Sunday, October 30, 2011

The LURTON FAMILY HERITAGE of WINEMAKING Comes Together for the FIRST Time in a REUNION WINE Event by Philip S. Kampe

When you mention the name LURTON in the wine world, it seems that everybody has a different response. Obviously with 15 FAMILY members in the wine business and 12 present at the LURTON REUNION at Restaurant BENOIT in Manhattan, it is hard to focus on just one of the winemakers talents in the LURTON Family.

Imagine what the name LURTON means to the WINE WORLD. On one afternoon I tasted wines from the following Family Members who were present at this "Once In A Lifetime Reunion Event" in New York:
MARC Lurton
CHRISTINE Lurton de Caix
ANDRE Lurton
DENIS Lurton

"THE LURTON FAMILY NAME IS ALSO A LEGITIMATE WINE BRAND" says JACQUES Lurton. The LURTON du VIN Family history started in the 1880's and is blossoming today.

At the Event I tasted 27 Red Wines, 5 White Wines, 3 Roses and 2 Barsac-Sauternes.

The wines were produced in 7 different countries that included FRANCE, ARGENTINA, CHILE, PORTUGAL, URUGUAY, SPAIN and AUSTRALIA.

What I learned was that the LURTON Family Members are all EXCEPTIONAL WINEMAKERS. From smaller plots to WORLD DOMINATION by Francois Lurton (his wines are made in 5 countries), the QUALITY and PRICE ratio create Consumer Awareness regarding the LURTON Legacy.

According to the LURTON Family, "You won't find a group like ours, anywhere else.
We're the ONLY family in the world to have so many of its members all working in the wine industry. While each has their own individual business, synergies between these different branches of the family tree naturally occur from time to time. By working together, like this, we like to think we're giving those within our industry a clearer insight into our Individual differences, in terms of who we are and what we do. Our Family's involvement in such a high caliber range of business activities makes us extremely PROUD of what we produce. We're delighted to share our passion for wine with you".

LUCIEN and ANDRE LURTON, with very distinct personalities have influenced the way the LURTON Family has expanded.

ANDRE gave up ownership of the Estate to his heirs. His two sons, JACQUES and FRANCOIS, commonly known as the 'FLYING WINEMAKERS from LURTON', have taken on the International scene. Together, they have opened wineries in LANGUEDOC, SPAIN,
PORTUGAL, URUGUAY, ARGENTINA, CHILE and AUSTRALIA. LUCIEN distributed his properties to his TEN children in 1992. He took the complex task of dividing his properties among his children very seriously. Each family member received a portion of several Chateau's.

Personality, respect for nature, high standards, independence and performance are the
essential characteristics of the LURTON Family. The LURTON Family has found the right balance between affordable wines of reliable quality and limited production versus terroir customer driven wines.

A true example are the wines of FRANCOIS LURTON. FRANCOIS is the owner of FIVE unique wineries in FIVE different countries in both hemispheres in the world. His passion includes the desire to make fine wines that reflect their unique terroir.

Among FRANCOIS Wines that I will review in a later article are:
LE PAS DE LA MULE 2007 AOC Cotes du Roussillon Villge (France)

When you purchase wines from the LURTON Family, you are purchasing a piece of HISTORY!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

San Patrignano: 31 years on the side of life.

In 1978, Vincenzo Muccioli, along with a group of friends who wanted to take concrete action to combat marginalization and drug addiction, welcomed the first group of young people into a house his family ownedin the hills above Rimini. This was a pioneering experiment, undertaken to fight a tragic phenomenon that was clearly visible in every piazza of Italy, but which had met with no structured response from the government. In its early years, the Community had to struggle to keep up with constant pleas for help from desperate families. Muccioli believed strongly in freedom from drug use and was prepared to make a commitment to making it happen. Kidnapping charges were brought against him, along with other volunteers, for having chained up several residents at their own request, to keep them from leaving the Community and going back to drugs. The “chains trial” came to a close in the mid-1980s with a full acquittal, including in the Court of Cassation, due in part to the mobilization of civil society.

 By 1982, San Patrignano was home to approximately 200 people, mostly housed in trailers. Around the central core of the farmhouse the first workshops, livestock areas, and gardens sprang up, to give everyone the chance to channel their skills and find strength and motivation in daily work. San Patrignano, in the meantime, gained official recognition from the Italian government as a foundation and charity, to which Vincenzo and his family donated all their real estate. The Community opened separate locations in Novafeltria and Trento. In 1992, it had a total of approximately 2000 residents.

San Patrignano expanded and improved its facilities: bedrooms and outbuildings were built, as well as a vast new dining hall and equestrian centre. Construction also began on a multipurpose–medical centre to combat AIDS, which had begun to reap victims from among the young residents.

In 1990, Muccioli contributed to the drafting of the Iervolino-Vassalli bill, which reiterated the illegal nature of druguse. But in March 1993, after accusations by a former resident regarding a crime committed at San Patrignano in 1988, the Community found itself back in the spotlight and Muccioli
was charged with complicity to commit murder. Investigations found that this crime had been carried out years earlier by a small group of residents whose activities those in charge had been unaware of - an insular, self-contained little band carrying out acts of tyranny and violence. At the trial in 1994 Muccioli was acquitted of the manslaughter charge and sentenced to eight months for aiding and abetting the crime, for having failed to report the perpetrators in order not to break the confidential agreement he had with them. The Court emphasized the high human andsocial value of his work.
However, on 19 September 1995, deeply embittered and exhausted by controversies and accusations, Vincenzo died. The continued life of the Community, which had been called into question by many politicians and commentators, was ensured by his son Andrea, who took up his father’s difficult legacy
together with staff members and volunteers already working there permanently.

In 1996 the first “Vincenzo Muccioli Challenge” international show jumping competition was
held, with the world’s top riders taking part. The following year, the Community received certification as a non-governmental organization (NGO) and the status of Special Consultant to the Economic and  Social Councilof the United Nations.

In 2002 and 2004, along with other major volunteer organizations and private social institutions, San Patrignano organized and managed the national drug abuse prevention campaigns for the Prime Minister’s office. There was an increase in the number of new residents who had never taken drugs intravenously, but in other ways, and the Community had to fine tune its model of integration and recovery. The positive results achieved were demonstrated by numerous independent studies, which found the rate of full recovery after the educational program to be 73 percent. In 2004 the Community conceived and held the first “Squisito!” food and wine show, dedicated to showcasing excellence in the field of food and hospitality, an event that was to be repeated every year. Moreover, it hosted events and conferences for important organizations incivil society.

Every year, thousands of students and professionals from Italy and around the world come to learn more about San Patrignano, which has also increased its contact with the internet through websites presenting its institutional initiatives and prevention projects. In 2005, the first European show
jumping championship was held at the equestrian centre, with the active participation of all the Community residents. The following year, the Schwab Foundation, organiser of the Davos World Economic Forum, awarded Andrea Muccioli the title “Social Entrepreneur of the

2006 marked the start of the 2You project, conceived by San Patrignano and implemented in 20 cities around Italy. The goal of these centers, which are managed in partnership with five major associations, is to contribute to the education of school-aged young people, while fighting social problems and the
dropout phenomenon.

 San Patrignano’s prevention work also includes the presentation, in twelve Italian regions, of
theatrical performances based on peer-to-peer education. These shows, organized in agreement with schools, have been seen by tens of thousands of students. From 2007 to 2008, thousands of students and Italian and international professionals visited the community, which expanded its Internet contacts with websites providing information about its institutional activities and prevention projects.

San Patrignano celebrates the 30th anniversary of its foundation. Since ’78, the community has welcomed over 20,000 young people, 70% of whom have been fully reintegrated into society.
Starting in October 2009, San Patrignano’s education activities will become “WeFree”. This new name better conveys the true meaning of “our brand” of prevention: helping kids grow up conscious of their
responsibilities with respect for themselves and others, avoiding all forms of addiction.

Mission and
guiding values.
  • Providing a heartfelt welcome and recovery to socially marginalized individuals and drug addicts without any social, political or religious discrimination whatsoever.
  • Offering the service completely free of charge to those taken in and their families, without any form of government subsidy.
  • Freeing residents from any type of addiction and/or social exclusion through individual recovery programs, based on values such as dignity, honesty, responsibility and respect for oneself and for others.
  • Using professional training programs as a tool to enable the complete re-integration into society of Community residents.
  • Carrying out drug prevention initiatives aimed at young people adopting a ‘peer education’ approach through real-life stories and video and web tools.
  • Raising funds through its own production and manufacturing activities, as well as public and private funding, in order to fulfill its mission.
To learn more about this wonderful cause:
Follow San Patrignano on Twitter:!/SanPatrignano

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Life on the Douro screenings in Los Angeles, San Francisco and at the Toronto Portuguese Film Festival and Paso Robles Film Festival

Life on the Douro will be screening in LA and San Francisco on November 15 and 17, respectively, followed by a tasting of some of the best Port and still wines produced in the region. Doors open at 6 PM, the film will start at 6:30, presented by director Zev Robinson, followed by a Q&A, and a wine tasting presented by Oscar Quevedo, marketing director for the Quevedo winery, and Roy Hersh of, one of the world's leading experts of Port and Douro wines. Luiz Alberto of who was part of the 10 day For the Love of Port trip tailor made for my activities, will give invaluable behind-the-scenes support and insights.

The venues are:

Chaplin Theater and Raleigh Cafe,
Raleigh Studios
5300 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90038
Tickets are $32.00 and can be purchased here -

Delancey Street San Francisco
Screening Room and Private Club
600 Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tickets are $32.00 and can be purchased here -

Just before that, on Saturday, November 12, Life on the Douro will be showing at the Toronto International Portuguese Film Festival
and the following Saturday, November 19, at Paso Robles Film Festival (exact time TBA) -

Directing this film has been one of the great experiences of my life, the Douro is one of the wonders of the world that should be seen at least once in a lifetime, and Portugal is a country that deserves to be much better known.

Zev Robinson
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Champagne - Learn some basic facts to better appreciate #ChampagneDay

REMEMBER: Champagne is the sparkling wine that comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France!

 #ChampagneDay everyday!!!

Learn some basic facts to better appreciate #ChampagneDay:
NV (Non-vintage) Champagnes:
a blend of wines from several years. Fresh and light they are perfect as an aperitif.

Vintage Champagnes:
are produced exclusively from the wines of a single harvest. As a result, producers will only declare a vintage in exceptionally good years. With very few exceptions, these are always the "best value" for every producer.

Salon is a very special House. They only produce Vintage Champagne; their Prestige Cuvee Salon Le Mesnil. A Grand Cru (from Mesnil-sur-Oger) that is also a Blanc des Blancs.

Rose Champagnes:
are produced by macerating the black grapes or by adding locally produced red wine to the blend (usually 8-15% - most houses follow this method).

Veuve Clicquot was the first champagne House to commercialise rose champagne in 1775. Today they produce a pink champagne with a delightfully luscious, fruit-based charm.

Special (Prestige) Cuvees:
are made from the most subtle and distinctive wines - whether vintage or not; whether regular or rose - these are the finest Champagnes

Blanc de Blancs:
A blend of white (Chardonnay) grapes only.

Krug's Clos de Mesnil (a single historic vineyard , enclosed by a wall since 1698) is the supreme example of this style.

Blanc de Noirs:
From black grapes. Pinot Noir only or Pinot Noir blended with Pinot Meunier.

Bollinger is the producer famed for a blanc the noirs of intense richness and a full body.

Sweetness Level

accounts for over 95% percent of Champagnes (0-15 grams of residual sugar).

Good producers: (due to the wide range of sugar in this category we will divide it in two):

Especially dry (0-9 grams): Krug - Alfred Gratien - Jacquesson - Bruno Paillard

Quite dry (10-15 grams): Philipponnat - Pol Roger - Veuve Clicquot - Pommery - Deutz - Lanson - Perrier-Jouet - Ruinart - Charles Heidsieck - Mumm - Louis Roederer - Taittinger

Extra Brut (san-dosage):
differ from Bruts in their drier taste (0-6 gr. of sugar).

Good producers: Jacquesson - Laurent-Perrier

Extra Dry (extra sec):
from quite dry to off-dry (12-20 gr. of sugar)

Good producers: Perrier-Jouet - Lanson- Moet & Chandon

A very unusual style - Medium dry (17-35 gr. of sugar)

Good producers: Veuve Clicquot

the sweetest of the champagnes produced today* (35-50 gr. of residual sugar).

Good producers: Veuve Clicquot - Louis Roederer - Laurent-Perrier* There is one more level of sweetness: Doux (Sweet), with a residual sugar over 50gr. The style that all Champagnes used to be produced in the past, but that no major House produces today.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

“Morellino Week” in the US

The Consorzio Tutela Morellino di Scansano DOCG concluded its first tour of the United States last Friday, wrapping up a whirlwind week of press and trade appointments in Chicago, New York City and Miami. Local wine experts in each of the cities led educational seminars about the wines of the Morellino di Scansano DOCG region. The seminars were followed by the Grand Tasting in each city, where the producers showcased their wines and met members of the wine press and trade.

The “Morellino Week” tour guided members of the US wine trade and press in their exploration and knowledge of this distinctive area of Tuscany, and tastings to discuss the wines representative of the region's signature variety, Sangiovese. The first seminar in Chicago was lead by wine expert, Tom Hyland at the Hotel Sax. In New York City, the Consorzio participated in the Vinitaly World Tour at the Metropolitan Pavilion on Wednesday, October 19th, where Robin Kelley O'Connor presented the seminar. The final leg of the tour took the Morellino di Scansano Consortium to Miami, to the Fontainebleau Hotel on Friday, October 21st. Wine educator Charlie Arturaola presented the lively seminar.

Morellino di Scansano is a fresh, contemporary, full-bodied and versatile wine that is well-priced and has begun to capture the fascination of American wine drinkers.The Morellino di Scansano area is one of 11 DOCGs situated in Tuscany, one of Italy's hidden gems. As throughout much of Tuscany, the predominant grape variety of Morellino di Scansano is Sangiovese, but the wines of Morellino di Scansano differ from those Sangiovese-based red wines made elsewhere in Tuscany due to the distinctive ripeness levels that the grape can achieve in southern Tuscany, where Scansano sits.

Morellino di Scansano is produced in the hilly area of the province of Grosseto, between the Ombrone and Albegna rivers. It includes the entire community of Scansano and parts of Manciano, Magliano in Toscana, Grosseto, Campagnatico, Semproniano and Roccalbegna.

Morellino di Scansano wines are all made from at least 85% Sangiovese grapes. The remaining 15% can be indigenous varieties such as Alicante or Ciliegiolo or international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

As Philip Kampe said in his article, "MORELLINO di SCANSANO is my new red wine of choice. Pretty strange, considering only a week ago, I knew very little about the wines!!"

To learn more about MORELLINO di SCANSANO, visit:

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are CORKS "BETTER than SCREW TOPS? by Philip S. Kampe

You throw a big dinner party. You serve wine from a SCREW TOP bottle. Your guests look at each other, expecting the ROMANCE of a cork. You open the bottle and the odor of cabbage fills the air? Sound familiar?

That is because the wine has been contaminated with DIMETHYL SULFIDE (DMS), a compound associated with the pungent aromas of canned corn, old oysters and cabbage.
Not an odor a dinner party patron desires!

Aren't SCREW TOPS able to eliminate wine faults? Well yes, but, they don't. Studies have shown that the air-tight seal that screw caps create actually INCREASES the likelihood and potency of DMS.

A 2010 study of California SAUVIGNON BLANCS found wines with SCREW CAPS had an average DMS concentration more than TWICE as high as wines using CORK. A 2007 survey of Australian and New Zealand SAUVIGNON BLANCS concluded that the DMS concentration was nearly THREE times as high among wines with SCREW CAPS versus CORKS.

The evidence from both surveys, which was conducted by the CORK QUALITY COUNCIL, strongly suggests that natural CORK closures with higher oxygen permeability protect better against excessive formation of DMS.

Isn't the notorious "Cork Taint" a major problem? The "Cork Taint" or TCA transforms the aroma of wine sealed with CORK into the stench of moldy newspapers. The answer is NO.

It once was a major problem, but, the winemakers and cork manufacturers invested Millions of dollars to develop new quality control measures and processing technology. Today, studies commonly show that 99% of wines sealed with REAL CORK from a reputable supplier are TCA FREE.

The virtual elimination of TCA and the likelihood of DMS contamination in wines with SCREW TOPS help to explain why winemakers overwhelmingly prefer 'Natural CORK'.

Of course the study was done by the CORK QUALITY COUNCIL. It makes you think!

+(As a side note, I prefer CORK because you can't go fishing with SCREW TOPS)+


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Faces & Places" - EWBC 2011

A little movie with some pictures taken during EWBC 2011 in Italy. Good memories...

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Wine & Art in Italy - This is where Zev and I have been so far...

We visited 7 wine regions during 11 (wonderful) days in Italy... 
"Wine & Art" - The adventure begins!


Trivignano Udinese - Friuli

San Floriano del Collio

Farra d'Isonzo, Friuli

Cà de Noci
Quattro Castella, Emilia-Romagna

Ospedaletto di Rimini, Emilia-Romagna

Bardolino, Veneto

Desenzano del Garda, Veneto

  Alba, Piedmont

 Monforte d'Alba, Piedmont

Monforte d'Alba, Piedmont

Monforte d'Alba, Piedmont


Florence, Tuscany

 Chianti Classico region, Tuscany

Sienna, Tuscany

Sienna, Tuscany 

Montalcino, Tuscany

Montalcino, Tuscany

Torgiano, Umbria

Torgiano, Umbria 

 Assisi, Umbria 

Orvietto, Umbria

The pictures are being posted on my facebook and google+ pages daily.

And a huuuuuuuuge thank you to all of you who are helping us make of "Wine and Art" a reality. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!! #foreverthankful

One of the pillars of TheWineHub is Wine Tourism. Whether you are a wine maker, or a wine drinker, we all enjoy having discoveries...
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How Hungarian Cabernet Franc Changed My Life by Philip S. Kampe

My Dad was known to his friends as ‘Cab Franc.’ You see, his name was really Joseph and all of his social time with visiting frien...