Monday, September 29, 2014

KALFU Wines from the Chilean Coastline, featuring Winemaker Alejandro Galaz by Philip S. Kampe

                                                 Winemaker Alejandro Galaz

                                             2013 Kalfu Sumpai Sauvignon Blanc
                                                      Carbone restaurant
                                               2013 Kalfu Kuda Sauvignon Blanc

Recently I was invited to a luncheon at Carbone restaurant in Greenwich Village. The restaurant is normally booked weeks in advance and difficult to get in. The main reason, of course, is the exceptional food that is served.

My interest at the luncheon was not food, but, the newly released Chilean coastal wines from Vina Ventisquero.

Most recently, Chile has undergone a viticultural transformation. High technology coupled with innovative wine makers who are willing to take a risk has proven to pay dividends. Wines of high quality at affordable prices now exist.

Chile is an isolated wine region, protected by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes mountains to the east. The isolated conditions with its environmentally protected land  are ideal for consistent grape growth yearly, which is unheard of in the other wine regions of the world. 

Take, for example, the wines that I sampled at Carbone restaurant with winemaker Alejandro Galaz. Mr. Galaz’s reputation is known worldwide as the winemaker who specializes in cool climate wines. According to Alejandro Galaz, “from the vineyard to the bottle, producing cool climate wines can be challenging…but, I enjoy a challenge…always striving to produce wines that are a sincere expression of elegance, distinction and subtlety of the grape”.

Winemaker Galaz was quick to add that the wines that we are tasting today from the KALFU collection, are also sustainable. In fact, Vina Ventisquero has been awarded the first of its kind certification as the only winery in Chile to have all of its vineyards certified 100% sustainable by Wines of Chile.

The mystery of the wines we were going to sample unfolded, as our first course was served. Alejandro explained that the Kalfu Sauvignon Blanc we were going to sample is a 2013 Kuda Sauvignon Blanc from the granite-ladden, loamy clay region of the Leyda Valley. The hand-picked grapes were picked early in the morning and were transported to the vineyard where the best grapes were selected for 12-14 hour maceration. After fermentation the grapes were aged on lees for three months followed by battonage

 2013 Kuda Sauvignon Blanc:
Aroma> Obvious pineapple, grapefruit, herby, citrus  scents with a mineral overtone.
Palate>>Crisp acidity with a summer freshness that was clean, citrusy and well balanced.
Ageing>Up to four years in ideal conditions.
Price: $18
Distributor>> Aviva Vino

The second wine poured at the meal was another Sauvignon Blanc, the 2013 Sumpai. Winemaker Alejandro Galaz explained that the grapes for this wine are from two distinct yet different areas in Chile. The first area is located 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Longomilla district in the Huasco Valley. The soil is an alluvial chalky mix of clay and sand.

The second Sauvignon Blanc grape comes from the cool climate Nicolasa section, also located near the Pacific Ocean. The grapes from both areas are hand-harvested in the early morning hours and then transported to the vineyard. The 2013 harvest was marked by cooler than usual weather conditions paired with constant sea breezes. There was little rain during the ripening period, helping create a healthy and vibrant crop.

Initially, the must underwent a cold maceration for 6-8 hours, protecting it from the air. Slow, constant cold temperature fermentation draws out the aromas and expressions of the wine. Fermentation takes place for five months over lees followed by battonage.

2013 Sumpai Sauvignon Blanc
Aroma> Mineral overtones laden with wet, chalky, peppery aromas abound.
Palate> Concentrated, complex, well-balanced wine with a crisp apple tart citrusy structure and a long, acidic finish.
Alcohol> 13%
Ageing>  Up to five years in ideal conditions.
Price> $22
Distributor> Aviva Vino

According to Galaz, the Nicolasa vineyard in the Huasco Valley is located in the world’s driest desert, the Atacama Desert. It is only 13 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The vines are influenced by the waters of the Huasco River, salty soils, cool coastal breezes, chilly nights, fast winds and long desert summers, resulting in unique conditions for grape maturity. Contrast that to the Leyda Valley, which is located only 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean and close to the Maipo River. The vines face the ocean with its morning fog and cooling breezes.

Both wines were interesting and wonderful in their own way. The Kuda 2013 was crisp and acidic, a perfect wine for all types of seafood. I would venture to say that you could use this wine as an aperitif.

The Sumpai 2013 is an elegant, complex wine that goes beyond seafood. The perfect balance of its structure, ample minerality and chalkiness on the palate make this a wine worth remembering.

Philip S. Kampe


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jambalaya, a party recipe using Imperial Spanish White Chorizo, the 'Secret Ingredient' by Philip S.Kampe

A Recipe for Jambalaya by Philip S. Kampe

Are you tired of serving the usual food each year at your family get together or party?
Why not consider making 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 in every area of the world, it is easy to pick-up all the necessary ingredients at the same time. One ingredient that stands out in my jambalaya is the 'Imperial Spanish White Chorizo' ( that I use. Visit the website if you can't find it locally.

Jambalaya can be made with (separately or all together) ham, chicken, sausage, fresh pork, shrimp, mussels, clams 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.

My family has made Jambalaya for over sixty years.

I am originally from New Orleans and would love to share our adopted family recipe.

What to drink with Jambalaya? Beer, Sangria, Chianti or a lightly oaked Chardonnay.
(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 Imperial White Spanish Chorizo
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 pound medium to small peeled shrimp
1 pound of fresh mussels or clams
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 the Imperial white chorizo and sauté for five 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, mussels or clams, 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.


                                                              Philip S. Kampe

Monday, September 22, 2014

Daily Wine, Beer and Spirits news for September 22, 2014 by Philip S. Kampe

Wine news of the day, reported five days a week by Wine Media Guild journalist, Philip S. Kampe.

Burgundy 2014
The extraordinary warm September weather may have rescued the 2014 Burgundy harvest from disaster, ripening ‘intensely aromatic whites and ‘concentrated’ reds. Devastating hailstorms earlier this year created poor prospects for this year’s harvest. In  June, up to 40% of the vines from Meusrault, Pommard, Volnay and Beaune were destroyed by ‘golf-ball sized hailstones’. Other communes received worse damage. But, September’s weather, with less than two inches of rain so far has made the harvest very positive. ‘The Chardonnay is fantastic, ripe with lots of acidity’, remarked Jerome Flous of Domaine Faiveley. He also said that the Pinot Noir is concentrated with thick skins. Expect prices to increase for the 2014 crop as supplies will be lower than normal.

Cru Bourgeois 2012
The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Medoc announced that 267 chateaux have made it into the official selections for 2012. That is up from 256 estates in 2013. The 2008 vintage was the first to be released under the new system with 243 chateaux selected. Any Medoc vineyard can apply for Cru Bourgeois status. Wines are blind tasted by independent experts and the selection for a particular vintage is always announced two years after harvest.

Tullamore D.E.W. Toasts the opening of their new Distillery
The second largest Irish whisky company, Tullamore D.E.W., celebrated the opening of its new $50m distillery in its hometown of Tullamore, located in the Irish midlands. As the first spirit flowed from the stills, cheers from hundreds of invited guests filled the building. The milestone marked the return of whisky production to the town, 60 years after the original distillery closed its doors. ‘It is a new chapter in our 185 year history’ commented senior brand manager, Cindy Wang,  She also went on to say that ‘Irish whisky is the fastest growing spirit in the world. Our new facility should keep us up with production levels needed over the next coming decades. 

Philip S. Kampe

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Daily Feature: News of the Day in the World of Wine, Spirits and Beer by Philip S. Kampe

Industry News  reported by Philip S. Kampe
A summary of today’s, September 18, 2014 edition, of wine, spirits and beer related news.

> Former ‘Cru restaurant owner, Roy Welland, fetches over $6.6m at a recent auction held in New York by Wally’s auction house. All 1,767 lots were sold. Burgundy was the highlight with a 55 lot cache of Domaine Bachelet fetching $216,480. Estate Domaine G Roumier sold 196 lots for $882, 464. A second auction is planned for November 21 and 22 in Los Angeles.
> Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck Champagne sold to EPI for over $600m..
> Demarville of Veuve Clicquot to experiment with super-sweet style of Champagne.
> Finger Lakes winemakers fight gas storage plan.
> Domaine Faiveley buys top Chablis producer, Billaud-Simon.
> In a first, a wine from India was awarded a Gold medal during judging at the Asia    Wine Awards, yesterday. The company will be revealed on October 22nd at the award ceremony.
> Super Tuscan estate Monteverro plans to significantly increase production of its top wines over the next decade.
> Wine investment firm, Boltons, goes under.
> Dogfish Punkin Ale is back for 2014
> Redhook Brewery’s ‘Out of Your Gourd’ Pumpkin Porter set for release.
> Grey Goose opens new home in the Cognac region of France.
> The Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill opens to the public on October 1st.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival in Rhinebeck, September 6th & 7th by Philip S. Kampe


         Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival by Philip S. Kampe

Wine and Food Festival Day Trips  by Philip S. Kampe
This is the time of year when grapes are harvested in North America and Europe.
New vintages are in the offing. New wines will evolve.
It is also the time that the northeast is home to numerous wine and food festivals. There is a great day trip to consider from anywhere in the Upstate New York area, the Berkshires and NYC.
This weekend, on Saturday, September 6th and Sunday, September 7th, the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest takes place at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

This is the 13th year of the event, which features wines from New York state. At last count, over fifty vineyards will be represented at the festival. The events main focus is to highlight the wonderful wineries that are found in the Hudson Valley and all over New York state.

As a NY Farm market, the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest offers the wineries the opportunity to sell wine by the bottle, thus offering the consumer the right to purchase wine directly from the winery.

The food part of the Fest features some of the best food produced in the Hudson Valley. Featured are many unique gourmet specialty food vendors. You can find everything from fresh cheese, farm raised meats, salsas, BBQ sauce, pasta, pasta sauce, drink mixes, dip mixes, soup mixes, baked goods, maple syrup, candy, nuts, granola and more.

In addition, the regions best restaurants and food trucks will be represented. You can purchase tickets to purchase food, priced from $1 to $5 per portion. Also, don’t forget the chefs, who will host cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend.
When: September 6th and 7th (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: Saturday 11am-6pm    Sunday 11am-5pm
Where: Dutchess Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck, NY
Tickets: One day tasting $40  Weekend $70
Designated driver and non-alcoholic admission: One day $22  Weekend $37
12 and under: Free
Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

True Confessions--Philip S. Kampe and the Summer of 2014

This is just a short update on my summer adventures. Normally the wine season slows down for wine journalists in the summer. Many of us need the time off to get our feet back on the ground.

My leader and guru, Luiz Alberto (#Winelover) is somewhat different. He has a 24/7, 365 days a year need to sample all of the wines the world has to offer. Maybe I am a little older, but, at times I need a break from wine. For me, my palate needs a breather before the season begins, typically with Michael Fuerstein's, Pas Mal Portfolio Tasting.

This year, my favorite tasting, takes place on 4 Septemeber--only two days from now. I love his wines--mostly French with many bottles of some of the Best Champagne this planet has ever produced. Literally, I drive six hours to sample his wines, then return to our house in western Massachusetts to dream of next years Pas Mal's tasting.  This year I am going to bring my wife, also a wine contributor, to the tasting, so she can see what I have been talking about for years.

My summer, as in the past, has been a somewhat different wine journalist adventure. Yes, I write a wine column for a local newspaper and I keep up with my blogs--but, at a slower pace.

What I do differently is review music at our world famous arena called Tanglewood. Conductor Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra call Tanglewood their summer home. The Maestro is not with us anymore, but, his legacy is.

The new Conductor, Andris Nelsons calls Tanglewood home.

My summer job at Tanglewood is quite simple--attend concerts--and review them.

Tanglewood, home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is also home to many contemporary artists. I had the opportunity to review concerts by Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, James Taylor, The Beach Boys, Josh Groban and Tony Bennett, just to mention a few.

Tanglewood supports the BYOB policy. Often times, the guests on the lawn snore, making us aware that the BYOB policy is well supported. I chose craft beers this summer, as my drink choice, followed by Prosecco with club soda and St. Germaine. Campari with a drop of gin and orange juice rounded out my schedule.

Well, it's only 48 hours until the wine season begins..time to enjoy the last non-wine-only drinks of the summer.

Philip S. Kampe


Raul Perez, a Spanish Winemaking Legend, makes 'Cult Wines', including Sketch by Philip S. Kampe


Raul Perez, (43) is a Spanish Winemaking Legend by Philip S. Kampe

Imagine being taken captive by aliens You are in another galaxy somewhere in space
You are thirsty. A wine glass appears with a bright gold colored liquid. You drink it and have no clue as to what you are drinking.

It could be wine or it could be a taste you have never had before. The glass has the word Godello on it. And the name Ultreia La Claudina 2010 appears on the outside of a bottle that is floating in space.

The taste lingers on your palate--and you want more, but, you really don't know what you are drinking.

Well, that is how I felt when I sampled several white wines from the Raul Perez collection. I sampled 41 wines (red and white) in all and was overly intrigued by all of the wines, especially the whites.

I have written bits and pieces about the wines of Raul Perez in the past. I am quoted for saying the reds are 'Over the Top' and the whites are from 'Outer Space'.

Raul’s wine history is simple. He worked on his family vineyard in Bierzo (northwest Spain), Bodegas Castro Ventosa, in Bierzo until he was 31, then moved out, so he could  develop his winemaking skills.

Raul’s philosophy of winemaking pushes boundaries. He is driven and his wines prove it. When you meet Raul, you can see it in his eyes. Raul says in broken English, “Perfection with risks” is my theme.

Meeting Raul Perez was like meeting one of the Beatles.

His wine is his music and his songs are unique.

Raul employs winemaking methods that are out of the ordinary. He submerges
his wine underwater. Yes, you read that correctly. For 60 days the bottles are suspended in a wire cage 60 feet below the waters surface. The wines age underwater. After the wine is raised out of the water, it is stored in concrete egg-shaped barrels that use gravity on the lees to age wines.

Raul is known for using grapes from old vineyard plots. Aging wine underwater acts like a time capsule. The estuary maintains temperature and the currents gently rock the bottles.

These unorthodox methods of aging wine create amazing results. Raul’s wines are special.

My favorites include:

2011 Raul Perez Muti Albarino $35 (Rias Baixas)
Half of the wine is aged for 12 month in oak. The vines are over one hundred years old. The aging creates intense mineral characteristics, which makes you believe you are drinking a different variety of grape. The masterful wine is clean, vibrant and acidic with depth and a lingering finish.

2011 Raul Perez ‘Sketch’Albarino $72 (Rias Baixas)
Made with 40 year old vines that grow one football field from the Atlantic Ocean. The grapes are harvested two weeks later than other vineyards in the area. After the wine is made, it is aged sixty feet underwater at an estuary. The lack of oxygen and low temperatures coupled with pressure at sixty feet below sea level create a wine like none other. Intense  minerality, stone fruit and citrus yield to the wines finesse and strength.

2010 Ultreia La Claudina Godello (Bierzo)
Golden in color with an amber tint, this unique, mineral driven, complex wine shocked my palate. The result was that the wine resembled an alcoholic, aged fruit cake dripping with hanger steak juices. There is nothing like this defining wine, which puts Raul Perez on the map. I suggest that you decant this wine for several hours before drinking. What I discovered was extreme minerality with palate driven herbs, spices and tropical fruit.

All of the wines are made in small batches, and many are classified as the most unusual wines in the world.

 His unusual winemaking methods have created a cult following, thus making Raul Perez a wine guru and a national treasure of Spain, much like Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal.

                                                                       Raul Perez

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...