Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rocca di Montemassi, One Of Maremma (Tuscany) Wineries by Philip S. Kampe

                                                       Rocca di Montemassi

Awareness for the wines from Maremma (Tuscany) is in full swing. The DOC wines have a unique bouquet and are easily recognizable on the nose. The palate characteristics varies from varietal to varietal, whether indigenous or an international grape.

Maremma is home to Roses, Vermention, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Everyone knows Tuscany, but few know Maremma, the region along the Mediterranean coast. It is an area where ‘cowboys’ still exist.

Maremma is still undiscovered.

The wines are waiting to be discovered.

Thanks the initiative of of the Consorzio Tutela Vini della Maremma Toscana, the word is getting out. With only a two hour drive from Florence, Maremma is within reach. Sangiovese, like the rest of Tuscany, is the main varietal that is used.

The local clone, Morellino produces the local wine, Morelliono di Scansano. The local microclimate produces wines that interesting on both the nose and the palate.

Two wines that are of interest come from the winery, Rocca di Montemassi. The 2017 Calasole Verminto is a DOC white wine that is made with 100% Vermentino grape that is 13% alcohol. The wine is straw yellow with green edges. Lots of citrus overtones mixed with a shot of minerality.  The palate is crisp and clean, with a pronounced white stone fruit bouquet. The wine is smooth and a wonderful wine for seafood.

The second wine, a red, Rocca di Montemassi Le Focale is a 100% Sangiovese with 13.5% alcohol. It’s ruby red in color. The nose has a deep floral aroma, followed by ripe blueberries, blackberries and dark cherries. Tannins are minimal.

There are many wines to choose from.
Maremma is Italy’s future.

Philip S. Kampe


Villa Raiano, Campania's Friendly Winery by Philip S. Kampe & Maria Reveley

Who: Villa Raiano
Where: Campania (Avellino)
When: Established in 1996
Founders: Simone, Basso, Sabino Basso, Paolo Sibillo
Consultant Winemaker: Fortunato Sebastiano
Property:40 acres planted in the 'Irpinia' hills near Avellino
Production: 300,000 bottles
Wines Produced: Sparkling, Rose, Taurasi, Grappa, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Falaghina and Aglianico

Tradition and Family is what Villa Raiano is all about. Family members, Federico and Brunella Basso are running the family business. Young, adventurous and family based, this duo has the skills to turn Villa Raiano into a wine that is known for elegance, worldwide.

Their wines, which are classics of the region, Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are made with precise skill and appropriate aging before their release.

Winemaker and Consultant, Fortunato Sebastiano makes many wines using an egg, where the wine ferments without the use of wood. This is a new project for the vineyard and is in the initial stages. Economically, the eggs can last a lifetime, thus saving the vineyard extra expense in purchasing new oak barrels continuously.

At a tasting of wines at the vineyard, with the winemaker and Federico Basso, it was easy to understand why Campania is home to three DOCG wines- a larger number then most other Italian regions. The prize wines of Campania include Fiano di Avellino (white), Greco di Tufo (white) and Taurasi (red).

All of the DOCG wines are produced at Villa Raiano, many of which have won awards, including a spot in Tres Buccheri, the most esteemed wines in Italy.

In 2009, Villa Raiano was relocated to its present location, sitting high on top of a hill, overlooking the valley of the river Sebato, in the town of San Michele di Serino. The cellar has the newest and most advanced winemaking and storage technology, while the building is architecturally renowned.

Working with native grapes, organically grown, gives Villa Raiano the necessary tools to play to a worldwide audience.

The company is poised to grow, when the times comes, to full capacity of 450,000 bottles. Presently, Villa Raiano is in the process of enlarging, so, that they will have the space necessary for future growth.

Visit www.villaraiano.it to learn more about this DOCG, Campania, family-run company.

Philip S. Kampe
Maria Reveley

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Winery Villa Raiano Loves Campania And Its Traditions by Philip S. Kampe & Maria Reveley

                                                      Federico Basso
                                           Simone Basso and his wife

                             Brunella and Federico Basso plus the Mascot

                                     Villa Raiano and the love of Irpinia, Campania

Campania is where my wife’s mother and family is from. She (Anna) was born on the beautiful Isle of Capri in 1911. When Anna was a child, her family came to America and opened a business in Hoboken, New Jersey, the home of Frank Sinatra.

What I learned from Anna was how proud and loyal she was to Campania, its people and the land. The rolling hills along the Amalfi Coast to Naples and Avellino is dotted with walled villages, ancient ruins and towering churches.

Campania is a land full of vineyards, pizza made famous in Naples, special lemons for the production of limoncello and prize buffalo milk for the making of mozzarella di bufala. Gastronomically, with the sea nearby and spaghetti alla vongole on every table, its hard not to love the epicurean delights of Campania.

San Marzano tomatoes thrive in the volcanic soil that is the base for many vineyards in Campania. Winemaking began in the 7th century B.C.

On a recent trip to Campania, I had the opportunity to spend time with the Basso family, a family proud of their background. Campania meant as much to them as my mother-in-law. Choosing to show us Pompeii and Pasteum was of equal value as showing us their winery and olive oil factory.

Pride is how you can describe those from Campania.

In today’s world, the Basso family and their dedication to their region rings strong among the chaos the 21st century has  shown us.

Villa Raiano, near Avellino, an hour or so from Naples, is home and namesake of the vineyard.

” Irpinia is our land” was the title of the booklet that one of the new faces of Villa Raiano, Brunella Basso handed out upon arrival to the vineyard. Her cousin, Federico Basso, brother of Brunella, is the other new face at Villa Raiano. Between the two of them they will run and market their wines worldwide.

Fabrizio Basso, a cousin,  is an integral part of the other family jewel, Basso olive oil. During his free time, he hangs out at the vineyard.

Villa Raiano produces 300,000 bottles a year, with a capacity to add another 150,000 bottles when the time comes. Fortunato Sebastiano is their consultant winemaker and Gabrizia Cellai is responsible for overseas sales, along with marketing guru, Brunella Basso.

The staff at Villa Raiano is tight knit. No egos, just positive energy.

And the positive energy carries over to their wines. The indigenous varieties of Campania carry over to high quality wines, whose characteristic is the terroir of Irpinia.

Tradition is what Villa Raiano is about.

                 ”Irpinia is our land”
Fertile land of Irpinia, daughter of the Wolf, proud
of its traditions and history, just like us, who
in this land, in our land, have decided to carry
On the family business

Identity of a place,
identity of ancient flavors.

The estate at Villa Raiano was established in 1996 by Simone and Sabino Basso and brother-in-law Paolo Sibillo. The property has over 40 acres, planted around the hills of the ‘Irpinia’ area in Avellino. Classic wines from the region are produced: Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Falaghina, Aglianico and Taurasi.

The wines from Villa Raiano plus the small batch Grappa and Sparkling wine are worthy of an article on their own, which, will be posted shortly.

The winery, with gravity feed, is a work of art and should be seen if you are in or near the Avellino area. Trains leave daily from Naples.

The Basso's and their mascot will greet you with open arms?

Visit www.VillaRaiano.com  to learn more about this wonderful Irpinia winery.

Philip S. Kampe


                                                     Journalist Philip S. Kampe

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: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8SYKY5L  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 amber@thegallavantgroup.com or visit http://www,consorziovalpolicella.it/en/

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 www.biltmore.com  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
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com  .

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: www.museodelprimitivo.it

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  www.erminiocampa.it
Cantolio Manduria  www.cantolio.it
Cantine San Giorgio   www.tinazzi.it 
Masseria Cuturi   www.masseriacuturi.it 
San Marzano Vini  www.sanmarzanowines.com
Peoduttori Di Manduria  www.opvini.com
Masca Del Tacco  www.mascadeltacco.com
Cantine Paolo Leo   www.paololeo.it |
Cantine Erario   www.agricolaerario.it
Bosco Societa Cooperativa Agricola  www.vinibosco.it 

To learn more about the region and its producers, contact the Consorzio di Tutela del Primitivo di Manduria at: info@consorziotutelaprimitivo.com 

Philip S. Kampe

Rocca di Montemassi, One Of Maremma (Tuscany) Wineries by Philip S. Kampe

                                                       Rocca di Montemassi Awareness for the wines from Maremma (Tuscany) is in ...