Picking a wine for Alice…

Bringing a wine to the home of Alice Feiring is like bringing owls to Athens or coal to Newcastle.

But when I spied a bottle of 2005 Fatalone Primitivo Riserva yesterday afternoon at Astor Wines, I just couldn’t resist… and I lived to tell my tale!

Ever since I tasted the wines of Pasquale Petrera, I grab them wherever I can (they’re not available in Texas, sadly, but we offer three of his labels on our list at Sotto, where they are among the staff’s favorites).

Hanging in Alice’s kitchen is one of the things I miss most about living in NYC…

And, of course, who can pass up a chance to use New York City’s most famous toilet?

Stay tuned for more New York stories…

Best white from Puglia? Fatalone’s Gioia del Colle Greco Spinomarino

The first and only time I met young winemaker Pasquale Petrera at the Radici Wines festival in Puglia, June 2011, I was immediately impressed by his belief in Natural winemaking (chemical-free farming and native yeast) and by what a simpatico and easygoing guy he was. I knew the wines and I was thrilled to taste with him: as the leading historical estate (some say it was an atavic of his who first bottled 100% Primitivo) in the only hilly appellation of the otherwise flat Apulian peninsula, there are many who would argue that his Fatalone Primitivo is one of the best if not the best from the region.

In the meantime, we’ve featured the wines on my list at Sotto in Los Angeles and they are a favorite of both the staff and the patrons (especially the riserva).

On the occasion of this post dedicated to his Greco (below), I couldn’t resist translating the following passage from his website:

    We consider the vine to be on the same level as a human being. And we give the vine all the best things that we could desire ourselves. Attention and care by the constant, loving presence of the human hand and respect for true artisanal tradition; a cool and comfortable, sound-proofed space with climate control; tranquility and harmony through the playback of classical music enhanced with the sounds of nature, intended to encourage micro-oxygenation and the micro-flora activity present in our natural wine – a living being, sensitive to musical therapy. This is the key to our success.

It never ceases to amaze me how Natural winemakers rely on humankind technology to cull the precious liquid from our fruity counterparts. I hope that — at least — he’s playing vinyl as opposed to digital records for his wines… But, hey, it’s definitely working for him… and for me…

Tracie P and I recently opened a bottle of his Greco Spinomarino, named after the Spinomarino “village road” where (I’m assuming) it’s grown.

The wine was bright and fresh, although gently oxidative in style, a balance of intense salty minerality and white and stone fruit flavor with a kiss of citrus. We loved it… probably the best white wine I’ve ever tasted from Puglia… The last glass, consumed the next night, was even better, richer in body and augmented by a gentle nutty note. And it weighs in for less than $20. Our kinda wine…

In other news…

Primitivo (two ways): Italian grape name and appellation pronunciation project


Since I’ve spent the last week in Apulia, it only seemed appropriate to feature an Apulian grape this week for the Italian Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project. And since we’ve already done Negroamaro, it seemed a propos to feature another one of the most widely planted grapes here, Primitivo. And so, the other day when we went swimming the other day in the Adriatic (at Torre dell’Orso, not far from Lecce), I asked Paolo to pronounce Primitivo for my camera.

Of course, Primitivo is one of the easiest for English-speakers to pronounce. And so I thought it would be fun to spice things up with a dialectal pronunciation.

I’m waiting until after the Radici Wines festival ends to start posting on the wines I’ve tasted, but I’ll give a little preview by revealing that I LOVED the Primitivo by Pasquale Petrera (Fatalone, Gioia del Colle). As it so happens, he uses the dialectal name of the grape on one of the labels of his excellent wines (and I’ll post on my tasting down the road): u Pr’matìv (Il Primitivo, in Italian, the Primitivo [grape]). And so I asked him to take a break from one of the preview tastings and pose for my camera.

Buona visione! And thanks for speaking and drinking Italian grapes!