Tag Archives: Campania

The highlight of last nights Bibemus dinner? 3 vintages of Nanni Cope…

Three vintages of Nanni-Cope last night.
Three vintages of Nanni-Cope last night.

 

Last night my Italian wine tasting group (this group is made up of mainly other imports, wine merchants and journalists with an interest in Italian wine) looked at around 15 whites and reds from Basilicata and Campania.

Whilst there was lot’s of good wines, there was also lot’s of examples of over use of oak and obvious winemaking faults. There were though, lot’s of really good wines and this bracket featuring the 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages of Nanni-Cope were outstanding.

For those of you that are not familiar with Nanni-Cope, you should be. These are truly amazing wines. Below is some background information on the wines and winery.

 

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Giovanni Ascione, whose childhood nickname was Nanni Copé, founded the Azienda Agricola Nanni Copé in 2007. The wine is the fruit of his inner passion for wine, as well as of his encounter with a unique vineyard at Castel Campagnano, in the upper region of Caserta, Campania. It is a beautiful, unpolluted area, with vineyards alternating with woods. The Taburno and the Matese massifs are nearby, the sea is about thirty kilometres away, and the middle course of the Volturno river flows in the neighbourhood.   Vigna Sopra il Bosco spreads over a 6.2 acres surface at about 700 feet above sea level, mainly exposed to the north-west. The plants are aged over twenty years on average.

 Giovanni’s guiding philosophy reflects the inner power of a wine from the south, expressed in a northern style. Trying to enhance the extraordinary qualities of the Pallagrello Nero through the exaltation of the utmost elegance and drinkability. Never concentrated, neither in the vineyards nor in the cellar. A maximum expression of the terroir.

 Vigna Sopra il Bosco is a true obsession. The plants are registered one by one and the whole vineyard is divided into sectors subject to different pruning, foliage management, surface management, and harvesting approaches.

 The whole agronomic philosophy is aimed at minimizing interventions. The use of herbicides or pesticides is utterly excluded. A maximum amount of time is spent tending the vineyard with respect for the old plantings.   A diversified approach is used for each of the four zones of the vineyard followed by meticulous record keeping on all the plantings. Management of the spring (green) pruning,   new growth, the yields, the ground cover between vines and the harvest-period is done on a plant by plant basis.    Harvesting is performed row by row, sometimes plant by plant, based on the desired maturation level, over a period of time that spans from the end of September to mid-October. The grapes are selected bunch by bunch and blended, without distinguishing between varieties, however at equal maturation stages. Vinification involves maximum respect for the grape. Nanni Cope

 

See Naples and die: for Pizza Margherita…..

Over the last six years I have been to all part of Italy at least once and sometimes twice a year. Italy is so diverse and different from region to region and town to town. Once city that has been high on my bucket list is Naples: and for me everyone should visit Naples at least once in their lives.

This year, the opportunity to stay in Naples for one night whilst we visited our Campanian producer Salvatore Molietierri was quickly embraced and last night Stefano, my good friend Matthew Wilson who is travelling with us on this trip and myself set ourselves the feat of eating at Naples top three pizzeria’s. No mean feat considering we had just spent the day from 10am until 5pm with Moliettieri trying many different wines and eating so much food. Not the most ideal preparation for a Naples pizza shakedown but what can you do….

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The first stop of Pizzeria da Michele recognised as the best Pizzeria in the world. In the last few years it has seen it’s reputation drop a little as it has been over run by tourists from around the world.

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Pizzeria da Michelle does not offer a lot of choice: buy why would you want choice when you are eating the best Pizza in the world?

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A constant team of pizzaiolo work the oven and just watching these guys in action was worth the visit to Naples.

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And the pizza? The best I have eaten in my life. The texture of the dough and overall taste was unbelievable. We just couldn’t believe how good it was.

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Second on our list was Pizzeria Sorbillo which is rated by many pizzaiolo as the best pizzeria in Naples. Our thoughts?

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We thought it was good but not up to the level of Pizzeria da Michele. The quality of ingredients was just as good, with the main difference being the texture of the dough.

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And the final stop in our Pizza shakedown was Pizzeria Di Matteo. These guys use a Stefano Ferrara oven and the pizzaiolo even has a tattoo on his arm of his oven. Serious dedication I reckon!!

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And the pizza? Wow!! Just a smidgen behind Da Michelle and again the taste and texture was incredible. After eating seven pizza’s between three of us in the space of an hour I felt like I was going to explode.

However, you don’t come to Naples every day and for me, this was on my bucket list of things to do when in Italy. So overall an amazing experience and Naples is a fascinating city. Once you look past the dirt and craziness of it is definitely worth a visit. As they say in the movies, ‘see Naples and die’…

Today we are up early again to drive to Puglia for an afternoon tasting and dinner a tour newest South Italian producer, Fatalone. Their wines blew me away last June when I was in Italy for Radici and the wines have just been unloaded into our warehouses in Australia yesterday. They will be available for the trade on the 15th of April. Some of the best expressions of Primativo you will try from Puglia and kick arse Greco that you just can’t stop drinking,

One of my favourite things: Aglianico from Campania

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Last night I hosted a fantastic dinner for the Melbourne Food and Wine Society on Campania with my good friend Naz from Vinosita. We tried and talked through some great wines.

Tonight I couldn’t help myself but go back to this baby. One of the wines that keeps my loving what I do and it everything I look for in Italian wine. Forza Campania and Salvatore.

Forza Campania: a stunner from Nanni Cope….

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Over the next couple of months, Campania will be front and centre in my line of thinking. Next month I am presenting two dinners on Campania for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival with good friend Naz Fazio and importer of this stunning wine. I am also heading to Campania in early April to visit the producers that we import via @mondoimports and also touch base with a growing band of friends who call Naples home.

When it comes to native varieties in Southern Italy, Campania has been leading the charge since the early 1990’s. Recently it has been great to see other regions like Puglia, Calabria, Sicily and Basilicata follow suit and this is where my interest lies with these regions. I love native varieties grown in the region they originate in. The Nanni Cope TERRE DEL VOLTURNO IGT 2009 is exactly that wine and it is one of the best wines to come out of Campania for a very long time.

This wine is a blend of Pallagrello Nero 85%, Aglianico 12% and Casavecchia 3% and shows how good the grape variety Pallagrello Nero can be. Whilst it has similarities to Aglianico, it is more feminine, delicate and structured slightly different on the palate. Awesome wine and a real highlight for the red wines of Campania.

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Nanni Cope’ is the fruit of the inner passion of Giovanni Ascione for wine, as well as of
his encounter with a unique vineyard at Castel Campagnano, in the upper region of
Caserta, Campania. It is a beautiful, unpolluted area, with vineyards alternating with
woods, highly draining sandy soils, 25% slopes, and daily draughts, throughout the
year. The Taburno and the Matese massifs are nearby, the sea is about thirty kilometres
away, and the middle course of the Volturno river flows in the neighbourhood.
Vigna Sopra il Bosco spreads over a 6.2 acres surface at about 700 feets above sea
level, mainly exposed to the north-west. The plants are aged over twenty years on
average. The main grape is Pallagrello Nero, a late variety with a thick skin, austere,
characterized by ultra-fine tannins, which produces wines of strong personality. Its
rows, directed from the east to the west, also include Aglianico, which contributes to the
wine’s structure and acidity; both varieties are complemented with a very small share of
Casavecchia from own centuries old ungrafted vinestocks, in the region of Pontelatone.
Vigna Sopra il Bosco is a true obsession. The plants are registered one by one and the
whole vineyard is divided into sectors subject to different pruning, foliage management,
surface management, and harvesting approaches.

The whole agronomic philosophy is aimed at minimizing interventions. The use of
herbicides or pesticides is utterly excluded. Harvesting is performed row by row,
sometimes plant by plant, based on the desired maturation level, over a period of time
that spans from the end of September to mid-October. The grapes are selected bunch by
bunch and blended, without distinguishing between varieties, however at equal
maturation stages.

Winemaking occurs under constant temperature control, with minimum two-week
maceration and malolactic fermentation in new 500-l french tonneaux, where the wine
matures for one year, followed by bottle ageing for about eight months. The entire
process is aimed at pursuing maximum elegance. No overriping, no over-concentration,
but only the purest expression of two noble varieties, grown on soils that are perfectly
suited for high-quality vine-growing.

Giovanni Ascione, Nanni Cope’ as a child and forever in his heart, first developed his
passion for wine as a young man in France, when he was a manager in a multinational
automotive company. After a long and successful career in several companies, he
became management consultant, providing strategic support to organizations of various
sizes and in a wide variety of sectors. Meanwhile his mad passion for wine made him
travel through the world and write about unique places, people, and wines, also as a
contributor to major guides and specialized magazines. He tastes two thousand five
hundred wines a year on average, and never stops travelling, confronting with others,
trying to discover and taste new things or enjoy the utmost emotion of a great wine.

Varieties
– Pallagrello Nero 85%, Aglianico (clones VCR 23-VCR11) 12%, Casavecchia 3%.
Vineyards
– Vigna Sopra il Bosco, over 95%, in the Village of Castel Campagnano, district of
Monticelli. Average age over 20 years. Varieties Pallagrello Nero and Aglianico.
– Vigna Scarrupata, about 5%, in the Village of Pontelatone. Average assumed age
120 years. Variety Casavecchia.
2009 harvest: from September 26 to October 9.
2009 yield: 34 hl/ha (13,7 hl/ac).
2009 production: 7,500 750ml bottles and 120 Magnum bottles.
Alcohol: 13.30%.
Ph: 3.45.
Non reducing dry extract: 31,3 g/l.
Total polyphenols: 3,220 mg/l.
Net volatile acidity: 0.49.
Total sulfites: 75 mg/l.
Collection: in cases of about 16 kg (35 lb) each.

Wine-making technique: manual selection, soft crushing, fermentation and maceration
in steel vats at a 27°C (80.6°F) maximum temperature, wish short manual pump-over;
maceration differentiated according to the properties of the individual grape varieties,
for a total of 14 to 19 days; malolactic fermentation in 500-l new french tonneaux;
maturation in new casks (50%) and old casks (50%) for 13 months; bottle fining for at
least eight months.

 

Southern italian reds: when 100% is just not enough…

Wine 158: Stuffed full of flavour to the tune of 120% 🙂

Yesterday afternoon was an interesting session at Radici del Sud 2012, it included for me the best wine I have tasted during the whole competition, but also a number of wines which underwhelmed. Aglianico is one of my favourite wine styles. When it is right, it makes some of the best wines on the planet.

When it is smothered in oak, it becomes dull and boring, like so many new world wines that taste of coffee and vanilla. During the class of Aglianico’s yesterday, those producers that did get it right produced wonderful wines, that stood out like beacons compared to many of the other wines.

It was interesting that for me, it was Aglianico del Vulture from Basilicata which were able to producer better, more variety correct wines than Campania. It seems there is an international influence on Campania  which is hopefully a fad as it is robbing many wines of their indigenous style.

Judging Aglianico from Campania

In today’s final morning session we look at Taurasi so hopefully Aglianico from Campania can get back on track with this bracket.

With all the judging sessions of Radici nearly finished, it has given many of the judges a fantastic insight of the wines of the south. The best examples are as good as any of the best wines made in the world today. However, as with any region that is just starting to make a name for itself, many producers are unsure what style they should be aiming for and in future it will be interesting if each region can as a whole, make wine that highlights the advantages of using native varieties.

Myself with Davide Gangi editor of http://www.vinoway.com and Franco Ziliani (right)

For me, it has not only been fantastic in trying so many diverse wines from the south, but also meeting so many people who are passionate about the wines of Italy and especially the wines of Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. With this much enthusiasm and knowledge, it is good to know that the south is in good hands.

Vinitaly Day Two: Calabria,Campania and Tuscany (Chianti Classico)

Today was one of the reasons why Vinitaly is so important for wine importers from places so far away like Australia: to be able to go from Calabria to Campania and finally Tuscany (Chianti Classico) all in one day was worth the 30 hours on a plane just for that.

In Campania I visited our new producer for Mondo Imports, Salvatore Molettieri and tried through three vintages of each wine.

Salvatore Molettieri stand in Campania Pavilion: Vinitaly 2012

I also had time to visit our Calabrian producer ‘Le Moire’ who makes a small of amount of wine with passion and dedication that I find quite inspiring. His 2011 vintages reds look fantastic and I can’t wait to show these wines in Australia.

From their I moved to Tuscany and tried three a number of different Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva’s from all the benchmark producers that find their way to Australia. I loved the standard 2009 Chianti Classico and 2007 Chianti Riserva’s. These are stunning vintages for these two wines.

Tonight I am looking forward to a hearty meal and finish (or maybe start) the night with a Spritz in Piazza Erbe which is exactly what I did last night…

Spritz in Piazza Erbe (Verona)

Tomorrow I will do Franciacorta and Brunello di Montalcino.

Salvatore Molettieri to be imported and distrubuted by Mondo Imports in Australia

For the last year I have been searching for a producer of Aglianico from Campania that would be a great fit for Mondo Imports. We already import Pipoli Aglianico from Basilicata which makes fantastic wines all for under $20 a bottle.

Hence, when we looked to Campania, my aim was to look for the best producers of this variety. After reading and researching, the name of Salvatore Molettieri kept reappearing.

Fast forward three months and we have agreed to start a collobaration for Australia with the first wines due here around the end of April. These are great wines, with some wine critics considering some of the best in the whole of Italy.

Below are some quotes that are listed on http://www.wine.com and give you a good understanding about Molettieri.

“A new wave of wines from Campania that showcase how special the Aglianico grape can be.” – Robert Parker, Jr.

“This house will be a prime source of superior aglianico for years to come… Salvatore Molettieri and his sons take risks for greater ripeness and quality.” -– Stephen Tanzer, IWC

“Molettieri owns some of the best-located vineyards in Taurasi and his wines are textbook, uncompromising examples of what Aglianico can do here.” –- Stephen Tanzer, IWC

Molettieri’s vineyards are located in the finest sub-zone for Taurasi Aglianico production, Montemarano; production is entirely biodynamic at this tiny family-run estate (the family even mills flour from their own wheat fields to produce bread!) At these high-altitude vineyards, harvest often does not take place until mid-November, and sometimes under snow. These richly fruited purple-black wines are of unbelievable concentration and complexity with almost silt-fine tannins – not for the shy wine-dabbler, but mandatory for the true Italian wine lover. For delicious drinking at an earlier stage, the Irpinia Aglianico is an intense mouthful at a fantastic price (Tanzer called it “almost too good for its category.”) Robert Parker Jr. called the 1997 Molettieri Taurasi “The finest Taurasi I have tasted since the 1968 Mastroberardino.”

Molettieri is a practicing organic winery. Integrated insect and disease control is followed and copper and sulfur-based products are used in accordance with organic standards. Organic fertilizers, primarily manure, add nutritients to the soil. Molettieri uses no herbicides, fungicides or insecticides – the high altitude of the vineyards ensures breezy, dry air, making molds a rare occurance. Minimal doses of SO2 are added to the wines to ensure freshness and quality.

To read more about SalvatoreMolettieri click on the link by the person credited with discovering his wines, Marc De Grazia

http://www.marcdegrazia.com/mdg/catalogo/Molettieri%20Salvatore.pdf