Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Finally a Pinot Grigio I Like by Philip S. Kampe

                                                          Terlato Pinot Grigio 2017

Its really been a long time since I have truly liked a Pinot Grigio to the point that I want to write about my experience. For years, Pinot Grigio wines seem to be the wines one drinks at receptions or weddings. Its been quite awhile since I have taken the initiative to purchase a bottle on my own.

Recently, a wine friend influenced my decision to purchase a bottle (under $20) of Estate Grown Pinot Grigio from Terlato Vineyards. The vineyards are in northeastern Italy, in the Fruili Colli Orientali region.
Doing a little homework on the wine before sampling the bottle, I learned that this wine was handcrafted from start to finish. The vineyards are hillside and lie on soils of schist and marl. The vines are 20-30 years old and are Guyot-trained. They are hand harvested and bottled in darker bottles to help protect the quality of the wine from the sun.

My first sip of the wine found the 2017 to be complex and crisp. Flavors of fresh fruit burst in my mouth.It was obvious to me that concentrated flavors of peach and grapefruit sang their tune, while pears and apricots pierced my palate in-between the primary notes. The combination lent itself to a floral, fruity bouguet, one that was appealing in all aspects. Layers of fruit filled my mouth which burst into a crisp, acidic finish.

This luscious wine is 13% abv and is aged 6-8 months on the yeasts with weekly battonage. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks. There is no malolactic fermentation used in the process.

As of late, this is the best Pinot Grigio I have tasted in several years. Its worth a buy and should be rated at 94 points.
Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Experience by Philip S. Kampe

                The San Miguel de Allende Experience

(We took a little break from the wine world for a  month or so to see what the world has to offer, tourist wise. We traveled to California, New Orleans and Mexico. This article is on one of the highlights of our travels)

San Miguel de Allende was the first town in Mexico, that I visited that was home to a large number of ex-pats. Close to twenty per cent of the population, or about 28,000 retires from America plus thousands from Canada line the cobblestone streets in numbers, searching for cultural events, restaurants, outdoor markets and that street side taco stand. Besides all of the above, San Miguel is an artistic learning center, full of art related lectures that educate and stimulate the mind, strolling musicians, opera, flamingo and musical entertainment in a hefty number of restaurants and bars. Many of the ex-pats are artists or are on their way to becoming artists. Every block has art galleries,some owned by ex-pats and others owned by locals.

If art is your thing, then San Miguel de Allende should be on your bucket list.

A multitude of art studios and art galleries dot the colorful town in all of the districts. The houses and businesses are all painted in similar dark red, brown and orange colors, making this town of 140,000 unique.

If you desire to visit or even move to San Miguel, the easiest route to visit this elegant town is to fly into Mexico City. Once at the airport, you will prepay a taxi vendor to book a taxi that will take you to the Norte bus station. It’s a 20-30 minute drive that will set you back $10-$15 dollars. At the bus station, you must book a bus to San Miguel de Allende. There are two reputable companies that vie for the four hour ride. Both ETN and Primera Plus follow the same route. It’s always best to take the next bus that is leaving.

Once in San Miguel, another taxi will be required to get you to your destination. Ours was a weeks stay at a penthouse above the popular Arroyo Gallery, located within walking distance of everything in San Miguel.

The owner of the penthouse and studio is Suzy Taylor, an ex-pat, who most recently (2007) lived in Washington Depot, Connecticut. Like so many others, she realized that San Miguel would fill her dream of opening a working studio and gallery. After purchasing land, Suzy Taylor designed the 3,000 sf multi-purpose building. Her dream became reality.

Today, Ms.Taylor, is a successful gallery owner that not only paints, but, designs clothes, focusing on women’s blouses ($85-$200) and furniture, which is made by local artisans. She also has a line of  jewelry that she sells.

Suzy’s background is in interior design. She was a photo stylist and magazine editor for Victoria Magazine and other publications. Her painting career has evolved through the years. Focusing on light, airy colors and composition, Suzy’s artwork is like none other in San Miguel.

The third floor penthouse that we stayed in was breathtaking, both inside and out. The views of the city, with its architecture and countless steeples could not have been better. A beautiful silhouette of the city could be seen from inside the penthouse. There are two outside terraces, as well, to take in the scenery while having a cocktail on the veranda. We preferred to hear the birds sing as we took breakfast on the covered terrace. The apartment has a galley kitchen, a coffee maker (coffee beans and milk provided) and a two burner hotplate with utensils as needed. With so many restaurants within walking distance,why cook?

San Miguel has happy hours daily. Normally 2x1 Margaritas are the prize. The Margaritas are not made with a mix. They are only made with two parts of Tequila, one part lime juice and one part Contreau (you can use triple sec).

With a Mardi Gras attitude and art mixed with local architecture, San Miguel is hard to beat.
Beware--Summers are very hot.

If you want to stay at Suzy Taylor’s penthouse or visit her studio at Arroyo Gallery, visit her at

                                                                 Arroyo Gallery

                                                       Artist Suzy Taylor, at work.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Piper-Heidsieck Flows Liberally At The 2019 Oscar Party by Philip S. Kampe

Let me be honest.

I attend Oscar parties, not for the nominated movie announcements, but, for the Champagne. This is the fifth year, Piper-Heidsieck is the Champagne of choice at the 91st Oscars, which takes place on February 24th. Fortunately, thanks to contacts in the industry, I received an invite to view the live announcements from Hollywood.

The announcement party takes place at a popular iPic theater in Manhattan, where the seats have tables-sorta like boxes at concerts. Champagne, at each table is flowing as we watch the big screen with the announcements.

I was a bit surprised that the hosts, Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis, making the Oscar announcement did not have a glass of the red labeled Piper-Heidsieck Champagne in their hands.

My Piper Heidsieck days go back to Cannes Film Festival (1999) when Piper-Heidsieck started their twenty year run as the official Champagne of the festival. My father remembers seeing Rex Harrison standing next to a 48 liter bottle of Piper-Heidsieck in 1964, celebrating his role in ‘My Fair Lady.’

Historically, Piper-Heidsieck, originally supported the cinema in 1933, when a bottle appeared in a Laurel and Hardy movie, ‘Sons of the Desert.’ The first bottle of Piper Heidsieck was created for the Queen in 1785. The brand has always been synonymous with quality and excellence.

The 2019 Oscar nominations ran the gamut, from predictable, ‘A Star Is Born’ to new wave, home viewing movies like ‘Roma.’ Other nominations for Best Picture included, ‘Vice’, ‘BlackKlansman’, Green Book’, Black Panther’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘The Favourite.’

For the 91st Oscar nominations, Piper-Heidsieck created a limited edition magnum-which you can see in the photo. It is being  held by MC Michael Green (the guy in the red and gold jacket..)

The Oscar nominations each year carry a lot of surprises, Noticeable milestones this year included the ‘Black Panther’, the first Marvel Studio movie and the first superhero movie to receive a Best picture nomination. Popular, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ was passed over, as was Bradley Cooper for Best director in ‘A Star Is Born.’ And last, but not least, Netflix streaming movie, ‘Roma,’ received ten Oscar nominations.

The 91st Academy Awards take place at 8pm (EST) on ABC.
Make sure your Piper-Heidsieck is chilling…

Philip S. Kampe 
                                                         The Oscar Party Begins

                                                                 MC Michael Green
                          Working on this article at home, with my Favorite Beverage.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Whats worse? Drinking Beer From a Tennis Can or Drinking Wine from a Pringles Can? by Philip S. Kampe

  Whats worse? Drinking beer from a tennis can or drinking wine from a Pringles can?

I am a copycat wine drinker.

Most people believe that I listen to my own drummer. And that really is the case, but, in certain circumstances, I follow someone else’s beat.

In this instance, a Texas woman was banned from Walmart for life because she drank wine from a Pringles potato chip container, while riding around a Walmart parking lot in an electric shopping cart. Mind you, she was caught at six thirty in the morning. Witnesses noticed her driving in circles and attempting wheelies for an hour or so before being apprehended..

This monumental event didn’t go unnoticed by me. It brought up a lot of questions, while raising my curiosity about this woman’s resourcefulness.

What I want to know: What flavor of Pringles potato chips (BBQ, Spicy, Original) container did she drink from? What type of wine was her preference? Did she clean the Pringles container out first or did she leave the residue inside the canister?

With all of these unanswered questions, I took to the task and set up my experiment during the Sunday football playoffs.

Having grown up in New Orleans, I have to admit that I am experienced with drinking beer from tennis ball cans. I’m guessing that the rubbery canned odor will be much worse then drinking wine from a Pringles can. The rubbery scent is foul. The Pringles odors vary, but, in a good sense.

One of my wine friends and Master Sommelier, Fred Dexheimer, suggested that I start my experiment with a Riesling. Apparently, he has had some prior experience with Pringles and wine somewhere in his illustrious career. Freed sets up bars and restaurants with unique spirit and wine concoctions.

My experiment began with two BBQ Pringles cans. Both cans were emptied. One was washed with water, the other was left with the debris (powder) from the chips. I pored half a bottle of Riesling in each canister. Apparently, a Pringle canister can hold a full bottle of wine and have room to spare. That was my first finding. Secondly, I put the transparent lid on top of each canister and turned each can upside down. No leaks.

Maybe I was onto something?

I turned both cans upright, It was time.

I drank from the clean can first. The aroma was noticeable-a vibrant BBQ odor that was mixed with honeysuckle and orange blossom. It didn’t turn me off, but, quite the opposite, it intrigued my palate. I was now ready to drink from the BBQ Pringles can. No surprises here. The Weingut Maximin Grunhaus Herrenberg Riesling 2016 was as fruity as ever. The 50mg of sugar disappeared and was replaced with a faint smoky taste. Could that be the BBQ potato chips or just part of the wine? 

I sampled the second can, with the residue and believed that the results were the same, residue and all. The next sampling was an obvious pairing, pizza Pringles with  Chianti.
The classic twosome were like a match made in heaven. The Ruffino Ducale Chianti Classico Reserva 2015 was well balanced, velvety on the palate with hints of rosemary and tomato sauce on the palate. Did a hint of tomato sauce sneak its way into my mouth by way of the Pringles can? To answer this question, I went one step further. I poured a glass of the Chianti in a wine glass and proceeded to sample. What disappeared was the tomato sauce flavor. It was replaced with rosemary, an herb that normally dominates whatever it comes in contact with.

What I have learned from this experiment: Drinking wine from Pringles cans does add nuisances to a wines flavor. If you are not satisfied with a wine that you buy, try drinking it from a non-rinsed Pringles canister. Your results will vary, of course.

note: Save your empty Pringles cans and use them as wine glasses for your next together or experiment on your own.

                                                                   Philip S.Kampe


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ferraton Pere & Fils 2015 Saint-Joseph 'La Source' at $30 Is a 'True Bargain' Rhone Valley Wine by Philip S. Kampe

Ferraton Pere & Fils, headed by onenologist Damien Brisset has scored a true ’tour de force’ with the 2015 Saint-Joseph ($30). The northern Rhone Valley, known for Syrah, has come to life with another of Ferraton Pere & Fils value wines. 

Normally, I drink the reasonably priced Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu. It’s a great wine to keep as a ‘go to’ everyday wine. But, at $30 and from the acclaimed 2015 vintage, why not splurge for the Saint-Joseph ‘La Source’ to start 2019 off.

I am glad I did.

Ferraton Pere & Fils (FPF from now on) was established in the center of Hermitage in 1946 by Jean Orens Ferraton. As the years went on, son, Michel, grew the estate to include plots in Saint-Joseph, as well as Crozes Hermitage.

Today, respected wine producer, Michel Chapoutier owns the property, but, has given the reigns to Damien Brisset to run the property independently.

Since 2015, all of the FPF  properties have become certified biodynamic.
Organic farming began in 1998.

The 2015 vintage in the Rhone Valley was considered by many as an ‘epic year.’ The conditions were perfect, warm and abundantly sunny days and just enough rain to precede an unusually long growing season. The end result was a bounty of exceptional 2015 vintage wines.

The 2015 Saint-Joseph embodies what determined grapes with an exceptional winemaker can achieve. Barrel aged for over a year (10% new oak) and deep in color (ruby), this mineral laden, spicy wine with an extremely long finish, drinks like a $60 counterpart.

FPF is known for high quality wines at value price points. The 2015 Saint-Joseph ‘La Source’ has well achieved M. Chapoutier’s goal.

If you are ever in the Rhone Valley and want to visit the winery or possibly meet Damien Brisset, visit their website:  or call +33 (0)475 08 59 51

Philip S. Kampe 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Wairau River-New Zealand's Top Family Estate Winery Blossoms In Both Wine and Food Venues by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley

                                                                Dave Kenny

                                                                  Cellar Door


While visiting New Zealand we stumbled onto Wairau River Winery, a winery that was established in 1978 (first vines planted) by Phil (love that name) and Chris Rose.

Today, in 2019, their five children (many are adults) and extended family pitch in to run this family owned estate in the world famous Marlborough region.

The Wairau Valley is extensive and is surrounded by the Awatere and Southern Valleys.  Once you drive out of Blenheim, all you can see are vines.I was told that nearly half of the vines in the Marlborough wine region exist in three valleys, where the Wairau River meets the Pacific Ocean. The Richmond Mountains in the North separate the region while the Wither Hills in the south protect the region from the nearby harsh weather elements that cause havoc.
The Wairau Valley is mainly flat.

Wairau River winery is home to Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling,  Pinot Noir and Syrah.

Naturally, Sauvignon Blanc is the most important grape in the region. The first vines were planted in 1973. Today, the demand has grown to the point that in years to come, the demand will outgrow the supply. In other words, there is no room to plant any new Sauvignon Blanc seedlings.

Historically, wine has been made in New Zealand for the past two hundred years. The European immigrants jump started the industry about a hundred years ago, while most recently, within the past twenty years, the focus on the cool climate grapes paired with modern technology has put New Zealand on the map. White varietals thrive alongside Pinot Noir.

Although the Rose’s planted their first grapes in 1978, it was not until 1991 that they released their first vintage. The years prior, they sourced their grapes to other vineyards. Being pioneers in the industry, Phil and Chris Rose have made the most out of this prestigious wine region. Marlborough wines are known for their intensity of flavor due to the cool climate, which was mentioned earlier. Low yields and ripe estate fruit define Wairau River wines.

Wairau River means ‘a hundred waters’ and on the banks of the river, known for its stone and silt, the Rose’s winegrowing days began. Today, they own 500 acres. They only use the finest grapes for their wines, focusing on –you guessed it-Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

The Rose dynasty estate covers nine (9) vineyards in the Rapaura appellation of Marlborough. According to Export Manager,  Dave Kenny of Wairau River, the Rose’s had their pick of the region in the late 70’s and chose wisely where to plant their vines. Early success led to expansion, followed by sustainable farming practices.  Protecting the environmental integrity of Wairau River has long been the path for ‘Green Country’ traditions and a credo of New Zealand wine production.

Beside sampling Wairau River’s bread and butter, Sauvigon Blanc and Pinot Noir, wine extraordinaire Dave Kenny shared an amazing batch of Wairau River wines with us. The Pinot Gris, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay stood out.

We had the opportunity to sample numerous reserve wines with our lunch at the popular ‘Cellar Door’ restaurant, adjacent to the winery. Tables inside and out-next to the vines- enhanced the Wairau River wine experience.

My lunch consisted of an amazing seafood chowder that paired perfectly with Pinot Gris, a wine that Wairau River exports to the states and is distributed by Terlato (they import Pinot Noir, as well).

On Dave Kenny’s recommendation, my wife, Maria, ordered a double baked blue cheese soufflé, which was so decadent that I had to ask Dave for the recipe.

Double Baked Blue Cheese Souffle

6 ounces of butter
4 ounces of plain flour
24 ounces of whole milk
9 ounces of strong blue cheese
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
10 egg whites
6 egg yolks
Pinch of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter
Add flour and cook to blond color
Whisk in milk and simmer
Add salt and pepper
Add cheese and melt in
Turn heat off stove and let cool for three minutes
Transfer mix into a bowl and whisk in egg yolks
Whip egg white until ribbon stage
Fold in egg whites

Grease ramekins and fill to ¾
Place in water bath and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes
Take out of oven and let cool
Put on serving dish when ready

To reheat:
Slightly cover soufflé with cream and put in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes
Souffle should be puffy and colored when serving
Add mescalin salad and sliced pair with toasted walnuts as garnish on side
Top with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper vinaigrette

The Cellar Door Restaurant is where you may have the opportunity to meet Phil and Chris Rose. Rumor has it that Phil pops in each morning to have his morning tea. The relaxing atmosphere of the Cellar Door is where I want to be.

What could be better then pairing Wairau River wines with double baked blue cheese soufflé?


Wairau River Wines 
phone +64 03 5727850
address: 264 Rapaura Road  RD3  Blenheim, New Zealand 

Terlato Wines (Wairai River importer)
phone: +1 847 444 5500


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bila-Haut-Two 2017 Languedoc Wines Under $15 Worth Trying by Philip S. Kampe

                       Bila-Haut- Two Outstanding Under $15 Languadoc Wines

Each year I am psyched to try the new vintage of Michael Chapoutier’s ‘Bila-Haut’ Cotes du Roussillon wines. The vintage I sampled is the 2017 and is from the Bila-Haut, located in the best part of the Languedoc called the Cotes du Roussillon.  This special area was originally planted by the Greek Mariners and was known for making top quality wines.

The cross on the label signifies that there was once a house of refuge for the Knights Templar at the House of Bila-where the estate is located.  The hills contain 40+ year old vines that are managed for low yields with sustainable farming practices. The result, as in the 2017 yield equates to high quality fruit yield.

Three varietals grow on the property of Bila-Haut, Syrah, for its strength, spice and aromas, Carignan for its minerality and crisp tannins and Grenache for its bag of tricks. The other varietal used for the white wine is Macabeu, which is grown on another property owned by Chapoutier. The wines reflect the terroir that is influenced by the constant winds of the Midi. The grapes are hand harvested, then given full attention by the Chapoutier team.

2017 Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillion (white) is a crowd pleasing wine. Its pale yellow hue and smoky citrus bouquet opens into a mouth full of pleasure, highlighted by a huge dose of fresh, crisp acidity with brine overtones. Made from a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeu, this vintage will please all levels of wine drinkers.

2017 Bila-Haut Cots du Roussillion Villages (red) is an interesting wine whose grapes, Syrah, Grenache and Carignan grow on the slopes of the schist laden, higher altitude, Agly Valley. In your glass the wine has a deep, dark, garnet hue. Strong aromas of dark cherries fill the glass, making way for a heavy beast of a wine that is well-structured and fleshy. The wine reminds me somewhat of a Sagrantino from Umbria-its raw, warm and mimicks the schist’s heat of the terroir.

  Philip S. Kampe            

Finally a Pinot Grigio I Like by Philip S. Kampe

                                                          Terlato Pinot Grigio 2017 Its really been a long time since I have truly li...