Category Archives: Barbera

A Long Weekend with Ernie

Our apartment is being painted and our friend Ernie said we could spend the week at his home. It is always a pleasure to visit Ernie because the conversation, food and wine are always the best.

Below is just some of the wines and food that we enjoyed.

Antipasto

IMG_5615 2

Tomatos, Mozzarella and Basil — a classic Caprese Salad

IMG_5629 3Mortadella,  Mozzarella and Tomatoes — The cherry tomatoes were imported from our garden in Manhattan.

IMG_5633Arancini — Sicilian style rice balls from Palazzone 1960 in Wayne, New Jersey.  This pastry shop makes some of the best pastries I have had outside of Sicily. 

IMG_5656 3Prosciutto and melon

Side dishes

IMG_5659 2Asparagus with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

IMG_5619 2Roasted Sweet Peppers

 The wine 

IMG_5661 2Chianti Classico Riserva Villa Antinori Riserva 1980 L&P Antinori the wine is mostly Sangiovese with some Cannaiolo and a very small amount of Trebbiano. Some of the wine was aged in 225 liter barrels. The wine has hints of sour cherries, leather, herbs and a note of violets. It had a low shoulder but was still drinking very well.

IMG_5625 2Barbera D’Asti “Scarpa” 2010 Antica Vinicola Casa Scarpa made from 100% Barbera from Monferrato. The vineyard is at 400 meters and the soil is clay. The vines were planted in 2000 and the training system is guyot. Harvest is by hand. Fermentation and aging for 12 to 18 months in stainless steel tanks and at least 6 months in bottle before release. This is a traditional Barbera with hints of red fruit, cranberry, cherry and good acidity which makes it an excellent wine with food.

Pasta

IMG_5620Ravioli stuffed with Four Cheeses from Eataly.

IMG_5622 2With Buffalo ricotta on top

IMG_5630Fettuccine with Fresh Tomatoes and RicottaIMG_5631On the plate

IMG_5698 copy

Barbera D’Asti “Ca’ Di Pian” 2004 Spinetta made from 100% Barbera from Castagnole delle Lanze, Costigliole d’Asti and Montegrosso d’Asti. The exposure is southern and the vines are 24 years old at 300 meters. The soil is calcareous marl. Maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature controlled vats for an average of 10 days. Malolactic fermentation is done in used French oak barrels, followed by 12 months of aging and then about 3 months in bottle before release. This a balanced wine wine with hints of blueberries and peach.

IMG_5665 2Pasta Amatriciana  — my favorite, with guanciale, tomatoes and pecorino

Dessert

IMG_5617 2 Figs — New Jersey grown by a friend.

IMG_5623 copyDeb’s Homemade Chocolate Cake and Ice cream — One of the best chocolate cakes I have had in years.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Antinori, Barbera, Barbera d'Asti, Chianti Classico, Scarpa, Spinetta

Passum: 2016, 1985 and 1997

Passum from Cascina Castlet is one of my favorite Barberas.  Unfortunately, Cascina Castlet wines were out of the US market for a number of years but they are once again available thanks to Michael Romano of Romano Brands. I was able to get a bottle of the 2016, the current vintage.img_2698CC

Located in Costigliole d’Asti in Piemonte, Cascina Castlet has belonged to the Borio family for generations. In 1970 Mariuccia Borio, the current owner, inherited the estate from her father and she specializes in Barbera.  As I tasted the 2016, I knew that it had been made in the traditional way and that it could age.  I was able to get bottles of the 1979 and the 1985 and I decided to compare all three vintages.

Passum

Passum Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2016 made from 100% Barbera which comes from long established vineyards. The grapes are hand picked in I the middle of October and rushed to the winery for semi-drying in special air conditioned, well-ventilated rooms. The duration of the drying depends on the vintage and varies from year to year. The oenologist frequently inspects the condition of the bunches and the sugar content of the grapes. The stalkless grapes are pressed and fermented in contact with the skins in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The addition of selected yeasts along with frequent remontages causes regular alcoholic fermentation over the course of 15 to 18 days. The wine is then racked and kept in ideal conditions for the completion of malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in French oak barriques and medium sized conventional vats for about a year and another 6 months or more in bottle before release. This is a complex full-bodied wine with hints of plum, red fruit jam, and a hint of vanilla. This is a wine that will age.

IMG_4881We had this with rack of lamb.

IMG_5021Passum 1985 had the same profile as the 2016. But the flavors and aromas were more developed and a little more prune-like. I had not had the 1985 in a number of years and was very happy to see that it was holding up so well.

With the 1985 we had

IMG_5014Pork spare ribs on the plate

IMG_5016In the dish

The wine was the perfect combination with the ribs

IMG_5018 2Passum 1979  This was the first time I tasted the 1979 and it had a different label. I tried two bottles. The first bottle was showing its age but was still very drinkable and we had it with pizza. The second bottle was not showing as well.

IMG_4846 2 We had pizza with the wine and it worked very well.

It is very interesting for me to taste the same wine from 3 different vintages.  I found them to be alive and very enjoyable.  It proves that Barbera is a wine that can age.

3 Comments

Filed under Barbera, Cascina Castlet

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.

IMG_4696

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.

2 Comments

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

The Night of the Comic Opera

Many years ago I saw the film, “A Room with a View.”  It was set in Florence and it is like a love song to that magical city.  Not only was the movie filmed beautifully, but it also featured beautiful music.  I believe it was the first time that I heard the incomparable aria, “O Mio Babbino Caro” from the opera Gianni Schicchi, written by Giacomo Puccini. I was completely captivated by it.

With that in mind, we invited friends to our apartment to view a video of Gianni Schicchi followed by a late lunch.

We started with some nibbles as the opera began.  The opera tells the story of Gianni Schicchi, the craftiest man in Florence.

Olives, sausages and tarulli

We had pepper wedges filled with anchovies, breadcrumbs and olives, a recipe from Michele’s book The Antipasto Table.

Peppers on the plate

Also crostini mushrooms and melted Fontina cheese.

The bread was from Mark’s Off Madison.

Barbera D’Asti 2000 Vigna del Noce Az. Agricola Trincero 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 winery is strictly organic. The wine is aged for 7 years in large chestnut barrels. This is a traditional, classic Barbera. it 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 10 years or more.

Michele made Pasta ‘Ncasciata, a Sicilian recipe made with a meat sauce, caciocavallo cheese, ham, and peas baked together.  Here it is ready for the oven.  It baked while Gianni Schicchi schemed and connived to make his fortune.

After the opera, the pasta was ready to be served

Barolo Riserva 1997 Monprivato –Cà d’Morissio Giuseppe Mascarello E Figlio made from 100% Nebbiolo. The Monprivato vineyard is about 15 acres on a southwest-facing slope in Castiglione Falletto. Cà d’Morissio is made from grapes from a special two-acre plot of the Michet subvariety of Nebbiolo. The chalky and gray marl soil is perfect for growing Nebbiolo. Harvest takes place towards the middle of October. Traditional style fermentation takes place with floating cap for 25 days. The wine ages in medium sized Slavonian oak barrels for around 40 months. The wine is bottled after 6 years following the vintage. This is classic Barolo just beginning to drink with hints of cherry, tar, tobacco, licorice and a note of smoke.

A friend had sent us a special pannetone in a magnificent metal box.

The Panettone was flavored with grappa and chocolate chips.  We served it with ice cream for dessert.

2 Comments

Filed under Barbera, Barolo, G. Mascarello, Trinchero

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

IMG_3712

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.

2 Comments

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

The Welcome Return of Cascina Castlet

 

Cascina Castlet, located in Costigliole d’Asti in Piemonte, has belonged to the Borio family for generations. In 1970 Mariuccia Borio inherited the estate from her father.  I have  been  drinking  wines  from  Cascina  Castlet ever since I  met  Mariuccia at  Vinitaly  about  20 years ago.  They  were  out  of  the  US  market  for  a few  years  and  I am  very  happy  to  know  that  they  are  now  available  once  again  thanks  to  Artisan Selections by  Romano.Brands.

The grapes for Cascina Castlet are grown on 31 hectares of vineyards in Costigliole. The vineyards are at 300 meters and each one has its own name.

Mocsato d’Asti DOCG sparkling (frizzante)  2019 wine made from 100% Moscato d’Asti. The vineyards are on well-exposed hillsides and there are about 5,000 vines per hectare. The grapes are picked by hand the first two weeks of September when they have acquired a yellow, old gold color and are ripe and juicy. Selected grapes are sent directly to the winery were they are soft pressed. The must is then cooled and filtered. The foaming is the result of a natural fermentation in an autoclave and an isobaric filler is used for bottling. This is a wine that should be drunk very young. The alcohol content is only 5.5%. The wine has a flowery and fruity bouquet with hints of apricot, peach a touch of orange blossoms and a note of honeysuckle.  This is a wine that can be served as a operative, or dessert wine. $35

Barbera d’Asti “Vespa” 2019 made from 100% Barbera d’Asti The vineyards are at 300 meters and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. The soil composition is clay and limestone. Pruning and harvesting (the first two weeks of October) are done manually. The must is left in contact with the skin at controlled temperatures for 6 to 8 days. There is frequent remontages and racking is followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is bottled and released after a few months. It is a fresh fruity Barbera with aromas and flavors of cherry and blueberry with good acidity. Because of the good acidity Barbera is a wine that can go with many different foods. $35.

There is a picture of 4 young girls on a Vespa taken in the 1950’s.  I was told one of them was Mariuccia but I cannot remember which one.

Litina Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2016 made from 100% Barbera grapes from hillside vineyards, which are more than 30 ears old. There are about 5,000 vines per hectare. Grapes are hand picked the first weeks of October. At the winery the must is fermented in contact with the skins at a controlled temperature for about 10 days. This is followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in medium sized oak casks for about 8 months and then in bottle for more than one year. The wine is released the second year after the harvest. The wine has hints of woodland fruits a hint of spice and a note of vanilla. $40

This is the only wine with the trademark on the label- the 3 C’s that stand for Cascina Castlet Costigliole.

Polocalpo Monferrato Rosso 2016  Policalpo is the name of a vineyard whose 60% Barbera and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes make this wine. The are about 5,400 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand the first weeks of October. The must is in contact with the skins at a controlled temperature for at least 15 days. Both varieties are fermented together. The wine is racked and malolactic fermentation is in French oak barriques. The wine is aged in barriques for 12 months and in bottle for at least 6 months. It is released the second year after the harvest. This is a complex wine wine with hints of tobacco, licorice, prune, a hint of vanilla, a touch of spice and a pleasant vegetal undertone typical of Cabernet. $48

Passum Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2016 made from 100% Barbera which comes from long established vineyards. The grapes are hand picked the middle of October and rushed to the winery for semi-drying in special are-conditioned, well-ventilated rooms. The duration of the drying depends on the vintage and therefore varies from year to year. The oenologist frequently inspects the condition of the bunches and the sugar content of the grapes. The stalkless grapes are pressed and fermented in contact with the skins in temperature contolled stainless steel tanks. The addition of selected yeasts along with frequent remontages causes regular alcoholic fermentation over the course of 15 to 18 days. The wine is then racked and kept in ideal conditions for the completion of malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in French oak barriques and medium sized conventional vats for about a year and another 6 months or more in bottle before release. This is a complex full bodied wine with hints of plum, red fruit jam, and a hint of vanilla. This is a wine that will age. $65

Uceline Monferrato Rosso 2013  Made from 100% Uvalino. Harvesting is carried out towards the end of October when the grapes reach a perfect ripeness. The bunches are hand picked and carefully selected and then go into a well ventilated, temperature room called a “fruit house.” Here they stay for over a month and become slightly over ripe and begin to wither. The must from the pressing is partially destemmed and undergoes fermentation and lasts for 20 days. Frequent stirrings causes the total dissolution of the anthocyans and the various phenolic components that for this wine play a very important role. Malolactic fermentation and aging take place in 5HL oak barrels.

The bottles rest for about a year before they are released. This is a full-bodied complex aromatic wine with hints of black fruit, prunes, blueberries and sweet spices.  It is tannic with good acidity and has a certain rustic quality. It is a wine that can age. $65

Wine made from the Uvalino grape is the rarest of wines, a luxurious wine to impress which was given to give to the priest or the doctor or any one of importance or to be drunk on special occasions. Having this single-grape raisin wine in the house was a sign of wealth. The birds, ucelli, depicted on the bottle give the wine its name because they liked to eat the grapes because they were so sweet.

The Uvalino grape was save from extinction by Mariuccia Borio. This is the first time I have had wine made from this grape and it was an experience.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Barbera, Cascina Castlet, Moscato d'Asti

Best Pizza Since Naples

A friend raved about the homemade pizza made in his backyard pizza oven,  claiming  that  it  was  as  good  as  I could  find  in  many  pizzerias.  I was skeptical, but I said, bring it on.  I would love to try it.

Our friend’s daughter-in-law made the dough and wrapped it neatly in individual pizza size portions.  She told me that she made it with Italian 00 flour which gives a tender crust.  

The pizza oven is something called a Roccbox.  It uses propane gas and gets up to a temperature of 900 degrees F.

Our friend’s son Jason made the pizzas.  We started with focaccia,  topped with sliced fresh garlic and fresh thyme.

Dough ready for the topping

Homemade tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella on top ready to bake.

Pizza in the oven.  The oven is so hot that the pizzas cooked in just a minute or two.

The baked Margherita with a few leaves of fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.  Pizza this good deserves a good wine.

Barbera d’Alba 2015 Pre-Phylloxera DOC Cogno made from 100% Barbra Vitis Vinifera. The vineyard is 0,25 hectares at 520 meters. There are 4,500 plants per hectare.The sandy chalky terrain is a natural protection from philoxera. The training system is vertically trellised with guyot pruning. Harvest takes place the beginning of October. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with automatic pumping over. The wine is aged for 12 months in large Slavonian oak barrels and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a wine with hints of raspberry, strawberry and a note of ripe cherry with a touch of prune and spice. This is a big wine for a Barbera and it will age.

The next pizza was topped with garlic sauteed escarole, Italian pork sausage and mozzarella.  

The finished pizza was a masterpiece.

Barbaresco 1979 Produttori del Barbaresco made from 100% Nebbiolo from various vineyards in the DOCG zone. The soil is limestone and clay, rich in calcium with sandy veins. Vinification in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. There is 30 days of skin contact and pumping over 2 to 3 times a day. The wine is aged for two years i large oak barrels. The wine has hints of black raspberries, cherries, leather, tea and a hint of spice. It was showing very well. Produttori del Barbaresco is a wine cooperative, arguably the best in Italy.

White pizza with anchovies satisfied my craving for anchovies.

Margherita topped with prosciutto and arugula.  The prosciutto and arugula are added after the pie is baked and removed from the oven.  The heat of the pizza wilts them.  Outstanding!

Sausage  and  mozzarella  pizza.  All of  the  pizzas  were  excellent.  Rather  than exaggerating  how  good  they  were,  our  friend  had  understated  them   It  was  like  being  in Naples

Barolo 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.

Dessert was a blueberry pound cake with ice cream and locally grown black raspberries.

2 Comments

Filed under Barbara, Barbaresco, Barbera, Barolo, Borgogno, Cogno, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Produttori del Barbaresco

At Home with Michele and Charles

Just like everyone else, Michele and I are trying to make the best of being confined to home, which in our case is a small apartment.  For us that means we are doing a lot of reading, tv watching, household projects and of course, eating and drinking.  Luckily, we had done a big shopping trip when we returned home from Italy and stocked up on some of our favorite Italian ingredients.  I keep a supply of wines on hand, so whatever Michele decides to cook, or is able to cook with what she finds in the pantry or refrigerator, I can match a wine to it.  With a good supply of pasta on hand, there is always something good to look forward to.

 

One day it was one of Michele’s childhood favorites.  Broken spaghetti with peas, eggs and cheese.  She uses frozen peas for this dish, and they are perfectly delicious, sweet and fresh tasting.

 

 

Beneventano Falaghina ‘”Resilienza “2018 Donna Chiara made from 100% Falanghina  The soil is chalky and the training system is guyot. Harvest is the first two weeks of October. There is a soft  pressing of the grapes and then they are cooled  50 degrees F for 4 to 5 hours. This is followed a with static decantations.  Fermentation is at 57 to 60 degrees F in steel tanks for 15 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine has floral notes with hints of citrus fruit, pear and apricot with good acidity and a long finish. I am always impressed by the Falaghina from Donna Chiara.

 

 

Another day, she tried a recipe from one of Marcella Hazan’s books.  It was spaghetti with bacon and zucchini.  It doesn’t look that interesting in the photos, but we liked it.

 

 

I was craving tomato sauce, so Michele made a simple one with olive oil, garlic, canned Italian tomatoes, and some basil that she had in the freezer.  It will have to do until we can get some fresh basil or plant some when the weather is better.

 

The only time we have pasta leftover is when Michele makes a double batch so that she can fry it the next day.  She mixes the cold pasta — any kind will do — with eggs and grated cheese and fries it in a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet until crispy and browned.  This was made with the remains of the spaghetti with zucchini and bacon.

 

 

 

Here we have spaghetti once again, with broccoli cooked until very soft with garlic olive oil and hot pepper.  Mashed with a little of the pasta water, it  makes  a kind  of  pesto  to  toss  with  the  pasta.

Soave Superiore DOCG “Monte San Pietro”  Sandro De Bruno made from 100% Garganega from the hills around Roncà, at 330 meters. The soil is volcanic, there are 4,000 vines per hectare, the training system is Pergoletta Veronese and the exposure is south. Fermentation is in big oak barrels of 30hl. This is a well-structured, complex wine with hints of tropical fruit,  citrus fruit white pepper and a floral note with a very pleasing after taste and a long finish. A great Soave.

 

This spaghetti was tossed with fresh scallops, garlic, parsley and hot pepper.  She finished it with some toasted breadcrumbs.

Barbera d’Alba” Bricco di Merli” 2001 Cogno  made from 100% Barbara from a 1.8 hectare vineyard at 300 meters, There are 4,500 plants per hectare and the training system is vertical trellised with guyot pruning. Vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with automatic pumping over. The wine is aged for six months in large Slavonian casks and  6 months in bottle before release. This is the fourth bottle of this wine I have had and it is showing very well for a wine 19 years old. Barbara can age. It has hints of dried prunes and cherries with a hint of spice.

 

Fresh fettuccine is the preferred pasta for a slow simmered Ragu Bolognese, made with pork, beef and a variety of vegetables.  But  we  had  it  with  dried penne rigati.

Montefalco Rosso 2016 Bocale made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sangiovese, 10 % Merlot and 5% Colorino.  Harvest is by hand the last days of September and the first days of October.  Vinification is with natural enzymes and there is no stabilization or filtration. The wine is aged in barrels and barriques for 12 months. The  wine has hints of violets and cherry with spicy notes

One day, a homemade pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella was a nice break from pasta.  It was even good reheated the next day.

 

A bunch of fresh asparagus was the inspiration for this creamy risotto.

 

Michele fried the remainder into cakes the next day, similar to the fried spaghetti I mentioned previously.

With so much bad news, good meals are a joy and a comfort.  We hope you are eating and drinking well too.

 

8 Comments

Filed under Barbara, Barbera, Bocale, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Michele and Charles, Montefalco Rosso, Uncategorized

Chateau Latour 1942 with Lunch

Michele and are going to Italy in November with friends and we invited them for lunch so we could make our plans. They knew my birthday was later in the week so they surprised me by bringing a Grand Vin Chateau La Tour 1942.

Michele made one of my favorite appetizers, which I always order when I am in Rome: deep fried zucchini flowers filled with mozzarella and anchovies.

I went to the Union Square Greenmarket early in the morning to make sure that they would have them and I bought an extra boxful just in case.

With the zucchini flowers we had Champagne:

J.L. Vergnon Grand Cru Blanc De Blancs Brute NV made from 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay from plots in le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize. There is 20% reserve wine aged for 3 months in oak barrels and 80% of the single year in steel tanks. The Champagne ages for 3 years in the cellars before disgorging. Dosage Brut 5g/L. The bubbles filed the glass of the fresh, complex and classic Champagne with hints of pear grapefruit and a touch of biscuit.

Louis Roederer Blanc De Blancs Brut 1997 made from 100% Chardonnay grown in calcareous soil in the heart of the Cote des Blancs in the Grand Crus of Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize. The wine is matured on the lees for five years and left for a minimum of 6 months after disgorging to obtain perfect maturity. The Champagne has notes of white fruit and dried fruit with a creamy undertone and a touch of honeysuckle. For a wine over 20 years old it had a continuous train of bubbles and was very complex and elegant.

The main course was steak,

with green beans flavored with anchovies and pecorino,

a fresh, creamy corn pudding

and an heirloom tomato salad which we had with the red wine.

Grand Vin Chateau Latour 1942. Made from mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Merlot. Its color and flavors made it seem like a much younger wine. It was perfect with the steak.

Barbera d’Alba 1978 Poderi Aldo Conterno “Conca Tre Pile” DOC Made from 100% Barbera from the Conca Tre Pile Vineyard in Bussia (Monforte d’Alba). Hand harvest the first week of October. There is skin contact inside stainless steel vats. The must stays in contact with the skins for about 8 to 10 days. The wine remains in stainless steel vats for a few months and then is put into oak casks where it remains for another few months. The wine was showing a little age but it still had hints of red fruit and a touch of hazelnuts.

With the cheese we had:

Recioto Valpolicella Valpantena Vino Spumante Naturale 1978 Bertaini made from Corvina and Rondinella and the grapes selected are those which have the most exposure to the sun. The grapes are dried for 3 months on bamboo racks. The wine is aged in cherry wood. This is a dense and velvety sparkling but not cloying wine which leaves the palate clean. It has concentrated cherry aromas and flavors. On the palate it has an aftertaste of walnuts. I do not believe Bertani makes this Spumante version any more.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Barbera, Birthday 20019, Champagne, Gran Vin Chateau Latour 1942, Louis Roederer Brut, Recioto

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

 

 

Leave a comment

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