Swiner's Cellar: Picks from the past

Spring 2016

RED: Tenuta Ibidini, Nero d’Avola

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I love when a wine can surprise. Most great bottles of red offer juicy berry-driven fruits but what about the other fruits we love? My spring red pick from Sicily’s Tenuta Ibidini brings red fruits like cranberries and dried fruits like cherries to the glass. For the first grilling of the season or an impromptu pitch-in - this wine is a perfect fit. Few people have heard of the grape, Nero d’avola, but many can appreciate its charms. Open or decant to let wine breathe 30 minutes prior to serving.

Pairing: Plays nicely with grilled white meats or just by itself.
Country: Italy / Sicily
Grape: 100% Nero d’Avola (similar to bigger Pinot Noirs)



As we all climb out of our winter coops, you should have a wine that says “Spring is here!” Insolia is a vibrant white that is full of spring characteristics. The nose blooms with green tea, citrus and star-fruit. It is a traditional wine from Sicily, named after the exotic Insolia grape that grows there. As I tasted hundreds of wines preparing for my sommelier exam, this bottle stood out and continues to draw the attention of my thirst. It offers an unoaked brightness like Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and a richness that works brilliantly with grilled brats and salads. For get-togethers, throw a bottle in the ice with the beer and enjoy!

Pairing: Works with cheese board, salads or grilled pork (from the Savory Swine of course!)
Country: Italy / Sicily
Grape: 100% Insolia (similar to un-oaked Chardonnay)

Winter 2016


When there is a wood fire going- I love drinking this wine! Viña Alberdi has an exuberant, romantic personality but a body that is taut and lean. The fruit hangs out in the edges of this wine, notably ripe and dried black and red fruits. Its bouquet jumps out and inspires thoughts of camp fires, barns, baking, boxes of old letters and humidors. The haunting smells in this wine are soulful and addicting because they keep changing as you drink.

Famous for its long-aging red wines, the Spanish wine growing region of Rioja offers the world a focused look at wine with maturity. La Rioja Alta’s winery is just north of the city Haro, there the Tempranillo grape ripens at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria Mountains. Because the traditional wine-making process is intense- at least 2 years in American oak and bottle aged beyond that- this wine opens up in the glass over and over again.

Pair with pre-dinner fare like cheese, salami and olives or with roasted birds.