Category Archives: Dr. Wine

A Taste of Italy with Doctor Wine, Part II

This is Part II of the Zoom tasting A Taste of Italy with Doctor Wine that  took place last week hosted by  Daniele Cernilli (aka)Doctor Wine  There were 9 wines and in the first blog I wrote about 4 wines.  Here are the other 5 wines.IMG_4619

The samples were in very small 5 cl bottles with twist off caps. Each bottle had a label and a number so there would be no confusion. The whole program was well organized and very informative.

The Wines

Doc APE 2018 Cantine Romagnoli (EMILIA ROMAGNA) made from 55% Barbera, 45% Croatina (Bonarda). The soil is calcareous, medium texture tending to sandy. There are 3,600 plants/hectare and the pruning system is simple guyot. The exposure is south. The grapes macerate for 9 days with a daily pumping over. Fermentation with selected yeasts. The wine ages in first and second passage barriques for 12 months. Then there is the assemblage, a light clarification and a final filtration. The wine has hints of ripe fruit, licorice, leather and a note of wood and tobacco.

A.A. Pinot Nero Riserva “ Zeno” 2018 Cantina Merano made from 100% Pinot Nero (Trentino-Alto Adige, South Tyrol). The vineyards are at 500-700 meters and the vines are 15 to 20 years old. The soil is morainic, light, permeable, decomposed slate, granite and gneiss, barren and sandy. There is a cold fermentation for 5 days, then controlled fermentation with stirring for about 12 days. Aging is in new and used tonneaux. This is an elegant wine with hints of wild berries like strawberries and cherries and a long finish. Daniele liked the wine and included it in the current edition of his The Essential Guide to Italian Wine.


Barberasso 2018 Castello Cigognola (LombardyOltrepo Pavese-Pavia, across the Po) made from 100% Barbera. This is a new wine made from experimenting in the vineyard with cuttings of the branch of the vine. This is an ancient technique, which allows for a light drying of the grapes while keeping the bunch on the plant and in the sunlight. The grapes increase their concentration and continue to develop substances in the peel, which intensify the aromas. They combine the raisin grape and the natural acidity of Barbera with partial whole bunch fermentation to create a new wine. This results in a wine where fruit and acidity are counterbalanced by a soft light note of ripe fruit. Half of the wine is aged for 10 months in 600-liter tonneaux. Because of the raisin fruit, the wine has about 7.5% grams of natural sugar making it softer. The wine has hints of ripe red fruit, strawberries, raspberries and a touch of raisins. This is the first time I have tasted a wine made in this way.

Lazio IGP 2017 Montiano Cotarella (Lazio) made from 100% estate grown Merlot from Montefiascone and Castiglione in Teverina. The vineyard is 86.4 acres at 300 meters. The soil is volcanic and rich in fine gravel (Scheletro). There are 1,700 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. The average age of the vines is 16 years. Only the best clusters are harvested by hand during the first week of September. A second selection takes place at the winery. Maceration on the skins takes place for 10 days with numerous punch-downs. Temperature controlled fermentation is in truncoconic stainless steel tanks and malolactic takes place in barrel. The wine ages for 12 months in new French oak. It has hints of red and black berries, spice and vanilla with a touch of cedar. Daniele was impressed with this wine.


Daniele Cernilli -Doctor Wine

Primitivo IGP Puglia 2018 “Ipnotico” Terre Dei Vaaz (Puglia) made from 100% monovarietal Primitivo. Production area is the Murgia plateaux. The soil is medium textured and the elevation is 340 to 380 meters. There are 2800 plants per hectare, the planting system is sapling vineyards and the average age of the wines is 60 years. Fermentation takes place in steel tanks. The wine is aged for 12 months in stainless steel, 4 months in French barriques and a minimum of 8 months in bottle. The wine has hints of sour cherries, prunes, a touch of pomegranate and a note of chocolate with a long finish.

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Filed under A Taste of Italy, Daniele Cernilli, Dr. Wine

2014 International Pinot Grigio Challenge

The 2014 International Pinot Grigio Challenge was held in Corno Di Rosazzo, near Udine in the Northeastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy. I like the food and the wines of the region and have always enjoyed its Pinot Grigio, so I was delighted to be invited to be one of the judges.IMG_5741

The event took place over three days. The first day there was a round table discussion on Pinot Grigio: “Commercial Challenge on the World Market.” There were a number of speakers, including myself, and I found the conversation to be most interesting

Some of the topics discussed included the reasons for the popularity of Pinot Grigio, how to improve its image, Pinot Grigo in different countries and the other names for Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio came to Italy after the phylloxera plague in Europe in the late 19th Century. It most likely originated in Burgundy and is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir. It is grown mostly in northeastern Italy. The best examples in my opinion come from Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige

Pinot Grigio is not a white grape as can be seen by looking at the bunches. The must of the grape is basically copper in color, of anthocyanin origin, that does not always persist through bottling. This has to do with the presence or lack of oxygen during fermentation.

In the 1960’s Santa Margherita, thanks to the latest vinification techniques, was able to produce a white wine changing the history of the grape forever. By the 1980’s Pinot Grigio from Italy became so popular that it is looked upon as an Italian grape in the eyes of the world. Today Pinot grigio enjoys world wine popularity and is the number one grape varietal imported into the USA with over a 40% market share.

Some of the bottles

Some of the bottles

Some producers have gone back to the old style and produce a wine, which is copper/ orange in color. An example of this was the #2 wine in the Challenge, “Gossip” by Di Lenardo

The judging took place on the second day. The idea for the International Pinot Grigo Challenge came from Daniele Cernilli, known as “Doctor Wine.”

With Cernilli as the head, 24 judges from many different countries were to taste the wines blind and select the winners. There were 128 wines from all over the world. The judges were divided into groups of three. In the first round a score was given to each wine tasted. Next the 3 judges were presented with 2 wines, each judge stated their preference and one wine was eliminated. With 3 judges there could not be a tie. When this was completed there was a break for lunch. After lunch it was the same except there were 5 judges, again two wines were presented and one was eliminated.

Daniele Cernilli "Doctor Wine"  announcing the winners

Daniele Cernilli “Doctor Wine” announcing the winners

Cernilli called the judging a “winebledon” with direct challenges in couples, like a tennis match, evaluated by mixed and uneven juries.

After this segment was over the votes were tallied and there were 8 finalists.

The third day was the official announcement of the winners and the award ceremony. Listed below are the eight finalists in order. The first three wines were awarded medals.IMG_5744

Pinot Grigio Alto Adige “Punggl” DOC 2013 Nals Margreid Trentino Alto Adige #1IMG_5745

Pinot Grigio Ramato (copper) “Gossip” IGT 2013 Venezia Gulia Di Lenardo Friuli Venezia Giulia Harvest is by hand. The grapes are placed in a tank for 18 hours of skin maceration. Then the skins are separated and the must is transferred to temperature-controlled fermentation steel vats. The wine is on the lees before bottling. For the whole process oxygen does not come in contact with the wine in order to preserve the color. The wine has a light copper color with luminescent clarity. The aromas include wild strawberry, elderberry, hay and dried roses with hints of dried fruits and almond. There is a balance of robust fruit and crisp acidity. It is closed with a composite cork DIAM. 20,000 bottles were produced.  I described  how this wine  because has the ‘copper” color. #2IMG_5746

Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave DOC 2013 I Magredi Friuli Venezia Giulia. This wine of the final eight was given the award for best value for the money. #3

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2013 Torre Rosazza Friuli Venezia Giulia

Pinot Grigio Collio “Jesera” DOC 2013 Venica & Venica Friuli Venezia Giulia

Pinot Grigio Alto Adige Castel Ringberg” DOC 2013 Trentinio Alto Adige Elena Walch

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2013 Friuli Venezia Giulia La Sclusa

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC Azienda Perusini di Perusini Teresa Friuli Venezia Giulia

Three of my favorite producers were in this group: Di Leonardo, Venica & Venica and Elena WalchIMG_5734

There was a special category for wines with residual sugar exceeding 9g/l. The winner was Pinot Gris AAC 2013 Cuvee Saine Chatherine Weinbach Faller France.

Looking back over the wines that I chose all of them were from Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Alto Adige. Daniele Cernilli confirmed that I voted for the number one rated wine.




Filed under Daniele Cernilli, Dr. Wine, International Pinot Grigio Challenge, Pinot Grigio