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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pasqua Wines Are Italy's Treasure by Philip S. Kampe

                 Some of the varietals of Valpolicella above the limestone and flint soil

Pasqua Wines- Italy's Treasure

Pasqua is one of my favorite wine producers in all of Italy.

In late January, I toured one of their facilities near Verona.
Winemaker, Giovanni Nordera, was my tour guide.

The tour ended with a wine tasting and elegant meal, at a table set-up, in between the oak barrels in the state of the art wine cellar.

It was one of my proudest moments.

The memory remained with me all winter.

Add curiosity as to what the vineyard looks like and where thee vines are situated created enough intrigue to my life that I decided to return in the spring and see what was dormant in the winter.

After some time of setting up an agenda with gracious Sara Biasi, the PR guru for Pasqua, we made a plan.

And what I saw and learned about this modest estate was worth the wait.

Pasqua was founded in 1925 by Umberto, Riccardo, Natale and Nicola-all Pasquas.

Ninety-two years later, Pasqua is still family-owned and run by family members.
In fact, the story is a little more complex. Amarone is the crown  jewel of the family and produced in Veneto. Pasqua is also well known for their facility in Puglia, where Primitivo and other wines are produced.

According to Giovanni, the winemaker, Pasqua makes ‘old world’ wines, their tradition, with new world elegance. He believes that Pasqua has maintained their high quality during the years and bring wines to the consumers that are complex, vibrant and affordable.

Giovanni led me through a very comprehensive wine tasting, beginning with their newly released and designed-see through label Rose-’11 Minutes.’ He explained the idea occurred because they leave the skins of the grapes on the press for only ’11 Minutes’ to impart the beautiful salmon color of this magnificent, luscious, wine. Five grapes are used to make this wine, with only 40,000 bottles produced in its first year. (25,000 were sent to the US)  Its success should lead up to as many as 80,000 bottles in 2017.

In fact, the name (11 Minutes) and idea were so novel, that, at 2017 Vinitaly, Pasqua built a special, psychedelic room with bottles of ’11 Minutes’ floating from the ceiling and moving as you walk through the display. It was a page out of the ‘Woodstock Handbook.’ Designed by Sara Biasi, remember her, the PR guru, this room was recreated at Pasqua’s headquarters, and toured in awe by all of the visitors.

Pasqua is a leader of ‘catchy wine names.’ Take for example the wine, Mai Dire Mai, which translated means, ‘Never say Never,’ a statement that follows Pasquas philosophy of always trying. Needless to say, all of the wines sampled were of top quality-especially the 2006 Amarone and the 2010, 16.5% alcohol, No Mai dire Mai (Never say Never).

Settling in on a beautiful, sunny day, we drove to Monte Vegro do Dal Colle, a panoramic spot where all of Veneto could be seen. Pasqua rents (25 year lease) 125 acres of prime terroir divided between vineyards and olive trees. Perched at 1600 feet, the land is rich in limestone and flint, lending itself to wines of great acidity.

Vines are hand-picked on the hills and machine harvested on the flat surfaces. The famous grapes for Valpolicella, Corvina, Oseleta and Rondinella thrive on the mountaintop at Monte do Dal Colle.

The understanding of the vineyards layout reinforced my belief in Psquas focus of achieving harmony between fruit driven wines and tradition. The family business has allowed the children of the Pasqua family to follow the paths of their founding fathers, while bringing it into the 21st century. The philosophy remains the same, high quality wines at approachable prices.


Philip S. Kampe

Monday, May 22, 2017

Not All Roses Are Created Equal-The Story of La Nuit En Rose by Philip S. Kampe

Terlato Wines at La Nuit en Rose

Every year, I receive an invite to attend the La Nuit en Rose cruise event that embarks from Pier 40 on New York’s Hudson River.

The Pier is just blocks away from the hustling Houston Street area, where you can find swanky and hip shops, restaurants of all sorts and an array of festive and dive bars. If you towards the sky, you will see rooftop bars that flaunt the view of Manhattan’s skyline.

Normally, when I board the Hornblower for the Rose wine cruise, I find a group of friends and hang out with them for the four hour event.

This year was a little different.

I received an invitation to attend a ‘Special VIP  Passport Tasting’ of Roses from Terlato Wines portfolio.

Terlato is a company that is an innovator in pursuing interesting, dynamic wines for distribution to the public.

Terlato is also an innovator in marketing, hence the Passport tasting. If you have a Passport, you can travel the world, and that is what the international Rose tasting of wines was about. 

The top floor of the boat was set-up only for invited VIP’s. The goal was to sample their array of Rose wines from around the world. The wines were each paired with a gourmet appetizer. The pairing of the rose with the appetizer raised the bar a notch higher. It was obvious a lot of thought went into the selections-which paid off immediately.

The wines that were represented at this phenomenal tasting included:
Sanford  Rose of Pinot Noir  Sta. Rita Hills 2016 (USA)

Belleruche Rose Cotes-Du-Rhone 2016 (France)

Il Poggione Brancato Rosato  Montalcino 2016 (Italy)

Protea  Protea Rose  Western Cape  2016  (South Africa)

Bodegas Valdemar  Conde Valdemar Rose  Rioja  2016 (Spain)

Mathilde Chapoutier Rose ‘Grand Ferrage’ Cotes De Provence  2016  (France)

Terlato Wines illustrated and educated the attendees, including me, that not all Roses are the same.

As a wine educator, if I were to teach a Rose wine class, I would use each of these wines to illustrate how universal the much used, French term, Rose, can be used nowadays.

Hats off to Terlato Wines for their effort to show the world that Roses are not only French wines.

Philip S. Kampe