Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gotta Have Godelia by Philip S. Kampe

A package arrived at my door. I had to sign for it. I knew it contained alcohol.

But, what was inside the 12 pound box?  I opened the box, saw two bottles neatly packed. Next to the bottles was a handwritten note. Try these. Tell me what you think.

The challenge was on.

Eagerly, I picked up each bottle, Both had the word, GODELIA, on the label. One bottle had a red neck, the other had a green neck. I lifted both bottles to confirm that they were red and white styles of wine. They were.

Next, I started reading the labels to gather as much information that I could. The red was 100% Mencia and 14.5% alcohol. It was a 2012 vintage. The white was a 2015 blend of 80% Godello and 20% Dona Blanca, a grape I knew little about.

Then I studied the technical sheets and learned the vineyard, Bodegas Godelia, changed direction in 2009 when the town’s pharmacist, Vicente Garcia Vasquez, purchased the property, which consists of 86 acres plus 37 acres farmed under contract. The Bodega is in the small town of Cacabelos, in the heart of Spain’s Bierzo D.O.

The takeover and re-evaluation of the property is still in its infancy. The wines come from ancient schist-soiled land combined with clay slopes. Vineyards reach 2,300 feet. Many old vines prevail: Godello 20-40 years old
Dona Blanca 70-90 years old
Mencia 50-90 year old vines


All grapes are picked by hand in the rocky, high altitude slopes of Godelia's property.

Winemaker Josep Serra Guyillen  and second in command, Silvia Marrao, run the operations.

Bierzo whites, like the 2015 blend, are mineral driven.

The 2012 red has really concentrated fruit, due to the age of the vines. Add a big dose of freshness and balance to the scenario and you have a top flight wine.

I have taken a true liking to these wines and urge you to sample or buy these under $20 bottles of wine for your short term consumption. To me, they are true VALUE Wines.

Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sandro De Bruno-A Winemaker from Soave Worth Knowing About by Philip S. Kampe


                                                                The soil of Soave

                                                      The gourmet Sandro De Bruno
                                                    The winemaker Sandro De Bruno
                                                       Grilled Polenta and Steak

                                                          Risotto al Durello
                                                                     Durello DOC
                                     Soave wines from different soils within the same area

                                              Sandro De Bruno And The Soave Lifestyle

As chance has it, I was searching for a vineyard to visit in the Verona area during my most recent visit this February and realized that with all of our visits (Verona is my wife’s favorite mid-size city) that I had never visited the Soave area-less than an hour northeast of Verona. 

My parents friends always brought over a bottle of Soave to our house in New Orleans when they visited for my parents bi-monthly dinner and poker parties. That’s how it was in the sixties.

Impressions remain with you during your whole lifetime. And Soave was one of those impressions.

In years to come, Soave from Bolla seemed to corner the American market with low cost magnums of affordable and very drinkable Soave. That is how taste buds for Soave developed and for many has remained to this day.

As a wine seeker and wine trend follower, my belief is if the world understood that Soave is more then just Soave Bolla, the Soave market would grow to the level it deserves.

One Soave producer that comes to mind and illustrates that Soave is truly a superior wine is Sandro De Bruno, the only vineyard owner that I visited on this trip.

My belief is that by visiting Sandro De Bruno, my mind opened up to the beauty and elegance of Soave wines.

This exercise was followed up on the following day by sampling a dozen Soave wines from numerous wineries at the Consorzio di Tutela del Soave office in the beautiful walled town of Soave.

What I confirmed was that these great wines, from various soil types, including volcanic, were wines that had amazing profiles and were made universally with balance, complexity, finesse and freshness. Before I had a wonderful tasting at the Consorzio,
Sandro de Bruno opened my palate to unique expressions of Soave DOC and Mount Lessini DOC areas. The wines I sampled were Soave Superiore DOCG,Durello Superiore DOC, Chardonnay, sparkling Durello Monti Lessini DOC, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Recioto di Soave DOCG.

Sandro De Bruno winery is located in the town of Pergola di Montrcchia di Crosara. The winery is a large building that houses a wine cellar, the stainless steel tanks and an area to entertain guests with a wood burning fireplace that serves as the perfect area to grill polenta, salami, marinated steaks and whatever Sandro and his wife choose to serve.

After sampling a sparkling Durello and a Durello Superiore, an elusive ancient grape that is known for its energetic acidity, Sandro’s wife asked if it we were hungry for her Risotto al Durello . We both smiled and nodded our heads ‘Yes.’

What followed was the beginning of a love affair for this risotto. My obvious question was, ‘Can you share the recipe for my readers?’ And fortunately, via e-mail the recipe arrived-which I will am happy to share with you.

You must note that there are really no exact portions, the sign of a creative cook and like my Capriese mother-in-law, a hand full of this, a pinch of that, is about all you need to know.

Adopted Word by Word from the Sandro De Bruno Winery by Andrea Rocchi

HEAT the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock stays hot. At the same time in another pot, heat the Durello until it reduces by ¾.
IN a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot. Saute 3 minutes until slightly translucent.
Add the Carnaroli rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so the grains are coated with the butter and oil. Saute another minute until there is a nutty aroma. Add the Durello wine until the liquid is absorbed. Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. Its important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed.
TO prevent scorching, add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for twenty minutes or until the grains are tender, but, still firm to the bite, without being crunchy.
STIR in the remaining two tablespoons of butter and the Monte Veronese cheese.

What you will need (this is my guess)
Chicken stock
Six scallions (use the white parts only)
A bottle of Durello wine, preferably from Sandro De Bruno
Carnoli rice is preferred, nut Aborio is fine
Only Monte Veronese cheese. (The younger, softer style is preferred. Find it online if you cant find it in your town)
A stick of Unsalted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

During part of my life I was a cheesemonger and set-up The Wine Library’s cheese and gourmet food department. The Wine Library is most famous, not for wine, but its guru, Gary Vaynerchuk-who has gone on to establish a large PR firm.  Two of the cheese that were popular at The Wine Library were the aged and less aged Monte Veronese cheeses. They are special types of cheese and worth seeking out. Learn more about the cheese by visiting or sending an email to: 

Looks like the priorities are twofold, learn about the wines from Soave, sample them and analyze them. Once you have a better understanding, buy a bottle or two to sip, while you cook the Risotto al Durello recipe. In the process, you will be able to realize why, only Durello can be used in this dish. 
Philip S. Kampe

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Wine Life-Get Involved by Philip S. Kampe

Aren’t we lucky to focus our careers and lives specifically on both the people we love and the wine world which in most cases is a big part of our vocabulary each and everyday.

To a select few, we are what our friends aspire to be, someone who follows their dreams.

You live once, of course that is debatable, but, maybe true.

Why not follow your inner feelings, forget about money and follow the course of your true love in life- the pursuit of wine.

The rewards are truly outstanding if you are a communicator and equally rewarding if you are behind the scenes.

What makes this industry so fascinating is that with each new harvest and each new vintage, wine stories emerge, which, in my case, puts my brain on fire, trying to learn why this vintage is so different from past vintages and what makes it unique.

Intellectual curiosity exists combined with the homework that must be done to understand why the wine tastes like it does, what were the weather conditions and what was the winemakers goal?

Life is too short not to follow your goals....consider wine and consider joining groups like the #winelover with people of the same will, waiting to take the plunge...

Philip S. Kampe

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Ramos Pinto-" The Jewel of the Douro Valley" by Philip S. Kampe

Standing out from the dozens of Port houses in Gaia, near the cable car and directly across from the magnificent city of Porto (Oporto) lies a mustard colored building with the words-well lit at nighttime-RAMOS PINTO.

Founded in 1880 by brothers Antonio and Adriano, Ramos Pinto capitalized on its innovative marketing strategy to focus initially on the Brazilian market, subsequently exporting half of their output to their South American ally.

The mustard colored building comes alive indoors with a guided tour, followed by a special port tasting (recommended). The tour familiarizes you with how the company was run internally-bills of lading-typewriters-and all that goes with a company focused on sales. The other side of the coin shows the marketing genius approach of Ramos Pinto, with thematic posters and statues that dare the viewer to think about ‘Ramos Pinto’ and only ‘Ramos Pinto’ as their exclusive entrance to the world of port. The living museum houses bottle labels of the past, medals won in competitions, all with the intention of showing off the laurels of Ramos Pinto.

Ramos Pinto owns 90% of the vineyards that supply their grapes in the Douro Valley. That equates to 580 acres from four Quintas: Utiga, Bons Ares, Bom Retiro and Ervamoira. Their products are unique because they have the ability to offer single Quinta varieties or create blends from the four Quintas.

Of all of the port producers in the Douro Valley, Ramos Pinto enjoys the distinction of having the largest proportion of vineyards in relation to its production. This gives the winery the much needed control necessary for both harvest and growing conditions.

When you ferry down the Douro River in the Douro Valley, the signs from Ramos Pinto alert the passenger to their land dominance. I noted their signs from every curve of the river.

Ramos Pinto, like so many vineyards, has changed hands and was acquired by Champagne Louis Roederer in 1990.

The properties are known as “the jewel of the Douro.”

The acquisition has made the ports from Ramos Pinto more accessible to their European counterparts and those of us from North America.  Ratings have been off of the chart by all of the major wine magazines and related publications.

The generous tasting that followed the guided tour proved, to me, that the ports from Ramos Pinto were exceptional and should be sought after. The 30 year port was both complex and exceptionally fresh, supple and balanced with butterscotch, dark cherry and a juniper berry and chocolate finish that lingered on my palate for minutes afterwards.

++Ramos Pinto is one of the ports chosen by TAP airlines to pour for their ‘Business Class’ flights.

Philip S. Kampe

Friday, December 29, 2017

Quinta da Alorna, Founded in 1723, Produces Their Best Wines Today, After Five Generations by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley

                                                  Quinta da Alorna-Wines from Tejo
It was a real treat to visit an estate located close to the Tagus River,  near the lovely town of Santarem, a couple of hours east of Lisbon (Portugal). 

Initially, the estate was founded in 1723 by Dom Pedro Miguel de Almeida, who named the estate after conquering the Alorna Fort in Goa, India.

Subsequently, Mr.Alemeida was known as the ‘First Marquis of Alorna.’

Quinta da Alorna is a unique piece of property. Not only a winery exists on its 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares), but, an iconic villa loaded with priceless art and antiques adorn the splendor of the whole estate, which also focuses on the environment, nature and sustainability.

Five generations of the Lopo de Carvalho family have farmed the land and cultivated the 550 acres (200 hectares)  of sandy-soil vineyards that focus on both Portuguese and International varietals, that include amongst others, Verdelho, Arinto, Chardonnay,  Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional.

Sustainability, social responsibility and conservation of the natural environment are the mantra of Quinta da Alorna. Growing onions, corn, peas and potatoes close to the vineyards represents the coexistence of natures’ importance at Quinta da Alorna.

Conservation of fauna and flora represent 5,000 acres (1,900 hectares) of the estates commitment to the environment.

Originally, the property was focused on agriculture, but, as of late, the emergence of fruit-forward wines paired with new technology and reasonable market prices have made Quinta da Alorna a highly recommended wine producer that exports to close to thirty worldwide markets. Sales, both domestically and abroad have risen year to year.

After visiting this ‘one of a kind Quinta’, it was easy to understand why personal involvement of the staff coupled with passion, produce the best results.

And following through on commitment, sampling wines from Quinta da Lorna on the TAP airline flights, where wines paired with traditional Portuguese cuisine from Michelin Star Chefs helps create a special attachment to the history and tradition of Portugal.

Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Think Delord Armagnac-The Perfect Holiday Gift For Wine Lovers by Philip S. Kampe


As you should know by now, I am a huge 'Armagnac' fan and quite, honestly, a rather new devotee to another level of the grape experience.

For all of you who are wine lovers, as I am, Armagnac is the next step after Port wines. Made with indigenous varietals and distilled only once, the end result heightens the grape experience, which all of us are following.

At holiday time, for me, it is hard to select what wine to give to whom as a present. So, the toss-up has always been to choose ether a Port or an Armagnac as a lasting gift for the enthusiast.

This year I chose Delord Armagnac, an Armagnac that is readily available thanks to Heavenly Spirits, an importer dedicated to high quality French spirits-of which one is Delord Armagnac.

A little history about Maison Delord:
+Founded in 1893 by Prosper Delord,
+Prosper Delord was an itinerant distiller who traveled with his pot still
+Delord is located the Bas Armagnac region of southwest France
+Lannepax was Delord's official home, unofficially until 1925
+Prosper deeded the 70 acre estate to his two sons, Gaston and George before his death in 1912
+Gaston and George later passed on the estate to their their two sons, Jacques and Pierre
+Today, great grandsons, Jerome and Sylvain manage Delord
+Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Baco and Folle Blanche grapes are used for Delord Armagnac
+Ugni Blanc creates a good foundation
+Colombard adds herbal aromas
+Baco adds roundness
+Folle Blanche adds floral notes
+No pesticides or fertilizers are used
+The soil is sandy and acidic with high mineral content
+After harvest, the grapes are pressed and fermented before distillation
+Antique Sier alembic stills are still used for distillation
+Only 30 liters are produced each hour from the antique stills
+Low temperature distillation is preferred, which preserves more of the flavors and fatty acids of the grapes
+The Armagnac is then put in wooden casks to age in the cellar
+The cellars contain Armagnacs dating back to 1904

Delord has several significant and highly rated Armagnacs that are easy to find-especially on the internet.
They range from the Armagnac, Blanche, which is wonderful on its own, but, can be used as a mixing ingredient for cocktails to the highly rated 25 year old that is complex with well blended tannins that make your palate sing with nuances of walnuts, white pepper, vanilla and cocoa.

Isn't this the time for wine lovers to treat yourself to a bottle of Armagnac if you don't choose to buy it for others?

Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pay Attention To Israeli Wines by Philip S. Kampe


                                   Pay Attention To Israeli Wines: They Are Serious Wines

Israeli wines have a true sense of history.

From biblical times until today, (Kosher) Israeli wine has been the only standard used for religious observances- a practice dating back thousands of years.

Today, Israel has been identified by consumers and trade people as a country that, like France, has many appellations that produce regional wine with international grapes in a climate and terroir that is unique only to wines from the Middle East.

Israel, like neighboring Lebanon, is a land of micro-climates resulting from its diverse topographical variations. Wines from Galilee, Negev, Shomron, Shimshon and the Jerusalem Hills each offer unique profiles consistent with the varied climate in Israel.

Since the 1990’s, Israel has seen a positive turnaround in its wine production and facilities. With the insertion of new, up to date technology and skilled winemakers, the wine industry has been the darling of those who like both Old World wines from the Judean Hills or New World styles from Galilee.

As what is typical elsewhere in the wine world, visiting winemakers or those apprenticing come to Israel and work with the existing winemakers and share their trade secrets.

As the winemakers have always kidded about, there is no difference in flavor of Kosher wine versus that of non-Kosher wine. The winemaking process is always the same. Quality is the concern of the winemakers, not quantity, as was the rule during the last century.

The French varieties have been widely planted throughout the wine regions. The most popular varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer,  Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

High sugar levels persist in the warmer wine regions. Winemakers must maintain adequate acid levels to produce consistent wine.

Some of my favorite and easy to find or order online Israeli wines include:

2016 Galil Mountain Winery Sauvignon Blanc ($17.99)
+Aged two years in stainless and bottle. 13.5% alcohol
+ Citrus amid a burst of minerality with a lingering finish
+ Winemaker: Micha Vaadia

2014 Yarden Oden Vineyard Galilee Chardonnay  ($20.99)
+Organic, French oak aged, 13.9% alcohol
+Big, buttery vanilla focused wine with hints of apricot and banana
+Winemaker, Victor J. Schoenfeld

2014 Gilgal Galilee Sangiovese ($14.99)
+Aged for twelve months in oak barrels, this spicy volcanic wine lights up food
+14.5% alcohol. Produced in Golan Heights amid 42,000 concentric basalt rocks
+Winemaker, Victor J.Schoenfeld

2014 Yarden Golan Heights Winery Malbec ($32.99)
+Aged eighteen months in French Oak
+14.5% alcohol. Elegant, well-balanced and full-bodied.
+Winemaker, Victor J. Schoenfeld

2014 Yarden Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ($32.99)
+Aged eighteen months in French oak barrels
+14.5% alcohol. Big, tannic and tasty. Best decanted for several hours.
+Winemaker, Victor J. Schoenfeld

2014 Galil Mountain Winery Yiron ($31.99)
+Blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 7% Syrah
+Aged sixteen months in French oak
+Chocolate, vanilla, leather mixed with fruity spice and vanilla
+Interesting mixture of grapes resulting in a complex, well balanced wine
+15% alcohol
+Winemaker, Micha Vaadia

Viticulture has existed in Israel since biblical times. In the book of ‘Deuteronomy (Deut 8.8), the ‘fruit of the vine’ was listed as one of the seven blessed species of fruit found in the land of Israel. Isn’t it time to pay attention to this ‘blessed fruit?’

Philip S. Kampe

Gotta Have Godelia by Philip S. Kampe

A package arrived at my door. I had to sign for it. I knew it contained alcohol. But, what was inside the 12 pound box?  I opened the box,...