Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Rose Invasion by Philip S. Kampe





                                                   The Rose Invasion
                     Did you ever feel like you were on Rose overload before?
                                               Rose has many shades....
                                                My first rose was Mateus (Portugal)
                                           Loire Valley wine made with Pouilly-Fume
                    Languedoc rose ade with 80 year old vines (Grenache)
                                                 A first for me, rose Pinot Grigio
                                                 Fizzy sparkling from Piedmont


If you were in the metro NYC area this week, you may understand my thoughts. All of the great wine importers and distributors did their thing. From TEdwards to Martin Scott to Verity to Winebow and the nor’easter, Jerome Selections tasting.

Rose wines from all over the world were flowing. Sparkling, still,any form that rose was bottled was front and center this week.

I suggest wines to three clients in the metro area, a new wine shop opening near my old stamping grounds, the Wine Library and a few out of the metro area.

What’s wonderful about the industry is that an imported wine from your home area can be distributed in other states by other distributors.

What I got out of the numerous rose tastings was the sense that the rose wine category has found its place in our world. As a matter of fact, both Rose and Prosecco  have succeeded in an upsurge in market share, enabling them to larger and more obvious shelf space and attention by wine merchants.

As a journalist in the field, and a wine taster and judge, honestly, I find it a bit more difficult to evaluate the rose category as compared to other categories. Maybe it’s the freshness of the wines or the varietals, but, often I am a bit lost in this huge field.

Terroir seems to play a big factor in roses. At the tastings, roses came from all possible terroirs-South Africa, NY state, Spain, France, Austria, Italy, Australia and so on. Get the drift? All terroirs work…its just which ones work the best?

Historically, the rose market meant the south of France-Provence, Languedoc and Rousillion. That is not the case anymore.

Today, rose, known as Rosado in Spanish speaking countries and Rosato in Italy, has universal appeal. Iconic Mateus, from Portugal, was my first contact with rose.

Rose incorporates its color from the grape skins, but much less then to qualify as a red wine. The pink color chart (see attached photo) can range from pale to a near purple, depending on how long skin contact takes place. The color can also come from blending grapes or the saignee process which involves making rose as a by product of red wines.

Enough education…

Choosing a rose is up to you….my loose guidelines are to explore the grapes that you like and see if a rose wine is made from that grape.

The attached photos contain several well known varietals that have made rose their home..….

Also, it makes sense to look for the distributor or importer whose name appears on the bottle. Or you can search their website for roses….or just ask your wine merchant what rose wines do they carry from the merchants below…

Enjoy the journey....and look for Chiaretto, a rose from Lake Garda, in the Veneto region...

The list of top rose distributors are:
Martin Scott Wines   www.martinscottwines.com  
TEdwards   www.tedwardwines.com
Verity Wine Partners  www.veritywines.com
Winebow   www.thewinebowgroup.com 

Philip S. Kampe

Choosing Easter Wines During a Nor'Easter by Philip S. Kampe




                                                                                   

                                      Choosing Easter Wines During A Nor’Easter




Thanks to today’s Nor’Easter and advice from Mayor Bill de Blasio, I have had time to pick out two red wines that should be considered as choices for your Easter table. In my case, the choice is extremely important because Easter falls on my birthday, April 1st, also know as April Fool’s.

When you are inside during the duration of the nor’easter. I am because I arise early. Today, due to the nor'easter, there are only three options-write about wine-cook a meal-and sample wines for your upcoming articles.

Today, I have a chance to do all three.

Since choosing Easter wines has always been a serious task, as choices affect many people, much consideration must be taken to include a common palate pleaser. Traditionally, lamb, the greek style with lots of garlic and rosemary has been the show stealer. You always need wines that can match up to the fat, but, won’t overpower the main course.

Those same wines that you use for the lamb, can often be the transition wines from the course before. In that case, pasta with a red sauce is the transition dish. There is one grape that can make the leap. That grape is Sangiovese, the useful grape in Chianti, known around the world as the pizza wine.

Take it a step further and that grape, often blended with other grapes is perfect for pasta with red sauce and can be stretched even thinner as the wine for lamb with all the fixings.

I like to choose two wines for the main course-in this case both from Italy-and both from Tuscany, home of Chianti. The first wine is a 2013 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Vecchie Viti Chianti Rufina ($23). The wine is mainly Sangiovese that is blended with many indigenous local grapes (Nera, Colorino) plus Canaiolo and Malvasia. This wine has just the amount of complexity and balance to pair with the lamb and pizza dishes for our Easter feast.  Aged for two years in oak barrels, the Nipozzano Chianti is a palate pleaser with bold concentrated notes of cherry and raspberry.

The second wine that I chose is also a masterful 2013 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Reserva ($27). It is more of a barnyard wine that should match perfectly with the lamb. The wine is earthy with hints of licorice and violets. The vineyards surround the 15th castle. The vines grow on the tallest part of Chianti Classico region, which was perceived as a symbol of status.

So, the choices are in….

Philip S. Kampe

Thracian Wine Treasures


Thracian Wine Treasures

Who were the Thracians? – The Thracians were a mysterious group of tribes who occupied the southeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. They spoke an Indo-European language. Numerous theories about their appearance on the European cultural map and later extinction/assimilation exist. One theory indicates that the Thracians were the original inhabitants of ancient lands many millennia ago, another relates them to the tribes in West Asia and others go even as far as China. One thing is for certain – the Thracians left a deep mark on the cultural development of the European civilization. They influenced both the Greek and Roman cultures and it is even believed that a great share of the Greek and Roman gods and mythology is impacted by the Thracian beliefs and rituals.
The Thracians were famous for three main things: waging war, making exquisite jewelry and producing wine.

Thracians’ cultural heritage in the area of wine-making, wine traditions and rituals drift through the ages and is evidenced by many ancient authors starting with Homer. The Homeric epics depict Thracians as brave and handsome men who fight on chariots richly decorated with gold and silver, carry “weapons of gold, huge and wondrous, and ride horses as fleet as the blasts of wind, and who also make and drink fine wine in beautiful cups”. Considering the special ritual value of wine in ancient Thrace, it becomes clear why so many precious vessels have been found. More than 180 gold phialae (wine cups), or more than half of those discovered in the whole ancient world, were found in Thracian territory. Many of them are decorated with figure of merry god of wine Dionysus. This no doubt highly developed wine culture is represented by many other archeological monuments:  plates, bas-reliefs, vessels and coins decorated with vine and wine motifs have been found all over the Thracian Valley.

Nowadays the successors of the old Thracian masters of wine produce brilliant, charactful, self-confident wines that are perhaps the best kept secret in the wine world! Older than the old world and bolder than the New one, the present day Thracian wines are modern classic, innovative, fashionable and most importantly very enjoyable! So we believe the time is not far when the world wine drinking public, fed up of the traditional offers, will direct their interests to a somewhat different wine born in the land of Homer’s Thrace.
Some of these amazing Thracian wines will soon be tasted in USA thanks to the New Wines of Ancient Thrace, EU funded promotional campaign of the Bulgarian Wine Export Association.
New Wines of Ancient Thrace

mail: niforou@oinorama.com, mob: +359 885 731 331



Cheers,

Luiz Alberto (on behalf of Galina Niforou, BWEA chairwoman)
  • Master of Wine candidate (former)
  • Italian Wine Ambassador
  • I combine my passion for wine with social media

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Has Arrived, A Good Time To Buy Summer Wines by Philip S. Kampe







After attending ‘A Taste of Mount Vedeer’ at a local resort in La Quinta, California a couple of weeks ago, my passion for wines from northern California has grown. One producer that has always intrigued me with their wines has been the Hess Collection, a vineyard that is family owned, practices sustainability and seems to take their customers and visitors seriously.

Recently, I read an article in Wine Business that the Hess Select portfolio of six different wines was getting a facelift-so to speak, a new look, a new design, new packaging. Well, that article was dated 1 February and today, 19 March, nearly the beginning of Spring, is a time when I add some lighter wines to the ‘Kampe Collection’ for easier drinking during the warmer summer months.

I always look for affordable summer wines-although we drink them year round, thanks to climate change.

Fifteen dollars or under has been my rule for warmer month wines. My wife loves Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand as much as the rest of the world. I like to alternate wines from Rose to Pinot Gris to Torrontes to Chardonnay-adding several sparklers to the mix-Cava and Cremant primarily.

Wine shops have crazy pricing at times-often when you buy a mixed case of wine, the shop automatically gives you 20% off unless the wines were already on sale. This was the case yesterday-I saw the new labels and bottles of the Hess Select wines that I mentioned earlier and took the plunge of buying a case of wine.

Each bottle retailed for $12.99 each minus 20% discount equaled an amazing $10.40 per bottle. I chose five bottles each of 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Pinot Gris plus two bottles of 2016 Monterey County Chardonnay.

Last night, we opened all three-only the Chardonnay had a cork. I cooked shrimp and mussels and made a porcini mushroom risotto. which paired best with the Chardonnay. The Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc (sorta a New Zealand style) were best with the seafood. The goat cheese puff pastry-our appetizer went well with all three wines. Dessert was leftover Irish soda bread, topped with Irish butter and rhubarb jam..

Afterwards, we tried both the Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc as aperitifs, in preparation for summer entertaining. They both worked.

All three wines were truly exceptional value wines-full of acidity, flavor and aroma.

At $12.99 a bottle, buying these wines is a no brainer..


Philip Kampe
philip.kampe@yahoo.com







It's Time To Buy Spring Wines For The Summer by Philip S. Kampe



After attending ‘A Taste of Mount Vedeer’ at a local resort in La Quinta, California a couple of weeks ago, my passion for wines from northern California has grown. One producer that has always intrigued me with their wines has been the Hess Collection, a vineyard that is family owned, practices sustainability and seems to take their customers and visitors seriously.

Recently, I read an article in Wine Business that the Hess Select portfolio of six different wines was getting a facelift-so to speak, a new look, a new design, new packaging. Well, that article was dated 1 February and today, 19 March, nearly the beginning of Spring, is a time when I add some lighter wines to the ‘Kampe Collection’ for easier drinking during the warmer summer months.

I always look for affordable summer wines-although we drink them year round, thanks to climate change.

Fifteen dollars or under has been my rule for warmer month wines. My wife loves Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand as much as the rest of the world. I like to alternate wines from Rose to Pinot Gris to Torrontes to Chardonnay-adding several sparklers to the mix-Cava and Cremant primarily.

Wine shops have crazy pricing at times-often when you buy a mixed case of wine, the shop automatically gives you 20% off unless the wines were already on sale. This was the case yesterday-I saw the new labels and bottles of the Hess Select wines that I mentioned earlier and took the plunge of buying a case of wine.

Each bottle retailed for $12.99 each minus 20% discount equaled an amazing $10.40 per bottle. I chose five bottles each of 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Pinot Gris plus two bottles of 2016 Monterey County Chardonnay.

Last night, we opened all three-only the Chardonnay had a cork. I cooked shrimp and mussels and made a porcini mushroom risotto. which paired best with the Chardonnay. The Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc (sorta a New Zealand style) were best with the seafood. The goat cheese puff pastry-our appetizer went well with all three wines. Dessert was leftover Irish soda bread, topped with Irish butter and rhubarb jam..

Afterwards, we tried both the Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc as aperitifs, in preparation for summer entertaining. They both worked.

All three wines were truly exceptional value wines-full of acidity, flavor and aroma.

At $12.99 a bottle, buying these wines is a no brainer..

 




Philip S. Kampe
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com

Melnik Wine Legends




Melnik Wine Legends

New Wines of Ancient Thrace is a promotional campaign of the Bulgarian Wine Export Association, which aims to present in United States, China and Japan the most interesting wines from indigenous varieties, as well as wines with Protected Geographical Indications and Protected Designation of Origin from the Thracian region.
One of these most noble and popular local varieties, of which many legends had been told in the past is the Broad Leaved Melnik Vine.

The Broad Leaved Melnik Vine is an old  variety of the Thracian land with rich history and legendary aura. It is botanical endemite. The leaves of this variety are the other reason for its name, being very large, wide and broad “broad leaved”. The wines have specific character, featuring strawberries, white cherries, fruit stones etc., which further depending on the terroir, the grape ripeness, vinification and ageing, may be complemented by tobacco, dried mint, tea and pepper notes. The color of the typical wine from Broad Leaved Melnik Vine is not ink black, but rather transparent ruby to purple.
Because the variety is not frost-resistant and is quite late ripener, it requires high temperatures during the growing season, hot summers, long warm dry autumns and relatively soft and warm winters. Generally it is often difficult for Melnik grapes to reached good and even ripeness. That's why most wine makers who know this brilliant but capricious variety well, believe it is better to work with its derivate 55 Melnik or so called Early Melnik Vine. It was created in the 70 's as a crossing of the Broad Leaved Melnik Vine with mixed pollen from 3 different French varieties Dûrif, Jurancon and Valdigie. At that time several different versions of such crossings had been developed, later some of them officially adopted as new red grape varieties such as  Melnik 55, Melnik 82, Melnik  1300 and Melnik Rubin. Often all these together as a group are referred to as Melnik wines.
Among the many legendary stories about Melnik, are those of Michael Palaiologos Melnik Miracle, told by the Byzantine historian Nikita Akominat and the story about the Wine Pipe at the Paris World Exposition 1889.

Michael Palaiologos Melnik Miracle
"Over the year 1252 Byzantine Emperor John Vatatzes appointed as his vicar Michael Palaiologos. Once the Emperor heard that Michael Palaiologos was planning to take his throne with the help of the Thracians. So John Vatatzes called Michael to Court. But before that he arranged a big feast, where all had a drink too much from the good Melnik wine.
During the party Bishop Phocas, a man of poor reputation and not particularly pious priest offered the defendant to verify his innocence by putting him to the iron test.
Before touching the hot iron Michael had to dip his hands in the holy Melnik wine. If innocent, the wine as symbol of God's blood, would keep his hands from burning. Michael replied: “ I'm not a magician and my hands are not made from marble, like those of Pheidias statues. Let the Bishop Phocas with his holiness and closeness to God first touch the hot iron! The Emperor, who knew well the “sanctity” of the Archbishop's Court, called the meeting off and punished the accusers. He offered Michael to marry his niece Theodora. Michael himself, later in time, became future great Byzantine Emperor, who restored the Byzantine Empire after the Crusades.
The second story goes like this:

Wine Pipe at the Paris World Exposition 1889

"Melnik wine was presented at the great World Exhibition in Paris in 1889. The wine makers from the region, however, came late and were placed somewhere at the end of the exhibition where they had no chances of success. Despite the attempts of Manolis Kordopoulos (the best local merchant who lead the whole group) to find a better place, nothing could be done. Then the famous bagpiper Kosta Radanov appeared at the stand and offered the exhibitors to advertise their wines with his bagpipe. He put a little balloon filled with Melnik wine in his bagpipes. While standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, playing with the pipe, he gathered a lot of listeners, whom he poured a glass of wine directly from the pipe. This became a sensation at the show, mostly because of the quality of Melnik wine. At the end of the exhibition, back home at a meeting of the local Vintner-exhibitors, Manolis Kordopoulos announced he had received so many orders that he and his grandchildren could not possibly supply in the next 184 years. However, he firmly refused to increase production, aware that the small amount of the wine produced and its good quality maintained its high price."


New Wines of Ancient Thrace
mail: niforou@oinorama.com, mob: +359 885 731 331




Cheers,

Luiz Alberto (on behalf of Galina Niforou, BWEA chairwoman)
  • Master of Wine candidate (former)
  • Italian Wine Ambassador
  • I combine my passion for wine with social media



Monday, March 19, 2018

Authentic Thracian Red Wine Varieties


                                                    

Authentic Thracian Red Wine Varieties

Did you know that the Thracian wine region was the second largest producer of wine in the world in the 1980s? Today, it may not be producing wine on such a volume scale, but the thousand-year-old winemaking traditions continue to inspire the creation of unique indigenous wines. Indeed, vine growing and winemaking have always been part of Thracian culture since ancient times. Wine has been produced here for millennia on the sunlit hills and fertile soils of the Thracian Valley at the same geographic latitude (equivalent to central Italy or southern France). Thousands of years ago the ancient Thracians were consuming wine from elaborate gold vessels in the shape of animals and mythical creatures.
The authentic local red wines you can find here vary from the spicy Mavrud of the Central South, through the Broadleaved Melnik of the South West, perfumed Dimyat of the coastal area, elegant Pamid of the upper Thracian Valley, to the fresh Gamza of the North West.

Mavrud
Mavrud’s name comes from the Greek word for black and you can definitely see why in this wine’s deep color. Used to make a dark ruby-colored and soft-tasting wine, Mavrud grapes are almost exclusively grown in a small area just North of the charming Rhodope. Mavrud grapes are typically small in size, low on yield and ripen late. The harvest is in late October. All these factors result in a spicy and fruity varietal with high tannins, appreciated for its high quality, remarkable maturing potential and local character.

Broad-Leaved Melnik Vine
Planted in the Southwestern-most and warmest corner of the country, in the distinct Mediterranean climate zone of the Struma River, the Broad-Leaved Melnik Vine bears all the signs of an age-worthy southern red grape variety. Varietals are often named just Melnik, referring to the picturesque smallest town with the same name, famous for its winemaking tradition. According to a very popular story, Melnik wine was Winston Churchill’s favorite and 500 litres of this wine were delivered to him annually! Whether true or not, it is certain that wine from the late-ripening Broad-Leaved Melnik grapes has a captivating taste often displaying tobacco and leather hints.

Dimyat
The white Dimyat is grown in the vicinity of the Black Sea. It is the most widely grown indigenous white grape here and its wine is often consumed chilled in the hot summer days by the sea. A curious legend claims that Dimyat was originally cultivated in the Nile Delta of Egypt and was brought to our lands by Crusaders, for all we know though, its characteristics are typically Thracian. Dimyat wines are usually not aged. They taste sweet, with vanilla aromas and a light body. Dimyat grapes are also often used to make excellent brandy and grape rakia (grappa).

Pamid
Pamid, a classic Thracian indigenous red wine, which used to be the most widely cultivated red grape in the country before the advent of worldwide favorites like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the 1960s. Somewhat ironically, today it is so hard to find that it may well be listed as endangered species! Pamid wine is usually consumed young as everyday enjoyable table wine. Pamid gives pleasant light and fruity red wines that are a fitting companion to many of the heavier meals of the local cuisine.

Gamza
Gamza is the pride of the north. It is also known as Kadarka. Gamza’s origins are somewhat mysterious, as this kind of wine is also enjoyed in many other countries in Central and South East Europe. Gamza grapes ripen in late September and the wines are fresh, harmonious and fruity – somewhat comparable to Pinot Noir. The variety is brilliantly suited for rosé wines as well.
All these beautiful Thracian wines could be tasted in USA thanks to the New Wines of Ancient Thrace, EU funded promotional campaign of the Bulgarian Wine Export Association.

New Wines of Ancient Thrace
mail: niforou@oinorama.com, mob: +359 885 731 331




Cheers,

Luiz Alberto (on behalf of Galina Niforou, BWEA chairwoman)
  • Master of Wine candidate (former)
  • Italian Wine Ambassador
  • I combine my passion for wine with social media


Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Valpolicella World As Seen by Olga Bussinello by Philip S. Kampe

Imagine the responsibilities of being the director of the Consortium for the Tutelage of Valpolicella Wines. Your responsibility is to be the voice of a region that has 19 municipalities, 114 companies, 2500 acres and produces 60 million bottles of wine.
                                                             Olga Bussinello

To be the voice of the winemakers, bottlers and producers of the region, only a dedicated person can take on the job effectively and live the life of Valpolicella as a lifestyle, day in and day out.

The person that lives and dreams the Valpolicella lifestyle is and has been for many years is Olga Bussinello, a woman whose blood is made up of the classic Valpolicella grape blend.

Her dedication to the Consorzio is unmatched.

Through the years I have seen the evolution of Olga Bussinello.

At my most recent encounter, her leadership and knowledge took center stage at the “Sustainable Winegrowing Summit 2018” in Verona, as well as her guidance with the release of the 2014 vintage at Anteprima Amarone.

Olga stressed the mantra, “RRR-Reduce, Respect, Retrench” in regard to the environmental sustainability and wealth of the land at the sustainable conference. She said that sustainability is the future communication for our wine and to communicate our DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) is another challenge for her and the 2347 grape growers, 7 cooperatives and 213 wine companies in Valpolicella,

Sales of Valpolicella wines are broken down in this order;
Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 45%
Valpolicella DOC 32%
Amarone DOC 22%

Olga elaborated on the 2017 harvest.
It was a good harvest-no hail, but, a lack of rain in both the spring and summer, which reduces the quantity of the grapes. Fortunately, analysis of the grapes is very positive. The 2017 batch has more sugar in the grape (higher alcohol) and more reservations, polyphenols and glycerin.

The wines that comprise Valpolicella generally have soft tannins, are well balanced and are very round on the palate. The majority of grapes used to produce Valpolicella are always an indigenous blend and are grown in three regions and thirteen valleys, each with a unique microclimate and soils ranging from limestone to volcanic.

Sounds like a lot going on , to you and me, in this region., but, with the leadership of Olga Bussinello there is nothing to worry about.

Look for the newest release, the 2014 Amarone DOC in your local wine shop, as well as the Valpolicella Ripasso DOC and the Valpolicella DOC.

After sampling any of these fine wines, you will understand why Olga Bussinello loves her job.

Philip S. Kampe
philipkampe@thewinehub.com

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

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