Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SUPER BOWL is made for MARGARITA'S by Philip S. Kampe

We all know that Cinco de Mayo is considered ‘Margarita Day’, worldwide.
Why wait that long?
This year, Friday, February 22nd, has been declared ‘National Margarita Day’.
Why even wait that long?
For me and my Super Bowl friends, we all take a break from wine and beer and hop onto, what I think, is a perfect drink for the big game, a Margarita.
Simple, Margaritas pair perfectly with chips, salsa, spice, wings and pizza. Plus, drinking from a Margarita glass adds elegance to a rather not so elegant football day.
To me a Margarita is like drinking a Mint Julip on Kentucky Derby day or a Hurricane on Mardi Gras day.
It is a natural.
To this day, the history of the Margarita is still uncertain.
There are many theories, stories and possibilities as to who and when this drink was invented. The story that I like best gives credit to a wealthy Dallas socialite named, you guessed it, ‘Margarita’ Sames.
Legend has it that when Margarita vacationed at her home in Acapulco, her favorite party game was to duck behind the bar and mix up all kinds of drinks for her guests. She used whatever liquor that was available.
During her legendary Christmas party in 1948, Margarita mixed together, Tequila, Cointreau and lime juice.
The result was immediate success.
Her friends spread the news of their favorite new drink, the ‘Margarita’.
Today, 185,000 Margaritas are consumed daily in America.
Yes, there are numerous stories as to who made the drink first. The bottom line is simple.

The classic Margarita is made with the same ingredients as ‘Margarita’ Sames.

2 ounces Tequila  (I use Quinta de Gomez)
1 ounces lime juice
1 ounce Cointreau
Garnish: Lime wedge
Rub the rim of a Margarita glass (yes, there is a glass named after her) with lime and dip it into salt. Mix tequila, lime juice and Cointreau in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

My other favorite Margarita recipes always include Cointreau. There is no substitute to me. Triple Sec does not work well and should not be an alternative for Cointreau.

This is the recipe for the Luxe Margarita.
1 ounce Tequila Bianco (Quinta de Gomez)
½ ounce lime juice
Prosecco, Cava or Champagne, 1 flute
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Shake all tequila, Cointreau and lime with ice and strain into a chilled flute. Top with sparkling wine and bitters.

Spicy Margarita:
2 ounces Tequila Bianco  (Quinta de Gomez)
1 ounce Cointreau
¾ ounce lime juice
2 slices jalapeno
Pinch of cilantro
Combine all ingredients except cilantro and jalapeno, add ice, shake and strain into an iced rock glass. Garnish with cilantro and jalapeno.

The drinks are easy to make.
Always remember to use Cointreau, never Triple Sec.
Start your party off with Margarita's and at half-time, serve Jambalaya, Chardonnay, Chianti and beer.
It will be a night to remember.


A 'Super Bowl' Meal--Jambalaya--by Philip S. Kampe

Are you tired of serving the usual food each year at ‘Super Bowl’ time? Why not consider making Sunday night a special night by serving homemade Jamabalaya? According to ‘Food History’, Jambalaya originated in southern Louisiana. The Cajuns lived near the bayou where food was scarce, as opposed to the agriculturally richer part of the state.
The word Jambalaya is said to be a compound word, Jambon from the French, meaning ham and Aya, meaning rice in African. The pronunciation is jum-buh-LIE-uh.
Common belief is that it originated from the Spanish Paella, which has also has been transformed into a dish called Spanish rice.
In the past, Jambalaya was always made a bit differently each time it is made because the ingredients changed due to seasonality. 
Today, with the numerous markets, it is easy to pick-up all necessary ingredients at the same time.
Jambalaya can be made with (separately or all together) ham, chicken, sausage, fresh pork, shrimp and oysters, to which is added rice, onion, celery, peppers, spices and other ingredients.
Starting with church fairs, which were the largest public gatherings at the turn of the century, Jambalaya emerged from small quantity indoor cooking to become the ideal dish for outdoor cooking over a hardwood fire. Big black cast iron pots made preparation so easy and economical for church use that Jambalaya was rapidly adopted for political rallies, weddings, family reunions and other affairs.
Today, in Gonzales, Louisiana, area cooks have created the ‘Jambalaya Festival and World Champion Jambalaya Cooking Contest’.
Gonzales is the Jambalaya Capitol of the World.
I usually serve an oaked Chardonnay or Sangiovese with Jambalaya.
If you a beer person for game day, the beer choice will be a pilzner.
My family has made Jambalaya for over sixty years.
I am originally from New Orleans and would love to share our adopted family recipe, especially for your ‘Super Bowl’ party.
Remember, all ingredients can be purchased locally.

INGREDIENTS for 6-8 people:
3 cups long grain rice
3 cups chicken broth
4 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. butter
1 pound kielbasa, chorizo or sausage (spicy preerred)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 pound medium to small peeled shrimp
1 large scallion sliced
1 large onion diced
2 cups diced celery
2 large peppers (red, yellow or green) cored and diced
3 large tomatoes diced and seeds removed
4 cloves of diced garlic
3 jalapenos diced with seeds removed
2 tbs. dried oregano
2 tbs. dried thyme (fresh if you have it)
4 bay leaves
1 can tomato tomato paste
1/2 tsp.cayenne pepper
Tobasco sauce
½ cup of parsley
1 lemon juiced
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot, sauté pan or paella pan over medium heat.
Add a tbs. of oil and add sausage and sauté for ten minutes.
Take out of pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the same pot and cook until brown on all sides.
Do not overcook.
Remove chicken and add butter and rest of oil.  Lower heat and add onions, celery and  pepper to the pot and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos, oregano, thyme and tomato paste and stir. Cook 5 minutes and add chicken broth.  Bring to a broil and add rice, sausage, chicken, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir.
Lower heat, simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
When finished take off lid, turn off heat and add shrimp, lemon zest and lemon juice, parsley, scallions and cayenne pepper. When heat is off, stir and cover for 15 minutes, making sure after 15 minutes that the shrimp are cooked.
Serve, while watching the ‘Super Bowl’ and enjoy!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SINA Hotels are the the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti of the Luxury Hotel World by Philip S. Kampe

At a recent event I was introduced to MATILDE BOCCA SALVO di PIETRAGANZILI , known as 'The Grand Lady of Luxury Italian Hotels'. She is currently the Vice-President of the Fine Italian Hotel Group, SINA, known for Historical Hotels and unique Italian Hospitality.
The hotels have been in the Bocca family, the hotels founders since 1958.
Matilde Bocca Salvo di Pietraganzili explained how the 'Historic Hotel Chain' began.
The luxury chain began due to the love Mr. Bocca had with an 18th century villa in Florence, Villa Medici.
The elder, Mr.Bocca was a well traveled man and a true aristocrat who often dreamed about opening a hotel with atmosphere, sentiment and a story to tell.
He wanted his hotels to be more of a 'Home away from Home', a place where personalized care and hospitality defined the philosophy of his concept.
In 1958 his dream became reality.
The first of numerous historical properties was bought by the Bocca family.
Today, the Bocca brothers, led by Bernabo follow their fathers wishes. They only choose locations that they can fall in love with and turn them into hotels of unique charm and refined hospitality.
The SINA hotels have achieved success due to their make-up, much like a bottle of 1869 Chateau Lafitte.
Like wine, when you deal with the best terroir, perfect growing conditions,exquisite varietals and a master winemaker, quality and success fall hand-in-hand.
Each property is unique, carefully managed and staffed with the world's leading authorities on wine, food, design and art.
Lorenzo Vivalda is the general manager of Hotel Bernini Bristol, Rome's prominent SINA property. Mr. Vivalda explained to me that Hotel Bernini Bristol has unique views of Rome, coupled with unrivaled service,
lavish elegance and a balance of the contemporary and classic.
Hotel Bernini Bristol is located in the heart of the Eternal City, steps away from the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps. During my last visit to Rome, I realized that the rooms have unique vistas of Rome, especially those with balconies.
The rooftop restaurant, L'Olimpo, has breathtaking views of Rome, as well.
Couple the views with the magnificent wine list and award winning food and you have a hotel that has it all.
I am returning to Rome in February and plan to spend Valentine's Day at the hotel with my lovely wife, Maria, whose family is from the Isle of Capri.
Who could resist Rome on Valentines Day?
Saint Valentine's is the Patron Saint of neighboring Umbria.
Other visits on my journey have included stays at many of the historical SINA properties: Grand Hotel Villa Medici in Florence, Centurian Palace and Palazzo Saint' Angelo sul Canal Grande in Venice, Hotel Brufani Palace in Perugia, Relais Villa Matilde (who is that named after?) Romano Canavese in Torino, The Grayand Hotel De la Ville in Milan, Hotel Astor in Viareggio and Hotel Palace Maria Luigia in Parma.
Great wines and Fantastic food coupled with charming hotels is what special vacations are all about.
The SINA hotel group has awakened my life experiences. 
I suggest that find out for yourself!
Visit to learn more...


Monday, January 14, 2013

#Winelover Week at the Adegga Wine Market 2012 (Part 1)

By Lotte Karolina Gabrovits and Luiz Alberto, #winelovers

 View of Oporto from Vila Nova de Gaia

The first stop of an iconic Portuguese adventure was in Oporto for our “#Winelover Week at the Adegga Wine Market 2012″. But, before we talk about that, just a quick introduction to one of the most important Portuguese events for consumers and winemakers: the Adegga Wine Market. This fascinating event was held on 01.12.2012. It’s been organized for the past 4 years by fellow #winelover and great friend André Ribeirinho. To promote the event and to create a much bigger impact, André invited a small group of #winelovers to participate. And, since we were going to Portugal, why not spend an entire week enjoying the great things that the country has to offer? And the first Adegga Week for the #winelover was created…

We were invited by important wineries/companies to do something wine-related during that week. One of them was Sogrape. They are simply the largest wine producer in Portugal… and they were so kind that they offered to host our #winelover’s hangout in Vila Nova de Gaia at the Sandeman Lodge. They also hosted us on a visit to Quinta do Seixo (also Sandeman). We visited a couple of wine regions (Douro, Alentejo, and Lisbon), had many tastings and, of course, our wonderful hangouts… But you can see it all below, as we would love to share these precious moments we spent all together. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to say thanks again to André Ribeirinho and to all the sponsors who made it possible to organize such an amazing week in Portugal… but this will be covered in our next postings. This one is about our first day in Portugal and our fantastic hangout hosted by Sogrape.

#winelover hangout Oporto @ Sandeman – 11.26.2012
The first day of our journey in Portugal. And one of the most famous Port producers in the world – Sandeman* – received us, invited us for having a BYOB at their place, but even before the official hangout we got the pleasure to visit some of the top secret parts of their cellar … you can see some of us enjoying some of their delicious old tawny wines.
* Sandeman was the first company to brand a cask with an iron brand in1805, making it one of the oldest in the world.
Picture by Daniel Matos, #winelover
Having tasted some of truly delicious Ports, the evening ended with a dinner hosted by Sandeman. At their place many #winelovers got the opportunity to join the dinner (delicious food by the way!) and bring their one own bottle of wine. One bottle (or more) that each one of us wanted to present and tell a story about it. The result? Many, many nice stories and as many delicious wines…
With “old friend” Stéphane (Quinta Do Pôpa) 
and on the back ground “new friend” Jorge Luís Veiga Torres -
Picture by Daniel Matos, #winelover

It was great to see some old friends and to make new ones!

Above you can get a little idea of the amount of fun we had… and, of course, you will find a lot of pictures of this hangout (and of anything that we do as community) online. Being a #winelover means not only loving wine, but also our willingness to share all these beautiful experiences with as many people as possible. And that can happen either in “real life” during our hangouts, visits to wineries and vineyards… or, via the use digital communication: social media and blogs. Just like this one…

A very brief introduction to our hosts:
Luís Sottomayor – Luís is the chief Douro winemaker for Sogrape and he was elected winemaker of the year 2012 at the International Wine Challenge (fortified category)

Joana Pais (in the picture above with “The Don”) – Joana is the Manager of Press Relations for Sogrape Vinhos, S.A. She has a degree in journalism and she joined Sogrape in 2004.

Catatina Soares (in the picture with “The Other Don” Andre Ribeirinho) – Catarina studied economics at Oporto Univeristy and she is the brand manager at Sogrape.

Near future:

So, here we are again looking forward to many #winelover weeks like this one all over the world. Our next stop is in Brussels for #WBIS.

Church of St.Valentine – Terni, Italy

Then, our following meeting will be the most important event in the history of our community… And it will be in February in Umbria: The 1st anniversary of the #winelover’s community. Thanks to the city of Terni who will be the sponsor for this big event with some many activities such as Masterclasses with an MW (Patrick Farrell) tastings, visits, and the first ever #winelover’s wine competition! You can check the entire program here: Umbria is for #winelovers – Our first anniversary celebration on Valentine’s day!

Picture by Pal Gabrovits, #winelover

If you still haven’t joined our community… after this post you know what you have already missed and for sure you will miss many more amazing events like this #winelover week in Portugal… as we are also planning to have such a week in Hungary in the week before Vince. We’ll keep you posted…


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Truffles in Napa Valley, anyone? by Philip S. Kampe

Truffles in Napa Valley, Anyone?  by  Philip S. Kampe

I know it's crazy to write about going to Napa Valley for a truffle festival, but, I must.
Alexander Dumas once said “The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: Eat us and Praise the Lord”.
I believe Alexander Dumas was onto something.
Nature’s bounty begins with truffles.
Truffles are defined as ‘Any of various fleshy , ascomycetous, edible fungi, chiefly the genus Tuber, that grow underground on or near the roots of trees and are valued as a delicacy’.
The Tuberaceae enjoys an esteemed reputation.
There are several species of truffles.
The Black Perigord truffle is one of the most sought after. Its near-black flesh marbled with white veins is overly aromatic.
Equally as important is the white truffle, also known as the Piedmont truffle, from the Italian village of Alba. Its white or ochre-colored flesh veined with white tones has a garlicky and cheesy flavor. It is the largest of the edible truffles.
Napa Valley is known for wine and great restaurants. And now, for the third year, Napa hosts the now, annual ‘Napa Truffle Festival’.
This year the festival takes place on January 18th to 21st.
This will be my first experience attending a truffle festival that is based in America.
My friend and ‘Wine Chick Journalist’, Liza Zimmerman, a New Yorker transplanted to San Francisco entertained the idea about coming to San Francisco for the festival. She said, ‘Phil, I know you love truffles. (We were in Pays D’Oc together in October) Why not come to Napa and enjoy the truffle festival of a lifetime?’. |
I guess those magic words of ‘A truffle festival of a lifetime’ resonated.
So, I agreed
And off I will go to attend the ‘Truffle Festival of a Lifetime’.
This upcoming weekend  is the 3rd Annual Napa Truffle Festival that highlights the venerated black truffle, which I mentioned earlier, the most sought after Perigord truffle.
The festival brings together experts, scientists and special guests from the wine and food world to discuss, taste, examine and probe truffles.
The American Truffle Company is sponsoring the event.
The event brings together two complimentary aspects  truffles: the best chefs in the world known for their truffle cuisine and the best scientists in the world known for their truffle expertise and data on cultivation.
The Westin Verasa Napa will host the festival.
The schedule starts on Friday, the 18th, with a ‘Welcome Reception and Truffle and Wine sampling’ at the Westin.
Saturday and Sunday are the days to attend the festival.
Highlights include seminars on truffle cultivation with Dr. Paul Thomas, a Silver Oak winery luncheon that features truffles with Silver Oak wines, a truffle dog demonstration at Robert Sinskey Vineyards Truffle Orchard, the economics of truffle cultivation with Robert Chang, an extraordinary Michelin starred wine and truffle dinner at La Toque (Westin Verasa Napa) , a wild mushroom forage, a truffle cooking demonstration with Michelin chef Nico Chessa, a truffle marketplace and Beringer winery tour, tasting and truffle lunch.
Truffles,Wine and Gourmet Food.
What a great way to spend a weekend in Napa.
For more information, visit:


Saturday, January 12, 2013

#EWBC 2012 post trip to the Republic of Georgia.

 Father Gerasim – Alaverdi Monastery

This last November we (a very lucky group of #winelovers) had an opportunity to be in the Republic of Georgia on a EWBC post trip. This was my second trip to the country and I can tell you for a fact that very few places I have visited in my life touched me so deep inside.

The video below is a collection of pictures that I took during our visit. If you were there with me, you will be able to see yourself enjoying those amazing wines and moments (or even taking a nap on the bus!). If you were not, I hope you will realize that, if you love wine, one day you will have to visit it. As Simon Woolf said “The 8,000 year old culture of wine in Georgia is extraordinary – a very good book could be written about it!

The beautiful music on this video is sung by Luarsab Togonidze (with two other Georgian singers – I’m sorry, but I didn’t catch their names). Thank you very Gabriel Dvoskin for sharing it with me!

Yes Andre Ribeirinho. At the end you were not able to make the trip and we missed you… but I can tell you that many wines we tasted would be at the top of your “deliciousness scale”. Some of their wines are unique, amazingly complex… and delicious!

Most of us (#winelovers) unfortunately still don’t know much about Georgia and its wine industry. But, in fact, Georgia (and other parts of the Caucasus) is considered to be the oldest wine-producing region of the world. And the country has more than 500 indigenous grape varieties! Could it be that Georgia is the birthplace of #winelove? I sure feels that way when you are there…

Cast (in alphabetic order): Anne NaumanenCarole MacintyreElisabeth GstarzElisabeth Seifert – (Father) Gerasim - Gabriel DvoskinGabriella Reynes OpazHande Kutlar LeimerIrene de VetteJim BuddJohn MatsonLado UzunashviliLuarsab TogonidzeLuciana BrazLuiz AlbertoMads JordansenMagnus ReuterdahlRobyn BancroftRoger KolbuSam OckmanSharon ParsonsSimon WoolfJaiani Tata – Theo Leimer – Tim LemkeTina Kezeli


Luiz Alberto, #winelover

The new #winelover t-shirt is for sale in the Europe now…
Don’t have yours yet? Please contact Lotte – and she help you with that! :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

'ICONIC' Winemakers NOELIA de PAZ and RAUL PEREZ Team-up at Spain's BODEGAS TAMPESTA by Philip S. Kampe

2013  is the year of the ‘hipster’ winemakers.
My favorite ‘hipster’ winemaker is Raul Perez, who I have written about in the past.
Raul is from Bierzo, located in northwest Spain. He is famous for his unusual winemaking methods. He submerges his wine bottles in a wire mesh cage underwater at the local Aurosa Estuary. The cage is lowered sixty feet into the water and is submerged for a minimum of two months.
The result is a fresh, lively 100% Albarino wine named ‘Sketch’.
The wine is made from 40 year old vines that grow four-hundred feet from the Atlantic ocean. The vines are harvested one to weeks after similar grapes to help create the basis for Sketch. The lack of oxygen, the great amount of pressure at sixty feet below sea level and low temperatures create a wine like no other. Intense minerals, stone fruit and citrus yield to the wines strength and finesse.
Raul Perez is a ‘hipster’.
He has teamed up with Noelia de Paz, a neighbor from Tierra de Leon, to make wines together. Noelia is the ‘hipster’ from the de Paz Tampesta family tree. Her father Juan Luis, his brothers Oscar and Leon, planted the vineyard, located in the Valdevimbre region of southern Leon in 2000.
Juan Luis's daughter, Noelia de Paz is the chief winemaker for Bodegas Tampesta.
This is the region known for the ‘Cult’ grape, Prieto Picudo.
Prieto Picudo is known for its densely packed grape clusters and its pine-nut shaped grapes (long and narrow). The deep blue-black skin is as aromatic as any grape can be.
The varietal is known for structure, intensity, concentration and aroma.
The winery at Bodegas Tampesta merges into the natural caves that have existed for centuries in the region. Modern technology paired with the history of the vineyards at Las Lagunillas , an area known for the quality of the ‘terroir’, help create wines with the Prieto Picudo grape that are both unique and special
Add  winemaker Raul Perez to the equation and the result has been amazing.
The wines from Bodegas Tampesta are handcrafted and are of limited production.

Tampesta Imelda 2010 is a wonderful example of a ‘Cult’, ‘Hipster’ wine.
Fifty cases were made by Noelia de Paz and Raul Perez.
Tampesta Imelda ($37) is made from 100% Prieto Picudo grapes. The vines are seventy years old. Clay soil dominates Valdevimbre. Cool temperatures at 2,400 feet and low rainfall help create this spicy, fruity, juicy, well structured twelve month oak aged wine.
The aroma of this wine is a symphony of smells combining lavender, leather, pumpkin and ginger.

Tampesta Finca de los Vientos 2009 ($17) is also made exclusively with 100% Prieto Picudo grapes. Noelia de Paz and Raul Perez naturally ferment and age the wine using stainless steel. Aromatics of cranberries and earthy figs dominate, while juicy, ripe dark fruit lingers on the palate. Good balance and structure. 2,300 cases produced.
Tampesta Rosado 2011 ($15) is an amazing rose made with 100% Prieto Picudo. The Rosado has won the hearts of numerous wine critics and was voted as one of the best 2011 roses in the marketplace. Thirteen hundred cases were produced of this herbal, tropical, acidic well-balanced wine.
Noelia de Paz and Raul Perez produced this Rosado  that has the punch of a professional fighter with the balance of a ballet dancer.
Each bottle made with the Prieto Picudo grape from  Bodegas Tampesta is a prize.
It is time to get yours.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The use (or not) of sulfur dioxide in winemaking: trick or treat?

This article should have been posted for Halloween. That’s why you see “trick or treat?” on the title. I’m running a little late on my schedule… but I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did working on it.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a natural by-product of winemaking as a small quantity is produced during the alcoholic fermentation by yeasts. Its use goes back to the end of the 18th century and, due to its antiseptic and antioxidant properties, it makes it almost impossible for the winemaker to avoid adding it during the several processes involved in making and storing wine. It is one of the most efficient additives used in winemaking; however, due to health concerns and a recent growing consumer interest in wines with less additives, its use has been a fertile field of discussion in many different segments of the wine industry. Also, the Organization of Vine and Wine has been reducing the maximum legal amount of SO2 present in wines, so there’s a very important legal issue related with its use. This paper will cover both the advantages and drawbacks of the addition of SO2 in winemaking, as well as some possibilities of eliminating or reducing its use.

The use of SO2 in winemaking is a complex subject and there’s a need to understand the factors involved in its efficacy (or the opposite) before anything else is discussed. Its antimicrobial and antioxidant efficiency in wine depends on a wide range of factors, but the most important ones are: pH, residual sugar (RS), and ethanol content. What it means is that these factors will determine the amount of SO2 that needs to added to determine a final safe level of free SO2 in the wine (10-20 mg/L) in accordance to the following basic rules: the lower the pH, the less SO2 needs to be added; the higher the alcohol content, the less SO2; and the lower the RS, the less SO2 needed. Acid and alcohol make the environment more hostile to bacteria, while the presence of sugar has the opposite effect. Temperature is also a very important factor: the lower the temperature, the better the efficacy of SO2 and the slower the oxidation of the wine. Worth of note is the fact that now it is known that at high pHs and low concentrations SO2 just acts as a fungistatic, and at low pHs and high concentrations it is a fungicide. A better understanding of the chemistry of SO2 in recent years, combined with an increased hygiene in the wineries, has enabled winemakers to substantially reduce the SO2 concentrations used during the vinification process. Salvo Foti is making wine in the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily with no addition of SO2 and he has become a “rock’n’roll star” for people who are adepts of the so called “natural wine movement”, but, in fact, even if some wines are interesting, some of them are clearly faulty (premature oxidation has occurred) and there’s huge bottle variation.

There are multiple advantages for the use SO2 in winemaking. From the moment the grapes are harvested until the moment the bottle of wine is opened and it is finally consumed, SO2 has very important properties. It is antiseptic and antimicrobial (molecular SO2) as it inhibits the growth of all types of microorganisms, such as yeasts and bacteria. In practice what it does is to chemically help the winemaker to inhibit bacterial spoilage (more importantly on lactic acid bacteria, but also, to a lesser extent, on acetic acid bacteria), Brettanomyces, Zygosaccharomyces, and mycodermic yeasts (flor yeasts) growth, prevention of yeast haze formation, unwanted malolactic fermentation, and secondary fermentation of wines that contain residual sugar (dessert white wines mostly). Before fermentation, SO2 (and its antioxidasic properties) protects must from oxidation; at low concentrations it even stimulates fermentations, making them complete to dryness more rapidly than otherwise in most cases; it helps with yeast selection (Apiculated yeasts, which tend to produce wines of lesser quality and lower alcohol levels, are more sensitive to SO2); it favors the dissolution of organic acids, minerals and the so important (in red winemaking) amalgamation of tannins and anthocyanins to the wine; SO2 also binds with ethanal and other similar chemical compounds (such as ketonic acids) helping to avoid a possible perception of a wine being “flat”; and some specific thiols (or mercaptans) can be beneficial in determining the characteristic aromas of grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

As an oxidant, it works because it binds with dissolved oxygen and it is much more important during wine storage than during winemaking. What it means is that it can protect the wine from chemical oxidation, but it doesn’t avoid enzymatic oxidation. It is also a helping tool to the establishment of a low oxidation-reduction potential and wine aroma and taste development during the aging process is heavily dependent on it. It also reduces the rate phenolic polymerization that causes color loss observed during the aging process. Not to mention that when a wine is aged in a barrel, it may not be sufficient to add SO2 to the wine, but rather a disinfection of the barrel with SO2 gas (or burning sulfur) is necessary to prevent the growth of Brettanomyces. Transportation is a key issue as well: if the wine is going to travel long distances and be exposed to drastic temperature variations, SO2 is essential to save the wine from premature oxidation.

So what are the drawbacks or issues with the use of SO2 in winemaking? Of course, first and foremost, excessive doses must be avoided, mostly because of health reasons, but also because it can have a negative impact on aromas and flavors (pungent and sulphorous). It can also be illegal in most countries to be over a certain limit of total SO2 in a specific wine (red, white, sweet, etc). However, the issue with SO2 is not about only excessive additions of it, even low doses of SO2 added during a pre-fermentation skin contact promote the extraction of protein. This is not good, especially in white winemaking, as a larger quantity of bentonite will be needed to stabilize the wine. This may cause a negative impact in the organoleptic properties of the wine (mainly aroma loss).

There are many methods available today to minimize the use of SO2 in winemaking today. Some of these possibilities would complement the use of SO2, as completely replacing it seems to be a lot harder. The adequate treatments can be chemical or physical: On the chemical side, phenolic compounds also have the antiseptic and antioxidant properties that SO2 has. It even provides a better sensorial perception than wines made with SO2 additions. However, a very high concentration of these compounds are needed in order to achieve its antiseptic properties. Another one is Dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC). It’s been proposed to replace SO2 in winemaking. It is very effective against yeasts (killing them), but not so much against bacteria. Also, lysozyme is a very effective to inhibit bacterial development (especially Oenococcus spp). On the physical side ultrasound has been considered as a promising alternative to conventional thermal treatments. It has a very high antiseptic effect, as well as a good ability to preserve wines. Ultraviolet radiation can inactivate both yeasts and bacteria. However, it seems to be much more effective in white wines than in reds, as the phenolic compounds present in reds seem to absorb the radiation. Pulsed electric fields increase the permeability of cell membranes. It makes it both effective to destroy yeasts and bacteria, as well as a good tool to help with the extraction of the phenolic compounds present it wine.

The main issue about the use of SO2 today, however, doesn’t seem to be about the health and/or quality problems mentioned above. Most of the discussions are about the consumer desire to acquire “natural products” and the addition of SO2 in wine is perceived as something “unnatural” (an addition is viewed by some segments of the market as an interventionist technique to make wine). In other words, a winery may attract an audience (and consumption) for a “natural product” by avoiding the use of SO2. It seems that the use (or not) of SO2, falls under this category: A philosophical decision. But the truth is: unless you suffer from some serious allergy from SO2 (such as the one asthmatics may have), the use of it cannot be considered a “trick” as the disadvantages of using it are clearly related (and limited) to its excessive use. If all the advantages are considered, it’s clear to see that the proper additions of SO2 are a real “treat” to people who love wine. Without it, we wouldn’t have such a great diversity of high quality wines that we enjoy today.

I believe some of you will agree with my arguments… but some others won’t… so I would love to hear your thoughts on it! :)


Luiz Alberto, #winelover

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Umbria is for #winelovers – Our first anniversary celebration on Valentine’s day!

"#Valentines day is #winelover’s day!
Ok… give us a second…how to start: WOW!

The event that comes up on Valentines day 2013 will be a truly special one… so, it would be a real pleasure for us to host many friends of our international #winelover’s community.
Everything started here not even a year ago...
Since then - Valentine’s day 2012 - many people have heard of our mission (which is luckily our passion as well). For those of you who still do not know what it is…we share our love for wine and our thirst for wine knowledge with wine friends and #winelover-s anywhere in the world.

Our community is growing really fast. Not even in our wildest dreams we would have imagined that we would be so known and so big with just a few months of our existence. More than 6,000 people are already members of our facebook group and we receive dozens of requests everyday from people who want to join us. The group has grown worldwide uniting MWs, MSs, sommeliers, wine professionals, and wine bloggers who want to share their!

Our dream is to expand this group to any #winelover of the planet. If doesn’t matter if he/she is a wine professional or not. We only hope you are willing to share your wine experiences and that you have the desire to connect with like minded people.
Basilica di S Valentino
We would like also to use this opportunity to say a big thanks to the people of Umbria and, of course, to the city of Terni where Saint Valentine is buried, as well. They came up with the idea of the 1st year’s anniversary and the main event will be hosted there. We are so grateful we will be part of an amazing event. A celebration that is going to be unforgettable in every possible positive way!

We understand that many of us are busy with so many wine events happening, specially, at the first part of the year. But try to find a way… and come join us in to the country of love, the country where the cult of wine, food and life has so much importance. In a way, there’s something unique and magic around these things in Italy. Something that we - #winelovers - could really learn from.

This year there will be many opportunities for new people to join the #winelover’s community… but then again, if you can find a couple of days on your schedule, please come and join us for this big celebration of wine, love and life.

Here are  some of the highlights of the events planned for February (14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th) in Terni (Umbria, Italy):

• Master of Wine Masterclass: An Italian blind tasting hosted by MW Patrick Farrell
• Umbrian wines exibition with about 50 wineries from the region.
• Umbrian wines Master Class: Our team of professional wine educators will take you on an Umbrian wine discovery journey.
• Visits to wineries in the gorgeous countryside of Umbria.
• Visits to some of the amazing towns in Umbria (Assisi, Perugia, etc)
• Why #winelover?: A seminar/discussion about what a winelover is, about our community, what we stand for and how you can join us online and make new friends
• #winelover-s as part of your winery market strategy: Here we will delve into the topic of how #winelover-s can be valuable ambassadors of your brand on and off line.
• An Umbrian Food and Wine Pairing class hosted by an Italian Sommelier
• Wine2.0: an overview of the Social Media in today’s wine world. We aim to give you an overview of the online communication tools available today and will touch on how wine review sites can work for #winelovers and wineries alike
• The Umbrian #winelover’s quizzes: test your knowledge of Umbrian wines and compete to win fabulous #winelover T-shirts and buttons!
• A mini #winelover vinocamp: We will introduce you to the #vinocamp movement, explain how it started and is working in France and Germany before collecting a few topics for discussion.
• A #winelover wine competition: Which wines will be the first ones to win a #winelover's award?

PS: Most of this program is based on a team effort that was crafted for our first event as community during Vinitaly last year. Thanks to Caroline Henry, Onne Wan, Giulia Luccioli, and Andre Ribeirinho for your valuable contribution. #winelover #team #effort

I hope to see you all in Umbria for Valentine's day!

Luiz Alberto, #winelover

Sunday, January 6, 2013


''The Flying Winemaker' and Michael Rolland Team Up for CAMPO ELISEO 

I have written much in the past about Francois Lurton and his ability to roam the globe in search of the perfect plot of land to create vineyards that, in time, have unbelievable results.
It is much like one looking for oil.
Francois Lurton has that ability in his DNA to create wines in areas that have had some, but, not much recognized success.
To reach his goal on one project, Francois Lurton teamed-up with Michael Rolland, a noted international oenologist and wine consultant. In essence, they are rivals that have the same goal in mind.
That goal is to find land and create a vineyard that will yield grapes that will produce wines that will be written about for years to come.
The team of Francois Lurton and Michael Rolland found a plot of land in the Toro region of northwest Spain, which satisfied their curiosity. It was the perfect location for this project.
Michael Rolland explained that he wanted to make wines with Francois in an area where he had some prior experience. “Francois and I wanted to make wine in a hot region, so, Toro, near the Douro river was a perfect answer.”
Michael Rolland had visited the Toro region twenty years prior and the wines he sampled were really dreadful. Even with awful wines, what Michael saw was true ‘potential’ in the region. With Francois’ help, they had an opportunity to create fantastic wines.
The region received its DO (Denomination of Origin) in 1987.
The project started in 2000.
Together, they decided to plant the Tinto de Toro grape, a variant of Tempranillo, to produce a truly 100% Tinto de Toro. They called the wine Campo Eliseo like “Champs Elysées.”
The land (vineyard) was close to the Douro river, which was perfect for drainage. In addition, the terroir and warm weather conditions helped mold their decision to create complex wines.
The team of Francois Lurton and Michael Rolland produced their first vintage of Campo Eliseo in 2001. The last released vintage is 2009.
The two recently were in our country to show off their wines from Campo Eliseo. They want us to see what progress they have made since the original plantings in 2000.
In essence, the tasting of their wines is a culmination of twelve years of work.
They are showing the vintage progression from the original vintage to the present release. In layman’s terms, they are giving us the privilege to taste the wines of Campo Eliseo in what is called a ‘Vertical Tasting’.
The results were quite spectacular.
The consistency of the wines showed us the obvious characteristics of the Tinto de Toro grape and how this pair turned their plot in Toro into a quality, world-class product.
All vintages showed oak, dark fruit and spice.
My favorite vintage was the 2004, followed by the 2006.
Presently the 2009 is available for purchase with random stores selling past vintages.
The team of Francois Lurton and Michel Rolland have achieved true success with the wines of Campo Eliseo.
As a side note: If you can not find Campo Eliseo at your favorite wine shop, simply ask the store owner to bring the Campo Eliseo in, or look for other wines from Francois Lurton. He currently has vineyards in Chile, Argentina, France and Portugal.
That is why they call him ‘The Flying Winemaker’.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My top (wine) moments of 2012 (Part 1: with Andre Ribeirinho)

My good friend Andre Ribeirinho had the brilliant idea of posting his best (wine) moments of 2012 – The 10 Best Moments of 2012 – on his blog today. I’m honored to say that I was in 6 of this 10 best moments…

Here they are…

Judging wines from across the globe at the 2012 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Great learning experience in Guimarães. And an excellent opportunity to meet new people from the wine world.

Visiting Quinta do Noval and tasting the exceptional 1994 Vintage Nacional. An out-of-this-world Port wine experience shared with good friend… guess who? Andre Ribeirinho :) 

Sharing a tasting session on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily with a very special group of wine lovers who were participating in a Wine Bloggers trip to discover Etna Wines. Beautiful grapes to make amazing wines?

Visiting the top of Mount Etna and feeling literally on top of the world. Unforgettable. Andre brought a bottle of Port (Poças Vintage) to the top of the… here he is with the president of the Consorzio Etna – Giuseppe Mannino – enjoying a glass and having a great time.

Organizing the first ever #wineloverweek together with… yes, you got it! :)  Andre Ribeirinho (a very good friend, travel partner and fellow #winelover). It was a week full of exciting activities visiting wineries, tasting wines and attending #winelover Hangouts around Portugal (Lisboa, Porto, Alentejo and Douro). A great opportunity to show some of the best of what Portugal has to offer.

Attending for the second year the Adegga Wine Market 2012, the 4th edition of an award-wining 800-people wine event which includes some of the best wines and producers from Portugal and a very special Premium Room with some rare and old Port Wines. A great place to see the most important Portuguese producers and to taste amazing wines.

To be continued…

Luiz Alberto, #winelover

Are you a #winelover but still don’t have a t-shirt? Our next hangout is coming soon…
E-mail and she can get you a t-shirt in time for #WBIS in Brussels (January, 191th)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vol.2 – About similarities & differences of power and passion in the wine business…
The voting going on of the VinCe magazine in Hungary that is based on the publication at
So, having got so many votes from all my dear #winelover friends in the world…. Makes it look like that “I” got the first place in this “competition”: “Which woman has the biggest influence in wine business in Hungary?”
Does it really mean I am the one? Really? How even could I even dream of being compared to someone as knowledgeable as Dr. Mészáros Gabriella or many other amazing women in this business in Hungary? I am “just” a student, a #winelover… but just another one in our amazing community…
And do you know what? If I can have the choice, I’ll never change this feeling and honour I get as a #winelover, and be part of the community.
All this started by Luiz Alberto, my dear friend, CEO and founder of this blog on Valentines day 2012. I am convinced that not even him could have dreamed about the big dimension this all would have by now.
When he decided to join the Institute of Master of Wine he wanted to test himself how much he knows about wine and he started his long, beautiful, but hard journey …
…well this journey did not find an end yet… luckily… I have to admit as it took an amazing direction, a direction I would never believed this could ever happen…
I mean, wine is something that should bring pleasure to our lives, doesn’t it?
What he was able to create by know, the community with so many passionate people, friends with similar interests who are also eager to learn about wine and spread the word about it by using social media and participating at many of the #winelover hangouts organized in the whole world makes me proud again as it is the best way of expressing this pleasure…
We are a community with a facebook group having over 6,000 members growing day by day and in real life as well. This is just amazing. I mean, the  so called “successful people in wine business” wouldn’t exist without us, “simple” #winelovers who show an interest towards wine, or am I wrong?
By having won this voting, we as one group of people, friends who share the same, one #winelover community we have demonstrated the world that there are much bigger things in life than power…
Passion and real friendships… values like this make us achieve big things…
…I am really looking forward to an amazing new Year 2013 with people, friends, #winelovers coming together not only virtually on the Internet but in real life as well, as we are facing a year full of  interesting #winelover events such as hangouts, conferences, tastings, winery visits, competitions… and much more!
So here I want to say again: Thank you so much for being part of this amazing community and Happy New #winelover Year 2013!
Lotte Karolina Gabrovits, #winelover

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