Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wanna Go To Verona? A Wine Competition For All Wine Professionals in the USA by Philip S. Kampe

                                 A Wine Competition For All Professionals
**Winner Will Receive a Trip to Verona and Tuition to Attend the Second Annual Valpolicella Program in late January**

”It is our pleasure to welcome sommeliers, wine professionals and members of the media to the inaugural Valpolicella Education Program (VEP) competition in the United States this year,” says Director Olga Bussinello. “ It is our hope that whomever graduates from the VEP will be involved in the professional events of the Corsortium and will be an advocate for Valpolicellla wines within the market,”

The Consorzio Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella, celebrating 50 years of protecting and promoting the wine of the Valpolicella region in Italy, invites members of the wine trade and media to participate in an exclusive competition, with the winner receiving a full scholarship to attend the Valpolicella Education Program in Verona.

All who wish to participate must first take a qualifying online quiz, which tests familiarity with Valpolicella DOC wines: Valpolicella DOC, Valpolicella Rioasso DOC, Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG and Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG.

All entrants who pass the online qualifier will then be invited to the Eventi Hotel in New York City, on Tuesday, November 13th, for a short in-person exam.

The VEP committee will select one winner from the group.

To participate, take the online questionnaire at:  before Friday, November 9th. If you make it to the second round, the short in-person exam will take place at the Eventi Hotel (849 6th Avenue, 2nd floor, at 10am on Tuesday, November 13th.

The competition and event are open to trade professionals and members of the media only. For more information, please contact the event organizer, Amber Gallaty, at or visit http://www,

Philip S. Kampe

                                                       Director, Olga Bussinello

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Exploring Spectacular Biltmore (Wine included) by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley

                                          Exploring Spectacular Biltmore (Wine Included)

Traveling in the Smoky Mountain area of America has opened up our eyes to the natural beauty this country has to offer. Lush, rolling hills, farms and crops dot the back roads of rural North Carolina.

The natural beauty of the artsy town of Asheville was enhanced in 1895 when George Vanderbilt’s 250 room chateau, Biltmore, was completed. It has not changed since its inception. The house is architectural genius and truly one of the seven wonders of the American World.

Vanderbilt hired renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, to create the gardens and landscape of the property. The gardens are both formal and informal, ranging in beauty from the formal Italian Gardens to the lush, 250 variety Rose Garden.

Sustainability built Vanderbilt’s legacy of environmental protection. The same theme is followed today, 125 years since inception.

Historically, Biltmore was opened on Christmas Eve in 1895 by George Vanderbilt. It took six years to construct. George, wife Edith and daughter Cornelia lived in the house until 1924. Cornelia married that year and remained in the house with her husband.

In 1930 the house was open to the public. It was the time of the great depression and income produced by the house was a necessity for its existence. Today, the fourth and fifth generation families run the estate that employs over two thousand workers.

Our group of four took a 2.5 mile hike during our visit. We followed the extensive trail network that led us through the open meadows of Deer Park. We hiked next to the French Broad River, which flows through the property.

We visited the farm in Antler Hill Village where livestock and crops were in abundance. Inside the village were blacksmiths, woodworkers and numerous crafters, demonstrating their wares.

It did not feel like we were living in 2018, but, more like the turn of the century.

The smell of Carolina barbeque permeated Antler Hill Village. It was lunch time, a perfect time to enjoy southern cooking.

Afterwards, the trails led us to the beautiful Azalea Garden, the Rose Garden and the Italian Garden.

We were traversing the property and ended up at the Winery store, where we signed up for a three hour Vine to Wine Vineyard Tour and Tasting ($85).

After sampling dips and candy and wine in the winery store, the dozen or so winery tour guests lined up and followed our wine leader (an ex-school teacher) to a designated spot on the grounds, where we were welcomed and served a glass of sparkling wine that is produced  on the premises. Small bites of salami and mozzarella were passed around. The salt from the appetizers paired perfectly with the somewhat dry sparkling wine.

We were off to a good start.

We boarded a bus that brought us across the French Broad River and onto the vineyard, where there are enough grapes to bottle 150,000 bottles of wine, The rest of the grapes are sourced, making production of one million eight hundred thousand  bottles at Biltmore.

Winemaking at Biltmore is the result of decades of experimentation resulting in what varietals are best to grow in western North Carolina’s unique climate and soil.

The wine tour was totally complete. We sampled wine, while eating grapes on the vine at the vineyard. We  visited the winery and saw the tanks and barrels used to age the wine. Our guide was overly knowledgeable and made the tour fun, yet, educational.

The last hour was spent sampling close to a dozen wines with bites that paired. There were many outstanding wines that we sampled.

The list of wines made at the Biltmore include
Pinot Grigio
Virtus White

Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc

Sweet Whites:|
Limited Release Chenin Blanc
Century Sweet White
Limited Release Gewurztraminer
Limited Release Muscat Canelli

Pinot Noir
Cardinal’s Crest
Limited Release Tempranillo
Cabernet Sauvignon
Limited Release Merlot
Limited Release Malbec

Virtus Red
Century Sweet Red

The tasting encompassed some of the best wines from the vineyard. Each wine that we sampled, clearly was well made, with lots of body, soft tannins and representative from the vineyard and its sources. The wine tour was well worth the price of admission.

A day spent at the Biltmore Estate will be a day that one will never forget.

To contact the Biltmore Estate visit them at  or call 800-543-2961

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Some of My Favorite Bottles of Primitivo di Manduria Should Be Yours by Philip S. Kampe & Maria Reveley

If you have read my past two articles, you can tell that I have found a wine area that has been off of the radar, Its an area that deserves respect from the wine community.

The wines from this area in Puglia deserve a place in your home. As I mentioned in my last article, if you like Zinfandel, then you willl like Primitivo. They are both from the same clone and have interchangeable names.

Maybe its the concentrated, yet soft fruit that makes this red wine superior. Maybe its the abnormally hot summers that bake the fruit. I don't really know what is is that draws me to this wine, but, like Valpolicella, there is some magnet that pulls me in this wines direction.

Recently the Primitivo di Manduria area created a Consorzio to represent the producers. Its still in its initial stage. According to Director Adriano Pasculli de Angelis, the members are working together to promote their wines to the world and use the Consorzio Di Tutela Primitivo Di Manduria as their voice.

Primitivo was planted in 1981 from eleven clones of the varietal.

The Consorzio's job is to preserve, protect and promote Primitivo di Manduria. My personal job is to help them make a voice in the world.

Above are just a few examples of Primitivo di Manduria that we sampled on the journey in Puglia.

Ask your wine merchant to order any of these wines and you will see why we are fascinated with this clone

Philip S. Kampe  .

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Primitivo di Manduria: 'The Land and Sea of Puglia' by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley


                             Director Adriano Pasculli de Angelis & President Roberto Erario

                                                     Fulvio Filo Schiavoni

                                        Primitivo di Manduria: The Land and Sea of Puglia

Many people visit Italy.
What traveler wouldn’t want to visit Rome, Florence or Venice? Beauty, architecture, fine art and food are all part of the adventure.

With twenty provinces and cities a bit off the beaten path, Sienna, Bologna, Naples, Reggio Calabra, Perugia and exotic islands like Capri and Sicily, it is hard to think that some of the areas that you miss on your overseas journey are the areas that stand out, both in your memory and your gastronomic make-up.

There are areas where olive trees, some 800 years old and wines made for thousands of years prevail. The province  that I am thinking of specifically is in the heel or so-called boot of Italy. The province has 325 miles of coastline, more olive trees then people and is a sea away from Albania and Greece.

By now you should have guessed that Puglia is the province that I am making reference to.

Puglia is known worldwide for a specific red wine from the area near Manduria. Primitivo di Manduria is the shining star of the province. The well known sweet version of the wine is Primitivo di Madutia Dolce Naturale, was Puglia’s first DOCG.

Primitivo, known as Zinfandel in California arrived into Italy originally from Croatia. Maduria is Primitivo’s spiritual home and the only viticultural area in Italy to specialize in the varietal.

Prior to visiting Puglia I posted an article discussing the wines from Puglia. If you missed the article, this is a recap.

Puglia has three specific winemaking regions. To the north is Castel del Monte DOP, to the south is Salice Salentino DOP and in the center of those two and the area this article will focus on is Primitivo di Manduria DOP. This area is in the heart of the Magna Grecia region that comprises many towns in the province of Taranto, of which the best known is Manduria, whose namesake is used in the name of Primitivo di Manduria,

Manduria is also home of the Cooperative Winegrowers Association of Manduria, which began in 1932 and Fulvio Filo Schiavoni, known as the ‘father of Primitivo di Manduria,’

Recently I had the opportunity to dine with the legend at the Museum of Primitivo Wine (Museo della Civilta del Vino Primitivo Manduria). Mr. Schiavoni explained the history of Primitivo and his mission at the museum.

The Museum of the Primitivo di Manduria culture was created to make the public aware of the people and objects that molded the history of wines from Manduria. The museum is a fascinating journey divided into more than thirty settings in ancient underground cisterns of a 19th century cellar that has been transformed. 

The museum is what Manduria is about-wine tasting and sales, traditional gastronomic delights and an interactive historical wine museum. It is not to be missed.

The Museum of Primitivo Wine (Museum della Civilta del Vino Primitivo) is located on Via Fabbio Massimo 74024 in Manduria.
Telephone +39 099 9735332 or visit the website:

The President of the Consorzio for the Safeguard of Primitivo di Manduria, Roberto Erario, addressed those participants of the ‘Feel the Heel’ tour.  

Mr. Erario, also a wine producer, wanted us to discover the natural and human factors that identify the terroir of Manduria and to discover the passion the land brings with its protected pedrocliamtic conditions and ancient wine traditions. Primitivo di Manduria thrives in this area.

Primitivo, like Tempranillo, share similar qualities and names because both names have to do with the varietal ‘repining early.’ The dark skins of the grapes produce tannic wines of deep, intense colors, which need several years in the barrel or bottle before becoming approachable. The hot, dry conditions coupled with plains that slope down to the sea are representative of Puglia’s terroir. The grapes are cultivated by an ancient technique called the ‘alberello method.’ The varietals grow on three branches and cannot exceed five feet in length.

The warm growing conditions in southern Puglia coupled with Primitivo di Manduria’s DOC 100% Primitivo grape rule help characterize the unusually high alcohol by volume percentage-usually above 14%. Notes of spice and plum coupled with rustic earth notes help create an old world wine with tame, not jammy, fruits.

It’s hard not to love the wines from Puglia. They have their own character and style. There are no favorites, just a group of vineyards who actively produce some of the best wines from the region.

To begin your journey to ‘Feel the Heel’ of Puglia, please try any of these producers and send me an email what you think about these producers and their wines.

Campa Erminio Vitcoltore
Cantolio Manduria
Cantine San Giorgio 
Masseria Cuturi 
San Marzano Vini
Peoduttori Di Manduria
Masca Del Tacco
Cantine Paolo Leo |
Cantine Erario
Bosco Societa Cooperativa Agricola 

To learn more about the region and its producers, contact the Consorzio di Tutela del Primitivo di Manduria at: 

Philip S. Kampe

Monday, October 8, 2018

'FEEL THE HEEL' of Puglia Wine Country by Philip S. Kampe & Maria Reveley

                                                     'FEEL THE HEEL'
When you speak about the boot of Italy, many people are unaware that the reference is to Puglia.

Puglia is the boot of Italy.

Some of my favorite red wines come from Puglia. It is the easternmost region in Italy, known as the ‘boot or heel’ of Italy.

Isn’t it time to ‘Feel The Heel’ of Italy?

Puglia is a long, narrow peninsula bordered by two seas, the Ionian and the Adriatic. Puglia is the least mountainous region in Italy. The few mountains that exist are from the southern Apwnnine chain. The second group of mountains that run through Puglia have high, steep cliffs and are known as the Gargano Hills.

Half of the territory is flat, like a pancake. The flat plains are called Tavoliere delle Puglia, while other smaller plains exist throughout  the territory, one id the Terrra di Bari and the other is known as Pianura Salentino.

Puglia is a land where ancient settlers left innumerable monuments throughout the territory. The land is rich in culinary traditions, thanks to the millions of olive trees, wine and the bounty of the sea. (I was told that there are more olive trees in Puglia then people)

Puglia is divided into six provinces: Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto and Barletta-Andria-Tranim the newest, established in 2004.

Since wine is my focus, I realize that the two seas that border Puglia are a gift for the vineyards. The seas influence paired with the hot summers help make the wines acidic, which is perfect for food pairing. With over 325 miles of coastline and vineyards near the coast, it is no surprise how large of an effect the coastline of Puglia has on the vineyards.

The three main indigenous grapes that make Puglia unique are: Primitivo di Manduria (the grape I will focus on this coming week), Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. Primitivo, from central Puglia, means ‘the first’ because the grape is the first to mature. The characteristics of the Primitivo grape differ from most other varietals is due to its size. The berries are small clusters with skins that have medium thickness. Early maturation (late August) helps create a very juicy pulp which comes from the naturally high concentration of sugars in the grapes.

The resulting wines are often opulent with obvious cherry overtones.

Primitivo has the same DNA as Zinfandel, so, don’t be afraid to try it. You already know it by a different name.
The red grapes of Puglia make way for some interesting white varietals, of which, these my favorites: Verdeca, Bombino Bianco, Fiano, Bianco D;Alessano and Moscato Reale.

Northern Puglia wines, with its undulating weather conditions, differs from the bitter hot weather conditions in the south. The main red grape from this area is Nero di Troia, a black, thick skin, late maturing grape, whose flavor resembles a peppery blackberry.

The third most important red grape is Negroamaro, which grows with passion in southern Puglia, home of Brindisi and Lecce. The word, Nnegroamaro, comes from the Latin and Greek words meaning ;black.’ Historically speaking, Negroamaro, is the oldest cultivated grape variety in Puglia. The grape has been around for the past three thousand years. The grape is small and compact, creating simple clusters. Thick skin grapes that are compact, like Negroamaro, create wonderful wines that age well. Hints of thyme and licorice define this overly acidic varietal.

All in all, the upcoming visit to Puglia, will educate me, so, I can ‘FEEL THE HEEL’

Philip S. Kampe

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