Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Wines of Ancient Thrace Launches commercial promotions in Houston, Texas

New Wines of Ancient Thrace
Launches commercial promotions in Houston, Texas

With the tasting of local and international varieties will start the trade promotions , organized by the Bulgarian Wine Export Association in Shanghai in Houston. Each of the wines will give an insight look into the region from which it originate.

Each of the 5 regions will be presented:

Thracian valley

The area includes the central part of the valley, as well as parts of the Sakar Mountains. It is characterized by moderate continental climate and favorable precipitation distribution. Some of the most typical wines of this region include Mavrud, Rubin, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pamid.

Valley of the Roses

The area is located between Stara Planina and Sredna gora and it produces predominantly white dry wines. The Rose Valley is the birthplace of Red Misket. It is a white grape variety with a pink skin, which produces aromatic white wines similar to those of the Muscat family. Among the most famous varieties of grapes in this area are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling.

Danubian Plain

This area covers the southern banks of the Danube and is characterized by temperate continental climate, hot summer and sunny days. Commonly grown vine varieties in this area are Merlot, Pamid, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamza, and Muscat Ottonel.

Black Sea region

Influenced by the Black Sea, this region is characterized by a soft autumn, making it suitable for growing white varieties with a strong sugar concentration. Dimyat Muscat Ottonel and Sauvignon Blanc are among the most frequently grown vines in this area. From the red Pinot Noir is definitely the star of the region.

Struma valley

This region includes the valley of the Struma River. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winter and hot summer. The typical varieties of grapes traditionally grown here include Melnik, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

This is the second year when New Wines of Ancient Thrace will promote their wines in Houston. Wine professionals, wine lovers, wine enthusiasts– welcome!

New Wines of Ancient Thrace
mail: niforou@oinorama.com, mob: +359 885 731 331


Luiz Alberto (on behalf of Galina Niforou, BWEA chairwoman)

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today is National Chardonnay Day!!! by Philip S. Kampe

                        Look what arrived at my front door on National Chardonnay Day!

I have always been a big fan of Wente Vineyards, the oldest American winery, since 1863. That is when C.H. Wente purchased 47 acres acres in California's Livermore Valley.

Today, the 4th and 5th generation family members run the operation. 80% of their wines are from the Wente Clone.

The three Chardonnays that arrive, sell for $15-$24 on the shelves.

Enough said...time to Drink Up on this Special Day!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bertani:Tradition, Style, Identity and Consistency by Philip S. Kampe

                                                        Stefano Mangiarotti

In January, while in Verona, I attended a wine dinner and sat next to Andrea Lonardi, a young workaholic that travels the globe for Bertani- a winery from Veneto who is one of the most influential producers in the region. At the wine dinner with Andrea, I sampled two amazing wines of the Bertani collection and was overcome by their quality and authenticity-I wanted more, hence my return to Verona four months later to sample their portfolio of wines-Amarone is my favorite-and to visit the vineyards and production area to get a better grasp on who Bertani is.

Founded in 1857, the dream of the brothers, Gaetano and Giovan Battista, was to purchase the best land in the region and produce the best wine available. Their philosophy of owning their vineyards and bottling their wine was a way to gain dominance and independence in an industry that often leased land and paid for bottling.
Gaetano was a gifted winemaker, having studied winemaking in France under Guyot, who was considered a leading expert in viticulture at his time and still today. (Isn’t there a pruning method named after Guyot?)

The vision 160 years ago is still alive today, same idea, but, some different players. Cantine Bertani was bought by Tenimenti Angelini in 2011, also a family-owned wine producer, based in Tuscany.  Angelini kept the same management team in place and are running the operations separately.

Bertani owns almost 500 acres of vineyards

Bertani has created an image-an icon in the industry. The Bertani labels have been the same since 1958, magnetizing the consumer with its hypnotic label. Consistency, transparency (say what you do) and commitment to quality paired with terroir recognition has made the name, Bertani, stand out from the crowd.

At 8am sharply, I was picked up at my rented apartment in Verona by Stefano Mangiarotti, who just returned from living in New York for seven years, helping Bertani’s operations in North America. I was his link to America. We drove for half an hour, ending up at the headquarters of Bertani-a large historical facility where wine was produced and stored, as well as being the home of the administrative staff.

After a quick coffee (you know we are in Italy), Stefano showed me the facility in Grezzana, the heart of the operation. We visited the enormous wine cellar, the bottling plant and the lofts where the grapes are dried on straw mats. ‘Originally, the silk merchants used the lofts prior to the instillation of the drying mats’, said Stefano.

Immaculate and clean, the headquarters had a sophisticated look that was sleek and futuristic-much like the image of Bertani.

It was a relatively short drive from the headquarters to the closest vineyard, located on an old estate, with a panoramic view of the hills of the Veneto. ‘This is where our varietals live’ said Mr. Mangiarotti.

The land was hilly, terraced and huge-as far as the eye could see.
Stefano pointed out that in the future, the caves in the mountain will be turned into wine cellars-a unique approach-like many others Bertani takes.

We stopped and looked at the green vines and home to many of Bertani’s grapes: Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, Pinot Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garganega, Trebbiano di Lugano, Cortese, Malvasia, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Oselata.

Stefano said that the traditional grapes for the Valpolicella collection are grown on this hill. He emphasized the grape make-up for the classics.

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC uses Corvina and Rondinella, while Ripasso Villa Novare Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC ; Valpolicella Villa Novare Valpolicella Classico DOC; Amarone Villa Arvedi Valpolicella Valpantena DOC; Recioto della Valpolicella Valpantena DOC and Secco Bertani Valpolicella Valpantena DOC use Rondinella and Corvina Veronese.

|My afternoon was spent with winemaker Giordano Formenti, a young, energetic winemaker who carried the weight of Bertani’s iconic portfolio.

After a walk around the loading dock, where I spotted a shipment to Palm Bay, their US distributor, we visited the wine cellar and the impressive production area.

 He brought me to where he makes his wine, then upstairs to a large tasting room where we sampled  nine wines.

We started with Bertarose Rose 2016, followed by these others:
Soave-Bertani 2015
Sereole Soave 2016
Velante Pinot Grigio 2016
Valpolicella 2016
Valpolicella Ripasso 2014
Secco-Berta 2014
Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena 2011
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2008

Three months after attending a wine dinner with Andrea Lonardi, my fantasy of visiting Bertani came true. The wines I tasted in Verona in January came alive at the headquarters of Bertani at Via Asiago 1, Grezzana, thanks to some persistence of mine and the help of Michela Bonomi for arranging my daytime visit, Stefano Mangiarotti for showing me the vineyard and picking me up, as well as a wonderful wine tasting and wine lunch with winemaker extraordinaire, Giordano Formenti.
(A special thanks goes to Paola Baschirotto)

Tradition and style-repeated over and over make Bertani the winery it is today. Repeating , repeating, repeating style turns wines into classics. The same consistency in your palate has been recognized at Bertani. This philosophy of making wine as consistent as in the prior vintage is their trademark.

It’s a lesson for all of us.

Philip S. Kampe


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pasqua Wines Are Italy's Treasure by Philip S. Kampe

                 Some of the varietals of Valpolicella above the limestone and flint soil

Pasqua Wines- Italy's Treasure

Pasqua is one of my favorite wine producers in all of Italy.

In late January, I toured one of their facilities near Verona.
Winemaker, Giovanni Nordera, was my tour guide.

The tour ended with a wine tasting and elegant meal, at a table set-up, in between the oak barrels in the state of the art wine cellar.

It was one of my proudest moments.

The memory remained with me all winter.

Add curiosity as to what the vineyard looks like and where thee vines are situated created enough intrigue to my life that I decided to return in the spring and see what was dormant in the winter.

After some time of setting up an agenda with gracious Sara Biasi, the PR guru for Pasqua, we made a plan.

And what I saw and learned about this modest estate was worth the wait.

Pasqua was founded in 1925 by Umberto, Riccardo, Natale and Nicola-all Pasquas.

Ninety-two years later, Pasqua is still family-owned and run by family members.
In fact, the story is a little more complex. Amarone is the crown  jewel of the family and produced in Veneto. Pasqua is also well known for their facility in Puglia, where Primitivo and other wines are produced.

According to Giovanni, the winemaker, Pasqua makes ‘old world’ wines, their tradition, with new world elegance. He believes that Pasqua has maintained their high quality during the years and bring wines to the consumers that are complex, vibrant and affordable.

Giovanni led me through a very comprehensive wine tasting, beginning with their newly released and designed-see through label Rose-’11 Minutes.’ He explained the idea occurred because they leave the skins of the grapes on the press for only ’11 Minutes’ to impart the beautiful salmon color of this magnificent, luscious, wine. Five grapes are used to make this wine, with only 40,000 bottles produced in its first year. (25,000 were sent to the US)  Its success should lead up to as many as 80,000 bottles in 2017.

In fact, the name (11 Minutes) and idea were so novel, that, at 2017 Vinitaly, Pasqua built a special, psychedelic room with bottles of ’11 Minutes’ floating from the ceiling and moving as you walk through the display. It was a page out of the ‘Woodstock Handbook.’ Designed by Sara Biasi, remember her, the PR guru, this room was recreated at Pasqua’s headquarters, and toured in awe by all of the visitors.

Pasqua is a leader of ‘catchy wine names.’ Take for example the wine, Mai Dire Mai, which translated means, ‘Never say Never,’ a statement that follows Pasquas philosophy of always trying. Needless to say, all of the wines sampled were of top quality-especially the 2006 Amarone and the 2010, 16.5% alcohol, No Mai dire Mai (Never say Never).

Settling in on a beautiful, sunny day, we drove to Monte Vegro do Dal Colle, a panoramic spot where all of Veneto could be seen. Pasqua rents (25 year lease) 125 acres of prime terroir divided between vineyards and olive trees. Perched at 1600 feet, the land is rich in limestone and flint, lending itself to wines of great acidity.

Vines are hand-picked on the hills and machine harvested on the flat surfaces. The famous grapes for Valpolicella, Corvina, Oseleta and Rondinella thrive on the mountaintop at Monte do Dal Colle.

The understanding of the vineyards layout reinforced my belief in Psquas focus of achieving harmony between fruit driven wines and tradition. The family business has allowed the children of the Pasqua family to follow the paths of their founding fathers, while bringing it into the 21st century. The philosophy remains the same, high quality wines at approachable prices.


Philip S. Kampe

Monday, May 22, 2017

Not All Roses Are Created Equal-The Story of La Nuit En Rose by Philip S. Kampe

Terlato Wines at La Nuit en Rose

Every year, I receive an invite to attend the La Nuit en Rose cruise event that embarks from Pier 40 on New York’s Hudson River.

The Pier is just blocks away from the hustling Houston Street area, where you can find swanky and hip shops, restaurants of all sorts and an array of festive and dive bars. If you towards the sky, you will see rooftop bars that flaunt the view of Manhattan’s skyline.

Normally, when I board the Hornblower for the Rose wine cruise, I find a group of friends and hang out with them for the four hour event.

This year was a little different.

I received an invitation to attend a ‘Special VIP  Passport Tasting’ of Roses from Terlato Wines portfolio.

Terlato is a company that is an innovator in pursuing interesting, dynamic wines for distribution to the public.

Terlato is also an innovator in marketing, hence the Passport tasting. If you have a Passport, you can travel the world, and that is what the international Rose tasting of wines was about. 

The top floor of the boat was set-up only for invited VIP’s. The goal was to sample their array of Rose wines from around the world. The wines were each paired with a gourmet appetizer. The pairing of the rose with the appetizer raised the bar a notch higher. It was obvious a lot of thought went into the selections-which paid off immediately.

The wines that were represented at this phenomenal tasting included:
Sanford  Rose of Pinot Noir  Sta. Rita Hills 2016 (USA)

Belleruche Rose Cotes-Du-Rhone 2016 (France)

Il Poggione Brancato Rosato  Montalcino 2016 (Italy)

Protea  Protea Rose  Western Cape  2016  (South Africa)

Bodegas Valdemar  Conde Valdemar Rose  Rioja  2016 (Spain)

Mathilde Chapoutier Rose ‘Grand Ferrage’ Cotes De Provence  2016  (France)

Terlato Wines illustrated and educated the attendees, including me, that not all Roses are the same.

As a wine educator, if I were to teach a Rose wine class, I would use each of these wines to illustrate how universal the much used, French term, Rose, can be used nowadays.

Hats off to Terlato Wines for their effort to show the world that Roses are not only French wines.

Philip S. Kampe

Monday, May 8, 2017

France and Italy are #Winelover Paradises by Philip S. Kampe

I apologize for not being able to have time to share my amazing wine journey for the beautiful Languedoc region of France to Italy's Veneto region.

I gave been in Europe for the past two and a half weeks and will finally return home this upcoming weekend. After that, I plan to inundate my loyal readers with my finds, new wine regions that bubble,literally and highlights of the adventure.

Looking forward to share theae experiences with you.
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...