Posts made in April, 2014

Midwest Smokeout!

AJ Fernandez

Alec Bradley


Double Gun Cigars

La Palina

La Flor Dominicana

Lou Rodriguez Cigars

Rocky Patel

Veritas Cigars

Victor Vitale

Villiger Cigars


You can come to Hammond IN, to find one of the most hedonistic of events. Great food, beer, spirits and entertainment; there may also be a cigar or two. Well 20 cigars in fact. Do Not Miss!

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Maestri Vignaioli Chicago Feb 11th

Maestri Vignaioli Chicago Feb 11th


                The Maestri Vignaoili, or “Master Winemakers,” is a group of wine making families in Italy who have joined together based on their shared outlooks on wine production, each showcasing the distinct flavors and styles from their respective regions.  All the member wineries are independent and family owned and operated, and focuses on producing small batches of high quality wines made in traditional styles.

Meeting with this group of fine winemakers in Chicago and tasting through the wines was an quite an experience. The room was a little cold, given that the tasting was during the polar vortex, but it was still an amazing opportunity to taste some great wines. Marco Sebellico, who facilitated the seminar, was late in typical European fashion, which made the day even more interesting. He was charismatic, funny, and made attendees believe that winemaking really could come from the soul.

A great show, all in all.  Here are the wines that we tasted:

Dal Din Spumanti                                                                                                      Veneto

Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Vidoro  Crisp and clean, with fruit forwardness, melon skin, with a quick fading finish

Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Floral and dry, super crisp, 100% prosecco

Massimo Pastura – Cascina La Ghersa                                                             Piedmont

Colli Tortonesi Timorasso Timian 2009  Pale gold color, with some rim variation, full and rich complexity, good acid, a little lacking in fruit, but good aging potential

Barbera d’Asti Sup. Vignassa 2010 Dark ruby color, with very little rim variation, smoked meat, minerality and great acid, and some clay soil which gives it a beautiful nose

Bario Stroppiana                                                                                                   Piedmont

Barolo Gabutti Bussia 2010 Young vineyard, color of rust, amazing acid and minerality, round tannins, with spice and berry

Barolo San Giacomo 2010 52 year-old vines, full tannins and minerality, perfect for long term aging, the finish is bone dry, finish lasts forever

Rubinelli Vajol                                                                                                           Veneto

Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. 2009 Blue rim variation, dried fruit, dirt, soil, and clay, but surprisingly juice

Valpolicella Cl. 2012 Perfect color of dark purple, bright and fresh acid, with soft baked fruit

Fattoria di Rodano                                                                                                  Tuscany

Chianti Cl. Ris. 2007

Chianti Cl. 2008

Terralsole                                                                                                                 Tuscany

Brunello di Montalcino Ris. 2007 Milk chocolate, with creamy tannins, berry forward, full and bright, with dark fruit on the pallet

Brunello di Montalcino 2008 Meant to age, very bright, full tannins, forest floor on the nose

Guado al Melo                                                                                                         Tuscany

Toscana Rosso Jassarte 2006 Soft and dried fruit, very nice

Guado al Melo Bianco 2011 Wow!  Beautiful bright fruit, green apple, made in the old world style

Trappolini                                                                                                                      Lazio

Lazio Rosso Paterno 2010 Ruby color, perfect fruit balance, raspberry, and excellently structured  tannins

Lazio Grechetto 2012 Soft, pale straw color, citrus notes, clean and crisp

Conti Malacari                                                                                                          Marche

Conero Ris. Grigiano 2008 Funky socks, augusta, lush berry, this is an awesome monte pulciano

Rosso Conero Villa Malacari 2009 Good tannins, with a fruity structure

Cantine del Notaio                                                                                                Basilicata

Aglianico del Vulture La Firma 2010 This wine is closed down.  Very little fruit, but some floral and spice notes

Basilicata Rosso L’Atto 2012 Wheat, cherry, raspberry, milk chocolate, very jammy

Ferreri & Bianco                                                                                                           Sicily

Sicilia Nero d’Avola 2012 Roasted game, gamey, smoky, not very giving on the fruit

Sicilia Catarratto Brasi 2011 Some white floral notes, lemon peel, crisp and almost clear

Check them out below and be on the lookout for their handcrafted wines…


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How Wines are rated on this site…

How the rating system works:
Each product is tasted twice to ensure that no external factors influence the score.  Products are tasted under the same conditions; using the same glasses and the same light.  Nothing is different that can be helped.  It is very important that scores from any website or magazine not stop you from buying a bottle. While reviews may help influence which products you try, please make the final decision yourself.
There are those who think the 100 point scale is inadequate and lacking any sense of creativity.  For the most part I am among them.  What is important is that, when tasting wine, it helps to have a rubric to assist you in finding what you’re looking for, and to enhance your enjoyment of the sample.  I strongly encourage people to host their own tastings with friends and use this rating system as a guide to pick favorites.

KEEP IN MIND that scores are not the only way to determine a product’s worth.  As the old adage goes “if you like it, drink it!”

100 point scale

Nose=25 Points   Body=25 Points    Balance=25 Points Finish= 25 Points

                                 Total =100 Points

95-100 exceptional – highly recommended

89-94 superior quality –distinctive, recommended

80-88 good value – definitely worth trying

70-79 nothing special but try it

69- Or below may lack balance, and character but don’t let it stop you from trying a bottle

Nose:  Look for the aromatic notes that tell you the story of each bottle, and even each sip.  Scent tells the life story of the liquid

Body:  Texture, how it feels in the mouth, and richness

Finish:  How the flavors fade away on your tongue and how it feels going down

Balance:  How complex the flavors are, and how the balance of acid, alcohol, and sweetness combine to make a great sip

Color:  This is a much bigger deal with wine than it is with spirits. It can indicate age, complexity, and quality.

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