Wines of the Week: Wine Collecting 101

Hello, Wine Lovers! My Facebook LIVE “Wines of the Week” series continues with a special Saturday episode entitled, Wine Collecting 101, a topic I’m very passionate about! Nothing is more magical than the way a wine transforms over time. Acid, tannins, sugar and alcohol converge in a dynamic, alchemical dance which ultimately creates something greater and more complex than the sum of its parts.

And while many people are used to consuming wine shortly after purchasing it, I hope this episode inspires your curiosity and patience. Think of wine collecting as delayed gratification that will reward you many times over. In today’s episode I debunk some commonly held myths about aging and collecting wine and feature some stellar selections to add to either your existing collection or inspire you to start one. The first myth I’d like to debunk is that you need some custom built, 5,000 bottle cellar to collect wine – you absolutely do NOT!

All you need is a cool, quiet, dark place on your home free from vibration, light or widely fluctuating temperatures and you are good to go. Please see below for the featured wines & resources mentioned in this episode as well as the full Facebook LIVE video. Even if you watch it after the live broadcast, please feel free to ask questions or make comments – I PROMISE to get back to you!



1.) Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone Valley, France, 2010 ($120)
[To purchase the current release of this wine, please click the following link:
Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone Valley, France, 2015 ($80)

2.) Marchesi Antinori Tignanello IGT, Tuscany, Italy, 2001 ($90)
[To purchase the current release of this wine, please click the following link: Marchesi Antinori Tignanello IGT, Tuscany, Italy, 2014 ($90)]

3.) Darioush Shahpar Late Harvest, Napa Valley, California, 2004 ($140 – 375 mL)
[To purchase the current release of this wine, please click the following link: Darioush Shahpar Late Harvest, Napa Valley, California, 2011 ($70 – 375mL)]

4.) Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port, Douro, Portugal, 2005 ($28)
[To purchase the current release of this wine, please click the following link: Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port, Douro, Portugal, 2012 ($20)]


Coravin Model Two Wine System ($290) – One of my FAVORITE wine accessories which uses a super thin, surgical grade needle to pierce the porous cork of a bottle, allowing you to extract some wine without affecting the wine’s aging process. This way you can see if a wine is ready to drink without committing to the entire bottle. If it’s not quite ready, simply return the bottle to its resting place and sample again at a later date. For info on purchasing, please click here.

Suggested Age-Worthy Wines:
(1) White Wines: White Rioja, German Riesling, White Burgundy, high-acid white Greek wines & Champagne
(2) Red Wines: Bordeaux, Burgundy, California Cabernets & Spanish reds
(3) Late Harvest/Dessert Wines: Sauternes from Bordeaux, Quarts de Chaume from the Loire Valley, Hungarian Tokaji & German Riesling
(4) Fortified Wines: Various styles of Port, Sherry, Madeira & Marsala

– Photo of grapes affected by Botrytis Cinerea (aka Noble Rot) used to make Sauternes, the legendary, sweet wines of Bordeaux.


To view the full “Wine Collecting 101” Facebook LIVE episode please play the video above and for information or questions regarding my Cellar Consulting Services, please e-mail me at Stephanie [at] theglamorousgourmet [dot] com. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Also, to view previous episodes of “Wines of the Week,” please click here. Thanks so much for tuning in and if you’d like to share any of your own experiences with ageing or collecting wines – I’d LOVE to hear about them! Please let me know in the Comments section below and be sure to join me next Friday, February 9th at 5pm EST on Facebook LIVE for some special Valentine’s Day wine selections.


The post Wines of the Week: Wine Collecting 101 appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

Living “La Dolce Vita” at Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge!

If you’re a fan of fashion, food & wine, and sunny South Florida, this glamorous trio is beautifully embodied in the latest addition to Miami’s South Beach social scene, the Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge.

This establishment marks the first of its kind in the US for world-renowned Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli and his son Tommaso (pictured above). “The pleasure of listening to enjoyable music, accompanied by great food and good company in an elegant and sophisticated setting,” is Cavalli’s philosophy behind the new concept. Father and son also collaborate on their eponymous line of wines from their family-owned and run Tuscan estate, Tenuta Degli Dei, which were the focus of a recent wine dinner hosted by Tommaso at the new establishment.

The designer’s influence on the multi-level space located on Ocean Drive is immediately evident. The stark, “South Beach white” exterior features the unmistakable Cavalli logo backlit in neon white above the entryway. The interior is sultry and sophisticated with Cavalli’s signature animal prints adorning the banquettes, tables and menus. Fashionable vignettes throughout the downstairs dining room feature bottles of the Cavalli wines displayed with glossy hardcover books, elegant decor elements and photos of Cavalli against a backdrop of brightly colored, floral patterned fabrics.

While the downstairs dining room is fashionably chic, upstairs is clearly intended to be the hub of late night activity. Here, the swanky decor exudes South Beach’s “club” vibe with a Cavalli-esque twist. Beveled mirrored walls reflect a backdrop of sumptuous velvet curtains while sleek black leather and leopard print seating areas surround a black lacquer DJ booth just beckoning you to get your dance on!

In addition to the ambiance, the food and wine were also quite fabulous. The tasting menu was paired with a selection of Cavalli wines crafted by winemaker Carlo Ferrini, Wine Enthusiast’s 2007 Winemaker of the Year. Ferrini has created a critically acclaimed portfolio of wines and Sommelier Matias Benjamin Vergara guided us through the evening’s selections which were paired with the deliciously authentic, Italian cuisine of Chef Stefano Mazzi.

First was Tuscan Chianina Beef Tartare, featuring beef from one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. Indigenous to Italy, Chianina beef is traditionally used to prepare the classic Tuscan dish Bistecca alla Fiorentina which is the perfect accompaniment for virtually all of Tuscany’s red wines. The Chianina tartare was paired with the 2010 Tenuta Degli Dei “Le Redini” IGT, a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Alicante. This supple red wine had aromas and flavors of red cherry, licorice and spice and complemented the flavor and texture of the meat beautifully.

For the “Primi” or pasta course, heavenly Tuscan Wild Boar Ravioli was served with shaved black truffle and a decadent drizzle of truffle oil. The house-made ravioli were the perfect texture, melting in my mouth along with the flavorful, tender meat. This delicious dish was paired with the 2007 Tenuta Degli Dei IGT, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot aged for 18 months in French oak barrique. This wine had fragrant floral and dark fruit aromas while on the palate, flavors of blackberry, plum and spice accompanied a velvety texture, supple tannins, and a lengthy finish.

For the “Secondi” or Main course Lamb Shank Osso Bucco with Risotto alla Milanese was flavorful and delicious. The risotto was cooked to perfection and the succulent lamb shank was perfectly tender and falling off the bone. The dish was paired with the 2009 Tenuta Degli Dei IGT, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 15% Petit Verdot. The wine had notes of violet, black currant, cherry, and spice with firm tannins and a bright acidity which stood up nicely to the rich osso bucco.

Dessert consisted of Chocolate al Gianduia paired with the Tenuta Degli Dei Grappa, the perfect finale to a delicious evening. Next time you’re in South Florida and feel like living “La Dolce Vita” spend an evening at Cavalli Miami Restaurant and Lounge. Who knows, after dinner you might even stay for a dance or two.

Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge
150 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL
Dinner nightly from 6pm


“Under the Tuscan Sun” featuring the Wines of Fattoria di Fèlsina!

The Cellars of Felsina

Last month’s installment of “The Art of Wine & Food” featured the wines of Tuscany, one of Italy’s, and apparently South Florida’s, most beloved wine regions. To showcase this region we were fortunate to be able to feature the wines of one of my favorite producers, Fattoria di Fèlsina.

My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting Fèlsina years ago, located in Castelnuovo Berardegna in the southeastern part of the Chianti Classico appellation northeast of Siena. We had a wonderful experience and have been big fans and collectors of their age-worthy wines ever since.

For our event at the Museum, we were able to feature three of Fèlsina’s wines and each wine was paired with a delicious dish created by Chef Lenore Nolan-Ryan, a true Mistress of Flavors, who also happens to be a true pleasure to work with! Lenore also has a wonderful cooking school and catering company in Ft. Lauderdale, to check it out, please click here.

The Road to Fèlsina

Each of our featured wines for the evening was made from 100% Sangiovese, the signature grape of Tuscany, whose name is derived from the Latin sanguis Jovis, or “the blood of Jove,” the Roman king of the gods. Sangiovese and its many clones are the primary ingredient in many of the red wines of Tuscany including Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano and many of the Super Tuscans. All of the wines were also from the 2008 vintage, an inconsistent vintage in Tuscany that favored specific producers who were able to adapt to the changing weather conditions. Fèlsina’s wines definitely shine and while very approachable now will benefit from additional bottle aging.

Each of these wines also clearly represented a different incarnation of the Sangiovese grape and reflected it’s own unique terroir. The first two wines of the night were from the Chianto Classico DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). DOCG is Italy’s most prestigious and stringent classification, indicating the wine’s producer followed the strictest regulations defined by the classification system. Our third wine, the Fontalloro, is a “Super Tuscan” classified as IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) an appellation created in 1992 for wines that were considered to be of higher quality than simple table wines, but which did not conform to the strict wine laws of the region’s DOC or DOCG classifications. Before the IGT classification was created, “Super Tuscan” wines such as Fontalloro and Tignanello were labeled Vino da Tavola (VDT), the lowest of the Italian classifications.

The evening began with the 2008 Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG featuring grapes grown on a variety of soil types at altitudes ranging from 960 to 1,260 feet above sea level. In the glass this wine is a brilliant ruby red with fragrant aromatics of ripe red fruit with a hint of spice. On the palate, juicy notes of Morello cherry, pomegranate and licorice were accompanied by a lovely minerality, acidity and well integrated tannins. Chef Lenore prepared a lovely platter of Italian delicacies to pair with this wine including chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, mozzarella wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma and dried figs. The tannins of the wine interacted deliciously with the flavors and textures of the food. Wine Advocate: 91+ points. Wine Atelier price: $27

Our second wine of the evening was the 2008 Fèlsina “Rancia” Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, which takes its name from the historic Rancia estate that was once a Benedictine monastery. This vineyard consists of 15 acres with limestone and marl soils and elevations ranging between 1,200 and 1,260 feet with a southwest exposure. The first vintage of the “Rancia” single vineyard Chianti Classico Riserva was produced in 1983. This wine is deep ruby red in color with aromas of red and black fruit and spice. On the palate, classic notes of the characteristic Morello cherry, blackberry, black tea and earth are accompanied by firm yet supple tannins and a delightfully long, lingering finish. This Tuscan beauty paired very well with Chef Lenore’s riff on Pasta Bolognese featuring the addition of red currants which really highlighted these nuances in the wine. Wine Advocate: 93+ points. Wine Atelier price: $44

Our third wine of the evening was the 2008 Fèlsina Fontalloro, our Super Tuscan of the evening. This special wine is considered the most representative expression of Fèlsina’s Sangiovese since the grapes are grown in vineyards straddling the borders between the Chianti Classico and Chianti Colli Senesi appellations. The vineyards found within the Chianti Classico appellation are in the elevated area of Fèlsina and those of the Chianti Colli Senesi in the lowlands. Like the Rancia, the first vintage of this wine was also 1983. This 100% Sangiovese is aged in first or second use, 225-liter oak barrels for 18-22 months, blended in steel tanks, then bottle-aged for an additional 8-12 months. It also has a deep ruby red color with complex aromas of violet, black currant, earth and licorice. The palate shows good consistency with firm yet approachable tannins, great structure and complexity and a memorable finish. The Fontalloro paired divinely with Chef Lenore’s Classic Italian Meatball with Ricotta Cheese. Wine Advocate: 94 points. Wine Atelier price: $54

Big thanks to Chiara Leonini from Fattoria di Fèlsina and Stacole Fine Wines for sponsoring our event – everyone truly enjoyed their evening “Under the Tuscan Sun”! To purchase these wines from The Wine Atelier, please click here. Please join us on Thursday, April 25th for “An Evening of Breaking All the Rules with Napa Valley’s Art + Farm!”. We are fortunate to have Owner/Winemaker Kat McDonald joining us to share her story and her unique approach to winemaking. We are thrilled to welcome her to South Florida! For more details please click here.