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.

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