Corti Brothers

Our Standbys and some New Delights. BARDI, LOISON, AND NOW COCCHI

Let’s begin with the new one: COCCHI PANETTONE AL VERMOUTH di TORINO. This is a special panettone from a unique recipe created by Vermouth Cocchi and Albertengo, a noted Piemontese baker. This is the first time a panettone made with Vermouth is offered in the U.S., and available at Corti Brothers. The panettone is aromatized with the Vermouth di Torino Cocchi, where the candied fruit and raisins are macerated in vermouth and then vermouth is added to the dough. The dough is made from a mother sponge for rising, with butter, pastured eggs, candied fruit, and vermouth.

Why is it different? The addition of vermouth to the dough and the fruit macerated in vermouth give a very special scented and rather exotic character to everything. The frosting is made from Piemontese hazelnuts, Italian almonds and sugar granules. Vermouth is not considered a dessert wine as such, and for this reason was tried as an ingredient in panettone. It is a lovely addition for panettone since you can enjoy a room temperature glass with your slice of panettone. The vermouth just makes the panettone slightly less sugary and the herbal/spice character adds a special touch to panettone’s already complex flavor. This should appeal very much to customers not enjoying very sugary desserts with an aromatic and less sugary wine accompaniment. COCCHI panettone is unique. This is the first time it is sold in this country.

To go with the Panettone al Vermouth, we offer three Vermouth di Torino from Cocchi: Vermouth di Torino; Dopo Teatro Vermouth Amaro, and the most expensive vermouth produced, Cocchi Venaria Reale Riserva, where artemisia used for the vermouth comes from the gardens of the Royal Hunting Palace (Venaria Reale) outside of Torino. The resurgence of vermouth on the market is amazing, but it is appropriate that it has happened. It removes vermouth from a minor role in mixology to the special place where it was and deserves to be again.

COCCHI PANETTONE AL VERMOUTH 1 kilo size, wrapped. $29.99 (#5100)
A unique panettone available for the first time. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino in preparation and in the dough.

COCCHI VERMOUTH di TORINO 16% $18.99 750 ml (#5101) $205.00 case/12 (#5101C)
Made from Piemontese muscat base with local herbs. The first of the renewed style “di Torino” vermouths.

COCCHI DOPO TEATRO VERMOUTH AMARO 16% $21.79 500ml (#5102) $235.00 case/12 (#5102C)
The same Cocchi style, slightly more bitter with bittering herbs and less sweet than the original. For after dinner or theater.

COCCHI VENARIA REALE 18% $89.99 500ml (#5103) $485.00 cs/6 (#5103C) Limited production: 1891
bottles. Some ingredients come from the gardens of Venaria Reale, the largest palace complex in Italy. Amber colored without caramel; rich with Piemontese mint, and bottle aged for at least six months. Recommended for aged bourbon or rye, or with a lemon twist and ice as an aperitif or alone as an after dinner drink. Vermouth ages well in bottle. This is its debut in the U.S. Cellar some of this Venaria Reale Riserva while you can.

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

BARDI PANETTONE: All are in kilo size.

PANETTONE ALTO: traditional tall shape, boxed $19.99 (#5104)

PANETTONE BASSO: low shape, boxed $22,29 (#5105)

PANETTONE SENZA CANDITI: only with raisins, no candied fruit. Alto shape, wrapped $22.49 (#5106)

PANETTONE WITH CHOCOLATE: basso shape, with chocolate drops and glaze, wrapped $25.59 (#5107)

PANETTONE LIMITED EDITION: basso shape, the second year of production, boxed $39.59 (#5108)

PANDORO: the New Year’s cake, without candied fruit, boxed $22.29 (#5109)

PANETTONE LOISON: All are in kilo size unless noted.

LIMONE: with raisins, candied lemon peel and lemon cream, boxed $29.99 (#5110)

AGRUMATO (Five citrus fruits) replaces Chinotto, boxed $32.99 (#5111)

CLASSICO A.D. 1476: with raisins, orange and citron peel, boxed $29.99 (#5112)

MARRON GLACÉ: with marron glacé pieces and cream, boxed $33.69 (#5113)

CLASSICO: with raisins, orange and citron peel, wrapped $26.89 (#5114)

MANDORLATO: with almond glaze, wrapped $27.49 (#5115)

REGAL CIOCCOLATO: with chocolate, boxed $31.49 (#5116)

FICO di CALABRIA: with raisins and Calabrian white Dotato fig, boxed $34.29 (#5117)

AMARENA: with large black cherries, boxed $30.99 (#5118)

ALLE ROSE: with Ligurian rose syrup, raisins and rose cream, boxed $31.95 (#5119)

A.D. 1476 LATA: In this year’s decorative tin, 750g $29.99 (#5120)

CREMA: with vanilla cream, wrapped $26.89 (#5121)

MANDARINO di CIACULLI: with raisins and late mandarin from Sicily, boxed $31.99 (#5122)

NOËL: with raisins, candied pear, cinnamon, clove and star anise, boxed $31.49 (#5123)

A.D. 1476: boxed, 500g, with raisins, candied orange and citron peel $23.79 (#5124)

PANETTONCINO: boxed 100g, the smallest made $7.49 (#5125)


3 KILO $74.40 (#5126)

5 KILO $117.99 (#5127)

10 KILO $231.00 (#5128)

VENEZIANA is less buttery and fluffy in texture than panettone, spiced reflecting Venice’s long tradition on the Spice Road. Panettone is Milano, and Veneziana is, well, Venice.

VENEZIANA AMARENE e CANELLA: Cherries and cinnamon, wrapped, 550g $21.99 (#5129)

VENEZIANA CIOCCOLATO e SPEZIE: Chocolate and spices, wrapped, 550g $23.79 (#5130)

VENEZIANA ALBICOCCA e SPEZIE: Candied apricots, ginger, spices, wrapped, 550g $23.79 (#5131)

VENEZIANA ALL’ALPIANE: with Vignalta Alpiane Passito, wrapped, 1 kilo, $29.69 (#5132)

LA BONISSIMA, A medieval pastry “Torta” from LOISON

This year Dario Loison has reproduced an almost medieval pastry called LA BONISSIMA, which has its origin in medieval Modena, Italy. While not one of the lightest of dishes, it is extremely tasty. It is a simple thing: a simple flaky dough, filled with honey and walnuts and then covered with a layer of dough and baked. Literally, its name means “The Good Lady.” Or the “Good Torta” (pie). But as with many things, the name and its meaning vary.

In Modena, at one of the corners of the Palazzo Communale, there is a statue which seems to be a pastiche of sorts, reflecting the symbol of “Good Business.” Another meaning is that it reflects the noble woman who during a famine in Modena about the year 1178, acted for the less well off citizens by feeding them during the famine and asking charitable help from other city nobles. This pastry is like what fed the hungry populace. Hence, its name. It seems very à propós these days of 2020. Which ever story you would like to believe, the pastry remains, and you should find it very much to your liking. The original version is made from wildflower honey and “Lara” Italian walnuts. Dario Loison has even embellished upon it making two other versions; one, with Calabrian figs and “Tuono” variety almonds, and the other with marron glacé and hazelnuts.

LA BONISSIMA PASTRY 300 g each $12.99

Walnut/Honey (#5133)

Fig/Almond (#5134)

Marron/Hazelnut (#5135)

VINTAGE PORT: Mature wines for enjoying.

VINTAGE PORT is a very special wine. It deserves and needs special care and time to age. We have a stock that is perfectly aged and is ready for drinking. If you like Vintage Port and have not providently laid some down, here is your chance to make up this lacuna. I suggest that you take a look at the list, buy early before drinking, let rest and decant to see what all the fuss is about. I think you will be pleased. All the bottles are 750 ml.

GRAHAM 1970 $201.99(#5136)

GRAHAM 1975 $158.99 (#5137)

FONSECA 1975 $158.99 (#5138)

WARRE 1958 $200.00 (#5139)

FONSECA Guimaraens 1974 $94.99 (#5140)

FONSECA Guimaraens 1967 $129.99 (#5141)

FONSECA Guimaraens 1968 $106.00 (#5142)

COCKBURN 1963 $279.59 (#5143)

COCKBURN 1967 $179.99 (#5144)

COCKBURN 1975 $112.00 (#5145) 

MESSIAS 1966 $154.99 (#5146)

OFFLEY FORRESTER BOA VISTA 1972 $98.99 (#5147)

SANDEMAN 1972 $131.99 (#5148) DOW 1975 $158.99 (#5149)

MARTINEZ 1975 $112.99 (#5150)

DOW Late Bottled 1962 $174.69 (#5151)

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


Now, more than a quarter of a century ago, to celebrate our Bi-Centennial, Corti Brothers re-printed a Madeira short story published in 1895 by a noted physician, Silas Weir Mitchell, and reprinted in 1900 and 1910. It deals with a Madeira party in Philadelphia. That a physician should write such a piece only goes to re-enforce the affection of the medical profession for wine. The printing was done by one of San Francisco’s most famous fine printers, Andrew Hoyem with artwork by noted Sacramento painter, Patrick Dullanty.

In 1976, it was chosen as one of the Western Books of that year by the Rounce and Coffin Club of Los Angeles.
Now we are down to our last copies of A Madeira Party and with the new interest in Madeira itself, we are offering them to bibliophile minded Madeira wine lovers.

A Madeira Party does not deal with the making of Madeira, but the drinking of it. There is a forward written by a late physician friend, Bill Dickerson, about Weir Mitchell, the author, and an afterword on old Madeira by Roy Brady, also a late friend who edited several wine magazines in California. When it first came out in 1976, one of the first purchasers was the late Alfred Knopf, of the publishing house, who commented that “finally, someone has made a proper sized edition which can be read.” The book is in small octavo size. The original was in 3"x5" size.

A MADEIRA PARTY, by S.Weir Mitchell, reprinted 1975 by Andrew Hoyem, $79.00 +tax (#5152)


For most of at least 200 years, sherry has always been spoken of as a blended wine, a “solera” wine. Although a vintage is made every year, the wine of Jerez normally has a life where it is blended in the fractional blending system known as “SOLERA.” This blending system serves to produce wines of a certain style and character which obviates the necessity of storing wines with a vintage date. In the traditional cellars of Jerez de la Frontera, the wines in cask are also unruly and do not hew to a line. They ferment differently and the production of “flor,” the yeast film that covers the surface of the wine in cask protecting it from oxidation and leaving it as a “Fino”wine, makes it very difficult to prognosticate what wines in various casks will turn out to be. The solera system was begun about the time of the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s, when the shippers of Cádiz started to “blend” the different years to maintain freshness and “style” of wine rather than a vintage date. Previously, wine had been dated. During the Napoleonic period, wine was shipped from Cádiz, since it was a port and the provincial capital.

There are very few sherry producers who actually leave many casks simply to mature as they will and can be sold as a vintage wine, called in Jerez an “AÑADA” wine. The now almost 200 year old firm of GONZALEZ BYASS
is one of those that do leave some casks to develop this way. Corti Brothers has sold other vintages as Añada wines of differing characters. The majority of añada wines fall into the “static aged” style, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, and Oloroso. Palo Cortado is the rarest of the sherries, since it has a double life: first as a Fino under flor, then as an Oloroso without. First--a biological aging, then a static one.

I would like to point out to you that currently we offer the PALO CORTADO AÑADA 1991, which is the most recent bottling. These wines are very rare, offered once, then never again seen on the market. Right now there are other producers who are doing this type of aging; getting some of these wines for your cellar is like finding a needle in a haystack. This 1991 is a light medium amber colored wine, with an exquisite bouquet of “rancio”, that characteristic scent of age in old wines and a flavor similar to concentrated broth, soy sauce, nuttiness and a delicacy which almost belies description. The aftertaste goes on for many seconds with the scent and flavor mixing on your palate like few other wines. Of wines that are meant to be highly aged, these añada sherries are the rarest. The Consejo Regulador, which controls all aspects of sherry production, seals casks in aging as añada or vintage wines and the producer is not allowed to touch the cask or casks, without permission. So this vintage notion is not like table wines where the wines can be tasted to see how they develop. The casks are left alone until it comes time that the producer wants to bottle the wine. As is normal in Jerez, the casks are not topped.

These are wines that also develop very well in bottle, becoming ever more aromatic and intensely flavored. In fact, when decanted for serving--they should be decanted--the decanting area is scented with the wine’s bouquet. Another good thing about these wines is that you do not have to drink them up at one go. They will keep at least a month or two, often improving with air. As to price/value relationship, these wines are worth more than old table wine which needs drinking upon opening. I highly recommend cellaring some of this wine before it disappears forever. There were 992 bottles produced, bottled “en rama,” that is, unfined and unfiltered.

GONZALEZ BYASS AÑADA 1991 PALO CORTADO 21.5% $159.99 750ml (#5153) $863.00 cs/6 (#5153C)

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

WINE BOOKS: The kind you keep and keep referring to. (Sometimes a better gift than wine.)

In the world scheme of things, ARMENIAN WINES are becoming known and appreciated due to their innate quality and the fact that Armenia is now known to be the oldest wine making region on the planet. Nelli Hovhanissyan has written what is the compendium of everything known to be known about Armenian wine and grape varieties. Some varieties may become useful with climate change in other growing areas.

ARMENIAN VINE AND WINE, 2018, 418+pages color photography throughout. $139.99 + tax (#5154)

More copies have come back in stock of THE GRAND BOOK OF VERMOUTH di TORINO, which tells the complete story of vermouth and its special place in Italian and Piemontese wine lore. This work is a must to understand now current excitement on the mixology and drinking front. Vermouth is coming back to where it deservedly was.

THE GRAND BOOK OF VERMOUTH di TORINO, 2019, 271pp., large quarto, $75.00 + tax (#5155)

LA CUCINA MEDIEVALE is a unique book. To be of value to you, you must read Italian. It deals in synoptic form with Late Medieval Italian cuisine, the basis of modern Italian cooking. It is a lexicon, history book, and recipe collection. It is printed in dictionary form with 16 column pages of text on pasta, 9 on Olio and Oliva; 21 on Salsa; 16 on Vino. Written by Enrico Carnevale Schianca. Recipes are reproduceable “by a willing, open minded cook.”

LA CUCINA MEDIEVALE, 2012, 756 pp, $89.00 + tax (#5156)


FREISA, is a Piedmontese grape variety which is related to nebbiolo. It is a very famous variety that has fallen somewhat out of fashion. It is also a dark colored, semi-aromatic variety which forms one of the two work horses of Piemontese wine making and drinking. The other is barbera. When looking at grape varieties from Europe for California, Professor Eugene Hilgard tried many varieties to see what would work and what wouldn’t. One that received favorable comments due to its good color and body–more importantly its acidity--was freisa. But then came the practical side: it didn’t produce well. So, its partner in winemaking, barbera was given the nod. But freisa was highly thought of.

HARRINGTON winery, now closed, was in San Franciso and made wines from vineyards both above and below San Francisco. Harrington is also the first winery to release a commercial Freisa wine. The winery is also known for its care in winemaking, producing wines with little or no extraneous manipulation, bottled as was this wine, unfined and unfiltered. Since the bottles have been kept cork down in the case, there will be a slight deposit attached to the cork. This can be removed from the cork after opening the bottle and the interior of the neck cleaned with a piece of paper towel. It is just a sign of the minimal manipulation the wine has had. Its name is pronounced: FREY-zah.

Freisa is a fall and winter wine par excellence. Its color is dark, but not malevolent looking. There is the slightly aromatic, berry-like scent, almost “rose” like. Like most Freisa made in Piedmont, it has a tiny bit of contained carbon dioxide gas, a slight fizzy quality, which makes the wine perfect with cold cuts, hams and other sausage like things. It is also the favorite wine for Piemontese pasta dishes, especially those made with lots of butter and cheese, which it helps to mitigate. Fall, fatty dishes is what this wine is made for. Harrington Freisa is just the wine for cold weather drinking since it really does bring to the palate the savor and fruitiness of a “joyful” summer grape variety. This is the kind of wine that a Piemontese producer would drink everyday. Barolo being far too grand for everyday drinking! But Freisa is the kind of wine one can get close to without much denting of the pocketbook.

You owe it to yourself to try the Harrington Freisa since it is a first and probably last of its type. I would suggest it with your New Year cotechino and lentils. Or, your holiday ravioli!

Skow Vineyard, San Benito Co.13.2% $22.49 750ml (#5157)$242.00 cs/12 (#5157C)

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


These SPICED FIGS are the realization of something I have wanted to do since 1966. I first tasted them at Chalone Vineyard on my first visit there in May, 1966. Dick Graff, who was the then new owner of Chalone (I became a partner in the venture shortly after,) had asked me to come down with him to see Chalone since Corti Brothers had just purchased the first vintage of Chalone, the 1960, and had offered it for sale at a tasting we put on in Sacramento. Dick was at the tasting since he was taking classes at UC Davis. So I drove down with Dick for the weekend at Chalone.

There we had the spiced figs, spiced with nothing more than cloves and stick cinnamon, two sugars and white vinegar along with some yoghurt for dessert that night. I found them exotic and really tasty. So he gave me the recipe. But since it takes three days of bringing to temperature then cooling off, I really never bothered making them, but I have thought of them ever since.

This year we started buying fresh figs from Harvey Correia, who has a fig collection near the Sacramento River at Rio Vista. He sells fig cuttings, but figs come with the trees. We sold his ripe figs, of many varieties–the number he grows is amazing--as fresh fruit. When Harvey said he had enough to supply us through the season, I asked Janet MacDonald of The Good Stuff Preserves here in Sacramento if she would like to try making a batch. And so, she has.

Packed in 12oz jars, they are ready for you to taste. We only made a small amount this time, not knowing what the reaction would be. Consequently, we do not have a lot to sell. If you like them, we will make more next year. They keep very well and--even a couple of years old--improve with silkiness of texture and harmony of flavor.

I suggest having them with well made vanilla ice cream or traditional, natural yoghurt so that there is relief from their sweetness. They could accompany a baked, smoked ham very well. But they are meant to be sweet.


12oz jar $13.99 (#5158)

Case of 12 $151.00 (#5158C)


New Year would not be New Year without COTECHINO and Lentils. LEVONI COTECHINO is our favorite. It takes about 45 minutes to re-heat and it is about the same amount of time for you to cook BARTOLINI UMBRIAN LENTILS. This way you can have the wishes for the New Year with “riches (fat) and plenty (lentils)”

LEVONI COTECHINO di MODENA 500g box $14.99 (#5159)

BARTOLINI UMBRIAN LENTILS 500g bag $4.99 (#5160)


Norwegian Superior: Salt Cod with skin/bones $18.99 lb (#5161) avg. wt. 3-4 lb avg. wt.- side pieces.

Canadian: Salt Cod, boneless and skinless $16.99 (#5162) 1 lb packages.

Stoccafisso Ragno: Air dried cod from Norway: $39.99 lb (#5163) whole fish only avg. wt. 1.75-2 lb

Note: Randon weight items are unlinked as they can not be purchased 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

BALL CLUB Chippewa Wild Rice 2020 Harvest 12 oz bag $17.99 (#5164)     Hand harvested from Minnesota. A North American original. Pale colored, delicious and easy to cook. An alternative to other starches on your menu.


VIGNALTA is the name of a winery in the hills close to Padova in Italy’s Veneto Region. It is in the area called the Colli Euganei, a thermal spring area, where the vineyards are on volcanic soils from now extinct volcanos. On the vineyards are wild growing herbs, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, which are harvested then dried with Sicilian sea salt and packaged. This herbed salt is probably one of the most delicious salts on the market and practically indispensable in the kitchen for seasoning meat of any kind. This is what I use for my Christmas roast, Thanksgiving turkey, chicken when the mood strikes. For lamb or pork chops and steaks of every type, it is obligatory. In short, every well run kitchen should not be without it. It also makes a wonderful hostess gift that will be remembered well into the year and you for having brought it.


300g jar $9.99 each (#5165)

Case of 12 $107.00 (#5165C)

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.

Please order early to assure availability and timely delivery. Order transit times will increase during the holiday season.

TEAS FOR COLD WEATHER: Indian teas from Young Mountain Tea

Indian Teas have long been a staple for cold weather drinking. Also they are lovely made as Iced Tea for the warm summer. YOUNG MOUNTAIN TEA has been in the forefront of importing exciting, new teas from the subcontinent. Corti Brothers now has several which I have been enjoying and would like to present to you.

From a new production, entirely woman-run, from the hills in South India, the NILGIRIS, we have the NILGIRI BLACK PEARL, which makes a lovely cup of copper colored liquor, with a delicate flavor and dried fruit, sweet scent, that is lovely without any milk. It has a bracing character without excessive tannin and can be steeped very well four times. It is a lovely style and the all woman staff of the TEA STUDIO, makes it with great sensitivity. It is a very impressive tea.

NILGIRI BLACK PEARL 3oz tube $19.99 each (#5166)

Back in our stock is KUMAON BLACK, from a producer in one of the first areas of India to be planted to tea. It was forgotten until revived by Young Mountain. Kumaon is a perfect area for growing tea, but was very difficult to export from since there were few and difficult roads leading out of the area. The cultivar in the area is probably the oldest in India. It is also a revelatory style with great balance of flavor and scent.

KUMAON 3.7 oz $11.99 (#5167)

NEPALI GOLDEN BLACK does not come from India but from the adjoining country of Nepal. Here the teas correspond to the “Darjeeling” character, but with more tips in the leaves when harvested. It is again, a light copper colored liquor when brewed, with a distinctive fruity scent and elegant flavor, not too heavy nor tannic.

NEPALI GOLDEN BLACK 2oz tube $13.49 (#5168)

DARJEELING RUBY OOLONG is a specific type of Darjeeling from the north of India and one of the two classic production areas. It takes its name from the slightly reddish cast of the liquor. The style is not the usual, but made in the Chinese fashion with curled leaf shape to the tea. The “oolong” shape is not traditional to the area, giving this tea a different cast both in leaf shape and flavor extraction. I have been enjoying all of these teas without any addition, either of milk or sugar, and have found them delicious as a morning cup with short steepings.

DARJEELING RUBY OOLONG 3.75 oz tube $28.49 (#5169)

A new Book on Smells: NOSE DIVE: The Field Guide to the World’s Smells by HAROLD McGEE

Written by the noted author of ON FOOD AND COOKING, Harold McGee, this is a work of some 654 pages. It is a fascinating tome on what we smell and why we smell it. It is written with both the professional and amateur in mind and delves into what things probably smelled like before there was anything around to smell them and what we notice when we smell things--what it is that we are smelling. Harold, who is an old friend, has spent a great deal of time on this work (ten years) and the result is probably going to be the last word on smells for a long time to come. All odors are described in an eminently readable text, with seductive prose and much erudition. Harold’s writing style is easy to read and understand. Without a lot of technical vocabulary, it gives a lot of information both technical and common. It is a lot of information, but easily digested! BRAVO, HAROLD! (All booksellers.)

A Gracious Lady, my friend, traveling companion, and mentor of all things Chinese.

My best wishes to all our customers for a happy and serene Holiday Season and for all of us, a joyous NEW YEAR.

Darrell Corti


For a printable version of our Newsletter, click the link below.


Written by Darrell Corti — November 30, 2020

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