Monthly Archives: October 2022

Sip like the “Cool Kids”: What’s Trending in Italy

Last month I attended the Kobrand Tour d’ Italia held at the University Club in NYC.

IMG_8524There were three seminars followed by a Grand Tasting. I attended all three seminars and was intrigued by their titles. The first was Wine and Truffles which I wrote about a few weeks ago and the second had this interesting write up:

Seminar 2: Sip like the “Cool Kids”:  What’s trending in Italy- 12:40pm to 1:10pm

What are the vino cognoscenti drinking in Italy these days? Fashion hits Europe first, so it goes to follow that Italy’s wine trends are no different. Be the first among your wine group who’s in the know with a tasting of wines from around the boot. You’ll enjoy Super-Sardinians hailing from Italy’s isle in the sun, refreshing bubbles straight from the food mecca of Emilia-Romagna, prized labels from Italy’s green heart of Umbria, and more. Your taste buds will be alla moda with these trending wines!

   IMG_8088Wineries to be featured are Agricola Punica, Salviano, Villa Matilde, Medici Ermete, Tenuta di Salviano. The panel:  Salvatore Santus, Agricola Punica, Salvatore Avallone, owner Villa Matilda, Eleonora Spadolini, Project Manager for Tenuta di Salviano and Alessandro Medici, owner, Medici Ermete.

The following are the wines we tasted.

IMG_8089IGT Isola dei Nuraghi Bunica 2018 Agricola Punica made from 85 % Carignano, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. The soil is of medium texture, clay like, sandy and calcareous.  The training system is spurred cordon. Manual harvest begins in early September and ends in the first half of October. Whole bunches are destemmed and crushed. The must ferments with the skins at a controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks for 15 days. Pumping over takes place as does malolactic fermentation.The wine is aged in French oak barriques of medium toast, 50% new and 50% one year old, for 18 months. Bottled without filtration or clarification and released after 6 months in bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of black cherry, spice, licorice  myrtle and a note of vanilla. The winery was represented by Salvatore Santus. Salvatore said the winery was founded in 2002 by an all-star team of winemakers and consultants including the legendary Giacomo Tachis.  This wine was made based on the “Super Tuscan model” but produced in Sardinia.

IMG_8090Greco di Tufo 2021 Villa Matilde Made from 100% Greco. From vineyards at the Tenute di Altavilla state in Campania about an hour drive north of Naples. The soil is tuffaceous and marly clay. The vineyard is at 400/500 meters. There are 2,500 to 3,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. Vines are 35 to 59 years old. Harvest is in late October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel with selected yeasts. The grapes are gently pressed and fermented off the skins. The wine ages for 4 months in stainless steel.  This is a complex wine with hints of apricots, white peaches, citrus and almonds with nice minerality. I have visited the winery a few times and have always been warmly welcomed by the owners Salvatore Avallone and his sister Maria Ida. I have been drinking and enjoying their wines for many years. At this seminar, Salvatore represented the winery. He said this is a family owned winery founded by his father Francesco Paolo in the 1960’s a lawyer with a passion for ancient wines.

IMG_8091Grechetto 2021 Tenuta di  SalvianoCastello di Titignano produced from Ghechetto di Todi grapes from vineyards surrounding the medieval village of Todi in Umbria. The vineyards are between 20 to 25 years old and are at 400 meters. Exposure is southwest and the soil is of organic origin, tuffaceous with fine gravel. Training system is counter-espalier, with guyot pruning.
Harvest is manual and the ripening period is during the second part of September. Grechetto di Todi is one of the last white varieties on the property to be harvested. Upon arrival in the cellar, the grapes are de-stemmed and undergo a soft pressing. The must ferments in steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 18 degrees Celsius.  Aging on the lees follows until the following March to enrich its organoleptic characteristics. Before bottling, the wine is filtered with potassium caseinate-based cartridges. Finally, the wine is left in the bottle for at least four months before being marketed. The wine has hints of apple, pear, floral notes a touch of spice and almonds. Eleonora said this historic estate is owned by the Incisa della Rocchetta family, the producers of Sassicaia.

IMG_8092Reggiano Lambrusco Concetto 2021 Medici Ermete. This red wine is dry and lightly sparkling and fermented naturally. Made from 100% Lambrusco Salamino.  The training system is cordon speronato and the soil is clayey.  It has hints of red fruit, strawberry, raspberry and cherry.  The wine is dry and fruity with a clean finish and pleasing aftertaste. Alessando said Concerto is the world’s first single vineyard vintage Lambrusco and the wine is certified organic It should be is served lightly chilled. This is a family owned and operates winery and Alessandro  who represented the winery is the fifth generation. I was in Bologna two weeks ago and drank this Lambrusco whenever I saw it on a wine list. It was an excellent combination with the food.

“Sip Like the Cool Kids”:  What’s Trending in Italy, was the title of this presentation.  So now you know!

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Filed under Grecchetto Salviano, Greco, Kobrand, Lambrusco

A Home Cooked Lunch in Florence

Twenty-two years ago, a young man, Ciro Beligni, came from Florence to work with me at I Trulli Restaurant and Enoteca where I was the wine director.  His goals were to improve his English and learn about wine and we became friends.  Ciro was a quick learner and after 3 months he returned to Florence to work at  Le Volpi e L’Uva, his uncle’s wine bar.

IMG_8336 2We have kept in touch and now Ciro is the owner of Le Volpi e l’Uva which I always make a point of visiting when I am in Florence.  When I was there recently, Ciro invited me and Michele to have dinner with him and his family at his parents’ home.  He had told me that his mother was a great cook and promised to open some special bottles of wine for me, so I was really looking forward to it. Michele and I know what an honor it is to be invited into someone’s home in Italy and the warm greeting we received from Ciro’s mother and father made us feel very welcome.

IMG_8372We started with salumi.  Finocchiona, made from coarsely ground pork flavored with fennel seeds, is typically Tuscan.  There was also a local version of capicola, made from the neck and shoulder of pork.

IMG_0934Next we had lardo, flavored with lemon zest.


There was also hand-sliced prociutto with chunks of well-aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

IMG_8376Olive oil flavored with wild fennel was a delicious complement to focaccia.

IMG_8377Ciro’s mom, Bianca, made crostini topped with chicken liver pate.  It was flavored with vin santo and capers and was the best version of this typical Tuscan starter that I have ever tasted.

IMG_8381Malvasia secca “Infatuate” Salina 2021 Caravaglio made from 30 year old Malvasia di Lipari vines from the Infatata vineyard on a 2.5 acre north facing vineyard on Salina and is rich in volcanic soils. Fermentation takes place with local yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The wine remains on the lees for 3 months. This wine has hints of white peach, Meyer lemon, mandarin orange and a touch of herbs in the finish. Ciro always manages to surprise me with wines I have never had before.  This one went very well with the appetizers.

IMG_8397To go with the pasta, Ciro chose Duo Etna Rosso MeCori  made from 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccino grapes from 80 year old vines grown on the north side at 700 meter in Contrada Muganazzi, Solicchiata. Alberello training method. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in stainless steel with selected yeast. There is a long maceration. The wine remains for ten months in stainless steel and 8 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of roses and violets, red fruit, cherry, rasperries and a touch of spice.

IMG_8382Cheese for the pasta

IMG_8384The pasta was Pici, thick handmade spaghetti from the area around Siena, served with Bianca’s homemade beef and pork ragu and topped with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

 IMG_8408Vino Rosso “Pio Decimo” Tenuta Guardasole made from mostly Nebbiolo with the remaining balance of Vespolina. The winery is located in the Boca DOC area of Alto Piemonte.  Produced exclusively from estate grapes.  This is a small family run winery of only 2 hectares. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks. There is a maceration of about 10 days before a 12 day refinement. The wine has hints of black cherry, leather, licorice and a note of spice. It is certified organic.

IMG_8387 2Ciro presenting a spectacular platter of roasted meats for our main course.

IMG_8389Kale with toasted pine nuts.

IMG_8391Cabbage salad.

IMG_8385There was duck, pork, chicken and pigeon, and roasted potatoes all seasoned with Bianca’s special seasoning blend of fennel, rosemary, sage and garlic.

IMG_8409Chianti Classico 2007 Poggerino (Radda in Chianti) made from 100% Sangiovese. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is bilateral cordon guyot. Manual harvest takes place from the last week of September through the first 10 days of October. Th vineyards were planted in 1994 and 2004. There is a careful selection of the grapes and then they are destemmed and crushed. Fermentation takes place with selected yeasts. Vinification and maceration takes place in concrete tanks for about 35 days with pumpers and manual punchdowns. In December the wine is racked into 20/25 hl of Slavonian oak and tonneau of 4/5hl of French oak where malolactic fermentation takes place. The wines ages for 12 months and is assembled and bottled the following spring.  It is aged for 8 months before release.

IMG_8406Brunello di Montalcino 2015 Riserva Pietroso made from 100% Sangiovese from a  single vineyard selection plot “Fornello” facing east at 1,260 ft. The soil is pure galestro-mineral rich compact clay. The grapes are hand harvested. Fermentation with indigenous yeast in wooden tanks (tine). Aging is in old French oak tonneaux for 6 months, then 30HL Slavonian oak casks (botti) for at least 24 months and in bottle of 18 months before release. The wine is unfiltered.  This is a full bodied wine with hints of red berries, blackberries, blueberries, a touch of spice and a note of licorice with a very long finish.

IMG_8400Dessert included fresh green figs, buttery nut cookies studded with pistachios and almonds, and my favorite, schiacciata al’uva, focaccia baked with wine grapes, a Tuscan specialty this time of year.

IMG_8411 2It was a meal to remember and my sincere thanks to our hosts, Miro and Bianca and their son, my friend Ciro.


Filed under Ciro Beligni

Kobrand Tour d’Italia–Wine & Truffles

The “Kobrand Tour d’Italia” was held last month at The University Club in NYC. There were 3 seminars followed by a walkaround tasting of their Italian portfolio. I attended all 3 seminars because their descriptions made them sound so appealing.  In this blog, I will cover the first of the three seminars.  Look for my report on the other second and third sessions in future blogs.

IMG_8222Seminar 1: Wines to pair with your Truffles

Truffles and wine are a wonderful duo, but how do you know which wines pair well with truffles? Join us for an interactive, educational, and (most important) delicious seminar about Italian wine and truffle, hosted by the renowned Tartuflanghe Truffle company and Italian Wine.  Wineries  featured : Michele Chiarlo, Tenute Silvio Nardi, and Pighin & Figli.

What made this session even more interesting to me was there would be representatives, and in most cases the owner, from each winery.

IMG_8080The speakers were Robert Pighin, owner of Pighin&Figli, Alberto Chiaro, Massimo Galvano Kobrand Italian wine specialist was the moderator , Emilia Nardi, Owner Tenuta Silvio Nardi and Barbara Bossini from TartufLanghe.

IMG_8083Pinot Grigio Collio DOC 2021 Fernando Pighin & Figli.(Friuli-Venezia-Giulia) Made from 100% Pinot Grigio  The soil in Pighin’s extensive western vineyards with its meager chalky stone and gravel soils is ideal for the cultivation of white gapes using the guyot training system. The grapes are handpicked and pressed in a pneumatic press. Vinification is in temperature controlled stainless steel vats for 20 days at  temperatures of 18C and 20C. Aging takes place in stainless steel tanks at a constant temperature of 12C. The wine undergoes cold stabilization before bottling. The wine has hints of acacia blossoms, citrus fruit and a note of pineapple. In 1963 the brothers Ercole and Fernando Pighin brought  a 200 hectare estate in Friuli Grave area owned by a noble family of Friuli. In 2004 Fernando Pighin, along with his wife and children, bought the entire  property. 

IMG_8081Brunello di Montalcino Cru “Poggio al Doria” 2016 Tenuta Silvio Nardi (Tuscany) made from 100% Sangiovese from the Poggio Doria vineyard located on the northwest side of Montalcino with a south west, north west exposure at 260 meters. Soil composition is jasper, sand and clay. There are 5,200 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred  cordon. Harvest is manual in the second week of October. Fermentation and maceration is for at least 26 days at a controlled temperature (30C). Maturation is for 18 months in new and used French Allier tonneau. This is followed by 12 months in large Slavonian oak barrels. The wine is aged for it least 24 months. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of red berries, cherry, black plum, vanilla and a note of graphite and touch of dry herbs. The wine will unfold and develop over time. The winery was founded by Silvio Nardi. His roots in Montalcino go back to the 1950’s. Today his youngest daughter Emilia Nardi has taken over the management of the winery.

IMG_8082Barolo Tortoniano 2017  Michele Chiarlo (Piedmont)  Made from 100% Nebbiolo. The soil is calcareous marl clay of marine origin from the Tortomian period ( 9 million years ago, 12% active limestone and a basic Ph. There is a significant presence of micro elements specifically magnesium and manganese. Vineyard exposure is south-east, south-west. The training system is guyot. Manual harvest is preceded by a summer thinning to eliminate the excess bunches of grapes. Vinification is in steel tanks. Maceration takes place with the skins for 17/18 days with a soft shower system of wetting the cap at a temperature between 32 degrees C and 27C. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel. This is a complex and elegant wine with hints of rose petals, juniper berries, spice, a touch of cherry and a note of violets. 

Alberto Chiarlo said this is a Barolo that can age but is approachable now and would make a great addition to any restaurant wine list. The Michael Chiarlo winery only uses native grapes and only uses big barrels for aging their wine. Michele Chiarlo has been making wine in Piedmont since 1956 and I have been drinking and enjoying his wines for over 40 years.  

Truffle Products from Tartuflange

The truffles came from  Tartuflange a company based in Alba, Piedmont.  In 1968 Beppe Montanaro opened Da Bepe, a restaurant specializing in truffles and mushrooms. In 1975, together with his wife Domenica, he started Tartuflange. Today they cultivate more than 20 hectares of truffle grounds and ship fresh truffles all over the  world. Their products include truffle pasta, truffle chips, truffle oil and many others. I tasted three of their products with the wine.


p(Palatine con TarTruffle Chips–Patatine con Tartufo — A great snack with wine IMG_8216

Trifulòt – Tartufo dolce — Creamy dark chocolate blended with flavorful Piedmont hazelnuts would be a great way to end a meal.

IMG_8221Truffle Bite – Snack Al Tartufo — Crisp little pastry batons flavored with truffles would be a perfect snack or serve them with an assortment of salume or cheese for an easy appetizer with a glass of wine.

In enjoyed the opportunity to sample these wines with the truffle products and listen to the winery representatives as they introduced their winend Truffle Bite (Snack A). 

For more information contact Barbara Bosini, Marketing and Business Development manger for the US TartufLanghe Truffles


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