Wine of October
Cusumano Sàgana 2014

T

he Ionians were the first Greeks in Sicily. They arrived in 735BC and settled in Naxos, near Taormina. As the population grew, they built Temples and Theatres, and became world class navigators. Aside from the art and architecture, they brought grape vines and a keen understanding of viticulture. Sicily became the epicenter of enology some 3,000 years ago. Today’s Sicilians, owe the ancient Greeks much thanks for all of their contributions, especially wine.

For generations, the Cusumano Family has been growing “wine grapes” in Sicily, and since 2001, began producing their own wines. The emphasis on terroir is the driving philosophy of the winery. With over 1,000 acres of vineyards in 5 distinct regions of Sicily, each wine is carefully crafted using only estate grown fruit.

Sàgana is 100% Nero D’Avola, from" Vigneto Del Torrone Bianco" on the prestigious Tenuta San Giacomo. This elegant and savory wine offers the true taste of Sicily in your glass. An aroma of ripe dark cherries and blackberries, give way to hints of violets and soft baking spices. A hint of leather on the palate yields to the generous fruit that this vineyard delivers. The wine finishes strong with lush tannins and a backbone of acidity.

What to pair with this savory wine?

Grilled swordfish is a perfect pairing with the elegant wine. The savory tones of the wine will marry and draw out the sweet meatiness of the swordfish. The wine will not get in the way of the swordfish, but help tame its gameness.

Pasta con Sarde is another favorite dish with Sicilians. The saltiness of the sardines and sweetness of the currants, come together and draws out the cherry and blackberry fruit of the wine. The acidity stands up to the dish and brings the sardines to center stage.

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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.


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...


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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.


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!


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.

Sicily Shining

 

In the latest issue of Wine Enthusiast, editors pick the best white wines made with native grapes of Sicily. Cusumano Shamaris Grillo receives top rating in this category. Bravo!

91  Cusumano Shamaris Grillo 2019


Aromas of honeysuckle, tropical fruit and Mediterranean herbs are front and center on this fragrant white. Crisp and savory, the tangy palate features pineapple, grapefruit and ripe yellow apple alongside a mineral vein of saline.

 Medal Land

 

In the recently announced Decanter World Wine Awards 2020, wines by Tenuta di Lilliano and Paolo e Noemia d'Damico won multiple medals. Congratulations!


Silver Medal: Tenuta di Lilliano Chianti Classico 2017


Bronze Medal: Tenuta di Lilliano Chianti Classico Riserva 2016


Silver Medal: Paolo e Noemia d'Amico Terre di Ala 2018


Bronze Medal: Paolo e Noemia d'Amico Falesia 2018

Bronze Medal: Paolo e Noemia d'Amico Atlante 2013

Bronze Medal: Paolo e Noemia d'Amico Villa Tirrena 2015

Bronze Medal: Paolo e Noemia d'Amico Calanchi Chardonnay 2018

 Zemmer Quartet  

 

In her recent article titled "Italy, Alto Adige: A Crown for Italian Wine", Monica Larner, editor at Robert Parker's Wine Advocate sings high praises to four wines by Peter Zemmer.

91+  Peter Zemmer Pinot Bianco                  2019


The Peter Zemmer 2019 Alto Adige Pinot Bianco opens to delicate but steady intensity, blossoming in slow motion before the senses. It shows classic varietal tones of quince, pear, white peach and tangy citrus that is carefully measured against those more neutral fruit flavors. A pretty mineral signature gives the wine linearity and a brilliant sense of clarity. Alto Adige Pinot Bianco is one of the great white wines of Italy, and it shows even at this extremely affordable price point.



90  Peter Zemmer Vernatsch                        Schiava 2019


The Schiava grape produces softly contoured and delicate red wines that offer a mild texture and lean appearance not unlike a traditional Pinot Noir from Burgundy. The Peter Zemmer 2019 Alto Adige Vernatsch Schiava opens to aromas of wild raspberry, rose, lilac and white licorice. The wine's smooth and silky mouthfeel and its fresh berry flavors call out for some homemade fried chicken.


89  Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio 2019


The Peter Zemmer 2019 Alto Adige Pinot Grigio offers a light and buoyant quality with extra lift from citrus, white peach, grapefruit and crushed mineral. Closed in a screw cap bottle, this is a pretty and modestly fragrant wine that refreshes the palate, thanks to its acidity and that simple presentation of primary fruit flavors. You can't go wrong with this easygoing value wine from the snow-capped Italian Dolomites.



88+  Peter Zemmer Chardonnay                   2019


The Peter Zemmer 2019 Alto Adige Chardonnay (closed in a screw cap bottle) offers an honest and straightforward interpretation of the grape. Chardonnay is presented with naked purity here, revealing tangy citrus, white peach, grapefruit and even a hint of saffron. This is a lean-bodied wine with the fresh acidity and easy personality to pair with finger foods or fried appetizers.
A Great Value Wine from the Top

 

In the recent edition on Great Value Wines, editors at James Suckling list the top wines from the Etna region of Sicily under $35.  Cusumano Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2018 is among the top picks.

93  Cusumano Alta Mora Etna                      Bianco 2018


A very pronounced nose frames straw, dried mangoes, bread crust, passion fruit, dried pineapple and papaya. This might suggest an enormous wine, but the palate is very steely and clear-cut, the direct acidity painting an edgy picture of taut citrus fruit. A beautiful white of contrasts to drink now.

 The Miracle of Alto Adige  

 

In his recent article and documentary "The Miracle of Alto Adige", famed wine critic James Suckling calls this Northern Italian wine region one of the most challenging places to grow grapes in the world. Yet he awards exceptional scores to six Peter Zemmer wines.  

93  Peter Zemmer Lagrein Riserva              "Furggl" 2017


Lots of sliced blackberries, black licorice and some thyme. Full-bodied with creamy tannins that set up the lovely dark berry, chocolate, toffee and coffee flavors. Intense finish.



92  Peter Zemmer Riesling 2019


A fresh, minerally riesling with some flint and petrol undertones, as well as intense citrus. It’s medium-bodied with a dry, fresh finish. Stone and steel.


92  Peter Zemmer Pinot Noir                "Rolhut" 2019


A bright, fresh pinot with dried strawberries, citrus and hints of flowers. Medium body, firm tannins and a fruity finish.


91  Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio 2019


Very fragrant pinot grigio with sliced cooked-pear and some pear-blossom aromas. Pear Williams. It’s full-bodied, fruity and delicious. A little obvious, but very attractive all the same.


91  Peter Zemmer Chardonnay 2019


A smoky, flinty chardonnay with sliced-apple, mineral and stone aromas and flavors. Nougat, too. Medium to full body. Flavorful finish.


91  Peter Zemmer Pinot Bianco 2019


A lightly smoky and minerally pinot bianco with sliced-apple and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, creamy texture and a long, flavorful finish.
 Suckling Picks
Top Summer Wines 

 

Wine Critic James Suckling just selected the Top 100 Italian wines for the summer. Cusumano Grillo Shamaris 2018 and Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2018 receive outstanding scores. 

93  Cusumano Grillo Shamaris 2018


A floral and delicious grillo, driven by its floral character of cherry blossom, daffodils and jasmine. Full-bodied and very generous, but with enough acidity to drive on the textured finish. Drink now.



93  Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2018


A very pronounced nose frames straw, dried mangoes, bread crust, passion fruit, dried pineapple and papaya. This might suggest an enormous wine, but the palate is very steely and clear-cut, the direct acidity painting an edgy picture of taut citrus fruit. A beautiful white of contrasts to drink now.