Category Archives: Amarone

Osteria Laura

Osteria Laura

A new Italian restaurant is always interesting to me, especially when it involves someone like Rosanna De Michele, who is the chef of the newly opened Osteria Laura in Harlem.

Rosanna

Rosanna is from Abruzzo and I have enjoyed her food when she was the chef at another restaurant and at a friend’s home. A visit to the restaurant seemed like the perfect opportunity to get together with old friends Mary Ewing Mulligan and Ed Mc Carthy, co-authors of the Wine for Dummies Series, who live nearby.

We decided to share a number of appetizers including meatballs, fried calamari, grilled sausages with broccoli rabe, and fresh burrata imported from Puglia. This is real Italian food, at a very good price.

To drink, we began with:

Henriot Cuvee “Des Enchanteleurs” Brut 1989 made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from six of the most prestigious Grand Cru vineyards.  Ed was surprised that it was so ready to drink for a Champagne from the 1989 vintage. It is rich with citrus aromas and flavors and hints of peach, hazelnut, and a touch of honey. Aromatic with a great finish and aftertaste, it was wonderful.

Champagne Krug Grand Cuvée Brut NV made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35% Chardonnay–the percent depends upon the vintage. About 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages are blended and it is aged for at least 6 years in the cellars. All of the Krug Champagnes are aged in used small oak barrels. They are all prestige cuvees made from Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages and are aged longer before release. The overall rating for the vineyards is 98% with Krug’s own vineyards rating 100%. As Ed said obviously this is not just another NV Champagne. It is Michele’s favorite.

Schiava 2018 DOC Elena Walch made from 100% Schiava grapes from high side vineyards above Lake Caldaro at 1,312 ft. The soil is limestone and clay. There is temperature-controlled fermentation at 27°C in stainless steel tanks for 7 days of skin contact. Malolactic fermentation and maturation take place in traditional 8,000 liter Slovenian oak casks. This is a fruity red wine with hints of cherry and a nice bitter almond touch on the finish.

For the main courses we had:

Pasta with Burrata and Artichokes – The day’s special, the chef used imported Burrata and top quality Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta.

Tagliatelle with Ragu Abruzzese – A classic ragu made as do in Abruzzo.

Chicken Rollatini with Mushrooms – Chicken breast cutlets rolled and stuffed with imported prosciutto, served with sauteed mushrooms.

With our main courses, we drank:

Dolcetto 1971 “Cru Nassone La Morra” Marcarini/Cogno made from 100% Dolcetto. I do not believe this label is used anymore. Back in 1971 the wine would have been aged in concrete or large oak barrels (botte) they did not have stainless steel tanks or barriques back then. For me this was a delightful surprise. The wine had hints of red fruit, black cherry with a touch of violets and almonds. It was showing no signs of age. Fantastic!

 

Recioto Valpolicella Amarone 1967 Bertani 70% Corvina Veronese, 30% Rondinella-this is the present blend.
Carefully selected grape bunches are hand-harvested in Bertani’s best Valpolicella vineyards in Fumane, Marano and the Novare Valley. Vines are cultivated using the “spalliera” method while pruning is done using the Guyot method with 5.000 vines/ha.
Unlike most leading Amarone producers, who buy grapes from outside growers, Bertani’s harvest originates entirely in the firm’s own vineyards. With marly-calcareous soil sheltered by surrounding woodland, these vineyards offer the ideal terroir for Amarone.
Harvest begins in early October and extends over a two-week period. After harvest, ripe, unblemished grapes from the uppermost portions of each cluster — those grapes richest in sugar and extracts — are painstakingly detached and laid out to dry on cane mats. The mats are stored on raised platforms in airy lofts, sheltered by a roof but otherwise exposed to drying breezes on all sides. By the time they are ready to undergo maceration and fermentation in February, they will have lost up to 60% of their water content (appassimento). A lengthy maceration period ensues, a factor responsible for Amarone’s tremendous body and structure. After a controlled fermentation, the wine was transferred into oak casks for a period of 5-8 years (the 1961, I believe, spent a longer time in wood) during which it was racked twice annually prior to bottling.
Dry, full-bodied, and amply structured with hints of cherries, red berries and spice and a rich aftertaste and long finish, a wonderful wine.

For dessert:

Affogato al Café – vanilla ice cream topped with hot espresso express over vanilla ice cream,

Osteria Laura is located at 1890 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, NY, NY. The phone is 917- 261-6575.

The Owner is Laura Testa.

 

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Filed under Amarone, Bertani, Dolcetto, Elena Walch, Henriot, Krug, Osteria Laura, Uncategorized

Pasqua: The Winery Of Verona

Would a serious wine producer name his wines Romeo and Juliet Passione Sentimento (Passion and Feeling)?  This was the first thought that came to me when I read the invitation to a tasting of these wines from Pasqua.  I decided to go and taste the wines for myself- one should not judge the wine by the label.

The hosts were the brothers Alessandro and Riccardo Pasqua.

Their father is Umberto Pasqua, President of Famiglia Pasqua Winery.  Riccardo is CEO and Alessandro is Vice President Americas, with special responsibility for marketing and business development at Pasqua USA.  In 2014, the brothers took over the management of the Famiglia Pasqua winery, which was founded in 1925.  Since then,  they have made many changes, such as producing wines that break the rules with graffiti-inspired labels, establishing partnerships with talented artists, improving the quality of the wine, and it was all done with a sense of humor. Acutely aware of the importance of the U.S. market, Pasqua established its own importing arm, Pasqua USA LLC, in 2009.

Riccardo said the US has become their biggest market, enabling them to buy out the other family members in 2017 and now the company speaks with one voice.

After construction in 2007 of a new environmentally friendly, gravity-fed winery and headquarters, including cellars, a laboratory, and temperature-controlled warehouse, Pasqua relocated to the village of San Felice, just outside Verona.  Minimizing the carbon footprint informs every decision.  Pasqua has control of 741 acres. 1/3 is estate owned and 2/3 are owned by growers. Pasqua purchases 100% of the grower grapes and has long-term contract and is responsible for decision making to ensure quality.

The Wines

Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco Veneto IGT 2017 made from 100% Garganega and dried in the Fruttaio for 15 days. Alessandro said this results in the concentration of sugars and floral aromas. After crushing, maceration on the skins takes place for over 12 hours. Vinification is with selected yeasts and a portion of the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for a few months. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, peaches and a touch of almonds. It is an easy to drink wine. $16

The wine is IGT because there was no category for dry white wines made from raisined grapes.

Riccardo said the name Passione  Sentimento (Passion and Feeling) is to celebrate the city of love, Verona, because of it history, monuments and wine. Verona is associated with Romeo and Juliet. Every day 3,ooo messages are written on the 20-foot wall of Juliet’s house in Cappello Street. The label for the Romeo & Juliet wines is a photo of that graffitied wall photographed by Giò Martorana with Passione Sentimento superimposed on the label.

Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Rosso Veneto IGT 2016 made from Corvina, Croatina and Merlot. The grapes are hand picked and a portion of the Corvina and Merlot are put into small crates in the Fruttaio to dry until they lose 30% of their water content and gain high sugar content. This is then blended with the juice from the non-dried grapes and vinified in steel tanks. Following fermentation the grapes age in oak tonneaux for about 4 months and then aged in bottle before release. The wine has hints of cherry, plum and a touch of spice. $16

Riccardo said The Rosso is IGT because it breaks 10 different rules.

With these labels the Bianco and Rosso have become very successful in the U. S. This is the only red wine in the U.S. market made from 100% dried grapes that is not Valpolicella or Amarone.

Famiglia Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella  DOCG 2013 made from Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone and Oseleta. From five vineyards in the northeastern part of Valpolicella, called Valpantena. The soil is calcareous, flakey debris and very pebbly. The best bunches are harvested by hand and put into crates in the Fruttaio where after 3 months they become raisin like (appassimento). The grapes increase in sugar extracts by 25 to 30%. These dried grapes are pressed and racked in steel tanks where malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine is aged in small French oak barrels, with a small portion of the wine aged in large cherry wood barrels (botti) for 18 to 20 months. The wine is aged in bottle for 4 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberries and cherries, spice, chocolate and a touch of vanilla. Alcohol 15% $46

This is a limited edition only 7,000 bottles were made. The label for Amarone Family Pasqua was designed by Giorgia Fincato, a Veneto artist.

Alessandro said all the grapes are dried in a Fruttaio with controlled ventilation and temperature. Every room is equipped with forced ventilation from the ceiling and there are about 70 movable fans. Doors and windows are always closed to keep the fresh air inside.  At Pasqua the Fruttaio has three levels: an upper floor (200 meters, the ground floor and one below ground 10 meters.)  This is because they feel that different grape varieties dry better at different levels. For example Garganega, a white grape dries better at the coolest level, 10 meters below ground. They do a mix of red grapes to dry at 3 different levels, then blend then accordingly after pressing.

As far as I know Pasqua is the only winery that has a 3 level Fruttaio and one of the few to make a dry white wine from dried grapes.

Mai Dire Mai ( Never Say Never) Valpolicella DOC 2013 made from 50% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 5% Oseleta from the Val d’Illasi, east of Valpolicella. The soil is calcareous/clay. The grapes are hand picked perfectly ripe, sorted, destemmed and gently pressed. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature and then the wine ages in French oak tonneaux and predominantly new oak and some second passage for 18 months. This is well structured wine with hints of dark cherry, spice and coffee and a note of clove. $46

Mai Dire Mai Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2011 made from Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Oseleta. The grapes are hand picked and carefully selected. They are dried in wooden crates for 4 months in the Fruttaio to achieve a high concentration of sugar. Cold maceration is for 3 to 4 days. Fermentation is in steel at a controlled temperature for 40 days. Malolactic fermentation is completed in steel. The wine is aged for 24 months in French oak barriques 70% and 30% in tonneaux. All the barrels are new. This is a complex wine with hints of cherry, dark fruit, leather and a note of cedar. $100 .

Romeo & Juliet Passione Setimento Prosecco Brut Treviso DOC   made from 100% Glera grapes grown on hillside  vineyards in the Conegliano sub zone of Treviso. The Charmat method is used and the wine stays in the tanks for 60 days instead of the more common 30 days. Riccardo  said this produces tiny more persistent bubbles and a more elegant Prosecco. It has hints of pear and apple and the alcohol is only 11% . $16

It seems that the Pasqua brothers got it right!

 

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Giusti Wines of the Veneto

In my last blog I wrote about the “KIN” the Erbaluce di Caluso of  Domenico Tappero Merlo – Vignaiolo in Canavese

The other winery at the lunch and tasting at Del Posto NYC organized by Michael Roman of Romano Brands was Societa Agricola Giusti Col, better know as Giusti Wines of the Veneto. The winery was founded in 2002. The center of the operation and the main office is located in Nervesa della Battaglia, a rural village in the province of Treviso.

Valentino

At lunch I was sitting next to Valentino Radaelli the Junior Export Manager.   He is a very knowledge and interesting young man. We not only discussed the Giusti wines but Italian wine in general and it was a pleasure speaking with him.

Prosecco DOC NV “Rosalia”  NV made from 100% Glera grapes from the “Rosalia” estate. The soil is of medium texture and the training system is sylvoz.  There are 3,550 to 4,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation takes place without the skins. Primary fermentation is with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature and secondary fermentation is at a low temperature in pressurized tanks. This is a fruity Prosecco with ripe fruit aromas and flavors and more than a touch of  sweetness.

Asolo Prosecco Superiore ”Extra Dry” NV DOCG 100% Glera grapes. The soil is red clayey and the training system is sylvoz and guyot. There are 3,500 to 4,500 vines per hectare. Fermentation is off the skins. The primary fermentation takes place with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature and the secondary fermentation is at a low temperature in pressurized tanks. This Prosecco has hints of apple, floral notes and a touch of lemon.

I asked Valentino if the Rosalia had more residual sugar than the Asolo. He said no, they were both extra dry but the grapes for the Rosalia were grown on the plain (the lowlands of the Piave Basin) while the grapes for the Asolo were grown on the hillside.

Extra Dry Prosecco can have between 12% and 17% residual sugar and my guess is that because the Rosalia comes from grapes grown on the plain it was closer to 17%  making it taste “sweeter.” The residual sugar for both is 15 g/l plus or minus 2. So the Rosalia would be plus 2=17 g/l and the Asolo would be -2 or 13.g/l accounting for the difference in taste. The Asolo would go better with food while the Rosalia would work by itself or with dessert.

Giusti owns almost 25% of the land in the designated Prosecco DOCG zone.

Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC 2017 “Longheri” 100% Pinot Grigio from vineyards located in the Montello and Asolo hills and specifically from the vineyard Longheri which is part of the Rolando estate. Medium mixed soil. There are 4,000 to 4,500 vines per hectare and the training system is sylvoz and guyot. Fermentation is off the skins with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature. After fermentation the wine is kept in contact with the yeast for a long period and periodically stirred until it is bottled. This is a fruity wine with hints of pear and a touch of apple.

The wine has nice citrus aromas and flavors with hints of pear and a touch of banana.

Chardonnay Delle Venezie IGT 2017 “Dei Carni” 100% Chardonnay from the Dei Carni vineyard which is part of the Rolando estate. Vine training and fermentation like the Pinot Grigio. This is fruity and flowery with citrus notes.

Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiori 2016 DOC made from Corvina Veronese, Corvinone and Rondinella. The production zone is the hilly area of Valploicella at 100 to 150 meters. The soil is calcareous and volcanic and there are about 4,000 vines per hectare. The vines are trained by the Pergola Veronese system. The wine is aged in oak casks for about 12 months.

I asked Valentino if they dried the grapes for the Ripasso as many producers now do. He said no and then explained the process. After the wine for the Amarone is removed from the stainless steel vats, what remains in the vats is the skins. The fresh Valpolicello Classico is then poured into the vats taking on additional flavor and body from the Amarone skins. This Ripasso was one of the best I ever tasted with aromas and flavors of blackberries, blueberries  and a touch of prune. It is a very good food wine.

Amarone Della Valpoicella Classico 2016 DOCG made from Corvina Veronese, Corvinone and Rondinella. The production zone is the hills of the Valoplicella Classical area at an attitude of 120 t0 200 meters. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is the Pergola Veronese. Valentino said the grapes are picked a bit late to ensure ripeness and left to dry for about 120 days. They lose 30% to 40% of their weight and become raisin-like. This produces a wine which is very concentrated with a high sugar content and 15% alcohol. The wine is aged is 500 liter French oak barrels for 24 to 28 months. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of raisins, plums, cherries, figs and a touch of molasses. The wine will age for a number of years. Unlike many amarones, this is a food friendly wine.

The Amarone was a perfect combination with the steak.

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Roberto Di Filippo: Horses, Geese and Organic Wine

A few months ago, the Wine Media Guild did a tasting of wines made from native Italian grapes that are not very well known. Some of the wines were real gems, but one produced by Roberto Di Filippo that was made from the Trebbiano Spoletino grape really stood out.

Elisa Bosco of PR Vino, who organized the wines for the tasting, later asked me if I wanted to attend a tasting featuring more of the wines of Roberto Di Filippo. She said that Roberto would present the wines.

Roberto Di Filippo

Roberto is a very engaging and informative speaker and you can hear the passion when he speaks about his wines.

The Di Filippo winery is 30-hectares and overlooks Assisi on the hills between Torgiano and Montefalco in the heart of Umbria. Roberto and his sister Emma own it.

It is situated in Cannara and nearby is Pian d’Arca, where St. Francis spoke to the birds.

Plani Arche is 6-hectares of vineyards owned by Roberto Di Filippo and his wife Elena. Roberto said that they have a tradition of cultivation which respects nature, as they strongly believe in the need to find a constant balance between man, soil, flora and fauna. He has introduced a number of different ecologically friendly systems.

Agroforestry is a land use system of land management involving simultaneous cultivation of farm crops, trees and shrubs. It combines shrubs and trees in agriculture and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, ecologically sound and sustainable land use systems. As part of this they use workhorses in the vineyard to do the cultivation and to solve the problem of soil compression. Roberto said they raise geese within the Plani Arche vineyard. He said a number of times he is first of all a farmer and that everything depends on what happens in the vineyards.

Since 1994 the wines have been cultivated organically, and biodynamic cultivation was introduced some years ago. They are certified organic according to E. U. regulations for the Plani Arche vineyard.

It can be a little confusing as Roberto makes the same wines under both the Di Filippo and Plani Arche label.

The difference for me between them is that the Di Filippo wines were bigger and more intense, while the Plani Arche wines were more elegant.

The wines

Trebbiano Spoletino “Farandola” (Umbria) 2016 IGT Di Filippo made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino

The soil is clayey-calcareous and the vineyards are on hillsides. Training method is guyot and there are 4,600 vines per hectare. Fermentation takes place off the skins at 18 degrees C and the wines remain in stainless steel until bottled. This is a fruity wine, rich in flavor with hints of citrus. It has good acidity and minerality. It is one of the best examples of Trebbiano I have ever tasted. Roberto said the Trebbiano Spoletino is native to Umbria and is different from other Trebbiano grapes.

Trebbiano Spoletino IGT 2016 Plani Arche made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino. There are 4,400 plants per hectare. Fermentation is off the skins at a low temperature. The wine remains on the lees in stainless steel casks for 4 months. This is a fresh and complex wine with citrus flavors and aromas and buttery notes.

Grechetto Colli Martani DOC 2016 Plani Arche 100% made from Grechetto. The vines are spur cordon/guyot trained; and there are 4,000/5,000 plants per hectare temperature. The wine is aged in steel casks on the less and then in bottle before release. This is a fruity wine with a hint of spice and a touch of almond in the aftertaste.

Grechetto IGT Bianco dell’Umbria IGT 2016 Plani Arche made from 100% Grechetto from hillside vineyards. This wine is produced without the addition of sulfites.

The soil is clayey-calcareous and the training system is guyot. There are 5,000 plants per hectare.

Montefalco Rosso DOC Plani Arche made from 60% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera and 15% Sagrantino. The soil is clayey-calcareous, the training system is guyot and cordone and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation takes place for 10 days. The wine is aged in large casks for 12 months. This is a wine that is ready to drink now. It has hints of ripe red fruit, a touch of cherry, pomegranate and a long finish and very pleasing after taste. I took the half empty bottle home with me to have with dinner.

Sagrantino is a grape that is very dark in color and has a lot of tannin. Roberto has managed to tame the grape and produce a wine that is food friendly.

Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Brown Label” 2013 Plani Arche100% Sagrantino. There are 5,000 plants per hectare. The grapes are hand-picked to ripen well and are left to macerate for a few days. This is an intense wine with a persistent fruity taste and hints of pomegranate and spice.

Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2013 Di Filippo made from 100% Sagrantino. The soil is clayey-calcareous, there are 5,000 vines per hectare. Vinification is the same as the wine belo wine below. This is a full-bodied wine, tannic with hints of red fruit and a touch of flint.

Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Black Label” 2009 Plani Arche made from 100% Sagrantino. There is a prolonged traditional maceration and the wine is aged in barriques and tonneaux for 18/24 months.

This is a full-bodied wine with intense red berry aromas and flavors and a hint of flint and spice. This wine will age.

Montefalco Sagrantino Passito Plani Archi made from 100% Sagrantino. The drying period (appassimento) lasts for 2 months and a subsequent maceration in the winter period. Aging takes place in stainless steel and barriques. This is an intense fruity wine with hints of black and red fruit, especially blackberries with a long finish and pleasing after taste. I liked this wine so much I took the open 375 bottle home with me.

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PIeropan: Soave and one Amarone.

Seven years ago in a ceremony at Castello Scaligero in Soave, Italy, I was inducted into the Imperial Castellania Di Suavia, a world wide women’s organization that praises “Il Vino Bianco Soave.” The members are people that love food and wine. I was inducted as “Capitano Spadarino,” protector of the Women of the Castle and for my contributions to Italian food and wine and Soave in particular. They presented me with a spadarino, a short sword on an embroidered sash. Soave has been one of my favorite white wines for many years. It was a great honor.

A Woman of the Castle  and Capitano Spadarino

Last month Vignaioli Veneti invited me on press trip to the Veneto. We would stay on Lake Garda and visit 11 of the top producers. One of the producers I was looking forward to visiting was Pieropan. I have been enjoying their Soave for a very long time.

The Soave production zone lies in the eastern part of the Province of Verona in the region of the Veneto. The production zone is of volcanic origin and the hills where the vineyards are planted have rocky strata that are a result of lava flows that turned into sediment over time. The soil is dark, stony and rich in minerals. There is a difference between the soil of the hills and the soil of the flat lands. The soil does make a difference. Soave is one of Italy’s great terroir- based wines.

Andrea Pieropan speaking about the wines

The Pieropan winery is located in the center of the medieval town of Soave.

Andera Pieropan welcomed us at the winery. Andra said Pieropan is a family winery and he works with his father Leonildo, his brother Dario, and mother Teresita. Andera said  he and his brother are the fourth generation. Andera led us through a tasting of the wines.

THE WINES

Soave Classico 2016 is made from 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano di Soave. Grapes are from hillside vineyards in the classical zone. The soil is volcanic and the vineyard is situated at 100/300 meters and is facing west. Training system is guyot with 5,200 plants per hectare and 3,000 vines per hectare with the pergola Veronese system.

The grapes are hand picked in mid September for the Trebbiano di Soave and in October for the Garganega. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed with the free run juice fermented separately in glass lined cement tanks. The wine remains here on the lees for a period of time according to the vintage. In the spring following the harvest the wine is bottled and released after one month. Dario said this is the freshest and youngest of their wines.  

I have been fortunate enough to taste and drink many older vintages of Soave going back almost 30 years. We tasted the 1995 Pieropan Soave Classico. The wine was showing almost no signs of age and I wished I could of had it with dinner that night!

Soave Classico DOC “Calvarino” 2015 made from 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave from hillside vineyards in the Soave Classico zone.

Andrea said the name Calvarino comes from “Little Calvary” reflecting how difficult the soil is to work and the tortuous path, which winds from top to bottom.

The soil

The soil is rich in clay and tufaceous basalt. Dario said it gives the wine an attractive mineral quality. The vineyard is situated at 200 to 300 meters facing northwest. Traditional pergola Veronese trained, 3,000 vines per hectare. The vines are 30 to 60 years, hand harvested, often in two harvests to select the ripest grapes. Trebbiano di Soave is picked in mid September and the Garganega in October. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed with the free run juice fermented separately in glass-lined cement tanks. The wine remains in glass-lined cement tanks on the fine lees for one year. It is aged in the bottle for a few months before release. This is an elegant well-balanced wine with a fresh aroma and hints of flowers, lemon and cherry.

We also tasted the 1992 Calvarino which was showing very well and again proves the point  that not only can Soave age but improves with age.


Soave Classico ‘La Rocca’ 2015 DOC Pieropan 100% Garganega. Dario said the La Rocca vineyard is on the Monte Rocchetta hill just below the Scaligeri castle in Soave.

The soil

Single vineyard with chalky, clay soil situated at 200 to 300 meters, facing southwest. Spur pruned cordon trained with 5,000 vines per hectare. The age of the vines is 10 to 50 years. Grapes are handpicked at the end of October, often in two harvests to select the ripest grapes. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed followed by a short maceration with skin contact in 2,500 liter barrels. After fermentation the wine is racked into 200 to 500 liter barrels and ages for over 12 months on the fine lees and remains in bottle for a time before release.

This is an elegant wine with hints of exotic fruit, nuts and a touch of spice.  It was interesting to taste the La Rocca and the Calvarino wines together.  Both were excellent but the La Rocca is a bigger wine and  will need more time to develop. 

Amarone della Valpolicella 2013 DOCG  In 1999 the Pieropan family purchased property in the Cellore d’Illasi zone in the Valpolicella and Amarone production zones. The wine is made from 60% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, Rondinella and Croatina, and 10% of old traditional Valpolicella varieties. The vineyard is 14 years old and is south facing at an altitude of 500 meters. There are 5,800 vines per hectare; the training system is guyot, pruned to 8 buds per vine. The grapes are hand picked in September and naturally dried. They are pressed and destemmed and the must is fermented for about 30 days during which time pumping over and punching down the cap takes place every day. Aging is in 500 liter barrels for 24/30 months and one year in bottle before release. This is an Amarone to drink with food. It has hints of blackberries, black cherries and plums.

On Lake Garda a few years ago I saw the Pieropan Amarone 2006 in a restaurant. I did not know they made an Amarone so I ordered it. I was very impressed with the wine!  Andrea  said 2006 was the first vintage.

Recioto Soave Classico 2012 “Le Colombare” 100% Garganega (Veneto) Pieropan

Certified Organic. Volcanic soil, rich in basalt and tuffo eocene. The vineyards are at 300m and the exposure is west. The training system is Pergola Veronese and there are 4,000 vines per hectare. There is a manual harvest with careful selection of ripe grapes. All the grapes are collected in small boxes and brought to the winery for the drying process. The grapes are manually placed in a loft on mats made of bamboo reeds. The drying is natural and the grapes remain until they wither which is around the end of February. The natural climate conditions allow for berry dehydration, loss of water and the development of noble rot (Botrytis). The yield of juice is very low and the grapes lose 1/4 of their original weight. The wine is only produced in good vintages. Destemming and pressing of the grapes takes place. There is a selection of the must and fermentation at a controlled temperature 14 to 16 degrees C in barrels of 2,500 liters. The residual sugar is 110 to 120 g/L. The wine is aged in oak barrels of 200 liters for about two years and in glass for 6 months before release. This is a dessert wine with ripe fruit, hints of apricot and quince with a very long finish taste and nice aftertaste.

I did not taste this wine at the winery but at a dinner that night. I have always liked their Recioto, which is one of the best  dessert wines produced, so I had to include it.

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Filed under Amarone, Pieropan Amarone, Pieropan Calvarino, Pieropan La Rocca, Pieropan-La Colombare, Soave

On Amarone, Bardolino, Valpolicella & Colli Euganei

Master Class on the red wines of the Veneto conducted by Kerin O’Keef

Kerin O’Keefe

As with the Master Class on white wines that I wrote about last week,   https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/touring-the-veneto-with-vignaioli-veneti/    Kerin felt that these reds were examples of the diversity of wines made by the member wineries of Vignaioli Veneti and in the Veneto in general. The wines were divided into two flights.

1st Fligh

La Fraghe Bardolino 2016 made from Corvina and Rondinella vinified separately. Maceration lasts for 7 to 8 days and coincides with the fermentation period. The cap is managed daily, with a délestage in the morning and a pump over in the evening. Malolactic fermentation usually occurs in the following month. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for 3 months.

Brigaldara Valpolicella Superiore “Case Vecie” 2015 made from 40% Corvina, 40% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella. The must is left in contact with the grapes during the whole fermentation process. Pumping over is carried out twice a day and délestage is carried out half way through the fermentation process. The wine is aged in 25HL Slavonian oak for 1 year.
In response to a question about Rondinella, Kerin said that one of the reasons it is used in the blend is because it is resistant to mold.

La Fontanina Valpolicella Valpantena Ripasso Superiore DOC 2015 made from 60% Corvina and 40% Rondinella. Parts of the grapes harvested are immediately pressed while some are placed in wooden boxes for a light drying period of 15 to 20 days. Key lots of grapes are vinified separately for fermentation: partially in stainless steel tanks while the semi-dried grapes go into wooden barrels. The wine is aged for 10 to 12 months in tank and 5 to 6 months in bottle before release.

Ottella Valpolicella Ripasso “Ripa Della Volta” 2014 made from 70% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, and 10% Oseleta, Spigamonte, Corvina and Turchetta. Fermentation in temperature controlled steel vats and the “wine” is passed over the Amarone marc for about 10 days. The wine is aged in 25 HL Slavonian oak barrels and French barriques for about 2 years. Michele Montresor, President of Vignaioli Veneti, owns this winery. 

Monte del Fra Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG “ Lena di Mezzo” 2013 made from 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella. The grapes are picked just after they start to dry on the vine. The grapes are then dried for 90 to 120/130 days until the sugar in the grapes reaches at least 28% to 30%. Gentle crushing and destemming of the grapes, depending on the vintage, between the end of January and late February. Fermentation is in small, temperature-controlled truncated cone-shaped stainless steel vats and is started by indigenous yeasts. The fermentation is a slow one, with long maceration on the skins.

Pergola Trentina

Kerin pointed out that most producers kept the old training system, the pergola (pergola Trentina, pergola Veronese and Pergoletta, which protect the grapes from getting too much sun and has a high yield) and for new plantings used the guyot training system. A few producers still use the pergola system for all their vines. Using both systems protect the final product if the weather is too cool or too hot.

2nd Flight
Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2013 made from 45% Corvina Veronese 45% Corvinone, 5% Riondinella and 5% Oseleta. Grapes are hand harvested in September. The grapes are naturally dried for 3 to 4 months in the drying facility. The grapes lose 40% to 50% of their original weight. Destemming and soft pressing takes place in January and fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at 46 to 72 degrees F. Fermentation lasts for 25 days with periodic pumping over. The wine is aged in oak for 18 months, and then blended together for 7 months.

Nicolis Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2011 made from 65% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Molinara and 10% Croatina. The grapes are placed in special dry, well-aired rooms, to dry naturally, then the semi-dried grapes are softly pressed. Due to the low temperature, the fermentation process is long and slow. Maceration takes over a month. The wine is then aged in medium sized Slavonian oak casks, where it continues to ferment and where it remains for about 30 months. At least 8 months in bottle before release. Kerin said that 2011 was a very hot vintage but this wine is very well balanced.

Kerin pointed out that even though Molinara is longer mandatory in the blend it is still used by some producers.

Secondo Marco Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011 made from 45% Corvina, 45% Corvinone and 10% Rondinella. The training method is Pergoletta. There is a long natural drying process for around 120 days and the weight loss is 50%. Prolonged pre-and post-fermentation maceration, indigenous yeast, malolactic fermentation and fining in concrete vats. Then long aging in wood and long maturation in bottle before release.

These last two wines were a pleasant surprise for the journalists and many of them said that they reminded them of old style Bordeaux.

Le Volpe Colli Euganei Rosso 24 Mesi DOC “Le Volpe” 2011 made from 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. After traditional fermentation, the wine is aged in French oak barrels and casks.
Vignalta Colli Euganei Rosso DOC “Gemola” 2011 made from 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. There is 20 days of fermentation and maceration in stainless steel tanks. Pumping over 4 times a day at a controlled temperature of 27/28 degrees C. The wine is aged in new French oak barrels for at least 12 months.

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Three Pre- Birthday Celebrations with Wine and Food

The first celebration took place at the Oriental Gardens restaurant in New York Cities China Town

Soft Shell Crabs and they were fantastic!

We started with the Champagne Krug 1990  from the Krug Collection.

Then a fried sole with scallions.

Chablis Grand Cru just great

Puligny- Montrachet needs more time

1979 Chinon excellent

There was more food and wine but I got caught up in the eating and drinking.

 

Next on to La Pizza Fresca

We started with Krug NV

Then Chianti Classico 1971 Riserva Ducale from Ruffino

Pizza Margarita

Chateaueuf-du-Papes 1990 right on the money

Amarone 1967 Bertani

Pizza with Prosciutto

A young man waiting for his pizza

 

Next was Gastronomia Siciliana Norma

Buratta with arugula

Spaghetti with sea urchin (ricci di Mare) was fantastic

Chianti Classico 1996

Pizza with porchetta

Barolo 1989 – barolo at its best 1989 was a great vintage!

 

 

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Filed under Amarone, Barolo, Benanti, Chablis, Champagne, Chateaneuf du Pape, Chianti Classico, Krug, Krug Champagne, La Pizza Fresca, Olga Chinon, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Principe Corsini, Uncategorized