2007 Cascinotta Barbaresco by Angelo Negro

July 7, 2013

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The ‘2007 Cascinotta Barbaresco’ by Angelo Negro, Piedmont, Italy is a wonderful specimen of wine from this premium wine Producing region in Northern Italy. The Nebbiolo grapes display some sweetness which can also be sensed in this wine.

The tannins are strong but have already mellowed a little so that drinking it in 2013 is already a real pleasure. With age the tannins will be even softer, but…I could not wait for that.

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The colour is deep red; the cherry aromas with some vanilla and hint of rose-petals leave an impression on the palate. The medium bodied wine has a good structure and a long finish.

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We paired it with an open Mexican pie, a meat-bean dish which was prepared by my daughter Lucy. I usually add some chilli and the spicyness goes well with the residual sweetness of the Nebbiolo.

This is a lovely food and wine experience which I highly recommend.

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Leone Catani – Two litre bottles of Nero d’Avola from Sicily

October 7, 2012

Leone Catani – Nero d’Avola

Well, how should I say it? I cannot afford for every day drinking the wine on offer in 0.7 bottles any longer. Wine prices in Thailand are just too high.

Instead, we have taken to some cheap stuff. I know, that ‘life is too short to drink cheap wine’. However, some of the cheap stuff is actually quite drinkable.

The above wine is one of them, easily available in any super-market in Bangkok. Value for money, so to say, and in a two litre bottle. I feel like in the good old student days.

It is not worth to try to identify the producer or the location. No, just enjoy a drop of red for “the time in between”, I would like to call it.

Cheers from Bangkok.


My favourite Primitivo di Manduria – from 60 year old wines at Bacco, Bangkok

December 3, 2011

One of my favourite wines is the ‘Primitivo di Manduria’ produced from 60 year old vines, either the 2006 or the 2007 vintages (I like both) which I usually have at Bacco ristorante and wine bar in Thonglor, which is my favourite Italian restaurant in Bangkok.

Look at the colour

Manduria is a small country town in the province of Taranto with about 30,000 inhabitants in Apulia, close to the coast of Southern Italy. Apart from its interesting history it is also a place where the best Primitivo grapes are grown and made into wine.

The DOC Primitivo di Manduria wines are unlike other Primitivo wines made with a 100% of Primitivo grapes. The wines are usually heavy, dark red and have at least 14% of alcohol. More than two thousands years ago the Primitivo grapes were brought from Greece to Southern Italy and ever since wine making was part of the local culture.

In the video clip above the vines are not supported by any trellis system. The grapes are harvested by hand without secateurs. The bunches are small. The farm vehicle delivering the grapes to the winery is tiny.

Italo Western come to mind when listening to the film music. The processing, however, is more on the modern side. And I love the end of the clip when a glass of Primitivo is presented.

The ‘2007 Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni Old Wines’ by Feudi di San Marzano, is a great wine. I love the fruitiness, the elegance with the dense and velvety tannins, the finely balanced acids. Hmm, just like being in paradise.

Feudi di San Marzano is not a small producer though, it has 500 ha under vines and produces a wide range of wines, many from indigenous varieties.

So if you are in Bangkok and you want truly Italian experience, go to Bacco and order a bottle of Primitivo di Manduria. You will not be disappointed.


Mediterranean cuisine

April 30, 2011

Skewers of lamb on the “home” grill

Lamb is not necessarily everybody’s favourite. In my native Germany the consumption of lamb is about less than one kilogram per capita. Only in the 18th century lamb and mutton was the main meat consumed in German lands. Sheep meat has a bad reputation because most people do not know how to properly prepare it. That;s at least my understanding of the matter.

Since I marries Margit I have learned my lesson about lamb. It can be a wonderful dish, you just have to cook it in the right way and, I might add, with the right spices.

The finished lamb skewers

A nice salad with onions and some chilies

Also some rice

The coriander and the other “Southern” spices as well as the lamb itself call for a Mediterranean wine. So why not a Nero d’Avola from Sicily?

This red grape variety is the most important one of the island. The grape is used in blends and for the production of fortified wines. The ‘2009 MandraRossa Nero d’ Avola, IGT’ was just the right wine for that meal.

A beautiful colour of the Nero d’Avola

Wines made from the indigenous Nero d’Avola grape is sometimes referred to as the ‘godfather’ of Sicilian wine. The MandraRossa Estate is located near Menfi in the southwest of the Island. When I visited Sicily in 1988 (oh god that’s so long ago), my first and last visit of this splendid place, we did not go that far West.

The front label

The wine shows beautiful flavours of plum, is spicy and richly textured. The MandraRossa is not a blend but a single variety wine. In my view this is a wine for every day consumption. In the “Timo Mayer classification”, it would qualify as an “umpf” wine: a wine with guts. My verdict: get a bottle and enjoy.

The back label


Easter Sunday: Lunch at Bacco, Bangkok

April 26, 2011

No better place to go for a Sunday Easter family lunch than Ristorante Bacco, our favourite Italian restaurant in Thonglor, our old neighbourhood. We like real food with rustic charm and not the designer stuff, small bits of food looking like works of art on big plates.

Below you can see what we ate. First are the three antipasti we selected. Delicious.

Melanzane alla parmigiana

Carpaccio

Insalata caprese

All three antipasti on my plate

Our family consists of “traditionalists”. Three of us ordered gnocchi, the other main dish was tagliatelle with mushrooms in a creamy sauce.

Gnocchi

Tagliatelli delicata

How about the wine, you might ask. I love to order a simple ‘Primitivo’ (called “Zinfandel” in the USA) from Apulia. This time I selected a pricier wine than normal, a Primitivo made from 60 year old vines.

It turned out to be an excellent choice. The ‘2007 Primitivo di Manduria DOC’ by Feudi di San Marzano is a big wine (with 14.5% alcohol). The intense fruit aromas, plums mainly but also with earthy and spicy notes, had me forget that I was in the tropics.

Manduria is a town of about 30,000 inhabitant, about 30 km east of Taranto and about 14 km north from the Apulian coast. The place has a very warm climate.

The wine is made from 100% Primitivo grapes. One can sense that the vines are old, very old (sixty years, is what the label says). The bottles are also very heavy and old fashioned. I liked it, not wasting any thought about the carbon footprint.

2007 Primitivo di Manduria DOC

The back label of the Primitivo by Feudi di San Marzano

And after all this delicious food came the sweets or dolce as they are called in Italian.

Strawberries and cream

Pistaccio ice cream

Tirramisu

This was a very memorable Easter Sunday lunch. We had a great time with yummy food and delicious wine at Bacco. I will remember the wine and order it again.

If you need something special, and you do not want any more Thai food, have a break and eat Italian at Bacco. You will not regret it.

Address:
Bacco Osteria da Sergio
Sukhumvit Soi 53, Bangkok,
Thailand
Tel.: +66-2-662-4538
http://bacco-bkk.com


2006 Leonardo Chianti Riserva

April 7, 2011

The vegetable pastry

My twin daughters had prepared the antipasti (vegetable pastry, in Swabian: Maultaschen) and after that we had a chicken cacciatore.

Chicken cacciatore with potatoes

I had deliberately selected a red wine, a ‘2006 Leonardo Chianti Riserva’ by Cantine Leonardo da Vinci in Vinci, near Florence.

Normally, I try to avoid wine co-operatives and their produce but instead go, if I can, for single vineyard wines, small boutique wineries and family vineyards. More often than I want, I end up with what I call industrial wines, standard blends of grapes from many locations and different grape varieties.

The wine is a blend of Sangiovese 85%, Merlot 10% and some other red grapes 5% which are not specified. It has a beautiful colour, and a fruity aroma of red berries with notes of vanilla, a bit spicy. The wine is matured for about 10 months in French oak but the oak is not overpowering. The tannins are well balanced.

Leonardo Chianti Riserva

I admit that I bought the bottle because of its label. Who does not like Leonardo da Vinci and his famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man. I am a Renaissance man myself, a polymath, a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Beautiful dark red colour

Address:
Cantine Leonardo da Vinci
Via Provinciale di Mercatale, 291
50059 Vinci (FI) – ITALY
www.cantineleonardo.it


Di Vino – wine bar in Thonglor, Bangkok

February 7, 2011

The entry of di Vino wine bar in Thonglor

If you walk through the Thonglor-Ekkamai neighbourhood in Bangkok you might come to the conclusions that wine bars are like mushrooms, sprouting everywhere.

A good place to hang out, enjoy a glass of wine and have some Italian cuisine, is di Vino, a small and cosy wine bar in Thonglor, Bangkok. The play on words is funny too, is it “divine” or “of wine”? Both I suggest.

Roberto, the manager-owner, is a very sociable guy and a pleasure to talk to. He loves quality in wine and food and he is also a good cook. For my wife he made a fegato dish (liver), very difficult to make indeed, which was just superb. And he offers some great wine choices.

For instance the ‘2003 Il Lemos Negroamaro’ by Leone di Castris. The wine is not displayed on the website of Leone de Castris any more. You will fnid there only younger vintages. But the company has a wide selection of different wines on offer.

Leone de Castris was established in 1925 and the winery was the first in Italy which bottled rose wines. Many of its products are made from indigeneous grape varieties such as Negroamara, Primitivo and Aleatico.

2003 Il Lemos by Leone de Castris

This Negroamaro from Puglia produced in the Salento region, the heel of Italy, is just wonderful. It is a very earthy wine, rustic in character. Often it is blended with the highly scented Malvasia Negra as in the case of Salice Salentino. The grape produces some of the best wines of southern Italy.

Roberto has still some bottles left of the 2003 vintage, but you have to hurry to taste it before it is gone.

Address:
Di Vino
Penny’s Balcony, Thong Lo Soi 55,
Sukhumvit Road, Watthana, Bangkok, 10110