Thursday, May 29, 2014

Recommended Wines from Catalana by Philip S. Kampe

                              El Cellar de Can Roca in Spain's Catalan region

In the northeast corner of Spain, lies the number one rated restaurant in the world (2013), El Cellar de Can Roca. The restaurant is known for combining local Catalan cuisine with avant-garde and experimental dishes.

Roca is also known for its 60,000 bottle wine cellar. According to Sommelier Josep Roca, one of the three brother owners of El Cellar de Can Roca, the comprehensive wine list is the size of two telephone books. At a recent visit to the famed restaurant, I found several wines that are Catalan classics, affordable and distributed in America.
                           Head chef Joan Roca explains how the kitchen operates
                                One of Chef Josep Roca's signature dishes

                                   The upscale Miquel Torres Winery
                                               Miquel Torres Winery
The wines that pair well with the varied dishes of El Cellar de Can Roca can be sampled on June 4th at the Cervantes Institute in Manhattan. Avinicola Catalana is sponsoring the tasting for only qualified trade and press. (Contact for an invitation)

Wines of interest that will be poured on June 4th from Catalana and can be found  at ElCellar de Can Roca include:
Vilamau Brut Rose NV
Torello Brut Reserva Special Edition
Agusti Torello Mata Kripta 2007
Gran Codomiu Xarel-Lo Finca La Nansa
                    Wines from Catalana make you strong, says author Philip S. Kampe

Cervoles red 2007
Abadal Seleccio 2007
Pinord Mas Blanc +7
Torres Grans Muralles 2006

Wine brands of interest from Catalana  include:
Agusti Torello Mata
Castell del Remei
Giro del Gorner
La Fou
Mas Blanc
Rexach Baques
Trias Battle

Isn't it time to drink the 'Wines from Catalana' ?

Philip S. Kampe

Monday, May 26, 2014

'Il' Ugo--(a tough name to remember) but, The 'Hottest Cocktail of the Summer' by Philip S. Kampe

                                               Even cows love 'Il' Ugo

Memorial Day is the true beginning of the summer season—at least for me and my friends and neighbors who live in the northeast (Massachusetts) section of America.

This year I decided to forget the beer and dedicate warm hot days to a new cocktail on the market—Mionetto’s ‘Il’ Ugo’, an Italian semi-sparkling cocktail made with elderberry (remember St. Germain) blossom and wildflowers mixed with Mionetto’s classic sparkling.

You don’t have to know how to make a cocktail to enjoy, possibly summer’s hottest drink. At under $12 a bottle, isn’t it time to consider my advice?

What I do is simple: I add six ice cubes to an 8 ounce glass, pour the ‘Il’ Ugo into the glass and garnish it with a sprig of mint (basil will do) and add a cut lime (if they are still too expensive, use a lemon) to the rim of the glass and serve.
       The bottle of 'Il' Ugo, has a beautiful Butterfly as an insignia on the back

Today is the first day I am going to serve Mionetto at a friends Memorial Day party. It’s a natural for BBQ, spicy food and the all American hot dog.

The drink was inspired by a cocktail (Hugo) that originated in the Alta Adige region of northern Italy, a region known for red wines and heavy foods. It may have been the real alternative for those who prefer a lighter aperitif.

The drink has hints of passion fruit and citrus with a somewhat grapey sweetness. 

The bottle is a frosted with a lime green theme (think limes) and has 8% alcohol, light enough to suggest aperitif..

Philip S. Kampe

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Isn't it time to attend the "Wine & Food Festival of New Paltz" on the Weekend of May 30th? by Philip S. Kampe

               It's your chance to meet Lidia Bastianich at her seminar and book signing.

Leave it to Kevin Zraly and Sam Remic of the International Wine Masters plus their staff of dedicated volunteers  to come up with a brilliant wine and food idea.
Why not create a premier Wine & Food Festival close (90 miles) to Manhattan?.
Why not have the showplace of American historical hotels, the Mohonk Mountain House, host the festival? 
Why not invite the leaders of the wine and food industry to show their goods, hold seminars, create wine dinners and stage celebrity chef demonstrations?
Co-founder of the festival, Sam Remic, owner of Wine Worldwide,Inc. (New Paltz)

After nearly two years of planning, on May 30th, the ‘WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL of NEW PALTZ’’ will begin its inevitable first step to becoming the next major wine and food festival in America.
                                             Mohonk Mountain House

At the opening ceremonies for the WFFNP (let me be the first to shorten the name), cookbook author, guest seminar host and true supporter of the festival, Lidia Bastianich, rose to the occasion by noting that all of the hard work of the International Wine Masters will pay off, as this venture is sure to become a success and will be one of the ‘Premier Wine & Food Festivals in America’.

So, if I were you, I would pencil in the weekend of May 30th and be the ‘’First To Attend” the ‘Wine & Food Festival of New Pa;tz’. My gut feeling tells me that this will be one of the most successful wine and food festivals in America, on par, in the near future with Aspen.

Here’s the line-up, which is better explained on the festival’s website:

30 May Friday
4pm      Wine Seminar
5:30pm Welcome  Cocktail Reception
6pm      Live and Silent Auction
7:30p,   Wine and Food Gala

31 May Saturday
11am-noon  Press & Trade Grand Tasting
12-5pm        Consumer Grand Tasting
12-5:30pm   Culinary Chef Demonstrations
                    Wine & Food Seminars
                    Organic & Slow Food Cuisine
                    Wine & Mixology Competition
                    VIP & Celebrity Appearances
1:30-5:30pm  Red Carpet Cru Tasting
8pm               Dinner & Entertainment

1 June  Sunday
Closing Ceremonies
Medal & Award Announcements
Rising Stars/New Trends
Country Chef & Wine
Farewell Breakfast

Isn’t it time to plan to attend the Wine & Food Festival of New Paltz?

A word to the wise, don't miss the cooking demonstration of Abruzzo's Celebrity Chef,
the most personable and vibrant, Rosanna Di Michele.

Overnight Reservations for Mohonk Mountain House, call 888-976-0785
The Hotline for the event: 646-527-9500

Philip S. Kampe

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fasano (Puglia) A Beautiful Town to Visit by Philip S. Kampe

   Our wonderful tour guide, Margherita Latorre, Office of Tourism, Citta di Fasano

There are some towns in the world that make time stand still. One of those alluring towns is Fasono, Puglia, located in the ‘heel of Italy’. It is a diamond in the rough, a town of archways, a maze of narrow lanes, churches, quaint piazzas and marble stairways.

On a recent visit to this historical village of forty thousand, memories of the old world unfolded before my eyes.

My guide was Margherita Latorre, a knowledgeable tourism official from the Citta Di Fasano. Ms. Latorre explained that the towns ancient  roots go back to Greco-Roman times, first recorded in 38 BC, by Horace.

It wasn’t until 1088 that the town was truly settled. For many years, the towns possession changed hands. For example, in the 14th century Fasano was inhabited  by the Knights of Malta. It wasn’t until 1678 that the town of Fasano defeated the Turks. Possession again changed hands, this time to the residents of Fasano.

The victory is attributed to the intervention of Madonna, who appeared to guide the resistance to victory. The victory over the Turks is still celebrated each year with a week long festival, La Scimiciata. The colorful festival includes medieval flag throwing competitions, fireworks, colorful period costumes worn by residents, concerts and food concessions.
                                               The traditional Quarantana

Fasano is also famous for the Le Quarantane Festival, which begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts seven weeks, concluding on Easter Sunday. The town celebrates the ancient tradition of the Quarantana, which is literally a life-size puppet of an old lady, that represents the Widow of Carnival. 

The Quarantana is dressed in black colored rags and her head is covered with a black handkerchief, signifying mourning. Seven puppets are hung above the streets of Fasano for forty days before Lent to watch over the population that repents during this religious period.
Traditionally dressed women making fried dough for the beginning of Le Quarantane

     The decorations of the Quarantana are symbolic. One of the most important symbols on the puppet are seven chicken feathers.  The chicken feathers  represent the seven weeks of Lent. As the weeks go by, the feathers are removed, so that the towns residents can keep count of the weeks left before Easter.

The Quarantana wears a necklace made of seven cloves of garlic and seven taralli. The taralli are a symbol of the poverty at the table, while the seven cloves of garlic ward off evil and temptations.

On holy Saturday night before the Resurrection, the seven Quarantana are burned as a symbol of purification and the victory of life over death and the coming of spring over winter.

Our guide, Margherita Latorre, showed us an example of a traditional house in Fasano that dates back to the end of the16th century. The house was sub-divided into useful rooms and areas that were communal, yet independent. Privacy and hygiene dominated during that period in Fasano’s history.

My favorite part of town is the Piazza Ciaia, a large piazza surrounded by beautiful buildings and cobblestone streets.
It is considered the hub of Fasano, a town worth visiting.

Fasano offers the tourist the best of both worlds, a beautiful, ancient city, blessed with some of the countries finest fruit and vegetables, olive groves, an olive oil museum and architecture that rivals the worlds finest cities. And on top of that, Fasano is only a short drive to the sea.
Isn’t it time for you to visit Fasano?


        A self-serve wine and olive oil pump near Piazza Ciaia in Fasano

For more information about the ‘Citta Di Fasano’, contact my favorite tour guide, Margherita Latorre at:  or visit:

Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dream Puglia-Drink Wine, an overview of the Most Important Grapes in Puglia by Philip S. Kampe

Some of my favorite wines in the world come from Puglia. Many people are not aware of where Puglia is exactly located. Puglia is the easternmost region in Italy, known as the ‘boot or heel of Italy’.
 It is a long, narrow peninsula, bordered by two seas, the Ionian and the Adriatic. Puglia is the least mountainous region in Italy. The few mountains that exist are from the southern Apennine chain. The second group of mountains are the Gargano hills, known for high, steep, cliffs.

Half of the territory of Puglia is flat and the flat plains are  known as Tavoliere delle Puglie. There are smaller plains, the Terra di Bari and Pianura Salentina.

Puglia is a land where ancient settlers left innumerable monuments throughout the territory, a land rich in culinary traditions, olive trees, wine and the sea.

In fact, Puglia has 60 million olive trees, the most for one region in Italy, basically one olive tree for each person living in Italy.

The region of Puglia is divided into six provinces: Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto and Barletta-Andria-Trani, the newest, established in 2004.

The two seas that border Puglia are a gift to the vineyards. With over 325 miles of coastline, the sea effects the wines of Puglia. The sea influence paired with the hot summers help  make the wines acidic, hence, great wines for food.

The three main indigenous red grapes that make Puglia unique are: Primitivo di Manduria, Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. 

Primitivo, from central Puglia, means ‘the first’ because it is the first grape to mature. The characteristics of the Primitivo grape differ from many other grapes because the berries are small, with medium skin thickness. Early maturation, usually in mid to late August, helps create a very juicy pulp which comes from the natural high concentration of sugars in the grapes.

The resulting wine is opulent with obvious cherry overtones. Primitivo has the same DNA as Zinfandel, the famous grape from the northwestern states in America.

Northern Puglia, with its undulating weather conditions differs from the bitter hot weather conditions that prevail in the south. The wines tend to have amazing aromatics, high acidity and are mostly fruit-driven. The main grape from this area is Nero di Troia, a spicy, elegant grape, when translated, means the ‘black grape of Troia’, an ancient village founded in roughly 1200 B.C. The grape is known for its thick skin, late maturation and concentrated fruit that resembles a peppery blackberry.

The third most important indigenous red grape is Negramaro, which grows with passion in southern Puglia, home of Brindisi and Lecce. The word, Negroamaro, comes from the Latin and Greek words meaning ‘black’. Historically speaking, Negroamaro is the oldest cultivated grape vaierty in Puglia. Negroamaro has been a key grape for the past three thousand years. The grape is small and compact, creating simple clusters. Thick skin grapes that are compact, like Negroamaro create wonderful wines that age well. Hints of thyme and licorice define this rather acidic grape.

Of course, Puglia is home to white grapes, as well. The most famous white grapes are: Bombino Bianco, Moscato Reale, Bianco D’Alessano, Fiano and Verdeca.

For the next couple of weeks, I will post several articles on Puglia, focusing on wine, the town of Fasano and the culinary delights from the 'heel of Italy'.

For reference material on Puglia, visit the Movimento Turismo del Vino Puglia website at:

Philip S. Kampe


Thursday, May 1, 2014

June 9th NYC--Enter the Sud de France Sommelier Competition posted by Philip S. Kampe


Sud de France Sommelier Competition

New York City

June 9, 2014 | 9AM

To all Sommeliers in America:
Sud de France
The SUD DE FRANCE SOMMELIER COMPETITION 2014, sponsored by Sud de France and produced by American Sommelier will take place on Monday, June 9th, 2013 in New York City.
This event will be held at the Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY, starting at 9:00AM promptly.
We want to find America’s most Languedoc-Roussillon-savvy sommelier—a true master of the region.  During the Sud de France Sommelier Competition, candidates will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon through an educational and challenging series of exams.  All competitors will sit a written theory exam in addition to written blind tasting.  The results of this first round will determine three Finalists who will go on to compete in front of a live audience.  Finalists square off in theory, blind tasting, and food pairing exams, the winner ultimately taking the title of:
Sud de France Sommelier 2014
The winner will receive an enriching journey through the Languedoc-Roussillon where he or she will study first-hand the rich soils and terroirs and have the chance to meet some of the region’s most talented producers!  This trip will take place in the spring of 2015, as organized by Sud de France Développement.

  1. All Candidates must be employed by a Restaurant, Hotel, Club, Retail, Wholesale, or any other facet of the hospitality industry
  2. All Candidates must be at least 21 years of age
  3. All Candidates must be a resident of the United States


How Hungarian Cabernet Franc Changed My Life by Philip S. Kampe

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