Category Archives: Barolo- Bartolo Mascarello

Dinner with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow


It is always a pleasure to be invited to dinner at the home of Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow. Tom is a well-known wine writer and both he and Diane have their own blogs. Together they have written a number of books on Italian food.

Tom always starts with something sparkling. This time it was Prosecco Brut “Rustico” NV Nino Franco (Veneto) 100% Glera from the classic production area, hillside vineyards situated at medium altitude. Pressing, destemming, then cooling of the must and fermentation is in steel tanks at controlled temperature. The second fermentation is in cuvee close (autoclave). The wine has nice bubbles, and it is fruity and flowery with a hint of pear.img_1120

It was a perfect combination with open faced smoked salmon sandwiches on dark bread, topped with either pickled ginger. capers and ginger.img_1121

Greco di Tufo 2014 Ag Agr Benito Ferrara (Campania) 100% Greco from a 4.65 hectare vineyard planted in 1940, 1959, 1960 and 2000. The soil is calcareous and clayey, rich in minerals. The exposure is east and it is at 500 meters. The training system is guyot. Grass is left in the aisles between the vines. Harvest takes place the second week of September. There is a soft pressing of the clusters in stainless steel vats with temperature control. The wine matures in steel vats for 7 months and remains in the bottle for 1 /2 months before release.

Tom had visited the winery when he was in Campania. He said that the Greco vineyards are next to abandoned sulfur mines and sulfur rocks can be found in the vineyard. This gives the wine its mineral notes.

Tom was very enthusiastic about the wine and I had to agree with him. It is wonderful expression of Greco, rich, and balanced with hints of white fruit, white flowers, bitter almonds and nice minerality. It had a very long finish and a very pleasing after taste.img_1122

With the wine, Diane served crispy mozzarella in carrozza with a creamy anchovy sauce.img_1123

Chianti Classico 1998 Castello de Fonterutoli (Tuscany)  Made from 100% Sangiovese, from grapes grown in vineyards with extremely different characteristics. The vineyard Fonterutoli is at 450 meters with a west- southwest exposure, Badiola is at 450 meters with a west-southwest exposure and Belvedere is at 300 meters with southeastern-southwestern exposure. The training system is freestanding spur. Fermentation is at a controlled temperature and maceration for 16 days. The wine was bottled at the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000. This wine was showing no signs of age. It is a concentrated wine with red berry aromas and flavors and with hints of blackberries and blueberries.img_1124

In honor of the earthquake victims in Italy, Diane made pasta all’Amatriciana.img_1130

Barolo 1998 Bartolo Mascarello (Piedmont) 100% Nebbiolo. The vineyards, in the commune of Barolo, are San Lorenzo, Rue, and Canubbi. In La Morra commune, Rocche di Annunziata. The average age of the vineyards is 25 years, ranging from 60/70 years in San Lorenzo to newly replanted plots in Cannubi. Chemical pesticides or fertilizers are not used.

The four-vineyard production is co-fermented in 3 to 4 large concrete tanks. The tanks do not have an internal temperature control system but fermentation temperatures are monitored daily and the must is cooled with a cold water heat exchange if it exceeds 31C. The grapes are mixed together when they arrive at the cantina. They do not make a single-vineyard “cru’ Barolo. Fermentation occurs from indigenous yeast but yeast will be added if necessary. Pumping over twice a day. Fermentation lastsfor 15 to18 days, and then the wine is left to macerate on the skins (submerged cap) for a few additional weeks. Maceration and fermentation together last for 30 to 50 days depending on the vintage. A gentle hydraulic basket press is used.

The wine is stored in large casks (botti) of Slavonian oak for about 30 months in a natural aging cellar. The botti range in size from 25 to 50 HL and average 10 to 12 years of age. The wine is racked once each year, then bottled in late July three years after the vintage. Malolactic fermentation is not forced and occurs in the bottle. The bottles are held for an additional year until the following September when the wine is released in the fourth year of the vintage. This is traditional classic Barolo at its best and a pleasure to drink!img_1125

With the Barolo we had a tender lamb stewimg_1126

served with giambotta, a slow cooked melange of seasonal vegetables.img_1132

We finished the Barolo with a selection of Italian cheeses.img_1129

Lastly, there were amaretti stuffed peaches and grappa.img_1134

Another wonderful evening at Casa Maresca Darrow!















Filed under Barolo- Bartolo Mascarello, Benito Ferrara winery, Castello Fonterutoli, Grappa, Greco di Tufo, Nino Franco, Prosecco, Rustico, Uncategorized

Dinner with Steven


Though I often have the opportunity to enjoy great meals, it is not often that I have the chance to sample the cooking of a talented young man like Steven De Salvo. Steven is the grandson of our friends Ernie and Louise De Salvo. This dinner was at the home of their son Jason and his wife Deborah.


Steven preparing the food with his helpers

Steven has always been interested in food and is studying it in college. He works part time at one of New Jersey’s best restaurants. Steven planned and prepared the meal, paired with wines supplied by his father, Jason, and the dinner guests. The report that follows includes Jason’s wine notes because he has an excellent palate and wine memory.IMG_7203

Our meal began with three different crudos, among them lightly torched bluefin toro with dashi broth and scallions. This was a perfect starter before a meal with so many rich flavors.IMG_7206

Next there was wild mushroom lasagna with spinach, ricotta, and truffle Gouda finished with a healthy shaving of black truffles. I have never had Gouda in lasagna before, but it balanced the other flavors and added savory cheesiness without overwhelming. It was great to see Steven’s creative touch working so well.IMG_7211

For our main course, we had beef Wellington with black truffles and prosciutto. I can’t remember the last time I had beef Wellington, and this was a treat.IMG_7212

The pastry was beautiful and the beef was cooked perfectly.IMG_7190

Taittinger Comtes des Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2000 The grapes come from the Grand Cru vineyards of Cramant, Les Mesnil, Oger, Avize and Oire in the Cotes des Blancs. The unblended wines are aged in stainless steel to retain their pure character. This is followed by 7 years of bottle aging in the cellars before release. This is a rather full-bodied Champagne for a Blanc de Blancs. It is elegant with hints of citrus fruit and a touch of raisins and bread. It is drinking very nicely and went well with the food.


1942 Patriarche Pére & Fils – wine merchants and producers have been in business for 230 years. They are in Beaune and have the largest cellars in Burgundy (5km). This was the oldest wine and it was still drinking very well. I purchased this wine in Paris.  IMG_7201

1967 Remoissenet Chambertin Clos de Beze Recent Release from Domaine.  Light-medium ruby color.  Jason: The nose is gorgeous with red currants, black cherries, minerals, damp earth and a touch of sauvage.  On the palate this is both elegant and powerful with a velvety texture, excellence balance and long finish.IMG_7205

1971 Domaine Louis Remy Latricieres-Chambertin. This was from a recent release. Jason: Light-medium ruby-garnet color.  Flowers, red cherries, Gevrey Earth and baking spices on the nose.  Bears a striking resemblance to the Philippe Remy 1971 Chambertin that we had alongside it.  On the palate this is sweet with a note of iron filings to the taste.  Velvety and medium long finish.IMG_7204

1971 Domaine Philippe Remy Chambertin.  Jason: The nose here is strawberries, earth, baking spices, flowers.  We had this alongside a 1971 Louis Remy Latricieres-Chambertin.  On the palate this is deep, gorgeous, nuanced, velvety and long.  A great bottle of wine. Both Jason and I agree that these last two wines will age for a number of years.


Granbussia Riserva 1974 and Riserva 1989 Aldo Conterno made from Michet and Lampia varieties of Nebbiolo. Harvest is manual with grape selection in the vineyard and the harvest takes place in mid-October. Vinification is in wood with maceration of the skins in large Slavonia oak casks. The must remains in contact with the skin for 60 days, during which alcohol fermentation is fully completed. The wine is then placed in large Slavonia casks for 32 months.IMG_7214

The grapes for the Granbussia Riserva are from the oldest vineyards: Romirasco 70%, Cicala 15% and Colonello 15% depending on the vintage. The wine remains in the cellar for 8 years before release and is only produced in the best vintages.

1974 was not a great year for Barolo and it was given a lot of attention because 1972, 73, 75, 76 and 77 were off vintages. The wine was showing its age and it was well passed its peak. 1974 Jason: Some of the guests really liked this.  Everyone else hated it.  They thought that it was flawed and over the hill.

For me the best two vintages since 1982 have been the 1989 and the 1996. The 1989 is a wine with all the classic Nebbiolo aromas and flavors: cherries, prunes, tar and leather. It is a wine that will last.

Jason: Double Decanted for 4.5 hours.  Medium-deep ruby color.  The nose is white pepper, red cherries, licorice, black truffles, with a distinct “vinyl” omponent.  On the palate this is more closed in on itself than I remember it being.  Maybe this has entered a bit of a dumb stage or maybe it’s a less than perfect bottle?  Finished the last 40% of the bottle two nights later after it was stored in the refrigerator in a 1/2 bottle and it was even better than two days prior.  The flavors have knitted together and become deeper and more profound.  IMG_7210

Cantina Bartolo Mascarello 1982. About 13 years ago Michele and I visited the winery with Alfredo Currardo, a close friend and owner/wine maker of the Vietti winery. Bartolo and Alfredo spoke about wine and Bartolo was teasing Alfredo and told him that he made “industrial wine” because Vietti produces, as Bartolo said, “so many wines”. I only wished I had a movie camera with me at the time to record the conversation between these two legendary wine makers. Both Bartolo and Alfredo are no longer with us but Maria Teresa, Bartolo’s daughter, continues to make wine in the same uncompromising style as her father–traditional, classic Barolo at its best. This is a great wine in a great year and it will age.

Jason: Double decanted for 4 hours.  Stunning wine.  Too tired to take detailed notes at this point, but this was drinking really well right now.  IMG_7208

Hermitage La Chapelle 1980 Jaboulet 100% Syrah is planted in a diversity of terroirs. The age of the vines is 40 to 60 years. The grapes come down from the slopes of l’Hermitage on small sledges and then are sorted manually and vinified traditionally in the cellars. The final assembly is made during aging in our cellars in wood for 15 to 18 months. During this time the wines are also racked. This is a complex and elegant wine with hints of black fruit, spice and leather. It has a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste. It is at its peak and was the wine of the evening. I also purchased this wine in Paris.

Jason: The nose here is gorgeous.  Soaring aromatics with smoked game, beef jerky, camphor, black cherries and bacon fat.  On the palate this is also stunning.  Deep, balanced and hugely nuanced.  I have never before had a Hermitage from 1980, and I must say that this was impressive!  WOW. IMG_7216

Chateau d’ Yquem 1997 (half bottle). Made from 80% Semillion and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Harvesting is by hand and the grapes are picked one at a time over a period of time. There is a gently pressing of the grapes and the wine is aged in oak barrels. 1997 is considered a great vintage. There was no Yquem produced in 2012. This is a complex and balanced wine with hints of dried apricot and a touch of tropical fruit. It was wonderful.

Jason: Medium golden color.  The nose is white flowers, apricots, almonds and marzipan.  On the palate this is balanced, deep and nuanced.

It was served with a peach and almond tart made by Deborah, Steven’s mother.



Filed under Aldo Conterno, Barolo- Bartolo Mascarello, Bartolo Mascarello, Chateau d'Yquem, Domaine Louis Remy Chambertin, Domaine Philippi Remy, French Red, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Jabpulet Hermitage La Chappelle, Patriarche Pere and Files, Remoissenet Burgundy, Tattinger Comtes de Champane, Uncategorized

Another Dinner with Inspector Montalbano

Andrea Camilleri is the author of a series of mysteries featuring Inspector Montalbano. The stories take place  in southeastern Sicily in a town with a made-up name, but it sounds a lot like Agrigento. This is of special interest to me because my father’s family comes from Naro in the Province of Agrigento.

Wine and food writers Diane Darrow and Tom Maresca are also loyal fans of the Inspector Montalbano books, as well as the made-in-Italy television series on the same subject, which is available here on DVD. Like most Sicilians, the fictional Montalbano spends a lot of time thinking, talking about, and of course, eating food. Especially seafood. While in Italy, Diane and Tom Purchased a cookbook, I Segreti della Tavola di Montalbano, The Secrets of Montalbano’s Table, written by Stefania Campo, and recently they invited Michele and I to a dinner at their home featuring some of the recipes. The last time we were invited for a Montalbano-style dinner, Tom paired the courses with Sicilian wines. This time he did not, but his chosen pairings went very well with the food.IMG_8127

Gruet Blanc de Noirs 100% Pinot Noir. This is a sparkling wine (Méthode Champenoise) from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The wine spends a minimum of 24 months on the lees. It is a fruity wine with a creamy texture, hints of strawberries and slightly toasty. At $ 16 a bottle it is a real bargain.IMG_8126

It was well paired with the Sfincione (Sicilian Focaccia) Mentioned in Camilleri’s book, “Excurison to Tindari.”IMG_8133

Piemonte Grignolino DOC 2013 Castello di Neive made ​​from 100% Grignolino. The exposure is east, southeast and the soil is calcareous marl. The average age of the vines is 25 years and the training system Guyot. Manual harvest in small boxes takes place in mid-September. Fermentation lasts for 8/10 days with automatic replacement. Maceration is for 5 days. The wine is aged 3 months is stainless steel and 3 months in bottle before release. This is a fresh fruity wine, with a little more body than most Grignolino. It has hints of cherry and a touch of spice.IMG_8129

This was served with the polipetti di polpo (octopus croquettes) from “The Smell of the Night.” Tom did not want to serve a white wine with this dish but paired it with the Grignolino which was a good choice.IMG_8136

Barolo DOCG 1998 Bartolo Mascarello 100% Nebbiolo This is traditional, classic Barolo at its best. Even though 1998 was not a great year this is a great wine and it will age very nicely for a number of years. This was served with the agnello alla cacciatora (hunters style lamb) from “The Voice of the Violin.”IMG_8140

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG “Campolongo di Torbe “ 1998 Agricola Masi  made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. The Campolongo di Torbe vineyard has southwest exposure and is at 375/400 meters. The soil is deep, red eocenic limestone, with good drainage and stones. Wide terraces are supported by natural stone walls called marogne.IMG_8142

Amarone is made ​​by drying  the grapes. Bunches are dried on bamboo racks in farmhouse lofts in the vineyards, with natural ventilation. By mid-February, the grapes weigh 35-40% less; Corvina is the only variety affected by botrytis (noble rot).  After delicate pressing, the dried grapes are partially destalked, fermented in large Slovenian oak barrels (large barrels), at a very cold temperature until the sugar has completely transformed to alcohol, and Malolactic occurs. Most of the wine is aged in 30 to 40 hl Slovenian barrels; a portion is matured in 600 liter Allier and Slovenian oak casks: new and second, third or fourth passage. The wine remains in bottle for a time before release. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of raisins, cherries, fruits preserved in spirits and spice. It has a very long finish.

We finished the lamb with the Amarone and finished the Amarone with cheese.

For more on the food and recipes, see Diane’s blog


Filed under Amarone, Barolo, Barolo- Bartolo Mascarello, Castello di Neive Grigolino, Gruet Blanc de Noirs, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Uncategorized