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

A Taste of Two Chardonnays and a Delicious Prosecco

by Mark Patykewich on June 14, 2019

Hello from The Caviste

Summer is rolling up quick, schools are out and camps are starting. I thought it would be a good time to present two of the favorite wines in Winston-Salem – delicious Chardonnay and a top tier Prosecco. All speak to summer in a bottle and are perfect for the wonderful porch weather we have been having recently.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most planted and perhaps best known wine grapes in the world. With anything so well known, there cannot help but be varying opinions from people who only drink Chardonnay to the ‘ABC’ group, Anything But Chardonnay. As with anything so widely discussed, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The real dividing factor is not the grape, Chardonnay, but the level of oak/barrel aging and malolactic fermentation in the production process. The more of these two, the richer, rounder and more buttery the wine. The less even to none, the more crisp, clear and laser like the wine. So, today, we will present two Chardonnay’s that present a fine contrast in the two styles, both from Burgundy and roughly 40 miles apart.

 

Domaine de la Chappelle Santenay Blanc
Santenay as a region is mainly known for red wines but it neighbors a renowned white wine region, Chassagne-Montrachet.  White wines from the region are rare, but when found they often reflect the style and elegance of their better known neighbors, as this wine certainly does.
Domaine Chapelle dates back to 1893 when the family first purchased land in Santenay and Cassagne-Montrachet.  The white wines of this estate are rare for two reasons.  First, Santenay mainly produces reds from Pinot Noir.  And for Domaine Chapelle, only about 5% of their production is exported.  But the soils of the Beate, limestone under sandy loam are perfect for whites like this. The vines are 43 years old and the wine is raised for 12 months in barrel with some bating and malolactic is allowed to take place.
These steps result in the richer slightly rounder style of wine one expects from a Cassagne-Montrachet.  But the limestone soil provides a nice underpinning of lively mineral flavors.  It is a gorgeous wine full of rich lemon curd and hints of apricot and ripe pear, perfect for crab or a lemony roast chicken.  $29 a bottle
Bonhomme Vire-Clesse
 
Vire-Clessé is one of the newer appellations in Burgundy, created in 1999.  It was created to single out high quality vineyard sites not covered under the Pouilly appellation, such as Pouilly-Fuisse and others.  Appellation rules limit wines to a maximum of 3 grams of sugar.  This results in wines that are as dry and crisp as Chablis but a bit more richness since the region is further south and the soil contains more clay.
 
The Bonhomme domaine was founded by Andre Bonhomme in 1956, in Saone-et-Loire, in Burgundy’s southern outposts the Maconnais.  His Vire-Clesse bottling comes from a two hectare parcel where vines average 30 years of age, and grow in clay and limestone. This is one of their highest elevation vineyards called “Les Pierres-Blanches.” 
All grapes are grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides and harvested by hand at very low yields. All wines are fermented using natural yeasts in a mix of steel and wood and undergo malolactic fermentation.  100% Chardonnay, the wines are full of texture, richness, and beautiful fruit concentration. This bottle exhibits the classic flavors of asian pear, lemon, and a crisp minerality. They are medium bodied with a rich mid-palate. The wine finishes with notes of soft ripe yellow apple and a hint of lemon inflected sea salt.  The minerality has me thinking of fresh fish, perhaps flaky white fish over shaved fennel or grilled scallops. This would make a delicious beach wine.  $28 a bottle.
Alla Costiera Prosecco
Just in time for your first summer getaway, we have one of the favorite sparkling wines back in the store, Alla Costiera’s Prosecco.
Let’s be clear – not all wine is created equal.  This is simply a fact.  All may be “fermented grape juice” to an extent, but some are full of a possible 200 chemicals and made in batches of 200,000 to 500,000 bottles at a time.  We each can have our own preference, and should, but let’s not confuse artisan production with high volume mass produced items.  Alla Costiera was one of the first estates in the Veneto to tend their vines attentively and organically.  Today, they have some of the oldest Glera, the base grape for Prosecco, vines in the region.
This wine cost about the same as any grocery store wine but is made in batches of 2,500 bottles at a time and the quality is easily twice the large production items.  It maintains the enjoyable and lively drinkability Prosecco is known for but has a bit more seriousness and depth to it. I love the way fragrant floral notes intermingle with lime and white peach notes all enlivened by refreshing bubbles.  $16 a bottle.
I would strongly suggest stocking up on this wine for summer get togethers and party gifts when visiting friends.  To facilitate this, we will offer 15% off by the case.  Email us if you would like for us to set some aside.
Have a wonderful weekend, 
Russ and Mark

Frosty Bottles and Slanted Labels – Delicious Wines

June 8, 2019

Hello From The Caviste   The weeks have been busy and we are trying to get prepared for a lot of new and delicious things this fall.  As well, rosés are rolling in to the store on an almost weekly basis now.  So be sure to stop by and pick up some of the new […]

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You say Nebbiolo, Tonight We Say Spanna

March 14, 2019

We got so excited about hosting this tasting and getting a preview of the wines yesterday, we are late in sending out an email. The short version – we are hosting Francis from Vallana Wines tonight for a fantastic tasting of Nebbiolo and perhaps the best value Barbera in the store. Now, to be clear, […]

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Let the Sun Shine In – Allocated Beaujolais

March 5, 2019

Foillard’s Baujolais Allocated and Sought After It is about time we saw some sun and it seems as rare as this allocated Beaujolais. Jean Foillard has long been one of the most respected and sought after producers of Beaujolais. Côte du Py is one of Beaujolais’ great vineyards. Foillard is undoubtedly the master of the […]

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Valentine’s Day Wines

February 13, 2019

Hello from The Caviste, I hope everyone is having a good week.  It is that time of the year, Valentines is tomorrow and spring seems to be halfway here already.  To help you celebrate with your special someone, we wanted to offer some fitting bottles for tomorrow and the weekend. FRV100 Sparkling Rosé Deliciousness This […]

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February 5, 2019

  Good sunny afternoon from the Caviste, This week holds a great winemaker visit and some lovely sale wines. We always enjoying hosting winemakers and look forward to each one.  Martin’s visit is perfectly timed for the pretty weather we have been having. Winemaker Visit Martin Minkowitsch This Thursday, we have another great opportunity to […]

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Inventory Clearance 1/4 & 1/5

January 4, 2019

Let us bring a little brightness to your rainy day with our annual inventory clearance sale. Once a year we do a thorough inventory counting all the bottles and finding some hidden treats here and there.  We’ve collected them and put them on the table, all clearance wines are 20% off their normal price. With […]

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Bubbles Tasting Rescheduled for Saturday, December 29th

December 28, 2018

Well the weather outside is frightful . . . and since Russ is under the weather, the bubbly tasting has been RESCHEDULED to tomorrow (Saturday, Dec 29 – starting at 2pm). Stop by to taste some wines and stock up for your new years eve festivities! We will be pouring the following delightful bubblies tomorrow: […]

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Tonight’s Tasting & Holiday Hours

December 20, 2018

Hello From The Caviste, The holidays are rolling along and we wish everyone the best. It is a cold and rainy day, just perfect for coming out and tasting some delicious and warming Italian wines with Jay Murrie tonight, starting at 4.  Then next Friday, we will have a bit of a bubble fest at […]

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