Posts Tagged ‘Italian Gift Baskets’
Zonin Primo Amore – 2005
This delicious blend of Sangiovese and Merlot will delight you. For a “low-end” wine it’s astounding. Then again, with the great resurgence of wine making in Sicily, where this wine is from, maybe it’s not so surprising after all. But we were excited enough to buy every case we could get. It surely proves our belief that you can’t judge a wine by the price tag – it’s what’s in the bottle that counts.
Brilliant, attractive and warm ruby red color. Intense and pleasantly vinous to the nose with outstanding fruitiness and an appealing spicy vein. Dry on the palate with a sultry, mellow and spicy taste and a fine, harmonious balance. The wine can be consumed throughout a meal and makes a particularly fine accompaniment for barbequed meats and spaghetti Bolognese.
Piemonte was a pilgrimage for me and Wally. It is home of the Slow Food Movement, great cheese, and some of the most popular Italian Wines. Barolo is made there from the Nebbiolo grape, and is considered “The wine of kings and the king of wines.” I also knew with all the different vineyards, grapes, and designations that, like Burgundy, Piemonte was going to require a personal visit so I could wrap my head around this magical land of wine and food.
While there we were lucky enough to meet with several winemakers, all of whom made marvelous wines that are available to us in the U.S. One of our favorites Mauro Veglio. We met with his wife and partner, Daniela. She was charming and funny, with a beautiful cantina set off by a huge half-circle window overlooking the vineyards that was the perfect vantage point for Daniela to school us on the different vineyards and grapes of the region.
Terry and Daniela in front of the half circle window
We sampled their Dolcetto, Barbera, and Barolos over a course of an hour or so. Now here is the exciting part: We have the Dolcetto and Barbera here in our shop now for your gift baskets. The Dolcetto is bright and vibrant, the Barbera a bit heavier, and both with a good acidity that pairs perfectly with the fatty foods of Piemonte. Both of these wines are featured together in one of our most popular Italian Gift Baskets: La Dolce Vita – the Piemonte version! Of course, you can always opt for one of them in many of our wine gift baskets as well.
On a trip to Sonoma last year, we made a point of visiting Vella Cheese Headquarters. This aged Sonoma Jack took us by surprise the first time we had it while dining at the Hollywood Bowl. I thought it was an Italian Pecorino, and with good reason, as I later found out. When Tom Vella started his own dairy in Sonoma in 1931, the Italian families of Northern California wanted a hard grating cheese, like their sheep’s milk pecorino or Parmesan of home. The Vella cheese company responded by carefully aging and nurturing their jack cheese, resulting in a delicious cheese and enduring popularity. We feature it in our Handmade Cheese Gift Basket, which showcases artisan California Cheese.
The success of Vella Cheese lies in the personal attention each day’s production is given. Quality starts in the pasture. Every cow is not the same. Every day is not sunny; every blade of grass is not green and lush. But, if you insist on the finest breeding of herds, the best feeds, the greatest care in milking and transporting the top grade milk, you have the best possible natural raw material, and you have set the stage for super cheese. One big advantage to us at Fancifull is that Vella cheese, due to its low moisture content, can stay unrefrigerated for a few days. This enables us to ship a first rate cheese economically in our Gourmet Gift Baskets with FedEx Ground or 3Day services with no compromise in quality. We also feature it in many of our Organic Gift Baskets as well as our Green Gifting Line because Vella adheres to strict principles which make it a sustainable product. Among those are:
They are the first solar powered business in Sonoma.
All the milk in their cheese comes from local Sonoma Happy Cows.
Their whey is biodynamically recycled by the dairy and local wineries.
Only natural ingredients go into their cheese and coatings.
The result is that we have an artisan product sustainably made, which tastes fantastic – sounds like a Fancifull product to me!
The Sicilian Village Olives are by far, the most popular olive (and possibly product) we carry in our shop and in our gift baskets. Every time I serve them at a tasting I hear the exclamations, “Oh my goodness, these are amazing”, and they sell out. I have other good olives, but there is something special about these.
Here is what Dave Quartaro, President of Sicilian Village has to say about his process and why his olives are so darn good:
“Nothing else comes close to the taste of a Sicilian olive. That’s because good things take time and, in today’s hurry-up-and-go world, most olive producers take shortcuts – like using chemicals to rush the curing process. Not at Sicilian Village.
Our olives are carefully picked, then allowed to cure naturally in salt – without any rush – until their flavors develop fully. Next, they marinate slowly until they’re infused with the seasonings of a recipe that’s generations old. Only then do we allow the Sicilian Village olives to leave our premises.”
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Today’s topic is a rare Italian wine from Piemonte – Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato. If you’ve visited the Fancifull Gift Baskets web site or followed any of our blogs, I’m sure you’ve noticed how passionate we are about the foods we carry in our store and put into our gift baskets. Many of these require some clarification. This is certainly true in the case of the lovely Ruchè grape with it’s enticing floral and wild berry aromas.
“If it’s so good”, you may ask, “why haven’t I heard of it before it appeared as an option in one of your wine gift baskets?” Well, there are two reasons. Firstly, there just isn’t much of it! The Ruchè grape production comes from a mere 100 acres of vines in the region of Castagnole di Monferrato, which is near Asti in Piemonte, Northern Italy.
Secondly, the wines that get the attention in this area are the three B’s made from the Nebbiolo grape: Barbara, Barbaresco and Barolo! Tough competition indeed. But Ruchè (pronounced roo-KAY) is an absolute delight to have on the dinner table – and at a very affordable price. So, next time you want to send someone an Italian gift basket or just surprise them with a new wine in one of our wine gift baskets. I highly recommend this rare little gem that we have here. My mouth is watering just thinking of it and a creamy Gorgonzola cheese. And I’m really looking forward to trying this wine with the winemaker at his vineyard next week. Yes, we are headed for Italy, and this is one of our stops. Buon appetito!