Corti Brothers

Spring 2019





What is the world’s largest selling spirit? An interesting question, isn’t it? The answer is BAIJIU, (pronounced BYE-joe) and it is produced and consumed almost entirely in China. It is basically a clear spirit, very high in proof, drunk usually ceremoniously at banquets and the like; highly collectable by the Chinese and known by several brand names, Maotai, being the most famous.

But, we have a production of BAIJIU, right in our backyard (well, almost!) The LY family, ethnic Chinese expelled from Viet Nam in 1978, and having finally settled in Portland, Oregon, make Baijiu there in a small distillery and also produce a rice based, wood aged whiskey, a vodka, and several flavored baijius. Originally the family came from southern China in Guandong province and had been several generations in Viet Nam. Using rice as a base grain, the family had traditionally distilled baijiu. When they arrived in Portland, they had to make it all legal.

BAIJIU itself is a distilled product like no other. Normally using a grain base, the distiller makes a sort of beer with water and then distills this beer, to make a spirit. With Baijiu, the distillation takes place using the almost dry grain where the fermentation has happened inside the grain itself. Roughly, it goes like this: water is used to soak/cook the grain; a fermentation starter called “qu” (chew) is added, something akin to “koji” in making sake, and fermentation takes place inside the grain itself. An analogy for westerners would be that of the traditional distilling of grappa or marc from solid matter left after pressing wine. But--this is just an analogy. Baijiu has begun to attract the attention of major western distilling companies, and some of the giants have invested in Chinese baijiu producers. Cereal based alcohols are extremely popular in China, where they are used for everything.

But what concerns us is the VINN Baijiu production from Portland, Oregon. The brand is called VINN since the five siblings who own the production all have Vinn as their middle name. The substrate for their production is Calrose rice from California. Their classic Baijiu bottled at 53%, the Family Reserve, is classified as a rice based baijiu. Normally baijiu is made with sorghum or blends of grains, sometimes up to five different ones. The name Baijiu means “white alcohol”--the jiu part of the name the generic alcohol name for all alcohol in Chinese. The character itself is added to alcohols like grape wine “putaojiu,” beer “pijiu,” or in the case of baijiu, “bai” white or clear and “jiu.” Well, you know what we are talking about!

The Vinn Distillery produces two baijiu: FAMILY RESERVE at 106 proof and a lower proof Baijiu at 80 proof. Since baijiu is similar, but not analogous, to vodka, they also produce a rice based VODKA at 80 proof. All three of these rice based alcohols have a family similarity, with a soft, nutty character, with a delicate, similar to puffed rice scent. Customers who are afraid of gluten based alcohols, here is your opportunity to enjoy absolutely gluten free alcohol.

The Vinn WHISKEY is the first rice whiskey produced in the U.S. Here rice is treated like any other grain used to make a whiskey and aged in char #4 American oak barrels. It is still made in small amounts yet, but is now available. It is a delicate whiskey, elegant and soft, showing its rice background. Similar to Japanese rice whiskies, there is a family resemblance, with a definite American accent.

The sweetish HONEY BAIJIU is blended with Oregon honey and is not apparently honey sweet, but gently soft with a distinctive honey aroma and flavor. It could be used as an after dinner drink or in a cocktail. The Vinn family suggests adding it to apple juice for an apple pie scented cocktail.

BIAJIU FAMILY RESERVE 106 proof, 750ml $73.49 (#4700)

BAIJIU, 80 proof, 750ml $43.59 (#4701)

VODKA, distilled from rice, 80 proof, 750ml $29.29 (#4702)

WHISKEY, 86 proof, 375ml $31.89 (#4703)

HONEY BAIJIU, 70 proof, 375ml $31.89 (#4704)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food


Of a specifically uncertain date of origin, the COLOMBA is Italy’s Easter answer to the Christmas PANETTONE.

Formed in the shape of a flying dove, hence its name, the Easter or Spring cake is much like the Christmas one. It is made from a mother sponge, butter and eggs and has candied fruit in it; also almonds and is just slightly firmer textured than panettone. It is very fragrant and lightly sweet, with a delicate flavor and consistency that also makes it useful in making other desserts. While delicious by itself, it can be used to make a trifle, Zuppa Inglese, or used as the flavorful “shortcake” base for a fruit topping, especially with the first strawberries of the season. Here are this year’s selection from LOISON, our baker in the Veneto in Italy’s northeast.

There are also two other cakes: FOCACCIA with almonds and the VENEZIANA. The Focaccia is not the savory bread, but a dome-shaped, sponge/pound cake-like bread used for morning coffee in Venice; the Veneziana is similar to the Colomba, but in a half-dome shape. This also is the typical sweet of Venice, used at breakfast or, as in Venice, whenever. Unless specifically noted, all sizes are one kilo.


PESCA E NOCCIOLE: with dried peach bits and hazelnut topping, Easter egg box, 750g. $26.89 (#4705)

REGAL CIOCCOLATO: with chocolate bits and chocolate cream, boxed, $29.99 (#4706)

ALLO ZABAIONE: with zabaione cream filling, wrapped $29,99 (#4707)

AL LIMONE: with a lemon cream filling, wrapped $29.99 (#4708)

CLASSICA: the unfilled, classic Colomba, wrapped $27.39 (#4709)

SENZA CANDITI: without any candied fruit, just almonds and sugar topping, wrapped $24.99 (#4710)


ALL’ALPIANE: with Vignalta Alpiane PASSITO to plump the raisins, wrapped $27.99 (#4711)

AL MANDARINO DI CIACULLI: with the peel of Palermo’s mandarino, 550g boxed $16.99 (#4712)

AL PISTACCHIO DI BRONTE: with the Bronte pistachio cream filling, 550g boxed $19.99 (#4713)

AMARENA e CANELLA: with Amarena cherries and cinnamon, 550g boxed $16.99 (#4714)

FOCACCIA MANDORLATA: no candied fruit with almond topping, 750g, wrapped $19.89 (#4715)


COLOMBA CLASSICA: cellophane wrapped, ribbon.

2 kilo size $46.99 (#4716)

5 kilo size $89.99 (#4717)

FOCACCIA MANDORLATA: cellophane wrapped, ribbon.

2 kilo size$38.39 (#4718)


The Montna Farms short grain rice is a blend of two extremely famous Japanese short grain rice varieties: KOSHIHIKARI and YUMEGOKOCHI. They are both grown just north of Sacramento by the Montna family who have been farming in California since the middle of the 19th century. The great grandfather of the current owners, Pierre Montané, was once a worker for his fellow Frenchman Paul Masson, the early California viticulturalist, who created what was to become one of the first famous sparkling wines of California in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Montané changed his name to a more americanized Peri Montna. The following generation, then started to plant rice.

JAPONICA is the family of the short and medium grain rice grown in Japan. Most of California’s rice is of this type, but the Montna Farm varieties, are the most famous in Japan: KOSHIKIKARI and YUMEGOKOCHI. They are blended together to provide a slightly different and more scented flavor experience when cooked. The Montna rice should be cooked to be eaten in the Japanese way, by itself. It should be washed well, soaked for a few minutes, then cooked with just a bit more water than rice. A CAUTION: It is very difficult to cook a small amount of rice. It can be done, but it takes some care. Better would be to cook, say, two cups of rice than one, and use the leftover rice–if there is any--the next day. So for this, you would use two cups of rice and a bit more than two cups of water to cook the rice in. (If you have a rice cooker, follow the instructions.)

Corti Brothers has repacked the Montna rice for you. I find that the “normal” selling quantity of Asian rice to be a bit too much for westerners, thus we have packed bags of 24 ounces since it would be used up in a shorter time.

MONTNA FARMS SHORT GRAIN RICE Koshihikari & Yumegokochi $4.29 24oz bag (#4719)

TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.75%. This is for all sales since we sell in California. Foodstuffs are not taxable. Shipping will be charged at prevailing rates. PLEASE NOTE: In extreme weather, either hot or cold, please give us a shipping address where your order may be properly received and stored. Corti Brothers cannot be responsible for items left without protection.


We have new teas from both Lock Cha, our Hong Kong Tea merchant and from Young Mountain Tea, our Indian and Nepali tea supplier. The Young Mountain teas have been repackaged in a new cylindrical paper tube, very elegant in design. These teas are from several areas in India. One particularly interesting area is KUMAON, which was the first location the British planted to tea in India in the 19th century. It unfortunately was in an area very difficult to bring out the tea and hence got forgotten about as other areas developed. It is coming back and produces a delicious black tea and now also a white tea, its diametrical opposite. Using Chinese traditional methodology, the bushes here produce a flavorful pale liquor which is lovely as a change of pace from the black version.

The Ruby Oolong Darjeeling, from north eastern India is unique both in color and flavor. The color is actually a pale ruby, and the scent--not as flowery as “muscatel” Darjeelings--is very satisfying and complete.  It makes a lovely cup which does not need milk.

From a small country on India’s northern border, Nepal, the Nepali Golden Black from the Tinjure garden is very similar to classic Darjeeling, but with more delicacy and finesse. It is also a tea from a new area which makes it exciting. Green Nepali pearls are made using Chinese methology to produce small balls of tea, like those used to make Jasmine Pearls, but without the jasmine. A very satisfying cup of green tea indeed.


Darjeeling Ruby Oolong, Victoria’s Peak 2.2oz $17.99 (#4720)

Kumaon Black, Chapawat 2oz $8.99 (#4721)

Kumaon White Tea, Champawat 0.5oz $8.99 (#4722)

Nepali Green Pearl, Tinjure 2.3oz $9.99 (#4723)

Nepali Golden Black, Tinjure 0.8oz $8.99 (#4724)


Anhui Yellow Tea is a variant of green tea which is not often found. It is called yellow tea since the liquor is more yellowish in color than green tea due to the “smoothered” oxidation of green tea to produce yellow tea. It is a specialty of Anhui province. Dongting Bilochun is the production from central Taiwan of small leafed green tea. A very delicate flavor, it is flavory and scented. Alishan Oolong is another Taiwanese tea coming from the highest peak of Taiwan. Like most oolongs, it is rolled and has a full fragrance and rich liquor, again very satisfying. Premium Oriental Beauty is a specialty of Taiwan, where the best teas are made with the heaviest attack of a leafhopper which chews the leaf pagination, causing the production of sap which gives the tea a scented, peach- like character, which is very enticing. It is a unique tea. Sun Moon Red Jade is a “red” tea (we know it as “black tea) that is wiry and when brewed shows the ruddy color of the careful oxidation of the leaf tips. It is almost creamy in flavor with delicacy. Green Pu-er cake in container is a 100 g cake of this unique Yunnan, China, green tea which ages very well and produces a mellow liquor beloved by the Cantonese for drinking with dimsum. We have just a small amount of Mid Autumn Festival Green Pu-er cakes, molded in the shaped of a “moon cake” from 2011 each in a small container for further aging, should you like, or for drinking. Very fragrant and mellow.

Anhui Yellow Tea 75g $11.49 (#4725)

Dongting Bilochun 50g $25.49 (#4726)

Alishan Oolong 75g $44.59 (#4727)

Premium Oriental Beauty 50g $47.99 (#4728)

Sun Moon Red Jade 75g $31.89 (#4729)

Green Pu-er Cake 100 g in metal container $31.89 (#4730)

Mid Autumn Festival Green Pu-er cake (2011) 2.08 oz  $19.99 (#4731)


MONASTERY CREAMED HONEY from Redwoods Abbey, Sonoma Ca.

According to St. Benedict, the father of Western Monasticism, monks must live by the work of their hands. This goes for nuns also. All monastics are supposed to produce something to support their monastery. The Trappist nuns of Redwoods Abbey in Sonoma County have come up with the idea of using honey and flavoring it as their livelihood. These monastics bring in organic honey and then use organic flavorings to produce a “creamed” honey which is wonderful on anything you want to put it on. There are several flavors--plus the original, just creamed honey.

Creamed honey is liquid honey seeded with previously worked honey to give it a satin-like, homogeneous consistency that makes it more like a spread than liquid honey. Literally, it is the controlled granulation of honey. Some of MONASTERY CREAMED honeys are made with clover honey, others not. But in any case, all is organic honey, blended with organic everything else. They are very good honeys. Especially if you want something just slightly different for your breakfast toast. The velvety consistency of creamed honey is very attractive and does not further granulate, nor is it sticky as is liquid honey.

MONASTERY CREAMED HONEY $6.99 per 8oz jar. Available in:

Original, just creamed honey (#4732)

Ginger, with organic ginger (#4733)

Lemon, with organic lemon peel and essence (#4734)

Cinnamon, with organic cinnamon (#4735)

Almond, with ground organic almond and almond essence (#4736)

Orange, with organic orange peel and essence (#4737)

A mixed case of 12--2 of each type: $75.00 (#4738)



Corti Brothers has made Seville Orange marmalade since 1981. It is made using the recipe in Mrs. Beaton’s Book of Household Management from oranges grown in Sacramento. Its name is a play on this idea: Sacramento is California’s capital and “capital” is a British term for “very fine”. It is left to mature in jar, so that it develops a rounder, softer, more mellow flavor from the usually bitter Seville oranges. The production year of the current stock is 2015.

In 2019, we had made for Corti Brothers by The Good Stuff folks, another marmalade using the citrus grown in my backyard here in Sacramento. It is a blend of five different citrus with their dominance in this order: Blood orange, bergamot, citron, Meyer lemon, and Chinotti. The result is exceptional, both as a marmalade for your toast or even as a hot drink. A spoon full of the marmalade in a cup filled with boiling water, makes a delicious drink. We do not have a lot of this marmalade, and I would like to limit purchases to six jars per customer in order to have it satisfy more customers. Both are exceptional marmalades that deserve your attention. Both are in 11oz jars.


$7.99 jar (#4739)

$86.00 cs/12 (#4739C)

MARMELLATA DEI CINQUE AGRUMI Five Citrus Marmalade 2019 $9.99 (#4740) Limit six per customer.



This very unassuming name is probably the oldest commercial vinegar available in California. It is produced by Brad Alderson, an old friend who was the first general manager of Robert Mondavi winery in Woodbridge, CA. I have known Brad since his school days at UC Davis. He has always had a interest in making “real” barrel aged, Orléans style, red wine vinegar and sells us a small amount from time to time.

Vinegar is a true project when viewed from a winemaking point of view. You have to begin with good wine and then acetify it, then age it. It takes a yeast fermentation and then a bacteriological fermentation to produce vinegar. It is not just spoiled wine! Traditional Method Red Wine Vinegar has been some 20 years in the making. It has 7.5% acidity, and should be used sparingly since it is pungent. But this is what aged vinegar should be like. When we ran out just before the holidays 2018, a customer was almost hysterical trying to get it. Her holidays would be ruined if she did not have her vinegar. It came back in. The holidays were saved. It is really good.


$17.99 375ml (#4741) 

$194.00 cs/12 (#4741C)



Again, this year Corti Brothers has a lovely CORATINA oil to offer from the 2018 growing season. Once again it was made by Pablo Voitzuk, which is why we call it “Pablo’s Oil.” The fruit comes from outside of Woodland, Ca., just as the two previous harvests have. It is a lovely example of the variety with a light green tomato skin scent, balanced pungency and bitterness, characteristic of Coratina which originates in Italy’s south, in Puglia. Our climate is much like Puglia and here the variety makes a lovely oil. We do not have much since 2018 harvest was a short one for quantity, but where successful, very good quality. It will be very handy with this summer’s bounty!


$18.99 500ml (#4742)

$205.00 Cs/12 (#4742C)


These anchovies are quite something! For one thing they are very large in size. They are very expensive. They are the kind of anchovy that one would find on a restaurant menu where due to their quality they would be offered with some good bread, possibly some excellent butter, a couple of the anchovy fillets on a plate; and you would be excited to have them since they are so good. In this country, we don’t consider offering a prepared product as worthy of an excellent restaurant. But when the product is of such quality that it is truly different, why not? Restaurants don’t make their own caviar. Instead they offer the best procurable from the best caviar producer or selector. This is a similar case. In Italy, in May 2018, this was exactly how these anchovies were served to me as an antipasto.

Ortiz, has been preparing fish products in Vizcaya in Spain since 1891. The Gran Anchoa are large anchovies, from the spring catch, selected especially for barrel aging for a minimum of six months, then filleted by hand, one by one, and then packed in a tray with extra virgin olive oil. They are a semi-conserved product which should be kept refrigerated. Please allow them to come to room temperature before serving. The trays hold approximately 10 anchovy fillets, about 4-5 inches in length and about a half inch in width. As temperatures warm, shipping will have to be overnight.

ORTIZ “LA GRAN ANCHOA” SELECTION $15.99 67g tray (#4743)


Quite often we get asked if we have “00" (double O, “doppio zero”) flour. Yes, we do. It is called for in most pizza dough and bread recipes and for making homemade pasta. Ours is from Antimo Caputo, from Naples, Italy and is in 2.2 pound (1 kilo) paper bags.

Caputo is probably the foremost flour mill in southern Italy and they have labeled their “00" flour as “Chef’s Flour,” a soft wheat flour, which produces a “strong elastic gluten for dough which requires a long fermentation.” This is the recommended flour for authentic bread, pizza dough, focaccia, and pasta making. You should not use it making American style cakes or pies, but for what it is very good at. Customers may say, “but flour is flour.” Yes, but all flours are not equal. Some do one thing, others do other things. This is your “go to” Italian flour.

ANTIMO CAPUTO “00" CHEF’S FLOUR 1 kilo bag $3.49 (#4744)


PIZZELLE are a wafer-like, waffle like, cookie traditionally made in the central-south of Italy, the Abruzzo and Molise. They are made using a type of waffle iron with a flavored batter. An Italo American family run bakery, Fogliani, using the site of a well known bakery in Sonoma County, has begun producing delicious pizzelle. They are more often seen on the east coast of the U.S. than the west.

In their homeland, pizzelle are also called “ferratelle” because they are made with the special iron plate, or “ferro” which gives them their typical flatness and usually round shape. Made with a batter and originally cooked over an open fire, pizzelle are just one of this type of cookie made in Italy. Pizzelle are usually made on the Adriatic coast, while “Cialde” are made on the Mediterranean side in Tuscany.Think of Chinese fortune cookies, another wafer-like cookie. It originated in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park during the Panama-Pacific Exhibition which took place there in 1915. They have now become ubiquitous, but they are not Chinese.

There is a difference between the two types of wafer cookies made in Italy. The “Cialda” type is not “waffled.” It is smooth, but also has a design. This stems from the notion of wanting to “brand” the cookie. Original pizzelle had the coat of arms of whatever noble family was serving them. But you did not even have to be noble to make them. The ingredients were those commonly at hand--flour, eggs, oil, and simple flavorings. But they have always been well loved.

The Fogliani Pizzelle are made just slightly differently from the traditional recipe. They are made with butter rather than olive oil, giving them more of a crispy, friable character. There are two colors: the dark brown chocolate, and the golden of the vanilla and anise seed flavored ones. They also have two different designs to the pizzelle. The chocolate one looks “lace-like;” the other two have an arabesque design.

Pizzelle are wonderful with which to make other things. They can be used to make ice cream sandwiches. Two can be stacked together to make a chocolate cream sandwich with a chocolate mousse, for example. They can be spread with jams and sandwiched together. But rather than having to make your own pizzelle, with Fogliani Pizzelle, you have the major work already done. Just open the bag, use, and enjoy them. Five ounce bags: $6.99 each



VANILLA (#4746)

ANISE (#4747)

CASE-4 each Flavor $75.00 (#4748)

Written by Darrell Corti — March 22, 2019

Holiday 2018



To Our Customers:
I can only extend to you all, the most heartfelt best wishes, for a joyous Holiday season.
Darrell Corti



This season, we have another exceptional flavor for panettone. It is a traditional panettone called A.D.1476, the presumed date of the first production of this bread. Most of its ingredients are Slow Food Presidia. There are four Veneziana: similar to panettone but very typical of Venice, not Milano. There is one with amarena cherry and cinnamon, with Alpiane passito wine, with chocolate and spices, and apricots and spices. Unless noted, all are one kilo in size.

CLASSICO: the same wonderful ingredients as in the magnum panettone, wrapped, bow, $26.89 (#4600)
MANDARINO: with the peel of the Late Mandarino di Ciaculli (Palermo), boxed, with bow, $31.99 (#4601)
AMARENA: with large, candied black cherries, boxed, with bow, $30.99 (#4602)
REGAL CIOCCOLATO: chocolate cream filled with chocolate pieces, boxed, with bow, $31.49 (#4603)
NOËL: with candied pears, cinnamon and cloves, boxed, with bow, $31.49 (#4604)
MANDORLATO: with candied citrus, toasted almonds, wrapped, with bow $27.49 (#4605)
MARRON GLACÉ: filled with candied chestnut cream, boxed, with bow, $33.69 (#4606)
FICO: with pieces of white Calabrian Dotato fig, boxed, with bow, $34.29 (#4607)
LATA A.D. 1476: the new tin design for this year, embossed “Jewellery” design 750g $29.99 (#4608)
CREMA: vanilla pastry cream filling, wrapped, with bow $26.99 (#4609)
LIMONI: lemon cream filling, box, with bow 600g  $19.99 (#4610)
CHINOTTO: with candied green Savona Chinotto citrus pieces, boxed, bow, $32.99 (#4611)
ROSA: with rose petal jam cream filling, boxed, with bow, $31.99 (#4612)
CLASSICO A.D. 1476: The Slow Food Presidium ingredients, boxed, with bow $29.99 (#4613)
CLASSICO A.D. 1476: Slow Food Presidium ingredients, 500g., boxed, with bow $23.79 (#4314)
PANETTONCINO: the smallest made, 100g, boxed $7.49 (#4615)
VENEZIANA AMARENE & CANELLA: large black cherries and cinnamon, boxed, 550 g $21.99 (#4616)
VENEZIANA CIOCCOLATO & SPEZIE: with chocolate pieces and spices, boxed, 550g $23.79 (#4617)
VENEZIANA ALBICOCCA & SPEZIE: with apricots and spices, boxed, 550g., $23.79 (#4618)
VENEZIANA ALL’ALPIANE: with Vignalta passito wine, Alpiane, wrapped, with bow $29.69 (#4619)

MAGNUM PANETTONE, cello wrapped with bow

3 KILO SIZE $77.39 each (#4620)

5 KILO SIZE $114.19 each (#4621)

10 KILO SIZE $261.89 each (#4622)



Corti Brothers has now offered BARDI panettone for 20 years. The product always satisfies and is well liked by our customers. This year there is a special BARDI LIMITED EDITION in small quantity.

BASSO: low shape, traditionally boxed, kilo size, $22.29 (#4623)
ALTO: classic, tall shape, traditionally boxed, kilo size, $19.99 (#4624)
GLASSATO ALLA NOCCIOLA: with hazelnut glaze, kilo size, wrapped, $24.99 (#4625)
SENZA CANDITI: only raisins, no candied fruit, kilo size, wrapped, $22.49 (#4626)
CIOCCOLATO FONDENTE: low shape, chocolate glazed, kilo size, wrapped, $25.59 (#4627)
PANDORO: tall, star shaped New Year’s cake, no fruit, vanilla sugar, kilo size, boxed, $22.29 (#4628)
LIMITED EDITION: made with honey, fruit, and a special glaze, kilo size, wrapped, $39.59 (#4629)



BAGHI PANDOLCE ALL’ALPIANE is novel, and it is a great hit. The 60 hours moist raised dough, with mother leaven, and stone ground Italian wheat, Belgian butter, cage free fresh eggs, and house candied Calabrian oranges, is baked in a WECK thermal resistant jar to produce a jar baked bread. Then it is injected with Vignalta Alpiane, the noted orange muscat dessert wine produced in the Colli Euganei. The result is a slightly moister type of bread than panettone and can also be used as the base for other dessert preparations. It can be sliced into rounds and served with whipped cream or zabaione, or even toasted for breakfast. It is unique, delicious and comes in its reusable jar.

BAGHI PANDOLCE ALL’ALPIANE 26 oz. (WECK re-usable jar) $19.99 (#4630) $107.00 cs/6 (#4630C)



Fresh vegetables, minutely trimmed, cooked, and put in extra virgin oil are called “sott’olio” in Italian. They form a real specialty in Italian preserved products. They need to be made by hand in a laborious, fiddle-y process that can leave one wondering as to how and why they are done. If you have ever tried to trim artichokes, you know what I mean. COLAVITA, a very large Italian food product company makes a specialty of processing vegetables to make “sott’olio” products in their original, small plant at Sant’Elia in Pianisi in Italy’s Molise region, just south of the Abruzzo. Entirely hand crafted, both the form and look of these small artichoke hearts, will make your mouth water. They have terrific intense artichoke flavor that comes from the selection of raw material, careful cooking, and then preservation in really good oil

Colavita Artichoke Hearts in extra virgin oil are a wonderful example that high quality, artisanal products can also be made by a very large company. There are different artichoke hearts on the market. When you taste these their flavor astounds with its preciseness. Their texture is silky. The oil is excellent, lending an added depth of flavor through its own flavor. This is a product which really is another of those “I bet you can’t eat just one”things that quickly has you reaching for more. They should be eaten by themselves because they are so good.

COLAVITA ARTICHOKE HEARTS IN OIL 9.87oz $12.99 (#4631) $70.00 cs/6 (#4631C)



As I have written before, I think GRABER OLIVES are the best canned olives made in California. Using only estate grown manzanillo olives, hand harvested–no more than seven per handful–when just starting to turn color and cured in the Graber fashion, these “olive colored” olives will make a relish tray sparkle. These are not strong flavored olives, but very smooth, silky textured ones with an almost buttery character. No other olive producer in the country makes these olives as good as Graber does. Depending on the harvest, there are different sizes. We have four available. These are from the calibration of the olive size. The higher the number the larger the size. Orchard run contains varied sizes. I cannot think of a better non alcoholic gift from California than these olives.
GRABER OLIVES 7.5 oz tin. $7.99 Case 12 $86.00

Size #12 (#4632) cs/12 (#4632C)

Size #14 (#4633) cs/12 (#4633C)

Size # 16 cs/12 (#4634) cs/12 (#4634C)

ORCHARD RUN (#4635) cs/12 (#4635C)

Mixed case: 3 tins of each size $86.00. cs/12 (#4636)


Felicetti Animal and Alphabet pasta. We are all kids at heart

On my trip to Italy in May, 2018, I visited the FELICETTI pasta plant outside of Trento in Italy’s north. I had never been there before. At 110 years old, this family held and run company was founded and is still located at Predazzo, in the Val di Fiemme. Felicetti makes a very large range of pasta, including several from different wheat selections, also Khorasan-Kamut, and Farro. These are called the “Monograno.” Pasta is a foodstuff made with grain, usually wheat and water. Felicetti uses water from the Latemar source at 2000 meters in the Dolomites and it is claimed that, just as much as the wheat used, the water is likewise very important.

While going through the plant, we came upon a press which was processing a curious cut of pasta. I stopped to look at it and it was a little animal, a duck. Back in Felicetti’s showroom, I saw the packages containing the same cut. The cuts were little animals, ‘animali della fattoria” six farm animals: a duck, sheep, fish, horse, pig, and rabbit. It was children’s pasta, the pasta that is usually put into broth, and usually given to children to keep them amused. I asked if it were for sale and was told that it had never been introduced to the U.S.. It went to Japan. So, I immediately asked for these cuts to be sent to us, since they are so cute as to be something that will not only keep children amused, it will also amuse us “older” children.

The cut is very elegant since it is a two dimensional, outline representation of the animal, not just a flat image. There is also alfabeto pasta. This is about the same size cut, again, two dimensional outline, not just a flat cut, but looking like a cutout of a letter of the alphabet–all 26 of them. Its style is that of a “college” letter, called “college block.” Both of these cuts are organic and made with Italian wheat milled in Italy.

When it comes to seeing food on a plate, sometimes we are all children at heart. Although this “pastina,” as these cuts are called, are normally served in broth, they can also be served with a thin sauce, either something like Giuliano Hazan’s Tomato Sauce or if you have been provident, your own homemade tomato sauce that you have frozen, or the juices from a leftover stew.

The important thing is that the sauce not be chunky. Simply cooking the pasta in water until tender and dressing with the sauce and a bit of cheese, you have a very quick dish that will be both pretty to look at and fast--simple cooking that will satisfy not only the inner child. And if you want to be a food archeologist, you could serve the FELICETTI animali and alfabeto as they were served before the invention of tomato sauce--just with some nice, cold butter and grated cheese, “in bianco.” Both are in 500 gram bags and sell for $4.39 each.


ALFABETO (#4638)

MIXED CASE 6 of each cut $47.00 (#4639)


This is a new venture for GIULIANO HAZAN, the son of Victor and the late Marcella Hazan, who runs his own cooking school in Italy and lives in Florida. Taking a page (literally) from his mother’s first cookbook, Marcella Hazan’s THE CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKBOOK, Knopf, 1976, GIULIANO’S TOMATO SAUCE is the Tomato Sauce III, in this seminal work for Americans. As Marcella states in her introduction to the recipe: “This is the simplest and freshest of all tomato sauces...[What does it have?] Pure, sweet tomato taste, at its most appealing. It is an unsurpassed sauce for potato gnocchi, and is excellent with spaghetti, penne and ziti.” (p. 95)

This lovely pink tinged sauce is really delicious. It is San Marzano tomatoes, onions and butter. Differing slightly from the original recipe, the onion gets pureed into the tomatoes. But here is a sauce for dressing pasta; for using as a base for other sauces or where you want a tomato sweet, creamy tomato taste. Best of all, you just have to open the jar and heat. Giuliano states that the contents of the jar is enough sauce for a pound of pasta. This would serve four to six persons, depending on where it is in the menu. Remember: Italians like pasta with sauce, not sauce with pasta!

GIULIANO’S TOMATO SAUCE 16 oz. jar $9.99 (#4640) $53.00 case/6 (#4640C)


COUGAR GOLD CHEESE is the result of war! In fact it may be the only good thing ever to have come out of war. During World War II, it was created by Washington State University to be used as military rations. It is the only cheese that I know of that is made to be aged in a can. Normally, one does not think of cheese being aged in a can, but Cougar Gold has become famous for this methodology. It is a “cheddar” like cheese that I think is possibly the best cheese to accompany wine. It has very low acidity, which does not change the taste of wine, and does have the clean sharpness of an aged cheese. Unique, it is made only at Pullman, Washington, and deserves to be better known.

It is also an easy to care for cheese. Just buy several tins and put them in your refrigerator and turn them from time to time. They just sit there getting better and better. It is also a cheese that is firm, with a crumbly texture, a pale yellow color and it will have specks of tyrosomine on it. Once the can is opened, wrap the cheese in waxed paper and then film and enjoy it until it’s gone. I think it is perfect with an old Cabernet or Vintage Port, perhaps not rich enough for Burgundy. If you like cheese and have not had Cougar Gold, you owe it to yourself to try it. It is hard to resist. By the way, when was the last time you had a 11 year old cheese?

COUGAR GOLD CHEESE Production 2017 30 oz tin $32.99 (#4641)

RESERVE 2007 $74.99 tin (#4642)

VALOBRA SOAPS: The last of a Ligurian tradition

Why is Corti Brothers selling soap? When you need to make a gift and alcohol or foodstuffs may not be appropriate, these soaps from VALOBRA, the last soap maker on the Italian Riviera, might be just the thing. And then there is another reason: I just enjoy them! They have wonderful scents, the lather is exquisite, packaging opulent, and they last a long time. These are expensive soaps. But then, what really fine product is not expensive? Corti Brothers offers Valobra Soaps during the holidays and once customers have tried them, they just keep ordering them. We have them in stock all the time. Soaps are taxable items.

PRIMULA: Super fatted soap with lecithin, scented with primrose. 100g bar $12.49 each (#4643)
CALENDULA: An extract of calendula flowers; emollient, for delicate skin. 100g bar $13.99 each (#4644)
GLICERLANOLINA: A blend of glycerine and lanolin for dry skin 100g bar $12.49 each (#4645)
RESEDA: Scented with Mignonette (Reseda odorata), for delicate skin in winter. 150g bar $13.99 each (#4646)
LATTUGA: Lettuce extract, for removal of makeup and sunburned skin. 150g bar $13.99 each (#4647)
BURRO DI CACAO: Rich in cacao butter, for dry skin, softens while cleansing.100g $12.49 each (#4648)
VITAMINA A e CAROTENE: With wheat germ oil + vitamin A, for sensitive skin.100g bar $13.99 (#4649)
BALSAMO: A brown colored soap. For oily skin that flakes easily. 200g bar $16.49 each (#4650)
VITAMINA E: Vitamin E keeps skin soft. A velvety lather for very delicate skin.100g bar $13.99 (#4651)
PRATOLINA: Made with vitamin A and E, for all skin types. Light lavender scent 120g bar $12.99 (#4652)
FOUGÈRE: Excellent for skin that reddens easily. Royal fern scent. 100g bar $12.49 each (#4653)
SAPONE PER BARBA: Shaving stick 2oz $12.49 (#4654)
CREMA di SAPONE: Soft Shave cream: Almond 5.2 oz $14.99 (#4655)
CREMA di SAPONE: Soft Shave cream: Menthol 5.2 oz $14.99 (#4656)

VALOBRA GIFT TIN: Contains a bar each of Lattuga, Vitamin E, Reseda, Vit. A & Carotene $68.29 (#4657)

PRIMULA GIFT TIN: Contains four bars of Primula soap $60.29 (#4658)


These two salts, BLUE LABEL and RED LABEL are products from a small, volcanic island in the Pacific some forty five minutes by air from Tokyo. I visited the island some 25 years ago and Corti Brothers has stocked the salts since.

The BLUE LABEL is salt that is dehydrated in shallow ceramic pans in the sun, yielding a flaky, crystal structure. The RED LABEL is pan fired salt, where the reduced sea water from about two thousand feet under the ocean’s surface is concentrated by flowing through a series of sprayers. Then it is heated and the calcium chloride (nigori) removed. The salt is then dried.

There is a certain sweetness to this salt and it should be used as a finishing salt rather than a cooking salt. It is perceptibly flavorful and really does make a difference in the savoriness of a dish. It is now becoming rare.

OSHIMA ISLAND SALT BLUE LABEL 240g bag $13.99 (#4659)

OSHIMA ISLAND RED LABEL 500g bag $13.29 (#4660)




BALL CLUB WILD RICE is hand harvested by two people in a canoe during the months of August and September, the 3-4 week window for harvesting genuine wild rice (Zyzania aquatica) in Minnesota. BALL CLUB WILD RICE is a pale khaki brown color, the NATURAL color of wild rice. It is very different from the very hard, black wild rice normally seen on the market and whose black color comes from overparching the seed.

Since Ball Club wild rice has just been harvested, it does not need to be soaked before cooking and will take about ½ hour to cook rather than the hour or more that the black form takes. It is delicate, yet intensely scented. If you have never enjoyed this kind of wild rice, Ball Club is a revelation. It makes a delicious and very North American addition to poultry or game. Once cooked, it is very handy to keep in the refrigerator, just to be re-steamed, and served with grilled or roasted beef, pork, or lamb as an alternative to potatoes or other starch.

Known as MAH-NO-MEN in the Anishinabe language, wild rice is a cultural staple, a medium of exchange, and a food delicacy. Traditionally harvested from wild growing plants, this is a far cry from the black, paddy grown, and machine harvested “wild rice” normally found in commerce. The black wild rice has a following. But BALL CLUB WILD RICE is what the taste should be, and you should experience it to know the difference.

BALL CLUB CHIPPEWA WILD RICE 12 oz bag $17.99 (#4661)


AGRESTO: The Tuscan condiment

In 2013, the Barone de Renzis Sonnino began production of what is basically an old condiment, AGRESTO, named for its base material “sour grapes.” The name “agresto”is from the word “agro” “sour” and is a take off of medieval “verjus” a condiment that antedates the use of lemon in Europe. The traditional Agresto of Tuscany was a composed sauce, based on unripe grapes but more like a thin chutney, having herbs, onions, nuts, garlic, and bread added.

The AGRESTO of CASTELLO SONNINO is a light, sauce-like concoction made from the green pruning of their vines in the area of Montespertoli. It is very flavorful and reminds me very much of classic Worcestershire sauce, with a Tuscan accent. The un-ripe grapes are pressed and the juice is cooked in stainless steel vats to reduce; then honey, vinegar, onions, garlic, herbs and spices are added. Once cool, the blend is filtered and bottled.

AGRESTO is delicious. It can be used with anything. Think of it as Tuscan Worcestershire sauce. Traditionally, it was added to soup. Put with grilled meats and fried things, it is the condiment that spices up the otherwise rather simple, fresh taste of Tuscan cooking. It is one of the historical parts of Tuscan cooking which has happily been revived. It could not have come at a better time.

AGRESTO, Castello Sonnino $46.99 250ml (#4662) $253.00 case/6 (#4662C)



This bright red colored liqueur could be called the “original” liqueur of Europe. It is a spice liqueur made from what were the then exotic spices of the East, infused in alcohol and colored. From what once was called the “de’Medici” liqueur, it has now been relegated to a culinary staple and is a necessity in the making of certain Italian desserts like
Zuppa Inglese and others. Luxardo, possibly the foremost Italian liqueur distiller, makes it, and it is at high strength expressly for culinary use. Literally, there are no substitutes for it. So if you have been waiting to try a recipe calling for ALKERMES, here is your chance. You might even find other uses for it, once you have it!

LUXARDO ALKERMES for pastry and baking 70% 1 liter bottle $38.99 (#4663)


All Saints Rutherglen Muscat: Australia’s gift to the wine world

Some forty years ago, this wine, ALL SAINTS RUTHERGLEN MUSCAT, was the first Australian wine Corti Brothers had imported since it was the only producer in the area in Victoria who would sell to us. A lot of things have changed, and when this wine showed up on an importer’s close out list, I snapped it up. Rutherglen Muscat, together with Hunter Valley Semillon are Australia’s gifts to the wine world. There is nothing like them made anywhere else in the world. Rutherglen muscat is made from a clone of muscat now found only in this central part of Australia where it is known as “Brown Muscat.” It is made and blended in a sort of solera fashion, older wine giving character to younger wine, the young wine lending fruit. This bottling is in 375ml size, a perfect size for serving dessert for four or six diners.

With its darkish tawny color, intense scented muscat raisin aroma and its creamy, luscious flavor, this is a perfect wine for winter and holiday desserts. But even in Australia, where this wine was born, it is not much consumed and if allowed to die out, an irreplaceable patrimony will be lost. So, in order to keep this wine type alive, we must drink it! Now is your chance to help.

ALL SAINTS RUTHERGLEN MUSCAT 17% $11.99 375ml (#4664) Case of 12 $129.00 (#4664C)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food



COTECHINO, a pork sausage made with a lot of finely chopped pork skin (cotena) and chopped meat is presented here already cooked, in its re-heatable bag, shortening all of the lengthy cooking time, to about 45 minutes. Just follow the instructions on the box and serve with separately cooked Umbrian Lentils from Bartolini and you have the classic Italian New Year’s day meal. It is to symbolize “fat and plenty” the rich sausage and the plentiful lentils for the coming year. Drink it with an excellent Lambrusco and finish the meal with Pandoro--you have now celebrated New Year in the traditional Italian fashion.

Levoni Cotechino $14.99 the each sausage, boxed (#4665)

Bartolini Umbrian Lentils $4.99 500g bag (#4666)



These are both codfish preparations, but of two different types. BACCALÀ is salted codfish and STOCCFISSO, is simply air dried codfish. Curiously, in the Veneto is called Bacalà. The two are not inclusive. Stoccfisso or stockfish is used after soaking for about 10-12 days in cold water changed twice a day for making special dishes, while baccalà, salt cod, soaked for 3-4 days in cold water, again changed twice a day for other dishes. Baccalà is the Italian; bacalao, in Spanish, and bacalhau in Portuguese.

Stoccafisso from Norway, Ragno quality, $37.99 the pound in the whole fish. (#4667) Avg. wt. 1 ½ - 2 lbs

Baccalà from Norway, with skin and bones, $18.99 per pound, random weight Avg. 3-4 lbs (#4668)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food


MODERN GREEK COOKING: a new Greek cookbook from Pano Karatassos

No, Corti Brothers is not trying to out do Amazon Books! But here is a new cookbook written by a friend who is a trained C.I.A. chef, who runs a famous Atlanta, Ga., restaurant called KYMA using traditional Greek recipes, geared for the home cook. I met Pano in Greece and was impressed with his ability. In his first cookbook, Pano uses traditional ingredients but classical cuisine notions in making new dishes. Having worked for Eric Ripert, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Thomas Keller, now running his own Atlanta restaurant, this is not your average Greek cookbook. It is a studied use of Greek elements and new techniques and ideas. If you are Greek, or part Greek or just want to try new recipes, buy this cookbook. With 60 full color photographs and wine pairings by the noted Sofia Perpera, you cannot miss. This is a unique work aimed at the adventuresome home cook..

MODERN GREEK COOKING: 100 recipes for meze, entrées and desserts.
240 pp, hardcover, $37.50 tx (#4669)


BAKER FAMILY WINES: Baseball and UC Davis

Corti Brothers has two new California wines from a singular source: A famed baseball player and a UC Davis winemaker. Both are unique. The baseball player is Dusty Baker, a former Major League player and manager and the winemaker is “Chik” Brenneman, the winemaker at the winery on the UC Davis campus where he is in charge of teaching the budding winemakers in school there what to do in making wine.

I, who am catatonic when it comes to sports, had no idea who Dusty Baker was, just that he was the person who had his wine made by Chik. Having been asked for an opinion on the two proprietary wines Chik made, a white and a red, I found them very good. The white is particularly fine and the red an interesting combination of Barbera, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah. The white wine is all Semillon. The appellation is Sierra Foothills. The white is near varietally perfect. It has that scented, almost white fig scent and slight lanolin-ly body so typical of the varietal. It is a varietal which really gets little respect, but makes a superb wine.

The Proprietary Red is composed, not rustic nor overly tannic, gentled by the Sangiovese and brightened by Barbera, so that the Petite Syrah is tamed and not so obvious either in color or tannin. It is nicely blended and eminently drinkable. Both are really good values for more than just interesting wines coming from the Sierra Foothills to the east of Sacramento. Dusty Baker, who went to school in Sacramento and who now lives just north in Placer County can be very proud of his wines made with care and great sensitivity by Chik Brenneman.

BAKER FAMILY PROPRIETARY WHITE 13% $19.99 750ml (#4670) $215.00 case of 12 (#4670C)

BAKER FAMILY PROPRIETARY RED 14.5% $20.99 750ml (#4671) $226.00 case of 12 (#4671C)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food


TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.25%. This is for all sales since we sell in California. Foodstuffs are not taxable. Shipping will be charged at prevailing rates. PLEASE NOTE: In extreme weather, either hot or cold, please give us a shipping address where your order may be properly received and stored. Corti Brothers cannot be responsible for items left without protection.

Please order early, due to high holiday shipping volume. Please ask us, if you require approximate time in transit.

Written by Darrell Corti — November 21, 2018

Fall 2018 Newsletter





To our customers: Here is the Fall Newsletter. I hope you enjoy it.
Darrell Corti



This new Nebbiolo wine from the estate of Barolo producer G.D.Vajra is wine made to recall nebbiolo wine made before the invention, rather, creation of Barolo. It is a wine made from nebbiolo that recalls the description of nebbiolo (nebiule) written by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, in 1787, when he was our minister plenipotentiary in France (1785-1789) and was making a trip though northern Italy.

His description of “nebiule” was: “There is a red wine of Nebiule made in this neighborhood which is very singular. It is about as sweet as the silky Madeira, as astringent on the palate as Bordeaux, and as brisk as Champagne. It is a pleasing wine.” Memorandums taken on a journey from Paris into the South parts of France and Northern of Italy in the year 1787. We know the exact date it was drunk–April 18th–and the place, the Hotel d’Angleterre in Torino. (If you want to see more about what Jefferson writes on wine, see my old friend John Hailman’s book, Thomas Jefferson on Wine, U of Mississippi Press, 2009)

The creation of Barolo, a major wine made from nebbiolo, did not happen until after the arrival of the French enologist, Louis Oudart, for the estate of the French born Marchesa Falletti di Barolo. Barolo as a “classical” wine is one of the youngest of these wine types since it was born in the mid nineteenth century. Classic French and German wines had already been famous for several hundred years before. Barolo and its brother, Barbaresco, are the two red wines of Italy that were born in the nineteenth century, just before the ravages of European vineyards by both powdery and downy mildew and then, Phylloxera.

What is interesting about nebbiolo as a grape variety is that it was known to be a lovely scented variety and not a massive one. Its color was also never intensely dark, since nebbiolo, like pinot noir, is deficient in color pigment. It was also a variety that made a slightly sweet red wine, since it could be fermented quickly and retained some residual sugar leaving it with a light, though scented, fruitiness, making an extremely pleasant red wine that drank very well (when well made!).

My recollection of this nebbiolo type was the last bottles of 1949 Nebbiolo Spumante made by the important firm of Gancia in Canelli, which we happily drank at a party in my parents’ home in 1960, the night I graduated from high school. As a counterpoint to this wine were some half bottles of Gancia Barolo 1947, also memorable, but as Barolo, not nebbiolo.

I spoke of this a few years ago with Aldo Vajra, whom I have known since he was twenty years old, and he thought that it might be possible to reproduce this wine. I had given him the references to Jefferson about nebbiolo, and then in 2014 he produced a small amount of what was to become CLARÈ J.C.

Originally, the wine was spelled CLARET, and then the Bordeaux association got perturbed since that was the name of their wine and insisted Aldo stop calling his wine that name. So the wine changed its spelling and the Claret became CLARÈ. The following letters J, refers to Jefferson and the C to Corti. The wine has been made in the vintages 2014, 2015, 2016 and now, 2017. There is not a lot produced. Technically, it is a Langhe Nebbiolo. But this Vajra version is really special.

Beginning with its lovely color, it is a luminescent red--actually red--not purple red or black red, extremely pretty to look at. Its scent is fragrant; red berry fruit-like, with perhaps a bit of rose, without any predominant character, typical as nebbiolo’s varietal scent. The flavor follows through with the scent. It is fruity, not tannic or harsh, has nicely balanced acidity, with a slight amount of residual CO2. For pure pleasure, I find it unbeatable.

CLARÈ J.C. 2018, G.D. Vajra, 14.5% $26.99 750 ml (#4450) $291.00 cs/12 (#4450C)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food


At the 2018 CIBUS in Parma, Italy, this year, I ran across an old friend, MATTIA PARIANI, whose products I had almost forgotten about. Some years ago, Corti Brothers sold his hazelnut oil, but now he has expanded his product line to take in candied fruits and fruit syrups and essential oils.

From the Pariani line of cubed candied fruit in syrup, there are beautifully flavored and fragrant Sicilian lemon, orange, and Calabrian citron peel for baking use or adding to a dessert recipe. These are presented in syrup in glass jars to keep the fruit flavor intact. Pariani candied peel will change your mind about using candied peel in recipes. All are $13.99 the 260g jar

PARIANI CANDIED LEMON PEEL CUBES in syrup (Sicily) (#4451)
PARIANI CANDIED CITRON PEEL CUBES in syrup (Calabria) (#4453)

We have also selected two unique fruit syrups, made from pressing whole candied fruit. These sugar syrups can be used to flavor anything. The two selected are: Green Walnut syrup and Chinotto syrup. Green walnuts are candied, then pressed to produce a syrup to be used in place of nocino, the green walnut liqueur. Chinotti, a very special citrus (Citrus myrtifolia), are treated the same way. This very special flavor, tart, slightly bitter, and fragrant, forms the base of several Italian soft drinks called “chinotto.” We also have the same fruit in its whole candied form, made by the last producer in Savona, its place of origin. These are from the BESIO company. Chinotti in Italy are a presidium of Slow Food. The Pariani syrups are $10.99 the bottle.

PARIANI GREEN WALNUT SYRUP 40ml bottle (#4454)
PARIANI CHINOTTO SYRUP 40 ml bottle (#4455)
BESIO CHINOTTI DI SAVONA al Maraschino 380 g jar $18.69 (#4456)

In this same range of products, Pariani produces semi-candied, whole Wild Strawberries and Elderberries for dessert garnishing or adding to cocktails. These are made using a process whereby the candying leaves a fresh flavor and almost fresh fruit consistency. Another splendid cocktail ingredient are the candied Cantiano cherries called Visciola di Cantiano. These very special cherries are a wild cherry (Prunus cerasus var. austera), growing wild around the village of Cantiano in the Marche on Italy’s Adriatic coast. The pitted cherries are simply cooked in sugar syrup, but have a very intense cherry flavor. If you are familiar with Luxardo Maraschino Cherries, the Visciola di Cantiano are even more flavorsome and intense. Try them in your next Manhattan cocktail. All are $14.99 the 260 g jar.

PARIANI semi-candied whole WILD STRAWBERRIES (#4457)
PARIANI semi-candied whole ELDERBERRIES (#4458)

Another mixologist specialty from Pariani are the Essential Oils which they cold press from fruit and bottle in small bottles with a dropper stopper to be used in making cocktails or for flavoring anything, especially ice cream with the essential oil of these fruits. We have the essential oils of Orange (sweet orange), Bitter Orange, Lemon, Bergamot, Mandarin, Grapefruit and Lemon grass. These are just pure essential oils, without alcohol, for flavoring--especially when you cannot use fresh fruit.

PARIANI ESSENTIAL CITRUS OILS: all in 15 ml bottles $22.99 each

ORANGE (#4460)


LEMON (#4462)           

BERGAMOT (#4463)

MANDARIN (#4464)


PARIANI ESSENTIAL OIL: LEMON GRASS 15 ml bottle $24.99 (#4466)



With the current high interest in Greek wines becoming even stronger, I have purchased some works on specific Greek wines and on the history of wine in Greece written by the Grande Dame of Greek Ecology, Stavroula Kourakou-Dragona. I have known Madame Kouraou since 1993 when we presented wines together at a conference in San Gimignano in Tuscany on autochthonous white varieties. She presented on the major Greek white varietal and I on that from California, specifically, chenin blanc. Madame Kourakou has written extensively on Greek viticulture and Ecology and was previously the head of the OIV in Paris. Madame is perfectly bilingual in Greek and French, not English. But her works have been translated very well into English and now, also finely printed.

The works here presented are those printed at the FOINIKAS PRESS. They are done on fine paper, with a lovely format, and are a pleasure to hold and read. Printing like wine is only a part of life, but when done properly, very pleasurable and rewarding. Both deal with different senses as art forms. There are, of course, different works on Greek wines in print. A lot are technical, comprehensive works dealing with all of Greece written by various authors of many stripes, from Masters of Wine, to sommeliers, to “wine writers.”

The works of Mme Kourakou now available from Corti Brothers, I believe are the only ones available in the United States. They are focused and specific to wine type and location. Her magnum opus Vine and Wine in the Ancient Greek World is just that: a magnum opus about the history of wine in antiquity and something that should be read by any really interested wine lover.

There is a lot of information on the pages of these finely wrought works, plus they are from the pen of the person who actually created many of the appellations for these wines and hence knows a enormous amount about them and their history. If you are looking for tasting notes or what to purchase, do not buy these books. If you are looking for history and the history of the creation of Greek wines in modern times, these works are a must for any wine lover’s library. All book sales have 8.25% California sales tax added. The book covers are pictured at the bottom of this page.

VINE AND WINE IN THE ANCIENT GREEK WORLD, large quarto, 279pp $89.99 (#4467)

NEMEA: AN HISTORICAL WINELAND, quarto, 177pp. $33.99 (#4468)

SANTORINI: AN HISTORICAL WINELAND, quarto, 189pp $33.99 (#4469)


VINSANTO: THE TRADITIONAL SWEET WINE OF SANTORINI, large octavo, 75pp $13.99 (#4471)





This work which came out in 2016 and has passed relatively unheralded, is the latest work from the prolific pen of Prof. Thomas Pinney, emeritus Professor of English at Pomona College and author of the magisterial two volume work on Wine in America from UC Press among other wine writings. The City of Vines tells the compelling story of how wine growing began in Southern California, where historically the wine business started when California was still Spanish, and the vicissitudes of growing grapes and selling wine years before the invention of Napa and Sonoma, and, at times, in competition with them. It documents the who, what, when, where, and how of the wine business in an area now inconceivable for wine growing. Yet it all started here.

What is amusing is to read about the places described as vineyards, now either houses, skyscrapers, or freeways. Vestiges of this history are still recognizable in certain parts of greater Los Angeles, such as the small parcels of vineyards remaining in Cucamonga. But to read about Pasadena/San Marino, let alone San Gabriel Valley being a large vineyard area is mind-boggling. The same with Disneyland in Orange County. Yet all the history is real. What is sometimes surreal is that we either don’t want to know the history or don’t want to believe it.

Tom Pinney, meticulously and somewhat laconically describes and gives the players and the reasons why it is now, just history. The fact that there is a vineyard in Bel-Air, vineyards in Malibu, should not seem strange to us, but merely a continuation of this history which began along the Los Angeles River, now a cement channel for rain run off that goes from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. Compared to European wine history, this history is not very old. At less than 200 years old, it is history that happened just the other day. This is a work both enlightening and very enjoyable to read. And is a somewhat cautionary tale of “How do you make a small fortune in the wine business? Start with a large one!”

THE CITY OF VINES: A history of wine in Los Angeles, 2017, 334pp., Heyday, Berkeley, CA. $24.99+ TX  (#4474)



I am setting out this collection of vintage port to give you ample time to decide what to buy for later enjoyment this winter. These wines need special care when serving and need to be carefully handled, therefore the warning. They have been stored perfectly. The bottle fills are almost pristine. But you need to make your choice early since there are less than a dozen bottles of some wine, more of others. This list is also has some single quinta wines, vintages usually declared when the wines are lovely, but the firm does not do a classic declaration. These are delicious wines that otherwise would not be seen.

If you like vintage port and have not laid down any, here is your chance to have a nice selection of ready to drink wines for this winter/holiday season and for the next five to ten years. The pleasure of drinking mature vintage port means you have to have laid some down when it came out upon declaration. It is only with collections like this that you can make up for your lack of astuteness in past years. But you should not buy vintage port and take it home and open it. It needs to be transported, then rested, then opened, decanted, and then enjoyed. Here is an opportunity which does not come along every day. All bottles are 750ml.

GRAHAM 1975 $158.99 (#4475) GRAHAM 1970 $201.99 (#4476) WARRE 1958 $200.00 (#4477)
FONSECA 1975 $158.99 (#4478) FONSECA Guimaraens 1974 $94.99 (#4479) 1967 $129.99 (#4480)
FONSECA Guimaraens 1968 $106.00 (#4481) COCKBURN 1967 $179.99 (#4482) 1975 $112.00 (#4483)
COCKBURN 1963 $279.59 (#4484) MESSIAS 1966 $154.99 (#4485)
OFFLEY FORRESTER BOA VISTA 1972 $98.99 (#4486) SANDEMAN 1972 $131.99 (#4487)
DOW 1975 $158.99 (#4488) DOW Late Bottled 1962 $174.69 (#4489) MARTINEZ 1975 $112.99 (#4490)
REAL VINÍCOLA QUINTA DO SIBIO 1960 $98.99 (#4491) 1963 $119.99 (#4492) 1970 $98.99 (#4493)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.     916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food



Since 2004, the Martella family has been shelling and processing their own walnuts and those of surrounding growers at Hughson, in California’s Central Valley. They have now spread out forming a company called The Nutty Gourmet to process their shelled walnuts into Walnut Butter and also into toasted and flavored walnut meats. Corti Brothers has just found out about them and we have selected both nut butters and shelled walnut meats from the range of products The Nutty Gourmet produces.

Walnuts are a real “Superfood” with proven health advantages. The Nutty Gourmet uses only their California grown walnuts and the products are made without preservatives and other extraneous stuff. Basically, just walnuts.

The Walnut butters are: ROASTED, SEA SALT, and MAPLE CINNAMON. The Roasted walnut butter is made with walnuts and palm oil. Sea Salt is made with walnuts, palm oil and sea salt. Maple Cinnamon is made with walnuts, maple sugar, organic cane sugar, palm oil, cinnamon, sea salt. All you do is stir them to re-introduce the oil into the butter and use. They should be kept refrigerated after opening.

Interestingly, the Martellas are Ligurian Italians as are numerous of their neighbors in Hughson. You should try the roasted walnut butter to make the Ligurian pasta sauce “Tuccu de Nuxe” (sugo di noci) or walnut sauce for pasta. Instead of having to work walnuts into this paste like sauce, simply use the Roasted Walnut Butter.

The other product The Nutty Gourmet makes are 8 ounce bags of walnut meats with different flavors. Corti Brothers has the SEA SALT, toasted halves with olive oil and sea salt. MAPLE CINNAMON, toasted with maple and a bit of sugar and cinnamon. HABANERO, (no, it’s not really hot) with a Habanero chile flavoring which enhances the walnut flavor, highlighting it. These are truly lovely products for putting out with drinks, especially for up coming holiday season entertaining. But eating three walnuts a day, or 6 halves is known to be very healthy for you. We just like to think they taste good.


ROASTED (#4494)

SEA SALT (#4495)


MIXED CASE –2 each $46.00 case/6 (#4496M)


SEA SALT (#4497)

HABANERO (#4498)


MIXED CASE –2 each $37.00 cs/6 bags (#4499M)


THE WINES OF KURTATSCH OR CORTACCIA: A remarkable producer in the Alto Adige

I discovered these wines from the cooperative cellar of Kurtatsch or Cortaccia in the Alto Adige in May 2018. I had never been there before and was brought there by my friend Peter Dipoli, a wine merchant and producer himself in the Alto Adige. The seat of the cellar is in a remarkable building dating from 1521, nestled right up against the cliff of the southeast facing slope of the Dolomites facing the valley of the Adige River. Cooperative cellars function very well in the Alto Adige and make some lovely wines from the small parcels owned by the member growers. Founded in 1900, the Kurtatsch Kellerei has 190 members farming 190 hectares of vineyard. It shows that cooperativism works if everyone is on the same page. You can view the cellars on Corti TV on our website:

I was particularly taken by several white wines and one typical red which is a red wine varietal we do not grow in California: Grauvernatsch or Schiava grigia. It was tried, but in the 1890s. I was particularly taken by the SONNTALER, (Sun Valley in German), from a vineyard site at about 450 meters high. This variety produces a pale colored red, with great fragrancy and flavor and light tannin, but is always an inviting red wine to drink even when you don’t think you want a red wine. It’s particularly good with Chinese cuisine, especially dim sum. SCHIAVA GRIGIA is a member of a heterogeneous group of Schiava varietals. The others are Schiava gentile, Schiava grossa and Schiava Lombarda. They are all distinct varieties. Schiava grossa is also called Trollinger in Germany, and is one parent to a lot of other varieties. Its name most likely comes from “Tirolinger” the original name of the Alto Adige, Süd-Tirol. The famous hot house vine still growing since the mid eighteenth century at Hampton Court in England is Schiava grossa, known as Black Hamburg. So, perhaps there are some vines of this variety growing in California since we are known to have Black Hamburg in old, mixed plantings.

However, the SONNTALER is particularly lovely. At one time in the late 1980s, early 90s, growers were invited to pull up their old, good producing plantings of Schiava and replant to Cabernet and the like. This has caused a dearth of Schiava in the Alto Adige, a variety which produces well and makes a light bodied red, currently sought after. Just how much Cabernet or Merlot can one drink?

The other wines selected from the Kurtatsch cellar are whites: Müller Thurgau, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Bianco.
MÜLLER THURGAU is a cross between riesling and Madeleine Royale, a variety now not grown but an offspring of Schiava grossa. At one time it was the major variety planted in New Zealand. The GRAUN vineyard Müller Thurgau is a remarkable example of the variety with a pale color, delicate fragrancy and an intense flavor with riesling-like persistence, grown at the limit of viticulture at almost 900 meters. We have a few bottles of the 2013 Cellar Reserve Graun to show what age does to this variety.

The PENÓNER PINOT GRIGIO comes from a vineyard high up in the village of Penon. Here the altitude (650mt) produces a delicacy in the variety rarely seen in this flavorsome varietal. Again, it is one of the flagship wines of the cellar and will keep extremely well if you can keep your hands off of it. HOFSTATT PINOT BIANCO is a delicious version of this white form of Pinot noir showing fullness and flavor. This style of Pinot Bianco is perfect for those times where one wants a full bodied white, but not a tiring one. Zippy acidity and body are its hallmarks due to soil condition and vineyard altitude.

All in all, the wines from Kurtatsch are those of a producer that leave a very fine mark in this lovely area of fine wines. They merit your attention.

KURTATSCH SONNTALER Schiava grigia 2017 12.5 % $19.99 750ml (#4500) $107.00 cs/6 (#4500C)

GRAUN MÜLLER THURGAU 2016 13% $23.99 750ml (#4501) $129.00 cs/6 (#4501C)

PENÓNER PINOT GRIGIO 2016 14% $28.99 750ml (#4502) $156.00 cs/6 (#4502C)

HOFSTATT PINOT BIANCO 2016 13.5% $25.99 750ml (#4503) $140.00 cs/6 (#4503C)

GRAUN MÜLLER THURGAU 2013 13% $35.99 750ml (#4504) one bottle per order, please

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.     916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food

TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.25%. This is for all sales since we sell in California. Foodstuffs are not taxable. Shipping will be charged at prevailing rates. PLEASE NOTE: In extreme weather, either hot or cold, please give us a shipping address where your order may be properly received and stored. Corti Brothers cannot be responsible for items left without protection



Written by Darrell Corti — September 19, 2018

Spring 2018 Newsletter


To Our Customers:

Where does time go? It is now spring, and it was just the holidays! But spring is the time of renewal and freshness, Easter and Passover. We have some new things at Corti Brothers and some traditional ones. I hope you will find interesting items in this newsletter that will make your spring very pleasant.
Darrell Corti


Much like the arrival of panettone at Christmas, COLOMBA arrives at Easter. Like panettone, Colomba is a similar sweet, buttery, bread-like cake, made with a mother yeast and candied fruit, sprinkled with sugar. Its name comes from its shape which is that of a flying dove. It is the other of the seasonal bread cakes famous in Italy. We have also the two typical Venetian cakes, the Veneziana and the Focaccia Mandorlata. Both of these come from Venetian tradition, and found on the breakfast or dessert tables of Venetian connoisseurs. For us, all–Colomba, Veneziana, Focaccia–are wonderful spring delights and delightful throughout the summer period, especially with fresh fruit.

All are from the renown LOISON bakery, near Vicenza. Unless otherwise stated all are one kilo in size.

COLOMBA CLASSICA wrapped $27.39 (#4400)

COLOMBA CLASSICA AL LIMONE, with limoncello cream filling, wrapped $29.99 (#4401)

COLOMBA ZABAIONE with zabaione cream filling, wrapped $29.99 (#4402)

COLOMBA CIOCCOLATO with a chocolate cream filling, wrapped $29.99 (#4403)

COLOMBA PESCA E NOCCIOLA 750g with candied peach and a hazelnut topping, wrapped $26.19 (#4404)

COLOMBA CLASSICA 2 kilo MAGNUM, cellophane wrapped $46.99 (#4406)

COLOMBA CLASSICA 5 kilo MAGNUM, cellophane wrapped $89.99 (#4407)

VENEZIANA all’ALPIANE, made with Vignalta Alpiane Passito wine, wrapped $27.99 (#4408)

FOCACCIA MANDORLATA, 750g. No candied fruit, almond topping, cellophane wrapped $19.89 (#4409)

FOCCACCIA MANDORLATA, 2 kilo MAGNUM, cellophane wrapped, $38.39 (#4410)


The CORTADILLO DE CIDRA is a Spanish specialty, in fact an Andalucian specialty. The cake is made by the firm of Ines Rosales, founded in 1910, near Seville, famous for its olive oil cakes, Tortas de Aceite. The Cortadillo is made of a similar flaky oil made dough, but with an unusual filling made from a very special squash called CIDRA or Calabaza CABELLO DE ANGEL, “Angel Hair.”

The squash is melon shaped and looking, but when cooked separates into filaments which are cooked with sugar. It is very mild in flavor, taking on flavors easily, but having this delicate, tender filament structure which is beloved in Spanish and Latin American cuisine.

Cortadillo means it has been cut into pieces, in this case 6 individually packaged pieces. The sensation of the flaky crust and the tender, yet sweet, flavory filling is at once both tasty and intriguing.

It appears that the cidra, Cucurbita ficifolia, is originally from the highlands of Peru or possibly from southern Mexico. Curiously, it arrived in Spain by way of India, having been brought from its origin to India then to Spain. As a squash, it does not have a typical squash flavor, but is very neutral and takes on flavor easily when cooked and remains moist textured. Its string-like consistency makes it unique. It is very typical of Mediterranean Spain.


$5.99 -6 pieces/ 7.62 oz pack  (#4411)

$32.00 cs/6- 6 packs (#4411C)


BULGUR, GRANO, YARMA–Wheat in various disguises

I know you have seen it before on these pages, but what is the difference between bulgur and couscous? They are sometimes confused. One is a wheat, the other, a pasta--yes, and made from wheat. (Answer: couscous is the pasta.)

Bulgur is merely durum wheat, boiled and then dehydrated, next coarsely milled–cracked–then sifted into three sizes of pieces, called bulgur one, bulgur two, and bulgur three. Bulgur three is the largest. To use, traditionally it was merely soaked and used as is–for example making the bulgur salad with parsley called Tabbouleh. Actually, this is a dish which uses very little bulgur and a lot more parsley, but frequently it is made the other way round. Bulgur is often cooked, with stock and sauteed pieces of thin pasta to make pilaff. It can be used to thicken soups, cover meatballs of ground meats flavored with different savory flavors. Or for making desserts.

Corti Brothers buys bulgur from a family owned mill–Sunnyland–in the Fresno area which has been making bulgur for several generations. They also make the unusual, yet very easy to use Yarma, another cracked wheat product, but this time left with its flour and sold as such. A delicious vegetarian/vegan soup can be made using finely chopped onions, yarma, some olive oil and water. Called yarma shourba, its flavor comes from caramelizing the onions, very slowly, adding the yarma and water, then letting it cook slowly. Salt and pepper is added, other vegetables should you like, but basically it takes its almost roast meat-like flavor from the caramelized onions. Very tasty yet simplicity itself in cooking. The exact recipe is shown on the last page below.

Then there is Grano, the pearled whole durum wheat; the hull is removed and the wheat left as a “wheat berry.” Once hulled, it is golden in color and should be stored in the freezer to lessen oxidation. It needs to be washed in cold running water, then soaked (up to overnight) before cooking. It can be cooked just like pasta in salted boiling water until tender and then dressed like pasta. It is the mainstay of the Neapolitan Easter pie called “Pastiera” with candied citrus rind–especially citron–ricotta, milk and eggs, sugar, cinnamon and orange flower water, baked in a buttery, rich, short pastry dough.

All the above durum wheat products are in one pound resealable bags and cost $3.99 per pound.

BULGUR #1 (fine) (#4412)

BULGUR #2 (medium) (#4413)

BULGUR #3 (coarse) (#4414)





In Athenaeus’ The Diepnosophists, one of the earliest fine living texts in the western world, the author remarks about “Persian luxury and extravagance.” This Greek author was merely mirroring what the then world knew as sophistication in gastronomy, rather than the Spartan concept that “hunger was the best sauce.” Persian cuisine is not something we often think about in this country, but there is a great deal of tradition and exchange throughout the eastern Mediterranean that owes a lot to this ancient cuisine. The number of cookbooks currently in print about this cuisine has never been greater. Persia is the historical name for what we know as Iran.

An Iranian couple living in Sacramento, Sima and Deen Rashidy, produce what has come to be recognized as exemplary versions of Iranian specialties. Under their “SIMA’S” label there are several delightful items, mainly condiments, that show off the intricacies of this ancient cuisine for modern times.

Using seasonal vegetables, Sima makes two famous pickles: TORSHI and LITTEH, which are relishes. Litteh is an eggplant relish made with eggplant, carrot, celery, parsley, mint, jalapeño, garlic and vinegar. Torshi resembles Italian Giardiniera, pickled vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, celery, parsley, mint. A new product is Jalapeño Relish, with jalapeño, garlic, parsley, mint. The jalapeño is there, it is not just hot, but flavory.

From her own garden, Sima makes a fresh Mint syrup and a Sour Cherry syrup, both wonderful to make refreshing drinks with the addition of water rather than drinking soda in hot weather. For mixologists, this is a new world.

Sima’s Pomegranate Vinaigrette just needs good olive oil to make a delicious salad dressing or dipping sauce.

Several fruit preparations are made using local fruit, but a really special jam is Sima’s 3 Fruit Jam, made with Fuji apples, Blenheim apricots and quince. The elements are prepared when in season, then when all three have been made, they are blended together. Another different jam is the Carrot and Orange jam called “horig” which is unusual for us, but traditional in Persian cuisine.

Sima also makes several different flavors of rice mixtures which just need to be cooked. One is made with smoked Basmati rice. Another with normal Basmati, but both have dillweed and Iranian saffron. Another blend is Basmati rice with lentils which are cooked together making “Adaspolo.” All three are excellent, easy to prepare versions of vegetarian or meatless dishes that are tasty and satisfying. In Persian, a dish of rice is said to bring families together, secure friendships, and solve arguments. If tasty also, what more can we ask?

With Persian New Year, Nurooz, the 20th of March, you have delicacies to celebrate with.

SIMA’S EGGPLANT RELISH (Litteh) 16oz jar $6.99 (#4417)

SIMA’S MIXED VEGETABLES (Torshi) 16oz jar $5.99 (#4418)

SIMA’S JALAPEÑO RELISH 8oz jar $4.99 (#4419)

SIMA’S SOUR CHERRY SYRUP 375ml $6.69 (#4420)

SIMA’S MINT SYRUP 375ml $6.99 (#4421)


SIMA’S 3 FRUIT JAM (Apple, Apricot, Quince) 12oz jar $6.99 (#4423)

SIMA’S CARROT AND ORANGE PEEL JAM 12oz jar $5.99 (#4424)


SIMA’S BASMATI RICE WITH DILLWEED 10 oz  bag $4.99 (#4426)

SIMAS’S LENTIL RICE 12oz bag $4.99 (#4427)


PUERTO RICAN COFFEE: Single Finca Arabica, Special Roasting.

Coffee is grown commercially in the United States in two places: Puerto Rico and Hawai’i. One is a state, the other a territory. Of the two, the smallest production now is Puerto Rico. Due to the devastating hurricane of fall 2017, where much of the island was torn up and left without services of any kind, being able to find a small amount of genuine Puerto Rico grown coffee is remarkable. A lot of coffee has been grown in the center of the island, in an area called Utuado. Coffee cultivation was introduced to Puerto Rico from Martinique in 1736.

Puerto Rico was discovered by Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage and Utuado has been known since 1553, but only became a town in 1733. Its name is verified by a baptismal certificate dated 1754. In 1894 it became a city. The Utuado area is mainly mountainous, and all told is only 115 square miles in size.

Originally a Taíno center–the Taíno are an indigenous people on the island–the area became a mining region. Now it produces coffee, some tobacco and fruit. Some of the coffee grown is shade grown, planted as the under cultivation of taller trees. The coffee varietal is mainly arabica, the coffee cherries wet pulped, sun dried.

With the help of a Sacramento friend, a past employee of Corti Brothers, Emmanuel Kemiji, now a Master Sommelier and wine maker both in California and Spain, we were able to purchase 400 pounds of green arabica beans from a single “finca” or estate, that of Don Dionisio in Caguana de Utuado. With the roasting assistance of Carlos Moya, possibly the most important roaster on the island, having his own coffee shop, we have two styles of this coffee. Labeled CAFÉ 2150, one roast is just 100% Arabica, the other is made according to Emmanuel Kemiji’s idea using the most famous rum on the Island, Ron del Barrilito Three Star, to macerate the green beans before roasting. The heat of roasting removes the alcohol, but leaves the character of “la formula” the secret herb, spice, and fruit blend of the rum production as a delightful aftertaste in the coffee.

The roast of CAFÉ 2150 is a medium dark “city” roast and the Barrilito roast, slightly darker. This is the typical local taste: to taste coffee, not the charred effect of a very dark roast. Also the island tradition is to drink coffee with heated milk, not exactly like a cappuccino, but a delicious drink. You, obviously, can drink the coffee the way you like. (My first experience at a coffee finca on the island, the heating of the milk, aerating it with a large ladle, took longer to do than brewing the coffee. It was delicious!)

For the current shipment we only have 400 pounds of coffee. The roasting and packaging are done on the island to island taste. The coffee comes in an 8 ounce, foil lined paper bag with a valve and is the only quantity we will have until this fall’s harvest. If there is one! The trees have been pretty beaten up. Roasting is done just before shipping. We hope to be able to continue this project, to give some assistance to this devastated island.

If you have never tasted Puerto Rican coffee, you should try CAFÉ 2150. Try both styles! Puerto Rican coffee was once reserved for Popes and Kings. Now we also can enjoy it. This production is exclusive to Corti Brothers.


8 oz. valve bag $12.99 each (#4428)

CAFÉ 2150 PUERTO RICAN COFFEE 100% Arabica “Barrilito”

8 oz. valve bag $14.99 each (#4429)

TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.25%. This is for all sales since we sell in California. Foodstuffs are not taxable. Shipping will be charged at prevailing rates. PLEASE NOTE: In extreme weather, either hot or cold, please give us a shipping address where your order may be properly received and stored. Corti Brothers cannot be responsible for items left without protection


A new publication on an almost forgotten wine country

ARMENIA VINE AND WINE is a quarto sized book of more than 418 pages dealing with the archeobotany and domestication of the vine, its history and enology, its ampelography, culture, and significance today from a little known about, land-locked country with immense ties to grapes and wine. Written by the lead author Nelli Hovhannisyan, a former cancer researcher now dealing with vines and wine, and numerous other experts from Armenia and other places and numerous museal entities and even grape growers, with splendid photographs illustrating every facet of this complex world, this is a book which deserves a place in the library of every wine lover. Just the amount of color photography makes this a fascinating work that will serve to illuminate and enlighten almost any reader. It is a comprehensive work befitting its noble and ancient history, about which we, in the West know relatively little, but will know much, much more having read ARMENIA VINE AND WINE. It is worth every penny of its price!

ARMENIA VINE AND WINE, 2018, 418+ pages, color photography throughout
$139.99 + tax & shipping (#4430) 

MOSCATO PASSITO DI SARACENA: A dessert wine you’ve never heard about

From the tip of the toe of the Italian boot, the region of Calabria, Moscato Passito di Saracena comes as a specialty wine from a single producer, Cantina Viola. The most famous of the region’s dessert wines is Greco di Bianco, made from the Greco variety in the town of Bianco. Linguistically, it seems that it should be the other way around. But like it linguistically is the Moscato Passito di Saracena. Saracena is the place. It means “Saracen” obviously from its history of having contact with the Muslims from the Middle East who ruled this part of Italy or raided it for a long time. Here is what Daniele Cernilli wrote about it in his ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ITALIAN WINES 2016:

“...[M]oscato di Saracena...seems like a wine straight out of the Odyssey. Produced with ancestral methods with a partial cooking of the must (which is creating no few problems with the EU regulations), [this wine is] a cultural heritage as well as being excellent....A blend of Guarnacca, Malvasia and Moscadello di Saracena grapes. [It] Matures for a year in stainless steel ‘sur lie.’ Bright amber. A nose of formidable complexity, ranging from the classic scent of raisins to candied orange peel, dates, dried apricots, and almond paste. The flavor is sweet, but not cloying, full bodied and nicely underpinned by acidity. A really great traditionally-styled sweet wine. 95/100 ”
Enough said! But really good.


500ml - $49.99 (#4431)

Case of 12/ 750 ml - $269.00 (#4431C)

 (Phone us for more information)


These two oils were again produced for Corti Brothers by Pablo Voitzuk, the miller at Pacific Sun in Gerber, CA.,
to the north of Sacramento. These are two southern Mediterranean olive varieties which have once again proven that they do extremely well in California. Once again, they were put in competition at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Oil Competition where I am the chairman of the tasting. The tasting is completely blind. I do not see who tastes the oils until the tasting takes place. And once again, they both won Gold Medals in their class, the Piqual also winning Best of Class. Both are very fine oils with medium fruity intensity, with the balanced pungency and bitterness of excellent oils with flavors of fresh artichoke and green tomato. They will definitely enhance your spring and summer salads and vegetable dishes. They are perfect for putting on toasted bread to make the classic “fett’unta.” Very little was bottled in January 2018, so do not dawdle to get some.


500ml $18.99 (#4432)

Case of 12/ 500 ml  $205.00 (#4432C)


500ml $18.99 (#4433)

Case of 12/ 500 ml  $205.00 (#4433C)



Last Chance, nearly sold out!

This 2015 Amador County Zinfandel is a fifty year commemorative wine. It commemorates the 1965 Amador County Zinfandel made as a home wine that, in 1968, convinced Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home Winery in Napa Valley to begin buying Amador County grapes. A lot has happened in the last fifty years.

The original 1965 Amador Zinfandel was made as a homemade wine by Charles Myers, an English instructor at Sacramento City College, who in 1972 would become a winery owner, opening his Harbor Winery in West Sacramento, CA. Charles’ home winemaking showed Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home how good Amador Zinfandel could be at a time when few wineries actually bought Amador County grapes. Most went to home winemakers in the Bay Area. At that time there was only one winery in Amador County, D’Agostini, which had been there in one form or another since the 19th century. The first new winery in Amador County was to be Cary Gott’s Monteviña which was created in 1970. By that time, Sutter Home had already produced two vintages of Amador County Zinfandel.

In May, 1968, Bob Trinchero, Charles Myers, and I went to Amador County and drank a bottle of Charles’ 1965 Zinfandel which convinced Bob that he should look to Amador County for grapes. The harvest of 1968 was the first year of a Napa Valley winery using Amador zinfandel and also labeling the wine with the appellation of Amador County. (Christian Brothers and Gallo had been buying Amador grapes at that time, but did not label any wine made from them with the Amador appellation.) Sutter Home was the first out-of-county winery to label its wine made from Amador grapes with the Amador appellation. Others would follow.

Since I have Charles Myers’ home winemaking notebook, I tried to make the wine following the notes which Charles wrote about making his wine. The grapes in 1965 were picked October 2, fermented with champagne yeast (the most common wine yeast at the time), pressed off on October 8 at 5% Brix, aged in one used small wood cask and in glass demijohns; racked four times during the year, and bottled August 15, 1966, just before Charles resumed teaching. So: very little time on the skins, very little time in wood, early bottling, and no fining or filtering, just the addition of metabisulfite at racking. It was very simple winemaking. According to Charles’ notes, he paid $75.00 the ton for 500 lbs of grapes which gave him 150 bottles of finished wine. This was his first Amador Zinfandel wine. He would make other vintages and in 1972 made his first commercial wine from Amador zinfandel at Harbor Winery.

In making our 2015 Amador Zinfandel, we asked Andis Winery in Amador County to make it for us. Mark McKenna, the winemaker, was enthusiastic about doing this project and used hillside grown, head pruned vines of some 50 years of age, picked September 3, 2015. Fermentation lasted 10 days with Champagne yeast; the wine was pressed at 2% Brix, and some of the new wine put into neutral oak barrels and the rest in flextanks rather than in glass demijohns. It was bottled on September 1, 2016. This production produced 290 cases of 750ml bottles and 10 cases of magnums. The bottles were bottled with Stelvin caps rather than corks since I am a great fan of Stelvin and I think Charles would have concurred.

A unique thing about this wine is that the label has a portrait of the original winemaker on it done by the noted Sacramento artist Wayne Thiebaud. In the early 1960s, Wayne and Charles were colleagues at Sacramento City College and in 1963 Wayne painted the image of Charles reading, which is on our label. In Wayne’s opus, the picture is called “Man Reading.” We asked Wayne if he would concede the use of this image for this one time bottling, and he graciously allowed it.

Corti Brothers Amador County Zinfandel 2015 is a sort of mirror of what happened in 1965. Fifty years later, wine tastes have changed and in no small part to the effect Amador County zinfandel had on the California wine market. Tastes changed and there is now a completely different profile of Zinfandel as a wine in California. According to the classic wine texts of the early 1960s and before, Zinfandel was always a light, fruity wine, described as such by most wine writers of the time. Amador County changed all of that. And it was begun by a really well made, homemade wine, from 1965.

In May of this year you can almost reproduce the tasting of fifty years ago. It is unusual to be able to experience such a thing in winemaking, especially in California. The last few cases are still here, but not for long!


750ml - $24.99 (#4434)
Case of 12/ 750 ml  $269.00  (#4434 C)
Window Gift Box 6/750ml $135.00 (#4435)

(Phone us for more information)



As I have written before, I think these are the best canned olives made in California. Using only estate grown manzanillo olives, hand harvested–no more than seven per handful–when just starting to turn color and cured in the Graber fashion, these “olive colored” olives will make a relish tray sparkle. These are not strong flavored olives, but very smooth, silky textured ones with an almost buttery character. No other olive producer in the country makes these olives as good as Graber does. There are no better classic California olives than Graber olives.

GRABER OLIVES 7.5 oz can $7.99

#12 Small (#4436)

#14 Medium (#4437)

#16 Large (#4438)



My trip to Greece, the Peloponessus, Crete, and Santorini in June 2014 led to an unusual discovery. At the Santo
Co-operative on Santorini, I found caper leaves. I had never seen caper leaves offered before, anywhere. About 1 ½ inch in diameter, they are treated like the caper buds. Pickled in salt brine, they can be used just like capers and for garnishing are truly lovely. I enjoyed them in Italy at my cousin’s restaurant in Serravalle Scrivia, Villa La Bollina, where they garnished a plate of vitello tonnato in place of capers. The caper leaf flavor is less forceful than caper buds and using both leaves and buds, one could make a lovely garnish with two leaves and a caper bud as a presentation. They are unique and wonderfully flavored. Visually, superb. If I could come up with this sort of find every time I travel, it just might be worth traveling!

CAPER LEAVES in brine $6.99 200g jar (#4439)      $4.69 100g jar (#4440)



Here is a true monastic product made in Sonoma County by the Cistercian nuns of Redwoods Monastery. The sisters cream raw, grade A honey and add organic ginger, orange, lemon, cinnamon, and almond to the honey to give a range of flavors. Creamed honey is finely granulated honey that has had carefully controlled crystallization. Much smoother than naturally granulated honey, its texture is that of soft butter.

All honey can be creamed; but a honey, light in color and flavor, yet high in glucose, makes the best creamed honey. The simple granulation heating process also produces a thin layer of air bubbles which remain on the honey surface, looking like, and called, “frosting.” This is honey for putting on morning toast, scones, sandwiches and the like and not having to worry about its dripping. Monastery Creamed Honeys, all natural and organic, give breakfast another dimension. All are in 8 oz jars and sell for $6.99 each.


Plain (#4441)

Ginger (#4442)

Orange (#4443)

Lemon (#4444)

Almond (#4445)

Cinnamon (#4446)



We have just received the new edition of this authoritative Guide. This year there are 1,069 producers selected for inclusion over the 979 from the last edition. The wines written about are 2,733 over the 2,436 in the previous edition.
Twenty percent of the estates from the previous edition have been excluded and about 200 estates are all new to this edition. The favored wines have gone up from 220 to 297 due to the excellent vintages of 2013 in Barolo and 2012 for Brunello. Now is the time to get your copy of Daniele’s ULTIMATE GUIDE for 2018.

$19.99 plus tax& shipping. 600 pages. (#4447)


This recipe is Turkish in origin and uses only Yarma, water, vegetables, and no animal products, in its preparation. It is one of those cooking productions where, even if you can just boil water, you can make this soup. Surprisingly light, this soup also has the advantage of being almost miraculous--that is, it stretches easily and loses nothing. Made in double or triple quantities, it will easily feed you for some time. It reheats very well. Serves 4-6 with leftovers.

3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 cup Yarma
1 red bell pepper cubed into small dice (other flavorful peppers may be added)
1 lb. thickly sliced fresh, medium size okra
lh lb. diced fresh green beans
1 lb. Yukon gold or other waxy potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb. eggplant, peeled and diced
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped or broken up
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat oil and slowly cook the onion until it is caramelized. It should be done slowly so that the onion takes on a very dark brown color. Stir often to prevent sticking. When caramelized, add the Yarma and 6 cups of water. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until the Yarma is tender. More water may be added to keep the consistency soupy. Then add all the vegetables, salt and pepper, and cook covered for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Taste and correct seasoning and serve. Note: This soup is expandable. If one vegetable is not in season, use something that is. If tender vegetables are available, use those, merely adjusting the cooking time. To expand the recipe, increase the Y anna, vegetables, oil, and water in proportion. The addition of more water to prevent sticking or thickening, can be done at any time. The soup should be soupy. Correcting the seasoning with salt and pepper can also be done just before serving.

Written by Darrell Corti — March 12, 2018

Holiday 2017 Newsletter



To Our Customers:

With the tensions and disasters from this year, it is my hope that you all will find Peace, Serenity and Joy in the 2017 Holiday Season and in the New Year.
Darrell Corti


Please order early to assure availability of our products. Many do sell out quickly. We normally ship in 24-48 hours, but Holiday season volume and bad weather may delay the delivery of orders. Please allow 1-3 extra days over our normal processing in order to receive your order when expected. Overnight, 2 Day, and 3 Day shipping may not be guaranteed by UPS during the high volume Holiday period.

When panettone arrives, it’s holiday time. Together with our traditional panettone we also have the Pandolce al Vaso and Veneziana with Alpiane. Due to favorable exchange rates, panettone prices have come down and we are passing these on to you, our customers. Please take advantage of this! Unless noted, all sizes are one kilo.


This season, we have bought another exceptional flavor for panettone. It is a traditional panettone called 1476, the presumed date of the first production of this bread. There are the two Veneziana: similar to panettone but with less candied fruit. One with amarena cherry and cinnamon and the other with Alpiane passito wine.

MANDARINO, with the peel of the Late Mandarino di Ciaculli (Palermo), boxed, wrapped. $31.29 (#4300)
AMARENA, with large, candied black cherries, boxed, wrapped $30.79 (#4301)
REGAL CIOCCOLATO, chocolate cream filled with chocolate pieces, boxed, wrapped $31.19 (#4302)
NOËL, with candied pears, cinnamon and cloves, boxed, wrapped $31.29 (#4303)
MARRON GLACÉ, filled with candied chestnut cream, boxed, wrapped $32.19 (#4304)
FICO, with pieces of white Calabrian Dotato fig, boxed, wrapped $33.99 (#4305)
LATA, in the new tin design for this year, embossed “wild rose” design 750g $29.99 (#4306)
CREMA, vanilla pastry cream filling, wrapped, with bow $26.99 (#4307)
LIMONE, limoncello cream filling, wrapped, with bow $26.99 (#4308)
TORCOLATO, Large Turkish raisins plumped in Maculan Torcolato wine, wrapped, bow $29.99 (#4309)
CHINOTTO, with candied green Chinotto citrus pieces, boxed, wrapped $32.19 (#4310)
ROSA, with rose petal jam cream filling, boxed, wrapped $31.29 (#4311)
CLASSICO 1476, The most classic of panettone, Slow Food Presidium ingredients $30.59 (#4312)
CLASSICO 1476, 500g The most classic of panettone, Slow Food Presidium ingredients, boxed $23.19 (#4313)
PANETTONCINO, the smallest made, 100g, boxed $7.29 (#4314)
VENEZIANA AMARENE & CANELLA, large black cherries and cinnamon, boxed , 550 g $22.79 (#4315)
VENEZIANA ALL’ALPIANE, with Vignalta passito wine, Alpiane, wrapped, with bow $29.59 (#4316)

MAGNUM PANETTONE, cello wrapped with bow

3 KILO SIZE $77.39 each (#4317)

5 KILO SIZE $114.19 each (#4318)

10 KILO SIZE $261.89 each (#4319)


Corti Brothers has now offered Bardi panettone for 20 years. The product always satisfies and is well beloved by our customers.

BASSO: low shape, traditionally boxed, kilo size, $22.29 (#4320)
ALTO: classic, tall shape, traditionally boxed, kilo size, $19.99 (#4321)
GLASSATO ALLA NOCCIOLA: with hazelnut glaze, kilo size, wrapped, $24.99 (#4 4322)
SENZA CANDITI: only raisins, no candied fruit, kilo size, wrapped, $21.99 (#4323)
CIOCCOLATO FONDENTE: low shape, chocolate glazed, kilo size, wrapped, $25.59 (#4324)
PANDORO: tall, star shaped New Year’s cake, no fruit, vanilla sugar, kilo size, boxed, $21.19 (#4325)


BAGHI PANDOLCE ALL’ALPIANE is novel, and it is a great hit. The 60 hours moist raised dough, with mother leaven, and stone ground Italian wheat, Belgian butter, cage free fresh eggs, and house candied Calabrian oranges, is baked in a WECK thermal resistant jar to produce a jar baked bread. Then it is injected with Vignalta Alpiane, the noted orange muscat dessert wine produced in the Colli Euganei. The result is a slightly moister type of bread than panettone and can also be used as the base for other dessert preparations. It can be sliced into rounds and served with whipped cream or zabaione, or even toasted for breakfast. It is unique, delicious and comes in its reusable jar.

BAGHI PANDOLCE ALL’ALPIANE 26 oz. (WECK re-usable jar) $19.99 (#4326) $107.00 cs/6 (#4326C)


CASTELLO DI VERGNANO ACETO BALSAMICO TRADIZIONALE is the original balsamico we have imported since 1982. Then it was called San Geminiano. Now it has reverted to its more historical name--that of Castello di Vergnano, the original name of the location in the eastern foothills of the Appenines in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna. I like putting this product on our Holiday newsletter since it is authentic, true Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale–something which is often forgotten in the sale of “balsamic” vinegar. This, ABT is the real deal. Anything else that says anything different, may be very good, but it is not the real product. And to be further controlled, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is bottled by the governing consortium which guarantees its production.

Expensive? Of course. But this is probably the food gift par excellence and the recipient will not forget your generosity. A slightly different product, still from the same production, are the bottlings from Castello di Vergnano dated 8, 12, and 25. These are the bottlings done by the estate which correspond to the Consortium bottlings, but estate bottled. They are the exact same products under a slightly different dress and called only Condimento, or condiment, since they are not “officially” bottled. The only difference is in the packaging and then the price: they are a little less expensive. In either case, both are guaranteed to be “real” Aceto Balsamico, rather than something of dubious provenance. What is the difference in balsamic vinegars? Just look at the ingredient label. If it says grape must, this is the real thing. If the ingredients first read wine vinegar, this is not authentic. It is the blended, commercial balsamico confected from many ingredients. NOT the slow fermentation and acetification of boiled down grape must.


AS-15 (1970) 100ml $ 83.99 (#4327)
AS-19 (1855) 100ml $139.99 (#4328)
AN-12 (1650) 100ml $499.99 (#4329)


Passione per Balsamico 8 100ml $35.99 (#4330)
Passione per Balsamico 12 100ml $46.39 (#4331)
Passione per Balsamico 25 100ml $92.89 (#4332)


This extra virgin olive oil has proven to be a very difficult catch. But finally, we have it. For three years hand running, DIEVOLE CORATINA OIL has won the Los Angeles International Olive oil competition’s highest award, the Mugelli Prize. And it does so using the extraction system created by its namesake, Marco Mugelli, who was one of Italy’s foremost oil experts and a taster for the Los Angeles competition. This Coratina oil is produced from fruit cultivated in Calabria and transported to Tuscany, to the Dievole estate, where it is milled. Other oils are produced there which are very good, but it has been this particular oil to win the top prize. Now you can experience it yourself.

Almost a year old, (the new production is probably not even made at this writing), it is still an oil which is very much alive and shows the heights to which oil can aspire. We do not have much left, since it arrived in early summer. But it will be very good in your pantry for this holiday/winter season. It is what the standard for really excellent oil should be.

DIEVOLE CORATINA EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL 500ml bottle $29.99 (#4333) $161.00 cs/6 (#4333C)


With this notice, I would like to inform you that both Corti Brothers EXQUISITE WHISKEY and RED AND YELLOW BARREL GIN will soon be history. There are now very few cases left. If you have tasted these two products and wish to have some in the cellar, now is the time to get them. This is the last of the Mission del Sol barrels project, and there will be no more.

A recent visit by the owner of a Scotch distillery, who was shown the Exquisite Whiskey, remarked that it reminded him of a 43 year old Highland whiskey he had just tasted, and he left buying a bottle to take back to Scotland. The Red and Yellow Barrel Gin is not your gin and tonic gin, but a serious London Dry gin with wood character. A gin for sipping neat or with ice, perhaps even a gin to make a Martinez cocktail, the ancestor of the Martini. But both bottlings will not last long. You should be provident and lay some in.

CORTI BROTHERS EXQUISITE WHISKEY RESERVE 45.25% $59.99 750ml (#4334) $323.00 cs/6 (#4334C)

CORTI BROTHERS RED AND YELLOW BARREL GIN 45% $39.99 750ml (#4335) $215.00 cs/6 (#4335C)


COUGAR GOLD CHEESE is the result of war! In fact it may the only good thing ever to have come out of war. During World War II, it was created by Washington State University to be used as military rations. It is the only cheese that I know of that is made and aged in a tin can. Normally, one does not think of cheese aged in a can, but Cougar Gold has become famous for this methodology. It is a “cheddar” like cheese that I think is possibly the best cheese to accompany wine. It has very low acidity, which does not change the taste of wine, and does have the clean sharpness of an aged cheese. Unique, it is made only at Pullman, Washington, and deserves to be better known.

It is also an easy to care for cheese. Just buy several tins and put them in your refrigerator and turn them from time to time. They just sit there getting better and better. It is also a cheese that is firm, with a crumbly texture, a pale yellow color and it will have specks of tyrosomine on it. Once the can is opened, wrap the cheese in waxed paper and then film and enjoy it until it’s gone. I think it is perfect with an old Cabernet or Vintage Port, perhaps not rich enough for Burgundy. If you like cheese and have not had Cougar Gold, you owe it to yourself to try it. It is hard to resist. By the way, when was the last time you had a 10 year old cheese?


Production 2016  $32.99 (#4336)

RESERVE 2007 $74.99 tin (#4337)


A “passito” wine is a wine traditionally made in Italy by allowing grapes to wither after picking to increase sugar, and then fermented slowly to produce a naturally sweet wine, either white or red, to be used as a dessert wine. UVAGGIO VERMENTINO PASSITO is an example of this style of winemaking but made in California. In fact, the fruit was from a vineyard in Lodi. I say “from” because the production of this wine entailed the cutting of the trunks of the vines in the vineyard prior to their removal. It was a drastic move, but since the vineyard was destined for removal, a last vintage was made making this passito wine. But, rather than withering the clusters off the vine, the clusters were withered on the vine for several weeks and then the fruit harvested.

To be really orthodox, it is more a “late harvest” wine than a passito, but the clusters were withered--hence the “passito” name. In any event, the wine is delicious! Vermentino is a Mediterranean littoral variety also known as Rolle in France, but grown all along the Riviera in Italy. Uvaggio winery, more a brand than winery, run by Jim Moore, has made Vermentino famous in California.

Uvaggio Vermentino Passito is a pale golden-green color, with a very fragrant, gooseberry or quince-like perfume, a delicate sweetness, very clean and mouthfilling, with a fresh character and sweetness not at all cloying. The Uvaggio Vermentino Passito is a non-vintage wine since this blend is composed of 38% 2012 vintage (the original trial) and 62% of the 2013. Seventeen percent of moscato giallo was added after these clusters were sun dried for several days. But it is 100% from Lodi and probably the best dessert wine to come from that appellation.

Yet it is a sweet wine whose acidity belies its sugar–9.2%. This is the perfect wine for desserts that are fruit based, moderately sugary or when you want a light dessert wine rather than a full throttle one. There isn’t much of it, and it really is good.

UVAGGIO VERMENTINO PASSITO 12.9% $19.99 500ml (#4338) $215.00 cs/12 (#4338C)

PROPRIETÀ SPERINO LESSONA 2010: a new old property

LESSONA, a red wine from Italy’s Piemonte, had almost fallen into oblivion. At the beginning of the 20th century however, it was the most expensive wine for sale in Italy. Made from nebbiolo and two other complementary varieties, bonarda and vespolina, it is a very special wine from what is eastern Piemonte, bordering Lombardia.

Lessona is also one of the best “risotto” wines going. It has that spice necessary for melding with the rich unctuousness of risotto and then the sprightliness to make enjoying a risotto pleasant and not heavy.

PROPRIETÀ SPERINO is the name of a major estate in Lessona that had ceased production in 1952, when the villa and cellar were simply closed. I first saw this property in 1978, when I decanted in the villa’s dining room with some friends, a ‘68 Lessona--that is 1868 vintage! Now owned by Paolo DeMarchi and his son Luca, the first new era Lessona was the 2004 vintage, which I wrote about in an earlier newsletter. The DeMarchi family also owns the famous Chianti Classico property of Isole e Olena. Proprietà Sperino was the name given by the new ownership to what had been a family property, the property of a great-great uncle of the DeMarchi family, the Senatore Sperino. Hence the name. You can see the property and cellars on CortiTV. Just go to and hit the “Corti TV” link. It can be found by scrolling through the “Sicily - Venice - Northern Italy 2011 Blog”.

A nebbiolo based wine, Proprietà Sperino 2010 is just about right for drinking now. It can also be kept for some time. The first vintage 2004, is now drinking exceptionally well. This wine is remarkable for its finesse and delicacy, somewhat like famous names in Burgundy making wines that are not “faux” something else, but wines with delicacy. Eastern Piemonte is coming back with renewed interest in the various vineyard areas it contains. Proprietà Sperino is one of the renewed estates from an area, which was over a hundred years ago, one of the most important in Italy. If you like Burgundy on the de Montille model, then this wine is for you. With white truffle season here, try Lessona from Proprietà Sperino with a truffle risotto. You’ll thank me.

LESSONA 2010, Proprietà Sperino, 14% $74.99 750ml (#4339) $404.00 cs/6 (#4339C)


In California there is a small, almost ad-hox group called the NEB, an acronym meaning Nebbiolo Enthusiasts and Boosters. It is mainly comprised of producers of nebbiolo grape wines throughout California together with really committed amateurs. At a recent meeting of the NEB, in Clarksburg, south of Sacramento in the Delta area, we tasted several Piemontese nebbioli and then a series of nebbiolo wines produced in California. There were some very fine wines. To my taste one stood out as being really terrific: L.A. LEPIANE NEBBIOLO 2013.

Produced by Alison Thomson, a young lady winemaker in Santa Barbara, the grapes come from Sisquoc Vineyard, one of the earliest vineyards in Santa Barbara County. The nebbiolo planted postdates the original plantings and is the Michet clone, which arrived in the late 1980s in California. One acre of nebbiolo was planted in 1998, in the clay soil along the Siquoc river. The grapes were harvested on 23 October 2013, fermented with indigenous yeast and left on the skins for 35 days, and then pressed into a 600 liter neutral barrel for 33 months. It was bottled on August 15, 2016, released for sale November, 2017.

The Lepiane Nebbiolo 2013 is to my mind the most expressive and best varietally typical nebbiolo wine I have tasted in California. It has the proper deep red, not black color; a fragrant aroma, of berries and tar, typical of nebbiolo with the violet character called “goudron” so seldom found in this varietal. There is the austere character typical of nebbiolo that is even now beginning to soften and show its harmonious side. L.A. Lepiane was the name of Alisons’s great grandfather, also a California winemaker. This wine is a wonderful remembrance. If this 2013 wine is an example, Alison Thomson will go far in winemaking in California.

L. A. LEPIANE NEBBIOLO 2013 14.2% $44.99 750ml (#4340) $485.00 cs/12 (#4340C)


STOCCAFISSO RAGNO (Highest quality Norwegian Stockfish, average wgt. 1.85 lbs) $37.99 lb (#4341)

NORWEGIAN BACCALÀ, Salt Cod with skin and bones, highest quality $18.99 lb (#4342) Avg.wgt. 2-4 lbs

LEVONI COTECHINO (for New Year’s Day)$14.99 17.5oz (#4343)


FOOD GIFTS FROM SACRAMENTO (For those faraway friends or even those close ones.)

THE GOOD STUFF: Preserves made in Sacramento from local fruit and then some. These are locally sourced and represent Sacramento extremely well. All jars are 190 ml and sell for $10.99 each



LEMON CURD (#4347)

TOMATO JAM from local tomatoes (#4348)



STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC JAM with our Mastro Acetaio balsamico (#4351)

STRAWBERRY JAM WITH AGED CITRUS BITTERS bitters from 5 By 5 Bitters. (#4352)

WATERMELON RIND PICKLES: An old favorite made to our specifications, just a little less sugary. 16oz jar $9.99 (#4353)


This wafer cookie represents Sacramento in my travels all over the world. The 8, large, 7 inch round, filled wafers are delicious with almost anything, but fit very well with coffee, tea, wine, or a glass of milk. They will definitely make a hit when showing off Sacramento’s culinary aspect.

THE SACRAMENTO COOKIE, in its blue box with the Capitol dome $8.49 each (#4354)

While not exactly from Sacramento, but from the San Francisco Bay area, here are some ideas for those cold winter mornings:

From JEREMIAH’S PICK COFFEE, ETHIOPIA SIDAMO NENSEBO, medium roast coffee beans, in a reusable wide mouth, one quart, Ball glass jar, holding 12 oz of coffee. Ethiopian Sidamo is one of the world’s famous coffees and here you have it in a handy and very attractive package for using yourself or giving as a very thoughtful gift.

ETHIOPIA SIDAMO NENSEBO COFFEE BEANS (medium roast) 12 oz jar $15.99 (#4355)

To go with your winter breakfasts, BUTLER’S PANTRY CRUMPETS. Sugar free and fat free, these traditional British style crumpets, just need to be put in the toaster and heated for a very tasty accompaniment to your breakfast coffee or tea. In fact with Butler’s Pantry, tea and crumpets has never been easier. Another San Francisco Bay area
product, these shelf stable crumpets should be a pantry necessity. Very easy to use and convenient, you will wonder where they have been all your life. They also freeze well.

BUTLER’S PANTRY CRUMPETS, package of 8 $3.79 (#4356) $40.00 cs/12 (#4356C)

While not exactly from Sacramento itself, but from the end of the Sacramento Valley, that olive wizard, MAURICE PENNA, has come up with a very new way for you to prepare your own olives. Maurice’s family has been growing olives in the Sacramento Valley since 1951. He makes the range of olives sold under the M&CP FARMS. Now he has produced a half gallon jar of cured olives that will allow you to dress them according to your taste and ideas without having to go through the long process of actually curing the olives. The name for this new product is BUILD YOUR OWN OLIVE FLAVORS.™

Here you have cured olives in a brine, which you soak in fresh water overnight or a bit longer, depending on taste. You can crack them or not, also to your own taste, and then you just build the flavor that you want to give your own special olives. A recipe for this is on the jar or you can use your imagination. All you must do is de-brine the olives and then use them. The 2.5 lb jar is a reusable PET container, that is also shelf stable, but you only have to de-brine the olives, dress and enjoy. Obviously, the longer they are in your own special dressing, the more they become your own olives. Flavorful olives for entertaining could not be easier. And you can take pride in claiming them as your own.

BUILD YOUR OWN OLIVE FLAVORS, California Olives, Penna Farms,

2.5lb jar $11.99 (#4357)  Case of 6 $64.00 (#4357C)


We have just received a new shipment of this very famous, light fruity Ligurian oil which Corti Brothers has imported since 1980. There are numerous fans of this style of oil among our customers. This is the oil used by preference with simply boiled fish, making mayonnaise or pesto, or where ever you want a delicate oil flavor rather than a more forceful one. Ligurian oils are some of the most delicate oils produced in the world and Ardoino has been the most famous name in this oil for a very long time. In Italy, Ardoino Vall’Aurea is found in most of the highest rated restaurants in its signature, gold foil wrapped bottle.


$29.99 500ml bottle (#4358)  $161.00 cs/6 (#4358C)


We have had for some time wonderful tinned tuna products from Spain. Galicia, on Spain’s northwest coast has a long tradition of producing tinned sea food which is both delicious and handy to use, and currently very much sought after for dietetic reasons. We like to think that it is just plain delectable eating!

From Galicia, on the Atlantic coast of Spain, comes a producer new to us, CABO DE PEÑAS, with lovely tins of VENTRESCA, Tuna Belly, from both Bonito and Yellowfin tuna. Bonito goes by the name of “Bonito del Norte” and Yellowfin, “Atún Claro.” Ventresca is the tenderest and most highly prized tuna meat. This is not tuna sandwich tuna, but if you did make a tuna sandwich with it, you would be spoiled for life! All are packed in olive oil.

The other speciality of the region are tiny sardines, which are caught in the many inlets that form the coastline, the RÍAS, as they are called in Galego, another Romance language spoken in Spain. (And you thought that the Spaniards only spoke Spanish!) The company name refers to the fact that it is the Cape (Cabo) de Peñas (of Rocks) due to the eroded coastline of the area which at one time was called the End of the Earth (Finisterra).

CABO DE PEÑAS (Galicia, Spain)


4 oz $8.99 (#4359)  $97.00 case/12 (#4359C)

VENTRESCA DE ATÚN CLARO in organic olive oil

4 oz $7.99 (#4360)  $86.00 case/12 (#4360C)


4 oz $6.99 (#4361)  $75.00 case/12 (#4361C)

SARDINILLAS de Rías Gallegas (Baby Sardines)

3 oz $4.79 (#4362)  $51.00 case/12 (#4362C)


Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.

916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food

TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.25%. This is for all sales since we sell in California. Foodstuffs are not taxable. Shipping will be charged at prevailing rates. PLEASE NOTE: In extreme weather, either hot or cold, please give us a shipping address where your order may be properly received and stored. Corti Brothers cannot be responsible for items left without protection

Written by Darrell Corti — November 19, 2017


To our customers: Here is the Fall Newsletter. I hope you enjoy it.
Darrell Corti

New Clairvaux Assyrtiko and Moschofilero

When was the last time you could say that you were at the “first” of anything? Well, here is your chance to taste the first of two white varietals from Greece, grown and produced in California. They are the ASSYRTIKO and MOSCHOFILERO of the Abbey of New Claivaux, at Vina, in Tehama County, two hours north of Sacramento.

The Abbey of New Clairvaux is a Trappist monastery, a daughter foundation of the noted Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. Founded in 1955, it is felicitously located on what was the Leland Stanford vineyard and winery at Vina. In the 1880s, this was the largest winery building (2 acres under roof) and vineyard (some 3,800 acres) in the world. The original cellar is still used by the monks, partially as the winery itself. When constructed it was made with great care and thought to be, for its time, a “green” building, insulated from the torrid heat of the region. When Stanford originally planted his vineyard, the varieties were all wrong, mainly Germanic ones which cooked in the heat of this area, which is a Region 5 on the Regions 1 to 5 Winkler scale. Then, not much was known about degree days and wine quality.

About 1999, the monks decided to convert a small part of their walnut and prune orchards to vineyard to revive Stanford’s idea. Later, they were made aware of the possibility of getting planting material from UC Davis that was from similar areas in Greece. Assyrtiko is the white variety from the island of Santorini, which is hot and the variety has very good acidity, making a balanced wine in a hot area. Moschofilero is a scented white variety, actually a family of grapes, that comes from the top of the southern part of Greece, the Peloponnesus. The first bottling of Assyrtiko was the 2015. Very few cases were made. The very first vintage bottled of Moschofilero is the 2016.

When the 2015 Assrytiko was tasted with the group of Santorini producers in San Francisco in 2016, there were two reactions: One, “This is better, more typical assyrtiko than is made in other parts of Greece.” The other: “What we have competition!.”

The entire idea was to plant varieties that would stand up to the region’s climate and make interesting wines. Clearly, Continental varieties are not going to make it as was seen in the first iteration of the vineyard. But there are varieties from like areas in the Mediterranean which could. This is the point. Why plant chardonnay when it won’t do well? Plant something that will do well. There is not much of these two wines to be had. Do not dither.

NEW CLAIRVAUX ASSYRTIKO 2016 11.7% $19.99 750ml (#4250) $215.00 cs/12 (#4250C)

NEW CLAIRVAUX MOSCHOFILERO 2016 11.7% $19.99 750ml (#4251) $215.00 cs/12 (#4251C)


TEAS FROM INDIA and NEPAL: areas new to Corti Brothers

One of the results of new organizations and initiatives is occasionally new products. Several such were the result of the GLOBAL TEA INITIATIVE at the University of California, Davis. For two years now, the GTI has put on a symposium a year dealing with tea in its myriad forms. The last one in January, 2107, produced for Corti Brothers the teas which follow. For more information on the 2018 symposium, please check out the Global Tea Initiative at

I tasted and found absolutely delicious, some teas from a small tea importer, YOUNG MOUNTAIN TEA CO. in Oregon, which imports teas from the relatively unknown tea producing country of Nepal and also tea from an early planting in India, which has been dormant for more than a hundred years; Kumaon.

Nepali tea is grown very close to the more famous area of Darjeeling, but on the other side of the Himalayas. Much Nepali tea would find itself sold into Darjeeling since the style of tea is very similar. In the north of India, Darjeeling and Assam, are the two most famous areas. There is, however, a difference. Assam tea is produced from Camellia sinensis var. assamica. This cultivar of the tea camellia is indigenous to the mountains of Assam. Darjeeling, on the other hand, was planted by the British to Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, the Chinese cultivar.

I am pleased to present these two tea producing areas since they represent new areas with delicious qualities that are relatively new to the market. Their packaging is simple yet appropriate: resealable metal lined paper bags. The bags give the garden name, the tea, and the basic brewing formulas and time. I have tried the times and found them to be fine. But you should try, perhaps, slightly less steeping time. But then, you, the drinker, must decide. The Chinese maxim is: “Goodness is a decision for the mouth to make.”

Nepali Golden Black (1+1) one tip and one leaf, nicely rolled, a long leaf with many golden tips. From the Ilam district of Nepal at 4,500 to 5,000 feet high plantings, this tea is from Nepal’s first cooperative production. The plucking is of one tip and one leaf. Nicely rolled, a long leaf with many golden tips. 

Nepali Golden Black  $16.79 5 oz bag (#4252)

Nepali Delight, again the cooperative’s tea, from the Tinjure garden. A lightly oxidized greenish tea, with fewer golden tips than above. Rather like a light oolong style, with a greenish broken leaf, greenish liquor, scented.

Nepali Delight  $16.79 5 oz bag (#4253)

Organic Darjeeling Ruby Oolong, Victoria’s Peak. Very tiny “snail” shaped leaves, reminiscent of the Chinese Bilochun. Very pretty to look at, lots of golden tips. With the recommended four minute steeping, the liquor is truly “ruby” tinged. It is coppery colored with a red center. Very pretty to look at, it is even prettier to taste. It has a nice balance of astringency and flavor. It is delicious drunk as is. With a bit of milk, a “milk” chocolate flavor comes out. Looking at the spent leaves you can see that the picking really is of a tip and one leaf. Difficult work done for our pleasure.

Organic Darjeeling Ruby Oolong $29.99 5oz bag (#4254)

Organic Kumaon Black, Champawat garden: This is a tea which has been forgotten for over one hundred years. In 1836, Kumaon was one of the first places in India where the British planted Chinese tea seeds when they initially got them into India. It is an area to the north of Delhi which the British assumed had the correct “terroir” to grow the plants to make tea. What they didn’t consider was the fact that it was difficult to move the tea from Kumaon to market. As in most things, it really is: location, location, location. Hence, it got lost.

Kumaon tea has just now started coming to this market through the efforts of Young Mountain Tea Company. It is a very delicious black tea, with a lovely flavored liquor, not as heavy as Assam, nor as delicate as Darjeeling. It is unique. Drunk with a bit of milk, a notable “chocolately” flavor comes out. It is a very good example of a tea for making into iced tea, especially if brewed about twice as strong as the normal brewing. Use twice as much tea and for about 10-12 minutes. Then chill, but not with ice which washes out the flavor. Just put it in the refrigerator.

Organic Kumaon Black $16.99 5oz bag (#4255)



A few almond facts: Almonds are California’s second agricultural crop, second to dairy. Almonds are a stone fruit, sharing characteristics with apricots and peaches. 90% of California almond farms are family farms. Almond orchards are the first food source in the spring for bees used for pollination. Just a few facts.

However, this leads to CHICO CHICA ALMOND BUTTERS. Out of the blue (another way of getting new products,) I was telephoned and a female voice asked if I would be interested in tasting a new, very high quality almond butter. I answered that I was interested in tasting any high quality product. So an appointment was made for the two owners of a small almond orchard near Chico, Ca., to bring down their two products: Chico Chica Almond Butter, smooth or crunchy. They were delicious. Here is their story:

Sometimes there's a special place; a healthy, beautiful place, that beckons to us from the borders of what we know. This happened two years ago when a casual discussion about rural property ended in the purchase of a lovely, 7-acre almond orchard on Floating Cloud Farm in Chico, California.

The orchard has the world's best soil (Class One: Chico Loam). The trees are at their prime - about 15 years old. It's organically farmed, and there’s a rushing creek coursing through the property.

Jodi Host, a Cal State Chico grad and Chinese Medicine practitioner, partnered with Georgia Zweber, a Bay Area career woman and previous restaurant venturer, to work the farm. After tasting the almonds it was clear that wholesaling the nuts would not do them justice. Georgia and Jodi began making almond butter with just dry-roasted nuts: no sugar, salt, or added oils.

The orchard has four varieties of almonds for pollination and strength of diversity: Butte, Carmel, Price, and Non-pareils. The cream of the crop is the Nonpareils. The Chico Chica "non-pars" make up 40% of the crop. Most almond growers reserve these non-pars for specialty treats: spiced or candied almonds, or plain raw almonds, because they are the sweetest, most flavorful nuts. Not Chico Chica. This almond butter incorporates all of the nonpareils from the crop, and the result is a more full-flavored, yet delicate almond butter with a rosy hue.

The two "Chico Chicas" went into production and made their inaugural run of 7100 12 oz. jars in April 2017. Chico Chica almond butter doesn't need refrigeration if unopened. There is both crunchy and smooth. Just give it a good stir when you open it and refrigerate afterwards.

It's non-GMO, of course, vegan, heart-healthy, great on sliced apples, toast, in smoothies, in baked goods, or simply at the end of a spoon in your mouth. Chico Chica will be CCOF certified in July, 2018. Meanwhile, the farm is bee-friendly, organic, sustainable, and lovingly cared for by the Chicas (with help from three enthusiastic dogs and three very cool cats).

A very interesting snack or appetizer using the Chico Chica almond butter is to use it to fill a celery stick, then top it with a small dice of really good dried apricots. There you have celery with the stone fruit family, and a variation of the classic American “Ants on a Log” made with peanut butter and raisins on a celery stick.


Smooth (#4256)

Crunchy (#4257)

Mixed case /6 (3 each variety) $80.00 (#4258)


ORTIZ BONITO DEL NORTE TUNA, Reserva de la Familia, Costera 2016

For tuna lovers this is something special. The Bonito del Norte, from the first fishing of 2016, which follows the spring movement of tuna with the schools of anchovies in the Cantabrian sea off the north of Spain, is processed by Ortiz as fresh fish and packed in olive oil. (Most tinned tuna is re-processed from frozen fish) This first fishing is reserved as the Reserva de Familia, with the fishing date on the package (Costera 2016). This is meant for further aging. (The Costera, means “coastal fishing” when the tuna swim close to the coastline, following anchovies.) If you really want to try it now, it is very tasty, but several years of aging in a cool place, turning the tins over from time to time, will produce what can be called the “Tuna of Dreams.” We don’t have much, but you should really try it, age it, then try it again. There can be no disappointment, just regret that more wasn’t laid down. Produced only from fresh fish, it is unique.

ORTIZ BONITO DEL NORTE TUNA, Reserva de la Familia, Costera 2016 3.95 oz tin $7.99 (#4259)  Case of 12 $86.00 (#4259C)



Two new wines from POJER e SANDRI: Vin dei Molini and Zero Infinito Col Fondo

Let’s start with the newest wine: COL FONDO. This means “with a deposit,” in Italian. It is a sparkling wine made from a very new variety called SOLARIS. Allowed in Italy in 2011, it is a variety which is grown without any sprays and the wine vinified without any sulphur. The redoubtable estate of Pojer e Sandri in the Trentino, grows this variety in an area where, if you can imagine it in Italy, there are no other vineyards. This is a valley where the Solaris vineyard is the only one. This location was chosen to allow the variety to show what it can do since there would be no possibility of pesticide drift to influence the vineyard.

Solaris is a new German-created variety, a very complex inter-specific hybrid, that ripens early. Born at Freiburg, Germany, it was released in 1975, the birth date of Pojer e Sandri winery. Looking at the vines in the vineyard, the vine leaf looks almost like a lotus leaf, it is so large. The whole idea of ZERO INFINITO is to make a wine that has nothing extraneous to grapes in it: no sprays, no sulphur, no chemical treatment at all. Even the ferment yeast was cultivated from the indigenous yeast on the grapes themselves. It has taken Pojer e Sandri almost forty years to reach this point of transforming the fruit of the vine into wine without recourse to anything outside of grapes. It can be served as is, becoming more hazy the more empty the bottle is, or decanted. Decanters get rid of the “fondo.”

VIN DEI MOLINI ROSATO is another special wine from this estate. It is made from ROTBERGER, a cross of Schiava (a light red grape, also known as Trollinger) x White Riesling. Having the same parents, it is a full sibling to Kerner. This cross was released in 1939 by the Institute at Geisenheim, one of the world’s most prestigious grape centers. Although vinified as a rosé with skin contact, consider it a light red wine, to be served with practically anything. It is meant to be enjoyed, not thought about.

POJER e SANDRI VIN DEI MOLINI rosato 12.5% $16.99 750ml (#4260) $91.00 cs/6 (#4260C)

POJER e SANDRI ZERO INFINITO Col Fondo 12% $22.49 750ml (#4261) $121.00 cs/6 (#4261C)


Gerovassiliou and Biblia Chora

EVANGELOS GEROVASSILIOU is the name of an outstanding Greek enologist. He is also the savior of the variety MALAGOUSIA, which he single handedly rescued from extinction. His estate is in Epanomi, in the north east of Greece.

The Gerovassiliou ESTATE WHITE, I would like to point out is a wine made on the property from both Malagousia and Assyrtiko and which is truly lovely. Assyrtiko, as I have said, is from Santorini, an island variety. Malagousia is a northern Greek variety, and here both are blended 50/50 to make a delicious wine. Green-gold in color, balanced acidity and fragrant with a stony flavor showing the almost white peach character of Malagousia, bolstered with the acidity of Assrytiko. It is an example of the sum being better than the parts.

GEROVASSILIOU ESTATE WHITE 2016 13.5% $24.79 750ml (#4262) $133.00cs/6 (#4262C)

BIBLINOS from Biblia Chora is made from an unknown grape variety. Rescued from oblivion by Biblia Chora Estate, the variety was brought to them by a shepherd who, in 2005, found a single vine on the slopes of Mount Pangeon, in northern Macedonia, about 100 kilometers from Thessalonika. With DNA testing, there is no known parentage for this variety which makes it impossible to say where it came from and who the parents were. But it is vitis vinifera, with large oval, black berries in loose clusters. Its name of BIBLINOS was given it by the estate.

Dark purple in color, with a very fragrant, scented aroma of raspberry and rose petal, and a full body, it is intriguingly drinkable and if you want to stump your wine friends with a wine, here is the ultimate blind wine tasting wine. No name, no history; it just is.

BIBLIA CHORA BIBLINOS 2016 14% $37.89 750ml (#4263) $204.00 cs/6 (#4263C)


These two products are Shoyu, soy sauce, made in Japan by two very old family owned producers who have been around for more than 150 years. They both fall under the umbrella of soy sauce since they are made with soy beans, but they are both different. Corti Brothers has sold them for almost twenty years now.

MARUMATA OWARINO TAMARI is produced by Marumata Shoten, established in 1834, located in Taketoya, Chita county, Aichi Prefecture, just south of Nagoya, Japan. OWARI is the old name for this northern part of the prefecture. Thus, this tamari is “OWARI NO TAMARI” or the “Tamari of Owari.”

Produced with only Japanese grown soybeans and natural sea salt, slowly aged for three years in cedar casks, the tamari has a thick, sweetish, smokey, meaty, full flavor. Not very salty, but with its thick body and deep flavor, Owarino Tamari is well balanced. It does not have any added alcohol for stability and should be kept refrigerated once opened.

But why the interest in Tamari? It is not solely for its use in Japanese and Oriental cuisine. I find that a bit of it in western dishes, where deep flavor is required–like braises and brown sauces–tamari offers just this. It deepens flavor in white sauces, especially Béchamel, Mornay and the like, providing some of that elusive character called “umami” or savoriness. Try some in your next mac and cheese, pasta gratin, or in a savory soufflé. Right now, I use it, just a drop, in place of salt making scrambled eggs. Try it!

MARUMATA OWARINO TAMARI, 360ml bottle $17.49 (#4264)

MITSUBOSHI SAISHIKOME KANRO SHOYU is the entire name of the most unusual of the several soy sauce styles produced in Japan. It is double fermented (SAISHIKOME), where the water part of normal soy sauce production is substituted for by using already fermented soy sauce. Invented some time in the 1790s, in Yanai-tsu, Iwakuni feifdom, it was given the name of “Nectar Soy Sauce,” or Kanro, originally translated as, “Sweet Dew.” The Inada family who makes this Saishikome, has been doing so since 1874.

Aged for two years before bottling, MITUBOSHI SAISHIKOME has a deep color, a very high level of richness and savory umami taste. There is a delicate saltiness, a clean aroma and sweetness. It is free of artificial preservatives, only a small amount of rice alcohol is used. Used straight, it is a wonderful dipping sauce. Again, a drop or two heightens the depth of flavor in cream or white sauces. Store at room temperature and refrigerate once opened.

KANRO SHOYU OF MITUBOSHI 300ml bottle $18.49 (#4265)


COOKIES and PRETZELS from the Sisters of St. Benedict, Ferdinand, IN.

With the holidays starring down on us, I thought you might like to know about some delicious cookies and now, pretzels, made by the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana. The Sisters are members of the Benedictines, a western monastic order founded in Italy in the 5th century. In 1867, a small number of nuns went to Ferdinand, Indiana, to minister to the German speaking populace. Their baked goods production, very typical of female monastic orders, started with the local Christmas market. The cookies the Sisters bake are really lovely. I have written about them before, but now you have the possibility of thinking about them with some time before the holidays. But there is not a lot of time!!

HILDEGARD COOKIES: A recipe originating with Hildegard of Bingen–herself a Benedictine: crunchy cookies with the flavors of almonds, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
4 oz bag $4.19 (#4266) 8 oz bag $6.39 (#4267)

SPRINGERLE: Ivory colored, rectangular thick cookies with a dense, soft, cake-like texture, anise flavored, made in the carved wooden molds typical of this German specialty.
6 count bag $6.39 (#4268) 12 count bag $10.49 (#4269)

ALMERLE: Similar to the Springerle, but flavored with almond rather than anise. Same rectangular shape and traditional design.

4 count bag $6.39 (#4270) 8 count bag $10.49 (#4271)

GINGERSNAP COOKIES: Brown colored, flavored with ginger and cinnamon and very friable and crunchy with a granulated sugar dusting. A must for a glass of ice cold milk or cup of hot tea, especially Nepali or Kumaon teas.

4 oz bag $4.19 (#4272) 8 oz bag $6.39 (#4273)

PRAYERFUL SPICY PRETZELS: New to the Sisters lineup. Broken pretzels about as thick as a pencil. Spicy hot with a hint of sugar and salt. Not easy to eat just one!
4 oz bag $3.39 (#4274) 8 oz bag $5.39 (#4275)

PRAYERFUL PRETZELS GLUTEN FREE: Small, whole pretzels, similar to the regular, but gluten free and very crispy. A truly delicious pretzel even if you don’t have to be gluten free.

4 oz bag $4.19 (#4276)

OUR NEW COFFEE SELECTION: Tanzania Peaberry Mutawari

This new coffee is a Bourbon Typica variety, grown in the Tanzania region of Mbeya. Grown at an altitude of 1,150-2,000 meters, it is selected from 50 farmer groups and individual small growers. Washed and sun dried, it has balanced acidity, medium body with aromas of toast and cream, flavors of Meyer lemon curd. It is custom roasted to a medium roast for Corti Brothers by Jeremiah’s Pick coffee company in San Francisco.

Peaberry beans are a rare occurrence in coffee beans. A normal coffee cherry (the name of the coffee fruit) contains two flat sided beans. In 4-6% of all coffee cherries, the peaberry occurs when the coffee flower is singularly pollinated, creating one small rounded bean rather than two flat sided ones. The peaberry matures with the nutrient flow intended for two coffee beans and has been found to have higher oil content as well as higher levels of essential nutrients. In short, it is a more flavorful coffee bean. Very few producers take the time to separate the peaberry beans from the normal ones making its availability very special.


THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ITALIAN WINE 2017, Daniele Cernilli (aka Doctor Wine)

This is the third edition in English of this circumspect and personal guide to 978 producers from all of Italy’s wine regions. Daniele Cernilli is a legendary name in Italian wine reporting since he was the founder of the Gambero Rosso Guide, and for 24 years directed its work. He doesn’t work alone in trying to bring order to Italian wines, but with a very competent group of collaborators who more or less act as partial tasters. Daniele wants to be known as the editor in chief. He is a member of the ONAV, the Italian association of wine tasters which is an official governmental group licensed to taste wine.

The recommendations given in The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine are varied. Wines are rated because they are very good and not expensive, moderately priced and then high priced. But in every case, the wines must first be good and then have special attributes that make them even more interesting or worthy of being bought. The Guide is essentially a consumer guide to high quality wine enjoyment. Of the 978 producers, there is an average of 2.5 wines recommended from each This is an enormous amount of wine.

The highest rating given is Three Stars which some 90 producers from all over Italy have been awarded. Other wines have other special recommendations: being particular favorites in tastings or have other special merits. Every year there is a special wine category award for particularly meritorious producers. Since this is a Guide which comes out every year, it is interesting to see which wines are favored from year to year. It is unique in that the wines tasted are not supplied by the producers, with great exception. The wines are tasted at public tastings, trade tastings, and consortium tastings just as normal customers would taste the wines. There is nothing special done for the tasters of the Guide, and the wines stand or fall on their own merits.

If you have any pretension of knowing about most, if not all, the good producers in Italy, here is your ultimate Guide. (Full disclosure: I have known Daniele for many years. But I have known his wife Marina Thompson, for even more.)

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ITALIAN WINE 2017 581pp $20.00 plus tax (#4278)


TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.25%. This is for all sales since we sell in California. Foodstuffs are not taxable. Shipping will be charged at prevailing rates. PLEASE NOTE: In extreme weather, either hot or cold, please give us a shipping address where your order may be properly received and stored. Corti Brothers cannot be responsible for items left without protection


Written by Darrell Corti — September 24, 2017

Spring 2017 Newsletter

  • Loison Colomba
  • Giuliano's Tomato Sauce
  • Grano
  • Fruit Vinegars
  • Eklekto Currants
  • Ardoino Vall'Aurea
  • Vignalta Sale alle Erbe

Written by Darrell Corti — March 22, 2017

Holiday 2016 Newsletter

Click HERE to view the Holiday 2016 Newsletter.

Written by Darrell Corti — November 16, 2016

Fall 2016 Newsletter

Click HERE to view the Fall 2016 Newsletter.

Written by Darrell Corti — September 22, 2016

Spring 2016 Newsletter

Click HERE to view the Spring 2016 Newsletter.

Written by Darrell Corti — March 21, 2016

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Sunday: 10 AM - 6 PM
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**CLOSED Easter Sunday**
April 21, 2019

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