LIVE LIKE AN ITALIAN

Taste with Mazzoni winemaker @BrunelloMaker in New York City

alessandro bindocci winemaker large

Mazzoni winemaker Alessandro Bindocci (pictured above in a seminar he led last week in Austin, Texas) is making his New York Wine Experience debut this week, pouring the Tenuta Il Poggione 2007 Brunello di Montalcino (see details below). He is also pouring his wines at the Terlato Wines International Trade tasting (details below).

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Terlato Wines Tasting
Harlow
111 East 56th Street
between Park & Madison Aves
New York NY
tel. 212-935-6600

Featured Wines: Rosso di Montalcino 2011, Brunello di Montalcino 2007, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Paganelli 2007, and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Paganelli 2006 (magnum)

6:30 pm – 10:00 pm
New York Wine Experience Grand Tasting
New York Marriott Marquis
5th floor ballroom
1535 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
tel. 212-398-1900

Featured Wine: Brunello di Montalcino 2007 – booth #6348


Buon giorno! Speak like an Italian

vaporetto venice water bus

Above: The “vaporetto” or “water bus” of Venice.

One of the most important things to remember when you travel to Italy is that Italian reserve ciao as a salutation for friends and family. Buon giorno (good day) and buona sera (good evening) are used in any and all professional settings and when strangers meet and/or interact.

Most don’t realize that if you say ciao to someone you don’t know, it could be interpreted as condescension or an insult. (When you address someone you don’t know with ciao, it implies that you belong to a higher rung in the social ladder. The President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano can say ciao to someone he meets in a shop, for example, but if you or I say ciao to a salesperson in a shop, it will be met with a cold shoulder.)

So whether you dine in a restaurant, visit a retail shop, or buy a ticket for the vaporetto water bus in Venice, always use buon giorno (boo’OHN JOHR-noh) or buona sera (boo’OHN-ah SEH-rah) to greet the waiter, salesperson, or ticket seller.

These expressions can also be used to say good-bye. For the next post in our “speak like an Italian” series, we’ll write about good-byes. :)


Fruttivendolo: the Italian fresh fruit & produce vendor

fruttivendolo

Italians love LOVE fresh fruit.

And they serve fresh fruit at nearly every meal.

When you visit Italy’s major cities, it seems that nearly every neighborhood has its own fruttivendolo (FROOT-tee-VEHN-doh-loh), a store that sells primarily fruit (as well as produce and other groceries).

Of course, who wouldn’t eat that much fresh fruit if you had the natural abundance of gorgeous, delicious fresh fruit that the Italians do?

When you visit a fruttivendolo, be sure not to touch the merchandise.

Have a look at want you want and then tell the shopkeeper how much you want of each fruit (in weight).

She/he will weigh and bag it for you.


Harvest for Mazzoni whites has begun…

Earlier this week, we received this dispatch from the Tenuta il Poggione in the heart of Tuscany where winemaker Alessandro Bindocci makes Mazzoni wines…

moscato grapes tuscany

On Monday morning we were planning to begin the harvest of the white grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Moscadello di Montalcino.

But at 5 a.m. there was a strong rainfall, which lasted until 6 a.m. It forced us to postpone the picking until tomorrow.

But this is not a problem. The rain does not create damage to the grapes.

The white grapes are at the right point of ripening. They are healthy and have the right ratio of acidity to sugars.

It’s still too early to begin picking the Vermentino grapes. We will surely have to wait another ten days.


Dress like an Italian: Mazzoni has a new look! #italy #fashion

best tuscan white wine tuscany

The soon-to-arrive new vintages of the Mazzoni line of wines has a new look.

And our Bianco di Toscana is now called simply “Vermentino-Chardonnay.”

Look for the new labels coming soon!


A tale of two Italian families

From the current issue of Southern Beverage Journal:

Vineyard 0713.indd


La passeggiata (stroll like an Italian)

Above: Una passeggiata in Brindisi (Apulia). Photo via Where to Go in Italy.

As the workday winds down and the hot summer sun begins to loosen its grip on the local central piazza, Italians take to the streets to perform a time-honored social ritual called la passeggiata (lah PAHS-seh-JAH-tah).

From young lovers to elderly couples to entire extended families, the locals take a leisurely stroll arm-in-arm to see and be seen. La passeggiata is performed in some of the most famous main streets and piazze in the world (from Piazza Spagna in Rome to Piazza San Marco in Venice), but even in the smallest villages, the local population comes out for a pre-dinner strut.

This is a time for catching up with friends, showing off new babies, and hearing the gossip about town. It is also customary in the larger cities to incorporate aperitivo into the passeggiata.

Seaside towns in the summer have an especially lively passeggiata. The hours can to extend to midnight, with the second passeggiata taking place after dinner. Children (and adults!) devour a fresh gelato while feeling the warm sea breeze and enjoying people-watching in the vacationing crowd.

If you want to fare la passeggiata like an Italian, leave your fanny packs at home. Put on your flashy new clothes, best cologne, and join the crowd!


Ferragosto: Italy goes on vacation in August

chiuso per ferie sign

Ferragosto, for the vast majority of Italians, means one thing: HOLIDAY. It’s a time of mass exodus from the cities to the beaches and mountains. Store fronts are shuttered with signs saying Chiuso per ferie or closed for vacation, and normally bustling town centers become deserted.

The date August 15is technically the day of Ferragosto, but the typical break period is the entire month of August. (Though nowadays we are seeing a trend toward a shorter 2 week vacation.)

Ferragosto, however, is not an arbitrarily designated holiday. Like most things Italian, it has its roots in antiquity. The term itself is a derivative of the Latin feriae Augusti, which is a reference to the fact the original holidays were implemented by emperor Augustus in the first century B.C. This “bank holiday” of sorts coincided with the already practiced harvest festivities to grant a nice time of rest after the hard agricultural labor cycle.

August 15 is also the day when the assumption of the virgin Mary is observed.

If you plan to visit Italy in August, just remember that you may find much of the tourist cities chiuso per ferie… Head to the beach instead and join the Italian masses in celebration of a much-anticipated time of year.


How do you say ‘have a good weekend’ in Italian?

Here’s a list of simple Italian sayings that can really come in handy, especially when you’re trying to say have a great weekend!

Work/Study

Buon lavoro = may your work be fruitful.
Buona lettura = enjoy your reading.
Buona lezione = may the lecture/class be fruitful.
Buon seminario = may the seminar/class be fruitful.
Buono studio = may your study be fruitful.

Senses

Buon appetito = enjoy your food.
Buon ascolto = enjoy the music [listening].
Buona degustazione = enjoy the tasting.
Buona spaghettata = enjoy your spaghetti [pasta].
Buona visione = enjoy the movie.

Travel/Recreation

Buona continuazione = enjoy the rest of your day/activity.
Buona domenica = enjoy your day of rest [the day of the Lord].
Buone feste = happy holidays.
Buon fine settimana [buon weekend] = have a great weekend.
Buona permanenza = enjoy your stay.
Buon proseguimento = enjoy the rest of your stay/activity.
Buone vacanze = enjoy your vacation.
Buon viaggio = have a safe trip.
Buon volo = have a safe flight.
Buon weekend [buon fine settimana] = have a great weekend.

Health/Rest

Buona guarigione = I wish you a speedy recovery.
Buon riposo = sleep well [get well soon].

Greetings/Salutation

Buona giornata = have a great day.
Buon giorno = good day [greetings].
Buona notte = good night [good-bye].
Buon pomeriggio = good afternoon [greetings].
Buona sera = good evening [greetings].
Buona serata = have a great evening.

Which ones are we missing? Please feel free to add others in the comment section…


Michelangelo’s self portrait in Siena

A post today from Mazzoni winemaker Alessandro Bindocci:

michelangelo self portrait

The land where we make wine is in the province of Siena. It takes about 40 minutes from my house in Sant’Angelo in Colle, depending on how fast you drive, to get to the historical centre of Siena.

Siena is one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Italy and it is also home to the Enoteca Nazionale, which is a wine store and education studio where you can learn about and taste wines from all the regions of Italy.

There are many amazing works of art and things to see in Siena.

In 2009 the Duomo of Siena unveiled four restored statues by Michelangelo Buonarotti, including his depiction of San Paolo (St. Paul) which is considered the Renaissance master’s earliest self-portrait.

This is just one of the many amazing things to visit this summer if you are coming to the Montalcino and Sant’Angelo in Colle wine country.

—Alessandro Bindocci

Image via Wikipedia.


Scholar identifies 250 Italian hand gestures!

italian hand gestures

If you like living like an Italian as much as we do, then we know you’re going to love this wonderful piece (and accompanying video) in today’s New York Times on Italian hand gestures.

According to the story, an Italian scholar has identified 250 hand gestures commonly used by Italians in every day speech.


Top blogger Chris Kassel: Mazzoni Pinot Grigio “a remarkable incarnation of the grape”

Mazzoni Pinot Grigio is “a remarkable incarnation of the grape” writes wine blogger Chris Kassel on his popular wine blog, Intoxicology Report.

The wine delivers “a vibrant and lush cornucopia of tropical flavors—pineapple, mango and a hint of banana along with shivery acidity, pronounced minerality and a rich, fruit-filled finish.”

Click here for the complete review.

mazzoni pinot grigio best


Congratulazioni, Ed and Amy, winners of the Live Like an Italian Sweepstakes!

wine sweepstakes facebook

Above, from left: Will Rogers (Mazzoni ambassador) with Live Like an Italian Sweepstakes winners Ed and Amy from Atlanta.

Ed and Mary from Atlanta were this week’s winners of the Live Like an Italian Sweepstakes.

Their prizes included a stove-top coffeemaker by Bialetti, an icon of Italian coffee.

Click here to read more.

And click here to enter the sweepstakes online.


TTB compliance publisher information

In accordance with new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau policy requiring wine industry social media to report publishing information, we would like to share the following:

Live Like an Italian is published by Terlato Wines International, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA.

terlato logo ttb compliance


Italy has a new prime minister

italian prime minister

Image via Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s blog.

From Wikipedia:

Letta received from the president Giorgio Napolitano on 24 April 2013 the task of forming a new government, after weeks of deadlock following the 2013 general election. On 27 April 2013, Letta formally accepted the task of heading a new grand coalition government (with support from his party, right-wing People of Freedom and the centrist Civic Choice) and presented the list of members of his cabinet.

The third youngest Italian to become head of state, Letta became Italy’s first prime minister to appoint an African Italian to a government post when he made Cécile Kyenge his minister of Integration.

Click here for New York Times coverage of Italy’s new government.


Live Like an Italian Sweepstakes is LIVE!

live like an italian

Click here to enter the Live Like an Italian Sweepstakes!

Here are some of the fun prizes you can win:

Live Like an Italian Messenger Bag

Italian Stove Top Coffee Maker Bialetti 6800 Moka Express 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker

Stainless Steel Milk Frother HIC Brands that Cook Stainless Steel Milk Frother

Lavazza Italian Espresso Ground Coffee 8.8-Ounce Brick

Click here to enter and win!


The world of wine mourns the passing of Franco Biondi Santi

Today, the world of wine mourns the loss of Franco Biondi Santi, one of the greatest producers of Brunello di Montalcino. The following is a translation of a press release issued by the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino, including a remembrance by consortium president Fabrizio Bindocci, winemaker at the Tenuta Il Poggione where Mazzoni wines are produced.

“One of the greatest symbols of Italian wine’s quality and excellence in the world has passed away. Without a doubt, he was one of the most important architects of the success of Brunello di Montalino on an international level. Thanks to him, Brunello is one of the best known and most appreciated made-in-Italy brands. With his passing, the Consortium and the entire appellation not only lose a great producer but also a very great man who was known for his profound sensibility and humanity. We owe a great deal to him and we are sure that his example and his ability will be carried forward by those who will succeed him in his leadership at the winery. The next time that the Council meets, it will consider potential initiatives to honor his memory in the best way possible.”

These were the words with which the President of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino Fabrizio Bindoci remembered Franco Biondi Santi, who had led the Tenuta Greppo di Montalcino since the 1970s.

The Mayor of Montalcino, Silvio Franceshelli, also shared his condolences with the Biondi Santi family and added: “I am profoundly saddened by the passing of a figure who gave a great deal to this land. It is thanks to him that Montalcino is so well known throughout the world and at such a high level. He was a man who enriched Montalcino and we will forever be grateful.”

In 1934, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry recognized Franco Biondi Santi’s grandfather Ferruccio as the “inventor of Brunello.” In 1994, Decanter awarded 10/10 (a perfect score) to the 1891, a wine that was 103 years old at the time. In 1999, Wine Spectator rated the 1955 Riserva as one of the “best twelve wines produced in the world in the twentieth century.”


Buona Pasqua… rosemary for Easter

rosemary bumble bee

Above: A bee feasts on the blossoming flowers of a rosemary bush. Easter and the arrival of spring are a time of renewal and rebirth.

In many ways, Easter is a “bigger” holiday in Italy than Christmas is.

Indeed, until the time of the Napoleonic conquest, many Italian city states observed and celebrated the new year at Easter and not the week after Christmas as they do now.

rosemary trulli

Above: A wild rosemary bush in Puglia.

Easter and the official arrival of spring are a time of renewal and rebirth. And while many Italian families certainly will gather for Christmas celebrations in December in their hometowns, Easter is the yearly holiday that nearly all families will celebrate together.

And no Easter celebration is complete without roast “Paschal” lamb that has been seasoned with rosemary, a traditional spice used in Italy — especially southern Italy — for lamb.

Happy Easter to you and your family from the family at the Live Like an Italian blog.

We’ll see you next week. Buona pasqua…


More snow in Montalcino where Mazzoni wines are made

weather tuscany snow

On his blog Montalcino Report, Mazzoni winemaker Alessandro Bindocci reports rain and snow in Montalcino today.

But as bothersome as the snow and rain can be, he says, they are good for the vines.

Click here to read what he has to say…


Emilio Pucci, the darling designer of the 1960s

Emilio Pucci, the darling designer of the 1960s icons such as Sophia Loren, Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, lived a charmed life and nurtured a successful career in the international fashion industry.

Born into Florentine nobility in 1914, Emilio Pucci lived a life of privilege from the very beginning. An avid skiier, Pucci was awarded a scholarship to Reed College in Oregon, which would later provide him with one of his first prefessional design opportunities.

Shortly after World War II, while skiing in Switzerland, a photographer from Harper’s Bazaar asked Emilio to design a line of ski wear for a winter edition of the magazine. His use of fitted, stretchy fabrics caused an immediate sensation.

The international jet-set quickly became fans of Pucci’s designs while passing through the resort island, where he lived. This caught the attention of such famous stores as Neiman Marcus, whose owner encouraged him to expand his line from bikinis and scarves to blouses and beyond. His fame in America was solidified and his brightly-colored, geometric patterns became ubiquitous among the fashion savvy.

Pucci was commissioned to design uniforms for Braniff Airlines and he even designed a logo for the Apollo 15 space mission.

His marriage to Baronessa Cristina Nannini produced a daughter, Laudomia, who would design for the label after Pucci’s death in 1992. Luxury giant Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessy bought a controlling stake in the company 2000 and began to bring in famous designers to create for the label such as Christian Lacroix.

The recognizable swirls and angles of Pucci’s prints remain a staple of high fashion and wardrobes of the jet-set today. They have achieved a classic status in the fickle fashion industry, a significant accomplishment by any measure.

emilio pucci design

Image via Wikipedia.


Presepio: the Nativity Scene in Italy

The nativity scene is part of the popular Christmas iconography all over the Christian world, but nowhere is it elevated to such an art form as it is in Naples.

While Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with introducing the first living nativity scene in 1223, scenes with statues are mentioned in Neapolitan church documents as early as 1025. The current style of presepio napoletano, however, began its evolution in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

presepio italia christmas

A Neapolitan nativity scene (image via the Wiki).

What sets them apart is that the holy figures are set in the midst of scenes from every day life, usually life from the eighteenth century. Great pride is taken in the construction of these pieces which is respected as a true art form in all of Campania.

The nativity scene is of greater cultural importance than the Christmas tree and is constructed and displayed in most homes on December 8, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. The baby Jesus figurine is placed in its crib on the night of Christmas Eve.

On via San Gregorio Armeno in the heart of Naples’ historic center, artisan shops sell presepio scenes and figurines year round. In addition to the holy characters, the classic characters to be found in the nativity scenes include the pulcinello, fisherman, monk, female gypsy, and Bacchus.

Recently, many artisans have taken to creating figurines of contemporary characters as well. The famous Neapolitan comedic actor Totò is probably the most popular, along with Eduardo de Filippo. Prominent Italian politicians can even be found, as well as Americans such as Barak Obama.


St. Nick’s Italian origins

saint nick italy venice bari

Above: San Nicola di Bari as depicted in a panel from the Dowry for Three Virgins by Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427).

Saint Nick is not only a popular cultural icon in the United States, he is celebrated and honored in Italy as well on December 6th, the feast of San Nicola.

Born in 270 AD, San Nicola was raised in the former ancient Greek port city of Myra, in modern-day Turkey. His parents were wealthy, but died in an epidemic when he was young. Nicola was raised by his uncle to be a priest, and he eventually became bishop of his city.

In his life, he was known for his generosity, having given his entire inheritance to help the poor. The most popular story of San Nicola is that he helped a destitute man with three young daughters who had no money for a dowry. In those days, lacking a dowry meant that a girl was destined to be sold into slavery, most likely as a prostitute. Hearing his story, Nicola secretly tossed a bag of gold through the man’s window on the three occasions of the daughters’ coming-of-age. These bags are said to have landed in the shoes left by the fire overnight to dry (some say the bags landed in their socks) giving birth to the tradition of hanging stockings for Saint Nick.

He is also the patron saint of sailors (among many other things) and many namesake churches have been erected in port cities all over Europe. Traveling back from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, his ship encountered a horrific storm. As the sailors panicked, Nicola quietly prayed and the storm ceased. For this he is associated with protecting the seafaring men of the world.

San Nicola is the patron saint of Bari, where half of his relics are stored in the Basilica di San Nicola. It is said that inhabitants of this city sought to save his remains from the impending Islamic occupation. In 1087, they took the larger bones and left the smaller pieces, which were eventually transferred to a church in Venice.

The Festa di San Nicola marks the beginning of the Italian Christmas holidays and children all over Italy receive a gift from him on December 6th. He gave birth the the Italian icon, Babbo Natale (Father Christmas), and the jolly Santa Claus that we know and love in the United States.

Happy holidays, everyone!


Italian musical great Jovanotti makes an American crossover

Ever heard of Jovanotti? Well, keep your ears open because he is making a grand attempt at an American crossover.

Jovanotti (real name Lorenzo Cherubini) is an mega-star in Italy. He’s been on the scene since the late 80s. His music started out as fun, ebullient rapping, but very quickly evolved into songs with a socio-politcal conscience.

His most famous song, l’Ombelico del Mondo, is a true party anthem that is still faithfully played in discoteche all over Europe.

A few years ago, Jovanotti put up shop in New York to begin winning Americans over, one small venue at a time. In October, he kicked off a domestic tour that included club dates along the east coast, an Austin CIty Limits gig, as well as a date in LA and some smattered across the midwest.

He has been in the hearts of Italians the fabric of their culture for decades and whether you know him now or not, he is soon to become a household name in the USA as well.

His most recent release is Italia 1988-2012. Check it out!

Image via Wikimedia Commons.


Mazzoni Pinot Grigio is here!

The Live Like an Italian blog is thrilled to announce the arrival of Mazzoni Pinot Grigio, the latest release from the historic partnership between two of the wine world’s greatest families — the Franceschi family in Montalcino and the Terlato family in the U.S.

(Click here to read about the two families’ relationship, now spanning two generations.)

There’s a reason why Pinot Grigio has become a household name in the U.S.: it’s the ideal grape for producing crisp, fresh, and refreshing white wine with balanced alcohol and bright tropical and citrus fruit aromas and flavors.

In Europe, wine lovers have known this for centuries. But in the U.S., it wasn’t until Anthony “Tony” Terlato — the patriarch of the Terlato family — first introduced a Pinot Grigio to American consumers in the late 1970s that the grape variety began to began to explode on the American wine scene.

Tony had traveled to Italy in search of the next great white wine from Europe and it didn’t take long before he realized that Pinot Grigio had all the right stuff to become America’s favorite white wine. (He retells the story in his autobiography, Taste: A Life in Wine.)

Mazzoni’s Pinot Grigio is made from hand-picked Pinot Grigio grapes grown in the high elevations of Montalcino (where Brunello di Montalcino is made). The altitude is essential: cool summer evenings are what helps the winemaker obtain the classic crispness in the wine and achieve the freshness that makes Pinot Grigio such a wonderful wine for pairing with food.

No one knows Pinot Grigio better than the Terlato family. This is just one of the reasons they asked the Franceschi family to help them create this wine: expertise in fine winemaking and some of the best growing sites in Tuscany make this wine one of the most exciting arrivals from Italy in years.

Click here to email a Mazzoni specialist for more information on where to find Mazzoni Pinot Grigio.


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