the most romantic date...
Happy Valentine's Day

Many theories exist as to why there's a Valentines Day, but I like this one; the Roman Emperor Claudius the II forbade young men to marry in 200 A.D. He believed single men made better soldiers, free of family concerns. A priest named Valentine disobeyed the Emperor and married couples in secret.

The modern celebration of Valentine's Day seems to have begun in France and England. On Valentines Eve young people would gather and pick names becoming a Valentine to whose ever name they chose.

Valentine's Day Checklist

1. One dozen red roses
2. Godiva chocolates
3. Diamond Jewelry
4. New Mercedes Benz


* a few bottles of elegant and delicious wine
* a fire
* an embrace...
create a memory

wN's pop 12 list of 2010

these are the wines most of you raved about and kept coming back for, again and again...

1. Castelvero Cortese 2009 | 9.99

a break from the usual Pinot Grigio, this fresh and unique, lively dry white is from the Piedmont region of Italy in the north; made of all Cortese, which is the same grape used in Gavi. This is a gem, expect lots of lemon - lime citrus fruit and a very welcome fresh acidity.

2. The Pinot Project 2009 | 13.99

hand crafted from the finest California grapes showing pure aromas and flavors; black cherries kissed by oak and complimented by just the right amount of Asian spice. An extremely versatile wine with a host of your favorite dishes.

3. Summit Lake Zinfandel 2003 | sale 15.99

the vintage is full bodied with just the right amount of dusty Howell Mountain tannins. Seductive and penetrating with its fragrant aromas wound in black pepper, sweet oak, plums and currant. A Zinfandel that sparks with elegant flavors of dark fruit and blackberry.

4. Castello D'Albola Chianti Classico 2007 | sale 10.99

a find from Radda in Chianti in the Province of Siena where the cultivation of vines dates back to Etruscan times. A brilliant Tuscan red, fine and elegant with scents of ripe dark fruit and violets. Appealing with persistence; this is what Chianti should taste like - dark cherry and floral aromas with flavors that scream Sangiovese.

5. Flora Springs Trilogy 2006 | sale 34.99

this blend of Cabernet, Merlot with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is absolutely delicious. Its notes of cedar, black currant and sweet dark cherry make this is a heady glass of red with elegant texture, purity and length kept in focus with stunning balance.

6. Orsolina Barbera D' Asti Caminata 2008 | 12.99

this Italian was at more parties last year than Charlie Sheen. Ripe and dark fruit that hints at chocolate and spice. Incredibly silky tannins caress the palate from start to finish, this Barbera is all about understated finesse and there is no shortage of that here.

7. Orin Swift Saldo Zinfandel 2008 | sale 29.99

at 38, winemaker Dave Phinney is at the top of his craft. His hugely successful Orin Swift wines are at an almost cult stage and regardless of price, everyone wants them. A Zin that's rich and stylish with aromas of spicy blackberry with sexy layers of black cherry and licorice, pulsing with flavors of subtle vanilla and toasty oak.

8. Argante 2006 | sale 24.99

the white and silver label of this red is the perfect introduction to an elegant wine that fits any occasion and is at home on any table. Argante is forged of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot into a delicious and generous wine that offers notes of dark berries, cassis and herbs with a hint of anise.

9. Obsidian Ridge Cabernet 2007 | sale 24.99

a true canvas with inviting color and depth; well made by Michael Terrien. With attractive red and black currant fruit mixed with licorice and spice box this is a beautiful Cabernet. Raw with natural, curvy and juicy flavors this red is delicious now, but will be totally seductive with a little more age.

10. Hall Sauvignon Blanc 2009 | sale 19.99

intriguing with its blood orange flavors balanced with expressive white fruit and a backbone of lusty, vibrant citrus and minerality that appears almost poetic.

11. Dante Cabernet Reserve 2008 | sale 9.99

just another character in what seems to be an ode to wine from Michael Pozzan. He makes several wines we enjoy and they are all different and free of convention from a particular style or profile. The colors of this California wine sway between red and deep purple framing a core of black cherry, plum and currant finishing with delicious hints of herb and spice.

12. Annabella Chardonnay 2008 | sale 10.99

another Pozzan you love; this is a wonderfully balanced Chardonnay with notes of tropical fruit and vanilla that are not over the top. The wine is crisp with bright citrus and apple that finishes with very subtle caramel and smoke.


be well red...

2008 Orin Swift Cellars
Dave Phinney, winemaker
Zinfandel, California
no. 69 WS top 100 list 2010

This is a red that's stacked. Rich and stylish with aromas of spicy blackberry and layers of sexy black cherry and licorice with pulsing flavors of vanilla and subtle toasty oak. Enjoy this Zin all day and all night, no need to leave the house; stay satisfied through 2015

thanksgiving 2010...

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

we wish you a happy and healthy thanksgiving holiday
... cheers!


il vino, arte dell'uomo
wine, the art of man...

The estate of Zaccagnini is located within Abruzzo, about two and a half hours east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and southwest, Molise to the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. While Abruzzo is not Broadway or Hollywood with sun-glassed star types, it is home to Italian wine stars Marcello Zaccagnini and winemaker Concezio Marulli, who produce regional wines that everyone can enjoy, without sub-titles. Cantina Zaccagnini is a family thing, father and son Ciccio and Marcello Zaccagnini with cousin Concezio Marulli. Their approach to winemaking is comparable to that of a painter or sculptor and their art, or a composer and the music. Marcello's passion for music and all things art is obvious to anyone who has the pleasure of visiting the winery, it houses lots of his modern art collection.

This is not a story of a rich family invested in the cool world of wine. Marcello grew up working in his father's vineyard growing grapes to sell to local winemakers; the market went south and in 1977 Marcello decided that if the harvest didn't sell, they would produce wine. Ten hard years passed during which Marcello worked the vineyard in the mornings, then went to his welder job to earn much needed extra cash. From age ten Concezio worked alongside his family; he learned the art of making wine, and with natural talent, skill and passion Concezio Marulli has created the Zaccagnini style of wine that is both artful and present.

Concezio Marulli...

Under the guidance of Concezio Marulli, the winery keeps the most modern winemaking technology and implements an all quality control system throughout the entire wine production process. The history of the Cantina Zaccagnini is rooted in the passionate bonds of family and the relationship between man and nature, wine and art.

Cantina Zaccagnini...

Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007...

don't let the twig hanging on the bottle decieve you, the packaging is interesting but the wine is more than image. The twig is actually a piece of the vine, or a 'tralcetto' and the the wine is, as they say, very approachable. Better said, the wine is delicious, hard to resist and easy to enjoy on its own or with lots of foods.

It's all Montepulciano with deep colors of garnet and purple. The aromas are in Hi-Def; ripe cherry and earth with a little tobacco leaf mixed in. There's a really nice balance of fruit, weight and no pucker tannins that push with a, 'you know it's a red wine' finish.

Cantina Zaccagnini Cerasuolo Rosato 2009...
a pretty pale pink color with an intense bouquet. Sexy, fragrant and well balanced; pleasing with an elegant surface of cranberry and strawberry.

Cantina Zaccagnini Bianco di Ciccio 2009...
this white is mostly Trebbiano d'Abruzzo and some Chardonnay. With cool hues of lemon that reflect waves of green, it throws off sharp perfumed aromas. Delicate flavors of white fruit mixed with a touch of citrus make this a really honest and pleasant drink.

Cantina Zaccagnini Pinot Grigio 2009...
a soft, well styled Pinot Grigio that shows with a pale golden color that introduces subtle aromas of citrus with an almost spice, peach and orange range of flavors. With very easy acidity, this white can be enjoyed with almost every food, all day long.