Wine of January
Paolo e Noemia d'Amico Villa Tirrena 2018


he Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred in 1967. As many as 100,000 young people converged in the San Francisco’s neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury, and gave birth to the “Hippie Movement.” Fast forward to 1985, and another Summer of Love was emerging in Tuscia, along the border of Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany.  Paolo and Noemia d’Amico, having discovered their shared love of wine and art, buy the estate Villa Tirrena, one hour north of Rome. With the unique landscape of the Valle dei Calanchi, and terroir shaped by a long- rich geological history of ancient volcanic activity, they plant their first vineyard. Managed under organic practices, these Tuff and Peperino soils impart texture and distinct minerality, which are the trademarks of their wines.

Villa Tirrena straddles both Lazio and Umbria. The confluence of mineral rich soils, organic farming practices, a brilliant team of viticulturists and a passionate young wine maker, helped to create an award-winning portfolio of wines.

Named after the estate, Villa Tirrena has emerged as one of the stars in the portfolio. Born in the Lazio vineyards, the cepage of 90% Merlot and 10% Syrah, highlights the character of the Valle dei Calanchi terroir. Ripe red fruits dominate the aroma of the wine, with a touch of sage, cinnamon and wild fennel. The wine has a rich-rounded mouth feel, with a backbone of gentle acid and a bold touch of pepper spice and black fruit, attributed to the Syrah and 10 months 0f ageing in French casks. The 2018 vintage is at the top of its game, and can go the extra innings, as it defines the d’Amico style of winemaking.

What to pair with this mineral rich wine?

This food friendly wine, opens up to a myriad of possibilities. The elegant-softness of the Merlot and that zip of spice from the Syrah, can take on beef, pork or roasted vegetables. I like it with Filet Mignon, as the medium tannins of the wine, and the softness of its acidity, help bring the steak’s sweetness down front. The Syrah adds another dimension pepperiness as well.

Think roasted chicken, both white and dark meat, as the fruit profiles of the wine meet up and negate some of the gameness as the Syrah handle the roasted skin and any vegetables which may have been cooked with the dish.

Happy New Year!

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12th Annual Fall Frolic
Wine Tasting & Dinner

On October 3,2022, il Gattopardo in midtown Manhattan was packed with wine & food enthusiasts for our 12th Annual Fall Frolic Wine Tasting & Dinner. This sold-out event began with TDS Portfolio Wine Tasting of the latest vintages of Nino Franco, Cusumano, Peter Zemmer, Tenuta di Lilliano, Paolo e Noemia d'Amico, and Miner Family Winery. The delicious hors d'oeuvres served by the il Gattopardo staff were perfect compliment to these elegant wines.

Dinner was an ode to Sicily, featuring the bold and flavorsome wines of Alta Mora. Each course, prepared by talented Chef Vito Gnazzo, was perfectly paired with these extraordinary Mount Etna wines by Tony DiDio. From the Etna Bianco, Rosso, to the single-vineyard Feudo di Mezzo and Guardiola, the wines evoke Sicily and their home on Mt. Etna. Each wine expressed mineral qualities with a freshness and vibrant acidity.  A perfect storm of delectable flavors showcasing the versatility of Alta Mora wines.

It was a night of fun, great food and over the top wines.

Click on image above to view more highlights of this special evening.

Back to Celebration with
Three Cheering Glasses

After a two-year absence caused by the pandemic dining restrictions and safety precautions, our annual Tre Bicchieri Dinner made a celebratory return on February 25, 2022.

With a sold-out crowd of winelovers, our 10th Annual Tre Bicchieri Dinner took place at Oceans Restaurant, one of the hot venues in town. The stars of the evening are no doubt the award-winning wines from Cusumano, Peter Zemmer, and Tenuta di Lilliano. Nino Franco Prosecco was also selected for the cocktail hour.

The chefs at Oceans created a delicious menu to pair with these top quality wines. From fish crudo to short ribs, each course highlights the unique features of the wines.

It was a celebration to the return of normalcy. We toast to health, our friends and families. And to the award-winning wines that brought us all together!

Click on image above to view some of the highlights of this special evening.

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.

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

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...

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

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.

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

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.


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

Click on image above to see more highlights of the event.
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!

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

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!

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

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!

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

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!

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.

Best of the Year
A blend of Nero D’Avola and Syrah, from the prestigious single vineyard Presti e Pegni, Cusumano Benuara 2020 is named Best of Year 2022 by Wine Enthusiast.

90  Cusumano Benuara 2020         

The nose of this Sicilian red blend is loaded with cherries, wild strawberries and blueberries and backed up by cocoa, cedar and wood smoke-all emphasized by the immediately apparent substantial heat. The palate progresses to blueberries, with a hint of wild mint and more cocoa, highlighting gritty angular tannins.

Savory Oakville
In the current issue of the Wine Spectator, Senior Editor James Molesworth, accords the Miner Family Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2019, a wonderful score of 91 points.

91  Miner Family Cabernet                           Sauvignon Oakville 2019         

Fresh and open in feel, with red currant and black cherry notes mixed with a light savory, cedar and mesquite accents. Offers a nice tug of loam at the very end.

Raising the Bar for Prosecco
In two recent issues of the Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, Nino Franco received three unprecedented 90+scores for their innovative Single Vineyard wines.

Wine Enthusiast

93  Nino Franco Riva di San                         Floriano 2021         

From one of the denomination’s most iconic winemakers, this single vineyard sparkler shows the serious side of Valdobbiadene. Opening with delicate scents of white spring flowers and white stone fruit, it’s the elegant, understated palate that is a showstopper, delivering creamy white peach, ripe green apple and a hint of lemon drop alongside an extremely refined perlage.

Wine Spectator

91  Nino Franco Grave di Stecca                 2016

Lush glazed apple and baked nectarine fruit flavors are well-defined by a bright, buoyant streak of acidity in this elegant example, which is softly creamy in texture , transitioning through the mid-palate and finish to showcase fragrant notes of lime zest, Earl Grey tea and graphite, with pinpricks of fleur de sel melting on the finish.

90  Nino Franco Nodi  2019

Sleek and elegant, this Sparkler knits firm acidity and a tangy streak of salinity with rich yellow pear, persimmon and roasted almond favors, plus lasting hints of fresh thyme, smoke and preserved lemon. This is finely meshed and creamy on the racy finish.

A Sicilian Thing
Wine Critic James Suckling awards incredible scores to two Alta Mora Wines in his latest tasting report.

93  Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2021         

This has aromas of grilled pineapple, papaya and chamomile with some distinct smoky and ashy undertones. Medium-bodied with bright acidity. Flavorful, with fantastic flinty and smoky character. Drink now or hold.

92  Alta Mora Etna Rosso 2019

Aromas of raspberry, watermelon, crushed stone, nutmeg and lemon. Medium-bodied with tight tannins and bright acidity. Wild and mineral at the end. Sustainable.

Wine Spectator Recommends
In a recent feature on Chianti Classico, Wine Spectator editor taps Tenuta di Lilliano Chianti Classico 2019 as a Recommended Value.

*Wine Spectator Recommended* Value Wine

Tenuta di Lilliano Chianti Classico 2019

This bright red is laced with floral, cherry, earth and tobacco flavors, with a hint of sage. Round and moderately long.

Bella Sicilia
In his recent issue of Tasting Notes, James Suckling discovers the wonder of Sicily through the wines of Cusumano.

92  Cusumano Noa 2019

Lots of blackberry and blueberry aromas with some black olive and asphalt. Medium to full body, round tannins and a chewy finish. Yet, it’s polished and very pretty. Sustainable.

92  Cusumano Benuara 2020

Lots of blackberry and asphalt aromas and flavors. Medium body, round and creamy tannins and a juicy finish. Delicious. Sustainable.

91  Cusumano Insolia 2021

This has aromas of waxed lemons, jasmine, thyme and stones. It’s medium-bodied with vibrant acidity. So fresh, with wild-thyme and fennel notes at the end. Sustainable.

91  Cusumano Angimbe 2021

This has a ripe and fruity nose of pineapple, yellow apple, lemon blossom and pear. It’s medium-bodied with excellent concentration. Creamy and delicious finish. Sustainable.

92  Cucumano Sàgana 2019    

Blackberry, crushed-stone and fresh-mushroom aromas follow through to a medium body with firm tannins and a fresh, juicy finish. Sustainable.

92  Cucumano Grillo Shamaris 2021    

This has aromas of pears, peaches, lemons and wet stones. It’s medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a clean, focused palate.

A Super Italian Wine
In the latest issue of Decanter Magazine, editor Susan Hulme MW, awards an outstanding score of 96 points to Nino Franco Nodi 2019. Composed of 100% Glera grapes, from a tiny vineyard of 100-year- old vines above Valdobbiadene.

96 Nino Franco Nodi 2019

The 2019 has aromas of herbs, spring flowers and white fruit, a distinct mineral nuance and a crisply incisive palate of extraordinary length and crystalline purity. A wine of great finesse.

F&W: A Wine to Try Now
In the recent post from Food & Wine Magazine, Wine editor Ray Isle taps Alta Mora Etna Bianco as one of  the Top Volcanic wines to try now.

Cusumano Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2019

Initially, this Etna white feels reserved in a smoky-stony way, but the vivid pineapple-orange fruitnotes seem to fan out almost like a peacock’s tail.

Dueling Chards of Miner
Kim Marcus, in the current issue of the Wine Spectator, showers praise on two Miner Family Chardonnays.

91  Miner Chardonnay Wild Yeast             2019

This white is well structured, featuring flavors of baked apples and white cherry that show hints of chamomile, while plenty of toasty and creamy noted line the richly textured finish.

90  Miner Chardonnay Napa Valley          2019

There’s rich savoriness to the ripe white fruit flavors that show plenty of meringue and custard accents. Ends with hints of dried mint and sage on the spicy finish.

Nino Franco Prosecco Exceeds Expectation
In the recent review by Antonio Galloni's Vinous, exceptional scores were given to these sparklers by Nino Franco.

90  Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico

The NV Prosecco Superiore Rustico lifts up with a whimsical blend of peach skins, white flowers and hints of incense. This is silky and pliant in feel, with a creamy wave of sweet bubbles that fizzle out to reveal ripe Asian pear and pretty inner florals. It leaves a pleasantly bitter twang through the finale that keeps the mouthwatering for more. The Rustico is one of the “entry-level” wines of the Nino Franco portfolio and makes for a wonderful introduction to the house style.

92  Nino Franco Prosecco Primo               Franco 2020

The 2020 Prosecco Superiore Primo Franco speaks in whispers but has so much to say, as ginger-laced pears give way to sweet smoke, almond paste and nuances of candied citrus. It rushes a bead of lime-tinged bubbles across a core of juicy acidity, with a measured inner sweetness that’s nicely contrasted by hints of sour apple. The palate is left completely refreshed, as the 2020 tapers off with subtle nuances of buttery pastry and pretty inner florals. This may lag behind the more exotic 2019, but it’s a perfectly harmonious expression. The Primo Franco is a selection of fruit from Nino Franco’s high-elevation vineyards.

93  Nino Franco Prosecco Nodi 2019

The 2019 Brut Prosecco Superiore Nodi is irresistible, as it wafts up with a beguiling mix of exotic spices, baked pears, tropical melon and sweet, white flowers. This impresses further with a palate expression of complete elegance, mixing salty minerals and ripe orchard fruits over a wave of brisk acidity, as enriching notes of toasted almond come forward toward the close. It leaves the mouth watering for more through the persistent and savory finale, as a bitter twang of citrus rinds carries on. The Nodi hails from Nino Franco’s Col del Vent vineyard, and in 2019, it’s pure magic.

94  Nino Franco Brut Grave di Stecca            2016

The 2016 Brut Grave di Stecca showcases a brilliant golden color in the glass, with a dazzling bouquet of peach preserves and sweetly spiced florals contrasted by wild herbs and crushed stone. This is creamy in texture yet angular in feel, pinching at the cheeks with zesty acidity while also delivering masses of ripe orchard fruits and inner flowery perfumes that arch across the palate. It leaves hints of ginger and a bitter twang of toasted hazelnut to linger, yet the end note here is one of cleansing freshness. The 2016 is not about power or fruit; it’s about delicacy and graceful impact. I love it. The Grave di Stecca is a single-vineyard hillside Clos of old Glera vines in Valdobbiadene.

Major Praise to Miner
In the new edition of Tasting Notes, James Suckling awards Miner Family outstanding scores.

92  Miner Cabernet Sauvignon                    Stagecoach Vineyard 2018

Aromas of blackcurrant, chocolate and mint with hints of spices and wet earth. Medium- to full-bodied with bright acidity, chewy tannins and an array of blue fruit on the palate. Medium finish.

92  Miner Chardonnay Napa Valley          2019

Peaches, apricots, pastries, butter and flint on the nose. Medium- to full-bodied with a creamy texture. Fresh and elegant feel with subtle hints of spice and white pepper.

92  Miner Cabernet Sauvignon                        Oakville 2018

A pretty nose of rose hips, lavender, blueberries, plums, currants, herbs and vanilla. Medium body with fine-grained tannins. Bright and juicy with vivid acidity. Excellent freshness.

92  Miner Cabernet Sauvignon                        Emily's  2018

This has a pretty nose of blackcurrants, black cherries, lavender, iodine, pecans and graphite. Some chocolate orange. Medium-bodied with firm, fine-grained tannins and vibrant acidity. Hints of herbs and earth. Excellent structure and freshness.

92  Miner Sauvignon Blanc Napa                    Valley 2020

Sliced apples, pears, grapefruits and guava peel on the nose. Medium-bodied with medium acidity and a creamy, supple texture.

Italy's Best
In Gambero Rosso, the "Italian Wine Bible", has bestowed their most prestigious award to some of the best wines of Italy, which include

Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2019

Cusumano Saleato 2018

Tenuta di Lilliano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2018

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva Giatl 2018


Best Bubbles
In the recent Suckling Tasting Alert, noted journalist James Suckling gives rousing recognition for Nino Franco Proseccos.

92  Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico

Fresh, citrusy nose with lightly candied lemons and a hint of sherberty mineral. Lively froth that then reveals a good dose of fresh cream. This is what you look for in a good Prosecco. Frothy, creamy and fun. Enjoy now.

92  Nino Franco Grave di Stecca                 2016

A rich mix on the nose here, with cider apple, yuzu and hints of green tea and almond. Intense fruit on the palate, too, with a medium fizz and a tasty, spicy finish. Lots of character here. Drink now.

90  Nino Franco Primo Franco 2019

Sliced apples, peaches and lemons on the nose. Some melon rind, too. It’s medium-bodied with soft bubbles, crisp acidity and a creamy texture. Off-dry, smooth and rounded. Drink now.

91  Nino Franco Faivé Rosè 2019

Light copper-pink color and lovely aromas and flavors of red peaches and maple syrup and just enough bubbles to keep it light and lively. Despite the syrupy note it remains essentially dry. Something a bit different here, and delicious. Enjoy now.

90  Nino Franco Nodi 2019

Yellow-apple and lemon base with hints of papaya and green cardamom. This quite exotic mix gives an interesting flavor profile, too. Subtle, relaxed mousse and a fresh, dry finish. Quite a salty aftertaste. Drink now.

90  Nino Franco Riva di San Floriano 2017

A traditional, lemony and creamy feel to this with a balanced fizz and enough flavor to keep the interest up. Lemon and salt aftertaste. Drink now.

Alta Mora On Fire
In the current issue of the Wine Advocate, Editor Monica Larner, gives explosive scores to these delectable Etna wines.

93  Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2019

The Alta Mora 2019 Etna Bianco opens to a bright appearance with shiny golden highlights. Made only in stainless steel, this pure expression of Carricante is brilliant and sharp in terms of aromas, with piercing tones of citrus, minty apple and crushed stone. I love the tonic energy and snappy acidity that this lovely drinking wine brings to the palate. It would make for an easy evening of shrimp tempura and steamed vegetables. Production is an ample 30,000 bottles. The Cusumano family has been working hard to fine-tune this wine, and the results show.

95  Alta Mora Feudo di Mezzo 2016

The Alta Mora 2016 Etna Rosso Feudo di Mezzo is a wine of unsuspecting power and intensity. The momentum takes a moment to build, but sure enough, this wine fills the balloon of your glass with ripe cherry, cassis, blue flower and rusty nail aromas. It also shows a sanguine or mineral side with iron ore and pencil shavings. Made with fruit from 90- to 100-year-old vines, the wine hits the palate in a sharp and decisive manner, thanks to the tannins and the wine's focused style. A tasting party with just a few slices of caciocavallo cheese will be huge success with this bottle.

95  Alta Mora Guardiola 2015

The Alta Mora 2015 Etna Rosso Guardiola is a wine that I tasted and reviewed a few years back. It's nice to come back to check on its evolution. Guardiola opens to tarry black spice and concentrated fruit with overtones of plum and dried blackberry. Fruit is harvested from 150-year-old alberello vines, and that beautiful richness is surely a result of the hard work put out by these old souls. I've upped my score by one point since my last tasting thanks to the pretty evolution and complexity presented here.

Suckling Loves
d'Amico Wines
In his recent Tasting Report, Wine Critic James Suckling gives high scores to four fantastic wines from Paolo e Noemia d'Amico Estate.