Category Archives: Grato Grati

Weekend in Sag Harbor

Every summer, when we visit our friends Ernie and Louise in the Hamptons, we look forward to the same menu. I would not have it any other way because to me it is just perfect! What’s more, Ernie has a very interesting wine cellar and we consult on what wines we should drink with the food. Here are some of the things we drank and ate over the weekend.IMG_8030

Champagne Brut Reserve Billecart-Salmon NV. Made from 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. It has tiny bubbles and a fruity delicate freshness.

IMG_5987 It was a perfect combination with the cold melon soup with candied ginger.IMG_8024

Barbera d’ Asti “Vigna Noce” 1999 Antica Azienda Agricola Trinchero. The winery belongs to the Triple “A” Agriculture 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 wine maker. Only natural yeast is used, there is no acidification of the wine, clarification and filtration does not take place. Chemical treatments are not used in the vineyards; copper and sulfur are used but only when it is really necessary. The wine is aged for 7 years in large chestnut barrels. This is a traditional, classic Barbera that will last for at least another 10 years.IMG_8025

We had this with the pasta amatriciana but we could not get bucatini so we made it with penne.IMG_8022

Grato Grati Vino Rosso da Tavola 1988 Vecchia Annata Made mostly from Sangiovese with a small amount of Canaiolo. This is declassified Chianti Rufina and it is one of my favorites. It can age: I have had the 1978, 1982, 1988, 1990, 1995 and 1997 often. I still have a 3-liter bottle of the 1990 that I was given when I visited the winery.

IMG_8020 We had this with the Italian salumi, cheese, and grilled zucchini and peppers.IMG_8027

Aglianico 1999 made from 100% Aglianico del Vulture Azienda Agricola Basilisco. There are 8 hectares of vineyards. Fermentation and maceration is in stainless steel tanks for 15/30 days depending on the vintage. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 12/18 months.IMG_8029

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1985 Emidio Pepe 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The winery is organic and Bio-Dynamic. They belong to the Triple “A” Agriculture Artisans Artists.Both the tendonne method and the cordon spur method are used for training the vines. In vintages when the weather is very hot the tendonne method is better because the leaves form a canopy to protect the grapes from the sun.  When the weather is not too hot, the cordon spur is better because it allows more sun and air to reach the grapes. 1 hectare of tendonne has 900 vines and produces 90 quintals of grapes.  That means that each vine produces from 6 to 9 kilos of grapes. In one hectare of cordon spur trained grapes, there are 3,300 vines and each vine produces 5 to 6 kilos of grapes. The grapes are crushed by hand and the juice placed in glass lined cement tanks of 20/25 liters.Only natural yeasts are used, there is no filtration or fining. The wine is transferred to the bottle by hand and the corks are placed in the bottles by hand.IMG_8032

We drank the Pepe and the Basilisco with grilled skewers of lamb, French bread, and bacon.IMG_6002

For dessert we had homemade fig ice cream, and for breakfast the next morning heated brioche and fig ice

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Filed under Basilisco Aglianico1999, Billecart- Salmon, Champagne, Emidio Pepe, Grato Grati, Italian Red Wine, Tinchero Barbera d'Asti

Notes on Vinitaly 2015

IMG_7546Vinitaly, the annual wine fair in Verona, Italy, is much bigger now than the last time I was there eight years ago. There are 12 very large pavilions and a number of smaller ones. The fair used to last 5 days, but now it is 4.IMG_7547

At least one wine writer, Alfonso Cevola, was disappointed at the state of affairs at Vinitaly and wrote what he called a “Dear John Letter.” He made some very good points on why he may not return to the fair–here is the link to the blog.https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/alfonso-cevola-a-dear-john-letter-to-veronafiere/ While I agree with Alfonso on many points, there is another side of the fair, that of visiting and tasting wine with old friends and making new ones, that I think is the best part.IMG_7540

Sunday was the first day and the most crowded. Our first visit was with Barbara De Rahm, a negotiant I have known for many years. There was a time when I was the Wine Director at I Trulli that I would sit all day at Barbara’s stand tasting wine.IMG_7542

The next stop was a visit and tasting with Valter Fissore and his wife Nadia Cogno of the Elvio Cogno winery. I have known Valter and Nadia for a number of years and like his style of wine. Travis and Nicole, the owners of Turtledove Wines and my travelling companions, like these wines and have a large selection in their store.IMG_7159

Next we stopped by to see Luca Currado of the Vietti winery who I have know for over 30 years. His 2007 Barolo Villero was the 2015 Gambero Rosso red wine of the year.IMG_7568

Next was a visit to my favorite maker of Chianti Rufina Grato Grati. We tasted the Chianti and then tasted a wine I have never had before, a Canaiolo Bianco di Toscana. It was very good.IMG_7566

Riccardo Gabriele does PR for Italian wines and one of his clients is Il Marroneto, producers of a traditional Brunello di Montalcino, Madonna della Grazie, which I believe is one of the best Brunellos made.IMG_7558

A Facebook friend, Steven Giles, suggested I visit Donatella Giannotti of the Cascina Montagnola winery. We tasted the Colli Tortonese Cortese and two wines made from the Timorasso grape, Dethma and the Morasso. They are looking for an importer in NYC and I highly recommend the wines.IMG_7641

Then we visited Dr. Alfonso and Anna Arpino of the Ag Az Monte Grazia Biological winery in Tremonti high above the Amalfi Coast. They make three wines–a white, a rose and a red, and are among my favorite wines.

Next we visited the Machesi Bartolini Baldelli of Fattoria di Bangolo in Tuscany. I have know the Marchese for a number of years and when Michele and I were at the fair or in Florence we would go out to dinner with him and his wife. His wife is from Scarsdale, NY.IMG_7541

We also stopped by to visit marketing specialist Marina Thompson and her husband, wine authority Daniele Cernilli, known as Doctor Wine.IMG_7572

Our last visit was to Clavesana, makers of Dolcetto in Dogliani. We talked with Anna Bracco and Mario Felice Schwenn from the winery. Siamo Dolcetto meaning “We are Dolcetto” is the slogan of this large co-op. They said that Dolcetto is no loner required on the label, all it has to say is Dogliani, where the wine comes from, to know it is Dolcetto.

We only spent two days at the fair, because as with so much in Italy, lunch comes before anything else!

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Filed under Barbara De Rham, Canaiolo Bianco, Cascina Montagnola, Clavesana, Daniele Cernilli, Elvio Cogno, Fattoria di Bangolo, Grato Grati, IL Marroneto, Monte de Grazia Winery, Vietti, Vinitaly 2015

Holiday Adventures in NYC

 

Michele and I always look forward to Christmas dinner with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow. For a number of years, Tom and Diane come to our house Thanksgiving dinner, and they have us over for Christmas. They are excellent and adventurous cooks and Diane often chooses recipes from books she has written about in her blog http://dianescookbooks.wordpress.com

Tom www.ubriaco.wordpress.com has a great wine collection and will try to find the perfect wine match for each course.

 

The first wine was Champagne Pommery Brut NV. Made from 35% Chardonnay 35% Pinot Nor and 30% Pinot Meunier. It was very easy to drink and worked very well with the little pastry shells filled with foie gras, egg salad, prosciutto, caviar etc.

 

The first course was an individual ramekin filled with an egg baked in cream with white truffle paste, which they had brought back from Alba. The wine to match this dish was a Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2003 Labouré–Roi. As Tom poured the wine into the glass it had a golden orange color and even without tasting it we could see that it was oxidized.

 

Then we had an Alsatian onion quiche. The main course was  Pintadeau farci Jean Cocteau– stuffed guinea hen from a recipe in Raymond Oliver’s La Cuisine. With it drank Beaune Premier Cru Greves 2005 Moillard and a Chambolle Musigne 2003 from Drouhin followed. They were both showing very well but the Moillard was a bit softer.

 

Next there was a cheese course.  All the cheeses were great but the gorgonzola was really special, we drank a Chateau Brane Cantenac1989, Cabernet Sauvignon Carmeriére. Dessert was a not too sweet cranberry crostata made by Michele.  For those that were still able to drink there was grappa.

 

Monday and Tuesday we stayed home and tried not to eat too much.

 

Wednesday we went to Russ & Daughters to buy caviar and foie gras for New Years Eve. We also went to an Indian restaurant but did not have wine.

 

Thursday we went to SD26, which is becoming one of my favorite Italian restaurants for lunch and had another great meal.  Tony May recommended we have the burrata, which was brought in from Puglia.  It was superb.  Then I had chestnut fettuccine with wild boar salami & dried cranberries, a perfect dish for a winter day.  We drank the 1988 Chianti Rufina from Grato Grati

On Friday we met a friend from Miami and went to Legend, a Chinese restaurant that has very good food and excellent Martinis.  Love the spicy lamb with cumin.

New Years Eve we went to Japonica for Japanese food for lunch.

That night to celebrate the coming New Year we started with the Caviar and had a bottle of Champagne Bruno Paillard N.P.U. Brut 1995.  Made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir I had mentioned to someone that I had had it at a tasting and liked it and I received it as a gift from him. With the foie gras we drank a dessert wine from Spain- Malaga 2007 N0 2 Victoria It is a naturally sweet wine made from the Muscate Alexandria grape and fermented in stainless steel Joege Ordoéz & CO.   This also was a gift from a friend.

 

On New Years Day we took a long walk and in the middle of Washington Square Park there was a man playing classical piano. It was a beautiful day and we stood and listened for a while.   His name is Colin Huggins and he was very good.

 

For dinner that night we had the rest of the foie gras, steak and potatoes fried in duck fat. The wine we drank was a 1984 Volnay 1er Cru “les Champans” Domaine Joseph Voillot.

This wine was everything that a red Burgundy should be and it was a great way to start off the New Year!

I would like to thank everyone that has followed my blog and Happy New Year to one and all.

 

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Filed under Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Chianti Rufina, French Red, French Wine, Grato Grati, Italian Red Wine, Italian Restaurants, Italian Wine, SD 26, Villa di Vetrice