Monday, January 15, 2018

The Wine Life-Get Involved by Philip S. Kampe


Aren’t we lucky to focus our careers and lives specifically on both the people we love and the wine world which in most cases is a big part of our vocabulary each and everyday.

To a select few, we are what our friends aspire to be, someone who follows their dreams.

You live once, of course that is debatable, but, maybe true.

Why not follow your inner feelings, forget about money and follow the course of your true love in life- the pursuit of wine.

The rewards are truly outstanding if you are a communicator and equally rewarding if you are behind the scenes.

What makes this industry so fascinating is that with each new harvest and each new vintage, wine stories emerge, which, in my case, puts my brain on fire, trying to learn why this vintage is so different from past vintages and what makes it unique.

Intellectual curiosity exists combined with the homework that must be done to understand why the wine tastes like it does, what were the weather conditions and what was the winemakers goal?

Life is too short not to follow your goals....consider wine and consider joining groups like the #winelover with people of the same will, waiting to take the plunge...

Philip S. Kampe
Philip.Kampe@thewinehub.com.



Sunday, January 7, 2018

Ramos Pinto-" The Jewel of the Douro Valley" by Philip S. Kampe










Standing out from the dozens of Port houses in Gaia, near the cable car and directly across from the magnificent city of Porto (Oporto) lies a mustard colored building with the words-well lit at nighttime-RAMOS PINTO.

Founded in 1880 by brothers Antonio and Adriano, Ramos Pinto capitalized on its innovative marketing strategy to focus initially on the Brazilian market, subsequently exporting half of their output to their South American ally.

The mustard colored building comes alive indoors with a guided tour, followed by a special port tasting (recommended). The tour familiarizes you with how the company was run internally-bills of lading-typewriters-and all that goes with a company focused on sales. The other side of the coin shows the marketing genius approach of Ramos Pinto, with thematic posters and statues that dare the viewer to think about ‘Ramos Pinto’ and only ‘Ramos Pinto’ as their exclusive entrance to the world of port. The living museum houses bottle labels of the past, medals won in competitions, all with the intention of showing off the laurels of Ramos Pinto.

Ramos Pinto owns 90% of the vineyards that supply their grapes in the Douro Valley. That equates to 580 acres from four Quintas: Utiga, Bons Ares, Bom Retiro and Ervamoira. Their products are unique because they have the ability to offer single Quinta varieties or create blends from the four Quintas.

Of all of the port producers in the Douro Valley, Ramos Pinto enjoys the distinction of having the largest proportion of vineyards in relation to its production. This gives the winery the much needed control necessary for both harvest and growing conditions.

When you ferry down the Douro River in the Douro Valley, the signs from Ramos Pinto alert the passenger to their land dominance. I noted their signs from every curve of the river.

Ramos Pinto, like so many vineyards, has changed hands and was acquired by Champagne Louis Roederer in 1990.

The properties are known as “the jewel of the Douro.”

The acquisition has made the ports from Ramos Pinto more accessible to their European counterparts and those of us from North America.  Ratings have been off of the chart by all of the major wine magazines and related publications.

The generous tasting that followed the guided tour proved, to me, that the ports from Ramos Pinto were exceptional and should be sought after. The 30 year port was both complex and exceptionally fresh, supple and balanced with butterscotch, dark cherry and a juniper berry and chocolate finish that lingered on my palate for minutes afterwards.

++Ramos Pinto is one of the ports chosen by TAP airlines to pour for their ‘Business Class’ flights.


Philip S. Kampe
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com

Friday, December 29, 2017

Quinta da Alorna, Founded in 1723, Produces Their Best Wines Today, After Five Generations by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley








                                                  Quinta da Alorna-Wines from Tejo
It was a real treat to visit an estate located close to the Tagus River,  near the lovely town of Santarem, a couple of hours east of Lisbon (Portugal). 

Initially, the estate was founded in 1723 by Dom Pedro Miguel de Almeida, who named the estate after conquering the Alorna Fort in Goa, India.

Subsequently, Mr.Alemeida was known as the ‘First Marquis of Alorna.’

Quinta da Alorna is a unique piece of property. Not only a winery exists on its 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares), but, an iconic villa loaded with priceless art and antiques adorn the splendor of the whole estate, which also focuses on the environment, nature and sustainability.

Five generations of the Lopo de Carvalho family have farmed the land and cultivated the 550 acres (200 hectares)  of sandy-soil vineyards that focus on both Portuguese and International varietals, that include amongst others, Verdelho, Arinto, Chardonnay,  Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional.

Sustainability, social responsibility and conservation of the natural environment are the mantra of Quinta da Alorna. Growing onions, corn, peas and potatoes close to the vineyards represents the coexistence of natures’ importance at Quinta da Alorna.

Conservation of fauna and flora represent 5,000 acres (1,900 hectares) of the estates commitment to the environment.

Originally, the property was focused on agriculture, but, as of late, the emergence of fruit-forward wines paired with new technology and reasonable market prices have made Quinta da Alorna a highly recommended wine producer that exports to close to thirty worldwide markets. Sales, both domestically and abroad have risen year to year.

After visiting this ‘one of a kind Quinta’, it was easy to understand why personal involvement of the staff coupled with passion, produce the best results.

And following through on commitment, sampling wines from Quinta da Lorna on the TAP airline flights, where wines paired with traditional Portuguese cuisine from Michelin Star Chefs helps create a special attachment to the history and tradition of Portugal.

Philip S. Kampe
 












Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Think Delord Armagnac-The Perfect Holiday Gift For Wine Lovers by Philip S. Kampe


                                                                       

As you should know by now, I am a huge 'Armagnac' fan and quite, honestly, a rather new devotee to another level of the grape experience.




For all of you who are wine lovers, as I am, Armagnac is the next step after Port wines. Made with indigenous varietals and distilled only once, the end result heightens the grape experience, which all of us are following.

At holiday time, for me, it is hard to select what wine to give to whom as a present. So, the toss-up has always been to choose ether a Port or an Armagnac as a lasting gift for the enthusiast.

This year I chose Delord Armagnac, an Armagnac that is readily available thanks to Heavenly Spirits, an importer dedicated to high quality French spirits-of which one is Delord Armagnac.

A little history about Maison Delord:
+Founded in 1893 by Prosper Delord,
+Prosper Delord was an itinerant distiller who traveled with his pot still
+Delord is located the Bas Armagnac region of southwest France
+Lannepax was Delord's official home, unofficially until 1925
+Prosper deeded the 70 acre estate to his two sons, Gaston and George before his death in 1912
+Gaston and George later passed on the estate to their their two sons, Jacques and Pierre
+Today, great grandsons, Jerome and Sylvain manage Delord
+Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Baco and Folle Blanche grapes are used for Delord Armagnac
+Ugni Blanc creates a good foundation
+Colombard adds herbal aromas
+Baco adds roundness
+Folle Blanche adds floral notes
+No pesticides or fertilizers are used
+The soil is sandy and acidic with high mineral content
+After harvest, the grapes are pressed and fermented before distillation
+Antique Sier alembic stills are still used for distillation
+Only 30 liters are produced each hour from the antique stills
+Low temperature distillation is preferred, which preserves more of the flavors and fatty acids of the grapes
+The Armagnac is then put in wooden casks to age in the cellar
+The cellars contain Armagnacs dating back to 1904

Delord has several significant and highly rated Armagnacs that are easy to find-especially on the internet.
They range from the Armagnac, Blanche, which is wonderful on its own, but, can be used as a mixing ingredient for cocktails to the highly rated 25 year old that is complex with well blended tannins that make your palate sing with nuances of walnuts, white pepper, vanilla and cocoa.

Isn't this the time for wine lovers to treat yourself to a bottle of Armagnac if you don't choose to buy it for others?

Philip S. Kampe
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com




Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pay Attention To Israeli Wines by Philip S. Kampe




                                                      


                                   Pay Attention To Israeli Wines: They Are Serious Wines

Israeli wines have a true sense of history.

From biblical times until today, (Kosher) Israeli wine has been the only standard used for religious observances- a practice dating back thousands of years.

Today, Israel has been identified by consumers and trade people as a country that, like France, has many appellations that produce regional wine with international grapes in a climate and terroir that is unique only to wines from the Middle East.

Israel, like neighboring Lebanon, is a land of micro-climates resulting from its diverse topographical variations. Wines from Galilee, Negev, Shomron, Shimshon and the Jerusalem Hills each offer unique profiles consistent with the varied climate in Israel.

Since the 1990’s, Israel has seen a positive turnaround in its wine production and facilities. With the insertion of new, up to date technology and skilled winemakers, the wine industry has been the darling of those who like both Old World wines from the Judean Hills or New World styles from Galilee.

As what is typical elsewhere in the wine world, visiting winemakers or those apprenticing come to Israel and work with the existing winemakers and share their trade secrets.

As the winemakers have always kidded about, there is no difference in flavor of Kosher wine versus that of non-Kosher wine. The winemaking process is always the same. Quality is the concern of the winemakers, not quantity, as was the rule during the last century.

The French varieties have been widely planted throughout the wine regions. The most popular varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer,  Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

High sugar levels persist in the warmer wine regions. Winemakers must maintain adequate acid levels to produce consistent wine.

Some of my favorite and easy to find or order online Israeli wines include:

2016 Galil Mountain Winery Sauvignon Blanc ($17.99)
+Aged two years in stainless and bottle. 13.5% alcohol
+ Citrus amid a burst of minerality with a lingering finish
+ Winemaker: Micha Vaadia

2014 Yarden Oden Vineyard Galilee Chardonnay  ($20.99)
+Organic, French oak aged, 13.9% alcohol
+Big, buttery vanilla focused wine with hints of apricot and banana
+Winemaker, Victor J. Schoenfeld

2014 Gilgal Galilee Sangiovese ($14.99)
+Aged for twelve months in oak barrels, this spicy volcanic wine lights up food
+14.5% alcohol. Produced in Golan Heights amid 42,000 concentric basalt rocks
+Winemaker, Victor J.Schoenfeld

2014 Yarden Golan Heights Winery Malbec ($32.99)
+Aged eighteen months in French Oak
+14.5% alcohol. Elegant, well-balanced and full-bodied.
+Winemaker, Victor J. Schoenfeld

2014 Yarden Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ($32.99)
+Aged eighteen months in French oak barrels
+14.5% alcohol. Big, tannic and tasty. Best decanted for several hours.
+Winemaker, Victor J. Schoenfeld

2014 Galil Mountain Winery Yiron ($31.99)
+Blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 7% Syrah
+Aged sixteen months in French oak
+Chocolate, vanilla, leather mixed with fruity spice and vanilla
+Interesting mixture of grapes resulting in a complex, well balanced wine
+15% alcohol
+Winemaker, Micha Vaadia

Viticulture has existed in Israel since biblical times. In the book of ‘Deuteronomy (Deut 8.8), the ‘fruit of the vine’ was listed as one of the seven blessed species of fruit found in the land of Israel. Isn’t it time to pay attention to this ‘blessed fruit?’

Philip S. Kampe

Monday, December 11, 2017

Judging Wine for TAP Airlines At 40,000 feet by Philip S. Kampe



       
                                                              


                                                    Judging Wine At 40,000 Feet
Did you know that if you fly east, you fly at an odd number altitude wise, for example, 39,000 feet, while, when you fly west, you fly at an even number, maybe 38,000 or 40, 000 feet, The pilot needs to find the sweet spot where the air is not thin (always at higher altitudes) and where there is less drag on the plane, so less fuel is needed to reach the desired speed (always at lower altitudes),   

Desired altitudes for commercial flights range from 35,000 feet to 42,000 feet.

What happens to your palate when you drink wine at those altitudes?  
Aircraft cabins are extremely dry and the drier you get, the drier your olfactory system is, which translates into your inability to translate complexity in wines. The wines you know won’t be totally unrecognizable, but, they will be new wines, in a sense, on your compromised palate. Your nasal passages are naturally dry in the air, which throws your aroma and taste buds off course. Add background noise, biorhythms, time change and flight vibration to the gamut and you are really not yourself when you sample wine on flights.

To relieve the stress of how you will perceive the wines taste, TAP airlines has a crew of ten wine experts who take all of the misguidance into account when sampling Portuguese wines to establish those few that will make the cut for your tasting pleasure onboard.

As a member of the TAP blind wine tasting team, made up of Portuguese and Brazilian wine experts, the sampling of the wines was tedious.

In a matter of three days, our team sampled over six hundred wines-all Portuguese-on the ground. The top scoring fifty vote getters, twenty-five (25) white and twenty-five (25) red were then sampled in the air, on a six hour flight, to and from Lisbon to Prague.

Each was judged and given a score. wine a score. These wines were the final cut.

There a few lessons to be learned when tasting wine at altitudes close to 40,000 feet.
First, hydrate yourself when drinking wine. A simple rule is one glass of water for each glass of wine that you drink.  Yes, dehydration coupled with alcohol is avoidable.

Two, avoid tannins. Tannins tend to become over-exaggerated in the air.

Three, wines with concentrated fruit and’ New World’ ripeness tend to be the ‘go to’ airline wines.

Four, bottle-aged reds that are tannin free work well.

Five, sparkling wine, only made in the traditional methode champenoise style fare well.

Six, let your red wine rest a few minutes, to warm up, before sampling.

Seven, always remember that the dryness of the air aboard an airliner and the low pressure in the airplane cabin combine to disrupt your taste buds that focus on salt and sweetness, but, don’t affect spicy, bitter or sour tastes.

Eight, wine doesn’t change flavors at high altitudes, our palate changes due to the re-cycling of the cabin air.

All in all, TAP Airlines puts in a lot of due diligence before selecting wines for your transatlantic flights.

Visit www.TAP.com to learn more.

Philip S. Kampe
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com




Friday, December 1, 2017

TAP-The Airline That Cares About Your Portuguese Experience by Philip S. Kampe




                                  
                          TAP-The Airline That Cares About Your Portuguese Experience





Confidence in the airline that you fly is essential.
Allegiance to that particular airline normally follows.
And if you choose correctly, similar to a life partner, the future blossoms together.

As Paul McCartney once sang, ‘It’s a long and winding road.’

And that has been the case until my discovery of TAP Airlines, a Portuguese based carrier.

Little did I know, TAP has been upping its game for years. The airline has both public and private ownership and has recently ordered fifty-three (53) Airbus jets, preparing for their promising future. (Estimates of 15.5 million passengers in 2018)

In Business class, fully flat seats have created a necessary comfort zone for those transatlantic flights.

TAP is an award-winning airline, well respected for its wine service. The broadened  selection of small producer Portuguese wines on its international routes exemplifies what Portugal is about. Five (5) Michelin Star Portuguese chefs contribute the various gourmet courses served in both Business and Economy class. Plus a handful of wine experts blind taste hundreds of wines on board the airline before choosing the wines that will be served on board. If you are unaware, wine at sea level does not taste the same in flight. The profile is different.

Abilio Martins, a TAP Marketing executive, in conjunction with his marketing staff, led by Joel Fragata, shared TAP’s vision.

Mr. Martins elaborated extensively. He said: “We, meaning Portugal, have the ‘Best Wines in the World. There are many undiscovered wines.  Believe me, its true. Portugal is a small country that has a large selection of wines, whether the wine is made with one grape or the wine is a blend. Our wines, still, are the best kept secret. Once you start drinking our wines you can’t stop. We want to show the world our wines and want to increase the sales of Portuguese wine. Each person who flies TAP should have the best opportunity to taste the best food and wine in the country. TAP wants to give our passengers the opportunity to fully understand Portugal through our in-flight food and wine experience. Its 70F today (November) and this is winter. Imagine, we have it all in Portugal. Our campaign is about modes. Its time to switch to wine tasting mode-its time to switch to food mode-its time to switch to sunny modes-Portugal is a country of many modes. Our long term goal, jointly, with the National Tourist Board is to take care of each and every tourist that visits our country. TAP’s job is to become Portugal’s flying ambassador by utilizing the wine and food experience. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring some of our Portuguese wines we served on board the flight home with you?”

After further discussion, Abilio Martins went to great length to explain that the food onboard TAP’s flights has been the creation of five Michelin Star Chefs who have chosen to cook their own and traditional Portuguese recipes. In tandem with the chefs selections, the wines, like the food, rotate every three months. A new menu with new wines four times a year helps set TAP apart from other airlines. The wines chosen by the experts blind scores are then seeked out and ultimately, the TAP plan would allow passengers to purchase these wines onboard the flight and redeem their bottles upon their airport departure. The final plan hasn’t been worked out, but, it is in the pipeline. I guess, you could say, this is the ultimate wine promotion.

The marketing staff at TAP, with Abilio Martins advice, has opened the door to a new way of doing airline business. The recently introduced ‘Stopover’ concept is a unique opportunity to visit two places for the price of one. You can do this if your flight is either a round trip or one way. If your final destination is the Azores, Algarve or Madeira, you can stop off up to five (5) nights in either Lisbon or Porto, at no extra charge. You select your destination and the number of nights with your hotel choice. Several partner restaurants at your destination will give you a bottle of wine with your meal.

Isn’t it time to fly an airline that cares about you?

Philip S. Kampe

philip.kampe@thewinehub.com  










The Wine Life-Get Involved by Philip S. Kampe

Aren’t we lucky to focus our careers and lives specifically on both the people we love and the wine world which in most cases is a big pa...