Category Archives: Spumante

Celebrating La Befana with Friends

Italians end the holiday season by celebrating the Epiphany, also known as 3 Kings Day.  The story goes that the 3 Kings, on their way to visit the Baby Jesus, stopped at the home of an old woman and invited her to join them on their journey.  She said no, because she had too much housework to do.  She soon regretted her decision and took off on her broom to search for the Christ Child.

La Befana

The old woman is called La Befana, and according to tradition, she arrives on the Epiphany on her broomstick to bring gifts to the good Italian boys and girls and coal to the bad ones. It is a national holiday in Italy also the opportunity for one last holiday feast.  This year, our friends Lars and Karen invited us to their home to share a meal that would have made the Befana very proud.  

We started with grilled purple asparagus seasoned with sea salt from Marsala,

followed by thin, crispy fried root vegetables with more of that sea salt,

and fried calamari.

We had two wines with the appetizers 

Vermentino “La Pettegola” Toscana 2017 IGT made from 100% Vermentino. Following a very soft pressing, fermentation takes place for about 13 to 16 days in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine has hints of citrus fruit and peach and a touch of sage with good acidity. It is a very easy drinking wine and it worked very well with the appetizers. 

Cuvee Aurora Rose Metodo Classico Alta Lange 2014 DOCG 100% Pinot Noir Banfi Piemonte. The grapes are grown in the hilltop vineyards of the Alta Langa, south of Alba in Piemonte, in a mix of clay and calcareous soil. There is one hour of skin contact and cold maceration, which prepares the grapes for soft crushing. The must is clarified and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The final cuvee consists of 90% clear wine and 10% of the previous vintage wine. The wine is aged in French oak barriques. Fermentation takes place in the bottle (Classic Method). Yeast contact is extended for at least 24 months followed by a traditional hand riddling (remuage)  and degorgement a la glace. A period of brief aging follows. The wine is pink in color, with small bubbles and hints of strawberry and apple.

Then we tasted the

2002 Merlot Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido Vineyard from Caparone. The wine is unfined and unfiltered and the style of wine is more European that California. The wine was showing no signs of age.

This was followed by

Chianti Classico “Fonte Alla Selva” 2015 DOCG made from mostly Sangiovese with Canaiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon from over 40 hectares of estate vineyards in Castellina the heart of the Chianti Classical zone with alluvial soils, limestone and clay. Fermentation with traditional maceration on the skins for 8 to 10 days, followed by short aging in French oak barrels. Bottling takes place the summer after the harvest. The wine has hints of cherry, plum and blackberry with a touch of spice.

Lars preparing  main course  Osso Buco with polenta, which he served in the traditional wooden trenchers used in the Lazio region for serving polenta 

The main course

Brunello Di Montalcino 1998 DOCG 100% Sangiovese grown on hillside vineyards at 220 meters in stony, calcareous and well structured soli. There is a meticulous grape selection (yield not exceeding 6 metric tons/ha) is followed by vinification in temperature–controlled Horizon hybrid stainless steel and wood tanks, with skin contact for 10 to 20 days. The wine ages for two years in various sizes oak barrels, 305-liter barriques, 60 and 120 hl barrels; the wine is then aged in bottle for an additional 8 to 12 months.The wine is released 5 years after the harvest. This is the information for the current release. I believe that the 1998 was not aged in this way.

Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva “Poggio All’Oro 1988 Made from 100% Sangiovese, estate selection. The Poggio all’Ora vineyard is on the southern slopes of the Montalcino hillside at 250 mt. The wine is produced only in excellent vintages based on a meticulous selection of the harvested grapes. Temperature controlled vinification is in Horizon hybrid stainless steel and wood tanks with skin contact for 12 to 14 days. Aged in barriques for 30 months, and at least 12 to 18 months in bottle. The wine is kept for a total of 6 years before release. This is a wine with notes of violet and hints of plum, jam and a touch of coffee. This is the information from the current vintage.

Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva 1979 Villa Banfi 100% Sangiovese, select clones from estate vineyards on the southern hills of Montalcino. This is an elegant and complex wine with hints of red fruit, violets, and a touch of licorice and spice. This delightful and wonderful Brunello one of the best I have ever tasted and still has a lot of life left. Lars said this was the first Brunello produced by Banfi and I am sure it was made in a very traditional style. Banfi did not begin their clonal research project on Sangiovese until 1982.

We finished the wine with cheese

There were 3 desserts, including Panettone and two traditional homemade cakes made with dried fruits.

The final wine of the feast was

Recioto della Valpolicella Classico IGT “Regolo” 2015 Sartori made from 100% Corvina. The vineyards are in the hilly area of Valpolicella with clay and calcareous soil. Only the best grapes are selected. A gentle pressing is followed by skin maceration at low temperature for 8 to 10 days. In February the wine rests on Amarone pomace, which enhances the wine’s aromatic and aging potential. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged for about 18 to 24 months in medium to large-sized oak casks followed by a minimum of 4 months bottle refinement before release. This is a complex dessert wine with hints of red and black berries and cherry with nice ripe fruit on the finish.

To finish a great meal, we had grappa and cafè

Grappa di Brunello “Torre” made from the pomace of Brunello di Montalcino (Sangiovese). This is an intense grappa with a hint of wild berries and sour cherries on the finish.




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Filed under Banfi, Banfi Brunello, Chianti Classico, Cuvee Aurora Rose, Recioto, Spumante

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.

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.




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

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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Filed under Caprettone, CasaSetaro winery, Falanghina, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Lacyma Chrisiti di Vesuvio, Piedirosso, Spumante, Uncategorized


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.IMG_7795

Recently I attended a Prosecco tasting panel hosted by Alan Tardi, the US brand ambassador for Prosecco at A Voce Restaurant. Innocente Nardi, President of the Consorzio Tutela del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore made a few opening remarks. The tasting panel consisted of Scott Carney, M.S., Dean of wine studies, International Culinary Center; Oliver Flosse, Wine Director, Marc,U.S.A.; and Robin Kelly O’Connor CSW, CWE, Italian Wine Merchants. There were six Proseccos at the seminar and they were a true representation of the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG.IMG_7800

The Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore zone is located in the region of the Veneto, about 50 kilometers north of Venice, midway between the Dolomite Mountains to the north and the Adriatic Sea to the south. The DOCG zone consists of 15 municipalities with the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene at the eastern and western extremes. It extends over 20,000 hectares of which 6,500 are vineyards at altitudes of 50 to 500 meters.IMG_7762

According to the Consorzio Tutela del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, there is a “Prosecco Pyramid” which looks like this. At the top is Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG- 107 hectares, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore-15 townships, Colli Asoland DOCG. Prosecco/ Prosecco Superiore, 17 townships and Prosecco Treviso 95 townships and Prosecco DOC 556 townships.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene 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.

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 Superiore DOCG has three levels of sweetness: “Dry” 17-32 g/l, “Extra Dry” 12.17 g/l, and “Brut” 0 -12 g/l

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

The ProseccoIMG_7700

Valdobbiadene Prosecco “Credamora” Col Fondo DOCG Malibràn

Mr. Carney explained the Col Fondo method: before the invention of the autoclave, Prosecco was bottled with its own yeasts and placed in the producer’s cellar to rest. During this time a refermentation took place and the remaining sugar turned into twisting bubbles and so Prosecco was produced. After a few months it became fizzy and the refermented yeast was lying at the bottom of the bottle. The name Col Fondo comes from Sur-lie. A few days before opening the bottle it should be placed in a vertical position, so the yeast falls to the bottom of the bottle. According to the producer the wine should be decanted and the remaining yeast poured into a glass, so you can taste the Prosecco’s heart.

It is classified as a semi-sparkling wine and marked extra brut. The sugar content is zero.

The vineyards are cultivated using the Sylvoz system and the harvest is by hand. There is a soft pressing of the grapes. There is a natural fining in the bottle with its own yeast and there is no filtration. Secondary fermentation is a natural fermentation in the bottle.

Mr. Carney pointed out that the wine was cloudy and they had to decant the wine because it had the Fondo (sediment) on the bottom. The wine is well balanced and complex with hints of ripe fruit, bread crust and yeast.IMG_7701

Rive di Farra di Soligo “Col Credas” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut 2014. Adami Made from 100% Glera from the Credazzo-Farra di Soligo area. The vineyards are at 350 to 400 meters and the soil is clay, dry, nutrient-poor, fairly shallow, bedded in calcareous rock. The exposure is south and southeast. The training system is double-arched cane and there are 2,500 to 3,500 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place from September 20 to October 10. There is a light pressing of the grapes with a bladder press and the must settles by gravity. Fermentation is at a controlled temperature 17-19°C with cultured yeasts. Then maturation is on the fine lees in steel tanks for 3 months. The second fermentation is the Metodo Italiano which takes place in steel pressured tanks and is at 15-17°C. There is cold tartrate stabilization at -4°C. A tight filtration takes place before bottling to remove the spent yeast from the sparkling wine. The sugar is 4g/l.

In 2009 a new category called Rive (hillside in local dialect) was added. This designation isfor sparkling wine made entirely from the grapes of one particular village or hamlet, the name of which is listed on the label. Riva is always vintage dated. There are 43 officially recognized Rive. This gives more prominence to the subzones. The wine has floral notes with hints of apple and pear with a dry finish.

Valdobbiadene Prosecco “lus Naturae” Superiore DOCG Brut 2013. Bortolomiol100 % Gela. They have been using organic wine-growing techniques for many years. Everything is done by hand. Ius Naturae – the Natural law.

The training system is the double inverted and the harvest takes place in early September. Winemaking is off the skins by gentle pressing. Primary fermentation with selected yeasts. Fining for 3 months. Residual sugar 10.0 g/l. The wine is fruity with hints of apples and pears, good minerality and a nice long finishIMG_7704

Riva di Ogliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra-Dry 2014 Masottina 100% Glera. Area of production Conegliano-Ogliano. Hilly and the soil is of morainic-alluvial origin with glacial deposits, moderately compact with presence of limestone. The vineyard is at 150 meters and the harvest is in late August/early September. Residual sugar 7g/l.

Alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks using selected yeasts.

Secondary fermentation is in an autoclave at a low temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for one month before release. Mr. Flosse said that this was a very traditional Prosecco. It has hints of pineapple, peach and orange peel with floral notes.IMG_7703

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore ‘Solitario” DOCG ‘Dry” & “Spumante” 2014. Made from 100% Glera. Dea Rivalta The soil is a mix of clay limestone and rock, the high hills are south facing and the harvest tales place at the end of September. The residual sugar is 26g/l. The wine is fruity with hints of pear, white peach and apple.IMG_7702

Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze, Private Cartizze DOCG Brut 2012 100% Glera Bisol. The vineyard exposure is south/southeast residual sugar 5.5 g/l. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle with zero dosage. Refining in the bottle for 11 months.

Alan Tardi said that Cartizze has always been considered the pinnacle of Conegliano Valdobbiadene production. The vineyards, 107 hectares occupy an entire southwest-facing hillside. Its summit is in the village of Santo Stefano and goes down in a steep patchwork of tiny terraced parcels to the Piave River. There are about 140 proprietors that work their small family plots by hand as they have been doing for generations. This is a full and balanced Prosecco with hints of apple, pear and peaches.

Mr. Kelly added that it is the most expensive type of Prosecco and this one sells for about $45.




Filed under Prosecco, Prosecco Col Fondo, Prosecco Rive, Spumante, Uncategorized

Metodo Classico Lambrusco and Negroamaro

This week I tasted two sparkling wines made with what the Italians call metodo classico, the Champagne method. One was a Lambrusco, a wine I am very familiar with but this was the first time I tasted one made in this way. The other was made with Negroamaro, a familiar grape variety, but not as a sparking wine and certainly not by the Metodo Classico.IMG_6018

Lambrusco di Modena Spumante Brute Metodo Classico DOC 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara- Cantina Della Volta (Emilia Romagna). This red wine is obtained by a selection of the best Sorbara grapes entirely gathered in small cases (max. 37 lbs.) by manual harvesting. The grapes are carefully handled in order to prevent them from being crushed during transportation to the winery. The clarification of the must is followed by fermentation at controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks. After resting for at least 6 months the wine receives selected yeasts prior of being bottled. The bottles are then stored horizontally in piles for the re-fermentation process in a constant ambient temperature of 53°F. The last steps are the remuage, disgorgement and the addition of liqueur d ’expedition. This is a dark red wine with wild strawberry aromas and flavors and hints of other red fruits and berries.IMG_6029

 Salento IGT Spumante Brut Rose “Noitre” Metodo Classico 100% Negroamaro from Salice Salentino-Futura 14 (Puglia). The vineyard is at 40 meters and the soil is clayish and sandy. The training system is spurred cordon. There are 5,000 vines/ha and the vines are 12 years old. Harvest is the last week of August. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel and there is a partial malolactic fermentation. The wine rests in the bottle for 30 months before release. It is a very light salmon color with  red fruit aromas and flavors and hints of raspberries. Part owner of Futura 14, the company that makes the wine, is Bruno Vespa, a well-known Italian TV personality.




Filed under Cantina della Volta, Futura 14, Italian Sparkling Wine, Method Classico, Sparkling wine, Spumante

Franciacorta’s Bellavista

It can be argued that that Italy’s best sparking wine made in the classic method comes from Franciacorta. One of my favorite producers from this area is Bellavista IMG_5274

At a Bellavista tasting and lunch at Del Posto in NYC, I noticed immediately that the labels on the entire line of wines were different. The labels may have changed but what was inside the bottles was the same as I have enjoyed in the past.

Mr. Vittorio Moretti founder and president of Bellavista spoke. He said that the winery is located in Erbusca in the province of Brescia in Lombardy. The winery has 190 hectares of vines, which is almost 10% of the entire Franciacorta appellation. Their first vintage was in 1984. Mr. Morettti introduced his enologist Mattia Vezzola. Mr Vezzola spoke about the wine. The Mèthode Champenoise bollicine (little bubbles) is used for the sparkling wine. The Bellavista cuvèes result from horizontal and vertical blends of about 90-100 selections from 107 micro-crus. These selections are separately harvested and vinified. Only free run juice is used and the must ferments in 1,500 pièces, 228 liter barrels, the youngest of which are 7 years old, while the oldest are about 28 years old.IMG_5271

Franciacorta Brut Vintage 2008 made from 72% Chardonnay and 28% Pinot Noir. This wine not only changed its label but also is name. It was formerly known as Grand Cuvee Brut. The grapes come from the finest selection of over 100 plots within the township of Franciacorta, which are all estate owned. Over 30% of the base wine is fermented and matures for over seven months in small oak barrels. The wine has nice citrus fruit aromas and flavors with hints of sage and dried leaves.IMG_5276

Bellavista Satèn 2009 DOCG made from 100% Chardonnay. Mr. Moretti said that when this wine was introduced in 1984 it was the first blanc de blancs to be made in Franciacorta. The chardonnay comes from the oldest hillside vineyards close to the winery with the highest elevation and a full southern exposure. Part of the wine (1/3) is fermented and aged in small oak barrels. Mr. Vezzolo said that Satèn in Franciacorta has less pressure than most sparking wine with 4.5 atmospheres of pressure instead of the traditional 6. This gives the wine more elegant bubbles, a more delicate mousse and a softer mouth feel.IMG_5270

Bellavista Franciacorta Pas Operè 2007 made from 62% Chardonnay and 38% Pinot Noir. The grapes for this wine come from the most vigorous selection of grapes from vineyards that are over 20 years old with an east and southeast exposure. Most of the must is fermented in small oak barrels. The wine is aged for 6 years before release. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of honey, apple and herbs. This wine not only changed its label but its name, it was formally known as Grand Cuveè Pas Opèrè.

Bellavista Rosè 2008 This is a special cuveè and is only 3% of the total production of the winery. It is a blend of at least 20% of the winery’s best selection of which part is fermented and aged in small oak barrels. For the 48% Pinot Noir, the submerged cap method is used for the maceration, allowing for skin contact to augment concentration up to the moment fermentation begins. The 52% of Chardonnay comes from 20 selections of the most prestigious estates owned by the winery. This is a very flavorful wine with hints of citrus fruit, strawberry and a touch of apple.IMG_5271

Bellavista “Alma” Cuveè Brut  Mr. Moretti said that alma means soul in Latin and this wine reflects the soul of Franciacorta and Bellavista. The symbol of this wine is the butterfly because it represents harmony and balance,nature at its purest and transformation and rebirth. Made from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Bianco. The balance comes from 30 different selections from over 100 vineyards. Most of the wine is fermented and matures in 228 litter oak barrels for 7 months. The wine consists of at least 6 to 9 older vintages. This is a wine with a depth of flavor with hints of apple, pears and white flowers.

Bellavista Vittorio Moretti Franciaorta Special DOCG 2006. Made only in exceptional years. Made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir from the best crus in Franciacorta: Erbusco, Nigoline, Torbiato and Colombaro.The wine is aged for seven years before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of white peach, honey and a touch of berries.


Filed under Bellavista, Saten, Sparkling wine, Spumante