Category Archives: Italian White Wine

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

Wines and a Sunset at the Marco Carpineti Winery

Recently, I wrote about my trip to Cori, where I visited the Cincinnato Winery together with journalist John Curtas from Las Vegas, Nevada.img_2124

The second winery on our itinerary was Marco Carpineti. Paolo Carpineti, who we had met the night before at a dinner in Rome where we stayed. He joined us on the drive to Cori as his car would not start.

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Temple of Hercules at Cori

Paolo is the sales manager for his family’s winery and he took us to the town of Cori. Paolo said that Cori was settled 300 years before Rome. There are still ancient ruins in the town and he also wanted to show us the sunset from the highest point in the town.img_2115

It was really something to see.

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John Curtas and Paolo Capineti

Next, Paolo took us on a tour of the vineyards and told us about the winery. The vineyards are south of Rome and are protected by the Lepini Mountains. They are at 400 meters. His family has been in the wine business for generations and in 1994 they went organic. As he pointed to the vines he said we do not use herbicides, chemical fertilizers or synthetic products. He said biodynamic agriculture is based on the idea of the balance of nature, in unison with the landscape, the earth and humanity.

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You plant diamonds and you get nothing, you plant manure and you get flowers.

In order to obtain a fertile and vital soil they only use natural methods like bone meal (mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones) and slaughterhouse waste products and quartz horn (burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow).img_2135

We tasted the wines with a light supper. Paolo said that all the food we were eating was from local products produced in and around Cori. We also tasted his olive oil, which was excellent.

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Paolo speaking about the wines

The Wines

Kius Brut Millesimato Vintage Brut is a classic method sparkling wine made from 100% Bellone. There are 4500 plants per hectare and harvest takes place the last 10 days of August. There is a soft pressing of whole grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in the bottle for 24 months before release. This is a sparking wine with small bubbles a fresh taste, fruity aroma and a hint of briocheimg_2127

Kius Extra Brut Rosè is a classic method sparkling wine made from Nero Buono di Cori. There are 4,500 plants per hectare and the grapes are harvested the last 10 days of August. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. It is aged for 30 days in bottle before release. The color is light with red berry aromas and flavors with touches of strawberries and raspberries.img_2130

Capolemole IGT Lazio Bianco made from 80% Bellone and 20% Greco. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in September. There is a soft pressing of whole grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in steel. This is a fruity wine with hints of citrus fruit, lemon and floral fragrances.img_2131

Moro IGt Lazio Bianco made from two varieties of Greco: 80% Greco Moro (dark green grapes) and 20% Greco Giallo (White Greco transplant). There are 4,500 to 5,000 plants per hectare and the harvest is in September/October. The grapes are selected and picked at sunrise and then a cold maceration takes places. There is a soft pressing of whole grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature for 12 days. A portion of the must is fermented in oak barrels. This is a fruity wine with hints of peach and almonds with a touch of cut hay.img_2133

Tufaliccio IGT Lazio Rosso made from 70% Montepulciano and 30% Cesanese. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and the harvest is in September/October. Maceration is for about 10 days at a controlled temperature. The wine has aromas and flavors of red and black berries with a hint of violets.

They also make:

Capolemole Bianco IGT Lazio made from 80% Bellone and 20% Greco.

Apolide IGT Lazio Rosso made from 100% Nero di Cori.

Capolemole IGT Lazio Rosso made from 45% Nero Buono di Coti 45% Montepuliciano and 10% Cesanese. 

Dithyrambus IGT Lazio made from 50% Nero Buono di Cori and 50% Montepulciano.

Also a late harvest passito wine from the best bunches of Bellone called Ludum.img_2118

Paolo showed us a number of amphoras in the cellar that he is experimenting with using the Nero Buono di Cori grape.img_2139

Before we headed back to Rome, we had coffee and Grappa made from the Nero Buono di Cori grape.

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Filed under Bellone Grape, Cori, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Marco Carpineti Winery, Nero Buono, Spumante

Drinking Bellone and Nero Buono at the Cincinnato Winery

Kim Sayid, who is working with a winery in Lazio, wrote me this text: “Would you like to go to Rome and visit 3 wineries in Lazio near the town of Cori? You have to leave in two weeks and you would be based in Rome for 3 days.”

Rome, wineries — it was an offer I could not refuse.

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Cori

The other journalist on the trip was John Curtas from Las Vegas. We had never met before but his presence added to my enjoyment of the trip.

Cori is located 28 miles (45 klm) southeast of Rome.

The first winery we visited was Cincinnato where Giovanna Trisorio, the marketing director, welcomed us. We had met her the night before at a dinner in Rome.img_2078

She told us that the winery was named after Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus a 5th century BC Roman politician who was named consul and won the war against the Argui. After the victory, Cincinnatus gave up all power and went back to his farm in Cori. The company’s logo shows him working on the farm plowing the soil with his ox.

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On the right Giovanna Trisorio

The winery is located in the hills of Cori, an ancient village south of Rome. The climate is protected by the mountains and pleasantly mitigated by the sea. Cincinnato is a co-op founded in 1947 with 200 members and 400 hectors of vineyards. It is a very modern winery constructed using local products and workman.img_2093

We tasted the wines with lunch, which was made with all local products from Cori including their excellent extra virgin olive oil, Dioscuri, made from 100%“Itrana Cultivar”.

The winery is also an agriturismo and hosts guests in several comfortable rooms.img_2089

Castore 2015 IGT Lazio made from 100% Bellone. The vineyards are located on the lava hills around Cori at 200 to 250 meters and the soil is volcanic-clayey. A row training system is used and there are 3,000 to 4,000 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place September 10th-15th. Soft pressing and destemming takes places followed by static decantation for 24 hours and subsequent fermentation at a cold temperature 15C for 10 days. The wine remains on the lees for 2 months and malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 6 months and in bottle for 6 months before release.

The wine has delicate fruity aromas with hints of yellow peach and hawthorn.

Giovanna said that the Bellone grape’s ancestor is believed to be uva Pantastica, described by Pliny the Elder (d.79AD) in his Natural History. Giovanna said that the name Castore is from the mythical Dioscuri to whom the temple of Castor and Pollux is dedicated and the archeological remains are part of Cori’s heritage.img_2095

Pozzodorico 2014 IGT Lazio 100% Bellone the vineyards are at 250 meters and there are 4,000 plants per hectare, harvest is from September 10th to 20th. There is a soft pressing and destemming and fermentation takes place in 500 liter barrels for 12 days. Malolactic fermentation takes the wine remains on the lees for 12 months. The wine is aged in big barrels and for 6 months in bottle before release. Giovanna said this process makes a complex, full bodied and elegant wine and she is right. It has hints of exotic fruit, lemon and hazelnuts with nice minerality.

They also make a dessert wine from 100% Bellone called Solina IGT Lazio

Giovanna said the Bellone grape is an indigenous variety of ancient origin, cultivated in the area around Cori. It is known for its thin and delicate skin. It has good acidity.

I first tasted wine made from the Bellone grape a number of years ago in Rome and have been drinking it ever since.img_2088

Brut Spumante made from 100% Bellone  The grapes are picked in September when the acidity is high. Fermentation for about 10 days at 15C and malolactic fermentation does not take place. Charmat (tank) process for about 2 months and the wine remains in the bottle for 4 months before release. The wine has tiny bubbles, is slightly aromatic with hints of acacia and white peach.img_2090

Illirio Cori Bianco DOC Cori made from 50% Bellone, 30% Malvasia del Lazio, and 20% Greco from the Colle Illirio area at 200 to 250 meters. The soil is volcanic and clayey. The training system is row, there are 4,000 plants per hectare and harvest is September 10th to 20th. There is soft pressing and destemming, followed by cold maceration with the skins for 24 hours. Fermentation at 15C – for 10 days, malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 6 months and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a fruity fragrant wine with hints of lemon and good minerality.img_2092

Pantaleo 2015 IGT Lazio made from 100% Greco. Soft pressing and destemming followed by static decantation for 24 hours and subsequent fermentation at a cold temperature 15C for 12 days. The wine remains on the lees for 2 months and malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine in aged for 6 months in stainless steel and 6 months in bottle before release. This is a wine with personality. It had delicate fruity aromas with hits of citrus fruit and a touch of smoke. Giovanna said it should be drunk young to taste its characteristics at their best. She said this ancient variety, widespread in central Italy, has small grapes with thick dark skin and produces soft but full bodied wine.
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Polluce IGT Lazio made from 100% Nero Buono Giovanna said that this red grape is native to Cori, which was saved by the winery. The grapes are round and medium sized. The vines are guyot pruned, there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the harvest is from September 25th to October 5th. Soft pressing and destemming takes place. Malolactic fermentation. Fermentation is with the skins for about 10 days at 24°C. Aging in stainless steel tanks for 12 months and in bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of red and black fruit with a touch of raspberry and blackberry.img_2097

Raverosse Cori Rosso DOC made from Nero Buono 50%, Montepulciano 30%, Cesanese 20%. Vineyards are in the Raverosso area at 150 to 200 meters with 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is from September 25th to October 10th. There is a soft pressing and destemming followed by fermentation with skin contact for about 10 days at 24°C, followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in new barriques for 5 months and in bottle for 12 months before release. This is an intense wine with red and black fruit flavors and aromas and hints of dried berries.img_2098

Arcatura IGT Lazio made from 100% Cesanese, an ancient grape variety native to Lazio. This red grape has medium sized close–knit bunches of small grapes. The vineyard is at 200 to 250 meters. There are 4,000 grapes per hectare and the row training system uses spurred cordon pruning. Perfectly ripe grapes are soft pressed and destemmed. Fermentation with the skins for about 8 days, malolactic fermentation takes place. Aging in barriques for 8 months and half in stainless steel tanks for a year. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a fruity wine with aromas and flavors of red and black berries with a hint of blueberry and currants.img_2103

They also produce a grappa riserva called Arciprete from different grapes.

 

 

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Filed under Bellone Grape, Cesanese, Cincinnato winery, Grappa, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Lazio, Nero Buono, Spumante

A Thanksgiving with a Difference

Sometimes Michele makes a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and sometimes she cooks something completely different. This time it was completely different

We started with smoked duck breast, cashew nuts, green olives and foie gras on toast with fig jam.img_1861

For an aperitivo, we drank a Franciacorta Bellavista Grand Cuvèe Brut 1989 Classic Champagne Method. The wine today is made from 80% Chardonnay, 19% Pinot Noir and 1% Pinot Bianco but I do not know what the blend was in 1989 and they have since changed all their labels and the names of the sparkling wine.img_1865

The next wine was a Champagne Blason de France Perrier-Jouèt, A Epernay Brut Rose NV Prestige Cuvèe. Made from 50% Pinot Noir, 15% Meunier and 25% Chardonnay. The dosage: 10g/l and it matures for at least 3 years in the house cellars. This is a powerful wine with a distinctive flavor, roundness, hints of red fruit and a touch of brioche. I do not know how old it was but I do know this label is not used anymore. It was a perfect combination with the foie gras and fig jam.img_1875

The next course was mushroom soup made with chanterelles and other mushrooms, a splash of Cognac and finished with cream.

We began with the Roero Arneis 2001 from Bruno Giacosa. Made from 100% Arneis. The wine was showing very well. It had a depth of aromas and flavors that one would not expect from a 15 year old white wine. I was not surprised because I had the 1974 a few years ago and it was showing very well.img_1869

Volnay 1er Cru “Les Santenots” 1972 Domaine Potinet Ampeau. At a dinner with such remarkable older wines this was my favorite. It was all one could ask for from a Burgundy.img_1860

Our main course was a pork loin roast stuffed with mortadella, accompanied by a potato and Fontina gratin prepared by one of the guests, green beans with Parmigiano Reggiano and Brussels sprouts with pancetta and walnuts from Michele’s book, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook.img_1879

With it, we had the Vino Nebbiolo Sori Del Turco 1971 from Gaja. Angelo Gaja’s father made the wine. I would think it was 100% Nebbiolo but back then they often added Barbera to the blend. This is a classic wine with all the aromas and flavors of the Langhe.img_1871

We finished the main course and the cheese course with a magnum of Villa Antinori Chianti Classico 1964.

The wine was in excellent condition which did not surprise me because I had the Antinori Chianti Classico 1943 not too long ago. So much for those who say Sangiovese does not age. Sheldon Wasserman in his classic book “The Noble Red Wines of Italy” has a tasting note dated 1/83 on the magnum. He gives it one star and says it might be drying out. He was wrong. This is a wine with body and hints of cherry and blueberry, Chianti Classico just the way I like them.

Our dessert was roasted chestnuts and fresh fruit, followed by an airy pumpkin chiffon pie prepared by our friend Diane Darrow  https://dianescookbooks.wordpress.com for the recipe

We finished the meal with Romano Levi Grappa and cafè.

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Filed under Antinori, Arneis, Bellavista, Champagne, French Wine, Gaja, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Nebbiolo 1971 Gaja, Perrier- Jouet Blason de France, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook, Volnay 1er Cru Les Santenots Domaine Potinet Ampeau

LUGANA DOC: The White Wine of Lake Garda

One of my favorite places to visit in Italy is Lake Garda. I like sitting outside in a restaurant along the lake, eating the lake fish and drinking the local wine, in most cases Lugana DOC. While it wasn’t quite the same as Lake Garda, a dinner at La Pizza Fresca in NYC hosted by the Consorizo Tutela Lugana DOC was a good opportunity to try the new vintages.

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Luca Formentini from the Selva Capuzza Winery

The Lugana denomination is on the border between the provinces of Brescia (Lombardy) and Verona (Veneto) to the south of Lake Garda. The soil is mostly white clay and limestone, which is difficult to work.

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Angelica Altomare from the Cà Maiol Winery

The temperate breezes from Lake Garda influence the microclimate positively; it is mild and fairly constant with little difference between day and nighttime temperatures.

The Turbiana grape, aka Trebbiano di Lugana, is the main grape in many of the wines. It is related to the Trebbiano di Soave varietal.

The basic Lugana wine accounts for almost 90% of the production. There is also a Lugana Superiore, Lugana Riserva (aged for at least 24 months, six of which is in the bottle), a late harvest, and a spumante version.

The law allows up to 10% of non aromatic white varieties but most producers make the wine from 100% Turbiana.

All of the wines at the tasting except two were from the 2015 vintage.img_1617

Lugana DOC “Provenza” 2015 100% Trebbiano di Lugana. Cà Maiol Training system is Guyot and there are 4400 plants per hectare. The soil is calcareous clay and the wines are 20 to 25 years old. Fermentation is stainless steel and malolactic fermentation tales place. The wine has hints of white fruit, white flowers and a very pleasing finish and after taste.img_1626

“Felugana” Lugana DOP Feliciana made from Turbiana grapes from Lugana. Manual harvest takes place at the end of September. Soft pressing of the grapes takes place and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in bottle for one month before release. The wine has hints of white flowers, fruit and mineral notes. img_1618

Lugana “Centro Filari” Cesari made from 95% Turbiana and 5% Chardonnay. The vineyards are located on the Southern shore of Lake Garda in Peschiera del Garda and Pozzolegno. There are 11 hectares of vineyards and 4,100 plants per hectare. Pruning system is Archetto semplice and the soil is clay-calcareous. Almost 20% of the grapes are ripened on cut off shoots to enhance structure and concentration. The grapes are soft pressed and alcoholic fermentation takes place under controlled temperatures. The juice remains in contact with the skin until January and the wine is bottled in February. Hints of flowers and fruit with a touch of grass and herbs.

Lugana 2015 Azienda Agricola CA’ Lojera made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana (Turbiana). Vineyards are at the southern tip of Lake Garda (Sirmione). There are 4,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. There are hints of melons and tangerines, floral notes, a touch of mint and a fruity personality.img_1625

Lugana DOC Familia Olivini made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana. There is a hand harvest, followed by a gentle pressing of the grapes. Alcoholic fermentation with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature and a partial malolactic fermentation. Flowery with citrus scents, well balanced.img_1624

Lugana DOC “I Frati” Cà dei Frati made from 100% Turbiana. The soil is chalky clay and the training system is single and double guyot. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and 80% malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged 6 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks and two months in the bottle before release. This is a wine that can be drunk young but becomes more complex with a few years of age. It has hints of almonds and apricot with a hint of spice and candied fruit.img_1631

Lugana Montunale   Azienda Agricola Momtonale made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana grapes that are hand harvested. Montonale is a little village in the hills above Lake Garda. The soil is calcium mineral rich with clay and the vineyard is at 90 meters. There are 5,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for 10 days at a low temperature. The wine remains on the lees for 5 months with frequent battonage. It remains in bottle for at least one month before release. The wine has hints of peach, apple with a touch of spice.img_1619

Lugana Le Creete 100% Trebbiano di Lugana.  Ottella The grapes are hand harvested from their own vineyards. The training system is Guyot, double arch. The grapes are picked late, there is a brief maceration on the skins. Fermentation is partly in controlled temperature steel vats and partly in wooden crates. Well balanced fruity wine with hints of herbs and grass.

Lugana “Limne” DOC 2013  Tenuta Roveglia 100% Turbiana (AKA Trebbiano) di Lugana. The vineyards are on the southern shores of Lake Garda at 50 meters. The land is mostly flat and harsh with clayish soil, rich in mineral salts. Harvest takes place the third week of September by hand in small crates. There is a soft pressing of the grapes with a maximum extraction of 60% first-pressing must. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks. The wine remains in stainless steel for 4 to 5 months. Bottling in various phases from February to September of the year following the harvest. It remains in the bottle for 2 to 3 months before release. The wine is fruity but dry.img_1620

Lugana DOC Cá Del Largo Lugana Villabella Made from 90% Trebbiano di Lugana (Turbiana) and 10% Chardonnay. The vineyards are along the southern shore of Lake Garda. The soil is clay -white and black. Harvest is the first week of October. The must is cold–macerated, pressing is soft and fermentation is carried out at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in stainless steel and then in bottle before release. The wine has excellent structure and hints of flowers and citrus fruit with good minerality.img_1630

Lugana Riserva “Menasasso” 2012 100% Turbiana. Podere Selva Capuzza Harvest is by hand and vinification is in stainless steel and barriques.  Luca Formentini from the winery told me that the wine is produced from a select plot within the Sleva vineyards. The grapes are harvested a few days after the regular vintage. A small part of the must is fermented in small oak barrels with the aim to impart extra complexity to the finished wine without imparting undesired wood flavors.This is a well-balanced complex wine that was not showing any signs of age. He said it could last for ten years or more. It was the wine I drank the most!

 

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A Taste of Vesuvius in Rome: CasaSetaro Winery

 

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

Massimo Setaro

Massimo Setaro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Winesimg_1504

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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