Category Archives: Prosecco

Prosecco and Pizza Masterclass at Ribalta NYC

Last fall, Rosario Procino invited me to be a judge at a pizza and Prosecco contest at Ribalta, his restaurant. The contest consisted of pizzas made by 5 different pizzaioli and we were judging which pizza went best with Prosecco. It was great fun and all of the pizzas were winners and went great with the Prosecco as far as I was concerned.

Recently I was invited by Gruppo Italiano: Restoratori, Distributori ed Importatori  to go to Ribalta for pizza and Prosecco.  This time, it was not for a contest but for a Pizza & Prosecco Master Class. The speaker was Tess Rose, wine educator.

There were 3 flights of Prosecco each with three wines.

Pasquale Cozzolino the chef/pizzaiolo at Ribalta made 3 different pizzas to go with each of the flights.

The first flight of Prosecco was Extra Dry, the second also Extra Dry but with a little more residual sugar and the last was Brut, which is the “driest” of the 3. Prosecco DOCG has three levels of sweetness: “Dry” 17-32 g/l, “Extra Dry” 12-17 g/l, and “Brut” 0 -12 g/l.

Prosecco is the leading selling sparkling wine in Italy. In addition, it outsells Champagne in the UK and sales of Prosecco increase every year in the United States

Prosecco is produced exclusively in the area of northeast Italy between the Dolomites and the Adriatic Sea. The two regions in which Prosecco is produced are Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in 9 provinces.

Prosecco DOCG must be made with at least 85% Glera grapes with the addition of Verdiso, Bianchetta, Trevigana, Petera and Gela Lunga. Prosecco Superiore Spumante may also contain up to 15% of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero and Chardonnay.

When at least a minimum of 85% of the wine comes from a specific vintage, the year may be indicated on the bottle along with the term Millesimato.

Prosecco may be made in 3 different styles: Spumante bubbly), Frizzante, lightly effervescent), or Tranquillo (still). Only the Spumante version is allowed to have the name Superiore.

Most sparking Proseccos are made using the “Charmat Method” in an autoclave (pressurized tank). For “metodo classico,” it is also permitted to carry out the second fermentation in the bottle.

The vine training system for Prosecco can be double  arched cane, sylvoz, guyot and metodo spalliera.

The Prosecco Extra Dry: Astoria, Mionetto, La Marca, Carati 075, Perlino, Sant’Anna. Brut: Bianca Vigna, Torresella, Valdo.

Sant’Anna Extra Dry Prosecco NV made from 100 Glera. The grapes are destemmed  and gently crushed The must is then transfered into steel vats where fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature.When yeast is put  into the tanks and remains for a period of 4 months it tranforms the wine into a sparking wine. This is a Prosecco with hints of peach, pear and a touch of white flowers.

Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC NV Made from 100% Glera (Veneto). The vineyards are the traditional “Metodo Spalliera”, where the stems can be as long as one meter and are tied to a horizontal wire. Grapes are hand picked during the last week of September. Soft pressing and fermentation occurs at 64F in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. To obtain small and fine bubbles (perlage) a selection of natural yeasts is made. There is 3 months of Charmat-Martinotti aging, followed by 3 months in bottle before release. This is a sparkling wine with hints of peach, melon, pear and golden apple.

The Proseccos we tasted were all made  by the Charmat-Martinotti method. For the most part the flavor profiles are much the same, the only difference is in the amount of residual sugar.

I  liked all of the Prosecco that I tasted. However I think the Extra Dry works much better as a aperitif.

With the first flight we had the pizza topped with smoked mozzarella, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes and a touch of hot pepper.  This was the most difficult pairing, as the touch of hotness in the topping did not make for a good combination with the Extra Dry Prosecco.

With the second flight we had the pizza topped with mozzarella, speck and 30 month old Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The Extra Dry Prosecco with a little more residual sugar worked a little better with this pizza.

For the last flight we had the pizza topped with ‘nduja, a spicy sausage spread and mozzarella. This pizza was paired with the Prosecco Brut and it was the best of the 3 combinations.

Happy  4th of July!!!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Prosecco, Ribalta

Gala Italia Showcases Italian Wine

The Italian Wine and Food institute held its 34 annual Gala Italian Wine and Food Tasting at Il Gattopardo restaurant in NYC. Lucio Caputo, head of the Institute and former head of Italian Trade Commission in NYC said that the event was a great success attended by many members of the trade and the media. The event was divided into to parts, the afternoon secession was for the trade and the evening session was for the media.

I went to the afternoon secession early because I knew it would be less crowded and would be able to taste the wines at my own pace.

Lucio Caputo and Augusto Marchini the former Assistant Trade Commissioner

There were a number of excellent wines and here are a few I really liked.

The Wine

Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC NV Made from 100% Glera.(Veneto) The vineyards are the traditional “Metodo Spalliera”, where the stems can be as long as one meter and are tied to a horizontal wire. Grapes are hand picked during the last week of September. Soft pressing and fermentation occurs at 64F in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. To obtain small and fine bubbles (perlage) a selection of natural yeasts is made. There is 3 months of Charmat aging, followed by 3 mo nths in bottle before release. This is a sparkling wine with hints of peach, melon, pear and golden apple.

Ferrari Brut Trento DOC NV Methodo Classico 100% Chardonnay. (Trentino) The grapes are picked by hand at the beginning of September. They come from various communes in the Val d’Adige, .Val di Cembra and Valle dei Laghi. The vineyards are between 300 and 700 meters above sea level, with southeast or southwest exposure. The wine is aged for at least 24 months on the lees. It is selected yeast from Ferrari’s own cultures

Muzic, Collio Ribolla Gialla DOC 2017 100% Ribolla Gialla(F V J) grown on hilly terrain of stratified Eocene marl and sandstone. The training system is Guyot. Grapes are hand harvested the third week of September. The grapes are destemmed and crushed, followed by maceration on the skins for12 hours at 15C. There is a soft pressing of the grapes. Alcoholic fermentation is for 8 to 10 days at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged on the lees in steel vats with periodical batonnage for at least four months. This is a light bodied, balanced white wine with hints of citrus fruit, white flowers and good acidity.

Planeta Etna Rosso DOC 2016 made from 100% Nerello Mascalese (Sicily) The soil is black lave sand, rich in minerals. The vineyards are at 510 meters, there are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. Harvest takes place from October 15th to 20th. The grapes are picked and placed into crates and, if necessary, are at once refrigerated at 10C. A selection takes place by hand. After destemming, fermentation is at 23C in wooden vats and in stainless steel vats and the skins mains in contact with the must for 14 days. There is a mixing and manual stirring every day. Decanting takes place with the help of the vertical press. The wine is aged in wooden 50hl and stainless steel vats for 6 to 8 months. The wine is bottled in July. This is a fruity wine with hints of cherry, strawberry and a touch of spice and black pepper.

Villa Antinori, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2013 (Tuscany) Made mostly from Sangiovese with some Cabernet Sauvignon. Harvest began on September 25th with the Sangiovese and ended in mid-October with the Cabernet. The grapes were given a soft destemming and pressing, and the must went into stainless steel tanks, where it fermented for a week at a controlled temperature. Skin contact lasted for 8 or 9 days. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel for the Sangiovese and in oak barrels for the Cabernet. A master blend was made and went into big barrels and partially in small barrels of Hungarian oak until the spring. The wine was bottled in June 2015. The wine has hints of red fruit, spice and balsamic notes.

Bertani, Secco Original Vintage Edition Verona IGT 2015(Veneto) in) Made from 80% different varieties of Corvina, 10% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in the hills around the historic winery outside Verona. After a long cold maceration on the skins, a slow fermentation is started using native yeasts. The wine is still slightly sweet and goes into the final slow fermentation in wood. Aging is is traditional medium-sizes wooden barrels 750 to 5,000 liters made from chestnut and cherry wood. The wine has hints of cherries and blackberries with notes of spice and black pepper. This wine goes back to an old recipe from 1889.

Faraone, Le Vigne del Faraone” Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2014 (Abruzzo) made from 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the wine is aged in wooden casks for 24 months and then bottled. This is a rustic wine with flavors and aromas of red and black fruit, and a touch of spice. This wine will age and is a very good food wine.

Travaglini, “Tre Vigne” Gattinara 2012 made from 100% Nebbiolo (Northern Piedmont) The soil is rocky, iron deposits, rich in minerals which give the soil a reddish color. The vineyards are at 320 to 420 meters and there are 3,500 to 5,000 vines per hectare. The exposure is southwest and the training system is guyot. Harvest takes place in the beginning of October. The grapes are crushed and macerated for about 15 days in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged for 40 months, 30 months in Slovenian oak casks, and 20% aged separately for 10 moths in French barriques and the rest in bottle for 8 months. This wine is only produced in the best vintage. This is a very impressive wine, full bodied with hints of pomegranates, plum, jam and a touch of spice. It will age for many years.

I attended the first Gala 34 years ago and have found memories of the ones I have attended over the years

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Filed under Bertani, Faraone winery, Ferrari, Gala, Gattinara, Planeta, Prosecco, Travaglini, Villa Antinori

Giusti Wines of the Veneto

In my last blog I wrote about the “KIN” the Erbaluce di Caluso of  Domenico Tappero Merlo – Vignaiolo in Canavese

The other winery at the lunch and tasting at Del Posto NYC organized by Michael Roman of Romano Brands was Societa Agricola Giusti Col, better know as Giusti Wines of the Veneto. The winery was founded in 2002. The center of the operation and the main office is located in Nervesa della Battaglia, a rural village in the province of Treviso.

Valentino

At lunch I was sitting next to Valentino Radaelli the Junior Export Manager.   He is a very knowledge and interesting young man. We not only discussed the Giusti wines but Italian wine in general and it was a pleasure speaking with him.

Prosecco DOC NV “Rosalia”  NV made from 100% Glera grapes from the “Rosalia” estate. The soil is of medium texture and the training system is sylvoz.  There are 3,550 to 4,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation takes place without the skins. Primary fermentation is with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature and secondary fermentation is at a low temperature in pressurized tanks. This is a fruity Prosecco with ripe fruit aromas and flavors and more than a touch of  sweetness.

Asolo Prosecco Superiore ”Extra Dry” NV DOCG 100% Glera grapes. The soil is red clayey and the training system is sylvoz and guyot. There are 3,500 to 4,500 vines per hectare. Fermentation is off the skins. The primary fermentation takes place with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature and the secondary fermentation is at a low temperature in pressurized tanks. This Prosecco has hints of apple, floral notes and a touch of lemon.

I asked Valentino if the Rosalia had more residual sugar than the Asolo. He said no, they were both extra dry but the grapes for the Rosalia were grown on the plain (the lowlands of the Piave Basin) while the grapes for the Asolo were grown on the hillside.

Extra Dry Prosecco can have between 12% and 17% residual sugar and my guess is that because the Rosalia comes from grapes grown on the plain it was closer to 17%  making it taste “sweeter.” The residual sugar for both is 15 g/l plus or minus 2. So the Rosalia would be plus 2=17 g/l and the Asolo would be -2 or 13.g/l accounting for the difference in taste. The Asolo would go better with food while the Rosalia would work by itself or with dessert.

Giusti owns almost 25% of the land in the designated Prosecco DOCG zone.

Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC 2017 “Longheri” 100% Pinot Grigio from vineyards located in the Montello and Asolo hills and specifically from the vineyard Longheri which is part of the Rolando estate. Medium mixed soil. There are 4,000 to 4,500 vines per hectare and the training system is sylvoz and guyot. Fermentation is off the skins with selected yeasts at a controlled temperature. After fermentation the wine is kept in contact with the yeast for a long period and periodically stirred until it is bottled. This is a fruity wine with hints of pear and a touch of apple.

The wine has nice citrus aromas and flavors with hints of pear and a touch of banana.

Chardonnay Delle Venezie IGT 2017 “Dei Carni” 100% Chardonnay from the Dei Carni vineyard which is part of the Rolando estate. Vine training and fermentation like the Pinot Grigio. This is fruity and flowery with citrus notes.

Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiori 2016 DOC made from Corvina Veronese, Corvinone and Rondinella. The production zone is the hilly area of Valploicella at 100 to 150 meters. The soil is calcareous and volcanic and there are about 4,000 vines per hectare. The vines are trained by the Pergola Veronese system. The wine is aged in oak casks for about 12 months.

I asked Valentino if they dried the grapes for the Ripasso as many producers now do. He said no and then explained the process. After the wine for the Amarone is removed from the stainless steel vats, what remains in the vats is the skins. The fresh Valpolicello Classico is then poured into the vats taking on additional flavor and body from the Amarone skins. This Ripasso was one of the best I ever tasted with aromas and flavors of blackberries, blueberries  and a touch of prune. It is a very good food wine.

Amarone Della Valpoicella Classico 2016 DOCG made from Corvina Veronese, Corvinone and Rondinella. The production zone is the hills of the Valoplicella Classical area at an attitude of 120 t0 200 meters. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is the Pergola Veronese. Valentino said the grapes are picked a bit late to ensure ripeness and left to dry for about 120 days. They lose 30% to 40% of their weight and become raisin-like. This produces a wine which is very concentrated with a high sugar content and 15% alcohol. The wine is aged is 500 liter French oak barrels for 24 to 28 months. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of raisins, plums, cherries, figs and a touch of molasses. The wine will age for a number of years. Unlike many amarones, this is a food friendly wine.

The Amarone was a perfect combination with the steak.

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Filed under Amarone, Giusti, Prosecco, Valpolicella Ripasso

Judging the Pizza and Prosecco Competition

I was speaking to Rosario Procino, owner of Ribalta Pizzeria, at a wine tasting and the conversation turned to pizza in Naples and NYC. As we were talking, Megan De Angelo of Colangelo, a PR firm, came by to see Rosario and joined the conversation. She said that she was organizing a Prosecco & Pizza Competition at Ribalta and invited me to be one of the judges. 

The event took place during Prosecco Week.  Prosecco is the largest selling sparkling (spumante) wine in Italy.  Italians drink it as an aperitif (no self- respecting Roman or Venetian goes out to dinner without having a glass of Prosecco first), with food, and to celebrate. When I am in Rome the first meal I have is at Da Giggetto in the Jewish Quarter. I always order the same dish, fried zucchini flowers stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella with a bottle of Prosecco. I think it goes great with any type of fried food, shellfish and Pizza. I am a big fan of sparkling wine with pizza.

Prosecco production takes place in the area of north east Italy lying between the Dolomites and the Adriatic sea. Since July of 2009 Prosecco can be produced in two regions; the Veneto(most of the production) and Friulli-Venezia Giulia.

Sparkling (Spumante) Prosecco) can be Brut, Extra Dry Dry or Demi Sec. Brut is dryer than Extra Dry. It is made from the Glera (formerly known as Prosecco) grape (85- 100%) with the possible addition of Verdiso, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay up to 15%. Most Prosecco is non-vintage.

Sparkling Prosecco is made by the Martinotti-Charmat method, meaning that the wine is given a second fermentation in a temperature controlled stainless steel tank (autoclave) rather than in the bottle.

The were four Pizzerias  that competed in the challenge:

Josh Johnson and Jordan FloydBarboncino – 781 Franklin Ave. Brooklyn, NY. 7188-483-8834

Steve Spinelli- Porta.- Jersey City, N.J. 201-544 -5199 and Asbury Park N.J. 732-726-7661

Pasquale Cozzolino – Ribalta – 48 East 12th St. NY, NY    212-777-7781

Flavio Garelli- Cacio and Vino – 80 2nd Ave. NY, NY 212-228-3269

Each pizzaiolo was given two Proseccos DOC, one Brut (to be Brut it can have up to 12g/l of residual sugar) and one Extra Dry (12 to 17% of residual sugar). They had to choose either the Brut or Extra Dry to pair with their pizza.

Both Josh Johnson and Steven Spinelli went with the La Marca Extra Dry Prosecco NV (Veneto) to pair with their pizza.

La Marca is made from the Glera grape 100%. The wine is named for the La Marca Trevigina zone in the heart of the Prosecco region. It has hints of fresh citrus, honey and grapefruit with mineral undertones.

After we tasted the Prosecco with the pizza,  orange juice  was poured into our glasses to create a mimosa cocktail.  We tasted his pizza again with the mimosa.

The next two Pizzaioli chose Prosecco Castello di Roncade Brut Traviso DOC NV (Veneto) to go with their pizza made from 100% Glera (residual sugar 9g/l).  It has hints of citrus fruit with herbal and grassy notes and a dry finish.

Each pizzaiolo made 6 pizzas- one for the judges and 5 for the guests.  The pizzaioli brought all of their own ingredients- anything necessary to make the pizza. They shared a wood-burning oven. There were no restrictions on ingredients and creativity was encouraged.

THE PIZZA

Josh Johnson and Jordan FloydBarboncino

Herb goat cheese base-fontina cheese -jambon de bayonne from les trois petits cochons-grilled red onion -homemade peach and apricot jam -arugula and micro green blend

 

Steve Spinelli- Porta.

The Spring Betty – goat cheese, house-made mozzarella, asparagus, garlic, watercress pesto, & thyme

Pasquale Cazzolino -Ribalta

Calzone with basil ricotta, smoked fior di latte, Neopolitan salame and piennolo tomatoes

 

Flavio Garelli- Cacio and Vino

Fried zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and anchovies, topped with pomodorini, bufala and capers

 Scoring sheet

Scoring sheet

The judges were:

Hindy Chang- Restaurant Groupie

Sarah Tracey-Wine Lifestyle Services

Morgan Raum- Instagram

Charles Scicolone – Wine and food writer. wwwcharlesscicolone.wordpress.com   www.i-italy.org

Rosario Procino, Partner/owner Ribalta

Flavio, Giusto Priola and Paolino from  Cacio e Vino

After we tasted all of the pizza and tallied the votes, it was a tie between Pasquale  Cozzolino from Ribalta and Flavio Garelli from Cacio and Vino.  All the pizza we tasted went very well with the Prosecco but we broke the tie by giving the grand prize The pizza from Flavio because it  paired better with the Prosecco.  The prize was $2,500.

I felt like a winner too.  It was a great afternoon and I enjoyed tasting pizza and prosecco.

 

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Filed under Pizza, Pizza Restaurants, Prosecco, Ribalta, Uncategorized

Dinner with Massimo Bottura on Ellis Island

Massimo Bottura is the chef owner of the Michelin 3-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. The restaurant was voted the #1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list in 2016, and this year was named #2.

He was in New York recently to prepare a meal to benefit God’s Love We Deliver featuring some of his signature dishes which were matched with wines by master wine maker Roberto Cipresso.

Roberto Cipresso and Natalie Oliveros

Michele and I were fortunate enough to be invited to this event by Natalie Oliveros, owner of La Fiorita Winery in Tuscany.

The event was held at Ellis Island. About 100 guests boarded the ferry at Battery Park and cruised past the Statue of Liberty to the museum where the event was held.

Mike De Simone. Gianna and Chazz Palminteri and Charles Scicolone

Actor Chazz Palmentieri was the host and entertained us with charming stories of his life and career.

Bottura also spoke about his approach to cooking.

We can’t do any better to describe the spectacular dishes that were served that night than to quote Bottura’s own poetic descriptions which follow along with the wines that accompanied them.

Baccala Mare Nostrum

An Emilian chef dreams of the Mediterranean Sea in the form of a baccala filet floating in a verdant broth of Vesuvian tomatoes and green olives infused with Sorrento lemons, wild oregano and extra virgin olive oil. 

Falaghina Del Sannino 2016 DOC Lorenzo Nifo Sarrapochiello made from 100% Falaghina made from organic grapes. The soil is clay and calcareous marl, The vines are 10 to 15 years old, there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is espalier, guyot. Harvest is by hand the third week of September. The grapes are crushed and then fermented for 18 to 20 days, followed by 2 months in stainless steel and 2 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of pear and pineapple with a touch of spice

Polenta and Rice in Praise of a Pizza

This is not a pizza. When the northern Italian Vialone Nano rice and polenta tradition encounter the southern Italian flavors of tomato, anchovy and oregano even a serious risotto can become sunny. The rice is simmered in buffalo mozzarella milk, the polenta is crisped in the oven like pizza crust and the classic pizza toppings are hidden from view.

Pinot Grigio 2016 IGT 100% from vineyards in the Dolomiti  Casata Monfort made from 100% Pinot Grigio. The vineyard is at 300 meters, sandy soil and the training system is pergola trentina. Grapes are pressed in a completely sealed environment and then the wine making process takes place. Fermentation at a controlled temperature with selected yeast strains. The wine was pile yellow with copper highlights. This is a distinctive fruity wine with hints of ripe pear.

The Crunchy Part of Lasagne

Chef Bottura mischievously re-invents the classic Italian recipe while remaining faithful to his childhood memory of stealing he burned corners from his grandmother Ancella’s labor of love. A sheet of crunchy tri-color pasta balances on a hand chopped meat ragu and airy béchamel like a bird about to take flight.

Beautiful, Psychedelic, Spin-Painted Veal, Not Flame Grilled

A tribute to English artist Damien Hirst’s spin-painted canvases, this beef filet takes on the Tuscan tradition of grilled meat without lighting a flame. The meat is marinated in milk as if it were veal, brushed with vegetable charcoal for a fax-grill effect then cooked at a low temperature to preserve essential proteins. It is dressed with creamy potatoes, puree of orange and yellow peppers, a red beet reduction and extra old Villa Manodori Artigianale balsamic vinegar from Modena.

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2006 DOCG La Fiorita made from 100% Sangiovese from the 3.1 hectare Pian Bossolino vineyards at 350 meters. The exposure is south east, training system is spurred cordon and there are 7,000 plants per hectare and the soil is galestro. Harvest is at the beginning of October. Fermentation is Slavonian oak casks for 10 days with selected yeasts. During maceration pumping over and delestage takes place. Type and capacity of aging casks: 12 months in new and second passage French oak; 12 months is Slavonian oak of 80Hl. Aging time: 24 months in wood, 6 months in steel and 30 months in bottle before release. This is a complex wine with hints of red fruit, spice, balsam and a touch of tobacco and chocolate.

Since 2011 the winery has been owned by Natalie Oliveros. Natalie was sitting at the same table as Michele and I. I had met her when I was the wine director of i-Trulli and was the first one to buy her wines.

Caesar Salad in Bloom

The evergreen and stoic Caesar softens into an ornamental garden of late summer fragrances and colors. Chrysantheum petals, elderflower vinegar, dried cherries, and chamomile honey dressings reminds us of nature’s bounty as we safeguard our memories for the long winter to come.

Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart

This dessert calls attention the poetry of imperfection. Lemon zabaglione, verbena sorbet and fragmented pie crust meet candied bergamot, savory capers, dried oregano and hop pepper oil in praise of southern Italy, a place that is broken but never without emotion.

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Natural Grand Cuvée Del Fondator, Motus Vital Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Natural- Millesimato 2015 Rive San Pietro Barbozza Bortolomiol made from 100% Glera. Elvira, Maria Elena, Giuliana and Luisa Bortolomio run the winery. This wine was created to honor Giuliano Bortolomio the founder of the winery in the 1940’s and the first to produce a Prosecco brut.  Training system is capuccina modificata. Harvest is at the middle of September. There is a gentle pressing after the skins have been removed. Fermentation at a controlled temperature with selected yeasts. The sparkling wine method used is the Martinotti-Charmat. The wine is left on the lee for ten months. Residual sugar 0 g/l: dosage zero. This is complex and dry Prosecco with nice white fruit and a perfect way to end this wonderful evening.

 

 

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Filed under Bortolomiol, Brunello, La Fiorita, Massimo Bottura, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Prosecco Rive

Touring the Veneto with Vignaioli Veneti

The Veneto is a region of Italy I travel to often because of the wine and the food. I like to visit Venice and Verona but I usually stay on Lake Garda. Recently Vignaioli Veneti invited me on a press trip to the Veneto. The invitation read: Vignaioli 2017: Discover Veneto’s Top Grower-Producers, Growing Areas and Wines.

Lake Garda

I would be staying in a hotel on Lake Garda.

Vignaioli Veneti is a newly-formed organization of over fifty of the Veneto’s top small producers. The president of the association is Michele Montresor and the Director is Giulio Liut.
The program included two Master classes conducted by Kerin O’Keefe, visits to eleven wineries, and dinner in some of the best restaurants in the area. There were 7 other journalists in the group and I enjoyed sharing these experiences and our conversations as well.

Mr.Montresor

The first evening there was a welcome dinner at Ristorante alla Borsa, in the town of Mincio. It is a restaurant I have been to before, famous for its tortellini filled with cheese, meats or vegetables.

Mr. Montresor said the Veneto has historic cities of art and culture such as Venice, Padova and Verona, but they are only one aspect of this region. It stretches from Lake Garda to the Dolomites and to the Adriatic beaches. Vignaiolo Veneti’s mission is to establish the Veneto, its wines and wineries worldwide as a manifestation of quality.

Kerin O’Keefe

I was looking forward to the Master Class conducted by Kerin O’Keefe. Kerin reviews all Italian wines for the Wine Enthusiast magazine. She is the author of several books, including Franco Biondi Santi: The Gentleman of Brunello (2005), Brunello di Montalcino: Understanding and Appreciating One of Italy’s Great Wines (2012), and Barolo and Barbaresco: The King and Queen of Italian Wine (2014).

I have known Kerin for a number of years. At the Master Class there were 20 wines in all, 10 whites and 10 reds divided into 4 flights. Kerin felt that these wines were examples of the diversity of wines made by the member wineries and the Veneto in general.

Whites
1st Flight
Villa Medici Bianco Provincia di Verona IGT “Primizia” 2016 made from 25% Trebbiano, 25% Garganega and 50% Cortese. Fermentation and aging takes place in stainless steel. Kerin said that this grape, better known for producing Gavi, is very common in the Lake Garda area.

Gorgo Custoza DOC San Michelin 2016 made from Garganega, Cortese, Trebbiano Toscano and Riesling. Fermentation and aging in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation does not take place.

Calvalchina Custoza Superiore “Amedeo” 2015 made from 30% Garganega made from 40% Garganega, 30% Fernanda (a clone of Cortese, 15% Trebbianello (a clone of Tocai), 15% Trebbiano Toscano. Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation is prevented.

La Morette Lugana Mandolare 2016 made from 100% Turbiana. Fermented in stainless steel. Kerin said that Turbiana is relative of Trebbiano di Soave, but it is a separate grape variety. Most producers use 100% Turbiana. She added that the best grapes come from the area close to the lake, where the soil has the most clay. There are 5 different types of Lugana wine.

Ottella Lugana Riserva DOC “Molceo” 2014 made from Turbiana (Trebbiano di Lugana). Kerin said some producers put both names on the label. Partial malolactic fermentation, aging for 16 months on the lees mostly in stainless steel and also in tonneaux and barriques.

2nd Flight
Cà Rugate Soave Classico “Monte Fiorentine” 2015 made from 100% Garganega. Fermentation is stainless steel for about 10 to 15 days. Kerin said that as of 1998 Trebbiano Toscano was not allowed in the blend.

Pieropan Soave Classico DOC “Calvarino” 2015 made from 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave. Kerin said this was the first “cru” made in 1971. The wine remains in glass-lined cement tanks on the fine lees for one year

Pra Soave Classico “Monte Grande” 2009 made from 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave. The grapes are dried on the vines for one month and then destemmed and gently pressed. Fermentation is carried out in large 15/20 hl casks made of Allier oak. The wine is then left in casks to mature for ten months. The wine was showing no signs of age.
After visits later to the producers Pieropan and Pra, it confirmed once again that Soave is a great white wine that only gets better with age.

Bonotto Delle Tezze Prosecco Superiore Col Real Valdobbiadene DOCG 2016 made from 100% Glera. The grapes are harvested by hand and subject to soft pressing. After setting, the must is fermented in autoclave and after the wine is bottled,

Cà di Rajo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Valdobbiadene Millesimato Brut “Cuvèe del Fondatore  made from 100% Glera.  Long charmat method 70 to 90 days. No malolactiic fermentation and no aging

My next report will cover the red wines we tasted.

 

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Filed under Pieropan Calvarino, Prosecco, Soave

Dinner with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow

 

It is always a pleasure to be invited to dinner at the home of Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow. Tom is a well-known wine writer and both he http://www.ubriaco.wordpress.com and Diane http://www.dianescookbooks.wordpress.com have their own blogs. Together they have written a number of books on Italian food.
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Tom always starts with something sparkling. This time it was Prosecco Brut “Rustico” NV Nino Franco (Veneto) 100% Glera from the classic production area, hillside vineyards situated at medium altitude. Pressing, destemming, then cooling of the must and fermentation is in steel tanks at controlled temperature. The second fermentation is in cuvee close (autoclave). The wine has nice bubbles, and it is fruity and flowery with a hint of pear.img_1120

It was a perfect combination with open faced smoked salmon sandwiches on dark bread, topped with either pickled ginger. capers and ginger.img_1121

Greco di Tufo 2014 Ag Agr Benito Ferrara (Campania) 100% Greco from a 4.65 hectare vineyard planted in 1940, 1959, 1960 and 2000. The soil is calcareous and clayey, rich in minerals. The exposure is east and it is at 500 meters. The training system is guyot. Grass is left in the aisles between the vines. Harvest takes place the second week of September. There is a soft pressing of the clusters in stainless steel vats with temperature control. The wine matures in steel vats for 7 months and remains in the bottle for 1 /2 months before release.

Tom had visited the winery when he was in Campania. He said that the Greco vineyards are next to abandoned sulfur mines and sulfur rocks can be found in the vineyard. This gives the wine its mineral notes.

Tom was very enthusiastic about the wine and I had to agree with him. It is wonderful expression of Greco, rich, and balanced with hints of white fruit, white flowers, bitter almonds and nice minerality. It had a very long finish and a very pleasing after taste.img_1122

With the wine, Diane served crispy mozzarella in carrozza with a creamy anchovy sauce.img_1123

Chianti Classico 1998 Castello de Fonterutoli (Tuscany)  Made from 100% Sangiovese, from grapes grown in vineyards with extremely different characteristics. The vineyard Fonterutoli is at 450 meters with a west- southwest exposure, Badiola is at 450 meters with a west-southwest exposure and Belvedere is at 300 meters with southeastern-southwestern exposure. The training system is freestanding spur. Fermentation is at a controlled temperature and maceration for 16 days. The wine was bottled at the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000. This wine was showing no signs of age. It is a concentrated wine with red berry aromas and flavors and with hints of blackberries and blueberries.img_1124

In honor of the earthquake victims in Italy, Diane made pasta all’Amatriciana.img_1130

Barolo 1998 Bartolo Mascarello (Piedmont) 100% Nebbiolo. The vineyards, in the commune of Barolo, are San Lorenzo, Rue, and Canubbi. In La Morra commune, Rocche di Annunziata. The average age of the vineyards is 25 years, ranging from 60/70 years in San Lorenzo to newly replanted plots in Cannubi. Chemical pesticides or fertilizers are not used.

The four-vineyard production is co-fermented in 3 to 4 large concrete tanks. The tanks do not have an internal temperature control system but fermentation temperatures are monitored daily and the must is cooled with a cold water heat exchange if it exceeds 31C. The grapes are mixed together when they arrive at the cantina. They do not make a single-vineyard “cru’ Barolo. Fermentation occurs from indigenous yeast but yeast will be added if necessary. Pumping over twice a day. Fermentation lastsfor 15 to18 days, and then the wine is left to macerate on the skins (submerged cap) for a few additional weeks. Maceration and fermentation together last for 30 to 50 days depending on the vintage. A gentle hydraulic basket press is used.

The wine is stored in large casks (botti) of Slavonian oak for about 30 months in a natural aging cellar. The botti range in size from 25 to 50 HL and average 10 to 12 years of age. The wine is racked once each year, then bottled in late July three years after the vintage. Malolactic fermentation is not forced and occurs in the bottle. The bottles are held for an additional year until the following September when the wine is released in the fourth year of the vintage. This is traditional classic Barolo at its best and a pleasure to drink!img_1125

With the Barolo we had a tender lamb stewimg_1126

served with giambotta, a slow cooked melange of seasonal vegetables.img_1132

We finished the Barolo with a selection of Italian cheeses.img_1129

Lastly, there were amaretti stuffed peaches and grappa.img_1134

Another wonderful evening at Casa Maresca Darrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Barolo- Bartolo Mascarello, Benito Ferrara winery, Castello Fonterutoli, Grappa, Greco di Tufo, Nino Franco, Prosecco, Rustico, Uncategorized