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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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.


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


Restaurant review: Osteria Simon Boccanegra, Firenze, Italy

October 31, 2010

Ponte vecchio, Florence

For our first family visit to Florence my good friend Giuseppe Sepe had put together a selection of six “must do or must see if in Florence”.

These six locations were carefully marked on a little map Giuseppe had drawn for us. His suggestions did not disappoint. In fact we felt utterly privileged to have this little treasure map in our hands.

One of the suggestions was Osteria Simon Boccanegra. We went there for dinner. As instructed, we asked for Tommaso, a good friend of Giuseppe, who as Giuseppe said “would treat us like royalty” (which in fact he did – thank you Tommaso for this memorable evening).

There are actually (at least) three Boccanegras: the ristorante, the osteria and the pizzeria (there is an enoteca as well), all of which offer quite distinct and different menus to their customers. We were drawn by the allure of the food of rural Florence, manifesting itself in the Osteria Boccanegra menu.

Furthermore, Tommaso spoilt us from the outset with a couple of glasses of spumante (bubbly) first, and some selected delicacies later. Then we moved on to a selection of traditional Florentine “primi piatti”, dishes to get started with. They reflected the charm of a truly rustic Florence.

We had raw vegetables, some white bread with liver pate, and a selection of local cheeses with kumquat and other jams all of which were super delicious.

Raw vegetables

Liver on bread

Various cheeses with marmalades

After that we moves on to pasta. I ordered gnocchi al ragu, one of my favourites. Margit had papardelle with rabbit, and the girls chose spinach ravioli with ricotta cheese.

Spinich ravioli with ricotta

Papardelle with rabbit

Gnocchi al ragu

Then came the absolute highlight of the evening, the “bistecca Fiorentina”. Goodness me, we had almost no space left for more food but this beef was heavenly. Look at the picture of the steak below with its mouth watering faculties.

Bistecca Fiorentina

As regards the choice of wine, we were constrained or shall I say conditioned by a wine tasting with Giuseppe in Bangkok. He served us a bottle of Tignanello some time ago which we had not forgotten (how can you forget a Super Tuscan like this?). Of course Boccanegra listed Tignanello on their (extensive and very interesting) wine list.

So the choice was made quickly and a bottle of ‘2006 Tignanello’ by Villa Antinori was ordered.

The waitress opening the bottle

Wine decantered

2006 Tignanello by Antinori

Tignanello, bottle with the cork

I was amazed how skilful one could open such a bottle of wine. The cork would remain “encapsulated” so to say. The waitress decantered our Super Tuscan, and then we were ready. Great job. I have never seen such art elsewhere.

The wine is just beautiful, consisting of 85% Sangiovese, 10 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc grapes. Tignanello was the first Super Tuscan which was made that way. Traditionally all grapes are Sangiovese. No white grapes are used for the blend.

All the fruit is estate grown and comes from a vineyard also named Tignanello covering 47 ha. The vines grow on 350-400 meter altitude on limestone and red tuffaceous soil.

2006 was a great vintage, quality and quantity wise. After the normal fermentation, the wine is put in barriques where the malolactic fermentation takes place. After the blending the wine can age in oak barrels for about 12 months.

The wine is dark red with aromas of red fruit and berries. It has fine tannins and is elegant with a good structure and length. I just love the finish with is smooth and round like good chocolate. This was only my second bottle of Tignanello but the lust for more is lying in wait.

Tommaso with the Adam family

Occasionally we review our family holiday experience by rating the places we have visited. Boccanegra (the Osteria to be precise) came out on top of our Italy visit which did not come as a surprise. There was only one other restaurant which came close to it. But more about this another time.

If you visit Florence please feel free to use Giuseppe’s map. It is worth it to explore “his” Florence in 48 hours. And if you happen to bump into Tommaso, say hello to him. By the way, he loves Thailand, Bangkok and Thai cuisine.

Address:
Simon Boccanegra
Ristorante, Osteria, Pizzeria
Via Verdi 27/r and Via Ghibellina 124/r
50122 Firenze/Florence, Italy
Tel.: +39-55-2001090
Fax: +39-55-2263038
E-mail: boccanegra@boccanegra.com
www.boccanegra.com
Closed on Sundays!!!!


Giuseppe’s map of Firenze – God must have been a Florentine

October 23, 2010

The map of Firenze according to Giuseppe Seppe

When we announced to our Italian friend Giuseppe who lived for a long time in Florence, that we intended to visit his town, he was ecstatic. There are many things to see in Florence but we had only a weekend. How to make informed choices about the places to visit?

Here comes Giuseppe. He drew us a map, on it six places he considers a “must see”. In my subsequent blog entries I will introduce some of these places, especially the “foody” ones.

Of the six entries, four were related to food and drink, two were historic (Palazzo Medici Riccardi and Museo Nazionale del Bargello). They were:

1. I Due Fratellini: Tuscan sandwiches and wine shop
2. Boccanegra: restaurant with Tuscan specialities
3. Baldovino: Antipasti, pizza and fine wines
4. Pasticceria Artigianale Cobi: Florentine cakes and other local sweets

We did not have sufficient time to check out the “pasticceria” but patronized the other three places. I tell you that they were all worth the visit.

Thank you Giuseppe for these insider tips. We just loved your recommendations.


2007 Pongelli – Villa Bucci, Le Marche, Italy

August 30, 2010

2007 Pongelli, Villa Bucci

I have written about a wine from Villa Bucci some time ago (it’s Verdicchio). When I bought wines from Il Grappolo Divino and Alessandro Mauceri in Frascati, I also choose a red wine from Villa Bucci, the ‘2007 Pongelli’. This wine is a blend of 50/50 Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes with 13.5% alcohol.

I served it slightly cooler than normal. Well, it was one of these hot days in Rome where you come out only in the evening. We had it without food, just like that, while sitting under the olive trees. It was a great experience to taste it.

The colour is a strong ruby red. Raspberry aromas were there with some hints of vanilla and leather. The tannins are soft and mellow. The wine has a good structure, is full bodied and has a strong finish. The Parker-point-fans give him 86-88 of 100. My verdict: if I only could get my hands on some bottles of this wine here in Bangkok.

If you are in Rome you are in a better position. Just go and visit the Castelli Romani; stop by in Frascati and see Alessandro Mauceri and his new wine shop: Il Grappolo Divino. There you can also buy the ‘Pongelli’ (among many other treasures).

Address:
Il Grappolo Divino
Via dell’Olmo, 37
00044 Frascati
Italy
Tel.: +39-6-89026061


Grape vine leaves

August 27, 2010

Grape vine leaves can be used for many different things; to wrap food, for instance rice (known as Dolma, Dolmathakia Lathera, etc.). They are also popular for various decorative purposes. The pillar below was decorated with vine leaves and grapes. During my recent trip to Europe I also found coasters in vine leaf shape when I was regaled by an Elbling wine in Echternach, Luxembourg.

Decoration of a pillar

Vine leaf coaster in Echternach, Luxembourg

Many of the antique statues we have seen in Italy needed the grape vine leaves to cover delicate body parts. Isn’t this innocent leaf, pure organic of course, a very useful item nature has bestowed on us?