Wine of February
Nino Franco Rustico NV

T

he wave of Sparkling Wines continues to grow in the US, as well as around the world. Cavas, Cremant de Bourgogne, Sekt, Franciacorta, Champagne, Moscato and the list goes on. None of these wines have experienced the prodigious growth and mass recognition as Prosecco. Outdistancing Champagne sales in the US, Prosecco continues to attract more fans on a daily basis, as Americans embrace this affordable wine.

Founded in 1919 by Antonio Franco, Nino Franco’s vineyards and winery are located at the foot of the Prealps in Valdobbiadene, the epicenter of Prosecco production. Nino Franco was brought into prominence by third generation winemaker/owner , Primo Franco, who stressed the importance of these wines as aperitifs and part of the meal.  He quickly became the Ambassador of Prosecco DOCG, and traveled the world extolling the virtues of his region and its wines.

Nino Franco Rustico NV is indeed the benchmark of all things Procecco. With its pale gold appearance, and an aroma of nectarines coupled with flowery overtones, the nose draws you into a Glera-delight. The creamy palate is aided by a crisp refreshing acidity and a rush of white peaches. The tiny tight bubbles add to the wonderful effervescent experience of this wine.

When Harry Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, created the world famous drink Bellini, he made it with Rustico, and the tradition continues till this day. Aside from the winery’s flagship Rustico, they also produce several  single-vineyard/vintage Proseccos , all from the DOCG area, showing the versatility and depth of the Glera grape.

What to pair with this bubbly delight? The crispness and fruit tones will enhance a variety of fish and pasta dishes, not complicated with heavy sauces:

Rustico is a great aperitif, and perfect with Italian tapas like prosciutto, parmesan cheese and arincini. The crisp-creamy mid palate will subdue any saltiness of the meat and cheese, and draw out their nutty flavors.

A shellfish Risotto never found a better partner. The fruit notes on the nose and mid-palate will enhance the sweetness of the shellfish and tame any harsh brininess which can overpower the dish. The fresh acidity can handle a tomato based sauce if used.

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Harvest Season
A View from the Vineyards

Despite having a tough year due to the pandemic, and in some cases, natural disasters, wine producers around the globe are embracing the harvest season, while hoping things will soon be back to "normal".

For those of you who cannot be there in person this year, here are a few stunning images sent in by some of our producers. Let's toast to a good harvest and better 2021! Cheers!


Click on image to view this photo collection. Image courtesy of Paolo e Noemia d'Amico, Tenuta di Lilliano and Miner Family Winery

A Prosecco Producers' Kingdom

Although the freedom of travel is temporarily on hold, you are never closer to the 100-year-old Estate of Nino Franco. Let the "First Family" of Prosecco take you on a private tour of their beautiful property! 


Click on image to start the tour.

Springtime in Lilliano

Homebound and longing for wine country? Take a video tour of Tenuta di Lilliano in the Chianti Classico Region.  This beautiful estate becomes even more magical in springtime...


Click on image above to begin!

Sicilian Love Story

The Coronavirus respects no borders, but love and compassion of the Cusumano team are defeating the invisible enemy of fear and ignorance. When harsh realities pull us apart, they are bringing people together.


Click on image to view this touching story.

Award Night in Chelsea

The frigid temperature on February 28, 2020 did not faze any of the enthusiastic crowd who attended our sold-out 10th Annual Tre Bicchieri Wine Dinner at Portale restaurant. This year, we are celebrating the award-winning wines of Alta Mora, Cusumano and Tenuta di Lilliano. Co-hosting this event was Alessandro Ruspoli, owner-winemaker of renowned family Estate Lilliano.


Master chef Alfred Portale created an exquisite 4-course feast which perfectly paired each of these Tre Bicchieri Award-winning wines.


As the night progressed, this wine & food celebration quickly turned into one of the hottest events in town! Cheers!


Click on image above to view more highlights from the event.

Fall for Wine 

... And wine for all the wine and food lovers who attended our 11th Annual "Fall Frolic" Tasting & Dinner on September 16, 2019, featuring wines from the TDS Portfolio.


As guests hosts of this year's event, Owner/Winemaker Jenny Doré of Foxen Vineyards and Dave Miner of Miner Family shared their top wines with a passionate crowd of wine connoisseurs. These exquisite selection of wines were enhanced by a seemingly endless feast prepared by chefs at Frankies 457.


A true lively and fun evening of great wines and delicious food. And most of all, a memorable night for all wine lovers.


Click on image above to view more highlights from the event.

Wild Boar,
Sophisticated Wine 

On March 1, 2019, Our 9th Annual Tre Bicchieri Dinner took place at Ristoro del Cinghiale, the hot Tuscan venue in town. This sold-out dinner event showcases the winners of Tre Bicchieri Awards 2019, including Terenzi and Cusumano. 


This year, Winemaker/Owner Federico Terenzi presented his superb wines from the Maremma, a remarkable land in the southwest corner of Tuscany. This ancient land of Italian cowboys, cattle and sheep was the birthplace of Morellino di Scansano, the finest expression of the noble grape, Sangiovese.


Chef Ben Smallman's Tuscan themed menu also dazzled the lively guests. From Bistecca di Florentina to Roasted Wild Boar, each course was perfectly paired to some of the best Terenzi creations, including Purosangue Riserva and Madrechiesa, the 7th year winner of Tre Bicchieri Award.


The confluence of these passionate and delicious wines, and the intense flavors of each course made for the celebration of senses. A winning night for all.



Click on image above to view more highlights from this special event.

When Napa Meets Italy

On the rain soaked evening of September 25, 2018, our 10th Annual Fall Frolic Tasting & Wine Dinner took place at Frankies 457. The wines from the entire TDS Portfolio were tasted by the enthusiastic crowd of food and wine aficionados. 


On this milestone year, Miner Family Winemaker Gary Brookman brought Brooklyn some California sunshine, as a selection of fine wines from this dynamic family-owned winery were featured during a four-course feast. Gary conducted a doctoral on pairing Californian wines with Italian cuisine. An ambitious challenge, but a delicious outcome.


Judging by the smiling faces and sound bite in the packed dining room, this is another successful event for TDS, and a memorable night for the wine and food lovers.


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Foxen Sets Anchor

wine dinner, Tony DiDio

While New Yorkers are welcoming the arrival of Fleet Week, another American fleet dropped its anchor in town. "Sailing" all the way from Santa Maria Valley, Winemakers/Owners Dick Dore and Bill Wathen of Foxen Vineyard & Winery,  along with Marketing and Business Directors Jenny Williamson Dore and Becky Wathen arrived for a series of tastings and events in NYC, including a special wine dinner at Bouley Test Kitchen on May 24, 2018.


The two "Pinot Professors" charmed the attentive crowd with the fascinating history of Foxen Winery, which dates back to the early 1800's, as well as the uniqueness of their Santa Barbara County vineyards.


Master Chef and culinary icon David Bouley prepared a multi-course menu that paired perfectly with each Foxen wine. The subtleties of every dish was enhanced by the elegance and honesty of the wines. It was an unmistakable harmony of food and wine playing off each other, and the guests met each pairing with thunderous applause.


Anchors up, smooth sailing indeed...


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3 Glasses for 3 Winners

wine dinner, Tony DiDio

On March 2, 2018, as a vicious Nor'easter pounded the East coast with heavy wind, rain and snow, TDS and Porter House NYC presented our 7th Annual Tre Bicchieri Dinner in honor of three winners of the prestigious awards for Italian wines.


Winemakers/Owners Peter Zemmer, Federico Terenzi  from their namesake wineries and Maria Leone from Cusumano brought Italian warmth and sunshine to this otherwise damp and cold Friday evening in New York City.


Chef Michael Lomonaco's exquisite dinner menu paired well with each of the award-winning wines, as three of our Italian wine stars talked about the history of their wineries and the wines chosen for this special event.


It might still feel like Winter, but Spring is already in full session at our celebratory dinner for these deserving award winners.


Click on image above to view more highlights from the dinner.

Harmony Italian Style

wine dinner, Tony DiDio

On the evening of Jan. 17, 2018, a "Meatball Buffet" was presented at the prestigious Harmonie Club, featuring 5 Italian wines from the TDS Portfolio.


With New York- style Italian cuisines as inspirations, Chef Thomas Piede prepared an array of antipasti, pastas, entrees and yes, some delicious meatballs. Tony DiDio paired this incredible feast with Cusumano Syrah and Nero d'Avola, Peter Zemmer "Punggl" Pinot Bianco, d'Amico "Noe" Orvieto and Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico.


The weather outside did not discourage the crowd from attending this marvelous event, dish after dish, glass after glass.


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Holiday Wine Pairing

wine party, Tony DiDio

Pairing wines with a typical Thanksgiving dinner can be daunting when side dishes, both sweet and savory, are served simultaneously. On Nov. 21, 2017, Tony DiDio sat down with Rosanna Scotto and Lori Stokes, hosts of Fox 5's award-winning show "Good Day New York", to talk about ways to simplify this seemingly difficult task. Tony selected 5 "versatile" wines from Foxen, d'Amico, Nino Franco, Terenzi and Miner Family that will go well with the mixed flavors on the Thanksgiving table. A good way to start the Holiday season! Happy Holidays!


Click on image above to view more highlights from the show.

Fall, in Love with Bubbles

wine dinner, Tony DiDio

The threat of high winds and heavy rain of Hurricane Jose did not dampen the passion of the crowd who attended our sold-out 9th Annual "Fall Frolic" Tasting & Wine Dinner on Sept. 19, 2017.


As usual, this grand annual wine and food fest offered our guests the opportunity to taste an array of wines in the TDS Portfolio, from Napa Valley to Mt. Etna.  This year, Primo Franco,  Winemaker & Owner of Nino Franco Prosecco hosted our post-tasting wine dinner by talking about the history of his family's iconic Veneto Estate, as well as the Nino Franco wines featured throughout the dinner.


The four-course feast prepared by chefs at Frankies 457 took on a new dimension this year, with the pairing of all sparkling wines. The result proved to each guest that Prosecco is not only good as an aperitif, but also a versatile wine that can be paired with an entire meal.


While Hurricane Jose hardly left any marks on New York City, the beautiful wines showcased throughout this high spirited night definitely left a long lasting impression on the exuberant crowd.


Click on title image above to see more highlights of this wine and food event.

Definitely Peter Zemmer

wine dinner, Tony DiDio

On the evening of April 26, 2017, Ristorante Morini was magically transformed into a rousing Italian trattoria, this side of Alto Adige.


Peter Zemmer, the third generation Winemaker/Owner of Peter Zemmer Winery, presented a selection of wines from his celebrated portfolio, including the newly-released Pinot Grigio "Giatl" 2014 Riserva. Paired perfectly with a special 4-course menu by Chef Arthur lee, the wines sang out.


From the first Pinot Grigio to the last Pinot Noir, the Zemmer wines tell a beautiful story of their origin and terroir. Influenced by the majestic Dolomite Mountains, the Zemmer wines displayed freshness, honesty and balance. Together they bring the natural landscape and beauty of Alto Adige to an enthusiastic crowd of wine lovers.

 

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Phenomenal Miner Dinner

wine party, Tony DiDio

On the evening of March 28, 2017, Winemaker Stacy Vogel of Miner Family Winery conducted a Napa valley celebration with a fine selection of Miner wines at Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park.


As part of the successful "Phenomenal Femmes" Wine Dinner series at the hotel's Auden Bistro, Stacy presented six Miner wines, paired to perfection by Wine Director Marika Vida Arnold. From Viognier to The Oracle, Miner Family's flagship wine, the enthusiastic audience was awed by the depth of flavors and nuance of each wine selection. Stacy proved once again that in the New World, Napa is still king. And Miner definitely has a place in the realm of great wines. 


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Grand Opera of
Wine & Food

wine party, Tony DiDio

On February 10, 2017, while the entire New York City was dealing with the aftermath of a winter storm, Porter House was warmed up by the celebration of two Italian winemakers and their Tre Bicchieri Award-winning wines. Diego Cusumano from Sicily and Federico Terenzi from Tuscany presented their most impressive wines to a cordial and attentive crowd.


Chef Michael Lomonaco's Tuscan/Sicilian inspired menu hit the high notes when paired with these epic wines. Winemakers Diego and Federico were warmly received by the enthusiastic crowd during the four-course Italian feast. With outside temperature falling below freezing point, this grand opera of wine and food surely turned Porter House into the hottest spot in town.


Click on image above to see more highlights of the evening.

A Good Day in New York

wine party, Tony DiDio

On November 23, 2016, Tony DiDio appeared on Thanksgiving Special of Fox 5's award-winning show "Good Day New York".  Sitting down with Hosts Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly and other guests, Tony presented a few selected budget-friendly wines for the Holidays. He also talked about pairing those festive dishes with the right wines. A good day to usher in the Holiday Season. Cheers!

A True Fall Frolic

wine party, Tony DiDio

The weather could not be better and the wines won over the crowd, as TDS celebrated its 8th Annual Fall Frolic Portfolio Tasting & Dinner on September 22, 2016, the first day of Autumn.


Guests got the chance to taste all wines, many of which new releases, from wineries in the TDS Portfolio.The tasting was followed by a wine dinner featuring wines from Foxen Vineyard & Winery and Terenzi Winery, two new members to TDS. Dick Doré of Foxen and Federico Terenzi of Terenzi led commentaries on the wines chosen for this sold-out dinner.


Each course was paired with a Old World (Terenzi) and a New World (Foxen) wine. The chemistry of these wonderful wines not only dazzled the crowd, but also added another dimention to this magical night at Frankies 457.


Click on image above to see more highlights of this event.

A Ramble in Tribeca

wine party, Tony DiDio

An unexpected late-night storm on June 27, 2016 did not dampen the festive mood inside Racines NY, where our 7th Annual Late Night Ramble took place. This year's theme: Pork Pinot and Prosecco drew many of the young professionals in the wine community. The wines selected from the TDS portfolio were embraced by this energetic group of wine connoisseurs. It might be pouring cats and dogs outside. But inside Racines NY, something more magical were poured, savored and shared. Salute to summer!


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Mad About Cusumano

On the evening of May 18, 2016, Winemaker Diego Cusumano cast a spell on Ristorante Morini on Madison Avenue.


During the four-course dinner, Diego presented four indigenous wines from his family's estate outside of Palermo. Chef Michael White's team put a Sicilian spin on each course, that paired and complimented every wine. From the Cusumano Insolia to the refreshing Moscato della Zucco, there was not a dull moment for this fun evening. Thanks to the delicious Cusumano wines, guests truly got a taste of Sicily. Salute Sicilia!


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d'Amico Wines Impress NYC

On April 22, 2016, the d'Amico winery debuted a collection of their stunning wines, made with grapes grown in volcanic soil. A special wine dinner at the Columbus Club in NYC, marked winemaker Guillaume Gelly's presentation of d'Amico wines to a group of sophisticated wine lovers. The crowd listened attentively as Mr. Gelly explained the provenance and content of each wines, as well as a description of this breathtaking Estate. These organic and elegant wines from Lazio and Umbria, were the perfect match for Chef John Boden's creative cuisine, paired by Tony DiDio.  


Click on image above to see more highlights of this magical evening.

Wine & Food Sing in Harmonie

On March 24, 2016, the elegant dining room at the Harmonie Club was magically transformed into a grand trattoria for their Italian Wine Dinner featuring six wines from six different regions of Italy: Baracchi, Cusumano, D'Amico, Nino Franco and Peter Zemmer. Opera singers were brought in to set the tone for this wonderful culinary gala. It was true "Harmonie", as each dish prepared by Chef Thomas Piede's cucina sang a high note, paired with the exquisite wine selections. A night to savor! 


Click on image above to see more highlights of this harmonious evening.

Miner Got Game

"Turtle lollipops anyone?" As you walk into Henry's End Restaurant on the evening of March 1, 2016, this might be the first thing you hear. It was their Wild Game Dinner featuring selected wines of Miner Family Winery. The five-course dinner was a symphony of flavors as Tony DiDio matched each wild game dish with a wildly sensational Miner wine. From ostrich potstickers to elk chops, from Sauvignon Blanc to the Oracle, a harmonious tune was sung throughout the night. It was wild!


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Singing Sicilian
on Stage Left

On February 10, 2016, Winemaker Diego Cusumano brought warmth and great wines from his Sicilian Estate to Stage Left Restaurant in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


This "Pantheon of American Cuisine" embraced the Cusumano wines and created a menu that complimented these Sicilian treasures. The special event began with guests sampling six selections of Cusumano wines, followed by a four-course dinner that was highlighted by Cusumano Cru wines produced on their versatile and fertile land in Sicily. Belissimo!


Click on image above to see more highlights of this evening.

A Night at the Museum

A crisp Fall night on Oct.5, 2015 brought out our friends in the food and wine industry to the Late Night Ramble at Untitled Restaurant at The Whitney Museum. This has been our sixth year to present this special event designed to fit the working schedule of many in the food and wine trade. This year we were fortunate to have Winemakers Primo Franco of Nino Franco Prosecco, Diego Cusumano of Cusumano Winery and Jason Gardine of Hanzell Vineyards to pour their special wines for the guests, who got the chance to taste all the wines in the TDS Portfolio while mingling and networking with their colleagues in the business. What could be better than that?


Click on image above to see more highlights of this late night event.

TDS Events Archive

TDS has hosted numerous tasting events in the past and we simply can not list them all here. If you are interested in seeing some of our recently archived event highlights, pleaseclick here to begin.

Classic Lilliano
In his Winter (2020-2021) issue of Italian Wine Report, Tom Hyland, journalist and Forbes wine critic, bestows plaudits and high scores to Tenuta di Lilliano’s Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 and the Chianti Classico Riserva 2016.

94  Lilliano Chianti Classico Gran              Selezione 2016


Deep ruby red; aromas of thyme, sage and dried morel cherry.  Medium-full with impressive concentration. Rich mid-palate, excellent persistence, very good acidity, nicely managed wood notes and a rich finish with distinct notes of thyme and oregano. Excellent complexity, this is well structured...



92  Lilliano Chianti Classico                         Riserva  2016


Bright ruby red; aromas of morel cherry, vanilla and oregano. Medium-full, this is very ripe and has good acidity, medium-full tannins and very good persistence. This is young with a touch of modernity and needs a few years to round out. Except for the evident wood notes, this offers nice typicity.

Harmony & Refinement
In his recent article, “New Napa Valley Wines: Highlight Harmony and Refinement,” James Suckling gives high scores and praise to Miner Family’s Sauvignon Blanc 2019 and Chardonnay Wild Yeast 2018.

93  Miner Chardonnay Wild Yeast             2018


A full-bodied white with aromas of apricot, mango, cream and lemon shortbread. Generously round on the palate with an oily texture, balanced by crisp acidity. Flint and chopped almonds on the finish.


91  Miner Sauvignon Blanc 2019


Pretty aromas of green apple, honeydew, lime curd and zest. It’s medium-bodied with tangy acidity and a gently waxy texture. Flint on the finish. Drink now.

A Gold Medal Stunner
In the recent release of Decanter’s World Wine Awards 2020, the Peter Zemmer Giatl Riserva Pinot Grigio 2017, was awarded a Gold Medal and an impressive score of 95 points.

95  Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio                   Giatl Riserva 2017


Rich candied fruit aromas follow through to an intense palate, which has added honey, spice and roasted nut flavours. Stunning: an impressive and distinct style.

Bolgheri Beauty
Wine Critic Antonio Galloni reviews the Gaja Camarcanda 2017 and bestows a remarkable score of to this Tuscan prize.

95+ Gaja Ca'Marcanda Camarcanda          2017


2017 Camarcanda is rich and heady in the glass, with all of the natural radiance of the vintage on full display. Ripe, racy and exotic in its beauty, the 2017 is a prototypical modern Maremma red. Generous fruit, racy contours and lifted savory notes add to its considerable allure. It, too, is arresting in its beauty. The 2017 offers plenty of voluptuousness, but with no excess weight. I loved it.

Tiny Bubbles, Big Flavors

 

In their most recent buying guide, wine journalist Kerin O'Keefe of Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave rave reviews to 4 Nino Franco Proseccos.

92 Nino Franco Rustico Brut


Golden-apple and fragrant white spring-flower aromas are front and center on this bright refreshing sparkler. On the vibrant palate, crisp acidity and a foaming perlage frame Bartlett pear, orange zest and the barest note suggesting white almond.



95 Nino Franco Nodi Brut


Silky smooth and savory, this stunning sparkler has delicate scents of white spring flower, white stone fruit, fennel and bread dough. Focused and loaded with finesse, the creamy palate doles out ripe Bartlett pear, yellow apple and ginger alongside bright acidity and an extremely refined perlage.



93 Nino Franco Vigneto della Riva            di San Floriano Brut


Heady aromas of hawthorn, white stone fruit and a whiff of crushed botanical herb shape the delicate, enticing nose. The creamy palate doles out ripe Bartlett pear, white peach and savory notes of bread dough alongside a silky mousse. Bright acidity lifts the rich flavors.


92 Nino Franco Primo Franco Dry


This creamy, sweet sparkler opens with heady aromas of Granny Smith apple, exotic fruit and candied citrus zest. The aromas follow over to the bright, fruity palate along with white-almond notes and a foaming perlage. Fresh acidity lifts the rich flavors.
Sicilian Ruby

 

In his recent tasting report, Wine Critic James Suckling raves about the 2017 vintage of Cusumano Noà and Cusumano Sàgana.

93 Cusumano Sicilia Noà  2017


A rich, round red with dark berries and some milk-chocolate and orange-peel undertones. It’s full and flavorful with lots going on. Needs time to come together.



93 Cusumano Sicilia Sàgana  2017


A red with plenty of blackberry, chocolate, some wet earth and bark, as well as black-tea undertones. It’s full-bodied with juicy fruit and a savory finish. Give it a little time.

Extraordinary Pinot Grigio

 

Dave McIntyre, wine critic of the Washington Post, gives an over-the-top review to Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio 2019, scoring the wine "excellent and extraordinary".

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio 2019


Pinot grigio is a popular thirst-quencher and probably the first white wine most people think about from Italy. But the wines from the mountainous areas in the north, along the border with Austria, are a cut above in quality as well as altitude. This wine from Peter Zemmer is like the movie scene where the cable car falls and you have to ski down the mountain, chased by the bad guys — dangerous, on the edge, exhilarating. Peter Zemmer also makes a compelling chardonnay.

Spectacular Pinot X 2

 

In the most recent Wine Spectator, Miner Family's Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Garys' Vineyard 2017 & 2018 are both given remarkable scores.

90 Miner Family Pinot Noir Santa             Lucia Highlands Garys' Vineyard         2017


Fine-grained tannins frame well-knit flavors of raspberry tart and red currant, with accents of green olive. Creamy accents on the well-spiced finish.



90 Miner Family Pinot Noir Santa             Lucia Highlands Garys' Vineyard         2018


Very delicate and supple, with an almost rose like color, and flavors of cherry pastry and dried berry backed by glistening acidity. Lithe and juicy on the finish, with toasty notes.

Amazing Prosecco

 

In the recent article on sparkling wines, Food & Wine editor Brian Freedman taps Nino Franco Grave di Stecca as one of the most "amazing Proseccos to buy now".