Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rockin’ the wines of Arizona with Maynard James Keenan

Here’s the link to the documentary on Maynard and Eric and their wines.

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Above: from left, winemaker Eric Glomski, national sales manager Paula Woolsey, Mosaic Wine Group founder Dan Redman, and winemaker Maynard James Keenan at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona.

Mosaic Wine Group kicked off their newest business relationship with Maynard James Keenan and Eric Glomski of Arizona Stronghold, Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, traversing the vineyards of the Northern Arizona Highlands. We first met these visionaries of the Arizona wine scene in Texas when they were on a tour of the US  introducing their wines and signing bottles through Whole Foods Market. This wine project is a collaboration of two passionate and pioneering souls — Maynard (legendary frontman for iconic rock bands TOOL, A Perfect Circle and his latest endeavor, Puscifer) and Eric Glomski (former winemaker at David Bruce Winery). The two met and became immediately driven to produce world-class fine wine from the soils and micro-climates that Arizona provides.

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Above: high altitude, cool temperatures, limestone soils and the canyon breezes created by the presence of an ancient lake bed make for ideal conditions for growing fine-wine grapes. The canopy at the top of this Grenache vineyard has already begun to develop while the lower-lying plants are taking much longer — a great example, winemaker Eric Glomski pointed out, of the area’s unique micro-climates.

While touring the vineyard properties and winemaking facilities with Maynard and Eric, we immediately understood why this was a special place, capable of producing wines that we could stand on our soapbox and be proud to sell. Ascending the winding roads into the mountains two hours north of Phoenix (near Sedona), we were able to see for ourselves what this team saw in the soils of Arizona. For those of us who once considered Arizona to be marred by desert conditions, too hot and dry for grape vines of any consideration or consequence — take off your blinders and come see for yourselves! These sites are characterized by limestone and volcanic soils, average elevations of 4,000 ft. above sea level and climatic conditions that are conducive to Rhone, Bordeaux and Italian varietals.

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Above: Maynard James Keenan practices integrated farming at his top growing sites, where fig trees and plum trees are planted in growing sites adjacent to his vineyards.

Enter Maynard James Keenan and Eric Glomski. Maynard has an immense passion for wine and an eye for wines with acidity, balance and soul. Eric Glomski honed his winemaking skills with Pinot Noir, one of the most difficult, fickle grapes to grow and produce. Together, they set out to produce varietals that made sense to them with the terroir of Arizona. Red Grapes include Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Mourverdre, Petit Syrah (and currently searching for a few others). White Grapes currently planted include Malvasia Bianca, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and a unique varietal that Maynard named “Aurelia,” which was discovered in the area and for which Maynard & Eric are currently propagating to plant in the vineyards.

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Above: as is clear from viewing the strata of the subsoil, the growing sites are rich with limestone, ideal for growing fine-wine grapes. Dan and Maynard are touring Maynard’s top vineyard, where Cabernet Sauvignon is grown for Caduceus “Judith,” named after Maynard’s mother.

There are three distinctive labels from Maynard and Eric: Arizona Stronghold, Caduceus Cellars, and Merkin Vineyards. While the real fabric of this story is all about Arizona, the team set out to produce a line of wines to help set the stage as these vineyards develop and production increases, thus also producing a handful of wines from California vineyards in Paso Robles. The wines are primarily blends that will please the most savvy of wine lover, while also pleasing the novice consumer seeking fulfillment with all the bells and whistles. The common thread with these wines is a brilliant backbone of acidity and minerality that frames the structure, concentration and depth of each wine.

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Above: from left, Eric, Paula, Maynard and Dan barrel taste together.

Mosaic Wine Group is honored to be working with these incredible pioneers of the wine industry. We hope that you’ll seek these wines out and help us to tell the story of this visionary team of Maynard James Keenan and Eric Glomski. And stay tuned for more great news to come, including a full-length documentary on this project, called “Blood to Wine,” poised for release later this year. We’ll be posting updates as they become available.

These wines will be available soon in Texas and other markets throughout the US. Please contact us for more information, or to learn more about this incredible wine project.

Paolo Cantele takes Austin by storm

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Above: Our friend Paolo Cantele bears a striking resemblance to actor Gary Oldman. Coincidence? Or NOT?

Our good friend and one of our favorite Italian wine dudes, Paolo Cantele of the Cantele Winery (Puglia, Italy), has been visiting Texas over the last few days, showing his wines and visiting accounts. That’s him above, in a pensive moment, at Vino Vino in Austin, where the Cantele Rosato, made from 100% Negroamaro grapes, will be featured at the upcoming Pink Fest (Saturday, May 30).

Paolo’s wines are characterized by their freshness and bright acidity, which he attributes to the fact that Salento where his family makes its wines is located at the very tip of the heel of the boot, at the top of the Mediterranean Basin, where cool evenings and ideal ventilation make for excellent growing and ripening conditions.

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Above: Paolo’s wines are not currently supported by Ginny’s Little Longhorn honky tonk in Austin, TX, but he did enjoy a lively round of Chicken Sh*t Bingo there the other night when he arrived from Lecce, Italy.

Ginny’s Little Longhorn
5434 Burnet Rd
Austin TX 78756
512-458-1813

Not wanting him to miss out on the local character and color of our beloved hometown and home base, Austin, TX (Music Capital USA), we took him to play Chicken Sh*t Bingo at our favorite honky tonk, Ginny’s Little Longhorn, on Burnet Road. Yes, chicken sh*t bingo: you bet on a number and the everyone waits for the chicken to… well… YOU KNOW!

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Above: That’s Ginny, the venue’s namesake, owner, and beloved Austin personage.

Ginny’s is one of our favorite spots for music and Sunday afternoons, one of Austin’s top country acts, Dale Watson, usually appears and announces the winning numbers.

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Above: The money shot — literally! John Waters would be proud, don’t you think?

Romano Dal Forno: the innovative King of Amarone

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Above: The Romano Dal Forno label is one of Amarone’s most iconic.

Expectations were extremely high when Mosaic Wine Group visited one the world’s most highly coveted and sought-after wineries, Dal Forno Romano, in the Valpolicella region of the Veneto. The Dal Forno family has been growing grapes in the Val d’Illasi for four generations, and established the Dal Forno Romano label in 1983. The winery has long been regarded as the top Amarone and Valpolicella producer in the Veneto, and lauded by the press with tremendous accolades year after year. Having visited some of the top chateaus in Bordeaux, and many other of the self-appointed best & brightest producers from other great wine regions throughout the world, there was an air of uncertainty as to what Dal Forno could possibly have to offer.

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Above: Michele Dal Forno (center), Deena DiMasi Miskiel (left, National Sales Manager Vias Imports), and Michele’s father Romano dal Forno (right).

We were initially greeted by Michele Dal Forno, one of founder Romano Dal Forno’s three sons, who is involved in the daily operations of the winery. It didn’t take long for us to figure out why this property is so highly regarded. We walked into the production facility, filled with shiny stainless steel tanks of various shapes and sizes, which at first glance was just like every other winery we’ve ever visited. We soon began to learn about the innovative mind of Romano Dal Forno and how he would change the way that his wines would be produced by tweaking the design of traditional methodology. Every piece of equipment had not only a purpose, but an efficiency and simplicity to make the best wines possible with minimal interference and/or manipulation. These innovations included computerized and integrated climatic controls, panels for cleaning, stabilizing and moving wines from tanks and Dal Forno designed stainless steel punch-down pads in every tank, etc. It was an impressive way to start a winery tour.

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Above: Romano Dal Forno personally conceived and designed the unique ventilation system at his winery. The fans are mounted on rollers that move slowly from one side of the room to the other when activated by a computer that monitors the temperature and humidity of the room.

Then we walked into another room of the expansive estate, a room designed solely for the drying of grapes. The grapes of Amarone have always been dried for concentrating the complex flavors and aromas of Amarone, but as of the 2002 vintage Dal Forno has also utilized drying for their incredible Valpolicella. Once again, we were greeted with the innovation of Romano Dal Forno, who designed a specialized computer-controlled system to help with the consistent drying of the grapes.

We then took a stroll underground to the cellars of Dal Forno. Two floors below ground, we could feel the drop in temperature as we entered the pristine barrel room of Dal Forno. Here, in the cellar, we caught up with Romano Dal Forno who speaks very little English. We could see and hear the passion of this innovative man, and with the assistance of our trusty translator, Jeremy Parzen, we could relate to his stories as if we were there to live them ourselves.

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Above: Jeremy Parzen (center) translates with 2007 Dal Forno Amarone in hand for Romano Dal Forno (right), as Mosaic founder Dan Redman looks on.

Romano told detailed stories of great vintages, of his grandmother’s influence on his life, and of the tragic 2007 vintage, which was destined for legendary status until a devastating hail storm hit the region on August 30th, 2007. Our collective jaws dropped as we listened to how there would be no 2007 Amarone from Dal Forno, and only a very small amount of Valpolicella. Given the aforementioned innovations that we saw within the winery, we could almost feel that the cogs were in motion for a Romano Dal Forno design to protect his vineyards from any future issues from Mother Nature.

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Above: Barrel tasting with Romano Dal Forno. Alfonso Cevola (right), Italian Wine Director Glazer’s, looks on.

We also had the pleasure of barrel-tasting three great wines from Dal Forno — the 2006 Valpolicella, the (hail-plagued) 2007 Valpolicella and the breathtaking 2006 Amarone. Each wine was complex, rich and concentrated with intense aromas and flavors that would resolve themselves with gentle care and time to develop. For Valpolicella, younger vines including Corvina and Rondinella are utilized; the grapes are then dried for 30 days; barrel aged for 3 years, then an additional year in bottle before release. The decadent Amarones of Dal Forno are produced from older vines; the grapes are dried for 3 months; aged in barrique for 3 years, then in bottle for an additional year before release.   A third, sweet wine is produced only in great vintages – a sweet red, passito wine, called Vigne Sere.

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We discovered on our visit exactly why Dal Forno Romano has been crowned the well-deserved King of Amarone! Bravo!

Traversing Venice with Team Gianola

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Above: The Grand Canal in Venice.

Dan & Melinda Redman dove into their trip to Italy with a visit to Venice and spent some time with good friends, Antonio and Melissa Gianola. It was our first trip to picturesque Venice, but it certainly will not be our last! The city is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets, canals and historic buildings — traversable aground only by foot.

Venice stretches across 118 small islands in the Northeast of Italy in the Adriatic Sea. The city is alive with incredible history, culture and an energy from a constant swell of tourism. Famous for it’s intricate system of canals and bridges that intertwine with centuries-old architecture, it’s painfully easy to get lost in the city.

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Team Gianola: Antonio and Melissa.

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Team Redman: Dan and Melinda.

We spent three wonderful days in Venice and shared some great adventures with Antonio & Melissa, who were on their 6th trip to the city. We were lucky to be able to see the city with these crafty, veteran newlyweds who introduced us to a few of their favorite cafés, restaurants and shops. We dined al fresco on patios situated along the Grand Canal; laughed; consumed our first spritz (a traditional Venetian cocktail of Aperol liqueur and Prosecco, garnished with a slice of orange and an olive); laughed some more, and perused some of the many wonderful shops of Venice.

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Above: La Cantina, a great place for an afternoon Spritz!

La Cantina
San Polo 970/A
30125 Venezia (VE)
041 5235042‎

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Above: Patio dining on the Grand Canal at Trattoria Povoledo.

Trattoria Povoledo
Lista di Spagna 122/Q
30121 Venezia (VE)
041 716038

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Above: We were also able to meet up with another couple, the coincidentally newly-wedded Mike & Gretchen Sammons and had a wonderfully memorable dinner.

We had an incredible time in Venice and will most certainly be back. From Venice, we were off to Verona for VinItaly and visiting wineries with a separate contingent from Texas. Good times were had by all.

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Above: The famed gondole of Venice at Sunset.

Thank you, Team Gianola! And thank you, Italy! Feel free to contact us when you’re ready to make a trip to Venice. We’ll be happy to offer suggestions, or come along to act as your tour guide, like Antonio & Melissa did for us! 

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Tenuta San Leonardo: Legendary Red Wines from the Dolomites

Mosaic Wine Group had the great pleasure of visiting iconic property Tenuta San Leonardo last week during its whirlwind tour of Northeast Italy. Tenuta San Leonardo is the pride of Trentino, producing one of the worlds great red wines, San Leonardo. The estate, founded in 1724, is owned by the Marchesi Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga, whose lineage dates back many generations in the region and beyond. Early historical reference to the estate dates back almost 1500 years, and the winery today seeks to preserve its long, storied history through its classic winemaking style and prescience. Rich in history, the future of San Leonardo is also in capable hands of the son of the Marchesi, Anselmo, and the winemaking of legendary Carlo Ferrini. 

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Above: Dan Redman of Mosaic Wine Group with the Marquis Carlo Guerrieri-Gonzaga and his dog Barrique of Tenuta San Leonardo.

The estate is over 300 hectares (approximately 750 acres), situated in the Dolomite Mountains of Trentino. The flagship wine of the estate is San Leonardo, a Bordeaux-blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, made only in the finest vintages. The second wine of the estate is a Merlot-based wine, called Villa Gresti, which also includes a small percentage Carmenere.

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Above: Vineyards of Tenuta San Leonardo in the Dolomite Alps.

Visiting Tenuta San Leonardo on a crisp spring day, one can see and feel the history of the family, meticulously maintained by the family stewards — the pristine vineyards, manicured lawns and gardens; the immaculate estate house; the incredible wine cellar, historical museum and chapel. Pictures cannot express the beauty of this estate.

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Above: Team Texas (Alfonso Cevola, Jeremy Parzen, Josh Loving, Joseph Kemble, and Joe Piccola) walking the estate of Tenuta San Leonardo.

The wines of Tenuta San Leonardo have received legendary status — receiving the coveted Tre Bicchieri (Three Glass) award from Gambero Rosso consistently in almost every vintage over the past 12 years. On this visit, we tasted through three vintages of San Leonardo — 2003, 2004 and a library bottling from 1996, as well as the 2004 Villa Gresti. Stunning wines that exhibit classic bordelaise structure, with elegance, restrain and incredible structure and depth. The ’96 San Leonardo, from a challenging vintage, showed power and precision with complex flavors and aromas — drinking perfectly after 13 years.

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Above: The Villa at San Leonardo.

The wines of Tenuta San Leonardo are classic wines that will rival any of the best Bordeaux blends from anywhere in the world. We are grateful for the opportunity to visit this historic estate of Italy and thank the Marchesi for hosting our group and showing his incredible hospitality.

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Above: Marquis Carlo Guerrieri-Gonzaga riding his circa 1940s U.S. military motorcycle.

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For more information on Tenuta San Leonardo, please visit www.sanleonardo.it.

The earthquake in Italy

Mosaic Wine Group was in Italy when the earthquake struck the region of Abruzzo on Monday morning. Our hearts go out to all the persons who have lost their loved ones and their homes. Melinda and Dan were in Trento in far north when the catastrophe struck and Jeremy was in Verona. We are all okay and all of the producers associated with our client Vias imports are okay as well. Thank you, everyone, for all the emails and texts. We’re all okay and just sad about the tragedy. More than 150 have lost their lives, more than 1,500 injured, and more than 70,000 homeless. Our hearts go out to all of them.

Coquette Bistro & Wine Bar: Flirting with Success in New Orleans

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Coquette Bistro and Wine Bar
2800 Magazine St
New Orleans LA 70115
504-265-0421

Mosaic Wine Group visited a terrific new account in New Orleans, Coquette Bistro & Wine Bar, and met owners Mike Stoltzfus (Chef/Owner) and fiancée Lillian Hubbard (Front-of-House/Wine Director). Mr. Webster defines Coquette (noun) as: “a woman who flirts lightheartedly with men to win their admiration and affection; flirt.” No flirtation was necessary, we dove right into a love affair with Coquette from the moment we walked in the door!  

Coquette Bistro & Wine Bar opened in December of 2008 in a beautiful late 1800′s two-story building in historic New Orleans. Chef/Owner Mike Stoltzfus comes from a well-pedigreed culinary background, working most recently as Sous Chef to one of New Orleans legendary chefs, John Besh at Restaurant August. Along with his fiancée, who handles the front-of-house and wine program, they embarked upon their dream to open their own place  a beautiful Bistro and Wine Bar, which includes a wonderful menu of New Orleans-influenced cuisine.

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Above: Owners Mike Stoltzfus & Lillian Hubbard.

Mosaic Wine Group visited Coquette on a beautiful, spring St. Patrick’s Day 2009. The menu is creative, yet concise, with a selection of small plates, and a well-designed selection of entrees. On this day, my wine compadre and I shared the delectable Pork Belly Rillette, and I dove into the Steak Frites, while my friend enjoyed a special Seared Redfish Risotto.

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Above: Pork belly rillette.

muralWhen dropping into Coquette, you’ll be able to enjoy a couple of great wines from the Mosaic Wine Group portfolio, including the 2007 Abbazia di Novacella Kerner from Alto-Adige: a bright, floral white wine from one of the oldest wineries in the world, established in 1142.

You’ll also find the 2004 Damilano Barolo “Lecinquevigne,” one of Piedmont’s best & brightest producers of Barolo.

We wish the best to Lillian, Mike and the team at Coquette! We’ll certainly be back! 

Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile Advocate’s Wine of the Day!

cerro2On Friday, the Wine Advocate selected Fattoria del Cerro 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as its “Wine of the Day.” Here’s what they had to say.

The 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano takes things to another level with its densely packed, richer personality. It offers superb weight on the palate in a riper style than the Rosso, with excellent length and finessed tannins. This blend of 90% Prugnolo Gentile and 10% Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo was aged for two years in a combination of Slavonian oak casks and French oak barrels. It will offer highly pleasurable drinking to at least age 12. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2016.

Antonio Galloni gave the wine 91 points in June 2007.

This wine is available at Goody Goody in Dallas.