Spring 2016 Newsletter
*Note: This is not the current newsletter. Items listed in the following newsletter are not guaranteed to be in stock and the prices shown are subject to change without notice.
COLOMBA FOR EASTER
Much like Panettone at Christmas, COLOMBA is the Easter bread for Italians. This raised dough bread is filled with myriad things in various flavors. This tradition also gives rise to other breads, similar but just slightly different. These are the VENEZIANA and FOCACCIA. Not quite so buttery as the Colomba, Veneziana is eaten all year round in Venice as is the Focaccia. This tradition stems from Venice’s special position in Europe, during the Renaissance and before, as the entrepôt for spices and sugar coming from the East. In our selection for Easter and Spring 2016, there are a lot of wonderful things which are just waiting for you to try.
Although the Colomba is delicious as is, the Colomba Classica , the Veneziana, and the Focaccia are wonderful split, spread with whipped cream and fresh berries or soft fruit for a springtime dessert.
COLOMBA CLASSICA 1kg, Candied orange peel and almonds, wrapped $28.19 (#3800)
COLOMBA CLASSICA 750g, as above, transparent wrap $25.39 (#3801)
COLOMBA CLASSICA 2kg, transparent wrap $49.99 (#3802)
COLOMBA CLASSICA 5kg transparent wrap $99.99 (#3803)
COLOMBA AL LIMONE 1kg, With a lemon cream filling, wrapped $29.99 (#3804)
COLOMBA NOCCIOLATA ALLA PESCA 750g, Candied peach & hazelnuts, boxed $27.59 (#3805)
COLOMBA ALLO ZABAIONE 1kg, Candied orange peel and zabaione, wrapped $29.99 (#3806)
COLOMBA AL CIOCCOLATO 1kg, Chocolate pieces and chocolate cream, wrapped $29.99 (#3807)
VENEZIANA ALL’ALPIANE 1kg, Alpiane wine, candied fruit, ginger, wrapped $29.99 (#3808)
VENEZIANA AMARENE & CANELLA 550g, Amarene cherries and cinnamon $23.19 (3809)
FOCACCIA MANDORLATA 750g, No fruit, almond topping, wrapped $19.89 (#3810)
LOISON PASTICCERIA (Cookies to us) Individually wrapped in 200g box $12.99
PASTICCERIA Three flavors, individually wrapped in printed tin canisters 120g $13.99
Limone (lemon) Albicocca (apricot) Pera (pear) (#3818) (The cookies are in the same shape as flavor.)
VINCENTE CREMA PISTACCHI DI BRONTE and CREMA NOCCIOLE DI SICILIA
These nut butters (crema) of the special green pistachio of Bronte and Sicilian hazelnuts sold out at Christmas time. We now have a stock to go through spring and summer. These are a must for just using as is or making gelato. Do not be caught short! Wonderful products.
CREMA PISTACCHI DI BRONTE, P.D.O. 180g jar $13.89 (#3820) $75.00 cs/6 (#3820C)
CREMA NOCCIOLE DI SICILIA 180g jar $10.99 (#3821) $59.00 cs/6 (#3821C)
BESIO CHINOTTI AL MARASCHINO
This is the second time we offer these rare citrus fruits, candied in sugar syrup flavored with Maraschino. CHINOTTI are the fruit of CITRUS MIRTIFOLIA, myrtle leaved citrus, which grows on the Italian Riviera at Savona, west of Genoa. Picked when green, they are candied and traditionally are eaten as an accompaniment to espresso coffee. Throughout the 19th century and until after WWII, they were the rage in Italy. Now having fallen almost into oblivion, it is a Presidium of SLOW FOOD. BESIO is the last producer of this special fruit which merits tasting. (At Christmas, we sell a panettone from Loison flavored with chinotto.)
As an after dinner treat, cut into quarters, they are persistent in flavor and very refreshing. You might try them in cocktails. They are limited only by your imagination.
BESIO CHINOTTI AL MARASCHINO 360g jar $18.69 each (#3822)
Corti Brothers GOOD HONEST WHISKEY
This whiskey is different from our Exquisite Whiskey. Instead of a 2007 distillation date, this Bourbon whiskey is a distillation from 2012. Like Exquisite Whiskey, GOOD HONEST WHISKEY has gone through the double barreling with the Mission del Sol barrels. Similar to Exquisite, it is just younger. One good thing is that there is more of it! This bourbon’s mash bill is 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley.
This is a flavorful young Bourbon enhanced by the Mission barrels which round out its flavor. This is a splendid whiskey for mixing in Manhattans, Old Fashions, and other Bourbon based drinks, but also wonderful by itself or with a drop of water and some ice. Of course it can be drunk neat, especially if you enjoy good, honest Bourbon. Bottled un-chill filtered, it will turn hazy with ice. This does not affect the taste, just the look.
CORTI BROTHERS GOOD HONEST WHISKEY 92 proof 750ml $49.99 (#3823) $269.00 cs/6 (#3823C)
NEW FISH PRODUCTS FROM SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
We have had for some time wonderful tinned tuna products from Spain. Now we have gone further afield to Portugal to bring other interesting and delicious products of the sea. Both countries have a long tradition of producing tinned sea food which is both handy to use, delicious, and currently very much sought after for dietetic reasons. We like to think that they are just plain delectable eating!
From Galicia, on the Atlantic coast of Spain, comes a new producer 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’ll be spoiled for life!
CABO DE PEÑAS (Galicia, Spain)
VENTRESCA DE BONITO DEL NORTE Gran Selección 4oz $8.99 (#3824) $97.00 case/12 (#3824C)
VENTRESCA DE ATÚN CLARO in organic olive oil 4oz $7.99 (#3825) $86.00 case/12 (#3825C)
VENTRESCA DE ATÚN CLARO 4 oz $6.99 (#3826) $75.00 case/12 (#3826C)
CONSORCIO VENTRESCA DE ATÚN CLARO 11.29 oz $24.59 (#3827) $265.00 case/12 (#3827C)
SARDINILLAS de Rías Gallegas (Baby Sardines) 3 oz $4.79 (#3828) $51.00 case/12 (#3828C)
DA MORGADA (Portugal)
STUFFED CALAMARI Lulas Recheadas (onion, rice, tomato) 115gr $6.49 (#3829) $58.00 case/10 (#3829C)
ENGUÍA FUMADA Delicately smoked eel fillets in olive oil 3.7oz $10.39 (#3830) $93.00 case/10 (#3830C)
SMOKED SARDINES in oil (oak wood smoked) 3.7oz $4.19 (#3831) $37.00 case/10 (#3831C)
LODI NATIVE ZINFANDEL: A Splendid Concept
LODI NATIVE is a market label used by several Lodi winegrowers to make a special wine from old vineyard, old vine Lodi zinfandel. The self imposed rule of this marketing concept is one to show the heights which Lodi old vine zinfandel can reach. A very innovative idea, it is too bad that not all are following. But here is one of these wines which I think among the top, if not the best: FIELDS FAMILY LODI NATIVE, Stampede Vyd.
The 2013 vintage is the current one from Fields Family winery, which has been named 2016's Lodi Winery of the Year. The protocols for LODI NATIVE production are the brain child of Randy Caparoso, a noted wine writer. They must be: 100% Zinfandel bottling from vineyards planted before 1962 (Most were planted in the 1940s or earlier.); Native yeast; No use of oak additives of any kind nor new wood; No acid nor de-acidification; No water, tannin or malolactic inoculation; No concentrate addition; No filtering, fining or extraction methods. Then the wine must be tasted by the group for approval. The idea is to have the vineyard speak. It should and does.
The 22 acre Stampede vineyard is in the Clements Hills area to the east of Lodi, on fine sandy loam soils with vines between 75-85 years old owned by the Perlegos family. This Stampede vineyard, Fields Family Lodi Native is to my mind what a delicious Lodi Zinfandel ought to be: nicely colored, not black; fragrant with a distinct zinfandel scent of berry-like fruit, and a splendid drinkability. This is a wine for enjoyment rather than for making a bottle for the ages. There are enough of those around. Sometimes a wine just wants to be drunk and leave you content!
LODI NATIVE ZINFANDEL 2013 (13.9%) $24.99 750ml (#3832) $269.00 cs/12 (#3832C)
PANDOLCE ALL’ ALPIANE A unique baking process
This is another take on the panettone/colomba bread. The young owner of BAGHI bakery, outside Treviso in the Veneto, has come up with another mode of preparing a sweet bread--PANDOLCE ALL’ALPIANE: Using a fresh mother leaven, stone ground Italian wheat, Belgian butter, cage free fresh eggs, and house candied Calabrian oranges. The 60 hour raised dough is baked in a thermal resistant jar to produce, literally, a jar baked bread. Then the bread is injected with Vignalta ALPIANE and the jar sealed. The jar is a WECK re-usable one.
Very popular in Padova restaurants, Pandolce all’Alpiane is used as a dessert for two where Zabaglione is poured on its top and then eaten by two diners dividing up the Pandolce, eating it out of its jar. One doesn’t have to eat it like this. It can be removed from the jar, running a knife around the edge and putting it on a plate. This Pandolce is similar in texture and consistency to a Neapolitan Baba. It is novel and delicious. And the jar re-usable.
BAGHI’S PANDOLCE ALL’ALPIANE 26 oz (WECK re-usable jar) $19.99 (#3833) $107.00 cs/6 (#3833C)
NEW CALIFORNIA OILS FOR CORTI BROTHERS: Coratina No Malax, Picual, Taggiasca
This year Corti Brothers has three new 2015 oils to offer under our label. They are all made at Pacific Sun Oil mill in Gerber, Ca., under the direction of Pablo Voitzuk. The No-Malax oil for this harvest is made from a Southern Italian cultivar Coratina, which produced a fragrant, not highly bitter medium fruity oil with the characteristic green artichoke scent of the variety.
The other two oils are produced using normal malaxation technology. The Southern Spanish cultivar Picual, not widely planted in California, produces a medium intense fruity oil with a characteristic scent and flavor of green tomato. The fruit from the Riviera’s Taggiasca variety has produced a light fruity oil, still green in color, but with the classic almond flavor of this variety. In California we harvest Taggiasca earlier than in Italy and consequently the oil is much fruitier than in its original home. Only 360 bottles of each oil were bottled and each is a lovely example of both culitvar and its oil. This trio will show you the range of oil fruitiness, extra virgin oil’s basic character.
CORTI BROTHERS NO-MALAX CORATINA 500ml $18.99 (#3834) $205.00 case/12 (#3834C)
CORTI BROTHERS PICUAL 500ml $18.99 (#3835) $205.00 case/12 (#3835C)
CORTI BROTHERS TAGGIASCA 500ml $18.99 (#3836) $205.00 case/12 (#3836C)
DOS VOLCANES: Agave Spirit from Colima, Mexico
This agave spirit was born as “a lark.” Craig Reynolds, the creator of DOS VOLCANES, is a longtime California legislature person with a penchant for Mexico and for doing volunteer work. He works with Project Amigo, a thirty year old non-profit based in Colima, a small Mexican state on the country’s west coast, just south of the state of Jalisco, where Tequila is produced. In 2006, he planted an agave field to the Blue Agave which by law produces the distillate called Tequila in Jalisco. This plantation was harvested in August, 2014, and distilled in a small distillery just outside of Guadalajara, using its two brick steam“hornos” and traditional stills to bake, ferment and distill the agave. Since this product is from Colima, not Jalisco, it has the name of “agave spirit” not tequila.
Craig, who says he is an “accidental businessman,” has produced a charming spirit. The Blanco, or unaged version, to my mind, is almost perfect. Very soft in flavor, with a characteristic lightly green, fruity scent, it has all the flavor of agave, without noticeable heat. In this sense it really is a “vino de mezcal” that could be drunk very nicely with food. Presented in a classy rectangular bottle that befits its intrinsic quality, this is sipping spirit, not for margaritas!
DOS VOLCANES BLANCO Agave Spirit 82 proof 500ml $35.99 (#3837) $194.00 case/6 (#3837C)
TORRE BIANCA OILS FROM TUSCANY: Frantoio, Leccino, Correggiolo
TORRE BIANCA is the family property of the late Marco Mugelli, now run by his children Matteo and Marta.
Matteo is the oil maker. In 2014, the estate, which is organically worked, did not pick an olive due to the infestation of olive fly because of the climatic conditions of that summer. No oil was produced in 2014. But in 2015, things changed for the better.
The 2015 harvest was a warm one due to the warm fall--not an easy one. The oils produced are back to form. At Torre Bianca, they use this remarkable vacuum system developed by Marco with completely innovative technology. I cannot stress too much that in oil production, the more modern and up to date the processing, the better the resulting oil. Here, the technology is the last word in oil production. We should expect the oils to be splendid. And they are.
We have three different cultivars, all Tuscan: Frantoio, Leccino and Correggiolo. These are all cultivars that produce distinctive, marked oils with medium to intense fruitiness. With the best oils, the level of phenols, the combination of tocopherols and biophenols, should be higher than 400mg/kg. In the 2015 Torre Bianca oils they are: Frantoio 1081 mg/kg; Leccino 987 and Correggiolo 853. This means the oils have great stability and very high flavor. They will have the characteristic pungency and bitterness (and healthful properties) of fine oil. You should expect this with any fine oil, although some cultivars naturally produce less phenols, just as some grapes produce wines with less tannin. There are varietal differences, as there should be.
FRANTOIO 500ml $29.99 (#3838) $161.00 cs/6 (#3838C)
LECCINO 500ml $29.99 (#3839) $161.00 cs/6 (#3839C)
CORREGGIOLO 500ml $29.99 (#3840) $161.00 cs/6 (#3840C)
COLAVITA ARTICHOKE HEARTS IN EXTRA VIRGIN OIL: Carciofi sott’olio
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 $11.99 (#3841) $64.00 cs/6 (#3841C)
The Closing of a Winery: HARBOR WINERY 1972-2016
Harbor Winery, owned by Charles Myers, is closing. With Charles’ demise on 31 March 2015, his children have decided to close the winery. It is a sad thing to see, since Harbor, founded in 1972, was one of the early, small production wineries in California. It made limited amounts of selected varietal wines, generally focusing on out of the way places with interesting varieties.
Charles, professionally an instructor of English at Sacramento City College, should be recognized as the man who made Amador County Zinfandel famous. It was his 1965 Amador County Zinfandel, drunk in the Deaver Vineyard in the spring of 1968, that alerted Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home Winery in Napa Valley to the quality of Zinfandel in Amador County. Charles had stopped making Amador Zinfandel; the last two vintages of wine made by him at Harbor Winery were 2003 and 2004 Amador County Syrah from Clockspring Vineyard owned by Frank Alviso.
In helping the Myers children to close down Harbor Winery, Corti Brothers has purchased the stock of the last two Syrah vintages, and in order to show what well made Syrah can be with ten years or more of bottle age, we offer them to our customers at a very special case price. But they must be purchased by the 12 bottle case. You can, of course, mix the vintages.
These two vintages of Syrah, 2003 and 2004, have just aged in their bottles in the winery. It is rare to find mature California wine being offered on the market, but then Charles was never a very forward salesman of his own wines and tended to be reticent about doing any promotion. So the wines just lay quietly maturing. But now, with the closing of the business, they must go to homes where they can be enjoyed.
Harbor winery made wines in a “conservative, traditional style,” as stated in one of the winery brochures from the late 1970s: “The wines emphasize balance and vinosity. They are, therefore, very compatible with food. They are mature when released and generally develop very well in bottle.” In another brochure from the winery: “The winemaker shuns fads and trendy extremes.” (New oak was rarely used and alcohol rarely over 14.5%. Case in point: the 2003 is 13.1% and the 2004, 14.4%.)
All of these statements are very true. Notice, there is nothing about merchandising the wines or promoting them! Charles took it as a given that “Good wine needs no bush.” But in modern times this does not really work out. So the last two vintages vinified at Harbor just stayed in the cellar and became more mature. The beneficiary of all of this is you the consumer. This is a one off sale of the 2003 and 2004 Syrah from Amador County’s Clockspring Vineyard. The two vintages are being offered at $79.99 the case, tax included. This is for the remaining stock of both wines. When they are gone, they are gone forever.
Since all Harbor Winery wines were never harshly treated--no fining or filtering--the wines generally throw a light deposit. These two Syrah vintages are no exception, and the bottles will have a light deposit and should be decanted before serving just to present them without deposit.
HARBOR WINERY SYRAH 2003 (13.1%) $7.99 750ml (#3842) CASE PRICE $79.99 (#3842C) tax incl.
2004 (14.4%) $7.99 750ml (#3843) CASE PRICE $79.99 (#3843C) tax incl.
AVE ATQUE VALE!
THE GOOD STUFF: Sacramento’s Unique Preserves
I have written about THE GOOD STUFF previously. They produce for Corti Brothers the Watermelon Rind Pickles we sell. The preserves which Janet McDonald puts up from locally grown fruits is a combination of fruits and ingredients which enhance each other and the result is wonderful harmony. Right now--in winter--citrus fruits, Meyer Lemons, Blood Oranges, all grown in Sacramento are used to make seasonal preserves, unique blends, and mixtures.
In other seasons–spring with strawberries and summer with plums and tomatoes–all are preserved to give us delicious delicacies for the breakfast table and condiments for other meals. In 2016, The Good Stuff was one of the 176 winners out of 1,937 submissions from 33 states in the Good Food Awards held in San Francisco. The criteria for this award is that the products of 13 categories be “Tasty, Authentic, and Responsible.” The Good Stuff’s Plum Jam was a winner. The motto of the Good Food Award is, “Food is delicious, bringing joy to those who consume it.” I think The Good Stuff does this very well indeed!
The Good Stuff Preserves: All 6.4oz jars and sell for $10.99 each.
TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.5%. 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.