Friday, May 31, 2013

FREE Sud de Franch Launch Party on Monday, June 3rd at 7:30pm (NYC) by Philip S. Kampe

Why not start the summer a little early by attending a FREE Sud de France launch party at the famous Penthouse at The PARK Restaurant, 118 10th Avenue between 17th and 18th street.

The Park has been one of my favorite outdoor type restaurants for many years. The location is only a block from the HIGHLINE, which should make your arrival to th event even more fun.

Sud de France offices are in New York at 10 East 53rd street. The offices are also a showroom and event space for products from the Sud de France. I have attended numerous wine events, lectures, seminars and musical events at this space and am always amazed how efficient and creative the staff, under the the direction of  Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, operates,   

Sud de France is an extremely large region in the south of France. It is home to both Languedoc and Roussillon, an agricultural paradise. The wines, the food and the hard-working people are amazing.

The wines of Sud de France feature roses, whites, reds and sparkling wines. Summer means rose wines from the south of France to me. It is the time of year, where I, often visit the wine shop and purchase an assorted case of rose wines from France to use when I entertain.

To start the summer season off, the Sud de France crew is sponsoring this event that includes music from the New York Brass Band. A selection of wines from the Sud de France region will be offered for sale along with food specialties from the region that will be prepared by celebrity chefs. The food will pair perfectly with suggested Sud de France wines.

This is the first of many Sud de France Festivals in the New York area (Brooklyn included). Other events include:
The AMERICANO  June 2nd  6pm
The SMILE  June 9th  6:30pm and 9pm
CALLIOPE  June 11th  7pm
DONNA   June 16th   11:30am and 1:30pm
The PINES  June 23rd  6:30pm

The above events are ticketed events.
Tickets can be bought for the dinner at: http// 

Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The 'EPICUREAN TOUR of CHINATOWN' and Bombay Sapphire East by Philip S. Kampe

‘BOMBAY SAPPHIRE EAST’ and the ‘Epicurean Tour of Chinatown

It was a very warm, muggy day in Chinatown when I met-up with a group of fellow curious spirit drinkers, mixologists and restaurant operators. The meeting took place because of the off beat advertisement that the Manhattan Cocktail Classic was hosting an ‘Epicurian Tour of Chinatown with Bombay Sapphire East (Gin)’.

The title aroused enough interest that our group ‘Sold Out’ the event.

I felt lucky to be part of the small group that were under the guidance of Gary Hayward, Bombay Sapphire East’s Brand Ambassador’.

We met at Dim Sum GoGo, 5 East Broadway, located in Chinatown, Manhattan. The restaurant may be the most important Dim Sum restaurant in Chinatown and North America.

The goal of the Brand Ambassador was to show how well Bombay Sapphire East cocktails pair with all types of Chinese food creations.

To cap Gary Haywards’ presentation, a film crew from the ‘Foods of New York Tours’ was filming the complete ‘Epicurean Tour of Chinatown’ along with his mixing tips and our comments.

Gary mesmerized the room with his presentation. Maybe it was his cockney accent paired with Bombay Sapphires ’12 Exotic Botanicals’ found in the new Asian inspired Bombay Sapphire East that put the worshipers in a trance. Whatever it was, the evening was his.

Like magic, Gary brewed an exotic tea and poured it over a half shot of Bombay Sapphire East that was in our tea cups. The combination, somehow by magic was chilled. The result was an amazing drink that paired perfectly with the duck, shrimp, vegetable and chive Dim Sum that were served to each of us. Add a ginger topping and special sauce and you felt like this combination was a ‘Match Made In Heaven’.

And this was just the beginning!

We staggered out of the restaurant and listened to our guide explain Chinatown’s history before we made a bee-line to our next stop, ABC Cantonese (34 Pell Street).
After drinking a large glass of water (it is 85 degrees outside), we listened to Gary explain the cocktail he made with Bombay Sapphire East to complement the rice dish that was served to us. The cocktail was thirst quenching (I had two) and was exactly what the Cantonese dish called for.

The cameras stopped and we all lined up to thank Gary for his imaginative cocktail interpretation.

As we left, Gary announced that at the next restaurant, Peking Duck (28 Mott Street), we would make our own cocktail, the classic Gin & Tonic.

I was excited to become a mixologist at a restaurant that I have eaten at on several occasions. Peking Duck is what I believe to be the best BYOB restaurant in Manhattan.

As we entered the ‘duck palace’, we were escorted to a private room in the basement. Our tables were set-up with two ‘Full’ bottles of Bombay Sapphire East and all of the ingredients necessary to make a Gin & Tonic of our choice.

As the cameras rolled, Gary made his legendary Gin & Tonic mixture, which we imitated at our table. The result was clearly the ‘Best Gin & Tonic’ I have ever had. Maybe it was the Bombay Sapphire East gin that created the benchmark drink. Peking Duck was passed around on large platters to all of the guests.

We seem to have ‘clicked’ as a group, enjoying each others company to the max.

The bottles of gin were flowing and my true appreciation of Bombay Sapphire East was now etched into my heart. I have turned into a fan and a follower—all within three hours into this ‘Epicurean Tour of Chinatown with Bombay Sapphire East’.

The last stop was Apotheke (9 Doyers Street), a bar that reminded me of an opium den from the 1800’s.

This was it, one more cocktail that was created by Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward and executed by the bartenders in this amazing bar.

What an afternoon to remember, an experience of a lifetime, thanks to my new and favorite friend, ‘Bombay Sapphire East’.

Philip S. Kampe

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"ECCOCI", a Zero Carbon Wine Name to Remember by Philip S. Kampe

ECCOCI, “It’s All InThe Name” by Philip S. Kampe

Perhaps the name tells the story. Let’s analyze the name of the producer, ‘Eccoci”. To me, it means that ‘Ecology’ prevails at this vineyard, which then would create extremely high standards in all aspects of the operation.
I received an invite to a tasting of these wines from Susannah Gold, a ‘Certified Wine Geek’ who helps expose the trends to the ever-so-tight wine journalist community. Unfortunately, as life goes, I was unable to attend the small tasting, but, won the jackpot
by receiving two bottles from the producer to taste and understand at my own pace.
 I am from New Orleans and one thing that prevails in my nature is what I learned in the south, ‘If you can’t do it today, you can do it tomorrow’. That has been my attitude and has kept me sane during the past fifteen years that I have been in the metro New York area.
‘Life is too short to rush at every opportunity’. Pick and choose and keep your palate full, but, not overflowing. Some days are harder than others to make the correct choice.
As my wife Maria says, ‘It is what it is’.
What it is to me is the brilliance and dedication that has gone into the production of Eccoci, produced at the Blau Nau vineyard, two hours north of Barcelona and an hour from the French border..
Wine is like art, you start with a vague idea and you develop that idea into a visual reality, using various elements to create the vision.
In the case of Eccoci, Philippe Dambois and Jose Manual Maria had the vision to investigate the environment and locate a perfect spot for their ‘Ecological Wine Adventure’. Together, they studied the earth and the weather conditions and found land in the heart of the Gavarres mountain range in northeastern Spain, in the province of Girona.
They secured 30 acres, surrounded by a nature reserve within 75,000 acres of woodlands. The woods shield the vineyard from other crops.
Blau Nau is at the foot of a volcano. The land is calcareous and siliceous, which helps alleviate any possible drainage issues.
The winery was constructed into the earth, entirely underground, thus making their commitment to the environment a reality.
The first vines were planted in 2004.
The first harvest was in 2008. All grapes are picked by hand and are end result processed by gravity drip into the vats.
Whole white grapes are taken to a pneumatic press that works with nitrogen to avoid oxidation. They are then taken to a vat for racking, followed by slow fermentation.
Red grapes are stemmed and pressed before fermentation. Maceration follows.
Following the ecology trend, Eccoci is proud to be Spain’s first winery with a ‘Zero Carbon’ seal, which was granted in 2009. What this says is that the vineyard compensates for all greenhouse gas emissions generated by its daily activities. The winery also purchases carbon credits to offset its footprint.
Eccoci produces four wines, of which I sampled two.

2011 Eccoci Rose made with 100% Petit Verdot.
The salmon colored wine demands to be drunk very cold. 46-50F is suggested by the vintner. Immediately after opening the bottle and pouring a glass the aromatics engulfed my wine tasting room. Odors of flowers and perfume brightened the room so much that the excitement of my first taste of this wine was heightened.  I slowly sipped from my wine glass and felt an instant citrus, herbal sensation in my mouth followed by a  minerality that lingered for a good minute. The lingering, somewhat dry finish reminded me that I had prepared a cold shrimp salad for lunch, which turned out to be a perfect pairing for this adventurous, crowd pleasing wine. I checked Wine-Searcher for its price and found that it was readily available for under $17 a bottle.
The second bottle I sampled was the 2008 Eccoci Premium made from a blend of 34% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc and 33% Marselan. This was the first year of Eccoci’s wine production, so, my expectations were just in the experimental range. The wine was aged three months in oak, suggesting that the winemaker wanted the fruit to take over. As I poured the wine, noticeable dark fruit tones filled the tasting room with a definite berry aroma.
My palate was ready.
The balanced tannins made the wine dance with fruit, leading the way to spice and caramel. The 2008 Eccoci Premium ($33) is a very food friendly red wine that would easily pair with lamb, steak, cheese and pork chops. It is that special wine that stories revolve around.
In this case, the first vintage from the first Zero Carbon vineyard in Spain.
Keep your eyes open for all of the wines from Eccoci, including the two I have not sampled, the 2011 Eccoci Blanco and the 2009 Eccomi Tinto Super Premium.
ECCOCI is a name to remember.

Philip S. Kampe

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Chris Munsell and Fred Mac Murray--an 'Odd Couple' in the Wine World by Philip S. Kampe

As a kid I used to watch ‘My Three Sons’ and always liked the character Ernie on the television program. I never thought that I would write an article that encompassed the star of the series, Fred Mac Murray. 

The truth is Fred Mac Murray passed away in 1991 and ‘My Three Sons’ ended their successful twelve year television run in 1972.

‘My Three Sons’ chronicles the life of a widower and aeronautical engineer named Stephen Douglas (Fred Mac Murray).raising three sons. His real life mirrors a similar image—married and the father of twin daughters.

Starring in over 100 movies in his career leaves little time for one’s family and oneself.
Fred needed an escape for his family from the Hollywood world and decided to purchase a ranch in the Russian River Valley as a getaway and a working farm.

The Russian River Valley is in the center of Sonoma, an area rich in wine traditions. His wine neighbors include Rochioli and Gary Farrell, both well known vintners. Following Fred’s death, his family put Mac Murray Ranch up ‘For Sale’.

Fred’s rules were simple: Sell the farm only to a family who would promise to keep the land in agriculture and his fence line intact. His wishes were answered when the Gallo family purchased the farm from the family and agreed to Fred’s conditions.

The farm was sold in 1996 and in 2000 the first vines were planted.  The winery was born. Gina Gallo headed the operation and focused as making Mac Murray Ranch a home for Pinot Noir lovers.

Today, over 450 acres are planted, mostly with Pinot Noir. The winery encompasses five vineyards throughout Sonoma County and the Central Coast.

Kate Mac Murray, daughter of Fred Mac Murray is the brand ambassador for Mac Murray farm.

She lives at the Ranch and focuses her life as the spokesperson for the Award-Winning Pinot Noir that is produced under the wings of veteran winemaker Chris Munsell.

I spent an afternoon with Chris recently and learned about his 20 year wine career, his family and how he got into wine scene as a youngster spending his summers at his Grandmothers winery in Solano County. Those were his formative years leading him into wine internships at wineries in France and California before graduating from UC Davis. Chris majored in Fermentation Science, specializing in Viticulture and Enology.

It did not take very long for Chris to step-up to the plate and educate me about Mac Murray Ranch and the day to day operations of a master winemaker. He has worked his way to a prestigious career, capped by the quality of wines he produces at Mac Murray Ranch.

Chris honed his career at Geyser Peak, Beam Wine Estates and Domaine Chandon before being selected as the Mac Murray Ranch winemaker.

I sampled four Mac Murray Ranch Pinot Noirs and was overly impressed by their balance, complexity, fruit concentration and oak and vanilla integration.  The wines I will recommend are readily available at your local wine merchant, nationwide.

For further information on Mac Murray Ranch wines, visit their website at: .

My recommendations include:
2011 Russian River Valley Sonoma County Pinot Noir   
^^ cool vintage, subtle oak, dark fruit, 13.6% alcohol ^^ 90 points pk

2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir  
^^ complex flavors due to longer ripening, new & old oak, 15.4% ^^  92 points pk

2010 Russian River Valley Reserve Sonoma County Pinot Noir  
^^ cold weather foggy vintage until September sun, acidity, 15.2% ^^ 90 points pk

2010Russian River Valley Winemaker’s Block Pinot Noir 
^^ rainy May (20 days), sun in August, balanced, complex, 13.8% ^^ 93 points pk


Friday, May 24, 2013

Hudson-Berkshire Counties--WINE & FOOD FEST May 25 & 26 Chatham, NY by Philip S. Kampe

The Hudson Berkshire 'Wine Trail Members' will host its inaugural wine and food festival this Memorial Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday May 25th and 26th at the historic Columbia County Fairgrounds from 10am to 6pm daily.

Tickets at the door or online ( ) are $25 and include unlimited tastings, seminars and a souvenir wine glass. Children under 12 are Free and cannot drink alcohol, of course.
This event highlights Award Winning Vineyards, Distilleries, Cideries and Craft Breweries from the Berkshires and Hudson Valley.

The Fairgrounds will be home to local cheese, grass fed meat, bakeries and more. Samples and sales of products will be available.

The daily schedule will highlight local celebrities, The celebrities will feature food and beverage tastings, book signings and more.

With rainy weather in the forecast, this looks like a 'Perfect Weekend' indoor event to attend.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

HELFRICH Alsatian Wines Represent the 'True Summer Wine Drinking Experience' by Philip S. Kampe

Spring is in the air.
It is the start of the ‘Summer Wine Season’ for me.
For many people, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Roses from the south of France and Moscato from wherever is the only way.
Not me!

My family background is from Alsace, specifically BRUMATH, a small town near the French and German border. In fact, all of Alsace (France) borders Germany, which is to the east.

Thanks to my friend, Lisa Klinck-Shea, from San Francisco, I had the opportunity to “Celebrate Spring” with the HELFRICH family—winemaker Anne-Laure Helfrich and brand manager, oenologist Nicolas Haeffelin.

The mission of the dynamic duo was to show how relevant and food-friendly Alsatian wines are in our market.

Anne-Laure Helfrich raised her glass filled with Helfrich NV Cremant d’Alsace and in Alsatian style, toasted the wines from Alsace and the star of the day, the wines from the Helfrich Vineyards, which include my ‘Summer Favorites’, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Cremant d’Alsace.

As we finished our toast, Nicolas educated us about the history and the wine facts of the Alsace region:
^^ Alsace has been a winemaking region since the Roman times ^^
^^ In 56 B.C. Caeser called Alsace the ‘Best of all Gaul” ^^
^^ By 900 A.D. there were 160 villages in Alsace making wine ^^
^^  Alsace is the second northernmost growing region after Champagne ^^
^^ Paris is approximately 300 miles due west of Alsace ^^
^^ The vineyards in Alsace run north to south in a long strip on the eastern side of the Vosges Mountains ^^
^^ The mountains provide a protective shield from excessive rain and oceanic winds ^^ ^^ The climate is normally sunny, hot with dry days and cool evenings^^
^^ The soil varies from pink sandstone to chalky clay, limestone, granite, schist and volcanic rock sediment ^^
^^ The majority of wines from the region are dry white wines ^^
^^ The most popular grape varieties include: Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Riesling ^^   

Nicolas then explained about the Helfrich Steinklotz vineyard. The vineyard is the oldest documented vineyard in Alsace, recorded by Gregory of Tours in 589 A.D. The vineyard is at the northern end of the Alsatian wine route, which runs, as Nicolas noted, from north to south. The steep vineyard is situated from six-hundred to one thousand feet in altitude. The soil at this vineyard is comprised of eight inches of loam covering a hard calcareous bedrock. The vineyard faces south/southeast and benefits from maximum sunshine. Its stony subsoil helps to retain heat and its dry, warm environment makes up a unique microclimate. Dry-farmed and hand-picked, the vines are trained upward for maximum exposure to the sun. Steinklotz is one of fifty-one vineyards in Alsace to have been awarded Grand Cru status. By law, only Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat may be grown in these vineyards.

Helfrich offers two levels of wines, both at affordable prices. The noble varieties retail for under $14.99, while the Grand Crus from single vineyards sell below the $19.99 price tag.

The wines are great food wines, as I sampled dozens of combinations of various food offerings with the wines. Amazingly, all of the wines stood out as perennial food buddies.

Helfrich wines are in our marketplace and should be found at your local wine merchant.
My suggestions include:
Helfrich NV Cremant d’Alsace
(Noble varieties sell for under $15 a bottle)
2012 Helfrich Pinot Blanc
2012 Helfrich Pinot Gris
2012 Helfrich Riesling
2012 Helfrich Gewurztraminier
2012 Helfrich Riesling

(Grand Crus retail for under $25)
2011 Helfrich SteinklotzPinot Gris Grand Cru
2011 Helfrich Steinklotz Riesling Grand Cru
2009 Helfrich Steinklotz Gewurztraminier Grand Cru

Spring is here and so are my ‘Go-To’ wines from Helfrich, soon to become a household name in North America. In Alsace,Pinot Blanc is the 'Go-To' wine of the locals. It is a perfect food wine with balanced, concentrated fruit and a long finish. My 'Go-To' wine is the Gewurztraminer, a blend of fresh, fruity, tropical and citrus.
What is your 'Go-To' Helfrich wine?



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Barolo, Brunello and Barbaresco Wine Finds by Philip S. Kampe

May I give you fair warning that I had the privilege of sampling well over 50 varieties of what I consider to be Italy's true gift to the world--wines that start with the letter "B".
As you know from the title of this short article, that can only mean "BAROLO, BARBARESCO and BRUNELLO.
Thanks to a wine guru in the making, Sam Kass of Winebow, I had the pleasure of attending, what I consider to be one of the 'Top Five" wine tastings of the year. The event was held at the new 'Lafayette Restaurant and Bakery' at 380 Lafayette Street (NYC). The same space housed a very successful restaurant, Chinatown Brasserie for several years, before the conversion.
The wine tasting took place in the newly renovated basement, which looks like a true wine cellar, the type you would have in your house. The walled brick cellar held hundreds of bottles of wine, which looked impressive, partially due to the dimly lit lights that created the necessary mood. A large table in the center was home to a gourmet's delight--antipasto. Whether it was beet salad or seafood salad, the food presented matched the wines that were poured.
What I learned was that the Winebow portfolio of wines at the event were masterfully picked out by none other than Leonardo Locascio, whose name is attached to each bottle. Leonardo has been named as one of the wine worlds most influential personalities and America's foremost authority on Italian wine. My respect for Leonardo started years ago when his company carried wines and lemoncello from my relatives, Antonio and Aurelia De Angelis who live on the Isle of Capri.
Eventually the de Angelis's sold their wine and lemoncello interest to concentrate on their world renowned restaurant on the Isle of Capri, La Capannina ( ).
The restaurant has been a hotspot for celebrities that visit the island known for the 'Blue Grotto'. In fact, last week I watched an episode of  The Food Channel's 'Everyday Italian' starring Guida De Laurentis'. The episode focused on the Isle of Capri and included Guida preparing from scratch, La Capannina's world famous Ravioli alla Caprese.
In fact, the Ravioli alla Caprese would pair well with the selection of Italian wines I sampled.
What I learned from the wine tasting was to buy these wines from a small group of producers who specialize in either Barolo's, Barbaresco's or Brunello's. Yes, the year does matter (I prefer 2009), but, it seems the quality of each year of production excels in its own way.

The companies to focus your interest on are::
2006, 2008, 2009, 2010  ALBESANI S STEFANO

2006, 2008, 2009, 2010

2004, 2008, 2009, 2010
2006, 2007, 2008

2007, 2008
2007, 2008, 2009

2008, 2009

2007, 2008, 2009

Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

YES! Amazing Turkish Wines from VINKARA Winery by Philip S. Kampe

Tasting the wines from Turkey’s Vinkara Winery reminded me of my visit to Turkey many years ago. I wasn’t a wine geek at the time and certainly knew little to nothing about Turkish wines and their origin. While staying at small hotel in Ankara, I came across who I consider to be the first wine aficionado that I had the pleasure of speaking to about wine. In this case the conversation was only about Turkish wines, their origin and the grape varietals.
The only other knowledgeable wine people that I knew were my New Orleans relatives, George and Raymond Weill. They were well known stamp collectors and consultants who traveled the world and dined at only the finest restaurants available during their stamp buying days. They always drank wine with their meal and would have a five-minute conversation with the sommelier before ordering that special bottle of wine that would complement the meal. They were French, from Alsace, and invariably ordered French wine at all meals.
Musa, my Turkish wine aficionado friend explained in detail that scientific studies prove that the history of wine dates back ‘Fifteen-thousand Years” to the Hittites, a clan that lived in central Anatolia, modern day Turkey. This area, Musa explained, is considered the birthplace of winemaking. Over twenty-five civilizations have been involved with grape production using the same Anatolian soil. Many years wine production was prohibited, but, grape production continued. Musa explained to me years ago that Turkish wines would one day enter the international wine scene due to their indigenous grape varietals, specifically Kalecik Kasari, a red grape known to the wine trade as ‘KK’ and Narince, a white grape varietal from Tokat in the Black Sea region.
It was deja vu to learn from Christine Canterbury (Master of Wine), our Turkish wine educator for the evening, that the two grape varietals we would sample for the evenings tasting were—you guessed it—Kalecik Kasari and Narince.
Musa was correct—these varietals would eventually become international stars. I was going to sample these varietals with a palate that appreciates wines, unlike my lack of palate interest during my younger days.
Aiding Christine Canterbury was Veronica and Etienne Touzot, owners of  Connecticut’s Fine Wine Selections and importers of the Vinkara portfolio, Shuku Hahn, bookkeeper and controller of the 135 acre vineyard, located 320 miles south of Istanbul and dynamic winemaker Ardic Gursel.
Missing was Marco Monchiero, who, in 2008 began collaborating with Vinkara winery. Mr. Monchiero, a graduate of Instituto di Istruzione Superiore di Stato ‘Umberto 1’ in Alba, Piedmont, Italy,  is a world-famous wine consultant and is the chief winemaker at Vinkara.
When Marco Monchiero  first visited Vinkara he walked around the property and realized that he was surrounded by elements that he didn’t know and viticulture that he was curious about. That is how he decided to work and concentrate on this project. Currently he oversees all Vinkara strategic decisions including harvest, new plantings, viticulture and vinification.
Vinkara’s guiding philosophy is to introduce and build awareness of indigenous Anatolian grapes and their unique tastes to the world by making wines that are ideally suited to their sites, soils and climate. Vinikara uses only two grapes, as we discussed earlier, the Kalecik Kasari and Narince grapes. The goal is to produce world-class wines highlighted by indigenous grapes.
Memories of my visit to Turkey came back to life after sampling the NARINCE 2012 Erbaa Tokat ($15) and the RESERVE NARINCE 2010 Tokat Erbaa ($25). Both white wines were full of tropical fruit, totally balanced, dry, crisp and explosive with a lingering finish. The Reserva was aged for 14 months in oak and was highly acidic.
The final two wines I sampled were made with the Kalecik Kasari grape. This is the grape Musa bragged about and now the grape I want to brag about.
The KALECIK KARASI 2011  Kalecik Ankara ($15) is a dark fruit wine with hints of redcurrant, sour cherries and plums. Tannins are manageable, guaranteeing a soft, balanced finish. The KALECIK KARASI 2010 Kalecik Ankara ($25) at 14% alcohol is easily a contender for ‘ The Best  $25 Wine of the Year’. Aged 14 months in oak then further aged in caves, this smoky aroma wine danced with blackberry, spice and coffee on the palate. Soft tannins coupled with a long finish made this wine an instant ‘hit’ for me.
Too bad, Musa wasn’t around to share a glass with me.
Maybe he is sampling Vinkara’s ‘method champagne’ new bubbly, YASASIN, made with the Kalecik Kasari grape, soon to be in America.?
Philip S. Kampe

Monday, May 13, 2013

Berkshire Massachusetts TastingPanel Wine Picks for the Summer 2013 by Philip S. Kampe

Berkshire Tasting Panel’s Summer Wine Challenge 2013 Winners!
The BTP members were looking for wines that epitomize the Berkshire Summer…wines with history, artistry, purity and lastly great taste.  After sampling over 150+ wines, the BTP arrived at these results. All wines can be found locally.
The tasting panel consists of Christelle Cotar, wine director at Blantyre; Caitlin Harrison from Mezze Bistro; Dan Thomas, wine director at the Red Lion Inn and Kollin Kozlowski, CSW and wine director at Kelly’s of Dalton. Their individual comments regarding the wines they chose is below.
Berkshire Tasting Panel’s #1 White Wine
Ameztoi Getariko Txakolina 2012 Gipuzkos Spain ($17)

In the north of Spain, bathed by the Cantabric Sea and resting at the foot of the Pyrenees, is the Basque Country, a cool, windy and sparse region that produces an almost unpronounceable and obscure white wine, Chacoli.  The best way to explain this wine is….it’s Vinho Verde on steroids!!  This low alcohol white, made from slightly under ripe native grape varieties, is super intense with mouth-watering crisp acidity, notes of sea air, stony minerality and pure lime.  We thought the thirst quenching spritzy quality to this wine would match best with lightly grilled fresh oysters, rich creamy Tetilla cheese or it would cut through fatty charred red meats.
Berkshire Tasting Panel #1 Red Wine
Sella & Mosca Cannonau Riserva 2009 Sardinia Italy ($11)
Known as Cannonau in Sardinia, but to the rest of the world it’s known as Grenache or Garnacha.    Out of 60+ selections we had several Spanish Garnacha  and Cotes du Rhone manage to make it into the top 20 selections.   Grenache is known generally for its upfront pure raspberry & kirsch notes, distinct spice and acid backbone.  Sella & Mosca, one of the most historic wineries in Sardinia, encompasses all these attributes and manages to take it up a few notches in complexity.   The Mediterranean climate sun bakes the grapes adding notes of tobacco and earth while the two years spent in Slovenian Oak adds a distinct spice note and supple maturity not often found in wines of this price.   This Cannonau epitomizes a summer red because it’s versatility, soft and light enough to match with cedar planked salmon but has enough acid backbone to stand up to richer grilled tenderloin.
Christelle Cotar, Blantyre’s Wine Director
Bodegas Rafael Palacios Godello Louro do Bolo 2011 Valdeorras, Spain ($13)
This Spanish white is pale gold in color with aromatically complex notes of pear, quince and spice.   While remaining light on its feet, the palate is concentrated with flavors of pear, crisp apple and a creaminess that comes from the time it spends ageing on the lees. For me this Godello showed all the terroir of a Grand Cru white Burgundy! 
Château Dubourg  2010 Saint Emilion France ($16)
If you are looking for a wine on the lighter side for the summer, but still crave complexity and character, this blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Bordeaux hits the mark. This medium bodied red has an elegant ruby color, nose of dark berry and vanilla.  It is medium bodied with pure raspberry, supple leather notes and silky tannins are easy to like. Perfect to match with roasted chicken or Belletoie Brie.
Kollin Kozlowski, CSW & Kelly’s Wine Director
Saint Peyre Picpoul de Pinet 2012 Languedoc France($10)
This French white grown on the Mediterranean coast epitomizes summertime for me.   Picpoul de Pinet, which loosely translates as “lip stinger”, is a high acid grape that hits all the same notes as Sauvignon Blanc.   The bright and fresh upfront notes of tangy grapefruit, lemon and lime are beautifully balance by the delicate herbaceous clean finish that leaves you begging for another sip.    A final 5 pick from all the judges…and the least expensive
Durigutti Malbec Classico 2011 Mendoza Argentina ($11)
This was my highest rated wine of the 60+ reds and rose’s tasted.  Deep, dark color…(what am I thinking, this is a summer wine???)...Ok, here’s the deal, this red is so impeccably balanced it doesn’t matter how rich and textured it is.  What matters is the purity and attentive winemaking.  This Mendoza Malbec has refined black cherry fruit with a hint of blueberry, spicy oak and vanilla notes that highlight but don’t overpower.  I’m thinking backyard BBQ…whether you’re serving teriyaki tuna or NY strip steak this Malbec will suit it all.
Dan Thomas, Red Lion Inn’s Wine Director
Seebrich Neirsteiner Riesling QBA, Halbtrocken, 2012 Rheinehessen Germany ($13)
This racy German halbtrocken (half dry) Riesling is extremely friendly and so easy to drink. What makes this white so unique is the perfect balance of lively acidity and the plethora of fresh stone fruit flavors.  This low alcohol Riesling is refreshing and clean which makes this a perfect go to summer white.
Castillo de Monseran Garnacha 2010  Carinena, Spain ($9)
I enjoyed this Garnacha at the tasting but as the wine opened it became apparent that it was flawed. I figured if it was corked and I liked it…a sound bottle should be even more enjoyable. Another sample was pulled and I tasted it over two days. This is a cool climate higher elevation Garnacha from the Aragon region of Spain. Light strawberry and kirsch notes with pepper and earth notes on the back palate. This light bodied red (12.5%abv) has no oak to mask the fruit, so it is refreshing to taste a Spanish Grenache that isn't overly alcoholic or over made. Enjoy this by itself or with a grilled lamb shank.
Caitlin Harrison, Mezze Bistro’s Front End Manager
Licia Albariño; 2011 Rias Baixas, Spain ($16)
This Albarino shows pale yellow in the glass.  Aromatically, the wine has an intense limey citrus quality, balanced by a smoky minerality and an overall freshness that demands a hot afternoon at Tanglewood. On the palate it surprises the average Albariño consumer, that it isn't as overtly fruity. This northern Spanish white is lively and super refreshing with pleasant acidity and great balance. Drink it now and drink it often.
La Calandria "Volandera", Garnacha 2011 Navarra  Spain ($16)
This brightly hued, "best served chilled, but not cold" Garnacha from Spain is a real winner. The nose shows bright cherry fruit, intermingled with some lighter earthen elements. Because of the carbonic maceration (a fermentation technique used in the wines of Beaujolais), it zips and zings with all the acidity one could ever want for rich charcuterie, fatty cheese or light fish. This is a fun and playful light red everyone should be drinking.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

European Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Proposal submitted by Benjamin Spencer

Dear Friends and Colleagues –

I am writing to you today with a unique opportunity to contribute to the influential community of wine communicators from around the globe, who each year converge on one unique location to discuss wine and digital communications strategies during the European Wine Bloggers & Digital Communications Conference [EWBC].

As a part of this year's EWBC Scholarship and Fundraising Team, I am proud to submit sponsorship of this year's scholarship fund. We are accepting small donations and large sponsorships for this program. 

The sixth-annual EWBC Digital Wine Communications Conference will be held in Logroño, Spain, on October 25 – 27, 2013, uniting hundreds of expert wine communicators from over 35 countries!

Should you, your colleagues, and/or company wish to contribute to this year's scholarship fund, or if you have any questions about sponsorships of the EWBC conference, please feel free to contact me at:

Within the aproposal, which I will send you, I have included the primary information about this year’s scholarship fund and my contact information. You may also visit any of the links included at the end of the proposal for more information.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in Spain, in October!


Benjamin Spencer, AIWS
Please contact me at:

Last Minute MOTHER'S DAY Sparkling Wine Idas by Philip S. Kampe with MARTINI

Whether it’s creating a homemade brunch for the special woman in your life or serving some delicious sparkling wine cocktails, Italian winemaker MARTINI has the perfect delectable libations to make mom feel extra special. 
Below please find some Mother’s Day inspired brunch cocktails, such as the Mom-osa, and a great gift idea for moms to truly indulge with mini sized bottles of MARTINI Sparkling Wines.
MARTINI® Sparkling Wine Minis are affordable and adorable, delivering bubbly merriment in small doses! They are individual serving-sized bottles (187mL - roughly a quarter the size of a “regular” bottle) and are available in MARTINI® Sparkling Rosé, Prosecco and Asti. There is also one flavor profile for every type of mom out there!  For the chic sophisticate - the dry frizzante Prosecco; for the bold and sexy siren - the Sparkling Rosé; and for the stylish sweetheart - the classic Asti.  
Price: $14.99 /4-pack
MARTINI® Mom-osa
2 parts chilled MARTINI® Asti
1 part Orange Juice
Pour orange juice into a flute glass. Top with MARTINI® Asti and garnish with strawberry.

Rise & Shine
MARTINI® Asti      
1 part GREY GOOSE® L’Orange Vodka
½ part Orange Juice
½ part Lemon Juice
1½ parts Pomegranate Juice
Combine vodka, orange juice, lemon juice, pomegranate juice and ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a flute. Top with MARTINI® Asti.

Apple of my Eye
3 parts MARTINI® Prosecco
2 parts MARTINI® Extra Dry vermouth
1 part Apple Juice
Pour MARTINI® vermouth and apple juice into flute glass. Top with MARTINI® Prosecco.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Susannah Gold strikes 'GOLD' with Morellino di Scansano by Philip S. Kampe

Susannah Gold strikes ‘GOLD’ with ‘Morellino di Scansano’ by Philip S. Kampe

Rarely have I been more impressed than with the rapid development of a wine appellation than that of ‘Moellino Di Scansano’.  Two years ago the producers from the Consorzio Tutela dei Vino visited New York and created a huge ‘buzz’ among the wine industry.

I was quoted as saying,’ When we think of wines from Tuscany, naturally we think of Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vin Santo. Never has Morellino di Scansano entered our stream of consciousness.’

After the array of eight outrageous wines that Susannah Gold, owner of Vigneto Communications ( presented to a select group of journalists at Del Posto restaurant (NYC) recently, my heart and soul has met its future , that being the wines from the Italian wine appellation, Morellino di Scansano.

The wines that we sampled are certainly ‘food wines’, as was discussed. One producer summed-up the discussion with three simple words, ‘Wine is Food’.

The dinner menu consisted of Truffled Beef Carne Cruda with Parmigiano-Reggiano and watercress buds, Garganelli Verdi al Ragu Bolognese, Neopolitan Lamb Rack with smoked neck, Salsa Madre and Wilted water Spinach, followed by a selection of three aromatic cheeses and a Biscotti assortment.
Each course was perfectly paired with two wines from Morellino di Scansano.

Morellino di Scansano recently received its DOCG rating in 2007, twenty-nine years after achieving the DOC status. The appellation is the newest DOCG in Italy. The appellation is located in southwest Tuscany, near the ocean and far from the tourist regions one associates with Tuscany.

The wines from this area are made in the hilly village of Scansano, which includes part of the coastline in Maremma. The winemaking tradition dates back to the 1500’s. Morellino is the local dialect and name for the local grape, Sangiovese. Locals believe that Morellino comes from Morello (brown), the color of Maremmano horses. Others believe that the name comes from the Morello cherry.
Its origin is still being debated.

During the 1800’s, wines from Morellino di Scansano were the most celebrated in Italy. The wines fell out of fashion later in the century. Both Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino surpassed the popularity of Morellino di Scansano.

Today, the wines are gaining popularity, both domestically and internationally. The wines are affordable. They are released young and should be consumed within a couple years of bottling, while the Reserva can be cellared up to fifteen years. By law, the wines must consist of a minimum of 85% Sangiovese, blended with up to 15% of other varietals.

The wines from Morellino di Scansano have soft tannins followed by hints of cherry and licorice. In 1978 there were ten wine producers in Morellino di Scansano. Today there are over nearly one hundred and twenty-five.

The wines from the appellation do not have to age in wood and can be released in March after the harvest, meaning that the wines can be on the shelf with less than eight months of life. The wines upon release are generally crisp and fresh. Prices are between the $12-$19  price range.

Morellino di Scansano Reserva can be released on the first of January, two years after harvest. The wine must remain on oak for no less than twelve months. These wines have richer acidity and higher tannins. Prices run from $30-$45 a bottle.

Consider purchasing wines from Mirellino di Scansano if you love the Sangiovese grape. The wines are an excellent option versus Chianti. The wines are true food wines and pair brilliantly with pasta, pizza and wild boar.

My recommendations include:
2010 Poggio Nibbiale DOCG
2010 Azienda Agricola Santa Lucia ‘Tore del More’ DOCG
2010 Poggio Argentiera ‘Capatosta’ DOCG
2009 Provveditore ‘Primo’ DOCG
2009 Fattoria La Pupille Reserva ‘Poggio Valente’ DOCG
2010 Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini-Massi di Mandorlaia DOCG
2008 Fattoria Mantellasi ‘La Sentinelle DOCG


Monday, May 6, 2013

Cocktail Recipes inspired by the premier of "The Great Gatsby" by Philip S. Kampe

To accompany the May 10th release of Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” I wanted to share a few related cocktail recipes, paired with characters and themes from the movie/novel, your way. I’ve included recipes, pictures and character descriptions below.
In Manhattan, all of these recipes can be found by visiting Whiskey Park (100 Central Park South/in Trump's Parc); Koi SoHo (246 Spring Street in Trump SoHo); Pig and Khao (68 Clinton Street); Havana Central (Four restaurants in NYC); Steve Rose Lounge (10 Columbus Circle in Time Warner Building); Lilium (201 Park Avenue South@17th Street) and The LCL Bar & Kitchen (the Westin in Grand Central)

Opulent and alluring, Baz Luhrmann’s big-screen interpretation of “The Great American novel” cites F. Scott Fitzgerald’s written manifesto of the Jazz Age.  The romanticized stills of wild automobiles, flapper and dapper outfits and prohibition cocktails capture the essence of an era while embracing the modernity of today’s cinematography. Below are a few recipes, in tribute to the movie’s characters and themes:
JUICE BOX – Whiskey Park
1 ½ ounces Voli Orange Vanilla
2 ounces Lemonade
½ ounce Agave Nectar
½ ounce Pineapple Juice
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients & shake over ice. Strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish w/ orange wheel.
While Gatsby doesn’t drink, some speculate that he’s a bootlegger. Keep your consumption under wraps with this unassuming speakeasy cocktail.
2 ounces Yamazaki 12 year whiskey
1 ounce Cointreau
3 squeezed lemon segments
1 piece charred jalapeño
Shake ingredients and strain over fresh ice. 
This wild, exuberant potion –characterized  by dignified Yamazaki whiskey and spicy charred jalapeño – lets you take narrator Nick Carroway’s unassuming place in the passenger seat of Gatsby’s yellow Rolls-Royce. 
MICHELADA – Pig and Khao
16 ounce pint glass
1 ounce P & K Sangrita
½ ounce lime juice
1 Singha Lager
1 lime wedge
Adobo rim       
Thai chili salt
Using lime juice, rim the pint glass with adobo. Fill glass ¾ of the way with ice.  Add sangrita and lime juice.  Add beer until ¾ up the glass.  Stir briefly to incorporate all ingredients Add more ice and more beer making sure not to disturb the adobo. Garnish with a lime wedge and straw for drinking/stirring.
Daisy’s reluctant, arrogant East Egg husband drinks ale, making him diametrically opposed to his West Egg neighbor from across the bay.
DAY IN CAPRI – A DISARONNO original recipe
1 ounce DISARONNO®
1 bar spoon apricot preserves
½ ounce BACARDI® 8 Rum
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
Shake ingredients and strain over ice in a rocks glass; garnish with fresh thyme.
Sweet, tart and vibrant, Tom Buchanan’s sensuous, smoldering mistress Myrtle Wilson imagines an exotic getaway which removes her far from her discontentment in the “Valley of Ashes.”
Fresh squeezed Lemonade
Fresh guava
Fresh pineapple
Agave to taste
Gently muddle guava and pineapple in agave. Add fresh lemonade, shake to combine and pour into glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple slice and a mint leaf.
The last time Daisy had a drink was the night of her unhappy wedding to Tom.  True to form, gorgeous socialite Daisy Buchanan’s forgoes alcoholic beverages and instead chooses this citrusy-sweet elixir.
THE STONE ROSE – Stone Rose Lounge
1 ½ ounces Woodford Reserve
1 ounce Grand Marnier
½ ounce White Cranberry Juice
Splash of fresh lime juice
Splash of simple syrup
Served up or on the rocks. Garnish with a stemless cherry.
Attractive and funny golf-aficionado Jordan Baker defines the “new woman” and epitomizes the progressive movement by opting for something other than a stereotypically sweet and fruity beverage.
2 ounces Bison Grass vodka
5 cubes of Lemongrass
5 cubes of Ginger
½ ounce simple syrup
Squeeze of lemon
Build in a mixing glass. Muddle the lemongrass, ginger and simple syrup. Add the vodka and ice, shake and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass, then top with a splash of club soda (don’t fill to the top of the glass). Garnish with a 6 inch long piece of lemon grass.
Gatsby’s guests dance in a ceremonious uproar with this lemongrass and ginger treat which the newly rich West-Egg socialite serves at his outrageous parties.
GREEN DREAM – The LCL: Bar & Kitchen
1 ounce Organic Avenue Giving Green juice
2 ounces Organic Avenue apple juice
½ ounce Organic Avenue lemon juice
1 ½ ounces Crop Harvest Organic Cucumber vodka
Combine ingredients, shake, strain over ice and garnish with cucumber fans
The color of the light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s waterside dock, this green concoction invigorates Jay Gatsby’s lovesick yearning and leaves you in anticipation for more.
GATSBY 7 – The LCL: Bar & Kitchen
½ ounce lime juice
½ ounce Simple Syrup
1 ½ ounces Organic Avenue apple juice
½ ounce Lairds Apple Brandy
1 ½ ounces Tanqueray
Shake well and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Top with soda water to taste.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

If you are in the Berkshires (Massachsetts) on Cinco de Mayo, this is the Event for you by Philip S. Kampe

It's going to be a GORGEOUS week-end
Join Us on Wheatleigh's breathtaking terrace for an...

ELEGANT PROSECCO BRUNCH with very special guest, winemakerAlberto Ruggeri, Owner of LE COLTURE WINERY
Sunday, May 5th, 2013, from  11:30-1:30
Menu exquisitely Crafted by Chef Jeffrey Thompson,
A sampling of some of the elegant Brunch fare
to accompany Le Colture Prosecco wines.

Artisan Italian Cheese Selection:Robiola, Langa La Tur, Pecorino and TaleggioFreshly baked BaguettesArtichoke and Wild Mushroom QuicheFresh, sweet Melon wrapped ProscuittoTuna Tartar, Olive Crackers and Spicy MayoHomemade Shellfish Fritter with Spicy Mayo dressingThai Chicken skewersFresh Seasonal Fruit & Strawberries
& more delicious brunch items
 When Jim Nejaime visited Le Colture Winery, he invited Alberto to come to Lenox and share his knowledge and beautiful craft.  Alberto Ruggeri’s family is deeply rooted in winemaking in the heart of Valdobbiadene within Italy's Veneto region.  Roberto has graciously accepted & will present some of the very best Proseccos made including....
Le Colture Prosecco SYLVOZ Brut, Le Colture Prosecco MAS SPAGO Frizzante, Le Colture Prosecco FAGHER Brut DOCG,
Le Colture Prosecco CARTIZZE DOCG Cru,
Le Colture Prosecco ROSE Brut

$75 per person, includes tax & gratuity.
Summer casual attire, served on the terrace weather permitting
(Otherwise, we’ll dine inside Wheatleigh’s beautiful dining room.)    

Please reserve by calling SPIRITED at 413.448.2274.  


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...