Category Archives: Domodimonti winery

Tasting the Red Wines of Campania

Seminars for both the white and red wines of Campania were given on the same day. I attended the seminar on the white wines but was unable to stay for the red wine seminar. However, I was able to taste and drink the red wines at the dinner held at Del Posto and at the walk around tasting that was held between the seminars. It was very interesting to be able to taste wines from some producers that I did not know.

The Grapes

Aglianico:-this is a black late ripening grape, which may have been brought to Greece by the Phoenicians. The Ancient Greeks then introduced it into Southern Italy and it took root in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. Aglianico is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (d.79 AD) in his Natural History. It may be one of the grapes used in Ancient Roman’s most famous wine Falernian. Aglianico, along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, are often ranked as the three top grape varieties in Italy. See Jeremy Parzen’s http://dobianchi.com/2008/01/29/aglianico-ellenico/ excellent article on how Aglianico got its name. Taurasi, made from Aglianico (Campania), is one of Italy’s great wines. They can last many years. Recently I had wines from the 1958 and 1968 vintage and they were wonderful.

Piedirosso – means “red foot” in Italian because the bottom of the vine has a red-colored triple-branched stem like a dove’s foot. In the local dialect it is also know as Palombina (little dove) and Pere’e Pallummo (dove’s foot). Nicholas Belfrage in his book “Brunello to Zabibbo” says “…Piedrosso is a very ancient grape and may be identical to the Colombina mentioned by Pliny.” He also says that Piedirosso is related to the Refosco from Friuli.

“Both… are members of the Cot family of grapes. Of which the best-known example is Malbec. The Refosco has a peduncolo rosso-a red stem

I really enjoy wines made from 100% Piedirrosso. They are fruity with aromas of plums and cherries and a hint of spice. These wines are inexpensive, well under $20 and worth the effort to find.IMG_5012

Quintodecimo Terra d’Eclano Aglianico Irpinia DOC Made from 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay and tufa. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and the harvest is from the middle to the end of October. The maceration period is about 20 days and malolactic fermentation takes place naturally in barriques. The wine spends between 18 and 24 months in new barriques depending on the vintage and another year in bottle before release. I believe the winery is organic. This is a full-bodied wine with aromas of tobacco,cassis and leather.IMG_4904

Taurasi DOCG  2009 Donnachiara 100% Aglianico coming from the 20 hectare estate vineyard Torre le Nocelle. Ilaria Petitto from the winery said that all of Donnachiara’s red wines are made from grapes from this vineyard. The soil is volcanic, the vines are 30 years old, the training system is Guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest takes place the first week of September. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing and there is no filtration. The wine is aged for 12 months in 225-liter French barriques, and 24 months in bottle before release. This is a big complex wine with berry aromas and flavors, hints of cherry and plum and a touch of cacao and coffee.IMG_4967

Terra di Lavoro Roccamofina IGT Made from 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso. The Gaiardi Estate produces only this wine. The vines are planted in volcanic soil and there are very low yields. The training for the vines is spur-pruned Cordon, there are 1,800 plants per hectare, the vineyard is at 1,485 ft. with a western exposure. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel for 20 days. Maceration lasts for 14 days with pumpovers. The wine is aged in French barriques (225 liters) for 12 months. 70 of the barriques are new and 30 are second passage. The wine remains in bottle for 12 months before release. This is a full-bodied wine with aromas of berries and plums and hints of licorice and coffee. The wine was aged in new barriques but I did not pick up any of those international aromas and flavors.IMG_4979

Ragis- Made from 80% Aglanico and 20% Piedirosso La Vigna Di Raito. The soil is shallow and mostly sand on a chalk rock layer. The Aglianico vines are cultivated on Guyot espalier and the Piedirosso on pergolas, a system characteristic of the Amalfi Coast. The exposure is south-southeast and there are about 3,500 plants per hectare.There is separate vinification for the two grapes in stainless steel vessels for over 15 days under controlled temperatures. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The two wines are transferred into 500 liter French oak barrels and blended. They remain here for 12 months. Then the wine spends another 12 months in bottle before release. It has the power of the Aglanico with the aromatic hints of the Peidirosso, which makes it an elegant wine with a lot of body. This is the first time I have tasted this wine.

IMG_5016

Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio Rosso  Casa Setaro  Made from Piedirosso 85% and 15% Aglianico. The vineyards are at 220-350 meters and the manual harvest takes place at the end of October. The vines are15-25 years old and the training system is guyot and pergola Vesuvian. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and temperature controlled fermentation. Racking takes place with pneumo-pressing. Maturation is in stainless steel for at least three months, followed by three months in small oak barrels and then aged in the bottle. The wine has aromas of dark fruits, berries and fern, with mineral undertones in the background. On the palate it is full, soft, and fresh.

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Aglianico, campania, Casa Setaro, Domodimonti winery, La Vigina Di Raito, Lacyma Chrisiti di Vesuvio, Piedirosso, Qointodrcimo, Ragis, Terra d'Eclano, Terra di Lavoro

Italian Red Wine Under $20 for All Seasons

Over the past few months I have tasted a number of Italian red wines for under $20. The first two, on the list which I tasted last week at an event called Piemonte Land of Perfection’s I have had many times before and have always enjoyed. The last two on the list were a new discovery.

Dolcetto “D’OH”  2011 Piedmont Dolcetto  DOC 100% Dolcetto Clavesana  Fermented is temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints of cherry that is to be drunk young. It is traditional Dolcetto.  $11

Barbera d’Asti DOCG “Vespa” 2011 100% Barbara Cascina Castlet  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 middle 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 remortgages 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 and good acidity. $14

Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2010 100% Sangiovese Poggio Stella. There are 3,500/5,000 vines per hectare. The training system is guyot and spurred cord, and the grapes are hand harvested. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled tanks followed by maceration in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then refined in Slovenian oak barrels for at least three months. The wine has red berry aromas and flavor with good acidity. $13.99

Vino Nobile Di Montepulicano DOCG 2008 Poggio Stella made from 90% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) and 10% Canaiolo.  The vines are grown on hillsides and the soil is mostly crumbled rock with good skeletal content. The plant density is 3,500/5,000 vines per hectare and the training system is Guyot and spurred cord. The grapes are hand harvested; fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled tanks followed by maceration in stainless steel. The wine is aged in Slovenian oak barrels for 24 months. $19.

Marche Rosso “Picens” IGT  2006 Domodimonti The wine is made from 25% Montepulciano, 25% Sangiovese 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are at 250 meters and the soil in mainly clay. The vineyards are south facing, there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is condon with spur pruning. The harvest is from the end of September to the middle of October. The wine is aged in second passage French barriques for 5 to 6 months. There were flavors and aromas of dark fruit with hints of blackberries and a touch of leather. $16

Ciró Rosso Classic Superiore “Liber Pater” DOC 2009 Ippolito 1845 (Calabria) The wine is made from 100% Gaglioppo grapes.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel. This is a rustic wine with deep red and black fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of leather. It has a long finish and a distinctive aftertaste. $16

Rosso Piceno Superiore 2007 DOC ”Vigna Montetinello” Montepulciano 70 % Sangiovese 30% Saladini Pilastri
The vineyard is at 200 meters and the exposure is west- east. The cultivation system is vertical shoot positioned trellis and there are 2,000 plants/ha; the average age of the vines is 30 years. Harvest takes place at the end of October. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged for 18 months in French tonneaux. This is a wine with nice red and black fruit, with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. $17.99

Aglianico IGT 100% Aglianico. Donna Chiara. The soil is clay, training system is guyot and there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in the second week of November. This wine does not see any wood. The wine is aged in bottle for 6 months. This is a very aromatic wine with wild berry aromas and flavors and hints of blueberries and cherries. $18

I could not believe the price of the next two wines after I tasted them. They are true bargains. I believe that both of them were awarded three glasses by Gambero Rosso, their highest award.

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo “Vignafranca DOC 2007 Fratelli Barba100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The vineyard is at 70 meters and the soil is alluvial, sandy silt and lightly calcareous. There are 6,000 vines/ha, the training is double guyot and the exposure is southwest. The harvest takes place in the middle of October. Fermentation is in wooden conical base vats for 18-20 days.  The wine is aged in French barriques, 50% new and 50% used for 14 months. The wine has aromas and flavors of cherry and spice with a hint of pepper. 14.99

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “I Vasari” Old Vines DOC 2008 Fratelli Barba 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The Colle della Corte vineyard is at 70 meters and has a southwest exposure. The soil is alluvial, sandy silt and lightly calcareous and the vines are 30 years old. There are 6,000 plants per hectare, the training system is double guyot and the harvest takes place in the middle of October, fermentation takes place in wooden conical base vats for 18 to 20 days. The wine is aged in French barriques, 50% new and 50% used for 14 months.
This is an intense wine with flavors and aromas of black cherry blueberry and plum with a hint of spice. $18

7 Comments

Filed under Aglianico, Barbera, Chianti, Ciró, Clavesana, Dolcetto, Domodimonti winery, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, Vino Nobile di Montepulicano, wines under $20

Discovering Domodimonti Natural Wines from the Marche at Eataly NYC

Often, when I hear of a new winery or one that has just renovated its facility, I become a bit suspect. In most cases these wineries are going to make wines that are international in style and not to my taste.

So when I was invited to taste the wines of Domodimonte at Eataly I noted that the winery was started in 2003 and built a new facility in 2010. Was I going to be wasting my time tasting wine that I did not like and could not write about?  Curiosity got the better on me and I accepted the invitation.   As it turned out, I was very glad that I did.

Not only did I like the wines but found the tasting interesting and informative.

The speaker was Niccolo Salvadori, the general manager of the Eataly wine store.  He said that the winery was located at Montefiore dell’Aso in the Marche.  Marco Scapagnini, sales and marketing manger from the winery, assisted him.

Mr. Scapagnini making a point

Mr. Scapagnini began by saying that they were not a certified organic winery but a “natural” wineey. What makes it  “natural” is that the grapes are sustainable-grown using organic matter, low–yielding vineyards and the grapes are hand picked.   No sugar is added to the wine.  There is a strict selection of yeast and there are no additives made for color, acidity, mouth-feel, etc.   The addition of sulfites is kept to a minimum and they use of state-of-the-art technology.

The new winery built in 2010 was designed to generate the least amount of visual and ecological impact on the land.   He added that they exceed the rules and regulations of organic farming.

Mr. Salvadori led us in a tasting of the wines:

Offida Passerina “Déja” DOC 2010 100% Passerina  the vineyards are at 200 meters and have a southern exposure. There are 3,000 vines per hectare. The training system is cordon with spur pruning. 80% of the grapes are picked at the beginning of September and 20% are picked a little later.

The wine is fermented and aged in temperature-controlled vats with an external insulation jackets. It undergoes malolatic fermentation and remains on the lees for a period of time.  This white wine was grassy and fruity at the same time. Malolatic fermentation and the late harvesting of a percentage of the grapes and the nature of the Passerina grape added roundness and a slight sweetness to the wine. There were hints of baked apples and pears. It had a nice finish and pleasing aftertaste. It went very well with the first course, a fish crudo seasoned with sea salt and olive oil. $13

In answer to a question about sulfites in their wines Mr. Scapagnini responded that their entire wine making process is performed under nitrogen and they use cryomaceration, a process with very low temperatures, 2-5 degrees C to ensure protection against oxidation. 

Offida Pecorino “Li Coste” DOC 2009 100% Pecorino  the vineyards are at 200 meters. They have a southern exposure and there are 4000 vines per hectare. The training system is Guyot and the harvest takes place in early September. The wine is fermented in stainless steel. It is aged in barriques made from acacia wood. Mr. Salvadori mentioned that he only knew of one other winemaker that used acacia barriques and he produces a Gavi.  Mr. Scapagnini said that they only use new barriques because acacia wood barriques can only be used once. Only 10% of the wine is aged for two to three months in this way.  The other 90% is aged in stainless steel vats. It had nice citrus aromas and flavors with hints of white peaches, orange peel, hazelnuts and a touch of pepper. $16 

Marche Sangiovese “ Monte Fiore” IGT 2010 100% Sangiovese The vineyards are at 200 meters with a southern exposure. They use Cordon training with spur pruning. The soil is mainly clay. There are 3,000 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in the beginning of September. The wine is aged in stainless steel.  This is a very easy wine to drink, with ripe red fruit aromas and flavors and hints of strawberries and red plums. $13

Marche Rosso “Picens” IGT 2006 The wine is made from 25% Montepulciano, 25% Sangiovese 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are at 250 meters and the soil in mainly clay. The vineyards are south facing, there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is Condon with spur pruning. The harvest is from the end of September to the middle of October. The wine is aged in second passage French barriques for 5 to 6 months.

There were flavors and aromas of dark fruit with hints of blackberries and a touch of leather. $16

Marche Rosso “IL Messia” IGT 2007 60%Montepulicano and 40% Merlot.   The vineyards are at 250 meters and the soil is mostly clay. These vineyards have a southern exposure, there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in the end of September and the beginning of October. The Montepulicano is aged in French barriques, which are 3 years old. The Merlot is aged in special troncoconic vats. This type of vat is tapered on the top and smaller in size than the bottom. It allows for the increase in contact between the juice and the skins during fermentation and maceration, which results in the extraction of softer and sweeter tannins.

This was the most modern in style of the wines that we tasted but it was well balanced. It is a full-bodied wine with deep black fruity aromas and flavors with hints of blackberry, vanilla and oak. $35

I should have remembered an old saying that I often use, “do not judge a winery until you taste their wines!”  I enjoyed tasting the wines very much and look forward to drinking them.  In addition, the wines were priced very well.

Orietta Maria Varnelli

After the wine tasting there was a presentation by the Varnelli Distilleria from the Marche of their amari and other spirits. Varnelli is a family run business (run by four women) and Orietta Maria Varnelli, C.E.O. and export manger was the speaker and told us about their line of spirits. She said they were most famous for their L’ Anice Secco Speciale.

We tasted the Amaro Sibilla on the rocks with Lurisia Gazzosa, a fizzy lemon drink made from Amalfi lemons and a slice of orange. It has aromas of bitter herbs and dried fruit with hints of coffee and honey. On the palate it is bitter and tannic with touches of chestnut, honey and coffee. It is a perfect amaro to have after a meal.  I like it neat! The ingredients are of course a family secret.

11 Comments

Filed under Amaro, Distilleria Varnelli, Domodimonti winery, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Marche, Natural Wines