Tag Archives: Vespa

Looking Forward, Looking back…

Buon Anno Nuovo friends! Welcome to the new BUZZ… the Official blog of the Bastianich and La Mozza wineries!

We are working to improve the look and the effectiveness of the blog in some ways you can see and some ways you can’t. We are migrating to a new host, new design, and plenty of features “under the hood” that will make it better…

But really, what could make a blog better than creating content?

Well, that’s changing too. The blog is no longer a one-man show (yours truly), but I have some very capable help from Julia Segal in New York who will keep me on time with posts (we have already started filling in an editorial calendar! *gasp*) She will also be contributing on a regular basis, (she has her own excellent blog here) So look for posts about the wineries but also about other wine related stuff…

Lastly we are working on guest posts from Joe and Lidia Bastianich, winemakers and other folks connected with the winery. I know I’m excited!

A Brief recap of 2012…

From a winery perspective, 2012 was a great year. The harvest was very good this year, with the biggest problem being heat and lack of rainfall that lowered yields by 25% and shrivelled a lot of berries. Concentration and ripeness were great though, and early tastings point to some really dense and intense wines. The sorting table was an important addition to the cellar and we look forward to seeing it’s effect on quality.

From a sales perspective, we had a fantastic year in Italy in general, Friuli in particular and we opened more international markets in 2012 than in any other calendar year ever! The US market is always our best and we continue to see growth overall in the States.

We also had a proud moment when Vespa Bianco was voted the best Italian Superpremium white wine in Snooth.com’s “Peoples Voice Awards”… News so exciting it was covered in Italy!

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The single most exciting addition of 2012 was the opening of the tasting room at the winery in Gagliano…

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You can look out to neighbouring  vineyards through the 15-foot glass entrance. It has two Enomatic wine dispensing machines, a serious temperature controlled wine room and a bar complete with a fridge, drawers, glasses and everything –  I’m like a kid in a candy shop! It’s what I’ve personally wanted for the winery for years, and a great way to taste wine and meet folks who come to the winery. And with Joe’s success on the USA and Italian MasterChef TV shows, more and more people are coming every day.

All in all, I can’t complain about 2012. The new year brings possibilities for showing the Bastianich wines in such exotic places as Istanbul, Moscow and the Turks and Caicos Islands!

Finally (and possibly most exciting of all) will be the release this spring of the 2011 vintage of Vespa Bianco. Why am I so excited about the release of a new vintage? I’ve been tasting the elements and the progression of the 2011 Vespa for more than a year now and every time I try it, I get goosebumps. It’s that friggin’ good. I’m looking forward to showing the wine at the new and improved 4-day VinItaly in April just to see if everyone else is as enthusiastic about it as I am. Quite possibly the greatest Vespa EVER.

Buon Proseguimento!

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COF2011: Tocai day, and discovering a neighbor…

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This was the scene yesterday for the first day of tastings at the the Colli Orientali Consorzio and the COF2011 blogger gathering. That’s Alfonso, Nicolas, Jeremy, McDuff and Samantha working their way through no less than 42 different (Tocai) Friulani…

Most of the wines came from the 2009 vintage, and it was good to see a consistancy of quality from that vintage. Styles were slightly varied (from zingy Ronco delle Betulle and Ermacora) to the yeasty (Rocca Bernarda) that really seemed to float Samantha’s Champagne-lovin’ boat.

Others I really liked were from Grillo, Conte D’Attimis and Borgo Judrio.

This is a real learning experience for me. Getting to sit down and see what other great producers are doing with Friulano, and being able to taste our Friulano with them (even if not blind) is something I think many producers DON’T do and really SHOULD. It’s an eye-opener.

I can’t really compare the ’07 PLUS we tasted with yesterday’s group. Plus is in a class by itself, in a stylistic sense, and its massive richness and mature fruit stands apart (purposely) from the more traditional Friulani.

Our Adriatico Friulano came at the end of the tasting and it made me realize that the style for that wine is also slightly richer and fatter than your average Friulano. Our philosophy is to give the wine more depth and feel, rather than zing. It’s nice to see how balanced the Adriatico Friulano is in spite of being a little rounder and fuller.

Finally, the afternoon’s visits brought me to an new winery I’d never heard of before (in spite of my living here for almost 10 years now).

I Clivi is a very interesting property run by Mario Zanussi (second from left below). Organic vineyards, all stainless steel (for whites) and some very interesting wines. Laser-beam focused and austere, the wines took me a moment to understand. We only tasted recent vintages, and due to the tightly-wound style of these wines, I would expect them to open up with time.

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There was one wine they make that reminded me of Vespa Bianco, but chalkier and more austere, called Bianco degli Arzilliari… Chardonnay and Sauvignon (like Vespa Bianco) but with Traminer instead of Picolit. It was more complete and rounder than their Friulani, with a little bit of warmth and a hint of that traminer spice.

It’s a pleasure to discover new neighbors and new wines. Now that these wines are on my radar, I look forward to trying them again… Maybe a little head-to-head with Vespa Bianco?

Lovely Ladies, Wet Weather and Vino Vecchio

After the fun and games at the Merano Wine Festival I returned to the winery to entertain a group of guests staying at the foresteria. Kim Esch, ex-Events Manager for the Las Vegas B&B Restaurants and her Mom Elaine and sister Jen, along with Kim’s dear friend Heather from Munich, had the pleasure of experiencing the great wine and food here, along with the ENDLESS FRIULIAN GLOOM, for 5 days.

In order to bring a little bottled sunshine into their dreary vacation, we decided to go see our pal Valter Scarbolo at La Frasca for dinner and vino… LadiesandGents
(L to R: Jen, Heather, Valter, Kim and me)

Valter was, as always, the most charming and accommodating host. Jen documented every plate with a meticulousness I wish I had. For fun I brought a bottle of 2000 Pinot Plus. I was curious to see how this Pinot Grigio/Pinot Bianco blend (if my memory serves) has held up.

The first bottle was corked. So corked that Joe Bastianich woke up out of a sound sleep and called me from New York to tell me he smelled TCA. The second bottle though, oh the second bottle… was marvelous. Creamy vanilla crema pasticcieria on the nose morphed into hazelnuts and vanilla extract with lots of mineral and citrus backing it all up. It was a truly sexy bottle of vino vecchio. Chubby
(Wine: Sexy. Me: Not.)

Old White Wine is one of the banners I wave about wine, and this was more vindication that well-made white wine with age becomes something truly remarkable. Similarly, we opened a bottle of 2000 Vespa Bianco that had just a hint of that petrol nose and spice and apple on the palate with a creamy finish that went on for ages…

I digress…

The Ladies lamented the wet weather, but they managed to set the record for “Most Wine Consumed by Guests at the Foresteria” in compensation for their soggy sojurn. (Disclaimer: They had plenty of help, me included.)

Before leaving the winery, they all stopped in to say goodbye. We joked about how the sun would come out right after they left.

Thirty minutes later blue skies emerged… For 4 hours.

It hasn’t stopped raining since.

Scenes From a Bastianich Pop-up…

During VinItaly this year we decided to take a different approach to the usual entertaining that we do every year for our importers, distributors and special clients.

Instead of trying to jam into a crowded restaurant that, under pressure of the insanity that is VinItaly, may not show it’s best, we took matters into our own hands. We rented an apartment with a small kitchen and a fairly large dining room. We brought our own wine, food, plates and glasses. We brought our own chefs and sommeliers…

And we created a temporary restaurant, now fashionably called a “Pop-up restaurant”.

We managed 4 dinners, a lunch and a cocktail party in the span of 5 days. It was a huge success. We were able to share, in an intimate atmosphere, our wines and our philosophy of food and wine together to our partners.

Lidia Bastianich was the center of attention and the hostess.

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This was one of the first dinners with a group from the Stew Leonard’s stores and our distributors in Connecticut.

Plating and serving from the tiny kitchen…

Service

One of the plates that was a particularly special was the risotto with Montasio cheese, pears and celery which was used as the backdrop for a mini-vertical of Vespa Bianco served from 3-liter bottles. We served 2003, 2004 and 2005, and they simply sang like Maria Callas together with the risotto.

On Sunday we were privileged to have as a guest chef Cesere Giacchini, who made his signature capretto along with a big surprise, his world-famous zabaglione.

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This is the stellar kitchen staff that made it all happen: From L to R:

Chef Alex Pillas from DelPosto Restaurant, Our own Gianna from the Bastianich winery, Chef Cesere Giacchini from Fontanafredda and Chef Fortunato Nicotra from Felidia.

I wish I had taken more photos. It seemed like every time something beautiful or amazing happened, or emerged from the kitchen, I was too busy serving or speaking about the wines.

Nonetheless, it was a great, if very tiring, experience for everyone and we look forward to doing it again next year!