Category Archives: Fiano di Avellino

At Cavalier Pepe Winery with Milena Pepe

A few years ago I was invited to Benevento to attend “Campania Stories,” an organized event to introduce and educate journalists about the wines of Campania. There I met Melina Pepe from Tenuta Cavalier Pepe and she invited me to visit the winery the next time I was in Campania. Since Michele and I were going to Naples in early February, I contacted Milena and asked her if we could visit the winery.

Melina

Milena said she was born in Belgium where she studied marketing and then viticulture and oenology in Bordeaux before returning home to Campania.

Milena’s father, Angelo Pepe, started the winery and in 1998 the President of Italy recognized his efforts and granted him the title “Cavaliere della Repubblica per meriti sul lavoro” (Knight of the Republic).

The winery is located on the slopes of three villages: Sant’Angel all’Esca, Taurasi and Luogosano. There are 60 hectares of vineyards and 7 hectares of olive trees producing the Ravece variety. Hazelnut trees are also cultivated on the property.

The Wines

Irpinia Falanghina DOC “Lila” 2018. 100% Falanghina from estate vineyards in the hills of the municipality of Luogosano and Sant’Angelo all’Esca located within the Irpinia Falanghina DOC production zone. The soil is clay and sand with organic and volcanic elements. The grapes are hand picked and immediately taken to the cellar where a selection takes place and the grapes are pressed whole. There is a cold settling followed by alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel. The wine is aged on the lees then in bottle before release. The wine has hints of apple and pear, a note of white flowers and good acidity. Their Falanghina is estate grown whereas many producers’ grapes for Falanghina come from Benevento and are labeled Benevento Falanghina.

Irpinia Coda di Volpe DOC “Bianco di Bellona” 2012 100% Code di Volpe (tail of the fox). Grapes are from estate vineyards in the hills around the towns of Carazita, Piesco and Pesano in Luogosano and Brussinera in Sant’Angelo all Esca. Soil is sand and clay and rich in volcanic matter and the vineyards are at 300 to 490 meters. The gapes are harvested in mid October. Selection takes place in the vineyard and in the cellar where the grapes are pressed whole. The must is cold clarified and then fermented at a low temperature. A short period of aging on the lees takes place and the wine remains in the bottle for a short time before release. Melina said that they opened this bottle by mistake, intending to open the 2018. I said this was a fortunate mistake, as I would really like to taste a Code di Volpe that was 8 years old. The wine has hints of peach, a touch of pineapple and a touch of yellow fruit. It has developed into a very impressive wine.

After the tasting, Milena took us to restaurant Le Contrade where we had a very nice lunch and I drank the 2012 Code di Volpe which was very easy to drink and a perfect combination with the food.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG “Refiano” 2018 made from 100% Fiano from vineyards located in Lapio, Montefredane and Candida at 400 to 500 meters. The soil is marl and limestone rich in volcanic material. The grapes are hand picked and hand selected in the cellar and whole bunches are pressed. Cold settling is followed by alcoholic fermentation at a low temperature. After fermentation the wine is aged on its lees and remains in the bottle until release. The wine has hints of apple, pear and almonds and a touch of chamomile and mineral notes.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG Reserve “Brancato” 2017 made from 100% Fiano from south facing vineyards in the municipality of Lapio. The grapes are hand harvested at full ripeness, undergo a strict selection and are pressed whole. Cold settling is followed by alcoholic fermentation in barriques and later in stainless steel at a low temperature. The wine is aged in wood and steel followed by a minimum of 6 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of mature tropical fruit, apple, hazelnuts with a hint of spice and a touch of toast.

Greco di Tufo DOCG Reserve “Nestor” 2018 made from 100% Greco from vineyards on the hills of S. Paolina, Montefusco and Prata in the heart of the Greco di Tufo zone at 400 to 700 meters. The soil is primarily tufaceous with clay, limestone and volcanic elements. Grapes are hand picked, there is a selection in the cellar and the grapes are pressed whole.

Greco di Tufo DOCG “Grancare” 2017 made from 100% Greco from vineyards located at the highest areas of Torrioni and Montefusco at 600 to 700 meters. The soil is primarily clay and silt with limestone and volcanic material. The grapes are harvested in October. Vinification is like the 2017 Fiano. This is an intense full-bodied wine with hints of peach, tropical and candied fruit and a touch of toast.

It was very informative to compare the Fiano and Greco  in stainless steel and then to taste those in wood. The ones in steel were more aromatic  and fresher while the ones in wood have  deeper flavors and aromas.

Irpinia Aglianico IGT Terra Del Varo 2015, made from 85% Aglianico and 15% Merlot. The Aglianico ripens late and the harvest lasts from the middle of October to the middle of November. The estate vineyards are in Luogosano, Sant’Angelo all’Esca and Taurasi and are at 350 meters. The soil is clay and volcanic elements. Harvest is by hand and there is a selection in the vineyard and in the cellar. Destemming is followed by a cold pre-fermentation, maceration for about 10 days and alcoholic fermentation at a controlled temperature. Aging is for 24 months in cement tanks and 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of black cherry and blackberries with spice notes and a touch of black pepper.

Taurasi 2013 “Opera Mia” (my work) 2013 100% Aglianico from vineyards on the hills of Carazita and Pesano located in the munciipalites of Luogosano and Sant’Angelo all’Esca at 405 meters. The soil is clay and limestone with volcanic outcrops. The grapes are harvested when fully ripe. There is a careful selection before the grapes are destemmed and fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature. Maceration is on the skins for about 20 days. The wine is aged in French oak barriques for 12 months, in cement tanks for 24 months and finally in bottle for 12 months before release. The wine has hints of blueberries and blackberries with a touch of spice and coffee and a note of vanilla.

Milena said they were experimenting with aging some of the wine in amphora. I have seen the use of amphora in other wineries in Campania.

The  Cavalier Pepe wines are represented in the U.S. by Romano Brands.

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Woman in Wine Part III: Maura Sarno of Sarno 1860

Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara organized a luncheon in Atripalda (AV), near Naples, where I was able to taste some of the wines of Irpinia. In addition to Donnachiara wines, I tasted those of Petilia winery, owned by Teresa Di Bruno, which I visited and wrote about last time, and from Tenuta Sarno 1860, owned by Maura Sarno.

Maura at restaurant Zia Pasqualina in Atripalda (AV).

Maura explained that Tenuta Sarno 1860 is located in Irpinia in the village of Candida at 600 meters. She said they have been making wine since 2004 and specialize in Fiano di Avellino. The grapes are soft pressed using a pneumatic press with a closed cage.

Spumante “Vino Spumante di Qualita” 2016 made from 100% Fiano di Avellino Sarno 1860. The vineyard is 2 hectares at 659 meters with a northwest exposure. The soil is calcareous clay with volcanic rock residues and white rock. There are 5,500 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place, by hand, the first week of September. The production method is charmat. The first fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in steel and the second in autoclave. None of the wines undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 12 months on the lees and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine is produced “pas dose” without residual sugar. It has hints of citrus fruit and yellow peaches with floral notes and a touch of toasted hazelnut.

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.

Fiano di Avellino “Riserva erre” Sarno 1860 2017, 100% Fiano di Avellino Maura Sarno. The vineyard is 3 hectares. The wine is aged in steel for 18 months on the lees and 3 months in bottle before release. This is a more complex wine with floral notes, hints of citrus fruit and peach, a touch of mint and toasted hazelnut. Only 3,000 bottles are produced.

Fiano di Avellino 2016 Sarno 1860 100% Fiano di Avellino.  I was familiar with this wine with it’s old label.  It is produced the same as the first wine and has the same characteristics but since it is older it is more developed and more approachable.  It does not undergo malolactic fermentation.

I would like to thank Ilaria for her generosity in organizing my visit and this tasting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Woman in Wine: Part II: Teresa Bruno of Petilia

 

When I told her I would be in Naples, Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara suggested that instead of visiting her winery where I have been several times, I should visit the Petilia winery owned by brother and sister Roberto and Teresa Bruno.  Ilaria is a big supporter of her region and the other wineries there and I looked forward to having this opportunity to experience more of the local wines.  Teresa Bruno would give us a tour of Petilia and after we would all meet for lunch at a traditional restaurant, Zia Pasqualina in Atripalda (AV).

Teresa picked us up in Avellino and drove us to her winery. At Petilia, Teresa’s job is dealing with clients, distributors and guests; she also works in the vineyard and drives a tractor. She is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and we had a very interesting conversation on the drive to the winery about the state of wine in Irpinia and Campania in general. She said they have 12  hectares of vineyards located in Campofiorito in Altavilla Irpinia.

Teresa showing us a door made by her brother from old burned wood

Teresa gave us a tour of the winery and said that it was constructed with stones found on the property.  All the roof supports and doors are made from old wood recycled by her brother.  We  were  fascinated  by  the  enormous  doors  and  smooth  stone  walls  that  looked  as  if  they  were  hundreds  of  years  old.  

Teresa then drove us to the restaurant where we  were joined by Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara and Maura Sarno of Sarno 1860, another local winery.  I  wrote  about  the  Donnachiara  wines  last  week  and  will  report  on  the  Sarno  wines  next  week.  Here  are  my  notes  on  the  wines  of Petilia.  

Fiano di Avellino 2018 made from 100% Fiano di Avellino Petilia. The vineyards are in Chianche, locality of Montefalcone. The soil is clayey, volcanic and rich in minerals. The vineyards are at 450 meters and there are 4,000 vines per hectare with an average age of 15 years. The grapes are vinified separately and there is organic cultivation. The grapes are destemmed and cryomaceration takes place, and then fermentation on the skins at a very low temperature. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine spends 6 months on the lees and four months in bottle before release. It has hints of apple and pear with an unmistakable touch of toasted hazelnut.

Teresa said that she and her brother Roberto prefer to refine their white wine exclusively in steel and in the bottle. The goal is to develop fully the potential of the original grape variety and the wine obtained after the fermentation of the grapes.

4 20 Quattro Venti 100% Greco di Tufo. The Petilia vineyards are in Chianche, locality of Sant’Andrea. The vineyards are at 600 meters, the exposure is south/east and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. The soil is clayey, volcanic, and rich in minerals with a sumptuous subsoil and the training system is espalier with guyot pruning. The vines are 20 years old. Harvest takes place the second week of October. There is ultra soft pressing with whole grapes and fermentation in steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine has citrus notes, with hints of almonds, lemon blossoms and quince.

With the wine we had pasta fagioli, a very classic pasta dish at the restaurant

Teresa gave me a bottle of 2009 Greco di Tufo which I am looking forward to drinking.  Both Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino are age worthy wines. I like to drink them when they are 10 years old or older. She also gave me a bottle of Taurasi 450V 2007 which I might hold on to for a few more years before I drink it.

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Tasting Wine and Olive Oil at Villa Raiano

After enjoying some of the wines of Villa Raiano at dinner in their restaurant I was looking forward to tasting more of them the  next  morning at the winery.

Once again Federico Basso and his cousin Brunella Basso were there to welcome us. Federico showed us around the winery and then he conducted a very interesting and informative tasting of the wines.

There was one white from the 2018 vintage, 4 whites from the 2017 vintage, and a red aged in concrete and amphora.

Fiano di Avellino 2018 made from 100% Fiano DOCG-DOP from vineyards located at I Candida (450 meters), Lapio (500 meters), San Michele di Serino (500 meters) and Montefredane (450 meters). The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. The soil is calcareous- clay, marly clay and sandy silty. Harvest is by hand the first week of October. After a gentle crushing of whole bunches to get free run juice, fermentation takes place with inoculated selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks and aging is in stainless steel tanks. The wine is bottled the second week of February following the harvest.

Federico explained that this was one of the wines in the Classics Line. They are a tribute to the land and the term “Classic” is used because according to the production tradition here in Irpinia, it was common to produce wines with grapes coming from vines located in different municipalities of the different production areas. They look for the most suitable balance, combining grapes from vineyard positions in different areas. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, apple, white flowers and a nice finish and long aftertaste.

Michele Kwan, a member of the Wine Media was on the trip with me and asked if the Classsic line was their “entry level wines”. While Federico was thinking I said these wines were too good to be called “entry level wines” and Federico agreed.

The following white wines Federico called “the vines” made from single vineyards or plots.

Federico showed us the different soils that the white wines come from and spoke about the importance of terroir.

Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Alimata” made from 100% Fiano–the night before with dinner we tasted the 2013 and it was excellent.

Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Ventidue” made from 100% Fiano. Federico said this wine is called Ventidue because 22 Km is the distance between the vineyard in Lapio and the winery. The vineyard is at 540 meters, the soil is calcareous-clay, rich in tallow sandstone. The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. There is a gentle crushing of whole bunches and fermentation with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The wine remains on the lees for 12 months in stainless steel and in bottle for 12 months before release in October of the year following the harvest.

Federico said in 2017 the weather was very hot though not as hot as 2003 but drier, and there was very little rain. Production was down 38%.

Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Bosco Satrano” made from 100% Fiano from vineyards that over look the winery in the municipality of San Michele di Serino in the province of Avellino in Contrada Bosco Satrano. The 4,400 vines were planted in 2009 and cultivated with the principles of organic farming, guyot trained, with calcareous soils at 510 meters. The vineyard faces northwest, facing Monte Partenio. Fermentation and aging same as above.

When we had the Fiano with dinner the night before, Federico said his Fiano has the aroma of an apple the grows on Mount Tubenna. I was able to smell the apple in a restaurant and all of the Fiano I tasted here really does have that  aroma.

Greco di Tufo 2017 “Ponte Dei Santi” 100% Greco. Federico said Greco di Tufo is a small appellation but has numerous shades in terms of terroir. In the upper section of the district of Ponte dei Santi of Altavilla Irpina (Avellino) is their small 1.3 hectare vineyard. The vineyard is at 550 meters. There are 4,500 vines per hectare, the soil is sandy-silty with dark clay incursions. Harvest is the first week of October. Fermentation and aging same as above.

Both Fiano and Greco can age for 15 years or more. I gave the slight edge to Greco but Federico said it was Fiano that he believed could age longer.

The main difference between Fiano and Greco is the Fiano has an apple aroma and hints of hazelnuts. Greco has more body, takes on a slightly honey quality with age and has hints of hazelnuts.

Costa Biano Irpinia Campi Taurasi DOC 2016 100% Taurasi from a single plot shaped like an amphitheater in the central part of a 9 hectare vineyard located in the municipality of Castelfranci (Avellino) at 500 meters. There are 4,500 plants per hectare, the soil is calcareous clay on yellow sandstone with organic elements and the training system is guyot. Harvest is the first 10 days of November. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with daily punching down and pumping over. Maceration on the skins is for 10 days.

The wine matures 50% in cement tanks and 50% in terracotta amphorae. The wine is bottled in October following the harvest. This was the first time I have tasted Taurasi aged in cement and amphorae. It has all the characteristics of Taurasi but seemed to be a much lighter style and more approachable. I liked it.

Olive Oil Tasting tasting with Federico.

  Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva “Sabino Basso” Monocultivar Ravece made mostly from Ravece olives grown almost exclusively in the province of Avellino.  It has a green color and a more or less intense olive aroma with hints of herbs, bitter spice, green tomato leaves and artichokes.

Olio Extra Vergine Di Oliva “Sabino Basso” DOP Penisola Sorrentino” mostly made from Minucciola olives. The oil is a straw yellow color with a delicate fruit flavor, hints of rosemary, mint, and aromatic herbs, with a touch of bitter spice, and a note of lemons typical of the Sorrentino Peninsula.

Federico at the Temple of Neptune

On the last day we went to the ancient Greek Temples at Paestum.

There are three temples on the site: Temple of Hera, Temple of Neptune and the Temple of Athena. The guide at the site said that the temples are also known by different names.  We also visited the National Museum at the site. I really enjoyed the visit to the site and to the museum as it helps you the understand the culture and history of the region.

After visiting the temples we went to Caseificio Vannulo, a farm that has 600 water buffaloes that produce milk for mozzarella, yogurt, ice cream ricotta, etc., which are all for sale.  There is a restaurant, museum and leather shop. I first visited Vannulo 12 years ago and it was not so “modern.”  Even through it was only a two and a half day trip I had a wonderful time thanks to the people at Villa Raiano

 

 

 

 

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Tenuta Meriggio: The Wines of Irpinia

At a recent press lunch at the Leopard at Café des Artistes, I met Bruno Pizza owner of Tenuta del Meriggio in the Campania region of Italy. Susannah Gold the organizer of the event introduced me to Bruno and his daughter.

Bruno and Emilia Rita Pizza

Bruno thanked us for coming to the event and made a few opening remarks that were translated by Susannah. He said the winery was started in 2010 with Nunzia Guerriero. The winery is in Montemiletto in the province of Avellino. The appellation is Irpinia. The oenologist is the noted Carmine Valentino, who works for Massimo Alois and used to be with Donnachiara, two of my favorite wineries.

Paolo Sibillo

Also present was Paolo Sibillo, Diettore Commerciale for the winery. He was the principal speaker and I was sitting next to him and really enjoyed our conversation.

Paolo said they produce Irpinia Coda di Volpe DOC, Benevento Falanghina IGT (they buy the grapes) Fiano di Avellino DOCG, Greco Di Tufo DOCG, Irpinia Agalianico DOC and Taurasi. The winery is only 50 kilometers from the sea but they are in the mountains so he considers their wines to be mountain wines.

Aura Levis Irpinia Greco Spumante DOC Brut made from Greco 70% and 30% Code di Volpe NV Charmat method- the second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank. The wine is aged for 3 years before release. The wine had a lot of small bubbles, hints of citrus fruit, peach and a touch of almond. Ed Mc Carthy, author of “Champagne for Dummies,” said he really liked the wine. Paolo said this was a new wine for them and they were very happy with the way it turned out.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2018 made from 100% Fiano from a selection of grapes from the estate vineyards located in Agro di Montemiletto at 500 meters. The vineyards were planted from 1900 to 2000 and the exposure is southeast. The soil is a medium mixture of sand and the training system is guyot. There are 3,300 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place in the middle of October. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in steel. At the end of the fermentation process the wine remains on the lees for four months before the wine is bottled. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, peach, white flowers; a touch of almonds and good acidity. The wine was awarded the coveted Three Bicchiere from Gambero Rosso.

Fiano di Avellino Selezione Colle delle Ginestre 2018 made from 100% Fiano from the Candida vineyards. It is produced the same was as the regular but the aging is different. Total production for the wine is 3,000 liters of which 2,500 mature in stainless steel with about 12 months of batonnage while the wine is on the lees. Meanwhile 500 liters are fermented in 2 new barriques and remain there for about 12 months. After the wine is assembled, it is filtered and remains in the bottle for about 6 months. The 2018 and the 2019 will be released in the spring of 2020. This is a rounder wine with more body than the regular Fiano but still with the Fiano flavors and aromas.

Paolo said now they have two lines of wine, the regular and the Classico (Selezione).

The first course was Parmigiana di Zucchine con Scamorza.

Greco di Tufo Selezione Colle dei Lauri made from 100% Greco from estate vineyards located in Agro di Tufo at 330 meters and Santa Paolina at 420 meters. The soil is clay and the vines were planted from 1950 to 2011. The vineyard training system is guyot and typical pergola avellinese. There are 3300 to 2500 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place in mid October. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature and the wine remains on its lees for several months before it is bottled. The wine is aged the same way as the Fiano Selezione. Paolo said that because of the rich volcanic and clay soil the wines have hints of citrus fruit, pears, toasted almonds and a mineral finish. The Selezione was produced for the first time and will be released next year.  All three of the white wines will  improve with age and last for many years. 

Scialatielli di grani antichi Ai Frutti Di Mare.

Irpinia Aglianico DOC 2015 made from 100% Aglianico from estate vineyards located in Montemiletto at 500 meters and in Taurasi at 300 meters. The vineyards were planted between 2003 and 2012. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. Harvest takes place at the end of October and the beginning of September. This is a wine with red and blackberry flavors and a hint of spice. Paolo said it should be drunk within 5 years.

Taurasi DOCG 2014 made from 100% Aglianico from estate vineyards located on the hills of Passo della Serra of Momtemiletto at 550 meters with a south-east exposure. The soil is clay and sand and the vineyard was planted in 2003. There are 4,000plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. The manual harvest takes place at the end of October and the beginning of September. After a long maturation on the skins, the wine matures for 24 to 36 months in large oak barrels and in bottle for at least one year before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of wild berries, cherries, plums and a touch of spice.

 

With the red wine we had Carre d’Agnello insaporito alle erbe con croquette di patate e spinaci saltati in padella

For dessert  we had Pastiera Napoletana which I ate before I remembered to take a picture!

NOTE: These are excellent wines and the winery is looking for am importer. I highly recommend the wines. For information contact Paolo Sibillo at +39 335 1046954  commerciale@tenutadelmeriggio.it   or Susannah Gold at    vignetocommunications@gmail.com

 

 

 

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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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Dining in Rome with Daniele Cernilli- Doctor Wine

Daniele Cernilli, aka Doctor Wine, and his wife, Marina Thompson, have been friends for many years. We have tasted a lot of wine together both here and in Rome. Daniele is a true Roman, a Romano de Roma as the expression goes. He is one of the most important men in Italian wine and has been a wine critic for many years. He was one of the founders of Gambero Rosso and for 24 years was the editor of Gambero Rosso-Slow Food Wine Guide. Daniele was the inventor of the now famous “Three Glasses” classification. Currently, he has is own web-magazine called “Doctor Wine” www.doctorwine.it. There are two versions, one English and the other Italian, and it covers both Italian and European wines. I read it regularly.

Daniele Cernilli(Doctor Wine

Daniele Cernilli(Doctor Wine)

When we were in Rome recently, Daniele suggested that Michele and I meet him and Marina for lunch at the restaurant Baccano. He said it was a true copy of Balthazar in NYC. Copies of Daniele’s book The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 were displayed on a table near the entrance so that customers waiting for a table could look at the Guide before they chose a wine to drink.img_1561

They were right. The place looked just like Balthazar.

I am always impressed with Daniele’s knowledge and enthusiasm. I was happy to let him pick the 3 wines to go with lunch. img_1569

Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classico Villa Bucci Riserva 2013. Made from 100% Verdicchio. The wine is aged for 2 years in large casks. It is the white wine of the year in Daniele’s guide. He also gives the winery 3 stars, the highest rating. This is one of my favorite white wines and I order it every time I see it on a wine list in Italy. Ampellio Bucci has been producing wine with the assistance of the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai for over 30 years. It has been my honor to meet both of them on more then one occasion. Daniele described the wine as very complex, mouth filling, well balanced with hints of flint, anise, fine herbs and a very long finish.img_1562

With it, we had smoked salmon.img_1565

Fiano di Avellino 2013 “Cupa” 100% Fiano di Avellino Pietracupa of Sabino Loffredo. Daniele said that Sabino does all the work himself, cultivates his vineyards which are at 350 and 550 meters and makes and ages his wines with the skill of a craftsman. He called his wines “exceptional,” gave the winery 3 stars and the wine 97/100 points. The Cupa is outside the DOCG and great in the 2013 vintage. The wine matures on the lees in stainless steel tanks. Daniele described the wine as elegant and intense, with notes of oregano, sage, cedar and lemongrass, great acidity and a slightly smoky finish. This wine will age for many years.img_1564

With the Fiano, we had a personal favorite, fried fresh anchovies.img_1566

After that we took Daniele’s advice and had Spaghetti “Mancini” with a sauce made from tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius, basil, extra virgin olive oil and garlic.img_1570

CA’ D’GalLumine” Moscato D’Asti 2015 100% Moscato Bianco di Canelli. Daniele said this might be one of the best Moscato d’Asti I ever tasted. He gave it an 88/100 rating. Alessandro Boido makes the wine and in his hands Moscato d’Asti becomes a great wine, Italian to the bone.

Daniel described the wine as having fragrant aromas of sage, exotic fruit and cedar with refreshing acidity.

Daniele said they also make a Moscato d’Asti Vigna Vecchia which can age like a great red. That one gets a 93/100.img_1571

We shared a portion of tiramisu with the wine.

Looking at The ULTIMATE GUIDE to ITLALIAN WINE 2017(third addition) I believe the title says it all. It is the Ultimate Guide to Italian Wines.

 

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Filed under Ca' D' Gal Lumine, Daniele Cernilli Doctor Wine, Fiano di Avellino, Moscato d'Asti, Pietracupa, Rome, The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017, Uncategorized, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Villa Bucci

The Fiano di Avellino of Donnachiara at IL Gattopardo Restaurant

 

I have met Illaria Petitto, managing director, Donnachiara winery a number of times in NYC and have visited the winery in Campania a number of times. I really like their white wines and paired with Neapolitan food at a luncheon at Il Gattopardo in Midtown Manhattan, it is a match made in heaven.img_1147

At the luncheon, Illaria offered a vertical tasting of her Fiano di Avellino going back to 2007. John Gilman who publishes “View from the Cellar” also spoke. I met John last March in Benevento at the Campania Stories tasting and together we visited the Donnachiara winery.

ILaria Petitto

ILaria Petitto

Ilania began by speaking about the Fiano di Avellino grape in general, her Fiano, and the winery. She said the winery is located in Montefalcione in the Irpinia area near Avellino.  The modern building is set on a hilltop in an area of rolling hills.

Ilaria said she parted ways with her winemaker, Angelo Valentino because she wants to have more input into her wines. She hired the well-respected Riccardo Cotarella as the consulting enologist for the winery. She felt that he could help with the Fiano as far as enhancing the bouquet and aromas. I told her I liked the wines just as they are now!img_1153

We tasted the 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009 and 2007 paired with a menu prepared by Il Gattopardo. All the wines are 100% Fiano di Avellino

  2015 -When I was in Benevento in March for the Campania Stories blind tasting of Fiano, I picked this vintage of Donnachiara as #1.

The soil is chalky clay; there are 4,400 plants per hectare, the training system is Guyot and the harvest takes place the second week of October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for 90 days. The wine does not undergo malolatcic fermentation and does not see any wood. This is an elegant wine with good body, dried fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of tropical fruit. This is a wine with good structure and body. Illaria said 2015 was a very good vintage.img_1148

With the wine we had Stuzzichini: Scagliozzi Di Polenta and Mini Mozzarelle in Carrozza con Salsetta D’Acciughe with the 2015 and 2013

I asked Illaria if the 2007 was vinified the same way as the 2015 and she said nothing has changed.

Cotarella will start with the 2016 vintage.

When I visited the winery in March I tasted 2011, 2009 and 2007 vintages of the Fiano di Avellino. There were floral notes, aromas and flavors of citrus fruits and good acidity in the wines. There was a hint of smoke and it really become noticeable in the 2009. Illaria said Fiano grows best in clay soil. These wines are very full-bodied showing no signs of age. You could see the development of the wine from the different vintages.

In the white wines the juice is free run and fermented and aged in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation does not take place.

2013 — This was the first I had tasted this vintage. Illaria said that 2013 was a warm and dry vintage. The grapes were very concentrated, rich in pulp and very structured. The wine is very soft and fat with nice ripe citrus fruit aromas and flavors and good acidity. I would not drink a Fiano unless it was at least 3 years old and that is still too young.

2011 — Illaria said this was a balanced vintage. The wine had developed since the last time I had tasted it and was showing very well. If you can find this wine buy it!

We had this wine with Scialatielli ai Frutta di Mare img_1159

2009 — Illaria said this was a difficult vintage but to me it was drinking much better than when I first tasted it. This is a well-balanced complex wine that will age for a very long time.

2007 — Illaria said that 2007 was a very hot and dry vintage that produced a very concentrated wine. This is big wine with great structure and aromas ranging from candied fruit to flowers with good acidity. Both Illaria and John believe that this wine has great aging potential, from 15 to 20 years. It was showing a little more age than when I first tasted it but this was just the natural development.img_1160

We had both of these vintages with the Dentice in Brodetto con Cozze e Vongole.img_1166

2011 — Esoterico This is one of two wines that are in barriques, 20% is fermented in new French barriques for a period of 12 months. There is no fining, filtration or refrigeration, and there is natural clarification. This is the only vintage of the wine that they made. Illaria said because the wine is in a 375-ml size bottle, every one thinks it is a dessert wine. She said she is not sure if she would produce the wine again.img_1165

For dessert we had the Baba- it was one of the best I have ever eaten!

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Campania Stories: Tasting Wine with Roberto Di Meo

As I have mentioned before for me the best part of the trip to Campania organized by Campania Stories is the visit to the wineries. It was late afternoon when I arrived at the Di Meo Winery for my visit.

Roberto Di Meo

Roberto Di Meo

Walking into the Di Meo winery was like entering an elegant home. I waited the arrival of Roberto Di Meo, co-owner of the winery with his brother Generoso, in a lovely living room with a fireplace.

Azienda Agricola DI Meo is located near the village of Salza Irpina, in the province of Avellino In Campania. The grapes are hand harvested from their own 30 hectares of vineyards and the winery is certified organic. Roberto is the enologist and Generoso runs the commercial and PR side

Roberto showed me around the winery and took me through a tasting of his wines. At one point when I asked about how he use wood for aging he answered, “The wood is on the wine, not the wine on the wood”

These are some of the wines I tastedIMG_0022

Fiano di Avellino 2015 DOCG 100% Fiano Vineyard is at 500 meters. Traditional wine making with controlled temperature. The wine is aged in bottle for 3 to 6 months before release. It has nice citrus fruit with hints a honey and smoke.IMG_0024

Greco di Tufo 2015 100% Greco. Vineyards are between 400 and 600 meters. This is an ample and flavorful wine with hints of peach and almond. IMG_0023

 

 I was in Puglia last week with Radici del Sud  2016 for a blind wine tasting competition of Southern Italian Wine. Both the Di Meo Fiano and Greco placed  number one in their categories. 

Falanghina Campania IGT 2015 100% Falanghina. Vineyards are at 350 to 400 meters. This is a wine with flavore and aromas of citrus fruit and good acidity. It would be great with spaghetti con vongoleIMG_0013

Fiano di Avellino 2003 “ Erminia Di Meo Selection” 100% Fiano. Roberto said that the late harvest grapes were selected from a particular family parcel. There is a prolonged maceration with the skins at a low temperature followed by soft pressing and controlled temperature fermentation. A year after the harvest the wine remains in stainless steel with the “fecce fin” for 13 more years. The next release is the 2003. This is an exceptional Fiano worth the long wait and I complement Roberto for holding it back until it is almost ready to drink.IMG_0021

Taurasi Riserva DOCG 2007 “Selection Hamilton” 100% A Traditional red wine making. The wine spends 18 months in French barriques and Tonneau and 24 months in bottle before release. This is a well-balanced elegant wine with hints of berries, black pepper, tobacco and spice.IMG_0020

 Don Generoso Irpinia IGT 2010 made from 75% Aglianico and 25% Piedirosso and other red grapes. This is a wine with a complex bouquet with hints of red and black berries and a touch of spice.

 Roberto also make brandy

Brandy Don Vittorio aged for 25 years. I believe it is made from Fiano. Tom Maresca when he visited Roberto was luck enough to take home a bottle of this brandy and I had it with Tom after dinner on more than one occasion. Robert was surprised when I said I tasted it before. It is not imported into the US unfortunately. This is a very intense and refined brandy with hints of liquorices, honey and tobacco.

There are not many winemakers that make such excellent wines that can age and also produce brandy.

 

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Filed under campania, Campania Stories 2016, Di Meo winery, Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Taurasi, Uncategorized