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Wine Tasting by Wendy (2) - Wines and Foods from Italian Islands

  • May 10, 2014 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

...Photos taken in Sardinia by Wendy)


Yeaah, there are these delicious accompaniments to the wines tomorrow!

On top of Arancini (Sicilian rice balls) we're going to make together with Sal at 5:30pm, we'll have Italian cheeses and mortadella, prosciutto and pistachio cookies. Also Wendy's cooking up something nice too)

Can't wait!

Dear members,

As the meetup approaches, the wine list has been updated and finalized as follows:

1. Destro Etna Bianco "Isolanuda" DOC 2012 Sicily

-white, dry, minerally profile,

blend of Carricante and Catarratto, from Mt. Etna

2. Orlando Tondini Vermentino di Gallura "Karagnanj" DOCG 2012 Sardinia

-white, fragrant intensely floral but dry. 100% Vermentino di Gallura


"L'azienda agricoloa fondata da Tondini Orlando nei primi anni novanta è spiaccatamente familiare, con tutti i figli a collaborare con il padre. Antonio ha studiato Enologia in Piemonte ed è preparato e puntiglioso. Orlando, dopo tanti anni dedicati all'allevamento del bestiame, ha deciso di piantare le viti, perché il lavoro precedentemente non era più redditizio. Per molto tempo si conferita l'uva alla cantina di Gallura e il primo imbottigliamento risale al 2004.

Il clima di questa zona è moltop particolare perché ci troviamo su una cresta a 300 metri di altitudine con escursioni termiche decisamente importanti. Il suolo è sabbioso , frutto del disfacimento granitico, ma pochi centimentri più in basso diventa roccioso, così da trattenere l'umidità anche in estate.

Le viti sono allevate con una controspalliera, alla quale si abbina un sistema di potatura di tipo Guyot. La densità dimpianto è di quasi 4.500 piante per ettaro. La filosofia di Orlando è una sola : per poter produrre vini di qualità è fondametale la gestione del vigneto in quanto un grande vino si fa con delle grandi uve e che poi in cantina si può solo rovinare ciò che è stato realizzato con grossi sacrifici in vigna."

3. Nanfro Cerasuolo di Vittoria "Sammauro" DOCG  2011 Sicily (organic)

-red, deep red, berry flavoured, aromatic, fruity

Blend of Frappato and Nero d'Avola

4. Orlando Tondini Cannonau "Taroni" 2010 Sardinia

-red velvety deep smooth aromatic, intriguing. Cannonau is the same grape as Grenache

"Cannonau di Sardegna is a red wine from the Italian island of Sardinia. It is made from Cannonau, the local name for the Grenache – one of Sardinia's most successful wine grapes. It has long been thought that the variety arrived on Sardinia with the Aragonese when they conquered the island in the early 14th Century (from what is now Aragon). However, in the past few years, Italian researchers have uncovered evidence suggesting that Cannonau (and therefore Grenache) may well have originated right here on Sardinia."

5. Feudo Montoni Nero d'Avola "Vrucara" 2009 Sicily RP 94 (organic)

-red Robert Parker 94 pts dark fruit, spicy,olives, rosemary, leather, herbal. From single vineyard dating back to the 16th century

6. Dettori Moscato Passito  "Moscadeddu" 2007 RP 94 Sardinia (biodynamic) -dessert wine, Robert Parker 94 PTS fragrant aromatic orange blossom marmalade, quince, flowers. 100% moscato bianco. Vines up to 135 yrs old

With cheeses and light snacks.

See you there,



(Original description below)

In 2012 we had an amazing wine tasting meetup by Wendy at her house - "Unusual Italian Varietals Paired with Italian Cheese and Charcuterie Chez Wendy":

Wendy is also a rep  for an European wine importer and she travels to Europe extensively.  (Please refer to her bio at the end.)

This time she will share wines from Italian islands - Sicily and Sardinia at the house of our member Maxine in West Hollywood. Thank you both!

Here's a tentative wine list to be served - 2 whites and 3 reds:

(White) Grillo or Catarrato - Sicilia

(White) Vermentino - Sardinia

(Red) Nerello Mascalese - Sicilia

"Nerello mascalese is one of the grapes used in Etna Rosso

There are actually two different Nerellos.  Mascalese is the more common of the two and is named for the plain of Mascali at the base of Mt. Etna, the Sicilian volcano that has really been the epicenter for quality wine production within Sicily.  The other Nerello is called Cappuccio, though I'm not sure why.  The two are almost always blended together since they tend to have complimentary characteristics.  One is lighter in color but higher in tannins while the other has deep color but low tannins.  I'm not sure which contributes which, and there is no real consensus about which of the two grapes is considered superior.  The important thing to remember is that they usually travel together and when they do, you're much more likely to see a higher proportion of Mascalese in the blend than Cappuccio.

The grape has been grown around Mt. Etna for at least 200 years.  It does well on the volcanic soils and can be especially nice when grown on higher altitude sites on the volcano.  Despite the fairly long established history and the lack of similar grapes in any other region, Nerello is probably not native to Sicily.  A study done in 2008 (source) found that Nerello Mascalese is almost certainly the offspring of the Sangiovese grape and some other unidentified parent, meaning that it probably came over from the Italian mainland at some point.  This puts Nerello in some interesting company, as the same study also found that Frappato and Gaglioppo, among others, had the same kind of relationship to Sangiovese, meaning that all of those grapes are at least half brothers with one another."

(Red) Cannonau - Sardinia

Cannonau is the sardinian grenache

"Cannonau di Sardegna is a red wine from the Italian island of Sardinia. It is made from Cannonau, the local name for the Grenache – one of Sardinia's most successful wine grapes. It has long been thought that the variety arrived on Sardinia with the Aragonese when they conquered the island in the early 14th Century (from what is now Aragon). However, in the past few years, Italian researchers have uncovered evidence suggesting that Cannonau (and therefore Grenache) may well have originated right here on Sardinia."

(Red) Cerasuolo di Vittoria - Sicilia

"Cerasuolo di vittoria is made with nero d'avola and frappato and is Sicily's only DOCG"

.......The choice of wines is subject to change depending on availability and in April she'll have a much better idea.  Wines will be accompanied by the following...

-Italian cheeses such as

young perocino


mozzarella di bufala

and a Sardinian cheese encrusted with herbs




-Arancini (Sicilian rice balls), probably homemade

If you'd like to attend, please RSVP with prepayment of $33 by Paypal.  Since it's going to be at a private residence, we will disclose the address only to the attendees who have paid.  And if you've never attended a meetup with this group yet, please email me first before signing up. Thank you.



Wendy's bio:

"Born in London and an international traveler from the age of 3, Wendy took her first trip to Paris at age 11 and it was love! She studied French, German and Latin and then continued her studies in Lausanne, Switzerland where she perfected her French (albeit with a Vaudois accent!)

Since coming to the USA twenty or so years ago she has worked extensively with the French community notably organizing a French language salon (le Salon Vendome) from 1994 to 2001 and one on one tutoring.

She has worked in tourism and wine for the last few years and frequently travels to France on business and pleasure.

Expert in European travel especially France, Italy, Spain and the UK and food and wine travel. She's certified as a France Specialist by the French Government Tourist Office, Atout France, an Italy Specialist by Alitalia and ENIT etc. and speaks those languages fluently… She recently was selected as a preferred Bon Appetit Magazine travel agent as well.

She has put together group cooking, food touring, wine-drinking and totally shameless weeks of indulgence and will continue to do so. She happily will escort these groups, just say the word.

Her intention is to save you time and money, make your experience as authentic as possible and keep you out of trouble . Lots of extra resources are available to her…. direct contacts at local tourist boards, friends abroad, and reps of major travel companies, not to mention personal travel experience."

Join or login to comment.

  • Maxine

    Was wonderful having you guys. Big thanks toWendy for bringing those wonderful wines and sharing her knowledge..and Sal for the perfect arancini...and Sally for everything!

    May 12, 2014

    • Sally

      Hi Maxine, thank you so much again for your generosity, we all had such a great time. Making arancini with Sal was so much fun too, and it became one of the fondest memories) See you soon!

      June 1, 2014

  • Wendissima

    Thank you Sally for putting this together. and to Maxine for hosting so graciously. It was a pleasure meeting you all!

    1 · May 12, 2014

    • Sally

      Hi Wendy, thank you so much again for the wonderful wines! I'm looking forward to the next one)

      June 1, 2014

  • Zoanna

    Thank you Sally! It was a wonderful event - interesting wines, delicious food, and great conversation!

    May 11, 2014

    • Sally

      Thank you, Zoanna, for coming and the nice comment. Sorry I'm just trying to catch up now on this weekend... Glad you enjoyed it and yes, it's all thanks to Maxine and Wendy too. Hope to see you again soon. Ohhhhh, btw, I just remembered! The Israeli place we went to in the valley - the first meetup you attended with my group is ...

      June 1, 2014

    • Sally

      June 1, 2014

  • Maria Rita G.

    Had a wonderful evening tonight! Thank you, Sally for organizing! And many thanks too to our gracious host, Maxine for opening her lovely home to us. And of course to Wendy for educating us on Sicilian wines!

    May 10, 2014

    • Sally

      Hi Maria, sorry for the delayed reply, but thank you for coming and the nice comment! We had such a great time, didn't we?) Which wine(s) was your favorite? Do you like red or white in general?

      June 1, 2014

  • eve b.

    Aw're breaking my heart! Another fabulous event I have to miss. going to a friend's pot luck. Maybe I'll take arrancini meatballs!

    May 8, 2014

    • Sally

      Haha, eve, sorry for breaking your heart! lol Enjoy the potluck and hope to see you soon,

      May 8, 2014

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