Donato De Iseo (left) and Marco Irato of Vias Imports were in the restaurant yesterday showing off some of their portfolio.
I know them both from previous lives. I was an assistant manager, (read glorified hostess) at Remi restaurant in New York City in, god, 1993. Donato was one of the waiters. This was a place that only hired male waiters, or so the story went. By the time I left there was one female. Otherwise it was chock o’ block full of Italians, and one Chris Cannon, who has gone on to do big things with, first, Judson Grill, Alto and L’impero, which the New York Times said yesterday is closing on June 29 for a revamp: new name, Convivio, and a new focus on the food of Southern Italy.
Marco was in my advanced certificate class at the International Wine Center. He is one test away from finishing his diploma.
Let me say, I just love Italian wine salesman. Nothing beats coming out of the kitchen and hearing, “Bella!”
It may be shtick, but it works with me. Plus they dress so well.
Anyway, the wines.
I like four of the seven they showed, and all were priced to sell by the glass. In addition, they met some of Dennis’ requirements for grapes from off the trodden path.
The first was Terradorra Dipaolo 2007 Greco di Tufo. Which was big and almost tannic, a pale gold that smelled like eggs(?), melon, white pepper. Enough acid for the body and to give it a little angularity.
Jancis on Greco di Tufo:
name of one or perhaps several, usually noble, white grape varieties, assumed to be of Greek origin, currently grown in southern Italy. Plantings totalled less than 1,000 ha/2,500 acres in the early 2000s. DNA profiling has shown at least one Greco Bianco to be identical to Asprinio.
In Campania, it produces the respected DOCG dry white Greco di Tufo around the village of Tufo. With better vinification, its delicate aromas, which put some people in mind of good Viognier, have come to be better appreciated. Blended with falanghina and biancolella grapes, it makes a contribution to the inconsequential dry whites of the island of Capri. It is also used in the blend of Gravina DOC of Puglia, where the high altitude of the vineyards, bordering on Basilicata, brings out the variety‚s aromatic character.
The oenologist Severino Garofano believes another clone is responsible for the sweet Greco di Bianco made from semi-dried grapes called Greco grown around the town of Bianco on the south coast of calabria.
Lechthaler 2007 Lagrein Rosato. Orangy red. Earthy, spicy nose. Light tannins and rasp/strawberry flavors. Really nice, afordable and different rose.
Jancis on lagrein:
red grape variety grown on only about 300 ha/750 acres in Alto Adige. Although often over-produced, it can produce Lagrein Scuro or Lagrein Dunkel, somewhat tannic reds of real character, as well as fragrant yet sturdy rosé called Lagrein Rosato or Lagrein Kretzer. Lagrein can be slightly bitter on the finish and its presence, valued for both tannins and colour, can at times be detected as an element in other wines of the zone, particularly Pinot Nero and Schiava. According to Burton Anderson, this variety, whose name suggests origins in the Lagarina valley of Trentino, was mentioned as early as the 17th century in the records of the Muri Benedictine monastery near Bolzano in Alto Adige. In 2004, DNA profiling at San Michele all‚adige revealed a parent–offspring relationship between lagrein and teroldego, another deeply coloured and ancient variety from Trentino. Wine-making techniques have changed in recent years, as younger producers have shortened maceration times and used barriques to achieve rounder, less aggressive flavours.
Robert Skalli 2006 Pinot Noir. Pinot noir from Corsica is unsual, but this dark ruby orange (but not quite garnet) with some vanilla and sour cherry on the nose, wine has medium tannins and none of the syrupy extract you can get from California pinots.
Bodega NQN Picada p15 2007. From Patagonia, this cab/merlot/malbec/pinot blend had a great nose, juicy fruit, medium to high acid and rough, angular tannins plus a long finish. Matt, the bartender, liked it. He’s a good focus group.