Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Hudson-Berkshire Wine & Food Festival in Chatham, New York by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley


                                                

We remember attending the first edition of this hometown country festival.

Now, in its 'Seventh Year', the small country festival has not changed much from its roots. What has changed is the high quality of the vendors products. From pickles to artisan cheese, the food vendors have risen to 'gourmet 'levels of quality.

On the beverage end, many products merit national attention. From Bourbon to vodka to wine, new companies with high goals fill the pavilion with generous samples for the thousands that attend each day.

Admission is $25 for tasting admission and $10 for general admission.
There is no greater bargain in the country.

As a yearly event, plan on attending in the future, on either Saturday or Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
The 11am to 5pm event takes place at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Chatham, New York. Chatham is located less then an hour to Albany, N.Y. or the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Its a fun, family day that includes music, food vendors, tons of wine and spirit samples, kids activities and the feel of the country.




Thursday, May 16, 2019

Roses For All Seasons-What I Am Drinking by Philip S. Kampe




                                                


Springtime has arrived, even in New England (May 2019), where I was stopped on Sunday for two hours on the Massachusetts Turnpike, due to a snow storm. Several inches of snow accumulated on the ground, a constant reminder that winter hasn’t totally disappeared.

Putting that situation behind me, a couple of weeks after Easter, I realize, in both good and bad weather, Rose wine is the perfect substitute to brighten your day. 

I’m in Narragansett, Rhode Island for the next four days-an escape from the end of  winter- to tour this beautiful state and enjoy time to spend with friends, while catching up on so many articles that I am behind.

This is not one, but, an article that, hopefully, will open your mind and palate to what Rose wine has to offer, year round. Even in the off, non height of summer season.

The high today is 59F. It is 42F and early morning. No rain in the forecast-only sunshine.
What that means to me is quite simpley its Rose time.

Choosing Rose wine has always been simple, because, most bottles are easy on the palate and the pocketbook. Lately, Rose can be made from any varietal, so, the choices keep growing.

There are numerous Roses that I favor-those are the ones I brought with me to drink, while on this writers vacation. An organic wine and a wine from Israel are among my choices

Let me tell you about them:

PEYRASSOL Cuvee de la Caommanderie 2018 A.O.P. Cotes de Provence ($21)
Overly fruity, yet, light, with a hint of tannins, this Rose is sophisticated and is always ready to drink. Raspberries mixed with citrus dominate the palate. This Rose is so elegant, it can be used as an aperif or as an after dinner drink (In this case it is my breakfast)

FRESCOBALDI ALIE Rose 2017  ($19)
I Love Frescobaldi. This wine is both alluring in appearance, and bright on the palate. I drink it overly chilled, so, the ripe, red fruit and earthy flower nuances appear. It seems that all Frescobaldi wines are elegant and this one follows suit.

CANELLA Pinot Noir Rose Brut NV  ($23)
Character and class sum up this lively sparkling Rose, loaded with millions of bubbles that pop with flavorful fruit explosions of flavor. Production of only 100,000 bottles shouldn’t keep up with the demand for this show stopper of a wine.

LA BERNARDE ‘La Hauts du Lue; Rose 2018  ($15)
Quite a magical blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle and Mouvedre make up a mineral laden, velvety Rose full of peach, vanilla, cherry and grapefruit flavors that captivate your palate. Organic.

JACQUES CAPSOUTO Vignobles Cuvee EVA Rose de Gaililee Villages 2017  ($23)
A wonderful Rhone style blend, with bright citrus that lights up the room. A truly refreshing wine that cools you down on a warm summer day, with its refreshing acidity and lively fruit flavors. This wine is from Israel.

Philip S. Kampe
                                     









Tuesday, May 14, 2019

'Nino Franco' Celebrates 100 Years of Prosecco: 1919-2019 by Philip S. Kampe




                                  Primo Franco, The Architect of Modern Day Prosecco








 Prosecco may be ‘the newest sparkling wine’ to dominate the crowded bubbly market, but is Prosecco a new sparkling wine or has it been around and has been recently re-discovered?

That was the question I posed to Primo Franco, the voice and ambassador for his family’s
’Nino Franco’ winery from Veneto. They are a major Prosecco producer thanks to Antonio Franco who founded the winery in Valdobbiadene (Italy) in 1919, a mere ‘hundred years’ ago.

Antonio was a first generation winemaker who passed the reigns to son Nino, who, in time, passed it on to his son, Primo, who I dined with. Primo earned his diploma from the prestigious Conegliano Veneto, school of enology, and has guided the winery ever since.

Primo, as one can tell upon meeting him, is overly organized and philosophical about Cantine Franco. He elaborated that his mission was to make the best Prosecco in the marketplace.

To obtain his goal, thirty years ago, Primo, the enologist, experimented with planting techniques. He concluded that he favored old clones.

Glera, at least 85%, is the main grape variety used to produce Prosecco. Up to 15% of Pinot Bianco, Bianchetta, Verdiso, Perera, Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Grigio are allowed to be mixed with the Glera varietal. Glera was originally known as Prosecco, but, was changed to stop confusion regarding the town of Posecco.

Glera is an indigenous varietal. The grape grows in large clusters and is very thin-skinned. It is a cool climate grape that grows best on hillsides. On a trip to the area, the steepness of the vineyards astounded me. Each hillside had its own microclimate. The end result is in the grapes. Consistent acid paired with low alcohol are the make-up from the hilly strips of land in the province of Treviso. The Primo Franco plantings lie somewhere in-between the major towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. The region gained DOCG status in 2009 and represents the top tier of Prosecco production.

The Prosecco’s that I sampled from Nino Franco lived up to all expectations. Primo has been called the architect of the worldwide Prosecco explosion and his wines are all ‘All-Star’ status. By dedicating his life to Prosecco, Primo has changed the world’s taste buds.

He has introduced DOCG Prosecco to the world and should go down in history as the architect of modern-day Prosecco.

The four ‘Nino Franco’ Proseccos I recommend trying yo start your journey into Primo Franco’s World are:

Primo Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2017 ($37)
Classified as dry, I found this to be somewhat sweet, although it contains only 30-32 G/L sugar. The Charmat Method is used. The final product is elegant, full of green apple, tangerine, nutella qualities and walnut dust.

Vigneto Della Riva Di San Floriano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2017 ($37)
This was a wonderful Brut that was persistent on the palate and quite intense. It certainly was a dignified Prosecco that could and should be drunk on its own, if one chooses. Superior by all standards.

Rustico NV ($24)
A fruity,lively Charmat Method Brut that works perfectly as an aperitif or as an after dinner sparkler. It’s a perfect hors d’oeuvre wine made with 100% Glera grapes.

Faive Rose Brut 2017 ($29)
A wonderful twist that sets Nino Franco apart from other vineyards in the region is Primo’s grape selection. Made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, this bubble-filled Rose has all of the qualities that should make this bubbly the life of a party-think summer.

If you have further interest in learning about Primo Franco and Nino Franco wines, visit their website at: www.ninofranco.it 
The website is in both Italian and English.
It is a wonderful resource that acquaints you with Prosecco and how the Franco family contributed to Prosecco’s growth.











Tuesday, April 30, 2019

B O B A L.......B O B A L....B O B A L....B O B A L....by Philip S. Kampe







                                                                       B O B A L

Years ago, I spent time, as a tourist during years of epic travel in a Volkswagen camper, at the yearly pageantry of the ‘Las Fallas’ (the fires) religious event that took place in the city center of Valencia, in southeast Spain. Fires were lit at numerous intersections of the city to commemorate Saint Joseph.

While in Valencia, known for its paella, I recall that the wines from the area, Utiel-Requena, which comprise the interior plains of the province of Valencia, were unlike other wines that passed through my lips during this journey.

At a local restaurant in the center of historical Valencia was a restaurant with outdoor seating. I took a seat and ordered lunch (I was a vegetarian at the time). I also ordered a bottle of red wine from the region and was soon to learn that the wine was made with the Bobal grape. Understanding what I was drinking was important to me. It was the time when the internet didn’t exist and libraries and bookstores were your best friend.

It seems like wherever you travel in Europe, someone, wherever you are knows about wine. And in this case, a veteran wine connoisseur from Valencia eagerly sat next to me and started explaining about the wine-most specifically, the Bobal varietal. With pride, Fernando (his name) explained graphically about the 2,700 year history of winemaking in the Iberian Peninsula. Clearly, from his soliloquy, Bobal was the signature grape of the Utiel-Requena DO.

We shared the bottle as he spoke of the intense color of the wine. It was indicative of the concentrated, over-the-top fruit forward flavor that preceded the pronounced acidity that conquers your mid-palate. Add some spice and a long, robust finish to the profile and you have Bobal.

Fernando explained that Bobal was primarily a blending grape and it was rare to find bottles with the single varietal.
I felt blessed.

Fast forward many years to 2002-the year I entered the wine arena. As my journey from the cheese world (I was a cheese writer and educator) evolved into the wine world, I would never look back.

With the world of wine as my palate and so many worldwide winegrowing regions to learn about, my thoughts of Bobal disappeared until 2017, when wine educator Nora Favelukas, invited me to participate in her wine seminar focusing on Utiel-Requena and her journey to learn about the Bobal varietal.

Déjà vu.

Since 2002 and my taste of Bobal, to the present day, the Bobal (blending) grape has emerged as a single varietal. In fact, it’s the third most planted grape in Spain and is on its path to stardom. I know, because I had the opportunity to return to Utiel-Requena a month ago and sampled Bobal in many styles and from the many vineyards I visited.  

Generally, many of the wines I sampled have not made their way to America, yet, but may be where you are. With so many international readers of The Wine Hub, chances are that you could find Bobal. If not, do as we do and order your Bobal online.

If you are as curious as I am about Bobal, look for wines from these estates or if you visit Utiel-Requena, try and visit these vineyards:

BODEGA SIERRA NORTE www.bodegasierranorte.com
Manolo Olmo, winemaker, produces exceptional certified organic wines. The soil on the vineyard was overly rocky and may be the key to how integrated the Sierra Norte wines are. Manolo focuses on Bobal and shared a beautiful Rose that paired perfectly with three styles of paella that were served. Export manager, Ricardo Calatayud explained that this Bogeda was one of the first to plant Bobal (1914).

PAGO de THARSYS   www.pagodetharsys.com 
Having sampled the Unico Brut Reserva’ at Vinexpo in New York, I was overly excited to visit the vineyard and meet winemaker Vincent Garcia. My goal was to tell Mr. Garcia how exceptional his sparkling Bobal was and how extraordinary the iconic bottle with the artistic ceramic hanging was. My wish was granted and exceeded as Vincent Garcia opened three aged sparkling bottles, like the first, using the methode traditionelle. We shared three extraordinary reservas, a 2013,2014 and 2015, aged anywhere from 24 to 40 months.  

BODEGAS CHERUBINO VALSANGIACOMO  www.valsangiacomo.es
Old vines (40-60 years), new technology and the Bobal de San Juan project make this new (1997) vineyard with vines at 3,000 feet a must to both visit and sample their Bobal red and rose wines fermented in concrete tanks. The San Juan  project began in 2008 with the goal of raising worldwide awareness and recognition of the prestigious Bobal grape. Blessed with the Solano winds and a Mediterranean climate, the Bobal varietal shows its character at Bodegas Cherubino Valsangiacomo.

DOMINGO de la VEGA   www.domingodelavega.com 
Simplicity, humility, experience, professionalism and a lot of perseverance are some of the values father and son vineyard owners, Emilio and Daniel Exposito, exhibit. They are committed to focus on Bobal, as the native grape variety of their choice. The Finca La Beata, 2006, 2012 and 2016 were testimonials that exposed Bobals aging capabilities.

GRUPO COVINAS   www.covinas.com 
Joining forces in the 60’s, ten cooperatives created Grupo Covinas and to date, own 41% of the vines in Utiel-Requena. Three thousand farmers are members of Grupo Covinas. Many Bobal wines have emerged from Grupo Covinas and are exported to thirty countries worldwide. Look for the 2018 Autentico and the 2017 Aula Rose, both 100% Bobal.
CHOZAS CARRASCAL  www.chozacarrascal.es 
Winemaker and grandson of the founders Julian Lopez and Jose Maria Peidro, Julian Lopez Peidro, was our guide at the museum quality winery that boasts an indexed collection of over two million wine labels. That’s another story. Certified organic, the winery, which launched its first wine in 2003 after acquiring the property in 1990. Jose explained that originally Bobal was a blending grape, a philosophy that believe in today. They grow eleven international varieties and use Bobal to blend with these grapes. The outcome, as illustrated by the 2016 Los Ochos (30% Bobal) was off the charts.

MARQUES del ATRIO  www.marquisdelatrio.com 
Since the late 19th century, the Rivero family has run the company. Today, the fourth and fifth generation continue to run Marquis del Atrio, although now owned by a Chinese group. With vineyards throughout Spain, the Utiel-Requena location, complete with an underground candlelit tasting room, brought the best out of Faustino 2013 Reserva (90% Bobal).

BODEGAS VIBE  www.bodegasvibe.com 
Winemaker Juan Carlos Garcia knows how to make Bobal a friendly wine, as we experienced with the 2017 Venusto, a deep cherry, full-bodied wine, which was full of dark fruit followed by licorice and eucalyptus. Owner, Raul Vincent Bezjak, led us through the tasting.

BODEGAS & VINEDOS LADRON de LUNAS  www.ladrondelunes.com 
Fernando Martinez, sixth generation winemaker, made a lifelong impression with his make shift tasting room in an underground cave, full of centuries old amphorae’s. Mr. Martinez said that it was first for him, tasting wines in this historical cave. The 15 month aged Exclusive LDL, with its fresh and intense plum and gooseberry aromas gave way to an acidic, well-balanced, integrated wine with a persistent ending.

Bobal wines from Utiel-Requena are a treat and should be discovered by wine lovers around the world. Learn more about Bobal at: www.utielrequena.org 




Philip.kampe@thewinehub.com 
Philip S. Kampe






Friday, April 19, 2019

2019 Easter Wine Suggestions by Philip S. Kampe




                                                Easter 2019 Wine Suggestions

                                          DANGIN Champagne  ($38)
Lovely, elegant and balanced. Bright fruit and wonderful depth.

                                         Ca di Pesa 'TRAMONTO' dry Rose 2017  ($28).
This lovely 100% Sangiovese Rose is from Tuscany. Medium-bodied with lively acidity makes this a perfect
holiday wine.

                                         Le CARTUJA  Prorat Red   2016 ($21)
Pure, full-bodied Garnacha (70%) Mazuelo (30%) mix that possess dark fruit notes paired with high acidity.If you grill meat for the holiday, this is your wine.

                                        Il GRULLAIO Costa Toscana 2016  ($16)
An usual Tuscan wine that is made from equal amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Earthy with dark fruit and lather blend to make this a perfect wine for the holidays.

                                        Storia Italia AMARONE della Valpolicella 2015  ($48)
A wonderfully balanced, newly released Amarone with wonderful underlying structure.  Pure concentration of fruit makes this wine explode with flavor.



Thursday, April 4, 2019

The BOBAL Journey Begins by Philip S. Kampe




                                                      The Bobal Journey and Quiz

The pursuit of red wine has always been one of my goals. Whether it’s a red Burgundy, a glass of Amarone or Primitivo or a Cabernet Sauvignon, I am a happy person when the juice of the red grape hits my discerning palate.

Not so long ago I sampled a red varietal (grape) that was overly friendly (juicy and delicious) and destined to be one of my new ‘go to’ grapes.  I attended a seminar on the Bobal varietal, led by one of the wine world’s luminaries, Nora Favelukas. Within the seminar hour I was converted.

The next day, I  arrived  home (western Massachusetts). It was time to  to pursue my  Bobal studies at home. I did my homework. (I always like to understand the muse I follow)

I learned that Bobal was Spain’s third most planted grape, after Tempranillo and Airen. Why hadn’t I heard of the grape until now? It is planted elsewhere, (France and Sardinia) but in small plots, In Spain it thrives.

D.O.Utiel-Requena, is known as the ‘Land of Bobal.’

Located in southeast Spain, about an hour plus from beautiful Valencia, Utiel-Requena is sun-drenched. The region has produced wine for 2700 years. It is also on the list to become a UNESCO Heritage World Site in the near future. With over 100 vineyards and 70,000 acres of Bobal, the future growth of this region and the grape should be immediate. That is why I am writing this article.

The problem is, its difficult to find Bobal in your neighborhood wine shop. I have tried and have had to order online to secure bottles to sample. I don’t want to be the only Bobal voice, but, once you taste the wine, you will understand my position.

Bobal means ‘bull’. According to folklore, the large clusters of grapes resembles a bull’s head. The grapes are thick-skinned, deep in color and rich (full) bodied. Its not until recently that the grape has headed towards stardom. In the last 2700 years, the grape was mainly a blending grape and a grape whose skins were used to color Rose wine.

With the latest generation of young winemakers throughout the region and their pursuit  to success, coupled with the older winemakers of the region, the direction of Bobal production has changed or done an about face.

Now, the grape will be defined by the winemaker who will certainly retain the elegance and robust complexity that make Bobal special. Sure, notable dark fruits dominate the palate. Think fig, prune, plum, blueberry and blackberry,

The province of Valencia has three D.O’s, Valencia, Alicante and Utiel-Requena, home of Bobal.

Bobal’s newly acquired nobility has created a unified need for the local wine association to represent Utiel-Requena, (Learn more at: www.utielrequena.org).

Utiel-Requena is located less then fifty miles from the Mediterranean Sea. The  combination of both the Mediterranean and Continental climate is defined simply as dry and hot, with short summers and cold and long winters.The air is often windy. Insects don't like wind. Vineyards do, so, many vineyards are organic and practice sustainability.

Alluvial soil and clay with limestone deposits are the home base of Bobal. The warm, dry winds of the Piniente, from the west, passes through the region. The altitude is between 1,950 feet to 2,960 feet. 80% of the vineyards are planted with Bobal. Bobal is grown mainly in Utiel-Requena, as well as neighboring Manchela, Alicante and Murcia.

The region is quite historical, establishing a D.O. in the 1930’s. In those days, Bobal was used as a blending grape, as were many other international varietals. The problem with Bobal is the fact that the clusters ripen unevenly. A positive note is with late flowering, frost is rarely a problem. Bobal likes heat and with the new generation of winemakers, we are learning that Bobal ages well.

The wines from Utiel-Requena follow the Spanish classification rules. Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva are common, as well as the word ‘Tradicion’ , which is on the bottle, guaranteeing a minimum of at least 70% of the varietal is in the blend. Vinification of Bobal is called doble pasta.

With over one hundred wineries and cooperatives, Utiel-Requena has the potential to become well known. Aren’t wine drinkers looking for the next, new varietal to try?

It may take a few years for this to happen, but, little by little, Bobal will reach the wine shops in your neighborhood. And if you are curious, ask your wine merchant to order Bobal or order Bobal online.

What you will get: a wine with low alcohol, elegant acidity and smooth tannins. Lots of fruit, while the bouquet is herbaceous. Plus, bottles are reasonably priced.

I sampled Bobal from the list of wineries below:
Sierra Norte
Marques del Atrio
Covinas
Dominio de la Vega
Chozas Carrascal
Bodegas Vibe
Valsangiacomo
Pago de Tharsys
Ladron de Lunas

Hope you find your Bobal.

Are you ready for a Bobal quiz?


The BOBAL Quiz

On a recent trip to the Utiel-Requena region of southeast Spain, near Valencia, I had the opportunity to learn about the Bobal varietal. Several years ago, I attended a seminar on Bobal, led by charismic wine educator Nora Favelukas, who opened my curiosity about this ‘fabled grape.’

I’m wondering how much you know about the Bobal grape?  
Let’s take a Quiz.
The correct answers are at the bottom…

1) Bobal is grown where?

a) Spain, France and Sardinia
b) Spain, France nd Portugal
c) Spain and Portugal
d) Spain, Sicily and Portugal

2) Bobal is the ……. most planted grape in Spain.

a) first
b) second
c) third
d) forth

3) Does Bobal have pyrazines?

 a) Yes
 b) No

4) Bobal generally grows on what type of soil(s)?

a) alluvial
b) clay
c) limestone
d) alluvial, clay with limestone

5) What percentage of the Bobal varietal is planted in Utiel-Requena, as compared to all other grapes planted in the region?

a) 50%
b) 60%
c) 70%
d) 80%

6) The word Bobal derives from bovale, meaning?

a) donkey
b) fox
c) bull
d) bobcat

7) Bobal follows the Spanish classified rules. Crianza is aged in oak for three months, Reserva has a minimum of twelve months in oak.  What is the minimum aging in oak for Gran Reserva?

a) 18 month
b) 24 months
c) 36 months
d) 48 months

8) Bobal grows in what type of climate(s)?

a) Continental
b) Mediterranean
c) Continental and Mediterranean

9) The Bobal grape has…..and is…..

a) thin skins and early budding
b) thick skins and is late budding

10) Bocal is permitted in the wines of……

a) Murcia
b) Alicante
c) Manchuela
d) Valencia
e) Valencia, Manchela, Alicante and Murcia


Answers:
1) a
2) c
3) b
4) d
5) d
6) c
7) b
8) c
9) b
10) e


The quiz was a way to introduce you to BOBAL, as well as a selfish way for me to learn about the varietal.

Philip S.Kampe
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com 



















Monday, April 1, 2019

BOBAL- The Wine Quiz by Philip S. Kampe

                                                                  BOBAL


                                                                The BOBAL Quiz

On a recent trip to the Utiel-Requena region of southeast Spain, near Valencia, I had the opportunity to learn about the Bobal varietal. Several years ago, I attended a seminar on Bobal, led by charismatic wine educator Nora Favelukas, who opened my curiosity about this ‘fabled grape.’

I’m wondering how much you know about the Bobal grape?  
Let’s take a Quiz.
The correct answers are at the bottom…

1) Bobal is grown where?

a) Spain, France and Sardinia
b) Spain, France nd Portugal
c) Spain and Portugal
d) Spain, Sicily and Portugal

2) Bobal is the ……. most planted grape in Spain.

a) first
b) second
c) third
d) forth

3) Does Bobal have pyrazines?

 a) Yes
 b) No

4) Bobal generally grows on what type of soil(s)?

a) alluvial
b) clay
c) limestone
d) alluvial, clay with limestone

5) What percentage of the Bobal varietal is planted in Utiel-Requena, as compared to all other grapes planted in the region?

a) 50%
b) 60%
c) 70%
d) 80%

6) The word Bobal derives from bovale, meaning?

a) donkey
b) fox
c) bull
d) bobcat

7) Bobal follows the Spanish classified rules. Crianza is aged in oak for three months, Reserva has a minimum of twelve months in oak.  What is the minimum aging in oak for Gran Reserva?

a) 18 month
b) 24 months
c) 36 months
d) 48 months

8) Bobal grows in what type of climate(s)?

a) Continental
b) Mediterranean
c) Continental and Mediterranean

9) The Bobal grape has…..and is…..

a) thin skins and early budding
b) thick skins and is late budding

10) Bocal is permitted in the wines of……

a) Murcia
b) Alicante
c) Manchuela
d) Valencia
e) Valencia,Manchela, Alicante and Murcia


Answers:
1) a
2) c
3) b
4) d
5) d
6) c
7) b
8) c
9) b
10) e


Philip S. Kampe
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com 

The Hudson-Berkshire Wine & Food Festival in Chatham, New York by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley

                                                 We remember attending the first edition of this hometown country festival. Now, in its...