Vernaccia Brunello Mona Lisa Bellino & Barbaresco

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke (R)
New York, NY
I drank trhough and tasted all of Italo’s phenominal Barbarescos as well as his; Dolcetto d’ Alba Basarin 2011,
Pinot Noir 2012, and Barbaresco Santa Stefano 2006 & 2009 … Italo is The King of Santa Stefano .. He has the only vineyard. He used to sell fruit to Bruno Giacosa, but the contract is up and Italo will be the only one in the World making Barbaresco Santa Stefano from now on. We drank the base Barbaresco Castello del Neive 2010 and the Barbaresco Santa Stefano 2009, both awesome, but the Santa Stefano had a slight edge of awesomeness. But not by much, both are great wines, perfectly balanced with fine fruit, and perfect examples of what a great Barbaresco should be. They are Textbook. It was great to see Italo again. He is the man! I just love that guy, and would rather drink his Barbaresco over anyone else’s. ANd this of course includes Angelo Gaja, who makes some great Barbaresco, but the prices are through the roof, and dollare for dollar I’d put Italo’s up against Gaja’s any-day-of-the week .. You can’t do any better … Although I must say, I really enjoyed Anjelo’s offerings last year when I tasted the wines at a tasting in New York with Anjelo and daughter Gaia ..
Daniel Bellino Z with Alessandro Mori of Il Maronetta Brunello
New York, NY
Montcalm Wines Portfolio Tatsing
Alessandro tasted me on his latest vintages of his estates awesome Brunello ..
I really loved the 2008 Brunello Normale and the Brunello Reserva Madonna del Grazia 2008 was off the charts awesome .. The 2009 Brunello and Brunello Ros. Madonna del Grazia where awesome as well … Alessandro let me have a taste of the Brunello 2010, which was a bottle tasting and has not been released.. The 2010 Brunellos, by law cannot be released to January 2015 and this was a nice suprise advanced tasting of a 2010 Brunello .. Alessandro was beaming. He is very proud of the wine and he said the vintage is one of the best. “I wouldn’t disagree.”
with His Families
Vernaccia di  San Gimignano

Vernaccia di
San Gimignano

Princessa Natalia Strozzi

Princessa Natalia Strozzi









Guicciardini-Strozzi are theoldest wine producers in Italy with their Cusona estate established in 994 AD ( no, we didn’t forget the 1). They produced the very first Vernaccia di San Gimignano in 1200 AD and this very wine was exalted by the likes of Dante,Michelangelo and Boccaccio not to mention drank byPopes.

It was only when Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” started to cause so much hysteria, that two academics embarked on a quest to find out whom the Mona Lisa really was and if she had any living descendant. Inevitably their quest took them to knock at Cusona’s doors, where Prince Girolamo Strozzi opened up the family’s archives to reveal what was known in the family.

However, something else was soon to be discovered that even the Strozzis could not expect. During a former British Prime Minister’s private visit to their Cusona estate, the latter was being entertained with some of the family’s tales. One of such tales was that of a marriage in the sixteenth century between a female ancestor and an English aristocrat. It was at this point that the former British PM suddenly remembered to have come across this very fact in a book he once read.

He therefore suggested a further deepening of this lineage’ study at the London’s British Library. Here, documents certifying the marriage of Camilla Guicciardini-Strozzi to Sir Thomas Darcy were found along those certifying the birth of their five children. One of them, Frances, married into the Marlborough family eventually becoming one the ancestors of no less than Sir Winston Churchill himself.

Until now these news have not been divulged outside the academic circles to avoid being associated with the book and attract unnecessary media attention. It is now our very pleasure and privilege to bring this truly unique tale of history and culture linking Italy and Great Britain for wine and history lovers alike.



Missing Positano

Positano, Italy

Missing Positano. Yes I surely do. Positano, a small little town on The Amalfi Coast just south of Sorrento, Napoli, and the Bay of Naples is without question “One of The Most Beautiful Spots on The World.” Yes it’s gorgeous, just look at the picture or ask anyone who’s been there. The little town, former fishing village is located in a natural amphitheater with churches, homes, and hotels sweeping down its hills to the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea (Tyrrenhian Sea) below.
The first time I went to Positano was on June of 1985 .. This was my first trip to Europe where i flew to Rome, where I was blown away by the city, the history, the Roman Forum, the fountains, the food, the markets, gelato, everything. I felt like a kid on Christmas Day, which was the same feeling I’d 3 weeks later after spending 5 days in Rome, then going up to Florence to see my high school friend JoAnn who was now living there and married to an Italian man. Spent 5 days there before heading to Barcelona to redevous with some friend from New York, go to Blanes on the COsta Brava before heading over to Nice and the French Riviera. I was in Seventh Heaven, a young man on his own in Italy, France, and Spain. Boy was that trip unforgettable.
It was then on to a couple days in Venice, and from there I was on my way down to Naple, Positano, and the Amalfi Coast.
My first trip I stayed at a little pensione called Villa Maria Antoinette, a cute little place. Positano was absolutely gorgeous. I’d got down to the beach, rent a chaise lounge, swim, drink Campari, and soak up the son, yes life was beautiful. I’d eat Pesce Spada and Spaghetti Vongole at Vincenzo’s, La Cambussa, and a couple other little trattoria’s around town. I met the Di Martino’s who owned the hottest little Bar / Caffe in town Bar Di Martino, where everyone and everyone went, especially in the evening.
I had a great few days before heading back to Rome for a night before flying home. Wow, what a trip?
The next year I would return. I found a different hotel this time. The previous year, the Villa Maria Antoinette was nice, but there were no common rooms to hang out with other guest so I had done some scouting actually that first trip for the following years stay. I checked out Santa Caterina across from Bar DiMartino where I had had Pizza on the terrazza one night in 1985 .. I actually ended up at The Casa Albertina which was a great friend. When I walked in, Lorenzo greeted me with a warm welcome and gave me a special young persons rate at this beautiful family owned hotel. Casa Albertaina was gorgeous, with white wash walls, beautiful tile floors with tiles from Vietro Sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast. They had beautiful antique furniture and fine oil paintings on the wall. My room was quite lovely, with arched windows and door, nice appointments and a lttle balcony that looked out to Positano and the Mediterrnean below. Yes again I was in 7th Heaven. 
My third trip to Poitano and the Amalfi Coast would also find me spending a few wonderful days on the beautiful Island of Capri. I took the train down to Naples. Hopped a cab to the ferry terminal and a ferry to Capri. Took the ferry over, got a room at the Villa Tosca, and had 3 wonderful days in Capri before talking a boat over to Positano before spending afew days at the Casa Albertina, and my beloved Positano.
I had a wonderful time on that trip in 1988, in; Rome, Capri, and Positano, but little did I know that I wouldn’t return for some time. 
 i still haven’t been back, but I’m hoping to return at least once more. It’s not that I haven’t traveled. I’ve been around the World 3 times over, on 3 trips to Asia, in; China, Hong Kong, Thailand, The Phillipines, Bangkok, Saigon, Vietnam, and Cambodia. I’ve been twice to Brazil, to Havana Cuba, Columbia, Mexico, several trips to Paris, and several more to Italy, but usually taking me up north to Verona and Lago di Garda on wine-trips that included; Florence, Montalcino, Chianti Classico, and Liguria, but not my beloved Positano. Who knows, one day again, maybe. Positano, I miss you and think of you often.

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke


Cassa Albertina