Kermit Lynch’s Italian Wines in Florida for the First Time!

We here at Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe have been a fan of Kermit Lynch’s French import portfolio for two decades.   It astounds me that for the life of his business dealings with multiple distributors in the state of Florida the Italian wines have never made it to Florida…..until now!

Full disclosure here, I think it fair to say that business people like to do business with people that they like.  So our FRIEND, Anthony Pannone started a new wine distribution company at the start of the year called the FLORIDA WINE COMPANY.  Thank god that Bruce Neyers the national sales director for Kermit Lynch Imports has partnered with someone who gets it.

Totally excited about these real wines that express a sence of place and just don’t play to the critics with massive alcohols and singular dimensions.  These wines are for passionate palates that look to find the quintessential wine to work with what they are eating and are not afraid  of indigenous varietals that they may have never heard of before.                                                                                                                            Presented with 19 wines in one day of tasting we committed to over 60 percent of the portfolio and not just because we want Anthony to pay his mortgage but because the wines are great representations of where they come from, yes a sence of place you got it!  Some of the wines are Biodynamic, some Certified Organic and some sustainably farmed which is typical for wines that pay homage to their surroundings.

Now we have a scheduled tasting for Kermit’s Italians at Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe Friday April 16th from 7-9pm.  These wines will certainly make your palate want more.  Here’s the most amazing line up!

Elvio Tintero Grangia NV–    Azienda Agricola Tintero is located on the spectacularly steep hills of Mango at about 450-500 meters. For three generations the Tintero family has tended the soil and vines. The family’s winemaking philosophy is based on the use of traditional and organic agricultural methods. This includes allowing ground cover to grow between vines, the use of manure for fertilizer, and strictly controlled use of herbicides.   Also a killer Moscato producer they has begun producing a dry, ever so slightly sparkling white wine from the Piedmontese grape Favorita (which Jancis Rob- inson tells people is a version of the Vermentino grape) and adds a touch of Moscato for the aromatics. Great with tapas or appy foods served in a Piedmont style are perfect with Grangia. It is crystal clear in color with a palate as refreshing as a mountain stream and flavors of prickly pear, lemongrass, and white pepper.

We couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to these wines, made in the tiny town of Varigotti, Italy, right on the ocean in the wine-producing region of Liguria. The Ruffino family is famous in their hometown but little known elsewhere, even in Italy. They’ve been making wine in Varigotti since 1500! From the first sniff we were hooked on their delicious wines, made traditionally from indigenous grapes, wines with typicity and character but without a hint of pretension. These are exactly the kind of wines I’ve been seeking for a long time, country quaffers from the Ligurian coast.

2008 PUNTA CRENA MATAOSSOU– A dry white, and the pride and joy of the Domaine, rightfully so Mataòssu is cultivated nowhere else in the world! Only in Varigotti. It has been mentioned in the local archives since 1200. This indigenous vine thrives on steep, terraced parcels above the sea but is very difficult to work. The Ruffino family has nurtured their parcel to eighty years of age.

2008 PUNTA CRENA PIGATO  “VIGNETO CA DA RENA”  Contrary to popular belief, Pigato is not the same grape as Vermentino/Rolle but a sort of cousin variety cultivated only in Liguria and named after its pigmented, freckled skin. Lively and fresh like the Vermentino, Pigato has a bit more depth and dimension, more punch, and an irresistible friendliness. Like all of Punta Crena¹s wines, it is wickedly easy to down.

2008 PUNTA CRENA ROSSES– Rossese is a red Italian grape variety that is planted primarily in Liguria and shows an amazing vibrancy in the glass with delicious, delicate red fruit. This will be our wine for the summer, fresh, light and wonderfully aromatic.  Kinda like the gamay of Liguria but oh soooo much more fun.  This is “off the hizzle for shizzle”!

The Giamello family founded the domaine over four generations ago. In the 1960’s, Silvio’s father changed its name to ‘Licenziana’, local dialect for “Vicenziana”, after the San Vicenzo monastery that stood on the property during the Middle Ages. Silvio took over production in 1995. There are approximately 10 acres of vineyards, all of which are planted exclusively with Nebbiolo. They average in age from 35 to 45 years. The soil is classic Barbaresco soil: calcareous marl with many sandy layers formed during the Tortonian epoch. Depending on yields and weather conditions, two cuvées are produced, a Langhe Nebbiolo, and the Barbaresco “Vicenziana.” Fermentation is conducted in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 10 days.  The Nebbiolo has a shorter maceration, shorter skin contact time, all at a lower temperature than the Barbaresco. For the Barbaresco, malolactic fermentation occurs in wooden foudres. The wine is barrel-aged for about 35 months and bottle-aged at least six months before release.    


2005 Gamello Barbaresco Vicenziana 2005 Silvio Gamello’s estate was planted to Nebbiolo and Dolcetto by Sivlio’s grandfather in the wine DOCG of Barbaresco in Ovello (one of the top Barbaresco crus), Silvio’s father used to bottle small amounts of the wine but sold most of the fruit to Langhe négociants and also made some bulk wine. About ten years ago, Silvio decided to start bottling Barbaresco. 2005 Barbaresco Vicenziana, is made from grapes in the Ovello cru of Barbaresco. Vicenziana is a named place (a lieu-dit, in French) in the cru and lies in the northernmost area of this famous growing site.

The winemaking traditions of the Porro family have been passed from father to son for four generations. Guido Porro took over from his father in 1985. The vineyards, Lazzairasco, Santa Caterina, and I Pari, are located in Serralunga d’Alba, “the land of Barolo”. The soil type is similar in each vineyard: clay, silt and chalk. Porro de-stems his grapes and the must is fermented in ceramic lined cement tanks. Fermentation can last 7 to 10 days for the Dolcetto and Barbera varietals, and 15 to 18 days for the Nebbiolo. The wines are bottled unfiltered.

Barolo “Vigna Lazzairasco”: The Lazzairasco vineyard faces south-southeast. It sits on a steep hillside at about 300-350 meters, sheltered from the wind but fully exposed to the intense summer heat. This is an ideal climate for the Nebbiolo grape.  It is an intensely spiced, layered Barolo with gorgeous scents of menthol, licorice, tar and anise, all of which are woven together in a delicate, medium-bodied frame of notable class. This understated Barolo offers outstanding balance and class. Like so many 2005s it is quite accessible at this point, but whether or not it shuts down in the future remains an open question

Barolo “Vigna Santa Caterina”: The Santa Caterina vineyard takes its name from a chapel that once stood on the property. It faces southwest, and sits at 350-400 meters. The soil is cooler, and as a consequence, richer than at the Lazzairasco vineyard, guaranteeing wines of good quality even in dry years.  It has a floral aspect dominates the nose, indicating its traditional roots, as does its relatively pale colour. However, the palate is ripe, round and flowing, with bright acidity and fine-grained tannins adding to the vibrancy of this wine. There is a slightly earthy aspect to the palate, which is a useful counterpoint to the ripe fruit. This is almost approachable now, but will keep for some time.

Kermit’s long search for  a classic Brunello ended on a mountaintop in Tuscany next to a 14th-century castle a few years back.  How’s this for an Italian drama: A worldly,Venetian-educated astronomer, descendant of a famous Sicilian painter, moves to Siena in the 1970s and purchases the Castello di Argiano in Brunello.  Giuseppi Sesti did just that and has combined forces with our galaxy and the terroir of Tuscany to bring us these masterpieces. Giuseppi’s great-great-grandfather was a Sicilian painter known as “the catcher of light”.  Born of a military father, Giuseppi traveled often but settled in Venice once his father was permanently posted there.  So he grew up and studied in Venice and started his adult life as a fresco painter.  Then he moved to architecture and after crossing the Sahara and falling in love with the night skies, he changed to astronomy.  In fact, it is Giuseppi’s formal training and studies in astronomy that most inform his work in the vineyards and cellars.  All of the work in the vineyards and winery is planned around the lunar cycles.  The approach is decidedly biodynamic, and these are pure, terroirdriven expressions of Sangiovese with remarkable consistency, freshness, and class.






Monteleccio is the Sesti’s early-drinking pure Sangiovese,raised in big oak botti for twelve months.The 2007 is a grand success,intense and bursting with flavor.  This is classic,classy Sangiovese,irresistible today,so dive right in.

2004 Brunello de Montalcino– 93 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate “Smoke, tar, licorice, grilled herbs and wild cherries flow from Sesti’s 2004 Brunello di Montalcino. This is an especially dense, full-bodied wine that shows off remarkable depth and richness in its endless layers of fruit. The finish is sweet and long. This, too, is another wine that will require patience, but it is a gem. Biodynamic farming and traditional winemaking – with all operations undertaken according the lunar calendar – are at the heart of proprietor Giuseppe Sesti’s approach.

Tintero Moscato d’Asti “Sori Gramella” 2009-  Its color is bright straw-yellow tending to golden-yellow and its aroma is fresh, harmonic, fragrant adn reminiscent of several types of flowers.  It feels delicately sweet, aromatic and playful on the palate. Its a perfect match for fruit desserts or as a starter when people arrive unxpected.  If more people drank moscato it is our belief that War would end and the world would endure! Especailly Elvio’s!

 Hope to see you friday to dig in to these truely special wines!


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