Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wine & Salami

Life is a miracle to begin with, right?  And then on top of that you have these times when all of the stars are aligned perfectly, as they say, and you experience a slice of heaven to which, all you can say is, "I am not worthy!".  Perhaps I over-dramatize.

Monday of this week was a good day business-wise but in the middle of the afternoon one of my vendors walked in with four Tuscan reds including the great 2007 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino.  Whew! Shortly after he arrived I received a food order out of Chicago that included a couple of Bende Hungarian Salamis and without hesitation I proceded to dissect one to enjoy with that Brunello.  Double whew!  Man, when it is right, it is indeed right!

Then on Tuesday another wine vendor opened up an inexpensive Spanish red and of course I brought out the salami and again the combination was magical.  This particular vendor is a trained chef, so just like tasting wine with a sommelier, I felt validated by his pronouncements about the combination.  These happenings give the struggling small business guy hope and validation that there is more to this endeavor than selling just any commodity.  This can be real special.

Now, just so I feel like I'm giving you something substantive, here is a brief dab about Brunello.  Brunello di Montalcino is a vineyard that surrounds the town of Montalcino 120km south of Florence in Tuscany.  Brunello is the diminutive of Bruno which means "brown" and was the name of the grape there until ampelographers in 1879 decided the grape was, in fact, Sangiovese.  Recently we blogged here about Italian Barbaresco and the modern history of Brunello is similar; Biondi-Santi owned the production of Brunello until the advent of the twentieth century when that elite wine was democratized (sort of) with other players getting into the act.  Caparzo is now in the store and priced at $50/btl.

The inexpensive Spanish red from Tuesday was Finca del Castillo from La Mancha but I'm not so sure that the real story isn't the importer, a company that is composed solely by sommeliere-credentialed principals.  Intrigued?  I am.  Perhaps their most successful wine is the always reliable, Kris Pinot Grigio.  Again, in the past we blogged about bulk wine production here and we learned that 60% of Spanish wine is sold in bulk.  I believe that fact, combined with the recession, explains why these inexpensive Spanish reds are so good.  Finca sells for $7.99/btl.

The salami is, of course, different than wine and it is sort of a commodity but a commodity with a secret recipe, although Hungarian Paprika would have to play a prominant role.  You can learn as much as I know by going to   What do they say about not wanting to know too much about how sausage is made?

On Friday February 15th from 5 to 7pm, David Rimmer of Artisan Vines will be pouring his great european offerings here and, you know what, there just might be some Hungarian salami on the table.  David is a veteran of this business and a self-defined "Georgia country boy" so expect information and entertainment.  Please join us.


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