Bargin Barolo?????

Posted in Italian Wine, Italy on July 16, 2009 by The Italian Wine Snob

Special Deal on Oddero Barolo    

It’s impossible to give a precise date when the business was established as the vineyards and the farmhouse have always belonged to the Oddero family. Documents, memories and photographs take it back to the brothers Lorenzo and Luigi, born in the early Nineteenth century. It is thanks to them that the Nebbiolo grapes of La Morra were first vinified, probably in 1878, although the wine was initially sold in bulk rather than in bottles.

   Lorenzo Oddero (born in La Morra in 1821 – deceased in 1903) is the great great – grandfather of the current owners. After Lorenzo and Luigi, Giacomo Oddero continued to produce Barolo in La Morra, followed by Giovanni Oddero and Maria Badellino, his wife, and, by Giacomo and Luigi, and now by Mariavittoria and  winemaker Mariacristina.

  History and passion surround this family owned and operated vineyard, which is deeply rooted in the wines.  One sip of Maria’s Barolo and instantly you are transported to the vineyards that surround the village of La Morra, from which the winery is located.  The rustic nuances and subtle use of oak makes these wines classic and very traditional in style.  The wines can be enjoyed young as well as age gracefully for many years.

  I have a very limited amount of the 2003 Barolo DOCG available so first come, first served!!  Call or respond today!!

 Mark Lasky / Italian Wine Specialist


2003 Fratelli Oddero Barolo DOCG- 88pts WS

This very traditional Barolo is very pruny and raisiny on the nose. Full-bodied and chewy, with a dried fruit aftertaste. A little austere, but with impressive concentration.  Drinks well now but can get even better with some time.

 – reg price $60btl, super blog case price- $420.00, that’s almost half off when you buy by the case!!


My love for Felsina!

Posted in Italian Wine, Italy on July 8, 2009 by The Italian Wine Snob

Fèlsina. A name reaching back to Etruscan times. A feeling that infuses the air, in harmony with the quality of the light, with the earth’s scent and the fragrance of the breezes, with the march of the seasons and night time silences. Through the endless vine rows one can still today glimpse at the faraway shapes of medieval towers and noble palaces that is Siena. This is the heart of Chianti!
The Grancia at Fattoria di Felsina (from which the toponym Rancia derives) was a complex of buildings and properties usually controlled by the Benedictine monks. Its own agricultural activities were thus brought within the ambit of one of the great hospital complexes of medieval Europe, and certainly one of the most ancient and imitated, known as Santa Maria della Scala.


 My family and I stayed at this wonderful property and we were completely enchanted by it and the medieval village of Castelnuovo Berardenga, the home of Felsina.  Sitting down to dinner with owner Giuseppe Mazzocolin, we could sense his commitment to the tradition and culture that you can taste in his wines.
  There is not too much more I can say about the wines of Felsina and proprietor Giuseppe Mazzocolin, except that they are reference point wines for anyone who wants to discover the essence of contemporary Sangiovese from Chianti Classico.  After spending three days at the estate, I just fell in love.  I fell in love with the philosophy, the respct for the land and of coarse,  the wines.  In particular, the Fontalloro, which represents the estate’s best Sangiovese, from a vineyard which is partly inside Chianti Classico and partly outside the appellation limits in Chianti Colli Senesi. 

  The 2004 is a compelling release from Mazzocolin and long-time consulting oenologist Franco Bernabei, one of the giants of modern Tuscan oenology. Even better, the wine remains very fairly priced. I was amused by a story about  another producer complaining about Felsina’s prices being too low.  Imagine that!



2004 Felsina Fontalloro- $49.95btlor $540.00cs    94pts RP 

The 2004 Fontalloro (100% Sangiovese) comes across as fresher and brighter than the Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia, which scored 95pts. Light on its feet, this graceful, delicate wine opens with sweet, perfumed aromatics that meld into raspberries, flowers, spices and a touch of sweet oak that lingers on the finish. It offers remarkable clarity and precision in a pure, focused style, with superb balance and finessed tannins.


Mark Lasky / Italian Wine Specialist

2005 Barolo First Look!

Posted in Italian Wine, Italy on July 7, 2009 by The Italian Wine Snob



The history of Vietti winery started four generation ago, in the middle of the 19th Century, with Mario Vietti. In 1952, Alfredo Currado, a bright, young winemaker, was one of the first to select and vinify grapes from a single vineyard ( like Brunate, Rocche, Villero) and in 1967 he invested a lot of time to rediscover and understand  the Arneis, that’s now the most famous white wine from the Roero area.  In 1970 Alfredo and Luciana, through the friendship of some local artist, start to developed an idea to give more freshness and modernity to the labels (really unusual concept for that period), so they started with the artist labels, working with artists like Gianni Gallo, Eso Peluzzi, Pietro Cascella, Mino Maccari, Pier Paolo Pasolini. In 1990, Alfredo’s son, Luca Currado, began his work in the winery and vineyards. He is currently the chief winemaker.  Vietti has long been an elite, reference-point producer in Piedmont but in recent years Luca Currado and his brother-in-law Mario Cordero, have taken major steps to further elevate the quality of their wines across the board.  And, over the last few years Currado has gradually lengthened maceration times and taken a more moderate approach to French oak, while limiting yields dramatically, all of which has resulted in an extremely consistent set of Barolos that are easily among the regions finest. As a result, the 2005 vintage is potentially outstanding and some wines will turn out to be profound.  This, on the heels of the great 2004’s, will be a collectable vintage not to be missed!

 2005 Barolo Castiglione (92pts WS)- $45.00btl or $240.00 per six pack

Shows sweet berry and perfume on the nose, with rose and raspberry. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a milk chocolate, berry and vanilla aftertaste. Big and chewy. Yet balanced and very pretty.

 2005 Barolo Brunate (95pts WS)- $122.00btl or $636.00 per six pack

Shows ripe strawberry, raspberry and plum pudding. Full-bodied, with loads of ripe, juicy fruit. Chewy and tannic, yet polished. Big and powerful.

  2005 Barolo Rocche (96pts WS)- $125.00btl or $640.00 per six pack

Offers Christmas pudding, currant and other dried fruit. Full-bodied, with amazing concentration of ripe fruit and chewy tannins. Yet it’s all in balance. Monumental.

 These wines are VERY limited, first come, first served!!!!!!

Mark Lasky

Italian Wine Specialist

West Palm Wines


Update on Valdicava

Posted in Italian Wine, Italy on July 2, 2009 by The Italian Wine Snob

A few days ago I blogged about the best Brunello on the planet, Valdicava.  Check it out, good read there!  I also mentioned the Rosso di Montalcino from Valdicava just because I find that it is so much better than most other producers Brunello at half the cost.  Well Robert Parker, famed wine critic, released the new scores on 2004 Brunello and 2007 Rosso this morning.

For those of you who do not know the differences between Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino, let me bring you up to speed.  Rosso di Montalcino is made from 100% Sangiovese grown in the same delineated region as Brunello di Montalcino.  However, the wine is required to spend only six months aging in oak and 1 year total aging before release.  In less than ideal vintages some producers will relegate all their grapes to Rosso di Montalcino production and not make a Brunello.  Wineries can also declassify their Brunello that has already been aging 2-3 years and release it as Rosso di Montalcino if the wine is not developing to their expectations.  Rosso di Montalcino is typically lighter, fresher and more approachable upon release though some producers will make wines with more Brunello like characteristics.   These “Baby Brunellos” are often 1/3 to 1/2 the price of Brunello di Montalcino.


When I visited the winery and spent some time speaking with owner Vincenzo Abbruzzese, we discussed in detail his methods and philosophies about the winemaking at Valdicava.  He is a true traditionalist and believes that wine is made in the vineyard, not in a lab.  His wines speak for themselves.   And boy they not only speak, they scream!!

I have very limited amounts of this superstar wine at WPW so call or email today to reserve your case.

2007 Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino- 91pts

The 2007 Rosso di Montalcino is one of the more massive Rossos in this vintage. In fact, it is one of the few wines that may actually require a year or two in bottle for the tannins to soften! Super-ripe red cherries lead to kirsch, earthiness, leather and spices as this full-bodied, tannic Rosso struts its stuff. The wine possesses exceptional depth, purity and class. Proprietor Vincenzo Abbruzzese elevates Rosso to another level with this effort, but readers will need to be patient. The Valdicava Rosso is made from the estate’s youngest vines, all of which are Brunello-designated. In 2007 Abbruzzese gave his Rosso an additional 4-5 months in cask above the usual 8-10 months. He describes the wine as “too important for a Rosso” and I tend to agree as this is by no means an approachable, easy going wine. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2022.

$41.50btl or $450.00cs

Mark Lasky / Italian Wine Specialist



Francais en Alto Adige?

Posted in Italian Wine, Italy on July 1, 2009 by The Italian Wine Snob

Manincor, Alto Adige


Situated in the midst of the hills surrounding the Lake of Caldaro in the far north of Italy, the Manincor estate was founded in 1606 by the colourfully named Hieronymus Manincor zu Ehrenhausen. The ancestors of today’s owner, Count Michael Goëss-Enzenberg, became related to Manincor zu Ehrenhausen in 1662 through marriage, so there is a direct lineage of some 350 years.

Count Michael has owned and run Manincor since 1977, in which time it has become the largest estate winery in the Süd Tirol. A brand new winery opened in 2004, built substantially beneath the vineyards, so as not to disturb the landscape of the area. A multitude of small vineyard parcels is farmed, at 220 – 500 metres above sea level, with a wide variety of soils. Winemaking is as natural as possible, and the slope of the cellar site is utilised to move grapes and must by gravity though the winemaking process.

The wines are produced, poetically described as “Hand – Scooped out from the soil,” “Heart – Cultivated with love,” and “Crown – Developed without compromise”.     This is a very Francophile approach to winemaking with a touch of Italian stubbornness.  I should know, lol!

 Manincor Moscato Giallo 2007- $23.50btl
Manincor’s Moscato Giallo, I know what you’re thinking and no, it is not sweet, is spontaneously fermented using natural yeasts where possible, at low temperatures to retain the Muscat’s aromatic character. It is then matured on the lees in steel and large, old wooden vats. It has a very expressive Loire like Muscat nose, with vivid floral and grapy aromas, a hint of grapefruit zest and a very subtle background spiciness. On the palate this is punchy and crisp, with a light-bodied, dashing fruit quality of citrus and crunchy apple, but those little glimpses of floral and exotic, peachy notes are there. The acidity is clean, tangy, dry and fresh, in a wine that has great structure and substance, despite its easy-drinking charms.  Simply beautiful!

 Manincor Réserve del Conte 2003- $23.50btl
Manincor’s Bordeaux(ish) blend is made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and the indigenous Lagrein, a close relative to Syrah, and is matured in used oak barriques for 10 to 12 months. It comes from selected vineyard sites and is harvested quite late, in late September or early October. The nose has a lovely, suffused, mellow character, with warming berry fruits and clove and cinnamon spices. On the palate there’s a smooth textured, medium-bodied appeal, with plenty of red fruits – cherry and raspberry – given some weight and texture by rich, velvety tannins and a certain robustness from the Lagrein. With a long, well-balanced finish, this is very good indeed.

 Mark Lasky / Italian Wine Specialist

West Palm Wines


Revisiting 2003 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino

Posted in Italian Wine, Italy on June 30, 2009 by The Italian Wine Snob

 We had the first offerings on the 2003 Brunello’s and here is a look back at what Winespectator wrote about the vintage.  When the ratings got published, the prices went up.  We were, and still are, one of only a handful of Florida retailers to have offered these wines, in particular the Valdicava, which is the wine of the vintage and was VERY limited.  Being a good friend of Vincenzo Abbruzzese the owner of Valdicava, he has released a few more cases of his 2003 Brunello to me.  I can also say I got a really good price so I’m passing those savings on to you.  Do not delay, if you are interested in owning the most perfect, in my opinion, Brunello, then email or call me today!


The 2003 Brunellos are the last Tuscan reds to come out of this superhot vintage. There were some very good to outstanding wines in Tuscany in 2003, particularly from vineyards in cooler areas such as in Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina.  My top wines came from Valdicava, Siro Pacenti and Casanova di Neri—no surprises there. The Valdicava was the only classic-quality wine to emerge from my tasting.  It is the wine of the vintage!!!!

“You really had to work hard to make something exceptional in 2003,” said Vincenzo Abbruzzese, owner of Valdicava. He said that he made severe selections of grapes both in the vineyards as well as in the cellar before crushing. “Only clean and perfectly ripe grapes went into the vats.”

—James Suckling



2003  Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 750ML (12 pk)- (95pts WS)    $129.00(reg. btl price) –    $1175.00(special blog case price)

Enticing aromas of meat-and-mushroom pie mingle with rich plum and spices. Full-bodied, with silky, caressing tannins and intense fruit and mineral flavors. Well-crafted, finishing long. The flagship Brunello in 2003. This is the wine of the vintage.

Little Brother???

Rosso di Montalcino is sometimes called the little brother of Brunello but Valdicava’s Rosso is better than most other producers Brunello.  I have a limited amount of :

2007 Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino- $41.50btl

Antonio Galloni from a few days ago (6/27/09): “Tasted the 2007 Rosso di Montalcino from Valdicava again today. It lives up to the glowing praise I bestowed upon it in the (upcoming – JR) Issue 183 of TWA, which will be mailed early next week. This is a pure, beautiful Rosso of the highest level. The purity and integrity of the fruit are simply remarkable. Great juice.”


Mark Lasky / Italian Wine Specialist

West Palm Wines


No Swill Zone Wines at WPW

Posted in Italian Wine, Italy on June 25, 2009 by The Italian Wine Snob

New Italian No Swill Zone Wines

At West  Wines, we pride ourselves on stocking great wines in all price categories.  Yes we have the top wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Italy but we also have what we call, “No Swill Zone Wines”.  These are the wines we all drink on an everyday basis.  Let’s face it, we all can’t drink First Growth Bordeaux or Brunello every night in the week.  So, we always have a great selection of value priced wines to choose from all under $15btl, some even at $5btl.  Check these out below or stop by our store and see our entire selection of great wines for a pittance!

 Prima Mano- Apulia

This estate in Apulia is a reliable source for delicious, value-priced reds. Owners Mark Shannon and Elevezia Sbalchiero fashion fruit-driven wines that offer irresistible appeal.

2007 Fiano/Greco Apulia- $12.95btl or $120.00cs

Delicious. Interesting aromas of apples, pears, cream and hints of minerals lead into this medium-bodied white, with a lovely, creamy texture and loads of ripe fruit character. 50/50 blend of Fiano and Greco grapes.  One of my new favorite white wines!

2006 Primitivo Apulia- $14.95btl or $135.00cs

 The original Zinfandel, this wine has plenty of plummy berry fruit with a hint of vanilla. Medium- to full-bodied, with round tannins and a juicy, fruity aftertaste.  Perfect with burgers, pizza and any other great American junk food!!!


 Ca’Bolani- Friuli

 The Ca’ Bolani Estate is located in the heart of the Aquileia DOC, and also comprises the Molin di Ponte Estate as well as that of Ca’ Vescovo ( a former domain of the Patriarchs of Aquileia, which later – until the end of the 18th. century – became the property of the Convent of Benedictine nuns and then, during the Napoleonic period, of the Barone Economo (Lord High Treasurer) of Trieste, to whom we owe the Estate’s current architectural layout.

2006 Sauvignon Blanc Aquileia del Friuli – $5.95btl or $60.00cs

Pleasant aromas of peach and grapefruit follow through to a medium-bodied palate, with loads of pink grapefruit flavors. Bright acidity. If you like the style of New Zealand Sav Blancs, you will love this wine and the price too. GREAT value.

 Mark Lasky

Italian Wine Specialist

West Palm Wines