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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Champagne Collet, the 'Art Deco' Champagne by Philip S. Kampe

On New Year’s Eve, Champagne Collet was poured to our guests to celebrate 2017, the ‘Year of Collet’-something I jokingly said to our guests.

Now, four months later, Champagne Collet is making a resurgence into the marketplace and is making a name for itself after the brands history is beginning to catch on with the public.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a dinner where the Champagne Collet portfolio was poured and paired with exquisite complex food. The mousse held up well with all dishes and, once again, proved the fact that you could serve Champagne from soup to nuts and afterwards as an aperitif. This has always been a challenge and one that quality champagne can stand up to.

Champagne Collet , historically, was the first cooperative in Champagne (1921)

Today, total production is 500,000 bottles (41,000 cases). The main three champagne varietals used are: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  These grapes go into the ‘Premiers and Grand Crus.’

What I sampled at the wine dinner:

Champagne Collet Brut Art Deco ($42)
40% Chardonnay  40% Pinot Noir  20% Pinot Meunier
Aged 4 years minimum in chalk cellar

Champagne Collet Blanc de Blancs ($49)
100% Chardonnay
Aged 5 years in chalk cellar

Champagne Collet Brut Rose ($49)
50% Pinot Noir  40% Chardonnay  10% Pinot Meunier
Aged 4 years in chalk cellar

Champagne Collet Collection Privee 2006  ($69)
55% Chardonnay  45% Pinot Noir
Aged 7 years minimum in wood

Champagne Collet Esprit Couture  ($120)
50% Pinot Noir  40% Chardonnay  10% Pinot Meunier
Aged 5 years minimum in chalk cellar

Aging, when in wood, takes place in barrels from Champagne’s regions forests.

Champagne Collet has embraced the Art Deco period as part of its identity. The Champagne’s are cellared far beyond the minimum standards and the results show the sophistication and elegance in each bubble.

Philip S. Kampe

Thursday, April 20, 2017

WILCO, the Band, and the SOLID SOUND Festival is Coming to Mass MoCA by Philip S. Kampe

All of my wine friends.
I wanted to share this with all of you.
I am a big supporter of music and festivals that are unique.
This is one and only happens every two years in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Join me and the 5,000 participants (a very small number) this June 23rd-25th.


Mass MoCA, the grounds where the Solid Sound Festival takes place, is only SIXTY-THREE (63) days away until the opening of  the 2017 WILCO Music & Arts Festival, (Friday, June 23rd to Sunday, June 25th)

As a true Solid Sound Festival fan, and an attendee from day one in 2011, I go through withdrawal during the two year hiatus. The festival only takes place on the odd years and 2019 is too far away to think about.  

If you haven’t purchased your ticket, yet, there is still time, even though the clock is still clicking. The new generation, fortunately, waits to the last minute to make decisions-even big ones, like the Solid Sound Festival.

Although this festival is close to being SOLD OUT, there is still time to purchase tickets-a three day pass is still available or single day tickets, as well.

Go to: to secure tickets.

The Solid Sound Festival is not only music. Add comedy, art and overnight camping to the itinerary.

The key to the festival is to bring an umbrella, folding chairs, blankets, sealed or empty water bottles, a stroller if that is you and sun protection.

Coolers, large bags, large umbrellas and large backpacks will not be admitted.

Rain or shine, the festival goes on. Ask anyone about the monsoon on Friday night in 2013, when WILCO was on stage.
 It wasn’t pretty.

The lineup for all three days has just been released.
This is what we have to look forward to:

Friday, June 23rd

Dave & Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones
Nancy & Beth
Dawn of Midi
Alloy Orchestra Presents Man with a Movie Camera
DJ Funkhauser

Saturday, June 24th

Kurt Vile & the Violations
Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers
Kevin Morby
Robert Glasper Experiment
The Shaggs
Deep Sea Diver
Big Thief
Jeff Parker Trio
Alloy Orchestra presents Page of Madness
Joan Shelley
Kacy & Clayton
John Hodgman
Michael Ian Black
Eugene Mirman
Aparna Nancherla
Nick Offerman
Jean Grae’s The Show with DJ Quelle Chris
Bread & Puppet
DJ Funkhauser

Sunday, June 25th

Tweedy & Friends
The Neils Cline Four
On Fillmore
The Autumn Defense
Andy Shauf
Mark Bittman
Idris Ackmoor & The Pyramids
Daniel Bachman
Max Hatt
Edda Glass
Gustafer Yellowgold
Story Pirates

Be there or be square!

Philip S. Kampe


'We Can Never Escape from Chablis' by Philip S. Kampe

                                                                The Set-Up
                           The Chablis Escape Room challenge explained by Richard of 59:59

You Can Never Escape From Chablis'

What a goal? Figure out how to Escape from a locked room and drink wine from Chablis as the reward.

Sounds easy? Ask our team of six Chablis problem solvers and you would get the same answer. Sure, we figured it out, BUT, we didn’t apply our knowledge correctly.

If you haven’t attended an Escape Room event in the past, this is how your brain, teamwork, good communication, logic, creativity and attention to detail pay off.

Figure out the puzzle within 59minutes and 59 seconds and you are out. (Ironically, the event was run by a company called 59:59 Room Escape)

The game, sponsored by the Chablis Commission and the Bourgogne Wine Board, was held at At Fiori in Manhattan.

The goal of the game was obvious-learn more about Chablis using the clues, maps and puzzles in the Escape Room.

Each solved clue increased our Chablis knowledge.

What I learned about Chablis from the Escape Room Challenge:
Its history…
There are four designations of Chablis: Petit Chablis; Chablis; Chablis Grand Cru and Chablis Premier Cru.
Chablis is produced in northern Burgundy, in north-east France.
Chablis wines are generally dry with a signature minerality that comes from the soils.
Chablis wines generally are crisp and fresh with a flinty note, often due to high acidity.
Chablis special soils are known as Kimmeridgian-translated means, due to high marine fossil concentration, the soils are high in limestone, making this region unique to the others in Burgundy.

Even though we lost the game, we were all Winners after learning about and tasting the wines from Chablis. The four designations, Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Grand cru and Chablis Premier Cru were paired with a variety of hard to pair foods. The bright acidity paired perfectly with Ai Fiori’s best appetizers.

If the Chablis Escape Room comes to your city, by all means, sign-up.

Or create your own?

                                                                The clues...
                                                                  The puzzle
                                                               The message
                                                            The Reward-Chablis
                                                             The REWARD!
Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Casa Abril Selections Are Flying Off The Shelf at Zacky's by Philip S. Kampe

If you like wine, one of the best wine shops in America is located in Scarsdale, New York, not far from the Big Apple.

On a recent visit to Zacky’s, I asked one of the salespeople, ‘what are some of the hottest wines that you sell?’ and this staffer led me to the Spanish wine area and pointed to two bottles, each with handsome labels-both were whites and both were Casa Abril Selections, named after April Cullom-a wine personality and a woman who is devoted to all things from Spain.

I learned that the white wines from Casa Abril Selections small portfolio are hand selected and crafted in D.O. Valdeorras and D.O. Ribeiro (Galicia).

Casa Abril Godello 2014 (D.O. Valdeorras) is produced at a small family-run farm tended to be Alvaro Vidal. The up to 40 year old vines are planted in granite, slate and alluvial soils. The fruit oriented wines, all made without oak, result is an impressive, terroir driven, aromatic wine-full of acidity and balanced ripeness, focusing on ripe peach and tangy apple flavors.

Alma de Vino Mar y Montana (D.O. Ribeiro) is made from Treixadura, Torrontes, Godello, Albarino and Loureira grapes.  Hot summers with cool nights in this micro-climate allow the grapes to ripen expressively, creating silky fruit, balanced acidity and minerality from this sustainable and non-oaked creation.

Both wines were great, affordable and ones that are not on everyone’s radar.

It looks like the staff at Zacky’s knows what they are talking about.

As an aside, Sergio Gonzalez-Tornero, April's uncle, resident artist in Mahopac provided the artwork for the Alma de Vino labels.

Philip S. Kampe

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The #winelover store: You will look cool and help our cause at the same time!

 As many of you already know, for the #winelover group, breast cancer has become very personal. 
What we’ve come up with is a non-profit group to raise awareness about breast cancer in the world of wine.

By getting one of the articles in our store (like the t-shirt above), you will look cool and help our cause at the same time! 

Please follow this link:

Thanks & Cheers! 

Luiz Alberto
  • Master of Wine candidate
  • Member of the Circle of Wine Writers
  • Italian Wine Ambassador
  • I combine my passion for wine with social media

Thursday, April 13, 2017

BIWC 2017 – An event with a cause against breast cancer.

The sixth edition of the Balkan International Wine Competition & Festival BIWC 2017 –with a cause against breast cancer

The sixth edition of the Balkan International Wine Competition & Festival will be held from
1 to 4 June, 2017 in Grand Hotel Sofia. Bulgaria will become again the spotlight for the world wine community and therefore one of the objectives that  BIWC has set  is the launching  of campaign against breast cancer, which goes around the world under the motto: #winelover against cancer, to raise awareness and ways for prevention of the disease. During the BIWC  #winelover against cancer t-shirts can be purchased and together with the tickets fund raising will help to buy and to provide the necessary help.

This campaign has involved more than 20 000 people already from around the world who are united in the group #winelover. The campaign was launched in 2015 and will be held for the first time in Bulgaria. The idea for the campaign came from the fact that the creator of the world movement #winelover, Luis Alberto will be part of the international jury of the Balkan International Wine Competition 2017., who together with Patrick Farrell  MD, MW initiated this noble cause.

One of the partners of # BIWC2017 #winelover agaist cancer is the  Balkan Fashion Week, which will broadcast the launch of the campaign live from Sofia to Paris,  Barcelona, ​​New York, London, Moscow, Tokyo, Lisbon, Milan and others.

The sixth edition of the Balkan International Wine CompetitionContest & Festival will gather for anothe ryear top Masters of Wine – BIWC jury chairman Konstantinos Lazarakis MW - Greece, Caroline Gilby MW- UK, Christy Canterbury MW- USA and Rod Smith MW - France.
The organizers have prepared a rich supporting program  for both wine professionals and wine lovers.

For more information:
Nelly Ruseva, Communications Manager BIWC: 0886 555 865, mail:

Galina Niforou, Director BIWC: 0885 731 331, mail:


Luiz Alberto
  • Master of Wine candidate
  • Member of the Circle of Wine Writers
  • Italian Wine Ambassador
  • I combine my passion for wine with social media

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Favorite 'Bobal' Wine Labels from Spain's Utiel-Requena DO by Philip S. Kampe

                                          Finca San Blas 'Lomalta' Crianza 2014 ($11)

                                                  Bobal Paraje Tornel 2013 ($23) 
                                       Madurado en Barrica 2015 Venusto Bobal ($12)
                                             Finca La Beata Bobal 2013 ($45)
                                                las 2 ces Barrica Tinto 2015 ($13)

Many email comments were sent to me regarding how beautiful the labels are of these 'hard to find' Bobal wines from the Utiel-Requena appellation in southeast Spain (close to Valencia). 

The beauty of the labels is evenly balanced with the beauty of the wines. Easy drinking wines, like the las 2 ecs 2015 to the big, dark fruit concentrated Finca La Beata 2013 span the gamut of the highly regarded, yet, under the radar, Bobal varietal.

The Bobal grape flourishes in the hot summers that exist in the high plains near Valencia. Bobal is known for its dark color, like black Spanish rice, and chewy tannins, like Swedish fish.  Bobal's spicy dark fruit helps create a hot sweetness that has effervescent acidity and long finishes.

Not all bottles are created equal-some tend to be lighter then heavier. like the Finca La Beata 2013.

My hope is that Bobal wines from Utiel-Requena will receive the necessary attention that they deserve. What that means is that importers will notice the potential these wines have and get on the bandwagon to distribute them to your local wine merchant.

Philip S. Kampe 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bobal, the Grape You Should Know About by Philip S. Kampe

                                                Bobal wines from Utiel-Requena


Years ago I spent time at the yearly pageantry of the ‘Las Fallas’ (the fires) religious event, which took place in city center of Valencia, in southeast Spain. Fires were lit at numerous intersections of the city to commemorate Saint Joseph.

At that time, I sampled numerous wines from the region and can still recall, thirty years later, that there was something special and unique about the wines from the Utiel-Requena region, an area that comprises the interior plains of the Province of Valencia.

Not until now, have I decided to research the wines and have come up with a few answers for my thirty year ago memories.

The Utiel-Requena Designation of Origin hosts a winemaking culture that prides itself on tradition. With over 10,000 acres of vineyards and history that confirms the archeological digs that the production of wine dates back to the Iberian age, well over twenty-five hundred years ago.

The findings point to several grape varieties. Of the many varieties found, clearly the Bobal grape has been the signature grape of the Utiel-Requena.

Yes, the Bobal grape is grown elsewhere, but, it is native to the nine municipalities that make up the Utiel-Requena DO.

The large region boasts a range of micro-climates that express the unique terroir found in the Utiel-Requena The grape that best illustrates terroir has been and will always be the Bobal. 

Most of the wines produced in Utiel Requena are reds, but, Cava, whites and roses are the other stars.

To fully understand what the Bobal grape is and its 2500 hundred year dominance, I acquired a half dozen bottles of wine from the Utiel-Requena DO to experiment with.

After sampling the six wines, this is what I learned:
The Bobal varietal leans towards full-bodied, over-the-top intensely fruity wines. Each bottle I sampled could have been poured and sampled on its own, minus the food factor. There are only a few varietals that can stand on their own merit.

Bobal from Utiel-Requena is one.

Secondly, the acidity that is pronounced in your mid-palate screams for more Bobal.

Add a spicy, robust long finish to your palate and you have, in my estimation, Spain’s third most important varietal, Bobal, only preceded by Tempranillo and Garnacha.

Possibly, by planting the Bobal varietal at higher elevations, which the winemakers have done. What the extra height does is to increase acidity due to the cooler temperatures.

The bottles I sampled were wines that had elegance.

These photos represent the wines I sampled.

What I loved about the wines were the unique labels. Each one is memorable and lends itself to the consumer’s eye.

One day in the near future, I plan to visit this wine region and speak with the producers about Bobal.

Their story needs to be told.

Philip S. Kampe


Friday, March 24, 2017

Mathilde Chapoutier Live! by Philip S. Kampe

Thanks for your many emails regarding what Mathilde Chapoutier looks like. I chose to focus on her wine in my previous article, leaving Matilde only as the winemaker-label designer-marketer and one person show.

As you can see from these images, certainly not the best photos of Mathilde, she is young, lively and acts care free.

The majority of Rose drinkers are not concerned with what grapes are used in the wine making process. Mathilde is and her 2016 Grand Ferrage is not your usual rose. The wine is made from many grapes, specifically Grenache (50%), Syrah (20%) and a mixture of Cinsault, Vermentino and Clairette.

                                                          Mathilde Chapoutier

Ask your wine merchant to order her wine if you don't find it. It is a small production wine that is in the Terlato Wines portfolio. The 2016 was released on 10 January and has received numerous accolades.

To describe the wine is simple, bright acidity, velvety with hints of peach, nectarine and apricot that create a freshness and finesse on the palate.


Philip S. Kampe 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why Mathilde Chapoutier's 2016 Grand Ferrage Rose is the Best? by Philip S. Kampe

                                                      2016 Grand Ferrage  

With Rose season upon us, yes and all of the Roses on the market, it is often hard to find the right Rose that can be your ‘go to Rose’ this summer.

My goal was to find the quintessential Rose.

After attending a handful of Rose Portfolio tastings and samplings, with over three hundred Roses offered, I knew the decision would be difficult, if not impossible. After narrowing the choices to a handful, I began to analyze each bottle and time after time, the Roses from Provence were in the running, as well as a few from, yes, Austria.

Roses from Provence started the trend, which has grown by double digits each quarter for the past several years.

 Today, you can easily find Rose sections filling space at your favorite wine shop-something unheard of years ago.

Roses are the late bloomers, leading the growth charts in the United States.

When I look for in a Rose is diversity. I don’t think of a Rose the same way that I think of other wines. Complexity and ageing factors do not matter.

What matters, as I mentioned before is diversity. What is diversity? In my case, diversity is one wine that can accommodate a complete evening of entertaining, from aperitif to dessert.

The Rose that I found that can accommodate nearly all foods is from Provence’s, Mathilde Chapoutier.

The wine is: Grand Ferrage Cotes de Provence Rose 2016 (under $20)

Mathilde is not a newcomer to the wine world. Her father and mentor is the notorious Michel Chapoutier (look him up).

Mathilde is a new generation winemaker. She does it all-designs the label-makes and markets the wine-and has the spirit of the ‘Flower Power Generation.’

She runs the show.

The 2016 Grand Ferrage is light, fruity and has an inner soul that coats and stays on your palate to tackle all types of food. At a recent lunch, the 2016 Grand Ferrage was put to the test and won-hands down-as a soup to nuts wine-one that was poured with each of the fifteen courses, including several that were gifts from the chef.

The Grand Ferrage is the diverse type of wine that can stand up to all dishes, whether creamy and sweet or spicy and hot.

My wine guidelines were taught to me by my parents. They would try the one bottle approach. Their only true success was Champagne.

With that upbringing and kitchen skills, I have looked far and wide for the new Champagne in my life.

And thanks to Mathilde Chapoutier, I have found it.

                                 The 2016 Grand Ferrage is the King of the Boardroom

Philip S. Kampe