Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Whiskey-Why Is It The Preferred Alcohol?

Recently, the medical journal SPRINGER published an article that examined the various types of bacteria that can be found in ice, specifically bar ice. Your favorite bars ice, unfortunately, carries several infectious types of bacteria-31 species, in fact.

That’s the bad news.

Some of the major bacterias included well known Bacillus, known for food poisoning; Staphylococcus, responsible for Staph infections and Pseudomonas, which causes lung and skin infections.

The researchers goal was to find out if the infected ice’s bacteria could be killed by various drinks that we consume. Vodka killed none of the bacteria. Coca Cola did well, killing the bacteria Bacillus and Pseudomonas. But, whiskey killed them all.

Thought that pointing out this study’s results should make you realize that your system survives with the bacteria in your drinks, at least in the majority of cases. If you are one that gets sick after drinking fluids with bar ice, maybe whiskey is your answer. If whiskey is not your answer on its own, whiskey and coke or tonic are your solutions.

Philip S. Kampe  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Angiolino Maule and VinNatur Have Arrived: Pesticide-free Wine From 170 Producers by Philip S. Kampe

What do the following Italian wines have in common?
IL Farneto (Emilia) Brut Nature
Elvira (Veneto) Pinot Grigio Frizzante 2016
La Morella (Piemonte) Timorasso 2013
La Biancara Di Angiolino Maule (Veneto) Sassaia 2016
Don Chiscotte (Campania) Fiano 2016
Lamoresca (Sicilia) Nerocapitano
Terre Di Pietra (Veneto) Valpolicella Superiore 2014
Elvira (Veneto) Carmenere 2013

Did you guess that the wineries are part of 170 producers that have the common goal of producing natural wine, which omits the use of phosphates, the use of chemical insecticides, mechanical harvesting, the use of anti-parasites of synthetic, systemic and cytropic origin, which are not permitted with organic farming, chemical weed-killers or drying processes, mineral, organic-mineral and chemical synthesis fertilizers and most importantly, the growth of GMO and Csgenic grapes or the use of GMO derived products.

Without the use of the list above, the wineries objective with their partners in the Associazione VinNatur (known as VinNatur) is to grow vines and produce quality wines using natural methods that are known in each members unique terroir.

VinNatur wines are wines that contain ‘no pesticides,’ That is the common denominator for the members that span nine countries and thousands of acres. Membership in VinNatur is limited to winemakers who use grapes from vineyards run directly and cared for and vinified according to the VinNatur guidelines. Some of major guidelines in the winery include the use of air and oxygen to oxygenate must or wine,  spontaneous fermentation with the exclusive use of indigenous yeasts already in the grapes and the use of carbon dioxide, azote or argon, exclusively to keep wine protected from air and to saturate possible containers or equipment.

The mastermind behind VinNatur is Angiolino Maule, a man I met, who has dedicated his life to the movement and philosophy adopted by the Associazione VinNatur. As a wine producer, Mr. Maule knows firsthand what and how to follow the no pesticide rule. His wine from Veneto, Sassaia 2016, was a true example of pesticide free wine that had a personality of its own-a bouquet of its own and a flavor that brings you back to nature. His wine was not alone-all eight wines at the informal tasting and in-depth seminar had their own personality.

Angiolino Maule recently said: “Producing VinNatur natural wine means having the courage to face many risks without the comfort of ready, easy solutions. It means accepting commitments and obligations, which are even moral. That is why being involved in VinNatur is a choice, not an obligation. The procedure guidelines for each winery are not a point of arrival, but, rather, where you want to depart from. Our objective is to give life to dynamic and lively growth that is open to the contributions of the scientific world. In this way, we can grow healthy vines that support environmental sustainability and man.”

If you have interest in VinNatur, where to find the vineyards who produce the wines and the founder, Angiolino Maule, visit their website at:

If you are near Vicenza, Italy, VinNatur’s big event is called Villa Favorita and takes place in a palladian villa named Villa Favorita in Monticello di Fara, Sarego-Vicenza. The event will feature close to 170 VinNatur wineries from nine countries and will take place on 14-15-16 April.

Philip S. Kampe

                                              Some of the VinNatur Wines Sampled
                                                               Angiolino Maule
                                                        More Wines Sampled

                                    Comparing notes at this VinNatur intimate tasting

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sustainability Is The Theme Celebrating Valpolicella's 50th Anniversary by Philip S.Kampe

                                               50 Years of Valpolicella                 
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Valpolicella applellation,the Valpolicella Consorzio Tutela Vini prepared a special educational program that communicated the idea that terroir and sustainable farming practices attributed to both quality and value to the brand.

Hosts Andrea Sartori, President of the Consortium and Olga Bussinello, Director of the Consortium shared their views on the themed conference that focused on ‘Sustainability, Education, Internationalization and Made in Italy.’ The program highlighted the innovative, international and sustainable direction the appellation, with the help of the Consortium for the Tutelage of Valpolicella wines is taking.

”The commitment of the Consortium for the Tutelage of Valpolicella Wines is to achieve excellence in the vineyards, above all from sustainability and prosperity for the territory. The RRR-‘Reduce, Respect, Retrench’ program, which certifies environmental protection by companies, thanks to the adoption of innovative techniques in the vineyard and beyond. The Protocol began, in fact, both to respond to the increasingly determined consumer demand for wines that express the territory, as well a cleaner environment by the inhabitants of Valpolicella. The project in the first year involved 30 companies (wineries) and 1250 acres. In the second year, the number grew to 114 companies and 2300 acres. The next objective of the Consortium is to get 60% of the area planted in the next two years to follow the RRR, in Italian, ‘Reduci, Risparmia, Rispetta’ program. We hope, therefore, that as happened in recent years, more and more wineries in Valpolicella will decide to join this project that wants to make a whole green area, cutting edge with the main countries and certification bodies dedicated to sustainability throughout the world”  Olga Bussinello, Director of the Consortium

The Consortium for the Tutelage of Valpolicella Wines was founded in 1924. It is an association of grape growers, winemakers and bottlers of the Valpolicella region. The Consortium represents more then 80% of the producersand promotes activities to enhance the value of the territory. Promotion, such as the Anteprima Amarone event, help protect and promote the four PDO wines of the region, Valpolicella DOC, Valpolicella Ripasso DOC, Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG and Recioto della Valpolicella DOC.

The ‘Sustainable Winegrowing Summit (SWS) took place during my visit, as well as the Valpolicella Education Program, in collaboration with the University of Verona and the University of Milano. Candidates who passed rigorous tests will collaborate with the Consortium during the ‘Valpolicella 50th Anniversary Tour; as well as future projects. .In a sense, they are Valpolicella Wine Specialists who can speak about Valpolicella, the territory, sustainability and the area halfway between Verona and Lake Garda. 80% of Valpolicella is exported and wine ambassadors are truly necessary to help promote the wines from the appellation.

Regarding the Sustainable Winegrowing Summit, leading figures from around the world discussed sustainable viticulture, with the goal of establishing an ethical model for wine production. Sustainable management of natural resources to the innovation of management practices and the need to adapt cultivation techniques for pedoclimatic changes are the three key issues explained Olga Bussinello. She went on to say that it has become urgent to reach a production model that takes account of these aspects, with the aim of increasing the protection and conservation of the resources and the environment. Following the RRR initiative, as mentioned earlier, is the goal. Monitoring the use of plant production products by producers is the key to environmental balance in the Valpolicella region. The host of the summit will change every year, in order to constantly encourage the dialogue between the certification bodies and the players in the wine world, in order to create an International Sustainable Winegrowing Network (ISWN)

To learn more about Valpolicella contact the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella at:

Via Valpolicella 57-37029 San Pietro in Cariano VR
Telephone +39 0457703194

Director: Olga Bussinello
President: Andrea Sartori

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gotta Have Godelia by Philip S. Kampe

A package arrived at my door. I had to sign for it. I knew it contained alcohol.

But, what was inside the 12 pound box?  I opened the box, saw two bottles neatly packed. Next to the bottles was a handwritten note. Try these. Tell me what you think.

The challenge was on.

Eagerly, I picked up each bottle, Both had the word, GODELIA, on the label. One bottle had a red neck, the other had a green neck. I lifted both bottles to confirm that they were red and white styles of wine. They were.

Next, I started reading the labels to gather as much information that I could. The red was 100% Mencia and 14.5% alcohol. It was a 2012 vintage. The white was a 2015 blend of 80% Godello and 20% Dona Blanca, a grape I knew little about.

Then I studied the technical sheets and learned the vineyard, Bodegas Godelia, changed direction in 2009 when the town’s pharmacist, Vicente Garcia Vasquez, purchased the property, which consists of 86 acres plus 37 acres farmed under contract. The Bodega is in the small town of Cacabelos, in the heart of Spain’s Bierzo D.O.

The takeover and re-evaluation of the property is still in its infancy. The wines come from ancient schist-soiled land combined with clay slopes. Vineyards reach 2,300 feet. Many old vines prevail: Godello 20-40 years old
Dona Blanca 70-90 years old
Mencia 50-90 year old vines


All grapes are picked by hand in the rocky, high altitude slopes of Godelia's property.

Winemaker Josep Serra Guyillen  and second in command, Silvia Marrao, run the operations.

Bierzo whites, like the 2015 blend, are mineral driven.

The 2012 red has really concentrated fruit, due to the age of the vines. Add a big dose of freshness and balance to the scenario and you have a top flight wine.

I have taken a true liking to these wines and urge you to sample or buy these under $20 bottles of wine for your short term consumption. To me, they are true VALUE Wines.

Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sandro De Bruno-A Winemaker from Soave Worth Knowing About by Philip S. Kampe


                                                                The soil of Soave

                                                      The gourmet Sandro De Bruno
                                                    The winemaker Sandro De Bruno
                                                       Grilled Polenta and Steak

                                                          Risotto al Durello
                                                                     Durello DOC
                                     Soave wines from different soils within the same area

                                              Sandro De Bruno And The Soave Lifestyle

As chance has it, I was searching for a vineyard to visit in the Verona area during my most recent visit this February and realized that with all of our visits (Verona is my wife’s favorite mid-size city) that I had never visited the Soave area-less than an hour northeast of Verona. 

My parents friends always brought over a bottle of Soave to our house in New Orleans when they visited for my parents bi-monthly dinner and poker parties. That’s how it was in the sixties.

Impressions remain with you during your whole lifetime. And Soave was one of those impressions.

In years to come, Soave from Bolla seemed to corner the American market with low cost magnums of affordable and very drinkable Soave. That is how taste buds for Soave developed and for many has remained to this day.

As a wine seeker and wine trend follower, my belief is if the world understood that Soave is more then just Soave Bolla, the Soave market would grow to the level it deserves.

One Soave producer that comes to mind and illustrates that Soave is truly a superior wine is Sandro De Bruno, the only vineyard owner that I visited on this trip.

My belief is that by visiting Sandro De Bruno, my mind opened up to the beauty and elegance of Soave wines.

This exercise was followed up on the following day by sampling a dozen Soave wines from numerous wineries at the Consorzio di Tutela del Soave office in the beautiful walled town of Soave.

What I confirmed was that these great wines, from various soil types, including volcanic, were wines that had amazing profiles and were made universally with balance, complexity, finesse and freshness. Before I had a wonderful tasting at the Consorzio,
Sandro de Bruno opened my palate to unique expressions of Soave DOC and Mount Lessini DOC areas. The wines I sampled were Soave Superiore DOCG,Durello Superiore DOC, Chardonnay, sparkling Durello Monti Lessini DOC, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Recioto di Soave DOCG.

Sandro De Bruno winery is located in the town of Pergola di Montrcchia di Crosara. The winery is a large building that houses a wine cellar, the stainless steel tanks and an area to entertain guests with a wood burning fireplace that serves as the perfect area to grill polenta, salami, marinated steaks and whatever Sandro and his wife choose to serve.

After sampling a sparkling Durello and a Durello Superiore, an elusive ancient grape that is known for its energetic acidity, Sandro’s wife asked if it we were hungry for her Risotto al Durello . We both smiled and nodded our heads ‘Yes.’

What followed was the beginning of a love affair for this risotto. My obvious question was, ‘Can you share the recipe for my readers?’ And fortunately, via e-mail the recipe arrived-which I will am happy to share with you.

You must note that there are really no exact portions, the sign of a creative cook and like my Capriese mother-in-law, a hand full of this, a pinch of that, is about all you need to know.

Adopted Word by Word from the Sandro De Bruno Winery by Andrea Rocchi

HEAT the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock stays hot. At the same time in another pot, heat the Durello until it reduces by ¾.
IN a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot. Saute 3 minutes until slightly translucent.
Add the Carnaroli rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so the grains are coated with the butter and oil. Saute another minute until there is a nutty aroma. Add the Durello wine until the liquid is absorbed. Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. Its important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed.
TO prevent scorching, add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for twenty minutes or until the grains are tender, but, still firm to the bite, without being crunchy.
STIR in the remaining two tablespoons of butter and the Monte Veronese cheese.

What you will need (this is my guess)
Chicken stock
Six scallions (use the white parts only)
A bottle of Durello wine, preferably from Sandro De Bruno
Carnoli rice is preferred, nut Aborio is fine
Only Monte Veronese cheese. (The younger, softer style is preferred. Find it online if you cant find it in your town)
A stick of Unsalted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

During part of my life I was a cheesemonger and set-up The Wine Library’s cheese and gourmet food department. The Wine Library is most famous, not for wine, but its guru, Gary Vaynerchuk-who has gone on to establish a large PR firm.  Two of the cheese that were popular at The Wine Library were the aged and less aged Monte Veronese cheeses. They are special types of cheese and worth seeking out. Learn more about the cheese by visiting or sending an email to: 

Looks like the priorities are twofold, learn about the wines from Soave, sample them and analyze them. Once you have a better understanding, buy a bottle or two to sip, while you cook the Risotto al Durello recipe. In the process, you will be able to realize why, only Durello can be used in this dish. 
Philip S. Kampe

‘ART of Earth’ Affordable Organic Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC by Philip S. Kampe

Every once in awhile you sample wine and find a few standouts that are priced much less than what they retail for. Simply put, you fi...