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Triple J - Like Father; Like Son

Date: Wed, Sep 22, 2010 Wine Tasting

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. and Chicago Mayoral hopeful Jesse Jackson Jr. ("Triple J"), said he was "deeply saddened" about a relationship with a Washington D.C. restaurant hostess, but called it "preposterous" to contend that he asked a fund-raiser to approach former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich with an offer of $6 million in exchange for President Obama's former Senate seat. Triple J also had no comments regarding reports that he used campaign funds to fly Washington D.C. restaurant hostess/swimsuit model/social acquaintance Giovana Huidobro (a Rachel Uchitel wannabe) to Chicago, allegedly at the Congressman's request. In separate statements, both Triple J and his wife, Chicago 7th Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson (who by the way, looks a lot like Latoya Jackson) asked that their privacy be respected with regard to the restaurant hostess/swimsuit model/social acquaintance. Triple J's action also inadvertently let slip a secret formerly known only to players like himself and Tiger Woods - that restaurant hostesses are available to be flown in for "social acquaintance" purposes. Who knew that this was possible? I sure didn't. I thought hostesses just greeted customers and led them to a table. And how do they find the time? Besides her hostessing duties, Ms. Huidobro found time to fly to Chicago to visit with a Congressman, do a swimsuit photo shoot, and get interviewed by the FBI - what time management skills! Triple J; it sounds like you got a keeper!

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Demarie Roero Arneis (2008) Piemonte

Date: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 Wine Tasting

A big jam donut with cream on top from Azienda Agricola Demarie, a multi-generational producer who farms 14 hectares of vineyards in the heart of the Roero region of Piemonte. Beautiful sparkling straw-yellow in color. Fresh, floral, fruity nose. Full bodied and smooth. Crisp acidity. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. A terrific varietal that is worth looking for as a change of pace from the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio.

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Terra di Vulcano Aglianico del Vulture (2007) Basilicata

Date: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 Wine Tasting

A red pencil box from Terra di Vulcano, one of two product lines (albeit the lower-end) of Azienda Agricola Bisceglia, a winery founded in 2001 by Mario Bisceglia. 100% Aglianico, grown in the Vulture DOC, near the ancient volcano of Mt. Vulture (great name!) in Basilicata. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Inky-red in color. Strong nose of spicy darkness. Utterly smooth and well-balanced; belies its low price. A very pleasant full-bodied red.

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Cantina Terlano Terlaner Classico (2009) Trentino-Alto Adige

Date: Tue, Sep 7, 2010 Wine Tasting

A crisp, northern Italian white wine from Cantina Terlano, an Alto-Adigeon co-op that was founded way back in 1893. Today, the co-op (one of the smallest in the province) has 100+ members that naturally farm over 150 hectares. Together, they produce about 1.2 million bottles of wine annually. The 2009 Terlaner Classico is a proprietary blend of 60% Pinot Bianco, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Yellow/green in color. A nose that is more citrusy than peppery. Brilliant acidity. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Hock bottle. Opened at a family Labor Day party and after singing a few tunes on a karaoke machine ("Paper Roses" among others and not my key by the way) I forgot whether or not the cork was synthetic. A very nice wine.

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Fattoria di Lucignano Chianti Colli Fiorentini (2007) Tuscany

Date: Mon, Aug 30, 2010 Wine Tasting

A pistol from Fattoria di Lucignano , a small (32 acre) traditional winery located in the medieval town of Lucignano, only a mile from the western border of the Chianti Classico. The winery, run by the Countess Antonella Guicciardini, is known for their consistent quality, year after year. Intense, ruby-red color. Fruity nose of black cherries. Well balanced and smooth. Vinified and aged in glazed, cement vats for 12 to 18 months. A blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, 5% Merlot, and 5% Colorino. Delicious.

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Cataldi Madonna Trebbiano d' Abruzzo (2009) Abruzzo

Date: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 Wine Tasting

A summer peach from Cataldi Madonna, a small family winery located high in the plains near L' Aquila. Founded in 1920 by Antonio Cataldi Madonna, the winery is now run by son Luigi who produces some of Abruzzo's best reds, whites, and roses. Their 2009 Trebbiano is a brilliant greenish-yellow in color with a perfumed nose of apple, pear and peach. Crisp, refreshing acidity. Substantial in feel. A perfect match for the summer bounty (the "quicker, picker-upper"). Synthetic cork.

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Damilano Nebbiolo d' Alba (2007)Piemonte

Date: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 Wine Tasting

An enjoyable, inexpensive introduction to the Nebbiolo grape from Damilano, a family run Barolo maker that has been around since the late 1800’s. From their small Piemontese winery, the great grandchildren of original owner Giuseppe Borgogno make a traditional line up of ready to consume Barolo’s, Dolcetto’s, Barbera’s, and Arneis. The 2007 Nebbiolo d’ Alba is dusty brick-red in color with a nice nose of violets and spice. Like myself, the wine is fairly light in body. Aged for 16 months in French oak barriques (50% new and 50% one and two years old). Albeisa bottle.

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Tenuta Scilio "Phiale" Etna Rosso (Sicily) 2003

Date: Mon, Aug 9, 2010 Wine Tasting

A delicious, spicy Italian red from Tenuta Scilio, a 69 acre estate that lies on the northeast slopes of Mount Etna. Tenuta Scilio does not use any artificial fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides and all of their wines are made exclusively from grapes grown on their estate. The 2003 Phiale is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio; both dark, brooding natives. Strong nose and taste of black cherries and spice. Full, unctuous mouthfeel. 65% of the wine is aged in small French oak barrels and 35% of the wine is aged in American oak for twelve months. Tiny 600 case production. I purchased the wine at the Wine Cellars of Saugatuck, a nice wineshop that sells unique wines from all over the world and thankfully very little from Michigan.

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Marchesi di Gresy Monte Aribaldo Dolcetto D' Alba (2007) Piemonte

Date: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 Wine Tasting

A gem from Marchesi di Gresy, an 88 acre winery made up of four estates situated in the Langhe and Monferrto. In the late 1960's, owner Alberto di Gresy decided that he no longer wanted to continue selling his families grapes to other producers, so in 1973, he began producing his own wine. His Dolcetto, is grown on the Monte Aribaldo estate near the legendary Martinenga, Piemonte's only monopole; a vineyard owned exclusively by one proprietor. Brilliant ruby-red in color. Fragrant cherry nose. Velvety. Terrific balance. Un-oaked.

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Cavallotto Vigna Scot Dolcetto d' Alba (2008) Piemonte

Date: Mon, Aug 2, 2010 Wine Tasting

A terrific everyday Italian red wine from Cavallotto, an unsung winery that produces great value-priced Barolo's in addition to Barbera's and Dolcetto's on their 23 hectares in Piedmont. Cavallotto practices "green" farming methods. They use no fertilizers and use only copper and sulfur-based products for insect and disease control. Cavallotto is one of only a few producers that purchase quarry sulfur from Sicily; which is considered among the best. (I agree and only use Sicilian sulfur in my home garden; I source mine from Balthazar.) Ruby-red/purple in color. Cherry/berry fruit nose. Full bodied; well balanced. Warm, soft mouthfeel. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Albeisa bottle.

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Taurino Notarpanaro (2004) Puglia

Date: Mon, Jul 19, 2010 Wine Tasting

A spicy Italian red wine from Taurino, one of the first producers to bottle and sell wines from Puglia in the international marketplace. Before Taurino, wines from the south of Italy were primarily sold in bulk or used in blends to strengthen better known wines from northern Italy and France. The 2004 Notarparnaro is a blend of 85% Negroamaro and 15% Malvasia Nera. Dark, inky red in color. Rich, full nose of fruit and spice. Peppery fininsh. Aged for 36 months (six of which in a blend of Allier, Nevers, and Troncais oak). Bottle aged for an additional three years prior to release.

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Stiftskellerei Neustift Abbazia di Novacella Kerner (2008) Alto Adige

Date: Fri, Jul 9, 2010 Wine Tasting

A beautiful Italian white wine from Abazzia di Novacella, a winery founded in 1142 (and still run today) by the Augustinian order of monks who toil with 100 lay workers in the Isarco Valley of Alto Adige; located a short distance south of the Brenner Pass and the Austrian border. The winery is Italy's northernmost and specializes in cool-climate whites, many of which are grapes of Germanic origin. The 2008 Kerner is 100% Kerner, a grape origianted as a cross between a Trollinger and a Reisling. Sparkling pale gold in color. Citrus fruit nose. Full, silky body. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Crisp and delicious. Synthetic cork. Hock bottle. For those of you who are wondering, the photo is of former Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, who was the first of three (pretty soon four) Illinois governors to be convicted of Federal criminal charges.

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Tenuta Luisa Friulano (2008) Friuli - Venezia Giulia

Date: Tue, Jul 6, 2010 Wine Tasting

A resolute Italian white wine from Tenuta Luisa, an 80 year old family winery that farms nearly 200 acres of vineyards in the DOC Friuli Insonzo area of northeastern Italy that borders Slovenia. Their 2008 Friulano is 100% Friulano (called Tocai Friulano in the old days) that is vinified and aged in stainless steel. Deep golden-yellow in color. Apple/herb nose. Crisp acidity. A white wine with some there; there.

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Vecchia Cantina Incanto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (2005) Tuscany

Date: Fri, Jul 2, 2010 Wine Tasting

A good-enough Tuscan red from the Vecchia Cantina Cooperative, a large producer in the Poliziana region of southern Tuscany. Purchased on the cheap from Trader Joe's, a store that is by no means my "go-to" place for wine, but since we are there several times a week, it's convenient. According to the laws of of the DOCG (if you mix-up the letters it spells God; with a "C" for Christianity!) a wine has to have at least 70% Sangiovese and no more than 20% Canaiolo Nero to be designated as a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. (if you mix up these letters, I'm not sure what the hell you get.) Incanto's incarnation (clever? I thinks so) is a blend of 78% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo Nero, and 2% Mammolo. Haunting dark red color; decent cherry/stone fruit nose. Medium to full body. Nice acidity, but with some rough tannins. Needs food to be enjoyed. Cute image of a hedgehog on the label. Not enough hedgehog imagery in the wine world in my opinion.

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