Robin Kelley O’Connor (@InsideIWM): Barone Pizzini rosé “clearly at the top of its class”

Robin Kelley O'Connor“Clearly is at the top of its class of anything of its type made in Italy,” writes Robin Kelley O’Connor (left) for the Italian Wine Merchants website, “the Barone Pizzini Rosé Franciacorta NV is a sparkler that puts Champagne on notice. The Barone Pizzini estate in Franciacorta, located in the province of Lombardia, in an idyllic setting of rolling hills in the district of Lake Iseo with an ever present view of the Alps. Franciacorta, a DOCG, is not only the name of the winemaking district but it also indicates the production method known as ‘metodo classico,’ the same protocol used in Champagne. Made from a typical Champagne grape blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, this wine derives from organic grapes and it has a low production of 19,200 bottles. This wine has a lovely salmon color with an aroma of raspberries, strawberries and red flowers. On the palate, it’s flavorful with loads of red fruit flavors and a long extended finish. It’s pure class.”

Robin is a leading U.S. wine authority and a thirty-year veteran of the trade. Here’s his bio from the Paulée website (the Paulée New York is one of the city’s premier wine events).

A leading wine educator, international wine judge, wine writer, and sommelier, Robin Kelley O’Connor recently joined Italian Wine Merchants (IWM), where he’ll be adding his thirty years of experience, authority and passion to seminars, dinner events, sales, offerings and wine education. In addition O’Connor is currently involved in the wine program at Tark’s Restaurant in Lutherville, Maryland outside of his native Baltimore. Robin was previously Lead Specialist & Head of Wine, Americas for Christie’s Auction House. Prior to Christie’s, he was Director of Sales and Education for Manhattan wine and spirits retailer Sherry-Lehmann. Preceding Sherry-Lehmann, he was Trade Liaison and director of trade and consumer education in the Americas for the Bordeaux Wine Bureau for 20 years. Robin holds Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Wine Educator (CWE) certifications from the Society of Wine Educators and passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Certified Sommelier exam. As a popular wine educator and spokesperson, he has conducted over 2,500 seminars; written for the Trenton Times, Santé Magazine, Wine & Spirit; and served as senior editor for Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course 25th Anniversary Edition. For over a year during 2008-2009 he traveled around the world with Kevin visiting over 20 countries, 80 wine regions, 500 appellations and tasted more than 7,000 wines.

Franciacorta in Naples! Scenes from the festival and a word from Silvano

Franciacorta traveled south to Naples earlier this week for the AIS (Italian Sommelier Association) Franciacorta festival and tasting.

Barone Pizzini was there, as was Barone Pizzini general manager Silvano Brescianini, who also serves as the Franciacorta consortium vice president (you’ll see him toward the end of the video).

@DragoCentro, where LA chic meets authentic Italian

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Rarely do you see such an impressive list of accolades for any restaurant, anywhere, like that on the Drago Centro website.

It’s been included in “best of” lists by acclaimed LA food writer Jonathan Gold and LA Magazine this year alone.

And check out this wonderful profile by LA Times restaurant critic Irene Virbila who covered chef and owner Celestino Drago’s knighting by the Italian government this year.

Drago is simply one of the city’s most beloved and respected chefs and he’s been cooking there since 1979 when he first arrived from his native Sicily.

Today his new see-and-be-seen restaurant resides in a former bank vault in downtown LA (how cool is that?).

But forget the celebrity watching. Go for the superb innovative and authentic Italian cuisine. And go for the Barone Pizzini, which were very proud to say, is now on his wine list.

Drago Centro
525 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-8998
Google map

Image via the Drago Centro Facebook.

92 points & a great review from the German wine guide Falstaff for our Verdicchio

Pievalta 2013 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Superiore
92 points

Subtle aromas of ripe pear, yeasty notes layered over a mineral base. Full-bodied flavor but also fresh, salty, with a lingering finish. On the palate, this wine delivers on great expectations without ever tasting manipulated and always remaining fresh. Pair it with anything that tastes like the sea.

(Translated from the German.)

falstaff german wine magazine ratings

@VinoRoma: 2005 Bagnadore “because I’m worth it”

best franciacorta riserva cru

Above: Italy’s leading English-language wine educator Hande Leimer posted the photo above on her social media earlier this week. “Because I’m worth it,” she wrote.

We’ve written about our favorite Rome-based, English-language wine educator Hande Leimer, aka @VinoRoma, before (click here for the post).

We couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s a fan of Barone Pizzini’s wines.

And we’re proud to share the news that she popped a bottle of the 2005 Bagnadore Riserva this week, as she put it, simply “because I’m worth it.”

That’s what a special occasion wine — the Bagnadore is the top label at Barone Pizzini — is all about, right?

Thank you, Hande! We’re glad to see that you’re enjoying the finer things in life. :)

L’Espresso wine guide awards “Excellence” prize to Barone Pizzini 2008 Franciacorta Pas Dosé Riserva Bagnadore

We are thrilled to share the news that the editors of the Espresso guide to Italian wines — one of the most prestigious and respected of the Italian wine guides published each year — have awarded the “Vini dell’Eccellenza” (“Wines of Excellence”) prize to the Barone Pizzini 2008 Franciacorta Pas Dosé Riserva Bagnadore.

Approximately 25,000 wines were tasted by the editors. Of these, 263 — including the Bagnadore — received a score of 18 or more (out of 20), thus obtaining the coveted “Vini d’Eccellenza” classification.

Click here for the complete list.

best italian wine guide 2015

espresso guide italian wines 2015

Is Verdicchio Italy’s next big thing? Only Barolo wins more Slow Wine awards

verdicchio tufo soil limestone

Above: Pievalta grape grower and winemaker Alessandro Fenino shows a piece of tufo (“calcareous tufa” in English) taken from his top growing site, San Paolo. He attributes Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi’s longevity and its potential for greatness to this soil type.

According to an analysis conducted by the Italian online media outlet, only Barolo (winner of 37 of 663 awards) surpassed Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica (22 awards) in the number of top accolades awarded to the appellation’s wines in the 2015 edition of the prestigious Slow Wine Guide.

Even Brunello di Montalcino (19 awards), write the WineNews editors, struggled to keep up with Verdicchio in its number of awards.

Could be the next next-big-thing wine to emerge from the Italian wine world?

Gauging from the growing number of accolades, it would seem so.

Pievalta received two awards from the editors of the 2015 guide:

Vino Slow (Slow Wine Award) for the Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Ris. Cl. San Paolo 2012.

Vino Quotidiano (Outstanding Daily Wine Award) for the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Cl. Sup. Pievalta 2013.