It is always a pleasure to see Daniele Cernilli (Doctor Wine) and his wife Marina Thompson in Rome. We have been friends for a long time.
I always look forward to discussing wine with Daniele while enjoying a delicious meal.
This time, Daniele brought me a copy of his book The Essential Guide to Italian Wine 2022. It will be my go-to reference book for Italian wines since, as Daniele said, “All the wines worth drinking are in the pages of this guide.”
Daniele also brought me a copy of his new travel guide book, Mangiare e Dormire tra i Vigneti, Eating and Sleeping in the Vineyards, which should be essential for anyone traveling Italy’s wine roads. This is one in a series of books on travel and wine.
Daniele suggested we have lunch at La Ciambella Wine Bar with Kitchen. This stunning restaurant is built on the ruins of Agrippa’s baths. It is painted white with very high ceilings and our table was under a very large skylight so you could see the sky. The restaurant served some traditional Italian dishes but for the most part they went off in many different direction adding little twists of their own. All the wines were selected by Daniele
The food and Wine
Little choux pastry puffs filled with ricotta, tomatoes and basil
“Animelle–sweetbreads with wild chicory and brie cheese sauce
Sauteed Lamb Offal (Coratella) & Roman artichoke
“Coda in Carrozza”– fried sandwiches with braised oxtail
“Porchetta” pork roast wraps with marinated cherry tomatoes and yogurt sauce
Spaghettone carbonara — the classic Roman pasta
Falanghina 2018 Campi Flegrei DOC “Cruna de Lago La Sibilla made from 100% Falanghina. The soil is sandy and volcanic and the training system is guyot. The exposure is south-west and the vineyards are over 60 years old. Fermentation is in steel vats. For six months the wine remains on the lees and remains in the bottle for 6 months before release. Daniele said the wine has hints of yellow citrus, chamomile, saffron, pepper a touch of smoke, good acidity and a long finish. I found the color of the wine to be almost grey but it went very well with the Offal.
Cheese – We finished the wines with a variety of cheese, chestnut honey and fig jam.
Fiorano Vino Rosso 2013 Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi. Made from 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot. The vineyard is at 130 meters and the soil is of volcanic origin. Exposure is north west-south west. There are 3,700 vines per hectare. The training system is espalier, spurred cordon pruning and the vines are 19 years old. Harvest is the third week of September. Whole grapes are destemmed and are gently pressed, maceration takes place for at least fifteen days in oak vats with manual punching down. The wine is then drawn off and immediately put into 1,000-liter Slavonian oak barrels, in which the wine rests for maturation for at least 30 months. This is followed by two years of refinement in glass before being marketed. The wine has hints of red berries, sweet spice, a touch of balsamic herbs and a note of coffee.
Barolo 2010 “Sarmassa” Marchesi di Barolo made from 100% Nebbiolo. The vineyard exposure is south-east and the soil is clay and limestone with many stones. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and they are trained on a vertical trellised guyot system. Harvest is manual. The grapes are destemmed and softly pressed. Fermentation at a controlled temperature in thermo condition tanks. Maceration lasts for 10 days. The wine is regularly recycled during this time. Racking takes place when the natural sugars are totally converted to alcohol. The wine is then racked into cement tanks, lined with fiber glass and insulated with cork. Malolactic fermentation is spontaneous and lasts for two months. The wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels of 30 0r 36 HL and in medium toasted French barriques of 225 liters. The wine is the blended into traditional big oak barrels and remains in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with hints of licorice, spice, tobacco, pine resin and a touch of vanilla. It is a wine that will age.
Dessert — Dark and white chocolate mousse
Crostata of Ricotta and Visciole Cherry Jam
Colli Piacentini Vin Santo di Vigleno 2010 Colli Piacentini DOC Az. Agr. Lusignani made from Beverdino, Santa Maria, Melara, Trebbiano and Ortrugo grapes. The vineyard is at 300 meters. Only the very best bunches of grapes are picked and are laid on a trellis in “fruttai” a specially built aerated drying room to assist in the maturation of the grapes for 3 months. After the pressing of the grapes (which takes place from December to February), the wine must matures for 6 years in small oak caratelli and barriques each time in smaller barrels (like the traditional balsamic method). Daniele described the wine as having extraordinary complexity with aromas of dried dates, coffee liquor, antique wood, and eucalyptus and he compared it to a Madeira. This is truly a remarkable dessert wine. Daniele said only 1,000 375 ml size bottles were made.