Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: Mike Madaio

Beviamo del vino Italiano!

Posted by Mike Madaio, May 14, 2012.

Hello everyone, my name is Mike Madaio and I'm excited to be a part of the Snooth Mentor program, focusing on Italian wines. Despite the subject heading (which means - I think - "Let's drink some Italian wine!"), I am not from Italy, but I was raised in an Italian-American family and thus have targeted (but not limited!) my obsessions to that culinary wonderland.

I'm a food & drink writer based in the Philly area (I also work in the online user experience space), focusing on wine, beer and other things culinary for a few local magazines and blogs, including Main Line Today, Main Line Magazine and Epikur Magazine. I also run a popular local food & restaurant blog. In addition, I'm on the event staff for The Wine School of Philadelphia, helping to educate guests about wine and beer at private and charity events.

As for my personal wine journey, I was first hooked on Forest Glen Merlot (the horror!) when I met my partner Stephanie. She was a cheap Merlot fiend, and I didn't really drink wine, but I was a quick study. A couple of years into our relationship, fate intervened. I was asked (my arm twisted) to attend a conference for work ... in Sonoma. We took some vacation time and spent several days touring Napa and Southern Sonoma, which, suffice to say, was a trip that changed my life.

A moment that stands out took place in the Ravenswood tasting room. They had 10+ different Zinfandels, so our pourer asked us what kind of wines we preferred. We looked at each other with confusion. "The alcoholic kind?" He smiled. "Do you prefer wines that are smooth, or spicy?" We replied in unison: "Smooth! Spicy!" He poured two different wines. We sipped. We smiled. We switched wines. We sipped. We switched back. I was hooked.

Years later, I had the opportunity to take some academic courses at The Wine School of Philadelphia. By this point in my life, I had visited many wineries in both the US and in Italy, and I had started to build quite a wine collection of my own, but boy did I still have a lot to learn. Taking a serious wine course - much like my first trip to Napa - changed my life once again, and thus began the third phase of my wine journey - armed with knowledge!

My focus on Italian wine was driven by my love of food and cooking; I've been preparing food from a young age, learning mostly from my mother (but also, of course, from my Italian grandmother), and though I love to experiment with all types of cuisines, Italian food is my central point. As a big believer in the "if it grows together it goes together" mentality, it was only natural then to delve into the wild world of vino. And - though this could surely be said of other Euro countries as well - Italian winemakers in particular seem to do a great job of making balanced, vibrant, food-friendly wines.

As someone with a passion for knowledge and a borderline obsessive when it comes to the things I love, I've made it my mission to learn about and try as many Italian varietals as I can, especially those from the lesser-known regions. I may never finish this quest (there are, after all over 500 grape varietes growing there), but I'll keep trying!

If this sounds like fun, please join me at Il Vino Nobile, my Italian wine blog.

Anyway, this turned out to be a much longer ramble than I planned, so I'll cut it off now. I look forward to contributing!

Replies

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Reply by Anna Savino, May 14, 2012.

Hey! great to meet you and excited to hear your opinions and thoughts on Italian wine! good luck on your endless quest for wine knowledge:) i am going through the same exact thing! from napa but living in Piedmont italy!:) couldn't not get involved in wine. Looking forward to your discoveries.

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Reply by Wai Xin Chan, May 14, 2012.

Ciao a tutti! The beautiful wine of Italy always make one visualise the beauty of the birth place. I look forward to posts by both for Italy wines!

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Reply by Mike Madaio, May 14, 2012.

Thanks guys!

Hey Anna, I actually stumbled across your blog a few months back when looking into something Italy & wine related and have been checking in from time to time. Good stuff!

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Reply by EMark, May 14, 2012.

Very pleased to meet you, Mike.  I enjoyed reading your introductory posting, very much.  It is interesting that you recognize your "Ravenswood Epiphany" as a turning point.

I am not personally that knowledgeable about Italian wines but I love their friendliness with food.  I look forward to learning from you.

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Reply by luca chevalier, May 14, 2012.

...i'm very pleased  about your interest in italian wines, if you need any help just ask, my english is not so good but i will see what i can do to help you

Ciao 

Luca

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Reply by EMark, May 14, 2012.

Luca, believe me, your English is better than my Italian.  So, if we stick with English we will be OK.  Thanks for your offer

Can you tell me anything about a Caparzo 2006 Brunello di Montalcino that I bought the other day on a whim.  Actually, about 95% of my wine purchases are whims.

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Reply by Mike Madaio, May 14, 2012.

I haven't had the Caparzo, but '06 is considered to be a great vintage for Brunello.

Brunello is 100% Sangiovese, but it tends to be more tannic than other Sangio-based wines. As such, a common rule of thumb is to wait about 10 years from the vintage date. You can certainly it drink sooner, of course, but make sure you give it some time in the decanter.

It pairs well with heartier dishes: grilled or roasted game birds, game meats, beef. Would also go nicely with a pasta dish w/ meat sauce, or some kind of aged cheese (especially tuscan pecorino!)

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Reply by EMark, May 14, 2012.

Thanks.  Interesting to hear that Brunello is more tannic than most.  I have so much to learn.  I will look for that tannin.  I've never been afraid of it.

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Reply by luca chevalier, May 15, 2012.

2006 and 2007 are both a four stars vintage (on five stars maximum)...also in 2006 Caparzo finisher to restrucure the canteen with Casks of different capacity (barriques; tonneau; and taraditional big casks)...the result is a better integration between wood and wine, and a good ability of aging...

Again: Brunello 2006 La Casa should be around 89 points

Brunello 2006 should be around 85/86 points

Ciao

 

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Reply by Anna Savino, May 15, 2012.

Hi Mike! That's awesome that you stumbled across my blog:) it's a small world after all! Good luck and talk soon! what wine are you drinking next?

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Reply by Mike Madaio, May 15, 2012.

Ahh, the eternal question, huh? We did have the 2005 Marchesi Mazzei Chianti Classico Castello di Fonterutoli tonight with dinner. Nice wine, although I tend to prefer a more rustic Chianti. This was a bit too "new world" for me.

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Reply by Antonio Chef Tony, May 15, 2012.

Ciao Mike, how about this Bolgheri: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150480761823106&set=a.10150478856238106.371634.97749803105&type=3&theater

or maybe these chianti's here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150480762738106&set=a.10150478856238106.371634.97749803105&type=3&theater

Sinceri Saluti!

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Reply by luca chevalier, May 16, 2012.

Recently i've tried Isole e Olena Chianti Classico  and it was really classic Style; Before Vintage 2007 also Villa Vignamaggio was Classic (Not New World) Specially if you try Chianti Classico Terre di Prenzano ( http://www.vignamaggio.com/) .

Tenimenti angelini Chianti Classico San Leonino have also a good Style (http://www.tenimentiangelini.it )

Felsina also is one of my favourite ...100% sangiovese in their chianti (http://www.felsina.it/)

but actually i drinc a Chianti outside the chianti CLASSICO area and it's This ( http://www.villapetriolo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=93&Itemid=105 ) Rosae MnemoSis Chianti

 

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Reply by luca chevalier, May 16, 2012.

PS to.... Antonio Chef Tony, dear chef  Ornellaia is , like all the wine of Bolgheri, Based on Cabernet Sauvignon , Cabernet Franc and Merlot ( also petit verdot for ornellaia) so it's very different from a Chianti classico, Based on Sangiovese and Colorino and Canaiolo....

Ciao a tutti

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Reply by Lucha Vino, May 26, 2012.

Hi Mike,

Welcome to Snooth! I am a big fan of Italian wine too.  Here is a link to a topic I started on the Giro d' Italia.  I follow the pro cycling tour and compare wines from where they are racing to wines from the Pacific Northwest (mostly Washington with an occasional Oregon wine thrown in to the mix).

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experiences with Italian wines.

Cheers!

 


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