Category Archives: Ferrari

Sparkling Wines from the Mountains

The Istituto Trento DOC sponsored a tasting of old vintage sparkling wines from the Trentodoc region at the Nomad Rooftop.

Some of Italy’s best sparkling wines come from this area as well as some of the country’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.

The Trentodoc wine area in Northern Italy is surrounded by the Dolomite Mountains. The vines there are trained mainly using the Trentino pergola system and are grown at an altitude of 200 to 800 meters. With global warming, this may be the only area where grapes can be planted higher up where the temperature is cooler.

The grapes used to make Trentodoc are Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Nero and Pinot Meunier. This is the only region where sparkling wines are produced in the mountains.

The grapes are harvested by hand and the base wine is aged slowly in the bottle on the lees for a minimum 15 months for a brut wine, to a minimum of 36 months for a riserva. The producers of all of the wines we tasted aged their wines far longer on the lees than the minimum allowed by law.

Giulio Ferrari was the first to produce high quality Metodo Classico sparkling wine in Trento in the early 20th Century. Trentodoc was the first official recognized Metodo Classico in Italy and among the first in the world. The Istituto Trento DOC was founded in 1984 and now represents 53 sparkling wine producers, and is the brand’s promoter. The symbol has two ‘0’s that resemble the bottom of a bottle being rotated, a distinction of sparkling Metodo Classico production.

The Wines

Trento DOC Moser 51,151 Brut (Deg 2014) made from 100% Chardonnay. The vineyards are mainly limestone and are between 300 and 600 meters, with a density of 2,500 to 4,000 vines per hectare. The training system is Pergola/Guyot. 80% of the wine is aged in stainless steel and 20% in large oak casks of 25HL for 6 months. The wine spends 30 months on the lees. Residual sugar 4.5 g/l. The name pays tribute to the cycling record Francesco Moser set in Mexico City in 1984.

Trento DOC Cantina D’isera 1907 Brut Riserva 2013 made from 100% Chardonnay grown on the hills of Isera. The soil is made of volcanic, fluvial and glacial deposit. The vineyards are at 500 to 600 meters and the training system is Pergola/Guyot. There are 4,500 to 6,000 vines per hectare. The wine spends all its time in stainless steel and remains on the lees for 60 months while the law requires only 36 months for a Riserva. This is a wine with hints of candied fruit, brioche and delicate mineral notes. Residual sugar 3.8g/l. This is a co-op with 150 members.

Trento DOC Revi Brut Millesimato 2010 (Disgorged in 2014) Made from 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir. The vineyards are at 250 to 350 meters and soil is calcareous clay, medium textured stone. There are 4,500 vines per hectare. Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel and the wine spends 36 months on the lees, Residual sugar 6g/l. This is an elegant wine with nice fruity aromas and flavors and floral notes.

Trento DOC Rotari Flavio Brut Riserve 2010 made from 100% Chardonnay. The vineyards are at 650 meters and the soil is clayey and phorphyric. The training system is pergola. Aging is in stainless steel 60% and barriques 40% for 6 months. The wine spends 96 months on the lees. Only 3,000 bottles are produced. The wine has hints of apricot and peach with notes of brioche, white flowers and a touch of citrus. Residual sugar is 6.7g/l.

TrentoDOC Ferrari Perlé in magnum 2010 made from 100% organic Chardonnay from vineyards at 400 to 700 meters. The soil is loose not too deep made of volcanic and glacial deposits. There are 4,500 to 5,500 plants per hectare. Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel and the wine remains on the lees for 60 months. This is an elegant well-balanced wine with hints of apple, almonds, and a touch of brioche. I was very impressed by this wine. Residual sugar 6g/l.

TrentoDOC Altemas iBrut Riserva Graal 2010 made from 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir from vineyards at 500 to 600 meters. Volcanic and glacial soils, the training system is pergola/guyot and there are 4,500 to 5,000 vines per hectare. The wine spends 70 months on the lees. Aging is in stainless steel and barriques for about 6 months. This is a well-balanced wine with hints of apple, citrus and candied fruits with a note of brioche and good minerality.

TrentoDOC Endrizzi Masetto Prive 2009 Riserva Dosage Zero made from 100% Chardonnay from vineyards at 300 to 400 meters and the soil is dolomic, calcareous. The training system is espalier/guyot and there are 5,800 plants per hectare. The wine is aged in stainless steel and barriques with 9 months in French oak. The wine remains on the lees for 84 months. Only 1,500 bottles are produced. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, pastry and toasted bread with a mineral touch. Residual sugar is 6g/l.

TrentoDOC Madame Matris Brut Riserva 2009 Maso Martis made from 70% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Noir from vineyards at 450 meters. The soil is calcareous, rich in texture on red Trentino rock. The training system is Pergola and there are 3,500 vines per hectare. The Chardonnay is aged for 8 months in barriques and Pinot Noir and Pinot Menuier is stainless steel. The wine has hints of brioche, citrus fruit and white flowers with nice minerality. Only 2,680 bottles are produced. Residual sugar is 7.5.

TrentoDOC Monfort Brut Riserva 2008 Made from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from vineyards at 400 to 700 Meters. The soil is glacial deposit soil, with a marly calcareous mineral content. The training system is espalier/guyot and there are 6,000 vines per hectare. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged 50% in steel and 50% in barriques. 50% of the Chardonnay spends 6 months in French oak. The wine has hints of bread crust and vanilla with citrus notes. Residual sugar is 8g/l.

TrentoDOC 976 Brut Riserva Del Fondatore 2008 Letrari made from 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay from vineyards at 450 meters. The soil is calcareous. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is pergola/guyot. 95% of the wines is aged in stainless steel and 5% in oak casks from 4 months. The wine spends 120 months on the lees. Only 3,000 bottles are produced. The wine has hints of brioche, vanilla, apple and hazelnut with a touch of spice. Residual sugar 6.4g/l

TrendoDOC Cesarini Sforza Aquila Reale Brut Riserva 2004 Discorged in 2012. Made from 100% Chardonnay from vineyards at 500 meters. The soil is full of debris, slightly calcareous, not very deep, loamy and well drained. The training system is simple pergola and there are 4,500 plants per hectare. The wine spends 60 months on the lees and 50% is aged in French oak barriques for 6 months. This is an elegant wine rich and complex with hints of candied fruit, brioche, nice minerality and a touch of sage. It was drinking very well for a wine of this age. Residual sugar 5.5g/l.

 

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Filed under Ferrari, Sparkling wine, Spumante, Uncategorized

Gala Italia Showcases Italian Wine

The Italian Wine and Food institute held its 34 annual Gala Italian Wine and Food Tasting at Il Gattopardo restaurant in NYC. Lucio Caputo, head of the Institute and former head of Italian Trade Commission in NYC said that the event was a great success attended by many members of the trade and the media. The event was divided into to parts, the afternoon secession was for the trade and the evening session was for the media.

I went to the afternoon secession early because I knew it would be less crowded and would be able to taste the wines at my own pace.

Lucio Caputo and Augusto Marchini the former Assistant Trade Commissioner

There were a number of excellent wines and here are a few I really liked.

The Wine

Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC NV Made from 100% Glera.(Veneto) The vineyards are the traditional “Metodo Spalliera”, where the stems can be as long as one meter and are tied to a horizontal wire. Grapes are hand picked during the last week of September. Soft pressing and fermentation occurs at 64F in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. To obtain small and fine bubbles (perlage) a selection of natural yeasts is made. There is 3 months of Charmat aging, followed by 3 mo nths in bottle before release. This is a sparkling wine with hints of peach, melon, pear and golden apple.

Ferrari Brut Trento DOC NV Methodo Classico 100% Chardonnay. (Trentino) The grapes are picked by hand at the beginning of September. They come from various communes in the Val d’Adige, .Val di Cembra and Valle dei Laghi. The vineyards are between 300 and 700 meters above sea level, with southeast or southwest exposure. The wine is aged for at least 24 months on the lees. It is selected yeast from Ferrari’s own cultures

Muzic, Collio Ribolla Gialla DOC 2017 100% Ribolla Gialla(F V J) grown on hilly terrain of stratified Eocene marl and sandstone. The training system is Guyot. Grapes are hand harvested the third week of September. The grapes are destemmed and crushed, followed by maceration on the skins for12 hours at 15C. There is a soft pressing of the grapes. Alcoholic fermentation is for 8 to 10 days at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged on the lees in steel vats with periodical batonnage for at least four months. This is a light bodied, balanced white wine with hints of citrus fruit, white flowers and good acidity.

Planeta Etna Rosso DOC 2016 made from 100% Nerello Mascalese (Sicily) The soil is black lave sand, rich in minerals. The vineyards are at 510 meters, there are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. Harvest takes place from October 15th to 20th. The grapes are picked and placed into crates and, if necessary, are at once refrigerated at 10C. A selection takes place by hand. After destemming, fermentation is at 23C in wooden vats and in stainless steel vats and the skins mains in contact with the must for 14 days. There is a mixing and manual stirring every day. Decanting takes place with the help of the vertical press. The wine is aged in wooden 50hl and stainless steel vats for 6 to 8 months. The wine is bottled in July. This is a fruity wine with hints of cherry, strawberry and a touch of spice and black pepper.

Villa Antinori, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2013 (Tuscany) Made mostly from Sangiovese with some Cabernet Sauvignon. Harvest began on September 25th with the Sangiovese and ended in mid-October with the Cabernet. The grapes were given a soft destemming and pressing, and the must went into stainless steel tanks, where it fermented for a week at a controlled temperature. Skin contact lasted for 8 or 9 days. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel for the Sangiovese and in oak barrels for the Cabernet. A master blend was made and went into big barrels and partially in small barrels of Hungarian oak until the spring. The wine was bottled in June 2015. The wine has hints of red fruit, spice and balsamic notes.

Bertani, Secco Original Vintage Edition Verona IGT 2015(Veneto) in) Made from 80% different varieties of Corvina, 10% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in the hills around the historic winery outside Verona. After a long cold maceration on the skins, a slow fermentation is started using native yeasts. The wine is still slightly sweet and goes into the final slow fermentation in wood. Aging is is traditional medium-sizes wooden barrels 750 to 5,000 liters made from chestnut and cherry wood. The wine has hints of cherries and blackberries with notes of spice and black pepper. This wine goes back to an old recipe from 1889.

Faraone, Le Vigne del Faraone” Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2014 (Abruzzo) made from 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the wine is aged in wooden casks for 24 months and then bottled. This is a rustic wine with flavors and aromas of red and black fruit, and a touch of spice. This wine will age and is a very good food wine.

Travaglini, “Tre Vigne” Gattinara 2012 made from 100% Nebbiolo (Northern Piedmont) The soil is rocky, iron deposits, rich in minerals which give the soil a reddish color. The vineyards are at 320 to 420 meters and there are 3,500 to 5,000 vines per hectare. The exposure is southwest and the training system is guyot. Harvest takes place in the beginning of October. The grapes are crushed and macerated for about 15 days in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged for 40 months, 30 months in Slovenian oak casks, and 20% aged separately for 10 moths in French barriques and the rest in bottle for 8 months. This wine is only produced in the best vintage. This is a very impressive wine, full bodied with hints of pomegranates, plum, jam and a touch of spice. It will age for many years.

I attended the first Gala 34 years ago and have found memories of the ones I have attended over the years

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Filed under Bertani, Faraone winery, Ferrari, Gala, Gattinara, Planeta, Prosecco, Travaglini, Villa Antinori

Milan to Venice: Eating and Drinking

For many years on and off, I had gone to Vinitaly, the wine fair in Verona, though eight years had passed since the last time. This year, Nicole and Travis, owners of Turtledove wine store in Manhattan were going and wanted to know if Michele and I would like to go with them. Michele said no, but I said yes. The trip turned out to be more about eating and drinking than about the wine fair.IMG_7527

I arrived in Milan to very nice weather and joined Travis and Nicole for lunch at Bacaro del Sambuco, Via Montenapoleone 13. This is the most fashionable street in Milan and the restaurant is open only for lunch Monday to Friday. The afternoon was warm and we sat outside in the lovely garden. Most of the customers were stylishly dressed women that had stopped in after a morning of shopping.IMG_7531

I had an excellent lemon pappardelle with anchovies followed by one of my favorites, langoustine. We drank a Franciacorta metodo classico spumante.

That night we went to Trattoria Milanese, Via Santa Marta 11. Michele and I had eaten here a number of years ago when she was doing an article for the Wine Spectator. She still talks about the risotto.IMG_7533

This time we started with an assortment of salumi with bresaola and lardo. I had cotechino with mashed potatoes and lentils.IMG_7534

I tried to order the risotto but the waiter said it was too much food! For dessert I had the fragolini del bosco with gelato.

Milan to Bardolino

Traverna Kus di Zanolli Giancarlo in San Zeno di Montagna, Contrada Castello 14. Michele and I had been here for lunch in May and the restaurant was crowded. We liked it so much that I decided to come back.IMG_7583

The restaurant is in on the ground floor of a restored 17th century farmhouse. There are three interior rooms, a glass enclosed veranda and outside tables for summer dining. We sat in the veranda.IMG_7584

This time we were the only customers. I started with culatello with mostarda,IMG_7587

then ravioli stuffed with asparagus and then a selection of cheese with more mostarda.IMG_7589

For dessert I had a Millefoglie Vite.

With the meal we drank Terre Alte Collio Orientali del Friuli  2012 Livio Felluga a blend of estate grown grapes: Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc from the vineyards in the Rosazzo zone. The soil is marl and sandstone and the training system is guyot. The bunches of grapes are carefully destemmed and left to macerate for a short period of time before crushing. The must is then allowed to settle.IMG_7585

Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon are fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The Friulano is fermented and aged in small casks of French (no new oak is used) oak. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon mature in stainless steel tanks. After aging for ten months the wines are blended. The bottled wine is aged in temperature controlled binning cellars for 9 months before release. The wine has a touch of sage, hints of pear, peach and fresh almonds.IMG_7586

Schioppettino di Cialla 2007 Ronchi di Cialla (Friuli) 100% Schioppettino. The 1-hectare vineyard is at 165-180 meters with a south/southeast exposure. The wine ages for four years, 14 to 18 months in barrel and 30 to 36 months in bottle before it is released. This was one of my favorite wines but I have not had it in a long time so I had to order it. It was as I remembered it, hints of dark black fruit, spice, white pepper and a touch of leather. It can age for 20 years or more 

Antica Locanda Mincio, Via Buonarroti 12- 37067 Valeggio sul Mincio. This is one of Michele’s favorite outdoor places for lunch, sitting at a table overlooking the Mincio River and the medieval village. This time I sat inside because we had dinner and it was March. The dining room has a large fireplace and colorful mural on the walls, which creates a medieval atmosphere.IMG_7551

We started with Bresaola and I had Polenta with Salame, which I have every time I come here, followed by a specialty of the region tortelli di zucca and another favorite stinco di maiale, roasted pork shank.IMG_7549

We drank a Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2005 from E. Valentino 100% Trebbiano. The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonian oak for 24 months. This was a very complex full wine with a mineral character, hints of citrus fruit and apple, good acidity, great finish and aftertaste with that extra something that is difficult to describe.

Ristorante Piccolo Doge, Via Santa Cristina 46, Bardolino.

When Michele and I were on Lake Garda last year, we passed this restaurant several times on the way into Bardolino. From the outside it looked a little overdone with lights and Venetian trappings, so we never stopped there. This time the restaurant I had planned to go to was booked, so the receptionist at our hotel suggested it. It was a good choice since the food was excellent as was the service. There is an outdoor patio for summer dining overlooking the lake, which I imagine would be very pleasant.

I started with a warm octopus salad with potatoes and olives. The octopus was cooked just right.IMG_7578

Bigoli, a kind of thick spaghetti with sardines Venetian-style followed and I could not resist the grilled white fish from Lake Garda. For dessert, there was a delicious cake with pine nuts.

Since we were having fish we ordered sparkling wine.IMG_7577

Ferrari Perlé 2007 Trento DOC Method Classico Vintage Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested by hand in the middle of September from a hillside owned by the Lunelli family around the Trento vineyards. The vineyards are 300 to 700 meters above sea level with a southeasterly or southwesterly exposure. The wine remains for about 5 years on the lees. It is a crisp dry wine with hints of apple, almonds and a touch of toast.IMG_7576

To our surprise there was a Moèt and Chandon Cuvèe Dom Pèrignon 2003 on the wine list for less money than it would sell for retail in NYC. It is made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. We ordered it and it was wonderful and could last for another 15 years.

On our way from Bardolino to Venice we stopped for lunch at Le Calandre in Rubino. They have a choice of three tasting menus, we ordered the Tinto, the spring tasting menu, which was very elaborate.

With all this food we had to have wine:IMG_7603

Champagne “Substance” Brut Jacques Selosse

We started with Champagne “Substance” 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Jacques Selosse. Low yields; organic viniculture and terroir are a hallmark of Mr. Selosse’s wines. He has all Grand Cru holdings in Avize, Cramant and Oger. He uses indigenous yeasts for fermentation and ages the wine in barrels, 20% new oak. The wine is left on the fine lees for an extended period. Dosage is kept to an absolute minimum. “Substance” is a solar Champagne created by Mr. Selosse in 1986, by marrying some 20 vintages in order to avoid vintage variation and allowing the terroir to speak on its own. This is full-bodied Champagne with good fruit, hints of orange peel and spice with good minerality.IMG_7604

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo DOC 2003 100% E Valentini The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 12 months. There was nice fruit, good minerality and just a touch of strawberry in the wine but that may be the only thing it has in common with other rose wines. It has a great finish and lingering aftertaste.IMG_7607

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2002 Emidio Pepe

The Emidio Pepe winery is both organic and biodynamic. The winery belongs to the Triple “A”– Agriculturists Artisans Artists–an association of wine producers from around the world that believes in organic and bio-dynamic production, terroir, and as little interference as possible by the winemaker in the winemaking process. In their vineyard only sulphur and copper water are used along with biodynamic preparations. Only natural yeast is used which gives the wine more complexity because there are so many different strains of yeast on the grapes and in the air. The grapes are crushed by hand. No sulfites are added to the wine. The juice is placed in glass lined cement tanks of 20/25hl where the wine remains for two years. The wine is then transferred to bottles by hand.IMG_7605

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1994 Soldera 100% Sangiovese Grosso. Only grapes from the Casa Base Estate are used. The vineyard is at 320 meters and the exposure is southwest. Natural fermentation is carried out in Slovenian oak casks. There is no temperature control and no artificial yeast is added. Pumping over takes place and frequent tastings take place. The wine can remain up to five years in Slovenian oak casks. 1994 was not a great year for Brunello but this wine was showing very well with

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Filed under Dom Perignon, Emidio Pepe, Ferrari, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Jacques Selosse - Susbstance, Le Calandre restaurant, Livio Felluga, Restaurant Bacaro del Sambuco, Ristorante Piccolo Doge, Ronchi di Cialla- Schioppettino, Soldera, Taverna Kus, Terre Alte, Trattoria Milanese, Uncategorized, Valentini

A Second New Year Celebration

 

The day before New Years Eve, Michele and I and a group of friends went to Bern’s Steak House in Tampa. We had a great time and drank some wonderful wines.

The New Year came again in February — the Chinese New Year–the year of the snake. This time we did not go very far to celebrate.  We went to Congee Village on Allen Street in NYC for their special Chinese New Year menu. The corkage fee is only $10 per bottle so we brought our own wines.  The food was very good and plentiful.

Steamed Live Fish

Steamed Live Fish

To begin our celebration of the year of the snake we started with Champagne.IMG_2753

Ferrari Perlé Rosé 2006 Trento DOC Method Classico made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. This is a vintage Rosé from the Lunelli family, owners of Ferrari, estate vineyards. The grapes are harvested by hand at the end of September on the hills surrounding Trento, with either southeastern or southwestern exposure between 1000 and 2000 feet above sea level. The wine is aged 5 years on selected yeasts. It is an elegant and complex Rosé with ripe red berry aromas and flavors with hints of raspberry and a touch of almond.  It has a long finish and pleasing aftertaste.  I believe that Ferrari makes some of the best Method Classico wine in Italy.
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Grande Réserve Brut Bouzy André Clouet 100% Grand Cru estate-bottled Bouzy pinot noir aged six years on yeast; with strawberry, wheat kernel, and stone flavors along with a pleasing touch of cream in the mid palate and finish.

The Clout family owns 8 hectares of vines in preferred mid-slope vineyards in Grand Crus Bouzy and Ambonnay, and has excelled as a pinot noir specialist even within Bouzy, an appellation specifically celebrated for the quality of its pinot noir. The wines are cellared under the family’s 17th century village house – built by an ancestor who acted as printer to Louis XV’s royal court at Versailles. Respect for terroir is evident in these traditionally crafted wines. The labels are attractively old-fashioned in design.IMG_2759

Champagne Dom Ruinart  Blanc de Blancs1993 in Magnum.  Made from Grand cru Chardonnay grapes exclusively from the Côte des Blancs (66%) and the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims (34%). This is an elegant and powerful Champagne with nice fruit, hints of peach and pear, good minerality and a touch of toast.

Pan Fried Baby Lamb Chops

Pan Fried Baby Lamb Chops

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Meursault-Charmes Premire Cru- Les Charmes Dessus 2007 Domaine Antonin Guyon 100% Chardonnay Meursault is one of the villages in the southern part of the Côte de Beaune. They have a 69-acre plot here. The soil is white marl and the vines are over 30 years old. In 2007 a sunny September allowed the grapes to ripen well and the harvest to take place under excellent conditions. Sorting of the grapes takes place at the winery. Fermentation is at low temperatures in oak barrels with stirring twice a week. The wine is aged in oak barrels 1/3 new and bottled after 15 months.

Chinese Vegetables E. Fu Noodles

Chinese Vegetables E. Fu Noodles

IMG_2750Meursault – Genevrieres Premier Cru 2000 Domaine Latour Giraurd A Premier Cru vineyard of the Meursault  appellation in the Côte de Beaune. It is a large vineyard located in the southern end of the commune. They have 10 hectares. The vineyard is divided into halves- Genevrieres above and Genevrieses below. The upper section has better drainage and more morning sunlight and therefore produces better fruit. Free run juice and wild natural yeast is used and the wine is kept on the lees for a long period of time with racking kept to a minimum. There is no fining or filtration. The wine is fermented and aged in barrels about 1/3, which are new between 14/16 months. I believe the wine is bottled by hand.

House Special Cold Dungeness Crabs-Chao Style

House Special Cold Dungeness Crabs-Chao Style

IMG_2762Chateau Beychevelle 1970 St. Julien 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Aged for 20 months in barriques, 1/2 new. This is what Robert Parker says about the 1970 in his book Bordeaux. “Fully mature with a spicy, plum-like bouquet, and some caramel aromas…round fruity, quiet silky and soft and nicely concentrated. It lacks the complexity and depth of the best 1970’s, but it is still quite attractive. Drink over the next 3-4 years”. He last tasted the wine in 9/84 and gives it an 84 rating.
I agree with Parker in his description of the wine except for the caramel aromas.  I do not agree with his rating.
Almost 30 years later the wine is showing extremely well. It is an elegant wine, complex, has depth and will last for a number of years.IMG_2760

Mas Daumas Gassac 1990 Vin de Pays l’Hèrault Languedoc. Aimé Guilbert.  Made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20 different varieties. The winery is located in the Gassac Valley. A rare and still unexplained, red, fine glacial soil dominates the valley.  The grapes are hand harvested. Long fermentation and maceration, a minimum of 20 days, in stainless steel tanks and no filtration. The wine spends about 16 months in oak barrels, with a maximum of 10% new. This is a big, powerful wine that I first discovered with the 1983 vintage and have been drinking ever since.

There were two dessert wines, a Madeira Barbeito Sercial 1978 and a 1923 Sauterne I could not read the name of the producer.  The Madeira was showing very well. 

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Filed under Andre Clouet, Bordeaux, Champagne, Chateau Beyechevelle, Ferrari, French Red, French White Wine, French Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Madeira, Mas Daumas Gassac, Meursault- Genevrieres, Meursault-Charmes, Spumante

Sparkling Summer Wines

Over the summer I enjoyed a number of different sparkling wines and Champagnes. Most of us think of sparkling wine as something that should only be drunk on special occasions or at Christmas and New Years, but I don’t agree.  Sparkling wine can be enjoyed all year round and I especially like it in the summer and always with food. Here are some of my favorites.

Brut Rose “Faive” NV  Nino Franco (Veneto) made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are vinified separately with some skin contact for color and cold fermentation in stainless steel autoclaves. The wine is light salmon in color, with good bubbles, nice red fruit and a hint of pear. $17

The name Faive is Venetian dialect for the small “guided” tongues of flame and sparks rising toward the sky from a great fire, lightly and freely carried by the wind.  This producer is known for it’s high quality Prosecco and the Rustico is a great value for the money.  We drank a bottle of it with the plump ripe figs from the tree in the Brooklyn backyard our friend Tony Di Dio.  Both Tony and his fig tree were featured in an excellent article — with recipes — in the NY Times last Wednesday.  Here is a link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/29/dining/in-brooklyn-an-abundance-of-fig-trees.html?_r=1&hpw

Spumante Santé Brut IGT 100% Falanghina (Campania)  Donna Chiara. The soil is chalky clay.  There are 2,500 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place the first week of October. Fermentation lasts for 40 days. Illaria Petitto, owner of the winery, always refers to the vinification system used as the Martinotti method. (The Charmat method, as it is more popularly known, was invented by Federico Martinotti in Asti in the 1920’s.) Refermentation takes place at low temperatures in autoclaves for about 6 months. Then the wine matures on the dregs for another 2 months. The wine had very good bubbles; it is fresh, delicate with floral and citrus aromas and flavors. It is great as an aperitif and with fried foods. $20
Champagne Delamotte NV made from 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier.   Delamotte is the sister house of Salon and both are part of the Laurent- Perrier group. We had it with a lobster salad with basil dressing, an excellent combination. $38

Ferrari Perlé Rosé 2004 Trento DOC Method Classico Vintage made from80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. This is a vintage Rosé from the Lunelli family estate vineyards.  The grapes are harvested by hand at the end of September on the hills surrounding Trento, with either southeastern or southwestern exposure between 1000 and 2000 feet above sea level.  In 2004 there was mild weather and perfect ripening conditions.  The wine is aged 5 years on selected yeasts. It is an elegant and complex Rosé with ripe red berry aromas and flavors with hints of raspberry and a touch of almond.  I has a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. I had it with beet and ricotta gnocchi in sage butter sauce. $75
I believe that Ferrari makes some of the best Method Classico wine in Italy.

Champagne “Grand Siècle” Crand Cuvèe NV Laurent-Perrier (Trous-sur Marne) made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.  12 of the most prestigious villages supply the grapes and only the best plots are selected, as are the finest musts from the pressings. I believe this is a blend of three different vintages. The blended wine is aged during the second fermentation on the yeast for about five years. It has great tiny bubbles and complex aromas and flavors that make it go very well with food.

The 17th century in France, the era of Louis XIV, became know as the Grand Siècle, the Great Century and Louis XIV was the first king of France to drink Champagne.

Zucchini Flowers

I was very impressed with this wine when I had it at a Wine Media Guild tasting last December and I wanted it for my Birthday.  Michele made zucchini flowers fried in a light tempura batter stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella, which I love. We usually have them with Prosecco but it was a celebration so only Champagne would do.  It turned out to be a perfect combination.
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000 Blanc de Blancs (Rheims) the grapes are pressed immediately in presses located in the vineyards. The first pressing, known as cuvee, is followed by two more pressings known as the first and second “tailles.” Only the juice from the “cuvee” goes into this wine. Temperature controlled fermentation takes place and about 5% of the wine is matured for a few months in 225 liter new oak casks. Prior to disgorgement, the wine is aged for 9 or 10 years. 2000 was a good but not a great year for champagne but the wine was showing very well and it is their flagship Champagne. The wine is full, rich and toasty with hints of white fruit, good acidity and a long lingering finish. I had it with smoked salmon canapés.  

Dom Ruinart 1996 Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (Rheims), made from 100% grand cru Chardonnay grapes, 65% from Cotes de Blancs and 35% from the mountain of Rheims.  It spends 9/10 years in the chalk cellars before release.  1996 was a very good year in Champagne.  It was just beginning to show some age with citrus fruit, a touch of toast, a hint of brioche, and a very nice mineral character.  I had it with Pizza Bianca at La Pizza Fresca in NYC. It was another great combination.

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Filed under Champagne, Delamotte NV, Dom Ruinart 1966, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Ferrari, Laurent- Perrier- Grand Siècle, Method Classico, Nino Franco, Rose, Sparkling wine, Spumante, Tattinger Comtes de Champane

Ferrari: World Class Italian Metodo Classico at its Best

“This is not Prosecco!” exclaimed Mr. Marcello Lunelli, as he began a tasting of Giulio Ferrari Riserva Del Fondatore. A member of the family that owns the Ferrari winery, and the lead winemaker, he introduced a group of wine writers to the history of the company and its wines. We all laughed at his remark, knowing that Ferrari wines are Method Classico (Methode Champenois) at its best and the wine we were tasting has been a perennial winner of the coveted Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Award.

Mr. Marcello Lunelli

Mr. Lunelli told us that Giulio Ferrari, the founder of the company, returned to Trentino after studying in France and was convinced that the local terroir was perfect for the Chardonnay grape. He felt that by using the Metodo Classico (Méthode Champenois) he could make great sparkling wine there. He became the first person to plant Chardonnay in Trentino. In 1902 he began the company and it became very successful.

In 1952 Bruno Lunelli, the owner of Trento’s best known wine bar took over Ferrari from Giulio, who continued the work at the winery until his death. Today the third generation of the Lunelli family runs the company. It has a 40% market share of all the Metodo Classico made in Italy.

With the exception of the Ferrari Rosé and the Ferrari Perlé Rosé all the wine are Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay. They use selected yeasts from their own cultures. Mr. Lunelli said that they were moving toward becoming organic, and after that biodynamic, but it would take a few years.

He said the temperature in Trento has risen 1 degree in the last 13 years. This does not seem like much but if you wanted to have the same conditions that you had in the past the vineyards would have to be 150 meters higher. They can do this in their part of Trento because of the mountains but other producers in other areas are not so lucky.

Today, there are 500 growers that supply them with Chardonnay grapes. The growers are paid according to the quality of the grapes.

Giulio Ferrari Riserva Del Fondatore is a single vineyard reserve aged wine. The grapes are picked at the end of September in the Maso Pianizza a vineyard owned by the Lunelli family. The vineyard is in the commune of Trento and is between 500 and 600 meters above sea level with a southwesterly exposure. The wine spends at least 10 years on the lees. They do not make this wine in every vintage. We did a vertical tasting of this wine with Mr. Lunelli and he said that the first vintage was 1972

2001 Mr. Lunelli said that this was a year with ideal climatic conditions. The temperature was perfect in July and August with cool nights and hot days. The grapes developed gradually allowing for complexity and ripeness and very good acidity. He called it a perfect vintage. It was fresh and elegant with a hint of yeast and toast and good acidity. Nice fruit in the finish and aftertaste.

2000 He said that it was a very cold July and an extremely hot August. In September there was much needed rain and temperature variations, adding to the final ripening of the grapes. Because of these unusual weather patterns the grapes were well constructed with thick skins and very aromatic. This was very early harvest that yielded healthy, balanced grapes. Mr. Lunelli said that in his opinion the 2000 would age better than the 2001. Very well balanced wine with a mineral earthy and steely character, it had a great finish and aftertaste.

1997 This vintage was characterized by exceptional weather conditions. There was drought at the end of winter and the beginning of spring with late frost in May. The summer was very rainy with above average temperatures. The yields were low 20% to 25% below average but the grapes were healthy and balanced. Harvest started early for the lower hills at the end of August and continued through the second half of September. Mr Lunelli said this was one of the best vintages. This wine was more developed with toasty and nutty aromas and good citrus flavors

1995 This vintage Mr. Lunelli proudly said produced perhaps the finest and most elegant wines of Ferrari’s history. It was the scarcest vintage in the past 30 years but it produced wines of exceptional quality. A cold and rainy spring disrupted the vines’ blooming and fruit set, causing a natural thinning. Bunches were smaller and loosely-packed which combined with the moderate summer, allowed the berries to reach perfect ripeness. The harvest started on September 28th and the grapes showed higher acid levels. This is a great wine and my favorite of the tasting.

1986 It was a fairly dry winter with heavy snow falls in late February, heavy rain and very high temperatures in May. All of this contributed to an early growth cycle. The early summer months were unseasonably mild and dry, resulting in loose grape clusters. Good weather during the final stages of growth imparted high acidity. Harvest began in the first week of September. This wine was the most mature of the ones that we tasted. It was toasty with a hint of sherry. This is for those of us that like their sparkling wine with some age.

After the tasting they served a light lunch with these two wines.

Ferrari Perlé 2004 Trento DOC Method Classico Vintage Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested by hand in the middle of September from a hillside owned by the Lunelli family around the Trento vineyards. The vineyards are 300 to 700 meters above sea level with a southeasterly or southwesterly exposure. The wine remains for about 5 years on the lees. It is a crisp dry wine with hints of apple, almonds and a touch of toast. $35

Ferrari Perlé Rosé 2004 Trento DOC Method Classico Vintage 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. This is a vintage Rosé from the Lunelli family estate vineyards, harvested by hand at the end of September on the hills surrounding Trento, between 1000 and 2000 feet above sea level with either southeastern or southwestern exposure. In 2004 there was mild weather and perfect ripening conditions. It is aged 5 years on selected yeasts. It is an elegant and complex Rosé with ripe red berry aromas and flavors with hints of raspberry and a touch of almond and a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. $75

These next two wines were not part of the tasting but they have been a favorite of mine for a long time and my introduction to Ferrari.

I first became a fan of Ferrari when I started drinking the Ferrari Brut NV Trento DOC Methodo Classico 100% Chardonnay many years ago. The grapes are picked by hand at the beginning of September. They come from various communes in the Val d’Adige,Val di Cembra and Valle dei Laghi. The vineyards are between 300 and 700 meters above sea level, with southeast or southwest exposure. The wine is aged for at least 24 months on the lees. It is selected yeast from Ferrari’s own cultures $25

Then I was introduced to Ferrari Rosé NV Trento DOC Method Classico 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. The grapes come from hillside vineyards around the town of Trento at 300 to 600 meters above sea level. The wine is aged for 25-30 months on the lees $37.

Both of these wines are excellent value for the money.

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