Monthly Archives: May 2017

Pizza at Kesté Wall Street

I have been a fan of Roberto Caporuscio’s pizza since I first met him at Kesté, his original pizzeria on Bleecker Street. This week, with a group of pizza loving friends, I visited his latest venture Kesté Wall Street in the Financial District, which he opened with his daughter Giorgia who is also an accomplished pizzaiola.

Georgia Caporuscio

The Wall Street Kesté is much bigger than the original. There are 150 seats and they can accommodate parties of up to 40 people in a separate room. The room is also used for pizza making classes taught by Roberto or Giorgia.

We began our pizza tasting with homemade Burrata serve with prosciutto di Parma. Burrata is a mozzarella type cheese with a soft creamy filling.

Our first pizza was a Montanara Truffle, a deep fried disk of dough topped with fresh mozzarella and truffle cream, then finished in the wood-fired oven. The dough was crisp and crunchy on the outside yet soft and tender within and not at all oily.

Then we had a Pizza Fritta Via Tribunali, another fried pizza but this time folded like a calzone and filled with ricotta and Italian salami. It’s named for the famous street in Naples where some of the world’s best pizza can be found.

We followed this with a classic Pizza Margherita, with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil.

The next pizza was a Pizza Sorrentino, topped with imported smoked buffalo mozzarella, sliced lemon and basil. This is an old favorite that we first had at Kesté Bleecker.

Michele asked for the Salsiccia E Friarielli pizza, topped with smoked buffalo mozzarella, Italian rapini, crumbled sausage and extra virgin olive oil, another Neapolitan classic.

Perhaps to counteract the fried pizzas, our friends were craving salad, and the Insalata Pizza filled the bill. It was a disk of baked pizza dough filled with a spring mix and artichokes, prosciutto di Parma, and Gaeta olives.

We all had a great time at Kesté Wall Street and are looking forward to going back again. Maybe I will take a refresher pizza course!




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Daniele Cernilli on the Growing Fad for Orange Wine

Signed DW | Published on DoctorWine N°210

Fad for orange wines

by Daniele Cernilli 15-05-2017

Orange Wines

There is a growing fad today for ‘orange wines’, especially in London where they are almost exclusively offered in the many wine bars of the West End. The so-called ‘orange wines’ are those made with white grapes but using the method for producing red wine. This means that the wine macerates long on the must, lees, skins, lactic bacteria and so on. Once they have performed their designated task, these substances die and become the dregs at the bottle of the vat or amphora used. This allows for the extraction of the polyphenolic, aromatic and proteomic properties that give the wine its bold yellow or ‘orange’ color, a fuller body and a propensity to age. This works if it is done in a proper way with adequate skill, otherwise it can produce oxidative phenomena and unpleasant volatile substances. Up until the 1960s, this was the way white wines were for the most part made in Italy. I can remember when my father would send me, then only 15, to buy bulk wine from the local wine shop and I would come home with a two-liter bottleful full of a yellow-orange liquid. Then one Christmas one of my father’s suppliers (he had a furniture shop) sent us a case of white wine from the Veneto which he made and was clear in color. Horizontal press were already being used in that region and they were no longer making white wine as if it was a red. At the time, the wine seemed very strange to me, so different and so ‘pale’ but also very aromatic. It was the start of a revolution that in just a few years led to all white wines being made the new way. Leading this revolution, which spread to central and southern Italy, were the enologists trained in Conegliano and disciples of the theories of Professor Tullio De Rosa. For the past ten years or so, even if the pioneers of ‘orange wine’ began much earlier, there has been a ‘counter-revolution’ which was unknowingly instigated by Paola De Mauro in the 1980s with her Marino white that was made like a red wine.  Then came Josko Gravner with his almost philosophic vision regarding the relationship between the inside and outside of a grape that focused on completing the natural (in this case the term is used properly) process of ripening. Others followed, some of whom were converts while others were just jumping on the bandwagon. As with all things, there are pros and cons to making wine this way. The pros involve the fact that ‘orange wines’ are not excessively technological because with certain aromatic varietals too much technology can produce white wines that are not particularly interesting and basically neutral, like the majority of the white wines made in Italy. The ‘orange’ method also avoids any external or inappropriate intervention in the winemaking process like the use of small wood barrels. In order to be made like a red wine, white grapes need to be very healthy and vinified properly. This method is more difficult, risky and very ‘artisanal’ and the results do not always live up to expectations. But when the ‘orange wines’ are Gravner’s Ribolla, Solo MM14 from Vodopivec or a Dettori Bianco, then this is as good as it gets.


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Introducing Champagne Tribaut Schloesser

I had first heard of Tribaut Champange from Riccardo Gabriele of PR Vino when I was in Rome. I was unable to attend the tasting he was organizing then, but I told him that if they did a tasting in NYC to let me know. Two weeks ago I received an invitation from Riccardo and Elisa Bosco of PR Vino to a lunch and tasting of the Champagne.

Valentin Tribaut

Valentin Tribaut represented the winery. He said that the winery is located in Romery in France. Each year they vinify about 40 hectares from the family-owned vineyards and from outside sources. The family-owned vineyards are mainly in the communes of Romery, Cormoyeux and Fleury la Riviere. The slopes are south and southeast facing and the soil is limestone clay, located in a remote valley of the Marne backing onto the Montagne de Reims. They also have vines in the commune of Aÿ, a Grand Cru village in the Vallee de la Marne celebrated for its Pinot Noir.

He said they tie together tradition with technological advances in order to produce the best Champagne.

They have seven foudres large wooden vats) and about 20 barrels, for the aging of reserve wines. This he said ensures the wines mature in the Tribaut style in accordance with family traditions that have been perpetuated over four generations.

Valentin said the name Tribaut–Schloesser is the complete name of the winery because Schloesser was his great grandfather’s name and he founded the winery. His daughter, Valentin’s grandmother, inherited the winery and married a Tribaut.

The Champagne

Brut Origine made from 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Meunier. Produced from 8 different terroirs. 10% of reserve wines aged in large oak barrels (foudres) goes into the blend. It is matured for 3 years sur lie before disgorgement and the dosage is 8g/l. This is a fresh, lively and fruity champagne with hints of plum, lemon and a touch of toast. It is perfect as an aperitif. $40

Valentin said this is their entry level champagne and it is half of their total production of 350,000 bottles.

Blanc de Chardonnay made from 100% Chardonnay produced from four terroirs: Romery, Fleury la Rivière, Aÿ and Bassuet. 20% of the grapes come from old vine Chardonnay in Aÿ. The wine is matured in large oak casks and spends four years sur lie before disgorgement. The dosage is 6g/l. This is champagne with fine elegant bubbles with hints of citrus especially lemon with a touch of brioche and honey.

Brut Millésime 2009 Made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Produced from 3 terroirs: Ecueil, Romert and Fleury-la-Riviere The wine remains sur lie for 5 years before disgorgement. Dosage: 7g/l. This is a very complex Champagne with delicate bubbles. It has pastry aromas with hints of hazelnuts and almonds.

Brut Rosè made from 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Meunier. Produced from 4 different terroirs: Romery, Damery, Fleury la Riviére and Ay. About 10% of red wine from the Damery terroir is incorporated into the cuvee. It remains sur lie for 3 years before it is disgorgement. Dosage 8g/l. It has hints of red fruit, raspberry, red currant with a hint of grapefruit.

Cuvée René made from 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. Produced from two terroirs and parcelles, Romery (Crayere) and Ecueil (Crossats). Valentin said it is named in honor of René Schloesser, the founder of the Champagne house. It is blended with 50% reserve wines aged in large oak casks. The wine remains sur lie for 6 years before disgorgement. Dosage 6g/l. This is a very complex wine with very fine elegant bubbles with hints of brioche, candied fruits, hazelnuts and a touch of vanilla.

L’Authentique 2008 made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Produced from 2 terroirs Aÿ and Romery. The wine is aged for one year in large oak casks. Aged sur lie for 5 years before disgorgement. Dosage 5g/l

This is a powerful and very complex Champagne with fine delicate bubbles. It is full flavored with great richness, hints of brioche and breadcrumbs and a touch of butter.

Valentin said only 4,837 bottles are produced each year.

This is an outstanding Champagne which ranks with some of the best Champagnes I have ever tasted. At $95 it is a real bargain.

Thibaut Schloesser is Champagne at its best. I was very impressed by the whole line, which runs in price from $40 to $95. Tribaut Champagne will be introduced into the US in about 2 months.

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Pizza Fritta in NYC

Twenty years ago there was only one pizzeria serving Neapolitian pizza in NYC and that was La Pizza Fresca. Since then, a number of others have opened including Keste, Don Antonio Starita, and Ribalta, to name just a few.

Now Zia Esterina Sorbillo by Neapolitan pizza expert Gino Sorbillo has opened on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. He also plans to open another location on the Bowery.

First a little background. At the moment Gino Sorbillo owns the most popular pizzeria in Naples located at Via dei Tribunali, 32. In February we tried to go there but the line was so long it blocked the street. Sorbillo has several locations in Naples including:

Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre al Mare at Via Partenope, 1. New York’s Zia Esterina is a clone of Antica Pizza Fritta di Zia Esterina Sorbillo, Piazza Trieste e Trento 35 

The NYC shop is very small and you place your order and pay a man in front. You can stand at the counter and eat or grab a spot at one of the few small tables in the front of the shop or on the sidewalk outside.

I especially wanted to try the pizza fritta, which is not easy to come by in New York. It consists of a large sheet of dough folded over a filling and deep fried. Imagine a calzone, fried instead of baked.

Pizza Fritta varieties include:

Salame: Ricotta, Smoked Mozzarella, Salami, Organic Tomato, Black Pepper

Prosciutto Cotto: Ricotta, Smoked Mozzarella, Italian Ham, Organic Tomato, Black Pepper

Provola E Pomodpro: Smoked Mozzarella, Organic Tomato, Black Pepper

Michele and I shared the Salame version. She thought it could have been crisper and there was little flavor of the mozzarella and salame. I, however, liked it. 

They also have a regular pizza menu which we were not able to try:

Margherita: Mozzarella, Organic Tomato, Basil

Marinara: Organic Tomato, Garlic, Oregano

Little Italy: Ricotta. Smoked Mozzarella, Italian Ham, Salami, Black Pepper

We plan to return when we come back to New York from Copenhagen and try it again.


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Amarone Masterclass Hosted by Pierangelo Tommasi

I met Pierangelo Tommasi a few years ago and he told me about how his family’s winery, the Tommasi Family Estates, is a true family affair. They have wineries in several regions of Italy, as well as in other countries. I wrote about our meeting previously:

Recently, I met Pierangelo again. The occasion was a Master Class on his family’s Amarone.


The winery is situated in Pedemonte in the heart of the Valpolicella Classical Zone about a half hour from Lake Garda in the Veneto Region of Italy. There are 195 hectares of vines on the estate.

I have always enjoyed the Tommasi wines and was looking forward to the tasting.

We tasted the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2000 and 1995.

All of the grapes for these wines come from the La Groletta and Conca d’Oro Vineyards made from 50% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 13% Rondinella and 3% Oseleta.

Pierangelo discussed each of the vintages. The harvest for the 2012 began on September 10. The residual sugar is 4.87g/l and the alcohol is 15.48.

He said that this will become a great wine with aging potential and will become more powerful over time.

Molinara is no longer mandated for Amarone but it can be used in the blend if the producer chooses to do so. Tommasi now uses Oseleta (it has intense fruit and spice aromas with good structure) instead of Molinara

2009 Made from 50% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. The wine is aged for 3 years in large Slavonian oak barrels. Residual sugar is 8g/l and the alcohol is 15.50

Pierangelo said he liked the 2009 better than the 2008. He feels the 2009 is more complex and more approachable.

2008 made from 50% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. The wine is aged for 3 years in large Slavonian oak barrels. Residual sugar 7g/l and alcohol 15.5%. Pierangelo has tasted this wine over the years and said it is a very consistent wine but at this point he is not sure that it will get better with age. He said the in some ways 2008 and 2009 were similar vintages but 2008 had a shorter summer in terms of sunlight not temperature.

2007 made from 50% Corvina 10% Corivnone 30% Rondinella and 10% Molinara. Harvest began on September 10. Residual sugar 7.2g/l and alcohol is 15.5

The wine was aged in large Slavonian oak barrels for 4 years. Pierangelo said that 2007 has not peaked yet and will get better with age.

His suggestion was to buy the 2009 to drink now and also to hold because it will age.

2000 made from 50% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 5%Molinara. Harvest begins on September 10th. The wine is aged in large Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years. Residual Sugar 7g/l, alcohol 15%

For me this is the wine to buy because it is drinking now but will last for a number of years.

1995 made from 50% Corvina 10% Corvinone 10%, Rondinella 30% and Molinara 10% Harvest began on the 18th of September. The wine was aged is large Slavonian oak barrels for 4 years. Pierangelo said this was a great vintage and the harvest took place under perfect conditions. For me this wine was at it peak but will last for a few more years. I drank it all.

Then we tasted the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva “Ca’ Florian” Riserva DOCG 2009, 2008, 2007and 2003.

All of the grapes come from the Ca’ Florian vineyard and are all aged for one year in used tonneau (500 liters), 3 years in large Slavonian oak casks and one year in bottle before release.

All of the grapes for the Amarone dry for over 100 days from the harvest. Because the grapes have very thick skins, especially the Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, they can undergo the long drying process (appassimento).

The Ca’Florian vineyard has always been owned by the Tommasi family and is one of the most historic vineyards. The training system here is the traditional Pergola Veronese.

Pierangelo said that Tommasi makes classic, traditional Amarone. The wines are distinguished by the flavor of cherries. They use traditional large Slavonian oak because they do not release any “flavors” into the wine. Amarone does not need aggressive oak from barriques.

The grapes are picked when they are ripe. He said they do not want late harvest grapes or noble rot and are trying to keep the alcohol under 16%.

There is a larger percentage of Corvina 75% in the Ca’Florin and the Corvinone and Rondinella vary depending on the vintage. All have residual sugar of 4g/l and alcohol of 15.5 for the first 3 wines.

2009 The harvest began on September 12th. Residual sugar 4g/l and alcohol 12.50%.

2008  Harvest began on September 25.

2007 harvest began on September 10.

2003 had 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara The wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels 35 HL for 30 months and in 6 months on used tonneau

These were more structured wines than the regular Amarone and will need more time. My favorite was the 2007.

Pierangelo pointed out that 2003 was not a good vintage, it was cold with a lot of rain. It will not last much longer but I found it was drinking very nicely now.

For more detailed information on Tommasi Amarone, please go to


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12 Wines for $20 or Under from All Over

From Spain

Santiago Ruiz white wine 2015 made from 69% Albariño, 13% Loureiro, 9%Trexadura, 5% Godello and 4%Caiño Blanco from the DO Rias Baixas-Rosal region. The grapes are selected from our own vineyards in San Miguel de Tabagon and Tomiño, located in O Rosal area. The soil is of sedimentary origin; sand with agranit rock base, which gives the wine its characteristic minerality. Maceration of grapes occurs through a soft pressing. After the sediments have settled down for 15 to 20 hours, the juice is fermented under controlled temperature between 16-17ºC for 20-25 days. After the fermentation the wine is aged on the lees. This wine is full bodied and fruity with hints of lemon, melon pear a touch of spice and nice minerality. It has a long and crisp finish. $20

Panzia Viura I00% Viura (Chardonnay) D.O. Cariñena Bodegas Paniza The vineyards cover an area of 2,200 ha at 700 meters. The grapes are destemed and macerated lightly for 5 hours at a controlled temperture of 12 degrees C. Fermentation takes place at 18 degrees C The wine is then decanted several times and undergoes a process to clarify and stabilize the wine before being filleted for bottling. This a wine with hints of apricots and peaches. $10

From Germany

St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger “Alte Reben” Kabinett Feinherb Riesling made from 100% Riesling It is a village wine from the coolest area of the Saar. The grapes come from a special 22-acre parcel of very old vines (Alte Reben in German) part of the Schlangengraben(snake pit in German) vineyard. The caned arch-trained vines are attached to individual stakes. The Schlangengraben vineyard sits on Devonian slate. The slopes have a hint of red dust, an indicator of its iron rich content. Ambient yeast from the vineyard or living in the winery, ferment the wine. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel. It has 22g/l residual sugar “so it is called “Kabinett Feinherb”and it a little drier than most Kabinetts and the alcohol level is 12% or less. The wine has a spicy herbaceous aroma with hints mint, gooseberry and peach with touch of smoke. It is a very easy drinking wine. $18

From France

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut White Côtes Du Roussillon  2015 made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Macabeo and Vermentino (Rolle in France). The 40-year-old plus vines are on the hills of the Agly Valley. The juice is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in the same tanks. After a long maceration of two to three weeks, the wine is aged on the fine lees and then racked from vat to vat which naturally clarifies the wines. The wine is then blended prior to bottling. It has hints of citrus aromas and flavors with tropical fruit and good minerality. This wine seems to get better with every vintage. $15

Bourgogne Cote Saint Jacques Gris 2013 100% Pinot Gris Christopher Lepage The soil is clay and flint, soft chalk subsoil from the Upper Cretaceous. Viniculture: Lutte raisonnee, treatments adopted to vineyard disease pressure. 85% of the bunches are pressed directly and 15% of the bunches are macerated for 12 hours before pressing followed by a 6 day temperature controlled fermentation and is aged in tanks for 10 months $18

From Italy

Pinot Grigio 2015 Alto Adige DOC Peter Zimmer. Made from a selection of grapes from the best vineyards of the valley floor and the steep slopes nearby. The soil here is stony, sandy and extremely chalky. The low yields per hectare and this particular terroir combines for a very particular Pinot Grigio.  The grapes are gently pressed, then clarified through the natural settling of sediment. Alcoholic fermentation is carried out with pure strains of yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation does not occur. The wine remains on the lees for several months before it is bottled. It has more depth than most Pinot Grigio, with ripe fresh fruit, a touch of pear, and a hint of spice, good mineral character and fresh acidity. $17

Vino Spumante Rosato 100% Sangiovese San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence, Principe Corsini the exposure is south and the average age of the of vines is 18 years. Charmat method is used through a soft pressing of whole grapes. Fermentation is on the must for 24 days at a low temperature (14°C). Secondary fermentation is for 12 weeks and elevage on the yeasts for 1 month. The wine was bottled September 2015. It has nice bubbles with hints of pomegranate, strawberries and cranberries. $18

Cantina Federiciane Montelone di Napoli Gragnano DOC Sorrento Peninsula 2015, made from Piedirossa and Sciascinoso. Fermentation with selected yeast takes place in temperature controlled autoclaves.  This is a fizzy red wine that when poured has a lot of foam that quickly disappears in the glass. It is fruity with red fruit aromas and flavors, hints of raspberries and strawberries, and easy to drink. In Naples they often drink sparkling beverages with pizza and Gragnano goes very well with pizza margarita. $16

Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva DOC 2012 100% Cannonau. Sella & Mosca Grapes are harvested manually and mechanically in late autumn and undergo fermentation in stainless steel vats for 15 days. The wine is aged in large Slavonian oak barrels and for several months in bottle before release. This wine had bright red fruit, with hints of cherry and plum. This is a very good food wine and a real bargain for the price. $17

Valpolicella Classico DOC made from 65% Corvina Veronese, 30% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. Stefano Accordini. The wine is aged in stainless steel and then in bottle for to months before release. The estate extends over 4 hectars in Negrar in the heart of Valpolicella, in Bessole. The winery is located in the heart 0f Valpolicella, in Pedemonte and S. Pietro Incariano. This is a fruity medium bodied wine with moderate alcohol. It has hints of red fruit with a touch of cherry and violate. $17

This is the wine that arrived after the Valollicella tasting for the Wine Media Guild that I wrote about in October.

Pinot Noir “Rollhütt” 2015 100% Pinot Noir Alto Adige, Peter Zemmer The Rollhütt vineyard is at 400 meters. The soil on the hills is composed of loam, chalk and porphyry. The stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented at a constant temperature of 26 to 28C for about 7 days. The must is kept in contect with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below which brings out the fruitiness of the wine. After two gentle rackings, 70% of the wine is aged in large barrels of French oak, and the rest in French oak barriques for 2 to 3 years. After blending the wine is bottled and aged for 6 months before release, The wine has a fruity character, soft and full bodied with hints of berries and sour cherries. The wine can age or 6 to 8 years $18

 Etna Rosso “Rovittello” 2013 DOC 100% Nerello Mascalese Benanti  The countryside of Rovittello, on the north side of Mt. Etna in the commune of Castiglione di Sicilia. It is a single vineyard grown as alberello (free standing bush) at 750 meters. The soil is sandy, volcanic and very rich in minerals. The vines are 80 years old and there are 9,000 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place the second week of October and the grapes are late ripening. Traditional vinification takes place, with long maceration of the must with the skins. After malolatic fermentation, the wine matures in small casks of 225 liters for more than one year and 8 to 10 months in the bottle before release. The wine has hints of red fruit and a touch of vanilla. $20


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