Visitors from Sicily

CiroandStef

Monday, June 15th

We’re huge fans of Ciro and Stef Biondi. They are smart, generous, and full of life. Their wines are too. While their vineyards have been producing wine for centuries on Mt. Etna, Ciro hit the restart button less than two decades ago, trying to make a great wine, taking full advantage of the extraordinary gifts of Mt. Etna — its young volcanic soil, its altitude high above the sea, and warm days.

We’re pleased to introduce you to them. Ciro and Stef will be in the Oliveto dining room, pouring their wines (some older vintages too) this coming Monday, and Chef Jonah will be offering some appropriate dishes to go with these wines:

  • Fritto of house made ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms
  • Crudo of swordfish with oregano, currants, pine nuts, and lemon
  • Rigatoni alla trapanese
  • Spaghetti with fresh anchovies, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Charcoal-grilled pork porterhouse with eggplant, artichoke, and salmoriglio

There are also a few places still available in the 6:15 to 7 PM tasting that Ciro will offering in our private dining room.

  • 2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
  • 2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’
  • 2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

The tasting is $40. Register here.
After the tasting, stay for dinner.

Sicilian Wine Tasting with author Robert Camuto

Thursday, March 24th

7:00 pm Robert Camuto discusses Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey at Mrs. Dalloway’s 8:30 pm book signingand& wine tasting in the Oliveto Cafe

Wines offered by the glass will include: *Etna Bianco(Carricante and other indigenous varieties), “Outis,” Biondi, Sicily 2009 *Ceresuolo di Vittoria Classico (Nero d’Avola-Frappato), “Pithos”, COS, Sicily 2008 *Nero d’Avola, “Schiave,”Cantina Riofavara, Sicily 2007 (thank you, Kermit Lynch!) and may include others….

Sicily has become the Italian wine region to watch, and for good reason. The island has a huge range of wines, delicate and complex reds and whites from Mt. Etna on the east coast, robust and earthy Nero d’Avola in the south, and rich whites, both sweet and dry in the west.

We’ll be tasting some of these wines and helping to celebrate the the publication of Palmento: Ascilian Wine Odyssey by Robert Camuto.

Palmento is a beautifully written travelogue of Camuto’s time spent on the island meeting winemakers, each providing a different look at life in Sicily.  In years past, Sicilian winemakers favored quantity over quality, and the wines produced were more industrialized. Today’s Sicilian winemakers seek to make wines of place, wines with their own specific identity.  Camuto’s book focuses on a dozen winemakers; my favorites include Guisto Occhipinti, Frank Cornelissen, Salvo Foti, and Alberto Graci.  All four of these men make wine in a more natural and traditional-style; they favor old techniques and use fewer machines.  Most of all, these winemakers are connected to the land, connected to Sicily.  Please join us as we taste and discuss some of these wines in the company of Robert Camuto.

Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey is available for sale at Mrs. Dalloway’s on College Avenue in Berkeley. Robert Camuto will be reading at Mrs. Dalloway’s, Thursday March 24, 2011 at 7:00pm.

If you cannot attend the reading but would like to taste the wines, all are welcome at Cafe Oliveto.

Robert Camuto discusses Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (At Table) (Univ. of Nebraska, $24.95). Inspired by a deep passion for wine, an Italian heritage, and a desire for a land somewhat wilder than his home in southern France, Robert Camuto set out to explore Sicily ‘s emerging wine scene. What he discovered during more than a year of traveling the region, however, was far more than a fascinating wine frontier. Chronicling his journey through Palermo to Marsala, and across the rugged interior of Sicily to the heights of Mount Etna, Camuto captures the personalities and flavors and the traditions and natural riches that have made Italy’s largest and oldest wine region the world traveler ‘s newest discovery. In the island’ s vastly different wines he finds an expression of humanity and nature and the space where the two merge into something more.