Return to Sorbillo on the Bowery NYC for Pizza

I went to Sorbillo Pizzeria on the Bowery in NYC when it first opened.  Together with a friend, Michele and I had  three different pizzas. Michele liked them better than I did, but even she did not think they were that good. Then last month I was invited by Roberto Caporusio of Keste Wall Street to celebrate Neapolitan pizza being granted World Heritage Status by the United Nations. Roberto invited pizzaioli from NYC and other parts of the country.

Pizzaioli: Pietro Nesi, Antonio Esposito and Geggè Cozzolino

I noticed that one of the pizzaioli was from Sorbillo on the Bowery in NYC. I watched him as he made a pizza and when it came out of the oven I went over and had a slice or two. It was wonderful and I asked him his name and he said it was Geggè Cozzolino and he was from Naples. I told him next time I come to Sorbillo I wanted him to make my pizza. He said he would, but I should not come on Monday as it is his day off.

Yesterday Michele and I and 3 friends went to Sorbillo for lunch and Geggè made the pizza for us.  It was wonderful.


Geggè with the Margarita


The Margarita — classic Neapolitan pie with tomato, mozzarella fior di latte and basil.

Folded pizza stuffed with escarole, olives, cheese and pine nuts.

Pizza with Pancetta and Nduja, a spicy sausage, and cheese

Bologna style, with Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Other than the Margarita, we let Geggè decide which pizzas to make for us.  Everybody agreed on how good they were and we will be going back soon.

We brought our own wine and it was a perfect combination with the pizzas.  A Toscana Rosso, Fontefossoli  2014, the wine is made from 60% Montepulciano and 40% Ciliegiolo and the vineyard is certified organic. This is an easy drinking wine with nice red fruit aromas and flavors. The producer is Ceccherini.


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Filed under Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Sorbillo NYC

Drinking Fiorano Rosso with Alessia Antinori

Often people will ask me what is my favorite red wine. This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many that I truly enjoy. However  there is one that comes to mind right away and that is the Fiorano Rosso Vino da Tavola from Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe of Venosa. I first had the 1961 at Checchino dal 1887 in Rome in 1983. The Prince began making wine in 1945 and stopped making it around 1995. It was said that he had destroyed all of the vines, but this was not true. I was so impressed with the wine that I tried to buy all that I could find.

When the Principe died a few years ago, he left half of the estate to his daughter, who is the renowned winemaker Piero Antinori’s wife.  Mrs. Antinori gave her share of the estate to her three daughters.  Alessia is the daughter who lives in Rome and since the winery is only twenty minutes away, just across from the Ciampino Airport, she took over the management of the Fattoria di Fiorano estate.

The other half of the Boncompagni Ludovisi estate was left to a distant cousin of the Principe. His first release was the 2006 Fiorano Rosso with the original Fiorano label under his own name, Principe Alessandro Jacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi. He also made a white Fiorano, but is using different grapes than the original.

Alessia Antinori on the Estate

An agreement had to be reached between the cousins about the rights to the Fiorano name. The result is that Alessia can use the name Fiorano in Italy for her wines but in the U.S. she had to change the name on the label. She chose the name Alberico, which is her grandfather’s first name, for her US wine. She is also planning to release an entry-level wine in the U.S called Appia Antica 400, which is the address of the winery.

I have visited Fattoria di Fiorano a few times and became friends with Alessia. When Alessia is in the US she has an apartment only a few blocks from where I live. I periodically have what I call “Fiorano dinners” and last week I invited some Fiorano lovers and Alessia over for something different — a Fiorano lunch.

We spoke about her grandfathers’ wine and the wine she is making on her part of the estate.

with Alessia Antinori

Alessia said a few years go she was visiting a neighbor on the property who had worked for her grandfather and noticed in the garden next to his house an uncultivated plot of disorderly vines. She was told that the vines were planted many years before by her grandfather and it was Semillon. This was an opportunity that she could not pass up and she decided to make take care of the vines and produce a wine from the grapes.

Alberico Bianco 2013 100% Sémillon

After a careful manual selection, the best grapes were destemmed and soft pressed. Fermentation in casks and the wine completed its six months of aging in puncheons. The wine was aged in bottle for a minimum of 24 months.

This is an exceptional balanced wine with complex aromas of subtle tropical fruit, hints of citrus fruit and a slight touch of vanilla with a very pleasing finish and a long aftertaste.

It is a very special wine. Alessia said it is a white wine that will age and I agreed. In fact I told her it was a white wine as good as the Sémillon or the Malvasia di Candia that her grandfather made!

As for the Rosso she said she found on the estate eight vine rows, four of Merlot and four of Cabernet that were planted over half a century ago by her grandfather and farmed organically. These are the vines which produced the legendary Fiorano Rosso.

Alberico Rosso 2012 made from 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Once the two varieties had been separated, the grapes were destemmed and fermented in temperature-controlled cement tanks. Alessia said this was to fully bring out their aromas and flavors. After being run off the skins, the wine goes into large oak casks for a minimum of 12 months. She said this is done to assist the full expression of the exceptional character conferred by the old vines of her grandfather Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, and by the singular volcanic soils created by an ancient lava flow. The wine completed its 24 months of oak aging in puncheon barrels and was then bottled before completing the process with a period of bottle aging, which lasts over two years.

There are about 14 hectares of vine planted on the estate now: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sémillon are the vines which come from a “massal” selection (propagated from old vines).

Then we had 6 vintages of the Fiorano Rosso produced by her grandfather. The profile of the wines as you taste them is always consistent. They all have leather, smoke and cherry aromas and flavors with a hint of balsamic. They were very complementary to the food that we served. The wines, even the 1971 and 1974, had such high fills that one would think it was a very young wine. I have never tasted one (but I should not say tasted, I drink these wines) that even had a hint of oxidation.

1971 — This wine, now 47 years old, was in perfect condition.

1974 — The 1974 was for me drinking better than the 1971 but there were others that enjoyed the 1974 more- I did not argue the point!

1985 — This wine was just on the edge of becoming ready to drink.

1988 — This needed at least 5 more years.

1990 — This was also too young and needs at least another 8 to 10 years.

1994 — We tasted this wine and it seemed so young that we did not drink it and the person that brought the wine recorked it and said he would try it again in a week.


Filed under Alberico, Fiorano Rosso

Enjoying Authentic Southern Italian Food at Tartina Restaurant

I was invited by a friend to go to Tartina, an Italian Restaurant located on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 111th street right across from St John the Divine Cathedral..

Michele and I are always looking for authentic Italian restaurants.   Unfortunately Michele could not attend but sent me to bring back a report.

Carlo Di Giulio, one of the owners, greeted me as I entered the restaurant.  The other partners are the chef Federico Terminiello, and his wife Maria Teresa Valestra.

Federico and Maria Teresa

In is a comfortable space with very friendly and efficient service.  Chef Terminiello comes from Sorrento so the restaurant features authentic Southern Italian Cuisine.


Burrata  served in a parmigiano nest over prosiutto crudo and tomato

Fritto Italia

Croquet, Arancino, Panzerotto, Frittelline and Mozzarelline Milanese.


Fried Calamari & Shrimp Fritti

Fried Fresh squid and shrimp served with tartare dip and lemon.


Pamigiana Sorrentina

Eggplant, Mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese in a basil tomato sauce.


Ravioli Caprese

Homemade ravioli filled with fresh and aged caciotta with grana padana in a fresh tomato sauce.


Rigatoni Genovese

Rigatoni in a Genovese Ragu (onions, carrots and beef stew)


Lava Stone Steak

The Sirloin Steak was grilled on a searing hot lava stone at the table.

Some of the desserts

The menu is well priced.

TARTINA 1034 Amsterdam Ave, New York, New York .  646-590-0577

I am looking forward to returning to Tartina soon!



Filed under Tartina restaurant

Wines from the Campo Alle Comete–Field of Dreams

It is always a pleasure to go to Il Gattopardo Restaurant.  Recently, I was invited there for lunch for a winery in Bolgheri in Tuscany, I  was happy to accept.

The Winery is the Campo Alle Comete- -Field of Dreams.  The speaker was Jeanette Servidio, Director and General Manager of the winery.

Jeanette Servidio

Feudi di San Gregorio, a Campagnia winery, acquired Tenuta Campo Alle Comete in February 2016.  The property consists of about 17 hectares and is located at the foot of the commune of Castagneto Carducci in the province of Livorno. There are 14.5 hectares of vineyards.

Jeanette described the soil as mostly loose sand with some clay and limestone. The land is level just a few meters above sea level. The oldest vineyard was planted in 1993 and the newest in 2007. Vine density ranges from 6,500 to 7,000 vines per hectare.

She said the winery practices sustainable farming and in 2016 started the conversion of the vineyards to organic.

The new wine cellar with its circular shape is inspired by an Etruscan tomb. It is partly underground which makes it naturally cool. There are 20 stainless steel tanks of different sizes and about 50 barriques/tonneaux in the cellar.

Nicoletta Ceccoli, an illustrator from San Marino, has designed the logo and also the dreamlike picture exhibited at the winery, from which the fairy images on the labels have been taken.

I was very pleased with how well the wines complemented the food!

The wines

Vermentino IGT Toscana 2016 made from 100% Vermentino. Fermentation is in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature of 17 degrees C then a short time on the lees. The wine has citrus flavors and aromas with hits of herbs and good acidity.

Served with insalatina di farro perlato organico con verdurine grigliate. (Organic pearled farro with grilled vegetables)

Cabernet Sauvignon IGT Toscana 2015 made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Half of the wine is in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fruity notes; the rest matures for about 6 monts in new and used barriques and tonneaux of medium toasted French oak. The wine has aromas and flavors of red fruit with hits of black cherry and mint.

Pappardelle al sugo di lepre (Pappardelle with hare sauce)

Bolgheri Rosso DOC “Stupore” 2015 made from decreasing proportions of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Each grape variety is fermented separately, and the wine remains in contact with the skins for about three weeks. The wine is aged for about 10 months in new and used barriques and tonneaux of medium toast oak barrels. The wine has  fragrant red fruit with a touch of balsamic and eucalyptus. .

Tagliata di manzo con patate al forno (Sliced dry-aged rib eye with roasted potatoes)

Dessert – Spiced pumpkin cake

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Filed under Cabernet Sauvignon, Campo Alle Comete, Vermentino

Vertical of Produttori del Barbaresco from 1962 to 1989

Produttori del Barbaresco has always been one of my favorite produces of Barbaresco. Their wines can last for 50 years or more even in mediocre vintages.  Ernie De Salvo, a good friend and fellow wine lover, suggested that we invite some friends and do a tasting and lunch with these wines. There were 8 of us and we gathered at Il Gattopardo restaurant in NYC a few weeks ago.

The vertical tasting consisted of 8 wines in vintages from 1962 to 1989. They were all in good condition except for the 1970 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello, which was corked.


Produttori del Barbaresco is a wine cooperative, arguably the best in Italy. It has roots going back to 1894 when there were 19 members, but the co-op as we now know it dates from 1958.  Today there are 52 members. Over the years, a few members have left the co-op to go out on their own.

Produttori has 100 hectares of Nebbiolo in the Barbaresco Appellation, 1/6 of the area. Each grower makes his own decisions as far as growing the grapes is concerned.

Produttori del Barbaresco only produces wine from the Nebbiolo grape, Barbaresco DOCG, a blend of grapes from different vineyards, and Langhe Nebbiolo DOC.

In great vintages, nine single vineyard Barbaresco’s are produced within the boundaries of the village of Barbaresco: Asilli, Rabaja, Pora, Montestefano, Orvello, Pagé, Montefico, Moccagatta and Rio Sordo.  The co-op takes great pride in these wines and the name of the single vineyard.  The total number of bottles produced and the name of the owners of the vineyard are on the label.

The 1996 Ovello Riserva, for example, has on the label the name of the single vineyard, the number of bottles produced (18,145) and the names of the vineyard owners: Cravanzola, Gonella, Maffei, Vacca, Varaldo.

In his book Italy’s Noble Red Wines, Wasserman states in the section on Barbaresco,  “There are a few producers making Barbaresco in the same class as the wines of Produttori, but none who surpass them.”  In the years since this was written I have drunk many bottles of Produttori and it is as true now as it was then.

All of these single vineyards basically have the same soil, calcareous limestone with sandy veins. The only difference is in the exposure. The grapes are hand harvested. They are also vinified in the same way. Traditional fermentation takes place with 18 to 20 days skin contact and aged for 36 months in oak barrels of 25 to 50 HL and 8 months in bottle before release. All of the single vineyards are reserve wines.

The regular Barbaresco is aged for two years in large oak barrels.

For the last number of years the winery has been run by Aldo Vacca the managing director.

The wines

Jason De Salvo took the notes on the wines that follow. I have great respect for his palate and his great attention to detail.

1962 Barbaresco Riserva

12/11/17 — 89 points.  Light brick-garnet color.  The nose is candied cherries, leaves, leather, tobacco and dried roses.  On the palate this is supremely elegant and still holding together.  It is amazing that this is still as alive as it is, given what I have heard about the 1962 vintage!

1967 Barbaresco Riserva Speciale Rabaya

12/11/17 — 97+ points. Light-medium ruby-brick color.  The nose here is absolutely gorgeous with haunting notes of smoke, black cherries, wild flowers, balsamic-pine notes, fennel flowers and dried game.  On the palate this is f*&%ing stunning with great grip, incredible balance, loads of flavor nuance and a long finish.

1967 Barbaresco Riserva Paijé (Cavaliere del Tartufo bottling)

12/11/17 — 98 points. Deep ruby color, nearly opaque.  The nose here is extraordinary with deep black cherry fruit, loads of dusty minerals, lilies, potpourri, pomegranates and dried roses.  On the palate this is deep, intensely flavored and positively youthful.  Unreal juice.  Absolutely stunning and still going strong nearly two hours after it was opened and poured.  This was the wine of the day for Jason .

1978 Barbaresco

12/11/17 —  95 points.  Deep ruby-brick color.  Powerful umami notes on the nose with soy, black cherries, smoked game, black raspberries, flowers, pink lilies.  In the mouth this is gorgeous with a grippe palate presence, beautiful balance and loads of dusty tannins leading to a long finish.  A touch less complex than the two 1967 crus that preceded it, but otherwise virtually at the same level!  Wow.

1979 Barbaresco

12/11/17 — 94 points.  Medium-deep brick-ruby color.  From a cooler vintage than the 1978 served alongside it.  Aromatically this is actually more complex than the 1978 with just a stunning nose of dried game, black raspberries, sour cherries, smoke, leather and dried flowers.  On the palate this is a tad more acidic, less opulent and lighter than than the 1978.  I prefer the ’78 in the mouth and the nose of the ’79.

1978 Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja’

12/11/17 — 96 points. Deep ruby color.  The nose here is black licorice, a distinct note of celery, leather, black cherries, earth, forest floor and dried porcini mushrooms.  On the palate this is the most structured, deepest and intense wine of the tasting thus far.  Massive quantities of ripe, dried black cherry fruit in the mouth with plush mid-palate and a long, structured finished buttressed by a good dose of classy, ripe tannins.

1989 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello

12/11/17 – 97 points).  Medium-deep ruby color.  Beautiful nose with gorgeous, soaring aromatics of red plums, black raspberries, minerals, dried roses, saddle leather and red cherries.  On the palate this is gorgeously elegant with a wonderful nervosité, excellent mouth-puckering acidity and a gorgeously long, dusty tannic finish.  Wow.  This wine is right in its sweet spot right now and is really singing.

The best way to understand these wines is with food. Here are some of the dishes prepared by chef Vito Gnazzo of Gattopardo to go with the wines.





Filed under Barbaresco, Produttori del Barbaresco

Blanc de Blancs Champagnes to Start the New Year

Blanc de Blancs vintage and non-vintage Champagne was the subject or the tasting and lunch of the NY Wine Press held at The Vanderbilt Suites, NYC last week.

Harriet Lembeck organized the luncheon with Eunice Fried and Charles Rubinstein. There were 9 Blanc de Blancs Champagnes made from 100% Chardonnay, one with 4% Pinot Bianco added and a sparkling Blanc de Blancs made from 100% Chardonnay using the traditional method from England.

Champagne Barons de Rothschild NV in magnum. The grapes come from the Còtes des Blancs.  40% of reserve wine is used. There is a low dosage and long aging after disgorgement, 6 to 9 months. Cellar aging is for at least 3 years. The wine has citrus aromas and flavors with white fruit notes and hints of apple and almonds. $200

Deutz Blanc De Blancs 2007 the grapes: Avize 45%, Mesnil sur Oger 35%, Villers-Marmery 10% and 10% fron Olger, Cramant and Chouilly. The wine has hints of  white ripe fruit and kumquats with a touch of orange zest and lemon. $60

Boizel is a blend of Premier and Grand Crus from the Cote des Blancs. The wine has hints of acacia flowers, fresh brioche, honey and almonds. $60

Drappier,  4% of Pinot Blanc (Blanc Vrai) Only the juice from the first pressing. Mechanical low-pressure presses are used. The use of gravity is used to avoid pumping, thus avoiding oxidization. A mineral use of sulfur and there is a natural setting. Alcoholic fermentation for about 2 weeks at a low temperature then a total and natural malolactic fermentation. Filtering does not take place. 100% of the wines are made in vats.  After bottling the cuvee is aged for 2 to 3 years sur lattes. The Dosage is 8g/l. The wine has hints of white peaches and pears with a touch of brioche. $40

Champagne Pol Roger 2009 made from grapes from the Grand Crus of the Cõte des Blancs: Oiry, Chouillu, Cramant, Avize and Oger. There are two débourbages (settlings) one at the press house immediately after pressing, the second “a froid” in stainless steel tanks at 6C for 24 hours. A slow fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with each variety and each village kept separate. There is full malolactic fermentation prior to the final blending. The secondary fermentation takes place in bottle at 9C in cellars 33 meters below street level. It remains here until it undergoes remuage (riddling) by hand a rarity in Champagne today. The wine has hints of grapefruit, apricot and a touch of apple. Produced in limited quantities, this cuvee has been aged for 7 years in the cellars before release. $115

Champagne Perrier – Jouët Fleur de Champagne” Blanc de Blancs 2000. This was by far the most expensive Champagne at the tasting. The grapes come from the best vineyards.This is an elegant wine with hints of apricots, honey and hazelnuts $ 325

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1995 Ed said this is one of the few remaining family owned and operated Champagne houses. They age their wines for a long period before release. It is located in Reims, France. This is a complex Champagne with hints of citrus fruit, lime blossom and a touch of grapefruit. One of my favorites. $150

Champagne Collet NV most of the grapes come from the Cote des Blancs region and is made from 6 crus. It is aged for a minimum of five years in hundred-year-old chalk cellars, which is longer than the regulations require. The dosage is 7.5 grams per liter. It has floral notes, with citrus aromas and hints of grapefruit and wild flowers. $50

Champagne Henriot NV It is a blend of grapes from the Cote de Blancs and the villages of Mesnil- sur – Oger, Avize, Chouilly and others. The assembly consists of 30% reserve wine; the percentage can change depending on the vintage. This is wine with hints of orange blossom, honey, apricot and a touch of brioche. $55   One of my favorites.

Charles Heidsieck “Blanc de Millenaires”1995 the grapes from 5 major crus from the Cote des Blancs: Oger, Mesnil-sur-Olger, Avize and Cramant are used. The wine is aged for all 20 years in the chalk cellars. The wine has hints of candied fruits, dates, almonds and hazelnut. $160

Gusbourne 2011 Location Traditional Method, England, south facing ancient encampment in Appledore, Kent. The soil is clay and sandy loam and the climate is warm and dry, close to the coast. Pruning method is double guyot. Harvest is by hand in October.Whole bunches are pressed and then naturally settled fro 24 to 36 hours. Fermentation is for 10 days at 18 to 20 degrees C using specialist sparkling wine yeast and takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with a small percentage of small barrels. Malolactic fermentation takes place and the wine is aged on the lees for 28 months. The wine was bottled on may 9th 2012. The wine has hints of baked apple, hazelnut, and buttered toast with mineral notes. $60



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Filed under Blanc Blancs, Champagne

Celebrating UN Recognition of Neapolitan Pizza at Keste

Last week I received  a text from Roberto Caprouscio of Kesté Wall Street that he had invited 8 pizzaioli from all over the country to make pizza with him. The occasion was a celebration of the fact that the tradition of Neapolitan pizza making was being granted World Heritage Status by the United Nations and being added to  UNESCO’s “Intangible list. ”  I saw the text at 1:00 and the event started at 4:00. Roberto said that they had decided at the last minute.  Some of the pizzaioli did not know until the night before and had just flown in that morning.  It was a offer I could not refuse!  

There were so many pizzas being made  at once  I was not always sure which pizzaiolo made which pizza.

Giorgia and Roberto Caporuscio and the Pizzaioli


Giulio Adriani from Atlanta and his Pizza with Zucchini Flowers

This folded “pizza” was made by Geggei Cozzolino of Sorbillo on the Bowery, NYC

Ready for the oven

Ready to eat

Geggei making pizza

Marinara ready to eat

Jonathan Goldsmith from Spaccanapoli in Chicargo with a pizza of his own creation.

Marco Dym of Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza, Denver

Edoardo Duran, Eatly NYC, and Luca Arrigoni, Sottocasa, Brooklyn NY

Pizza with Mozzarella and Baby Tomatoes

Gennaro Pecchia at Work

Giorgia Caporuscio of Kesté Making a Margarita Pizza.

Ciro Iovine of Song e Napule NYC

The perfect Margarita

Michele D’Amelio

We ended with a Focaccia made by Roberto and his special salami



Filed under Keste, Pizza