The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2015

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22  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2015 NEW YORK CITY SIPS I t's not often we get to dine with nobility, so we couldn't resist the invitation to meet Count Francesco Marone Cinzano. Signore Cinzano looks like an Italian Ernest Hemingway, but has a far more refined drinking style—chiefly, the Brunello di Montalcino for which his estate is famous. The 1,300-acre Col d'Orcia ("hill overlooking the Orcia River") dates to the 1700s, and is one of the largest in Montalcino. The Count was in town to share a selection of single Riserva Brunello—Poggio al Vento 2006, 2004 and 2001—as well as the 2010 vintage of the signature estate wine. Ever the traditionalist, he said of Super Tuscans, "Unfortunately, prices have become silly. I am convinced, in wine, as in other things in life, quality will prevail." In keeping with our Italian theme, we met the very dapper Diego Cusumano, who was in town to launch Alta Mora Etna Rosso and Bianco, the newest offerings from the Sicilian winery. Blended from five plots of 100% Nerello Mascalese, the Rosso reminded us of a juicy Pinot Noir hemmed in by a rocky edge. The easy-drinking Bianco, made from a two-vineyard blend of Carricante, could be this summer's "it" wine. Alto Moro, meaning "high black," refers to Etna's volcanic soil, a point of pride for the winery. "When you talk about wine, people think there is one Sicily," Cusumano said. "But our mis- sion is to talk about the diversity of our indigenous grapes." That said, these wines are anything but silent. One of our favorite things about wine travel is meeting people across the world, and then seeing them again in our hometown. Palm Bay International's Esprit du Vin portfolio tasting presented such a reunion when we reconciled (ever so briefly) with Matthieu Guyon of Bordeaux's Château de By, Sebastian Sicilia of Monteviejo, whom we had just seen in Argentina's Uco Valley the week before, and Anne Trimbach of Alsace (whose wines need no introduction). In the "esprit" of the event, we sought out new friends, and found Sophie and Yves de Ponton d'Amécourt of Château Bellevue, the husband and wife duo currently overseeing opera- tions at the family estate, locally known as the "Tuscany of Bordeaux." We were charmed by them and their elegant old-school wine labels, and were particularly enamored of their Monbazillac, a 100% Sémillon wine that was sweet and bright and too good to spit (so we didn't). And, we learned that in 1861, their ancestor, Gustave, invented the helicopter. After that, our spirits were flying high. Encounters Around Town WE MEET (AND REGREET) VISITORS TO THE BIG APPLE FROM HITHER AND YON story and photos by Lana Bortolot Count Francesco Marone Cinzano of Col d'Orcia at Del Posto. Sophie and Yves de Ponton d'Amécourt of Château Bellevue at Palm Bay's Esprit du Vin portfolio tasting. Diego Cusumano and Maria Leon, Marketing Manager for Cusumano, at Café Boulud.

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