Grilling Outside-Eating Inside

Fall was approaching but there was still time for one more barbecue.  But the day turned chilly and we wound up eating indoors.

While the grill was heating, we ate crostini, one topped with mozzarella and anchovies and the other with Michele’s eggplant, pepper and tomato spread.

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo “Fonte Canale” 2011 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo from old vines from Tiberio. The vineyard is at 300 meters, there are 2,500 vines/hectare and the training system is the tendone (vines form a canopy to protect the grapes from the sun). Harvest takes place the last week of September. Cold maceration on the skins lasts for 6 hours. Vinification takes place in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation does not occur. The wine remains in the bottle for a short period before release. This is a full bodied white wine with citrus aromas and flavors and a hint of herbs.

Barbera D’Asti “Vigna del Noce” 1997 Az. Agr. Trinchero made from 100% Barbera and the vines were planted in 1929. The soil is a mixture of clay and the exposure is southwest and the vineyard is at 250 meters. The training system is guyot. Traditional fermentation with natural yeasts lasted for 40 days. I believe the 1997 was aged for 5 years in 90 year old chestnut casks. The winery is strictly organic.  This is a full-bodied robust wine with hints of cherries, plum, and leather, balsamic touches and a note of smoke. This is a very impressive Barbera.


Hamburgers and three different types of sausages, sweet, spicy and chicken on the grill

Sausages ready to eat

Hamburgers in the bun

Spanna 1964 Castello di Montalbano Vallana  made from Nebbiolo 85% (local name Spanna). According to Wasserman  in his book Italy’s Noble Red Wines, producers blended in a number different grapes, Vespolina and Bonarda for example, as well as Aglianico from Campania. The wine was drinking very well with red fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of rasperries and a touch of leather. For a wine from Novara-Vercelli area of northern Piedmont that is  56 years old to have the dark color that it did there had to be Aglianico in the blend. The wine was a pleasure to drink

Sliced tomatoes  and  red  onions  accompanied  the  meat.

And Sicilian style potato and green bean salad  with  capers,  olives,  red  onion, oregano  and  olive  oil.

We ended with an assortment of ice creams and biscotti.

The table

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A Late Summer Lunch

It had been several months since we had last seen our friends, wine and food writers  Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow,  so  we  were very  happy  to  accept  their  invitation  for  an  early  dinner/late  lunch  this  week.

To start, we had a pizza-like vegetable tart made with tomatoes, peppers and onions.  Diane said it was a Spanish recipe and it was a good way to make use of the late season vegetables available in the market. 

With it we had Champagne Boizel 2007 made from 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier.  3% of the wines were aged in oak casks. The wines were aged for 7 years on the lees. This is elegant Champagne with hints of apricot, biscuits, flowers, almonds and a touch of licorice.

For the first course we had  Ravioli  del  Plin,  a Piemontese  specialty.  The  name  means ravioli  with  a pinch  and  Tom  had  made  a delicious Piemontese-style  sauce  with  prosciutto,  mushrooms  and  a little  cream.

We drank Nebbiolo d’Alba 2017 Poderi Colla 100% Nebbiolo. The exposure is westerly and easterly and the vineyard is between 330 and 370 meters. The vines were planted in 1967, 1989 and 1999 and there are about 4,000 to 5,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is the 1st-10th October. Vinification is the same as above. Elevage is in Slavonian oak casks for about 12 months. This is a complex wine with hints of plum, red berries, dried roses and a touch of violet.

For the main course  we  had  an elegant Neapolita-style  saltimbocca.  Thin  slices  of  veal  were  topped  with  a thin slice of prosciutto, fresh  mozzarella  and  a light tomato  sauce  and  baked  until  the  cheese melted. 

We drank Taurasi “Radici” 1995 Mastroberadino made from 100% Aglianico The soil is poor in organic substances but has a high content of clay, limestone, minerals and microelements. The vineyards are on two hills, Mirabella vineyard at 500 meters and the Montemarano vineyard at 550 meters. Because of its position on the hill and its altitude, the temperature at the Montemarano vineyard is much colder and the grapes are picked a little later. Harvest is from the end of October into the beginning of November. The vinification is the classic one for red wine, long maceration with skin contact at controlled temperatures. The wine spends one year in Slovenian oak barrels and two years in bottle, and can be laid down for 10 to 15 years. The riserva stays in medium sized 40 to 50HL oak casks for 2 years and 2 years in bottle. It can live in the bottle for 25-40 years. This is the way I believe the 1995 was produced. The wine was showing no signs of age. This is a full, complex wine with hints of black cherry, plum, spice, smoke and a touch of leather.

A variety of cheeses brought the meal to a savory ending.

Wine Barolo 1990 Prunotto This wine was produced before Antinori purchased the winery (1994).  It was then owned by the legendary Beppe Colla and his brother Tino.  The 2017  Nebbiolo d’Asti listed above was produced at the winery Poderi Colla by Tino in whose capable hands the winery is in now. This is a very traditional Barolo with hints of red fruit, licorice, tar, coffee and a touch of rose petals. It was the favorite wine of the evening, but I  gave a slight edge to the Taurasi.

A seasonal dessert of spiced braised Italian plums topped with ice cream ended the meal.

Followed of course by an espresso and….

…one of my favorite Grappas “Capo di Stato”  from Loredan Gasparini made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.

What a joy to spend an evening with good friends.


















Filed under Barolo, Boizel, Champagne, Grappa, Mastroberardino, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Poderi Colla, Prunotto Barolo Cannubi 1989, Taurasi, Uncategorized

Put Italian Spirits Into Your Life

One of my favorite daily rituals when I am in Italy is meeting friends at a cafe for an aperitivo, a drink before dinner.  An aperitivo can be any sort of beverage, but the best kind are made with Italian spirits.  While I often enjoy a Campari and Soda or an Aperol Spritz, I got to sample some creative combinations I had never tried before at a recent tasting at Il Gattopardo Restaurant.

We were greeted with a variety of aperitivi.

I started with the Negroni Lucano made from Lucano Amaro and Vermouth

Gianfranco Sorrentino and Antonino Laspina

Gianfranco Sorrentino, managing partner of Il Gattopardo Group and President of the Gruppo Italiano, introduced us to Antonino Laspina, Direttore ICE (Italian Trade Commission) New York Coordinatore Rete USA, who organized the event.

Daniela Porro of ICE pointed out  some of the many Italian Spirits

There were a number of small bites to go with the Aperitivo:

One of my all-time favorites at Il Gattopardo, the arancini, rice balls  flavored  with  veal  and  mushrooms.

Then  cucumber  slices  topped  with  a sea bass tartar.

Then  crisp  polenta  squares with  whipped  salt  cod

Fresh mozzarella and tomato bites

Toast  with  burrata  cheese  and  truffles

More Italian Spirits

While I enjoy starting with an aperitivo, after a meal, I often have a digestivo (digestive aid in Italian).   Typical digestivi include Grappa, Vodka and Vermouth; fruit based liqueurs such as Limoncello, Mitro and Maraschino; herb and spice based liqueurs such as Amaro, Rosolio and Sambuca; Nut based Liqueurs including Amaretto and Nocino, and various other liqueurs such as coffee flavored or egg based liquori all’uovo.  There are many more in each category and they can be sipped straight, in mixed drinks or simply on the rocks.


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Dinner by Lamp Light


A beautiful Saturday night was the perfect time for dinner with friends in their garden.  Since it is getting dark earlier now, the table was lit by a hurricane lamp which gave the setting a romantic glow.

The table

Monte Rossa Prima Cuvèe Brut 85% NV Pinot Chardonnay 10% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Blanc. Soft pressing of the best grapes with no more then 55% of the total yield. Partially fermented in steel tubs at a controlled temperature and partially fermented in oak barrels. The wine has strawberry aromas and flavors with an undertone of brioche which added depth to the wine.

The first course was a spectacular  souffle  made  with  corn,  red  peppers  and  jalapeno.

It  was  so  good,  we  all  asked  for  seconds.  

Next we had grilled swordfish, marinated with sesame oil and soy sauce.

To accompany the swordfish, we had Sancerre “Les Baronnes” 2017 Henri Bourgeois made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The soil is clay and limestone. The wine is fermented in thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks at 15 to 18 degrees C. The wine is aged on the lees at a cool temperature for 5 months before release. This is a crisp and fruity wine with citrus aromas and flavors with a touch of herbs, nice minerality, a long finish and pleasant aftertaste.

Grilled zucchini with herbs and fingerling potatoes  accompanied  the fish.

Swordfish, zucchini and potatoes on the plate

A nectarine and almond cake was our dessert.

With the cake, we had cinnamon ice cream, a recipe from Michele’s dessert book La Dolce Vita.










Filed under Monte Rossa, Sancerre

Lunch by a Tree

Living in NYC, we do not have an outdoor grill or an expansive garden so we appreciate it all the more when friends invite us over for an outdoor meal cooked on the grill.

Recently, we had lunch in a beautiful garden and my friend made one of my favorite meals.


While guests assembled, we started with sweet cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto, and bread sticks wrapped with mortadella and finocchiona salame. With this we had

Champagne Marguet Grand Cru “Shaman 15 Rose ” Dosage 0 g/liter. Bottled May 2015 made from 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay. The soil is chalk. The wine is fermented spontaneously. Fermentation and aging in new oak. The wine is unfined, no added sulphites and no temperature control. The wine is filtered. The winery is Organic/Biodynamic. Horses plough the soil. This is a full-bodied, complex Champagne with hints of yellow fruit and brioche.

Next was Michele’s smoked salmon dip with potato chips.

With the main course, we had grilled zucchini  sprinkled  with  herbs

and a simple salad of cherry tomatoes from a local New Jersey farm with herbs and olive oil.

Pigato 2008 Le Russeghine Riviera Ligure Di Pontente Az. Ag. Bruna made from 100% Pigato. The vineyard is at 230 meters with a southeast exposure. The soil is iron-rich red clay and the vines are 25 to 60 years old. The training system is guyot. Harvest takes place by hand in the second half of September. The grapes are soft pressed and the must is allowed to settle, and the fermentation begins and is capped of at 18C. Aging is stainless steel and large oak barrels (20 to 25% for at least 8 months on the lees and then in bottle until it is ready for release. The wine has hints of peach, citron and a touch of grapefruit. There is a note of almonds and citrus fruit in the aftertaste.

Cote-Rotie “Ampodium” 2017 Rene Rostaing made from 100% Syrah a blend of 13 sections of different vineyards but not from the best parcels. About 40% or more of the grapes are destemmed. Wild yeast fermentation takes place. The wine is aged in a mix of 225 liter and 500 liter oak barrels, 15/25% new. The wine is bottled without fining or filtering This is an elegant wine with hints of blackberries, blueberries and spice, floral notes and a touch of licorice.

Cote-Rotie “Cote Blonde” 2009 made from 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. The mineral laden soil has deposits of silex and mica on steep hills. The vines are 50 years and older. The grapes partially destemmed (35 /50%) and co-fermented. The rest are whole bunch fermented in stainless steel vats. Only 10% of new oak is used. This is a very impressive full bodied wine with hints of black cherry, raspberries, licorice, a touch of herbs and a hint of smoke

Our main course was rosemary marinated lamb skewers with bacon and bread.  This photo is of the skewers ready to grill. The recipe is from Marcella Hazan.

On the grill

Ready to serve.  The  bread  toasts  and  absorbs  the  smoky flavors  of  the  grilled lamb  juices  and  bacon.  

After the meats, we had an assortment of  aged cheeses from Bobalink, a New Jersey farm.




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Breakfast and Lunch Italian Style

When Michele and I are in Italy we tend to eat breakfast and lunch, but skip dinner. This way we can have a big breakfast, usually involving pastry, and later a long leisurely lunch so we can eat whatever we want.

We try to follow a similar plan at home, too.  

On a recent morning, we started with blueberries and strawberries with a touch of honey.

Followed by cappuccino,

with cornetti and ciambelle (donuts) from Pallazone Pasticceria of Wayne, New Jersey.

For lunch we opened a bottle of:

Monte di Grazia Rosso 20011 The wine is made from 90% Tintori di Tramonti from very old ungrafted vines and 10% Piedirosso. The Tintori di Tramonti grows almost exclusively in the Monte Lattari Valley. The grape is harvested at the end of September, which makes it an early ripener for this area. This indigenous red grape variety belongs to the Tienturier family. Tienturier means dyed or stained in French. The flesh and the juice of these grapes are red in color. The anthocyanin pigments accumulate in the grape berry itself. The free run juice is therefore red.
This is a complex wine with earthly aromas, red fruit and a slight hint of black pepper and spice with good acidity that makes it a very good food wine. This wine has aging potential.


For lunch we had Italian cold cuts,  mortadella  with  pistachios,  porchetta,  prosciutto,  finocchiona  salame with  Sardinian  pecorino  and  green  Castelvetrano  olives.


We also had some warm bruschetta topped with burrata and anchovies, a combination that I first had in Rome.

Spanna Riserva 1967 Francoli the wine was mostly Nebbiolo (also know as Spanna in the Novara-Vercelli area of Piedmont) with some Vaspolina, or as Wasserman says  in his book Italy’s Noble Red Wines, whatever other grapes they had handy. He also says that back then Aglianico from Campania was used to give the wine more body. The wine was showing some age but still had some fruit with balsamic notes. This is a wine that goes very well with food.


After the appetizers, we had my favorite pasta, Bucatini al’Amatriciana.  Though  my  dining  companions  said  they  would have preferred mezze  maniche shape pasta,  I was  very  happy  that  they  indulged  my  preference  for  bucatini.  It  was  excellent.

For dessert, there was espresso and two different Italian biscotti made by Michele

Today is a holiday in the U.S – Happy Labor Day and I wish I was spending the holiday in Naples/Rome


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Lunch at Il Gattopardo NYC

Il Gattopardo was the last restaurant in New York City I visited before leaving for Italy on February 4.  At that time, our plan was to stay in Italy for 5 weeks, but we left a week early when everything began to close down.  Finally,  as  we  learn  to  cope  with our  new pandemic  lifestyle,  we  were  able  to return  to  Il  Gattopardo, which reopened  last  week.  

On a perfect late summer afternoon, the owner Gianfranco Sorrentino, properly masked of course, greeted us with not one, but two welcoming elbow bumps, mimicking the Italian tradition of due baci, two kisses, one for each cheek.
Gianfranco had designed a lovely Italian-style sidewalk cafe outside the restaurant.

We began with an Aperol Spritz for Michele while we nibbled on crisp crusted rice balls. 

Chef Vito Gnazzo came over to say hello and make some suggestions. We decided to follow his advice.

For the first course I had octopus  salad  with  potatoes,  olives  and some  crispy  greens.

Michele had  a summer  favorite,  fresh  mozzarella  with  tomatoes, basil  and  extra  virgin  olive  oil.  It  was  just  right,  she  said,  simple and well  seasoned  and  with  no  extra  embellishment  of  balsamic  vinegar,  a pet  peeve  of  hers.

Chef Vito sent us out a taste of a very delicious pasta, linguine with zucchini, cuttlefish and shaved bottarga. It  is  an  unusual  combination and  we  enjoyed  every  bite.

For a main course, we had more pasta.  This was fregola, small bits of lightly toasted pasta from Sardinia, here cooked like risotto until creamy with tiny asparagus and chopped scallops.  Readers of this blog know that Michele and I frequently eat a variety of different pastas, but we were delighted to try these two, which were new for both of us.

With lunch we drank Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2019 DonnaChiara 100% Fiano. The soil is chalky clay and there are 4,400 plants per hectare.  The vines are guyot trained and the harvest is the second half of October. There is a soft pressing of the grapes that are quickly cooled to 50F for 4 to 6 hours. Fermentation is at 57 to 60F in steel tanks for 15 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is a delicate and elegant wine with hints of almonds, floral notes and citrus fruit. It is a real pleasure to drink and it was a perfect combination with the food. I also saw this week that Daniele Cernilli aka Dr. Wine in his  Essential Guide to the Wines of  Italy rates this wine  95/100 and I agree.


For dessert, we had tiny cannoli lined with chocolate with a ricotta and chocolate filling.

As if that were not enough, I couldn’t leave without ordering the Pastiera, the restaurant’s signature dessert, and a Neapolitan icon.  It is a cheesecake made with wheat, orange zest and cinnamon.  Once it was enjoyed in Naples only at Easter time, but now it is eaten all year round. It  is  a favorite  of  mine.

Biscotti and espresso ended our meal.

What a pleasure to be able to dine at Il Gattopardo once again.  Perhaps next time we will combine our visit with a stop at the Museum of Modern Art which is just across the street.

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Filed under Daniele Cernilli, Donna Chiara Winery, Fiano di Avellino, Gattopardo, Gattoprdo, Uncategorized

The Celebration Continues

We had a few friends over for my birthday lunch on the 24th and for a change we had a French themed menu.  Because  it  was  such  a hot  day,  Michele  had  planned  a meal  that  could  be  served  at  room  temperature.

We started with bite size cubes of melon wrapped in prosciutto and with it we had Alfred Gratien Brut Rosè NV made from 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Meunier and 15% . The Pinot Noir is added as a still wine. After 6 months of cellaring in 228 liter oak casks, the must is transformed into wine. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The cuvee is bottled with sugar and yeast to allow for a secondary fermentation in the bottle and it remains in the cellar for 36 months. Then the disgorging takes place where the lees and sediment are removed from the bottle which is topped up with more wine and some sugar and left to rest for a few more months in the cellar.  It has good red fruit with hints of raspberry and strawberries and touch of roses.

The next course was a lobster salad  with  avocado,  tomato, bacon,  arugula  and  a tarragon  vinaigrette.

To go with it we had Meursault 2002 Robert Ampeau & Fils 100% Chardonnay. Located in the Puligny – Montrachet region of Burgundy covering 10 hectares of vineyards. The harvest is by machine and this allows other plants to grow between the rows of vines. The wines are not released by the winery until they feel they are ready to drink. The wines are fermented without stalks in cement cuvees and aged in barriques, mostly used for 10 months. The wine has hints of honey, citrus fruit and nuts with mineral notes and good acidity.

Green beans were served at room temperature with Salsa Verde, a green sauce made with parsley, garlic, capers, anchovies and olive oil.

Rare roasted fillet mignon was the main dish.

The beef, with green sauce, green beans and a simple potato and scallion salad on the plate.


Chambolle Musigny 2005 Nicolas Petel made from 100% Pinot Noir . There is a selection of grapes to eliminate unwanted grapes and to evaluate precisely the quality of the harvest. They taste the cuvees twice or three times a day to follow their aromatic evolution. The grapes are softly pressed in a vertical wine press and the liquid is allowed to settle before going into the barrels. With a minimum of interference the must is left to settle for 12 to 16 months on the lees without racking and a minimum of SO2. There is a late malolactic fermentation. The wine is drawn off just before racking and blended in vats so it will have the same uniformity in the barrel. Old fashion racking where the wine is drawn off by the Broquereau where the opening is at the end of the barrel by a funnel. The wine “moves” without the aid of a pumps.  The wine is separated from the lees and this is important for the non filtration. They follow the biodynamic calendar. The wine has hints of cherry and raspberry with a touch of violets and a note of licorice.

For dessert, our friend had prepared a perfect blueberry  tart.  The  crust  was  crisp  and  buttery.

The grand finale — blueberry tart with vanilla ice cream.  A wonderful birthday lunch with good friends.



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Filed under Alfred Gratien, Burgundy, Meursault, Uncategorized

The Start of a Celebration

To celebrate the start of my birthday week,  Michele made some of my favorite foods.

We had homemade blueberry muffins with cappuccino

It was such a beautiful morning, we had breakfast on the terrace, which we are able to use after 22 months of construction.

For lunch we had two of my favorite Roman foods.

Fried zucchini flowers stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella.

Zucchini flowers deep fries and ready to eat- we ate them all

Pasta  alla  Checca  —  Ditalini  pasta  with  fresh  tomatoes,  mozzarella  and  basil.


With our meal we drank a falanghina, a wine that we often enjoy in Rome.


Falanghina del Sarnnio DOP 2018 made from 1oo% Falanghina Fontana Vecchia The vineyard is at 350 meters and the soil is argillaceous with lime rich marlstone outcrops. The training system is guyot and harvest is the third part of September. There is a direct pressing of the grapes at a controlled temperature. Fermentation lasts for 7 days. The wine is aged in steel before it is bottled. It has hints of citrus fruit, lemon, lime with a touch of green apple.


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Italian White Wines For All Seasons

Here are 12 white wines that you can enjoy all year long.

Marche Bianco IGT 2016 made from 70% Verdicchio and 30% Ribona (aka Macratino).  Tenuta La Floriana. The wine is aged in second passage barriques. The wine has hints of white and yellow stone fruit, a touch of apple, floral notes and almonds.

Toscana IGT “Pantagruel” made from mostly Vermentino with Malvasia and Viognier Castello della Mugazzena. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the grapes are handpicked the second week of September. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel at a controlled temperature and part of the maceration and fermentation is in wood. The wine is aged in steel and part in barriques on the lees. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, vanilla and  a touch of melon.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2018 DOCG “Campo Della Pieve” made from 100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano Il Colombio Di Santachiara. The soil is deep sand and clay and the elevation is 360 to 400 meters and there are 5,500 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand the end of September or beginning of October. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation takes place with indigenous yeast at a controlled temperature. Maturation is on the fine lees and takes place in cement vats with periodic batonnage for 18/20 months. This is an elegant well-structured wine with hints of citrus fruit and wild flowers.$19

Civitella d”Agliano IGT 2019 made from 100% Grechetto Poggio dell Acosta. The grapes are hand picked and there are no chemical additives. Traditional white wine fermentation at a controlled temperature takes place. The wine remains on the lees for several months. This is a fruity aromatic wine with hints a citrus fruit, pineapple and touch of white flowers.

Vermentino DOC “Colli di Luni” Fosso di Corsano 2018 Terenzuola made from 100% Vermentino. The vineyard is located in Fosdinova at 200/350 meters. In the major part of the vineyard the soil is schists and on the other part sand. There are 8,400 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. Hand harvested during the last weeks of September and the first week of October. There is a soft pressing and a quick maceration and a low fermentation temperature for each of the different parcels. Aging on its own yeasts in steel for 6/7 months. The wine is bottled in March and released 2/3 months later.This is a dry white wine with hints of citrus fruit, green apple with floral notes and a touch of almonds.

Greco di Tufo DOCG 2017 DI Meo made from 100% Greco. The production area is Santa Paolina and Tufo (AV). The vineyard is at 480 meters and the soil is mainly clay and limestone. The exposure is northwest and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. The training system is espalier with monolateral guyot pruning. Harvest is the first week of October. There is a manual harvest of selected bunches. The grapes are destemmed that there is cryomaceration with soft pressing of the grapes. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in steel tanks for 3 months and then in bottle for 3 months before release. This is a fresh wine with hints of orange blossoms, cedar and lime with a note of exotic fruits.

Fiano di Avellino “Alimata” 2013 made from 100% Fiano di Avellino. Villa Raiano Alimata is the name of a district of the town of Monteferdane, Avellino, on the eastern slope of the hill at 350 meters. The vineyard is two hectares and the soil is hard clay based on marly layers. Harvest is the first week of October.  Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and the wine ages in stainless steel on the lees for 12 months and 12 months in bottle before release. This is an exceptional Fiano with hints of honey, pears, peaches, apple, floral notes and a touch of hazelnuts and a note of smoke. I was very impressed with this wine.$26

Pecorino BIo IGP made from 100% Pecorino Agriverde. The exposure is south, south/east and the training system is Pergola Abruzzese. There are 3,000 vines per hectare. The harvest starts in late August and goes into early September. Vinification takes place in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in bottle and then released. The wine has hints of peach, sage, white flowers, with a touch of balsamic herbs and a note of almonds in the finish.

Cococciola Terre di Chieti 2010 IGT 100% Cococciolo Cantina FrentanaThis is an ancient indigenous grape variety of the province of Chieti mainly grown in the area around Rocco San Giovanni. The big grape bunches are irregular in shape and some are wing-tipped. It is a grape with good acidity and good yields. In the past it was only used for blending with other grapes. The harvest takes place towards the end of September. The grapes are soft pressed and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The first time I had this unusual white I really liked it. There is a slight herbal and mineral character to the wine, good body with aromas and flavors of apple and citrus fruit.

Pinot Grigio DOC 2018 Friuli Colli Orientali “Mandonna d”Aiuto” Valentino Butussi Made from 100% Pinot Grigio Ramato. The exposure is south westerly and the soil is of alluvial and colluvial origin composed of marl deep down and calcareous stones at the surface. There are 4,400 vines per hectare and the training system is double-arched cane. Harvest is by hand and there is a manual selection of the grapes when they have reached optimum ripeness. The grapes are destemmed and macerate on the skins, until there is a spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeast. Daily manual punching down of the cap takes place until fermentation stops naturally. Tradition pressing is used modified to work at a low pressure. After static settling for 24 hours the cloudy wine goes into traditional Friulian 700 liter oak barrels for 8/10 months. The wine spends 12 months in bottle and is released for sale the Easter following the bottling. The wine has hints of orange blossoms, apples and pears with a long dry finish.

Massoferrato Bianco 2018 made from 100% Sangiovese. The winery is located in Impruneta in  the Colli Fiorentini just south of Florence.The vineyard is on a south facing slope.The juice is separated from the skins immediately. The wine is not filtered so it has a light pink color. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. This is a structured white wine with hints of violets, white flowers and exotic fruits.  I had this wine at I Trulli restaurant in NYC  a few days ago and at around $17 (retail) it is a very good buy,

Ferrari Brut Trento DOC NV Methodo Classico 100% Chardonnay. (Trentino) The grapes are picked by hand at the beginning of September. They come from various communes in the Val d’Adige, Val di Cembra and Valle dei Laghi. The vineyards are between 300 and 700 meters above sea level, with southeast or southwest exposure. The wine is aged for at least 24 months on the lees. It is selected yeast from Ferrari’s own cultures. The wine has a fresh and intense bouquet with hints of apples, white flowers and a touch of brioche. I included this one sparkling wine because it is made from 100% Chardonnay and it a true bargain at $20



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