Category Archives: Verdicchio

Drinking White Wine in Rome and Naples

On my recent trip to Rome, I found that many restaurants have wine lists that are not up to date.  The vintage might be listed incorrectly, or wines might be out of stock.  In one restaurant they did not have the first 3 wines that I ordered from the list and finally I just asked, “What do you have?” In Naples the situation is about the same.  Despite a few disappointments, I always managed to find good alternatives and even a few surprises.

Here are some of the white wines we enjoyed in Rome and Naples.

IMG_7018Frascati Superiore DOCG Bianco 2019 Castel De Paolis (Lazio) made from 70% Malvasia del Lazio, and 30% Trebbiano, Giallo, Bambino and Bellone. The soil is volcanic, rich in potassium and tufa. The vineyard is at 250 meters and the training system is trellised/cordon spur. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and the average age of the vines is 30 years. Fermentation is in steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 18C for 8/10 days. The wine has hints of pear and apple, a touch of pineapple and a note of almonds. I visited the winery in Grottaferrata a number of years ago.  From the terrace, you can see the dome of St. Peter’s in Rome.  Restaurant il Falchetto

IMG_7086Bellone “Collesanti” Marco Carpineti (Lazio)  made from 100% Bellone. There are 4,500 grapes per hectare. The training system is spalliera and harvest takes place in September. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and a natural fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in steel.  The wine is hints of citrus, fruit, lemon with floral fragrances. The winery is near Cori, a town established before Rome. The Bellone grape was cultivated here in ancient times.   Checchino dal 1887, Rome

IMG_7042NV Brut Spumante made from 100% Bellone Cincinnato (Lazio). 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 method (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, citrus fruit and white peach.

IMG_6978Fiano di Avellino DOCG Sertura made from 100% Fiano di Avellino(Campania). The vineyards are in Montefalcione, a tiny village perched on a hill a short distance from Avellino. The vineyards are at 380 meters and the soil is clay. The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in early October. The grapes are soft pressed and fermented for 21 to 25 days at a controlled temperature. This is a complex, full bodied wine with aromas and flavors of citrus fruit, hints of pear and green apple.  Hostaria Manfredi  in the Hotel Civita in Atripalda (AV) about 45 minutes from Naples


Costa D’ Amalfi “Fiorduva” Furore Bianco 2012 Cantina Marisa Cuomo (Campania). The wine is made from 30% Fenile, 30% Ginestra and 40% Ripolo. The production zone is in Furore and the surrounding municipalities on the Amalfi Coast. The coastal terraces are at 200/500 meters and are south facing.  There are 5,000/7,000 vines per hectare. The training system is pergola. The soil is limestone-dolomite rocks. The overripe grapes are harvested by hand the third week of October and the grapes arrive intact in the cantina. After pressing, the juice is inoculated with selected yeast. Fermentation takes place for about 3 months in oak barrels at 12°C. The wine has very nice fruit with hints of apricot, raisins, a touch of candied fruit and good acidity.  It was very enjoyable.  Due Ladrone, Rome


Pallagrello Bianco “Caiati” 2019 (Campania) Alois 100% Pallagrello Bianco from a 2.13-hectare vineyard at 280 meters. The soil is volcanic with minerals. The training system is guyot, there are 4,800 plants per hectare and the harvest is in the middle of September. Fermentation takes place on the lees for 30 days. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for 4 months before release. The wine has hints of almonds, citrus fruit, melon and grapefruit with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste.   Trattoria San Ferdindano, Naples

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Terra del Volturno Pallagrello Bianco IGT “Marrone” 2018 Alois (Campania).  Made from 100% Pallagrello Bianco from the 15 year old Morrone della Monica 2.13 hectare vineyard at 350 meters in Pontelatone. The exposure is east/west and the soil is limestone. There are 5,200 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot.  Harvest takes place in early September.  Two-thirds of the wine is vinified in stainless steel at a controlled temperature for one month and one-third of the wine is on the lees in neutral oak for nine months. The wine remains in the bottle for 12 months before release. This is a full bodied intense wine with hints of citrus fruit, melon, a touch of chamomile  and a note of apricot.  This is the first time I have had this wine as it was introduced in 2018 and I found it impressive. I visited the winery a few years ago and had a wonderful lunch matched with their wines.  Tattoria San Ferdinando, Naples

IMG_7163KATÁ IGP Catalanesca Del Mount Somma 100% Catalanesca. Cantine Olivella  (Campania) The grapes are carefully selected and hand harvested in the first half of October.  Fermentation and maturation is with natural yeast and takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The refining process “sur lie” (lees contact starts in stainless steel and ends in the bottle after a three month period). The wine has very nice citrus aromas and flavors with hints of apricot and cantaloupe and good acidity. There is a mineral aspect to the wine, which may come from the volcanic soil.   Restaurant Casa Bleve, Rome

IMG_7136Falanghina del Sannio made from 100% Falanghina from Pozzillo vineyards. Società Agricola Mustilli (Campania) The soil is calcareous and volcanic, rich in clay and the exposure is southwest. The training system is guyot. There is a light cold skin maceration followed by alcoholic fermentation in steel. Aging is in steel for 10 months. The wine has floral notes, with a hint of pear, acacia honey, and touch of apple and lemon. I visited the winery in 2016 on a Campania Stories press trip and tasted a Falanghina from the 2002 vintage which was drinking very nicely.   Restaurant  Mimi  alla Ferrovia, Naples

IMG_7053Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo 2017 Made from 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo  Edoardo Valentini (Abruzzo) The winery is organic and biodynamic. They only keep 10% of the production, the rest is sold to a local co-op. The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 24 months, I believe. I visited the winery a number of years ago. Edoardo (d.2006) spent all the time talking to us about the terroir, the grapes and the vineyards.  He did not speak about how the wine was produced.  This is a very complex and full bodied wine with a mineral character, hints of citrus fruit and peach, good acidity, great finish and aftertaste and an extra something that is difficult to describe. It is a great white wine. When I am in Italy I drink this wine whenever I see it on the wine list because it is less costly than you can buy it retail in the USA. It is a very impressive white wine.   Restaurant Casa Bleve, Rome

IMG_7080Marche Bianco IGT “Campo delle Oche” 2018. Fattoria San Lorenzo made from 100% Verdicchio. The Campo delle Oche vineyard is at 300/320 meters and the soil is clay and limestone with savory components given by the salty aquifers. The vineyard was planted in 1965/1980. There are 3,000 vines per hectare. Harvest  takes place the first and second week of October. Fermentation is in concrete vats with indigenous yeast. There is 12 hours of cold maceration and malolactic fermentation is completed. The wine is aged in cement for 2 years and in stainless steel for one year. The wine spent 36 months on the lees. Clarification/Filtration: no fining or filtering. The winery is certified organic. The wine has hints of peach, apricot and pear with a touch of citrus fruit.     Enoteca l’Angolo Divino, Rome

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Filed under Alois Winery, Castel de Paplis, Castello delle Regine, Cincinnato winery, Kata, Marco Carpineti Winery, Marsia Cuomo, Mustilli, San Loranzo, Verdicchio

Celebrating the Year of the Pig

Ever year Michele and I go out with friends to celebrate Chinese New Year. Our favorite place to celebrate is Oriental Gardens in NYC’s Chinatown. This year is the year of the pig.  The year of the pig occurs every 12 years and we tried to bring wine from past years of the pig.  The vintages would be 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971 1959, 1947, etc.

As always we started with Champagne

Champagne Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2007 made from 100% Chardonnay from its own Grand Cru vineyards in the villages of Aviza and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Only produced in selected vintages. It is crisp but at they same time has a hint of toast and brioche from extended aging on the lees. Dosage: Brut: 12/g. it was drinking very well now and it can age.

Champagne Jacques Selosse Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs– this was not vintage dated but it was disgorged in 2007. This is a complex champagne with hints of toast and honey but without any sweetness and a slight touch of oxidation.

With the Champagne we has an assortment of dumplings, including one filled with scallops, another with shrimp and another with pork.

Domaine Gourt de Mautens Jérôme Bressy 2013 made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardan, Roussanne, Maesanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc and Picpoul Gris. The age of the vines is 30 to 50 years. The soil is chalk, clay, gravel and marl and the vineyard is at 220 meters. There is hand harvesting, pneumatic pressing, and natural yeast fermentation tank. The wine is aged for 10 to 18 months in tank and French oak demi-muids. Now labeled Cotes-du Rhone Blanc, because Rasteau Blanc is not authorized. I do not know if this wine was made by Jean-Charles le Bault de la Moriniere or by his father- there methods were somewhat different. This is a difficult wine to describe it does not have the richness one would expect but it a complexity wine with nice minerality and a certain something that I liked.

Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva Mirum 2007 La Monacesca made from 100% Verdicchio from a 3 hectare, north-south facing vineyard at 400 meters. The vines are about 30 years old and the soil is mostly clay. The vines are vertically trained arched or double arched cane and there are about 1,800 vines per hectare. The hand picked grapes are left on the vine an extra two weeks until they are slightly overripe. Harvest is the third/fourth week of October. The grapes are quickly and lightly pressed. with no addition of S02. Fermentation for 20 days at 20C in stainless steel. The wine remains on the lees until spring and undergoes natural malolactic fermentation in early summer. Aging for 18 months in stainless steel and 6 months in bottle before release on Dec. 1 two years after the harvest. This is a complex wine made in only the best vintages. It has hints of citrus, toasted almonds, honey with a very nice aftertaste and long finish. I was very impressed with this wine!  

Corton-Charlemagne “Grand Cru” 1995 Bonnrau du Martray location. Pernard Vergelesse, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy made from 86% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Noir. Vinification with indigenous yeast alcoholic fermentation, aging with up to 30% new oak, very light fining and filtration. The winery is certified organic (Ecocert). I do not know if this wine was made by Jean-Charles le Bault de la Moniniere or by his father, their methods were slightly different. This is a very difficult wine to describe but I liked it.

With the white wine we had fried soft shell crabs, one of my favorites

Then we had lobster with ginger sauce.

Steamed whole fish with soy, scallions and ginger.


Morey Clos de la Bussiere 1959  Pierre Ponnelle 100% Pinot Noir and drinking very well.  I could not find any information about this wine.

Domaine Gourt de Mautens “Rasteau” 2008 Jerome Bressy made from Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise, Cinsalut, Vaccarese and Terret Noir. The soil is chalk, clay, gravel and marl, the age of the vines, 30 -100 and the vineyard is at 220 meters. There are 13 hectare of vines. The grapes are hand harvested, triple sorted, crushed and fermented by natural yeasts in tronconic oak vats. The wine spends 24 to 36 months in concrete, founders and French oak demi-muids. The winery is certified biodynamic (Demeter). This is the second time in a week that I have had this wine and I enjoyed it both times. It is a wine with hints of black fruit, blackberries and blueberries with a touch of cherry, spice and good acidity. It is just starting to drink now but will be better with a little more age. The wine no longer has Rasteau on the label because Mr. Bressy has left the appellation because they limited the number of grapes he could use the wine is now called Vaucluse Rough.

Fiorano Rosso Vino da Tavola 1993Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe di Venosa. Burton Anderson, in his landmark Italian wine book Vino, called Fiorano Rosso “the noblest Roman of them all”.  The Prince’s few acres of vines are planted along the Appian Way about 20 kilometers southwest of the center of Rome and almost right next to Rome’s second airport, Ciampino. It is the best cabernet/merlot blend made it Italy and one of the best in the world!  In my opinion–and I am in the minority here–one of the best places in the world to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is in Lazio close to Rome. Alessia Antinori, granddaughter of the Prince and owner of Tenuta Fiorano, brought the wine. The wine is all leather and cherry, showing no signs of age and I love it!!!!!!

Chianti Riserva Ducale Ruffino 1947 made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, 10% Malvasia and Trebbiano and 5% Colorino, Ciliegiolo and Cabernet. Made by using the governo method. Once common in Tuscany, governo is a secondary fermentation created by the addition of dried grapes 10-15%, or the must of dried or concentrated grapes.  Colorino was usually the grape of choice to be dried. The best gapes from Ruffino’s vineyard were used for the Riserva Ducale, which spent at least three years in large oak casks. The Riserva Gold Label is a selection of the lots of the best vintages of the Riserva Ducale.

With the red wine we had peking duck, here served in a steamed bun, pigeon and fried chicken.



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Filed under Burgundy, Champagne, Deutz Blanc de Blances, Domaine Gourt de Mautens, Fiorano Rosso, Oriental Gardens, Ruffino, Verdicchio

The Wines of Umani Ronchi

Ever since I first visited Verdicchio a number of years ago, I have enjoyed the region’s wines.  Now when I look for an older white wine on a restaurant wine list I often order Verdicchio because very few people know that it is a white wine that can age and older vintages can often be found at a very good price.

Recently, I was invited to Del Posto in NYC to taste Verdicchio and some other wines from producer Umani Ronchi.  The speaker for the event was the very charming and knowledgeable Michele Bernetti.  He explained that the company was founded by Gino Umani, who added Ronchi to his name as a favor to a friend in return for vineyards in Cupramontana.  Members of the Bianchi family went into partnership with Umani Ronchi and later became the winery’s sole owners.  Massimo Benetti, Dr. Bianchi’s son-in-law took over the management of the company and Michele joined his father.  Today he is the CEO. Beppe Caviola is their consulting enologist.

Michele said that they have 200 hectare of vines, 110 in the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico zone, 60 in the  Rosso Conero production zone, and 30 in Abruzzo.  Verdicchio is vinified only in Castlebellino and then bottled, refined and aged in Osimo.  Rosso Conero wines are vinified, bottled, refined and aged in Osimo.

The Wine
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore 2011 “Casale Di Serra” 100% Verdicchio. Michele said that the grape yield of this vineyard was less than one half of the typical Verdicchio yield. The grapes are hand picked when slightly overripe and a careful selection is made. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats, followed by malolactic fermentation. This is a very nice fruity wine with good acidity and minerality and a bargain at $17

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC 2007 & 2009 “Vecchie Vigne” 100% Verdicchio. These wines are 35 years old and come from the “Busche” vineyards in Montecarotto. The wine is aged is stainless steel and cement tanks. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and remains on the lees for 10 months. Michele said that there is a difference between the two wines. The Vecchie Vigne (Old Vines) is made from a special selection of grapes from the highest part of the vineyard on the east bank Esino River. This is a wine the will age very well. The 2007 is one of the best white wines I have tasted and it could last for many more years. It was fresh and elegant with hints of pineapple, peach and hazelnut and good acidity. All of the wines had a very nice mineral character and Michele said that this was a characteristic of the Verdicchio grape in the Marche.  2009 vintage was the Gambero Rosso Vini D’Italia Three Glasses award winner and the White Wine of the year. $35

Verdicchio Classico DOC Riserva 2007 “Plenio” 100% Verdicchio from the “Villa Bianchi” vineyard in Moie di Maiolati.  Riserva wines were recently introduced for Verdicchio at the winery and must be aged for at least 24 months. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged in concrete vats for 12 months with lees contact and refined in bottle for one year before release.  Michele said that Pienio is Latin for round, complete and ample–a fitting name for this wine. $35

Rosso Conero DOC “San Lorenzo” 2010 made from 100% Montepulciano from the San Lorenzo vineyard. Malolactic fermentation is followed by aging in oak barrels for 18 months. 20% of the wine is aged in barriques. It is refined in bottle for 6 months before release.  Very nice easy drinking wine with nice black and red fruit aromas and flavors.  $17

Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo DOC “Jorio” 2010 100% Montepulciano from a single vineyard on one of the highest altitudes in the Chieti province.  After malolactic fermentation the wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 11 months. Michele said that in 1999 they purchased an estate in nearby Abruzzo in the Colline Teramane area, a sub zone within the Montelpulciano D’Abruzzo DOC (soon to become DOCG). The estate includes 30 hectares of land, a cellar and landmark house, which is being renovated and transformed into a winery. He also said that since it is warmer in Abruzzo, the Montepulciano grape ripens sooner than in the Marche were the vineyards are by the sea and he feels they make a more elegant wine. Because of these natural differences they are two different styles of wine. This was a bigger wine with more ripe red and black flavors and aromas. $17

Michele said that in the Marche the vines are mostly trained in a Guyot-Double Inverted. In Abruzzo the Tendonne method is used because it protects the grapes from the sun.

Rosso Conero  Riserva DOCG “ Cumaro” 100% Montepulciano from the “San Lorenzo” vineyard. Malolactic fermentation is followed by aging in barriques for 16 months. The wine is kept in the bottle for another six months before release. Michele said that this wine is made only in the best years. Cumaro is derived from the ancient Greek word for Conero. We tasted the 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2007, which is $42 a bottle. This is a wine that can age.  The 1995 was in great condition and I enjoyed all of the vintages. However I noticed a little more vanilla flavor in the 2001 and 2007

“Pelago” Marche IGT made from 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Montepulciano and 10% Merlot. The grapes are hand picked from a small vineyard. Fermentation lasts for 15 days and then the wine is aged in new barriques for 14 months and remains in the bottle for another 12 months before release. Michele said that the name “Pelago” derives from the ancient Italian word for deep blue sea since the vineyards are by the sea. The first vintage was 1994. We tasted the 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2007 which is $65 a bottle. This was a very well made wine of its type but I found it a little too modern for me, especially the 2001 and 2007.

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Filed under Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Jorio, Marche, Rosso Conero, Umani Ronchi, Verdicchio