Monthly Archives: August 2021

Celebrating My Birthday

Michele and I had plans for my birthday but things do not always work out as planned. We have been trying to have our apartment painted for months and a few days before my birthday the painter said he was ready to begin. We needed to find some place to stay.

So off we went to spend a week in NJ with our friend Ernie. We had invited Ernie to go out with us for my birthday but he said no. Instead, his son Jason and his wife Deb invited us to their home for my birthday dinner and I was very happy that they did.


We started with Roses de Jeanne Champagne “Côte de Béchalin”–100% Pinot Noir from the 1.5-hectare lieu-dit of Val Vilaine. The production is very limited. Cedric Bouchard. This is a single-vineyard, single varietal, and single-vintage, zero dosage Champagne, organic farming, low yields and harvesting at the right moment. Only free run juice is used and fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. There is no filtering, fining or cold stabilization. The wines are bottled with no dosage under less pressure. This is full-bodied Champagne with hints of fruit, spice, lively acidity, a touch of pear and ginger, a note of dried flowers and a long and lingering finish.

All the food was prepared by Jason and Debbie

IMG_5637Roasted Peppers Salad

IMG_5638Eggplant Mousse

IMG_5640Two different breads.  The seeded bread is made by Jason

IMG_5641Fiorano Bianco 1996 Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe di Venosa made from 100% Malvasia Candia.  The Prince’s few acres of vines are planted along the Appian Way about 20 kilometers southwest of the center of Rome and very close to Roman’s second airport, Ciampino. This is the first time I had the 1996 and it was the last vintage the Prince produced before he died a few years later. There is a slight touch of oxidation with aromas of melon, honey and  wax.  It has  slight mineral notes with lots of flesh, good acidity and a medium long finish.

IMG_5644 2Pasta with locally grown cherry tomatoes, garlic scapes and Parmigiano Reggiano.

IMG_5646Grilled marinated organic chicken breasts

IMG_5649Mixed Salad with fennel, oranges, pine nuts and radishes

IMG_5650The plate

IMG_5645Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1997 “Berardenga”Felsina made from 100% Sangiovese located in Castelnuovo Berardenga with mostly southern exposure between 320 and 420 meters (the soil here is rock quartz and calcareous alberese mixed with alluvial pebbles). The vineyards are on different slopes. There are about 5,400 vines per hectare. The training system is bilateral cordon and simple guyot with a maximum of 5 to 8 buds per vine. Harvest is staged due to different altitudes of the vineyards the first three weeks of October. The clusters are de-stemmed and pressed and the must is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Programmed punch downs and daily pumpovers take place. In March/April the wine goes into medium sized Slavonian oak barrels and French barriques of second and third passage. After 12/16 months of aging the final blend is assembled. The wine remains is glass for 2 to 6 months. The wine has notes of red and black berries with a touch of spice and mineral tones. It was drinking very nicely. I had this wine two weeks ago and it was just a wonderful then as it was now.

TIMG_5653Chocolate Layer Cake — Deb is a fantastic baker.

IMG_5655Cake with ice cream.  Moist and chocolatey, the cake brought back many fond memories of the cakes I enjoyed from the great Ebinger’s Bakery when I was growing up in Brooklyn.

This was a birthday to remember, thanks to good friends.


Filed under Champagne, Chianti Classico, Felsina. Berardenga, Fiorano Bianco, Roses de Jeanne

Celebrating La Befana in August

January 6th in Italy is the Feast of the Epiphany.  It is the day that La Befana, a kindly old woman, brings gifts to the good boys and girls or a lump of coal if they are bad. We have been celebrating the arrival of La Befana at the home of our friend Lars Leicht for a number of years. However we missed it in 2019 and again in 2020, so Lars decided to celebrate in August to make up for the ones we missed.  In all there were 12 of us and lots of very good food and wine.

IMG_5507Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG “Cuvée Des Paladins” Brut Sparkling 2013. Tappero Merlo This sparkling wine is made from 100% Erbaluce with refermentation in the bottle (Classic Method). The wine is aged for 60 months on the lees. Soil is strongly acidic of morainic origin composed of 80% sand, 15% silt and 5% clay. The vineyards are at 970/100ft. Harvest is in early September. Fermentation of the must is partly in steel and partly in very old barrels. The base wine is ready to become a sparkling wine in the spring following the harvest. The pied-de-cuvee (process using wild yeast from the vineyard to ferment the wines) is prepared which starts the second fermentation in the bottle in a temperature controlled environment. After a slow passage over the pupitres (wooden frames for traditional riddling), the sparkling wine is ready for disgorgment which usually takes place in the spring. The wine rests for a few months and then is ready for release. The wine has hints of brioche, dried fruit, honey, and hazelnuts with citrus notes and complex minerality. This is the first time I tasted a sparkling wine made from Erbaluce di Caluso and I really liked it.

Note:The name of the  wines comes from the 12 loyal knights of Charles the Great, who on Christmas Day in the year 800 was crowned by Pope Leo III “Emperor of the Romans” and the Holy Roman Empire was established. There is a legend that during this time Erbaluce might have come from the Rhone Valley into Canavese in Piedmont, or vice versa, thanks to the agrarian reforms of Charles the Great.

0-3Vernaccia Di San Gimignano 2018 “Kalós kai Agathós Campochiarenti” made from 100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The vines are 25 to 30 years old. The grapes are hand picked the second week of September. The  vineyard is at 180 to 240 meters. Soil is yellow sand and sandy clay with layers of tuff, a light porous rock made from volcanic ash, over the “mattaione”(contains rock salt and gypsum) with variable percentage of clay. The destalked grapes are softly pressed and after 18-24 hours the must is clarified and stored in steel vats for fermentation at a controlled temperature. The wine is cold stabilized, filtered, and stored until the spring. The wine remains in bottle for at least 3 months before it is released. This is fresh wine with hints of citrus fruit, good acidity and nice minerality.

0-4Fiano di Avellino DOCG Reserve “Brancato” 2017 Cavalier Pepe  made from 100% Fiano from south facing vineyards in the municipality of Lapio. The grapes are hand harvested at full ripeness, undergo a strict selection, and are pressed whole. Cold settling is followed by alcoholic fermentation in barriques and later in stainless steel at a low temperature. The wine is aged in wood and steel followed by a minimum of 6 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of mature tropical fruit, apple, and hazelnuts with a hint of spice and a touch of toast.

IMG_5582Fresh Tomatoes from the Garden

We started with fresh Mozzarella, roasted peppers dressed with olive oil and herbs and bread baked by Lars

IMG_5588Seafood Salad prepared by two of the guests

IMG_5589Tomatoes and rice

IMG_2693 2Litina Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2016 CascinaCastlet made from 100% Barbera grapes from hillside vineyards, which are more than 30 years old. There are about 5,000 vines per hectare. Grapes are hand picked the first weeks of October. At the winery the must is fermented in contact with the skins at a controlled temperature for about 10 days. This is followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in medium sized oak casks for about 8 months and then in bottle for more than one year. The wine is released the second year after the harvest. The wine has hints of woodland fruits a hint of spice and a note of vanilla.

IMG_5593Lars’ “Timballi di Bonifacio VIII”.  — A unique and historic family recipe from Lars’ relatives in Anagni, a town outside of Rome.0Valpolicella Superiore 2015 l Saltari made from 60% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 10% Croatina and 10% Corvinone. The grapes are grown in the Mezzane Valley in the region of the Veneto on terraced hillside vineyards in calcareous and alkaline soil. After a careful collection of the grapes, vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After racking, the wine is transferred to different size barrels for malolactic fermentation. For 12 to 14 months, the wine goes through regular racking and topping up of the barrels until blending. The wine is unfiltered.  It has hints of small berries like currants and blackberry with tobacco, leather, and a touch of cherry.

IMG_5481 copyChianti Colli Senesi 2017 “San Nicola”  Az Agricola Campochiarenti, San Gimignano, Tuscany, made from 85% Savgiovese and 15% Canaiolo, Colorino, Foglia Tonda and Mammolo. The exposure is south, southwest along a hill at 180/230 meters. The soil is composed of silt and sand with a little clay. Harvest is by hand. Fermentation is in glazed cement basins of 90hl at a controlled temperature with pumping over and delestage. Maceration lasts for 12/15 days in order to obtain the highest extraction of color from the skins. The wine is naturally clarified, without adding any chemical products. Aging is in 20hl oak barrels for at least 9 months. The wine is bottled and stored in the cellar until release. The wine has hints of red berries, spice, tobacco and a touch of jam with a long finish and a very pleasing aftertaste. This wine will age.

It reminds me of the old style Chianti, with all the local grapes and traditional fermentation and aging which I loved, but few producers make any more.

IMG_5597Pork Loin on the Grill — The pork was flavored with garlic, rosemary, fennel and other herbs

IMG_5596Roasted Broccoli Rabe with garlic.  Roasting brings out all of the bittersweet flavors of the broccoli rabe.

IMG_5599Ready to be served

IMG_5600The plate

IMG_5595Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva 2011 Az. Agricola Campochiarenti made from 85% Sangiovese, and 15% Canaiolo, Ciliegio, Mammolo and Foglia Tonda. The exposure is south, south-west at 180-230 meters. Soil is composed of silt and sand with a small percentage of clay. The grapes are manually chosen and selected at harvest. Fermentation is in glazed cement basins with a capacity of 90HL and are temperature controlled. There is pumping over and delestage. Maceration is for 20-30 days with frequent delestage and pumping over. The wine is naturally clarified without adding any chemical products. The wine is aged in oak barrels (20HL capacity) for 30 months, then at least 4 months in bottle before release. The wine is drinking now but can last for another 10 years.

Michael Apstein, a wine writer from Boston said it was the best Colli Senesi he had ever tasted and I have to agree with him.


Uceline Monferrato Rosso 2013 CascinaCastlet  Made from 100% Uvalino. Harvesting is carried out towards the end of October when the grapes reach a perfect ripeness. The bunches are hand picked and carefully selected and then go into a well ventilated, temperature controlled room called a “fruit house.”  Here they stay for over a month and become slightly overripe and begin to wither. The must from the pressing is partially destemmed and undergoes fermentation and lasts for 20 days. Frequent stirrings causes the total dissolution of the anthocyans and the various phenolic components that for this wine play a very important role. Malolactic fermentation and aging take place in 5HL oak barrels.

The bottles rest for about a year before they are released. This is a full-bodied complex aromatic wine with hints of black fruit, prunes, blueberries and sweet spices.  It is tannic with good acidity and has a certain rustic quality. It is a wine that can age.

IMG_5594Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Vigneto Edoardo” 2012 100% Montepulciano d” Abruzzo. Zaccagnini. Bottled in honor of Ed Lauber, of Lauber Imports, a dear friend, who participated every year in the harvest at the Zaccagnini Winery.  His image appears on the label. This is a big wine with hints of cherries, leather, prune, and a touch of almond in the aftertaste.


IMG_5609Desserts included a fresh raspberry pie and a peach cream pie both made with locally grown fruits.


Some tempting chocolates followed.

IMG_5586Grappa Marolo “Dedicata Al Padre” made from a blend of several pomaces in the Roero area, This is a full-bodied, clear, pure grappa.  At 60% alc/vol (120 proof) it is the in alcohol clear grappa. It is non-vintage and un-aged. The grappa was brought by wine writer Tom Maresca, the only person I know that drinks grappa between courses to help his digestion.


Grappa Marolo “Barolo” an aged Grappa

IMG_5612Our host for the evening with his friend . Carmyn 





Filed under Barbera d'Asti, CAMPOCHIARENTE, Cascina Castlet, Cavalier Pepe, Chianti Colli Senesi, Fiano di Avellino, Grappa, I Saltari

Enjoying the Weekend at Home

We are having our apartment painted and will not be eating home for the next two weeks so this weekend, Michele decided to make some things that she wanted to use up.

IMG_5565We started with a salad made with arugula, avocado, tomatoes, tuna, hard cooked eggs and anchovies.

IMG_5572 2Then we had sardines Beccafico, a Sicilian recipe meaning “figpecker style,” named for a bird.  I am not sure why it has that name, but the rolled up sardines were stuffed with breadcrumbs, pine nuts, currants, parsley, lemon and mint and baked.   

IMG_5527With this we had the Beneventano Falanghina 2018 IGT Donnachiara made from 100% Falanghina. 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 and a pleasure to drink.

IMG_5567 2Roasted Eggplant and Peppers

IMG_5569Rosemary Focaccia

IMG_5570On the plate

IMG_5537 2

Since it was hot we had a red wine the could take a slight chill and this one was perfect. Vernatsch Schiava Alto Adige DOC 2019 Peter Zemmer made from a blend of various varieties of Schiava grown on the pergola, the traditional trellis system, on loamy soil on the slopes around Cortaccia. The stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented for 8 days at a controlled temperature. The must is kept in regular contact with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below with the ideal results for coloring from the skins and emphasizing fruitiness. This is a fresh, light fruity wine with hints of red raspberry, peaches  and light note of bitter almond on the finish.

IMG_5563We finished with Michele’s homemade blueberry and cantaloupe ices

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Filed under Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Schiava

Lunch for Two

After a busy week, Michele and I planned to have a quiet lunch at home.  I had a 1999 Burgundy that I wanted to open.

IMG_5551Savigny-les-Beaune 1999 Robert Ampeau et Fils made from 100%  made from 100% Pinot Noir. This is a complex and elegant wine, fruity but firm with hints of raspberry, blackberry, violets and a note of leather. It is drinking very nicely

IMG_5542We started with a few slices of smoked duck breast with sweet and spicy Pineapple Apricot Chutney from Saints Preserve Us!, a Brooklyn based company and some grainy mustard.  Michele also sauteed the liver from our main course chicken with red onions and a bit of aged balsamic vinegar to eat on crostini.

IMG_5544The roasted spatchcocked chicken was a heritage bird from Eataly.  Before roasting, it was rubbed with garlic and herbs from the garden.  Crisp skin and firm yet tender meat made for a perfect roast chicken dinner.

IMG_5545String beans with Caesar dressing.

IMG_5546More heirlooms, this time Greenmarket tomatoes in a salad with fresh oregano, olive oil and onions.

IMG_5548The plate

IMG_5564 2Grappa poured over home made blueberry and  cantaloup Ices

IMG_5515Grappa Capo di Stato  from Loredan Gasparini made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.


We wanted caffé but it was a warm day so I made us each a Shakerato, espresso shaken with ice, and in this case a little milk, until it is foamy.  Very refreshing.

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Filed under Robert Ampeau

ForteMasso Barolo

Annalisa  Chiavazza is the marketing and communications manager for Agricole Gussalli Beretta Group and sent me samples of Barolo to taste from Fortemasso, a winery based in Montforte d’Alba, Piedmont, which is a part of the Beretta Group. Annalisa had also sent me samples from Castello di Radda which wrote about in a blog. Castellodi Radda:Chianti Classico at its Best 

I do not know the Barolo of Fortemasso but I really like the wines of Castello di Radda and since they both belong to the Beretta Group I was happy to try them and was very glad that I did.

The Fortemasso winery was founded in 2012, They have 5 hectares (single plot) in Monforte D’Alba (MGA-Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva) Castelletto) for the production of Barolo Castelletto Barolo and Barolo Castelletto Reserve. The most central area of the MGA is called Pressenda (currently undergoing replanting) and is traditionally considered the location of the best quality, of a cru within a cru. It is one hectare and the other 4 hectare surround it. 

IMG_5561Barolo DOCG Fortemasso made from 100% Nebbiolo from the Castelletto vineyard at 360 to 450 meters. The exposure is south-east and the soil is Diano sandstone, made up of sand, silt and clay. The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 vines per hectare. Harvest is manual. The freshly picked grapes are crushed and destemmed before fermenting in temperature-controlled stainless steel wine vats. Once alcoholic fermentation has begun, daily pumping over is carried out to facilitate the extraction of the color and primary aromas of the grapes from the skins. Fermentation lasts between eight and ten days and is followed by submerged cap maceration. This step, in addition to prolonging the period of extraction from the skins which began immediately after crushing the grapes, facilitates the stabilization of the color of the future wine. During maceration, which lasts an average of twenty-five to thirty days, malolactic fermentation also takes place. Aging in wood begins in December and lasts an average of thirty months. The wine spends eight – ten months of further aging in the bottle before being released. The wine has hints of violets, cherry licorice, tea spice and a touch of tar.

IMG_5557Barolo DOCG “Castelletto” Riserva Fortemasso made from 100% Nebbiolo. Thanks to their perfect position, the grapes are left to ripen until the sugar concentration and phenolic maturity are just right. This makes it possible to bring out all the organoleptic characteristics of the grape during vinification and lays the foundation for the prolonged longevity of the future Barolo Reserve. After crushing and destemming, the must ferments in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, where daily pumping over is carried out to gently extract the aromas and color from the skins. Using the submerged cap technique, the maceration phase begins.  The aim is to optimize extraction and stabilize the color of the wine. This phase lasts an average of 30 – 45 days, during which malolactic fermentation also takes place. Upon completion, aging in wood begins, lasting an average of forty months. This is followed by bottling and subsequent bottle aging for twenty-two months. The wine has hints of violets, tobacco, cedar, licorice and a touch of cinnamon. This is a very impressive Barolo.

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Filed under Barolo, Barolo Forte Masso

Rosé, Rosato, Red and Sparkling for Summer

Whether you prefer rose’, rosato or red, here are 8 wines to enjoy this summer ranging from $13 to $25


Prosecco DOC Rose Extra Dry Millesimato (Veneto) Organic and Vegan made from 85% Glera and 15% Pinot Noir, Growth system is silo and the harvest is mechanized. There is a soft cold crushing and pressing. The second fermentation is for 60 days and the Charmat method is used. Residual sugar 12g/l. It has intense hints of red fruit, strawberries , raspberries, a hint of citrus and a touch of white flowers. $13.    Rosé Prosecco is very new but it seems to have become very popular.


Montefili Rosato 2020 NV (Tuscany) made from 100% Sangiovese from a 500 meter vineyard first planted in 1995. The soil is galestro and alberese and the training system is spurred cordon. Spontaneous fermentation takes place with indigenous yeast. Skin contact is for 6/7 hours and fermentation is at a low temperature. The wine remains in stainless steel tanks and then in bottles for 3 months. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints of strawberries, raspberries, a touch of red currents and good acidity.  $18


La forge

Rodon Bardolino Chiaretto La Fraghe made from Corvina and Rondinella from the Comuni di Affi and Cavaion Veronese. The training system is guyot and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. The exposure is south and the vineyard is at 190 meters. Corvina and Rondinella are vinified separately. They are given a cool temperature 6 to 8 hour maceration on the skins, which extracts just enough color to give a lovely, medium bodied hue to the juice. The must then ferments at a cool 17 degrees C. The finished wine matures on the lees in 50HL stainless steel tanks until the following spring when it is bottled. The wine has an elegant bouquet of strawberries and red currents while on the palate the wine is full bodied and balanced with a long finish that evokes the bouquet. $16

IMG_5473Baci al Sole Rosé Veneto IGT made from 40% Corvina, 40% Merlot and 20% Corvinone. After a gentle pressing, there is brief skin contact with the juice followed by temperature controlled fermentation, then  a brief passage in stainless steel. The wine has hints of honeydew melon, red berries and cherries. It is very light pink in color and it is a very food friendly.  It reminds me of some of the rosé wines I had when I was in Provence. $18


Bandol Rosé La Bastide Blanche 2018 made from 72% Mourvédre, 17% Cinsault and 11% Grenache grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides in the vineyard. The soil is clay-limestone  with cailloux. The grapes are hand harvested. There is a direct pressing of the Mourvédre and a 24 hour maceration for the Grenache and Cinsault.  Malolactic fermentation is based on the varieties. The wine remains in tanks for 4 to 10 months before being placed on the market. The wine has hints of red berries strawberry, orange and Provencal herbs. $25

baf (1) HB

Domaine de Bila-Haut ”Les Vignes” Pays d’Oc Rose’ 2018 made from 55% Grenache and 35% Syrah. Michel Chapoutier.  Located in Cõtes du Roussillon, Languedoc, France.  In the hills of the Agly Valley, the 40-year-old vines are carefully tended. The juice is fermented and aged in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After a short maceration on the skins, a delicate pink hue is attained and the wine is racked and vinified. The wine is then carefully blended for bottling. It has hints of citrus, strawberry and a touch of raspberry. $17


83A92114-A3C8-429A-9229-277D11E70821_1_105_cCantina Federiciane Montelone di Napoli Gragnano DOC Sorrento Peninsula 2019, Sparkling Wine made from Piedirosso 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 Margherita. Sciascinoso, also know as Olivella, is used as a blending grape. The clusters and berries are large and it is a late ripening variety. This is a very fruity aromatic wine hints of red berries, strawberry, raspberry and a touch of blueberries. $18


Vernatsch Schiva Alto Adige DOC 2019 Peter Zemmer made from a blend of various varieties of Schiava grown on the pergola, the traditional trellis system on loamy soil on the slopes around Cortaccia. The stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented for 8 days at a controlled temperature. The must is kept in regular contact with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below with the ideal results for coloring from the skins and emphasizing fruitiness. This is a fresh, light fruity wine with hints of red raspberry, peaches  and light note of bitter almond on the finish. $ 19


Filed under Bondol, Rose, Schiava

Summer Dinner with Friends

Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow are two of our favorite dinner guests.  The conversation always revolves around food, wine  travel and the many wonderful experiences we have had together. Hopefully we will all be together in Rome in October.

We started our dinner last wee as usual with Champagne:

IMG_5501Champagne  Krug NV Grand Cuvée 168EEM Edition made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35 Chardonnay–the percentage 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%.  This is a Champagne with hints of dried citrus fruit, gingerbread, hazelnuts and almonds, a note of honey and a touch of brioche. It has a very long finish and a memorable aftertaste. Fantastic. Michele’s favorite Champagne.

With the Champagne we had roasted cremini mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese and rosemary, a new appetizer in Michele’s repertoire, that I unfortunately forgot to photograph.  But I am sure she will make it again soon.


Erbaluce di Caluso “Kin” 2015  Tappero Merlo made from 100% Erbaluce.  Erbaluce is a white grape and the vines are either pergola (know as topia locally) or guyot-trained. The clusters are usually wing shaped and the grapes are small to medium with thick skins. When fully ripe they take on an auburn color as if they were sun dried. Erbaluce can be vinified as a still wine, a classic method sparkling wine, or as a passito. Erba means grass and Luce means light.

 Caluso is an ancient Celtic village on the top of a hill where you can look across the plain and see Turin. The vines were planted in 2004 and the vineyard is at 295 meters. There are 4,500 to 5,000 plants per hectare and the pruning system is guyot. The vineyard is entirely organic. Manual harvest takes place at the end of September.

Fermentation is with native yeasts in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine matures for at least 18 months on the lees in 20hl barrels with weekly battonage. Then it remains in the bottle for another 3 years. The wine has hints of sage, citrus, white flowers and herbs with balsamic and spicy scents. This is a wine that can age and I waited five years before I opened as it is not a complete wine until after 5 years/ according to the producer Domenico Tappero Merol  but it could last for 10 to 20 years. The wine was showing very well

IMG_5487Linguine with Crab and Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce ready to serve

IMG_5488On the plate

IMG_5504 copyVino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 1999
  made from large Sangiovese grapes (aka Prugnolo Gentile.) The age of the vines ranges from 15 to 25 years. The running system is guyot. Only natural fertilizer is used and treatments performed on the vines are only copper and sulphur based. The grapes are hand harvested and carefully selected and placed in dry ice. Carbonic maceration is performed with dry ice for two or three days. The pied de cuve (process of using wild yeast from the vineyard to ferment the wine) is prepared 3 to 4 days before using the best grapes at 4 degrees alcohol for preventing aciculate yeasts from hindering proper fermentation. Fermentation is from 15 to 30- 35 days depending on the quality of the pomace. During maceration the cap is broken by mechanical means. The wine is aged in barriques and 15hl barrels with weekly lees stirring. The wine ages for 18 to 20 months. Then it is transferred to large barrels. Wood aging is for about 40 months and the wine is bottled after it is filtered with propylene cartridges using a mobile system. The wine has hints of ripe berries, cranberries, cherry, clove and a touch of iris. It was drinking very well.

IMG_5492Our main course was Pork, Rosa di Parma style.  This was a roast loin of pork rolled around a filling of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto.

IMG_5493To go with the pork, Michele made a Tian of Summer Vegetables.

IMG_5494On the plate

IMG_5503Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 “Vigna Pianrosso” Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona made from 100% Sangiovese from  11.69 hectares named Pianrosso at 240 and 360 meters with a soil of medium grain with good levels of marl dating to the Eocene period. Fermentation is in stainless steel and glass concrete vats with temperature controlled via cooling plates and jackets. Aging is in 7.5 -30 Slavonian oak barrels, for 3 years followed by over 12 months of bottle aging before release. This is an intense, complex and full bodied wine wine with hints of red berries and spice.


Because I love blueberry desserts, Michele made one of my favorites, a Blueberry Pudding Cake.


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Filed under Brunello, Erbaluca di Caluso, Krug Champagne, Uncategorized, Vino Nobile di Montepulicano