Sunday, March 27, 2011

FONGOLI...MONTEFALCO'S "BEST WINES" ...by Philip S. Kampe

Who would imagine feeling like you are in Montefalco (Umbria) drinking Italy's BEST Umbrian wines at a restaurant in New York on a cold, windy, wintry, yet sunny day in early Spring. Thanks to AMELIA DURAND (PR) and NATHAN WASHBURN of Sherbrooke Cellars http://www.sherbrookecellars.com/ I lived the Italian DREAM at one of New York's PREMIER Italian restaurants, CARAVAGGIO (23 East 74th..212-288-1004). ANGELO and LETEZIA FONGOLI, the 30 year old husband and wife team, owners and winemakers of FONGOLI Vineyards, http://www.fongoli.com/ hosted a luncheon to show off their new Vintages. In October of 2010, I visited FONGOLI and witnessed ANGELO'S wine making passion, first-hand. I toured the vineyard, thanks to BRIAN and MARIA DORE (both International OPERA stars) and AMELIA DURAND, tasted barrel samples and learned about the terroir, family history and the culture surrounding the gentle hills of the MONTEFALCO region. This peaceful and fertile winegrowing area produces the prestigious MONTEFALCO SAGRANTINO (DOCG) and MONTEFALCO ROSSO (DOC) wines. The FONGOLI Family has been making wine for over 80 years. Their 100 acre property includes 60 acres of vineyards and 40 acres devoted to olive oil and walnut groves. An ANTIQUE farmhouse, located in the center of the estate, hosts wine tastings and typical, regional Umbrian meals for guests.
The FONGOLI Family cooks and serves original recipes paired perfectly with their wines. Speaking of wines from FONGOLI, ANGELO and LETEZIA FONGOLI poured their " MAGICAL" Wines, which set the STANDARD for wines from MONTEFALCO. Paired with the 'Classic Italian' food from CARAVAGGIO, the MONTEFALCO SAGRANTINO D.O.C.G. (Vigna Del Sospiri), hand picked, late harvest (mid-October), Slavonic oak barrel aged (36 months) wine was PERFECT in all aspects. The 2006 MONTEFALCO SAGRANTINO D.O.C.G. was deep garnet in color with an elegant nose of dark red fruit, followed by long tannins, with hints of raspberries, chocolate and strawberries on the palate. At 14.5% alcohol, this was possibly the BEST wine from Montefalco that I have ever tasted. Next was the BEST WINE BUY from Montefalco, Fongoli's 2009 MONTEFALCO ROSSO D.O.C. This 13.5% alcohol blended wine ( Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Merlot and Montepulciano) was off the charts with flavor and charm. Aged for 18 months in Slavonian barrels, this ruby red wine was elegant, smooth and red fruit oriented, followed by a hint of blueberries and vanilla. I always lean towards the values of ROSSO wines and this wine is a true BARGAIN. Not to be upstaged by Montefalco Sagrantino D.O.C.G. and Montefalco Rosso D.O.C., the MONTEFALCO ROSSO RESERVA D.O.C., is an EXTRAORDINARY wine that is made from a blend of Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Barbera and Merlot. At 13.5% alcohol, this elegant wine is rich in tannins, complex and distinctive. It is a perfect match for savory red meats, beef stews and cow's milk cheese. All wines from FONGOLI are available at your local wine merchant. If not, ask for FONGOLI wines by name. My friends buy FONGOLI wines from ZACYS wines at http://www.zachys.com/ PHILIP S. KAMPE philip.kampe@thewinehb.com


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