Monthly Archives: March 2022

Enjoying the Wines of Sertura Vini d’Irpinia

A few years ago Federico Starnone (aka Fred Starring on FB) saw an article that I had written on the wines of Southern Italy.

IMG_6996He wrote to me and suggested that I visit the Sertura Vini d’Irpinia winery the next time I was in Campania. I was planning on visiting the region on a press trip sponsored by Campania Stories, but I had already selected the wineries I was going to visit. However, the day before one of my scheduled visits, there was a landslide on the Amalfi Coast and my visit had to be canceled.  Suddenly, I had free time so I contacted Fred and he and Giancarlo Barbieri the owner/enologist came and took me to the winery for very enjoyable tour.

Recently, Fred saw on FB that I would be in Rome in March so he invited me to come to the winery once again.  We arranged for Fred to meet Michele and I at the train station in Naples and from there it was a 45 minute drive to the winery in the small town of Montefalcione.

IMG_6990Charles, Michele, Umberto and Fred

We stopped at Hostaria Manfredi  in the Hotel Civita in Atripalda (AV) for lunch and to taste the wines. Fred introduced me to Umberto Cieffo, the director of the hotel and the restaurant.

We tasted 6 wines from Sertura.


Our lunch began with some starters, including beef carpaccio with vegetables and local walnuts lightly dressed with olive oil.


We also had pinza, a flat bread topped with local cheese and mushrooms.


There was also a salad of baccala with pickled peppers and other vegetables.


 We also enjoyed the potatoes pureed with local broccoli and olive oil, topped with cruschi, crunchy dried peppers.

Over lunch Fred said that the Sertura winery does not use any international grapes and only produces 6 wines.  Their logo portrays a Clock Tower, the main symbol of Avellino, a city of which they are very proud.

IMG_6977 2Falanghina IGT  made from 100% Falanghina, the Monte Miletto vineyard is at 500 meters and has a southeast exposure. The harvest takes place by hand the last week of September. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature.  The wine has hints of yellow fruit, apple and pineapple, with good acidity.

IMG_6978Fiano di Avellino DOCG made from 100% Fiano di Avellino. The vineyards are in Montefalcione, a tiny village perched on a hill a short distance from Avellino. The vineyards are at 380 meters and the soil is clay. The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in early October. The grapes are soft pressed and fermented for 21 to 25 days at a controlled temperature. This is a complex full bodied wine with aromas and flavors of citrus fruit and hints of pear and green apple.

IMG_6974Pasta alla Nerano made with fried zucchini and the locally made provolone del Monaco.

IMG_6969Greco di Tufo DOCG  made from 100% Greco from vineyards in Santa Paolina north of Avellino on the slopes of a hill at 400 meters. The soil is clay and rich in minerals, the training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is usually the first week of October. The wine is balanced with nice fruit flavors hinting of yellow fruit, pear flowers, minerality and a delicate almond finish.

IMG_6972Rosato IGP made from 100% Aglianico. The soil is clayey-marly, clayey-silty. Harvest takes place at the end of October. The wine has hints of strawberries, pomegranate, and raspberries with a background of floral scents.

IMG_6980Steak alla Fiorentina grilled tender was delicious and went perfectly with the next wine.

IMG_6975Aglianico DOC IGT  made from 100% Aglianico from vineyards of the small town of Torre Le Nocelle in Irpinia east of Avellino. The vineyards are at 500 meters and there is a range of temperature between night and day.  This, along with the clay soil make it perfect for growing Aglianico. The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Fred said Aglianico ripens late and the harvest takes place the first ten days of November. Maceration and fermentation is at a controlled temperature for 21 to 25 days. It has hints of red fruit with notes of spice. It is a big wine for an Aglianico.

IMG_6976Taurasi DOCG made from 100% Aglianico The same as above only there is a selection of the best grapes. The wine is aged for 18 months in various size oak barrels. This is a robust wine that will age for a long time. It has hints red and black berries, with notes of leather and spice. I was very impressed with this wine.

IMG_6993After lunch I went to visit the winery but Giancarlo Barbieri was in Chicago promoting the wines. Fred took us on a tour of the winery and the vineyards before returning us to Naples.  It was a perfect day for a visit to the countryside.

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Understanding Gran Selezione Chianti Classico UGA

The Chianti Classico Consortium returned to NYC with a tasting of Chianti Classico wines from 60 producers. Over 300 wine professionals and media attended.IMG_7062

The event also celebrated the recent introduction of the UGA (Additional Geographic Units) classification system, which differentiate and highlight the differences in climate and soil type of 11 villages of the region. The walk around tasting was arranged to group the wineries of each UGA in order, and it also featured a large wine bar where attendees could taste 65 Chianti Classico wines from the 11 UGAs.

The event also featured two educational seminars, one for the media and one for the trade. The media seminar was accompanied by a tasting of 11 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines, representing the 11 UGA villages.


 “No Wine is an Island” was the title of the seminar, hosted by the renowned Italian Cartographer, Alessandro Masnaghetti. He explained how the project developed and how the UGAs reflect defined expressions of the Chianti Classico territory.


 The other speaker was Giovanni Manetti, President of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and owner of Fontodi.

The new classification system, approved in June 2021, as for now applies only to the Gran Selezione (GS) category, which are the only ones allowed to add the specific UGA mention on the label. The 11 villages were identified based on specific criteria such as oenological recognizability, historical authenticity, renown, and significance in terms of volumes produced: San Casciano, Greve, Montefioralle, Lamole, Panzano, Radda, Gaiole, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Vagliagli, Castellina, San Donato in Poggio. 

We were given 11 sheets detailing each wine. This is one of them:


The wines


Castello Di Querceto, Greve, made from 100% Sangiovese


I Fabbri, Lamole, made from 100% Sangiovese


Le Cinciole, Panzano, made from 100% Sangiovese


Castello di Volpaia, Radda, Made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Mammolo


Rocca di Montegrossi Gaiole made from 92% Sangiovese and  8% Pugnitello

Alessandro Masnaghetti said, “The introduction of the additional geographical units (UGA) that divide the Chianti Classico territory into more specific areas represents an epochal turning point for the denomination. A change of perspective that leads producers and their wines to be no longer single actors, but expressions of a territory in relation to each other. A decision destined to leave its mark. “

He said several of these UGAs, such as Greve, Radda and Gaiole are communes in this part of Tuscany, while others are municipalities or frazioni (akin to suburbs or neighborhoods) of communes; for example, Lamole, Montefioralle and Panzano are all part of the commune of Greve. These new changes now allow producers to list the UGA on the front label, under the words Chianti Classico; previously a producer located in Panzano, Castelnuovo Berardenga or any of these 11 units could only list that name on their back label (as part of the winery’s address), as the wine had to be identified merely as Chianti Classico.


Felsina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, made from 100% Sangiovese


Dievole, Vagliagli, made from 100% Sangiovese


Castello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio, made from 95% Sangiovese, 3% Colorino and 2% Canaiolo

IMG_6890Castello di Fonterutoli
, Castellina, made from 92% Sangiovese, and 8% Malvasia Nera and Colorino


Principe Corsini-Villa Le Corti, San Casciano made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot

IMG_6893Conti-Capponi-Villa Calcinaia, Montefioralle made from 100% Sangiovese

Giovanni Manetti said, “The phrase, ‘the territory makes the difference,’ has always been one of our favorite mottos.” He continued, “Chianti Classico is a truly unique territory, which is covered two third by woodland and only one-tenth is devoted to wine growing, with more than 50% dedicated to organic farming (52.5% of the area under vine).  As I have often said in my three years as President, wine reflects the territory like a negative photographic image, and this is why it is so important to preserve its environmental context and landscape and be able to communicate this to the consumer in all its various facets, also through the label.”

To clarify, Masnaghetti said that wines with UGA names will be limited to Gran Selezione, one of the three types of Chianti Classico: the other two being annata (vintage) and riserva. Any Gran Selezione that will include a UGA on the label must contain a minimum of 90 percent Sangiovese (currently, that minimum is 80 percent); international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will not be permitted in these Gran Selezione wines, as only indigenous varieties including CanaioloColorino and Mammolo will be allowed as a maximum of 10 percent of the blend.

Monetti said the elimination of international varieties was a relatively easy decision. “If you want to exalt the specifics of every territory, if you use the same variety, or a higher amount of Sangiovese without international varieties, I think it will be much better to compare Gran Selezione wines coming from different territories.”

This was one of the most informative and interesting seminars I have ever attended. These changes will enhance the understanding of Chianti Classico wines and the terroir from which it is derived. In addition, I applaud the elimination of international grape varieties in Gran Selezione Chianti Classico and the exclusive use of indigenous grapes.


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Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri Tasting

Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri Tasting 2022 NYC

Gambero Rosso’s guide, “Vini d’Italia,”  is issued every year in the autumn.  More than 20,000 wines from all the regions of Italy are tasted every year by a competent jury and only the very best, about 400 are selected with the distinction of being awarded “Tre Bicchieri” the highest honor bestowed by Gambero Rosso.IMG_6863 3

The event was very well attended by producers from Italy, wine writers, importers, retailers and restaurateurs.  It felt like a coming out party for Italian wine after two years of Covid. Wines from 104 producers were featured.

Some of the wines I tasted:

IMG_6840Ilaria Pettito with the DonnaChiara Greco di Tufo made from 100% Greco di Tufo (Campania) The wine has hints of citrus fruit, pear, apricot and pineapple. I have known Ilaria for some time and have visited the winery. I always enjoy her wines and I am a very big fan of the white wines of Campania.

IMG_6853Elise Rialland Forgione With “Anthem” Bianco Lazio IGT made from 100% Bellone Casale del Giglio (Lazio). The wine has hints of tropical fruit, like mango and papaya, a touch of flowers and a note of spice. Because of the good acidity this is a wine that will age.  I visited the winery and enjoyed a traditional Roman meal matched perfectly with the wines.

IMG_6855 2Federico Lombardo di Monte Lato with the Etna DOC Bianco “Cavanera” made from Carricante and Catarratto, Firriato (Sicily). The wine has hints of apples and peaches with a touch herbs and a note of seaweed. I visited the winery a number of years ago. More recently, I hosted a lunch and tasting for the press at Norma  restaurant in NYC.

IMG_6861Giulia Cecchi with the Maremma Toscana “Aurelio” Family Cecchi (Tuscany) made from 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. This is a full bodied balanced wine with hints of ripe red fruit, black pepper, spice and chocolate. I have been enjoying Cecchi wines for many years.

    IMG_6866 2

Fabrizio Santarelli  with the Lazio Bianco  “Donna Adriana” made from 80% Viognier, 20% Malvasia del Lazio  Castel De Paolis (Lazio). The wine has hints of exotic fruit, apricot and peach with a mineral finish. I visited the winery and it is so close to Rome that you can see the dome of Saint Peter’s from the terrace.

IMG_4180 Tony DTony Di Dio(Tony di Dio Selections) with the wines of Cusumano Alta Mora” Etna Bianco  DOC (Sicily) made from 100% Carricante. The wine has hints of lemongrass, melon, and pear with undertones of citrus fruit, a touch of herbs and mineral notes.  Cusumano Tenuta Ficuzza Terre Siciliano IGT “Salealto” (Sicily) made from Inzolia, Grillo and Zibibbo. The wine has notes of Mediterranean herbs, dried fruit, apricots and a whiff of the sea.

IMG_4184PGAlso with Tony Di Dio, Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl”(Veneto) made from 100% Pinot Grigio. This is a white wine that will age. It has more depth than most Pinot Grigios, with ripe fresh fruit, a touch of pear, a hint of spice, good mineral character and fresh acidity. 

IMG_6830L’ Albereta Riserva Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2018  Il Colombaio di Santachiara 2018 made from 100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The wine has hints of ripe yellow stone fruit, apricot, citrus, white flowers, toasted almond and a note of vanilla. This is a white wine that will age.

IMG_6846 3Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2017 made from 100% Nebbiolo.  The wine has hints of assorted berries, plum, blackberry, black cherry, rose petal, a note of tobacco and a touch of leather. I first visited the Vietti winery in 1982 and have been enjoying their wine ever since.

IMG_6838 2Livio Felluga Terre Alte 2018 (Friuli Venezia Giulia) made from Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc. The wine has a touch of sage, hints of pear, apricot, peach and almonds. This is the Gambero Rosso’s White Wine of the year.

IMG_6860Elvio Cogno Barolo DOCG Ravera “Bricco Pernice” (Piedmont) made from 100% Lampia, a sub-variety of Nebbiolo. This is a complex  wine with notes of violets, ripe red fruit, a hint of damp soil and subtle spiciness. I have visited the winery on a number of occasions.

IMG_6834 2Michele Chiarlo (Piedmont) Nizza Cipressi 2019 made from 100% Barbera The wine has hints of red fruit mature cherries, raspberries and a note of sweet tobacco.

There was also a very interesting and informative seminar, “Italy In A Nutshell,” which I attended. With 16 wines from Prosecco to Amarone, the two speakers took us on a tour from the North to the South of Italy.

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Benvenuto Brunello 2022

Benvenuto Brunello 2022 returned to NYC presented by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino. This was Benvenuto Brunello’s 30th anniversary.  It was a two day event and because of Covid the format was different from past iterations when it was a walk around tasting.

IMG_7028This version was a seated tasting and waiters brought the wines to taste four at a time. I was at table 4 seat C. The bottles were numbered according to the winery and the letter that followed indicated the type of wine.  The D above was for the 2016 Brunello Riserva.  Il Gattopardo Restaurant, which hosted the event, was responsible for the service and it ran very smoothly.

The speaker was Lars Leicht, VP of Education for the Somm Journal, and Wine-Sherpa-in-Chief of Vino Viaggio. I have known Lars for a number of years and was very pleased to hear that he would speak about Brunello.IMG_6878 2

The production area for Brunello is the commune territory of Montalcino. The grape variety is Sangiovese in the town and territory of Montalcino in Tuscany.

Brunello must be aged 2 years in oak casks and 4 months in bottle or 6 for the Riserva. Bottling must take place in the production zone. The wine is available for sale from the 1st of January of the 5th year following the harvest (6th year for the Riserva). Brunello di Montalcino can only be sold in Bordeaux-type bottles. All Brunello is DOCG.

In my experience Brunello needs to age at least 10 years before (even in a not so great a year) I would even think of drinking it. Brunello improves greatly with age. If you want to drink something “approachable” and ready to drink young, then drink a Rosso di Montalcino which is produced for that purpose.

There were 53 producers presenting: Rosso di Montalcino 2020, Brunello 2017 and Brunello Riserva 2016. The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino is an epic vintage. A balanced summer and autumn gave the grapes perfect ripeness. The right rains and temperatures never too high made this year one of the most important ever. The Consorzio rated the vintage 5 stars.

Lars said the 2015 and the 2016 are wines that will age and should be cellared to get the most out of them. The 2017 will be ready to drink soon. The 2017’s are mostly intensely fruity with crunchy wild berries. I would still wait another few years before I drank the 2017.  The 2015 and 2016 vintages are  classic vintages with a savory and subdued character.

I was able to taste the reserve from the 2015 vintage at a Wine Media Guild event at IL Gattopardo a number of months ago. I was very impressed with the wine. At this tasting I decided to taste only the 2016 Riserva and see how it compare to the 2015 Riserva. I tried to taste the wines from the same producers.

These are  some of the  20016  Brunello Riserva I tasted.






IMG_7015Donatella Cinelli Colombini

IMG_7007Fattoria Dei Barbi

IMG_7022 2IL Poggione

IMG_7023La Fiorita

IMG_7024 11.14.37 AMLa Gerla

IMG_7025 2Ridolfi

IMG_7026Tenute Silvio Nardi


After tasting the wines, I have to give the nod to the 2016 riserva.  One would have to go back to the 2001 and 2004 vintages to almost find it’s equal. I was very happy to welcome back Brunello to NYC.


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Doctor Wine on Wine

It is always a pleasure to hear Daniele Cernilli, aka DoctorWine speak about wine.

IMG_6917This Z00M webinar included 5 white wines, four red wines and one dessert wine. Representatives  from the wineries were present and added comments.  

The White Wine

IMG_6914Zorutti (Friuli) Venezia Giulia DOP Collio 2020 made from 100% Pinot Grigio. The training system is traditional Friuli single inverted. There are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is the first week of September when the grapes are perfectly ripe. Part of the destemmmed crushed grapes are gently pressed, the rest undergo cryomaceration at 4C for 36 hours. A fermentation started 3 to 4 days earlier from the best grapes of the same variety, is added. The must ferments slowly in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature (16C) for 30 to 40 days. Aging in stainless steel vats where a lengthy series of batonage is carried out, gradually reducing the intervals to produce a complex, structured wine with a delicate bouquet. The wine is bottled in February. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, green apple and good acidity.

Coldigrotta (Friuli Venezia Giulia) Collio Pinot Grigio 2018 made from 100% Pinot Grigio. The production zone is Ferra d’Isonzo (Gorizia). The vineyard is at 80 meters and the soil is marl and sandstone of oceanic origin. The training system is guyot and the plants are 30 years old. Harvest is the first and third weeks of September by hand. Fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature with selected yeasts for 7 to 12 days. There is one night of maceration. The wine remains for 3 months on the lees and there is a partial malolactic fermentation. The wine is in bottle for 2 months before release. This is an elegant fruity wine with a note of white flowers.

Isola Augusta (FVG) Friuli Friulano 2018  made from 100% Friulano. Vineyard location Palazzolo dello Stella, Udine. The soil is clay silt and sand and the training system is guyot. There are 4,900 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place at the end of August. The wine is fruity and floral with a note of almonds in the aftertaste.

Cincinnato (Lazio) IGT Bellono “Quinto” 2020 made from 100% Bellone. Located on the lavic hills in the territory of Cori at 200/250 meters. The soil is volcanic clayey. There is a row training system with about 3,000 to 4,000 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place from the 10 to 15 of September. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and destemming followed by static decantation for 24 hours and then fermentation at a cold temperature for 10 days. The wine is in contact with the lees for ten months and malolactic fermentation does not occur. Aging is in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and in bottle for another 6 months before release. The wine has hints of yellow peach, citrus fruit and  mineral notes. It is a wine that should be drunk young. 

A few years ago I was invited on a press trip to visit the Cincinnato winery in Cori and was very impressed with the wines. Giovanna Trisorio the sales and marketing director took me on a tour of the winery and I tasted wines made from the Bellone and Nero Buno grapes. Giovanna was part of the Zoom event and it was great to speak to her again about the wines of Cincinnato.

Marsia Cuomo (Campana) Furore Bianco “Fiorduva” 2018 made from 30% Fenile, 30% Ginestra and 40% Ripoli. Vineyards are on costal terraces at 22/550 meters with a southern exposure. The soil is Dolomitic limestone rock. Training system is pergola and/or espalier. There are 5,000/7,000 vines per hectare. Hand harvest takes place the last 10 days of October.  The hand picked overripe grapes are brought into the cellar whole. After a soft pressing the grape must, which undergoes cold static fining and is inoculated with selected yeasts, the wine ferments at a controlled temperature for about 3 months in barriques.  The wine spends 4 months in stainless steel tanks before it is bottled. It has hints of apricots, tropical fruit, candied fruit and flowers. I have enjoyed the wines of Marisa Cuomo for many years. 

I have tried to visit the winery a few times but somehow it never worked out. The last time I tried was on a press trip for “Campania Stories” and there was a landslide blocking the road.

Tenuta IL Palazzo Piemonte Chardonnay DOC “Sharelè”  2016 made from 100% Chardonnay from an old vineyard in the heart  of Acqui Terme. The vineyard is at 350 meters with a south and south/southeast exposure and in a small part also southwest. The training system is guyot. Harvest takes place when the grapes reach full and complete maturation. The date varies between the last 10 days in August and the first 10 days of September. Harvest is manual. The wine has notes of white flowers, acacia and orange with hints of citrus fruit, peach and a touch of vanilla.

IMG_6921The Red Wine and Dessert Wine

La Casaccia (Piedmont) Barbera del Monferrato DOC “Gianni.”  Made from 100% Barbera from Cella Monte, Monferrato. The vineyard is at 300 meters and the exposure is southwest. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot.  The winery is organic certified since 2000. Harvest is manual when the grapes reach perfect maturity and there is a careful selection of grapes. Fermentation with the skins for 10/15 days. Only the free run juice is used. The wine is aged in steel tanks and bottled after malolactic fermentation. This wine has hints of ripe red fruit, cherry and nice acidity.

Azienda Agricola Ricchi Garda Cabernet DOC Lake Garda “Ribo” 2019.  Made from 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is at 30 to 229 meters and there are 4,000 /4,500 plants per hectare and the exposure is northwest. Soil composition is Morenic: stony permeable, well ventilated substratum. The training system is guyot cordon speronato. Harvest is by hand from the last week of September to the first week of October. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Maceration is for a long period with frequent pumping over. Aging is in tonneaux for 12 months and in bottle for at least 10 months before release. This is a full bodied wine with hints of red fruit, spice, tobacco and leather.

Pitticco (FVG) Colli Orientali Rosso “Migale” 2019 made from Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Schioppettino, and Tazzelenghe (cut your tongue). The Vineyard is on terraced hills facing southeast. The soil is white clay marlstone called “Ponca” and there are 6,700 plants per hectare. Harvest is manual. Aging is in French wooden barrels for 18 /20 months followed by a period of aging in bottle. The wine has hints of red currents and spice. The wine’s name comes from the first two letters of Sergio Pitticco’s children: Michele, Gaia and Leonardo. This is a big and elegant wine with a good balance between acidity and tannins. The wine has hints of licorice, red currants and spice. 

Dessert Wine

Tenuta Prosit (Sicily) Pantelleria Passito  DOC “Sciaghibìr” 2017 made from 100% Zibibbo. The wine has hints of honey, dry figs, apricot jam and spices.

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Old and New Italian Red Wine with Daniele Cernilli aka Doctor Wine.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a Zoom tasting with Daniele Cernilli (aka Doctor Wine).  In the blog I wrote about the white wines that we tasted.  In this blog I will write about the red wines.  The wine came in very small bottles with twist off caps.  Representatives of the wineries joined the webinar.


The Red Wines

Cantine Iorio (Campania) Sannio Aglianico DOP 2020 made from 100% Aglianico. The vineyards are at 250/350 meters. The soil is limestone and clayey and the training system is guyot. There are 3,000 plants per hectare. Hand harvest takes place the last week of October. Maceration takes place at a controlled temperature followed by malolactic fermentation. Aging is in wooden barrels for 6 months and then in bottle before release. The wine has hints of blackberries, black cherries and a note of spice.

Tenuta Falezza (Veneto) Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2020. The wine is made from 50% Corvina, 20% Corvinone 25% Rondinella and 5% Oseleta. The first fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for 20 days. In the second fermentation the new wine is poured onto the pomace of skins and seeds of the Amarone or Recioto. This second fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and lasts for 10 days. This is a full bodied  wine that has hints of black cherry, plums and spice. Daniele said that after a few years of aging it begins to resemble Amarone.

Vinera Domani (Lazio) Roma DOC Rosso 2019 made from 100% Montepulciano. The soil is volcanic and tufaceous clay and the training system is spurred cordon. The wine has hints of cherry jam, plum and blackberry.

Casale della Ioria (Lazio) Cesanese del Piglio DOC Superiore  2018. Made from 100% Cesanese di Affile. The vineyards are at 400 meters, the soil is clay, sub-acid and the training system is spurred cordon. There are 4,500 plants per hectare and the average age of the vines is 16-17 years. Grapes are hand picked in October and the stalks  are removed before pressing. Maceration on the skins for 15 days. Aging is in 20hl oak casks for 6 months and in bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of currents, blueberries, morello cherries and a hint of violet.

Uvamatris (Piedmont) Sagitta Barbera del Monferrato Superiore DOCG 2018 made from 100% Barbera. The vineyard is at 230/250 meters, the exposure is south and the training system is guyot. Heaviest is at the end of September. The wine ferments only using wild yeast in stainless steel tanks with maceration lasting for two weeks. After malolactic fermentation the wine is racked into 660 gallon French oak botti for 24 months. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of cherry  and raspberry with good acidity.  Daniele said that in Monferrato Barbera has the best position in the vineyard. He also said that Barbera has more acidity than tannin which makes it a very good food wine.

IMG_6913Bocale (Umbria) Montefalco Sagrantino 2016 made from 100% Sagrantino. The vineyard is treated with natural grass regeneration techniques (land planting), using only organic and mineral fertilizers without the use of chemical products or herbicides. Fermentation is with natural yeasts and the wine is produced without microfiltration and thermal stabilization. Manual harvest takes place the second half of October. Vinification: maceration for at least 40 days with natural enzymes. Stabilization and filtration do not take place. The wine is aged in 1,000 liter French oak barrels for 24 months and in bottle for 12 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberries and currants with a touch of spice. I was very impressed with this wine.  This wine will age and Daniele said Sagrantino has the highest polyphenols and tannin of any grape.  Above is a picture of the 2015 I have at home.

Next time, another webinar with Doctor Wine.

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Lugana — the Wine of Lake Garda

It is aways a pleasure to attend a tasting and lunch at Il Gattopardo organized by Susannah Gold. This time is was Lugana wines and Susannah was the speaker. IMG_6805

Lugana comes from an area that is on the border between the two provinces of Brescia and Verona and the DOC region stretches along an area south of Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. The word Lugana may come from the early medieval word “lucus” meaning wood. In the past the area was covered by the Selva Lucana, a dense, marshy forest. Today the area is characterized by a very particular soil. The soil is white clay and limestone and difficult to till. This, however, gives the grapes here an extraordinary elegance and tanginess. 

Lugana wine can be described as being fresh with body and a good balance between sweetness and acidity. Lugana is made from the Turbiana grape, aka Trebbiano di Lugana, and may be related to Verdicchio.  There are 5 different styles of Lugana from sparkling to late harvest.  The wine sells at a good price around $20 a bottle. Lugana goes best with white meats or fish. Try it with sushi.

Lake Garda is one of my favorite Italian lakes and in summer 90% of the tourists are German.  The biggest market for Lugana is Germany.

Lugana Wines

IMG_6814We started with Sguardi di Terra Spumante Brut Lugana Metedo Classico “Inlàri” DOC NV made from 100% Turbiana. Grapes are grown organically. Hand harvested. Traditional winemaking method 15 months in the bottle on the lees. Hand harvested. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, yellow fruit and brioche.

IMG_6809First CourseCasoncelli Tradizionali di Burro e Salvia

IMG_6807Citari Lugana Sorgente 2020 made from 100% Turbiana. The soil is moraine with calcareous clay combinations and rich in mineral salts. There are 5,800 wines per hectare. Harvest from young vines takes place the last week of September. The grapes are picked manually into boxes, two rounds. Vinification is in stainless steel. The wine ages for 7 months of which 6 is on the lees.

IMG_6808La Meridiana Lugana 2020 DOC (BIO) 100% Turbiana from a 4 hectare property located in Desenzano at 80 meters. The exposure is southeast, the training system is guyot and the soil is clay. Grapes are hand- picked then a soft pressing and fermentation starts with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks on the lees for 4 months. This is a well balanced wine with hints of white flower, citrus fruit, and a touch of almond with nice minerality.

Second Course

IMG_6812Capù ripieni di Carne in salsa al pomodoro

IMG_6820Tenuta Roveglia “Limne” 2020 100% Turbiana grapes from vines 25/35 years old grown spots of Lake Garda at 100 meters. The land is flat and the soil is a mix of mainly clay with some limestone and rich in mineral salts. Harvest is at the end of September by hand in small crates. Vinification without the skins, a soft pressing of the grapes with extraction of a maximum of 60% free run juice. Maturation is in stainless steel tanks for 4 to 5 months. The wine is sold after 2 to 3 months in bottle.

IMG_6818Colli Vaibò Lugana DOC 2019 made from 100% Turbiana. The training system is single bow. The must is obtained with a slow grade pressing of the whole grapes fermented at a controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks with selected yeasts. The wine is kept on the lees for about 4 months until it is ready to be blended and put on the market after it has been in bottle for one month. The wine has pear, peach and a touch of spice and floral notes good acidity.

IMG_6817Zeni Lugana DOC Vigne Alte 2019 made from 100% Trebbiano from the southern shore of Lake Garda. Hand selection of grape bunches that have reached optimum ripeness at harvest. Maceration is on the skins followed by a gentle pressing and must fermentation at a controlled temperature. Aging is in stainless steel vats. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, peach and pear.

Third Course

IMG_6822Trota del Garda in Carpione

IMG_6821Seiterre Lugana Superior 2018 Lugana Superiore DOC made from 100% Turbiana di Lugana. The soil is clay and limestone. Grapes are harvested by hand 10 to 15 days after the usual harvesting period. Gentle pressing follows and fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine is then aged in barrel or barriques.  It has hints of citrus fruit, ripe apple and a touch of spice and a note of minerality.

IMG_6819Zenato Riserva 2016 made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana from the oldest vineyards, the 13 hectare Podere Masson vineyard at 165 ft with a southeastern/southern exposure. The soil is clay-loam, and the training system is guyot. There are 1,440 plants per hectare planted in 1994. Fermentation takes place in barrels for 21 days. Malolactic fermentation does take place. The wine is aged in 54 HL barrels of French oak one year old for 8 months. The wine is in bottle for 12 months before release. Residual sugar 6.4 g/l. The wine has floral notes, with hints of stone fruit, a touch of vanilla and a drop of honey.

IMG_6825Tenuta Roveglia Lugana late harvest  DOC Filo di Arianna (Ariadne’s thread) 2017 made from 100% Turbiana from vineyard south of Lake Garda at 100 Meters. The terrain is flat with clayey calcareous soil rich in mineral salts. The age of the vines is over 55 years. Harvest is the second week of November,  a late harvest by hand in small crates. The wine is soft pressed with a maximum extraction of 50% of free run must. The wine is aged in 30 hl barrels. In January/February of the third year following the harvest the wine is marketed after about 6 months in bottle. Dry extract is 39g/l. The wine has hints of exotic fruit, pineapple, toasted almonds and minerality.

IMG_6824Cobue 31 October 2019 made from 100% Turbiana coming from vineyard Campo Lugana, the vines are 8 years old. The soil is calcareous and clayey and the training system is guyot. There are 4,500 grapes per hectare. Fermentation is in steel tanks. 70% of the wine is in steel for 12 months and 30% in barriques for 9 months and one year in bottle before release. This is a pure late harvest dessert wine, made from grapes picked when overripe on October 31st.  It is produced only in years when it is possible. Residual sugar is 68 g/l.


IMG_6823La Torta del Paradiso

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