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Italian Wines from Tuscany, Apulia, and Sicily


Tantalizing trio of wines portray a sense of Italian tradition, family, and culture.

In addition to being the Mediterranean's largest island, Sicily can lay claim to the fact that the former penal colony is now considered by many as Italy's emerging high quality wine producing area. Located off the famous toe of the Italian peninsula, the island's wine heritage can be dated back several thousand years, to centuries before Christ in what was termed the Magna Graecia (Grater Greece after 8th and 7th Century BC Greek colonists) Era. Vines have always flourished in Sicily, but until recently, produced mostly common bulk variety grapes.
Sicily's wine renaissance began with the present generation of growers, fueled mostly by younger winemakers from notable family estates that have blended local grapes with classic varietals to achieve international acclaim.

Sicily's modern new wave wines compare favorably with the likes of both Australia and California and are known for their fruitiness and drinkability. When consumed in company with the island's vibrant local cuisine, they propel the resulting culinary experience to the highest gastronomic levels.
Vines can be found throughout the entirety of mostly mountainous Sicily, with the finer grapes and wines coming from the Western and West-Central growing regions where favorable Mediterranean breezes and excellent temperatures equal those of Northern California. Dry conditions during critical growing periods are among the best in the world. The finest wines come from the old family estates where winemaking traditions are many centuries old and have been coupled with modern growing techniques to improve the overall quality of the wines. While most wine consumers relate Tuscany to classic Chianti, the remarkable wine growing region of Tuscany can lay claim to a number of additional world-class wines. Tuscany, one of Italy's twenty wine regions, is dominated by sophisticated and historic Florence, long considered the prime example of Italian culture. The Tuscan spoken language is now the spoken language of Italy after scholars deviated from traditional Latin during the 14th Century.

Wine has traditionally been part of the Tuscan lifestyle for over 3,000 years and represents the spirit and personality of its inhabitants. The finest Tuscan wines were exported as early as the 16th Century and are always considered among the world's elite class of wines. The terroir of Tuscany consists of gently rolling hills that are highly conducive to growing superior vines.
Tuscany's earliest settlers, the Etruscans, realized that vines and grapes contained certain lifesaving properties and emphasized their consumption and usage in diet, a theory currently being proven by modern medicine.

The great Sangiovese (red) and Trebbiano (white) grapes dominate the region and are mostly responsible for Tuscany's international reputation. A number of the larger Italian wine entities are located here, but the real backbone of the region is the myriad of small estate producers that supply many of the world's top tables and restaurants. In addition to Florence and Pisa, the medieval walled city of Lucca is one of Italy's top tourist destinations. Tuscan cuisine is also favored by many to compliment the area's robust wines and sauces.

Apulia is literally the land of the distinctive stiletto Italian heel, the peninsula formed between the Adriatic Sea and the Gulf of Taranto. Apulia has been conquered at one time or another by practically everyone, including the Romans (4th Century BC and the Normans, 11th Century AD). The region is basically a long plains area and is Italy's largest wine producer, accounting for nearly 17% of the country's total production. It is also a large grape growing area, and produces about twice as many grapes as all of Australia and New Zealand combined.

Apulia's southernmost region is called the Salento Peninsula and is home to the finest of the Pugliese wines. The area benefits from almost ideal soil and climactic conditions and is considered the finest vineyard land in Apulia. Its main grape is called the Primitivo, which has been recently identified as possessing the same DNA as our incomparable California Zinfandel, thereby ending hundreds of years of speculation as to the Zinfandel's origin.
For centuries most of Apulia's wine production went into bulk programs both in Italy and France, but modern winemaking techniques and morays have forced producers to concentrate of higher quality, limited production wines that have captured the imagination of wine enthusiasts around the world. Like most wine regions, Apulia is also well know for its regional cuisine that is ideally paired with an excellent Pugliese red or white.


  1. Palistort
    2005 Sangiovese
    Palistort
    Italy
    International

    $27.00

    $36.00
    id: 203
    Special
    International
  2. Santagostino
    2005 Proprietary White Blend
    Santagostino
    Italy
    International

    $23.00

    $30.00
    Exclusive Import
    id: 204
    Special
    International
  3. LeVigne di Sammarco Solemnis
    2006 Primitivo
    LeVigne di Sammarco Solemnis
    Italy
    International

    $22.00

    id: 365
    Special
    International
  4. Solemnis
    2006 Primitivo
    Solemnis
    Italy
    International

    $22.00

    $30.00
    Gold Medal
    id: 205
    Special
    International

The respect that Agricole Rizzello holds today is well rooted in its past and by its founder, Mr. Marco Rizzello; whom earned his extraordinary reputation and that of his winery through constant and long-lasting presence in agriculture and winemaking, and his pursuit of domestic and international recognition by presenting the finest wines the region had to offer. His viniculture skills and winemaking expertise, which became known throughout Italy after purchasing the plantations in 1972, have been forever etched in the annuls of Italian wine culture and oneology.

About The Region

Agricole Rizzello S.p.a. is located in Cellino San Marco, a small rural commune that is strategically located in the center of the famed wine producing region of Salento, in the heart of Puglia. This region is noted for its production of the renowned Denominations of Origin like; Salice Salentino DOC, Squinzano DOC, Brindisi DOC and Primitivo DOC. The company has become known over the years as one of the more respected and solid business and wine producers of the region.


Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup


Ingredients

1 3.5 ounce link Sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Cup chopped Onions
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
5 Cups Beef Stock
1/3 Cup water
1/2 Cup Red Wine
4 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 Cup Carrots, chopped
1/2 Teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 Teaspoon dried Oregano
1 Cup Tomato Sauce
1 Zucchini, chopped
8 ounces, Cheese Tortellini
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese for topping


Instructions

Place sausage in large pot over medium high heat; saute for 10 minutes or until browned. Drain the fat except for 1 Tablespoon. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 5 more minutes. Add the beef stock, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming any fat. Add the zucchini, tortellini, green bell pepper and parsley to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until tortellini is fully cooked.
Pour into individual bowls and garnish with cheese to serve.




Tuscan Mediterranean Chicken


Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
8 Skinless, bonelss Chicken Breast halves
1 1/2 Pounds Wild Mushrooms
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
2/3 Cup pitted Kalamata olives
3 Plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon chopped Shallot
1 Tablespoon drained Capers
2 Tablespoons chilled Butter
1 Cup Teardrop Tomatoes (red and yellow)
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts, toasted
Caper berries, halved (optional)


Instructions

Heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat 3 Tablespoons oil in large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, add chicken to skillet and cook until brown, just cooked through (about 3 minutes per side). Transfer chicken to a plate and place in the oven to keep warm. Add 3 Tablespoons oil to same skillet over high heat; add mushrooms to skillet and saute until wilted and slightly browned. Add chicken broth; boil until almost all liquid evaporates. Add olives, plum tomatoes�, garlic, shallot, and capers.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Add butter, and stir until melted.
Mix in teardrop tomatoes and spoon mixture over chicken. Sprinkle parsley and pine nuts over and garnish with caper berries, if desired, and serve.



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