Category Archives: Nani Cope

Autumn Menu at The Leopard at des Artistes


IMG_5810The Leopard at des Artistes, formerly known as the Cafe des Artistes, has a new menu and on a recent beautiful October day, Michele and I went to try it.  The chef is Jonathan Frosolone and he has added some exciting new Italian dishes that we had never tried before.  We started with glasses of sparkling wine from Benevento.


IMG_5804Benepop Vol.1”Benepop Ancestrale”  Sparkling wine made from 50% Falanghina and 50% Fiano Terre di Briganti The two varietals are separately processed from the beginning. The hand harvested grapes are carried to the cellar in 18kg bins and then double sorted, destemmed and then pressed. The must clarifies itself with static gravity in stainless steel vats where it ferments with only the help of the indigenous yeast at controlled temperatures. The partially sweet wine is left to refine on its lees for about 6 months. At the beginning of the Spring the wine is bottled. The natural increase of the temperature favors the resumption of the fermentation inside the bottle and the yeast eats all the sugar in excess. It is recommended to suspend the natural sediment in the bottle before consuming it in order to fully enjoy this fun wine. Just gently turn the bottle upside down. The winery is certified organic and is biodynamic. This a a dry sparkling wine hints of citrus fruit, green tropical fruit, grapefruit and it is a very pleasant wine to drink. 

Antipasti–We tried several

IMG_5817Pesce in Carpione- Marinated luccio (pike), white wine vinaigrette, fennel, crispy capers–A light and refreshing starter.

IMG_5812Quaglia Ripiena- Quail, pork sausage, and red wine poached figs.  The quail was stuffed with sausage and figs and glazed in slightly sweet sauce.  I could eat a plte of these.

Pallott Cacio e Uova- Pecorino and egg croquettes, garlic, basil.  Cheesey balls of bread in a delicious tomato sauce.  Our helpful waiter told us they are a specialty of his region of Abruzzo.

IMG_5814Sformato di Tartufo Nero — Black truffle custard with arugula and parmigiano reggiano cheese.  These is a seasonal interpretation of a springtime favorite.  

IMG_5826Terre Del Volturo IGT 2018 Nanni-Cope Made from 85% Fiano, 12% Asprinio and 3% Pallagrello Bianco. The wine is aged in 500 liter barrels for about 8 months. The wine has hints of eucalyptus, hazelnut, apricot and lemongrass with good acidity.


IMG_5822Agnolotti-Robiola, Parmigiano Reggiano and rosemary butter sauce.  A lucious blend of cheeses, butter and tender pasta.

IMG_5820Struncatura–Multigrain spaghettoni, shrimp, neonata, lemon — A unique pasta from Southern Italy, made from several different types of grain including wheat and rye.  It is thick and chewy, and it was complemented by the neonata and shrimp.  

IMG_5824Raviolo Alla Piastra- Beets, poppy seeds, brown buttered sage sauce fill this unusual type of raviolo.  After stuffing the pasta is grilled which gives it a toasty flavor that went well with the sweet flavor of the beets.

Secondi-main course

IMG_9599 tausari

Taurasi “Radici” 1998 Mastroberardino made from 100% Aglianico.  The vineyards for Taurasi “Radici” are located on two hills, Mirabella vineyard at 500 meters and the Montemarano vineyard at 550 meters. Because of its position on the hill and its altitude, the temperature at the Montemarano vineyard is much colder and the grapes are picked a little later. Harvest is from the end of October into the beginning of November. The vinification is the classic one for red wine, long maceration with skin contact at controlled temperatures. The wine is aged for 24 months in French barriques and Slovenian oak barrels and remains in the bottle for 24 months before release. The barriques were second and third passage. This is a wine with hints of black cherry, plum, spice and a touch of leather. It was fantastic.

IMG_5829Salmerino-Roasted sea trout, topped with charred scallions, trout roe, aged balsamic vinegar.  The skin was crispy and the flesh moist and perfectly cooked.  A great combination of flavors.

IMG_5828Anatra- Roasted duck breast, chestnuts, pears and spinach. The duck was perfectly cooked and crowned an assortment of seasonal ingredients.  


IMG_5831Zabaione- Zabaione al Ramandolo with seasonal fruits made tableside.  A classic dessert that is always a treat.

IMG_5832Mousse di Ciocolato–Dark Chocolate mousse, white chocolate garnish and orange.  The mousse was coated in dark chocolate.  A little touch of chocolatey goodness to finish our meal.

IMG_5835Owner Gianfranco Sorrentino and Chef Jonathan Frosolone.

.We finished this wonderful meal with Digestivi. Congratulations to the chef, the staff and Gianfranco for another great meal. What a way to welcome the fall!







Filed under Mastroberardino, Nani Cope, Sparkling Benepop, Sparkling wine, Taurasi, The Leopard at des Artistis

The Unique Red Grapes of Campania

The Campania region of Italy has some unique red grape varieties. The ancient Greeks originally brought many of these varieties while others that were thought lost during the phylloxera epidemic have been rediscovered. There is one that no one knows where it originated. These grapes make for very interesting wines

At a recent tasting of the Wine Media Guild held at Felidia Restaurant, we tasted some examples of the red wines of Campania:

Piedirosso: “The name… translates as “red foot” and the grape is also known as Palombina or Pre’e Palummo meaning respectively little dove and dove’s foot in dialect, the latter because of its red-colored triple-branched stem like a three-taloned bird’s foot,” according to Nicholas Belfage in his book Brunello to Zibibbo. Piedirosso is an ancient black skinned grape that does well in volcanic soil. It may be identical to the Colombina, the grape that Pliny the Elder (d. 79 AD) mentions in his Natural HistoryIMG_6185

Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio (tears of Christ) Rosso DOC 2013 Mastroberardino Piedirosso 100%. Volcanic loose soil very rich in minerals and the exposure is south – east. The vineyard is at 70 m above sea level and there are about 3,000 plants per hectare. The training system is radical back with guyot pruning and the average age of the vines is 15 years. Harvest takes place in mid-October. Classic red vinification is in steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for one month before release. The wine has hints of cherry, plum, cloves and a touch of smoke. $20IMG_6184

Piedrosso Campo Flegrei Riserva “Tenuta Camaldoli” DOC 2011 Cantine Astroni 100% Piedirosso The winery is located in Campi Flegrei west of Naples. The bunches were destemmed by hand to avoid any possible greenness in the wine. A small quantity of juice and skins was put into an open top tronconic cherrywood cask where it was fermented by indigenous yeast. The wine was treated as gently as possible, and only punching down was used for extraction. After the fermentation had finished, the wine remained for an extraordinarily long time on the skins, some 65 days in total, in order to extract all the tannins from the skins. The wine went through malolactic fermentation, which happened by itself, and was racked off in a small stainless steel tank where it stayed for a month.

Katell Pieven of Cantine Astroni

Katell Pieven of Cantine Astroni

The wine was bottled unfiltered. Only 1100 bottles produced.  This is the first Piedirosso riserva that I have tasted. This is a very elegant Piedrosso, well balanced and smooth with hints of black and red berries with a nice finish and long aftertaste.    The winery notes indicate that Piedirosso is “planted throughout Campania… the Piedirosso Beneventano and the Piedirosso Avellinese are completely separate varieties.” They do not specify which one is in the wine. $27IMG_6186

Falerno del Massico “Etichetta Bronzo DOC 2006   Masseria Felicia Made from 80% Aliganico and 20% Piedirosso. The winery is located at the foot of Mount Massico, Sessa Aurunca. The vineyards are at 200 meters and the soil is gray tuff, pumice and ash. The training system is guyot. Fermentation is in open conical chestnut barrels. Aging is in barriques for 12/14 months and 12 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of cherry, plum and other red and black fruits with a touch of tobacco and oak. $50IMG_6194

Cassavecchia (old house) The origin of the cassvecchia vine is completely unknown. Legend has it that farmers found an old vine, which had survived phylloxera. It was rediscovered among ancient ruins in Pontelatone inside the remains of a walled garden near the via Latina, the ancient road which connected Capua with Alife. The vine that was found had a trunk 40 centimeters across and cuttings were taken from it and replanted.

Casavecchia “Centomoggia” 2010 Terre del Principe made from 100% Casavecchia. A “moggia” was a unit of measure for property in this area that historically had very small plots. In fact, a property measuring 100 moggia, or about 74 acres, was such a rarity that this place, located between Caiazzo and Castel Campagnano, was named Centomoggia, meaning one hundred moggia. The vineyards are located in Castel Campagnano, Pontelatone and Castel di Sasso, the exposure is northwest for the former and southeast for the latter two. Elevation is 985 ft. and the training system is guyot. Total acres of vines is 24. These are very old vines planted between 1912 and 1932 and the soil is clayey and skeletal. Harvesting is by hand and the grapes undergo a berry selection at the winery before a prolonged maceration and fermentation at a controlled temperature using native yeasts. Aging takes place in new 225liter French oak barrels for 12 months and one year in bottle before release. The wine has hints of blackberry, spice, liquorice and a touch of cloves $40IMG_6196

Pallagrello Nero: This grape variety is grown almost exclusively in Campania particularly in the province of Caserta. It was a favorite of Ferdinand lV the Bourbon King of Naples and Sicily. Pallagrello was believed to have been destroyed by phylloxera but was rediscovered in the 1990’s and has been replanted by a few wineries. It is not a color mutation of Pallagrello Bianco.

Terre del Volturbo IGT Vestini Campagnano made from 100% Pallagrello Nero. The winery is located in hills in the province of Caseta. The vines are at 250 meters. Classic vinification is in oak barrels. There is a short maceration period. The wine is aged for 18 months in new barriques and 3 months in bottle before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of black fruit with hints of plum, oak and vanilla. $50IMG_6197

 Montevetrano Colle di Salerno 2011 Montevetrano Silvia Imparato. The enologist is Ricardo Cotarella. The wine is made from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Aglianico. The winery is located in the municipality of San Cipriano Picentino near Salerno. The vineyards are 100% meters above sea level. There are 12 acres of vines and the harvest is by hand from the end of September to the beginning of October. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for about 15 days and the wine is aged in new barriques for 10 to 12 months. This is a wine with hints of violet, blackberries, cherry, tobacco and chocolate. The wine did not have the strong aroma and flavors of vanilla and oak, which were present in past vintages. $60IMG_6195

Terre del Volurno IGT “Sappie di Sopara il Bosco” 2012 Nanni Copè, made from 90% Pallagrello Nero 5% Aglianico (clone VCR 23) and 5% Cassavecchia. The grapes are from a 2.5-hectare vineyard of the same name. The soil is mostly sandy with silt and clay. There are 1,750 vines per hectare and the vines are 30 years old. Organic farming methods are used but the winery is not certified organic. Only fully matured grapes are harvested by hand. The wine is fermented in stainless steel with natural yeast and the grape varieties are fermented together. Maceration lasts for 16/19 days and malolatic fermentation takes place in 500 liter barrels.The wine is aged 1/4 in new oak, 1/4 in second passage, 1/4 in third passage and 1/4 in bottles. The wine remains here for one year and then all the wine is aged in bottle for another for 8 months before release.

This is a wine with good fruit, hints of cherry and spice, good acidity and a long finish. The owner of the winery is Giovanni Ascine and his childhood nickname, Nanni Copè, gives the wine its name. $40


Filed under campania, Cantine Astroni, Cassavecchia, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Masseria Felicia, Montevetrano, Nani Cope, Piedirosso, Vestini Campagnano