Saturday, June 29, 2013

Serendipity - Bacio il Cielo Paestum Bianco IGP 2011 - Viticoltori De Conciliis

Wikipedia: Serendipity means  a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it. 

Driving the 30 ish km from Battipaglia (Sa) to Agropoli  (Sa)and back can be challenging. .  The challenge isn't the heat or the traffic.  The challenge is  by passing the dozen of mozzarella farms and shops that seem to call out at you as you drive by.  And I must admit, they are enticing.  Especially on a Friday evening after a long work week.  So I decided to stop at Podere Galante on the SS 18 for a 1/ kilo of mozzarella and something to go with out.  .   Little did I know that that something would be Bruno. Che bello!  Each time  I'm in the area, I'm  reminded of my first visit into Cilento as a wine blogger nearly three years ago to visit  Bruno...Bruno De Conciliis at his winery  And there he was...on a shelf with wines from the region.   De Conciliis's Bacio il Cielo Paestum Bianco IGP 2011.  I purchased a bottle and my mozzarella and made my way home.

I let the wine chill just enough before I opened this blend of Fiano and Malvasia.  Bacio il Cielo...Kiss the Sky.    A kiss from the sky - a light golden kiss shining in the glass.  A kiss with light floral aromas and a touch of citrus. The palate was refreshingly fresh and flavorful with a nice finish. 
Time for the next challange of the evening. Would Bacio il Cielo pair well with  my mozzarella?  My Barlotti mozzarella that had called out to me on the SS 18 earlier in the evening?  This flavorful milky mozzarella that was fine on it's own?  
Two bites of Barlotti followed by a sip or two of Bacio il Cielo.

The perfect good night kiss.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sophia and Sirch - "Gli Amici" di Feudi di San Gregorio-Wine Tasting on the Run

As I mentioned in my last post, I had only a few hours at VitignoItalia a few weeks ago.  My mission, per se, was to taste wines that I hadn't tried before...or hadn't tried in a long time.  There was a stand, though, that I couldn't pass up.  One that has made me feel part of their large family every time I visit them in their winery, stop by their Michelin star restaurant Marenna', or see them on the road.  Feudi di San Gregorio.  I stopped by to say hello to familiar faces such as my maestro/amico Alessandro Palmieri, my sommelier course classmate Carmine Di Costanzo, and of course the ever smiling Antonio Fiore who was pouring that afternoon.  I asked Fiore for something new to me.  A white wine or two that I hadn't tried.  Was there something? I wondered.
Fiore reached into the ice bucket and pulled out a bottle .  A wine produced by Azienda Basilisco in the Basilicata region which Feudi di San Gregorio acquired a couple of years ago.  Bravo, Antonio.  I thought. This one I hadn't tasted, and I was very curious of the Fiano, Traminer, and Malvasia blend that I was about to try.  I introduced myself to Sophia Basilicata Bianca IGP 2011.  Sophia with her lightly intense and interesting aromas of fresh fruit that greeted me in that medieval Neapolitan castle that early afternoon.  Fresh. Friendly.  Flavorful.

Time to move on.
My eyes caught a few labels with a familiar name.  Sirch.  From Azienda Agricola Sirch from the Fruili Venezia Giulia region.  What were these wines ding at the Feudi stand?  Well, this winery is the brainchild of Feudi's agronomist and general manager Pierpaolo Sirch.  I'm a big fan of Sirch, so I was excited to get the chance to taste his wines made up north.  I quickly tried three of the whites.  The 2012 vintages of Sauvignon...

Ribolla Gialla...

and Malvasia...

Each wine was an excellent representation of the variety.  My amico Di Costanzo and I discussed this for awhile.  The Sauvignon tasted like a Sauvignon.  Ribolla Gialla a Ribolla Gialla.  Malvasia...the same.  And that's what you want when you open a bottle of white.  You want to degustare, taste, the grape variety...the territory.  You don't want extras.  At least I don't.  And sure, these were different than the whites that Sirch works with when he is in the southern vineyards in Sorbo Serpico at Feudi di San Gregorio.  And they should be.
That afternoon my wine tasting on the run was not only a time to catch up with old was also a time to meet new ones...
Sophia and Sirch...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cantine Olivella -Sant'Anastasia (Na)- Wine Tasting on the Run

I was degustando that Sunday.  Wine tasting in  downtown Napoli during the 9th edition of VitignoItalia 2013  held in  the picturesque medieval Castel del"Ovo.  I didn't have a lot of time, so when I entered Sala B, I headed right towards a familiar face, smile, and winery. Angela Giordana and Cantine Olivella.  It's been awhile since I had a chance to talk with gli amici from Sant'Anastasia.  I was curious about the new vintage, particularly the whites.   Like their Lacrimabianco Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco D.O.CC. made from Caprettone and Catalanesco grapes grown in  rich vulcanic soil.  I began my degustazione noticing the light straw yellow color, the light white floral aromas.  Then I tasted.  Full, sapid, flavorful.  Flavorful?  Fantastic...with a nice finish.
Lacrimabianco 2012
I didn't have a lot of time, so I asked Angela to pour me the next white.   Emblema Vesuvio Bianco D.O.C 2012 produced with 100% Caprettone.  Caprettone (related to Coda di Volpe) really shows its potential in this wine.  The color is deeper, aromas are fresh herbal.  But as I took a first sip, a second, I then went for the third.  Impressed with the fullness, the smoothness, the flavor.  Wine pairing possibilities are endless.  Especially for warm summer  fish based appetizers or the whole meal for that matter.
Emblema 2012
Sadly time to move on.  I had time for one more white wine during my wine tasting on the run.  Angela poured me a wine that I knew well.   Kata' IGT Catalanesca del Monte Somma 2012.  Catalanesco 100%.  I observed closely as Angela poured.  It was hard not to be reminded of  my son and I helping out during their 2010 harvest. My first harvest.  Nose to the glass...a mix of young fruit and white florals.  My palate enjoyed the morbidezza-smoothness.  The flavors.  The full body.  The nice long finish.
Kata' 2012
One that I lingered on as Angela asked me if I wanted to try something else.  Their new reds such as Vipt Vesuvio Rosso DOC produced with 100 % Piedirosso.  Or maybe their Lacrimanero Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio D.O.C. with a blend of Piedirosso, Aglianico, Olivella.   Or maybe, since I enjoyed their Kata',surely I would be curious to try their VO Passito di IGT Catalanesca del Monte Somma.  
I was curious.  I wanted to try them all.  But I was wine tasting on the run. Which meant just one thing.  I need to schedule a Vineyard Hopping to Sant'Anastasia...and soon.
By the way, on my way out of the fair, I discovered that Cantine Olivella won two awards during the fair.  Premio Speciale per i Giovane:  Ciro Giordano  and the Medaglia D'Oro (Gold Medal) per i Bianchi for Emblema...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Serendipity - Calamarata Pasta with Fellone Crab and Squid ...on the Roof

Wikipedia: Serendipity means  a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it. 

Some of the best moments are those that are momento...improvisato.  At least that's what I believe.  Like a recent visit to Roof & Sky to take a few pictures for my  last blog.  I sent owner Michele Grande a text message the morning of our appointment asking to change the time from 5 pm to 1230 pm.  Ok was his reply.
I didn't expect to see photographer and pirate Giannantonio.  Or even gastronaut Nando.  And I surely didn't expect one of the most unforgettable plates of pasta ...ever.
So during the interview, between a spritz a few appetizers and a glass of wine, the guys took turns stirring the calamarata pasta by cooking it directly in the pasta sauce, not boiling water.  Like cooking a risotto, Grand explained...This way the pasta soaks in all the flavors of the sauce.
Sauce?  Sauce.  He took a little extra virgin olive oil and sauteed a clove or two of garlic and a little peperoncino.  Then he added granchio fellone - a small crab with very little meat.  Little meat but claws full of flavor that seeped out into the sauce during cooking.  He also added a few squid. Why not?  In the end, a tasty plate.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

An Aperitivo on the Roof- Roof & Sky, Lago Miseno (Na)

It had been awhile since I had been up on the roof.    So that probably explains the flood of memories that rushed into my mind as I walked the plank on Pontile # 3, Lake Miseno. The plank that led me to Asteco e Cielo- Roof & Sky.
It was lunchtime ish and this lounge bar/boat on the lake had plenty of appetizers for me to snack on while I hung out on the deck chatting away with owner Michele Grande.  Chatting away with Grande about what makes this barca in the heart of Campi Flegrei one of the hottest spots on the lake.

By day - It is open as early as 8 am for a caffe', cappucino, and cornetto.  The perfect place to read the morning paper.  Or relax after that morning stroll around Bacoli's Villa Comunale.  Mid day.  Appetizers all around.

 Plenty to snack on over a glass of wine, aperitivo, or any of the wide range of frozen cocktails and mixed drinks the bar has to offer.  That afternoon I was lucky.  Grande decided to prepare us a light lunch..  He prepared one of the dishes  from his restaurant La Bifora.  A plate of calamarata pasta with crab and squid (recipe soon).
A plate of pasta that paired perfectly with the view of Ischia and Procida from the terrace and a glass or two of Falanghina dei Campi Flegrei from Piscina Mirabile.  Over a cup of strawberries and cream, Grande reminded me what happens when the hot summer days turn into hot summer nights.  Roof & Sky leaves the pier and heads out to the center of the lake around 10 pm ish.   The perfect place for a night cap, a bottle of champagne with friends, a plate of sushi flegreo...
But for that, I'd have to come back...soon.

Roof & Sky
Lago Miseno - Pontile # 3
80070 Bacoli (Na)
333 276 1608