Canei Go Home Again?

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

While most kids in high school were trying to get someone to buy them beer, I was that weird kid drinking wine.

The wine I was drinking was about the same level of quality as their beer, but I didn’t care. I was drinking real wine. From Italy. It was imported. And it was advertised on the radio. In the Buffalo area, where I grew up the ads were voiced by Danny Neaverth a long-time Buffalo radio god.

The ads?

Canei?* Yes, You Can!

*(pronounced like Can I)

Oh it was Klassy! It even had a screw top making it super convenient for the teenaged Gretchen.

I drank this wine as I moved into my college years (where it was actually not entirely too awful with the Thai food we ordered from Tipsuda (sadly, long gone!)

Why mention this?

Well, yesterday, while on a quest for a new hydrometer (people keep breaking them which I find annoying) and the liquor store that I visited to replace the broken equipment, there it was.  A bottle of Canei.  I haven’t seen a bottle of it in years.  It was calling me.  Like a siren’s song.

So we bought a bottle and brought it home and poured it while eating a Giordano’s Pizza (another 1985 pairing).

And like the siren’s song, the Canei dashed me on the rocks.

OMG.  It sucked.  SUCKED.No I Can't (stomach it anymore)
What was teenaged me thinking?  I don’t know.  I was 19.  I didn’t know any better and it was my introduction to buying wine.

Clearly, my taste buds have moved on.  And we ditched the Canei and opened a dry rosé instead.

So Canei go home again?  No, I can’t.

And I am guessing that the Ruinite and ice won’t be nice.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

The Birthday Girl and Celia

The Birthday Girl and Celia


You aren’t seeing things.

It is just that Marguerite and I are very close.  Close enough to be sisters.  And as further proof of that we have mothers that are born one day apart.

Which means that both of us were involved in birthday celebrations this weekend.  Marguerite back in the aulde sod and me, here in the Chicagoland area.

Voga Pinot Grigio

Voga Pinot Grigio

We went with my Mom to Villagio Ristorante in Roselle, Illinois.  A  nice little Italian place with home made pasta and a nice wine list.  Saturday night, they also had live entertainment with Vito Zatto, who styles himself as a Las Vegas-style singer and entertainer.

The restaurant was PACKED.  And virtually every table was a table of six or more.  Balloons proclaiming Happy Birthday could be seen in every room of the restaurant. It was noisy. It was crowded. It took a long time to get served and strangely, everytime we ordered wine, it was out. Well, in all fairness, people were drinking alot of wine. We ended up drinking a very light pinot grigio called Voga.  The bottle was the same shape as a mineral water that I have had before Voss.  The label was clear so I couldn’t read it.  I was pleasant and while not crisp, I would certainly describe it as brisk.

Santedame Chianti Classico

Santedame Chianti Classico

Another of the wines that we drank was the Tenuta Santedame Chianti Classico which was robust with Sangiovese’s red fruits.  It was perfect with our main courses.

After that, I lost track of the wine as what we ordered continued to be out and as Mom and I would head down to catch part of the show.  The birthday girl even got to sing, which is her favorite thing to do… and Vito sang to her as well.  She was the birthday girl after all.  And in truth, he sang to ALL the birthday boys and girls in the restaurant.  At least eight tables near as I could count.

Mom Dancing to YMCA

Mom Dancing to YMCA

As we finished up our dinner, my girls were dragging… Sophie had been at a school retreat and had been up for nearly two straight days.  Celia was tired and wanted desperately to make use of her text messaging functions.  But the dinner was a success.  Mom, who’s birthday is today, was happy.  And wasn’t that the point?

So, Happy Birthday Mom!  Hope today was as good as your party!

Bubbles in Every Color

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

For my birthday Kevin decided to try out all different kinds of sparkling wines. And I think that you will agree this one is quite unique as it is a sparkling red. I know that my first thought was, “What?! Cold duck?” Which I haven’t seen or heard of in a 1000 years… Cold duck was a blend of red wine from California with a New York State sparkling wine.

The IGT Giol Raboso Frizzante is grown in the Veneto Region of Italy near Treviso. Raboso is the local grape in the area and produces a deep ruby red wine that is low in alcohol but high in tannins. Additionally, the grapes for this wine were grown organically.

The wine was dry and tasted of black cherries and plums. The bubbles died away fairly quickly but were great to look at with their ruby hue.

I had never seen an Italian wine like this (yes, I know, I need to get out more) but enjoyed it thoroughly. I was disappointed not to learn what method the winery used to create the carbonation as in the region both the traditional French method champagnoise and the charmat (the wine is prepared in stainless steel tanks under pressure) method. But for once my curiousity will have to go unsated.

I guess that works out so long as the wine was so tasty.

You have to admit this would be a delightful alternative to Champagne for Valentine’s Day!

Win(e)ding Roads: The Frescobaldi Crus Wine Seminar at the Sun Winefest 1.17.09

Marguerite Barrett 

Contributing Writer
In addition to the Grand Tasting, Christy and I signed up for the Frescobaldi  Crus Wine Seminar.  Hosted by Kerry Guilfoyle of Folio Wine Partners, the sole distributor of Frescobaldi wines in the US, the seminar was held in a private room in Todd English’s Tuscany Restaurant.  The room itself was gorgeous, wood-paneled, with shelves full of wine bottles lining the main wall and extending up to the 20-foot ceilings.   A large rustic, farm-style table that seats about 20 dominated the room, and above the table were two lovely wrought-iron chandeliers. 
The Frescobaldi vineyards are a family owned business now in its 30th generation.  The 31st generation is currently in school and will be joining the family business upon graduation.  
The Frescobaldis, a Florentine family, first became successful as bankers around the year 1,000.  During their banking career, they loaned money to Edward I and Edward II of England to finance their wars with France in their unsuccessful attempts to reclaim the Bordeaux region for the English crown.  Unfortunately for the Frescobaldis, England lost those wars, and the King of France fined them heavily for giving aid to the enemy.  The family was forced out of banking and shifted to cultivating grapes and producing wines.   More than 600 years later, the family owns 9 properties, each with its own castle, encompassing more than 2,500 acres across Tuscany.
Over the centuries the Frescobaldis have sold wine to such luminaries as Donatello, Michaelangeo, and the Kings of England.  Along the way they have amassed an impressive art collection, much of it by allowing artists to barter for wine.
The Frescobaldi Crus seminar featured the premier wines from 4 of the Frescobaldi estates, each with their own history: CastelGiocondo, Castiglioni, Castello di Pomino, and Castello di Nipozzano.
First stop: Castello di Pomino…

Banfi CollePino

Marguerite Barrett

Contributing Writer
I mentioned a few days ago that I picked up this up solely because the label caught my eye.  
From Castello Banfi in the Tuscan region of Italy, the CollePino is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot that is quite delicious.  And at less than $10US a bottle, a great wine to stock up on for a good everyday table red.    I paired it with a hearty risotto one evening for a wonderful “comfort food” dinner.

Have I ever mentioned?

Marguerite Barrett

Contributing Writer
Has Gretchen ever mentioned she likes French wine?  Hmmm…  I think I may have heard those words mentioned once or twice.
However, I do have to say that Gretchen’s musings yesterday made me stop and think.  While I’m not a complete neophyte in the wine department, I’m not an expert either.  
And to be honest, I’ve never really thought about the idea of “geography” as part of the wine, other than to say that something is from one country or another – or that climate (such as colder vs. warmer climates) can affect the wines.  But Gretchen’s post made me think in a whole new way.
I, too, have a fondness for French wines, but given a choice, Italy is my preferred European region.  Why?  I don’t know – I find Italian wines more interesting than French wines.  But that’s a discussion for another day.  
My point today is that having read “Have I Ever Mentioned” I began thinking…  So tonight when I went to the wine rack to select a new bottle of wine, I deliberately chose an Italian (I’ve been exploring Connecticut, New Zealand and South Africa recently so the only European wines I have in the house currently are Italian).   
I was much more conscious of the bouquet, and for the first time I smelled it – the soil!   There was an earthiness to the bouquet that I recognized but hadn’t realized what it was before.  And as the first sip hit my mouth, I was aware that what I often described inadequately as “dry” was in fact “minerals.”
I’m not educated enough in wines, grapes, etc. to be able to describe it correctly, but that’s o.k.  I learned something today, and even if I can’t explain it, my experience with wine has just become richer.
Salut, Gretchen!

Hot and Cold Running Wine


Now THAT is living!

If even for just a couple of hours.

The town of Marino has a tradition of hosting a grape festival (Sagra del’Uva) to celebrate the source of their local wine, Frascati. As part of the festival they drain the Fontana dei Mori (Fountain of the Four Moors) and pump wine through it (piped straight from the vineyard). Locals can dip their glasses or have them filled using hoses. Sounds heavenly to me as I have long enjoyed Frascati wines made from Trebbiano, Greco and Malvasia grapes and produce a pale straw colored, fruity and slightly effervescent wine.

Except this year one nearby woman reported a ‘miracolo’. The wine accidently ran through her plumbing.

Never fear! Residents rescued with wine by pouring it into bottles and containers. Still for a moment doesn’t it sound heavenly?

I thought so too.