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Feb 25 Newsletter


Feb 25, 2013

Dear Friend of Farmstead: 

Cheese of the Week: Montasio  I've been thinking about Montasio lately, for several reasons:  the recipe below, and some vacation research I've been doing for the summer.

We've brought in a wheel of medium-aged Montasio (e.g. the one in the center of the photo above) , a raw cow's milk cheese from NE Italy. Montasio is the only DOP cheese of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, specifically Carnia, the northern portion of the province of Udine where the Alps meet the Adriatic. The cheese originated about 300 years ago in and around Tolmezzo, supposedly the invention of a lonely Alpine monk with a herd of cows to milk and some free time on his hands. Today the official production zone also extends to portions of the Veneto, but Friulians justly claim Montasio as their own.

Montasio producers will tell you that its unique characteristics are the result of three basic ingredients: the sweet grasses and hay of the land, the crisp air of the mountains, and the milk that results from this happy combination. The consortium that governs the production of Montasio monitors the cheese making process with a watchful eye; only milk from dairy farms within the DOP production area may be used. The cheeses are shaped into large, flat wheels, each bearing the official consortium stamp and numbered to identify the producer and the date of production. Montasio is classified and sold according to its age. At 2 months the interior is ivory-white, soft, dotted with holes and considered “fresco,” or fresh, with a tangy, grassy flavor. After 5 months it transitions to “mezzano” or semi-aged; the color turns slightly golden, the texture becomes firmer, and the flavor begins to deepen. After 10 months or more, Montasio becomes “stagionato,” or aged, with a deeper, nuttier flavor, straw-like color and firm texture.

Read more: Feb 25 Newsletter

Wine Picks Newsletter


Single vineyard Barolo for $33.30 per bottle.

We love Barolo at Farmstead, but sometimes Nebbiolo newbies 
find it difficult to try one for the first time because of their high cost.  

(An average entry level Barolo starts at $50 and up!). 

Aged in 3000 liter botti, this is a classic Barolo - w/ patented dried rose nose, clean tannins, and persistent but not overwhelming fruit.

Boroli's 2007 is a pretty, seamless wine that captures the personality of the year in its ripe, juicy cherries, spices and crushed flower notes. Tobacco, leather and licorice develop in the glass, adding further complexity and nuance.


I fell in love with Boroli wine's  when I visited the winery in 2010 - they make exquisite wines at very attractive prices, and their entry level Barolo is a single vineyard wine, estate grown from a site adjacent to the Villero Grand Cru in Castiglione Falletto.

Read more: Wine Picks Newsletter

September 24 Newsletter



Wine Dinner - Bobby Kacher at Revival- October 11.  We're pleased to announce a wine dinner featuring acclaimed importerBobby Kacher of Robert Kacher Selections, to be held Thursday, October 11th at 7:00 p.m. at Revival, 2102 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. 

This five course dinner (including a Farmstead cheese course) will be accompanied by stellar French wines from Ambroise, Fondreche, Lecheneaut, Ogier, Poitier and Santa Duc, including Lecheneault's Vosne Romanée (impossible to find) and Ogier's Côte Rotie!

So if you like Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc and Mourvèdre, you owe it to yourself to attend this dinner!


Bobby represents some of the finest French wines in America.  His selections account for about 10% of the shop.  Revival is a great restaurant in downtown Berkeley (very close to BART) that features organic and locally sourced foods whenever possible. 

This is destined to be an amazing wine dinner, and seating is limited to only to 38 guests. 

The dinner is priced at $73  per person, plus tax and gratuity ($95 total).  Prepaid reservations are necessary, so call 510 864 9463 to reserve your spot today!

Benefit Wine Tasting - South Africa - On Wednesday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Farmstead in Montclair, we're holding a special educational tasting with Chris Mullineux of Mullineux Family Wines, benefitting Redwood Heights Elementary School.

Chris and his wife Andrea are amazing winemakers - on the forefront fo a winemaking revolution in South Africa - producing wines of character and quality in the Swartland (northwest of Capetown).  

We'll be tasting several of their wines - including their award winning White Blend, Syrah and Straw Wines. These are wines that are adored by wine pundits (and regular folks) worldwide.  

Reservations are suggested, and are limited to just 25 people.  Redwood Heights parents will be on hand, supplying snacks.

Tickets are $25 per person, with all moneys being donated to Redwood Heights Elementary School!  Many thanks to Fran Kysela of Kysela Père et Fils  for underwriting much of the cost of this benefit tasting!

Read more: September 24 Newsletter

October 15 Newsletter

We're launching a new program soon - Farmstead Wine Picks - a short, informative newsletter highlighting a single wine. 

It could be a new arrival, a screaming great deal, an unusual, interesting, or large format wine, or some info about a wine you might have seen in the shops and wondered what the wine was all about.

Wine club members in good standing will receive their standard discounts; non-members won't.

We'll have the ability to ship these wines to your home or office, or you could just come into the shops and pick them up.

If you'd like to start receiving Farmstead Wine Picks, click and follow the prompts

Cheese of the Week - part one -Pecorino Marzolino Dieci - We've brought in a great new cheese from coastal Tuscany, Pecorino Marzolino Dieci, a semi-soft organic sheep's milk cheese from a small farm called La Parrina  that's been rubbed with Olive Oil and Tomato Sauce!

One of the most beautiful Italian sheep's milk cheeses. The Tuscan ewe, or pecora, enjoy fragrant, green pastures and produce rich milk. Dieci is matured for a few weeks; the rind is rubbed with tomato paste and olive oil.

Looks like a million bucks on a cheese plate - fabulous with a glass of Chianti!

Cheese of the Week - part two - Gran Kinara  - We love full flavored grating-type  cheeses (like Parmigiano Reggiano), and we flipped when we tasted Gran Kinara  - an organic  Piemontese raw milk grating cheese that uses Cardoon thistle to coagulate the milk (rennett),

Mario Fiandino’s family have been mountain shepherds since the 1700s. Back in the day,  they used to coagulate milk with the thistle flower, as it was less costly than animal rennet.

Two years ago Mario and his brother revived this tradition in cheesemaking. They currently have 250 Bruna Alpina cows and also buy some milk from local dairies to make the cheese.

Aged for at least 12 months, Grana Kinara is moister, fruitier and just as yummy as Reggiano - but a few dollars per pound less expensive!  Fuller flavored and not quite as savory as Reggiano, Kinara is made in the same 80 pound wheels as its DOP cousin to the south and has many of the same uses. 

Read more: October 15 Newsletter

Sept 3 Newsletter

Customer Appreciation Sale continues through Sunday, September 9 

We've put over 80 different wines on sale!!

These are high scoring, rare, or end of vintage wines from Argentina, Australia, France, Greece, Germany, Italy,  South Africa, Spain, and the good 'ol USA that we'd like to clear off our shelves to make room for some new arrivals, so we've priced them to move!

Save from 10-20% on select items throughout the store!  Deepest discounts of the year on select wines!!


  • All Cru Beaujolais @ at least 10% off regular price
  • Maipe Cabernet and Malbec MAGNUMS @ 15% off
  • 20% off many items including:
    • Donnhoff Riesling Spatlese single vineyard super Mosel Riesling (reg $61)
    • Spinifex Indigene and Shiraz/Viognier deep rich Aussie classics (reg $49)
    • Quinta Sardonia Ribera del Duero high scoring Tempranillo(reg $60)
    • Highland Estate Merlot single vineyard CA Merlot (reg $60)
    • Ceretto Bricco Roche Barolo 1999 excellent Nebbiolo - very well aged (reg $105)
    • Nit de Nin Priorat a top scoring wine - amazing flavors! (reg $99)

With savings on dozens more!   

Lots of surprises, lots of great values. No additional discounts taken on sale items; sale items cannot be held.  Sale items do not build for case discounts.   First come, first served.

Read more: Sept 3 Newsletter

510 864 WINE (9463)  ♦  866 931 WINE (9463) ♦ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.