Category Archives: Alloro restaurant

A Taste of the Alto Adige

Guests were coming and Michele decided to make beef goulash, a recipe from her book The Italian Slow Cooker.

I was surprised when she mentioned “goulash”, but she said that northern Italy’s Alto Adige region has more in common with neighboring Austria than it does with the rest of Italy. I decided to serve some wines from the Alto Adige to go with the meal.

The Alto Adige (Südtirol) region, which borders on Austria and Switzerland, is at the foot of the Alps and the Dolomites. The Alps protect it from inclement weather from the North and the Atlantic, while the Dolomites protect the vineyards from the cold, damaging winds from the east.  Along with its proximity to the Mediterranean and Lake Garda, this makes it an excellent region to grow grapes. It is interesting to note that in the summer, the temperature in Bolzano is higher than in Palermo in Sicily.

The people that live here call their region the Sud Tirol and themselves Tyroleans. The food is decidedly Austrian with only a hint of Italy.  Ham is called Speck and they have a cheese called Weinkase Lagrein and bread called Schuttelbrot.

I decided on 3 wines from one of my favorite wineries, the Abbazia di Novacella, a monastery.

The Abbazia di Novacella is located in the northern most winegrowing region of Italy in the Alto Adige on the southern side of the Alps where the vineyards for the white wines are located. The monastery also owns vineyards in the warm central region of the Alto Adige, which supplies the red grapes such as Lagrein from the Mariaheim vineyard in Bolzano.IMG_9612

Kerner 2014 DOC Alto Adige-Valley Isarco 100% Kerner the vineyards are located in the municipalities of Bressanone, Varna and Naz-Sciaves and are at 600 to 700 meters. The soil is gravelly morainal deposits and the exposure is south-southwest. The training system is guyot and there are 6,000 to 7,000 vines per hectare. The harvest takes place in early October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at 20°C. Natural and selected yeast is used and the wine remains in stainless steel tanks for 6 months before it is bottled. This is an aromatic white wine with hints of apple and peach, ripe and full with crisp acidity.

In 1929 August Herold a German crossed of a red variety Schiava and Riesling. The result was Kerner named in honor of the poet and physician, Justinus Kerner from Swabia. We had drank the Kerner with thinly sliced speck and ripe pears.IMG_9611

Muller Thurgau 2014 DOC Alto Adige-Isarco -Same as above. This is a fresh and fruity, delicately aromatic white wine with hints of lemon, green apple. It has good acidity.

Herman Muller from the Swiss Canton of Thurgau created this white grape variety in 1882. Recent DNA testing shows it is a cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royal and not Sylvaner as was once believed. We had this with gnocchi in a light tomato sauce.IMG_9613

Lagrein 2014 Alto Adige DOC 100% Lagrein The vineyard is at 260 to 350 meters and the soil is a mixture of sand, clay and eroded quartzite porphyry. There are 2,500 to 3,00 vines/ha and the training system is guyot. Harvest is in early October. Fermentation with natural and selected yeasts takes place in stainless steel punch down tanks and lasts for about 15 days. This is followed by malolactic fermentation and maturation in 60hl oak casks for about 6 months and 2 months in bottle before release. It has hints of violets, blackberries and black cherry with a touch of coffee and dark chocolate.

It was the perfect accompaniment to the beef goulash.




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Filed under Abbazia di Novacella, Alto Adige, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Kerner, Lagrein, Muller Thurgau

Calabria at the American Institute of Wine and Food

“Calabria Revisited” was the theme of a dinner organized by the American Institute of Wine and Food at Alloro Restaurant in Manhattan to benefit their children’s outreach program known as the Days of Taste.  Chef Salvatore Corea, who was born in Calabria, was our host and presented a menu of regional dishes.  His wife Gina made everyone feel at home in this family run restaurant.  I was asked to speak about the wines of Calabria and the three wines we were having with dinner.

Calabria is the most rural and least industrialized regions of Italy.

90% of the wine production is red.

Except for Ciró, the wines of Calabria are not very well known in this country.  Calabria has a history of viniculture going back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, in fact the Greeks called Southern Italy Enotria, the land of wine, but today Calabria seems to have fallen behind the rest of Italy. 90% of the the wine production is red. It is the most rural and least industrialized regions of Italy.

The Slow Wine Guide, published by the Slow Food organization, lists only two wineries from Calabria in its English version of the guide.

The Gambero Rosso guide lists many more wineries, including the ones that we had with dinner. In the 2009 edition,  they awarded three glasses, their highest award to a few wines, one being a Ciró and a wine from Calabria was named sweet wine of the year. Things may be improving, but they still have a long way to go.

The Wines 

Scavigna Bianco DOC 2010 made from Greco Bianco, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Pinot Bianco and Riesling. Azienda Agricola Odoardi the winery is at 600 meters. The soil is calcareous clay and the training system is Guyot. The harvest takes place in late August and the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine had flavors and aromas of white peaches with notes of herbs and grass. They are one of the few producers that make this wine.  Owners are Giorgio and Giovanbattista Odoardi.

Ciró Rosso Classic Superiore “Liber Pater” DOC 2009 it is made from 100% Gaglioppo grapes.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel. Ippolito 1845.   This is a rustic wine with deep red and black fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of leather. It has a long finish and a distinctive aftertaste. I liked the wine and it was a great combination with the Candele di Gragnano con ragù n’juduia, pecorino crotonese, scorzette d’agrumi di candite, long pasta tubes in a sauce flavored with a spicy soft sausage and candied lemon zest. 

Gaglioppo is a grape that was probably brought to Southern Italy by the ancient Greeks, or so the producers say.

However this has become a matter of debate.

Ciró is the best known of the Calabrian wine regions and makes a very distinctive wine.  However this is going to change as the production code now allows international grape varieties to be added to the Gaglioppo.

The Slow Wine Guide is against this “…it finds this decision perplexing not only because it goes against tendencies in the rest of the South but because it is a hard blow to a distinctive DOC that has contributed significantly to Italy’s wine history.” I could not agree more!

Savuto Rosso Blend DOC “Vigna Colle Barabba” DOC made from the Arvino, Greco Nero, Magliocco, Canino and Nerello Capuccio grapes. Mauro Colacino. They use spurred cordon-sapling training for the vines. The wine is fermented in stainless steel  This is a softer, more elegant wine than the Ciró with subtle red fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of cherry.

This wine went very well with the Filetto di maiale con salsa di miele e peperoncino, verze stufate, crema fritta e pancetta crocante,roasted pork lion, with honey & spice red pepper sauce, braised cabbage, fried cream and crisp pancetta.


N’ Tice Liquor, Calabria, a digestivo that is made from vodka, grappa and citrus and was the perfect end to the dinner.





Filed under Alloro restaurant, Calabria, Ciró, Italian Red Wine, Italian Restaurants, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Odoardi winery, Salvuto Colacino, Scavigna Bianco