Monthly Archives: January 2019

The New Age of Contemporary Pizza

As I wrote about in my last post, I attended the Made in Italy 2019 Cooking Show at Keste Wall Street.

After the pastry making portion of the program came three demonstrations concerning pizza making:

Contemporary Flour for Contemporary Pizza Making,  New Age of Contemporary Pizza, Pizza in Teglia, and Pizza alla Romano with Vincenzo Iannucci. Vincenzo is a pizzaiolo who works for the Caputo flour company in Italy, one of the sponsors of the event.

Vincenzo was in NYC to introduce Nuvola Super “O” soft wheat flour by Caputo.  It is designed to create a dough with an airy cell structure. Called Nuvola (cloud in Italian) because it produces a product which is light and fluffy. It is made from a careful selection of highly fermented grains free from additives and preservatives. It is 100% natural so it can be used also for pre-ferments such as a biga, a dough starter. It is ideal for Roman-style Pizza in Teglia, pizza baked in a pan and served in slices. Dough made from Nuvola Super 0 has a very high hydration with long fermentation times and a super light and airy crust. Mr. Mortati said that this flour was developed in response to suggestions made by a number of young pizzaioli.

Fred Mortati, owner of Orlando Foods, spoke about the floor with Vincenzo

Vincenzo first made a focaccia using a biga (starter) made from the Nuvola Super “0”

The Focaccia was light and airy with a pleasing crispness

The Focaccia was served with prosciutto and buratta 

This is Vincenzo’s formula for the Biga:

Ingredients:

Flour -1.5 Kg

Hydration – 750 Kg

Fresh yeast – 7.5 gr

Fermentation for 24 hours

 

 

Preparing the biga in the mixer

The biga is broken into pieces before it is  ready to be used

 To make the dough for Neapolitan style pizza, Vincenzo uses this formula:

DOUGH:

Add BIGA to mixer with

Flour: 3.5 Kg

Hydration: 2.750 liter total

Salt 125 gr

Final dough hydration:

Flour 5 Kg

Water 70%

Salt: 2.5%

Yeast 0.5%

Evoo: 1

 

Shaping the dough- the dough is very light so it has to be shaped very gently. Note how Vincenzo’s fingers leave indentations in the dough as he shapes it. 

It is made with 30% biga.  More water added to the dough than if the biga was left out, yielding a total of about 80% hydration.  The pizza bakes in the oven for 2 minutes longer than one made without the biga.  It is also baked at a lower temperature, about 700 degrees F.

Neapolitan style Margherita made with the biga had a higher cornicione, the outer rim of the pizza.  It was also more tender.

Compare that to this Neapolitan style Margherita made without the biga.  Note that the cornicione, the outer rim of the pizza, is less puffy.    

 

Then Vincenzo demonstrated how he makes his Roman style pizza baked in a pan or teglia.  This dough is 80% biga and 80% water, it stays in the oven for 7 minutes. This type of pizza is served by the slice so that the extra water keeps the slice from drying out when it is reheated.  Here is the formula that Vincenzo uses:

BIGA:

Ingredients:

Flour – 3.5 Kg

Hydration – 1.750 Kg

Fresh yeast – 17.5 gr

Fermentation for 24 hours

DOUGH:

Add BIGA to mixer with

Flour: 1.5 Kg

Hydration: 2.250 Kg total

​• water 2.200 Kg

​• oil 50 gr

Salt 125 gr

Final dough hydration:

Flour 5 Kg

Water 80%

Salt: 2.5%

Yeast 0.5%

Evoo: 1%

This is the New Age of Contemporary Pizza: Pizza in Teglia alla Romana

 

Vicenzo preparing the Pizza Pala.  This is similar to the Roman style pizza above except that instead of baking it in a pan, it is shaped on a board (pala) and baked directly on the oven surface.

Both the Roman style pizza and the Pizza a Pala is made with 80% biga and 80% water and they both stay in the oven for 7 minutes.

Vincenzo also demonstrated his method for making a gluten-free dough with Caputo gluten free flour Fiore Glut, a mix of a of rice and potato starches, rice and soy flour, sugar, thickeners and dietary fiber.

Gluten free Margherita pizza

This was one of the best gluten free Margherita’s that I have ever tasted

It was a very informative demonstration and I learned a lot about pizza making.

I have been going to Naples since 1970 and , I am leaving tomorrow for Naples, and have eaten pizza in other parts of Italy in  NYC and in other parts of the U.S.. I have had pizza made with  Tipo, ‘”O O”,   “O” and  Tipo 1 and with a mixture  of “OO” and  Tipo 1 , with biga and without biga. After all of this I still feel the best Neapolitan  style pizza ia made using “OO” flour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neapolitan Pastry at Kesté

Over 10 years ago Michele had the opportunity to meet Sabatino Sirica and see him demonstrate his pastries. She said that they were some of the best she had ever had.

Michele D’Amelio and Sabatino

Recently Roberto Caporuscio of Keste Pizza and Vino Wall Street invited me to an event called “Made in Italy: Slow Cooking at Keste.”  A demonstration and tasting by  Sabatino Sirico was on the schedule and the translating was going to be done by Michele D’Amelio, an Italian pizzaiolo that works for Caputo Flour in America.  I was happy to attend and finally get a chance to taste the pastries.

It was a two day event and I attended the second day and Sabatino demonstrated how to make Graffe and Babà.  Graffe are Neapolitan style donuts sometimes called ciambelle.   Cavaliere Sabatino Sirica has a Pasticceria, Rosticceria and Gelateria in S. Giorgio a Cremano, Naples. Michele and I will try to visit the shop when we are in Naples next month.  

The Graffe ready for frying

After frying

Ready to Eat

Graffe

Here are the ingredients.  Note that the flour is Caputo’s Chefs flour”00″

500 grams of 00 flour

500 grams Manitoba flour

25grams sugar

150grams butter

40 grams yeast

2 eggs

250 milliliters milk

200 milliliters water

Vanilla

Grated orange and lemon zest

 

Next Sabatino prepared the Baba’, a sweet yeast raised pastry soaked in rum or other liqueur flavored syrup.

 

Sabatino preparing the dough for Baba’

 

Sabatino putting the dough in the molds

 

Sabatino showing how light the dough is and easy to stretch

 

Finishing filling the molds

Frying the pastry

 The finishd Babá

Ready to Serve

For the Baba, Sabatino used 50% Caputo Nuvola Super “0” and Caputo Chef’s flour “00”.  The ingedients were:

Babá 

1kg of flour

100 grams sugar

40 grams salt

350 grams butter

4  kilograms eggs(not sure about the eggs)

Syrup

1 Liter water

500 grams sugar

50 grams strong rum

 

There were other pastries, including sfogliatelle.

Palmier cookies, layer cake and a cut baba’ to show the texture.

Sweet buns.

 

 

I have spent a lot of time in Naples and start every day with pastries like these.  Sabatino’s were as good if not better than those I have had before!  I am looking

forward to visiting him.

 

 

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Pastry, Pizza and Pasta Demonstrations at Kesté Wall Street

The “Made in Italy 2019 Cooking Show” at Keste and Vino Wall Street was a two-day event featuring pasta, pizza and pastry making demonstrations.

There were four presentations altogether and they were repeated on the second day.

Sabatino with the dough for the Baba

The first demonstration was a Pastry Presentation: Italian Pastry Techniques with Sabatino Sirica from Sirica dal 1976 in S.Giorgio a Cremano, Naples.  Sabatino made Baba’, a yeast raised cake typically soaked in rum syrup, though other liquors, such as limoncello can be used. Baba’ is a very typical Neapolitan sweet.

Vincenzo Ianucci from Caputo preparing the pizza

The second presentation, using Nuvola Super “0″ Flour by Caputo: Contemporary Flour for Contemporary Pizza Making with Vincenzio Iannucci, a pizzaiolo who works for the Caputo company in Italy.  Other topics were: New Age of Contemporary Pizza and Pizza in Teglia alla Romana.

 

Giorgia preparing the dough for frying

Next session, Georgia Caporuscio of Keste Pizza and Don Antonio featured  The New Age of Frying.  She gave us insights on frying, using the right oil and techniques.

The last demonstration was for Garofalo Pasta: New and Innovated Pasta Dishes and was presented by Pastificio Garafalo, Pasta di Gragnano.

The event was very interesting and informative and I will write about all of the events I attended. Next time Italian Pastry Techniques with Sabatino Sirica making Baba’, Graffe’, Brioche Dolce, and more.

 

 

 

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An Extraordinary Wine Dinner

A wine collector friend decided to have a party in order to share some of his best wines so he arranged a dinner at Gramercy Tavern.  There were 16 of us in the private dining room.

The Wines

Champagne “ Grand Dame” 1990 Double Magnum Veuve Clicquot made with 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay from the estate’s 100 percent rated Grand Cru vineyards. This is refined, elegant champagne with a hint of brioche and a smooth silky finish.

All of the following wines are Magnums

Batard Montrachet 2004 Joseph Drouhin made from 100% Chardonnay purchased from regular supplies. Hand harvest and a very slow pressing. Juice from the last pressings is not used. The wine is decanted directly into barrels. The wine is aged in French oak, 25% new for 12 to 15 months. The wine has hints of honey, almond, ripe fruit and a touch of wood. It has a great feel in the mouth with a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste.

Chambertin 1989 Domaine A Rousseau P&F Made from 100% Pinot Noir. The soil is limestone and clay and the vineyard is 5.3 acres making them the largest landowner in Chambertin. Following a cold maceration the must travels by gravity into barrels where it will stay for the entire vinification process lasting from 18 to 24 months. The wine is blended unfiltered. This is a structured, dense, powerful wine but it is not heavy and is a joy to drink. One on the two best Burgundies I have had the pleasure to enjoy. The other I also had with this same generous friend.

PommardLes Rugiens Bas” 1988 De’Montille made from 100% Pinot Noir from Les Rugiens Bas, a Premier Cru composed of 5.83 hectares. With 1.02 hectares, they are the largest owners. The soil is clay with the presence of iron. The wines are certified organic by Ecocert and they use biodynamic practices. This wine is balanced and elegant with nice fruit and will age for a number of years.

Ornellaia 1988 Marchese Lodovico Antinori made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon,16% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc.  The grapes are hand harvested. The grapes were de-stemmed and gently crushed and put into wooden fermenters and stainless steel tanks. Fermentation maceration lasted for 15 to 20 days. After fermentation the wine completed malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels.  The wine was aged for 11 months in French barriques 40% new and 60% once used. The wine was aged for 16 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied wine with with hints of dark fruit, violets and a touch of vanilla.

Brunello di Montalcino “Montosoli” 1990 Altesino made from 100% Sangiovese. Traditional fermentation. The wine is aged for 4 years with a minimum of two years in barrel and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of wild berries, chocolate and tobacco with a touch of violets and vanilla.

Hermitage “La Chapelle” 1988 Paul Jaboulet Aine 100% Syrah planted in a diversity of terroir. The age of the vines is 40 to 60 years. The grapes come down from the slopes of l’Hermitage on small sledges and then are sorted manually and vinified traditionally in the cellars. The final assembly is made during aging in the cellars in wood for 15 to 18 months. During this time the wines are also racked. This is a complex and elegant wine with hints of black fruit, black cherries, spice and leather. It has a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste. A very impressive wine.

Chateauneuf –du- Pape Cuvee Reserve 1995 Pegau made from 80% Grenache, 6% Syrah 4% Mourvèdre and 10% other grape varieties allowed  by the AOP. There is a strict selection of carefully hand picked grapes. No de-stemming and the blend of 13 grape varieties are gently crushed before fermentation takes place for ten days in a cement vat. No added yeasts and no temperature control in this natural process. An absolute minimum amount of tartaric acid and sulphites are added. After pressing, the wine is aged for 2 years in select large oak barrels. The wine has hints of cherries, raspberries and plums with a touch of leather and spice.

Bordeaux 1983 Pomerol Chateau Lafleur made from almost equal parts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The vineyard is planted on 3 different soils: northwest there is sandy clay gravel, to the south and east clay gravel and in the heart of the vineyard gravelly sand. Vinification takes place in traditional cement vats. The vats go from 30 hl to 8o hl. The wine ages in French oak barrels and a portion of them are new where the wine remains for about 15 months. The wine has hints of cherry, blackberry, plum and spice. 1983 was a very good year for the Chateau and it is one of the best Pomerols.

Bordeaux 1983 St Julien Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. There are 10,000 vines per hectare. Vinification is in stainless steel vats of different sizes and malolactic fermentation takes place in concrete vats. Over 50% of the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for 18 to 20 months. The wine has hints of cherry and raspberry and a touch of tobacco and spice.

With dessert, we drank two 750’s.

Ruby Port 1963 Graham a fortified wine that is aged for 2 years in wood. 1963 was a memorable vintage for port. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of caramelized fruit, notes of plum, raspberry, blackberry and dried figs.

Madeira Verdelho 1966 D’Oliveira, a fortified wine made from the white Verdelho grape. It is drier then Bual but not as dry as Sercial. This is a lush and balanced wine with hints of roasted nuts and a very long finish and a lingering after taste.

 

In all, we enjoyed one double magnum of Champagne, one magnum of white wine, eight magnums of red wine, one 750 bottle of Port and another of Madeira.

 

 

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Lunch with Dora

When Julia Griner asked if we knew of any traditional pasta makers in New York City that could be featured on the popular Pasta Grannies You Tube Channel, Michele had one thought, our friend Dora Marzovilla. Dora, who comes from the Puglia region of Italy,

Dora

makes several varieties of handmade pasta every day for her son’s restaurants, I Trulli and Ristoro del Cinghiale in New York City.

Julia, together with her husband Pino Ficara, own the Grano & Farina Cooking School in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome that we have written about before. Julia also began collaborating recently with Vicky Bennison, the owner and creator of Pasta Grannies.  Michele put Julia and Vicky in touch with Dora through her son Nicola Marzovilla, and they scheduled an appointment for Vicky to interview Dora in New York and make a video of her in action. Lucky for us, we were invited to join Vicky, Dora, and members of the Marzovilla family for dinner at Dora’s home afterward.

When we arrived, Dora was in the kitchen trimming baby artichokes and heads of broccoli. These she dipped in a light batter and fried in hot oil. They were hot and crisp and we ate them with our fingers as Dora sent out batch after batch from the kitchen

along with Dora’s freshly made tomato focaccia.

Next up was the pasta, handmade orecchiette, which Dora had made in advance. The little disks, made with semolina flour, were pleasantly chewy and the slightly cupped shape was ideal for holding Dora’s homemade ragu made with

meatballs

and beef braciole which we ate after the pasta.

For our main course, Dora had prepared braised rabbit with tomatoes and potatoes, a Pugliese specialty.

The rabbit pieces were tender and moist and both they and the potatoes had absorbed the delicious flavors of the herbs and tomatoes.

With the meal we had two wines from the Marzovilla family’s Tuscan winery, which went very well with the food.

Massoferrato 2015 IGT made from 100% Sangiovese vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.

Massoferrato 2014 IGT  made from 100% Sangiovese from a selection of the best grapes and aged in custom made 20hl Slavonian casks.

Dessert was an assortment of Italian pastries, and of course, strong cups of espresso.

Dinner with Dora was a classic Italian-style family meal with lots of good food, wine and lively conversation. We were delighted to have shared it.

The Pasta Grannies video with Dora is not yet available on line, but we will let you know when it appears. Meanwhile, go to their website and enjoy some of the other great grannies in action.

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Fourteen Wines Under $20

Well-priced good wines can be found in all price ranges.  Here are some that I tried recently.

Alvarinho 2017 (Vinho Verde) Soalheiro Portugal 100% Alvarinho. Hand picked grapes from several small vineyards planted in granite soil at 100 to 400 meters located in the Melgaco region in the northern point of Portugal. After pressing and before fermentation, which is temperature controlled, the must is decanted during 48 hours at a low temperature.  I first had this wine in a restaurant in Lisbon. $11

Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco Veneto IGT 2017 (Veneto) Pasqua made from 100% Garganega and dried in the fruttaio (drying chamber) for 15 days. This results in the concentration of sugars and floral aromas. After crushing, maceration on the skins takes place for over 12 hours. Vinification is with selected yeasts and a portion of the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for a few months. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, peaches and a touch of almonds. It is an easy to drink wine. $16

Falanghina Beneventano 2015 DOC 100% Falanghina. Campania, Italy Donnachiara The vineyard is the Torre Cuso, the best location for Falanghina. The soil is volcanic, chalky clay, the vines are 16 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 2,500 vines per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed before pressing. Cold fermentation is in stainless steel and there is extended maceration. This is a crisp white wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors, nice acidity and good minerality. This is one of my favorite white wines and I always have a bottle or two on hand. $17 . I first had this wine at the winery.

Lugana DOC “Mandolara” 2017 (Veneto) Le Morette made from 100% Turbiana grapes from the vineyard on a narrow strip of land on the shore of Lake Garda. The training system is guyot, double and short modified and there are 3,500 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in the second half of September. After a very soft crushing, vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the wine remains in the bottle for at least one month before release. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints of apple and peach and a touch of bitter almonds in the finish. The name of the wine comes from a particular protected species of wild ducks which nest in Lake Frassino.  The ducks are the symbol of the farm. $18

Bianco delle Regine 2016 (Umbria) Castello delle Regina made from 30% Chardonnay, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Riesling and 10% Pinot Grigio. Harvest takes place by hand in the middle of August. Each grape variety is vinified separately in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks of 50 to 75 HL. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation in order to preserve its freshness. This is an aromatic white wine with hints of citrus fruit with a touch of lime and good acidity. $15

Moscato Sicilia 2016 IGT (Salemi, Sicily)100% Moscato di Alexandria Stella. The vineyard is 25 acres and the training system is guyot. There are 1,600 vines vines/acre, and the elevation is 1,485 feet with a northern/southern exposure. The vines were planted in 2000 and the first vintage was in 2010. Harvest was in August. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for 12 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place and the wine ages in stainless steel.  The alcohol level is 10%. This is a wine with hints of white peaches, tropical fruit and good acidity. $11

Nebbiolo 2014 Paso Robles (Califorina) Caparone 100% Nebbiolo macerated on the skins for 45 days, in completely enclosed stainless fermenters. It was light in color like Nebbiolo should be. The wine is unfiltered and unfined. In a blind tasting I might have said it was like a Nebbiolo from the north of Piedmont but in a much lighter style with more red fruit and less of the tar, tobacco and dried fruit character. This winery make wines that can last for years. Recently I had their 2002 Merlot which could last for another 20 years. $18

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2016 DOC None (Abruzzo, Italy) made from 100% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Stella. The soil is sandy, the training system is Pergola/Arbor trained and the elevation is 900 feet. There are 1,000 vines per acre and the vines were planted in 1995. The first vintage was in 1998 and harvest takes place in September. Fermentation is in stainless tanks and the alcohol fermentation lasts for 7 days. Maceration technique is by pumpovers and it lasts for 5 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place and the wine ages 5 months before bottling and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of black cherries, strawberries and a touch of herbs. $11

Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Rosso Veneto IGT 2016 (Veneto) Pasqua made from Corvina, Croatina and Merlot. The grapes are hand picked and a portion of the Corvina and Merlot are put into small crates in the fruttaio to dry until they lose 30% of their water content and gain high sugar content. This is then blended with the juice from the non-dried grapes and vinified in steel tanks. Following fermentation the grapes age in oak tonneaux for about 4 months and then aged in bottle before release. The wine has hints of cherry, plum and a touch of spice. $16 .

Negroamaro Del Salento IGP 2016 (Puglia) Varvaglione made from 100% Negroamaro  Vinification with temperature control maceration and malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in large barrels (botti)  of French oak for at least 3 months. The wine has fresh fruit flavors and aromas with hints of cherry and spice $12

 

Pinot Nero Rolhut 2015 DOC (Alto Adige, Italy) Peter Zemmer The stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented at a constant temperature of 26 – 28° C (79 – 82° F) for about 7 days. The must is kept in contact with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below.  After two gentle rackings, 70% of this Pinot Noir is aged over 12 months in large barrels of French oak, and the remainder is aged in small casks of French oak (barriques), which are 2 – 3 years old. After blending, 750 ml Bordeaux-style bottles are filled and the wine is aged an additional 6 months in the bottle before it goes on sale. This is a fruity wine with hints of red berries, cherries and a touch of blueberries. $18

Umbria Rosso IGT “Vascellarus”  2016 (Umbria) Argillae made from 85% Montepulciano, and 15 Cabernet Sauvignon. The training method is guyot and there are 3,333 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand in October. The grapes are crushed and destemmed and there is a 25/30-day maceration period with frequent pumpovers on the skins, accompanied by several rack and return procedures. Alcoholic fermentation is in steel tanks at a controlled temperature and malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques. The wine is aged in French barriques with racking on a regular basis, depending on the need. The wine remains in the bottle for another 8/12 months before release. The wine has hints of ripe red fruit, spice, black pepper and vanilla notes. $18

Côtes-du-Rhone Samorëns Blanc 2015 (France) made from Clairette and Grenache. Ferraton Père & Fils The grapes are picked at the peak of ripeness and quickly chilled upon arrival at the winery via a chill tunnel. After pressing, the must is cold-settled for 48 hours. Vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks where many lots will undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine is then blended and bottled without the use of oak. It has fresh citrus aromas and flavors with hints of white peach and good acidity. $15

Gaia Red Blend 2015 (Argentina) Domaine Bousquet made from 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. There is a manual harvest: for the Syrah the 2nd week of April, Malbec the 3rd week of April, and the Cabernet Sauvignon 4th week of April. There is a cold fermentation for 72 hours. Fermentation is with selected yeast at a maximum temperature of 27C for 12 days. Maceration is for 14 days and the wine is aged in used French barrels for 10 months. This is a fruity wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit with a hint if blueberries and a touch of spice.  Alcohol is 14%.  $19

 

 

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January 14, 2019 · 2:29 am

Celebrating La Befana with Friends

Italians end the holiday season by celebrating the Epiphany, also known as 3 Kings Day.  The story goes that the 3 Kings, on their way to visit the Baby Jesus, stopped at the home of an old woman and invited her to join them on their journey.  She said no, because she had too much housework to do.  She soon regretted her decision and took off on her broom to search for the Christ Child.

La Befana

The old woman is called La Befana, and according to tradition, she arrives on the Epiphany on her broomstick to bring gifts to the good Italian boys and girls and coal to the bad ones. It is a national holiday in Italy also the opportunity for one last holiday feast.  This year, our friends Lars and Karen invited us to their home to share a meal that would have made the Befana very proud.  

We started with grilled purple asparagus seasoned with sea salt from Marsala,

followed by thin, crispy fried root vegetables with more of that sea salt,

and fried calamari.

We had two wines with the appetizers 

Vermentino “La Pettegola” Toscana 2017 IGT made from 100% Vermentino. Following a very soft pressing, fermentation takes place for about 13 to 16 days in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine has hints of citrus fruit and peach and a touch of sage with good acidity. It is a very easy drinking wine and it worked very well with the appetizers. 

Cuvee Aurora Rose Metodo Classico Alta Lange 2014 DOCG 100% Pinot Noir Banfi Piemonte. The grapes are grown in the hilltop vineyards of the Alta Langa, south of Alba in Piemonte, in a mix of clay and calcareous soil. There is one hour of skin contact and cold maceration, which prepares the grapes for soft crushing. The must is clarified and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The final cuvee consists of 90% clear wine and 10% of the previous vintage wine. The wine is aged in French oak barriques. Fermentation takes place in the bottle (Classic Method). Yeast contact is extended for at least 24 months followed by a traditional hand riddling (remuage)  and degorgement a la glace. A period of brief aging follows. The wine is pink in color, with small bubbles and hints of strawberry and apple.

Then we tasted the

2002 Merlot Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido Vineyard from Caparone. The wine is unfined and unfiltered and the style of wine is more European that California. The wine was showing no signs of age.

This was followed by

Chianti Classico “Fonte Alla Selva” 2015 DOCG made from mostly Sangiovese with Canaiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon from over 40 hectares of estate vineyards in Castellina the heart of the Chianti Classical zone with alluvial soils, limestone and clay. Fermentation with traditional maceration on the skins for 8 to 10 days, followed by short aging in French oak barrels. Bottling takes place the summer after the harvest. The wine has hints of cherry, plum and blackberry with a touch of spice.

Lars preparing  main course  Osso Buco with polenta, which he served in the traditional wooden trenchers used in the Lazio region for serving polenta 

The main course

Brunello Di Montalcino 1998 DOCG 100% Sangiovese grown on hillside vineyards at 220 meters in stony, calcareous and well structured soli. There is a meticulous grape selection (yield not exceeding 6 metric tons/ha) is followed by vinification in temperature–controlled Horizon hybrid stainless steel and wood tanks, with skin contact for 10 to 20 days. The wine ages for two years in various sizes oak barrels, 305-liter barriques, 60 and 120 hl barrels; the wine is then aged in bottle for an additional 8 to 12 months.The wine is released 5 years after the harvest. This is the information for the current release. I believe that the 1998 was not aged in this way.

Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva “Poggio All’Oro 1988 Made from 100% Sangiovese, estate selection. The Poggio all’Ora vineyard is on the southern slopes of the Montalcino hillside at 250 mt. The wine is produced only in excellent vintages based on a meticulous selection of the harvested grapes. Temperature controlled vinification is in Horizon hybrid stainless steel and wood tanks with skin contact for 12 to 14 days. Aged in barriques for 30 months, and at least 12 to 18 months in bottle. The wine is kept for a total of 6 years before release. This is a wine with notes of violet and hints of plum, jam and a touch of coffee. This is the information from the current vintage.

Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva 1979 Villa Banfi 100% Sangiovese, select clones from estate vineyards on the southern hills of Montalcino. This is an elegant and complex wine with hints of red fruit, violets, and a touch of licorice and spice. This delightful and wonderful Brunello one of the best I have ever tasted and still has a lot of life left. Lars said this was the first Brunello produced by Banfi and I am sure it was made in a very traditional style. Banfi did not begin their clonal research project on Sangiovese until 1982.

We finished the wine with cheese

There were 3 desserts, including Panettone and two traditional homemade cakes made with dried fruits.

The final wine of the feast was

Recioto della Valpolicella Classico IGT “Regolo” 2015 Sartori made from 100% Corvina. The vineyards are in the hilly area of Valpolicella with clay and calcareous soil. Only the best grapes are selected. A gentle pressing is followed by skin maceration at low temperature for 8 to 10 days. In February the wine rests on Amarone pomace, which enhances the wine’s aromatic and aging potential. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged for about 18 to 24 months in medium to large-sized oak casks followed by a minimum of 4 months bottle refinement before release. This is a complex dessert wine with hints of red and black berries and cherry with nice ripe fruit on the finish.

To finish a great meal, we had grappa and cafè

Grappa di Brunello “Torre” made from the pomace of Brunello di Montalcino (Sangiovese). This is an intense grappa with a hint of wild berries and sour cherries on the finish.

 

 

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Filed under Banfi, Banfi Brunello, Chianti Classico, Cuvee Aurora Rose, Recioto, Spumante