Dinner with Marta Rinaldi

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

6:30 PM

A legend among piedmontese producers, Giuseppe Rinaldi has been producing Barolo wine for over a century. As traditional as it gets, “Beppe” Rinaldi still ferments all of his Baroli in the massive, 110 year old piedmontese oak vat that his great grandfather used. The wines are aged in large old oak for two years before bottling. Rinaldi still holds to the tradition of blending fruit from different vineyards to create a perfectly balanced, long aging wine.

In recent years, Giuseppe’s daughter Marta Rinaldi has become more involved in the business.  Along with Eleanora Barale, Maria Teresa Mascarello, Mariacristina and Mariavittoria at Oddero, and Bruna Giacosa we are now seeing a younger generation of women making many of these traditionally masculine wines, ushering in the feminine future of Barolo.

Marta will join us for a very special prix fixe menu paired with select Rinaldi vintages.  For those interested in our regular à la carte menu, all of the Rinaldi wines will be available by the glass and half-glass to the whole dinning room.

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Sicilian Wine Tasting with author Robert Camuto


Thursday, March 24th

7:00 pm Robert Camuto discusses
Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey at Mrs. Dalloway’s
8:30 pm book signing & wine tasting in the Oliveto Cafe

Wines offered by the glass will include:
*Etna Bianco(Carricante and other indigenous varieties),
“Outis,” Biondi, Sicily 2009
*Ceresuolo di Vittoria Classico (Nero d’Avola-Frappato),
“Pithos”, COS, Sicily 2008
*Nero d’Avola, “Schiave,”Cantina Riofavara, Sicily 2007 (thank you, Kermit Lynch!)
and may include others….

Sicily has become the Italian wine region to watch, and for good reason. The island has a huge range of wines, delicate and complex reds and whites from Mt. Etna on the east coast, robust and earthy Nero d’Avola in the south, and rich whites, both sweet and dry in the west.

We’ll be tasting some of these wines and helping to celebrate the the publication of Palmento: Ascilian Wine Odyssey by Robert Camuto.

Palmento is a beautifully written travelogue of Camuto’s time spent on the island meeting winemakers, each providing a different look at life in Sicily.   Continue reading ‘Sicilian Wine Tasting with author Robert Camuto’

Randall Grahm Is On A Mission

I would suggest that greatness in wine may well come from a human being’s accidentally discovering a uniquely special site and having the wit to try not to guide things overmuch, and to be strong enough to allow Nature to do Her thing. Perhaps the point may be that if terroir’s signal is strong enough, the particular grape variety or varieties grown in a vineyard—assuming they are mas o menos within range of suitability—just might not matter so much, or even at all.

-Randall Grahm [Read the full article]

Dinners for Grifalco Wine

grifalco label

November 11 and November 12

Thursday, November 11, winemaker Cecilia Naldoni from Grifalco in the Monte Vulture region of Basilicata will be at Oliveto for a private winemaker dinner.  Chef Paul Canales will prepare a four-course menu inspired by Basilicata and perfect for Aglianico pairings.  Thursday’s dinner in the Siena room will allow for Cecilia to discuss her wines with a small group of guests. Please call (510) 547-5356 for pricing and reservations.

The following day, Friday November 12, Cecilia will be in the general dining room floating to chat tableside with interested guests who would like to know more about her wines, the region of Basilicata and her choice to migrate from Tuscany to the South of Italy.  We will be serving our regular a la carte dinner menu and have a number of Grifalco wines available by the glass.  Please call or reserve online.

Available wines include:

2006 Gricos, consisting of fruit from all four vineyards, half of the wine seeing slovenian oak, the other half in stainless steel. The grapes from each vineyard are always kept separate and blended at maturity.

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Aldo’s Vineyard Update – HARVEST! 2010

It is hard to guess at the time of harvest how a vintage will eventually turn out. Only after malalactic fermentation has happened, some time in the spring of 2011, will there be a clear sense of the qualities of that year’s fruit.

But, here are Aldo’s best guesses:

The 2010 Barbaresco should make good, not great (he’s always so modest!), medium-bodied, well-balanced, classic wines. Similar to the 2005 vintage.

It was very rainy in Barbaresco on September 7, 19, 27 and October 4th, with dry/warm days in between. Although there wasn’t a mold problem and the harvest went well, the soil remained fairly wet, which makes for less concentrated juice. Sugar was good, 13.4.

Color was good in some vineyards, less so in others.

Produttori has several exceptional vintages in their cellar, not yet released, so they will decide in the springtime if they will make 2010 single vineyard wines.

Aldo’s Vineyard Update – Pre-harvest 2010

This latest video was filmed by Aldo’s son, six-year-old Giacomo Vacca

Roberto Stucchi at the Abbey

With video taken last November and the editing prowess of Beryl Ray Levy, we’ve just cut a new piece on our friend Roberto Stucchi and the magnificent Badia a Coltibuono in Tuscany.

It seems like a good time to also mention we are currently serving the 2007 Riserva by the glass in both the restaurant and the cafe.   And the 1999 Sangioveto (one of Roberto’s personal favorites), which started out rather austere, has recently begun to open up.  Therefore we’ve taken some of our bottle out of the cellar and put them on the Wine In Time menu.  It will be interesting to observe how this wine changes over the next couple years.

Aldo’s Vineyard Update – Green Harvest 2010

Eighty-two degrees and rain in Barbaresco today. Aldo Vacca just sent us our latest vineyard report. The “green harvest” is now complete (thinning the vines of fruit, for the benefit of remaining grapes). We’re glad it looks like summer–somewhere.

On “Chianti Classicos With an Identity Crisis”

In Monday’s New York Times, wine writer Eric Asimov described a recent tasting of twenty Chianti Classicos and lamented the lack of classically styled wines from the region, particularly at the Riserva level.   His primary complaint centered on the unnaturally dense, dark appearance of many of these wines, often due to over-extraction, heavy use of oak, or blending of international varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  We here at Oliveto couldn’t agree more. From the outset our wine program has focused on sourcing Italian wines made in a more traditional style: “Typicity, authenticity, and honest, traditional methods are key factors in the wines we typically find interesting.  Balance, elegance, and the ability to age gracefully are defining characteristics that guide each selection for our list.”   Of course, defining exactly what is typical, authentic, and honest is not a black and white issue; as Asimov points out, the indigenous grape, Colorino, has long been used to deepen the color of Tuscan wines, preceding the influence of international varietals and globe-trotting critics. Nevertheless, in our opinion and for our palates, over-extracted, heavily-oaked wines supplemented by non-indigenous varietals rarely, if ever, offer the balance, elegance, and ability to age that we prefer.

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Tasting Notes: Montevertine


Admittedly, this isn’t my most timely post ever; my notes on the wines of Montevertine date from April 27th when the owner and winemaker, Martino Manetti visited the Bay area.  However, in a way it seems appropriate to have taken my time.  These wines are imbued with a sense permanence and classic style, with an emphasis on balance, clarity, and moderation. Since 1968 when Martino’s father, Sergio, started this fabled estate almost nothing has changed in the winemaking style, and I get the very strong feeling nothing will be changing in the near future either. The elder Manetti was among the first in Tuscany to leave the Consorzio and to forego the status of the Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. in order to follow his conviction that authentic and truly great wines can be made entirely of Sangiovese or other indigenous varietals such as Canaiolo and Colorino. Continue reading ‘Tasting Notes: Montevertine’