Monthly Archives: December 2018

Tom Maresca on “The Essential Guide to Italian Wine”

Tom Maresca is a wine writer for whom I have the utmost respect.  In his blog, Tom’s Wine Line, he wrote this excellent review of Daniele Cernilli’s Book, The Essential Guide to Italian Wine, that expresses my thoughts exactly.

The Essential Guide to Italian Wine? Very Possibly

With its recently released 2019 edition, its fifth, Daniele Cernilli’s Essential Guide to Italian Wine has come of age. Published now in Italian, English, and German editions, well over 600 pages long (and well indexed), and reviewing 1,134 estates and 2,809 wines, the Essential Guide certainly covers the Italian wines that a North American consumer needs to know about – in fact, many more than are currently available in this hemisphere. But one can always hope.

Cernilli’s Guide is organized in the classic way, region by region, the producers listed alphabetically and awarded zero, one, two, or three stars based on their total production and track record; and selected individual wines scored on the now standard, to me infamous 100-point scale and their price range indicated – all useful information, handily presented.

For those who may not recognize his name, Daniele Cernilli is a central figure in the Italian wine world, a critic of major importance and great knowledge. He was one of the founders of Gambero Rosso and was deeply involved not only in its editing but also in the whole process of its evaluations, which by way of their one-, two-, and three-bicchieriawards became the most prestigious of all of Italy’s ranking systems.

When he and Gambero Rosso parted ways several years back, Cernilli reinvented himself as Doctor Wine and began creating his Essential Guide.

I shudder to think of the amount of work it took to bring it to its present condition, especially since Cernilli and his co-workers do not solicit samples or accept advertising from individual wineries. Instead they visit wineries, participate in regional and consorzio tastings, and even buy wines from the same sort of shops Italian consumers patronize. That last practice will send chills up the spines of wine magazine publishers on several continents.

Full disclosure: I’ve known Daniele Cernilli for at least two decades. Even fuller disclosure: We don’t always agree – in fact, we have sometimes been on opposite sides of a wine, a winery, or a wine style. But I don’t know anyone who knows the wines of Italy – all of Italy – in greater depth than he does, so I always take his evaluations seriously.

Here’s a representative example of both his knowledge and our occasional disagreements: The 2019 Guide’s White Wine of the Year award is shared by two wines:

  • Fiano di Avellino Stilèma 2015, Mastroberardino, Campania
  • Solo MM 15 2015, Vodopivec, Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Now, Fiano di Avellino is a justly esteemed grape variety, and Mastroberardino has long been one of its finest producers. Additionally, I happen to have tasted the Stilèma, and I agree totally with Cernilli’s judgment of its greatness. Here’s what he says of it in his entry:

Typical notes of flint, then fresh almond, wild herbs, elegant and extremely clear aromas. Agile and savory taste dominated by a magical freshness that gives elegance and drinkability to the wine. Smooth and long persistence. Great wine.

Stilèma is the first fruit of an experiment initiated by the late Antonio Mastroberardino to use materials derived from old and especially from pre-phylloxera vineyards (of which there are several in the Fiano zone) to back-engineer Fiano di Avellino to the sort of prime vines and field and cellar techniques that yielded the greatest wines of what we can call the “pre-industrial years” of Italian winemaking. As Antonio’s son Piero puts it:

We intend to evoke the style of vinification of the native vines of Irpinia (Greco, Fiano and Aglianico) as it took place between the end of the 50s and the beginning of the 70s of the twentieth century for Taurasi, and between the years 70 and 80 for the two noblest whites of Irpinia. It is, then, the style (or the Stilèma) of a family that interprets, over generations, the natural heritage of its territory, which makes it specific, as predestined to play a role in that land.

Noble purposes, and already producing noble results.

But what of Cernilli’s other choice for White Wine of the Year? Solo MM 15 2015 is a wine and Vodopivec a maker unknown to me. Cernilli describes winemaker Paolo Vodopivec as a meticulous and devoted craftsman, committed to the very localized traditions of the Friulian Carso and to experimentation with vinifying wines in amphorae. Of this wine, he says:

100% Vitovska grapes. Fermented in amphora for 6 months then aged in large casks. Unfiltered. Bright straw yellow color. Austere nose offering notes of sea breeze and aromatic herbs. The palate is expressive, briny and citrusy; powerful and fresh, vibrant, and with a unique personality. Wonderful wine.

That’s certainly detailed enough to prompt me to look for a bottle next time I’m in Italy, since I infer that it comes to this hemisphere only occasionally, in small quantities and at fairly high prices. A little research told me that Vitovska grapes are very localized within Friuli, had almost disappeared until rescued a decade or so ago by some devoted winemakers, and are now enjoying a small vogue in Italy. Worth a try? For sure. One of the year’s great white wines? Given my very uneven experiences with amphora-aged wines, I’d say that’s far less certain.

But the surprising (to me at least) award pairing gives evidence, if any is needed, of just how unconventional and eclectic Cernilli’s palate is, how plugged in to the Italian wine scene he is, and how informative and useful – indeed, what a simply interesting read – his Essential Guide is. You can count on one finger the number of annual wine guides I enjoy picking up and just browsing in: This is it.

HAPPY AND A HEALTH NEW YEAR!

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Christmas Dinner with Friends 2018

For a number of years now Michele and I have been trading holiday meals with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow. We do Thanksgiving and they do Christmas. Tom is a wine and food writer and Diane is a food writer and they both have excellent blogs.

For this year’s Christmas Day dinner, we started with Champagne Palmer & Co. 2009.

With it, we had an assortment of small bites including foie gras torchon, olives, cheese sticks and salami.

Then we moved on to the dining room where Diane served a frisee salad with gesiers, confit chicken gizzards, and a walnut oil dressing.

With it we had our first red wine, Chateau Les Ormes de Pez 2000 (Saint Estephe) made from 50% Cabernet, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The average age of the vines is 35 years and the plant density is 9,000 vines per hectare in accordance with the traditional Médoc planting ratio. 80% of the wine is aged in one-year-old oak barrels and 20% in new wood. The wine was showing very well and will age for a number of years.

The next wine was Baron de Pichon-Longueville 1978 (Paulliac) made from 77% Cabernet and 23% Merlot. This was classic old Bordeaux with hints of cherry and tobacco. It was the wine of the evening and only 12% alcohol.

Our main course was roasted duck with sautéed apples and roasted vegetables. The duck was cooked to perfection and the apples were a good sweet tart compliment.

 The cheese course,

 Chateau Gruaud-Larose 1966 (Saint Julien) made from 57% Cabernet Sauvignon 31% Merlot 9% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. One could not ask for more from a wine that was over 50 years old and it went very well with the cheese.

Pound cake

Diane made an assortment of Christmas cookies for dessert, plus a cake made with fruits and nuts, while Michele brought a pound cake made with grappa and pears.

The final wine of the evening was Broadbent Madeira “Sercial” 10 year old made in strict accordance with traditional methods. Aged in old oak casks in the traditional Canteiro system. It is one of the driest types of fortified wine. It has hints of dried fruit, orange peel, almonds and a touch of caramel.

 

 

 

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A Banfi 40 Year Anniversary Celebration

There are  not many wine  companies that can celebrate a 40 year anniversary and still look forward to a continuing story of success for many years to come. One such company is Banfi. I  have always enjoyed their wines. In 1985 Michele and I visited the winery in Montalcino for  the first time. When I am at the Vinitaly wine fair in Verona, I always make sure to visit the Banfi stand and in NYC I attend their wine tastings. Over the years I have come to know the people at Banfi and they are some of the nicest people in the wine business. Michele and I have become friends with many of them. When I was invited to a celebration of their 40th anniversary I was more than happy to attend.


Lars Leicht, Director of Trade Development, greeted me.  Lars has been with Banfi for 33 years and he went along with me as I tasted the wines. All the wines that Banfi produced between 1978 and 2018 were available at the event. Lars said that when we finished tasting the wines in the upstairs room we would go downstairs where there were wines from the 1990’s.

Christina

I spoke with Cristina Mariani-May, President and CEO of Banfi Vintners and Family Proprietor of Castello Banfi, about the last 40 years. Here are some of the highlights:

1978 Villa Banfi was born in Montalcino

1979 Acquisition of Cantina Bruzzone in Strevi, Piemonte

1982 Initiation of the clonal research project on Sangiovese

1983 Acquisition of Castello di Poggio alla Mura which became a symbol of the estate

1984 Inauguration of the winery in Montalcino–a milestone for modern winemaking

1990 The vintage that changed the history of Montalcino

1992 Inauguration of the Glass and Bottle Museum

1997 First Vintage of “Poggio alle Mura” Brunello, result of 20 years of Sangiovese research.

2007 Publication of the “ The Pursuit of Excellence” study

2009 The use of the “light bottle” becomes reality

2014 Tuscan Estates: conclusion of the first phase of acquisition

2017 Birth of Sanguis Jovis–Sangiovese School

2018 40 years and the story continues.

The Wines: 1978/2018

1978/1988 Principessa Gavia, San Angelo Pinot Grigio, Fontanella Chardonnay, Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello, Summas, Florus, Poggio all’Oro Brunello

1988-1998: Chianti Classico Rsv, Centine Rosso, Le Rime, L’Ardi, ExcelsuS, Rosa Regale

1998-2008: Cuvée Aurora Rose, Poggio alla Mura Brunello, Chianti Superiore, Cum Laude BelnerO, La Lus

2008 to 2018; Rosso di Montalcino PAM, La Pettegola Vermentino, Brunello Riserva PAM Fonte alla Selva Gran Selezione, Stilnova, L’Altra, Cosi e Rose, Aska Bolgheri Rosso.

I asked Lars what the letters PAM stood for next to the Brunello and Rosso. He said it stands for Poggio alle Mura (the walled hilltop) the historical name of the Castello

Lars

I went with Lars  downstairs to taste the older wines and the “Quaranta”

Poggio all’ Oro Brunello di Montalcino 1999

Brunello di Montalcino 1998–This has always been one of my favorite Brunellos

ExcelsuS 1997

The three wines above are drinking well now and could still last for a number of years.

“40” Quaranta-Celebration Wine Limited Edition. Lars said this is a wine which expresses Banfi’s 40-year history in Montalcino. Lars said it is a cuvee of red varietals  selected from the best estate vineyards, from different yet complementary vintages and made from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

When I told Lars it was drinking very nicely, he said it was not for sale!

Happy Holidays

 

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Tasting Prestige Cuvèe & Vintage Champagne with Ed Mc Carthy

 

Once again Ed Mc Carthy, author of “ Champagne for Dummies,” organized a fantastic Champagne tasting for the Wine Media Guild at Il Gattopardo restaurant in NYC. All of the wines he presented were Prestige Cuvèe and Vintage Champagnes.

Champagne Ed Mc Carthy

Ed began by speaking about the vintages in Champagne. He said 2002, 2008 and 2012 were the great vintages in this century so far. He added that every one in Champagne is raving about the 2018 but they will not be released for some time.

The Champagne

Ayala Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2012 made from 100% Chardonnay from 100% Cote des Blancs Grand Crus: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Chouilly and Cramant. The average time the wine spends on the lees is 6 years. Dosage is 6 grams/liter and the alcohol is 12%. It is produced in small quantizes and only in exceptional years. This is expressive Champagne with hints of lemon, white fruit, yellow plums and chalky minerality. $ 70

Kristin Calmes, Public Relations Manager, Palm Bay, with the Boizel

Boizel Champagne Grand Vintage 2007. Made from 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier. 3% of the wine is aged in oak casks. The wine spends 7 years on the lees. This is elegant champagne with hints of ripe fruit, a touch of almonds and apricots and a note of licorice. $80

Ed liked this Champagne and said it should be better known.

Pamela Wittmann with the “Bensionensi” from Eric Taille

Champagne Eric TailletBensionensi Extra Brut 100% Pinot Meunier-Blanc de Meunier. Grapes are from the Marne Valley, Bensionensi terroir and the average age of the vines is 25 years. The soil is clay and limestone. Sustainable viniculture, with grass growing between the rows, no chemical weed killer is used. Application on foliage is of pure algae and certified organic oligo elements. Traditional Dollat type wood press is used. There is an extraction and fractioning of press juices and natural must settling. Thermoregulation fermentation is at 65F. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine matures on the fine lees. The wine is aged for 36 months. Dosage is 4g/l, with 2004 vintage base wine and cane sugar. $80

G.H. Mumm RS Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2012 Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru Village of Cramant. It is a single vintage release 2 years after the harvest. The dosage is 6g/l. Alcohol is 12.5. It has hints of fresh fruit with notes of lemon and grapefruit. Ed said this was a lighter style Champagne. $70

Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Natural made from 2/3 Pinot Noir and Meunier and 1/3 Chardonnay.The grapes are grown in the Coteaux de Cumieres exclusively. 25% of the wine is vinified in oak casks. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged for 5 years in the cellars and left for a minimum of 6 months after disgorging. There is no dosage. The wine has hints of peach, hazelnuts with citrus notes and a touch of pepper. $70

Palmer & Co Vintage Brut. 2009 . Made from 50/55% Chardonnay, Pinot Noir 30/35% and reserve wine 30/35%. The grapes come from the best vineyards in the Champagne region: from Premiers and Grand Crus of Montagne de Reims. The wine ages on the lees. It remains in the bottle for 4 rears before release and 6 years for the magnum. Dosage is 8 g/l. It has hints of citrus, pear, apricot a note of hazelnut and a touch of brioche. Ed said this is not a new Champagne but it is just coming into the US market now. Ed liked it. $50

Collet Champagne “Esprit Couture” NV made from 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 19% Pinot Meunier from only 10 villages and composed of Premier and Grand Crus. The wine is aged for a minimum of 5 years in their chalk cellars. Dosage is 7.5 grams of sugar is added per liter. This is an elegant Champagne with floral notes, hints of stone fruit and citrus with an intense finish. This was a favorite of every one I spoke to including Ed. I liked it a lot $99

Alfred Gratien Champagne “Cuvee Paradis” Rose NV made from 63% Chardonnay and 37% Pinot Noir. Traditional vinification and maturation in 228 liter oak casks, with self-imposed limits on production levels. To ensure that it maintains its original character they make a conscious decision not to use malolactic fermentation in the production of this Champagne. This was the only Rosè at the tasting and it was showing very well. The wine has hints of orange blossoms and red berries with a touch of toast, nice minerality and a long dry finish. It is an excellent rose $100. Suzie Kukaj-Curovic, Associate Director Public Relations for Mionetto USA, presented this Champagne.

Bollinger “ La Grande Anneë” Brut 2007 made from 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay. This was one of my top wines. Both Ed and I felt that it would age very well. It is intense, concentrated, rich Champagne with aromas and flavors of toasted brioche. Champagne. $125 

 Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Brut 2011 Made from 50% Chardonnay from the grands crus of Cramant and Avize, 45% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and 5% Pinot Meuniers from Dizy. The dosage is 9 g/l and the wine is aged for over 6 years in the cellars.The wine has citrus aromas with hints of orange and lemon peel. On the palate there were white fruit flavors and a touch of almonds. $150

Ruinart, Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc 2007 made from 100% Chardonnay-63% from Cote des Blancs and 37% from Montagne de Reims. This is the 23rd vintage of the Blanc de Blancs. It has been aged on the lees for nine years; its slight sweetness comes from a low dosage. This is an elegant Champagne with citrus flavors and aromas, a touch of brioche and a hint of hazelnuts. Ed liked it $130

Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne” Blanc de Blancs 2006. The grapes are pressed immediately in presses located in the vineyards. The first pressing, known as the “cuvee” is followed by two more pressings known as the first and second “tailles.” Only the juice from the cuvee goes into this wine. Temperature controlled fermentation takes place and about 5% of the wine is matured for a few months in 225-liter new oak casks. Prior to disgorgement the wine is aged for 9 or 10 years. This is their flagship Champagne. Ed described it as being full and rich. It has always been one of my favorites.  It was toasty with hints of white fruit, good acidity and a long lingering finish. $130

 Moet & Chandon Champagne Dom Pérignon Plenitude Deuxieme P2 2000 made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
This Champagne spent 16 years in the cellars. After 7 years the P2 Bottles are turned upside down, sur pointe, to slow down the oxidation process. The wine is regularly tasted by the Dom Pérignon oenologist to determine the perfect time for release. Each bottle is disgorged by hand prior to release.
This is elegant, intense and complex Champagne with notes of honey, orange fruit, ginger and a touch of almond. It was not showing any signs of age and would be  perfect with caviar. $350. This was the most expensive Champagne but worth the money.

Camila Xavier, Associate Marketing Manager, Henriot

 

Henriot Champagne “Cuvee Hemera” Brut 2005 made only in exceptional years from a blend of Grands Crus Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in equal parts. The Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, from Chouilly, Avize and Mesnil-su-Oger. The Pinot Noir from the north of the Montagne de Reims, from Maill Champagne, Verzy and Verzenay. The wine is aged on the lees for a minimum of 12 years. The Dosage is 5g/l. This is a full flavored wine with hints of apricot and citrus fruit. There are toasted notes and a touch of honey. This Champagne will age. $200

Piper-Heidsieck “Rare” Brut 2002 made from 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay from twelve 100% rated Grand Cru Villages. This needs at least 15 years from the vintage date to develop fully. It was interesting because I found aromas and flavors of spice and ginger with citrus fruit and good acidity. 2002 was an excellent year in Champagne, $155

Diego Del Pino, Business Development Manager for Krug

Krug Brut Grande Cuvé Brut 166th ed. NV made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35 Chardonnay–the percent depends upon the vintage. They blend about 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages and it is aged for at least 6 years in the cellars. All of their Champagnes are aged in used small oak barrels. They are all prestige cuvees made from Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages and are aged longer before release. The overall rating for the vineyards is 98% with Krug’s own vineyards rating 100%. As Ed said, obviously this is not just another NV Champagne. It is Michele’s favorite. $150

Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame” 2008 made from 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay. Verzenay/Avize are the two dominant crus in the blend of eight grand crus from Clicquot’s own 100% rated Grand Cru Vineyards on the Còte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. It has hints of white peaches, apricots and brioche. It needs two or three years from release in order be at its best. $150

All prices are an approximation.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filaga: Pizza Anyway You Slice It

I am always looking for new pizzerias to try. Liliana Rosano, a journalist I know, recommended I try Filaga Pizzeria Siciliana. She said if I wanted to go she would call the manager and let him know I was coming. I was very interested because their pizza is sold by the slice.  I prefer to order a whole pizza since slices are generally reheated and not very good.  No one seems to care.  I was hoping that this would be different.

Filaga Pizzeria Siciliana is located in the Chelsea market and the afternoon I went it was very crowded by customers buying pizza by the slice. You pay for the pizza and get a number which is called when the pizza is ready.

Salvatore  with the Sfincuni, Valerio with the Margherita and Gabriele with the  Diavola

I was met by Gabriele Lamonaca, the general manager, who is from Rome. He introduced me to the chef/manager Salvatore Gagliardo, from Porto Empedocle, Sicily and the pizzaiolo Valerio Coletta. I do not know if it was because they came from Italy but the passion for what they were doing was unlike any pizza by the slice place I have ever been in. They really cared about the product they were making.

Gabriele referred to the pizza as pizza Siciliana, made with techniques that come from the Roman tradition of Pizza in Teglia–the tradition of square pizza by the slice.

As in Rome the pizzas are displayed and then reheated when they are ordered in a special stone oven.

Gabriele said they use Polselli 100% pure “00” flour. The flour comes from Frosinone a city south of Rome. They make a hydrated dough (about 83%) and the dough is left to rise for 96 hours. He said this produces a light, digestible and crispy dough. Gabriele said reheated pizza is sometimes associated with a low quality product  but this is not true.  Pizza Teglia is supposed to be reheated before it is served. There is extra moisture in the dough and when the pizza is reheated this extra moisture is released to obtain the perfect crunch to the crust.  It is thin-crusted pizza with enough bite to make it chewy.

All of the cured meats and cheeses are imported from Italy, and the produce is local and seasonal. They use Mozzarella di Bufala from Italy for their cheese that they break by hand every day to ensure the perfect texture. Only Italian organic tomatoes are used for the sauce. The extra virgin olive oil is from Puglia.

The Pizza

Sfinciuni” very typical of Sicily, especially Palermo. It is made from tomato sauce, onions, pecorino and breadcrumbs and it was wonderful.

Spinaci and pancetta with smoked mozzarella.   I had a slice of this one and it was fantastic.

Crudo made with prosciutto crudo Pachino tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano, arugula, tomato sauce and mozzarella di bufala.

 

The Margherita  with tomato, bufala mozzarella and basil and tomato, one of my favorites.

I also had the Diavola made with spice salami, tomato sauce, mozzarella which Gabriele is holding in the first picture.

Calzoni

Parma Focaccio ripiena

Yes, Filaga is different and it is the only pizza by the slice place I have ever recommended. I look forward to returning soon!

Soft drinks, beer and wine are served. 

Filaga is a small village not far from Palermo.

Located at 75 Ninth Avenue inside the Chelsea market. The are open from 10:30 AM to 9:00 Pm seven days a week.

646-678-5382

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Pizza Popolare $5 at Kesté

 

Roberto Caporuscio is a master pizzaiolo and I have enjoyed his pizza since he first opened Keste on Bleecker St.

Recently he invited me to Keste at the Fulton Street location.

 

For the month of December, Roberto is reducing the price of three of Keste’s most popular pizzas to $5  each, the same price you would pay for them in Naples!

The pizzas include:

Mast’Nicola made with grana, lardo, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Roberto said that this pizza dates back to the 16 century before tomatoes were known in Europe.

Marinara Kesté made with tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes and oregano. Roberto said this pizza dates back to the 17 Century when tomatoes came into Europe from the New World.

Margherita made with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, grana, basil and extra virgin olive oil. He said this was the most famous pizza and it dates from the 18 Century. It is my favorite and has been since I first went to Naples in 1970.

The $5 pizza popolare are available at Keste Bleecker St. and Keste Fulton St. The promotion at the moment will last until the end of the year.

Roberto speaking  about the pizza popolare

Roberto said he now uses 70% Tipo 1 and 30% Tipo 00 flour from Caputo for his dough.

The mozzarella is now made in-house.

Roberto also made a few of his other specialties.  Here he is cutting  focaccia stuffed with prosciutto and cheese

Fried Buratta Cheese

Roberto also made a pizza with mozzarella, anchovies and grated lemon rind 

There was a special dessert pizza that is not on the menu.

We had two wines:

Prosecco DOC “Cuvée Giuliana” Isotta Manzoni made from 100% Glera. The soil is clayey and calcareous, the vines are 25 to 30 years old and the vineyard is at 200 meters. The exposure is southwest and the training system is the traditional pergola. Fermentation takes place for 25 days in stainless steel tanks and it is aged for one month is stainless steel. The wine has hints of apple and lemon with a note of grapefruit and nice minerality.

 

Brunello di Montalcino 2013 Piancornello made from 100% Sangiovese. The training system is spurred cordon and there are 5,000 to 6,000 plants per hectare. The wine ages for 24 months in oak barrels and at least 4 months in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with red and black berry aromas and flavors, a hint of spice and herbs and touch of balsamic.

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Hello Grappa in Pictures

I drink Grappa all year long but as the weather turns colder and the holiday seasons is under way I tend to think of Grappa more often.

While writing on another subject I came across a number of pictures of my last “Hello Grappa” trip that I wanted to share.   As I looked through my photos, I sipped a glass of grappa and enjoyed a grappa brownie that Michele had made. For more on Grappa see Hello GrappaDistilleria Marzadp,  Grappa Cocktails

The first stop  was the Bonollo distillery near Padua (Trento)

Bonollo

Elvio Bonollo after the Grappa tasting

Bonollo- The vinaccia, after it has been distilled.

 Grappa Prosecco

Grappa Amarone

Our next stop was the Bottega Distillery in Bibano di Godega (Veneto)

Before the tour of the distillery and the grappa tasting we had the chance to see a glass blowing demonstration

The result

A Grappa Masterclass with the enologist Lorenza Scollo who is very interesting and knowledgeable 

Tasting Grappa with another Grappa lover Tom Maresca at Bottega

Grappa Prosecco


Grappa Bianca

Grappa Moscato

Grappa in Barrique

That night we had dinner with the dynamic and entertaining Sandro Bottega

We also visited the Bepi Tosolini Distillery in Udine (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia)

Lisa Tosolini giving us a tour of the distillery 

Most of the barrels have been signed by visitors to the Distillery. Michele had been here on another press trip but could not find the barrel she signed the first time so she signed another barrel.

I even signed a barrique!

 

Must

The vinaccia (must) going into the still

Individual tasting sheets for the tasting conducted by Lisa, very interesting and informative.

Grappa Friulano

 Most

Grappa Ramandolo

We also tasted a unique Smoked Grappa, almost like an island scotch

Next stop was the Castagner Distillery in Treviso (Trento)

Giulia Castagner

Making Grappa 

It is all done by computer 

Giulia conducted a  tasting for us of a number of Grappas

Grappa Riserva Leon 7 years old

Grappa Brunello di Montalcino

Last but not least was the G Bertagnolli Distillery in Mezzacorona ( Trento)

Stefano Pederiva, the export manager explained how grappa is made

Stefano conducted a Grappa tasting

Aged Grappa Gran Grappino

Traditional Grappa from Trentino

5 year old Grappa in barrique


I was very impressed with all of the grappa that I tasted. Today there is a grappa for every taste:  traditional white Grappa, Grappa aged in different size barrels and woods, Grappa aged in used port barrels, smoked Grappa, Grappa aged in amphora and Grappa aged in barriques.

 

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