our isolated homes. Refocusing on the bonds that matter. A small silver lining in the uneasy calm. – Jay Murrie
 
Stanley Tucci, left, and Tony Shalhoub star in
And with all of these Italian delights, how can we not have our next movie suggestion be Big Nightstarring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub.  A delightful movie about fighting to keep an authentic restaurant alive during trying times and introducing authentic food possibly before the market was ready.  A host of great actors ready to be accompanied by a host of great wines and we even have pasta available if you would like to make your own timpano as in the movie. Pizza, pasta, bread, wine and a good movie – hopefully it helps with the passing of one night at home.
 
Cheers,
Russ

Offering wines selected through tasting not marketing.

The Caviste

1100 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem

336.774.3775

thecaviste@gmail.com

Tues – Wed 11 am – 7 pm; 

Thurs – Sat – 11 am – 8 pm

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