Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Favorite 'Bobal' Wine Labels from Spain's Utiel-Requena DO by Philip S. Kampe

                                          Finca San Blas 'Lomalta' Crianza 2014 ($11)

                                                  Bobal Paraje Tornel 2013 ($23) 
                                       Madurado en Barrica 2015 Venusto Bobal ($12)
                                             Finca La Beata Bobal 2013 ($45)
                                                las 2 ces Barrica Tinto 2015 ($13)

Many email comments were sent to me regarding how beautiful the labels are of these 'hard to find' Bobal wines from the Utiel-Requena appellation in southeast Spain (close to Valencia). 

The beauty of the labels is evenly balanced with the beauty of the wines. Easy drinking wines, like the las 2 ecs 2015 to the big, dark fruit concentrated Finca La Beata 2013 span the gamut of the highly regarded, yet, under the radar, Bobal varietal.

The Bobal grape flourishes in the hot summers that exist in the high plains near Valencia. Bobal is known for its dark color, like black Spanish rice, and chewy tannins, like Swedish fish.  Bobal's spicy dark fruit helps create a hot sweetness that has effervescent acidity and long finishes.

Not all bottles are created equal-some tend to be lighter then heavier. like the Finca La Beata 2013.

My hope is that Bobal wines from Utiel-Requena will receive the necessary attention that they deserve. What that means is that importers will notice the potential these wines have and get on the bandwagon to distribute them to your local wine merchant.

Philip S. Kampe 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bobal, the Grape You Should Know About by Philip S. Kampe

                                                Bobal wines from Utiel-Requena


Years ago I spent time at the yearly pageantry of the ‘Las Fallas’ (the fires) religious event, which took place in city center of Valencia, in southeast Spain. Fires were lit at numerous intersections of the city to commemorate Saint Joseph.

At that time, I sampled numerous wines from the region and can still recall, thirty years later, that there was something special and unique about the wines from the Utiel-Requena region, an area that comprises the interior plains of the Province of Valencia.

Not until now, have I decided to research the wines and have come up with a few answers for my thirty year ago memories.

The Utiel-Requena Designation of Origin hosts a winemaking culture that prides itself on tradition. With over 10,000 acres of vineyards and history that confirms the archeological digs that the production of wine dates back to the Iberian age, well over twenty-five hundred years ago.

The findings point to several grape varieties. Of the many varieties found, clearly the Bobal grape has been the signature grape of the Utiel-Requena.

Yes, the Bobal grape is grown elsewhere, but, it is native to the nine municipalities that make up the Utiel-Requena DO.

The large region boasts a range of micro-climates that express the unique terroir found in the Utiel-Requena The grape that best illustrates terroir has been and will always be the Bobal. 

Most of the wines produced in Utiel Requena are reds, but, Cava, whites and roses are the other stars.

To fully understand what the Bobal grape is and its 2500 hundred year dominance, I acquired a half dozen bottles of wine from the Utiel-Requena DO to experiment with.

After sampling the six wines, this is what I learned:
The Bobal varietal leans towards full-bodied, over-the-top intensely fruity wines. Each bottle I sampled could have been poured and sampled on its own, minus the food factor. There are only a few varietals that can stand on their own merit.

Bobal from Utiel-Requena is one.

Secondly, the acidity that is pronounced in your mid-palate screams for more Bobal.

Add a spicy, robust long finish to your palate and you have, in my estimation, Spain’s third most important varietal, Bobal, only preceded by Tempranillo and Garnacha.

Possibly, by planting the Bobal varietal at higher elevations, which the winemakers have done. What the extra height does is to increase acidity due to the cooler temperatures.

The bottles I sampled were wines that had elegance.

These photos represent the wines I sampled.

What I loved about the wines were the unique labels. Each one is memorable and lends itself to the consumer’s eye.

One day in the near future, I plan to visit this wine region and speak with the producers about Bobal.

Their story needs to be told.

Philip S. Kampe


Friday, March 24, 2017

Mathilde Chapoutier Live! by Philip S. Kampe

Thanks for your many emails regarding what Mathilde Chapoutier looks like. I chose to focus on her wine in my previous article, leaving Matilde only as the winemaker-label designer-marketer and one person show.

As you can see from these images, certainly not the best photos of Mathilde, she is young, lively and acts care free.

The majority of Rose drinkers are not concerned with what grapes are used in the wine making process. Mathilde is and her 2016 Grand Ferrage is not your usual rose. The wine is made from many grapes, specifically Grenache (50%), Syrah (20%) and a mixture of Cinsault, Vermentino and Clairette.

                                                          Mathilde Chapoutier

Ask your wine merchant to order her wine if you don't find it. It is a small production wine that is in the Terlato Wines portfolio. The 2016 was released on 10 January and has received numerous accolades.

To describe the wine is simple, bright acidity, velvety with hints of peach, nectarine and apricot that create a freshness and finesse on the palate.


Philip S. Kampe 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why Mathilde Chapoutier's 2016 Grand Ferrage Rose is the Best? by Philip S. Kampe

                                                      2016 Grand Ferrage  

With Rose season upon us, yes and all of the Roses on the market, it is often hard to find the right Rose that can be your ‘go to Rose’ this summer.

My goal was to find the quintessential Rose.

After attending a handful of Rose Portfolio tastings and samplings, with over three hundred Roses offered, I knew the decision would be difficult, if not impossible. After narrowing the choices to a handful, I began to analyze each bottle and time after time, the Roses from Provence were in the running, as well as a few from, yes, Austria.

Roses from Provence started the trend, which has grown by double digits each quarter for the past several years.

 Today, you can easily find Rose sections filling space at your favorite wine shop-something unheard of years ago.

Roses are the late bloomers, leading the growth charts in the United States.

When I look for in a Rose is diversity. I don’t think of a Rose the same way that I think of other wines. Complexity and ageing factors do not matter.

What matters, as I mentioned before is diversity. What is diversity? In my case, diversity is one wine that can accommodate a complete evening of entertaining, from aperitif to dessert.

The Rose that I found that can accommodate nearly all foods is from Provence’s, Mathilde Chapoutier.

The wine is: Grand Ferrage Cotes de Provence Rose 2016 (under $20)

Mathilde is not a newcomer to the wine world. Her father and mentor is the notorious Michel Chapoutier (look him up).

Mathilde is a new generation winemaker. She does it all-designs the label-makes and markets the wine-and has the spirit of the ‘Flower Power Generation.’

She runs the show.

The 2016 Grand Ferrage is light, fruity and has an inner soul that coats and stays on your palate to tackle all types of food. At a recent lunch, the 2016 Grand Ferrage was put to the test and won-hands down-as a soup to nuts wine-one that was poured with each of the fifteen courses, including several that were gifts from the chef.

The Grand Ferrage is the diverse type of wine that can stand up to all dishes, whether creamy and sweet or spicy and hot.

My wine guidelines were taught to me by my parents. They would try the one bottle approach. Their only true success was Champagne.

With that upbringing and kitchen skills, I have looked far and wide for the new Champagne in my life.

And thanks to Mathilde Chapoutier, I have found it.

                                 The 2016 Grand Ferrage is the King of the Boardroom

Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Why #LifeLover?

Life on Social Media can be rough. Even the people that we know and like can go on a rant about whatever they are against.

Here's my solution: Emotional contagion means a large number of our moods come to us via the interactions we have with the people we have around us (including virtually). In a sense, resonant relationships are like emotional vitamins*, sustaining us through tough times and putting smiles on our faces.

Do you love wine and YOU want more positive interactions in your life? Pease join us here:

* The nutritional value of each of our relationships: A ratio between positive and negative interactions.


Luiz Alberto
  • Master of Wine candidate
  • Member of the Circle of Wine Writers
  • Italian Wine Ambassador
  • I combine my passion for wine with social media

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Gala Italia's 32nd Edition Was A Night To Remember by Philip S. Kampe and The Italian Wine & Food Institute

                                                            Gala Italia's 32nd Edition
                                                            The Esteemed Guests
                                  Dr. Louis Caputo looks on as Kevin Zraly received his award
 Dr. Louis Caputo looks on as 'Wine Leader Awards' were given to Marc D. Taub, Piero Selvaggio, Joshua Greene & Kevin Zraly

The much anticipated and long awaited 32nd edition of Gala Italia recently took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Essex House under the patronage of the Italian Ambassador to Washington, D.C

A list of ‘Who’s Who In The Wine World’ received prestigious ‘Wine Leader Awards’ presented by Dr. Louis Caputo. The winners included: President and CEO of Palm Bay International, Marc D. Taub; Author and Wine Educator Kevin Zraly; Editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine, Joshua Greene and Piero Selvaggio, owner of the restaurant "Valentino" in Los Angeles.

The yearly event is a darling of the media. This years event was covered by the most prestigious food & wine editors in the United States, representing the Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Bon Appetit, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and Forbes to Newsweek, Hearst Magazines, Food & Vine Country, Dessert Magazine, Beverage Media, New York Times and Town & Country, as well as various news agencies, television stations, correspondents from the main Italian newspapers, and numerous VIPs, including Consul Isabella Periotto of the Consulate General of Italy.

The Gala Italia, as it has done continuously for over thirty years, renewed its meeting with the most qualified American wine press in a significant, meticulously organized event that presented a top selection of great, special-vintage wines, thus contributing to the success, prestige and image of quality Italian wine and the Made in Italy as a whole.

The Gala Italia began with the "Wine & Food Tasting," during which high tier Italian wines and gourmet appetizers were tasted, followed by the "Gala Dinner" and the presentation of the "Wine Leaders Awards."

The Wine Tasting featured the following wines: the AB Vinea Doni, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2014; the Citra, Caroso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2010; the Ferrari Brut NV and the Ferrari Rosé NV; the Campora, Rosso Toscana IGT 2009; the Cavit, Lunetta, Prosecco NV and the Cavit, Infine Pinot Grigio Trentino Superiore DOC 2015; the Mezzacorona, NOS Teroldego Rotaliano Riserva DOC 2007; the Puiatti, LUS Ribolla Gialla IGP 2014; the Paretaio, Rosso Toscana IGT 2012; the Planeta, Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, 2014; the Rocca delle Macie, Chianti Classico Riserva di Fizzano DOCG 2012; the Rotari Rosé, Trento DOC 2013 and the Rotari Brut, Trento DOC 2013; the Sella & Mosca, La Cala Vermentino DOC 2015; the Stemmari, Grillo, Sicilia DOC 2015; the Travaglini, Gattinara DOCG 2011 and the Vigna a Solatio, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2015.

At the Gala Dinner were served: the Ferrari “Perlé” Trento DOC 2009; the Vigna a Solatio, Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2014; the Castello di Querceto, “Il Picchio” Chianti Classico Riserva, Gran Selezione DOCG 2012; the Col d’Orcia, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2007; the Campora, Rosso Toscano IGT 2009; the Mezzacorona NOS Teroldego Riserva 2007; the Bertani, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2007; and the Fontanafredda, “Moncucco” Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2010. 

The dinner recalled a professional wine tasting, as guests were seated around large, round tables with triangular “glass mats” upon which were placed nine different glasses for the various dinner wines. Throughout the evening, the wines (whose descriptions were highlighted in the event program) and their specific qualities were further illustrated to the journalists by the wineries’ representatives.

The menu was specially prepared by Chefs Achilles Poliviou and Andrew Burriesci and by Pastry Chef Tommy Doh to pair with the exceptional dinner wines. The menu featured Butter Poached Lobster with butter head lettuce, treviso, watermelon radish and herbed olive oil; followed by Braised Lamb Ossobuco with white bean cassoulet, saute escarole, roasted cipolini onion and port wine reduction; and an assorted cheese plate of gorgonzola, parmigiano reggiano and asiago. Dinner concluded with a Mocha Chocolate Mousse Cake with gold leaf and hazelnut gelato.

Guests were also treated to Ferrero Rocher chocolates provided by Ferrero, and to ground coffee provided by Illy Caffé.

Among the past recipients of the "Wine Leaders Awards": Adam Strum, John Mariani, Florence Fabricant, Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, Piero Antinori, Jacopo Biondi Santi, Pio Boffa (Pio Cesare), Matthew Lunelli (Ferrari) Chiara Lungarotti, Lucio Tasca, Sirio Maccioni, Gualtiero Marchesi, Giovanni Rana, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato.

An elegant, colorful catalogue was specially prepared for the GALA ITALIA containing detailed information on all of the wines, the participating companies, and the honorees. Over 2,000 copies were distributed to guests in attendance, and were subsequently sent to the principal trade representatives across the United States.

The GALA ITALIA was organized by the Italian Wine & Food Institute with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development and ICE-Italian Trade Commission.

For information please contact the Italian Wine & Food Institute: Tel.: 212-867-4111 - -

Philip S. Kampe

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Figaretto Is The Only Winery In Valpolicella To Produce Gravity-fed Wine by Philip S. Kampe

It was hard to believe that my first days vineyard hopping-yes, this was the fourth of day-landed me in Valpantena, at the estate vineyard of Azineda Agricola Figaretto.

The vineyards signature wine is Amarone della Valpolicella, a wine whose grapes are picked in late October and then dried on straw mats for 120 days before they are crushed by gravity and put into stainless steel vats for fermentation before the twenty-four (24) month ageing process takes place in French oak barrels, which 2/3 of the barrels are new, followed by six (6) months in the bottle.

This is the only vineyard that ferments Valpolicella with gravity.  

Originally, the vineyard only sold grapes, but, when son, Mauro Bustaggi and his wife, Patrizia took over the vineyard from Mauro’s father, production of the Figaretto wines evolved and now the winery produces 65,000 bottles a year.

After learning about the vineyards history and future plans, owner and winemaker Mauro poured the 2015 Valpolicella, a light and bright wine, full of red fruit and a favorite in the export market, which is where 98% of the bottles land. The wine is a perfect food wine, much like Chianti.

After a few snacks to cleanse our palate, Patrizia poured the 2014 Ripasso Valantena Superiore, a medium-bodied, dark fruit concentrated wine with subtle tannins followed by a long finish.

Winemaker Mauro Bustaggi mentioned that the best years for winemaking were 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2011, all hot weather vintages.

Patrizia poured a special wine for the tasting,  the Amarone Graal 2013. It is special because only the top half of the grapes were used in the winemaking process, which resulted in a sweeter,more complex wine.

Consider this the ‘Holy Graal’ commented winemaker Mauro. Patrizia added that the 2013 is full of finesse and elegance, a wine that stands out from the crowd. Amarone Graal is only bottled in years when the grapes are considered excellent.

We took a break, toured the property then sat down and sampled the flagship 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella, which was debuting at Anteprima Amarone. The wine was smooth, tannin-free mouth feel, with an abundance of concentrated dark fruit, especially cherry and blackcurrant. This wine was certainly going to mature into a classic Amarone in years to come.

Mauro does play around with other grapes, but, that was not the focus of this trip. What I learned was that he is a true magician as a winemaker. All of the wines I sampled were top quality, velvety and certain to turn into classical wine as the years went by.

Philip S. Kampe

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...