grapes

The best wines of Alto Adige

Few appellations can boast the variety of soils, elevations, exposures and climates that Alto Adige has. It’s a region that stretches across valleys, plateaus outstanding for viticulture, slopes that are sunny during the day and refreshed by breezes at night, from the Mediterranean basin of Bolzano to the cool, high vineyards on the Mendola or Renon. This diverse appellation hosts many grape varieties, from the historic Lagrein, Schiava and Traminer, to more recently introduced varieties, like Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Bordeaux grapes. It’s an agricultural fabric that’s managed by a varied set of producers: cooperatives, historic estates, and small, family-run businesses. Together they cover a few thousand hectares of exceptional vineyards while maintaining a very high standard of quality.

The typical cultivars

It’s up to growers to highlight the attributes of the area, expressing the warmth of the shores of Lake Kaltern with thick Cabernets, such as Cantina di Cortaccia’s Freienfeld, the freshness of plots cultivated at 1000+ meters elevation, like Tiefenbrunner does with their Müller Thurgau Feldmarshall, or the inseparable link between the Eisack Valley and Sylvaner, as is clearly seen in the wines of Köfererhof and Strasserhof. Then there are areas such as Oltradige or Burgraviato, where elegance characterizes the best bottles, from Merano’s Pinot Bianco Tyrol to Colterenzio’s Sauvignon Lafóa, from Girlan’s Pinot Nero Trattmann to Gumphof’s Sauvignon Renaissance. Riesling has found its ideal habitat in the Eisack and Vinschgau valleys, while the hills surrounding the capital see Lagrein and Schiava competing for the best positions, with the former giving rise to compact and deep wines, and the latter spawning San Maddalena, a wine capable of expressing the warmth of the territory, bringing together richness and simplicity. The sparkling wine sector is attracting more and more attention, with many producers looking with interest at the world of bubbly, following the path traced for decades by Kettmeier and Lorenz Martini.

  • A. A. Bianco Grande Cuvée Beyond the Clouds ’18 – Elena Walch
  • A. A. Cabernet Sauvignon Freienfeld Ris. ’16 – Cantina Kurtatsch
  • A. A. Chardonnay Sanct Valentin ’18 – Cantina Produttori San Michele Appiano
  • A. A. Gewürztraminer Nussbaumer ’18 – Cantina Tramin
  • A. A. Lagrein Abtei Muri Ris. ’17 – Cantina Convento Muri-Gries
  • A. A. Lagrein Taber Ris. ’18 – Cantina Bolzano
  • A. A. Merlot V. Kressfeld Ris. ’16 – Tenuta Kornell
  • A. A. Müller Thurgau Feldmarschall von Fenner ’18 – Tiefenbrunner
  • A. A. Pinot Bianco Sirmian ’19 – Nals Margreid
  • A. A. Pinot Bianco Tyrol ’18 – Cantina Meran
  • A. A. Pinot Nero Trattmann Ris. ’17 – Cantina Girlan
  • A. A. Sauvignon Lafóa ’18 – Cantina Colterenzio
  • A. A. Sauvignon Renaissance Ris. ’17  – Gumphof Markus Prackwieser
  • A. A. Spumante Extra Brut M. Cl. 1919 Ris. ’14 – Kettmeir
  • A. A. Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg Ris. ’17 – Cantina Terlano
  • A. A. Val Venosta Riesling ’18 Falkenstein – Franz Pratzner
  • A. A. Valle Isarco Sylvaner ’19 – Strasserhof Hannes Baumgartner
  • A. A. Valle Isarco Sylvaner R ’18 – Köfererhof Günther Kerschbaumer
  • A. A. Valle Isarco Veltliner Praepositus ’18 – Abbazia di Novacella
vineyard

The best wines in Liguria

Liguria, a coastal territory about 350 km long, may appear uniform. In reality it’s anything but. To the west it’s enclosed by the Maritime Alps and by the Ligurian Apennines that open up near Levante. The mountains are crossed longitudinally by several valleys, and it’s here, historically, that viticulture has taken on various forms, leading to different enological traditions and wines. This year the region managed to express this diversity as never before, with 8 award-winning wines serving as a beautiful representation of Liguria’s individual grape varieties. As a district, Levante is compact, offering the highest quality: here Vermentino is the undisputed prince grape, and this year we particularly appreciated it thanks to 4 major producers.

Lunae Bosoni presented an excellent version of their Nera, a white characterized by fascinating exotic scents; the Federici brothers’ Baia del Sole manages to express all the grape’s minerality through the Sarticola; Giacomelli, with their Pianacce, stood out for its exemplary Mediterranean touch; finally Zangani’s Vermentino Superiore Boceda proves to be a wine of notable structure, but still elegant and harmonious. The diversity that characterizes the region’s west saw several different typologies awarded. The Luvaira, a Dolceacqua by Giovanna Maccario, is a true champion of complexity, but also deliciously drinkable, while Massimo Alessandri’s Rossese proves to be a harmonious, elegant drink, taking home its first Tre Bicchieri. Among the whites, the personality of Pigato emerges with 2 great bottles: Bruna’s multi-award winning U Baccan and another first timer, the Pigato di Albenga Saleasco by historic producer Marcello Calleri. Riviera Ligure and Dolceacqua to the west, Colli di Luni to the east. Pigato, Vermentino and Rossese. This is the region’s patrimony, though we mustn’t forget its smaller, but still important, appellations. One of these is Cinque Terre, an area of undisputed beauty that still manages (fortunately) to spawn unique wines such as the Sciacchetrà: a Passito cultivated on its famous terraced vineyards, immersed in a landscape of absolute beauty.

  • Colli di Luni Vermentino Lunae Et. Nera ’19 – Cantine Lunae Bosoni
  • Colli di Luni Vermentino Pianacce ’19  – Giacomelli
  • Colli di Luni Vermentino Sarticola ’19 – La Baia del Sole Federici
  • Colli di Luni Vermentino Sup. Boceda ’19 – Zangani
  • Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato di Albenga Saleasco ’19 – Cantine Calleri
  • Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato U Baccan ’18 – Bruna
  • Riviera Ligure di Ponente Rossese Costa de Vigne ’18 – Massimo Alessandri
  • Rossese di Dolceacqua Sup. Luvaira ’18 – Maccario Dringenberg

The best wines of Valle d’Aosta

It’s true that Valle d’Aosta, in proportion to the hectares under vine (about 400), is the region that obtains the most Tre Bicchieri. Of course we have great respect and also a pinch of admiration for the growers who, every year, cultivate their vineyards with the attention and care one might bring to a garden, even if these are often difficult to reach on foot and even more exhausting to work. Nevertheless, our awards have nothing to do with this more sentimental form of appreciation. Our awards are for the great wines, and only the great wines, that a region is capable of producing. If we think that for a long time the vineyards were planted close to farmhouses for mere convenience, without any kind of study of soil or microclimate, or of how the different grape varieties might interact, then we can understand how Valle d’Aosta’s qualitative potential is still largely unknown.

Valle d’Aosta wines: it’s time for whites

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ask vigneron and co-ops to take on this burden, even just a little. In recent years we’ve detected a passion and enthusiasm (more with private growers than public wineries or cooperatives) that’s led to a desire to seek out new directions. Nevertheless, Valle d’Aosta’s quality is largely uniform and evenly distributed—indeed, like last year, the region earned 6 Tre Bicchieri. The big difference compared to the past is that, despite last year’s praise for the region’s rich ampelography, in this edition only whites were awarded, including a passito. This is certainly not a rejection of its grape varieties and reds, which still performed well and will return to shine in the future. Rather, it’s a confirmation of our suspicions. We have long argued that the morphological and climatic peculiarities of ‘The Valley’, with its considerable day-night temperature swings, facilitate the production of fresh and fragrant whites, currently more sought after by consumers.

Rosset Terroir’s Petite Arvine Sopraquota 900 ’19 shows aromatic finesse and gustatory tension, serving as a clear example of just how well suited Valle d’Aosta’s vineyards are for the production of world-class whites. Elio Ottin also demonstrated his familiarity with the grape of Swiss origin. Tre Bicchieri for Anselmet and Les Crêtes (Chardonnay) and Lo Triolet (Pinot Gris), true Italian icons. Finally, we close by mentioning La Vrille, who belong to a small group of elite Italian growers, as demonstrated this year by their Muscat Flétri.

  • Sopraquota 900 ’19 – Rosset Terroir
  • Valle d’Aosta Chambave Muscat Flétri ’18 – La Vrille
  • Valle d’Aosta Chardonnay Cuvée Bois ’18 – Les Crêtes
  • Valle d’Aosta Chardonnay Mains et Coeur ’18 – Maison Anselmet
  • Valle d’Aosta Petite Arvine ’19 – Elio Ottin
  • Valle d’Aosta Pinot Gris ’19 – Lo Triolet
grapes

The winemaking landscape of Basilicata

Basilicata must certainly be ascribed among the emerging territories of Italian winemaking as a region where wine has been produced, and of very high quality, for at least two millennia. Probably Aglianico, the great red grape of Southern Italy was born right in these hills at the foot of Mount Vulture, where in Roman times the gens Allia had extensive wine estates and marketed its wine (Allianicum) throughout the empire. Despite this, the position of the region, and the resourcefulness of the neighbours who were able to better master the trade routes, meant that these lands remained somewhat secluded, yet to be discovered, even if an event like Matera European Capital of Culture in the 2019 brought millions of visitors to appreciate its artistic and landscape treasures and its deposits of material culture such as the wine sector.

Wines of Basilicata awarded with Tre Bicchieri 2021

This year we tasted many excellent Basilicata wines, and we awarded six of them, all Aglianico del Vulture. The Materano is growing fast and we are easy prophets if we say that soon we will see other labels alongside the great red that is born at the foot of the volcano. Names such as Elena Fucci, Re Manfredi, Grifalco and Cantine del Notaio are already known to the public of wine enthusiasts. We therefore welcome the entry into the exclusive club of the Tre Bicchieri of Terra dei Re with an excellent Aglianico del Vulture Nocte ’16; and Donato D’Angelo, emblematic figure of the denomination, with a refined Aglianico del Vulture ’17.

Cantine del Notaio – Aglianico del Vulture Il Repertorio ’18

Donato D’Angelo di Filomena Ruppi – Aglianico del Vulture Donato D’Angelo ’17

Elena Fucci – Aglianico del Vulture Titolo ’18

Grifalco – Aglianico del Vulture Gricos  ’18

Re Manfredi – Cantina Terre degli Svevi – Aglianico del Vulture Sup. Serpara ’16

Terra dei Re – Aglianico del Vulture Nocte ’16

Calabria: a region with a high winemaking vocation

From a pedoclimatic point of view Calabria is certainly one of the regions with the highest wine-growing vocation in Italy, thanks to its characteristic narrow and long shape that starts in the north with a series of breezy plateaus between the two seas, protected from the cold north winds hailing from the Pollino massif; then shrinking drastically southward, where the steep hills reflecting on the sea on both the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts are protected at the top by the Apennine ridge. Even historically, this region can competes with other much more noble Italian territories: let’s just remember that Calabrian winemaking history begins well before the 8th century BC when the first Greek colonizers arrived on the Ionian shore, bringing with them alberello saplings, the use of wine vessels and more refined winemaking techniques than those of the time, moreover widely documented by hundreds of rock millstones found throughout the Calabrian territory.

Young people and women: the new face of Calabrian viticulture

After years of darkness, abandoned vineyards and a drastic reduction in production, for some years Calabria has instead registered a progressive return to viticulture: mainly thanks to young people (women in particular) who are most active in the sleepy world of Calabrian wine. From our tastings it’s clear that 2020, despite what has happened in the world, can be remembered as the year of the new beginning of Calabrian winemaking.

The wines of Calabria awarded with Tre Bicchieri 2021

Never like this year have so many wines conquered our Tre Bicchieri, but never like this year so many other wines could have done so, too. A real change of pace that sees as protagonists new wineries owned by motivated, skilled, enthusiastic men and women of the life project they have embraced: producing wine on their own land, respecting it by practicing organic and biodynamic farming, gratifying it by cultivating native grapes. In this moment Calabria is a veritable open-air oenological laboratory where history, tradition, desire for redemption and the firm will of those who are trying their hand at winning the bet with critics and the market with their own means meet. For our part, we invite all those who think that in Italy, after Etna, there are no other terroirs to be discovered, to keep an eye on this region. They could soon be changing their minds.

Roberto Ceraudo – Grisara Pecorello ’19

Librandi – Cirò Rosso Cl. Sup. Duca San Felice Ris. ’18

Antonella Lombardo – Pi Greco ’19

Tenuta del Travale – Esmen Tetra ’18

Luigi Viola – Moscato Passito ’19

wine

Everything seemed to be going well at the beginning of 2020, with reasonably exciting prospects. Instead the scenario, even in Sicily, changed suddenly: commercial circuits were blocked, foreign markets unexpectedly closed, difficulties arose that were neither foreseen nor imagined. All the Sicily players in wine tried to react with creativity: there have been problems (and there still are), but the wine planet has responded with energy and conviction, despite experiencing difficulties that have often led to understandable delays in bottling.

Sicilian wine and the generation change

From our observation point the scenario is still exciting, due to the constantly growing average quality, the liveliness, the technical-cultural evolution of the sector, the increasingly evident (and winning) combination of terroir and native grapes. Looking closely we also note something else that very important and incisive, which opens up new horizons. Many wineries have (or are in the process of) operating a generational transition: new subjects are at the helm, younger people, almost all with experience and an international vision, dynamic and motivated, who are giving new life and energy, strong of their significant studies, of long and important experiences outside the region, of new sensibilities.

The great cultivars of Sicily and the Etna continent

Another puzzle piece, a further acquisition is added to this exciting scene: catarratto, grillo, inzolia, zibibbo, carricante have now finally become – both concretely and in the collective imagination – great native cultivars at the base of great wines. There are 26 Tre Bicchieri winners in Sicily this year, which confirm the state of this wonderful land’s condition, a continent that surprisingly includes another, Etna. We highlight only the novelties: the Cerasuolo di Vittoria Il Para Para ’17 from Poggio di Bortolone is a happy marriage between terroir and native grape varieties. Tre Bicchieri, for the first time, also bestowed to the surprising Etna Bianco Trainara ’18 by Generazione Alessandro. Lastly, Etna Rosso Qubba ’18 of Monteleone, by Giulia Monteleone and Benedetto Alessandro, takes the highest position on the podium.

Cerasuolo di Vittoria Giambattista Valli ’18 – Feudi del Pisciotto

Cerasuolo di Vittoria Il Para Para ’17 – Poggio di Bortolone

Etna Bianco Alta Mora ’19 – Alta Mora

Etna Bianco Arcuria ’18 – Graci

Etna Bianco Pietrarizzo ’19 – Tornatore

Etna Bianco Trainara ’18 – Generazione Alessandro

Etna Rosso Contrada Santo Spirito Part. 468 ’16 – Palmento Costanzo

Etna Rosso Erse Contrada Moscamento 1911 ’17 – Tenuta di Fessina

Etna Rosso Lenza di Munti 720 slm ’17 – Nicosia

Etna Rosso Passorosso ’18 – Passopisciaro

Etna Rosso Qubba ’18 – Monteleone

Etna Rosso San Lorenzo ’18 – Girolamo Russo

Etna Rosso V. Barbagalli ’17 – Pietradolce

Etna Rosso V. Vico Prephylloxera ’17 – Tenute Bosco

Etna Rosso Zottorinoto Ris. ’16 – Cottanera

Faro ’18 – Le Casematte

Malvasia delle Lipari Passito ’19 – Caravaglio

Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé ’17 – Donnafugata

Salealto Tenuta Ficuzza ’18 – Cusumano

Sicilia Catarratto V. di Mandranova ’18 – Alessandro di Camporeale

Sicilia Chardonnay V. San Francesco Tenuta Regaleali ’18 – Tasca d’Almerita

Sicilia Mandrarossa Cartagho ’18 – Settesoli

Sicilia Nero d’Avola Saia ’18 – Feudo Maccari

Sicilia Perricone Furioso ’17 – Assuli

Sicilia Perricone Ribeca ’15 – Firriato

Sicilia Zibibbo Al Qasar ’19 – Rallo

Abruzzo montepulciano grapes

The best wines of Abruzzo

The winemaking landscape of Abruzzo includes sea, mountains, hills and glaciers. Facing the Adriatic Sea, behind the peaks of the Majella mountain range. It’s the evocative image we see every time we taste a wine from Abruzzo. The regional geography is special, with vineyards extending in a channel wedged between natural beauties: there are vineyards that hear the sound of the sea, others enjoy the silence of the mountains. In a few square kilometers we find the sea, glaciers, hills, and natural parks.

The 29,530 hectares of regional vineyards fall into this context, the great protagonist is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a red that’s capable of interpreting and translating all the complexity of such a varied and heterogeneous territory.

Wines of Abruzzo awarded with Tre Bicchieri 2021

There are 14 Tre Bicchieri winners in this edition of the Guide, 5 Montepulciano wines, ranging from fresh and fragrant mountain wines, shaped by cold winds and rock, to richer and more powerful ones powered by light and clay, up to more brackish sensations when we approach the coast. Valentini scores with an interpretation of great characte for his 2015. Alongside him we find Castorani, Illuminati, Tollo and Valle Reale. Three Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo were also awarded: Cataldi Madonna, Terraviva and Pepe, a trio of designer rosés.

Pecorino is clearly growing in terms of quality, a white that has benefitted from the sales success of recent years, turning towards more complex and mineral aromas, as the little Riesling of the Adriatic. It offers ever sharper and more defined wines, capable of evolving over time with surprising grace. Four Tre Bicchieri: Codice Vino, Villa Medoro, Masciarelli e Feudo Antico. Finally, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, two top awards for the denomination, with two versions that enjoy a surplus of bottle aging. We are talking about Agriverde’s Trebbiano Solàrea and the excellent Bianchi Grilli for the Testa di Torre dei Beati.

Agriverde – Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Solàrea ’18

Castorani – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Amorino ’16

Cataldi Madonna – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Piè delle Vigne ’18

Codice Vino – Abruzzo Pecorino Sup. Tegèo ’18

Feudo Antico – Tullum Pecorino Biologico ’19

Dino Illuminati – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Zanna Ris. ’15

Masciarelli – Abruzzo Pecorino Castello di Semivicoli ’19

Emidio Pepe – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo ’19

Tenuta Terraviva – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Giusi ’19

Cantina Tollo – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Mo Ris. ’16

Torre dei Beati – Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Bianchi Grilli per la Testa ’18

Valentini – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ’15

Valle Reale – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vign. Sant’Eusanio ’18

Villa Medoro  – 8 ½  Pecorino ’19

The best wines of Molise

Frontier land, hinge between zones and regions: these are often the definitions that are given for Molise. In our opinion, a little superficially. It is certainly true that there are some incontrovertible similarities with the surrounding areas – orographic or climatic for example, but also cultural or related to gastronomic traditions. It is equally true that the Molise communities manage to maintain their own strong identity. And what happens in regards to winemaking is the mirror of all this. If on the one hand, in fact, Montepulciano, Aglianico, Malvasia, Falanghina, Greco are grape varieties “borrowed” from Campania, Abruzzo and Puglia, nevertheless the wines that are made from these grapes in this region enclosed in the mountains of Meta and Matese and the Adriatic coast have little to do with their neighbouring counterparts. And each time they show off their Mediterranean or mountain characteristics, austere or light lent by the different production areas.

All under the banner of tintilia, the true regional native grape variety of which every year we find more focused and interesting versions, increasingly directed towards territorial interpretations based on the conservation of the characteristics of the cultivar. Our applause, in this sense, therefore goes to Claudio Cipressi, to Antonio Grieco (Tenimenti Grieco) and Michele Travaglini (Tenute Martarosa) for having presented very good wines at our tastings that only by a hair did not obtain the Tre Bicchieri recognition.

Wines of Molise awarded with Tre Bicchieri 2021

Once again this award goes exclusively to the most historic company in the region, Di Majo Norante, who proposed another great example of Don Luigi, a red with great tannic structure and Mediterranean warmth. All good then? Not exactly. Already last year, we complained that too few companies decided to participate in our selections. Unfortunately, this year too we have to make the same complaint. We would like to  increase the space dedicated to the best wineries in the region, but in order to do this, we need to have a greater number of producers entering the competition. Our commitment in the coming years will go towards this goal. We also hope that Molise producers feel the same way.

Di Majo Norante – Molise Rosso Don Luigi Ris. ’16

Tre Bicchieri Veneto

The winemaking landscape of Veneto

A vast region dotted with small and large denominations, Veneto pulls its weight even in the 2021 edition of our Guide. Starting from the eastern plain that stretches towards Friuli Venezia Giulia ending on the morainic hills that surround the Garda basin, alternating climatic situations and very different soils range from clayey and gravelly plains that lap the course of the Piave or Livenza, to the volcanic soils of the Euganean hills, from the basalt of Gambellara and Soave to the limestone of Valpolicella. Sometimes there are contiguous denominations, other times separated by a few kilometers of countryside where vines are not lacking.

If the eastern Veneto has embraced glera with conviction, the western part has remained faithful to the historical varieties that have lived here for centuries, with a production that alternates the fragrance of Bardolino and Custoza with the power of Amarone della Valpolicella. At the centre of the stage are the winemakers who with their work contribute decisively to the management of the territory, to the continuation of traditions and to the enhancement of that very Made in Italy excellence that is so popular around the world.

Winners of the Tre Bicchieri 2021 in Veneto

If Valpolicella always has the most representative wine in Amarone, here is a new interpretation of Valpolicella Superiore, increasingly made with finesse and tension as perfectly highlighted by Bertani’s Ognisanti, which indicates a journey that is fully convincing. The far west of the region has three stars of absolute value in Cavalchina, Corte Gardoni and Monte del Frà, interpreters of a territory that plays its forte on fragrance and refinement of the wines, as if to counterbalance the Soave where the garganega grape reigns supreme and characterises the best labels with personality and determination.

The Conegliano Valdobbiadene district combines a series of labels of absolute value enhanced by the debut of Borgoluce, interpreter of a new way of conceiving agriculture, giving up monoculture and developing the large winery complex in full harmony with the environment. The role of the Euganean and Berici Hills is confirmed in the enhancement of the Bordeaux vines; and we report with great satisfaction the success of Lessinia, a little-known territory where the combination of the vine and the territory allows the production of classic method sparkling wines of great charm as evidenced by Casa Cecchin and Ca’ Rugate.

Allegrini – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. ’16

Andreola – Valdobbiadene Rive di Refrontolo Brut Col Del Forno ’19

Roberto Anselmi – Capitel Croce ’19

Barollo – Frank! ’18

Lorenzo Begali – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Monte Ca’ Bianca Ris. ’15

Bertani – Valpolicella Cl. Sup. Ognisanti ’18

BiancaVigna – Conegliano Valdobbiadene Rive di Soligo Extra Brut ’19

Borgoluce – Valdobbiadene Rive di Collalto Extra Brut ’19

Bortolomiol – Valdobbiadene Brut Ius Naturae         ’19

Brigaldara – Amarone della Valpolicella Case Vecie ’15

Sorelle Bronca – Valdobbiadene Brut Particella 68 ’19

Ca’ Rugate – Lessini Durello Pas Dosé M. Cl. Amedeo Ris. ’15

I Campi – Soave Cl. Campo Vulcano ’19

Casa Cecchin – Lessini Durello Dosaggio Zero M. Cl. Ris. ’14

Cavalchina – Custoza Sup. Amedeo ’18

Italo Cescon – Madre  ’18

Corte Gardoni – Bardolino Sup. Pràdicà ’18

Famiglia Cottini – Monte Zovo – Amarone della Valpolicella ’16

Dal Cero – Tenuta Corte Giacobbe – Soave Sup. Runcata ’18

Il Filò delle Vigne – Colli Euganei Cabernet Borgo delle Casette Ris. ’16

Gini – Soave Cl. La Froscà ’18

Inama – Colli Berici Carmenere Carminium ’16

Masi – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Mazzano ’12

Merotto – Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Casté ’19

Monte del Frà – Custoza Sup. Ca’ del Magro ’18

Ottella – Lugana Molceo Ris. ’18

Pasqua – Cecilia Beretta – Amarone della Valpolicella Mai Dire Mai ’13

Leonildo Pieropan – Soave Cl. Calvarino ’18

Giuseppe Quintarelli – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Ris. ’09

Roeno – Riesling Renano Collezione di Famiglia ’16

Ruggeri & C. – Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Giustino B ’19

Tenuta Sant’Antonio – Amarone della Valpolicella Campo dei Gigli ’16

Secondo Marco – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. ’13

Speri – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Sant’Urbano ’16

F.lli Tedeschi – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Capitel Monte Olmi Ris. ’15

Tommasi Viticoltori – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Ca’ Florian Ris. ’12

Cantina Valpantena Verona – Valpolicella Sup. Brolo dei Giusti ’15

Agostino Vicentini – Soave Sup. Il Casale ’18

Vignalta – Colli Euganei Merlot Ris. ’15

Villa Sandi – Cartizze Brut La Rivetta

Villa Spinosa – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Albasini ’13

Viviani – Valpolicella Cl. Sup. Campo Morar ’17

Pietro Zardini – Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Leone Zardini Ris. ’13

Zenato – Lugana Sergio Zenato Ris. ’17

Sinosteria

The host – Jun Ge – runs the osteria. To be precise, Sinosteria. Precisely, an original mix between Chinese cuisine and Italian oenology, in the midst of the wave of natural wine, applying this formula to whatever one wants.

Origins: Asia Inn

Born in Beijing and arrived in Italy at the age of 12, Jun Ge represents the second generation of restaurateurs, with the first still firmly in command of the restaurant in Rome. “It was 2012. When we opened Asia Inn and we didn’t know what the Roman public could like.” A few months were enough to attract the Chinese community, not long-time residents in Italy, but diplomats, airline employees or large company businessmen. People – in short – who hadn’t lost contact with their homeland. “So we defined our cuisine better, ranging from different traditions: in China, restaurants make dishes from multiple regions. My father” he continues “studied in Beijing, Shandong and Sechuan in the 1980s. His, in a certain sense, is authentic cuisine, sans fusion of sorts.” Uncertain of the response from the Italian clientele, they kept the two menus separate for a while.

When Jun entered full-time into the restaurant – in 2015 – the two menus came together in a journey that varied along the way, also to introduce more recipes to customers and understand what they liked. Easy? Not so much: the differences are such that it’s complex even to names of the dishes: “Presentation is important. In China it’s short and without an ingredient list. We tried to give some logic to the menu, but there are still translation issues. This is why I continue to study and have my father tell me about traditional cuisine, even in theory.”

The Sinosteria concept

Years passed and it became time to give a more personal touch to the restaurant. Sinosteria was born on February 12th as the natural evolution of Asia Inn. “I would like to do more, spread all Chinese culture, not just the gastronomic aspect,” with talk about seminars on tea and Chinese medicine, passing through music and poetry, having as a reference the old cafes of the past, meeting places of culture. “I would like customers, including many sinologists, to leave here remembering not only the food, but everything. Knowing the history, culture, philosophy and way of thinking of a people, you can also better understand their cuisine.”

The challenge of tradition

The proposal is classic but not static. The menu changes to follow the seasons but always within the boundaries of tradition, while there is no lack of a new contemporary cuisine in China; “I don’t feel ready to make the step towards modern cuisine, I have many things to learn from tradition, even using local ingredients for a better service.” As in the case of Navelli saffron which enriches the rice cream with coconut milk – “the only dish created by dad for the restaurant” which today has Jun’s imprint in the use of the spice.

Chinese cuisine

“There is our DNA in the pork chops in sweet and sour sauce” explains Jun “there is our mother fond, a brown gravy that we have been feeding for 8 years, a sort of Solera method, which is a traditional practice for sauces, spirits or vinegar.” There is the Gonbao Chicken, with peanuts and friggitelli “that contains all the fundamental elements: the softness of the chicken, the crispness of the friggitelli, the crunch of the peanuts. The tactile sensation is fundamental in Chinese dishes, the sensations of basic tastes are not enough – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami – we also need fragrance and an enveloping sensation lent by chewing textures and the aftertaste that lingers after you swallow. Mind you, they are not exclusive to Chinese cuisine but for us they are essential. Elements that have been sought since ancient times unlike other cultures where they are present only in avant-garde cuisine.” A principle that marries another key point: “for us, creating a new taste must be the protagonist compared to the product’s, finely honed and with several steps to obtain a completely new flavour. So in a dish it’s important to first savour the taste of the dish, which needs to be harmonious, and then the taste of the individual ingredients that are not exalted in and of themselves”

 The passion for wine

A chat with a customer became the springboard for another passion: “we talked about what to pair with Chinese food, for me it was possible to combine a wine but I didn’t know which one. So I felt the need to study.” He started as a self-taught amateur and stumbled upon a book, “Memoirs of a wine taster,” by Daniele Cernilli whom he then met and with whom he later shared many reflections. “He is my first mentor.” He fell in love with this world, took classes, attended two courses, simultaneously, “they were different, one with a more commercial and service approach, I needed both.” He multiplied the tastings and deepened his knowledge, not only of wine but also of Italian gastronomy, thanks to Alessandro Brizzi, “my second mentor.” And he continued his search for wines to find the right fit with Chinese cuisine. It was again Cernilli who suggested a Cannonau for his sweet and sour pork ribs. It was a discovery. “I poured lots of Dettori’s Cannonau, without really knowing what was behind it, until one day a distributor introduced me to the company and made me try other wines. I couldn’t drink them. At that time there were many events focusing on natural wines: I couldn’t drink those either. But I didn’t understand why so many people appreciated them.” A new spark ignited and he decided to deepen his knowledge, once again. At Porthos, 4 years ago: “the seminars were fun, different from those done up to then. I decided to start over, from scratch.” The basic wine knowledge course was an important step: “Sandro Sangiorgi is a fundamental figure in my journey”. The third mentor. “Not only from a working perspective, but also from a spiritual one.” Events and evening started attracting wine enthusiasts – lovers of a certain type of wine: artisanal, natural, organic, funky, ethical, rebellious – eager to learn about Chinese cuisine.

The Sinosteria wine list

Today the wine list has 140 labels, about a third from Abruzzo and some new foreign entries, for example rieslings, “among the whites this grape is the most loved by the Chinese, the one that is best associated with our spicy dishes. I like to make guests taste the difference between an Alsatian, a Mosel and an Italian.” With the off-wine list items the cellar easily reaches 200 references, big names or unobtainable gems, for true insider connoisseurs, “interesting but difficult to combine with our cuisine.” Sometimes they are not everyday wines – “a Valentini, or the Paradiso by Manfredi 2010, or certain old vintages of Taurasi or Barolo” – others have a character that does not go well with those dishes: “the Pecorino of Emidio Pepe, for example, it doesn’t pair well with a Chinese dinner: it has a strong character, you have to wait for it in the glass, but Chinese dishes don’t, those don’t wait. The time factor makes them hardly compatible. A wine list,” he concludes “must be consistent with the cuisine and the restaurant. Then,” he adds “if we want to do a tasting, I draw from my off-the-list selections. But there is a lot of my character in the cellar and I want there to be my mark also in the kitchen” where the search for ingredients follows the same journey as the wine, with Abruzzo leading the way – Sulmona red garlic, potatoes from Fucino or Avezzano, Navelli saffron – and a lot of attention in the selection, from farmers’ stalls in Piazza San Giovanni di Dio, to those in Piazza Vittorio – “essential for Chinese vegetables” – to the organic produce sellers in San Paolo, especially for the fruit of his homemade sorbets (Jun’s great passion). Then there are some high ranking distributors for free range meats, like Orme.

The clientele

How do his customers take the wine proposal? “With the Chinese it’s easier, they allow me to guide them and appreciate the way I describe the wines, even things like a Tenores Dettori, a Cesanese Riccardi Reale, or a Primitivo Archetipo or Morella. The Italians, on the other hand,” he adds, “are more hesitant. It’s normal: getting a Chinese person to recommend an Italian wine is strange.”

Sinosteria – Rome  – viale Marconi, 586 – 06 92592048 – www.sinosteria.it

 by Antonella De Santis

Coop

What is the Autism Friendly Coop in Monza ?

Via Marsala in Monza. In an area abandoned for twenty years where the former CGS once stood, rises a peculiar supermarket: the first in Italy catered for autistic people with their families. The Coop store was inaugurated on September 10 and represents a significant step towards inclusivity in large-scale distribution, as well as an important recovery and redevelopment project of an abandoned area between via Marsala and via Solferino. Leading the work team that transformed the area of 11,000 square metres is architect Giorgio Motta with TP4 studio in Cantù, who chose to install solar panels on the roof of the structure and an “abstract forest” on the main square, with inserts of greenery, wood and coloured glass.

How the Autism Friendly Coop in Monza works

An investment of about 25 million euros for a sales area of 2,500 metres, staff of 85 people, including 57 new professional profiles: these are the numbers of the project, which boasts 350 parking spaces: “Our goal was to to make shopping easy, not only by arranging goods, but by guiding their purchases,” said Andrea Colombo, General Manager of Operations. Inside the supermarket, in fact, there are specific paths for different types of shopping, from the Foodie section for the most demanding gourmands, to the Green section for those who have chosen to follow a sustainable lifestyle, and the Easy option for quick and easy shopping. Then there is the Wellness department for lovers of fitness and also the Pet-Friendly one for those who need to shop for their pets. And shopping lists will hardly be needed anymore: the Move It mechanical arms appear from the aisles offering customers the products needed to complete purchases.

What does an Autism Friendly supermarket signify

The real novelty of the initiative, however, is the ability to include and involve autistic people as well, so that everyone can shop with ease and ease. This was possible thanks to a collaboration with  Nico Acampora, creator of PizzAut, a pizzeria run by autistic youngsters gathered under the association umbrella founded by Nico and inaugurated thanks to the money raised through crowdfunding in Cassina de’ Pecchi, in the Milanese hinterland. The staff of the Coop shop was trained by psychologists and psychotherapists experts in autism, who offered the staff all the tools necessary to encourage communication with autistic customers and facilitate their stay in the store. There are therefore a series of visual, luminous and communicative devices inside the store, where the volume of the music and the intensity of the light have been specifically adjusted to make all customers feel comfortable. No acoustic signals will come from the cashier speakers, where autistic people have priority in the queue. Finally, the signage of the products was created following the criteria of Augmentative Alternative Communication, submitted and approved by experts on the subject and a autistic focus group.

Also contributing to the project is Neshat Asgari, founder of the Alla3 Onlus association–who designed the pictograms for the signage–and Italian singer Elio–father of an autistic boy–who hope to transform the new Coop into the supermarket with the highest turnover “so that it may become an example imitated by all the other supermarkets.” It’s therefore necessary to support the project, encourage spending habits that are more inclusive than ever and open to all: “There is nothing else besides this initiative: nothing worse than seeing what can be done and is not done, like a tree that is not watered and slowly dies.”

by Michela Becchi

Nino Negri winery

Nino Negri Winery

Founded in 1897, the Nino Negri Winery is a reference point for wine growing of Valtellina. In the heart of the small village of Chiuro, for over a century the winery has been producing elegant and refined wines, with attention to the uniqueness of the individual vineyards. Held within the walls of the ancient Quadrio Castle, the cellar offers visitors the opportunity to discover the fascinating aging rooms connected to each other by underground corridors that run under Chiuro. The historic vineyards of the property are organized on steep terraces, supported by dry stone walls, literally torn from the rock of the mountain. For wine tourists (with reservations) there’s the opportunity to enjoy different wine experiences: a “classic”, lasting 90 minutes, includes a visit to the cellar tasting 4 wines; the “special” (2 hours) enriched with a journey through the ancient walls and a tasting from the barrels to discover the mountain Nebbiolo; the “exclusive” (4 hours) takes visitors to the Ca’ Guicciardi farmhouse and to the vineyards for a spectacular tasting among dry stone walls protected by Unesco, a symbol of heroic viticulture.

Nino Negri

Via Ghibellini, 3 |  Chiuro  | Sondrio

tel. 0342.485211 | [email protected]

www.gruppoitalianovini.it/index.cfm/it/brand/nino-negri/

Visits upon reservation Monday to Saturday

Cru: Sforzato 5 stelle

The Nebbiolo grape, locally called Chiavennasca, has been the undisputed protagonist of local production for over a thousand years. The grapes for Sforzato are harvested manually in crates and naturally dry out thanks to the action of the winds. 5 Stelle Sfursat is a full-bodied, soft and deep wine. It has medium intensity ruby colour, hints of violet, ripe red berry fruit and slight hints of sweet spices. It can age up to 25 years.

Blue Hill

Dan Barber and the story of Blue Hill

Residences for chefs just like the most popular residences for artists. A space, that is, where guest chefs can benefit from the hospitality, the kitchen space and the brigade made available to them to express their creativity. To the advantage of customers who will always experiment with different ideas at the table, informed in advance about the rotation that will see chefs from all over the world alternating at the helm. The operation would not even be unprecedented, were it not for the fact that the chef-in-residence plan will take shape, starting from the beginning of 2021, in two of the most popular restaurants in the United States, both linked to the figure of Dan Barber. The veteran haute cuisine chef that’s increasingly interested in playing a reference point role to enhance agricultural work and free and sustainable agriculture has built his career in the dining world around two complementary poles, centered precisely on that very farm-to-table cuisine that has become a fashion today, but in which Barber was a pioneer. This is demonstrated by the work started in 2004 at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns estate, in the countryside of Pocantico Hills; echoed by the chef’s city table in New York’s Greenwich Village with Blue Hill. It was only a year ago, with the inclusion of a new Hudson Valley area in the Michelin guide dedicated to New York, the restaurant in Pocantico Hills had made its debut in the Michelin Guide immediately winning two stars (one, however, has been illuminating the New York venue for several years). Now, however, the scene changes.

2021 in Pocantico Hills. 4 chefs for the “new” restaurant

For some time, the American chef had been developing the idea of moving away from the kitchen, and his letter recently sent to the staff clarifies the terms of what is a (temporary?) retreat shared with the partners and in any case aimed at safeguarding the philosophy that guided the two restaurants thus far. While it’s not yet clear what will happen in Greenwich Village, for the countryside restaurant Barber has already announced the intention of starting a residency plan that will run throughout 2021 (at the moment the restaurant is closed, but offers a picnic service on site and box of takeout products), with the alternating of four chefs – one per season – who will be free to interpret the Hudson Valley products in their own way, with the support of the team that already operates on the estate. The venue will take the name of the guest chef from time to time, without prejudice to the “location” at Stone Barns (while the nickname Blue Hill will come off the sign).

A commitment towards equality and freedom of expression

But there is more: if the challenge for the property will be an opportunity to renew the New York gastronomic scene with the graft of new gastronomic cultures, for the selected candidates the residency could prove to be a great help in a difficult moment. The idea is in fact to select chefs who have lost their restaurants or have found themselves in economic difficulty because of the pandemic, without limits of origin. The only requirement for the candidate chefs is to have a serious interest in agriculture. The chefs involved will receive compensation and free hospitality at the Pocantico Hills estate. The name of the first choice should be announced in early autumn, along with some more clarifications on the direction of the work that will start in January. 2021 will thus flow with the intention of realizing the commitment in the fight against social and gender inequality in the dining industry. For the future, however, plans are not yet defined, but Barber isn’t ruling out that Blue Hill can start again as we have known it so far.

by Livia Montagnoli

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