Category Archives: Chianti Rufina

Six Wines

Listed below are 6 wines  I had with lunch or dinner and I have not had a chance to mention in other blogs.

Champagne Grand Siecle “Alexandra” Rose 1997 Laurent-Perrier. Made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. This Champagne is made in extremely limited quantities and only in the best vintage years. The 1997 was only the fourth bottling of this Champagne. It has all of the characteristics of a great Rose Champagne but it was also so subtle.

Chianti Rufina Riserva 2010 “Vigneto Bucerchiale Fattoria Selvapiana made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is 12.50 hectares, at 200 meters, the soil is of medium density clay, dry and stony, well drained. There are 5,200 vines per hectare and the exposure is south/southwest. Vines were planted in 1968 and 1992 and the training system is spur cordon. Hand harvested the first week of October. Fermentation is in stainless steel with all natural yeasts. Fermentation and maceration is for 25 days. The wine is aged in 225 hl French casks. This is a wine with hints of cherry, violets and plums with a touch of tobacco.

Chambolle Musigny 1978 Domaine Robert Groffier made from 100% Pinot Noir. Burgundy at its best.

Aglianico del Taburno Riserva Vigna Cataratte 2009 DOCG Fontanavecchia The grapes are selected and hand harvested. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 20 days. The wine is aged for 14 months in barriques and aged for 34 more months before release. This is a bold wine with hints of cherry, spice, chocolate and a touch of licorice.

The Emidio Pepe winery is Organic and Bio Dynamic . The training system is cordon spur and tendone. Only natural yeasts are used. The grapes are crushed by  hand. No sulfites are added to the wine. The juice is placed in glass lined cement tanks of 20/25 hl for two years. Since this is natural wine, malolactic fermentation may take place in the tank or in the bottle. The bottles are corked by hand.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1983 Emidio Pepe This bottle was showing its age but was still very drinkable.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1985 Emidio Pepe this bottle was showing very well with deep red fruit aromas and flavors, hints of cherry, spice and leather- it is a great wine. I have had the 1983 before and it too is a great wine. As someone once said “ the are no great wines, only great bottles of wine”




Filed under Aglianico, Burgundy, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Chianti Rufina, Emidio Pepe, Laurent- Perrier- Grand Siècle, Selvapiana

Two Good Restaurant Wines and a 1970 Pinot Noir at Home

When I look at a restaurant wine list, I try to find wines that are a good value, have some age, and that will go with my meal.  Sometimes it seems like Mission Impossible.  But once in a while, I get lucky, as I did at Gigot, a small bistro in the West Village.

We started with

Beaumes-De-Venise 2004 Chateau Redotier.  The winery is owned by the Menthon family. The wine is 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 5% Counoise. The grapes are hand harvested. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and maceration lasts between 8 and 10 days. The wine is not filtered and is aged for two years in stainless steel tanks before it is bottled. This a wine with soft red fruit aromas and flavors, hints of raspberries, strawberries and nice fruity finish and aftertaste. It was perfect with the homemade country paté with toasted baguettes. Price at the restaurant $45

Coteaux Varois AOC 2004 “Clos des la Truffiere” Domaine Du Deffends.  This is also a family owned winery.  The wine is made from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and the percentage depends on the vintage. Truffles are found in the vineyard and this is the reason for its name. It is their flagship wine. The soil is clay and limestone, the vineyard has a southeastern exposure and the vines are 25 years old. Maceration is between 12 to 18 days depending on the vintage. They punch down 2 to 3 times a day and a pneumatic press is used. It is aged 12 months in 25hl barrels and 1/2hogsheads vats (a hogshead is 63 U.S gallons) How long the wine is aged and what it is aged in depends upon the vintage. The wine is not fined or filtered. This is a rustic red wine with subtle fruit aromas and flavors with hints of blackcurrants and cassis, a mineral character and a long finish and nice aftertaste. This was a perfect combination with the cassoulet.  It is $45 on the wine list.

When friends come to my house for dinner and bring wine, I like to open their wine so that we can enjoy it together. The only times I do not do this is when I know the wine is from the dark side, or if it is too young. Recently a friend brought a California wine that was 42 years old. It was a Pinot Noir   from Inglenook, one of the oldest wineries in California, established by Gustave Niebaum in 1879. It reached its height after Prohibition under John Daniel Jr. a relative of Mr. Niebaum.  In fact from Prohibition to the 1960’s this winery may have produced the best wines in California. It has had a checkered history since then. However, over the last few years Francis Ford Coppola has been able to buy the old Inglenook vineyards and the winery.   He has changed the name of his winery from Niebaum-Coppola to Inglenook.

I was only too happy to open this wine.  Another guest brought a magnum of sparkling wine and I provided two Italian wines.

Pinot Noir 1970 limited Cask K-150, Estate bottled, Inglenook, Napa Valley. The wine was aged in small oak casks.  It is called Cask K-150 because occasionally in the cellar the wine maker discovers a cask of Pinot Noir that he feels is so special that he sets it aside for further aging. Later if it comes up to Inglenook’s highest expectations, it is marked “Cask”. This bottle was drawn from one of these special casks. The wine was only 12% alcohol.

This is still a big concentrated wine.  The oak and vanilla flavors are all still there.  The wine was showing some age but no way did it taste like a wine that was 42 years old. It did not taste like Pinot Noir at all.  It is always interesting to taste old California wines because they do not all taste the same but all of them up until the late 1970’s were 12% to 12.5 % alcohol.

At a Wine Media Guild event in the fall I tasted a Charles Krug 1966 and a 1974 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon. They were both  “lighter” in style, tasting like the grape with only a hint of oak. Even in California wines that are 40 years old or more, if they are too oaky to begin with, the oakiness does not go away.  

Cococciola Vino Spumante Brut NV 100% Cococciola,  Cantina Frentana. (Abruzzo)    This is an ancient indigenous grape variety of the province of Chieti. It is mainly grown in the area around Rocco San Giovanni. The big grape bunches are irregular in shape and some are wing-tipped. It is a grape with good acidity and good yields. In the past it was only used for blending with other grapes. The harvest takes place towards the end of September. The grapes are soft pressed and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. Malolatic fermentation does not take place. Only the free run juice is used. This is an interesting sparkling wine made by the charmat method with citrus flavors and aromas and a hint of almonds.  

Vino Rosso Toscano de Tavola 1988 100% Sangiovese. Grato Grati I am glad that I have only one bottle of the 1988 left because it is starting to show its age. Time to begin drinking the 1990.

Ghemme “Collis Breclema DOCG 1996 100% Nebbiolo Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo (Piedmont) A selection of the more mature grapes are made from the Breclema vineyard. The soil is rich in minerals and has good sun exposure and is 280 to 310 meters above sea level. Harvest takes place in late October. The grapes are destemmed and pressed and kept in oak casks for about two years.  It is typical Nebbiolo with hints of red berries, liquorice, violets and a touch of tar. The wine is at its peak right now.



Filed under Chianti Rufina, French Red, French Wine, Ghemme, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Sparkling wine, Spumante

Holiday Adventures in NYC


Michele and I always look forward to Christmas dinner with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow. For a number of years, Tom and Diane come to our house Thanksgiving dinner, and they have us over for Christmas. They are excellent and adventurous cooks and Diane often chooses recipes from books she has written about in her blog

Tom has a great wine collection and will try to find the perfect wine match for each course.


The first wine was Champagne Pommery Brut NV. Made from 35% Chardonnay 35% Pinot Nor and 30% Pinot Meunier. It was very easy to drink and worked very well with the little pastry shells filled with foie gras, egg salad, prosciutto, caviar etc.


The first course was an individual ramekin filled with an egg baked in cream with white truffle paste, which they had brought back from Alba. The wine to match this dish was a Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2003 Labouré–Roi. As Tom poured the wine into the glass it had a golden orange color and even without tasting it we could see that it was oxidized.


Then we had an Alsatian onion quiche. The main course was  Pintadeau farci Jean Cocteau– stuffed guinea hen from a recipe in Raymond Oliver’s La Cuisine. With it drank Beaune Premier Cru Greves 2005 Moillard and a Chambolle Musigne 2003 from Drouhin followed. They were both showing very well but the Moillard was a bit softer.


Next there was a cheese course.  All the cheeses were great but the gorgonzola was really special, we drank a Chateau Brane Cantenac1989, Cabernet Sauvignon Carmeriére. Dessert was a not too sweet cranberry crostata made by Michele.  For those that were still able to drink there was grappa.


Monday and Tuesday we stayed home and tried not to eat too much.


Wednesday we went to Russ & Daughters to buy caviar and foie gras for New Years Eve. We also went to an Indian restaurant but did not have wine.


Thursday we went to SD26, which is becoming one of my favorite Italian restaurants for lunch and had another great meal.  Tony May recommended we have the burrata, which was brought in from Puglia.  It was superb.  Then I had chestnut fettuccine with wild boar salami & dried cranberries, a perfect dish for a winter day.  We drank the 1988 Chianti Rufina from Grato Grati

On Friday we met a friend from Miami and went to Legend, a Chinese restaurant that has very good food and excellent Martinis.  Love the spicy lamb with cumin.

New Years Eve we went to Japonica for Japanese food for lunch.

That night to celebrate the coming New Year we started with the Caviar and had a bottle of Champagne Bruno Paillard N.P.U. Brut 1995.  Made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir I had mentioned to someone that I had had it at a tasting and liked it and I received it as a gift from him. With the foie gras we drank a dessert wine from Spain- Malaga 2007 N0 2 Victoria It is a naturally sweet wine made from the Muscate Alexandria grape and fermented in stainless steel Joege Ordoéz & CO.   This also was a gift from a friend.


On New Years Day we took a long walk and in the middle of Washington Square Park there was a man playing classical piano. It was a beautiful day and we stood and listened for a while.   His name is Colin Huggins and he was very good.


For dinner that night we had the rest of the foie gras, steak and potatoes fried in duck fat. The wine we drank was a 1984 Volnay 1er Cru “les Champans” Domaine Joseph Voillot.

This wine was everything that a red Burgundy should be and it was a great way to start off the New Year!

I would like to thank everyone that has followed my blog and Happy New Year to one and all.


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Filed under Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Chianti Rufina, French Red, French Wine, Grato Grati, Italian Red Wine, Italian Restaurants, Italian Wine, SD 26, Villa di Vetrice