Posts Tagged ‘di’

Meet Natalie Oliveros as a vintner.

Meet Natalie Oliveros as a vintner.

Plus, chef Emeril Lagasse honored for taking charity up a notch, Paris’ Elysée undertakes wine austerity, Napa’s philanthropic 1 percenters, and more

“When they showed up, I just thought they were hard-up for celebrities,” joked Robert Kamen at the April book launch of Celebrity Vineyards at the Bowery Hotel in New York. Kamen protested to Unfiltered that, as a screenwriter—albeit the screenwriter of the Karate Kid series, Taps and A Walk in the Clouds—he just sits in a darkened room writing stuff all day (celebrities: They’re just like Unfiltered!), and pardoned himself to sign a copy of the book “for a minute while I be a celebrity.” But Kamen was a vintner before his fame, purchasing 280 acres on the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma with the money from his first screenplay, in the late 1970s. “What can I do with all the money I make as a screenwriter? I bury it in the ground.”

While Kamen’s story goes back further than that of most of the celebrities in the book, all were selected, according to author Nick Wise, because they were “serious about some parts, whether picking the vineyards or the final blends.” Other famous vintners profiled in Celebrity Vineyards: Francis Ford Coppola, chef Charlie Palmer, Dan Aykroyd, Antonio Banderas, Fess Parker, race car drivers Mario Andretti and Randy Lewis, coach Dick Vermeil and Natalie Oliveros, perhaps better known to Unfiltered readers as adult-film phenom Savanna Samson. “They have to bring out the whole ‘Savanna Samson’ thing, but I do make the wine,” Oliveros said. “I was there every month in 2012.” Oliveros is co-owner of Brunello estate La Fiorita with Roberto Cipressi; the 2006 riserva earned a classic 95 points on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale. Wise, who has worked as a wine merchant and entertainment writer, mused that winemaking is an attractive second profession to “a lot of technical people, a lot of golfers and race car drivers. That translates into the technicality that goes into wine—what pH, what tannin level.” As for Kamen, his approach began with slightly less precision: As he tells it, his “dope dealer” in the ’70s dreamed of planting an organic vineyard on North Coast slopes, but no one would bite at the time. Kamen took a chance and was among the first to go organic in the state. His original viticulturist is still on staff.

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“If you think about it, good wine, good sex — they’re both feel-good things.”

 

Natalie Oliveros poses in her apartment in New York

Natalie Oliveros.

 

 

There’s a good chance that you might recognize Natalie Oliveros, a.k.a. Savanna Samson, from her roles in such award-winning adult films as The Masseuse with Jenna Jameson, The New Devil in Miss Jones and Debbie Does Dallas… Again. (We’ll spare you the hyperlinks). But would you believe us if we said we knew her instead from her work with acclaimed winemaker Roberto Cipresso of Fattoria La Fiorita? Didn’t think so. Oliveros started working with Cipresso in 2006 and has since become a partner in the winery. The newest release, La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino 2006, will be released in early 2013. She talked to us about her transition from adult film to Italian wine.

Have you always been into wine?
When I was still in the adult industry, I thought making wine would be a way to carry on a legacy, something my family and I could be proud of. But it actually brought me back to my roots. When I was a little girl, I made wine in the basement with my dad. My sister and I would take turns churning grapes. We would get in trouble because neighborhood boys were sneaking in to drink the wine. So, I always had an affinity to it.

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2004-Killer-del-Brunello

 

Former employee motivated by revenge.

Italian police on Tuesday arrested a former employee of the Brunello di Montalcino winery Case Basse for draining barrels worth millions of euros in a case that has shaken up the tranquil Tuscan hills.

Andrea Di Gisi was caught after police bugged his car. They heard him telling his nephew he had washed wine stains off the jeans he wore on the night he broke into the cellar at the Case Basse château.

Police said De Gisi had acted out of… read on

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The Sangiovese Grape.

The Sangiovese Grape.

 

Brunello di Montalcino is in the news again after an attack on the Case Basse winery, in which vandals drained 62,000 liters of its wine. Kerin O’Keefe questions whether sangiovese is the right variety for all parts of this large denomination.

 

The Case Basse attack is not the first time in recent years that Brunello di Montalcino has hit the headlines. In 2008, “Brunellogate” revealed the existence of a three-year inquiry into claims that some producers were supplementing sangiovese – the only variety permitted – with other grapes.

Some reports have suggested that last weekend’s attack on the Case Basse winery could have been motivated by revenge over whistle-blowing by the owner, Gianfranco Soldera – allegations that he strongly denies.

But is sangiovese actually the best-suited grape for the large Brunello di Montalcino region? In this extract from her latest book, “Brunello di Montalcino,” Italian wine expert Kerin O’Keefe considers the question:

“Brunello’s entire production area centers on the expansive commune of Montalcino. This medieval hilltop town, whose name derives from the Italian translation of the Latin Mons Ilcinus (Mount Ilex), the ancient Latin name of the hill on which the town perches, and referring to the ilex or holm oak trees that still populate the surrounding woods, lies roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Siena and just over 40 kilometers (25 miles) as the crow flies from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Montalcino occupies a central position within the Province of Siena, though it is far away from busy roads and immersed for the most part in unspoiled countryside. Whereas the ancient town center, dominated by its fourteenth-century fortress, is tiny, the entire municipal area, the largest township in the province, includes several hamlets and stretches across 24,362 hectares (60,200 acres), with 70 percent of the area defined as hilly, 29 percent flat, and 1 percent mountainous.
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