Daniele Cernilli, aka Doctor Wine, and his wife, Marina Thompson, have been friends for many years. We have tasted a lot of wine together both here and in Rome. Daniele is a true Roman, a Romano de Roma as the expression goes. He is one of the most important men in Italian wine and has been a wine critic for many years. He was one of the founders of Gambero Rosso and for 24 years was the editor of Gambero Rosso-Slow Food Wine Guide. Daniele was the inventor of the now famous “Three Glasses” classification. Currently, he has is own web-magazine called “Doctor Wine” www.doctorwine.it. There are two versions, one English and the other Italian, and it covers both Italian and European wines. I read it regularly.
When we were in Rome recently, Daniele suggested that Michele and I meet him and Marina for lunch at the restaurant Baccano. He said it was a true copy of Balthazar in NYC. Copies of Daniele’s book The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 were displayed on a table near the entrance so that customers waiting for a table could look at the Guide before they chose a wine to drink.
They were right. The place looked just like Balthazar.
I am always impressed with Daniele’s knowledge and enthusiasm. I was happy to let him pick the 3 wines to go with lunch.
Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classico Villa Bucci Riserva 2013. Made from 100% Verdicchio. The wine is aged for 2 years in large casks. It is the white wine of the year in Daniele’s guide. He also gives the winery 3 stars, the highest rating. This is one of my favorite white wines and I order it every time I see it on a wine list in Italy. Ampellio Bucci has been producing wine with the assistance of the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai for over 30 years. It has been my honor to meet both of them on more then one occasion. Daniele described the wine as very complex, mouth filling, well balanced with hints of flint, anise, fine herbs and a very long finish.
With it, we had smoked salmon.
Fiano di Avellino 2013 “Cupa” 100% Fiano di Avellino Pietracupa of Sabino Loffredo. Daniele said that Sabino does all the work himself, cultivates his vineyards which are at 350 and 550 meters and makes and ages his wines with the skill of a craftsman. He called his wines “exceptional,” gave the winery 3 stars and the wine 97/100 points. The Cupa is outside the DOCG and great in the 2013 vintage. The wine matures on the lees in stainless steel tanks. Daniele described the wine as elegant and intense, with notes of oregano, sage, cedar and lemongrass, great acidity and a slightly smoky finish. This wine will age for many years.
With the Fiano, we had a personal favorite, fried fresh anchovies.
After that we took Daniele’s advice and had Spaghetti “Mancini” with a sauce made from tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius, basil, extra virgin olive oil and garlic.
CA’ D’Gal “Lumine” Moscato D’Asti 2015 100% Moscato Bianco di Canelli. Daniele said this might be one of the best Moscato d’Asti I ever tasted. He gave it an 88/100 rating. Alessandro Boido makes the wine and in his hands Moscato d’Asti becomes a great wine, Italian to the bone.
Daniel described the wine as having fragrant aromas of sage, exotic fruit and cedar with refreshing acidity.
Daniele said they also make a Moscato d’Asti Vigna Vecchia which can age like a great red. That one gets a 93/100.
We shared a portion of tiramisu with the wine.
Looking at The ULTIMATE GUIDE to ITLALIAN WINE 2017(third addition) I believe the title says it all. It is the Ultimate Guide to Italian Wines.