Category Archives: Barolo

ForteMasso Barolo

Annalisa  Chiavazza is the marketing and communications manager for Agricole Gussalli Beretta Group and sent me samples of Barolo to taste from Fortemasso, a winery based in Montforte d’Alba, Piedmont, which is a part of the Beretta Group. Annalisa had also sent me samples from Castello di Radda which wrote about in a blog. Castellodi Radda:Chianti Classico at its Best 

I do not know the Barolo of Fortemasso but I really like the wines of Castello di Radda and since they both belong to the Beretta Group I was happy to try them and was very glad that I did.

The Fortemasso winery was founded in 2012, They have 5 hectares (single plot) in Monforte D’Alba (MGA-Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva) Castelletto) for the production of Barolo Castelletto Barolo and Barolo Castelletto Reserve. The most central area of the MGA is called Pressenda (currently undergoing replanting) and is traditionally considered the location of the best quality, of a cru within a cru. It is one hectare and the other 4 hectare surround it. 

IMG_5561Barolo DOCG Fortemasso made from 100% Nebbiolo from the Castelletto vineyard at 360 to 450 meters. The exposure is south-east and the soil is Diano sandstone, made up of sand, silt and clay. The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 vines per hectare. Harvest is manual. The freshly picked grapes are crushed and destemmed before fermenting in temperature-controlled stainless steel wine vats. Once alcoholic fermentation has begun, daily pumping over is carried out to facilitate the extraction of the color and primary aromas of the grapes from the skins. Fermentation lasts between eight and ten days and is followed by submerged cap maceration. This step, in addition to prolonging the period of extraction from the skins which began immediately after crushing the grapes, facilitates the stabilization of the color of the future wine. During maceration, which lasts an average of twenty-five to thirty days, malolactic fermentation also takes place. Aging in wood begins in December and lasts an average of thirty months. The wine spends eight – ten months of further aging in the bottle before being released. The wine has hints of violets, cherry licorice, tea spice and a touch of tar.

IMG_5557Barolo DOCG “Castelletto” Riserva Fortemasso made from 100% Nebbiolo. Thanks to their perfect position, the grapes are left to ripen until the sugar concentration and phenolic maturity are just right. This makes it possible to bring out all the organoleptic characteristics of the grape during vinification and lays the foundation for the prolonged longevity of the future Barolo Reserve. After crushing and destemming, the must ferments in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, where daily pumping over is carried out to gently extract the aromas and color from the skins. Using the submerged cap technique, the maceration phase begins.  The aim is to optimize extraction and stabilize the color of the wine. This phase lasts an average of 30 – 45 days, during which malolactic fermentation also takes place. Upon completion, aging in wood begins, lasting an average of forty months. This is followed by bottling and subsequent bottle aging for twenty-two months. The wine has hints of violets, tobacco, cedar, licorice and a touch of cinnamon. This is a very impressive Barolo.

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Celebrating the 4th of July

While hot dogs and hamburgers are traditional for some on the Fourth of July, our celebration this year had an Italian accent.  

IMG_5223We spent the day with friends in New Jersey, enjoying the great weather in the beautiful garden.

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Champagne  Oiry Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra-Brut NV Suenen made from 100% Chardonnay from a 1.5 hectare plot in the Grand Cru village of Cramant. The soil is chalky. The clear wine is fermented partially in barrel with 9 months on the lees and the dosage is 2g/l. It is delicate and dry with hints of lemon, quinine, floral notes and a trace of minerals.

4CFE7DD7-F460-4B6E-9E80-387258637302_1_105_cChampagne Brut Grand Cru Millésime Brut 2005 Egly-Ouriet made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay  from the oldest Grand Cru vines in Ambonnay. Fermentation and aging is in barrels.  Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine was disgorged after 54 months in January 2014. Dosage of 3/gl. This is a complex elegant and balanced  Champagne and I was very impressed by it. 

ECAD668B-42A0-4449-BB37-E111DDCB2DA1_1_105_cThe menu was eclectic.  With the Champagne we had Michele’s smoked whitefish pate which she served with both pita chips and potato chips.

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Aglianico Riserve 1998 “Cappellaccio” Rivera made from 100% Aglianico grown on the limestone hills of the DOC Castel del Monte, Puglia. Harvest takes place in Mid-October. Maceration lasts for 12 to 14 days with pumpover and delestage. The wine is aged in French oak barriques-50% and 30hl French oak barrels-50%. Then 12 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of red berries, leather, tobacco and spice. It was showing very well.

Next we had several pizzas, beginning with a simple Marinara with an oregano-spiked tomato sauce.

6B0C8BD0-5870-4BBB-979F-E765CE74D72F_1_105_cMarinara

5536D28A-7AD0-4082-97AA-CEDCC84C82CF_1_105_cA Margarita topped with prosciutto, arugula, and flakes of Parmigano-Reggiano was next.

298D7356-3619-4521-B148-1EF28FDF9A8D_1_105_cA second Margarita with sausages followed.

E9078740-9687-4CA8-B8B1-D07DE575CA18_1_105_cOur final pizza was topped with mozzarella, sausages and peppers.

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Barbaresco 1978 Produttori del Barbaresco made from 100% 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 in large oak barrels. It has hints of black raspberries, cherries, leather, tea and a hint of spice.

 Produttori del Barbaresco is a wine cooperative, arguably the best in Italy. The wine was still drinkable but was showing its age. It has hints of wet leaves, tobacco, balsamic notes and a touch of spice.

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Barolo 1978 Grand Riserva Marchesi di Barolo made from vineyards located in the municipality of Barolo: Cannubi, Sarmassa, Coste di Rose, Castellero, Boschetti, Preda and Ravera. The soil contains substantial amounts of quartz sand and the training system is guyot. Hand harvested grapes. The wine was fermented and aged in large Slovenian oak barrels. This is traditional Barolo with hints of tar, licorice, leather balsamic notes. It was drinking very well.

IMG_5378A big bowl of sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and anchovies accompanied our main course.

5B3CB028-527D-4EE9-8336-874423D73549_1_105_cWith the Barolo we had roasted sweet and hot pork sausages and chicken sausages with peppers, onions and potatoes. 

IMG_5394For dessert, Michele made a mixed berry crisp which we ate with vanilla ice cream.

There were also homemade chocolate chip cookies but we ate them before I could take a picture!

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Filed under Barbaresco, Barolo, Egly-Ouriet Champagne, Maechesi di Barolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, Rivera, Suenen Chanpagne

Tasting Wine with Giuseppe Luisi

Last month I went to a Brunello event called “Finally Brunello” which featured 60 Brunellos from the 2016 vintage and a few reserves from the 2015 vintage.

One Brunello that I really liked at the tasting was the 2016 La Mannella from Cortonesi.  Giuseppe Luisi, the sales representative for the wine was there and we had a conversation. It turns out that I know his father very well because he represented many wines from Italy which I liked.  Giuseppe invited me and Michele to lunch to taste some of the wines he represents.  Giuseppe works for Quintessential: Importers/ Distributors.  Unfortunately, his father Franco could not make it as he left for Italy a few days before.

IMG_5103 2Langhe Arneis “UCAOS” 2019 Luca Bosio made from 100% Arneis The vineyards are located in the village of Canale at 200 to 400 meters. The average age of the vines is 20 years and their exposure is southwest. The soil is sandy and there are about 5,000 vines per hectare. After the harvest the must spends 24 hours at a low temperature with skin contact. The grapes are then pressed and fermentation takes place in temperature controlled steel tanks. The wine then remains on the lees for 5 months and 3 months in bottle before release. This is an aromatic wine with hints of peach, apricot and green apple with floral notes and a refreshing finish.

IMG_5102Barolo 2015 DOCG Luca Bosio made from 100% Nebbiolo. The cultivation area is Verduno and the vineyards are at 300/400 ft. The soil is clayey-calcareous and the training system is guyot. The average age of the vines is 50 years and the exposure is south and southwest. Skin maceration takes place over 15 days. The wine spends 36 months in Slavonian oak casks and then 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of red fruit, licorice, and spice with notes of violets and roses. This was a very approachable Barolo and would be a good restaurant Barolo and would be a good restaurant wine.

IMG_5247Rosso di Montalcino 2018 Contonesi “ La Mannella” made from 100% Sangiovese. The La Mannella vineyards are located on the North and Southern sides of the town of Monalcino. This wine is produced from younger, grapes planted in a single vineyard, so it can be enjoyed be enjoyed after a few years. The soil is rocky clay and the trellis system is spurred cordon. There is a hand selection of the grapes and traditional vinification takes place. Fermentation occurs with maceration for 20 days is stainless steel vats. The wine is age for 10 months in 30HL large Slovenian casks. This wine could be drunk now but will last for at least another 8/9 years. The wine has hints of cherry and strawberry with a note of violets and a touch of spice.

IMG_5248Brunello di Montalcino “La Mannella” 2015 Cortonesi made from 100% Sangiovese from the La Manella vineyards. The soil on the south side is sandy and rocky and the soil on the north side is clay with sand with good drainage. The training system is spurred cordon. There is a careful selection of the grapes and fermentation with maceration for 25 days in stainless steel tanks and Slavonian oak vats. The wine spends 36 months is large Slavonian oak casks. There are hints of red berries. blackberries spice, leather and a touch of cedar.

IMG_5249Brunello di Montalcino 2015 Riserva “La Manella” Cortonesi made from 100% Sangiovese. Only made in the best vintages and the best selection of grapes from the La Mannella vineyards. The soil is sandy and rocky with excellent exposure to the sun. The training system is spurred cordon. There is a careful selection of the hand picked grapes. Fermentation occurs with 25 days maceration in Slovenian oak vats. The wine is aged from 48 months in large Slovenian oak casks before release. The wine has hints of red fruit, blackberries, spice, leather, a touch of cedar and a note of almonds.

IMG_3338BrunelloBrunello di Montalcino 2016 La Mannella Cortonesi made from 100% Sangiovese from vineyards north and southeast of Montalcino. The soil is clay and sandstone. The training system is spurred cordon. The wine is aged for about 36 months in 30 HL Slavonian oak barrels and 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has intense aromas of red fruit with hints of blackberry, leather, cedar and a touch of bitter almond. It has a long lingering finish. I was very impressed by this Brunello.

Cortonesi is a very traditional winery and their wines will age well for many years. It was interesting to taste the 2015, 2015 Reserva and the 2016 Brunello from the same winery. The profile for the wines are basically the same. For me all three wines needed many more years and I would  be happy to drink all 3 at a later date and in the meantime drink their excellent Rosso.

2015 was a exceptional vintage in Brunello and was awarded 5 stars, the highest rating from the Consorzio. But many wine writers, like Kerin O’Keefe, believe 2016 was a better vintage. For me they are both great vintages.

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Filed under Arneis, Barolo, Brunello, Cortonesi

Pizza: Tradition and Innovation

All through last winter and spring we rarely ventured out of the house.  The one food we missed the most was Neapolitan-style pizza fresh from a smoking hot oven with a crisp and blistered crust while the center remains soft.  So when our friend Ernie suggested we come to his home for pizza made in a Roccbox pizza oven, we were happy to oblige.


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The Roccbox oven is very small and portable and bakes one pizza at a time. It uses propane gas and reaches a temperature of 900 degrees, so hot that the pizzas can cook in just a minute or two.  Ernie’s son Jason and his wife Deborah were the pizzaioli that day and their pies were excellent.

Last Sunday, Jason invited us to his house for an afternoon of pizza and wine.  With fond memories of the summer’s pizza party in mind, we accepted.  He uses the same type of pizza oven.

IMG_4860We started with Roses de Jeanne Champagne–100% Pinot Noir from the 1.5-hectare lieu-dit of Val Vilaine. The production is very limited. Cedric Bouchard. This is a single-vineyard, single varietal, and single-vintage, zero dosage Champagne, organic farming, low yields and harvesting at the right moment. Only free run juice is used and fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. There is no filtering, fining or cold stabilization. The wines are bottled with no dosage under less pressure. This is full-bodied Champagne with hints of fruit, spice, lively acidity a touch of pear, a note of dried flowers and a long and lingering finish.

IMG_4833Deborah made the pizza dough according to her special recipe

IMG_4845Bramaterra 1979 made from 70% Nebbiolo, 20% Croatina and 10% Vespolina. Tenuta Agricola Sella. The production area is in Northern Piedmont. The vines are 48 years old, the exposure is Southwest, the vineyard is at 300 to 350 meters the training system is guyot and the soil is volcanic in origin and reddish brown in color. Harvest takes place between September 22 and October 12. After the grapes are crushed, fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with pumping over and delestage. There is 30 days maceration for the Nebbiolo and 16 for the Croatina. The wine is aged in 10 hl Slavonian oak casks for 28 months. There were hints of faded roses, leather, blackberries and a hint of spice.

IMG_4834Foccacia — We started with a white pizza sprinkled with sliced garlic and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  It was delicious plain, and possibly even better with thin slices of mortadella or prosciutto on top.

IMG_4835Pizza Margarita — The classic pie and just perfect

IMG_4837Pizza with Pistacchios — After a couple of traditional pizzas, we moved on to some innovative ones, including this one topped with chopped pistachios, shallots and herbs.

IMG_4841Pizza with pastrami, sauteed shallots and cheese.  It reminded me of an Alsatian Tarte Flambe’.  Some guests added a dab of mustard, but I liked it without.

IMG_4840Chateaneuf-du-Pape 1995 Domaine Du Pegau made from 80% Grenache, 6% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre and 10% other varieties. The soil is mostly covered with pebbles, clay and limestone mixture tends to iron and sand. There is a manual harvest with no destemming. Natural yeast causes spontaneous fermentation which takes place in concrete tanks. maceration is for 12 days in 50hl old oak casks for 2 years. This is a big complex wine with black ripe fruit,  hints of cherries and plums, black pepper, leather and a touch of meat. It was the wine of the afternoon and will last for many more years.

IMG_4850 2Pizza with salmon.  Lightly smoked salmon topped this pie, one of our favorites of the day.

IMG_4846Pizza with sausage and mozzarella — always a crowd pleaser.

IMG_4853Pizza Margarita with bufala mozzarella.  Instead of cow’s milk mozzarella, this Margarita was made with bufala cheese.

IMG_4843Barolo Riserva 1964 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_4856Banana Cream Pie by Deborah.  For dessert, we moved on to another type of pie altogether, an all-American Banana Cream Pie with a graham cracker crust and fresh whipped cream topping.

IMG_4859The pie did not cooperate when cut, so we ate it from bowls with a spoon.  Is deconstructed Banana Cream Pie going to be the next big thing?  I highly recommend it!

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Filed under Barolo, Borgogno, Bramaterra,, Chateaneuf du Pape, Domaine Du Pegau, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Roses de Jeanne, Sella, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Barbara, Barbera d'Asti, Barolo, Borgogno, Chianti Classico Gran Selectione, Di Gresy, Barnera d'Asti, Felsina. Berardenga

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.

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Filed under Barbera, Barolo, G. Mascarello, Trinchero

Lunch at IL Gattopardo

Michele and I recently got our second vaccine shots.  We waited the recommended couple of weeks until the vaccine reached full effectiveness, then decided to celebrate.  We had not eaten indoors in a restaurant since March 6, of 2020, our last day in Rome.  A friend wanted to join us so I made a reservation at IL Gattopardo for lunch because we knew they would follow all of the safety protocols recommended.  When we arrived, we were pleased to see that all of the tables in the restaurant were well spaced and everyone was wearing a mask.

Two appetizers arrived at the table while we contemplated the menu.

IMG_4417 copyArancini, fried rice balls seasoned with tomato and cheese.

IMG_4419Crostini with anchovies.  Simple but the perfect combination of crispy toast and tasty fish.

We also shared an appetizer of very fresh bufala mozzarella with marinated cherry tomatoes and grilled eggplant

Barolo Riserva 1952 Borgogno 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 coffee, licorice, tar, savory meats and a touch of smoke. It was showing some age but still could last a few more years. Recently I have had the 1947 and the 1989. The 1947 did not show as well as the 1952 and the 1989 while showing better seemed a little old for a great vintage

Three different pastas were next.  Mine was homemade ravioli with a ricotta and veal filling.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of it.

Pasta Genovese with Paccheri — A classic pasta dish from Napoli, made with a meaty onion sauce.

Barbaresco 1978 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 is 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 in 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.

For the main course two of us had  lamb shank braised with red wine, pearl onions and potatoes.

Michele had Codfish “in casseruola” with Gaeta olives, pantelleria capers, cherry tomatoes and roasted organic potatoes.  She declared it delicious.

Three different desserts were the finishing touch.  One was Zabaione al Ramandolo with mixed berries served in a glass.

Next came La Pastiera, the traditional Neapolitan cheesecake made with wheat berries.  It was served with a light Creme Anglaise.

Delizia Limone  — An airy lemon cake with lemon cream filling and frosting.  It is a specialty of the Amalfi Coast.

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Filed under Barolo, Borgogno, Gattopardo

French/Italian Lunch

I was in the mood for pate but because it was a cold and snowy day Michele was in the mood for an Italian stew. So we did a little bit of both.IMG_4360

We started with the pate, which we purchased.  It was made of pork and flavored with figs.

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In the plate, with cornichons and fig mostarda.

 

Barolo Riserva 1989 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 coffee, licorice, tar, savory meats and a touch of smoke. 1989 was a great vintage for Barolo

Friuli Style Beef Stew with dried porcini, served with polenta and green beans.

Fontina Valle d’Aosta Cheese 

Chocolate Chip Biscotti, Ciambellina al Vino Rosso and espresso for dessert

We ended with Vieil Armagnac Jean Cave Distilled in 1983. An elegant aroma of peach syrup, almonds with a touch of pistachio. On the palate structured and complex with notes of licorice and a undertone of smoke.

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Filed under Armagnac, Barolo, Borgogno

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

Neapolitan Sunday Lunch

Jason and Deborah invited us to participate in the Selosse  Champagne Zoom at their home in rural New Jersey.  Michele offered to make dinner to follow the tasting. She discussed it with Ernie, Jason’s dad, and they decided on an Italian menu straight from Michele’s grandma’s kitchen. Pasta with Neapolitan style ragu first and after that the meats cooked in the sauce.

This was also Sunday lunch in my house when I was young but no one drank wine–we were Sicilian. Michele’s father kept a jug beside his place at the table and always enjoyed a glass or two of wine with his meal.  He poured a little in a glass for Michele, too, topped off with a little Pepsi or other soda.

It turned out to be a cool, crisp fall day.  Just the kind of weather for such a meal.

We began with paccheri, large pasta tubes, in a Neapolitan ragu.  Somebody pass me the grated cheese.

Pecorino, of course.Meatballs, pork sausages both sweet and hot, braciole and pork ribs flavored the broth.  

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The wine

Pietro Beconcini “IXE IGT Toscana Tempranillo 2016  The name is the Tuscan pronunciation for the letter X. The letter X stands for unknown vines. In the early 1950’s, 213 vines of unknown species were found in the vineyard which were called X vines. With help from the Ministry of Agriculture these vines were declared to be Tempranillo a few years ago. In June of 2009, Tempranillo was enrolled in the Tuscan register. As far as I know Tempranillo was never cultivated before in Italy.

This wine is made from 99.9% Tempranillo and a touch of Sangiovese. The winery is located in the town of San Miniato. The vineyard is 3.5 hectares and the grapes are all from the new vineyards planted in 1997 using a massal selection from buds taken from the century old vines of Tempranillo from the Vigna alle Nicchie. The training is spurred cordon. Soil is sandstone with marine fossil formation, well integrated with abundant clay. 100/150 meters above sea level and there are 7,000 vines per hectare. Harvest the first 10 days of September. The grapes are dried for 4 weeks and they obtain a total yield of 70%. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled glass lined cement vats and maceration is for 3 weeks. Aging lasts for 14 months in 70% French barriques and 30% American oak barriques of second passage. 6 months in bottle before release. First passage in barriques is for the wine from the grapes of the historical vineyard Vigna alle Nicchie that goes into the wine of the same name. This origin of this grape variety is not known for certain.

Jason tasted the IXE wine blind and guessed the grape, region and the producer. It was very impressive.IMG_3589

Barolo Riserva 1947 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 coffee, licorice, tar, savory meats and a touch of smoke.

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Deb is an excellent baker and she made us this gorgeous pumpkin pie, the first of the season.  It was a real treat.IMG_3591

Jason also makes excellent espresso from his Marzocco.IMG_3590 copy

The coffee

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Filed under Barolo, Borgogno