I.E.E.M. Italian Tasting Day 2

 

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This was the second day of the series of Masterclasses from the I.E.E.M. I attended two of the three classes.

Prosecco is a sparkling wine produced in North-East Italy in the providences of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Guilia. It’s one of the ingredients in the classic cocktails of a Bellini and an Aperol Spritz.

Since it’s made using the less expensive Charmat process in which the bubbles are added in bulk compared to the more time consuming Methode Champinoise which is when a secondary fermentation is introduced in the the bottle, much Prosecco are commercially produced inexpensive sippers.

There are two sub districts within the DOC of Prosecco, Conegliano/Valdobbiadene and Asolo that are granted Superiore DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status. Wines from these zones are usually a notch up in quality from the wines produced in the DOC zones. 

Prosecco must be made with a minimum of 85% Glera grape with the rest indigenous varieties.

 

Masterclass: “Asolo Calling” by Montelvini

NV Montelvini Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Extra Dry”

Light yellow, canned peaches and cantaloupe on the nose, crisp with lemon curd notes on the fruit, nice balance of sweet and tart. 

NV Montelvini Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Brut”

Light yellow, white flowers and honeydew on the nose, bone dry and crisp finishing a little closed. 

NV Montelvini Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Millesimato-Extra Brut”

About half the sugar per liter as the Brut. Very light yellow, sweet floral nose, bone dry and crisp with floral stone notes on the finish. 

 

Friuli is a providence in North-East Italy. It’s borders have been very fluid in the past centuries and the area has a Germanic/Slavic influence.

They are well know for their whites and their signature white is Friulano. 

 

Masterclass: “When Fruili Gives Its Best” by Genagricola

2019 Torre Rosazza Pinot Grigio (Colli Orientali)

100% Pinot Grigio. Very light gold, floral melon on the nose, moderate, lycee fruit with lime notes on the nice balance. 

2019 Torre Rosazza Friulano (Colli Orientali)

100% Friulano grape variety. Medium gold, somewhat closed nose of earth, moderate, juicy fruit finishing dry and light. 

2016 Torre Rossazza Altromerlot (Colli Orientali)

100% Merlot. Opaque dark red to black, very aromatic with bell pepper, tar and prunes, chewy at first and ends with bitter black cherry tannins. 

 

 

Italian Tastings: I.E.E.M. Master Classes Day 1

 

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October 3-11 was Milano Wine Week 2020. The event was curated by the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management), a PR agency for the wine industry.  Promoted as “the first international event of 2020” they ran tastings, exhibitions and seminars in Milan and several international cities. In New York they held a series of sit-down “master classes” during the course of three days which were held at Il Gattopardo restaurant at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan. 

Master class: “Discover The Unique Expression of Pinot Noir From Oltrepò Pavese” 

The wines were from the Confagricoltura Pavia, an agricultural trade organization. 

Oltrepò Pavese which translate into “Pavia across the Po” is one of Italy’s 329 DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) zones and is located about 50 miles south of the city of Milan in the region of Lombardy.

The flagship wines from that region are Spumante but they were one of the first regions in Italy to plant Pinot Noir (Pinot Nero).

As Lombardy is in North Italy, these are cool weather Pinot Noirs and I wasn’t expecting the type of lush, fruit forward Pinot Noirs that  you would get from warmer weather wine regions such as California.  The wines were young and for the most part hard as nails with tight fruit and high acidity. 

 

2017 Marchese Adorno “Rile Nero”

2015 Conte Vistarino “Pernice”

2018 Conte Vistarino “Costa del Nero”

2017 Tenuta Travaglino “Poggia della Buttinera” Riserva

2018 Frecciarossa “Carillo”

2016 Frecciarossa “Giorgio Odero”

2017 Mazzolino “Noir”

2019 Mazzolino “Terrazze”

 

Master Class: Vermentino Phenomenon: Discovering The Top 10 Vermentino.

 

Vermentino is a white grape varietal grown around the Mediterranean.

The Maremma is on the western coast of Tuscany and in a country where grapes have been planted for centuries, a relatively new vinicultural area.  Viticulture was introduced in the 19th century after the drainage of the swampland in the region. 

At this tasting we sampled ten Vermentino from Consorzio Tutela Vini della Maremma Toscana. They are an association of wine grape growers, wine makers and wine bottlers which was established “to protect the quality of Maremma Toscana DOC wines and to promote them in Italy and abroad”. They poured wines from the Grand Prix 2020 and the new low sugar versions. 

For the most part the wines were bone-dry, delicate, crisp whites that would go well with shellfish and other seafood. 

 

2019 Balbino 2019 Vermentino
2019 Nudo Vermintino 2018 Leardo
2018 Balbinvs 2018 Codice V
2017 Montero 2017 Matan
2019 Scalandrino 2018 Cobalto
 
 

 

Pig Island 2020

 

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The 11th annual Pig Island Festival was held on Saturday, September 12th. It was presented by Food Karma which hosts several foodie events throughout the year.

Pig Island is an annual BBQ pork festival which pitted over 20 Chefs, Pitmasters and Vendors in a competition using locally sourced pork to create the best pork dish of the day.  

This year the event change location from it’s long time spot in Red Hook Brooklyn to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center located at 1000 Richmond Terrace Road in Staten Island which is a 10 minute bus ride from the ferry terminal. 

The Snug Harbor Cultural Center is an 83 acre parkland. The home of a 19th century charitable rest home for sailors, it’s been converted to a park open to the public and contains museums, an arts center, an urban farm and several gardens.

It was a “socially distant picnic” where there was more than enough open space at the event to comply with the social distancing mandates with more than enough room to walk around while sampling the food and drink, lay down a blanket and enjoy the beautiful late Summer day. 

For the adults there was beer from Flagship Brewery and Kills Boro Brewing Co., ciders from Austin East Ciders and Romilly Cider and whiskey from Knob Creek and Laphroiag.

 

 

Chefs and Pitmasters:

 

Tank Jackson Matt Fisher
Rodrigo Duarte Cenobio Canalizo
Mario Chape Mike Lape
Jesse James Jase Franklyn
Mike Petrovitch Luis Riviera Jr.
Joe Tacoronte John Fucks
Pete Calascione Vinny Ferrante
Mathew Worgul Leland Avellino

 

 

August Day At The Wineries

 

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Still the only game in town, drove out on this sunny, hot August afternoon to sit in the vineyards for a glass. 

 

Palmer Vineyards  5120 Sound Avenue, Riverhead

One of the original wineries on Long Island. Recently purchased and now owned by the Massoud family who own Paumanok Vineyards as well.

2018 Viognier: Medium yellow in color, honeysuckle on the nose, tight and crisp with green herbs and lemon on the finish. Not as lush as I was expecting for a Viognier. 

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Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Route 25, Southold

A small family farm whose motto is “wine, passion and craftmanship”

2017 Steel Chardonnay: 100% fermented in steel. Medium yellow in color, cooked fruit and green asparagus on the nose, moderate fruit, crisp finish with lime notes. Tasted like an older wine. 

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Sherwood House Vineyards  1291 Main Road, Jamesport

A comfortable tasting room with an adjacent art gallery, one of the few tasting rooms serving wine in a respectable glass.

2017 Oregon Road Chardonnay: Steel Fermented. Light yellow in color, sweet tangerine and pear notes on the nose, dusty, firm fruit with nice mouth watering acidity.

 

 

June Tasting Out East

 

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At the end of June I took another drive out East to the wineries on the North Fork. Seems like this is the only game in town for social drinking. Sampled a diverse range of varietals this time around. Still not a bad way to spend a sunny afternoon.

 

 

Lieb Cellars 13050 Oregon Rd, Cutchogue

Off the main road, Lieb Cellars is run “by a close knit group of young passionate individuals”.

2018 Sauvignon Blanc: Light yellow with a greenish tint, closed nose of green apples, clean and crisp with green apple notes.

 

Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

The Bedell’s planted their first grapevines here in 1980

2019 Pinot Gris: This is the first vintage of this varietal produced at the winery. Clear light yellow with greenish tints, kiwi, tangerine on the nose, juice lemon/line notes on the fruit with crisp acidity.

 

Croteaux Vineyards 1450 S Harbor Road, Southold

This winery off the main road produces exclusively estate grown Rosé against the backdrop of two historic farms. 

2019 Rosé Merlot “181”: Stainless steel fermented, light copper in color, cantaloupe on the nose, minerally fruit with nice acidity. 

 

Pulgliese Vineyards 34515 Main Rd, Cutchogue

Established in 1980 and is family owned and operated, they make down to earth wines. The only winery that I know of on the North Fork that bottles a Sangiovese.

2015 Sangiovese: Clear light red in color, red cherry and green herbs on the nose, red cherry with a touch of leather on the fruit with good acidity. 

 

 

Open At Last

 

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Finally, in mid June the government eased up on the restrictions placed on business and permitted the North Fork wineries to serve wines to the public in an outdoor setting. It’s a start. I took a drive out East to sit down among the vineyards to drink the first glass of wine I’ve had in public in several weeks.

 

Lenz Winery 38355 Rte 25, Peconic

One of the founding wineries on the North Fork, they pour a dependable glass of wine. 

2014 Sauvignon Blanc: They tell me this is the first vintage of this varietal for this long time winery.

Straw yellow in color, white flowers on the nose, crisp with subtle grassy and honeydew notes on the fruit. Nicely balanced, great first time effort. 

 

McCall Wines  22600 Main Road, Cutchogue

A working cattle ranch as well as a winery, there’s always a family member in the tasting room. 

2019 “Nicola” Sauvignon Blanc: Nicola is the name of the daughter of the owners who served me the wine this day. 

Light yellow in color, kiwi and honeydew melon on the nose, full fruit with lime notes on the fruit with moderate to low acids. 

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate” One of three Pinot Noir they were pouring on this day. Opaque dark brick in color, tarry, red cherry and smoky pepper on the nose with red licorice, new leather and earth on the fruit with good acid on the finish. Nice balance. 

 

 

Cava Tasting

 

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I was able to squeeze in this tasting the night before the lockdown on March 15th and it was held at Corkbuzz wine bar and restaurant at 13 East 13th Street, just south of Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Cava is a sparking wine produced in Spain. It comes from the Penedès wine region in Catalonia and is not far from the city of Barcelona.

To be called Cava, the wine  must be made using the methode champenoise. The traditional grape varietals used in making Cava are the indigenous Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada varietals with the non native varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir now used as well.

It might be heresy for me to say, but if I’m looking for a budget sparkler I much rather have a glass of Cava than a glass of Prosecco.

 

NV Barcino Brut “Belle Epoque”

(50% Macabeo, 30% Xarel-lo, 20% Parellada)

 

NV Casas del Mar Brut Blanc de Blanc

(40% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, 30% Parellada)

 

2016 Juvé & Camps Brut “Essential Reserva”

(100% Xarel-lo)

 

2018 Naveran Brut “Dama”

(85% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada)

 

2017 Alta Alella Mirgin Reserva Brut Nature

(40% Pansa Bianca, 30% Parellada, 30% Macabeu)

 

2013 Agusti Torelló Mata Gran Reserva Brut Nature

(38% Macabeo, 34% Parellada, 28% Xarel-lo)

 

NV Eudald Massana Noya Reserva Brut Nature

(Macabeu, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Chardonnay)

 

NV Josep Foraster Rosat Reserva

(100% Trepat)

 

NV Conquilla Brut Rosé

(100% Pinot Noir)

 

NV Pere Mata Rosé Brut Nature “Cupada”

(70% Garnatxa, 30% Parellada)

 

NV Dibon Brut Rosé

(100% Garnacha)

 

 

2019 Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses, Languedoc

 

 

Summer is here, more rosé.

Gerard Bertrand is a French wine grower with a vast portfolio of wines from the South of France.

They make several different rosé. This one is from the Languedoc region and is packaged in a pretty bottle with an etched rose on the bottom.

The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. 

 

2019 Cotes des Roses: Light pink in color, ripe cantaloupe on the nose, nice mouthfeel of light cherry and raspberry, nice balance. 

 

 

Last Tasting On Long Island Before The Lockdown

 

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We’re three months into the lockdown which meant no wine tasting, food or cocktail events to attend.


In the third week in March I was able to attend a couple of events before the shutdown and one afternoon I drove out to the North Fork to visit the wineries. At that time about half of them had shut down their tasting rooms in anticipation of the lockdown. The ones that remained open did a roaring business as people came out in droves for a last glass of wine. I had no agenda and just drank random wines.

 

 

Lenz Vineyards 38355 Route 25, Peconic

Lenz Vineyard was established in 1978 making it one of the original wineries to open on the North Fork of Long Island.

They produce a wide range of wines from whites, reds, sparkling and dessert wines. They are best known for their Merlot.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: Thick black in color with a purple rim, crushed black fruit, roasted nuts and some stinkiness on the nose, dusty fruit with shaved metal and black licorice notes on the fruit with firm, sour cherry tannins on the finish. 

 

Coffee Pot Cellars 31855 Main Road, Cutchogue

They are a small production winery that pours their products at this tasting room on the side of the main road. They are also beekeepers and sell local fruit jams and honey. They are famous for their house dog, Beasley the Wonder Pug. He’s getting on in years and wasn’t his usual spry self when I stopped in. 

2014 Meritage Red: A blend of about half Merlot with Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon added in.  Thick dark red in color with a purple rim, blue metal  and scorched black fruit notes on the nose, dusty, chewy black fruit with some oak flavors, chewy tannins.

 

Jamesport Vineyards 1216 Main Road, Jamesport

Established in 1986 making it one of the oldest wineries on the North Fork, their tasting room is in a 165 year old barn. They serve food as well. On this day the tasting room was mobbed since half the tasting rooms on the wine trail were closed this day. 

2016 Syrah “East End“: This is a single vineyard wine with 40% whole cluster fermentation. Thick black in color with a purple rim, smoked, crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with sour black cherry notes on the firm and juicy finish, good grip.