Category Archives: Aglianico

Six Wines

Listed below are 6 wines  I had with lunch or dinner and I have not had a chance to mention in other blogs.

Champagne Grand Siecle “Alexandra” Rose 1997 Laurent-Perrier. Made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. This Champagne is made in extremely limited quantities and only in the best vintage years. The 1997 was only the fourth bottling of this Champagne. It has all of the characteristics of a great Rose Champagne but it was also so subtle.

Chianti Rufina Riserva 2010 “Vigneto Bucerchiale Fattoria Selvapiana made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is 12.50 hectares, at 200 meters, the soil is of medium density clay, dry and stony, well drained. There are 5,200 vines per hectare and the exposure is south/southwest. Vines were planted in 1968 and 1992 and the training system is spur cordon. Hand harvested the first week of October. Fermentation is in stainless steel with all natural yeasts. Fermentation and maceration is for 25 days. The wine is aged in 225 hl French casks. This is a wine with hints of cherry, violets and plums with a touch of tobacco.

Chambolle Musigny 1978 Domaine Robert Groffier made from 100% Pinot Noir. Burgundy at its best.

Aglianico del Taburno Riserva Vigna Cataratte 2009 DOCG Fontanavecchia The grapes are selected and hand harvested. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 20 days. The wine is aged for 14 months in barriques and aged for 34 more months before release. This is a bold wine with hints of cherry, spice, chocolate and a touch of licorice.

The Emidio Pepe winery is Organic and Bio Dynamic . The training system is cordon spur and tendone. Only natural yeasts are used. The grapes are crushed by  hand. No sulfites are added to the wine. The juice is placed in glass lined cement tanks of 20/25 hl for two years. Since this is natural wine, malolactic fermentation may take place in the tank or in the bottle. The bottles are corked by hand.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1983 Emidio Pepe This bottle was showing its age but was still very drinkable.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1985 Emidio Pepe this bottle was showing very well with deep red fruit aromas and flavors, hints of cherry, spice and leather- it is a great wine. I have had the 1983 before and it too is a great wine. As someone once said “ the are no great wines, only great bottles of wine”

 

 

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Filed under Aglianico, Burgundy, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Chianti Rufina, Emidio Pepe, Laurent- Perrier- Grand Siècle, Selvapiana

The Wines of DonnaChiara & Alois at a One Star Michelin Restaurant

Ilaria Petitto and Francesco de Rienzo (DonnaChiara Winery) and Massimo Alois and Talita de Rosa (Michele Alois Winery) invited Michele and I and a friend to have lunch with them. Last year when Michele and I visited the Alois winery we had a fantastic lunch prepared by Talita de Rosa, which I wrote about in a blog.

This year they decided to take us to Vairo del Volturno, a restaurant with one Michelin star since 2007.  It is located at Via  IV  Novembre 60, Vairano  Patenora, Caserta. 

The chef,  Renato Martino, made a special lunch for us based on the local ingredients from around the Caserta area.  With it, we drank the wines from DonnaChiara and Michele Alois Wineries.

DonnaChiara wines

The winery is located in Montefalcione in the Irpinia area near Avellino

Greco di Tufo DOCG 2017, 100% Greco.  The soil is tufaceous, training system is guyot, there are 3,300 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place the second half of October. A soft pressing of selected grapes takes place and then a cold decanting of the must. Fermentation is at 57 to 60F. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is an elegant wine with good structure with hints of pear, apricot, citrus and a touch of pineapple. This is a wine that can age for 15 years or more. It is one of my favorites.

 

To go with the wines, the chef prepared a series of small seafood dishes, including assorted marinated crudi, and bufala mozzarella topped with anchovy.  Though I have always enjoyed these wines with traditional Neapolitan food, with these combinations, the chef showed how well they can go with contemporary dishes.


Campania Aglianico IGT 2016 made from 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay, the training system is guyot and the harvest takes place in the first half of November. Malolatic fermentation takes place in barriques for 3 months. Ilaria said this is a fresh and pleasant wine due to a small number of  “follature” (pumping over) and to a short period of maceration on the skins. It is a wine that is elegant, warm and perfect with many different foods. The wine is fruity with hints of blackberries, strawberries and a touch of toast.

There was pasta of course, large tortelloni filled with local pork.

Taurasi DOCG 100% Aglianico 2016 The soil is clay and the training system is guyot. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and harvest takes place the first week of November. The wine is aged for 12 months in 225 liter French barriques and remains in the bottle for another 24 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and a touch of cacao. The use of barrique was subtle and did not mask the character of the wine.

Taurasi Riserva 2013 DOCG made from 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay, training system is guyot and the harvest takes place the first half of November. This one is produced only in the best vintages. There is manual grape picking, a careful cluster selection followed by a soft pressing of the grapes. Maturation is on the skins for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques. This is a full intense wine with hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and coffee notes. It is on its way to becoming a great wine with a little more bottle age.

Michele Alois wines The winery is located at the foot of the Caiatini Mountains in the province of Caserta.

Pallagrello Bianco “Caiati” 2013 100% Pallagrello Bianco from a 2.13-hectare vineyard at 280 meters, soil is volcanic with minerals. The training system is guyot, there are 4,800 plants per hectare and the harvest is in the middle of September. Fermentation takes place on the lees for 30 days. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for 4 months before release. It has hints of almonds, citrus fruit, melon and grapefruit with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste.

Pallagrello Nero “Cunto” Terre del Volturno IGT 2015 100% Pallagrello Nero. The vineyard is 1.46 hectares, the soil is volcanic with minerals, guyot training system and there are 5,200 plants per hectare. The harvest takes place the first weeks of October. Vinification in stainless steel with cold maceration on the lees and malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel. The wine is aged in used French barriques for 12 months and an additional 6 months in barrel before release. This wine has hints of berries, especially blackberries and cherries and a long finish.

The lamb was a local variety prepared two ways roasted and grilled, and topped with hazelnuts.

Casavecchia “Trebulanum” Terre del Volturno IGT 2015 100% Casavecchia from a 1.5-hectare vineyard at 180 meters. The soil is volcanic with minerals, training system is guyot and there are 5,200 plants per hectare. Harvest is in the first weeks of October. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks with maceration on the skins for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation in large barrels (botti) for 18 months and it is in botti for 12 and 6 months in bottle before release. This is a big wine with hints of licorice, tar and smoke, a very long finish and a pleasing aftertaste.

After lunch we went to the Alois winery where we tasted barrel samples of the Pallagrello Bianco and Nero and the Casavecchia with Massimo Alois

We ended this most perfect afternoon at the winery with a wonderful version of Baba, a yeast raised pastry filled with pastry cream and soaked in rum syrup, which Illaria had brought from a bakery in Avellino.

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Filed under Aglianico, Alois Winery, Cassavecchia, Donna Chiara Winery, Greco di Tufo, Pallagrello, Pallagrello Bianco, Pallagrello Nero, Taurasi, Vario del Volturo

With Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara Winery at Il Gattopardo NYC

I have known Illaria Petitto, Managing Director of the Donnachiara Winery for some time and have tasted the wines in NYC many times. I also have visited the winery in Campania a few times. It is always a treat to taste these wines and when the host restaurant is Il Gattppardo the combination could not be better. This is a event I could not miss.

Ilarai Petitto

Ilaria spoke about the winery. She said the winery is located in Montefalcione in the Irpinia area near Avellino. The modern winery was completed in 2005 but the vineyards have been in the family for over 150 years. The consulting oenologist at this time is the legendary Riccardo Cotarella. It is the philosophy of the winery to preserve the traditional grape varieties of the  local territory and to keep the typical character of the wines from  being  lost to the standardization of the wines on the market today. They also follow “Misura CE n.1257/99 – “Produzione , integrata della Regione Campania” limiting the use of some active ingredients that are harmful to the environment.

The White Wines

 Benevento Falanghina IGT “Resilienza” 2016 100% Falanghina. The soil is clay, the training system is guyot and the harvest is the first half of October. Only the best grapes are selected, harvest is manual and takes place during the coolest hours of the day. There are 2,500 vines per hectare and the grapes were picked at the height of maturity. Illara said cryomaceration is at 42-46 degrees F in order to preserve the aromas, prevent oxidation and enhance the typical characteristics of the varieties. Soft pressing fermentation is at 57-60 °F in stainless steel tanks for about 15 days. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine remains in the bottle for many months before release. This a a wonderful food wine with good fruit, citrus aromas and flavors, and notes of pear and apricot. It has good acidity and a lasting finish.

Ed Mc Carthy co- author of the Wine for Dummies books said that it was the best Falanghina he had ever tasted.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2017 100% Fiano. The soil is chalky clay and there are 4,400 plants per hectare.  The vines are guyot trained and the harvest is the second half of October. There is a soft pressing of the grapes that are quickly cooled to 50F for 4 to 6 hours. Fermentation is at 57 to 60F in steel tanks for 15 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is a delicate and elegant wine with hints of almonds, floral notes and citrus fruit. It is a real pleasure to drink.

This grape was brought to Campania by ancient Greeks. The Romans called it vitis apiana – the Latin root for bees is apiana. Even today bees are attracted to the Fiano grape and Ilaria said you can see the honey bees in the vineyards in Montefalcione.

Greco di Tufo DOCG 2017 100% Greco The soil is tufaceous, training system is guyot, there are 3,300 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place the second half of October. A soft pressing of selected grapes takes place and after that a cold decanting of the must. Fermentation is at 57 to 60F. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is an elegant wine with good structure with hints of pear, apricot, citrus and a touch of pineapple. Like the Fiano, this is a wine that can age for 15 years or more. It is one of my favorites. Both the Fiano and the Greco are wines that can age.

With the white wine we had: Cavatelli di grano saraceno ai frutti di mare.

The Red Wines

Campania Aglianico IGT 2016 made from 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay, the training system is guyot and the harvest takes place in the first half of November. Malolatic fermentation takes place in barriques for 3 months. Ilaria said this is a fresh and pleasant wine due to a small number of “follature” and to a short period of maceration on the skins it is possible to produce a wine that is elegant, warm and perfect with many different foods. The wine is fruity with hints of blackberries, strawberries and a touch of toast.

Irpinia Agianico DOC 2015 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay, the training system is guyot and the harvest takes place the first two weeks in November. Fermentation takes place at 68 to 71 F in stainless steel tanks for 15 days. Maturation is on the skins for 10 days. Malolactic fermentation is in barriques. The wine is full and complex with hints of prune, berries and spice. This was one of the Top 100 Wines this year in the Wine Spectator. 

Taurasi DOCG 2013 100% Aglianico Manual harvest. This wine was vinified like the one above. It is a well structured wine with hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and coffee notes.

Taurasi Riserva 2012 DOCG made from 100% Aglianico The soil is clay, training system is guyot and the harvest takes place the first half of November. This one is produced only in the best vintages. There is manual grape picking, a careful cluster selection followed by a soft pressing of the grapes. Maturation is on the skins for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques. This is a full intense wine with hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and coffee notes. It is on its way to becoming a great wine with a little more bottle age.

In 2012 Cotarella was not the consulting oenologist.

With the red wine we had: Carrè d’agnello alle erbe aromatiche served with broccoli rabe and a potato croquette.

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Filed under Aglianico, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Taurasi, Uncategorized

Italian Varietals from California

My friend Tom Maresca, a wine writer, wanted to do a tasting at La Pizza Fresca in NYC of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Aglianico from the Caparone winery in California. I did not know the winery and was very skeptical because I have never tasted an Italian varietal from California that I really liked.

I looked the winery up and saw a quote by David Caparone in “Italy’s Noble Red Wines” by Sheldon and Pauline Wasserman. This book was for me the bible of Italian red wine for many years and I have very fond memories of evenings with the Wassermans. They wrote, “Italy has three indigenous varieties capable of producing wines of breed and character. These noble varieties are Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Aglianico.”

These would be the three Italian varieties that Dave and his son Marc Caparone, the winemakers, use to produce wine. They produce the wines by themselves and do not have any employees.

I contacted the winery and Marc Caparone  said the Nebbiolo is from clone CVT 30, the Sangiovese clone comes from Il Poggione, and the Aglianico is the original clone at UC Davis that his father found there in 1988.

All this sounded very interesting and since Tom liked the wines, I knew I would enjoy tasting them.

There were 6 of us at the tasting, Tom, Diane Darrow,  his frequent co-author, Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW, authors of the “Wine for Dummies” books, and Michele Scicolone, author of The Italian Vegetable Cook Book, The Italian Slow Cooker, 1000 Italian Recipes.

The Caparone winery in Paso Robles California was founded in 1979 by Dave Caparone. It is located northeast of Paso Robles, California. They pride themselves on being the oldest small, artisan winery in the region and making wines with good varietal character, intensity and longevity. They make wines that complement food.

The winemakers do not blend wines and want to make wines that will last for decades. They look for balanced grape maturity. Balanced maturity occurs at moderate grape sugar levels, which means moderate alcohol levels. All of the wines tasted were below 13.5% alcohol.

In order to achieve balance and complexity, each wine is in contact with the grape skins for four to six weeks before pressing. This softens the tannins and adds to the overall balance of the wine. Each of the wines receives two full years in 100% neutral French oak barriques (59 gallons) and are not fined or filtered. The wine remains in bottle for one year before release.

Sangiovese 2014 Paso Robles macerated on the skins at fermentation for 30 days. This is a wine with nice red fruit. It did have the characteristics of an Italian Sangiovese, however, if I was given this wine blind I would have said it was a Chianti Classico Riserva with a bit too much oak and concentration or a “Super Tuscan”.

Sangiovese 1996 the wine was showing no signs of age 18 years later. It had become mellow; the red fruit was still there with a touch of violet. After drinking this I realized that the problem I had with the 2014 was that it was too young.

Nebbiolo 2014 Paso Robles Nebbiolo macerated on the skins for 45 days, in completely enclosed stainless fermenters. This was my favorite wine of the tasting. It was light in color like Nebbiolo should be. In a blind tasting I might have said it was like a Nebbiolo from the north of Piedmont but in a much lighter style with more red fruit and less of the tar, tobacco and dried fruit character.

Aglianico 2014 macerated on the skins at fermentation for 30 days. The wine was dark in color and drinking very well right now. It did have the characteristics of an Aglianico Taburno with hints of black cherry, blackberries and plum.

Aglianico 1996 this wine was not showing any signs of age and had developed into a very drinkable mature Aglianico. This wine reminded me of an Aglianico del Vulture. It still had the black fruit flavors and aromas but had developed hints of tobacco and cedar.

At the Caparone winery, they believe the finest wines are created by nature and are a reflection of the vine and the place where it grows, not of the gadgets and chemicals used so often in modern wine making. They take great pains to interfere as little as possible in the wine making process. Their techniques are mostly a collection of traditional wine making practices more like Europe than California. They do not what excessive oak in their wines.

There were difference opinions and discussions  about the wines which just made it more interesting and enjoyable.

The wines went very well with the food and pizza at La Pizza Fresca.

See Tom Maresca’s article on the Caparone wines  (https://ubriaco.wordpress.com/).

 

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Filed under Aglianico, Caparone Winery, Nebbiolo

Aglianico a Roma

After spending a wonderful week in Naples visiting wine producers and eating at some of the most famous pizzerias in the city and Campania, Michele and I went to Rome. There I received an e-mail from Ilaria Petito, the owner of Donnachiara winery in Campania, inviting me to an event called Aglianico a Roma (Aglianico in Rome).

Unfortunately I arrived too late to attend a seminar on Aglianico conducted by wine blogger and journalist Luciano Pignataro. However, I was able to taste some of the wines. ilaria introduced me to some of the producers that I did not know.

The Wines

Aglianico Sannio Santa’Agata dei Goti “Cesco di Nece” 2015 Mustilli made from 100% Aglianico from the 3 hectare organically planted “Cesco di Nece,” vineyard planted in 1994. Harvest is at the end of October. Grapes are destemmed and crushed. Fermentation lasts for about 15 days in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Maturation is second passage French oak for 9 months. Lightly fined, unfiltered and a small SO2 is added before bottling. It is aged for 9 months in bottle before release. I have always liked the wines of Mustilli and visited the winery two years ago with Campania Stories.

Aglianico Sannio DOC  2016 Mustilli 100% Aglianico from vineyards at 800 feet with volcanic and clay soil and a southwest exposure. The vines are 30 years old. Fermented on indigenous yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in French second passage barriques for 9 months and in bottle for 3 months before release.

Taurasi “Opera Mia” 2012 Tenuta Cavalier Pepe made from 100% Aglianico. The grapes come from the Carazita vineyard. Harvest takes place the first week of November and a selection is made in the cellar. Parts of the grapes go through a cold pre–fermentation/maceration to extract color and aroma. The alcohol fermentation is followed by a long maceration on the skins. After the wine is racked it is put into French oak (Allier and Troncais barriques) for 12 months and another 12 months in bottle before release. The wine has ripe red fruit with hints of black cherry, prune and spice.

Taurasi Riserva 2012 “La Loggia del Cavaliere” Tenuta Cavalier Pepe. 100% Aglianco The vineyard is at 450/490 meters and the exposure is south/southeast. The soil is clay-like with calcareous and sandy layers. Harvest is by hand in mid-November. In the cellar, cold maceration is followed by alcoholic fermentation with prolonged maceration. The wine is aged in barrels for a minimum of 18 months with batonnage (stirring the lees). The wine has hints of blackberries, and black cherries with a touch of spice and vanilla.

Taurasi” Nero Né “il Cancelliere” 2012 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay and limestone. The vines are about 35 years old. The vineyard is at 550/600 meters and exposure is north and the formation is vertical trellised with spurred cordon pruning.

The grapes are destemmed and alcoholic fermentation and maceration take place for about 30 days at room temperature and a pneumatic press is used. Only wild yeast is used. Aging in steel for 6 months on the lees, depending on the vintage, then 24 months in Slavonian wood 35/50 hl and then 24 months in bottle. NO: filtration, clarification, stabilization or sulphites.

Gioviano-Irpinia Aglianico DOC “ il Cancelliere” 2015 100% Aglianico. The soil is limestone clay and the vineyard has a northern exposure and is at 450/550 meters. There is destemming of the grapes, alcoholic fermentation and maceration of about 20 days at room temperature. Aging is in steel for 6 months on the lees then aging in Slavonian wood of 35hl for 12 months and then in bottle for 10/12 months. This was the first time I tasted the wines from this producer and I was very impressed by them.

Vigna Cataratte Riserva “Aglianico Del Taburno” 2012 Fontanecchia made from 100% Aglianico. Selected grapes are harvested by hand. Vinification is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 20 days. The wine is aged for 2 years, of which 6/9 months are in French barriques.

Taurasi 2012 Cantine Macchie Santa Maria  100% Aglianico Macchie Santa Maria. This is a new winery with a production of only 3,000 bottles. It is located in the province of Avellino at Montemiletto. This is a wine with hints of sour cherry, plum and a touch of spice.

ilaria Petitto and her Taurasi 2012

Taurasi 2012 Donnachiara 100% Aglianico made from grapes from the 20-hectare Torre le Nocella vineyard. The soil is volcanic and clay, the vines are over 30 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing and there is no filtration. The wine is aged for 12 months in used 225-liter French barriques, and 24 months in bottle before release. This is a big complex wine with berry aromas and flavors, hints of cherry and plum and a touch of cacao, coffee and vanilla. The wine will age. I know their wines very well and the 2012 Taurasi is one of my favorites.

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Visiting CasaSetaro Winery on Mt. Vesuvio

 

Two years ago when Michele and I were in Rome  I was contacted by Massimo Setaro owner/wine maker of the CasaSetaro winery in Campania. We made an appointment to meet at a restaurant in Rome for lunch to taste his wines. He invited us to visit him at the winery the next time we were in Naples.

This yeart Massimo came and drove us to the winery

Lower vineyard: Tufa and higher vegetation

As Michele and I  stood in the vineyard Massimo said the winery is located on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius in Trecase. All the vineyards are located inside the Vesuvius National Park.

He spoke about the terroir and said it is volcanic and sandy with a layer of lava on the surface and volcanic stone. There is a mineral character present in the wines. This composition of the soil makes the vines immune to phylloxera so the vines are not grafted on to American root stock. Pointing to a vine he said if phylloxera  attacked this plant it would destroy it but would die in the soil before it reached another plant.

The higher vineyard with the Lapilli

The exposure of the vineyards are south/southeast, at 200 to 450 meters. At the lower part of the vineyards the soil in black and packed very tightly and Massimo called it tufa. He grows tall vegetation between the rows  to help feed the vines. Higher up on the volcano the soil has very small pebbles called lapilli which were deposited when the volcano erupted and the vegetation in much shorter.

If you walk to the highest point, you would be surrounded by the forests of the Vesuvius National Park.

Green organic manure is used and the vines are treated only with copper and sulfur. Selected yeast is used in all the wines and the winery uses only their own grapes.

There are 4,500 plants per hectare.

Massimo Satero

Massimo said he had bought a number of oak barriques but does not use them for wine anymore. Now they are used for planters.

He said he learned a lot from his father growing up in the winery where they live. He said he takes care of all the production steps from vineyard management to the final bottling and his wife, Mariarosaria, works at his side.

I was very impressed with the passion in his voice when he spoke about growing up in the winery, the Vesuvius National Park, his wines and that he and his family live at the winery.

The Winesimg_1504

Caprettone Spumante Method Classico 2014 100% Caprettone Production zone Alto Tirone, Vesuvius National Park. The age of the vineyards is 18 to 25 years. They are at 350 meters and the training system is espalier, guyot trained with a few buds per plant. Vinification: maceration at 4 degrees C in steel tanks, fermentation for 18 to 24 days, the second fermentation takes place after about six months. The wine remains on the lees for 30 months and remains in bottle for about 12 months before release.

Last year when I was a judge at Radici del Sud in Puglia, this wine was picked as #1 in the spumante category by the journalist panel of which I was a member.

Massino said the Caprettone grape is excellent for making spumante method classico because it has very good body and produces a round and elegant wine. I have to agree.img_1503

Falanghina Campania IGT “Campanelle” 100% Falanghina del Vesuvio. Production Area: various micro zones within the Vesuvius National Park. The vineyards are at 250 meters and the vines are 18 years old. The training system is espalier with guyot pruning.  The wine has nice citrus aromas and flavors with a touch of minerality. He said the Falangina produced here is very different from the one produced further inland.

Massimo feels that Falanghina does not have the same rich character as the Caprettone. We both agreed however with spaghetti con vongole verace, spaghetti with clams, we would drink the Falanghina. 

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Bianco “Munazei” 100% Caprettone. Production zone Vesuvius National Park. The training system is Vesuvian pergola and guyot. Vinification: Maceration in steel tanks at a controlled temperature and fermentation lasts for about 20 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for about 6 months and then in bottle for two months before release. We tasted the 2016 and the 2007 which was not showing any sign of age.

In the last year the law has changed so Massimo can put the grape variety Caprettone on the label.

Michele and I first had wines made from the Caprettone grape a few years ago on the Amalfi Coast and have been drinking them ever since.

Munazei- this is what they called the cold storage rooms built into the mountain where food was kept to prevent spoilage.img_1502

 Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Rosato “Munazei” 2016 100% Piedirosso. The vineyards are at 300 to 350 meters and the vines are 20 years old. Training system is espalier, guyot and Vesuvian pergola. There is a soft destemming and pressing followed by low temperature skin fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 4 degrees C for about 24 hours. The lees are removed and there is cleaning and controlled temperature fermentation at 10 to 12 degrees C for 18 to 24 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for 3 months and another 2 months in bottle before it is released. It has aromas and flavors of fresh red fruit with hints of cherry, strawberry and raspberry.img_1505

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Piedirosso DOC 2016 100% Piedirosso. Espalier, guyot training Vesuvian pergola. Vinification: Maturation in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and in bottle for 3 months before release. The wine has hints of dark fruit with touch of blackberries and violets. It is an easy drinking wine that goes very well with food.

Aglicano “Terramalta” IGT 100% Aglianico2016 from the comune di Trecase (NA), Bosco del Merlo and Tirone della Guardia. The vines are 15/25 years old and the training system is guyot and pergola vesuviana. Destemming and soft pressing of the grapes followed by temperature controlled fermentation at 15C and the lees are removed. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 3 months and in small oak barrels for 2 months and in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with flavors and aromas of red fruit, balsamic hints, a touch of  licorice and good minerality.

img_1508

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso DOC Riserva “Don Vincenzo”  2013.  Made from 85% Piedirosso and 15% Aglianico. The production area is Tirone della Guardia. The vineyards are at 350 meters and are 30 years old. The training system is espalier, guyot trained. There is a natural selection of the hand picked grapes. Fermentation takes place with skin contact for 12 to 14 days. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French oak tonneau and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a deeply rich wine with hints of cherries and raspberries with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. Massimo said this wine is named after his father.

We went with Massimo and his wife to La Notizia, one of the “classic” pizzerias on the Vomero. Massimo is a good friend of the owner Enzo Coccia who planned a menu foe us, but that is another blog.

 

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In the Shadow of the Volcano

Our stay in Naples in February was an adventure both in the city and in the countryside.

Marina Alaimo, a journalist I met in Naples last year, offered to take Michele and I to Haccademia, one of her favorite pizzerias. It is in Terzigno on the road from Naples to Vesuvius. We took the Circumvesuviana, the train that goes around Naples and met Marina in a town a few stops outside of Naples. She drove us straight to the pizzeria where we met the owner Aniello Falanga and his son Nicola who made us a variety of excellent pizzas to taste. Marina ordered the Piedirosso Frupa from the Sorrentino winery to go with the pizza. When I said I liked the wine and that it went very well with the pizza, Marina replied that the winery is only ten minutes away and suggested we go there next.

Sorrentino  Winery is located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in a famous archeological area shaped like a large pentagon made up of  the ancient towns of Pompei, Oplontis, Stabia and Ercolano, and the Gulf of Naples.  It is a family run winery operated by the father Paolo and his three children, Giuseppe (Director), and daughters Maria Paola and Benny (Winemaker).

Giuseppe took us on a tour and said that the winery is located in Boscotrecase, the ancient Silva Mala.  The sight of Mount Vesuvius looming over the vineyards was awesome.

Rock formed from Lava

He said that the Vesuvius region is the most extended volcanic area in continental Europe. The volcanic sandy soil is by its very nature resistant to parasites like the phylloxera (microscopic insects attacking the roots of the vines, which wiped out most of the vineyards in Europe). Giuseppe went on to explain that all of the vineyards are located on the southwest and south side of Vesuvius where the numerous lava flows reached the sea. The soil here is enriched with minerals and is very fertile. This represents the first line of defense against phylloxera and the preservation of ungrafted vines.

Since the vineyards are phylloxera free, unlike almost all the other vineyards in Europe, these vines are not grafted onto American rootstock. The favorable conditions in the vineyards have always made them close to organic and currently they produce fully organic grapes. Only natural fertilizers are used and there is no addition of synthetic chemicals. The training system is the traditional pergola and the espalier.

Between the rows of vines they plant herbs and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and zucchini so biodiversity is maintained in the vineyards and beneficial organisms favor the soil.

The Wines

Falanghina “Latikadea” IGT Made from 100% Falanghina The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. Fermentation is in stainless steel and the wine remains in bottle for at least one month before release. Harvest takes place at the end of September. The wine has flavors and aromas of citrus fruit with hints of pineapple and floral notes.

Organic Falanghina Verso IGT 100% Falanghina The soil is volcanic and sandy. The training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. Harvest is at the end of September. Fermentation is in steel and the wine remains in the bottle for at least one month before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of citrus fruit with hints of pineapple.

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio selezione “Vigna Lapillo” Bianco DOC made from 80% Coda di Volpe and 20% Falanghina. The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. The harvest is at the end of September. Fermentation is in steel and the wine remains in the bottle for one month before release. The wine has hints of white perches, and pears with a hint of almonds and good minerality. Giuseppe said that this vineyard is one of the closest to the Vesuvius crater.

Piedrosso “Frupa” IGT made from 100% Piedirosso. The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 600 meters. Harvest takes place in the middle of October. Fermentation is in steel and the wine ages for at least 12 months in French oak, then for 3 months in bottle before release. This is a fruity wine with hints of plum, cherry, and a touch of spice and pepper. We had this wine with pizza at Haccademia.

“Don Paolo” Organic Aglianico Pompeiano 100% Giuseppe said this was their finest cru dedicated to their father Paolo. The soil is volcanic and sandy. Training system is guyot and cordone speronato and the vines are at 600 meters. Harvest is at the end of October. The wine is aged in 25 to 50 HL French oak barrels for 16 to 18 months and in bottle for 5 to 6 months before release. This is a full bodied complex wine with hints of cherry, strawberry and notes of spice and coffee.

 

 

 

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Filed under Aglianico, Falanghina, Piedirosso, Sorrentino Winery