Louis Coluccio at Work
One of the things I enjoy most about the Italian wine dinners I host at The Westchester Italian Cultural Center in Tuckahoe, NY is the opportunity to work with my friend Louis Coluccio, the proprietor of A.L.C. Italian Grocery in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Louis prepares the delicious food and I match it with the right wine. For our most recent event, we discussed the food and I selected some of my favorite wines from Campania.
Monte di Grazia Bianco IGT 2012, made from the following local grapes: Pepella has only a few large grapes on the bunch, the rest being the size of peppercorns, though they all ripen at the same time. Ginestra, the name comes from the yellow-green color, which is similar in color to the gorse flower. Bianca Tenera (Biancolella) a local white grape. The wine has hints of citrus with undertones of pear and almond, a very nice mineral character and good acidity. It is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. $20 This was served with a Raw Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables.
DonnaChiara Greco di Tufo 2012 DOCG, 100% Greco di Tufo. The soil is tuffaceious and the training system is espallier. There are 3,300 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place during the second week of October. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing and there is cold fermentation with extended maceration. No oak is used. This is a wine that needs at least 5 or 6 years of bottle age before it is ready to drink. It has nice citrus aromas and flavors, a hint of smoke and a touch of almonds in the finish and aftertaste. $18 With this we had Crostini with Eggplant Caponata.
Cantina Federiciane Montelone di Napoli Gragnano DOC Sorrento Peninsula 2013, made from Piedirosso and Sciascinoso. Fermentation with selected yeast takes place in temperature controlled autoclaves. This is a fizzy red wine that when poured has a lot of foam that quickly disappears in the glass. It is fruity with red fruit aromas and flavors, hints of raspberries and strawberries, and easy to drink. In Naples they often drink sparkling beverages with pizza and Gragnano goes very well with pizza margarita. Sciascinoso, also know as Olivella, is used as a blending grape. The clusters and berries are large and it is a late ripener. I do not believe that I have ever tasted a wine made from 100% Sciascinoso. $16
This was served with Assorted Imported Salami & Fresh Figs.
Az. Agr. Apicella Colli di Salerno Piedirosso IGT 2012, made from 85% Piedirosso from ungrafted vines and 15% other red grapes. There are 3,000 vines per hectare and the training system is mostly pergola. Harvest takes place the third week of October. The stalks are removed and the grapes are pressed. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 to 12 days. Piedirosso is used mostly as a blending grape. It is difficult to find wine made from 100% Piedirosso but worth the effort. The wine has fresh red fruit flavors and aromas with hints of black pepper and spice, a long finish and nice aftertaste. The wine should be drunk young. It goes extremely well with dishes made with tomato sauce. It is a steal at $16.
This was served with the Pasta with Pesto Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes.
Az. Agr. Monte de Grazie Biological Winery Rosso 2008 The wine is made from 90% Tintore di Tramonti from very old ungrafted vines and 10% Piedirosso. The Tintore di Tramonti grown almost exclusively in the Monte Lattari Valley. The grape is harvested at the end of September, which makes it an early ripener for this area. This indigenous red grape variety belongs to the Teinturier family. Teinturier means dyed or stained in French. The flesh and the juice of these grapes are red in color. The anthocyanin pigments accumulate in the grape berry itself. The free run juice is therefore red. This is a complex wine with earthly aromas, red fruit and a slight hint of black pepper and spice with good acidity that makes it a very good food wine. This wine has aging potential. $30. We ended with an Assorted Cheese Board which included ricotta salata, aged provolone, and other Italian cheeses.
Filed under A.L.C. Italian Grocery, Gragnano, Greco di Tufo, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Louis Coluccio, Monte de Grazia Winery, Monte de Grazie Winery, Piedirosso, Tintore di Tramonti, Westchester Italian Cultural Center
The Westchester Italian Cultural Center is located in Tuckahoe about a half hour by train from Grand Central. The center preserves, promotes and celebrates the rich heritage of classical and contemporary Italian culture by encouraging an appreciation of the Italian language, arts and letters, history, cuisine and commerce through educational programs, exhibits and events. Patrizia Calce, the director of events for the center, asked me if I would do a wine and food tasting for members and their guests featuring Wines and Foods of Northern Italy. I was more than happy to do so but I explained to Patrizia that I would need a little help from my friends. The first one I called was Gary Grunner of Grapes on the Go, a wine importing company. Gary said he would donate the wines of Tenuta Santa Maria in Pieve in the Veneto and would also attend the event to say a few words about the winery. Gary then asked Douglas Giachino of Vinvino wines if he would supply the wines of Andrea Oberto from La Morra in Piedmont. Vinvino also distributes the wine of Tenuta Santa Maria della Pieve for Gary and Giachino agreed to help, too.
Last but not least I asked Louis Coluccio of A.L.C. Italian Grocery in Bay Ridge Brooklyn to supply the food.
Louis replied “Just tell me what you need.” A.L.C. sells both top quality imported Italian food products and prepared foods to take away. It is the closest I have come to an Italian food shopping experience in the New York area.
With so much cooperation and great wine and food lined up, the tasting at the WICC was a sure success. Over 40 members and guests attended.
Prosecco NV 100% Gela-formerly known as Prosecco, Luccio. The grapes come from the rolling hills of the Veneto countryside just north of Venice and are harvested by hand. A soft pressing occurs and the juice is placed in stainless steel tanks. Before the primary fermentation process is concluded, the wine is run into a pressurized tank where a secondary fermentation takes place allowing it to become a sparkling wine.Soave “Lepia” 2010 IGT made from 100% Garganega Veronese. Tenuta Santa Maria Della Pieve The soil is clay with calcareous-marly subsoil. The training system is the pergoletta, and there are 3,800 vines per hectare. The grapes are harvested in September at different times of ripening and crushed separately, with cold pre-fermentation skin contact. The grapes are gently pressed and fermented. The wine is blended in January and racked in stainless steel tanks with the thin lees. Then there is a short bottle refinement. The wine has flavors and aromas of pears and peaches with a hint of almonds and nice minerality. I like this Soave because it reflects the indigenous grape and the terroir. $22Gavi “IL Mandorlo” 2011 Tenuta San Pietro 100% Cortese. The winery is organic and biodynamic. Soil is limestone-clayey with a good mineral content and the vineyard is at 300 meters. The grapes are hand harvested in the middle of September. Soft crushing is followed by fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks using natural yeast from the cellar. This is a well-balanced wine with floral hints, fresh fruit aromas and flavors and good acidity. $16
Dolcetto d’Alba 2010 Andrea Oberto-La Morra, Piedmont
There are 4,500 plants per hectare, the soil is clayey and calcareous and the exposure is southwest. The training system is Guyot with short trimming. There is manual harvesting of the slightly overripe grapes in 20-kg perforated crates through a careful selection of the bunches. The grapes are transferred into the cellar where they are crushed and destemmed within hours.
A short cryo-maceration and thermo-controlled fermentation takes place at around 30 °C, and soft pumpovers are frequent. There is a short maceration of the marc, about 100 hours. Racking takes place in stainless steel vats, where the must is thermo-controlled. In the vats the alcoholic fermentation comes to an end and the natural malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine is aged for 8 months in stainless steel vats. $18Langhe Nebbiolo 2010 DOC Andrea Oberto 100% Nebbiolo
There are 4,000 vines per hectare. Vinification is the same as above except that the juice is in contact with the skins for 200 hours. Aging is for six months part in stainless steel and part in wooden casks. $22
Barolo 2008 DOCG 100% Nebbiolo Andrea Oberto Long maceration of the marc about 300 hours and racking in wood casks, where the natural malolactic fermentation takes place
Aging for 24 months in oak casks and 2 months in stainless steel vats and 6months in bottle before release. $45
Valpolicella Ripasso 2009 DOC made from 75% Corvina, !0% Rondinella and 15% Corvinone. Tenuta Santa Maria Della Pieve. The vineyards are located on clay hills with calcareous layers. The training system is the pergoletta, there are 5,600 vines per hectare and the harvest is by hand at the end of September. In the middle of October when the grapes have reached their optimal maturation and sugar level, they are pressed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless tanks for 25/30 days with daily pump over. The wine is later macerated and fermented a second time on the skins and raisins of the grapes used for Amarone, which are still rich in sugar. This is followed by 24 months of aging in tonneaux and barriques where malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine is then aged for 6 months in bottle before release. $35
Gary said that a new law was passed that limited the production of the Ripasso wines. For every bottle of Amarone produced they are only allowed to produce two bottles of the Ripasso.
Amarone Della Valpolicella DOC 2007 made from 75% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 15% Corvinone. Tenuta Santa Maria Della Pieve The training system is the pergoletta and there are 5,600 vines per hectare. The grapes are hand harvested and placed in wooden trays inside rooms with well-circulated air for 4/5 months. In the middle of January after reaching their desired sugar content and losing 25%/30% of their weight, the almost raisin like grapes are pressed and fermented for 25/30 days at controlled temperatures with daily pumping over. After a period of decantation and refining in French barriques and Italian oak tonneaux, malolactic fermentation takes place. After 48 months the wine is bottled and remains for 6 months before release. It is a complex and elegant wine with hints of dried cherries, prunes and spice. The finish is very long and there is a lingering aftertaste. $90
Contact the Vinvino Wine Company- 212-463-7880 to find the retail store near you that sells these wines.
Filed under A.L.C. Italian Grocery, Amaro, Amarone, Andrea Oberto winery, Barolo, Dolcetto, Grapes on the GO, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Ripasso, Soave, Tenuta San Pietro, Tenuta Santa Maria Alla Pieve, Vinvino Wines, Westchester Italian Cultural Center