Sunday, February 28, 2010

On the Road-Dinner in Taurasi at Cantine Caggiano

I spent the weekend in Taurasi and on Saturday night I was treated to something special...Dinner at Antonio Caggiano's winery.  The occassion?  A chance to get together and celebrate wine and food.  Why not?
The event began at 730 pm at the cantina.  Antonio met his guests with a smile and great stories.  He spoke of his love of photography while pointing out his photos from a Venetian Carnvale trip he took several years earlier.  He spoke of Taurasi and its wine making history while showing us a stunning photo of 'la strade del vino'.  Then he talked about his love for his work and his vineyards.  He led us towards his famous cantina which is more like a museum.  I have been to his cantina many times over the past few years and it is ALWAYS different.  Around every corner there is something new, or should I say old.  Old bottles, old pieces of wine making machinery.  The cantina is built with materials that he found after the earthquake in the 1980s.  In addition there are glass sculptures and etchings, a small waterfall, and a wooden presepe.  A beautiful place to visit again and again.

Our group returned upstairs.  Aperitvo time.  Ristorante Oasis took care of us here.  In fact they were responsible for the entire menu for the evening.

So, a standing buffet of the following antipasti were served with Fiagre IGT 2008 ( 70% Fiano di Avellino, 30% Greco di Tufo).  Polenta with porcini mushrooms and black truffle, Ricottina di fuscella,  various omlettes, and
 potato and cod zeppole on a bed of  tomato and celery sauce.

We then went upstairs to the dining room for a formal sit down dinner. Our first courses were a cream of cicerchie soup with gratin of cod and  Dominus olive oil and paccheri  with cod, baked tomatoes, candied lemon and Dominus olive oil riserva. They were served with Bechar DOCG 2008 (100% Fiano di Avellino)

Next, another pasta dish.....Ravioli with butter and herbs, manteca campana and black truffle. This was paired with Devon DOCG 2008 (100% Greco di Tufo)

Ok.  Bring on the main course, bring on the big red....A slow cooked lamb on a bed of smoked mashed potatoes with a  reduction of Taurasi. Logical pairing- Vigna Macchia dei Goti 2001 DOCG (100% Aglianico di Taurasi)

And just when I thought that I could no longer have another bite, out came the desserts served with Mel 2004 ( a sweet dessert wine, 70% Fiano di Avellino, 30% Greco di Tufo)

Hazlenut cream with salty cookies, Millefoglie with a casalinga cream, ground nuts and cherries, and a tray of various little pastries. 

The evening concluded with cigars and Caggiano's Grappa di Taurasi Vigna Maccha dei Goti

This evening was definitely the highlight of my Taurasi weekend.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wine Appreciation Course at Enoteca Bacco e Caffè, Bagnoli

A wine appreciation course will be held at Enoteca Bacco e Caffe in Bacoli.  The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday,  March 23 20:30
Vinification and Winemaking Techniques led by Tiziana Brondi

Tuesday, March 30  20:30
Visual Appearance Wine and its Colors led by Pasquale Poerio

Tuesday 6 April  20:30
Olfactory Flavors and Fragrances led by Tiziana B. Pasquale P.

Tuesday 13 April at 20:30
Taste and Appearance Gustatory Sensation  led by Pasquale P.

Tuesday 20 April 20:30
Wine Tasting with Young and Aged Wines led by Max P. Tiziana B.

April 29 18:00
Via Scalandrone 22, Pozzuoli (Napoli)
Wines of Campi Flegrei Campi Flegrei led by Maria Pia C.

Enoteca Bacco e Caffè; Via S. Italico 56 / C Tel 0815700358 Bagnoli (NA)  or

Th course costs Euro 140.00

Eur 50.00 Registration Deposit - ( the balance must  be paid before the winery tour)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Una Mostra a Cena: sette portate per sette posate

This sounds pretty special. Imagine an event where each course is designed and ‘built’ by chef Mario Avallone in combination with seven different sets of tableware created by designer John Scafuro. The result? Una Mostra a Cena: sette portate per sette posate. Here are the details:

March 1, 2010 18:00
exhibition / sale of jewelry, furnishings, sculpture and more made with cutlery. A cutlery presentation dinner the next day.

March 2, 2010  20:00 dinner
 a collaboration between chef Mario Avallone, and designer John Scafuro: a dinner / show consisting of 7 courses associated with 7 sets of cutlery designed for the event.

MENU (in Italian)

Snodo - frittura

a chi piace il brodo - ravioli + brodo

a chi non piace il brodo - senza spine

per rubare ai buffet - dips

poison - pozione salada

forchetta a nove code - o'spaghett'c'ò suffritt

pennino da caffè - caffè dello scrittore

The wine for the evening is:

Gallicìus Roccamonfina Aglianico IGT 2008 - Tenuta Adolfo Spada (Galluccio-Caserta)

The dinner costs € 50.00

For reservations contact:

Via Constantinople 100 - NAPLES

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winelab at Città del Gusto...Salento Side by Side

Puglia is the star of this Wine Lab at Città del Gusto on March 4th. The theme of the evening, a degustazione vertical, a side by side wine comparison of Donna Lisa Salice Salentino Riserva di Castris De Leon and  Conti Zecca Nero  the mot popular and celebrated blend of Negroamaro in the province of Lecce.

The evening will be conducted by Marco Sabellico and Paul Zacharias and, as usual, participants can sample six vintages of Donna Lisa Riserva and six years of Nero, accompanied by a series of finger food designed for the occasion by chefs Antonio Russo and Giovanni Pastore and  master pizza maker Michele Leo.

The appointment is for 2000 hours on Thursday 4 March at Città del Gusto.

For information and reservations

Città del Gusto Naples - Via Coroglio, 57/104 - Naples (Bagnoli Zone)


The cost of the evening is € 60.00 per person (€ 50.00 for Gambero Rosso, members Ais, Slow Food and ONAV members).

Tickets may be purchased within two days of 'event, directly from Città del Gusto or e-commerce website .

Reservations made without purchasing the ticket will be void.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Il Bianco, il Rosso, il Nero e...Dinner and Wine Tasting at Abraxas on Thursday, February 25

Yet another evening of small wine producers brought to you by Osteria Abraxas. Nando Salemme and Vanna, will present Greco di Tufo di Cantina dell’Angelo, Gaglioppo from Cirò A’ Vita, and Aglianico and Taurasi from Cancelliere.

The menu will prepared by chef Thomas Meo
In short,it will be a a gourmet evening intertwined with deep discussions of food and wine.
Don’t miss it!!

Crispy cod with potatoes and pistachio pesto

Beans, ricotta and "stomach"

Polenta with ragu

Pastry with pumpkin

Artichoke pie
Risotto with bacon, leeks, cheese and pepper
Neapolitan lasagna
Beef with balsamic vinegar reduction in a crust of broccoli
‘Bocconcino’ with a dark chocolate surprise

Greco di Tufo 2008 Cantina dell'angelo
Cirò 2008 Azienda agricola A' Vita
Aglianico Gioviano 2007 Il Cancelliere
Taurasi Nero Nè 2005 Il Cancelliere
Dinner price: 35,00 €

To reserve your spot call 081-8549347 or 339-2236700

Abraxas Osteria
Via Scalandrone, 15

80070 Bacoli

Monday, February 22, 2010

Everyone is going SUD

There is a hot restaurant in Quarto that everyone is talking about.  Yes, I did say Quarto.  Quarto, known for  its chaotic traffic, bumpy roads and the montagna spaccata, you'll find a little oasis called SUD ristorante.  I heard of the place a few months ago.  Ais Napoli has chosen this spot to hold several events such as La Marcia di Natale and Sud & Riesling to name a couple. 

I'd like to share with you a translation of  a review by Davide Ricciardello of Ristoranti Campani  posted yesterday. 

"PRO: cooking elaborate and coherent, and evokes the delicious appetizer (bacon cooked at low temperature, cottage cheese with pepper and broccoli); extremely balanced first course(fettuccelle cauliflower and mullet with orange rind), a microcosm of concoted flavors; concrete and structured second courses (perfect salt cod in a coach and as a frying and as a composition; tasty and tender shoulder of lamb stuffed with pork), refined and delicious desserts (the versatile pastry pie with dark chocolate, jam d ' orange and meringue, a real "coup de foudre"); bread made fresh on site, simple and stuffed in various ways (bacon, figs, sweet paprika, etc.), refined setting and elegant service prompt and friendly (with the constant care of Pino and Stefania), interesting wine list edited by Fabrizio Erbaggio.

CONS: Can you have the same amazing value for money for the wine and spirits?

FINAL RATING: Marianna Vitale is a great chef, her art is a remarkable harmony of tradition, creativity and technical mastery.

Recommended for lovers of fine cuisine, prepared to be surprised about the substantial dichotomy between the high intrinsic value of flow rates and the convenience of prices at which they are offered."

So the next time you find yourself in Quarto, skip the mall and head SUD.

Via Santi Pietro e Paolo,8

Tel. 081 0202708

35 - 40 euro a person (wine excluded)

Open for dinner and lunch on Sundays.  Closed Mondays.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vini, Cigars, and Much, Much More...An evening with the Di Meo Family

I am really having a hard time writing this blog.  I don't know
where to start or what to include....
I could write about how Vincenzo took us around La Sibilla's
 vineyards , explained his winery's history, and showed us the
 cantina antica located on an archelogical site.....
Or... I could say how much I enjoyed watching the bonfire
 while sipping a glass of Marsiliano 2007.....
Maybe I should say how Vincenzo did an excellent job of
 guiding us through a wine tasting (Italian nad English) of
 Marsilian 2006, 2007, and 2008-fresh from the barrel.....
I really want to discuss the meal and the wide variety of
dishes prepared by the family served with a smile.....
I can't leave out, though, the cuban cigar presentation
which almost had this nonsmoker lighting up....almost....

What I DEFINITELY must say is how much I felt a part of
 the family.  From the time that Vincenzo 'rescued' me as
 I lost my way to La Sibilla.  From the moment I shook
hands with Luigi Di Meo (Vincenzo's dad), Salvatore (his
 brother) and Nonno Vincenzo.  I felt at home as I mingled
 with wives, aunts, uncles,cousins, girlfriends, boyfriends,
and other friends of the family.  Maybe it was that spirit
of famiglia that the Di Meos have.  How they mingled with
 their guests, made sure you had enough wine, food, were
warm enough.How at one point, one of the guests
pulled out a guitar and the group broke out into song,
including' Happy Birthday' to one of my friends and
Neapolitan classics such as 'Ol' Sole Mio'.

So, as you can see, I really am stuck on this one....

Maybe I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves...................

Ciao Vino and Bacoli Art Gallery present: Jazz and Wine Fusion with Greg Osby ...March 7th

Take saxophonist, composer, producer and educator Greg Osby.  Jazz Musician of the year 2009.....

Add in Stefano Pagliuca's pizza and the rest of Ciao Vino's famous buffet.....

Mix in wines handpicked by Fabrizio from Ciao Vino............

The result is an eclectic evening of wine  and jazz. 

The cost of this unprecedented evening is 40 Euro which includes entrance to the show, buffet, 3 different wines and seating in the 'VIP' section.
Location?  Baoli Art Gallery (BAG) ,Piazzetta Adriano 5/6, Bacoli
For more information or to reserve your spot call.

348 590 7349, 081 509 0425 or,

The fun starts at 8pm ish....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An American and Ais..the Next Step to 'Wine Geek'

About 4 years ago, I stareted dabbling in the wine world. Friends, who I thought at the time were wine geeks, asked me to help organize a bus trip to a winery and agriturismo. Though somewhat fluent in Italian, I was shakey when it came to winemaking terminology. But at some point over the years, after organizing numerous wine tastings and winery tours throughout the Campania region, the bug hit me. The world of wine and winemaking changed for me. I remember a trip to Torre Gaia a couple of years ago. I had a great time translating for our sommelier, Luigi. He was decked out in his sommelier uniform as he gave us a tour of the winery and led us through a wine tasting. Then came the many trips to Taurasi, Benevento, Campi Flegrei area, , wine fairs, and eventually wine tastings at Ciao Vino.    

The time came to take this hobby to another level. A couple of friends suggested that I should take the sommelier course that Ais (Italian Sommelier Association) offers. I really wasn’t sure, I mean, what does a sommelier do anyway? 

Hmmm. So I’ve decided to take that first step…I signed up to take the 1st level course. It begins on the 8th of March. I’m a little nervous but at the same time, excited. The course is 15 lessons, once a week, about 2 ½ hours long.  There are 3 levels with an intensive exam at the end of each course.  The path to sommelier takes 18-24 months.  Here is the schedule of the first part of a long journey....

MONDAY, March 8 Lesson # 1 - Figure the Sommelier

Presentation of the Italian Sommelier. Presentation of the Course. The figure of the modern restaurant sommelier. The tastevin, the glass tasting and other tools of the sommelier. Demonstrations of service. Introduction to wine tasting.

Presentation of three wines, including one or Franciacorta Spumante Metodo Classico.

Monday 15 March Lecture No. 2 - Viticulture

Viticulture and wine quality. The vine: notes on the evolution and spread throughout the world. Biological cycle of the vine. Breeding systems, pruning and harvesting. Soil and climate environment. The major indigenous and international grape varieties.

Presentation of three significant wine regions.

Monday, March 22 Lecture No. 3 - Winery - Wine production

The bunch of grapes and wine. Vinification.

Presentation of a white wine, a rose wine and red wine.

Monday 29 March Lecture No. 4 - WINE - WINE COMPONENTS evolution

Oenology and wine quality. Maturation and aging of wine. Stabilization and correction of the wine cellar practices. Short outline of changes, defects and diseases. The composition of the wine according to taste.

Presentation of a white aged in wine barrels, a young red wine (last year, just steel), a red wine evolved (at least 3-4 years spent in wood).

Wednesday, 7 April Lecture No. 5 - THE TASTING - VISUAL ANALYSIS

Sensory analysis. Work on the stimulus, sensation and perception. The best conditions for the tasting. The technique of tasting, the parameters of assessment of visual and links with other characteristics of wine. The terminology of visual AIS.

Tasting of a light white wine last year, a white wine structured, developed and aged in barrels, a Classic Method Sparkling Wine / Champagne Rosé, using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card only for the parameters of visual.

MONDAY, April 12 Lecture No. 6 - THE TASTING - Nose

The families of scents. The technique of tasting, the parameters of assessment and examining olfactory connections with other characteristics of wine. Terminology AIS olfactory examination.

Tasting of a white wine aroma of a young red wine (last year, just steel) and a structured and evolved (at least 3-4 years spent in wood) using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card only for the parameters of visual and olfactory tests.


The taste sensations, tactile and olfactory. The technique of tasting, the yardsticks for examining taste-olfactory and links to other characteristics of wine. Terminology AIS exam taste and scent.

Exercises with solutions of water with glycerin, sugar, ethyl alcohol taste, citric or tartaric acid, tannins and salt, to assess the feeling of "softness" and "hardness." Tasting of a red wine importantly, using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card for the parameters of visual, olfactory and taste and scent.

MONDAY, April 26 Lecture No. 8 - SPARKLING

CProduzione and features classic method sparkling wines, the most important Italian and foreign products. Production and characteristics of Martinotti Method Sparkling dry and sweet.

Tasting of three wines: two Method Sparkling Martinotti, a dry (Prosecco) and a sweet aroma, a sparkling Franciacorta Metodo Classico or, using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card; samples of scale combined with Parmigiano-Reggiano and bread, biscuits .

MONDAY, May 3 Lesson No. 9 - dessert wines, late harvest, Muff, ICEWEIN,  FLAVORED LIQUEUR

Production and characteristics of dessert wines, Late Harvest, mold, Icewine, Liqueurs, Flavored, the most important Italian and foreign products.

Tasting of three wines: a past, or Eiswein Mold, a sweet liqueur, using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card, blue cheese tasting in conjunction with honey and slices of bread, chocolate.


The classification of wine: table wine, IGT, DOC and DOCG. As you read the label. Work on the major wine legislation in EU countries. Characteristics, dissemination and use of the most important international and local grape varieties.

Table wine tasting of a wine or IGT in the region of a DOC and a DOCG, using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card.


Beer: production, classification and main types. Distillation. The main distillates made from cereals: whiskey, vodka and gin.

Tasting of three types of beer: light, red and Trappist.

Monday, May 24 No Lesson 12 - OTHER SPIRITS

(brandy, rum, cognac, armagnac, calvados, tequila ...) AND LIQUEURS (domestic and foreign)

Different distillation systems. Main types of distillates and their tasting. The classification of liquor.

Tasting of a distillate of cereal, one of wine and one of marc.


The cellar of the restaurant. The wine list. Practical service.

Guided tasting of three wines of excellent quality and different types, using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card.

Saturday, June 12 No Lesson 14 – WINERY VISIT

Monday June 14, Lesson No. 15 - DEPTH SAMPLING AND SELF

Written and tasting (two wines), with the use of analytical-descriptive card. Correction collegial and links to other characteristics of wine. Consolidation and deepening of the most important and the technique of tasting.

Tasting a white wine and one red (such as tests for the trainees). Tasting of a wine of high quality using terminology AIS and analytic-descriptive card.

So I am ready to become a wine geek.....All of this will be in Italian, so I definitely will have my work cut out for me….I read on the Ais Napoli site that the course is full.

I’m not the first American who has chosen this path in Naples, nor will I be the last. I can guarantee, however, that I’ll be in the front row!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Final Four .....Ciao Vino, February 26

We are halfway through the season, so the question is after about 5 months of Winerdìs at Ciao Vino,   how much do you remember?  Can you correctly identify a wine that is 100%, in purezza ? Can you pick out the fragrances of a nebbiolo when compared to an aglainico?  Are you able to recognize the slight differences in color when they are placed next to a nero d'avola?  And what about when you compare the tastes of those three to sangiovese? Italy's top grapes will be on hand in Winerdì's version of The Final Four

The winner will be  you!!!

The cost of the evening is 25Euro and includes an informal wine tasting as well as a buffet afterwards. The games begin at 8 pm...ish.

For more information or to sign up contact, or call 348 590 7349 or 081 509 0425.

Ciao Vino, Via Madonna del Pantano, 50 Varcaturo

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vini and Cigars..An afternoon with Vincenzo Di Meo and Family

I remember the first time I met my Winerdì partner in crime,  Vincenzo Di Meo. It was at Ciao Vino last fall, our first Winerdì event. A young, simpatico, intelligent enologist who has a passion for all things vino. After the wine tasting was over, he said goodbye and he called me……signora….. STOP!….

At first I felt old. But then I realized that he was being polite and respectful. I am proud to have him as my friend.

I am also excited about attending his wine tasting at La Sibilla on the 20th. This Saturday at 5pm, La Sibilla in Bacoli will open their doors to give us a glance at their way of life. Vincenzo, with his family will not only treat us to a walk through the vineyards (weather permitting), but we will participate in a wine tasting of a rare Campi Flegrei wine, Marsiliano. Vincenzo, a highly respected young enologist, will lead us through a vertical wine tasting of three vintages; 2008, 2007 and 2006. And that’s not all, no that’s not all. A buffet full of Slow Food specialties prepared by the family to include minestra maritata, zuppa di cichiercie, fave beans and pancetta. Afterwards, for those who desire, una bella cigar with Salvatore Di Meo.

The cost of the event is 30 Euro and reservations can be made by contacting Salvatore at 3296007442 or

La Sibilla

Via Ottaviano augusto 19, Bacoli

P.S.  I am no longer signora....but Karen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bed and Breakfast Day-March 6th, 2010

Saturday March 6, 2010, free stay,

in thousand of Italian B&B's.

[this offer requires a minimum stay of 2 days]


The B&B Day is the National Day celebrating the Italian B&B. From the Alps to the island of Lampedusa, over 10000 accommodation facilities are eager to give tourists a warmest welcome, in the best Italian tradition. If you book your weekend between March 6 and March 7, your stay on Saturday 6 is free.

Check out their web site for more info:

Con le Dolce di Carnevale, Ogni Vino Vale?: What should we have with our Carnevale Desserts?

I mentioned in my last blog that Naples has its traditional Carnevale desserts- chiacchiere, castagnolo, and migliaccio. I was then curious what would be the best wines to accompany these classic desserts. I called up my friend,Fabrizio Erbaggio, (Ais vice delegate, Ciao Vino).

Fabrizio suggested we stay in the Campania region and selected sweet desert wines from the following wineries. I took the liberty of pulling their technical cards from their web sites.

 Eleusi from Villa Matilde.  A passito that is 100% falanghina, an amber color with gold reflections. Excellent persistence of flavors, good acidity and medium residual sugar; superb structure, sensations of silk and velvet. (


Next, Moscato di Baselice from Santiquaranta. 100% moscato. It has a  deep golden yellow, slightly amber color. It tastes very sweet, and has a very long persistence. (

One I'd like to try would be this Aglianico Passito from Santiquaranta . 90 % aglianico, 10% vernacciola.  Once again, I'll translate from their web site; It has an  intense ruby red color.  Aromas of  plum, dried fruit, jam, vanilla and spices; particular note of cigar.You can taste a  warm, sweet, great intensity and persistence. (

And we can't leave these guys out...a Fiano muffato  Privilegio  from Feudi di San Gregorio.  According to their technical card, this wine has a clear golden color, soft raisiny and floral scent with the flavors of candied citrus and white peach skin.  (  I am definitely going to have to try this one.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Sweet Carnevale Traditions

On a crowded street in Melito (near Guigliano), Stefano Pagliuca waits for me on the corner. A big man with a warm heart. I first met Stefano last September. He was one of the ‘artist’ who presented his pizza at Ciao Vino’s Winerdì on Campania Whites. I have been a fan ever since. So  I had a day off from work and decided to pay him a visit. Who is Stefano? A few of thousand  people know. He has 4 Facebook© pages, probably needs someone to just answer his mail.

I wanted to find out what it was that has enchanted thousands of friends and  fans, including myself. I found my answer….Tradition.

Stefano will tell you straight up that he follows the traditions that his mother taught him. From his breads, pizzas, and desserts, you will see Napoli in a nutshell. And there they were behind the glass. Le dolce di Carnevale….

Lella, his wife, and his daughter Daniella stood proudly behind their banco which exhibited the traditional Neapolitan Carnevale desserts. I had to try them out, of course.

Neapolitan Classics-chaicchere, migliaccio, and sanguinaccio
• First stop-le chiacchiere di carnevale. Classic. Flour, sugar, and eggs are the main ingedients for this pastry. Lella makes them in three different ways-fried in palm oil, baked, or baked dipped in sanguinaccio (chocolate).

Baked chiacchere sprinkled with powdered sugar
• Next- il castagnolo. A sweet stuffed ball packed with two types of filling. I bit into one, and was met with the sweet combination of chocolate and rum. The next one, limoncello with a charming pastry cream.

A sampling; migliaccio, chiacchere and castagnolo

• Last but not least-il migliaccio. This is basically a Neapolitan pudding pie. Lella’s was lightly sprinkled with sugar. Lightly. Made with semolina, eggs, sugar and flour, this light pudding is a must on any Neapolitan table on Martedì Grasso.

After coffee and great conversation, it was time for me to go…I realized that I was so caught up that I only took a couple of photos. Stefano told me to get some from his Facebook © page….’Which one?’ I wondered as I drove away.

Antica Panetteria dei Buon Sapori

Corso Europa, 300-Melito di Napoli

081 7117410 or 339 4777095

Next blog….what can we pair these Carnevale creations with? Ais Napoli will give their suggestions.

Great Blog on Campania's Restaurants

I have always been attracted to the chefs, food, and restaurants of Campania  Often, word of mouth is the best way to find that posto that is different, innovate, and away from our usual haunts.  So I was happy to find Davide Ricciardiello's blog .Ristoranti Campani.  Davide gets out to restaurants throughout the area and gives his honest impression on the menu, staff, and price.  The blog is in Italian, but -hey- I strongly feel that it is easy enough to follow.  Check it out next time you are looking for something different....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ais Napoli, Ciao Vino, Sud Ristorante with Giampaolo Motta of Fatoria La Massa

2 opportunities to meet and greet Giampaolo Motta, Fattoria La Massa, to discuss and try his wines. Mr. Mottola, through his wines, asks the question 'Ma in Italia si può fare, o meglio siamo in grado di fare, un grande vino senza ricorrere al Merlot, al Cabernet Sauvignon, insomma ai noti e “tradizionali” vitigni internazionali?' Translation; ‘Are Italians capable of making a good wine without adding Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, the traditional international grape varieties?

You be the judge. On Wednesday, February 17th at 1030 you’ll get the opportunity by trying his Giorgio I 2006 and 2007 at Ciao Vino.

Later that evening, head to Quarto’s SUD ristorante where chef Mariane Vitale will pair his Giorgio I (2001, 2004, 2006, and 2007) with a menu that will be hard to forget.

Wednesday, March 17 at 1030

Enoteca Ciao Vino Via Madonna del Pantano, Varcaturo (Na) Euro 20

Information and Reservations 081.5090425 – 3337267080 –

Wine tasting with

Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot/Giorgio I 2006/Giorgio I 2007

Wednesday, March 17 at 2100 Euro 60

Sud ristorante. Via SS. Pietro e Paolo 8, Quarto (Na): 081.0202708 - 327.0104725 - Information and Reservations

Tortino di farinella su salsa piccante di pomodorino del

Vesuvio e lumachine di mare


Linguine con porro, salsiccia pezzente e fasolari

Fettucce con capitone, uva passa e pinoli profumate alla



Baccalà in Carrozza


Taleggio di bufala, caciocavallo podolico, guanciale


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bring on the Amalfi Reds....Città del Gusto Wine Lab, February 4, 2010

A previous blog focused on the whites of the Amalfi coast region.  This is my take on the second part of the evening.

I was introduced to a sampling of  the reds of Amalfi when I attended Tintore Day (herelast November.  So as I opened the door to Città del Gusto Thursday evening, it was a pleasure to be greeted by Gaetano Bove, one of the wine producers from Tramonti.  We shook hands, a bit of small talk, and then I made my way to the front.  I came to taste the reds.  Not only those of Tramonti, the strong robust wines made from the tintore grape, but to also see how my aglianico tastes when grown on the Costa d’Amalfi.  To observe the differences when it is blended with a piedirosso from Furore or Ravello.  Let’s begin.

Like the first part of the evening, six glasses were set aside for our red wine.  Wine flowed, food served, notes taken.  The wines up for tasting were:

Getis Rosato 2008-Reale
                A blend of piedirosso and tintore. Aged in steel vats, though a small part matures in oak.

Tramonti Rosso Quattrospine Riserva 2006-Tenuta San Francesco
                Tintore (60-65%), aglianico and piedirosso.  Aged in barriques for 12-14 months.

Borge di Gete Tintore 2006-Reale
                100% Tintore.  Aged in French oak barrels for 18 months.

Tramonti Rosso ‘A Scippata Riserva 2005-Apicella
                Blend of grapes from Giuseppe Apicella’s great grandfather’s vineyard that was planted back in the ‘20s.  70% tintore, 30% piedirosso.  Aged in French oak.

Ravello Rosso Selva Monache Riserva 2004-Ettore Sammarco
                70% aglianico, 30% piedirosso.  Aged in barriques.

Furore Rosso Riserva 2004-Marisa Cuomo
                An even blend of piedirosso and aglianico.  Aged in barriques for 12-18 months.

I enjoyed the blend of tintore with aglianico and Piedirosso in Tenuta San Francsco’s  Tramonti Rosso Quattrospine Riserva 2006.  Dark ruby red coloring, strong aromas of red fruits and peppe rosso as Antonio Del Franco, president Ais Campania, pointed out.  In this wine, you could taste the tannins as well as note its time spent in the barrique.  For me, piacevole.
Another one that I appreciated was Ravello Rosso Selva Monache Riserva 2004 from Ettore Sammarco.  I was attracted to its slow evolution in the glass.   I could pick out aromas such as red fruits, cherries. Its dark ruby color.  The right level of tannins. 

Host Paolo De Cristofaro mentioned that these wines are table wines.  Not in the sense that their quality is low.  On the contrary,  these wines are wines meant to be on the table.  Served with flavorful Campanian dishes made the slow food way.  On Ettore Sammarco’s site, they mentioned that their red would be perfect with typical Neapolitan dishes such as lasagna, braciole di punta di costata, and parmagiana di melanzane.  I could see that. 

A good friend, Fabrizio Erbaggio, once told me that a good wine tasting is one in which you walk away with something, an amount of information that stays with you.  Knowledge that you can pull up the next time you try that particular wine or one similar.  I believe Città del Gusto was successful in this aspect. When Luigi Reale was asked to express his concluding thoughts, he enthusiastically exclaimed ‘Vieni a trovare la diversità’   Translation:  come and see how diverse the region is.  I think I’ll have to take him up on that…

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tra Terra e Mare...The Whites of the Amalfi Coast

Thursday, February 4th, I accepted an invitation to attend Wine Lab at Città del Gusto.  The theme of the evening was’ Tra Terra e Mare’, between the land and the sea. I was particularly interested in this event, not only because it would be the first time I attended a function at Città del Gusto, but because Paolo De Cristofaro of Gambero Rosso put together a lineup of the top 5 wineries from the Amalfi Coast.; Marisa Cuomo, Ettore Sammarco, Giuseppe Apicella, Reale, and Tenuta San Francesco.  I always try to take advantage of opportunities to hear from the wine makers themselves.  This gives me a chance to connect the wine with a face, a good conversation, and memories.  I was not disappointed.

Sommelier Franco De Luca 

I took my seat in the front row, eager for the event to begin.  In front of me were twelve wine glasses (plus one for champagne) patiently waiting for our sommelier.  Twelve wines-six whites and six reds were the protagonists of the evening.  As each glass was poured, Paolo De Cristofaro took us on a journey through la strada del vino of Amalfi, Fuore, Ravello, and Tramonti.  Slides with spectacular images of the vineyards, wineries, and the men and women who work so hard to give the world great wines proudly exhibited in the background.  Vineyards anywhere from 100 to 600 meters above sea level.  Rocky, chalky, volcanic soil on steep hills. Spectacular looking vines.  Affascinante.

Autumn in Tramonti.  (Tenuta San Francesco)

Seated next to Paolo were the men whose wineries would represent the best of the coast.  Andrea Ferraioli, of Marisa Cuomo, Bartolo Sammarco of Ettore Sammarco, Prisco Apicella of Giuseppe Apicella, Luigi Reale of Reale, and Gaetano Bove of Tenuta San Francesco.Each spoke proudly of their wines attentively listening to their colleagues, their friends. 

Gaetano Bove,  Antonio Del Franco  Bartolo Sammarco, Andrea Ferrailoli

Paolo De Cristaforo and Ettore Sammarco

Gaetano Bove and Antonio Del Franco

The whites were presented first and that is what I’d like to focus on for this blog.  Here are the wines in the order that they were served:

o   Tramonti Bianco 2008-Apicella.  60% Falanghina (biancazita), 40% biancolella

o   Ravello Bianco Selva delle Monache 2008-Ettore Sammarco.  70% Biancolella, 30% falanghina

o   Furore Bianco 2008-Marisa Cuomo.  60% falanghina, 40% biancolella

o   Tramonti Bianco 2008-Tenuta San FrancescoMixture of Falanghina, pepella and ginestra

o   Ravello Bianco Vigna Grotta Piana 2008-Ettore SammarcoA blend of ginestra, biancolella and san nicola

o   Furore Bianco Fiorduva 2006-Marisa Cuomo.  A blend of ripoli, fenile, and ginestra.

As each glass was poured, each member of the audience silently tasted, and jotted down notes. In fact it wasn’t until the end of our evening that Antonio Del Franco, President of Ais Campania shared his tasting notes. I compared my notes to his. I found that the  wines were beautiful to look at. Light yellow straw colored.  I often lost myself in the fragrances of fruits (such as green apples, lemons) and fresh light floral scents.   Diverse ranges of acidity, creamy flavors, smooth, morbido as I tasted each one.  The last two wines of the ones listed above spend time in oak.  This was noted right away when observing their slightly different color and somewhat stronger aromas.  I can’t pick a favorite in fact my opinion changed a few times over the course of the evening as we were served top class finger foods to go with our wine tasting.   I did like Marisa Cuomo’s Fuore Bianco 2008 and Tenuta San Francesco’s Tramonti Bianco 2008. 

The first three glasses

Top class finger food-octopus with tomato sauce

Next blog –the reds.