Weekly wine, food,
& travel features!
 














 


Sicilian Roots

Local lawyer, Tommy Spina uncorks his family’s heritage. 

By Jan Walsh


Photography by Beau Gustafson 

Local criminal defense lawyer, Tommy Spina got into the wine importing business by happenstance. While traveling to Sicily to research his family history, his cousin Marco Spina suggested Tommy bring the Sicilian wines to America. Afterwards the two men along with other family members and friends formed Sam Spina Importing Company, with locations in Birmingham and Palermo.

 





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French Burgundies

Steve Pignatiello imports exceptional Burgundies.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

French wine importer and sommelier, Steve Pignatiello is one of my favorite Francophiles. I have been drinking and writing about his P. Comms, Int’l wines for almost 10 years. Yet his love affair with France is older than my own, and dates back to 1979, when he first traveled there. Afterwards his travels and passion became focused on the La Bourgogne (Burgundy) region. “Burgundy is a way of life. It’s a tiny region where the best wines are made by mom-and-pop operations, not large corporations,” Pignatiello explains. His first-hand knowledge of Burgundy wines have earned him the nickname, “The Burgundy Wine Man.” And for his work, he has been inducted into the prestigious Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin at the historic Chateau du Clos de Vougeot and serve as the Vice Conseiller Gastronomique for the Chaine des Rotisseurs.

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Franciscan Napa Valley Magnificat 2009

Franciscan Napa Valley Magnificat 2009

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Rosso

Delicious new Rosso is perfect for Spring

Introduced into the Birmingham area market earlier this year is the delicious new Toscana Rosso from Duca di Saragnano (Duke-ah D Sarah-yon-no).

This estate originally located near Salerno has a storied past dating back to the 10th Century when the Duke helped to fight off Arab pirates attacking southern Italy. Ultimately there was a loss to the superior numbers of Arab mercenaries and the Duchy was forced to flee North to the protection of the Holy Roman Emperor where descendants remain today.

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Warre's Vintage Porto: 1994, 1983 and 1970

Port is a fortified wine—named for the city of Oporto, Portugal. It is also known as Vinho do Porto or simply Porto.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Port has a history of being the wine that men drank while smoking a cigar—after the women had left the room. That was then. Now women drink wine alongside the men at the bar.

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Lovely La Follette

Winemaker Greg La Follette makes magical Sonoma Coast wines.


By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Hands-on winemaker, Greg La Follette captures each vineyard’s terrior in the expression of his wines—as the wine labels illustrate. 

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Louis Martini

Louis M. Martini wines pair well with a juicy steak.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Winemaker Mike Martini recently visited Birmingham and shared his wines over a private steak dinner at Café Dupont. It was great to visit with Mike again, especially here in Birmingham—and always a pleasure to dine at Café Dupont.

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Flip Flop Wines

Affordable and Altruistic

FlipFlop’s varietal wines help put shoes on bare feet.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Recently Vintner, David Georges visited Birmingham. And we paired lunch at Dyron’s Lowcounty with his FlipFlop wines. The label’s name was inspired by the flip-flops that Georges wears around the winery. FlipFlop’s price per bottle is a mere $7 per bottle. And for every bottle of FlipFlop wine purchased, Soles4Souls distributes a pair of shoes to someone in need. More than 300 million children in the world are without shoes, exposing them to disease, injury, and preventing them from attending school. The goal for 2011 is 11 million pairs of shoes.

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Champagne Bollinger Rosť NV.

Toast with your loved one and feel like a king or queen yourself this Valentine’s Day with Champagne Bollinger Rosé NV.

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J. Schram 2003

America's Finest

Celebrate the New Year with the latest vintage of J. Schram.

By Jan Walsh

On a recent trip to Napa Valley, I lunched and tasted through the latest vintages of Schramsberg and J. Davies with Schramsberg Vineyard’s vintner Hugh Davies. The 2010 Harvest was just beginning. And Davies’ boyish excitement over a new vintage never wanes.

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Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2008

Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2008 is a gorgeous wine. It is bright, straw in color, has a crisp acidity and offers aromas and flavors of peaches, apples, pear and kiwi.

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Squeal!

Piggly Wiggly's Wines

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SCV Sauvignon Blanc 2009

2009 Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal aperitif wine and a delicious companion to food including fresh or grilled seafood, particularly oysters, crab and lobster, along with grilled or broiled chicken dishes and a wide range of cheeses.

 - Anthony Austin, Winemaker

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Conservancy Wines

Concannon Vineyard releases the most important wine series of its history.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Concannon Conservancy Chardonnay 2008 and Conservancy Petite Sirah 2007 reflect the true varietal character and unique terroir of the Livermore Valley. And they are a celebration of the preservation of Livermore Valley.

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The Slammer

From Big House Wines, this Syrah is sentenced to solidary confinement.

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Basico's Blanco 2008

Basico’s Blanco expresses its Spanish origin at exceptional value.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


From Spain to Birmingham, Basico wines are new to the Southeastern market. Among the wines debuting is their white wine, Basico’s Blanco 2008 ($8.99). At this price point Blanco makes a terrific “everyday” wine that won’t break the budget. Buy a case at most retailers and get a 10 percent discount too.

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Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Zinfandel 2007

New Year, New Wine

Uncork the 2007 vintage of Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Zinfandel.

By Jan Walsh


Photography by Beau Gustafson

I enjoy big reds on cold winter evenings. And Zinfandel is among my favorites to curl up with in front of a roaring fire. The Zinfandel grape is genetically equivalent to Crljenak Kaštelanski, the Croatian grape and the Primitivo variety from Italy. By the mid 19th Century, the grape—known by variations of the word, “Zinfandel”—had made its way to the United States. Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Zinfandel 2007 ($36.75) makes a perfect cold weather sipper.

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Affordable Bubbly

Make your holidays bright with Mionetto Prosecco Brut NV. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by BeauGustafson

I must admit that I am not a big fan of most Prosecco. There I said it. I love Champagne and typically find Prosecco less than a viable alternative. More often than not, I find Prosecco—flat and flabby.

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Big House Pink

So good and so inexpensive, it's almost criminal.

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Persistence

Reynolds Family’s signature wine is an estate select Cabernet Sauvignon blend, Persistence. Persistence Red Wine 2004 (54.99) is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petite Verdot.

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Amore 2007

Terra Valentine's Amore, is a special Sangiovese-based blend, created as an expression of our love of Super Tuscan style wines.

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Seduction 2006

A deep opaque wine with dark and brooding aromas of spicy black cherry and cassis. Juicy and focused flavors of pure wild berry and black cherry fruit with light cedary oak notes and enveloping spicy tannins that are firmly seductive.
 
Double Gold Medal Winner
- American Fine Wine Competition 2008

Inside each flap are 2 lines of poetry to celebrate the different relationships:
 
Lovers are the winds of passion
Fill your sails

Friends are the harbors of calm
Anchor your soul

You are the waters of clarity
Live your dreams.
 
- Bart O'Brien
 
So let someone know how special they are to you and your life with this thoughtful gift.

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Tattinger Brut La Francaise

Taittinger Brut La Francaise is one of Piggly Wiggly Birmingham’s featured Sparkling Wines in their Holiday Wine Newsletter, priced at $39.99, a full $17 less than its regular suggested retail price. This is an exquisite Champagne being offered at an exceptional value. Tis the season for Champagnes and Sparkling Wines!

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Roederer Estate

While the turkey is resting so should you. Uncork a bottle of bubbly.

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Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs

Village Wine Market's Thomas LaBoone selects this non-vintage sparkling wine as the wine of the month for October.

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2006 Gunderloch Riesling Kabinett, "Jean Baptiste"

Local wine consultant Foster Smith selects 2006 Gunderloch Riesling Kabinett, “Jean Baptiste” as Wine of the Month for September.

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Writer's Block Pinot Noir 2007

This wine speaks for itself.

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Jeriko Estate Brut 2005 - NEW VINTAGE RELEASE

Blanc de blanc brut ($38.95) produced methode champenoise, the first and only sparkling crafted from organically grown & certified grapes in the US. Delightful bubble structure, crisp & bright fruit, with refreshing effervescent acidity.

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Damian Rae Sauvignon Blanc 2007

June temperatures call for a Sauvignon Blanc. And this Damian Rae Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($22) is the inaugural white wine from Damian Rae Winery.

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Terlato Angel's Peak

Doug Fletcher creates “Peak” wines using fruit from Napa Valley and traditional Bordeaux methods to produce wines with drinkability, complexity and age-worthiness.

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Buena Vista 2005 Carneros Chardonnay

While Pinot is the rising star of Carneros, the region first earned its name for Chardonnays characterized by rich apple, pear and pineapple flavors and crisp acidity. Harvested from our estate vineyrads, this Chardonnay is beautifully balanced. Tropical fruit flavors are integrated with almond and spicy oak nuances. Flavors of ripe yellow apples open up to coconut, pineapple and banana with a lingering nutty finish.

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Concannon Selected Vineyards 2006

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Irish vintner, Jim Concannon's Selected Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2006!

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Seduction 2005

For Valentine's Day, just like your love, this wine will age well for 10 years or more.

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Flora Springs 2004 Trilogy

The 2004 is the 20th vintage of Trilogy for Flora Springs, and it was one
of the first Meritage blends to be made in California. Named for the
three Bordeaux varietals that went into the original blend in
1984—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc—the wine now
includes Petit Verdot and Malbec.

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J. Davies 2004

This wine was first introduced to Birmingham last year when Hugh Davies, winemaker and president of J. Davies Vineyards and Schramsberg Vineyards, poured with wine at a winemaker dinner at the Hot & Hot Fish Club, for the Birmingham Chapter of IWFS.

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2000 J. Schram

From the inception of our efforts in 1965, we have sought to achieve the greatest elegance and individuality possible in our sparkling wines. J. Schram epitomizes our philosophy to create an artisanal wine in which no effort has been spared and no care has been omitted. This wine is a fine expression of American individuality and innovation. It is our very best Chardonnay-based Brut sparkling wine already aged seven years.

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Wente Riverbank Riesling 2006

From Arroyo Seco, Monterey, Riverbank Riesling 2006 offers crisp notes of honeysuckle and floral lychee.

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Rodney Strong Vineyards Charlottes Home Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Perfect for July sipping! This 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc wine is light and crisp with aromas of pear and melon leading flavors of citrus fruit, mineral, and herb. It has 13.5 percent alcohol. Drink now or within the next two years. Suggested retail price is $14. - Jan Walsh

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Foppiano Vineyards Estate Russian River Pinot Noir 2005

Foppiano wines are tried and true, time after time, and vintage after vintage.

Foppiano Vineyards have been owned by the Foppiano family since 1896. And the small block of 30-year-old vines, which grow Pinot Noir grapes is at the heart of this property.

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2002 J Vintage Brut Russian River Valley

This week Birmingham Wine launches its new feature Wine of the Month.

Everything from whites, reds, rosés, and sparklers will be uncorked. Yes, many will be tasted, but only one can be the Wine of the Month.

Get a taste of it!

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