Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wine of the Week-Chateau Du Tariquet Chenin-Chadrdonnay $7

Chateau Du Tariquet Chenin-Chardonnay-$7
Like a bouquet of summer flowers in a glass

Perfect for summer salads and seafood, Chateau Du Tariquet is the perfect way to kick off the spring and summer seasons. At just $7 a bottle, this delightful wine is not only easy on the pocket, but light on the palate. The wine is a blend which marries French varietals from the Loire and Burgundy, which gives it a very distinctive character. The wine is intense, yet supple. It combines citrus aromas of Meyer lemon, and a hint of mandarin orange from the Chardonnay with exotic aromas of chamomile flowers and white roses with a bracing mineralogy from the Chenin. Chardonnay kicks in again to give the wine a balanced structure and a voluptuous finish. Your guests will hardly believe that you paid less than $10 for this superb wine. Stock up on a case or two as this may prove to be your 'go to' wine for light brunches and garden parties. Splurge a little and have it with a Maine Lobster sandwich made with avocado relish and fresh greens and a dash of lemon-infused mayonnaise. Shrimp, Crab, Crayfish or Bay Scallops may be substituted for the lobster.

1. The white wines of Domaine Du Tariquet
2. Lobster sandwich with Avocado relish and fresh greens
3. Dwight Casimere with Domaine Du Tariquet's Armin Grassa

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chateau Du Tariquet: A Century of Family History and Great Wines in Gascony, France

Known for its historic Bas-Armagnac, it's white wines offer sheer pleasure

Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

The story of the Grassa family and Chateau Du Tariquet in the Gascony region of France is a history that surpasses the one century mark. Already renowned for its production of Bas-Armagnac, which was  first produced in 1683 at the estate, the story of the estate and the family is the stuff of romantic legend. In a region known for its Armagnac, the Grassa's have distinguished Tariquet as a producer of luscious white wines that are praised by poets and critics alike for creating wines that "offer the sheer pleasure of biting into a fresh grape."

Chateau Du Tariquet is as fiercely dedicated to its tradition as it is devoted to the promotion of new technologies and techniques that use sustainable agricultural approaches to manage the vineyards and  fertilizers and enriching agents that are organic.

With the handing over of the reins of the estate in 2005 from Yves Grassa, the pioneer, to his two sons, Remy and Armin, this marks a new chapter in Tariquet's history. Armin was in the United States recently to introduce the winery's new releasees, which included its Blanche Armagnac and its 2014 wine releases, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin-Chardonnay, Chardonnay, Cote' and Rose' de Pressee'. The wines were paired with a special menu of dishes that highlighted both the delicate floral and savory notes of the wines, contrasted with their crispness and flavors of ripe citrus and exotic fruits.
 Armin Grassa of Domaine Du Tariquet with his Blanche Armagnac
 Fresh herbs emphasize the savory and citrus flavors of Domaine du Tariquet's Sauvignon Blanc 2014
 Tariquet Blanche Armagnac
 The wine pairing of Smoked Salmon Crostini with Capers and Red Onion (below) with Domaine du Tariquet Classic, Sauvignon Blanc and Cote', all 2014

 Maine Lobster Sandwich with Avocado Relish and Wild Greens paired with Domaine du Tariquet Chenin-Chardonnay, Chardonnay and Rose' de Pressee', all 2014 vintage

 Wine author and columnist Msanos Angelakis savors Domaine du Tariquet Chardonnay 2014
 Domaine du Tariquet's Bas Armagnac
 Domaine du Trariquet's Classic white wines
 Dwight Casimere with Armin Grassa

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Vinitaly 2015-Italy's Diverse and Affordable Wines Take World Stage

Italian Wines provide a flavor profile for every taste

Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

VERONA, Italy--More than 150,000 visitors can't be wrong. The 49th edition of Vinitaly held in the massive Veronafiere complex, presented one of the most diverse presentations of the Italian and international wine community ever. There was a wine for every personal taste. From bone dry white wines, such as Verdichio, to sparkling sweet wines from Asti, there was a wine for every occasion and palate.

Among the tastings, Conegliano Valdobbiadene had one of the most impressive pavilions with a daily list of informative seminars and guided tastings. The Marche region also presented a comprehensive tasting of the full range of wines from this up and coming region. Sicily also made a strong showing with wines from Donnafugata, Planeta and others, which showed the highly distinctive array of wines made from indigenous grape varietals. Donnafugata's Ben Rye is golden honey in a bottle with a rich, complex flavor that makes it perfect as a dessert companion, or for contemplative sipping on its own. The wine is made from 100% Zibbibo (also known as Moscato d´Alessandria), 14.5 % alc, the grapes for this Passito from Pantelleria come from 11 different parcels around the island.

The wine also holds its own with certain sea food dishes, particularly fresh Branzini, the firm whitefish which is often served whole in an aromatic sauce of olive oil, garlic, oregano and a splash of the local wine made from the Zibbibo grape. Also great with the wine is the Gambero Rosso, the sweet pink-colored shrimp that are served raw that are among the delights of the summer season. Scallops and swordfish (pesce spada) in a sauce made with fresh locally grown capers and complemented with a reduction of the wine, also makes for a marvelous pairing.

Casimiro Maule is the owner and winemaker of Nino Negri wines, the most decorated wines of Lombardy. His opulent Amarones and elegantly complex barolos make his the premiere wine producing estate in the Valtelina DOCG region. “We have not simply produced a wine, but we are working hard to protect and enhance the territory, environment, culture and history," Maule said, during a tasting of his marvelous new Amarone releases.
One of the pavilions at Veronafiere, site of Vinitaly
With Lorenzo Frescobaldi at the showing of his 1864 Marchesi Di Frescobaldi Nippozano, the first time it has been shown outside the Castello

A presentation of Parma ham

Innovative Italian fashion

Below:Sommelier and wine writer Jenny Viant Gomez of of Verona with Franco D'Eusanio and his Chiusa Grande organic wines
(Above and below) A tour of Prosecco sparkling wine in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene
Below: The magnificent Barolo wines of Damilano

Below: Former Formula One racing driver Jarno Truili is now a winemaker in Abruzzo with his Castorani wines

Below: Lucio Cavuto-Managing Director-Castorani Wines

Below: Casimiro Maule of Nino Negri in the Valtelina DOCG of Lombardy in northern Italy


Below: Jose Rallo of Donnafugata with her Sur Sur white wine of Sicily from 100% Grillo grapes


Jose Rallo, CEO Donnafugata with her father and winery co-founder Giacomo Rallo

More than 150,000 visitors came from all over the world to Vinitaly 2015m

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wine of the Week- Epsilon, Ca' Di Rajo Sparkling Wines of Italy

Ca' Di Rajo poised for major U.S. wine release in June

Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

SAN POLO DI  PIAVE (Treviso), Italy--Luca Ortoncelli speaks with the enthusiasm of the father of a newborn. His Ca' Di Rajo winery located in the Piave river valley near Venice in northern Italy, is set to embark upon a new marketing relationship that will  bring his wines to the finest restaurants and wine shops in Chicago and beyond.

Already renowned for its Prosecco Superiore, which comes from the Valdobbiadene in the northern border district of Treviso, Ca' Di Rajo is fast gaining a reputation for its Red wines, particularly Raboso Piave, made from a vine variety that is considered the pride of the eastern part of the Veneto. But it is Prosecco that has given Ca' Di Rajo its fame and its latest endeavor will set the wine world on its ear. It's called Epsilon. The fifth letter of the Greek alphabet, it is a word that evokes mystery.

In June, Ca' Di Rajo will arrive in Chicago for the kick-off of a national tour promoting its new line of sparkling wines that will feature a unique packaging that will attract the eye and act as an invtitation to the delightful sparkling wine inside. Designed to attract a wider audience among millennials, the wines are entitled Epsilon. It comes in three varieties,  Pink, White and Gold, each with a distinctive flavor profile. The wine inside is Prosecco, the sparkling liquid gold of the north. Luca Ortoncelli best described the wine in his own poetic words.

"The man who made this wine, you can tell that wine is in his heart." The wines will sell for about $24 and offer flavor profiles of Brut (bone dry), Extra Dry (slightly sweet) and a Rose' colored wine called Epsilon Pink, which is semi-sweet in taste. "The wines are terrific as party wines to drink alone, but they also go with food. Summer salads, seafood, especially oysters and soft, ripe cheeses and creamy desserts." The attractive packaging will also make the wines an exciting offering for bottle service in clubs and restaurants. "That's where we expect to get a lot of attention. When people see this bottle, they think of fashion and luxury. Yet, its an afforadable luxury that anyone can enjoy."
Ca' Di rajo's Luca Ortoncelli with his new Epsilon sparkling wines

The vineyards at Ca' Di Rajo
The 15th Century tower that comprises the Ca' Di Rajo winery and (Below) Luca Ortoncelli in the vineyards near one of the twin towers at the winery

Dwight Casimere in the vineyards and a closer look at the ancient tower

The church at Ca' Di Rojo dates to the 15th Century. Ancient frescoes were discovered under the plaster on the walls