“The Maestro of Italian Wines”
The New York Times
“The Obi-WanKenobi of the Italian Wine World”
Jeremy Parzen-www.Do Bianchi.com and Vino Wire
CHARLES SCICOLONE is a wine consultant and develops wine lists for restaurants and individuals. He also teaches an extensive series of wine courses and hosts culinary tours to Italy. He is the wine and food editor for i-italy.org, the website and on-line magazine of the Italian American Digital Project, co-sponsored by the Calandra Institute and the University of Rome at www.i-italy.org. He reports on wine, food, and restaurants. Charles and Michele are on TV – WNYC channel 25 – i-italy|NY-TV Saturdays at 11:00 PM and Sundays at 1:00PM doing a segment on wine and food. While he was the wine director, I Trulli’s wine list was highly praised by the The New York Times, Wine Spectator, Food Arts, New York Magazine, Time Out, Departures, and many other publications, and the restaurant was nominated by the James Beard Awards for outstanding wine service and wine list for six years running. Charles coordinated wines for the Italian-themed James Beard Awards and for the St. Vincent’s Hospital Kids Project Fundraiser. Together with his wife, food and wine writer Michele Scicolone, Charles is the author of PIZZA — ANYWAY YOU SLICE IT! published by Broadway Books and has written articles for Eating Well, Sante, House Beautiful, Gourmet, McCall’s, Beverage Media and Wine Enthusiast. The couple also host wine, food and cultural tours of Sicily, Naples, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, and Puglia several times a year. Join Roberto of Keste, Michele and I for the pizza tour of a lifetime to Italy. www.loveofpizzatour.com
Charles Scicolone On Wine “Valerie’s NY” www.wor710.com every Wednesday at 6:05PM or on demand.
Previously, Charles was the wine consultant for I Trulli Restaurant and Enoteca, a restaurant and wine bar with an all-Italian wine list, Vino, an Italian wine and spirits shop, and DVM Imports.
Charles has lectured on Italian wines for the Italy America Chamber of Commerce, the Agricultural Ministry of the Region of Sicily, La Cucina Italiana Magazine, the Region of Umbria, the Italian Trade Commission, The Wine Media Guild and The Smithsonian Institute, and many private organizations. Charles has taught wine tasting classes for the Generoso Pope Foundation, Murray’s Cheese Shop, The Taster’s Guild, the Institute for Culinary Education, Cooking by the Book, La Cucina Italiana, and De Gustibus at Macy’s in New York City, The Silo in Connecticut, the Rhode Island School of Design and Draeger’s in California. He has participated in special corporate events for clients including American Express and has appeared on national television on Emeril Live! , In Food Today, Ciao Italia, and Cooking Live. On radio, he has been a guest on The Arthur Schwartz Show and was the weekly wine commentator on The Bea Lewis Show. Charles has also acted as a consultant to Waterford Crystal on their new line of fine wine glasses. He is co-chair of the Wine Media Guild.
41 responses to “About”
I would love to send you some of our fine Italian wines..I work for Gruppo Mezzacorona and I represent via US marketing many Northern and Southern Italy wineries. Please contact me so that I may submit some of our new products/vintages to you.
Decades ago I took an Italian wine course from Charles and it opened up a whole new wine world for me.
I lost touch for many years, but then ran into Charles one night at at I Trulli where he gave me a wonderful piece of advice: In the summer drink Italian wines from the southern regions and in the winter from the north (in the south they know hot weather and in they know north cold).
Again I lost touch and (forgive me) forgot. But last Sunday at a flea market here in Rochester I found Michelle’s “A Fresh Taste of Italy” and all those wonderful memories came racing back.
Thank you Charles for the years of pleasure you have given me.
Thank you for remembering my wine class and Michele’s book.
Dear Mr. Scicolone,
Thank you so much for your invigorating and continually evolving commentary on wine and the multitudinous wealth of Italy´s culture.
My husband, Antonio, and I have opened a shop in Basel, Switzerland offering specialites from the Piedmonte area of Italy(www.il-buon-gusto.ch)
We are also considering purchasing a beautiful and spiritual piece of property in Puglia (Manduria, Italy) which homes 63 olive trees.
As my husband and I have developed a relationship with Vittorio Monchiero of Castiglione Falleto(Piedmonte, Italy) (www.monchierovini.it ), and are in the process of rejuvenating his export business to the United States, we would be grateful if you would test this wine the next time you are in the Piedmonte area.
I note that you host wine tours to Italy. We have close contacts with two beautiful bed and breakfast venues in Piedmonte, in the Castiglione Falleto region. We would be delighted to assist you in any way offering our services in English, German, French, and Italian.
As my husband, daughter and I reside in the Alsace region of France, we are proud owners of a bountiful mirabella tree, abundant fig tree, an apple and grape vine. And I am need of recipes, but I think I will forward this portion of the email to your wife, Michele:-)
I appreciate your blog and I hope you respond.
A blessed and thankful American in Europe
PS Thank you for your fabulous pizza recipe blog!
Ciao Anna Thank you for your kind words
I am involved in travel business for more the 15 years and owned with my husband a travel agencey specialized in tours in France and specially in the Southwest France. We have travelled all over France and our goal is – amongst other things- to find great places to stay (deluxe hotels, B&B) to eat well (from a ferme auberge to a Michelin 1 to 3 star restaurant), to taste french wines and above all to give the opportunity to visitors to meet people and share a wondeful time in France. One of my favourite winery in the Bergerac is Château Belingard, http://www.belingard.com
Love Your Blog! I’ll be headed to Rome for 10 days in July to a voice conference and will be sure to dine at Checchino’s! I’m a huge lover of red wine. Also love white Chateauneuf du Pape for its minerality and complexity, a profundity like a red wine! Are there any Italian white wines that compare to those super strong white Chateauneuf du Papes? Thank You for all your insights! tom clark in san francisco
Ciao Tom, Thank you
The wines that comes to mind the Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo from E. Valentini the Verdicchio Reserva fron Bucci and the Fiorano Bianco- I believe Checchino has the Fiorano Bianco but they have only very old vintages and some times the wine is oxidized- look for a 1994 or 95 the last year the wine was made.
Thank you for your exquisite recommendations! I’m so excited!!! I can image the Fiorano Bianco of that vintage and exclusivity would carry an equally rare price tag. Any thoughts as to the price? It’d be worth going for…but if one receives an oxidized bottle, how to respond? I think I may have to try everyone of your restaurant recommendations, though. What does it say about a person who, instead of researching all the spectacular cultural icons of Rome, instead trolls the internet for weeks in search of the most delectable restaurants–that’s me..ha ha! Thanks again, Charles…tom clark
Ciao Tom-The price of the Fiorano Bianco in a Restaurante in Rome is half the price that you would pay for it in NY
I think it was $60 in Rome
Wow, Carlo! You’re driving me crazy with your Fiorano Rosso and the story of Boncompagni Ludovisi, Principe di Venosa and his vineyard! I’m a HUGE red wine fan, having developed my palate in France & California. It appears that searching for the Fiorano Rosso now is really a mythical red wine quest for the unattainable Holy Grail. I spent several hours searching on the internet for it today…I’m dying to taste it! Is there any Fiorano Rosso left anywhere? How about in some high end restaurant with a big wine cellar somewhere (Rome?) In the alternative, is there any other vino rosso you’d consider comparable? Thanks for your wonderfully entertaining insights. Very Intriguing!
tom in san francisco
Ciao Tom- I have looked all over Rome and cannot find the wine. I still have a few bottles of 91,92 and 94 and 3 friends that have one bottle each of older vintages.
It is a unique wine. Glad you enjoy my blog
Hello Charles! Thank You so Much for Your Advice on food and wine which made our trip to Rome stellar! I wrote up a trip report for Chowhound Italy. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793982
Here’s is my report of Checchino dal 1887:
Friday, July 22, we dined at Checchino dal 1887. The experience totale at Checchino’s was both riveting and unforgettable. Checchino’s was put on the map for me as an oenophile destination by the great Italian wine expert, Charles Scicolone of New York. I had discovered Charles’ wine blog in my search for an Italian white wine comparable to a white Chateauneuf du Pape. As a confirmed red wine lover, I had been amazed when I discovered the white version of Chateauneuf du Pape with its deep intensity and full bodied structure fullly resembling the reds I love so much. Charles immediately told me to go to Checchino’s to try Fiorano Bianco. (Charles Scicolone writes informatively about the stunning historical significance of both Fiorano Rosso and Fiorano Bianco on his blog: https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/the-fiorano-rosso-dinners/). Checchino dal 1887 is located next to the ancient slaughterhouse site in Testaccio and is famous for its Quinto Quarto offal offerings. But my goal was finding the Fiorano Bianco Charles Scicolone advised me about. Arriving shortly after 8 pm, early for Romans but just right for us, we were welcomed graciously by Francesco Mariani. Ambience at Checchino’s is delightfully welcoming, the picture of Roman Gemütlichkeit. We immediately were seated and received menus, but I had to specifically request the full wine list: “Puo portare la lista dei vini per favore.” It took me awhile to locate the Fiorano Bianco which has its own section under Vini Fini towards the back of the extensive wine list. There it was, Fiorano Bianco, years 1971 through 1976. Francesco recommended we start with 1976 listed at 50 Euros. OMG, 1976! A 35 year old bottle. Francesco brought out the wine and began a superb presentation, carefully unsealing the old cork and then priming the glasses, then sipping himself to determine the quality. His contentment was all too obvious and he then presented a tasting glass to me. The glorious amber color and legs of the wine were startling. I swirled and smelled the wine and then tasted. OMG. The best white wine I’ve ever tasted. Francesco Mariani already knew what my reaction would be and he smiled knowingly. Fiorano Bianco was poured all round and we toasted our arrival at destination Checchino. We had been so fixated on the Fiorano Bianco, we’d almost forgotten the food, Francesco Mariani’s presentation of the wine had been so expert and entertaining, a real showstopper. An unforgettable oenophile moment. Soon we were imbibing our Fiorano Bianco with carbonara, caccio e pepe, ciccoria (absolutely delicious, a slightly wild and peppery fibrous green). Soon we had finished our first bottle of Fiorano Bianco and were ready for a second. This time, Francesco recommended the 1975 Fiorano Bianco at an incredibly bargain price of 40 Euros. This time, the cork split in half despite Francesco’s careful attempt at removal. He immediately went into surgical extraction and after removal of all the cork, decanted the entire bottle. This time Francesco did not taste the wine, but smelled only, giving a delighted, knowing smile. He brought a tasting glass for me to try and OMG, the 1975 was ever deeper in amber and delicious. “The taste of chestnuts in automn!” remarked Francesco. Soon I was tasting the spectacular 1975 Fiorano Bianco with Coda di Vaccinara, a signature dish at Checchino dal 1887. Coda di Vaccinara is oxtail, and Francesco’s brother, Elio has marinated it for seven hours reducing to the most delicious tomato sauce I’ve ever tasted. In fact, I’ve never encountered a tomato sauce more intense and concentrated, more deep, dark, rich and flavorful than at Checchino’s. Later we learned that chocolate had been added to the sauce as well. An absolutely superb destination dish and the combination with Fiorano Bianco utterly devine. Dining at Checchino dal 1887 was the archetypal culinary experience of a lifetime. We decided we had to return our last night in Rome. Photos of our dinner at Checchino dal 1887 can be viewed here:
Thank you for your kind words about my blog.Checchino is one of my favorite restaurants in Rome and I have been going there for many years.
Francesco is always a pleasure and more than once he has been a big help to us. The wine list is excellent and so is the food. It is a true Roman restaurant.”Romano dei Romani”. I an very happy that you enjoyed the restaurant. Fiorano Bianco costs $130 retail in NY, so it is a bargin there. They have not had the Rosso for many years.
As I write this I am in the northern part of Provence , not far from Chateauneuf-du-Pape and for lunch we has the Domaine du Grand Tinel blanc.
Brilliant! That Blanc Chateauneuf-du-Pape is something else! My favorites are Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes and Andre Brunel Les Cailloux. BTW, it was really fun to “drop” your name around Rome (and for that matter San Francisco!), Charles. Everyone LOVES You and it was like I suddenly had carte blanche just mentioning You! Francesco Mariani was effusive when he was talking about You! Thank You again for such fabulous advice. I asked everywhere for the Fiorano Rosso, even from Francesco Trimani, who, of course, ALSO knows you! There was no Fiorano Rosso, but that superb Fiorano Bianco was stunning! I’ll follow-up with my review of Roscioli which might also amuse You…tom in SF
Ciao Tom- I am happy that I was of some help- let me know when you come to NYC and we will drink Firano Rosso together
…from my trip report to Chowhound Italy….tom clark:
I had read about Roscioli, the deli and wine enoteca on Via dei Giubbonari, and despite some reservations from others, was encouraged to go by Hande Leimer. Hande generously offered to make us a reservation post- Vino Roma wine tasting with a special waiter she knows. I was especially interested in Roscioli’s wine list, as I was dying to try Valentini wines only to be found at Roscioli. After we were seated, I was eyeballing a Gaja white wine at an opposite table. Imagine my delight when the lady at the table brought the wine over for me to taste! Perusing the wine list, voilà, I found Valentini’s Trebbiano d’Abruzzo which we promptly ordered. I also ordered the Carbonara which was perhaps the most unusual in Rome, delightfully creamy, “dry” and delectable. I was stunned by Valentini’s Trebbiano d’Abruzzo–it was spumante! Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined it’d be spumante. It was coolingly delicious and we quickly finished every drop. Next: Valentini’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, recommended by Charles Scicolone and especially featured in Sheldon & Pauline Wasserman’s vast tome “Italy’s Noble Red Wines,” noting that “Valentini’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo stands with the best wines of Italy.” After reading about Valentini’s wines in Charles Scicolone’s blog (https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/the-legendary-edoardo-valentini/), I knew I had to try it. The waiter seemed stunned when I pointed to the 110 Euro bottle. “Well, it’s our best wine,” he said. Soon I was imbibing one of the world’s most delicious red wines with a delectable and heavenly beef tartar. The Valentini wines truly made Roscioli an oenophile destination and Roscioli’s was the only place in Rome where I saw them. We ordered gelato for dessert, but my nociola gelato there was grainy, expensive and disappointing, nothing like the sublime homemade gelato at Sora Lella. We were delighted with our visit to Roscioli, though, and the presentation of the deli items including the prociutto was stunning. Photos from our visit to Roscioli can be viewed here:
Ciao Tom- I am very happy that I could be of help. If you ever come to NYC let me know and we will drink Fiorano Rosso!
Dear Mr Scicolone, I am a lover of fine wine and created a small wine club with 5 friends to dinde and taste fine wine. I invite top winemakers to join us for dinner and would love to have you coming also one evening. Pls contact me if you would like to come. Thanks, AdF.
Would you have contact information on Frederic Helfrich? I am an American with the same surname who has grown fond of the wines he makes bearing “our name”. I will be in France in early fall this year and would love to view the Helfrichmetz winery. Thank you.
I am no where near NYC (I am in Alaska),where I might be able avail myself of your lectures or classes, however, I am interested in gaining a better understanding and appreciation of Italian wines after spending six months in the south of Italy last year. I love reading your blog, since I found it recently, but obviously need a better basic knowledge to fully appreciate your comments. Can you recommend a book for a true novice? There are many choices on Amazon, but a suggestion from you would be much appreciated.
The book that I would suggest is “Italian Wine for Dummies” it is a very good booK for someone that wants an
introduction to Italian wine.
Thank you very much for your speedy reply. I will get a copy ASAP.
Impressive site, so much knowledge and what a pity that I have not found out yet how to readily extract information on Sardinian wines. I only found the Anghelu Ruju. Is there a search box somewhere that I have missed?
Angheu Ruju is a difficult wine to find- look up Sardinian producers and you should find info there
Am glad I discovered your blog! Tons of great information, and adding wine tours to our itineraries is definitely something we want to do, and as we find appropriate clients I’ll definitely look to engage your services. Grazie!
Great site! You provide a great resource of rare Italian wine information. It reminds me to return to the boot. Keep up the great work!
I just signed up for your email. It brought back memories of dinner with Don, Michelle and Donna. We must try to do it again. On another note, I was moving some bottles of wine in my cellar and found 2 bottles of 1985 Sori Fratin Barbaresco. Is this wine gone and I should dump it, or is there some life to it.
Have a Merry Christmas and please send our regards to Michelle.
Great to hear from you- yes, both Michele and I would like very much to get together again, it has been a long time. I have lost contact with Don
1985 was a good year for Barbaresco – they might be good- the only way to tell is to open them
Thnaks for following my blog- keep in touch- send me your e-mail address- I am on facebook
Michele and Charles
Very impressive credentials. Never stop writing about Italian wines. Salute. Daniele Matteo.
Ciao Daniel Thanks for the kind words
I’m so impressed. I had no idea you were such an afficianado of Italian wine.
I am also interested in the types of tours you do. Perhaps we can compare notes and I can recommend your tours to my clients.
Ciao Barbara- Thanks. For a number of years Michele and I did the food, wine and history for a number of different wine tour companies to Italy.
After 2008 they went out of business so we do not do them any more. Sometimes we get inquiries but nothing has come alone that we want to do.
Charles and Michele,
I just received your pizza book and already have learned to tweak our focaccia dough by letting it proof for a few hours as you suggested. We have been making pizza at home for many years but there is always something more to learn. We are awaiting Michele’s “1000 Italian Recipes” in the mail. I have been a reader of your blog for about 10 years and always enjoy your writing and photographs. Thank you!
Ciao Marco, thank you for the kind words
Waiting for hearing to start at 9:00, reminiscing! You were so lucky, you got to watch the Nixon hearings all day. We were also lucky, being able to watch the hearings on live TV! Did Ditmas have a TV?! How did you work that out?! Think about you often, I think I was “Negative 2” or on rough days maybe “Negative 3”. You occasionally noted that to be “an historian”, one needed to be published. Teachers want to be proud of their students, and I guess the lemonidi have done alright. But it looks like you’re living a wonderful passion — wine!!! I guess you never know how your mentors will turn out!!! Would love to connect at some point (Eric told me years ago that you’d crossed paths). All the best!
Ciao Evan – Yes I did cross paths with Eric a number of years ago at a wine tasting. I believe your family is involved with the Almond?? restaurants. I live on 24th st off second ave. I am on FB sent me a message on FB Messanger and I will give you my e-mail address. Glad to hear everything is going well. I am in Milan now returning to NYC on Sunday- hope to hear from you . Charles
Congrats for your lovely blog… Very genuine recipes of Italian food as well as fine good wines.
I’ll keep you in my favourite for frequently checking.
Thanks for your kind words