The Bellavista Wine Tasting TONIGHT with Owner Sara Padarli




TODAY (March 17th) from 5 – 7pm, come celebrate the Italy’s 150th birthday with a complimentary tasting of Bellavista Wines with Owner Sara Padarli!


Bellavista Wines is the top producer of sparkling wines! Come and taste greatness for yourself. All wines being tasted will be available for purchase at special pricing during this event.

This event will be a complimentary tasting, so no reservations are necessary.

Mattia Vezzola! 2008 Tre Bicchieri WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR

The Wines Being Tasted

Bellavista NV Franciacorta Brut

Rating: 91
The NV Brut Cuvee is simply beautiful. White peaches, jasmine, minerals, ash and grapefruit are some of the aromas and flavors that come together in this taut, focused Franciacorta. This is a superb example of Italy’s best reasonably priced methode Champenoise wine. I loved it.
-Antonio Galloni (February, 2011)

Bellavista Grand Cuvee 2004

Rating: 91
The 2005 Brut Gran Cuvee is another super-impressive wine from Bellavista. This understated, elegant wine shows lovely inner perfume and fabulous overall balance in an open, approachable style best suited for drinking over the next few years. Rich, seductive fruit finds a lovely counterpoint in an underlying streak of minerality on the impeccable, chiseled finish.
-Antonio Galloni

Bellavista Grand Cuvee Rose 2005

Rating: 91+
The 2005 Gran Cuvee Rose is a pretty, delicate wine that is almost certainly not showing the fullest breadth of its potential. Though still somewhat buttoned up, the 2005 occasionally reveals its gorgeous inner perfume. The mousse is exceptionally fine in this polished, understated wine.
-Antonio Galloni (February, 2011)


About Bellavista

Scale and charm do not generally go together; yet in Bellavista’s case, they are perfectly compatible. This remarkable operation, masterminded by owner Vittorio Moretti and winemaker Mattia Vezzola, combines grandeur and star quality with familiarity and simplicity. The estate’s larger-than-life facilities, miles of underground cellars, impressive contemporary architecture (helipad included), and 1,250 surrounding acres of Franciacorta soil – 462 acres of which (187 hectares) are now under vine – leave you awestruck. At the same time, the exuberant Mattia, ebullient Morettis and likable, friendly Bellavista staff inspire immediate empathy.

Moretti founded the estate in 1976, and the first bottle of Franciacorta was issued in 1984. Over these three decades, the style of Bellavista has become a benchmark to the DOCG – so much so it has prompted countless imitations. Its vineyards now constitute 8% of the entire appellation, in extraordinarily favorable positions: some 60 selections that go into one million bottles yearly.
A choice number of special Reserves from the finest vintages rest in 3.5 million 3-lt. bottles, in Bellavista’s immense underground cellars. This treasury of excellence continues to nurture the Bellavista cuvées, providing the winery’s signature leitmotiv. The past couple of years have seen Mattia implement yet another phase in the estate’s constant crescendo: increasing élevage, on average from 36 to 48 months, so as to achieve the greatest possible quality consistency and personality.



Franciacorta is not only an appellation; it is also a vinification method – metodo Franciacorta – for sparkling wines known as Franciacortas. There are only two world regions whose bubbles enjoy such distinction: Franciacorta, and Champagne. The Franciacortas of Bellavista consist of classic méthode champenoise/metodo Franciacorta from Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, awesome in every detail: minuscule, persistent perlage, ample, elegant bouquet of bread dough, ripe apples, pears and apricots with subtle notes of vanilla and peach jam; creamy, silky texture, unique concentration and long, pure finish.
Franciacorta’s clayey/limestone soil is richly endowed with the elements of Champagne, ideally enhanced by in-depth genetic research, organic-only fertilization, phased out harvests, parcelled out crops (the 60-plus selections are separately fermented in oak/stainless steel), vertical presses (Marmonnier and the more recent Coquard), up to 6 years’ bottle age in the vast underground cellars, refermentation directly in the bottle for the larger-format sparkling wines, remuage by hand for all sparkling wines etc. Both still and sparkling are from prime hillside vineyards, clonally selected material, densely planted stock. The still DOCs of the range are called Curtefranca (an ancient designation for the area).

Celebrate St. Joseph’s Day at Undici

Join us the week of March 14 – 20 in Celebration of Saint Josephs Day

We will be serving St. Josephs Pasta all week

Saint Josephs Day March 19, 2011


A note from Victor Rallo Jr.

My Father loved this day and would always cook a feast for family and friends. I grew up eating pasta con sarde and the traditional sfinge on St. Josephs day. After my father passed away in 2002 I promised to keep the tradition alive, please join us and enjoy this special occasion.

Customs of the Day

St. Joseph’s Day is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph’s intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick’s Day.

Today, after Mass (at least in parishes with large Italian populations), a big altar (“la tavola di San Giuse” or “St. Joseph’s Table”) is laden with food contributed by everyone (note that all these St. Joseph celebrations might take place on the nearest, most convenient weekend). Different Italian regions celebrate this day differently, but all involve special meatless foods: minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph’s floor), seafood, Sfinge di San Giuseppe, and, always, fava beans, which are considered “lucky” because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed (recipes below).

The table — which is always blessed by a priest — will be in three tiers, symbolizing the Most Holy Trinity. The top tier will hold a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers and greenery. The other tiers might hold, in addition to the food: flowers (especially lilies); candles; figurines and symbolic breads and pastries shaped like a monstrance, chalices, fishes, doves, baskets, St. Joseph’s staff, lilies, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, carpentry tools, etc.; 12 fishes symbolizing the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizing the miracle at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; lemons for “luck”; bread and wine (symbolizing the Last Supper); and pictures of the dead. There will also be a basket in which the faithful place prayer petitions.

The cry “Viva la tavola di San Giuse!” begins the feasting and is heard throughout the day. When the eating is done, the St. Joseph’s altar is smashed, and then three children dressed as the Holy Family will knock on three doors, asking for shelter. They will be refused at the first two, and welcomed at the third, in memory of the Holy Family’s seeking of hospitality just before Christ was born. This re-enactment is called “Tupa Tupa,” meaning “Knock Knock.”

The day ends with each participant taking home a bag that might be filled with bread, fruit, pastries, cookies, a medal of St. Joseph, a Holy Card and/or a blessed fava bean. Keep your “lucky bean,” and let it remind you to pray to St. Joseph. (The Litany of St. Joseph would be most appropriate today! You can download the Litany, in Microsoft Word .doc format, in English and in Latin).


Pasta di San Giuseppe (pasta with breadcrumbs that symbolize sawdust)

Bucatini or Perciatelli pasta

2 TBSP olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped fresh fennel
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 TBSP chopped fresh basil
4 cans of drained, skinless, boneless sardines

Heat oil in large pot, and saute in it the garlic and pepper flakes. Add the fennel, tomatoes, paste, and basil. Cover and let simmer 30 minutes ’til fennel is tender. Add the sardines and simmer a few more minutes.

1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup fine homemade breadcrumbs

Heat oil, and add crumbs and heat until golden brown. Pour sauce over the pasta, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
Traditional St. Josephs Reading

Sermon 2, On St Joseph
By St. Bernardine of Siena

This is the general rule that applies to all individual graces given to a rational creature. Whenever divine grace selects someone to receive a particular grace, or some especially favoured position, all the gifts for his state are given to that person, and. enrich him abundantly.

This is especially true of that holy man Joseph, the supposed father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and true husband of the queen of the world and of the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father to be the faithful foster-parent and guardian of the most precious treasures of God, his Son and his spouse. This was the task which he so faithfully carried out. For this, the Lord said to him, “Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

A comparison can be made between Joseph and the whole Church of Christ. Joseph was the specially chosen man through whom and under whom Christ entered the world fittingly and in an appropriate way. So, if the whole Church is in the debt of the Virgin Mary, since, through her, it was able to receive the Christ, surely after her, it also owes to Joseph special thanks and veneration.

For he it is who marks the closing of the old testament. In him the dignity of the prophets and patriarchs achieves its promised fulfilment. Moreover; he alone possessed in the flesh what God in his goodness promised to them over and again.

It is beyond doubt that Christ did not deny to Joseph in heaven that intimacy, respect, and high honour which he showed to him as to a father during his own human life, but rather completed and perfected it. Justifiably the words of the Lord should be applied to him, “Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Although it is the joy of eternal happiness that comes into the heart of man, the Lord prefers to say to him “enter into joy”. The mystical implication is that this joy is not just inside man, but surrounds him everywhere and absorbs him, as if he were plunged in an infinite abyss.

Therefore be mindful of us, blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with Him Whom men thought to be your Son. Win for us the favour of the most Blessed Virgin your spouse, the mother of Him Who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit through ages unending. Amen.


The James Suckling Interview:

Act 2

The Wines:


Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino 1993

Giacomo Conterno makes two Barolos which are both from the Cascina Francia vineyard, one of the greatest vineyard sites in Piemonte. The vineyards were purchased by Conterno in 1974 and measure six hectares (approximately 12 acres.) Conterno traditionally makes the Cascina Francia in every vintage with exception of 2002 and only makes the second Barolo, Monfortino Riserva in exceptional years.


In those years, a selection of the best fruit is made in the Cacina Francia vineyard and that fruit becomes Monfortino Riserva. Monfortino Riserva is perhaps the most iconic wine in all of Barolo. The Monfortino is made exclusively with natural yeasts and the maceration last 4-5 weeks and is carried out without temperature control. Current vintages are aged 7 years in large oak barrels prior to release. Monfortino is legendary for its longevity which is not measured in years but decades.


To me the 1993 Monfortino Riserva was much more traditional in color and style. I guess you would expect that from a traditionalist. The color in the glass was a light garnet ruby. The 1993 vintage was not an exceptional year for Barolo producers; most of the Barolos are austere and have a hard edge but that is not the case here.


This wine, like all Conterno wines, is bottled without filtration or fining thus revealing the total picture of the terrior and Nebbiolo’s varietal character. On the nose there are autumn leaves, leather and dried concentrated black cherries and a nice balance of acidity and oak tannins. This wine was simply elegant and delicious. I would definitely drink it now as I thought it was the best wine of the four Barolo’s we tasted. But do not get me wrong, this wine still has 10-20 more years of age ability. WOW my eyes are wide open to Giacomo Conterno Monfortino, great even in an off vintage.


Bruno Giacosa Collina Rionda Barolo Riserva 1990

Bruno Giacosa is known for making legendary wines especially the wines that bear the “Red Label,” trademark of his reserve wines. Giacosa only makes the Riserva wines in the very best vintages and when he does make them they are legendary. Yes, legendary.


Most would say, as would I, that Giacosa is a traditional Barolo producer. But by the mid-1980’s, Giacosa began to move toward an enlightened traditional style using small French oak barriques instead of large traditional botti. Fermentation and barrel aging however remain very much within the framework of traditional winemaking, resulting in a mind blowing combination.


The 1990 Giacosa Collina Rionda Barolo Riserva had a beautiful yet light characteristically Barolo color, garnet colored turning to orange brick colored on the edges. For me this wine had an aroma of over-ripe fruit, almost like prunes and it was very pronounced. On the palette the wine had good balance between acidity, (still high) tannins and fruit. This wine was rich, dense, aromatic and fantastico. James chose this as his favorite wine and I notched it in as second place. I would drink this wine now or within the next 10 years. Cheers as always to Bruno Giacosa.


Angelo Gaja Costa Russi 1990
Angelo Gaja declassified his wines, so they are not technically Barolos. By doing so, he could add other varietals usually 2-4% to the Nebbiolo to enhance its quality and characteristics of his wines. Even though they are not technically Barolos they are almost always listed and tasted with the great Barolos of Piemonte.


The Costa Russi is the most new world of all the wines we tasted often resembling a French Chateauneuf du Pape or a big California Zinfandel.


The 1990 Costa Russi has all the tell-tale Nebbiolo characteristics. It’s very rich and has jammy black cherries, with rich oak tannins in the nose. Angelo Gaja was the first Piemontese producer to use French barriques instead of the large Botti that were traditionally used. This wine tasted slightly out of balance to me, and it seemed the oak treatment over shadowed the luscious fruit and crisp acidity that Nebbiolo usually offers. This wine was clearly a baby at 21 years of age. I would let this sit several more years, 8-10 before re-tasting. I rated this wine number 4 out of the Barolos we tasted. But remember as Verdoni says, this is a high end beauty contest and all of the wines are stunning; we are discussing the minutia amongst great producers and at the end, it’s personal taste. Some like ‘em blonde and some always fall for the brunette.


Roberto Voerizio Vecchie Viti dei Capalot e delle Brunate DOCG 2001

Roberto Voerizio produces some of the richest, deepest and most texturally beautiful Barolo in Piemonte. Voerizio is best known for his low yields. Twenty years ago the idea of green harvesting was still radical in Piemonte, a poor, agrarian region were cutting off bunches of grapes was seen as the equivalent of throwing away money. Voerizio was convinced otherwise and followed his instincts by pursuing this radical approach to low yields. Voerizio cuts bunches off his plants, to the point the rows between his vineyards are literally strewn with fruit. The bunches that remain are meticulously trimmed, particularly to the bottom and the sides of the bunch, where the harsher tannins are believed to lie. The typical triangular Nebbiolo bunch is trimmed into a small roundish bunch with yields that are the lowest in Piemonte and most of the world.


Voerizio also stepped away from tradition by using small oak barriques instead of the large botti which are so typical and very traditional of Barolo producers.


With all this said Roberto Voerizio’s Vecchie Viti dei Capalot e delle Brunate DOCG 2001, was the deepest in color of all the Barolos tasted, as expected; it is a testament to the low yields and tremendous concentration Voerizio achieves. The traditional brickish red color has been transposed by Voerizio into a glimmering dark almost ink colored wine; this is very unique coming from Nebbiolo grapes.


The nose had notes of aged balsamic and black cherry with exceptional fruit and vibrant fresh flavors. On the palate there was still a very tannic acidic quality (in a good way) that showed this wine’s youth. I think this wine is difficult to fully appreciate today, but it is beautifully made and has tons of aging potential. Cellar this wine for at least 10 more years. Just a note: when we drank this wine with food it really balanced out, if I was to drink this wine today it would be with a Hearty Roast, Osso Bucco or pasta with meat sauce and a sharp grated cheese. This wine I rated #3 for today and #1 for continued aging.


Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 1985

Everyone has a hallmark by which they measure things; I measure baseball by Babe Ruth, I measure women by Bo Derek in the movie 10, cars (that’s easy) a 1952 Ferrari Barchetta 512 and for Italian wine it can only be Sassicaia 1985.


I have had the pleasure of staying on the Tenuta San Guido Estate several times and each time I visit I get a clearer picture of how they created one of the greatest red wines ever made. Tenuta San Guido is located in Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast about 5 miles from the ocean. The maritime weather and the excellent terrior allow them to grow some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in the world. Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia has won the coveted Tre Bicchieri Award 10 years in a row and I guess that tells you something about consistency.


This is the first wine that James Suckling rated 100 points while at the Wine Spectator and Antonio Galloni of the Wine Advocate followed by also rating Sassicaia 1985 100 points. So wouldn’t it be great to open this bottle and taste it 26 years later? Life is too short so we opened it up. But would it live up to our expectations????


James was afraid to taste it at first because of the wonderful memories he had of this wine tasting it from its inception and then on several occasions following its release. He did not want to be disappointed, but we all settled in and began to taste this incredible wine and believe me none of us were disappointed.


The wine had a majestic deep rich color, and fresh aromatics; I even smelled the sea. The wine had vibrant flavors on the palette; I tasted ripe plums, black fruits and casis with a balanced light oakiness and silky smooth tannins. This wine is truly elegant and deserving of 100 points. If you own this wine sip it slow I believe it has another 20 years to go.


James did make a confession: that he was sorry that he gave the wine 100 points upon release for it was better now and he could only rate it 100 plus!!!!



Enclosed are some pictures from the event, and as Warner Wolf says, “let’s go to the video tape,” you will have to wait and see the video for a full review of the interview and the tasting.


La Forza del Vino,