September 30, 2010

Live Lively! Drink Prosecco.

I like to think I live my life pretty darn vivaciously, so naturally when Mionetto Prosecco approached me about attending their Live Lively! launch party, I was immediately enamored with the idea. After all, prosecco is the "social drink of Italy" so sharing a few sips while meeting a few new people sounded like the perfect mid-week cap!

From the minute I entered, I sensed the laid back image they were going for. Even the guy at the check-in table told me, "Tonight's all about living lively, so do whatever and have a great time!" And have a good time (probably too much so) was what I did.

The event, held at the Samsung Experience store at Time Warner Center, made it easy to have lively interaction. Mionetto set up a few activities that party-goers could participate in to help inspire the "live lively" attitude. Let's just say I got to take a yacht ride and climb a mountain (well, superimposed of course), got interviewed for the Live Lively! streaming TV channel, got a tattoo, participated in a dance-off for the chance of winning tickets to NYC Food & Wine Festival (though I made the mistake of doing this sober - all the smart people waited until the prosecco allowed them to throw their inhibitions to the wind!) and even participate in a wine tasting with Mionetto's finest.

During the wine tasting, I had the opportunity to spend quality time with a few of the Mionetto clan and I honestly attribute the fabulous evening to each of them (shouts to Ron, Andrea, Martina, Doug, Enore and more!) It was great to see they were truly invested in making everyone's experience completely tailored. And while chatting with the Head of Sales, I had to pry about how and why the Live Lively! campaign was inspired. He told me:
  • The Aim? We want to introduce American wine drinkers to the relaxed and casual lifestyle that accompanies this best-selling sparkling white wine.
  • The Thought? Reach millennial wine drinkers who tune out of mainstream media where they are 'live' - online!
And as a wino, blogger and social media enthusiast, I love the idea - and particularly because it breaks through the traditional stuffiness commonly associated with wine drinking. Everyone, no matter your wino level, should be able to appreciate the experience of drinking a good wine in the same way. So now its your turn to join in the fun...

Live Lively! includes a new interactive site,, as well as an upgrade to the Mionetto's corporate site. But it doesn't stop there. They are also tapping into the world of social media via a presence on FourSquare, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flick'r. Live Lively! is also being support by social networking events - from Meet Up groups to sponsored consumer and trade events (hey, they'll be at NYC Food & Wine Festival!).

So now you have the tools to start living lively... well, almost all of them. You still need to add this delicious sparkling white to your tool kit, so on that note check back later this week (and next!) for a few of my fav finds from the event!

September 28, 2010

Arrivederci San Gennaro!!

This past Sunday was the "dia final" for the annual Feast of San Gennaro, held and worshipped by many Italians (and "Italians-for-the-day") in New York City.

The Feast, which started in the 1920's as a single-day religious commemoration of the newly arrived immigrants from Naples, has since grown into a spectacle on Mulberry Street down in New York's Little Italy, complete with copious amounts of street vendors selling all of Italy's finest goods -- from cannolis and zeppolis to risotto balls and meatballs, even shirts that read "Jersey Shore Fist Pumping Club" and "Italian Princess" to Andrea Bocelli CDs and Roberto Begnini DVDs. A plethora of goodies can always be uncovered, but for this WinoBee, the diamond in the rough came in the form of an afternoon libation! Are you surprised?

Between dropping the dough on cannoli filling and shells at Ferraras ($4/each!) my "Italian-for-the-day" friend and I decided to take in the excitement with some afternoon lunch and guido-watching (hey, I'm allowed to say that because I'm Italian and proud!) This meant stuffing our faces with Insalata Caprese and Chicken Parmigiana, and topping it off with Italian vino! Naturally I had to share our choice selections with you:

Tomaialo Chianti Classico Riserva--mmm, I know its table wine this $13/bottle didn't do much for me. While normally Chianti would offer you fragrant black fruit and oak notes, and ripe cherry characteristics in taste, this particular bottle didn't live up to that. I simply thought it was bland all-around. The bouquet was weak and the taste was generic. But if you want to give it a go for yourself (after all wine IS subjective) you can purchase a bottle here.

Bava "Bass Tuba" Muscato di Asti - from the Piemonte region (and Asti sub-region) of Italy, this $20/bottle of sparkling wine is a diamond in the rough. Like more pricey options of its kind, it offers a nice floral aroma on the nose and lightly sweetened, almost-sugar like taste that balances perfectly on the palate with its acidity. Its light effervescence delicately tickles your tongue and becomes the perfect after-meal, dessert-wine. And this particular kind is a great value. You can buy it here!

September 27, 2010

BUZZ: VinItaly at Eataly - Tickets Available!

As if I needed another reason to persuade you to get your tooshie over to Eataly, my new fav happy hour winospot in NYC! Now you have the opportunity to scope it out yourself while sipping delish Italian wines and doing a good deed.

VinItaly, the ambassador of Italian wine, is teaming up with the Batali/Bastianch clan in support of the American Cancer Society and offering winos and wannabe winos alike the unique opportunity to taste over 200 wines from the best Italian producers (yummers!)

Here's the deets straight off the vine:

When: October 25, 2010
Where: Eataly (200 Fifth Avenue @ 23rd Street)
Time: 6pm - 9pm
Costs: $55/per person - your ticket covers the wine tasting only, but food will be available for purchase. Afterall, it is Manhattan's biggest Italian marketplace so I'm sure you'll find something to munch on. 100% of ticket proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society. Purchase tickets here!
What to Wear: Business or Business Casual, please!

Lil' Miss WinoBee will be their with part of her #winedown clan fighting cancer one antioxidant at a time, and hopes to see all of you too! Shoot us a note at if you're planning to attend. We'd love to say Ciao! Oh, we'll probably also be saying, "Vorrei una bicchere di vino rosso per favore! Salute!"

September 25, 2010

Discovery of the Week: Eataly

I finally did it! I made the trek down to the FlatIron (23rd and Fifth Avenue) and discovered Eataly. Just a few short weeks after its official debut in NYC, the Italian oasis was still packed (even at the point when I left just before 10pm). And it was with good reason...

This new hot spot is a delightful dose of Italy meets Chelsea Market, complete with combination of niche stands sectioned off in a giant, open marketplace format that without enclosing, makes you feel as if you may actually be roaming the streets of Siena. A fish monger, churrascaria, espresso bar, gelateria, panini stand, formaggerie, fresh vegetable carts, pasta and EVOO galore -- it was a piece of heaven for this lil' Guidette itching to get back to the motherland. I felt like I needed a passport just to be there.

After dining, I dropped about $60 on nothing, but solely because I was enraptured in the culture. It was as if I had been transformed back to my days abroad. If I saw something I recognized, I bought it... and I didn't care the price. Clearly that translates back to, "Ooh - a $20 infused black pepper olive oil, that sounds delightful, I'll take it." And, "Yum, a $10 dark Domori chocolate bar. SOLD"! :-)

But don't let that sway you the wrong way. Prices were actually comparable to the likes of specialty retailers, like Whole Foods. Its just here, you're just getting a more specialized selection of foods. And considering the Batali and Bastianich names behind Eataly, it could have been far worse.

Now before I went shopping, I had the privilege of dining at one of Eataly's
three on-site restaurants, Manzo Ristorante. The most upscale restaurant in the megastore, Manzo is the place you go to splurge. A beef tasting menu starts at $75 per person (sans wine) and includes classic cuts of steak, as well as those items that likely taste good so long as you have no idea what they are - grilled beef heart, calf's brain, oxtail ragu, etc. But if you're feeling creative, you can create a tasting menu personalized to your own liking, like I did! From grilled shrimp atop a bed of capers and broccoli rabe, to maltagliati bolognese, to a flat iron steak... everything was tasty. My only setbacks:
  • the wait to get seated, though its important to keep in mind that this place is still relatively new. If and when the excitement dies down, you'll be less likely to have to wait 45 minutes for a table. However, if you're lucky, you can score immediate seats at the bar!
  • the time it took too eat. I couldn't decide if they are attempting to emulate true Italian service and offer the meal at a slower pace, or if they are still working out the kinks and just slow.
  • the cost. While I love a good splurge, I personally want a legitimate atmosphere to go alongside it. I think the hustle and bustle of the marketplace around Manzo may make it lose its luster. Why go to a fancy restaurant where you're surrounded by distractions when you can go someplace a little more intimate and truly enjoy the entire experience?
But its not just Manzo! Eataly also offers two additional restaurant - one for pescatore and the other for, none other than, PASTA!

Perhaps the most enticing part of Eataly though? The Piazza! Complete with high boy community tables, the Piazza was filled with young professionals lounging with free-flowing Italian wines and antipasta plates. Definitely a great spot for happy hour, or even a first date. I can't wait to get the #WineDown crew there to try it out. Expect an "eventual" review to come on that front!

Nutshell... Italy is Eataly!! Salute!

September 4, 2010

BUZZ: Big, Bold, Juicy News from WINE.WOOT

Straight outta the fermentation barrel this week... one of our fav wino sites, Wine.Woot, is now featuring 5 deals per week!!! That's one deal per weekdaywith the Friday deal being heldthrough the entireweekend. So what's it mean?

A) those making winery purchase anytime from when the sale launches Friday through 10am CST Wednesday and have signed up for Labrat duty, will now be eligible for the upcoming Friday wine deal; if you don't know about being a Labrat, I suggest you scope it out stat!

B) no more extended Monday deals (blah!)

C) the killer food and wine accessory deals are more likely to show up on Thursdays now


September 3, 2010

Happy California Wine Month!

Well, it is September 3rd so its only appropriate I wish you... HAPPY CALIFORNIA WINE MONTH! And its not like we needed a dedicated day to salute to the 4th largest wine producer in the world, but we're surely not going to turn down the excuse to do so!

The proclamation of September as California Wine Month was signed this past August by none other than California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the sixth consecutive year that California Wine Month will be celebrated in September.

And its truly worth the celebration in all seriousness (not just because I'm a lush) - California makes 90% of American wine and is responsible for $18.5 billion in retail wine sales in the nation!! It also supports 820,000 jobs throughout the US and accounts for an estimated $26 billion in wages, which we all know in today's economy is pretty darn substantial - but hey, we don't get into politics on this blog!

But seriously, use this month as your excuse to pick up a bottle of California wine you've never experienced before, or heck, plan a sponteanous long weekend out West! But if you happen to be in the area, Montery Wine Country, the network of wine lovers and vitners have diligently put together some fun events to support the efforts of the industry and my top pick for anyone
looking is KGO Girls Night Out! Details below:

September 27, 2010
Sofitel Hotel - Redwood Shores, CA
The perfect night out for girlfriends, sisters and co-workers! Join other women for the second annual event full of tastes and treats, music and fun. Not to mention a combination wine and food tasting, information classes and demos