Tuesday, December 31, 2013


If you really think about it, where else in the World would you choose to live if food is really your goal in life?
To me, it is quite obvious, and probably you would agree.
The obvious and certainly the least creative, but, most universal answer would be Italy.
Which leads me to the next question: “What of the Twenty (20) provinces in Italy would you choose as your favorite Gastronomic Province?”
In real life—my wife’s mother is from the Isle of Capri—her father from Genoa.
What do you think they would say?
Obviously the cuisine from Capri and Genoa would be their answer.
Fortunately, I am from New Orleans and even though I have my favorites, my obvious choice would be ‘Tuscany’.
We all know TUSCANY is beautiful, romantic and universally the ‘Favorite’ for tourists who visit Europe.
What we don’t really realize is the amazing Gastronomic impact the Province has had on the world.
  Executive Director of the Italian Trade Commission for the U.S., Mr. Pier Paolo Celeste

Recently, I attended a ‘Uniquely Tuscan’ luncheon that focused on the Gastronomic Treasures of the Province, from Etruscan Times to the Present.
Host Pier Paolo Celeste, Executive Director of the Italian Trade Commission for the U.S. made a wonderful welcoming speech that highlights what Tuscany is all about—art, history, culture, exceptional beauty and specifically, specialty food products, which he considers are really the ‘Heart of Tuscany’.
Who could argue about the fine quality of the DOP & IGP products that include Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Miele della Lunigiana (Honey), Pecorino Romano and Prosciutto Toscano?

                                             Mr. Fred Plotkin

Renowned author of ‘Italy for the Gourmet Traveler’, Fred Plotkin and Il Ristorante Rosi host Chef Cesare Casella guided the esteemed guests through this special ‘Tuscan Table Experience’.
Mr. Plotkin is known for his wisdom, wit and intellect guided the ‘Lucky Invitees’ through a Tuscan Adventure that began with three ‘outrageous cheeses’, all Pecorino Romano DOP, sheep’s milk cheese, that began with Fresh, then Aged to Extra Aged.
My palate felt like it started with non-fat milk and ended with heavy cream—all flavors that we desire.
Add a drop of Miele della Lunigiana DOP (Honey) to the Pecorino Romano DOP and you have a ‘Marriage Made In Heaven’.
The next incredible Tuscan product was Prosciutto Toscano DOP, easily the
‘Best Tuscan Prosciutto’ I have ever sampled. Add a drop of Tuscan Olio Extravergine Di Oliva Toscano IGP to each dish and you have the Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure.

Then came the lunch—all Tuscan inspired.

Insalata Toscana alla Cesare
The Tuscan Salad—Kale Salad with Prosciutto Toscano Chips, Shaved Pecorino Toscano and Fettunata

Pappardelle del Norcino con Pecorino Toscano Stagionato
Butcher’s Pasta with Aged Pecorino Toscano

Stracotto di Maiale con Fagioli e Funghi
Braised Pork with Stewed beans and Mushrooms

Budino di Miele con Gelato di Fior di Latte
Honey Almond Pudding with Fior di Latte Ice Cream

Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG, Panizzi 2012
Rosso di Montalcino DOC, La Fortuna 2010

Chef Cesare Casella, owner of Il Ristorante Rosi, 903 Madison Avenue, (212) 517-7700, created a ‘Meal To Remember’.
What could be Better then a True ‘Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure?’
From my numerous Italian journeys and my hundreds of food samples from Italy, I have to admit that Tuscany, for its wine and food, is the true leader for Italian food and wine.

For any inquiries into the World of Tuscan Food and products, feel free to contact Vincenza Kelly at the Italian Trade Commission in New York.

Philip S. Kampe

Monday, December 30, 2013

The GRAPE COLLECTIVE--an ONLINE Wine Magazine Worth Reading by Philip S. Kampe and Dorothy J. Gaiter

 I am an avid reader ONLINE of numerous wine related websites. Recently, I came across an OURSTANDING website that has amazing writers (Why am I not included?)
Anyway, you must get my point--After reading the wonderful articles at The Wine Hub, go to the link: www.GrapeCollective.com and enjoy what the other guys are doing. I want to be one of them!!

Philip S. Kampe

New Online Publication Merges Content and Commerce to Connect More Readers To Wine

Grape Collective (http://grapecollective.com/), a new subscription-free online wine magazine, revolutionizes how wine media is consumed by introducing a digital platform that bridges the gap between reading about a wine and drinking it. Loaded with content from the industry’s top writers and editors, Grape Collective is the only editorial format with integrated e-commerce wherein readers can read a story or watch a video about a wine, then procure it directly through the website.

Inspired by a common frustration among wine consumers—the difficulty of sourcing the wines we read about—Grape Collective founder Christopher Barnes set out to create a more seamless shopping experience. “In the past, my experiences of reading about a wine and then trying to buy it were extremely frustrating,” says Barnes, who was formerly president of the New York Observer Media Group and co-founder of amNewYork. “More often than not, I would find out that the wines that I had just read about in my favorite wine columns were unavailable.”

At its core, Grape Collective is a portal for top-notch wine content. It features regular, exclusive content from industry veterans including Dorothy J. Gaiter, who co-wrote the Wall Street Journal’s wine column, “Tastings”, from 1998 to 2010, and Barbara Fairchild, who was the editor in chief of Bon Appétit magazine from 2000 to 2010, as well as a fleet of established and emerging writers. Grape Collective’s collection of articles, video and multimedia features are geared to the casual-but-curious wine drinker, an audience that’s often overlooked by traditional wine media, which heavily favors the collector and connoisseur.

“We are rethinking a category where existing wine media focuses mainly on the affluent wine consumer, and most of the quality writing is hidden behind pay walls,” says Barnes. “Instead of charging our readers for access to our content, we’re supporting our business via direct wine sales—a customer service that also generates revenue.”

The content that appears on Grape Collective—a behind-the-scenes video tour of Rioja’s legendary wineries, an exploration of affordable alternatives to Sancerre, or an interview with Napa Valley pioneer Peter Mondavi, Sr.—is supervised by editorial director Nick Fauchald, formerly an editor at Wine Spectator, Food & Wine and Tasting Table.

“We want to introduce wines from a diverse selection of voices and perspectives that offer more insight and context than the industry’s standard 100-point grading system,” says Fauchald. “Instead of tasting wines inside an isolated office, our writers are on-the-ground reporters who have the freedom to share their discoveries with readers in an exciting new way.”

Grape Collective believes good wine becomes better the more you know about it. As such, its content, updated daily, will both inform and entertain, covering a variety of topics that range from emerging winemakers to restaurant sommeliers and roundups of the wine blogosphere.  

Grape Collective’s retail arm is headed up by John Finkle, a New Jersey-based wine retailer and owner of Magnolia Wines and Spirits.

Grape Collective is now live at http://grapecollective.com/. For information, including press interviews, and other PR-related information, please contact Liz Kellogg at 646.389.5235 or liz@kelloggandcaviar.com.


Grape Collective vs. Traditional Wine Magazine

Grape Collective

Traditional Wine Magazine
Access to Online Content
Free. No paywall
Paywall. Subscription required
Print Counterpart
None. An online-only publication
Sell wines direct to reader
Yes - via integrated
e-commerce feature
Content Contributors
Use multiple writers and focus on diversity of points of view.
Writers tend to be exclusive to publication. Majority is staff-generated content rather than freelance.
Focus is on winemaker’s narratives and on-the-ground reporting from the vineyard
Focus on staff tasting notes
Casual-curious wine drinker
Wine connoisseurs and collectors
Revenue Stream
Generated from online wine sales
Based on advertising sales and paid subscription model
Content Frequency
Updated daily
Based on monthly editorial schedule


Christopher Barnes, Founder & Publisher
Christopher Barnes, a frustrated wine drinker who couldn't figure out where to buy all the great wines written about in his favorite wine columns, is the visionary and publisher of Grape Collective. With more than 10 years experience creating innovative new media products in the publishing industry, Barnes has served as President of The New York Observer Media Group, where he oversaw the launch of multiple successful print and digital media properties, including Galleristny.com, Statestreetwire.com, Politicker.com, Betabeat.com, YUE, Commercial Observer, Scooter and Scene. His start-up experience also includes launching and managing two profitable free daily newspapers—am New York and Metro Boston—and co-founding The London Monthly Magazine.

Nick Fauchald, Editorial Director
Nick Fauchald is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor and publisher of print and digital products. He's been an editor at Food & Wine, Wine Spectator and Every Day with Rachael Ray magazines. From 2008 to 2011, he was the editor in chief of Tasting Table. In 2012, Nick created All Day Press, a publishing company that bridges traditional and new media by consulting on and creating print and digital products. His clients include The New York Times, Gilt Taste, Tennis and La Boîte á Epice. His writing has been featured in the Best Food Writing series, and he continues to contribute to numerous print and digital publications including Food & Wine, Departures, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, AFAR and The Wall Street Journal.

Dorothy J. Gaiter, Senior Editor
Dorothy J. Gaiter conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal's wine column, "Tastings," from 1998 to 2010 with her husband, John Brecher. She has been tasting and studying wine since 1973 and has had a distinguished career in journalism as a reporter, editor, columnist and editorial writer at The Miami Herald and The New York Times as well as at The Journal. Dottie and John are well known from their many television appearances, especially on Martha Stewart's show, and as the creators of the annual "Open That Bottle Night" celebration of wine and friendship.

Barbara Fairchild, Restaurant and Travel Editor
With more than three decades at Bon Appetit magazine—including over ten years as editor in chief—Barbara Fairchild is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of food, restaurants and travel. These days she is enjoying a second career as a freelance writer, editor, public speaker, radio personality, and journalism professor. She has appeared on numerous television programs, including Today show; Food Network's Iron Chef America; and Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, both with Gordon Ramsay. In 2000, Fairchild was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's "Who's Who in American Food & Beverage.”

Kaitlyn Goalen, Managing Editor
Kaitlyn Goalen writes, cooks and eats, splitting her time between Raleigh and Brooklyn. She is the editor of Short Stack Editions, a series of small-format single-subject cookbooks, and was previously the National Editor at Tasting Table. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Wall Street Journal, Garden & Gun, O: The Oprah Magazine, AFAR, and Gastronomica.

Contributing Writers - See list here: https://grapecollective.com/about-us

So, you want to VISIT the WINERIES and ATTRACTIONS in TEJO? by Philip S. Kampe

As you realize, if you read my last published article, my prediction for the “Up and Coming Wines of 2014” are from the TEJO region in central Portugal, a short hour and a half ride from the Lisbon airport.
A few e-mail responses to my article made me realize that a group of my readers would like to visit the region, possibly as a side trip from Lisbon or Porto.
I suggest that your side trip be more than a side trip, but, one that will let you observe the region from many vantage points.
Your trip, if you have the time should last a minimum of three days.
What you can accomplish, of course, is up to you.

TAP airlines, the airline of Portugal, is a suitable choice to fly to Lisbon.
At the airport, rent a car (www.rentalcars.com ) and drive directly to the historical city of Santarem, in Tejo. 
Small car rentals average $25 a day at RentalCars.com. I found their prices to be the lowest as of 30 December, 2013.

My choice of where to stay is Hotel Santarem ($70).
The hotel overlooks the city and is within walking distance of its historical section.
Tel # 351 243 330 800
Avenida Madre Andaluz
2000-210 Santarem, Portugal
Rates: Queen size bed or two twin beds.
53 Euros a night ($70) (You may find a better rate online)

                                               View of the Rio Tejo
Hotel Santarem
Website: www.SantaremHotel.net
                                                   A Walking Tour Guide in Santarem

Santarem is a great city and a great starting point to learn about Santarem, one of the few cities in Portugal where the Gothic style of architecture remains.
Santarem is considered the ‘Capital of Gothic style.
Start your walking tour by visiting the Santarem Archaeological Museum, housed in a Romanesque Church. One of the highlights of its collection is a 15th century tomb of a nobleman who was killed in battle. The tomb was commissioned by his widow and was built to house just a single tooth.
Nearby is the beautiful, Gothic Church of Graca, where you can see the gravestone of Pedro Alvares Cabral, the Portuguese navigator who discovered Brazil in 1500. Follow the path to the town’s farmers market and learn about the varieties of vegetables that are grown in the area.
End your tour at Portas de Sol, the remains of the castle that protected the city.
                                         The Farmer's Market in Santarem at dawn

                                                           Quinta da Alorna
After doing a bit of shopping in town look for one of the many typical restaurants that line the cobblestone streets of Santarem. If you are a bit tired from the flight, consider eating at the hotel on your first night.
The restaurant offers regional food as well as local wine.
Prices are reasonable.

DAY 2 and 3
The vineyards are divided into three areas:
The Bairro, North of the Rio Tejo.
The Leziria, Along the Rio Tejo.
Charneca, South of the Rio Tejo.
1)      Adega Cooperativa do Cartaxo  www.adegacartaxo.pt
2)      Agro-Batoreu—Aveiras de Cima  www.agrobatoreu.xom
3)      Casal de Conde—Vila Cha de Ourique  www.sacasaldoconde.com
4)      Enoport—Rio Maior  www.enoport.pt
5)      Quinta de Ribeirinha—Santarem  www.quintadaribeirinha.com

1)      Qunita da Alorna—Almeirim  www.alorna.pt
2)      Casal Monteiro—Almeirim  www.casalmonteiro.pt

      1)   Quinta da Alorna—Almeirim  www.alorna.pt
2)   Casal Cadaval—Muge  www.casalcadaval.pt
3)      Casal Branco—Almeirim  www.casalbranco.pt
4)      Casal Monteiro—Almeirim  www.casalmonteiro.pt
5)      Fiuza & Bright—Almeirim  www.fiuzabright.pt
6)      Pinhal da Torre—Alpiarca  www.pinhaldatorre.com

Somewhere along the wine route, take time to visit the Wine Museum of Cartaxo. The museum offers an insight into the historical aspects of the vineyards and is well worth the visit.
                                       Bacalhau, the National dish of Portugal

The wineries in Tejo require that you call ahead and make reservations for a tour and tasting of the wines. Visit the website of each winery and plan ahead when visiting.
Also, contact:  geral@cvrtejo.pt to help plan your vineyard visit.
More information can be found at: www.cvrtejo.pt
Visit TEJO…
“THE TRENDY WINES of 2014 are from TEJO”

Philip S. Kampe

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"TEJO" Is My "WINE TREND", "Cutting Edge" Prediction for 2014 by Philip S. Kampe

Each year, around this time of year, I predict a wine region that will EXPLODE in the upcoming year.
My pick for 2014 is TEJO, a little known, to Americans, Portuguese wine region.
Who knew that the wines from the TEJO region, less than an hour and a half east of Lisbon, were so substantial wines? The wines from TEJO did not cross the radar for the majority of the ‘wine experts’ I talked to, prior to revealing my choice.
Yes, they knew of Tejo, but, they didn’t really know the wines.
Recently I attended a seminar on the Wines from Tejo, led by Tejo wine authority, Candela Prol, and learned through sampling examples that these wines were both incredible on the palate and affordable at the wine merchant.
To me, that is a winning combination.
Until recently, I would advise friends who knew little about wine and wanted great value to try wines from many regions of the world. The wines from Tejo never came up in the conversation or in an article of mine.
Well, that is not the case now.
I have converted.

Below are a dozen wine suggestions from wine educator (above), Candela Prol, my Tejo guru.
All of the wines that Candela suggests are available in the U.S. and retail for under $20.
1)      Vale de Lobos DOC di Tejo 2011 (white)
2)      Casal de Conde—DOP Tejo Alvarinho 2012  (white)
3)      Fisherman Regional Tejo 2011
4)      Falcoaria Classico 2011
5)      Marquesa de Alorna 2009
6)      Cabeca de Toiro 2010
7)      Fiuza Ikon 2011
8)      Casa Cadaval Trincadeira Vinhas Velhas 2010
9)      Bridao Touriga Nacional 2009
10)  Quinta do Alqueve 2 Worlds 2010
11)  Terra Silvesrew Reserva DOC do tejo 2010
12)  Forma de Arte Reserva V. Regional Tejo 2009

Tejo is named after the ‘Rio Tejo’, the river that divides the region between the north and south. The Tejo river flows into the Atlantic Ocean after it passes near and through the Tejo towns of Santarem, Almeirim and Chamusca.
Tejo, with its temperate southern Mediterranean climate,  has 50,000 acres of vineyards, 2,800 hours of sunlight a year, less than 30 inches of rainfall a year and temperatures that average 60F.

Tejo has six major wine producing sub-regions.
1)      Tomar
2)      Santarem’
3)      Chamusca
4)      Cartaxo
5)      Almeirim
6)      Coruche

And three distinct zones:
1)      Bairro: north of the Tejo river, hilly, limestone, schist and clay
2)      Leziria: runs along the Tejo river, alluvial, fertile soils
3)      Charneca: south of the Tejo river, infertile sandy soils, warm and dry

The ‘Wines from Tejo’ are exciting because there are many blends with both international grapes and indigenous grapes.  Many of these blends are new to me.

Ms. Prol and Tejo Wines * Fall In Love pamphlet (available at: www.cvrtejo.pt ) suggests that the main White grapes of Tejo include: International varieties, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc: Indigenous varieties are Fernao Pires, Arinto and Verdelho.
International Red grapes include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Local grape varieties are Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelao and Trincadeira.

The vines are bush trained and can be up to one hundred years old.
Over 20 million bottles are produced a year.
Vinification takes place in either stainless steel or oak barrels.
Reserva wines can be classified DOC, while Garrafeira wines have distinctive vintage characteristics and are classified as DOC or VR.
To achieve such a rating, white (42% of production) and rose (6%) wines must age a minimum of six months in the cask and six months in the bottle.
Red wines( 52%) must age a minimum of twelve months in the cask and twelve months in the bottle.
The end result from sampling the wines from Tejo has led me to believe that these wines will be the next ‘Go To’ wines for the wine industry in America.
Great Britain, Germany and Sweden have discovered these wines while China is on the fast track to import the wines from Tejo.

Hopefully, America will wake up and ‘Discover the Wines from Tejo’ in 2014.

The region is Portugal’s second largest and is well respected. Vineyards date back to the 13th century. Tejo is in the middle of Portugal and is the heart of the winemaking country.
Tejo is the only land-locked region in Portugal, but, due to the Tejo river, it is one of the most fertile regions in Portugal.
Historically, large producers dominated, but, recently, modernization and state-of-the-art winemaking facilities have transformed the region to world-class standards. Vines have been replanted and experimentation of new grape varieties exists.

Tejo is in the middle of a major overhaul, which is reason enough why this region will shine in the near future.
The Tejo Regional Wine Commission is just beginning a campaign in America that will coincide with the overhaul of Tejo’s wines. The campaign will focus in on ‘brand awareness’ and education.

Isn’t it time to jump on the bandwagon in 2014?

Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

NINE DAYS of SPARKLING WINES to Celebrate the Holiday Season by Philip S. Kampe

There are only NINE days left until 2014.
What we do in our house, as Tradition, is to Celebrate the NINE days until New Year's Day with
NINE different Sparkling Wines....

One Sparkler for each day!
And we don't like to spend a fortune on this Tradition, so, we stay away from Champagne and indulge in Prosecco's, Cava's and Cremants.

As you know, the Prosecco market has grown into its own market during the past several years. It seems like EVERYONE in the World drinks Prosecco, Italy's answer to 'Bubbles'.
There are many reasons...the first, of course is bubbles...then palate taste...and, naturally the low price point.

CREMANT, from France, is made like Champagne, but, because it is from a different region in France and cannot be classified as'Champagne', the price is significantly less.
CREMANT is not on most people's radar, yet, but will be in the near future.

And then there is CAVA, Spain's answer to Champagne, in flavor, but not in price.
Each day, our household opens one bottle of the 'Bubbly' to Celebrate life...

These are our Favorites:
                                                      Day 1 December 24th
                    LUCIEN ALBRECHT BRUT 'Cremant' from Alsace, France ($15)
                                                        Day 2 Christmas
                                LUCIEN ALBRECHT 'ROSE' from Alsace, France ($15)

                                                         Day 3  December 26th
                  CAVA PAUL CHENEAU 'BRUT ROSE' from Penedes, Spain ($12)

                                                        Day 4  December 27th
             CAVA PAUL CHENEAU 'RESERVA BRUT from Penedes, Spain ($12)

                                                       Day 5  December 28th
                          CAVA PAUL CHENEAU 'BRUT' from Penedes, Spain  ($10)

                                                      Day 6  December 29th

           GIRO RIBOT PAUL CHENEAU 'LADY OF SPAIN' BRUT from Penedes, Apain ( $9)

                                                       Day 7  December 30th
                               VALDO PROSECCO BRUT from Valdobbiadene, Italy ($10)

                                                      Day 8  New Years Eve
 ORO PURO PROSECCO SUPERIORE DOCG BRUT from Valdobbiadene, Italy ($15)

                                                           Day 9  New Years Day
                                      VILLA SANDI PROSECCO from Veneto, Italy  ($14)

Philip S. Kampe


Barone Montalto Pinot Grigio and Baked Scallops with Shrimp by Philip S. Kampe

With the pandemic forcing us inside, there is little doubt that our cooking skills and wine drinking abilities should reach new...