Category Archives: Italian Red Wine

Red Wine and Steak at Restaurant Il Gattopardo NYC

Last week I posted an article on the white wines of Italy represented by Riccardo Gabriele of PR Comunicare Il Vino and Luca Tommasini of WinesCom Global Consulting. This article is about the red wines we tasted at Il Gattopardo.

We had a perfectly prepared steak with the red wines and it was a perfect combination with the red wines.

Castello di Mugazzena “Gargatura” IGT Tuscana 2017 made from 100% Syrah. The soil is clayey sandy terraced alluvial deposits. Training system is unilateral spurred cordon. Manual harvest. Grapes are destemmed and sorted. The grapes are pressed and then pumped into conditioned steel tanks where it ferments at a controlled temperature. There is pumping over, punching down and delestages. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation the wine is left to mature in contact with the skins between 10 and 30 days. The wine is separated from the marc and it is pressed. Malolactic fermentation is complete two weeks after. The course lees are removed and the wine is pumped into into French oak barrels, where it ages on the lees fro 12 to 18 months. The wine has hints of blueberries, black cherry and a note of black pepper.

 

Barone Sergio Sicilia Nero d’Avola Rosato “Luigia” 2018 made from100% Nero d’ Avola the vines are 10 years old and are at 70 meters. Fermentation takes place without the skins. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine matures in steel for 6 to 7 months and in bottle for 2 months before release. The wine has hints of strawberry and cherry with a touch of raspberry. Next time the red wines

 

I Balzini Black Label Dal Colli Della Tuscana Centrale PGI 2013 (WinesCom) made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The soil is of Pilocene orgin, sedimentary formations characterized by the presence of alternating strata of yellow sands and clay with a notable presence of marine fossils. Exposure is southwest with a north to south orientation of the rows. Working of the soil with a cordon de Royat training system. Manual harvest and grape selection. There is two weeks of skin contact and there is a complete malolactic fermentation. Aging is in French oak barrels for 12 to 14 months and 18 months in bottle before release. This is a wine with hints of red and black berries, a hint a spice and a touch of vanilla

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 “Canalicchio,” Franco Pacenti WinesCom made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso. The vineyards are at 300 meters and the exposure is north-east. The soil is medium clay with a low density of vines per hectare, divided into six plots with an average age of 25 years and the training system is spurred cordon. . There is a strictly traditional vinification with prolonged maceration on the skins and long refinement in medium to large oak barrels. The wine has hints of cherries and mushrooms with a touch of spice and a hint of herbs.

La Regola Costa Tuscana Riserva IGT La Regola made from 100% Cabernet Franc. Red Mediterranean soil with an abundance of stones. The vineyards are at 150 to 200 meters. Hand havesting of grapes with a careful selection. Manual selection of the grapes and of the berries, medium maceration and alcoholic fermentation is in natural concrete vats at a controlled temperature. After malolactic fermentation the wine spends 18 months in new French barriques made in Burgundy and at least 12 months in bottle before release.This is a fruit forward wine characteristic of Cabernet Franc with a hint of spice and vanilla.

Barolo DOCG “Ravera” 2013 Giovanni Abrigo made from 100% Nebbiolo. The soil is Tortonian in origin, made up of laminated Saint’Agata fossil marl, with clay at 400 meters. The exposure is southeast and there are 4,500 plants per hectare. The training system is espalier in the vineyards with guyot pruning. The age of the vines is between 20 and 30 years. Harvest is by hand in mid October. Separate processing of grapes picked in different parts of the vineyard. Destemming and temperature controlled alcoholic fermentation in steel tanks, pumping over and toward the end of the fermentation-delestage. The duration of the submerged cap depends of on the quality of the vintage. Drawing off and spontaneous malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged for 38 months of which at least 18 months is in French oak barrels of varying capacity. Blending is in stainless steel tanks and the wine is bottled in the summer and released for sale in January four years from the harvest. This is a classic Barolo with hints of cherry, tar and licorice.

Beconcini “IXE  The name is the Tuscan pronunciation for the letter X. The letter X stands for unknown vines. In the early 1950’s, 213 vines of unknown species were found in the vineyard which were called X vines. With help from the Ministry of Agriculture these vines were declared to be Tempranillo a few years ago. In June of 2009, Tempranillo was enrolled in the Tuscan register. As far as I know Tempranillo was never cultivated before in Italy.

The IGT is Tuscany Tempranillo. This wine is made from 99.9% of Tempranillo and a touch of Sangiovese. The winery is located in the town of San Miniato. The vineyard is 3.5 hectares and the grapes are all from the new vineyards planted in 1997 using a massal selection from buds taken from the century old vines of Tempranillo from the Vigna alle Nicchie. The training is spurred cordon. Soil is sandstone with marine fossil formation, well integrated with abundant clay. 100/150 meters above sea level and there are 7,000 vines per hectare. Harvest the first 10 days of September. The grapes are dried for 4 weeks and they obtain a total yield of 70%. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled glass lined cement vats, maceration is for 3 weeks. Aging lasts for 14 months in 70% French barriques and 30% American oak barriques of second passage. 6 months in bottle before release. First passage in barriques is for the wine from the grapes of the historical vineyard Vigna alle Nicchie that goes into the wine of the same name.

This origin of this grape variety is not known for certain. Via Franchigena was an old Roman road, which was used by pilgrims in the 17th century to make the pilgrimage to and from Santiago de Compostela (Rioja) in Spain to Rome. This road passed close to the town of San Miniato near where the winery is now located. Spanish pilgrims may have carried the Tempranillo seeds and actually sowed them in the vicinity of San Miniato as was the custom of the time. Scientists have determined that the vines were from seeds, not cuttings. Legend has it that a local priest tended the vines not knowing their origin. Not imported.

Montefalco Sagrantino 2015 Bocale made from 100% Sagrantino. The vineyard is treated with natural grass regeneration techniques (land planting), using only organic and mineral fertilizers without the use of chemical products or herbicides. Fermentation is with natural yeasts and the wine is produced without microfiltration and thermal stabilization. Manual harvest takes place the second half of October. Vinification: maceration for at least 40 days with natural enzymes. Stabilization and filtration do not take place. The wine is aged in 1,000 liter French oak barrels for 24 months and in bottle for 12 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberries and currants with a touch of spice. I was very impressed with this wine.

Tommasi Amarone Classico 2009 made from 50% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. The vines are on hillside terraces; the training system is high-density guyot. The Groletta and Conca d’Oro vineyards are located in the area of classic historical Valpolicella. The grapes are hand harvested and placed in plastic boxes which hold 5/6 kg. Then they are put on wooden racks to dry where cooling breezes in the autumn and winter until January dry them. This drying period is known as the appassimento. Annalisa said that this is an active period where the grapes lose about 50% of their weight and there is a concentration of the natural sugar. The wine is aged for 3 years in large Slavonian oak barrels. Residual sugar is 8g/l and the alcohol is 15.50%. This is a elegant, complex and full-bodied wine that has aromas of ripe fruit with hints of cherries, dries figs, prunes and a touch of hazelnut.

 

 

 

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Filed under Barolo, Brunello, Italian Red Wine, IXE, Nero d'Avola, Riccardo Gabriele, sagrantino, Tommasi, Uncategorized

Puglia comes to Kesté

A number of years ago Michele and I were on a press trip to Puglia and we visited Cantina Due Palme. Recently I received  and invitation for an event called  “Wines of Excellence Made in Puglia: Cantine Due Palma at Keste Wall Street.”

It is always a pleasure to go to Keste and I wanted to catch up on the wines of Due Palme.

Roberto Caporuscio, Pizzaiolo/Owner of Keste, was the host for the evening.

We started with  a focaccia typical of Puglia, made by Roberto. The flour is a mix of Super  Nuvola “0” flour from Caputo, semolina and potato.  The topping is tomatoes and olives.

There was Buratta, a cow’s milk cheese, which originated in Puglia that has an outer shell of mozzarella and inside a mix of shredded mozzarella and cream called stracciatella. It is made fresh everyday at Keste.

Olives from Puglia-Cerignola

Roberto with his former students

Two former students of Roberto, Penelope and Lucie, made the pizza. They have since opened a pizzeria in Quebec City called Nina Pizza Napolitaine.  Roberto said they were his best students and after I tasted the pizza I could not agree more, it was that good.

I asked Robert what flour he uses for his pizza.  He said he uses a mix of 50% Tipo 1 and 50% Super Nuvola Tipo 0 from Caputo.

The Pizza

Pizza with  a mix of homemade straciatella, and smoked and regular mozzarella infused with fresh mint and limoncello, and topped with fresh figs – fantastic.

Pizza with stracciatella cheese, broccoli rape and sausages

Pizza with ricotta and onions sauteed with mixed berries

Vegetarian pizza

Figs marinated in red wine

Cantina Due Palme is a Social Cooperative with its main headquarters located in Cellino San Marco, Puglia.  It was established in 1989 but its roots go back to 1943. In  the beginning there were only 15 members and today there are 1,000 and they have merged with 4 other large wineries with a total capacity 10,000 HL of wine.

Salice Salentino DOP Riserva “Selvarossa” made from Negroamaro and Malvasia Nero. The soil is baked red clay and the training system is alberello. The grapes are hand harvested and some of the grapes are dried in the cellars to concentrate the sugars and flavors and to enrich the structure. The wine is aged for 9 months in French oak barriques and then in bottle until it is ready to be released. The wine has hints of cherry jam, dates and vanilla with a note of toasty oak and a touch of spice.

Primitivo Di Manduria DOP “Sangatano” made from 100% Primitivo Di Manduria. The soil is red in color because of iron oxides with a rocky limestone substratum. The wine is aged for 6 months in American oak barriques followed by maturation in the bottle for a period of time. This is a wine with black fruit aromas and flavors with hints of vanilla and chocolate.

Rosso Salento IGP “1943 The Presidents Wine” made from Primitivo and Aglianico from vineyards planted in 1968. The grapes are hand harvested and some of the grapes are dried (appassimento) in the cellars which are kept humidity free to avoid spoilage. The wine is aged for 9 months in new barrels and for a period in bottle before release. This is an intense and complex wine with hints of coffee, ripe cherry, plum and spicy notes of vanilla. It is called The Presidents Wine because it produced from the old vineyards planted by Angelo Marci, founder and president of the company, in 1968 using the alberello vine training method.

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Filed under Cantine due Palme, Italian Red Wine, Kaste, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Pizza Restaurants, Primitivo, Uncategorized

Restaurant Aranci 67 a Taste of Italy

Our friend Lucio invited us to lunch at Aranci 67, a restaurant in Wilton, CT, owned by his sister and her husband, the chef Antonio Perillo.

We knew that Lucio came from a family of great cooks, since his late father had been the chef and owner of the now closed Bella Italia in Danbury, and together with his mother Anna, Lucio had once prepared a meal for us featuring some of his dad’s specialties.

Paolo Perillo, who shares front of the house duties with his mother Julia, greeted us. He showed us to our beautiful Amalfi style ceramic-topped table and we felt as if we had arrived on Capri.

Our lunch began with a Montanara pizza made by first frying the dough, then topping it with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil and then baking it until the cheese melts. Frying gives the dough added flavor and an evenly browned and puffed crust.

Next came perfectly ripe, peeled figs wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma a perfect sweet and salty combination.

Then the chef sent us deep fried zucchini flowers filled with ricotta and prosciutto,

and small arancini, crisp fried rice balls filled with cheese and ham.

Tender Potato Gnocchi in a light tomato sauce came next.

Sautéed chicken with mildly spicy vinegar peppers was the main course, accompanied by crisp sautéed potatoes and green beans.

For dessert there were Cannoli and Torta Caprese, a typical almond chocolate cake.

A homemade strawberry digestive beverage was the final touch on an outstanding meal. Lucky are the residents of Wilton and the surrounding area to have such a good Italian restaurant nearby.

The wines

Vecchie Terre di Montefili is located in Panzano in Chianti, Tuscany.

The wines were a gift from the former owner of the winery who is close friends with Lucio. I had tasted the 2015 vintages of these wines with Nicola Marzavilla, owner of I-Trulli restaurant in NYC and now the owner of the winery.

Bruno di Rocca IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 20 made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Sangiovese from vineyards planted in the early 1980’s. The soil is galestro and the training system is spurred cordon. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging for a minimum of months 28 in tonneaux for the Sangiovese and for the Cabernet Sauvignon in barriques (350 liters).  Nicola said Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be aged in barriques. The wine spends a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. $ ? It is difficult to make a of thi type  wine where the Cabernet Sauvignon does not dominate but this is a a soft elegant wine.

Chianti Classico DOCG 2009 made from 100% Sangiovese. The terrain is hilly and the vineyards are at 500 meters. The soil is galestro and alberese. The vineyards were planted in the late nineties and Nicola said these were the youngest vines on the property. The training system is spurred cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging is for a minimum of 15 months in large Slavonian oak barrels and 6 months in bottle . 

Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 made from 100% Sangiovese from a careful selection of grapes from vineyards with the best exposure. The vineyards were planted in the late 1980’s. The training system is spurred cordon and guyot. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging is in Slavonian oak barrels for a minimum of 22 months and 6 months in bottle.

Anfiteatro IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 2011 made from 100% Sangiovese from the Anfiteatro vineyard planted in 1985. The training system is bilateral cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. The wine is aged for 28 months in 5HL barrels and 10 Hl barrels and a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. This is a very big wine that needs more time.

Paolo, Julia and Antonio a family run restaurant. Aranci 142 Old Ridgefield Road Wilton, CT 06897 203-587-1300  http://www.Aranci67.com  Aranci67@gmail.com

 

 

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Filed under Ananci67, Italian Red Wine, Montefili, Restaurant

Old Vintages of Italian Wine and Pizza

Roberto Caporuscio, one of the best pizzaioli in New York and owner of Keste and several other restaurants, is now creating his pizzas with a new type of flour that he says yields better results.  He invited me and a group of friends who enjoy older Italian wines to come to his Keste Wall Street location for a tasting. A full report on the pizza will appear in another blog.
The notes on the wines were written by Jason De Salvo and I added a few notes of my own. I have a great respect for Jason’s palate and his attention to detail.
The wines
1971 Verrazzano Chianti Classico
4/11/18 — 90 points.  Now-2022.   Slightly cloudy brick-ruby color.  The nose is mocha-infused red cherry fruit, black raspberries, dried meat, potpourri, earth and underbrush.  On the palate this has vibrant acidity, a bit of a hole in the mid-palate and a relatively short finish.  That said, it’s a lovely drink!  Charles: Sangiovese can age as well as Nebbiolo as this wine proves.
1974 Produttori del Barbaresco
4/11/18 — 92 points.  Now-2027.   Medium ruby-garnet color, slightly cloudy.  The nose is candied black cherries, fennel blossoms, honey, smoked game and subtle notes of tar.  On the palate this is lovely.  Elegant, refined dusty tannins and a medium-long finish. Charles: This was my second favorite wine. Produttori del Barbaresco can age. Barbaresco can age as well as or even better than Barolo.
1974 Borgogno Barolo Riserva
4/11/18 — NR.  Drink Now.  Cloudy brick-ruby color.  The nose is stewed cherries, celery, wet leaves and tobacco.  On the palate this has sweet, stewed fruit notes and is clearly either past its
prime or a slightly off bottle.  Medium body.  The wine did work well with the pizza nonetheless.
Charles: We tasted the 1974  Barolo and 1974  Barbaresco side by side- it was no contest.
1947 Franco Fiorina Barbaresco
4/11/18 — NR.  Drink Now.    Slightly cloudy amber-golden color with just a faint hint of ruby.  The nose is like a hypothetical blend of a 30-40 year old Tawny Port and a Fino Sherry with oxidative notes of caramel, stewed cherries and licorice.  On the palate there remains a sweetness from what was obviously a hot, tremendously concentrated vintage, but alas, this wine bottle is solidly into its twilight. 
1998 Borgogno Barolo Riserva
4/11/18 — 92+ points.  Now-2040.   Medium ruby color.  The nose here is soaring with black cherries, minerals, licorice, rose blossom and cured meat.  On the palate this is vibrant, medium-full bodied with a complex, tactile finish. 
1979 Giovannin Moresco Barbaresco Poderi de Pajoré 
4/11/18 — 93 points.  Now-2030.    Medium ruby color.  The nose here is stunning with soaring notes of black cherries, black raspberries, crushed dried roses, freshly chopped garden herbs and baking spices.  On the palate this is supremely elegant and well integrated.  Gorgeous balance and a medium-long finished buttressed by refined, dusty tannins.
Charles:  for me this was the wine of the afternoon and it may be my favorite Barbaresco. It is made from the “Rose” subvariety of Nebbiolo. Unfortunately this was the last vintage and the vineyard was sold to Angelo Gaja.
1979 Cavallotto Riserva Vigna Colle Sud-Ovest
4/11/18 — 94+ points. Now-2028.    Medium brick-ruby color with a slightly watery rim.  The nose here is black cherries, black licorice, tobacco, a lovely stemmy note, coffee grinds, underbrush and smoked game.  On the palate this is velvety, nuanced and deep.  This is the best example of this wine I have had thus far. Charles: Jason liked this wine more than I  did.   I like their wines a lot but to me this bottle was not showing that well.

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Filed under Barbaresco, Barolo, Borgogno, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Italian Red Wine, Produttori del Barbaresco

Duccio Corsini and the Wines of Principe Corsini

Two weeks ago I hosted a tasting for wine journalists at Il Gattopardo Restaurant in NYC. One of the featured wines was the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013 of Duccio Corsini. The wine had hints of dark cherries, plums, violets, dried roses, licorice and spice and I was very impressed by it.

A few days later, I had the opportunity to host another dinner and tasting, featuring again the wines of Duccio Corsini, this time including vintages of Don Tommaso going back to 1998.

Duccio Corsini is the owner of Principe Corsini wines and the Villa Le Corte estate. He is a counselor for the Chianti Classico Consortium. The Corsini Family is one of the oldest in Italy, going back to the 13th century. One of Duccio’s ancestors, the Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini, became Pope Clemente XII. If you visit the Villa Corsini in Rome you can see a painting of the Pope. In fact it contains one of the most important collections of paintings done after the year 1000 A.D including a painting of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio.

Duccio Corsini

At the tasting, Duccio told us about the estate and the wines and how the most recent release of Don Tommaso was produced.

Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione “Don Tommaso” 2013 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot Principe Corsini, Villa Le Corte. The winery is located in San Casciano Val di Pesa. The vineyards are at 270-350 meters and have a southern exposure. Pilocenic hills rich in river stones. There are 5,800 plants per hectare. The training system is low-spurred cordon and the average age of vines is 25 years. This is a selection of the best grapes. They are hand harvested, destemmed and put in open frustum, cone–shaped stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. After 24 hours at 20°C the grapes are inoculated with selected indigenous yeasts. Fermentation for the Sangiovese is 18 days and for the Merlot is 16 days at a max temp of 28°C. The wine is aged in 70% new barriques and 30% in used barriques for 18 months and 12 months in bottle before release.

Don Tommaso Chianti Classico DOCG Villa Le Corte

1998 made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot. The wine was aged for 15 months in new French barriques.

1999 made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. Aged for 15 months in new barriques for the most part and 6 months in bottle.

2000 made from 85% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot, aged for 15 months in Allier barriques for the most part and 6 months in bottle.

2007 made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. 70% of the wine was aged in new barriques and 30% in used barriques for 15 months and 8 months in the bottle.

2010 Gran Selezione made from made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. 70% of the wine is aged in new barriques and 30 in used barriques for 18 months and 12 months in bottle. I believe 2010 was the first year for the Gran Selezione category.

2013 Gran Selezione is the present release  – after tasting all of the different vintages of Don Tommaso it was easy to see that the different vintages had much in common and just got better as they aged. These wines are true Chianti Classico, with all the flavors and aromas one would expect from a great Chianti Classico. They are excellent food wines.

The wine I drank the most of was the 1998. It was starting to become mellow but still could age for a number of years.

When asked why he uses Merlot in the Don Tommaso, Duccio explained that Sangiovese has “rough edges and the Merlot smoothes them out.” He then pointed out that the Don Tommaso is the only wine he produces that has any non-Italian grapes.

Duccio said in recent vintages they are using less new barriques and are introducing some large barrels.

Fico 2015 IGT Toscana 100% Sangiovese From the Gugliaie vineyard, the name of the wine comes from the fig tree on the boundary of the vineyard, one of the finest on the property. Only organic farming methods are used. The wine is unfiltered and there are NO sulfites added.

The vineyard is at 270 meters with a southern exposure. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. The vineyard is 2.6 hectares and the average age of the vines is 19 years. The harvest is manual. Destemming takes place and fermentation, in open vertical French oak barrels for 16 days. There is daily pumping down of the cap during fermentation. Bottled June 2016. There were only 280 bottles produced.

This wine was created by Filippo Corsini, the young son of Duccio who died tragically in a road accident in London on October 31. Duccio said that the wine is Filippo’s interpretation and own personal vision of winemaking.

This was the most unusual 100% Sangiovese I have ver tasted. One of the other journalists present said it tasted like a Pinot Noir, and we all agreed. It is a very elegant wine with subtle red fruit flavors and aromas.

Vino Spumante Rosato 100% Sangiovese San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence, the exposure is south and the average age of the of vines is 18 years. Charmat method is used through a soft pressing of whole grapes. Fermentation is on the must for 24 days at a low temperature (14°C). Secondary fermentation for 12 weeks and elevage on the yeasts for 1 month. The wine was bottled September 2015. It has nice bubbles with hints of pomegranate, strawberries and cranberries.

Villa Le Corti Chianti Classico DOCG 2014 San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence. Made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino. The vineyards are at 270 to 350 meters and the exposure is south. Soil: pliocenic hills rich in river stones and there are 5,800 plants per hectare. The training system is low spurred cordon and the average age of the vines is 25 years old. Harvest was from September 18 to September 29th. Fermentation is for 20 days at 28°C in open-air tanks with temperature control. The grapes are inoculated with select indigenous yeasts. Wine ages partially in vitrified cement vats for 12 months and part in large wood barrels.

Cortevecchia 2014 Chianti Classico Riserva 2014 harvest is by hand and grapes are destemmed and put in open air tahks with a temperature controlled system. After 24 hours at 20C. The grapes ate inoculated with select indigenous yeasts. Fermentation is for 14 days at 28C. The wine is aged for 20 months in big oak casks and part in tonneaux. The wine remains in the bottle for 6 months before release.

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC 2004 60% Malvasia and 40% Trebbiano. Harvest by hand, grapes dried for 3 months “appassamento.” The dry grapes are pressed at the end of January and the juice is fermented in small barrels for 5 years. The wine “rests” for 10 years in the dark cellar before release. There were only 460 bottles produced.

Duccio said that this wine is very expensive to produce. First because it takes so long to reach the market and because after the wine ages for 5 years, he tastes it and if it does not measure up to his standards he will discard the wine. The wine has hints of honey and dried fruit, especially apricot. Very pleasant way to end a wonderful tasting.

 

 

 

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Filed under Dom Tommaso Chianti Classico, Fico Sangiovese Rosso IGT, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Principe Corsini, Uncategorized

Romagna: Albana to Sangiovese

The Simply Italian Wine Tour that is held in NYC is an opportunity for me to taste and learn about wines from all over Italy.img_1647

The seminar that I attended was “Romagna: Albana to Sangiovese, Journey into Native Italian Varietals.”

These two grape varieties do not get the attention they deserve. The seminar was hosted by Filiberto Mazzanti, Director at Consorzio Vini di Romagna and Giammario Villa, Giammario Villa Wine Selections.img_1656

Filiberto said that the Consorzio has 104 winemaking producers, 7 cooperative wineries and 5 bottling companies. It provides producers with legal assistance, protection of the denomination and protection of DOCG, DOC and IGt Romagna wines.

Romagna is the eastern half of Emilia Romagna in the center of Italy between Tuscany and the Adriatic Sea.

Albana, this white grape may have been introduced into Romagna by the ancient Romans. Albana refers to the color of the grapes, Albus, white in Latin. The grape produces sparkling wine (spumante,) dry wines (secco), medium–sweet (amabile) and a dessert wine passito.

Albana was the first white wine to receive the DOCG in 1987.img_1657

Romagna Albana DOCG “Frangipane” 2015 100% Albana Tenuta La Viola The vineyard is at 200 meters and the exposure is west. There is an early harvesting of the grapes. Alcoholic fermentation takes place without the skins at a controlled temperature. The wine remains on the fine lees for 5 months. The wine is crisp with good acidity.img_1660

Romagna Albana DOCG “Secco Sette Note” 2015 Poderi Morini 100% Albana. Fermentation is in steel tanks and the wine is aged in steel tanks and in bottle for 5 months before release. The wine has hints of hawthorn, yellow flowers and white peach.img_1659

Romagna Albana DOCG “Secco Progetto 1” 2015 Leone Conti 100% Albana from the Faenza Hills, Santa Lucia. The grapes are harvested slightly overripe. Cold fermentation takes place in steel tanks and the wine is aged for 7 months in steel tanks. The wine has hints of peaches, apricot, citrus and honey. $12img_1658

Romagna Albana DOCG “Albano Secco” 2015 Cantina Sociale Di Cesena-Tenuta Amalia100% Albana from the hills of Cesena and Bertinoro. Soft pressing is followed by low temperature fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 to 15 days. Fining in stainless steel tanks for 4 months. The wine has hints of ripe peach, butterscotch and almonds.

Sangiovese has been produced in Romagna since the 17th century. Recent discoveries suggest that Sangiovese is of pre-Greek origin and may be a native vine of Romagna.

Sangiovese in Latin means “the blood of Jove” (Jupiter) and the reason for the name is open to interpretation. It may have gotten it name from a commune of monks from Rimini, in Romagna. Sangiovese is the most planted grape variety in Italy.

There is genetic evidence that more than 2,000 years ago grapes of “Sangiovese” were already used by the Etruscans for wine production.

They produce Novello, a basic Sangiovese, Sangiovese Superiore and a Sangiovese Riserva. The wines differ by alcohol content and aging. img_1653

Romagna Sangiovese Superiore DOP “Caciara” 2015 Enio Ottaviani 100% Sangiovese from San Clemente. Fermentation takes place in concrete vats and the wine is aged in big barrels for 6 months. This was pure Sangiovese with hints of cherry and violets.img_1651

Romagna Sangiovese Superiore DOC 2015 Azienda Agricola San Valentino 100% Sangiovese from vineyards southwest of Rimini. Fermentation is in both stainless and concrete tanks at a controlled temperature. Malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged for 8 months is 500 liter French oak casks, mostly second passage. The wine has hints of raspberries and plum with notes of leather and licorice.img_1652

Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva DOCAmarcord d’un Ross” 2013 Trere 85% Sangiovese and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in Faenza. Harvest takes place at the end of September. Vinification: in stainless steel vats for 2 months. The wine is aged in French oak barrels of 225 liters for 12 months and 6 months in bottle before release. It has hints of wild berries, cherries, a hint of spice and a touch of toast. $20img_1654

Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva DOC “Olmatello’ 2013 Podere La Berta made from 100% Sangiovese from vineyards in Brisighella. Selected grapes are pressed and crushed. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature. Maceration on the skins is for 12 to 18 days with daily pumping over. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel tanks. In March/April the wine is transferred to 225 liter new and used oak barrels where it remains for about 24 months. The wine is aged for 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of red and black berries, spice and a light toastiness. $35img_1650

Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva Bertinoro DOC Baron & Ruseval 2013 Celli made from 100% Sangiovese from vineyards in Bertinoro. Fermentation is in steel where the wine remains for 6 months on the lees. The wine is aged for 1 year in French barriques, with a middle toasting and 2 years in bottle before release. The wine has hints of strawberry and cherry with floral notes and touch of balsamic. $35 img_1649

Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva Marzeno DOC Pietramora 2013 Fattoria Zerbina 98% Sangovese and 2% Ancellotta from vineyards in the Marzeno Valley. Fermentation is for two weeks, 50% in barrels and 50% in stainless steel. Punching down takes place twice a day then reduced to once a day and pumping over for one week. The wine has hints of cherry and strawberry with touches of tobacco and oak spice. $44.99

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Albana, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Romagna, Sangiovese, Uncategorized

CASALE DEL GIGLIO WINERY: Bellone, Cesanese, Petit Manseng, Viognier and More

Casale del Giglio was the last winery on my recent tour of three wineries south of Rome. I was familiar with this winery because when I was the wine director for I Trulli restaurant in NYC we carried their wines.

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Elise

When John Curtas, a journalist from Las Vegas, and I arrived at the winery Elise Rialland gave us some background information. I had met Elise from the export office the night before in Rome. I had a nice time talking to her and her husband.

Dr. Berardino Santarelli, from the Appenine hill town of Amatrice, founded Casale del Giglio in 1967. The estate is between the town of Aprilia and Latina in the Agro Pontino valley about 50 miles from Rome. The winemaker is Paolo Tiefenthaler who also consults for other wineries and makes a methode classico spumante in Trento where he lives.

Paolo took us to the roof of the winery where we could see the vineyards. He said the area did not have much of a winemaking tradition and 60 different grape varieties were planted to determine see which ones would do best.

They converted the 180 hectares of vineyards to the cordon training system, planting the grapes which adapt well to the territory and produce quality wines such as: Syrah, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Petit Manseng and Tempranijo, plus other international and local varieties.

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Paolo

They have 22 products, seven white wines, one rosé, seven reds, one late harvest, three grappas and an extra virgin olive oil.

We then went with Paolo to the cellars were he showed us a 225 liter demo barrel that is used to explain how wine develops in the barrel and its effects on the wine.img_2164

At lunchtime, we had one of the best meals that I have had at any winery in a very long time. They served two of my favorite pastas: Mezze Maniche alla Griciaimg_2168

and Amatriciana and they were as good, if not better, than any I have eaten in Rome! For the lunch I have thank to Linda Siddera, the Int. Events and Hospitality Coordinator for the winery.

Linda  with Elisa did the wine tasting for us

The Winesimg_2150

Bellone Lazio Bianco DOC Knowing my interest in the Bellone grape, Elise said the variety is cited by Pliny the Elder (d.79 AD). Today the grape is cultivated from Rome to the Lepini hills around the costal town of Anzio where the warm sandy soils tempered by a relentless sea breeze provide the ideal microclimate. The grape is vigorous and resistant to drought, a guarantee of wine quality and balance. The grapes are plump, golden yellow, thick skinned and hang in elongated cone shaped bunches. The constant sea breeze contributes to the over ripeness of the grapes and a high concentration of sugar and acidity lead to early maturation and the wines’ mineral notes. Harvest takes place at the end of September. Vinification: maceration is on the skins followed by a soft pressing and spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeast for about 10 to 12 days at 18 -20C. This is a balanced wine with tropical fruit aromas and flavors, hints of mango, floral and spice notes, good acidity and a long finish. The wine can age! img_2148

Satrico Lazio Bianco IGT made from 40% Chardonnay, 40% Sauvignon and 30% Trebbiano Giallo. Only the best bunches are selected and after a soft pressing the first run juice is separated from the skins. The different varieties are vinified separately.   A slow, temperature controlled continuous fermentation takes place for 7 or 8 days. After racking the wine matures in stainless steel tanks before it is bottled at the beginning of the following years. This is a fruity, crisp, lightly aromatic wine with hints of citrus fruit. The wine is named after the ancient pre-Roman town of Satricum.img_2156

Albiola Lazio Rosato IGT made from 85% Syrah and 15% Sangiovese, depending on the vintage. The dark skinned red grapes are lightly crushed and left in stainless steel tanks for several hours. After this initial period of cold maceration on the skins at 8 to 10°C some of the juice is “bled,” drained off from the tanks and fermented separately, a process known as saignéé from the French saigner to bleed. Fermentation is in stainless steel vats at about 18C for 8 to 10 days. The wine if floral and fruity with aromas and flavors of woodland berries dominated by strawberries and raspberries.img_2157

Cesanese Lazio Rosso IGT 100% Cesanese. The grape comes from the Latium Province of Frosinone around the hill towns of Affile and Piglio. It is a low yield late ripening variety, which lends itself to late harvest. The clusters are small, sparse and elongated, the berries oval and medium sized. Harvest does not take place until late October as the vineyards are situated on high, hilly slopes. Paolo said late ripening varieties normally make for a long lasting wine. The more days between flowering and maturity, the more suitable the wine will be for long aging. There is submerged, spontaneous fermentation at 18-20°C for about 20 days followed by a further 10/12 days of maceration on the skins to extract the very last traces of the tannins in which the skins and seeds of the Cesanese grape are particularly rich. The wine has red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of cherry and violets and a touch of spice.img_2158

 Shiraz IGT Lazio made from 100% Syrah. Only the ripest and healthiest grapes are selected for vinification. Two days of cold maceration at about 10C takes place. Vinification continues with the punching down of the floating cap 3 or 4 times a day. The fermenting must is racked and returned (délestage) several times during the initial stages of the 10 to 12 day fermentation process at 28°C. The new wine is carefully drawn off into stainless steel vats for malolactic fermentation, the color, tannins and aroma still present in the fermented skins are extracted in the soft press to which they are gently persuaded to slide by force of natural gravity alone. The wine is aged in barriques for 8 to 12 months and for 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of blackberry, blueberry, cherry, black pepper and a touch of violets.img_2299

Mater Matuta Lazio Rosso IGT. Made from 85% Syrah and 15 % Petit Verdot (proportions may vary slightly depending on the vintage.) The grapes are harvested when fully ripe and the Syrah may be slightly shriveled, and vinified in different ways. Submerged cap is used for the Syrah, which ferments on native yeasts for 18 to 20 days. During the first few days délestage takes place several times. Punching down is used for the Petit Verdot for the extraction of the grape’s tannins and polyphenolic compounds. The full-bodied Petit Verdot gives the wine its long aging potential, and the Syrah gives complexity of character. Each new wine goes into new barriques. Color, tannins and aromas still present in the fermented skins are extracted in the soft presses to which they slide by gravity. After 22 to 24 months in oak the wines are blended and left in the bottle for another 10 to 12 months. This is a big complex wine with hints of black cherry, spice, cinnamon and violets. It has a long finish and very pleasing after taste. This is their flagship wine. The name comes from the ancient Italic goddess of the dawn.

Chardonnay Lazio IGT– a wine that does not undergo malolatic fermentation and is aged for 3 to 4 months in stainless steel so the true varietal character comes through.

Sauvignon Blanc Lazio IGT (vinification and aging is like the Chardonnay) It is a very balanced wine with good acidity and a hint of grass.img_2153

Viognier Lazio Bianco IGT produced from fully ripe and over ripe grapes. The wine is stored on its lees in stainless steel tanks to prevent malolactic fermentation. It is a true expression of the Viognier grape.

Biancolella di Ponza IGT Bianco LazioFaro Della Guarda” in Lazio the wine made from the Biancolella can only be produced on the Island of Ponza which is off the southwest coast of Lazio. The grape is a native of Campania and came to Ponza from Ischia. However we did not get to taste this wine.img_2170

Aphrodisium-late harvest dessert wine made from Petit Mansegn, Viognier, Greco and Fiano, proportions depending on the vintage. These white grapes are harvested at different times. The Petit Manseng at the end of October when the clusters are well shriveled by the sea breeze. The sugar level is 30 to 32 Bobo(Brix in English) degrees (potential of about 18% alcohol.) The grapes are pressed whole to extract just the highly concentrated juice. No yeast is added. The solid parts of the grape are left behind and the ratio of must extracted to grapes pressed is no more than 30%. Fermentation occurs spontaneously in stainless steel vats at about 18°C. This wine has hints of citrus fruit, peach and honey with a refreshing mineral crispness, a long finish and a very pleasant after taste.img_2172

After the excellent lunch, John and I were offered grappa. The grappa is from the newly fermented skins from Casale del Giglio’s grapes but it is distilled at the Pilzer Distillery in Faver, Trento (it is illegal to have a distillery and winery on the same property in Italy.)

I selected the grappa made from Petit Manseng skins, which is a clear grappa. John selected the Petit Verdot, which is distilled the same way but is aged in wood and takes on a light brown color. It was the perfect way to end a wonderful lunch and visit.

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Filed under Bellone Grape, Casale del Giglio, Cesanese, Grappa, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Lazio, Shiraz, Viognier