Category Archives: Abbazia di Rosazzo

In Puglia with Radici del Sud 2016

The first time I went to Puglia was in 1983. I have gone back a number of times because of the wine, food and the unique culture. For ten years I was the sommelier/wine director of I Trulli restaurant in NYC. Trulli are the traditional cone shaped houses in Puglia, so I really got to know the wine and the food and have always enjoyed it.IMG_0708

A few months ago, Nicola Campanile, organizer of Radici del Sud 2016 in Puglia, invited me to attend the weeklong wine tasting and judging of the wines of Southern Italy.

When we arrived at the hotel, the other attendees and I, from 13 different countries, were divided into two groups: buyers and press. The buyers stayed in the hotel and tasted wine while the press spent two days and nights on the road.

Our guide and translator was Ole Udsen. The way he was greeted by the producers and others that we met showed the high regard in which he was held, so I gave him the name “Mr. Puglia.” His knowledge of the wines and the region in general, was of the highest level.IMG_0616

One of our first stops was tasting wine with the Association Nationale Le Donna Del Vino Delegazione Puglia.IMG_0617

The president of the organization is Marianna Cardone. The Women in Wine organized a tasting of 17 producers.

Marianna Cardone

Marianna Cardone

Each producer showed one wine. The format reminded me of musical chairs: I sat with a producer, tasted the wine and we talked. Then came an announcement to change places. This was done 17 times. It was very informative and enabled me to learn a lot in a short time.

Flora Saponari with the Sumaniello Rosato

Flora Saponari with the Sumaniello Rosato

There was even a type of wine I had never tasted before, the Tre Tomoli Rosa 2015 from Vignaflora, a Rosato made from the Susmaniello grape.

We also visited several wineries.IMG_0639

At the Paololeo Winery another organization DeGusto Salento: Association Del Negoamaro presented a tasting of 6 wines:

Negroamaro IGT Salento 2014 “Lago della Pergola” Vetrere

Negroamaro IGP Puglia 2013 “Taccorosso” Paolo Leo

Salice Salentino DOC Riserva 2013”Aiace” Castello Monaci

Negroamaro Salento IGP 2012 CalitroIMG_0637

Brindisi Rosso Riserva DOC 2012 “Jaddico” Tenute RubinoIMG_0638

Brindisi DOP Riserva 2011 “Vigna Flaminio” Vallone

 At the Apollonio winery we tasted 6 wines:

Negroamaro Rosato 2015 Salento IGP Santi DimitriIMG_0645

IGT Salento Rosato 2015 “Rohesia” CanteleIMG_0646

Negroamaro IGT Salento 2013 Conti ZeccaIMG_0647

Salento IGT 2013 “Mjere” Michele Caló

Salento IGT 2011 “Cento su Cento Castel di Salve

Copertino Riserva DOP 2011 “Divoto” Apollonio


At the Garofano winery, the tasting was held outside.IMG_0652

It was so windy that they could not open the umbrellas, so we tasted in the sun as you can see from the pictures. There were 6 wines:

Copertino DOP Rosato 2015 Marulli

Salento IGT 2015 “DuodecimRomando GrecoIMG_0656

Salento Rosato IGT 2013 Vigna Mazzi Rosa Del Golfo

Nardò DOC 2014 “Danza della Contessa” Bonsegna Salento IGP 2007 “Le Braci” Garofano

Salento IGT 2006 Piromafo” Valle dell’Asso

 Wine made from the Negroamaro grape can be 100% Negroamaro or blended with other grapes as in the case of Copertino, Salice Salentino and Brindisi Rosso, or made into a rose or a white wine. I became very fond of the Negroamaro in all its forms on this trip.

We visited the town of Gallipoli on the southern tip of Puglia by the sea.IMG_0663

At Cantina Coppola 1489 we tasted white wines made from the Negroamaro grape from 2015 back to 2009.IMG_0667

Negroamaro Bianco Puglia IGT “Rocci” 100% Negroamaro. The production area is the Santo Stefano Vineyard Alezio. The soil is clayish and the training system is espalier. The harvest takes place by hand the last week of August. The wine is vinified and aged in stainless steel. I have very little experience with Negroamaro vinified as a white wine but I was very pleased with the wines I tasted,

The 2012 was the only vintage that had been aged in barriques for about six months. The wines have a simple elegance, fruitiness with good minerality and a touch of the sea. The only wine that did not have these aromas and flavors, reflecting the land and the sea was the 2012.


Paolo Benegiamo with the Alberelli 1947

At a tasting in the Castle in Gallipoli, we played musical chairs again but here there was enough time to speak to the producer and they had more than one wine. One of the best wines I tasted made from 100% Negroamaro was the Vecchie Vigna Alberelli 1947 from L’Astore Masseria presented by the owner Paolo Benegiamo. It is a wine which makes one stop and take notice.

Giuseppe Fiorita

Giuseppe Fiorita with the Copertino Rosso

Copertino Rosso DOC Riserva 2008, Cupertinum-Antica Cantina Del Salento 1935. I sold this wine at I Trulli and always liked it. It is a great value for the price and was later picked as one of the top wines by the press.

Next time a Ciro tasting, a Fiano Minutolo tasting, the blind tasting completion and the winners.



Filed under Cantina Coppola 1489, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Le Donne del Vino Delegazione Puglia, Negoramaro, Negroamaro Bianco Puglia IGT Rocci, Radici del Sud 2016, Rose

Pairing Gnocchi with Three Wines from The Alto Adige

Gnocchi ricotta with tomato-butter sauce

A few weeks ago Michele made ricotta gnocchi with tomato-butter sauce from her new book “The Italian Vegetable Cookbook” for a dinner with friends. One of the guests said that she had tried making potato gnocchi but they never turned out right. Michele said that ricotta gnocchi were very easy to make and she would be happy to show her. Last Saturday, our friends returned and brought prosciutto and melon for an antipasto and three bottles of wine from the Alto Adige to see which one matched best with the gnocchi.IMG_5206

Michele and I used to do wine and food pairing classes and we found that one of the following scenarios was typical:

-The wine and the food may be good on their own but in combination they do not work and leave a bad taste in your mouth.

-The next is when the wine and food do not combine but each keeps its own individual character.

-The last is when the wine and food combine to give you the perfect combination.IMG_5204

Südtirol Eisacktaler Kerner 100% Kerner. Abbazia Di Novacella. The vineyards are 600-700meters, the soil is gravelly morainal deposits and the exposure is south-southwest. The training system is guyot, there are 6,000 to 7,000 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at 20°C. Only natural yeast is used and the wine remains in stainless steel tanks for 6 months before it is bottled. This is an aromatic wine with hints of apple and peach, ripe and full with crisp acidity.

We drank this wine with the prosciutto and melon, and it was a perfect combination. Later, we tried the Kerner with the gnocchi. It was good, but the flavors did not marry. The tastes remained separate.IMG_5205

Alto Adige Sauvignon Sanct Valentin 2012 100% Sauvignon Blanc St. Michael-Eppan. The grapes come from different vineyards in Appiano Monte all at 400 to 600 meters and the vines are 10 to 18 years old. There is long maceration at low temperatures in steel tanks and then 12% of the wine is aged and refined in big and small oak casks. This is sauvignon blanc from Italy with all the characteristics of the best is sauvignon blanc with a hint of figs and light spice. This is one of Michele’s favorite producers of white wine and I have to agree with her.

The Sauvignon blanc overwhelmed the gnocchi so that there were two different tastes but mostly Sauvignon blancIMG_5202

Hexenbichler Schiava Alto Adige DOC 2012 100% Schiava Tramin The grapes come from the 6 acre Hexenbichler vineyard. The soil is clay-loam and pebbles, the training system is Pergola, the elevation is 990 to 1,320 feet and there is an eastern exposure. Harvest takes place in September. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for 10 days and aging takes place for 6 months in 50 to 100 HL steel tank. Length of time before bottling is 6 months and 2 months in bottle before release.IMG_5209

This is a light red wine with fresh fruit flavors and a nice finish finish and aftertaste. It was the perfect combination with the gnocchi, the light fruitiness of the blended perfectly with the delicate ricotta gnocchi and the tomato and butter sauce.



Filed under Abbazia di Rosazzo, Alto Adige, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Kerner, Sanct Valentin, Sauvignon Blanc, Schiava, St. Michele-Eppan, Tramin winery

Tasting the Wines of Livio Felluga at Eataly in NYC

On our first visit to Friuli-Venezia- Giulia, Michele and I had the good fortune to stay at the Livio Felluga winery.  We stayed in beautiful guesthouse in the middle of the vineyard. Every morning, a woman would arrive to make breakfast. Michele mentioned that she liked fresh fruit and from then on there was fresh fruit. The members of the Felluga family could not have been nicer.  They helped us to plan an itinerary and wherever we went to dine, one or another of the members of the family would show up to see if we were all right. They did not get many visitors from America in those days.

The highlight of the visit was meeting Livio Felluga who was 79 at the time. He invited us to take a tour of the vineyards in his car, which I believe was a Jeep.   Michele sat in the front and I sat in the back.  As I recall, he never went under 80 miles an hour as we travelled over hills and along dirt tracks. Whenever we hit a bump, I felt as if I was flying through the vineyards!  All the time he was driving Livio talked about the vineyards and his wine.  It was the most exciting vineyard tour I was ever on! Today Livio is close to 100 years old.

Andrea Felluga

Over the years I have been a big fan of the wines of Livio Felluga and so, when I heard that his son Andrea Felluga was doing a tasting of their wines at Eataly, I just had to go.

Andrea began by speaking about the history of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and of his family.  Andrea said that his  father was born in 1914 when the area was part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. He explained how the shifting borders after WWI and WWII caused many problems. His family lost everything after WWII but Livio was able to remain on the Italian side of the border and start his winery.

The Wines of Livio Felluga

Pinot Grigio DOC 2010 100% Pinot Grigio.  Very ripe grapes are hand picked and destemmed and left to macerate for a short period before being soft crushed. After settling the must ferments in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. 30% to 40% of the wine undergoes malolatic fermentation and it remains on the lees for 4 months. Andrea said the wines had aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, honey, and white peach with a nice mineral note on the finish. $25

Friulano DOC 2010 100% Friulano (formerly known as Tocai)  This wine is made in the same way as the Pinot Grigio, though the Pinot Grigio grapes are picked about 10 days before the Friulano. This wine had a grassy note to it with flavors and aromas of apple and citrus, good acidity and a touch of almond in the finish.$28

Both of these wines have the now famous “Map Label.”  Andrea said that when they first produced wine Friuli-Venezia-Giulia was not a region that was well know and his father put the map of the area on the bottle so every one would know where the wine came from.

Abbazia Di Rosazzo  Colli Orientali  del Friuli DOC 2009 Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon, Malvasia,Friulano and Ribolla Gialla the grapes for this wine come from the vineyards of the Abbazia Di Rosazzo. The grapes are destemmed and left to cold macerate before they are soft crushed. Then the must is cleared by allowing it to settle.  Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with yeasts selected in Friuli. After 3 days, the wine is racked into oak casks where alcoholic and malolatic fermentation is completed. The wine is then aged in 5hl oak casks. This is a big, complex wine with rich fruit aromas and flavors and a slightly bitter finish.

Terre Altre DOC  Collis Orientali del Friuli DOCG 2009 Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon.   After destemming, the grapes are macerated for a short time. The grapes are soft crushed and then the must rests. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 10 months. The Friulano is fermented and aged in small French oak casks. After 10 months, the wines are blended and the bottled wine rests in binning cellars for about 9 months.  I have been drinking this wine since the 1980’s. This is an elegant and complex wine. Andrea described it as “captivating”.   I think it is a seductive wine. It is without a doubt one of the best white wines made in Italy. $65

Vertigo Venezia Gulia IGT 2009 made from 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are carefully destemmed and then crushed. Fermentation is carried out with maceration on the skins at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The juice is pumped over frequently for about four weeks, to extract color and aroma from the skins. The wine is aged for 12 months is stainless steel and small French oak barrels. Andrea said they were not new. After bottling the wine rests for at least 4 months before release. This is an intense, fruit forward wine with aromas and flavors of black cherry and spice. $60

Sossó  Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC 2006 made from Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Merlot and Pignolo. The grapes are destemmed and crushed. Fermentation is carried out with maceration on the skins at controlled temperatures in stainless steel. The juice is pumped over frequently for about three weeks. The wines are blended and racked into barriques–1/3 new– where they mature for 18 months. After bottling, the wine rests for a minimum of 12 months before release. This was the most international in style of the wines that we tasted. It is a big complex wine with aromas and flavors of cherry and ripe plums and hints of vanilla and oak. $65


Filed under Abbazia di Rosazzo, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Livio Felluga, Terre Altre