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

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

If you Love Gewurztraminer, Try Alsace's Domaine Charles Baur by Philip S. Kampe


                    If you Love Gewurztraminer from Alsace, Try Domaine Charles Baur

Gewurztraminer from Alsace is one of my favorite styles of wine. Maybe its because this is the region my fathers side of the family is from. His mother was born in Alsace and eventually moved to Paris before fleeing Europe before WW11.

They brought their food and wine history to America.

My dad always touted French wines and knew that Gewurztraminer was not for everyone, so, he added white and red Burgundies to his wine list for entertaining. Through osmosis, here I am-a true lover of Gewurztraminer and Burgundies.

Today I will focus on one of my dad’s favorite Gewurztraminer producers, Charles Baur, whose winery is located in the heart of Alsace, miles from Colmar. The property has been with the Baur family since the early 19th century.

After purchasing neighboring property in 1930 to establish a working winery, it wasn’t until 1950 that Charles started bottling and marketing his wine. Success came quite quickly. Charles acquired several other estates and took his son, Armand, who obtained a degree in oenology (1980) into the business.

Today, Armand’s son, Arnaud (names get tricky), joined the family business in 2009 after obtaining a degree in oenology and agricultural engineering, specializing in winemaking.

The original estate has grown to forty-five (45) acres, spread across several plots located on the classic slopes of Eguisheim and its vicinity, including Grand Cru Pfersiberg and Eichberg. All wines are made from estate fruit.

The grapes are hand-picked and hand-sorted, then pressed in a pneumatic press. Low yields and total focus through each stage of development have made the Baur wines sought after.

Like Burgundy, Eguisheim is made-up mostly of limestone and clay soil. The slopes are neither large nor small. Little rain and protection from the foothills of the Vosges has made Baur a safe vineyard that has become organic since 2014.

Legend and history support the fact that the slopes that Baur grows their grapes on as been revered since the Middle Ages.

Enough said about Baur-let’s talk wine. I sampled a:
2014 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru ‘Pfersigberg’
Producer: Domaine Charles Baur
Country: France
Region: Alsace
Vintage: 2014
Grape: Gewurztraminer
Alcohol: 14%
Style: Medium sweet white wine
Farming: Organic
Vines: 25 year old
Price: under $30

It was easy to fall for the intense, overly powerful aromatics of fresh, concentrated ripe pears, peaches and cantaloupe. These great odors were followed by dried rose petals and candied ginger

My nose was in a frenzy until my first sip. Suddenly, my palate exploded and was wowed with a sweet fusion of juicy, runny, Georgia peaches, followed by a heavy dose of overripe mangos. All hell broke loose.

My palate was succumbing to a higher power of grape ripeness, which means one thing to me-this Gewurztraminer could be used as an aperitif, as well. Wouldn’t it pair perfectly with blue cheese or foie gras, like an expensive Sauterne?

With optimum ripeness and balanced body, this 2014 Gewurztraminer  Gran Cru Pfersigberg would be an obvious choice if you are after this style of wine. This vintage from Baur is destined to become a classic.

Philip S. Kampe

Friday, September 7, 2018

Does Zinfandel Stand-up To Bourbon Barrels? by Philip S. Kampe


So you love Zindandel and you drink whiskey.

What do the two have in common?

In reality, very little, but in today’s experimental world of winemakers, much like my old profession of ice cream making (Fabulous Phil’s), experimentation is like a science experiment.

Ask California’s !000 Stories winemaker, Bob Blue, about experimentation and wine barrels and he will tell you, ‘ that years ago, wine barrels were not widely available. American oak barrels were for whiskey, not wine. But, we still needed barrels to age our wine. We purchased and neutralized used bourbon barrels. As time passed, instead of neutralizing the unique nuances of the bourbon barrels, we use them to enhance the complexity of the wine’.

In the past ten years, a small group of winemakers now age their wine only in used spirits barrels. The trend has grown, as the  consumers who appreciate the extra nuances welcome the variety in the marketplace.

Zinfandel loves bourbon barrels.

Zinfandel is a very hearty grape that can successfully take on the nuances of a bourbon barrel. If done correctly, the mingling of the two flavors is like a marriage made in heaven.

I sampled a couple of bottles yesterday and came to the realization that each bourbon barrel adds another dimension to a well made Zinfandel.

Sampling the two wines:
1000 Stories, California Zinfandel 2016
 Batch #42 & Batch #47.
Alcohol: Batch #42  15.0%
Batch #47  15.5%
Under $20

The bourbon bled through the Zinfandel in both instances. An obvious burnt vanilla with pepper spice was the undertone of flavor that married with the fruity varietal. I was beginning to get it and to understand that you have to get it right to work correctly. It is like ‘Hit or Miss?’.

Looks like 1000 Stories got it right.

Philip S. Kampe

Monday, September 3, 2018

Trivento Torrontes 2017 Reserve, 'A Wine For All Seasons' by Phiip S. Kampe


                                     Trivento Torrontes, White Orchid (Argentina) 2017 Resereve
                                                           "A Wine For All Seasons"

Whats more desirable then a distinctively fragrant, fun wine that is known worldwide as the true, white grape of Argentina. Like its close relative, Muscat, Torrontes has many similarities, but, has a major difference-it is always vinified as a dry wine.

Torrontes is sweet on the nose. It seduces you into thinking that you will get sweetness on the palate. That is the lure of this wine. Once on the palate, dryness develops.

Torrontes is most known from the Salta region of Argentina. It is also grown in Mendoza,not to such a large extent, as well as in neighboring Uruguay. I chose the area of Mendoza to sample the varietal for this review.
The wines name, 'White Orchid' helped influence my decision.

As I had hoped, the wine, which is made up of 85% Torrontes and 15% Pinot Grigio, has definite floral notes of white orchid, hence the name, and red roses. The intoxicating aromas suggest a sweet wine. But, as I mentioned earlier, orange rind, its bitterness and complexity covers your palate. Faint apple skin, meyer lemon, stone fruit  and banana are followed by the classic pineapple flavor Torrontes is known for.

The Trivento winery that makes this structured wine is named after the three winds that sweep through the vineyards, influencing the varietals characteristics.

In the winter, the icy polar wind invades the vineyard, forcing the sap within the vines. Pruning occurs when the warm, spring, Zonda wind come from the Andes forcing each plants dormant sap to supply new spring growth. The third wind, Sudestada, comes from the east. It is a fresh, humid wind that eases berry ripening during the extreme heat that penetrates Mendoza during the summer season.

The three winds mold the harsh acidity and salinity Torrontes has to offer in its youth. It is a wine that should be consumed young. Older bottles lose the vibrancy associated with the varietal.

I found this wine to be a wonderful aperitif and a tremendous buy for under $12 a bottle.

Philip S. Kampe

Friday, August 31, 2018

Rose of the (Holiday) Week (end) by Philip S. Kampe


                                                 My favorite rose wine bottle design

One of the many things I love about Rose is its versatility.

Roses are getting a lot more complex these days, with winemakers using indigenous grapes, as well as those using classic, red grapes, like Sangiovese or Syrah, in this Casillero del Diablo (the devil's cellar) 2017 Reserva Rose.

The bottom line is what consumers look for is an easy drinking rose that pairs with the majority of foods, and a wine that could double as an apertif. The goal is to find a wine that doesn't break the bank-unless you love Tavel. the classic 'rose.'

Since the holiday weekend is approaching, in fact, its here.
Today is Friday and Labor Day is Monday.

The 'Rose Wine of the Week' that I have saved for the holiday weekend is a rose that is BBQ friendly, retails under ten dollars ($10) and in my mind is the perfect rose for the Labor Day Weekend.

Casillero del Diablo
2017 Reserva Rose
13% alcohol
100% Shiraz grapes
Fermented in stainless steel
Winemaker Marcello Papa
Producer: Concho y Toro (Chile)

Over one-hundred years ago, Concho y Toro owner, Don Melchor, spread a rumor, specifically, so, he could keep the best batches of his wines away from strangers. He wanted to keep the wines in his private reserve. He created a haunting rumor that the devil lived in his winery and named the devil, Casillero Del Diablo, 'The Devil's Cellar'.

Winemaker Marcello Papa explained that the wine is made by vinifying red Shiraz grapes, as if it were a white wine. The end result is a soft, refreshing, easy to drink wine that is closer to a red wine on your palate then a white, The aromas of cherry and raspberry are followed by classic red wine palate flavors of dark plums, spice and fresh blackberries lead to a crisp, fresh, food friendly flavor.

At under ten dollars per bottle, this versatile rose surpasses its price point in many ways. Its great with just about anything-pasta, BBQ, burgers, fresh cheeses and salads.

Rose can be made in so many styles with a multitude of grapes. This wine, as mentioned earlier is made with Shiraz, the other name for Syrah, the grape you probably know.

The holiday weekend is here.
Think rose.

Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sustainable 'Rose of the Week' from Calabria by Philip S. Kampe


                                                            'Sustainable ' Rose of the Week'
Pescanera Rosato 2017

The ‘Rose of the Week’ is made from a rare grape, Greco Nero. Grown on the Ippolito estate in the heart of Calabria’s  (Italy) wine-growing region, in historic Ciro Marina, near the Ionian Sea.

Rolling hills mixed with plains filled with sun, this 950 foot vineyard, founded in 1845 by Vincenzo Ippolito, maintains sustainable farming practices. Besides Greco Nero, the  Ippolito winery grows an array of indigenous grapes, such as Pecorello, Calabrese and Gaglioppo.

The 2017 Pescanera Rose is terroir driven-just like the rest of the portfolio. The wine is fruity without being acidic. Nice structure, with a long, fresh finish.

My belief is that this Rose would make a great aperitif. It is lively and fresh, with a light minerality that comes from wines near the sea.

Salmon pink in color, the aromas seduce you immediately. An intense floral boutique hangs over citrus undertones, followed by a whim of white pepper.

The nose is a crowd pleaser.

The grapes are hand harvested, softly crushed without maceration.

At 13% alcohol and available for under $20, this 2017 Ippolito Pescanera Rose is an IGT worth looking into. It pairs favorably with shelled seafood and soft, fresh cheese. Even raspberries and strawberries melt into this luscious wine.

When was the last time you had a Rose from Calabria?

Philip S. Kampe

Monday, August 13, 2018

'Rose of the Week'-- a Pinot Grigio from Casata Monfort by Philip S. Kampe


Its not difficult to find a Rose with the grapes that you like.

Take the 2017 Casata Monfort Pinot Grigio as an example. Under $15 and considered a ‘good buy,’ this wine from the Dolomotes (northern Italy) has a lot of fresh, crisp, acidity that holds up on warm summer nights.

Salmon colored and pleasing on the eye, this high quality Trentiono DOC wine, with the Frencch clone, Pinot Gris, grows uninterrupted in the sandy soil near the foothills between Lavis and Trento, where winds dominate through harvest.

Casata Monfort began operations  after WW11, in 1945. Giovanni Simoni founded the vineyard. Today, his grandson, Lorenzo, runs the operation.

With the emerging Rose market, which has been exploding for the past three years, the wines from this vineyard seem to draw attention from those who are after a wine with a full profile, from first sip to last.

Last week, I touted a Sangiovese. This week, a Pinot Grigio.

It’s a lot of fun  to sample these wines bcause each wine has its own story that needs to be shared with our readers. Five years ago, no body drank Rose. Today, obviously, the story is different.

More men buy Rose then women.
That’s a true fact that you should know.
Are you surprised?

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

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