Category Archives: Barbera d’Asti

Welcoming Spring

Spring has arrived in New York so we decided to have a few friends over for dinner to celebrate.

 

IMG_4664Champagne Andre Clouet “Cuvèe “1911” Grand Cru Brut NV made from100% Pinot Noir – 50% from 2002, 25% from 1995 and 25% from 1997. The estate vineyards surround the village of Bouzy where the soil is chalk and clay. The farming method is conventional. Fermentation is in stainless steel and natural barrels. Malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine is aged for 6 years on the lees. This is a complex Champagne with citrus aromas and flavors, a touch of peach and a note of brioche.

 

With the Champagne, we had smoked trout mousse on toasts.  

 

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Barbera d’Asti 2007 Tenuta Cisa Asinari Del Marchese Di Gresy made from 100% Barbera. The vineyard is located in Cassine at 230 to 240 meters and the soil is clay. The farm is practicing organic and the vines are 17 years old. The training system is guyot. Alcoholic fermentation takes place followed by malolactic fermentation. The skins macerate for 8 to 10 days with regular pumping over. Farina fissile and micro filtration takes place during bottling. The wine is aged in second and third passage barriques and in Slavonian oak casks for 5 to 6 months. The wine is aged in bottle for 6 months before release. It has hints of cherry, blackberries, a touch of licorice and a note of spice with good acidity.

 

IMG_4633Homemade Ricotta and Basil Gnocchi in tomato sauce from Michele’s book, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook.

 

IMG_4669Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2004 “Beradenga”Felsina made from 100% Sangiovese located in Castelnuovo Berardenga with mostly southern exposure between 320 and 420 meters (the soil here is rock quartz and calcareous alberese mixed with alluvial pebbles. The vineyards are on different slopes. There are about 5,400 vines per hectare. The training system is bilateral cordon and simple guyot with a maximum of 5 to 8 buds per vine. Harvest is staged due to different altitudes of the vineyards, the first three weeks of October. The clusters are de-stemmed and pressed and the must is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Programmed punch downs and daily pumpovers take place. In March/April the wine goes into medium sized Slavonian oak barrels and French barriques of second and third passage. After 12/16 months of aging the final blend is assembled. The wine remains is glass for 2 to 6 months. The wine has notes of red and black berries with a touch of spice and mineral tones. It was drinking very nicely.

 

IMG_4635Potato Gatto’, a recipe from Michele’s book, 1,000 Italian Recipes

It had been some time since Michele had made this and we all couldn’t stop eating it.  It’s a classic Neapolitan recipe from her family and it’s made with potatoes mashed with Parmigiano Reggiano, mozzarella, and salami.  

IMG_4637Leg of Lamb  roasted with garlic, rosemary and anchovy was our main course.  

 

IMG_4639In the dish

 

IMG_4670Barolo Riserva 1967 Giacomo Borgogno and Figli 100% Nebbiolo. The grapes come from three different cru vineyards: Cannubi, Liste and Fossati. The winery is located in the center of the town of Barolo. The wine is aged at least five years in large oak barrels. This is a wine produced with traditional and natural wine making methods. Long fermentation and pumping over by hand takes place. Today the Farinetti family that also owns Eataly owns the winery. I have always had very good luck with older vintages of Borgogno. This is a classic traditional Barolo with hints of red fruit, tar, tobacco, violets, cedar and a touch of balsam.

 

IMG_4641A few Italian cheeses to finish the wine.  

IMG_4643For dessert, a friend brought a very good version of Pastiera, aka Pizza Gran, a Neapolitan style cheesecake cooked with grain and flavored with orange and cinnamon from his local pastry shop.

IMG_4645On the plate

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Norma — Return to Sicily in New York

All we can do right now is dream about going to Italy, however, we can still go to restaurants in NYC where the food makes you feel as if you are there.IMG_4705 2

One of these restaurants is Norma Gastronomia Siciliana for real Sicilian food. It was a nice day so we sat in the backyard garden. With the overhead heater on  to chase away any lingering chill, it was very comfortable.IMG_4685

Panelle – Fried chickpea fritters with aglio olio sauce

IMG_4684Caponata – Sweet and sour eggplant, celery, green olives, capers, onions and tomatoes served with crostini

IMG_4683Foccacia — The warm focaccia is irresistible with Caponata.

IMG_4686Timballo di melanzane alla parmigiana – Eggplant parmigiana timbale with mozzarella ane Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, basil and tomato sauce

IMG_4687Arancine “Ragu” — Fried saffron rice balls stuffed with Bolognese meat sauce, green peas served over tomato sauce.

IMG_4693Pasta alla Norma- Paccheri from Gragnano with fresh tomato and garlic sauce, basil, eggplant, pecorino and ricotta salata cheese.

IMG_4691Pasta con Sarde in Timballo – Spaghetti alla chitarra “Setaro”, fresh Portuguese sardines, wild fennel, pine nuts, and saffron baked in mold.  There is an unbaked version of pasta con sarde on the menu as well.  Both are excellent.

IMG_4689 2Porchetta Sandwich — Roasted porchetta, arugula, provolone cheese, spicy mayo

IMG_4690Pizza alla Norma — Pizza topped with eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella and ricotta salata

IMG_4688Barbera d’ Asti “Vigna Noce” 1999 Antica Azienda Agricola Trinchero.  Made from 100% Barbera.  The winery belongs to the Triple “A” Agriculture Artisans Artists, an association of wine producers from around the world that believes in Organic and Bio-Dynamic production, terroir and as little interference as possible by the wine maker. Only natural yeast is used, there is no acidification of the wine, clarification and filtration does not take place. Chemical treatments are not used in the vineyards; copper and sulfur are used but only when it is really necessary. The wine is aged for 7 years in large chestnut barrels. This is a traditional, classic Barbera that will last for at least another 10 years. I was very impressed with this wine.

We shared two desserts.

IMG_4694Pistachio Tartufo  — Pistachio gelato filled with caramel and rolled in Sicilian pistachios.

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Cannoli — These miniature cannoli are filled to order so the crust remains crisp.  The filling is ricotta and chocolate chips and the ends are sprinkled with more Sicilian pistachios.

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In the Garden

On a recent fall weekend, we visited a friend in New Jersey.  Saturday’s weather was sunny and warm and we were able to have part of our lunch outside.  Sunday was even warmer and we had the whole meal sitting in the garden.

IMG_3721Lunch in the garden

IMG_3700An entire wheel of Tuscan Pecorino cheese inspired the first course.

IMG_3704Pecorino Cheese  cut

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We ate the cheese with crostini topped with an assortment of garlicky greens, eggplant caponata and anchovies.

IMG_3716Barbera d’ Asti “Vigna Noce” 2010 Antica Azienda Agricola Trinchero  The winery belongs to the Triple “A” Agriculture Artisans Artists, an association of wine producers from around the world that believes in Organic and Bio-Dynamic production, terroir and as little interference as possible by the winemaker. Only natural yeast is used, there is no acidification of the wine, and clarification and filtration does not take place. Chemical treatments are not used in the vineyards; copper and sulfur are used but only when it is really necessary. The wine is aged for 7 years in large chestnut barrels. This is a traditional, classic Barbera.  The winery is strictly organic.  This is a full-bodied robust wine with hints of cherries, plum, and leather, balsamic touches and a note of smoke. This is a very impressive Barbera that will last for at least another 15 years. I had the 1999 recently and it was in perfect condition.

IMG_3724Michele made sausage ragu which she tossed with mezzi rigatoni, grated pecorino and arugula.

IMG_3725Pasta in the dish

IMG_3706Barolo 1998 “Bricco Francesco” Rocche Dell’Annunziata Rocche Costamagna made from 100% Nebbiolo from the Rocche dell’Annunziata vineyard one of the historic crus of La Mora. The soil is calcareous-clayey and there are 4,800 vines per hectare Traditional vivification wit a maceration that lasts for about two weeks. The wine is aged for 24 months in 30 hl Slavonian oak barrels and the at least one year in bottle before release. This is an elegant Barolo with hints of raspberry, violets and a touch of spice.

IMG_3726The last of Michele’s precious stash of Piemontese hazelnuts went into making these brutti ma buoni, ugly but good cookies.  Not very ugly, but very very good.

IMG_3727A guest brought ice cream from a local shop which went great with the cookies.  The flavors were rum raisin and dark chocolate.

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Filed under Barbera, Barbera d'Asti, Barolo, Trinchero

Grilling Outside-Eating Inside

Fall was approaching but there was still time for one more barbecue.  But the day turned chilly and we wound up eating indoors.

While the grill was heating, we ate crostini, one topped with mozzarella and anchovies and the other with Michele’s eggplant, pepper and tomato spread.

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo “Fonte Canale” 2011 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo from old vines from Tiberio. The vineyard is at 300 meters, there are 2,500 vines/hectare and the training system is the tendone (vines form a canopy to protect the grapes from the sun). Harvest takes place the last week of September. Cold maceration on the skins lasts for 6 hours. Vinification takes place in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation does not occur. The wine remains in the bottle for a short period before release. This is a full bodied white wine with citrus aromas and flavors and a hint of herbs.

Barbera D’Asti “Vigna del Noce” 1997 Az. Agr. Trinchero made from 100% Barbera and the vines were planted in 1929. The soil is a mixture of clay and the exposure is southwest and the vineyard is at 250 meters. The training system is guyot. Traditional fermentation with natural yeasts lasted for 40 days. I believe the 1997 was aged for 5 years in 90 year old chestnut casks. The winery is strictly organic.  This is a full-bodied robust wine with hints of cherries, plum, and leather, balsamic touches and a note of smoke. This is a very impressive Barbera.

 

Hamburgers and three different types of sausages, sweet, spicy and chicken on the grill

Sausages ready to eat

Hamburgers in the bun

Spanna 1964 Castello di Montalbano Vallana  made from Nebbiolo 85% (local name Spanna). According to Wasserman  in his book Italy’s Noble Red Wines, producers blended in a number different grapes, Vespolina and Bonarda for example, as well as Aglianico from Campania. The wine was drinking very well with red fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of rasperries and a touch of leather. For a wine from Novara-Vercelli area of northern Piedmont that is  56 years old to have the dark color that it did there had to be Aglianico in the blend. The wine was a pleasure to drink

Sliced tomatoes  and  red  onions  accompanied  the  meat.

And Sicilian style potato and green bean salad  with  capers,  olives,  red  onion, oregano  and  olive  oil.

We ended with an assortment of ice creams and biscotti.

The table

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Michele Chiarlo: Sixty Years of Winemaking in Piedmont

 

Michele Chiarlo’s first vintage was in 1958 and he has been with Kobrand, his importer and distributor for 40 years. In honor of their association Michele brought a 1978 Barolo to a special truffle  dinner and tasting event at New York’s Restaurant Casa L’Apicii.

The speakers were Michele and his son Stefano, the wine maker.

Michele spoke about his years as a producer and the changes that took place in Italian wine.  At first it was difficult it was to sell his wine, especially Barbera, in foreign markets. Buyers all wanted to know tif he made Lambrusco!

Michele Chiarlo

He said he went to Burgundy to learn because they  were more advanced  in their wine making techniques.  He met with other Barolo producers to discuss how they could improve their wines. But it was not until the 1980’s with temperature controlled fermentation and the hype that was generated about Italian wines during that time that Italian wine started to receive the recognition it deserved.

He said his is a family owned and run winery and there are no blends or international varietals produced. Their smallest oak cask in 700 liters.  They now have 110 hectares of vineyards between the Langhe, Monferrato and Gavi.

Michele said Tenuta La Court was acquired in 1995. It is a single parcel of over 20 hectares located on two hills, a size which makes La Court one of the most important in Monferrato. The vineyards which can have the ‘Nizza’ designation are limited to 18 municipalities in Monferrato. The vineyards, which have positions with great exposure (from southeast to southwest), have low yields of 70 quintals per hectare and lie on soils designated astiane sands, consisting of calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin, with a good presence of lime and sand, rich in microelements, in particular magnesium.

Stefano Chiarlo

Stefano,  spoke about the wines.

Barbera “Cipressi” Nizza DOCG 2015 100% Barbara from the Tenuta La Court vineyard. The vineyard is 6 ha at 230 to 280 meters and the vines are of different ages. The training method is guyot and there are about 5,000 vines per hectare and harvest is manual. Vinification is in steel tanks, 10/12 days of maceration with the skins and a soft shower system of wetting the cap with initial temperature of 30 degrees C then to 27 degrees C. Malolactic fermentation is in steel. The wine ages for a minimum of 18 months: 12 months in large oak casks and 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of red fruit, with hints of cherry and raspberry and a note of tobacco.

Stefano said 2015 was a dry warm vintage with a lot of sun, perfect conditions for growing Barbera.

Barbera d’Asti Superiore “La Court” Nizza DOCG 2013 100% Barbera from a 3-hectare vineyard. The exposure is south/south east at 240 meters. Very low yield.  Thinning of excess bunches at the end of the summer, leaving an average of 5/6 bunches per vine. Fermentation is for 15 days in 55 hl oak vats with the skins. Malolactic vat fermentation takes place. The wine is aged for a minimum of 30 months depending on the vintage. 50% in casks and 50% in large barrels for one year, the wine remains in bottle until release.

This is an intense and elegant wine with hints of black cherry with a touch of coffee and cocoa and a pleasing finish and long aftertaste.

He also said the La Court Cru is part of the V.I.V.A. Sustainable Wine project.

Barbera Nizza must be aged at least 18 months and at least 30 months for the Nizza DOCG Riserva

Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG” La Court” Nizza 2011 The wine has hints of black cherry and spice. Stefano said like 2015 the weather was hot, dry and sunny making it a great Barbera vintage.

Stefano said the Cerequio vineyard is between La Mora and Barolo. It is one of the most prestige vineyards in the zone for Nebbiolo. They have nine hectares of vineyards , about 6 of which ere acquired in 1988 from an estate which had been cultivating Nebbiolo grapes for over two centuries without interruption. The oldest parcel is from 1972 and the smallest 0.9 ha, they make Barolo Cerequio Riserva. Stefano said the soils here are among the most ancient in the Langhe, formed during the Tortanian period (9 million years ago). It is composed calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin characterized by a basic pH, poor in organic matter, but rich in microelements such as magnesium and manganese.

Barolo “Cerequio” 2013.  Stefano called this the “use to be” vintage because they picked late like they did in the past. It is a wine that will last for many years. The vineyard is 3 ha and the exposure is south/southwest at 329 meters. The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 plants per hectare. Fermentation is in 55hl oak vats for 20 days. The wine is aged for a minimum of 3 years, 2 years in average-sized oak casks and one year in bottle before release. This is a young complex wine with hints of mature fruit, mint and spice with a touch of tea.

2001 One could see the relationship between the 2013 and the 2001. It has developed very nicely but it still needs at least another 5 years.

 1997 The wine is still showing a lot fruit but now has hits of violets, tobacco, balsamic and a touch of tar. This is the wine to drink now and I enjoyed ever drop of it!!

 The dinner: Chef Vincenzo La Corte, Palàs Cerequio, Piedmont and Chef Andrew Bosi Casa Apicii, NYC.

Barbera d’ Asti “Le Orme” 16 Months DOCG 2015 a selection from several vineyards in the South Aegean, with especially from the vineyards of Montemareto in Castelnuovo Calcea, La Serra in Montaldo Scarampi and Cosra della Momache ad Agliano. The soil is light colored, rich in lime and microelements. Training system is guyot, low set cordon spur. Harvest is manual. Minimum of 16 months refinement before it is released. This is an elegant wine with fresh mature fruit with hints of cherry, currants and a touch of violet and good acidity. I tasted the wine and was very impressed. it reminded of Barbera that I had when I first came to Piedmont in 1982. It is a wine to drink now and very food friendly.

Traditional steak tartare-Alba White Truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico).

Barolo Tortoniano DOCG 2013 The exposure is south-east/south-west and the training system is guyot. The manual harvest is preceded by summer thinning of excess bunches of grapes. Fermentation is in steel tanks with the skins, and a soft shower system of wetting the cap at a temperature between 32C/27. Malolactic fermentation is in steel tanks. The wine is aged for a minimum of 3 years, 24 months in average sized oak barrels and then in bottle. This is an elegant Barolo with hints of roses, juniper berries, spice and a hint of tobacco.

Risotto with roasted quail & sweet potato with shaved Alba White Truffle

Barolo DOCG 1978 This is a great old Barolo made from grapes from different vineyards and a tribute to Michele Chiarlo.

Braised veal cheek with Barolo sauce and apple puree.

Moscato d’ Asti “Nivole” DOCG 2017 100% White Moscato vineyards are in the historical area most suited for Moscato Bianco. The soil is of sedimentary marine orogon, white and sandy. Training system is guyot and the exposure is south-east/southwest. Manual harvest. There is a soft pressing of the entire grape and the must is stored in a tank at 2C followed by a slow fermentation in an autoclave at a controlled temperature until a 5% alcohol level is achieved. During this process, a part of the carbon dioxide developed during fermentation remains entrapped, giving the wine its mild, natural effervescence. Before bottling, the wine undergoes a process of microfiltration to give the wine its clarity, purity and to stop and further fermentation of the yeasts. This is a wine with hints of subtle tropical fruit and apricot with a very pleasing finish and long aftertaste.

Hazelnut parfait with an almond cream and cocoa

 

 

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