Tag Archives: wine

Alois Family Wines, drinking like it’s the year 1700 A.D.

Cost: $14.99-$40.00

Where buy now: Thomas Liquors, Zipp’s Liquors, Solo Vino & France 44

Grapes: Casavecchia, Pallagrello, Falanghina, Aglianico

Region: Campania, Italy

Vintage: See below.

Alois Wines
Alois Wines


Any time an Italian man comes to town, you’ll know where to find me. I’ll be bellied up at the tasting bar trying my hand at broken Italian, slurring the few phrases I can still recite from my two years of University study. I always begin with my favorite, “Guarde le stelle, la luna e tu; tutte le cose belle delle notte.” Translation: “Look at the stars, the moon and you; all the beautiful things of the night.

Off the record, in my early 20s, this phrase garnered lots of Italian tail. (By the way, that’s not true. At all.)

Ahem, I digress, I’m here to tell you about an Italian winemaker, Massimo Alois (Ahl-oys), from Campania, Italy. He was recently in town pouring samples of his family’s wines at Zipp’s Liquors.

Here is  Fred (from Rootstock Wine Company, responsible for Massimo’s precious cargo) & Massimo.

Fred & Massimo
Fred & Massimo

Here is Massimo, Peter (from Thomas Liquors) and me. Psst – 25% off sale right now through Oct. 18!

Massimo, Peter & Me
Massimo, Peter & Me

Massimo is a lovely man who speaks terrific English. He’s ready and willing to answer any questions and explain about the wines, family history and vineyards.

Massimo, along with his father, Michele Alois, have a rich history. I’ll spare you the full-on nerdery in favor of the Cliff’s Notes version.  After all, there’s wine to drink, people.

The Alois name is synonymous around the world for it’s rich silks and tapestries. This is evident in places such as the White House, Italian Parliament and even the Louvre. The Alois factory, located in Caserta, began in 1885 and continues to this day. In 1992, Michele decided to begin foraging and planting native grapes. In concert with the Universities of Napoli and Firenza, he started cultivating a forgotten strain of indigenous ancient Roman  grapes. I think it’s incredible that grapes such as Casavecchia or Pallagrello (Ferdinando IV of the Bourbon family, King of Naples from 1751 to 1825, fave) survived the Phylloxera outbreak of the late 1800s! [Man, I LOVE that Brad Mitt movie!] Today, the Alois family still has ties to the silk factory; however, winemaking has become the main family passion.

The vineyards are situated about 15 miles from Mt. Vesuvius, which is still an active volcano. (Yikes!) Because of this proximity, much of the vines grow from volcanic soil, giving the wines an added layer of minerality. Some say “ashy”,  but I think that sounds gross, and frankly do not detect that in these wines.

I would have bought them all if I wasn’t saving for a NYC vacation. Alas, I came away with these three:

Caitî 2012 – 100% Pallagrello Bianco. Gold in color, rich in tropical fruit, and followed up with balanced acidity. This reminded me of a tart Chablis. Patio perfect to have alongside a nicoise salad, grass fed llama reduction foam, or tuna tartare. (Who am I kidding, I’ve never eaten any of that on my patio.) Drink it with any salad or a tuna fish sandwich. Very palate pleasing!

Settima 2010 – Blend of Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia. Oh Madone! This gal is a-spicy little a-number. Hints of smoke swirl among the spices, red berries, toasted plum skins and strong tannins. Drink this Old World hottie up with fatty sausages or meatballs.

Murella 2008 – 100% Pallagrello Nero. This red wine is smooth, voluptuous, even. If Helen Mirren was a wine, she’d be Murella. This wine has such finesse and grace. She doesn’t need to slap you across the face; she, alone, draws you in with her charm, leaving you wanting more.

The real importance here is your bragging rights to say “I am drinking like a king.” Thanks King Ferdinando IV!

The tides are turning along with the leaves, get out your pot (cooking vessel) and make a big ‘ol vat of chili, Italian “gravy”, beef stew or some other classic stick-to-your-ribs dish. Ladle it up in a bowl, tear a hunk of bread and pop one of these wines.

Now, for a taste of full-on nerdery, including a regional map, list of varietals and wines, read below. Otherwise, as my husband might say: “BON APPETITO!” (He has literally never once said that.)

Read in detail here.

Mitolo “Jester” Vermentino


Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: Zipp’s

Grapes: Vermentino

Region: Australia

Vintage: 2011

Mitolo Jester Vermentino

What’s more depressing than sitting home alone on the most gorgeous evening of the year knowing that all your friends are rockin’ out to your favorite band?


Don’t feel sorry for me (not that you did)- I had every opportunity to join them.  And, make no mistake, I’m not trying to diss on anyone in attendance. I applaud your patience in fighting traffic and parking woes. I applaud your legs and stamina for hours of standing amongst thousands of sweaty drunkies. I even applaud your ability to enjoy a general admission concert. Alas, this is something I cannot get into.  No one act/rock-band/circus act could miraculously change that.

Unless the band was Wilco.

Wilco- now there’s a band that will transcend time. I’ve been a fan for years, watching and listening as the ever-evolving band moved from the “alt-country” (whatever the eff THAT means) of Uncle Tupelo, to the ruggedly dirty sweet A.M. and Being There, to the sullen beauty of Summerteeth and the Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie collaborations of Mermaid Avenue.  Then, to the major personnel overhaul (RIP Jay Bennett), the experimental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born; then on to the collaborative orchestra era ushered in with Sky Blue Sky and Wilco (the album), to the latest, perhaps greatest, Whole Love album. I love this band. I love the current line up; Jeff Tweedy (Frontman, song writer) Nels Cline (guitar), John Stirratt (bass), Glenn Kotche (drums) and the ever-so-cute [*sigh*] multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone.

And, contrary to popular belief, they are not just for 40-something white dads.  Having never fathered a child, and being a shade under the 40-year mark, I am proof positive.

How does the Savvy Lush cope with such failure?  Why, I drank myself into a happy place with a bottle of Mitolo “Jester” Vermentino.

As I continued to drink, cursing myself for letting my general admission fears deter me, I took solace in a wine that comforted me in my home-body experience. So, let me be distracted by explaining what I’m drinking. I picked up this Aussie Vermentino because Jeff (#1, not Tweedy) at Zipp’s told me he dug it. Yep, I’m that easy.

Admittedly, I thought Vermentino was solely produced in Italy and Sardinia. But alas, this wine, Mitolo “Jester”, comes from the McLaren Vale of Australia. This region is said to have a climate similar to the Italian Mediterranean area.

All chilled and ready to get up in my glass, the Mitolo “Jester” Vermentino made my eyes, mouth (and *fwee-fwooo*) a-water. I also picked up Cypress Grove’s Truffle Tremor cheese http://bit.ly/11hxlIq/Cypress Grove because Jeff thought a goat cheese would pair well.

This wine has great flavor but is not overly fruity. It’s light, crisp and dry, boasting of minerality. Try it and you’ll understand what minerality is. If you like Sauvignon Blanc, give this wine a try. It has that grassy hint to it the kids love, along with acidity and hints of citrus. This wine is lower in alcohol, so drink it up with grilled seafood or with this incredible truffle cheese. Oh, and for cryin’ in the sink, please pick up Cyprus Grove’s Truffle Tremor at the Seward Co-op! The center is soft ripened goat cheese surrounded by a creamier layer all roaring with truffle goodness. Grab a Rustica baguette and schmear it on. The acidity of the wine pairs quite well with the soft mushroom/goat cheese funk.

I enjoyed the pairing so much that for a moment, I completely forgot I was home alone; listening to “Hate it Here” off Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky album.  Huzzah to the artists that stir something within us, especially whilst I swirl my other inspirations.