Wednesday, April 27, 2016

'Valpolicella receives 'Ethical Vineyard' Certification by Philip S. Kampe

                            Olga Bussinello, Director of the Valpolicella Consortium

                         Christian Marchesini, Chairman of the Valpolicella consortium

We all love Valpolicella.

Since I was a kid, my parents boasted to their friends that their favorite wine was Valpolicella. They drank Valpolicella, not just for special occasions, but, for all occasions. In those days, the choice was somewhat limited versus today's crowded market.

Maybe my parents were on to something. As the years have progressed, the regard for Valpolicella has only grown. When the word, 'Amarone' is mentioned, everyone takes a pause in anticipation of sampling one of the world's most versatile wines.

Since my parents early Valpolicella days, the importance of authenticity for the consumer is important. To address that issue, the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella has adopted the 'RRR' certification process, a mark on the bottle will distinguish the authenticity of the bottles. 'RRR' stands for the 'Reduce Respect Retrench' project that certifies 'ethical vineyards'. What this means is that the vineyards receive certification after five years of work practicing sustainable vine growing and wine producing.

According to Olga Bussinello, Director of the Valpolicella Consortium, ' The Reduce Respect Retrench (RRR) certification was a necessary change to foster its spread even more and to reward the virtuous viticulturists who have followed the process in its pilot phase. This is the first certification of an area with an appellation 'startup' in Italy, shared and achieved with the support of local towns, partners in the project, which include 73% of the vineyard surface area in the Valpolicella appellation. Certifying an area entails understanding the landscape and that of the ecosystem, from resource management to safeguarding biodiversity, to the protection of a territory where professional viticulture and urbanization are side-by-side--which is just one chapter in the process.'

Christian Marchesini, Chairman of the consortium, adds to the conversation, by pointing out that, ' Consumers all over the western world demand even safer, higher quality and socially sustainable products.  A territory like Valpolicella, which has outstanding viticulture and tends to export 75% of its wines, cannot gloss over features like this, which affect the value of the bottle of wine. We are certain that the market in the United States , the main country we send Valpolicella to, will be happy will be happy to receive bottles with our new sustainable area mark on them.'

Valpolicella Facts:
61.8 Million Bottles Produced
$550 Million in sales
75% of bottles exported
2,347 grape growers
7 cooperatives
213 wine companies
275 bottlers
97% of grapes used are indigenous varieties

The grape breakdow:
70.4% Corvina grape
21.1% Rondinella grape
5.5% other varieties

Worldwide Sales:
45.3% Valpolicella Ripasso DOC
32.3% Valpolicella DOC
21.9% Amarone DOCG

The U.S, Valpolicella Market Sales:
21% Valpolicella Ripasso DOC
14% Valpolicella DOC
10% Amarone DOCG

The Valpolicella region is located north of Verona. It borders Lake Garda to the west and is protected by the Lessini Mountain range to the east and the north. The Verona foothills, known as the eastern Alps, are to the south.

Most of the wines under the Valpolicella DOC are red, using mostly indigenous grapes, as mentioned earlier.
Ripasso is the most popular style.

Developed in the late 1980's and bottles first by Masi,  the Ripasso style emerged. The technique involves using the pomace of leftover grape skins or using partially dried grapes and seeds from the Amarone fermentation and adding the remains during the Ripasso's extended maceration. This tends to boost the remaining yeast by adding better body, higher alcohol levels and smoothing the tannins, glycerine and some phenolic compounds

Much more in-depth information can be found at the Consorzio Per La Tutela website: 

Philip S. Kampe 

                                                      Philip S. Kampe

Friday, April 22, 2016

A 2CV Journey through Corbieres AOC (Languedoc,France) by Philip S. Kampe


The region is an AOC, an Appellation d;origine controlee, and was created in 1985,  With over 35,000 acres, the area encompasses an enormous variety of microclimates and soil types. The wines, due to terroir, run the gamut of flavor profile possibilities. Wind, rain, cold weather from the northwest and warm weather from the Mediterranean often collide to help create terroir imbalance.

With over 2,200 wine producers in total and 33 cooperatives, the region produces roughly 75 million bottles, of which 25% are exported.

Carignan is the dominant red grape of the region. Other grapes used, especially for blending include Syrah, Black Grenache, Mouvedre and Cinsault. For the few white wines that are produced, Roussane, Muscat, Vermentiono, Maccabeu and Terret Blanc dominate.

Recently, I visited the region and had the opportunity of taking an excursion in Corbieres in a classic 2CV Citroen, driven by one of the area’s top sommeliers. We drove in the countryside and circled the three wooded boundaries. We stopped, hiked to a legendary castle-like summit to sample local wine, which was poured by some of the area’s winemakers. I suddenly began to understand the diversity of the region, as we were perched on top of a hill, where we could see much of Corbieres terrain.

These diverse wines should be sampled. They are delightful, plentiful and sold in America.The U.S. is one of the export markets for the wines from Corbieres. Most bottles are priced under $14 and should be available at your local wine shop.

Corbieres is the largest appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon area of southern France and is responsible for over 40% of its wine production.  Red wine production dominates followed by rose and white.

                                                        Sommelier 2CV Chauffeur

Philip S.Kampe

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Clairette du Languedoc, an Ancestral Wine that Never Goes Out of Fashion by Philip S. Kampe

                                                   Clairette du Languendoc

After attending a most compelling MasterClass regarding Clairette du Languedoc, coupled with a generous sampling of the many moods of the grape, I have become quite compassionate about one of the AOC Languedoc's controversial oldest white grapes (1948).

One of Clairette du Languedoc's claim to fame is that it one of the grapes that is used to make Chateauneuf-du-Pape (southern Rhone).

The grape is a light colored grape that grows throughout southern France.The grape was grown widespread since the 18th century, but, as time advanced, the grapes lure ran out and it was replaced by other, well known varietals. The versatile grape, today, produces dry wines that run the gamut to rich, sweet wines.

Clairette de Languedoc is not particularly forgiving to winemakers, which,possibly, contributed to its decline. The problem is that the grape has a tendency to oxidize quite quickly. To counter the oxidation, winegrowers have begun to harvest the grape earlier. This has had a very positive effect on the wines, as they tend to be fresh, crisp and light.

Our professor reminded the class that Clairette means 'light one' in French, thus the movement towards light, mineral driven wines. The grape grows best in warm environments that tend to have limestone as the base.

The high acid wines that use the Clairette grape are normally fresh with hints of peach, granny smith apples, lime and licorice. Shellfish would be the perfect match for the wines made from Clairette du Languedoc.

These full-bodied wines are not widely distributed, but, if you find them, they are well worth the investment.



Philip S. Kampe 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Minervois wines shine in the Languedoc-Roussilllon Wine Region by Philip S.Kampe

Minervois is an AOC in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region. It is located in western Languedoc.

As the new classifications of wines from the region will be announced  in the near future, the Minervois appellation, today, has a few rules that should carry over to the future. One such rule is that Carignan, when blended cannot account for more than 40% of the blend. Red wine blends are usually made with Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre and Liedoner Pelut grapes.

Marsanne, Muscat, Roussanne, Vermentino and Grenache Blanc grapes are the most used grapes for white wines. The AOC is also known for a sweet, white wine called Minervois Noble.

Minervois takes its name from Minerve, a small village that is 25 miles from the Mediterranean coast. The town is surrounded by the southern foothills. The Minervois appellation came into existence in 1985.  Since its inception, the Minervois AOC has been focusing on the quality of the regions wines. De-stemming has been used to decrease the tannin levels in the wines. Barrel maturation is the means to an end.

Minervois is a rather large AOC and is divided into five climatic zones. The Cotes Noires is in the northwest and is home to coolest zone, while Les Serres is in the southeast and the warmest zone.

The wines from Minervois were served to our group of visiting media professionals on a canal cruise that embarked from Carcassonne.


As we sailed down the Canal de Midi, which connects the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea, we sampled a variety of Minervois wines. The whites and rose were full of finesse, crispness and clarity. The large variety of reds were tannin-free, had concentrated dark fruit on the palate followed by a lingering  finish. Wines from Minervois rarely sell for more than $18 a bottle.

Philip S. Kampe

Saturday, April 9, 2016

'Palazzo Petrucci', The Art of Food Design and Cooking Creatively in Naples by Philip S. Kampe

                                             Palazzo Petrucci Ristorante in Naples
                                                  The interior of the Ristorante


                                  Chef Lino Scarallo

There are some Michelin Star restaurants that rise above others. There is one such restaurant, Palazzo Petrucci, from Naples, Italy, that fits into that class.

Chef Lino Scarallo cooks or should I say, paints his creations in such a manor that each dish resembles a Modrian painting. It all makes sense visually, but, really what is it?

Recently, I had the opportunity to dine at his seaside restaurant with a small group of food and wine lovers. 

As each dish was put in front of us, a lively discussion took place. As you can see from the photographs, Chef Scarallo and his team won our admiration and respect. 

As visual as each course was, the final verdict is always the palate, as in this case, a universal 'Wow, how incredible was that!', was the chant.


Add ambiance, an educated waitstaff and amazing wines selected only for the meal and you have a dining experience second to none.



Palazzo Petrucci Ristorante
Via Posillipo 16 
Napoli, Italy 80123
+39 (081) 5757 538

Friday, April 8, 2016

'The Art of Fine Food and Wine Meet in Brooklyn', a Wine Dinner with Samuel Delafont and Chef Tyler Kord by Philip S. Kampe

                                                  Chef Tyler Kord of No. 7 restaurant
                                    Blended wines from southern France's Samuel Delafont

On Tuesday, April 26th, No. 7 Restaurant at 7 Greene Street, Brooklyn (near Barclay's Center) will host a wine and food dinner featuring two pioneers in their respective fields pairing their creations together.

Tyler Kord, known for the No.7 Slip On Chef's Shoe--a new concept shoe from Vans--and Bon Appetit fame. as being named as one of the best new restaurants in the country (2008) joins ranks with Samuel Delafont, winemaker extraordinaire, from the Languendoc region in southern France.  The two will join forces in making and pairing a dinner that will be unique and groundbreaking.

Mr. Delafont explores vineyards in search of top quality wines that have just fermented. He then selects the finest batches from the renowned estates and then blends the wines with a clear idea of the wine he wants to create. His goal is to reach the 'notion of balance', where the finesse and extraction meet a balance that identify the terroir and style. By using specially developed stainless steel tanks for this process, we can bring finesse, freshness and balance to each bottle of wine.

Samuel Delafont will be flying in for the evening to pair his wines with the food of Chef Tyler Kord.
It will be a night to remember.

When: Tuesday, April 26th
Time: 6pm-8pm
Where: No.7 Restaurant: 7 Greene Street, Brooklyn, NY (near Barclay's Center)
Cost: $85 + tax and gratuity
To RSVP: Call 718-522-6370

                                                      Samuel Delafont blending wines

Monday, April 4, 2016

'Double Barrel', Whiskey Barrel Aged Wines, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from Jacob's Creek Will Debut in September by Philip S. Kampe

Recently, I was asked to sample a few new wines that won’t be in the market until September 2016.

I was honored and thrilled to try two new entries, Jacob’s Creek (Australia) Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon ( 2nd Vintage) from Coonawarra and Double Barrel Shiraz (2nd Vintage) from Barossa Valley. The Double Barrel Shiraz spends three months in Scotch Whiskey barrels and the Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon spends three months in Irish Whisky casks.

30,000 cases have been produced and worldwide distribution begins in September. Chief winemaker, Ben Bryant, in a recent interview with wine bloggers, thanks to the link-up through Snooth ( ) , expressed an interest of ramping the Double Barrel line to many more cases, once the wine has caught the attention of consumers.

Bottles will retail under $25.

Both wines are expressive, full-flavor and Burgundian in flavor. Importer, Perod Ricard USA plans a roll-out of the product in September, as was mentioned earlier.

The palate of several wine merchants and wine bloggers believes these wines will be a big hit and will compete favorably in the $20-$25 range.

I look forward to the September release.

Philip S. Kampe

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gino Sorbillo of the World's #1 Pizza, Sorbillo, of Naples (Italy) Explains What Makes a Good Pizza by Philip S. Kampe

                                                             Gino Sorbillo

                                                             Pizza Sorbilla
Sorbillo Pizza, in the center of Napoli, is considered to be the best pizza from the city that gave birth to the pizza.

Since 1935, the Sorbillo family tradition of making Neapolitan pizza has followed the rules that guide pizza making for the pizza parlors in Naples. ‘Integrity to tradition’ is the key to Neapolitan pizza.
The traditional rules, as explained by Gino Sorbillo include the use of San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, a temperature of 450F on the oven’s dome, Brewer’s yeast, all ingredients are cooked inside the oven, with very few added afterward and the key rule, the dough has to rise somewhere between eight and twelve hours.

Gino explained that when the pizza is done, it’s really not ready to serve until you put your finger on the crust and press. If the crust levitates immediately, then the pizza is ready to serve after you make sure that crust is hollow and the mozzarella is not completely melted. All of those are good signs.

Gino explained that you must always look under the pizza at the crust and make sure that the black spots that are on the crust aren’t too numerous, because, if they are, the dough was made with too much flour.

Gino (I think his given name is Luigi) believes the tradition of his pizza is directly linked to Naples, with its history of art, music, crime and humanity.

Like Naples and its ever changing landscape, Gino’s pizza selections change quite often. Traditionally, Neapolitan pizza is served in two styles, marinara and margherita. Add the new inspirations, which occur daily, to Gino, and you have a pizza parlor with a revolving menu.

Recently, I visited Gino and his pizza parlor with local, Dante Stefano dell Vecchio, a prolific supporter of Campania and what the province has to offer to the world.

If Sorbillo Pizza is not in your itinerary when you visit Napoli, then you are missing what pizza is all about.

Who: Sorbillo Pizza
Where: Via Dei Tribunali 32
80121 Naples,Italy
Phone: 39 081 446 643
Hours: Open daily except Sunday

Philip S. Kampe

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Vinitaly 2016: Sunday, April 10th (13,30) Attend Francine Segan's lecture on Le Marche's Piceno Wines, titled, "'USA and Piceno: Love at First Sight'

Many years ago at the opening of Domodimonti Vineyards in Le Marche, I was introduced to the region quite dramatically. The van ride from the airport in Rome with Dr. Lucio Caputo (Italian Trade Commission), onboard, and several others, opened my eyes to the beauty of the region, only hours east of Rome. 

High mountains, open lands and the smell of sea air created my immediate love for Le Marche. The Piceno wines have a special quality, like none other. Maybe the sea breezes or the hillsides facing the sea play a part in their unique profile. Possibly, its the sustainability of the near perfect soil coupled with the ever present sun that makes this area of Italy nearly pest free.

I'm not sure what it is, but, I'm sure Francine Segan, famed food historian, knows why the Pecino wines from Le Marche are so special. On Sunday afternoon, April 10th,  at 1:30pm, Francine will present her lecture: USA and Piceno: Love at First Sight. The talk will be held at the Terazza Marche on the opening day of Vinitaly. Mrs. Segan will discuss the wines and the land of Piceno. Her presentation will include a wine tasting of the Piceno wines paired with Michelin star Chef Errico Recanati's pairing of the wines with hamburger made with Piceno beef.

Some of the Piceno wines poured include: Rosso Piceno, Offida Pecorino DOCG and Offida Passerina DOCG.

The Consortium for the Piceno region consists of 34 ordinary members. Their activities include Viticulture, winemaking and bottling. The 'Vin Pencini' Consortium was created specifically with the mission to safeguard and promote the local DOC wines worldwide. The wines have been produced,only in compliance with the specific regulations the Consortium has set-up.

The reality is simple: All the DOC Piceno wines follow specific guidelines.

If you attend Francine Segan's presentation, you should  agree that the Consortium has done their job.

When: April 10th
Time: 1:30pm
Where: Vinitaly Verona (Italy) Terazza Marche
Who: Francine Segan
What: A presentation titled: USA and Piceno: Love at First Sight

                                                              Francine Segan

Philip S. Kampe

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

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