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Sampling Italian White Wines

Wine companies and public relations companies have in the past arranged professional wine tastings to enable buyers and journalists to sample their latest products.  But since they can no longer arrange these types of gatherings, I have been receiving more samples of wine than in the past. The reason for this I believe is that there is no other way to reach  the consumer. It may be months or even a year before there are organized wine tastings again. I miss attending these tastings and learning about the wines from representatives of wineries. I was able to ask questions and discuss the wines with the representatives, often the owner, and hearing what the other wine writers that were there had to say.

Here is my report on 8 wines that I received as samples.  Each of them is made with unique varieties of Italian grapes.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG “L’Albereta Riserva” 2017 IL Colombaio Di Santachiara, the winery is certified organic. Made from 100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The soil is rich in cave stone. The vineyard is at 280/230 meters. There are 5,500 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. Hand harvest begins at the end of September. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation with local yeasts takes place in durmast oak barrels at a controlled temperature. 70% maceration takes place in durmast barrels for 12 months and 30% is in cement. The wine ages in cement vats for 8 months and in bottle for 12 months before release. The wine has hints of apricot, a touch of apple and a note of citrus fruit. It has a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste. It is a white wine that can age.

Colli Euganei Pinello DOC Vino Frizzante Antichi Reassi 2019 Azienda Agricola Reassi made from 100% Pinella. The vineyard is at 120 meters and the exposure is north. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and the soil is clay and silt. The training method is guyot. Harvest is the second week of September. Hand harvest and manual selection of the grapes followed by destemming, a short cryo-maceration and a soft pressing . Fermentation is for about two weeks at a low temperature. Maceration is on the lees until the spring with periodic lees stirring. The second fermentation is in stainless steel tanks, according to the Martinotti method. The wine remains in the bottle for 3 months before release.This is a wine  with hints of grapefruit, pineapple and floral notes.

Tebbiano Spoletino DOC 2018 made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino Cantina Fratelli Pardi . The soil is of sedentary and clayey origin, the exposure is east, south east and the vineyard is at 220 meters. Harvest is in the middle of September. There is a soft pressing of the whole grapes and fermentation is at a constant temperature of 18C for 20 days in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in bottle for 3 months before release, 6 to 8 months after the harvest.

Colli Maceratesi Ribona DOC “ Le Grande” 2018 Boccadigabbia made from 100% Ribona (aka Maceratino)Ribona is a rare grape varietal grown only in the province of Macerata. The 23 hectares of vineyards stand on hills in two separate zones in Civitanova and Macerata. The soil is sandy-clayey and the exposure is northeast and the training system is guyot. The grape clusters are soft crushed and fermentation lasts for about 12 days in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, whole slightly overripe berries are added to the wine. This second fermentation lasts for 10 days and allows an added extraction of compounds and aromatics from the skins. It is a well-structured wine with fragrances of ripe citrus fruit with a hint of melon.

Donna Angelica DOC Sicilia 2018 made from Catarrato, Grillo and Zibibbo Assuli Production area Mazara del Vallo (northwest Sicily). The soil is clay with limestone, organic elements and nitrogen. The vineyard is at 200/250 meters and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. The training system is vertical trellises. Harvest is from the end of August and the end of September depending upon the weather. There is an extremely soft pressing of the grapes with a membrane press, followed by static clarification of the must and fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in stainless steel tank. The wine spends 8 to 10 months on the lees with batonnage. The wine is in bottle for 3/4 months before release. This is a wine with a fruit bouquet, a touch of white flowers and hints of apricot and white peaches.

Moscato Sicilia DOC “Mosca” Barone Sergio made from 100% Moscato Bianco. The soil is of medium texture, mineral and calcareous. The vineyard is 70/80 meters and the system of cultivation is espalier. Harvest takes place the first week of September. The grapes are hand harvested. There is criomaceration for 24 hours followed by a soft pressing. Then cold clarification of the must followed by fermentation in steel at a controlled temperature. The rest is in stainless steel tanks on the lees for 6 months. This is an aromatic wine with hints of peach, sage and white flowers.

Friuli Colli Orientali Bianco “At Oasi “2017 Aquila Del Torre. Made from 100% Picolit grown on hillside terraces. The soil is flysch, interbedded clayey-textured marl and sandstone. The vineyard is at 175/ 300, the training system is guyot simple and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. The wines are 14 years old on average and the exposure is south/southwest. Spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts in French oak barrels. The wine remains on the lees for 12 months. This is a dry white wine with hints of citrus, floral notes and a touch of balsam.

Soave Classico 2017 “Vigneti di FoscarinoInama made from 100% Garganega. The vineyard is at 150/200 meters, the soil is organic and the vines are up to 53 years old. The training system is the pergola. Selected yeast is used for fermentation and when fermentation is complete the wine remains in barriques (used) for 6 months with batonnage every 6 weeks. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barriques and there is cartridge filtration. This is a complex white wine with hunts of citrus fruit, spice, a touch of herbs and a nutty edge. It has nice minerality and good acidity. This is a white wine that can age.

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A Touch of Provence in NYC

Friends who live nearby invited us for an al fresco lunch the other day.  It was a beautiful day and we sat properly social distanced at two separate tables.  Ours was set up under a pergola.  With the dappled sunlight shining through, the setting was magical and reminded us of our travels  in Provence.

The appetizers

We started with an appetizer of endive leaves filled with a creamy tuna tonnato sauce.


There were crunchy French breakfast radishes to dip in butter and salt, too.

Nuts

TrentoDOC Ferrari Perlé Method Classico 2011 made from 100% organic Chardonnay from vineyards at 300 to 700 meters with a southeast or southwesterly exposure. The soil is loose not too deep made of volcanic and glacial deposits. There are 4,500 to 5,500 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand from in the middle of September..Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel and the wine remains on the lees for 60 months. This is an elegant well-balanced wine with hints of apple, almonds, and a touch of brioche. I was very impressed by this wine. Residual sugar 6g/l.

Breads  Bakery  provided  the  delicious  sourdough  bread.

The soup was served in a beautiful hand painted terrine.

It was a  cold  pea  soup  finished  with  a drizzle  of  cream.

Rosè Massoferraro 2018 Azienda Agricola Massoferrato made from 100% Sangiovese, picked early from vineyards located in Impruneta, on a south facing slope just south of Florence. The grapes are picked and are in contact with the skins for a few hours. The wine remains in stainless steel for a few months before release.  This is a fruity wine with good acidity, hints of cherry and a touch of spice.The Marzovilla Family owns the winery. Nicola Marzovilla is the owner of i-Trulli in NYC.

 

Potato salad  with red  onions,  green  beans  and  herbs.

Grilled  steak  with  sauteed  peppers  and  onions.

On the plate

 

Gigondas 2008 “La Reserve” Domaine Du Pourra made from 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah and 5% Cinsault. From 20 /40 year old vines. The clay and limestone soil is planted with vines that are more then 40 years old. There are organic practices in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the vineyard. Older vintages were aged in Foudres ( old wooden vats), more recent ones in concrete. This is a complex wine with hints of blackberries, cherries, pepper, a touch of spice, undertone of lavender, a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste. It was perfect with the grilled steak.

 

Michele made and orange yogurt cake which she served with local strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

With the cake and in keeping with the Provencal theme, we had a delicious Beaumes  de  Venise.

 

Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2918 La Petite Grain D’Antonin Vignoble Alain Ignace. Made from 75% Muscat à petit blanc and 25% Muscat rouge.  The grapes are destemmed and pressed followed by a cool decantation for 18 hours. Vinification is in steel vats for 15/20 days on the lees before the mutage (adding alcohol to the must) This is a dessert wine with hints of rose water, violets. lychee nuts and unstated red fruit.

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A 1978 Chianti Classico with Lunch

During a visit to the Fattoria di Monsanto in 1983, I tasted the Santa Caterina Chianti Classico for the first time.  That day, I spend several hours speaking with the owner, Fabrizio Bianchi.  He introduced to Laura Bianchi, his daughter, who now runs the winery, as well as her sister and their mother. It was a wonderful visit and one I still remember after all these years. Recently when I saw the wine for sale I just had to purchase it.

Santa Caterina Chianti Classico 1978 DOC Fattoria di Monsanto –the wine was likely made mostly from Sangiovese with a little Canaiolo. They stopped using white grapes in 1968. This was their wine to be drunk young  and for everyday drinking. They stopped making it in the 1990’s replacing it with a wine called Monrosso, which is not a Chianti Classico.

For a  wine that was made to be drunk young this wine has lasted for 42 years, once again proving that Sangiovese can age.  The wine had hints of red berries, leather, cooked  fruit. and a hint of violets with no signs of oxidation.

With the wine we ate  grilled  lamb kabobs  with  peppers,  onions  and tomatoes.

We finished the wine with two cheeses,  Parmigiano Reggiano and  a young Piave. 

Michele’s anise and wine cookies are a staple in our house and I finished the meal with them and a good cup of espresso.

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Ten Favorite Red Wines $20 and Under

Here are some of my favorite red wines that you can buy for $20 or less.

Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba DOCG “Garabei” 2017  Giovanni Abrigo made from 100% Dolcetto grapes planted in 1968. The estate is situated on a hill in Diano d’Alba at a high altitude. They own 11 hectares of vineyards. The soil is sandy with a lot of gravel. The juice is fermented naturally on the skins for 8 days in stainless steel tanks. After racking the wine is aged for 12 months in stainless steel and spends 4 more months in bottle before release. The wines are not filtered or fined. Sustainable farming methods are used. The wine has hints of red fruit, cherries. $16

Mustilli Piedirosso Sannio DOC 100% Piedirosso from the Pozzillo vineyard, which is at 800 ft. The soil is volcanic and clay and the exposure is southwest. The wines are between 10 and 20 years old. The grapes are hand harvested in late October. Fermented on indigenous yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. Very nice fruit with hints of plums, violets and a hint of bell peppers.

Elena Walch Schiava Alto Adige DOC 2015 made from 100% Schiava from high side vineyards above Lake Caldaro at 1,312 ft. The soil is limestone and dandy clay. There is temperature-controlled fermentation at 27°C in stainless steel tanks for 7 days of skin contact. Malolactic fermentation and maturation take place in traditional 8,000-liter Slovenian oak casks. This is a fruity red wine with hints of cherry and a nice bitter almond touch on the finish. $16

Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2012 Sartori di Verona made from 45% Corvina, 30% Covinone, 20% Rondinella and 5% Croatina. The Valpolicella Classico area is north of Verona and the soil is calcareous with fine layers of limestone. There is soft pressing with skin maceration for 8 to 10 days. After pressing 10% of the must is extracted to obtain better color and tannin. After racking and malolactic fermentation the wine is aged partially in stainless steel and partially in oak for 15 months. The wine is aged in bottle for 4 months before release. It has aromas and flavors of rich red fruit with hints of black cherry, nice minerality and soft tannins. $20

Montefalco Rosso 2016 Bocale made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 10% Merlot and 5% Colorino. Harvest takes place by hand from the last ten days of September to early October. Vinification is exclusively with natural enzymes. The wine does not undergo any kind of stabilization or filtration. The presence of sediment should be considered a guarantee of authenticity. The wine is aged in barrels and barriques for about 12 months and aged in bottle for at least 6 months before release. This is a balanced wine with hints of cherry, violets and floral scents and a touch of spice. $19

Irpinia Aglianico DOC 2015 Tenuta Del Mariggio made from 100% Aglianico from estate vineyards located in Montemiletto at 500 meters and in Taurasi at 300 meters. The vineyards were planted between 2003 and 2012. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. Harvest takes place at the end of October and the beginning of September. This is a wine with red and blackberry flavors and a hint of spice and should be drunk within the next 5 years.$16

Casavecchia “Trebulanum” Terre del Volturno IGT Michele Alois made from 100% Casavecchia from a 1.5-hectare vineyard at 180 meters. The soil is volcanic with minerals, training system is guyot and there are 5,200 plants per hectare. Harvest is in the first weeks of October. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks with maceration on the skins for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation in large barrels (botti) for 18 months  and 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of licorice, tar and smoke, a very long finish and a pleasing aftertaste.

Castelluccio Miano “ Perric One”  DOC, 2015 Sicily, 100% Perricone The average age of the vines is 20 to 30 years and the training method is guyot and spur-pruning. Before fermentation, the grapes are dried, then the wine is made using the “ripasso technique”. Traditional red wine fermentation with pump over during the initial spontaneous fermentation stage. Complete malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 3 months in steel tanks, then 10 months in small oak barrels and another 6 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied red wine with aromas and flavors of dry fruit with a nice aftertaste and long finish. $20

Nero D’Avola 2018 Cusumano 100% Nero d’Avola . Production zone San Giacomo, Butera. The vines are 14 years old and the exposure south, southeast. Training system is espalier and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. Destemming and cold maceration takes  on the skins for 2 days. Fermentation is with frequent re-circulation and removal of the must. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel an the wine remains on the lees for 5 months before release. This is a fruity easy drinking wine and a great value. $14 

Primitivo Salento “Mezzapezza” 2016 Trullo di Pezza made from 100% Primitivo from vines 20 to 30 years old at 5 meters. The soil is sandy clay, south exposure and the training system is Espalier. Harvest is manual. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel vats with maceration for 8 to 10 days. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 5 months and 1 month in bottle before release. This is a fresh intense fruity wine with hints of cherry, plum, and a touch of spice.$17

 

 

 

 

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Lunch Should Have Been on Lake Maggiore

We were supposed to be in Italy on Lake Maggiore right now.  But since that was not possible, we decided to invite a friend who we would have been traveling with over for Sunday lunch.

Michele has been experimenting with cheese biscuits, so we had some of them to start.  She made them with a mix of  cheeses  and  lots  of  black  pepper.

Cheese  and  Black  Pepper  Biscotti

Anchovies

A jar of Anchovies  purchased  in   Rome  was  the  inspiration  for  the  next  starter.   

Toasted ciabatta topped with stracciatella, a creamy blend of shredded mozzarella, and those anchovies.

With these we had Champagne

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils “Fleuron” Brut 2009 made from 100% Chardonnay from premier cru Villages mostly in the Cöte de Blancs. Fermention is in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation takes place, The wine remains on the lees for 84 months. The wine has hints of apple, floral notes a touch of lemon, with good minerality and balanced acidity.

Then Bucatini Amatriciana  made  with  guanciale,  cured  pork  cheek, tomatoes  and  pecorino  cheese.

Then we had Pork in the Cradle with roasted potatoes.  When we first moved to Park Slope in Brooklyn many years ago, Michele found a wonderful Sicilian butcher who would prepare pork loin this way by tying the roast onto a rack of ribs.  When you serve it, you have a great combination of  sliced pork and tasty ribs.  The butcher returned to Sicily many years ago, but Michele still likes to do pork this way tucking seasonings — fennel, garlic, rosemary — over and under the meat.  When the roast is done, she lets it rest while the ribs go back to the oven for additional crisping.   

Pork, ribs, pan roasted potatoes and broccoli rabe.

We had one of my favorite red wines  to  go with  this  feast.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2001  Emidio Pepe 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The winery is organic and Bio-Dynamic. They belong to the Triple “A” Agriculture Artisans Artists. Both the tendonne method and the cordon spur method are used for training the vines. In vintages when the weather is very hot the tendone method is better because the leaves form a canopy to protect the grapes from the sun.  When the weather is not too hot, the cordon spur is better because it allows more sun and air to reach the grapes. 1 hectare of tendone has 900 vines produces 90 quintals of grapes.  That means that each vine produces from 6 to 9 kilos of grapes. In one hectare of cordon spur trained grapes, there are 3,300 vines and each vine produces 5 to 6 kilos of grapes. The grapes are crushed by hand and the juice placed in glass-lined cement tanks of 20/25 liters. Only natural yeasts are used, there is no filtration or fining. The wine is transferred to the bottle by hand and the corks are placed in the bottles by hand. The wine has deep red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of cherry, spice and leather.  I had the 1982 a few weeks ago and the 2001 has the same profile but needs more time.

Michele had planned a simple dessert of homemade lemon ice and cookies, but our guest brought us a fruit and  custard tart from a favorite bakery.  It was very beautiful.

But we also had lemon ices, topped with grappa, as a digestivo but the picture did not come out.  Can’t imagine why.

 

 

 

 

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How Chinon Saved Lunch

 

Under the current circumstances, we have been ordering most of our groceries and household supplies from different sources.   Many of these sources are overwhelmed by the demand placed on them and some time the wrong items are sent. Michele ordered pork sausages with fennel but when they arrived they turned out to be chicken sausages with parsley and cheese.  Chicken sausages are usually beneath her consideration, but they were here and we were hungry, so Michele decided to cook them.

For an appetizer we had two different types of pecorino cheese, salami , taralli, and Italian “Air Bread”,  crisp crackers that Michele had come across at Eataly. 

The main course was the chicken sausages with sauteed peppers and red onions.  The  sausages  were  much  improved  by  the  peppers  and  together  with  the wonderful Chinon , it  was  a  good  meal.  

On the platter

On the plate  with  a crisp ciabatta  roll.

Chinon “Les Picasses” 1989 (Loire) Olga Raffault” Made from 100% Cabernet Franc. The soil is limestone and clay. The mid slope vines are at least 50 years old and are worked organically and harvested by hand. The fruit is destemmed and whole uncrushed berries are fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation and maceration lasts for 25 to 30 days depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 2 to 3 years in oak and chestnut foudres of 30 to 50 HL. There is more aging in tank and bottle before release for about four years. This is a full bodied, structured and complex wine with hints of cherry, red and dark berries, a hint of smoke and a touch of meatiness.

For dessert, we had some homemade Wine Cookies with espresso.

 

 

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An Al Fresco Lunch

After almost 90 days, Michele and I  accepted an invitation to join friends for lunch in their garden. They live a few blocks from us. They left the front door open so we walked through the house into the garden. We sat at separate tables more than 6 feet apart. It was wonderful to see them in person and to be eating outside.

We started with finocchiona salami and taralli

Then we had with vinaigrette, chives and egg mimosa

With this we drank

Bodegas Naveran Rosado Cava Brut made from Pinot Noir and Parellada grapes. The grapes are lightly pressed and very little skin contact takes place so the wine remains pale in color. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a very low temperature. Once the base wine was finished fermenting, it is stabilized and filtered in order to continue with the triage and a second fermentation takes place in the bottle with a minimum of 12 months aging. The wine has very tiny bubbles with aromas and flavors of red fruit, a touch of lemon and a hint of ginger. The winery produces organic cavas and wines. This is a vegan wine.

Our host pouring the wine

Next there we had tile fish with olives and capers with steamed potatoes and sugar snaps.

With  the meal  we  had  whole  grain  bread

To accompany the fish, we had Sancerre “ Les Baronnes” Henri Bourgeois made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The soil is clay and limestone. The wine is fermented in thermo-regulated stainless steel tanks at 15 to 18 degrees C. The wine is aged on the lees at a cool temperature for 5 months before release. This is a crisp and fruity wine with citrus aromas and flavors with a touch of herbs, nice minerality, a long finish and pleasant after taste.

Michele made the dessert, Cornmeal Berry Cake with whipped cream from her book, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook.

Calvados  and  espresso  completed  the  meal.

What a pleasure to enjoy a delicious summer lunch al fresco with dear friends.

 

 

 

 

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Once upon a Time:1971 by Daniele Cernilli

The following article is very interesting to me because of all the 1971’s Daniele Cernilli mentions, the only one I did not drink in the 1971 vintage was the Sassicaia.  I agree with his assessment of the 1971 vintage and what it did for Italian wine.

By Daniele Cernilli (aka Doctor Wine)

Aside from being an excellent vintage, 1971 was a watershed year for producers who became convinced they could make great wine in Italy on the level of those in France.

“Not bad this Nebbiolo, Gino”, “You fool, this is not a Nebbiolo, it is a Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive Riserva 1971 from Bruno Giacosa!” This exchange, which for me was a scolding, took place during the dinner for the Risit d’Aur, an award created at the start of the 1980s by the Nonino family. Gino was Luigi Veronelli and I was taking my first, insecure baby steps in the wine world.

But what is more important is that the wine in question was a 1971, an historic year for Italian winemaking. It was a magnificent harvest throughout Italy, especially for Piedmont and Tuscany, although the south also produced some legendary reds, like the very great Taurasi Riserva Mastroberardino. The year produced the great Brunello Riserva wines of Biondi Santi, Barbi Colombini and Costanti. There were the formidable Barolo like Monfortino, Brunate Cogno Marcarini, Monfalletto Cordero di Montezemolo and the one from Bartolo Mascarello. Then, obviously, there were the Barbaresco from Giacosa, the Rabajà of Prunotto and Sori fromGaja, Amarone Bertani, Gattinara Travaglini and many, many others. This was also the vintage that probably established the reputation of Sassicaia. And it saw the debut of Tignanello, which came out that year with the label of Silvio Coppola as a “table wine”. Cabernet Sauvignon was not part of the blend at the time and although it was made with Sangiovese and Canaiolo, it could not qualify as a Chianti Classico because the blend did not include white grapes that the regulations of the era demanded. Tignanello was also the first “modern” wine in that, aside from its origin, the vineyard of the same name in Mercatale, it was also the product of a project that also included design and marketing. And it also marked the beginning of a winning trend that continues to this day.

But what really makes 1971 so special is that, aside from being a spectacular harvest that produced many outstanding wines, this year was a watershed one that led to an important realization in the world of wine. And this was that Italy, too, could produce wines that, in regard to quality and reliability, were on the same level as the great French ones, not just those of Bordeaux but also Burgundy, even if they were not as well-known at time.

Furthermore, a community of wine lovers was forming in Italy that, thanks to the first courses offered by the sommelier groups Ais and Onav, was becoming technically proficient. The great reds of 1971, of course, did not come out until between 1975 and ’78 but if many producers began to realize that they could turn out higher quality wines that could fetch a higher price, this was also because the Italian wine world began to feel the great winds of change that society was experiencing.  


 

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Once upon a Time:1971 by Daniele Cernilli

 

The following article is very interesting to me because of all the 1971’s Daniele Cernilli mentions, the only one I did not drink in the 1971 vintage was the Sassicaia.  I agree with his assessment of the 1971 vintage and what it did for Italian wine.

Aside from being an excellent vintage, 1971 was a watershed year for producers who became convinced they could make great wine in Italy on the level of those in France.

“Not bad this Nebbiolo, Gino”, “You fool, this is not a Nebbiolo, it is a Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive Riserva 1971 from Bruno Giacosa!” This exchange, which for me was a scolding, took place during the dinner for the Risit d’Aur, an award created at the start of the 1980s by the Nonino family. Gino was Luigi Veronelli and I was taking my first, insecure baby steps in the wine world.

But what is more important is that the wine in question was a 1971, an historic year for Italian winemaking. It was a magnificent harvest throughout Italy, especially for Piedmont and Tuscany, although the south also produced some legendary reds, like the very great Taurasi Riserva Mastroberardino. The year produced the great Brunello Riserva wines of Biondi Santi, Barbi Colombini and Costanti. There were the formidable Barolo like Monfortino, Brunate Cogno Marcarini, Monfalletto Cordero di Montezemolo and the one from Bartolo Mascarello. Then, obviously, there were the Barbaresco from Giacosa, the Rabajà of Prunotto and Sori from Gaja, Amarone Bertani, Gattinara Travaglini and many, many others. This was also the vintage that probably established the reputation of Sassicaia. And it saw the debut of Tignanello, which came out that year with the label of Silvio Coppola as a “table wine”. Cabernet Sauvignon was not part of the blend at the time and although it was made with Sangiovese and Canaiolo, it could not qualify as a Chianti Classico because the blend did not include white grapes that the regulations of the era demanded. Tignanello was also the first “modern” wine in that, aside from its origin, the vineyard of the same name in Mercatale, it was also the product of a project that also included design and marketing. And it also marked the beginning of a winning trend that continues to this day.

But what really makes 1971 so special is that, aside from being a spectacular harvest that produced many outstanding wines, this year was a watershed one that led to an important realization in the world of wine. And this was that Italy, too, could produce wines that, in regard to quality and reliability, were on the same level as the great French ones, not just those of Bordeaux but also Burgundy, even if they were not as well-known at time.

Furthermore, a community of wine lovers was forming in Italy that, thanks to the first courses offered by the sommelier groups Ais and Onav, was becoming technically proficient. The great reds of 1971, of course, did not come out until between 1975 and ’78 but if many producers began to realize that they could turn out higher quality wines that could fetch a higher price, this was also because the Italian wine world began to feel the great winds of change that society was experiencing.  By Daniele Cernilli ( aka Doctor Wine)


 

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Greco di Tufo & Seafood

When I saw her in February in Italy, Teresa di Bruno of the Petilia winery gave me a bottle of her 2008 Greco di Tufo.  I put it aside thinking that I would save it for a special occasion. But this weekend, Michele said that she wanted to make risotto with shrimp and fried soft shell crabs.  “Which wine to you have to go with them?” she asked.  I decided this was the special occasion.

Risotto with shrimps in the pot

 

On the plate

I first met Teresa di Bruno of the Petilia winery at a lunch organized by Ilaria Petitto of the Donnachiara winery. The lunch was at restaurant Zia Pasqualina in Atripalda (AV).

Teresa told me that they have 20 hectares of vineyards located in Campofiorito in Altavilla Irpinia. The winery is a family affair and is run by her and her brother Roberto.

I tasted some of the wines of Petilia at the lunch and was very impressed by them. When we said goodbye, Teresa gave me a bottle of the 2009 Greco di Tufo to take home with me.

Greco di Tufo 2009 DOCG made from 100% Greco. The vineyard is at 600 meters and the exposure is south/east. The soil is clay, volcanic, rich in minerals with a sulfurous sub soil. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is espalier with guyot pruning. The grapes are hand picked the second week of October. There is a soft pressing of the whole grapes and fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for 3 to 4 months before release. This is a well-structured and complex wine with hints of citrus fruit, lemon/lime, acacia and quince, a touch of minerality, good acidity and a very pleasing finish and long aftertaste. Greco di Tufo is a wine the can last for 20 years and this wine was not showing any signs of age.

For more information about the Petilia winery see:

https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2020/02/19/woman-in-wine-part-ii-teresa-bruno-of-petilia/

Soft shell crabs  ready  to  cook

Soft shell crabs,  coated  in  a light  batter  and  fried.  

Asparagus with Butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Crispy fried soft shell crabs

 

Dessert was an old fashioned Lemon Pudding Cake.  Here it is just baked.

 

Lemon Pudding Cake served with fresh raspberries

 

 

 

 

 

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