Category Archives: Falanghina

Summer Best of $20 and Under

 

 

No need to spend more than $20 a bottle for good wines like these. Here are the bottles I will be drinking all summer long.

Beneventano Falanghina IGT 2018 DonnaChiara made from 100% Falanghina The vineyard is the Torre Cuso, the best location for Falanghina. The soil is volcanic, chalky clay, the vines are 16 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 2,500 vines per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed before pressing. Cold fermentation is in stainless steel and there is extended maceration. This is a crisp white wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors, nice acidity and good minerality. This is one of my favorite white wines and I always have a bottle or two on hand. $16.

Fiano di Avelllino 2017 Sarno 1860 made from 100% Fiano di Avellino. The vineyard is 8 hectares, the exposure is southeast and the training system is guyot. There are 5,500 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place the first two weeks in October by hand. Vinification is in steel at a controlled temperature with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged for 8 months on the fine lees and four months in bottle before release. This is a wine with hints of citrus fruit, grapefruit, peach and toasted hazelnuts. They only produce Fiano di Avellino. $18

Fiano di Avellino “Radici 2017 ”  DOCG Mastroberardino made from 100% Fiano di Avellino from the 25 acre Santo del Sole vineyard at 1,815 feet with southwest exposure. The soil is sandy-loam. There are 1,600 vines per acre and the training system is guyot. The vineyard was planted in 2001. Harvest takes place the second half of October. Classic white wine vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine remains in the bottle for 3 to 4 months before release. The wine has hints of pear, citrus fruit, a hint of pineapple and a touch of almonds. $18

Greco di Tufo 2017 DOCG Petilia made from 100% Greco. The vineyard is at 600 meters and the exposure is south/east. The soil is clay, volcanic, rich in minerals with a sulfurous sub soil. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is espalier with guyot pruning. The grapes are hand picked the second week of October. There is a soft pressing of the whole grapes and fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for 3 to 4 months before release. This is a well-structured and complex wine with hints of citrus fruit, lemon/lime, acacia and quince, a touch of minerality, good acidity and a very pleasing finish and long aftertaste. Greco di Tufo is a wine the can last for 20 years or more. Two weeks ago I had the 2009 and it was wonderful. $19

KATÁ IGP Catalanesca Del Mount Somma 100% Catalanesca. Cantine Olivella 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, cantaloupe and acidity. There is a mineral aspect to the wine, which may come from the volcanic soil. $18

Catalanesca 2018 IGP Tenuta Augustea made from 100% Catalanesca from the Somma Vesuviana zone. The soil is well-structured deep limestone with medium fertile consistency. The exposure is south/east and the vineyards are at 400/500 meters. The average age of the vines is 9/10 years and the training system is guyot. Harvest takes place in October. Fermentation is in steel tanks for 30 days at 18C. There is tartaric stabilization and filtration. This is an aromatic wine with hints of citrus fruit, apricot, a note of white flowers and good minerality.  $19

Pallagrello Bianco “Caiati” 2017 Michele Alois 100% Pallagrello Bianco from a 2.13-hectare vineyard at 280 meters, 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. $18

Umbria IGT Bianco Grechetto 2018  Argillae made from 100% Grechetto. The training system is guyot, there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in September. After a careful selection in the vineyards, cold maceration takes place. There is a brief pressing and the juice is racked and fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine remains on the lees in stainless steel tanks before it is bottled in February/March. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, a touch of jasmine, good acidity and a typical almond finish. I tasted this wine with a group of friends at the winery and they all really liked it. $18

La Lupinella Trebbiano Toscana IGT 2018 made from 100% Trebbiano. The vineyard is in Sant’Ansano (Vinci). The grapes are carefully selected by hand and a small part, about 2%, is picked from the bunches, set aside and later added during fermentation which takes place in terracotta jars, to intensify the aromatic character of the wine. The wine remains on the lees for a minimum of 6 months without undergoing malolactic fermentation and is aged at least 3 months in the bottle before release. This is a fresh fruity well-balanced wine with hints of peach, white flowers and a touch of almonds. $16

Soave Doc “Scaligeri” 2017 Sandro de Bruno made from 100% Garganega from small plots of land located on the slopes of Monte Calvarina. The vineyard is at 4,000 meters and the average age of the vineyards is 20 years. The training system is Pergoletta Veronese and the exposure is south. The soil is volcanic. There is manual harvesting using crates, grape sorting, de-stemming, grape selection, then a slow crushing of the grapes and pressing with nitrogen saturation. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel. This is a wine with hints of pear, figs, and almonds with good minerality. $17

Irpinia Rosato DOC 2018 “Vela Vento Vulcano” made from 100% Aglanico Tenuta Cavalier Pepe. The estate vineyards are in the hills of Luogosano and Sant’Angelo all’Esca at 350 meters. The soil is claylike and chalky. The grapes are hand picked, destemmed and undergo an initial cold maceration. After a few hours of skin contact, the grapes are pressed and the must ferments at a low temperature. The wine matures in bottle until release. This is an easy drinking fruity wine with hints of cherries, strawberries and a touch of raspberries. I visited the winery in February and was very impressed with all of the wines.$18

 

 

 

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Filed under Alois Winery, Argillae Winery, Best of $20 and under, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina

At Home with Michele and Charles

Just like everyone else, Michele and I are trying to make the best of being confined to home, which in our case is a small apartment.  For us that means we are doing a lot of reading, tv watching, household projects and of course, eating and drinking.  Luckily, we had done a big shopping trip when we returned home from Italy and stocked up on some of our favorite Italian ingredients.  I keep a supply of wines on hand, so whatever Michele decides to cook, or is able to cook with what she finds in the pantry or refrigerator, I can match a wine to it.  With a good supply of pasta on hand, there is always something good to look forward to.

 

One day it was one of Michele’s childhood favorites.  Broken spaghetti with peas, eggs and cheese.  She uses frozen peas for this dish, and they are perfectly delicious, sweet and fresh tasting.

 

 

Beneventano Falaghina ‘”Resilienza “2018 Donna Chiara made from 100% Falanghina  The soil is chalky and the training system is guyot. Harvest is the first two weeks of October. There is a soft  pressing of the grapes and then they are cooled  50 degrees F for 4 to 5 hours. This is followed a with static decantations.  Fermentation is at 57 to 60 degrees F in steel tanks for 15 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine has floral notes with hints of citrus fruit, pear and apricot with good acidity and a long finish. I am always impressed by the Falaghina from Donna Chiara.

 

 

Another day, she tried a recipe from one of Marcella Hazan’s books.  It was spaghetti with bacon and zucchini.  It doesn’t look that interesting in the photos, but we liked it.

 

 

I was craving tomato sauce, so Michele made a simple one with olive oil, garlic, canned Italian tomatoes, and some basil that she had in the freezer.  It will have to do until we can get some fresh basil or plant some when the weather is better.

 

The only time we have pasta leftover is when Michele makes a double batch so that she can fry it the next day.  She mixes the cold pasta — any kind will do — with eggs and grated cheese and fries it in a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet until crispy and browned.  This was made with the remains of the spaghetti with zucchini and bacon.

 

 

 

Here we have spaghetti once again, with broccoli cooked until very soft with garlic olive oil and hot pepper.  Mashed with a little of the pasta water, it  makes  a kind  of  pesto  to  toss  with  the  pasta.

Soave Superiore DOCG “Monte San Pietro”  Sandro De Bruno made from 100% Garganega from the hills around Roncà, at 330 meters. The soil is volcanic, there are 4,000 vines per hectare, the training system is Pergoletta Veronese and the exposure is south. Fermentation is in big oak barrels of 30hl. This is a well-structured, complex wine with hints of tropical fruit,  citrus fruit white pepper and a floral note with a very pleasing after taste and a long finish. A great Soave.

 

This spaghetti was tossed with fresh scallops, garlic, parsley and hot pepper.  She finished it with some toasted breadcrumbs.

Barbera d’Alba” Bricco di Merli” 2001 Cogno  made from 100% Barbara from a 1.8 hectare vineyard at 300 meters, There are 4,500 plants per hectare and the training system is vertical trellised with guyot pruning. Vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with automatic pumping over. The wine is aged for six months in large Slavonian casks and  6 months in bottle before release. This is the fourth bottle of this wine I have had and it is showing very well for a wine 19 years old. Barbara can age. It has hints of dried prunes and cherries with a hint of spice.

 

Fresh fettuccine is the preferred pasta for a slow simmered Ragu Bolognese, made with pork, beef and a variety of vegetables.  But  we  had  it  with  dried penne rigati.

Montefalco Rosso 2016 Bocale made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sangiovese, 10 % Merlot and 5% Colorino.  Harvest is by hand the last days of September and the first days of October.  Vinification is with natural enzymes and there is no stabilization or filtration. The wine is aged in barrels and barriques for 12 months. The  wine has hints of violets and cherry with spicy notes

One day, a homemade pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella was a nice break from pasta.  It was even good reheated the next day.

 

A bunch of fresh asparagus was the inspiration for this creamy risotto.

 

Michele fried the remainder into cakes the next day, similar to the fried spaghetti I mentioned previously.

With so much bad news, good meals are a joy and a comfort.  We hope you are eating and drinking well too.

 

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Filed under Barbara, Barbera, Bocale, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Michele and Charles, Montefalco Rosso, Uncategorized

Women and Wine Part I: llaria Petitto of Donnachiara

Last week, Ilaria Petitto of Donna Chiara winery near Avellino invited me to meet two women who like herself, are winery owners in Irpinia. The women were Teresa Bruno of Petilia Winery and Maura Sarno of Sarno 60. Ilaria’s plan was for us to first visit Teresa at Petilia and then have lunch all together at a typical restaurant , Zia Pasqualina in Artipalda(AV) It was a great opportunity to experience some of my favorite wines of the region paired with the regional food.   First I will discuss the Donna Chiara wines we tasted, and will write about the other women’s wines in subsequent blogs.

Ilaria

Ilaria

Ilaria said that Donna Chiara Winery is located in Montefalcione in the Irpinia area near Avellino. The modern winery was completed in 2005 but the vineyards have been in the family for over 150 years. The consulting oenologist at this time is the legendary Riccardo Cotarella. It is the philosophy of the winery to preserve the traditional grape varieties of the local territory and to keep the typical character of the wines from  being  lost to the standardization of the wines on the market today. They also follow guidelines limiting the use of some active ingredients that are harmful to the environment.

The introduction of the wine was done by Francesco de Rienzo  from Donnachiara

Fiano di Avellino “Empatia” 2018, 100% Fiano di Avellino Donnachiara Illaria said only the best grapes from the vineyard in Montefalcione, which is certified organic, are used for this wine. The grapes are hand harvested the second half of October at the coolest part of the day and there is a very careful selection. The soil is chalky and the training system is guyot. Cryomaceration (crushed grapes are held at low temperature) is at 42-46F to preserve the aroma, prevent oxidation and enhance the characteristics of the grapes. There is a soft pressing of the grapes using a pneumatic press and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for about 14 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine spends some time in bottle before release. This is an impressively elegant wine with hints of apple, almonds, tropical fruit and floral notes with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. This is an age worthy wine.

Greco di Tufo “Aletheia” 2017 DOCG 100% Greco di Tufo Donnachiara Only the best grapes are used, after a careful selection, the harvest is by hand during the coolest parts of the day, the second half of October. The soil is tuffaceous and the training system is guyot. Cryomaceration is at 42-46F to preserve the aroma, prevent oxidation and to enhance the characteristics of the grapes. There is a soft pressing of the grapes using a pneumatic press and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for about 15 days. The fermented must is left to age on the lees for about a year with weekly bartonage. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine remains in the bottle for a period of time before release. This is an intense wine with hints of citrus fruit, pear, apricot and a hint of hazelnuts and pineapple. This is a age worthy wine

Ilaria said 2017 was a very good year in the region.

Ilaria gave me a bottle of  the Resilienza  Falanghina to take with me and I will write about the wine when I drink it in Rome. She said these three white wines are a new wine line with different labels.

Taurasi DOCG 2016   Donnachiara The soil is clay and the training system is guyot. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and harvest takes place the first week of November. The wine is aged for 12 months in 225-liter French barriques and remains in the bottle for another 24 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and a touch of cacao. The use of barrique is subtle and did not mask the character of the wine. Taurasi  is a wine that will last for many years.

One of the dishes we had at the restaurant was ricotta made from buffalo milk – it was fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Fiano, Greco di Tufo, Taurasi, Uncategorized

Terresacre: Wine from Molise

Over the years, I have met Chef Marcello Russodivito at different wine and food events. He owns a restaurant called Marcello’s of Suffern, in Suffern NY http://www.marcellosgroup.com. We would talk about wine and food and told me about a winery in Molise that he really liked. In fact, he liked it so much that he considered himself the American ambassador for the wine.

I asked him who the importer was and he told me that it is Wine Emporium. I called Franco Bengazi, owner of the company, and asked him if I could have some samples to try. In return, Franco sent me 7 bottles of very interesting wine.

Terresacre winery was established in 2006 in the small South Central Italian region of Molise. There are 35 hectares of vineyards and they are at 270 meters located in the countryside of Monterero di Bisaccia. This is in the hills of the lower Molise where the grapes are influenced by the maritime climate.

The Wines

Falanghina 2018 DOC 100% Falanghina. Harvest is by hand the first week of September and the grapes are destemmed, immediately crushed, and softly pressed. The must is immediately cooled at 8 to 10 degrees C. After 18 hours the must begins the fermentation process. Alcoholic fermentation lasts for 10 days at a constant temperature 15C. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a fresh dry wine with hints of citrus fruit, apple, a touch of acacia flowers and good acidity. This is the first time I have tasted a Falanghina from Molise and I really enjoyed it. $21

Falanghina Oravera 2015 DOC 100% Falanghina. After pressing, the grapes are subjected to a pre-saturation and the juice is cooled at 8C and left to settle. After 24 hours the clear must is fermented. The juice is fermented in French oak barriques. To obtain aromatic complexity the wine remains in the barrels on the lees for 8 months. The wine then is aged in bottle until it is ready for release. This is a complex wine with hints of candied fruits, acacia flowers and vanilla. Even with the barrique aging the aromas and the flavors of the Falanghina come through. This is the first time I have had a Falanghina fermented and aged in barriques. $30

Rosato 2017 “Rosavite” Terre Degli Osci IGT 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand picked at the end of September. After the separation of the stalks there is a mild crushing of the grapes. Maceration is for 10 hours. Fermentation at a controlled temperature takes place at 16 to18 C for 10 days. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints a cherry, raspberry and strawberry. $17.50

Rosso Neravite Molise 2014 DOC made from 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand harvested on the last 10 days of October. The grapes are softly crushed and destemmed. Maceration is in small steel fermentation tanks for 15 to 20 days with continuous daily stirring. Temperature controlled fermentation at 28C. This is a wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit with hints of black cherry and blackberries. $17.50

Tintilia 2016 DOC made from 100% Tintilia. This wine is treated the same way as the Tintilia Riserva(see below) the only difference is the it is aged in neutral stainless steel containers only. This is an intense full bodied wine with hints of blueberries, dark cherry, spice and a touch of balsamic. $27

The Tintilia Grape Is a black-skinned grape grown in small quantities in Molise. The vines produce medium-sized, egg-shaped berries in lose winged bunches. During maturation, some berries will even detach themselves, thinning bunches even more and further lowinerg the yields. The history of the grape in Molise is open to interpretation. Because the name Tinta means red in Spanish some believe that the grape was introduced into Molise sometime during the 17th century from Spain. Others believe the grape goes all the way back to the Samnites who inhabited the region prior to Roman rule. All agree however it is the most interesting “indigenous” grape in Molise.

Because Tintilia is a very low yielding grape it was not very profitable to grow. The grape managed to survive in a few places here and there until it was “re-discovered” in the late 1990’s by producers such as Terresacre. This was helped in part by the creation of the DOC in 1998 which allowed wines made by at least 85% Tintilia to have the DOC.

I do not believe I have had a wine made from this grape before!

Tintilia Riserva Molise 2013 made from 100% Tintilia. The grapes are hand harvested at the end of September and the beginning of October. After the separation of the stalks there is a soft pressing of the grapes. Maceration takes place in steel vats for 20 to 30 days with pumping over of the must. Alcoholic fermentation is for 10 to 12 days in temperature controlled tanks and at a temperature that does not rise above 28C. The wine is aged in French barriques carefully selected by the enologist Goffredo Agostini to respect the character of the Tintilia grape. This is a complex full bodied wine with hints of plum, red fruits, a touch of black pepper and balsamic notes. $41.50

Rispetto Montepulciano “Experientia Manet” 2013 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand harvested in late October. Maceration takes place in small steel fermentation tanks for 20 to 25 days and strring takes place. Fermentation is from 10 to 12 days at 28C. The wine is aged in French oak barriques made from two different types of wood. The wine has hints of blueberries, jam, vanilla coconut and coffee. $ 33.50

Thanks to Chef Marcello Russodivito for introducing me to these wines and to Franco Bengazi of Wine Emporium for sending me the samples.

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Filed under Falanghina, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, Terresacre, Tintilla Molise, Uncategorized

Fourteen Wines Under $20

Well-priced good wines can be found in all price ranges.  Here are some that I tried recently.

Alvarinho 2017 (Vinho Verde) Soalheiro Portugal 100% Alvarinho. Hand picked grapes from several small vineyards planted in granite soil at 100 to 400 meters located in the Melgaco region in the northern point of Portugal. After pressing and before fermentation, which is temperature controlled, the must is decanted during 48 hours at a low temperature.  I first had this wine in a restaurant in Lisbon. $11

Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco Veneto IGT 2017 (Veneto) Pasqua made from 100% Garganega and dried in the fruttaio (drying chamber) for 15 days. This results in the concentration of sugars and floral aromas. After crushing, maceration on the skins takes place for over 12 hours. Vinification is with selected yeasts and a portion of the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for a few months. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, peaches and a touch of almonds. It is an easy to drink wine. $16

Falanghina Beneventano 2015 DOC 100% Falanghina. Campania, Italy Donnachiara The vineyard is the Torre Cuso, the best location for Falanghina. The soil is volcanic, chalky clay, the vines are 16 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 2,500 vines per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed before pressing. Cold fermentation is in stainless steel and there is extended maceration. This is a crisp white wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors, nice acidity and good minerality. This is one of my favorite white wines and I always have a bottle or two on hand. $17 . I first had this wine at the winery.

Lugana DOC “Mandolara” 2017 (Veneto) Le Morette made from 100% Turbiana grapes from the vineyard on a narrow strip of land on the shore of Lake Garda. The training system is guyot, double and short modified and there are 3,500 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in the second half of September. After a very soft crushing, vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the wine remains in the bottle for at least one month before release. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints of apple and peach and a touch of bitter almonds in the finish. The name of the wine comes from a particular protected species of wild ducks which nest in Lake Frassino.  The ducks are the symbol of the farm. $18

Bianco delle Regine 2016 (Umbria) Castello delle Regina 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. $15

Moscato Sicilia 2016 IGT (Salemi, Sicily)100% Moscato di Alexandria Stella. The vineyard is 25 acres and the training system is guyot. There are 1,600 vines vines/acre, and the elevation is 1,485 feet with a northern/southern exposure. The vines were planted in 2000 and the first vintage was in 2010. Harvest was in August. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for 12 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place and the wine ages in stainless steel.  The alcohol level is 10%. This is a wine with hints of white peaches, tropical fruit and good acidity. $11

Nebbiolo 2014 Paso Robles (Califorina) Caparone 100% Nebbiolo macerated on the skins for 45 days, in completely enclosed stainless fermenters. It was light in color like Nebbiolo should be. The wine is unfiltered and unfined. In a blind tasting I might have said it was like a Nebbiolo from the north of Piedmont but in a much lighter style with more red fruit and less of the tar, tobacco and dried fruit character. This winery make wines that can last for years. Recently I had their 2002 Merlot which could last for another 20 years. $18

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2016 DOC None (Abruzzo, Italy) made from 100% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Stella. The soil is sandy, the training system is Pergola/Arbor trained and the elevation is 900 feet. There are 1,000 vines per acre and the vines were planted in 1995. The first vintage was in 1998 and harvest takes place in September. Fermentation is in stainless tanks and the alcohol fermentation lasts for 7 days. Maceration technique is by pumpovers and it lasts for 5 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place and the wine ages 5 months before bottling and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of black cherries, strawberries and a touch of herbs. $11

Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Rosso Veneto IGT 2016 (Veneto) Pasqua made from Corvina, Croatina and Merlot. The grapes are hand picked and a portion of the Corvina and Merlot are put into small crates in the fruttaio to dry until they lose 30% of their water content and gain high sugar content. This is then blended with the juice from the non-dried grapes and vinified in steel tanks. Following fermentation the grapes age in oak tonneaux for about 4 months and then aged in bottle before release. The wine has hints of cherry, plum and a touch of spice. $16 .

Negroamaro Del Salento IGP 2016 (Puglia) Varvaglione made from 100% Negroamaro  Vinification with temperature control maceration and malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in large barrels (botti)  of French oak for at least 3 months. The wine has fresh fruit flavors and aromas with hints of cherry and spice $12

 

Pinot Nero Rolhut 2015 DOC (Alto Adige, Italy) Peter Zemmer The stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented at a constant temperature of 26 – 28° C (79 – 82° F) for about 7 days. The must is kept in contact with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below.  After two gentle rackings, 70% of this Pinot Noir is aged over 12 months in large barrels of French oak, and the remainder is aged in small casks of French oak (barriques), which are 2 – 3 years old. After blending, 750 ml Bordeaux-style bottles are filled and the wine is aged an additional 6 months in the bottle before it goes on sale. This is a fruity wine with hints of red berries, cherries and a touch of blueberries. $18

Umbria Rosso IGT “Vascellarus”  2016 (Umbria) Argillae made from 85% Montepulciano, and 15 Cabernet Sauvignon. The training method is guyot and there are 3,333 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand in October. The grapes are crushed and destemmed and there is a 25/30-day maceration period with frequent pumpovers on the skins, accompanied by several rack and return procedures. Alcoholic fermentation is in steel tanks at a controlled temperature and malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques. The wine is aged in French barriques with racking on a regular basis, depending on the need. The wine remains in the bottle for another 8/12 months before release. The wine has hints of ripe red fruit, spice, black pepper and vanilla notes. $18

Côtes-du-Rhone Samorëns Blanc 2015 (France) made from Clairette and Grenache. Ferraton Père & Fils The grapes are picked at the peak of ripeness and quickly chilled upon arrival at the winery via a chill tunnel. After pressing, the must is cold-settled for 48 hours. Vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks where many lots will undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine is then blended and bottled without the use of oak. It has fresh citrus aromas and flavors with hints of white peach and good acidity. $15

Gaia Red Blend 2015 (Argentina) Domaine Bousquet made from 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. There is a manual harvest: for the Syrah the 2nd week of April, Malbec the 3rd week of April, and the Cabernet Sauvignon 4th week of April. There is a cold fermentation for 72 hours. Fermentation is with selected yeast at a maximum temperature of 27C for 12 days. Maceration is for 14 days and the wine is aged in used French barrels for 10 months. This is a fruity wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit with a hint if blueberries and a touch of spice.  Alcohol is 14%.  $19

 

 

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January 14, 2019 · 2:29 am

Enjoying Rome

Michele and I have been to Rome four times this year and every time we go we discover something new and interesting as we walk, eat and drink.

Crossing the bridge

I Claudius

The Ghetto 

Pasta all’Amatriciana At Checchino dal 1887- my favorite

Lunch with Daniele Cernilli (Doctor Wine) at Checchino 1887

Spaghetti ai Moscardini, a favorite of Michele at I Due Ladroni

Carciofi alla Giudia at Da Romolo alla Mole Adriano

The Furore 2016-perfect wine with seafood at  I Due Ladroni

Falanghina always ready to drink and enjoy

Daniele called this a “Great Wine”

A light lunch At L’ Angolo Di Vino

Speaking with the owner Massimo Crippa about Wineand aged Grappa

Great way to end our stay in Rome and leave for the Hello Grappa  tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara Winery at Il Gattopardo NYC

I have known Illaria Petitto, Managing Director of the Donnachiara Winery for some time and have tasted the wines in NYC many times. I also have visited the winery in Campania a few times. It is always a treat to taste these wines and when the host restaurant is Il Gattppardo the combination could not be better. This is a event I could not miss.

Ilarai Petitto

Ilaria spoke about the winery. She said the winery is located in Montefalcione in the Irpinia area near Avellino. The modern winery was completed in 2005 but the vineyards have been in the family for over 150 years. The consulting oenologist at this time is the legendary Riccardo Cotarella. It is the philosophy of the winery to preserve the traditional grape varieties of the  local territory and to keep the typical character of the wines from  being  lost to the standardization of the wines on the market today. They also follow “Misura CE n.1257/99 – “Produzione , integrata della Regione Campania” limiting the use of some active ingredients that are harmful to the environment.

The White Wines

 Benevento Falanghina IGT “Resilienza” 2016 100% Falanghina. The soil is clay, the training system is guyot and the harvest is the first half of October. Only the best grapes are selected, harvest is manual and takes place during the coolest hours of the day. There are 2,500 vines per hectare and the grapes were picked at the height of maturity. Illara said cryomaceration is at 42-46 degrees F in order to preserve the aromas, prevent oxidation and enhance the typical characteristics of the varieties. Soft pressing fermentation is at 57-60 °F in stainless steel tanks for about 15 days. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine remains in the bottle for many months before release. This a a wonderful food wine with good fruit, citrus aromas and flavors, and notes of pear and apricot. It has good acidity and a lasting finish.

Ed Mc Carthy co- author of the Wine for Dummies books said that it was the best Falanghina he had ever tasted.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2017 100% Fiano. The soil is chalky clay and there are 4,400 plants per hectare.  The vines are guyot trained and the harvest is the second half of October. There is a soft pressing of the grapes that are quickly cooled to 50F for 4 to 6 hours. Fermentation is at 57 to 60F in steel tanks for 15 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is a delicate and elegant wine with hints of almonds, floral notes and citrus fruit. It is a real pleasure to drink.

This grape was brought to Campania by ancient Greeks. The Romans called it vitis apiana – the Latin root for bees is apiana. Even today bees are attracted to the Fiano grape and Ilaria said you can see the honey bees in the vineyards in Montefalcione.

Greco di Tufo DOCG 2017 100% Greco The soil is tufaceous, training system is guyot, there are 3,300 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place the second half of October. A soft pressing of selected grapes takes place and after that a cold decanting of the must. Fermentation is at 57 to 60F. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is an elegant wine with good structure with hints of pear, apricot, citrus and a touch of pineapple. Like the Fiano, this is a wine that can age for 15 years or more. It is one of my favorites. Both the Fiano and the Greco are wines that can age.

With the white wine we had: Cavatelli di grano saraceno ai frutti di mare.

The Red Wines

Campania Aglianico IGT 2016 made from 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay, the training system is guyot and the harvest takes place in the first half of November. Malolatic fermentation takes place in barriques for 3 months. Ilaria said this is a fresh and pleasant wine due to a small number of “follature” and to a short period of maceration on the skins it is possible to produce a wine that is elegant, warm and perfect with many different foods. The wine is fruity with hints of blackberries, strawberries and a touch of toast.

Irpinia Agianico DOC 2015 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay, the training system is guyot and the harvest takes place the first two weeks in November. Fermentation takes place at 68 to 71 F in stainless steel tanks for 15 days. Maturation is on the skins for 10 days. Malolactic fermentation is in barriques. The wine is full and complex with hints of prune, berries and spice. This was one of the Top 100 Wines this year in the Wine Spectator. 

Taurasi DOCG 2013 100% Aglianico Manual harvest. This wine was vinified like the one above. It is a well structured wine with hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and coffee notes.

Taurasi Riserva 2012 DOCG made from 100% Aglianico The soil is clay, training system is guyot and the harvest takes place the first half of November. This one is produced only in the best vintages. There is manual grape picking, a careful cluster selection followed by a soft pressing of the grapes. Maturation is on the skins for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques. This is a full intense wine with hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and coffee notes. It is on its way to becoming a great wine with a little more bottle age.

In 2012 Cotarella was not the consulting oenologist.

With the red wine we had: Carrè d’agnello alle erbe aromatiche served with broccoli rabe and a potato croquette.

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Filed under Aglianico, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Taurasi, Uncategorized

In the Shadow of the Volcano

Our stay in Naples in February was an adventure both in the city and in the countryside.

Marina Alaimo, a journalist I met in Naples last year, offered to take Michele and I to Haccademia, one of her favorite pizzerias. It is in Terzigno on the road from Naples to Vesuvius. We took the Circumvesuviana, the train that goes around Naples and met Marina in a town a few stops outside of Naples. She drove us straight to the pizzeria where we met the owner Aniello Falanga and his son Nicola who made us a variety of excellent pizzas to taste. Marina ordered the Piedirosso Frupa from the Sorrentino winery to go with the pizza. When I said I liked the wine and that it went very well with the pizza, Marina replied that the winery is only ten minutes away and suggested we go there next.

Sorrentino  Winery is located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in a famous archeological area shaped like a large pentagon made up of  the ancient towns of Pompei, Oplontis, Stabia and Ercolano, and the Gulf of Naples.  It is a family run winery operated by the father Paolo and his three children, Giuseppe (Director), and daughters Maria Paola and Benny (Winemaker).

Giuseppe took us on a tour and said that the winery is located in Boscotrecase, the ancient Silva Mala.  The sight of Mount Vesuvius looming over the vineyards was awesome.

Rock formed from Lava

He said that the Vesuvius region is the most extended volcanic area in continental Europe. The volcanic sandy soil is by its very nature resistant to parasites like the phylloxera (microscopic insects attacking the roots of the vines, which wiped out most of the vineyards in Europe). Giuseppe went on to explain that all of the vineyards are located on the southwest and south side of Vesuvius where the numerous lava flows reached the sea. The soil here is enriched with minerals and is very fertile. This represents the first line of defense against phylloxera and the preservation of ungrafted vines.

Since the vineyards are phylloxera free, unlike almost all the other vineyards in Europe, these vines are not grafted onto American rootstock. The favorable conditions in the vineyards have always made them close to organic and currently they produce fully organic grapes. Only natural fertilizers are used and there is no addition of synthetic chemicals. The training system is the traditional pergola and the espalier.

Between the rows of vines they plant herbs and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and zucchini so biodiversity is maintained in the vineyards and beneficial organisms favor the soil.

The Wines

Falanghina “Latikadea” IGT Made from 100% Falanghina The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. Fermentation is in stainless steel and the wine remains in bottle for at least one month before release. Harvest takes place at the end of September. The wine has flavors and aromas of citrus fruit with hints of pineapple and floral notes.

Organic Falanghina Verso IGT 100% Falanghina The soil is volcanic and sandy. The training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. Harvest is at the end of September. Fermentation is in steel and the wine remains in the bottle for at least one month before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of citrus fruit with hints of pineapple.

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio selezione “Vigna Lapillo” Bianco DOC made from 80% Coda di Volpe and 20% Falanghina. The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. The harvest is at the end of September. Fermentation is in steel and the wine remains in the bottle for one month before release. The wine has hints of white perches, and pears with a hint of almonds and good minerality. Giuseppe said that this vineyard is one of the closest to the Vesuvius crater.

Piedrosso “Frupa” IGT made from 100% Piedirosso. The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 600 meters. Harvest takes place in the middle of October. Fermentation is in steel and the wine ages for at least 12 months in French oak, then for 3 months in bottle before release. This is a fruity wine with hints of plum, cherry, and a touch of spice and pepper. We had this wine with pizza at Haccademia.

“Don Paolo” Organic Aglianico Pompeiano 100% Giuseppe said this was their finest cru dedicated to their father Paolo. The soil is volcanic and sandy. Training system is guyot and cordone speronato and the vines are at 600 meters. Harvest is at the end of October. The wine is aged in 25 to 50 HL French oak barrels for 16 to 18 months and in bottle for 5 to 6 months before release. This is a full bodied complex wine with hints of cherry, strawberry and notes of spice and coffee.

 

 

 

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Filed under Aglianico, Falanghina, Piedirosso, Sorrentino Winery

A Taste of Vesuvius in Rome: CasaSetaro Winery

 

I have tasted the wines of CasaSetaro in the U.S and in Italy and really liked them.

Massimo Setaro

Massimo Setaro

Michele and I were spending 3 weeks in Rome when I received an e-mail from Massimo Setaro (the winery is in the Vesuvius National Park) that he wanted to come to Rome so I could taste his wines.img_1501

We met at Bar del Fico, Piazza del Fico 26, for a light lunch so that I could taste the wine with food. It is close to the apartment we rented and we go there for our morning café, drinks, and to eat. It a kind of funky place and the people are very nice.

Massimo said the winery is located on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius in Trecase. All the vineyards are located inside the Vesuvius National Park.

There are 4,500 plants per hectare. He spoke about the terroir and said it is volcanic and sandy with a layer of lava on the surface and volcanic stone. There is a mineral character present in the wines. This composition of the soil makes the vines immune to phyloxera so many of the plants have European roots.

The exposure of the vineyards are south, southeast, at 200 to 450 meters. If you walk to the highest point, you would be surrounded by the forests of the Vesuvius National Park. Green organic manure is used and the vines are treated only with copper and sulfur. Selected yeast is used in all the wines and the winery uses only their own grapes.

Massimo said he had bought a number of oak barriques but does not use them for wine anymore. Now they are used for planters.

Massimo said he learned a lot from his father growing up in the winery where they live. He said he takes care of all the production steps from vineyard management to the final bottling and his wife, Mariarosaria, works at his side.

I was very impressed with the passion in his voice when he spoke about growing up in the winery, the Vesuvius National Park, his wines and that he and his family live at the winery.

The Winesimg_1504

Caprettone Spumante Method Classico 100% Caprettone Production zone Alto Tirone, Vesuvius National Park. The age of the vineyards is 18 to 25 years. They are at 350 meters and the training system is espalier, guyot trained with a few buds per plant. Vinification: maceration at 4C in steel tanks, fermentation for 18 to 24 days, the second fermentation takes place after about six months. The wine remains on the lees for 30 months and remains in bottle for about 12 months before release.

In June when I was a judge at Radici del Sud in Puglia, this wine was picked as # 1 in the spumante category by the journalist panel of which I was a member.

Massino said the Caprettone grape is excellent for making spumante method classico because it has very good body and produces a round and elegant wine. I have to agree.img_1503

Falanghina Campania IGT “Campanelle” 100% Falanghina del Vesuvio. Production Area: various micro zones within the Vesuvius National Park. The vineyards are at 250 meters and the vines are 18 years old. The training system is espalier with guyot pruning.img_1506

Massimo feels that Falanghina does not have the same rich character as the Caprettone. We both agreed however that with spaghetti con vongole verace, spaghetti with clams, we would drink the Falanghina. The wine has nice citrus aromas and flavors with a touch of minerality.

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Bianco “Munazei” 100% Caprettone. Production zone Vesuvius National Park. The training system is Vesuvian pergola and guyot. Vinification: Maceration in steel tanks at a controlled temperature and fermentation lasts for about 20 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for about 6 months and then in bottle for two months before release.

Michele and I first had wines made from the Caprettone grape few years ago on the Amalfi Coast and have been drinking them ever since.

Munazei- this is what they called the cold storage rooms built into the mountain where food was kept to prevent spoilage.img_1502

 Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Rosato “Munazei” 100% Piedirosso. The vineyards are at 300 to 350 meters and the vines are 20 years old. Training system is espalier, guyot and Vesuvian pergola. There is a soft destemming and pressing followed by low temperature skin fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 4C for about 24 hours. The lees are removed and there is cleaning and controlled temperature fermentation at 10 to 12C for 18 to 24 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for 3 months and another 2 months in bottle before it is released. It has aromas and flavors of fresh red fruit with hints of cherry, strawberry and raspberry.img_1505

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Piedirosso DOC 100% Piedirosso. Espalier, guyot training Vesuvian pergola. Vinification: Maturation in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and in bottle for 3 months before release. The wine has hints of dark fruit with touch of blackberries violets. It is an easy drinking wine that goes very well with food.img_1508

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso DOC Riserva “Don Vincenzo”  Made from 85% Piedirosso and 15% Aglianico. The production area is Tirone della Guardia. The vineyards are at 350 meters and are 30 years old. The training system is espalier, guyot trained. There is a natural selection of the hand picked grapes. Fermentation takes place, with skin contact for 12 to 14 days. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French oak tonneau and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a deeply rich wine with hints of cherries and raspberries with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. Massimo said this wine is named after his father. He is very proud of the wine and gave me a magnum as a gift!

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Filed under Caprettone, CasaSetaro winery, Falanghina, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Lacyma Chrisiti di Vesuvio, Piedirosso, Spumante, Uncategorized

12 Wines $20 and Under for All Seasons

 

There are some wines that I like to drink all year round. They go with the foods I like to eat and I know I can turn to them at any time. I consider them wines for all seasons. Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to drink well.

Prosecco “Rustico” Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG Nino Franco. 100% Glera (traditionally called Prosecco) from classic production area hillside vineyards situated at medium to high altitude. Pressing, destemming, cooling of the must and fermentation takes place in steel tanks at controlled temperature. Second fermentation is in “cuvee close” (Charmat method). $1IMG_9987

Falanghina Beneventano 2015 DOC 100% Falanghina. The vineyard is the Torre Cuso, the best location for Falanghina. Donnachiara. The soil is volcanic, chalky clay, the vines are 16 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 2,500 vines per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed before pressing. Cold fermentation is in stainless steel and there is extended maceration. This is a crisp white wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors nice acidity and good minerality. $18IMG_0118

Pallagrello Bianco “Caiati” 2014 100% Pallagrello Bianco from a 2.13-hectare vineyard at 280 meters, soil is volcanic with minerals. Alois 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. It has hints of almonds, citrus fruit, melon and grapefruit with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. $20IMG_1091

Côtes-du-Rhone Samorëns Blanc 2015 made from Clairette and Grenache. Ferraton Père & Flis  The grapes are picked at the peak of ripeness and quickly chilled upon arrival at the winery via a chill tunnel. After pressing, the must is cold-settled for 48 hours. Vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks where many lots will under go malolactic fermentation. The wine is then blended and bottled without the use of oak. It has fresh citrus aromas and flavors with hints of white peach and good acidity. $15IMG_1094

Pinot Grigio 2015 Alto Adige DOC Peter Zimmer. Made from a selection of grapes from the best vineyards of the valley floor and the steep slopes nearby. The soil here is stony, sandy and extremely chalky. The low yields per hectare and this particular terroir combines for a very particular Pinot Grigio.  The grapes are gently pressed, then clarified through the natural settling of sediment. Alcoholic fermentation is carried out with pure strains of yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation does not occur. The wine remains on the lees for several months before it is bottled. It has more depth than most Pinot Grigio, with ripe fresh fruit, a touch of pear, and a hint of spice, good mineral character and fresh acidity. $16IMG_0912

Gewürztraminer Alto Adige DOC 2014 Elena Walch made from 100% Gewurztraminer from small vineyards around the villages if Tramin and Caldero. After harvest, the grapes are crushed and pressed. The fresh must is clarified at low temperatures then gently fermented at a controlled temperature of 20°C in stainless steel tanks. The wine matures in stainless steel tanks for several months on its fine lees. The wine has hints of white flowers and spice with a nice long finish. $20

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rose 2015 IGP Pays d’OC  Chapoutier made from 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah. The estate was purchased by Michel Chapoutier in 1999 and is located in one of the best parts of the Languedoc called the Cotes du Roussillon. The grapes are carefully vinified at low even temperatures. The juice is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in the same tanks. After a short maceration on the skins, the delicate pink hue is attained and the wine is racked and vinified. The wine is then carefully blended prior to bottling. $15IMG_1075

Bordeaux Rose 2015 made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Chateau de Lardiley. The soil is clay and limestone, organic agriculture and located in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers area in the village of Saint-Pierre-de Bat. The estate is situated midslope along the Garonne River. This is a ripe, red fruit dominated wine with hints of strawberries and raspberries. $15IMG_1092

Az. Agr. Apicella Colli di Salerno Piedirosso IGT 2014, made from 85% Piedirosso from ungrafted vines and 15% other red grapes. There are 3,000 vines per hectare and the training system is mostly pergola. Harvest takes place the third week of October. The stalks are removed and the grapes are pressed. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 to 12 days. Piedirosso is used mostly as a blending grape.  (It is one of the grapes in the blend for Lacryma Chrisit del Vesuvio Rosso.) It is difficult to find wine made from 100% Piedirosso but worth the effort.
The wine has fresh red fruit flavors and aromas with hints of black pepper and spice a long finish and nice after taste. The wine should be drunk young. $16IMG_0914

Schiava Alto Adige DOC 2015 made from 100% Schiava from high side vineyards above Lake Caldaro at 1,312 ft. Elena Walch The soil is limestone and dandy clay. There is temperature-controlled fermentation at 27°C in stainless steel tanks for 7 days of skin contact. Malolactic fermentation and maturation take place in traditional 8,000-liter Slovenian oak casks. This is a fruity red wine with hints of cherry and a nice bitter almond touch on the finish. $16IMG_1093

Cahors Malbec Prestige 2011 AOP Cahors Domaine du Théron 100% Malbec. Family owned and operated by Pelvillain Freres. The domaine was established in 1973 and is situated in the village of Prayssac in the valley of Lot. The soil is limestone and clay with cover grass planted between the rows. Grapes are harvested in the early morning, destemmed and lightly crushed. Maceration and fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After the wines are racked to different stainless steel tanks where malolactic fermentation is completed. The wines are aged in barriques for about 12 months, 1/3 of which is new wood. The best barrels are selected and blended into the Cuvée Prestige which is the top of the line and aged another year in bottle before release. This is a big dark wine with hints of spice and chocolate and a touch of blueberries with a smooth yet powerful finish. $18

Moscato d”Asti “Cascinetta” DOCG –NV 100% Moscato d”Asti, Vietti. Grapes are selected from vineyards in Castiglione Tinella. There are 4,500 plants per hectare and they are about 40 years old. The grapes are crushed, pressed and naturally clarified. Must is stored, without sulfite, at low temperature in order to naturally prevent fermentation. Before bottling, yeast is added and the temperature is increased. Alcoholic fermentation is in stainless steel autoclave to preserve natural CO2 from the fermentation. The fermentation is stopped at 5.5% alcohol by again reducing the temperature. Malolactic fermentation does not take place and preserves acidity, varietal fruit character and freshness. The wine is held in stainless steel tanks before bottling. The wine is delicately sweet, slightly sparkling, frizzante with hints of white peaches, apricots and ginger. $16

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Filed under Alois Winery, Cotes du Rhone- Ferraton, Donna Chiara Winery, Elena Walch, Falanghina, French Wine, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Moscato d'Asti, Nino Franco, Pallagrello, Peter Zemmer, Piedirosso, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Uncategorized