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March 6 - March 10, 2019

Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes

CHSWFF Blog

Steve Felten

Steve and his wife Lori represents the fifth generation of family to grow grapes in Lodi. Warm and friendly, with a passion for producing exceptional wine, they view themselves of stewards of the land and their ancient vines. In addition to their own property, they manage a number of vineyards in the region with the goal of producing incredible fruit. They started Klinker Brick Winery and produced their first vintage of Old Vine Zinfandel in 2000.
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Mina Giustiniani

Born and raised in Drama, Greece, a northeastern town located in Eastern Macedonia, bordering Hungary, Mina Samouti was surrounded by the agricultural industries of winemaking and olive oil production while growing up. Upon completion of high school, she moved to Bordeaux, France to attend the University of Bordeaux, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Master’s Degree in Oenology and Viticulture. In addition to honing her winemaking skills, she also met her now-husband, Matteo Giustiniani, who was also pursuing winemaking education. Upon completion of her degree, Mina had the opportunity to work at two storied estates in France; Chateau Margaux (Bordeaux), and Chateau Latour Blanche (Sauternes). In 2010, the couple moved back to Italy, to Matteo’s family winery, Fattoria Sardi Giustiniani, located in the town of Lucca, in northwest Tuscany. Their goal was to restore the historic winery and pursue organic and biodynamic agriculture and winemaking. Part of this goal was realized in 2011 when the winery was certified organic by ICEA Italy. Mina and Matteo share winemaking duties and are hands-on in every bottle of wine they make. Their aim is to promote the wines of this special region and support and employ organic and biodynamic winemaking and practices wherever possible, to reflect the best of the terroir. They produce a variety of wines including: Vermentino, "Sebastiano" Red blend, Bianco (White Blend) and Rosso (Red Blend) from Colline Lucchesi, and "Vallebuia" Red Blend, two Rosé wines and a Toscana Bianco Pet-Nat from IGT Toscana.
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Gillian Sciaretta

Gillian Sciaretta joined Wine Spectator's Tasting Department in January of 2012. Since 2014 she has been the lead taster for the wine regions of Languedoc-Roussillon, Beaujolais, and Southwest France, and in 2016, she became the lead taster for the table wines of Portugal. In addition, Gillian is the director of Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards Program, which recognizes over 3,700 restaurants throughout the world with outstanding wine programs. A graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, Gillian has also received certifications and scholarships from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and has traveled extensively to wine regions across the United States and Europe.
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Jean Trimbach

The Trimbach’s have a purist vision. For three centuries and across 13 generations, the family has produced wines that are structured, longlived, fruity, elegant and balanced: the celebrated Trimbach style. The family personally looks after each operation, from planting to harvests and from vinification to bottling. The viticultural origin of the Trimbach family dates back to 1626, when Jean Trimbach, was recognized as a citizen of Riquewihr. From then on, the Trimbach’s were renowned for their wine-growing. Maison Trimbach’s vineyards are all situated around Ribeauville (Ribeauville, Hunawihr, Bergheim, Rorschwihr, Riquewihr, and Mittlewihr). They benefit from the unique Alsatian microclimate, thanks to the Vosges Mountains protection, which preserves the plain from the rain. The vineyards were planted on the Ribeauville’s fault line that fractured 50 million years ago between the Vosges Mountain range and the Black Forest offering a mosaic of terroirs including the complex calcareous limestone and bio-degraded seashell fossils called “Muschelkalk.” Jean Trimbach, of the 12th generation, has over 25 years of experience working for Maison Trimbach. Educated in Colmar, Jean attended college in Strasbourg where he studied accounting and business. In 1983, Jean served his year of military service with the Mountain Artillery based near Grenoble in the French Alps. Jean finished his studies in the USA where he perfected his English and studied all aspects of the US wine business. He first moved to New York where he worked for six months for Seagram Château & Estates Wine Company. He then moved to California where he worked at Gundlach-Bundschu in Sonoma and at Sterling Vineyards in Napa. Upon returning to France, Jean also spent three months at Château Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux. Today, Jean Trimbach boasts the expertise of selling over 25 Trimbach vintages and has also been very involved in the export business, traveling extensively throughout the world. Remarkable terroir combined with the enthusiasm and ambition of the Trimbach family keeps their winemaking tradition, rigor and know-how alive, elevating their wines to the very peak of perfection. Their unrivaled expertise has made the “Trimbach style” a benchmark for Alsace wines.
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Alessandro Cellai

For as long as Alessandro can remember, wine has been his life. Alessandro fell in love with the production of wine when he was handed a bucket of grapes from his uncle, a Catholic priest and wine producer for the parish community, and told to ‘make wine’. And, at the young age of six, Alessandro produced his very first barrel: a 73 vintage. Of the 25 bottles that vintage produced, two of them are still unopened in Alessandro home for “old time’s sake”. Today, Alessandro is General Manager of Domini Castellare and owner of Podere Monastero, two internationally recognised wine brands that produce gorgeous wines from Tuscany’s Chianti region. Under Domini Castellare are three wineries: Castellare di Castellina (the orginial), Rocca di Frassinello and Feudi del Pisciotto. The classic Castellara di Castellina has a 25-year rich history of success in rediscovery of traditional winemaking methods while maintaining integrity to authentic Chianti wine. The heritage of Castellara di Castellina drove Alessandro to consider wine with international dimension, and so Rocca Frassinello was born in the heart of Tuscan Meremma. Conceived with the partnership of Les Domaines Baron de Rothschild-Lafite, Alessandro’s involvement sought to produce three wines which can be considered as the meeting of the best of France and Italy: Poggio alla Guardia, Le Sughere di Frassinello and Le Grand Vin, Rocca di Frassinello.
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Vittorio Marzotto

Since childhood, Vittorio Marzotto has been fascinated by wine and its culture, thanks to the passion and talents of his great-grandfather, Count Gaetano Marzotto, who established the first Italian agri-business group that included agricultural and livestock, glass container production and winemaking in the Eastern countryside of Venice, Italy (Gruppo Santa Margherita) in 1935. His great-grandmother, Margherita Lampertica Marzotto, is for whom the Santa Margherita winery was named. While attending the University of Verona, Vittorio had the opportunity to meet people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds, and developed a love for travel and international relations. He also undertook wine studies in both Italy and abroad, including 6 months in Australia in various wine regions, learning about various winemaking styles and understanding of grape varietals and terroir. Vittorio worked as the International Export Manager for Gruppo Santa Margherita from 2007-2011, overseeing Eastern Europe. In 2011 he moved to New York City to take on the role as National Brand Ambassador for Ca’ del Bosco from 2011-2015. He moved to Miami in 2015 to help open the company’s United States’ import division, Santa Margherita USA, as Director of Business Development and works with all ten wineries in the portfolio. Vittorio has served as an educator and speaker for countless consumer and trade events and is passionate about sharing all aspects of Italian wine, food, culture, and lifestyle. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife and twin daughters. In his spare time outside of wine, he enjoys travel, cooking and water sports.
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Gina Hennen

After spending several years as a semiconductor engineer in Oregon and Dublin, Ireland, winemaker Gina Hennen returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2006 in pursuit of a career without cubicles. She found it upon her return to Oregon where she snagged a harvest job and enrolled in winemaking classes. Nearly 12 years later, she hasn’t looked back and serves as winemaker for Adelsheim Vineyard. Gina spent 11 years honing her craft with Adelsheim as part of the winemaking team before taking the lead as head winemaker. Known for her ability to execute and armed with the knowledge that everything the winemaking team does touches every aspect of Adelsheim, she focuses on setting a high bar, yet still enjoying the winemaking process, reveling in the fact that every wine produced is unique and will never be replicated. Gina spends her free time both outdoors and in and loves bouldering and mountain biking, and much as she enjoys a pot of tea alongside a baked treat and a crossword puzzle. But her favorite pastime? Spending time with her daughter.
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Alessandra Tessari

For generations the life of the Tessari family has been dedicated to the cultivation of the vine in the Soave area, one of the the oldest white wine production areas in Italy. Since 1800 the family has owned vineyards at the very heart of the “Soave Classico” region. This is a restricted zone with special soil, climatic and morphological conditions centered around the small village of Fittà. In 1982 Giovanni Tessari and his wife Rosetta, aware of their land’s great potential for producing high-quality wines, founded the winery Suavia: they decided to stop taking their grapes to the local cooperative winery in order to produce their own wine. Alessandra Tessari, the youngest of the four daughters of Giovanni and Rosetta, joined the family winery in 2010 after achieving her degree in Chinese Studies. Today she runs the winery together with her two sisters Meri and Valentina. They spare no effort in producing wines that express the best of the Soave denomination staying faithful to their land’s tradition and to the indigenous grape varieties of Soave: Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave.
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Xan McLaughlin

A native of Virginia Beach, VA, Xan attended James Madison University, while he worked his way through school with multiple restaurant jobs and encouragement from his parents, who are both veterans of the culinary industry. Upon graduation from James Madison University in 2004, Xan accepted a corporate job but quickly decided it was not for him, so he set off for the bright lights of Las Vegas. He spent several years learning the intricacies of the fast-paced bar business with jobs at Casino Monte Lago as a bartender and bar manager. He then moved on to Reflection Bay Resort as bar manager for three years where he managed the bar for celebrity fundraisers, concerts, and the resort’s private yacht. On his journey back east in 2007, he took a detour through Charleston, SC, fell in love with the coastal city, and decided to make it his new home. He first helped open Chai’s Lounge on Upper King Street, then served as manager of its sister restaurant, Basil, until 2011. He also worked as a bartender at other popular Charleston restaurants, Fig and The Ordinary. In 2013, Xan heard about a new project that veteran restaurateur Karalee Fallert was developing on the upper peninsula of Charleston. Realizing he was ready to take a leap of faith, he joined forces with her as operating partner of The Park Cafe. Together, they opened the doors in February 2014 and have since established the neighborhood cafe as one of the most beloved restaurants in town. In early 2018, Xan took on the role of beverage director for Karalee’s other restaurants: Taco Boy(s) and the forthcoming Wiki Wiki Sandbar on Folly Beach. He is also in the process of launching a charity he co-founded called Bread & Butter whose mission will be to offer a culinary arts program for inner-city schools in Charleston with the ultimate goal of placing them in a local restaurant kitchen upon completion.
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