Category Archives: 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