Category Archives: Italian White Wine

Extraordinary Wine Values from Southern Italy

Every year the Italian Trade Commission sponsors Italian Wine Week in New York City at the Midtown Hilton Hotel. For this year’s Vino 2016, the spotlight was on the regions of Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily.

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Gianfranco Sorrentino

I was delighted to be asked to moderate a panel on “Extraordinary Wines Values from Southern Italy.”

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Gary Grunner

The panel members were: Gianfranco Sorrentino, owner of restaurants Il Gattopardo, The Leopard at des Artistes, and Mozzarella and Vino, all in NYC; Gary Grunner, Co-Author of Italian Wine Notes and Italian Wine and Cheese Made Simple and 2009 Silver Award recipient of The Italian Trade Commission’s distinguished service award for the work he has done promoting, educating, representing some of Italy’s top producers and for building Italian wines in the USA; and Marco Melzi, a journalist, educator, and communication consultant.

Marco Melzi

Marco Melzi

The panel discussed each wine in detail and Southern Italian Wine in general and concluded that extraordinary values are to be found in Southern Italian wines and that they enjoy drinking them the most. Some of the finest are from the regions of Calabria, Campania, Sicily and Puglia. Unique varieties, both red and white, are made into wines that reflect the terroir by a variety of expert producers using both traditional and innovative technology.IMG_9976

Listed below are the 12 wines picked by the panel as examples of the extraordinary wine values from Southern Italy. All of them go very well with food, especially the food of the region where they are produced.

They are listed with the grapes they are made from and the distributor/importer.

THE WINES

Ficiligno DOC 2014 50% Inzolia and 50% Viognier Baglio Pianetto Sicily Vinvino $18

Taburno Falanghina DOC 2014 100% Falanghina Fontanavecchia Wine Emporium $17IMG_9636

Pallagrello Bianco “Calati” IGT 2014 Campania, Alois Soilair Selections $ 22/24

Rose Castel Del Monte DOC 2014 100% Bambino Nero Puglia Rivera Bedford $11IMG_9631

Violente 2012 Castel del Monte DOC 100% Nero di Troia Rivera $15 Puglia Bedford

Salice Salentino 2013 DOC 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera Rivera Puglia $13 Bedford

Piedirosso Colli di Salerno 2014 IGT 85% Piedirosso and 15% local red varieties Apicella Campania $16 Wine EmporiumIMG_9628

Costa D’Amalfi Tramonti Rosso 2011 DOC Monte di Grazia 90% Tintore and 10% Piedirosso Campania $25 Wine Emporium

Nero D ‘Avola “Nerojbleo” 2010 IGT 100% Nero d’Avola Gulfi Sicily $ 21/23 Selected Estates

Ciro Classico 2011 DOC 100% Gaglioppo Cote Di Franze Calabria $ 20/22 Selected EstatesIMG_9625

Ciro Rosso Classico 2012 DOC 100% Gaglioppo Tenuta Baroni Capoano Calabria $16 Wine Emporium.

Primitivo di Manduria “Evita” 2012 DOP 100% Primitivo Le Sviare $19 Selected Estates

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Ciró, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Vino 2016

Tasting Older Frascati at Fontana Candida

When Michele and I told Lars Leicht of Cru Artisan Wines that we would be spending 3 weeks in Rome, he suggested that we visit Fontana Candida in Frascati, less than 30 minutes away by train.

Two of the white Fontana Candida wines, Vigneto Santa Teresa Fascati Superiore and Luna Mater can age. I had tasted these wines a few years ago and wanted to see how they were holding up.IMG_9725

Mauro Merz, the oenologist and director, whom I had met in NYC, met us at the station and after a short ride we were at the winery.

The production zone of the DOC Frascati wine includes the entire territories of the communes of Frascati, Grottaferrata and Monte Porzio Catone and parts of the communes of Rome and Montecompatri.

Mauro and Michele

Mauro and Michele

Mauro began by giving us a tour of the vineyards. He said Fontana Candida has 25 hectares of its own vineyards but they also buy grapes from 210 different growers.  Mauro made it a point to say they buy grapes and not juice. In 2005 they started a vineyard-based project to help their growers. They hired a top agronomist and he acted as a consultant to the growers free of charge. Fontana Candida also paid the growers above market price if they produced healthier and more mature grapes.

He said they have two cellars: the vinification cellar at Frascati and the bottling cellar at Monteporzio Catone.IMG_9715

He pointed out a small section of the vineyard where the vines were tied to long stakes in the ground. He said this was the way the vines were trained in the past. It was a good system because you could have 10,000 plants per hectare but because the plants were so close it was easy for disease to spread.IMG_9728

We were takes on a tour of the cellar by Luca Gariboldi. The cellar is carved from tufa, volcanic rock and is perfect for storing the wine. Luca showed us a number of older vintages. He took from the cellar the 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007 Luna Mater for us to taste.

Luca Gariboldi

Luca Gariboldi

He said that 2013 was such a difficult vintage that they did make the Luna Mater that year. 2014 was also a difficult vintage but the wine came out better than expected.IMG_9732

We started with the Vigneto Santa Teresa Fascati Superiore 2014 DOC It is 30% Malvasia Puntinata del Lazio, 30% Malvasia di Candia, 30% Trebbiano Toscano and 10% Greco. The grapes come from a 13-acre vineyard of which seven and a half are planted in Malvasia del Puntinata del Lazio and four acres in Greco. It is in the locality of Santa Teresa, in the commune of Rome. The 30-year-old vines are trained using the cordone speronato system at 985 feet above sea level on soil of volcanic origin with a southern exposure. Mauro called it a “light soil that looked like talcum powder”. They are not allowed to irrigate so the roots of the vines have to go deep to find water.  Mauro said that 2014 was a difficult vintage because there was a lot of rain and humidity. There is a selective picking of the different grape varieties according to the rate of ripening. Malvasia was picked first, followed by the Greco and then the Trebbiano. The Trebbiano and Greco were gently pressed followed by a classic white wine vinification. The Malvasia was cold fermented on the skins for 12 hours. After a natural clarification the must was fermented with selected yeasts and left to rest in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks until bottling in early spring. Mauro called this an elegant wine. The wine had white peach aromas and flavors and a hint of apple and smoke. It has good mineralogy, acidity and a finish and aftertaste of almonds.  At the moment this wine is no longer imported into the U.S because of a dispute over the name. IMG_9735

Luna Mater Frascati Superiore DOC 2014, Fontana Candida Made from 50% Malvasia di Candia, 30% Malvasia del Lazio, 10% Greco and 10% Bombino. The grapes are grown in selected hillside vineyards ranging between 650 and 1,300 feet in the communes of Frascati and Monteporzio Catone.  The volcanic soil is loose, porous and dry but not arid. Spalliera, Guyot and Cordone Speronato training systems are used.

First, selected bunches of mature grapes are picked by hand. Then the best grapes from each bunch are chosen. The grapes are transported in small baskets directly to the cellar so that they will be in perfect condition when they arrive.

The vinification of the grapes for the Luna Mater is a process that they invented and takes place in three different stages. In the cellar the grapes are separated into two batches. This is called the “modern” stage. The first batch is cooled immediately prior to a gentle pressing to ensure maximum aromatic qualities. The second batch is destemmed, cooled and fermented in contact with the skins to produce a marked varietal character. This is done without oxygen to keep the grapes fresh. After 6-7 days the skins were removed, any longer than this and there would be too much extract.IMG_9730

Three days later a small quantity of the best grapes are destemmed by hand and added whole to the fermenting must with their own natural yeast for bouquet and flavor. The berries remain in the must until the end of February.  The alcohol helps extract tannin from the skins and pits. The wine is aged in 10HL acacia wood barrels, which may be the best wood for the Malvasia grapes. The barrels are not toasted and were steam folded.

Mauro  feels  barriques do not give him the type of wine he wants to produce and they are not traditional.  The wine is left to age in bottles laid horizontally in the ancient tufa tunnels under the Frascati hillsides.

Luna Mater means Mother Moon; it reflects the wine’s close ties to nature and the 50 old vines that are used to make this wine. It has floral aromas with hints of white peach and honey with bitter almond in the finish and a very pleasing aftertaste.IMG_9743

The first vintage was 2007 and it was vinified and aged in stainless steel and some toasted barriques.

The 2010, 2009, and 2008 tasted better than I remember from the tasting in NY in 2011.They were showing no signs of age. The 2011 and 2012 could use some more time. This is a wine that can age and gets much better with time.IMG_9756

Luca took us to Locanda Dello Spuntino in Grottafretto for lunch. We drank the wines with an assortment of antipasti and typical pasta dishes.

 

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Filed under Fontana Candida, Frascati, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Luna Mater, Uncategorized

A Taste of the Alto Adige

Guests were coming and Michele decided to make beef goulash, a recipe from her book The Italian Slow Cooker.

I was surprised when she mentioned “goulash”, but she said that northern Italy’s Alto Adige region has more in common with neighboring Austria than it does with the rest of Italy. I decided to serve some wines from the Alto Adige to go with the meal.

The Alto Adige (Südtirol) region, which borders on Austria and Switzerland, is at the foot of the Alps and the Dolomites. The Alps protect it from inclement weather from the North and the Atlantic, while the Dolomites protect the vineyards from the cold, damaging winds from the east.  Along with its proximity to the Mediterranean and Lake Garda, this makes it an excellent region to grow grapes. It is interesting to note that in the summer, the temperature in Bolzano is higher than in Palermo in Sicily.

The people that live here call their region the Sud Tirol and themselves Tyroleans. The food is decidedly Austrian with only a hint of Italy.  Ham is called Speck and they have a cheese called Weinkase Lagrein and bread called Schuttelbrot.

I decided on 3 wines from one of my favorite wineries, the Abbazia di Novacella, a monastery.

The Abbazia di Novacella is located in the northern most winegrowing region of Italy in the Alto Adige on the southern side of the Alps where the vineyards for the white wines are located. The monastery also owns vineyards in the warm central region of the Alto Adige, which supplies the red grapes such as Lagrein from the Mariaheim vineyard in Bolzano.IMG_9612

Kerner 2014 DOC Alto Adige-Valley Isarco 100% Kerner the vineyards are located in the municipalities of Bressanone, Varna and Naz-Sciaves and are at 600 to 700 meters. The soil is gravelly morainal deposits and the exposure is south-southwest. The training system is guyot and there are 6,000 to 7,000 vines per hectare. The harvest takes place in early October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at 20°C. Natural and selected yeast is used and the wine remains in stainless steel tanks for 6 months before it is bottled. This is an aromatic white wine with hints of apple and peach, ripe and full with crisp acidity.

In 1929 August Herold a German crossed of a red variety Schiava and Riesling. The result was Kerner named in honor of the poet and physician, Justinus Kerner from Swabia. We had drank the Kerner with thinly sliced speck and ripe pears.IMG_9611

Muller Thurgau 2014 DOC Alto Adige-Isarco -Same as above. This is a fresh and fruity, delicately aromatic white wine with hints of lemon, green apple. It has good acidity.

Herman Muller from the Swiss Canton of Thurgau created this white grape variety in 1882. Recent DNA testing shows it is a cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royal and not Sylvaner as was once believed. We had this with gnocchi in a light tomato sauce.IMG_9613

Lagrein 2014 Alto Adige DOC 100% Lagrein The vineyard is at 260 to 350 meters and the soil is a mixture of sand, clay and eroded quartzite porphyry. There are 2,500 to 3,00 vines/ha and the training system is guyot. Harvest is in early October. Fermentation with natural and selected yeasts takes place in stainless steel punch down tanks and lasts for about 15 days. This is followed by malolactic fermentation and maturation in 60hl oak casks for about 6 months and 2 months in bottle before release. It has hints of violets, blackberries and black cherry with a touch of coffee and dark chocolate.

It was the perfect accompaniment to the beef goulash.

 

 

 

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Filed under Abbazia di Novacella, Alto Adige, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Kerner, Lagrein, Muller Thurgau

Giacomo Fenocchio Winery: The Tradition Continues

A number of years ago I was at Vinitaly and stopped by the stand of the wine negociant Barbara De Rham and tasted a number of wines under the De Rham label. One of them was a Barolo. I was so impressed with it that I asked Barbara for the name of the producer. It was Giacomo Fenocchio. At the time I was the wine director for I Trulli Restaurant in NYC and I added this wine to our wine list.

Claudio Fennochio

Claudio Fenocchio

Last November, I was able to visit the winery for the first time. We were greeted at the winery by the winemaker/owner Claudio Fenocchio. The winery is in the Loc. Bussia-Monforte D’Alba.

Claudio said the estate was founded in 1894 and has been handed down from father to son for over 5 generations. It was Claudio’s father Giacomo who expanded the vineyards and started selling wine to foreign markets. Today 20 hectares are under vines and Claudio and his brothers Albino and Alberto export almost 80% of the production.IMG_9196

All of the wines are made from the estates vineyards located in Bussia in Montorte d’Alba, the Villero sub zone of Castiglione Falletto and Cannubi in Barolo. All are Grand Cru vineyards.

Claudio’s great-great grandfather Giovanni Fenocchio said “everyone makes wine in the same way, because this is how it should be made, it is not up to us to change an entire method and culture” and the winery maintains this philosophy today. Claudio said that their Barolo has a lengthy period of skin contact, never less then 10 days, and rotary fermentation tanks are not used. There are no shortcuts. Fermentation is completely natural and is entirely carried out by the local micro-flora, without the use of selected yeast. Temperature is kept under control by means of daily pumping over the skin cap.IMG_9218

He said that he was thinking of using molded agglomerated corks instead of natural cork for his wines. These corks allow the wine to breathe and they have different numbers indicating the amount of air that is allowed into the wine. This is not the first time I have seen these corks in Piedmont.IMG_9203

Claudio took us down to the cellar to taste barrel samples of the wine. He said the cellar was constructed in 2000 in the pure and classic style of Piedmont. IMG_9225

Roero Arneis DOCG 100% Arneis from Monteu Roero. The vineyard is 1.5 hectares at 300 to 350 meters, exposure is southeast, the soil is calcareous clay of medium texture, the age of the vines are 10 to 15 years and the harvest is in the middle of September.

The grapes are gently pressed and then the wine must is refrigerated in stainless steel vats to allow the lees to settle. After 24 to 36 hours the juice is separated from the lees and fermented at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in stainless steel tanks until it is ready to be bottled. It is soft and complex with fresh fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of chamomile.IMG_9216

Langhe Freisa DOC 100% Freisa, Monforte d’Alba-Bussia zone. The vineyard is 0.5 hectares at 300 meters. Exposure is west, the soil is Elveziano with clayey sediments, blue marl and tufa. The age of the vineyard is 10 years. Harvest is in early October. Traditional fermentation of the grapes takes place in contact with the skin, without adding yeast, for about 10 to12 days in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged for 6 months in stainless steel and 6 months in Slavonian oak. It has an intense bouquet with good fruit and a touch of spice.IMG_9217

Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 100% Nebbiolo. Monforte d’Alba- Sottozone Bussia. The one hectare vineyard faces east and it at 300 meters. The vines are 15 years old and the soil is Elveziano with clay sediments blue marl and tufa. Harvest is in the middle of October. Vinification and aging same as above with maturation in bottle before release. The wine has hints of cherry and plum with liquorice and roses.IMG_9221

Barolo Bussia 2011 100% Nebbiolo varieties Michet and Lampia. Monforte d’Alba-Sottozone Bussia. From a 5 hectares vineyard facing south/southwest at 300 meters. The soil is Helvetian with clayey and calcareous sediments, rich in iron. The vines are 30 years old.

Tradition natural fermentation without added yeasts for 40 days in stainless steel tanks. The wine ages for 6 months. in stainless steel tanks and 30 months in large Slavonian casks 35 to 50 hl. It remains in the bottle a time before release. This is a classic Barolo with hints of spice, licorice, roses, tar and tea.IMG_9214

Barolo Bussia Riserva 2012 100% Nebbiolo-barrel sample.Claudio stared doing 90 days of maceration with the 2010 vintage. This is very rare in Piedmont today and I am not sure if any other producers do this.

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Filed under Arneis, Barolo, Freisa, Giacomo Fennochio, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine

Visiting Vietti and Luciana Currado

One of the highlights of our trip to Piedmont last November was an invitation from Luciana Currado to her home for dinner. It was special not only because of the Vietti wines and that Luciana is a wonderful cook, but also because she is a very dear friend
We first met Luciana and her husband Alfredo in the fall of 1982. It was our first time in Piedmont and my only itinerary was to visit as many wine producers as possible. We were on our way to Monforte d’Alba when Michele saw the sign for Castiglione Falletto and the Vietti winery.

Before we had left home, Sheldon Wasserman, a friend and Italian wine expert and writer, told us to be sure to visit this winery not only because they made great wines, but because Alfredo and Luciana were such nice people.  We arrived at the gate of the winery and I rang the bell. A man appeared and I said in Italian siamo amici di Sheldon and Pauline Wasserman. He turned and shouted to his wife: “Luciana, Luciana, friends of Sheldon and Pauline are here!”
They invited us into their home to meet the whole family and we drank Moscato d’Asti with cornmeal cookies and had a wonderful time. When we got back to the hotel there was a message waiting for us. Alfredo and Luciana were taking us to dinner that night and they would not take no for an answer. So began a wonderful friendship and many adventures with this wonderful couple both in Piedmont and NYC that lasted until Alfredo’s death about five years ago.

The  Vietti Wines with DinnerIMG_9163

Roero Arneis DOCG 2014 100% Arneis. The vineyards are 25 years old and are located in the middle of the Roero area, in Santo Srefano Roero. There are 4,500 to 5,000 plants per hectare. The grapes are harvested , pressed and clarified, then alcoholic fermentation occurs in stainless steel autoclave at a low temperature to preserve some natural CO2 from the fermentation. Because there is no malolactic fermentation acidity and freshness are preserved. The wine remains in stainless steel until bottling. It is a well balanced wine that has hints of citrus and melon with a touch of almond and crisp acidity. It was fitting to start with the Arneis as Alfredo has been called “the father of Arneis” because in 1967 he invested a lot of time to rediscover and understand this nearly lost variety.IMG_9162

Barolo Ravera 2011 DOCG 100% Nebbiolo from the Ravera vineyard, 2.7 hectares in Novello. The vines are 5 to 60 years old and the exposure is southwest and the soil is calcareous-clay. The wine is in stainless steel vats, 5 of which are in cold pre-fermentation maceration. Alcoholic fermentation takes place and then a long post-fermentation maceration at a controlled temperature. There is daily air pumping over using the old system called “submerged cap.” There is slow malolactic fermentation in large casks almost until the end of spring. The wine stays more then a year on the lees and the C02 produced during the malolactic fermentation is a reductive environment without sulfur. The wine is aged for 32 months in Slovenian oak casks and bottled unfiltered in July 2013. It has hints of roses, red fruit and spice. Needs time to open up and will only get better with age.IMG_9161

Barolo Brunate 1996 100% Nebbiolo. The grapes come from the historic cru Brunate vineyard in La Morra located on the south side toward Barolo, with 4,600 vines per hectare. The vines at the time were about 23 years old and cultivated with the guyot system. The soil is calcareous. Grapes are gently crushed and fermented in stainless steel for 23 days. Daily open air pumping over takes place using the old system of the submerged cap. Malolactic fermentation is in oak barrels. The wine, I believe, back in 1996 was aged for 32 months in large Slovenian oak casks. This is a balanced wine with ripe red fruit and hints of cherry, plum, violets and a touch of smoke. It has a long finish. !996 was a great vintage for Barolo and this is a great wine.IMG_9059

The night before the dinner with Luciana we were in Alba and went to the Vincafe. As I looked at the case with the older wine I saw a bottle of Vietti Barbera d’Asti “La Crena”1996 and I just had to order it. This single vineyard in Agliano d’Asti was planted in 1932 with 4,800 plants per hectare. The must rests for 21 days in stainless steel tanks for the alcoholic fermentation at a controlled temperature. There are 2 to 3 daily fullages in the electro pneumatically system, “délestage” and numerous air pumping overs. Immediately after the alcoholic fermentation the wine is moved into oak barrels for the malolactic fermentation. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels and big Slovenian oak casks for 16 months. Then it is assembled in steel tanks until it is bottled unfiltered. This is a Barbera that was showing no signs of age with mature fruit, hints of raspberry and cherry a touch of spice and good acidity.

Luca

Luca Currado

Alfredo and Luciana’s son Luca is carrying on the tradition of a great wine making family. Gambero Rosso not only gave a three glasses award to Luca’s Barolo Riserva Villero 2007, but also named it Red Wine of the Year for 2015.IMG_7159

Barolo 2007 Riserva Villero 100% Nebbiolo (Michet Clone) The Villero vineyard is in Castiglione Falletto and is a little less than one hectare with south/southwest exposure. Soil is clay and compact with white and blue marlstone. The average age of the vines is 39 years and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. After alcoholic fermentation in steel tanks, which lasts for 16 days, the wine macerates on the skin for ten days. The wine was transferred into small barrels for the malolactic fermentation. Then it was aged in Slovenian oak casks of 27 hl and bottled unfiltered in September 2010. It is classical Barolo at its best with dark fruit flavors and aromas, hints of leather, tobacco and spice.

 

 

 

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Filed under Arneis, Barbera, Barolo, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Luca Currado, Vietti

Tenuta Gigliotto: Sicilian Wine The Way I Like It

It is very rare that I go to a tasting where all of the wines reflect the terroir and the grapes they are made from. This was the case when I tasted the wines of Tenuta Gigliotto at I Trulli restaurant in NYC last month.

The Gigliotto winery is 9 Km from Piazza Armerina (famous for its Roman mosaics, 360AD) in Sicily.

At the tasting and lunch there was not one wine that was international in style or “made for the American market”, which I appreciated very much.

Elio Savoca

Elio Savoca

Tenuta Gigliotto is a family business managed by Elio Savoca, who hosted the tasting. Elio spoke about the winery and how they now welcome paying guests on their property at their agriturismo.

He told us that for the last 20 years the winery has been under organic management. Organic for them is the result of a natural and spontaneous process and above all a respect for nature. Elio is also very interested in the history of Sicily and the wines are named after persons or places of historical importance. One wine is named for Count Ruggero, later Roger I of Sicily, who is credited not only for driving the Arabs from Piazza Amerina but also from all of Sicily.

Angelo Alescio

Angelo Alescio

The wine maker, Angelo Alescio, spoke about the wine. He said there are 20 hectares of vines and the soil is generally sandy. All the vineyards have a southern exposure and are at 400 meters. There is a strong wind, which comes from the sea 25km away and has a strong influence on the vines. The training system is Guyot.

He said vinification is carried out under inert gas using cross-flow filters for filtering the wine. It is a less invasive and more effective method. They use French oak barrels and chestnut barrels. Angelo made the point of saying that the use of chestnut was the way wine was processed and aged in the past in Sicily because it was readily available.IMG_9400

Santa Chiara Dry Moscato made from 100% Moscato. This is a very interesting wine. On the bouquet and on the palate it has all the slightly sweet fruity flavors of the Moscato grape but the finish and aftertaste is dry so that it is a wine which can go with food.IMG_9403

White Wine IGT Sicily “Venere” 100% Chardonnay. There are 4,800 plants per hectare and the grapes are picked by hand the second half of August. The grapes are softly pressed by using a pneumatic press. The must ferments in steel tanks with the traditional cold method and temperature control system. About 30% of the wine is fermented in wooden barrels. The wine is then aged in the bottle for several months before release.IMG_9404

Rose Wine IGT Sicily “Kanzir” made from 100% Nero d’Avola. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the grapes are hand picked in the second and third weeks of September. Traditional white wine vinification, after the grapes are slightly pressed. The must is fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature with the yeast that is on the skins. The wine is aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks and 3 months in bottle before release. It has nice red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of raspberries and a touch of almonds.IMG_9392

Red Wine DOP Sicily “San Michele” made from 100% Frappato. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and harvest takes place the last week of September. Traditional fermentation at controlled temperature. The wine is aged at least 12 months in stainless steel and barrel. This is very aromatic wine with fresh red berry flavors and aromas and a hint of spice and notes of roses.IMG_9391

Red Wine IGT Sicily “Vossia” made from 100% Nero d’Avola. There are 5,000 vines per ha and the harvest takes place the second and third weeks of September. The wine is fermented and macerated under controlled temperatures for 10 days. Aged in casks for 6 months. This is an aromatic wine with hints of red berries, violets, spice and a touch of almonds.IMG_9396

Red Wine Sicily IGT made from 100% Nero d’Avola this is a more intense version of the wine above.IMG_9388

Red Wine IGT Sicily “Conte Ruggero” 100% Petit Verdot. There are 4.500 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place the second and third weeks in September. Vinification is the same as above. The wine is aged for 12 months in barrel. The wine has hints of raspberries and cherries with a nice finish and pleasant after taste.IMG_9395

Merlot “Campione De Vasca 2014” made from 100% Merlot. This is vinified like the wine above. It was one of the few times which I have tasted merlot that was so true to the grape.IMG_9386 

Patrisano Dessert Wine made from 100% Zibibbo (White Moscato) There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place in November. It is a late harvest and the grapes are picked after they wither on the vines. Traditional wine vinification takes place at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in steel tanks and French oak barrels. It has hints of mature fruits along with honey and a touch of spice with a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste.

 

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Filed under Dry Mosacto, Frappato, Gigliotto Winery, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Nero d'Avola, Sicilian Wine, Sicily

A Sicilian Family Winery

Benedetto Alessandro, the oenologist of the Alessandro di Camporeale winery in Sicily, was the speaker at a tasting I attended recently of his company’s wines.

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Benedetto Alessandro

This is a fourth generation family-owned and operated winery located in the small farming town of Camporeale, close to Palermo. The estate is at the foot of a hill overlooking the Mandranove Plain. There are 35 hectares of vineyards at about 400 meters. The climate is mild and the fertile clay and limestone-based soil are ideal for producing a wide variety of different grapes. He made a point of saying that the approach in the vineyard follows the overall values of tradition, experience and knowledge of the land. All vine related activities are carried out by hand, following organic farming principles such as biodiversity to combat parasites and using green manure to promote soil fertility.

The wines of Alessandro di Camporeale IMG_8816

Catarratto “Benedè” DOC Sicily 2014 100% Cataratto. The vines were planted in 1990 and are at 420 to 470 meters. The soil is clay and sand, the training system is guyot and there are 3,500 plants per hectare. Harvesting is by hand starting the 10th day of September. The grapes are destemmed and cooled, then a soft pressing takes place. Fermentation is in stainless steel at a low temperature for 15 days. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. It is aged for 6 months in stainless steel and another 2 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of apricot and white peach with a hint of almonds in the aftertaste. $19IMG_8817

Grillo “Vigna di Mandranov” DOC Sicily 2013. 100% Grillo. The vineyard was planted in 2009. It is at 450 meters, the soil is clay, the training system is guyot espalier and there are 4,000 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand starting in the beginning of September. After destemming, the grapes are cooled and gently pressed in an oxygen free environment. Fermentation is in stainless steel at a low temperature for 15 days. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 6 months and in bottle for 1 to 2 months before release. The wine has hints of citrus fruit with touches of flint and herbs. A very nice example of this type of wine. $29IMG_8818

Nero d’Avola “Donnatá” Sicily DOC 2013 100% Nero di Avola. The soil is rich in clay, limestone and potassium. The vines were planted in 2000. The vineyard is at 380 meters. The soil is clay and sand, training system is spurred cordon espalier and there are 4,400 vines per hectare. Harvest starts by hand, the first week of September. Maceration is for 12 days at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in stainless steel and a small part in big oak casks. The wine remains in the bottle for 2 months before release. This is an aromatic wine with hints of blackberries and cherries with a very pleasing finish and aftertaste.

Benedetto said that Nero d’Avola was the most important red grape variety in Sicily. $19IMG_8821

Syrah Kaid l IGT Sicily 2011 100% Syrah The soil is clay and chalk with an alkaline reaction. The vines were planted in 1989, the training is spurred cordon espalier and there are 4,400 plants per hectare. The grapes are picked by hand in the morning the first 20 days of September. Maceration is for 12 days at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged for 12 months in barriques and tonneaux and 6 months in bottle before release. This is a big wine, alcoholic with hints of cherry and black currants with a lot of vanilla, toasty oak and coconut. One of the wine writers present said that he likes the first 3 wines but this wine was out of balance and much too international in style. Benedetto agreed and said that starting with the next vintage 2012 they are using less barriques and more tonneaux and big oak casks .$25

He also said that Syrah is considered the “most Sicilian of the international grape varieties”.IMG_8822

Kaid “ Vendemmia Tardive” Late Harvest 2014 IGT Sicily 100% Syrah from a 1.5 hectare plot. The vineyard is at 400 meters and the vines were planted in 1989. Fermentation is for about 12 days at a low temperature. The wine is aged in Allier oak barriques for 15 months and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a dessert wine with nice rich forward fruit with hints of cherries, black currants and a touch of chocolate. It has a very pleasing aftertaste and a very long and complex finish. $35

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Filed under Alessandro di Camporale, Catarrato, Grillo, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Kaid-Syrah & Late Harvest, Nero d'Avola, Sicilian Wine, Sicily, Syrah, Uncategorized