Corti Brothers


Fall has come and the holidays are close. We have some very interesting items on this newsletter which should prepare you for entertaining and enjoying the season.
Darrell Corti


I would like to introduce to our customers three new wines from a relatively young Amador County winery, ANDIS WINERY. I have written about several Andis wines previously: Semillon, Zinfandel and some others. Now I would like to introduce to you ANDIS ARINTO 2021, the 2020 PAINTED FIELDS Curse of Knowledge, and ANDIS AMADOR CLASSICO 2020

ANDIS ARINTO is the only Arinto so far produced in California. I asked that they plant this Portuguese variety that was famous in the mid 19th century in England where its wine had been brought into the country by the Duke of Wellington at the end of the Napoleonic war in Portugal. In those days, a wine made from Arinto called Bucelas, was famous as “Portuguese Hock.” Since the variety has very good acidity and maintains it, I had thought that it might just be something interesting for Amador County. This vintage is the first to be bottled. Previous wines went into the blend called Sierra Blanc. There is very little Bucelas imported into this country, and it seems the acreage for this wine keeps diminishing since the appellation is near the Lisbon airport and keeps getting eaten up by airport development.

Except for Bucelas, very little Arinto is being made as a stand alone variety in Portugal. It does enter into a number of other white blends where it lends acidity and backbone. But here is your chance to taste the pure variety, Arinto is unlike Verdelho which is much softer. It has that “riesling-like” backbone that makes for a sprightly young wine and then a wine that will show other characteristics with age just as riesling does. It is this kind of cultivar from a warmish area that we need to satisfy the requisites for varieties during this period of climate warming. In my opinion, no variety should be discarded unless it cannot withstand the scrutiny of where it can and why it should be planted.

Andis, under the PAINTED FIELDS label, “Curse of Knowledge” is a Bordeaux blend of grapes coming from the Sierra Foothills, not necessarily from Amador County. The winery has thrown its net wide and comes up with a blend that drinks like a Bordeaux-ish red wine with delicious drinkability, with some reserve components for further bottle aging, but right now, it is not very difficult to finish a bottle once opened. The “Curse of Knowledge” name comes from the fact that supposedly California drinkers know what Cabernet style wines should taste like and sometimes that hinders true appreciation. Here, I think, is an example of a wine that removes the “curse” if one only accepts it for what it is. “Painted Fields” was supposed to have been the name of the winery that is now called ANDIS. Andis, itself, is the anagram of the couple who own the winery: Andy and Janis.

The last wine is a blend for which I created a name. It is a 50/50 blend of Amador Barbera and Zinfandel. The name I created for it, and thought I had given it to the Amador growers, was to call the wine MONTANARO. It was to be a generic name signifying this 50/50 blend which I had thought a very good one. One winery uses it and so Andis thought it was their proprietary name. I had conceived of it as a regional generic one, that all in the county could use.. The Andis version is called AMADOR CLASSICO. The 2020 vintage is the first one they have bottled and it is a right smart blend. The color is very pretty, a good red, not purplish. The acidity of the Barbera, and its cherry like character complements the body and grapey-ness of the Zinfandel, making a real lipsmacker of a wine. At 13.9%, it fits into an “easy to drink style” with plenty in reserve to mature very well in bottle. There is only one problem: can you keep your hands off it long enough? This is a charmer if Amador County ever made one!

ANDIS ARINTO 2021 13.5 % $22.99 750ml (#5550) $249.00 case/12 (#5550C)

PAINTED FIELDS Curse of Knowledge 2020 14.5% $17.99 750ml (#5551) case/12 $194.00 (#5551C)

ANDIS AMADOR CLASSICO 2020 13.9% $29.99 750ml (#5552) case/12 $323.00 (#5552C)

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

CAPITAL! RYE MALT WHISKY from Davis and Whisky Science: A Condensed Distillation

CAPITAL ! RYE MALT WHISKY is produced in probably what is the smallest distillery in California. The distiller is a UC Davis professor of Chemical Engineering named Greg Miller. He has also written a very good, somewhat technical book on distillation labeled Whisky Science: A Condensed Distillation. But what really interests us is his distilled product. However, if you are a whiskey buff, you should own a copy of his book.

Right now, his first for sale product, is a Rye Whisky at 53.4% alcohol and which is five years young, but eminently drinkable. Some products are meant to be enjoyed just because they are really good, not necessarily very old. In fact, Rye Whisky is America’s first whisky, and it was never made to be drunk old, just moderately aged so that one tasted the spicy character of the rye used in its production.

Greg Miller’s whisky, Capital ! Rye is five years old. It is old enough to be tasty and young enough to show the characteristics of the grain used in its distillation. As America’s first whisky, it is also the first product to use in drinks like a Manhattan, where the whisky is Rye, not Bourbon. Since it is Rye, with its dominant flavor, it acts as the counterpart to sweet vermouth and bitters which are the other ingredients. Capital ! Malt Rye Whisky is a dry finished whisky which has been distilled in a homemade pot still and distilled on the grain, that is with the actual grain in the still. It has been aged in Missouri oak in highly varying temperature conditions which also affects flavor. It has been only lightly filtered, not chill filtered, and bottled at cask strength. A delicious Manhattan can be made with equal parts Capital Rye, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, a dash or two of Angostura Bitters, some ice and a slice of lemon. Stir, then enjoy.

The label is strikingly simple. It almost takes you aback, but it is remember-able, something which is very important on a shelf.

The 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ The Bar-Tender’s Guide, gives the Manhattan recipe as using rye whiskey. The curmudgeonly columnist of the San Francisco Chronicle, Charles McCabe, wrote a column about Jerry Thomas in 1962 commenting on the 100th anniversary of the publication of his book in 1862. It was reprinted in 2012. McCabe comments that “When Americans lost their taste for proper booze, (unadorned) we began to go down the drain.” He probably would have enjoyed Capital! Rye Malt Whisky very much. You might like it too.
CAPITAL! 5 YEAR OLD Straight Rye Malt Whiskey 106.8% $54.99 750ml (#5553)

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


2022 production from Peru: Criolla and Coratina and two Spanish oils.

This year, 2022, we have a new selection of extra virgin oil from the southern hemisphere. From Peru precisely. Present day Peru, is only one part of what was one of the most important Spanish outposts in the New World. It was a Vice-royalty, meaning that it controlled various lands which became different countries in the Spanish part of South America. The first olives trees were imported into what we now know as Peru in 1519 and were known to be the Sevillano cultivar, which now has taken on the name of “Criolla.” It has adapted to conditions in the country and was given its name “Criolla” since it became, like the Mission grapes in California, emblematic as the “original” planted variety of olive. This variety was selected because of its dual purpose attitude: use as a table olive and for oil. But its use as a table olive was primary. For the colonies, oil came from Spain.

Seventy percent of Peru’s olive production is for table olives and a majority is from Criolla. But it is not only the variety that makes good oil; it has to be made properly. I think you will find that this new oil will surprise and delight you. Sevillano oil is also made in California, and you should taste it when found.

Another oil from Peru selected is the southern Italian cultivar Coratina. This cultivar produces oil in Italy’s south and now is found also in California. Our Peruvian example is a wonderful example of the cultivar with great pungency. This characteristic makes Coratina an oil highly regarded by lovers of full flavored oils.

The two Spanish oils selected for this year were again produced under the sharp eye of Marino Uceda, probably Spain’s most famous oil expert. There are two: an Hojiblanca from Málaga offered last year and a Picudo, new for this year.

The Hojiblanca comes from an orchard, designed and planted by Marino for his wife’s family. The property is in Málaga. Picudo is one of Spain’s less planted varietals, making a very intense, yet balanced oil, again from the southern end of Andalucia. Picudo is rarely seen as a varietal oil, but produces a very fine, intense oil. It should be experienced.

All four oils have been bottled by MillPress in Pennsylvania in 500ml bottles and are available now.

CORTI BROTHERS PERU 2022 harvest CRIOLLA $24.19  (#5554)  

CORTI BROTHERS PERU 2022 harvest CORATINA  $24.19 (#5555) 

CORTI BROTHERS 2021 harvest HOJIBLANCA $27.99 (#5556) 

CORTI BROTHERS 2021 harvest PICUDO $27.99 (#5557)

MIXED CASE - 3 BOTTLES OF EACH VARIETY - $281.00 case (#5558)



ARDOINO VALL’AUREA: Ligurian Extra Virgin Oil

Corti Brothers has sold Ardoino Vall’Aurea Ligurian oil since 1980. It comes in its traditional gold foil wrapped bottle. This oil is different from most other oils since it is a light fruity oil, has always been, and so will remain. The Taggiasca olives that make this oil are harvested when the fruit falls into nets suspended between the trees on the Italian coast going from Genoa west, to the French border–the Riviera di Ponente. This is the style of oil preferred by the Ligurians. It is an oil that is soft, mellow and delicate. It has none of that “in your face” pungency and bitterness of most other regions of Italy. It has its own base of admirers. Just as a comment: A Tuscan friend who once tried this oil style remarked: “If I had to use this oil, I would prefer to use butter!” So much for his taste!

However, Ligurian style oil has its many admirers. It does not compete with flavor, but anoints with silkiness. It complements flavors and does not overwhelm them. Its taste is that of ripe fruit, not green fruit. If this is what you look for in an oil, ARDOINO VALL’AUREA is for you. It color is golden, not green; its flavor is fresh and silky, not pungent and bitter. This is its style which is now almost unique in Italy. Its name says it all: “Vall’Aurea,” Golden Valley.

ARDOINO VALL’AUREA $29.99 500ml (#5559) $161.00 case of 6 (#5559C)


CANTINA della VOLTA A “Metodo Classico” Lambrusco di Sorbara

This production of Lambrusco is from Cantina della Volta founded by Giuseppe (Beppe) Bellei, now run by his son. I had met Beppe in the late 1980s when he was just starting production and Corti Brothers sold his wines for a while. When he was no longer here, the production became unavailable. Now it is back. His son, Christian, restarted in 2010.

You might ask, “why a “methode champenoise” Lambrusco?” Well, because it can be done and is very good that’s why! Lambrusco is a whole series of grape varieties, some 13 at latest count, some of which are better suited to this production than others. The Lambrusco variety used at Cantina della Volta is called Sorbara--Lambrusco di Sorbara– and is recognized as being the most elegant of the varieties. Sorbara is a village just outside of Modena, between the Secchia and Panaro rivers. Firstly, the variety is always a black grape. (Think pinots in Champagne) They have very good acidity. (Think grapes from Champagne.) Hence, a combination that makes sense in producing by the champagne method. These wines are not Champagne; but made entirely the same way, with very good results. In Italian the same term is called “metodo classico.”

In fact, the cellar begins its life three generations ago as a typical producer in the Modena area. Beppe Bellei starts producing methode champenoise wines by planting Pinot noir and Chardonnay from the Champagne district since the soil of Bomporto, where the cellar is, is similar. The cellar name comes from where river boats would turn after leaving Modena and travel back up river. Hence the name “della Volta” where the boats “turn” to return. This also accounts for the pictoral device of the white sailed river boat on the label.

These Lambrusco di Sorbara wines are very fine wines that can be rosé, then more “partridge-eye.”or light red, or white “blancs des noirs.” They also give the lie to the fact that only some grapes can make excellent sparkling wine. It really comes down to how well you can make the wine.

Lambrusco gets pretty short shrift in the wine marketplace. At one time, it was the most popular wine in the U.S. But that style, sweetish sparkling red wine, led a lot of people to wine and then the wine got lost. A lot of really good Lambrusco is now on the market in this style, but Cantina della Volta is practically the only producer making a metodo classico style. We have four different wines:

CANTINA della VOLTA DOSAGGIO ZERO “La Prima Volta” 2018. Its name is also a play on words. In this case the “Volta” means “time” as in “The first Time.” It has no dosage. The BRUT ROSE 2016, is a lovely pink color. The BRUTROSSO 2017, is a darkish “partridge eye red” a version of the classic Lambrusco di Sorbara. The Millesimato, or vintage dated, is a classic “blanc des noirs” in a red color wrapped flint bottle.

I find that the Cantina della Volta wines are terrific with food, not only as “bubbly” or an aperitif, but throughout a meal. They were conceived for this. There is a certain richness and weight to the wines that makes them eminently drinkable, especially with slightly fattier dishes, substantial dishes, for the coming cooler weather. They are unique and very well made. You should try them.


Dosaggio Zero “La Prima Volta” 2018 12.5% $46.99 (#5560)

Brut Rose 2016 12.5% $38.99 (#5561)

Brut Rosso 2017 12.5% $22.99 (#5562)

Millesimato 2016 “Christian Bellei” 12.5% $38.99 (#5563)

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



Tea is grown in Georgia, the country, not the state. It used to be very important in world production since it supplied primarily the enormous Russian market and then other countries looking for inexpensive tea. These were essentially countries where tea was practically the national beverage. And then everything stopped. On my first trip to Georgia in 2011, no tea was to be found on the market in Tblisi. I asked about it and was told, the plants have been uprooted. No market!

But this was not the case. The Russian market collapsed and growers simply faded away. But now, the old plantations, overcoming the infestations of ferns and other plants, have started to be revived. Plantations which date from 1847 and tea production which dates from 1893, are starting to come back. During Soviet times, Georgia produced about 95% of the tea sold in Russia. In 1985, 152,000 tons of tea were produced. In 2014, 1,800 tons. This comes with both an agricultural and human cost. The best tea is picked by hand, and this labor force was forced to do other things. But things are changing. Tea plantations are being revived.

Georgia is a country facing the Black Sea. At its western end, the environment is almost semi-tropical; splendid for growing tea. Georgia is at the northernmost area for tea growing. Its climate and soil conditions and cultivars make a special combination of flavor- producing conditions that induce a wonderful effect in tea. Most cultivars are crosses of Chinese plants, Camellia sinensis with the Indian cultivar, Camellia assamica, grown from seed. Some of the plantations are up to 70 years of age, with a subtropical, yet cool fall climate and acidic soils. There are no pests, hence no chemical treatments are necessary.

A company, actually a restaurant, called Poliphonia, is now shipping out of Georgia both black and green orthodox tea from these original cultivars labeled as BAEBOS GARAGE TEA. They are worth your tasting. Much less bitter than either China or India teas, their refreshing character is amazing.
In resealable 100g bags. Limited quantities available are:

RED TEA WITH TIPS, “EMPEROR” Ruddy leaf; steeped, like oolong, almost green.$37.99 (#5564)

BLACK CURLED TEA, Fine, thin shape, producing a nice black tea. $21.99 (#5565)

BLACK TEA WITH TIPS, “Okros Kvirti” or “Golden Buds” Very mellow $32.99 (#5566)

GREEN CURLED LEAF, Nicely formed green leaf, thin.$32.99 (#5567)

GREEN FLAT LEAF, Georgian version of hand flattened Longjing $41.99 (#5568)

GREEN STRAIGHT TEA, Finely rolled leaf, thin.$32.99 (#5569)

TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, spirits, books 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.


Every visitor to Sardinia (Sardegna) has tasted “su pane carasau” or for the Sardinians, “bread.” It is also called “carta da musica” since it looks like what used to be a stiff paper on which musical notation could be written. It is one of the most distinctive items of Sardinian cuisine. Now, the pane carasau baker, CHERCHI of Alghero in the northwest of Sardinia, has come out with a variant which is another one of those “I bet you can’t eat just one” foods which when found are really stimulating and exciting. Flavorwise, it is simply delicious!

The word “guttiau” for this “pane” means “drizzled with oil,” in this case by the addition of olive oil and salt. It is also much thinner than the normal pane carasau and is in a square shape. It is extremely friable due to its thinness. In fact it looks like a golden, shiny sheet of cracker with the raised bumps of the drizzled oil. Made from only four ingredients: finely milled durum semolina, water, salt, yeast, and then the addition of olive oil, each package holds 100g of leaves, said to be enough for 4.

Rather than use the classic name of pane carasau, Cherchi, the baker, has chosen to highlight its color and thinness, calling it “pergamena” or parchment. It is different enough to be called by another name from the traditional pane carasau, or bread! Hence the Sardinian descriptor “guttiau.”

I ate a whole package myself due to its delicious flavor and intriguing thin texture Do not use it to scoop. It can be broken into quarters. It is good enough to be eaten by itself. Even the broken pieces are enough to fight over! Very highly recommended.


Box 100g  $6.99 each (#5570)

Case of 10  $62.00  (#5570C)

FARMER TED HOT SAUCE: A homegrown sauce you should try

This hot sauce is the favorite of some well- thought-of Sacramento restaurants. It is produced by Ted Ennis, who works weekends at Corti Brothers wine department. Ted made the sauce and gave it away to friends when he was not making or selling wine. Now that he has gone semi-professional with its production, he has changed the name. Modesty forbids using its previous name!

This hot sauce is made from a Habanero chile base and is hot. Just a little does the trick in using it. I must admit that I like it quite a lot, since at home, a dab gets added to the salad vinaigrette. It really does jolt up a simple salad, enlivening it quite a bit. With the plethora of hot sauces on the market these days, one would think that “hot” is the only flavor. But then there is hot and hot that is not just heat, but also a tingle on the palate. A bit of Farmer Ted in a cold stuffed egg, enlivens the egg creaminess. Since it is to be used as an ingredient, it can make simple flavored dishes sing or spark the conversation between plain-ish flavors in composed dishes. However, Use With Care!


Bottle 5 oz  $7.49 (#5571)

Case of 12  $81.00 (#5571C)


These peanuts are just in time for holiday entertaining. In fact, you may wonder why they were not thought of before. Most people interested in food and tastes have heard about or experienced SICHUAN PEPPER, also spelled Szechwan. It is not a pepper like black or white pepper and it is not a capsicum (chile pepper) but the seed hull of a tree, the Prickly Ash tree, (Zanthoxylum armatum and Z.bungeanum) native to southern China and related to Citrus in the Rutaceae family.

It does not have a “hot” taste, but produces a tingling sensation on the tongue and lips which is its hallmark. So not hot, but tingly, some like to say numbing. The sensation is unique. It has also been classified by Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London, as having a tinglying frequency of 50 Hertz. This gives rise to the brand name of these peanuts. The molecule hydroxy-alpha-sanshool, an aromatic molecule, is what produces the effect on nerve receptors where skin is very thin: around the mouth and lips.

A young Chinese, YAO ZHAO, founded the company of 50 HERTZ having learned the number of hertz the sensation produces. A native of Chongqing in South China, this became an intriguing business proposition and thus we have 50 Hertz Tingly Peanuts. The peanuts themselves come from Kaifeng in Henan province in eastern China. Kaifeng is famous in history as one of the ancient capitals of China. Peanuts grown there are renown for being big, plump and crunchy. The peanuts are fried with both green and red Sichuan pepper.

These are two kinds of pepper, not different colors of the same. The green (Zanthoxylum armatum) is aromatic and citrusy while the red (Z.bungeanum) is earthy and fullbodied, which is the more usual of the two types. Both produce the tingly sensation but not heat

The 50 Hertz Tingly Peanuts are definitely striking in flavor. The tingly sensation is amazing and somewhat addictive. They will definitely spark up your aperitifs. You will think of peanuts in a completely different way.


5.5oz Tin $8.69 (#5572)

Case of 6 $47.00  (#5572C)


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Written by Rick Mindermann — October 15, 2022

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