Spring 2017 Newsletter
To Our Customers:
Was it not just the winter holidays? It’s now already spring--Easter and Passover. It is also Corti Brothers’ 70th year in business! Time goes by very rapidly. With slightly unsettled times now, I hope you will find some interesting items on this newsletter to calm you down and give heart to better times. Perhaps, at least, to better eating and drinking. Happy Spring and Happy Spring Holidays! Darrell Corti
COLOMBA: THE EASTER BREAD
Made in the shape of a flying dove, the COLOMBA is an old Italian Easter tradition, some saying that began in the early Middles Ages. Curiously, we have no proof of this, but we do have the delicious, fragrant and tender cake filled with candied fruit and other lovely things. Eaten in the spring, much like Panettone is enjoyed in the fall and winter, the Colomba is a special treat for the Easter holiday and then through summer. Enjoyed by itself or with fresh fruit, either as a topping or filled with fresh fruit and whipped cream, your Colomba will make a spring dinner even more special. VENEZIANA is similar to a Colomba, but with a round shape. FOCACCIA, is not the savory bread, but the butter based cake-like bread without candied fruit and beloved by the Venetians with morning coffee.
From LOISON in the Veneto, we have this selection:
COLOMBA CLASSICA kilo size, pale green paper and ribbon wrapped, $27.39 (#4200)
COLOMBA CLASSICA 750g size, transparent wrap, silver ribbon, $25.39 (#4201)
COLOMBA AL LIMONE (Limoncello cream) kilo size, pale green paper and ribbon wrapped, $29.99 (#4202)
COLOMBA allo ZABAIONE (Zabaione cream) kilo size, pale green paper and ribbon wrapped, $29.99 (#4203)
COLOMBA CIOCCOLATO (Chocolate cream) kilo size, pale green paper and ribbon wrapped, $29.99 (#4204)
COLOMBA NOCCIOLATA alla PESCA ( hazelnuts & candied peach)750g, ribbon handled box, $26.19 (#4205)
COLOMBA SENZA CANDITI (no candied fruit) kilo size, pale green paper and ribbon wrapped, $27.39 (#4206)
COLOMBINA 100g, 2 colors: pale green and pale violet, with basket of violets, boxed, $13.89 (#4207)
COLOMBA CLASSICA 2 kilo size, transparent wrap, cream color ribbon, rose bow, $46.99 (#4208)
COLOMBA CLASSICA 5 kilo size, transparent wrap, cream color ribbon, rose bow, $89.99 (#4209)
VENEZIANA all’ALPIANE (Vignalta Alpiane) 750g size, orange paper and ribbon wrapped, $27.69 (#4210)
VENEZIANA AMARENE e CANELLA (cherries and cinammon) 550g size, boxed, $22.99 (#4211)
FOCACCIA MANDORLATA (with almonds) 750g size, pale green paper and ribbon wrapped, $19.89 (#4212)
FOCACCIA CLASSICA 400g size, transparent bag, “Tutto Burro” All Butter $11.99 (#4213)
A SELECTION of GERMAN WINES from 2015 vintage
2015 is looking to be a very fine vintage in several areas: Germany, Burgundy, Bordeaux among others. Here is our selection of what we have currently in some very fine German estates, mainly riesling wines. Not buying the wines now, may mean you will not be able to buy them at all. This is the problem with this vintage. It is superb and Riesling lovers know it. Please do not dawdle! Most of these wines are in 750ml bottles.
MOSEL WINES: About 10% of the vines in the Mosel are ungrafted vines. But replanting means grafted vines.
2015 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese Feinherb Uralte Reben (vines 80-100 years) $28.29 (#4214)
Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese $37.79 (#4215)
Riesling Anrecht: These three sites are picked “en-bloc,” all of the grapes picked at one time $39.49 (#4216)
Riesling Schmitt $54.99 (#4217)
Riesling Rottlay $59.99 (#4218)
Alfred Merkelbach: An Ürzig estate, where the vineyards are picked “en-bloc” at one time.
2015 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #10 $37.29 (#4219)
Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Auslese #5 $26.29 (#4220)
Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese #9 “Urgluck” The pre 1971 vineyard parcel name $33.49 (#4221)
Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese #8 “Lang Pichter” The pre 1971 parcel name $37.29 (#4222)
Joh. Joseph Christoffel
2014 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett $26.79 (#4223)
2015 Riesling Trocken 1896 (Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg) 8 grams residual sugar $45.49 (#4224)
Riesling Feinherb 1896 13 grams residual sugar $79.99 (#4225)
2015 Longuicher Herrenberg Riesling Kabinet, ungrafted vines planted 1903 $20.29 (#4226)
2015 Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling Spätlese (Vines between 80-100 years old) $25.29 (#4227)
2015 Wiltinger Kupp Riesling Kabinett $25.29 (#4228)
2015 Pfalz Rieslaner Spätlese (Rieslaner is a cross of sylvaner by riesling) $24.29 (#4229)
Rieslaner Auslese 500ml $26.99 (#4230)
2015 Riesling Hermannshöhle “Grosses Gewächs” $74.99 (#4231)
2015 Johannisberger Hölle Riesling Auslese $45.99 (#4232)
GIULIANO’S TOMATO SAUCE
This is a new venture for GIULIANO HAZAN, the son of Marcella and Victor 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 (#4233) $53.00 case/6 (#4233C)
TRINITY CANYON VINEYARDS--WINES FROM ARMENIA
So, when was the last time you tasted a wine from Armenia? The first answer is probably, “NEVER!" Now here is your chance to taste the major red variety in Armenia-- areni noir-- both as a red wine and a rosé. A really charming white is produced from another authocthonous variety. TRINITY CANYON WINES are produced in the area of Areni, in the province of Vayots Dzor, near the southern border of Armenia and Azerbajian. (View the website which is well done.) Armenia’s major red variety is called ARENI NOIR. In a cave near Areni, a discovery was made in 2010 of a complete winery, including a pair of sandals, the oldest ever found. The winery is datable back to 4100 BC, hence the use of the 6100 on the label. Areni noir produces an elegant red wine, likened to a cross between sangiovese and pinot noir. It is delicious. Not over wooded, Trinity Canyon Areni Noir 2015 has been aged for six months in Caucasian oak.
The Trinity ROSÉ is produced from Areni noir and has a lovely palish color, a berry scent and a harmonious flavor, not unlike a rosé of Pinot noir. It also takes age very well. The white wine, VOSKEHAT, an old variety, is also called Khardji or Kharji. Its name was changed to that of Voskehat, a village west of the Armenian capital, Yerevan. Reminiscent of semillon or some clones of sauvignon blanc, it is harmonious, graceful and spicy. Clean, fragrant and juicy, it is a well balanced white, well worth tasting. Here is another “unknown” world of wine.
TRINITY CANYON 6100 ARENI NOIR 2015 13% $19.99 750ml (#4234) $107.00 cs/6 (#4234C)
TRINITY CANYON ROSÉ 2015 12.5% $14.99 750ml (#4235) $40.00 cs/3 (#4235C)
TRINITY CANYON VOSKEHAT 2015 12.5% $19.99 750ml (#4236) $53.00 cs/3 (#4236C)
PODERE LA VILLA Pargolo Chianti Classico 2012 and Giacomo 2014
PODERE LA VILLA is the property of ILARIA TACHIS, daughter of the late, noted Italian enologist, GIACOMO TACHIS, For some thirty years, Tachis was the enologist for the Marchesi Antinori. A Piemontese working in Tuscany, in Chianti Classico, he was the creator of Tignanello and Sassicaia, two among a just stellar lineup of great modern Italian wines he had worked with. I also like to call him the “patron of Amador Barbera.” In retirement, Giacomo bought the small property of Podere La Villa, which is just outside the town of San Casciano Val di Pesa. The property is an east facing slope planted to sangiovese and merlot at the north-western edge of Chianti Classico. As yet, there is no cellar at La Villa so its grapes are vinified at another estate which Tachis had a hand in creating, Castello dei Rampolla, in nearby Panzano.
Two wines are produced: a very smart Chianti Classico, named PARGOLO and GIACOMO, a merlot wine. Pargolo is the Tuscan transliteration of the Latin “parvulus,” or “child.” This is sangiovese with a portion of merlot added and not given a lot of wood treatment, allowing its varietal character and suppleness to shine. Bottle age is a given with Pargolo, since Giacomo Tachis thought that the “souplesse” provided by bottle age was an important quality factor in Tuscan wines based on sangiovese.
To honor her father, Ilaria selected merlot as the variety for the 2014 vintage GIACOMO, which sports a photo of her father on the label. A balanced and charming Merlot with softness typical of the variety, but with a firm backbone, it is a fitting tribute to the man who created late 20th century Italian enology.
PODERE LA VILLA PARGOLO 2012 14.5% $19.99 750ml (#4237) $107.00cs/6 (#4237C)
PODERE LA VILLA GIACOMO 2014 14.5% $29.99 750ml (#4238) $161.00cs/6 (#4238C)
G.D.VAJRA CLARÉ JC 2015
On April17-18 of 1788, Thomas Jefferson writes from Turin in his travel diary: “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.” He is describing the Nebbiolo of Piemonte some 60 years before Barolo came into being and almost 120 years before Barbaresco. Before the creation of the two now “classic” Nebbiolo wines of Piemonte, the wine described by Jefferson was how this variety was made.
The family estate of G.D. VAJRA in Barolo has made this type of nebbiolo for three vintages and has called it CLARÉ JC. The J is for Jefferson; the C is for Corti.
Actually, it is a Langhe Nebbiolo by appellation, but this special wine looks back in history. Before the creation of Barolo or Barbaresco, nebbiolo was recognized as a variety with which to make a red colored, fragrant red wine that was always left sweetish to enhance its fragrant flavor and to preserve in the wine a bit of residual CO2 which it has a tendency to have anyway. This is a unique Nebbiolo wine which merits your attention. It is not a substitute for the now famous Barolo/Barbaresco stars, but to show the origin of these wines. This is a taste of vinous history.
G.D. VAJRA 2015 CLARÉ JC Langhe Nebbiolo 14% $29.99 750ml (#4239) $323.00cs/12 (#4239C)
OUR 70TH ANNIVERSARY SELECTION WINE: TOKAJI KIRÁLY 1A 2009, Erzsébet Pince Estate
For some years now, I have tried to find a special wine or two that Corti Brothers could offer as an anniversary wine for some milestone anniversaries. 2017 is our 70th year in business. To commemorate this anniversary, I found a lovely wine from 2009 vintage that we bought in 2016. It is from the most famous of the sweet white wine appellations: TOKAJI. This region is the furthest east of the very famous wine regions in Europe--in the north-eastern corner of Hungary.
Just as Corti Brothers is a small family firm, this wine comes from a small family winery in the center of Tokaj, owned by the Prácser family. The winery was started in 1992 and is located in the old wine buying cellar of the Russian czars. The wine is a late harvest TOKAJI from 2009 with the richness of a 6 puttónyos wine, but it is not an Aszu wine. It is a single vineyard wine coming from the historical grand cru vineyard, Király, which means “king” in Hungarian. We bought this wine at the fourth Tokaj Wine Auction in 2016. This wine had not been made before 2009 and has not been made since. The auction lot was 136-500ml bottles. Total production was 200 liters.
This is a 100% furmint variety wine from the Király vineyard in Mád. 2009 produced a harvest with few aszú, Botrytis Affected, berries, so the wine was made using the over-ripe grapes as they were picked, not a special selective picking. This is the method for making szamorodni wine, but not its aging regimen. Fermented in stainless steel, it was then aged in a second fill Zemplen oak barrel for eleven months. Its alcohol is 10.5% and residual sugar is 144g/L or slightly over 14% sugar. Lively acidity will ensure a long life. My thanks go to an old friend, Ronn Weigand for suggesting this wine. Ronn is married to Hajni Prácser.
TOKAJI KIRÁLY 1A 2009, Erzsébet Pince Estate, 10.5% $39.99 500ml (#4240) $215.00 cs/6 (#4240C)
VIGNALTA SALE ALLE ERBE: SPECIAL SALE TO GET YOU COOKING
VIGNALTA SALE ALLE ERBE is one of the mainstays of my kitchen. It should also be one of yours! Now that we are coming into grilling season, Vignalta Salt is one thing you should not be without. It is Sicilian sea salt blended with fresh herbs from the Vignalta winery estate in the Veneto’s Colli Euganei.
If you want to see the herbs that go into to making this salt, here is a link to a video on our website:
Made with fresh herbs from the estate and sea salt, this is my, and should be your, go to item for simply cooking any kind of meat either in the oven, under a broiler or on a grill. It can be added before cooking to season a meat, added after to enhance a meat’s flavor because of the herbs, or just because you want to add something to whatever you are cooking. A Vignalta salt roasted chicken is something to be thankful for.
Steaks, seasoned with Vignalta salt before either grilling or pan frying, need nothing else. For roasting a really good roast, just a covering of Vignalta is all that is necessary. Vignalta salt is not a panacea, but very close to it. It enhances your cooking without a lot of fuss and bother on your part.
Since we are just entering the grilling season, we are offering Vignalta Sale alle Erbe at a reduced price to either intrigue you, entice you or just get you to buy some to try. We have two pallets of Vignalta salt and this offer is valid until they are gone. And, yes we will still have it. We will never be without it, but we would like more customers to try it.
VIGNALTA SALE ALLE ERBE WAS $8.99 300g jar NOW $7.99 a jar (#4241) $86.00 cs/12 (#4241C)
VINEGARS FOR SPRING: FROM FRUIT AND FRUIT FLAVORED
Now that spring is about to be sprung, here are some ideas about dressing those spring salads. (Well, maybe not only for spring!) Fruit vinegars are difficult to produce and take more time than making wine vinegar. The process is the same. You start with a good base wine. But with fruit vinegars the base wine is made from fresh fruit that has to be handled carefully. At times, even made out of season. When well made, however, they can be stunning and stunningly good.
The Italian winery POJER e SANDRI, in Italy’s Trentino, produces some of the best fruit wine vinegars I know of. In a specialized production facility, they ferment fresh fruit and then using the classic “Orleans” style acetification, they convert the fruit wine to fruit vinegar. The difficult part of this procedure is to have the result smell and taste like the original base, but with a vinegar character. Perhaps the best example is the quince vinegar, mela cotogna. Here the quinces have to be left to ripen off the tree, then are washed and crushed, water is added since they have no juice to speak of, fermentation begins and the resulting wine is then pressed and acetified. The result retains the flowery and special scent of quince with quince like flavor, albeit now vinegar. Believe me, this is difficult to do.
We have a small quantity left of 100 ml bottles of Pojer e Sandri spray vinegar bottles. These are not being imported any longer and we would like to sell this inventory. What is available are bottles of blackberry (Mora) (#3255), raspberry (lamponi) (#3257), pear (Williams) (#3256), currants (ribes) (#3258), white wine (vino bianco) (#3253), and red wine (vino rosso) (#3254).
Another way to make fruit vinegar is to add fruit to a light vinegar, thereby producing a fruit flavored vinegar. One made very close to Sacramento, in Yolo County, is BUCKEYE CREEK BLUEBERRY RICE VINEGAR. Buckeye Creek grows lovely blueberries and takes part of this fruit, juices it and reduces it, then blends it with excellent rice vinegar which is fairly light in taste. Thus, a very fruit forward, purple ruby colored vinegar which would be lovely with red cabbage preparations, beets, strawberries, rhubarb, and anything that is reddish in color and needs a juicy, fruity flavor. However, you could just as well add Buckeye Creek Blueberry vinegar to anything where you just want a nice fruity flavor and are not concerned about the color. A really nice drink in summer is a jigger of Buckeye Creek to a large glass of chilled sparkling water.
POJER E SANDRI FRUIT VINEGARS
Pojer e Sandri Closeouts spray bottle 100ml WAS $16.99 NOW $13.99 on sale LIMITED STOCK
BUCKEYE CREEK BLUEBERRY VINEGAR 295ml $11.29 (#4244)
ARDOINO VALL’AUREA BACK IN STOCK
ARDOINO is the name in Ligurian extra virgin olive oil we have imported since 1980. It has provided enormous pleasure to very many of our customers. Ligurian oil is the classic example of light, fruity oil made from ripe Taggiasca olives grown on the western end of the Ligurian coast. The Vall’Aurea, the Golden Valley, is what Nanni Ardoino called the interior of the mountainous Ligurian coastline. Ardoino Vall’Aurea is a very delicate oil, as is preferred by the Ligurians to use for making pesto, putting on boiled fish or dressing salads. They have no truck with the more intense oils coming from central and the south of Italy, preferring this light, delicate sytle over anything else. If you have never tasted this style of oil, you owe it to yourself to do so. This is the just bottled product of the 2016 harvest.
ARDOINO VALL’AUREA Extra Virgin Oil 500ml $29.99 (#4245) $161.00cs/6 (#4245C)
GRANO: A New, Old Wheat Product
Also called “grano pesato” in Italy’s Puglia, GRANO is nothing more than hulled durum wheat. Grown in California’s Central Valley, Grano is a unique specialty of Sunnyland Mills, one of the two bulghur producers in the country. Sunnyland now calls it Golden Pearled Durum GRANO, due to its pale golden color.
Hulled or “pearled” durum wheat fits into that range of grains that were food mainstays like barley, farro and spelt. Grano is made from durum wheat, one of the wheat types. Triticum durum, is hard, translucent and has more gluten than triticum vulgare or soft wheat. Grano is delicate, but after hulling it turns rancid rapidly. Unless it is used quickly, it should be stored in an airtight container in the freezer to lessen oxidation.
To prepare it, the quantity necessary is put in a strainer and washed; rub it under running water until the water runs clear. It is then soaked, for up to overnight. (The longer the soaking, less the cooking time.)
Once soaked, it is cooked like pasta in a quantity of salted boiling water. Stir every so often. (Paula Wolfert, however, recommends no stirring at all.) When tender, drain not quite dry, add butter or olive oil to the grains, and either serve as is as an accompaniment to meat dishes, or with sauce like a pasta. Also, it can be cooked, refrigerated, and reheated several days later.
Grano is used as an ingredient in the classic Neapolitan Easter dessert, the PASTIERA. This is a pie made with grano cooked in milk, ricotta, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, candied citrus rind-- especially citron-- and orange flower water in a butter crust (pasta frolla). Any good Italian cookbook will have the recipe, especially ones specializing in Southern Italian cooking.
GRANO Golden Pearled Durum Wheat 1 pound resealable bag $3.99 (#4246)
ORGANIC CORINTHIAN CURRANTS
These organic CURRANTS are the raisins called currants and have nothing to do with the bush fruit called currants, or in French “groseille.” Groseille come in three colors, white, red and black, from which “cassis” is produced. There are plenty of people who confuse the two-- berries and raisins-- most of whom should know better. The name of the raisins is derived from a place, Corinth, in Greece, hence Corinth > currant. The grape varietal name is “Black Corinth,” or when sold fresh, “Champagne” grapes, a long, seedless, small berried dark grape that has nothing to do with Champagne.
Currants are a very important crop on the west, or Ionian, coast of Greece, at the top of the Peloponnesus. The production of these currants is unique. Each cluster has a wing, a smaller, shorter cluster on the stem which allows the clusters to be dried suspended on a wire in shaded drying rooms. This way the berries are not laid on the ground, and are protected from strong sunlight. They dry slowly, maintain some of their specific aroma and do not loose acidity.
Once dry, the berries are shaken off the cluster and are coated with a tiny bit of sunflower oil to keep them moist. Five tons of fresh fruit is required to make one ton of currants. The EKLEKTO SPECIAL SELECTION Currants are all organic from organic agriculture. Delicious as they are, they can be used in baking, especially Hot Cross Buns, added to salads, breakfast cereals, or yoghurt. Just as a snack, they are wonderful since they have acidity and are not tiring to eat. They are tiny but enormously flavorful.
EKLEKTO GOLDEN BLACK Corinth currants 200g box $4.99 (#4247) 500g bag $6.59 (#4248)
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.