Wine Weekly – Sparkling Wine

Some people think that bubbly is only for celebrations, but we think every day at Gigi is a celebration, especially when we have affordable and tasty sparkling wines on our menu! 

Our Segura Viudas Cava and our Gama Prosecco are two of our best selling wines by the glass.  We find, however, that customers are either Cava drinkers or Prosecco drinkers.  The fact of the matter is Cava and Prosecco are so different that one really doesn’t substitute for the other.  Both are delicious bubbly wines, but each is unique in its own way.

Prosecco is the white grape variety (Glera) that generally is used to make dry or extra dry sparkling wines.  DOC prosecco is produced in the regions of Veneto or Friuli Venezia Guilia, and traditionally in the areas of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.   Up until the 1960’s prosecco was unbearably sweet.  But with some improvement in production, prosecco has become a popular sparkling wine.  Unlike Champagne or Cava, prosecco is produced using the Charmat method where the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks.  It has about 11-12% alcohol content.  Prosecco is the main ingredient in a Bellini since its peach and apricot characteristics are enhanced by peach nectar.  On its own or with food such as the HV cheese plate, prosecco is best enjoyed chilled and in a flute.  It even pairs well with a lighter dessert!

The most distinguishable difference between prosecco and cava (other than the fact that one is Italian and one is Spanish) is the way the wine is produced.  Cava, like champagne, is produced using the traditional method where the 2nd fermentation occurs in the bottle.  Yeast and sugar are added to the base wine for fizz and a 1-1.5% increase in alcohol.   The sediment of the dry yeast gives this wine a bit of a savory flavor.  Also unlike prosecco, cava is named for the type of wine not the grape.  It is produced mostly from Penedes near Barcelona.  The majority of cava is made with Macabea, Parellada, Xarel-lo grape varieties.  Recently even some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes have made their way into cava.  With its outstanding effervescence, cava holds up to even richer dishes and actually is a refreshing accompaniment to our Tuscan Fries. 

Next time you are in the mood for a celebration, stop by Gigi Trattoria for a little bubbly.  We recommend sampling the Gama Prosecco next to the Segura Viudas Cava and deciding which one is your favorite.  We would love to hear your feedback!  And if you are in on a Wednesday, whichever bubbles you chose will be 30% off by the bottle!  Now that is something to celebrate.

Learn more about Segura Viudas Cava here.

Learn more about Gama Prosecco here.

Wine Weekly – Non Confunditor

This week in our Staff Spotlight, server Corey Lenko recommended the Non Confunditor.  We thought it would be the perfect tie in to share some information with you about this Toscano Rosso in this week’s Wine Weekly post.  

The Villa of Argiano, home to the Non Confunditor, dates back to the Renaissance.  It was built by the Peccis, a noble family from Siena.  After several decades, it was passed down to the counts of Pieri, who bequeath it to the Marquis of Ballanti Merli and to the Duchess of Caetani from the Counts Lovatelli. In 1992, it was acquired by the Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano. (Got that straight? There will be a pop quiz at the end. 🙂 )The Lovatelli Gaetani d’Aragona family came up with its Latin crest, the Non Confunditor.  Later, the wine from this Villa was baptized the Non Confunditor in honor of the prestigious and glorious past of Argiano.

The Non Confunditor is a unique blend of Tuscan and French grapes that is full-bodied with soft tannins and a long finish. This blend of Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon is best enjoyed during early to mid term.  With notes of spicy black currant, hints of earthiness, a touch of sweetness, and the warmth of red fruit, this wine is lovely on its own or with many different foods including the Gigi Bistecca or Tagliatelle Berta. The bright acidity of this wine leaves a fresh finish with these full-flavored menu items. 

Even though red wine is not a typical recommendation for the summer months, the Non Confunditor is an exception.  Due to the blend of different grapes, this wine is balanced enough to enjoy even on the patio and holds up wonderfully to grilled meats.  We recommend joining us for a bottle sometime soon. Come in and order it on Wine Wednesdays and get 30% off (along with the rest of our bottles)!

Wine Weekly-Manzoni Bianco

Gigi Trattoria is always looking for new interesting wines that are exclusive to our restaurant.  When our good friend Stephen Strumza brought us a taste of Villa Brunesca’s Manzoni Bianco, we knew there was a home for it on our wine list!  This vine was created by Luigi Manzoni, the Principal of the Viticulture and Enology School in Conegliano.  He made a hybrid of Riesling and White Pinot resulting in a truly exceptional wine. 

Villa Brunesco is the birthplace of some other delicious wines including the Gama Prosecco and the Sauvignon which also made it on to our wine list.  The Villa was built in 1845 by Sponza Ship owners, but they did not start bottling and selling wine there until 1922.  The vineyard of about 70 hectares has balanced soil including clay, lime and sand.  Being close to the sea, a summer heat and late summer breeze gently allow for the grapes to ripen and for flavor to develop.  After being picked, the Manzoni Bianco grapes mature in steel vats for about 4 months.  The end result is a balanced wine that has notes of peach and apricot as well as an elegant acidity characteristic of a Pinot Bianco. 

We’re of the opinion Mr. Manzoni had a stroke of genius when he created this hybrid.  Pairing this wine with our summer menu is a dream. The balance of fruit and citrus in this wine would be a lovely accompaniment to the Bigoli Al Pesce Spada, the Salmone or the Hudson Valley Cheese Plate.  And of course, it is lovely on its own! Don’t miss coming in to the Trattoria to try this unique wine.  A glass of Manzoni Bianco is just $10, but you are going to want to get a whole bottle for just $30!  Stop in this Wednesday (or any Wednesday) when all of our bottled wines are 30% off! 

Learn more about Villa Brunesca here.

 

Wine Weekly – Lugana Limne

In the southern shores of Lake Garda, 50 meters above sea level, is the home to one of Gigi Trattoria’s most popular and beloved wines.  Lugana Limne, 2010, produced by Tenuta Roveglia, is 100% Trebbiano di Lugana. This straw yellow wine has aromas of peach and vanilla.  Classic of Luganas, it has a fruity accent with a dry, subtle and elegant finish.  The strong structure yet delicate and refined bouquet make this wine not only wonderful paired with food but delicious on its own especially as an aperitif.

It isn’t surprising that Tenuta Roveglia is considered the premier cru area of Lugana. The land that is Tenuta Roveglia has been producing wines since the Roman ages when Poet Catullo heralded this region for its wine. Not only is this region esteemed for superb wines but it is also breathtakingly beautiful. The clay soil indigenous to the terroir of this DOC region create vibrant green vines and of course extraordinary grapes.  

Whether it’s the ancient heritage of the land or the picturesque environment that the grapes are grown in, something about the Tenuta Roveglia Lugana makes it simply irresistible.  Whenever we have tried to take if off the glass list at Gigi Trattoria it has been yearned for. So we have decided not only to sell it for $10 a glass and $33 a bottle, but we now sell it at Gigi Market! If you have never tried to the Tenuta Roveglia Lugana, you must come into Gigi to see just what we are talking about.  And don’t forget on Wednesdays all of our wines by the bottle are 30% off!  

Learn more about Tenuta Roveglia here.
Learn more about Lugana here.

Wine Weekly – Txakoli

A unique white wine from Spain has been recently making an impact in the states.  Called Txakoli, (pronounced “choc-o-li”), this delightful wine has recently begun making an appearance on wine menus and in wine stores around the U.S.  The  wine became popular in the 1980’s, though it actually originated in Spain hundreds of years ago, around the 18th century.

Drinking Txakoli or txakolina within about a year of bottling is recommended and when served, it is traditionally poured from a height.  This is done in order to decrease some of the effervescence, causing it to be soft and light on the palate.  Found most often in the Basque region, this white wine is dry with a low alcohol content and high acidity.

After much research, Gigi Trattoria found an affordable but delicious Txakolina from a vineyard right outside of San Sebastian.  Mokoroa Getariako Txakolina is fresh and balanced with notes of peach, apple and fresh grass.   The Mokoroa Tolosa family began producing high quality txakoli just four years ago on their 7 hectares of land.

The Getariako varietal of txakoli is grown using a trellis system.  The vines are grown at a greater height above the ground with the foliage forming a continuous canopy.  This not only results in a wonderful wine but an aesthetically pleasing landscape.

Since txakoli is becoming so popular in the US, it is difficult to find many good quality txakolis that are moderately priced.  At Gigi Trattoria we’re proud to offer the Mokoroa Getariako Txakolina for only $30 a bottle.  The price is even more reasonable on a Wednesday when all of our bottle wines are 30% off.  Come on in for a taste of the Basque region!

To learn more, you can visit:
http://www.polanerselections.com/wine/antxiola-getariako-txakolina
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Txakoli
http://www.vinemerchants.com/mokoroa

Wine Weekly – Lambrusco

One of the most recent debates at Gigi Trattoria is if our delicious Lambrusco should be served in a flute or a red wine glass.  Despite the split amongst our staff members and customers, this Graparossa di Castelveto Lambrusco produced by Barbolini is simply superb. 

Lambrusco grapes are most often from Emilia-Romagna where there are five DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) regions. Graparossa di Castelveto is one which the Barbolini family owns.  It is the smallest wine producing region in Modena, where 85% of the wine must be Lambrusco Grasparossa to be called a lambrusco.  The Barbolini lambrusco is 100% Lambrusco Grasparossa. This is one of the most tannic lambruscos out there, making it perfect for Gigi Trattoria since it pairs beautifully with pizza or in our case Skizza. 

You may be thinking summer is not the right time to drink a red wine let a lone a tannic one. However, the fact  that the lambruscos are “frizzante” (slightly sparkling) makes them incredibly enjoyable and refreshing even in the heat.  Served in a flute as Gigi has been doing it for years, it is elegant and drinks like a red sparkling wine.  Served in a red wine glass it gives off aromatics of violet and fruit, especially darker berries. 

Stop in to Gigi Trattoria to try the Graparossa di Castelveto Lambrusco both ways.  Either in red wine glass or a flute, this effervescent wine is $10 by the glass and $32 by the bottle.  If you happen to be dining with us on Wine Wednesday, you can order a bottle for 30% off!

Wine Weekly – Côté Est Catlan

At Gigi Trattoria we are always changing our wine list. With that said, there is one wine that is not only a crowd-pleaser but also a staff favorite.The Lafage Côté Est Catalan is a lovely blend from the Roussillon region of France. This 50% Grenache, 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Marsanne is perfect for summer. The crisp and aromatic blend of wine expresses notes of citrus, white flowers and light minerals.

The young Jean-Marc Lafage has found a way to produce beautiful blends of wine. Though only in his thirties, he has almost 15 years of experience creating juicy and flavorful wines on his 200 hectares of land overlooking the Pyrenees of France and Spain.

Côté Est Catalan & a Bianca Skizza

This wine is best enjoyed chilled (especially on the Gigi patio.)  It pairs well with our mussels, Pollo con Tostone, Barbina salad, most fish specials, and our personal favorite, the Bianca Skizza.  It is also refreshing and delightful on its own and would be a perfect picnic accompaniment. Sold for $9  by the glass and $27 by the bottle, you must try out this gem of the Roussillon region next time you are in Gigi Trattoria. And if you happen to be dining with us on a Wednesday, a bottle of Côté Est Catalan or any of our bottle wines are 30% off!

Chin chin!

 

The Launch of Wine Weekly – Rosé

As you may know, our team is very involved in what we do. We are passionate about the whole dining experience. I believe that being passionate about food means being open; open to new experiences, new flavors, new pairings, and new ideas.

When Gigi Trattoria first opened, we were very much an Italian Trattoria, and our wines reflected that. For the first five years or so, our wine list was all Italian wines. Firstly, they reflected our menu at the time, and paired perfectly with our food. But, secondly, if I’m being honest, Italian wines were dead center in my comfort zone. They were what I knew, had experienced, and liked.

Well, Gigi Trattoria has evolved over time. We now incorporate many Mediterranean elements and ideologies in our menu, which has resulted in our evolution to “Gigi-Hudson Valley Mediterranean.” As our food progressed, I came to realize we needed to re-think our wine menu to better reflect and accompany the flavors and food choices on our menu. Part of that journey was my own experience in learning about Mediterranean wines, especially Spanish wines. I was pleasantly pleased to discover there are now a lot of amazing Spanish wines out there that offer great price performance!

We are really proud of our wine list now. It is a really thoughtful list that represents the best quality and value of Italian and Spanish wines. These wines are built for the food we serve. Wine shouldn’t overwhelm, it should partner with food. There is intrinsically something very complimentary about wines from the Mediterranean. We are also proud of the fact that we are able to pass on good value and quality to our customers. My hope in starting this weekly feature on our blog is to take our loyal clientele on a journey. A journey like the one I took, which will perhaps take them beyond their comfort zone, and give them the opportunity to explore new wines, new flavors, and new pairings.

Image Courtesy of italiaatavola.net

We’ll be talking about a different one from our menu every week, trying to expand horizons while helping you better understand our thought process and how we try to integrate our wines into the dining experience.

And to be clear, this won’t just be me, all of our staff will be participating; our managers, our servers, our bartenders, our chefs…Everyone is very much looking forward to bringing their insight “to the table.”

We hope you enjoy the feature. And, keep in mind, every Wednesday, we offer 30% of bottles in the Trattoria, the perfect opportunity to try something from our list that might have piqued your interest!

We thought we would kick off with a look at two rosé wines that we feature and provide you with some information about both.

 Rosé Bieler Pereet Fils, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2011: $30; Glass: $9

  • Classic pleasing warm weather Provencal rosé. Great for sipping and dining. Enjoy with our crispy calamari, seafood risotto or pasta, Gigi Skizzas™ or our antipasti platter with selections of vegetables, cheeses and cured meats.
  • Aroma: raspberry, bing cherries, wild strawberries, spicy minerality
  • Palate: medium body and notes of red berries, bing cherries, spice and no oak
  • Finish: long and refreshing
  • Varietals: 50% syrah, 30% Grenach, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Marramiero Dama Montepulciano Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy 2010 $10 gls/$32 btl

Cerasuolo – “Cherry Red”

  • Made mostly of Montepulcino grape
  • Cerasuolo can be a sticky term in Italian wine as it has a few different uses.  In general it means “cherry red” in color and can be used to describe the overall color of any rosato (rosé) wine. However, it has some more specific applications as well. First, there is a DOC Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo where the term is applied as part of the DOC to mean rosato that comes from Abruzzo. The Denomination of Origin “Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo” is reserved for wines from vineyards in the region composed of at least 85% Montepulciano. Blending grapes/other non-aromatic red grapes suitable for cultivation in the region of Abruzzo alone or together are permitted up to a maximum of 15%.(2)  Marramiero “Dama” Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo There are standards for color and for character in the DOC Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo as well:
  • Color – cherry/pink
  • Nose – fruity and intense with hints of spice
  • Taste –  bright, fruit driven but still dry

Which would you like to try?

Cin Cin!

-Laura