Category Archives: Castello delle Regine

Drinking White Wine in Rome and Naples

On my recent trip to Rome, I found that many restaurants have wine lists that are not up to date.  The vintage might be listed incorrectly, or wines might be out of stock.  In one restaurant they did not have the first 3 wines that I ordered from the list and finally I just asked, “What do you have?” In Naples the situation is about the same.  Despite a few disappointments, I always managed to find good alternatives and even a few surprises.

Here are some of the white wines we enjoyed in Rome and Naples.

IMG_7018Frascati Superiore DOCG Bianco 2019 Castel De Paolis (Lazio) made from 70% Malvasia del Lazio, and 30% Trebbiano, Giallo, Bambino and Bellone. The soil is volcanic, rich in potassium and tufa. The vineyard is at 250 meters and the training system is trellised/cordon spur. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and the average age of the vines is 30 years. Fermentation is in steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 18C for 8/10 days. The wine has hints of pear and apple, a touch of pineapple and a note of almonds. I visited the winery in Grottaferrata a number of years ago.  From the terrace, you can see the dome of St. Peter’s in Rome.  Restaurant il Falchetto

IMG_7086Bellone “Collesanti” Marco Carpineti (Lazio)  made from 100% Bellone. There are 4,500 grapes per hectare. The training system is spalliera and harvest takes place in September. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and a natural fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in steel.  The wine is hints of citrus, fruit, lemon with floral fragrances. The winery is near Cori, a town established before Rome. The Bellone grape was cultivated here in ancient times.   Checchino dal 1887, Rome

IMG_7042NV Brut Spumante made from 100% Bellone Cincinnato (Lazio). The grapes are picked in September when the acidity is high. Fermentation for about 10 days at 15C and malolactic fermentation does not take place. Charmat method (tank) process for about 2 months and the wine remains in the bottle for 4 months before release. The wine has tiny bubbles, is slightly aromatic with hints of acacia, citrus fruit and white peach.

IMG_6978Fiano di Avellino DOCG Sertura made from 100% Fiano di Avellino(Campania). The vineyards are in Montefalcione, a tiny village perched on a hill a short distance from Avellino. The vineyards are at 380 meters and the soil is clay. The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in early October. The grapes are soft pressed and fermented for 21 to 25 days at a controlled temperature. This is a complex, full bodied wine with aromas and flavors of citrus fruit, hints of pear and green apple.  Hostaria Manfredi  in the Hotel Civita in Atripalda (AV) about 45 minutes from Naples


Costa D’ Amalfi “Fiorduva” Furore Bianco 2012 Cantina Marisa Cuomo (Campania). The wine is made from 30% Fenile, 30% Ginestra and 40% Ripolo. The production zone is in Furore and the surrounding municipalities on the Amalfi Coast. The coastal terraces are at 200/500 meters and are south facing.  There are 5,000/7,000 vines per hectare. The training system is pergola. The soil is limestone-dolomite rocks. The overripe grapes are harvested by hand the third week of October and the grapes arrive intact in the cantina. After pressing, the juice is inoculated with selected yeast. Fermentation takes place for about 3 months in oak barrels at 12°C. The wine has very nice fruit with hints of apricot, raisins, a touch of candied fruit and good acidity.  It was very enjoyable.  Due Ladrone, Rome


Pallagrello Bianco “Caiati” 2019 (Campania) Alois 100% Pallagrello Bianco from a 2.13-hectare vineyard at 280 meters. The soil is volcanic with minerals. The training system is guyot, there are 4,800 plants per hectare and the harvest is in the middle of September. Fermentation takes place on the lees for 30 days. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for 4 months before release. The wine has hints of almonds, citrus fruit, melon and grapefruit with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste.   Trattoria San Ferdindano, Naples

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Terra del Volturno Pallagrello Bianco IGT “Marrone” 2018 Alois (Campania).  Made from 100% Pallagrello Bianco from the 15 year old Morrone della Monica 2.13 hectare vineyard at 350 meters in Pontelatone. The exposure is east/west and the soil is limestone. There are 5,200 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot.  Harvest takes place in early September.  Two-thirds of the wine is vinified in stainless steel at a controlled temperature for one month and one-third of the wine is on the lees in neutral oak for nine months. The wine remains in the bottle for 12 months before release. This is a full bodied intense wine with hints of citrus fruit, melon, a touch of chamomile  and a note of apricot.  This is the first time I have had this wine as it was introduced in 2018 and I found it impressive. I visited the winery a few years ago and had a wonderful lunch matched with their wines.  Tattoria San Ferdinando, Naples

IMG_7163KATÁ IGP Catalanesca Del Mount Somma 100% Catalanesca. Cantine Olivella  (Campania) The grapes are carefully selected and hand harvested in the first half of October.  Fermentation and maturation is with natural yeast and takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The refining process “sur lie” (lees contact starts in stainless steel and ends in the bottle after a three month period). The wine has very nice citrus aromas and flavors with hints of apricot and cantaloupe and good acidity. There is a mineral aspect to the wine, which may come from the volcanic soil.   Restaurant Casa Bleve, Rome

IMG_7136Falanghina del Sannio made from 100% Falanghina from Pozzillo vineyards. Società Agricola Mustilli (Campania) The soil is calcareous and volcanic, rich in clay and the exposure is southwest. The training system is guyot. There is a light cold skin maceration followed by alcoholic fermentation in steel. Aging is in steel for 10 months. The wine has floral notes, with a hint of pear, acacia honey, and touch of apple and lemon. I visited the winery in 2016 on a Campania Stories press trip and tasted a Falanghina from the 2002 vintage which was drinking very nicely.   Restaurant  Mimi  alla Ferrovia, Naples

IMG_7053Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo 2017 Made from 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo  Edoardo Valentini (Abruzzo) The winery is organic and biodynamic. They only keep 10% of the production, the rest is sold to a local co-op. The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 24 months, I believe. I visited the winery a number of years ago. Edoardo (d.2006) spent all the time talking to us about the terroir, the grapes and the vineyards.  He did not speak about how the wine was produced.  This is a very complex and full bodied wine with a mineral character, hints of citrus fruit and peach, good acidity, great finish and aftertaste and an extra something that is difficult to describe. It is a great white wine. When I am in Italy I drink this wine whenever I see it on the wine list because it is less costly than you can buy it retail in the USA. It is a very impressive white wine.   Restaurant Casa Bleve, Rome

IMG_7080Marche Bianco IGT “Campo delle Oche” 2018. Fattoria San Lorenzo made from 100% Verdicchio. The Campo delle Oche vineyard is at 300/320 meters and the soil is clay and limestone with savory components given by the salty aquifers. The vineyard was planted in 1965/1980. There are 3,000 vines per hectare. Harvest  takes place the first and second week of October. Fermentation is in concrete vats with indigenous yeast. There is 12 hours of cold maceration and malolactic fermentation is completed. The wine is aged in cement for 2 years and in stainless steel for one year. The wine spent 36 months on the lees. Clarification/Filtration: no fining or filtering. The winery is certified organic. The wine has hints of peach, apricot and pear with a touch of citrus fruit.     Enoteca l’Angolo Divino, Rome

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Castello delle Regine: Chianina Beef and Wine

Michele and I have know Livia Colantonio and Paolo Nodari, founders of Castello delle Regine winery, for a long time but have not visited the winery in a number of years. The winery is just outside the town of Orte in Umbria, only 30 minutes by train from Rome. On our recent trip, Livia invited us to visit the winery and taste the wines over lunch.

The property covers 400 hectares overlooking the valley that has been called for centuries the “Valley of the Queens,” located between the towns of Narni and Amelia.

Livia said the soil of the hills is sandy clay, the exposure is north-south and there are 5.000 to 6,000 vines per hectare

. They follow sustainable agriculture rules with low environmental impact. She said they use only natural fertilizers and the 200 hectares of forests surrounding the vineyards provide a microclimate favorable to prefect ripening of the grapes, with temperature excursions between night and day.

The consulting oenologist is the very respected Franco Bernabei.

In addition to the winery, the estate includes an agriturismo with comfortable apartments and a top flight regional restaurant featuring products from the estate.


Sparkling Rose NV made from Sangiovese and Montepuliciano using the Charmat Method (the second fermentation takes place in a large closed pressure tank).

This is a wine with hints of strawberries , raspberries and a hint of citrus. Great way to begin lunch.

Bianco delle Regine 2016 made from 30% Chardonnay, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Riesling and 10% Pinot Grigio. Harvest takes place by hand in the middle of August. Each grape variety is vinified separately in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks of 50 to 75 HL. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation in order to preserve its freshness. This is an aromatic white wine with hints of citrus fruit with a touch of lime and good acidity.

Our first appetizer was marinated Chianina beef rump served with a mix of salad and kataifi, shredded filo pastry for crunch.

This was followed by scrambled eggs with truffle and asparagus

Rosso di Podernovo — 80% Sangiovese, from 30 year old vines, 10% Montepulciano and 10% Syrah from new plantings at 90 to 280 meters with a south/west exposure from the Podernovo estate. Harvest is from the end of September into October. Maceration is in stainless steel tanks 50 to 110 HL with daily pump over for 14 to 18 days. The wine is aged for 12 months in French Allier tonneaux and in oak botti of 25 and 15 HL. The wine remains in bottle for 8 months before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of red fruit with hints of cherry, violets and a touch of spice. This is an excellent food wine.

We enjoyed it with Ravioli filled with pumpkin and hazelnuts with a sauce of veal jus.

Princeps 2005 made from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon from 15 and 20 year old vines, 20% Merlot and 20% Sangiovese, vinified separately. Harvest is by hand the last week of September into October. Fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with daily pumping over for 14 to 20 days. The wine is aged for 14 months in French Allier barriques and then in bottle for a minimum of 24 months before release. This is a complex wine with hints of cherry, licorice and tobacco and a long finish. The wine was showing no signs of age.

Pasta with spicy Chianina ragu. Homemade tagliolini in a sauce made from the farm’s Chianina cows.

Selectione del Fondatore 2005 made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso from a special selection of 40-year-old vines. The vineyard is south-southwest at 280 meters. Harvest is by hand from the end of September into October. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks of 50 to 110 HL for 14 to 18 days with daily pumping over. The wine is aged in French barriques for 12 months and for a minimum of 36 months in bottle before release. This is complex and full-bodied wine with hints of blackberries, cherries and a touch of balsamic.

Roast lamb with vegetables from the garden.

Sangiovese Passito – red dessert wine made from 100% late harvest Sangiovese grapes. The grapes are dried (appassimento) on trellises. The wine is aged in small French oak barrels for a minimum of 4 years before release. This is one of the best I have ever tasted. It has hints of black fruit with notes of blackberries and blueberries, a very long finish and a fantastic aftertaste. As is the tradition in Umbria, it could also go with lamb on Easter.

Cake stuffed with cardamom cream and glazed with chocolate and Cointreau.

The end of a great lunch

After lunch we took a tour of the estate, and went to see the Chianina cattle. Livia said they are one of the oldest, tallest and heaviest breeds of cattle. The cows are raised in a semi-wild state. There are approximately 250 animals divided into four herds and they live on 40 hectares devoted to pasture and forests. Chianina cows originated in the area of the Valdichiana, from which they get their name.

Before we left Livia took us on a tour of the wine cellar.




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