Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Steak Frites and a Ballon de Blanc at Thomas Keller’s 1 Star Michelin Restaurant Bouchon in Yountville, California

Pictures: Steak Frites at Bouchon in Yountville

Thomas Keller is one of the leading Chefs – if not #1 – of the United States. He now owns a number of restaurants that range from the 3 Michelin star experience of The French Laundry in Yountsville and Per Se in New York City to the relaxed and vibrant atmosphere of Bouchon, the family style dishes of Ad Hoc and the familiar sweets you'll discover at Bouchon Bakery. I recently had lunch - Steak Frites (direct) - at the Bouchon Restaurant in Yountville, which has 1 Michelin star.

Chef Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller’s landmark restaurant is the The French Laundry in Yountville, California. In 2006, he was awarded three stars in the inaugural Michelin Guide to the Bay Area. A year earlier, Thomas Keller was awarded the three star rating in the inaugural Michelin Guide for New York for his restaurant Per Se. Thomas Keller is the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants.

After the success of The French Laundry, Thomas and his brother, Joseph Keller (currently owner/chef of Josef's in Las Vegas), opened Bouchon in 1998, where I had lunch. Located down the street from The French Laundry, it serves moderately priced French bistro fare. A few years later, Bouchon Bakery opened next door. Over the following years, Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery opened in New York, Las Vegas and Beverly Hills.
Picture: Bouchon in Yountville

In 2004, Keller's much anticipated Per Se restaurant opened in the Time Warner Center complex in New York. Keller’s latest restaurant, "ad hoc", opened in September 2006 in Yountville with a different fixed price comfort food dinner served family style every night.

The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

Napa, CA: ad hoc, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, The French Laundry
New York: Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, Per Se
Las Vegas: Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery
Beverly Hills: Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery

Thomas Keller on French Bistro Food

“Bouchon is based on my memories of the amazing bistros I would frequent while traveling in France, such as Chez Paul and Hugon, where they serve meals almost family style in very small dining rooms. Often times the husband cooks and the wife greets and serves. First courses, headcheese or a charcuterie plate, may be passed from table to table. These neighborhood places serving simple, traditional dishes in a home-like atmosphere provided the model for what I hoped to create in Yountville.”

Pictures: Bouchon in Yountville

“French bistro food is my favorite - steak frites, a two-inch high quiche with bacon and onions, a salad with an egg on top finished with a perfect vinaigrette, a croque madame, some oysters and a glass of champagne. These are foods that represent the most important kind of cooking there is because they're rooted in tradition. So when I thought of opening a restaurant that's more casual than The French Laundry, I decided to explore and deepen the culinary heritage that I admire so much. A Bouchon can be, and should be, whatever you need it to be. It's a casual place, a social place, a place where people come to relax talk and to eat. A kind of home.”

The Plats Principaux

Here is list of the plats principaux - all French brasserie classics.

Gigot d'Agneau - roasted leg of lamb with fennel dauphine, braised winter greens, garlic chips & garlic scented lamb jus

Steak Frites - pan-seared prime flatiron, caramelized shallots & maître d'hôtel butter served with French fries

Boeuf Bourguignon - braised beef shortribs with bacon, cipollini onions, root vegetables, butter noodles & red wine jus

Boudin Blanc - white sausage with potato purée & French prunes

Truite aux Choux de Bruxelles - pan-roasted Idaho trout with roasted Brussels sprouts, toasted chestnuts & sage brown butter sauce

Coquilles St. Jacques au Cidre - pan seared day boat scallops with apple pain perdu, confit of pumpkin, caramelized salsify, apples & cider emulsion

Gnocchi à la Parisienne - sautéed gnocchi with a fricassée of garden vegetables & brown butter sauce

Steak Dijonnaise - Snake River Farms "eye of the rib," with potato boulangère, glazed mushrooms & sauce Dijonnaise

Croque Madame - grilled ham & cheese sandwich on brioche with fried egg & mornay sauce served with French fries

Moules au Safran - Maine bouchot mussels with white wine, Dijon mustard & saffron served with French fries

Poulet Rôti - roasted chicken with caramelized sun chokes, melted leeks, black trumpet mushrooms & chicken jus

The Wines

The Bouchon wine program features wines from France and the United States, primarily California. 

The Menu says: “We seek out wines that express their terroir, offer a sense of place and a story of the individuals who make them. You'll find this to be true in wines like a cru Beaujolais from Marcel Lapierre, or a Pinot Noir from the Anderson Valley that star winemaker Wells Guthrie crafts just for Bouchon.

With the same spirit of community, we are pleased to announce our Vin de Carafe program. In bistros throughout France, Vin de Carafe is simply what you drink. Order a carafe of wine, and what is brought to your table is simple, delicious, affordable and served without pretense. These wines are a representation of the region they are from and of the people who produce them, most likely friends, family or neighbors. They are honest wines, truly local.

At our Bistros, we have recreated the spirit of these special wines by introducing our own Vin de Carafe sourced from the wine regions surrounding our restaurants. The wines are selected in barrel from the cellars of the finest winemakers California has to offer, and are only available in the restaurant. They are delicious, affordable and unique - once a barrel is gone, the wine won't return again.”

We had a glass of the excellent Vin de Carafe.

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The California Pinot Noir Pioneer Walter Schug: From the Rheingau in Germany to Sonoma County in California

Wine ratings: Two American/German wines - Eroica and Poet's Leap - on Top 100 Wines from Washington State list for 2009

One of Oregon's Pioneering Winemakers - Myron Redford - with his Amity Vineyard Wines in Washington DC

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The 2011 Pinot Days in San Francisco

Oysters and Wine

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Lunch with Pinot Noir Giant Walter Schug in Sonoma, California

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The “Rhums Arranges” - Arranged Rums - and the Tropical Fruits of Madagascar

Pictures: In Ivandry, Antananarivo

During my recent 2 month stay in Madagascar, the evening would typically end with one or – more likely - several shots of Rhum Arrange. A bit like a liqueur, a rhum arrange is a rum that has been "arranged" - as is the Malagasy term - by the maceration of various fruits and spices or other items. A rum can be arranged with almost anything: pineapple, vanilla, litchi, herbs, combava leaves, lime, cherries, mango...the list goes on!

Pictures: Rhum Arrange at Sakamanga (above) and Princesse Bora (below)

Rhum Arrange is a specialty of Madagascar (and La Reunion). Arranged rum is found everywhere throughout Madagascar and is served as an aperitif or digestif.

Les Fruits de Madagascar et Leurs Saisons - Fruits from Madagascar and their Seasons

The main ingredients for rhum arrange is rum and fruits. I am not rhum arrange expert but those who are and I have talked to, all agree that basic rum is just perfect for making rhum arrange. When it comes to the fruits, it depends on what is available on the market. Below is list of the most popular fruits of Madagascar and their season. I added pictures of those that I found on the market during November/December/January.

Ananas – Novembre a Janvier

Avocats - Decembre a Mars

Bananes – Toute l’annee

Bibasses – Mai a Septembre

Citron Galets – Decembre a Avril

Citron Verts – Decembre a Avril

Combavas – Fevrier a Avril


Cocos – Toute l’annee

Fraises (Strawberries) – Juin a Juillet

Framboises Pays (Raspberries) – Juin a Juillet

Goyaves Blanches (White Guava) – Janvier a Mars

Goyaviers (Guava) – Mai a Juillet

Grenadelles (Fruits de la Passion) – Janvier a Mars

Letchis (Lychees) – Novembre a Decembre

Mangues – Decembre a Mars

Mangues Greffes


Papayes – Toute l’annee


Raisins Pays – Janvier a Fevrier

Vanille – Toute l’annee

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

A Comprehensive Guide - in Alphabetical Order - to the Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

Wining and Dining in Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar – Christian G.E. Schiller’s Private List of Restaurants in Antananarivo

The Wines of Madagascar - Good and Interesting Table Wines

Christian G.E.Schiller’s Private List of Restaurants in Antananarivo That Serve Malagasy Wine

Clos Nomena: Taking the Wine of Madagascar to New Heights

Fine Wine and Fine Oysters in Madagascar: Oysters from Fort Dauphin and Wine from Clos Nomena

Restaurant and Hotel AKOA – An Oasis of Tranquility in the Buzzing Third World City Antananarivo in Madagascar

Tsiky – Charming Restaurant in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Serving Good Food and Malagasy Wines

Sea, Sand, Soul and Sakafo, and Whales and Wine – At Princesse Bora Lodge on Ile Sainte Marie in the Indian Ocean

Monday, February 27, 2012

Visiting Balestri Valda in Soave, Italy

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Laura Rizzotto at Balestri Valda in Soave

Following the EWBC 2011 in Brescia, I went with a number of fellow-bloggers on a day trip to Soave, guided by Elisabetta Tosi . We visited 3 wineries – Balestri Valda, Coffele and Cantina Sociale di Soave and met a group of winemaker – Soavecru - in the Palazzo Vescovile in Monteforte d’Alpone, where we had lunch with them and tasted their wines.

This is the third in a series of postings on Soave:

Blogging, Wining and Dining at the European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC) October 2011 in Brescia, Italy – A Tour D’ Horizont

Wining and Blogging in the Soave Region, Italy

The Soave Zone

Soave is a white wine produced in the surrounding area of the fascinating middle age villages of Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone, between the picturesque cities of Venice and Verona in the eastern part of the province of Verona in Italy’s Veneto region.

The majority of the vineyards are in the hills. Beautiful centuries-old castles, churches, bell towers, and aristocratic villas are all part of the rich history and traditions of this area, and indicative of the region’s principal product, Soave wines. There are about 3000 growers and 120 wineries, ranging from boutique producers making wine from tiny plots to a few large cooperatives, which make credible wine at attractive prices.

Many of the vineyards are comprised of basalt rock or volcanic stone, which explains the minerality in the wines, while other sites are more dominated by calcaire (limestone). Given the excellent drainage of hillside vineyards, yields are naturally low, which provides more deeply concentrated wines which can age for many years.

Picture: The Soave Castle

Soave has developed a reputation of producing simple, crisp wines which pair very well with Italian but also other food. Soave wines tend to have low acid. It is one of the top selling wines in Italy, exported all over the world.

The prevailing grape is the Garganega, the fifth most planted white grape in Italy. Soave must contain at least 70 percent of Garganega, and the rest can be Trebbiano, but Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco are also allowed.

Classification of Soave Wines

All Soave wines – as all Italian wines – belong to one of the following 4 quality levels.

(1) Vino da Tavola (VDT): A very basic wine, made for local consumption; the bottle label does not indicate the region or grape variety. This is the wine you typically get served in a Pizzeria or Trattoria in Italy, when you ask for the “house wine”. Simple, cheap and decent. I can tell, sitting late in the evening at a Piazza in Soave and eating Pizza with a Vino da Tavola, served in a 1 liter jug, is just great.

(2) Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT): Wines that are considered to be of higher quality than simple table wines, but which do not conform to DOC and DOCG regulations. In the case of Soave, the label would only indicate the region, Veneto. So, you would not recognize it as a Soave. Sometimes, these are premium wines of winemakers who dropped the DOC/DOCG designation and instead carry the broader Veneto IGT designation, allowing them to try to improve quality by using nontraditional grapes, blends, viticultural practices or vinification techniques that are not allowed under the DOC and DOCG standards.

Picture: Balestri Valda Vineyards

(3) Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). Soave is currently the largest DOC appellation in Italy, with 15,500 acres of vines. There is Soave DOC and Soave Classico DOC. Soave Classico DOC can only come from the Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone communes. The Soave zone produces approximately 40 million bottles of Soave DOC wine every year and 15 million Soave Classico DOC wine.

(4) Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). DOCG wines are a tick higher in terms of quality requirements than DOC wines (maximum yield for example), which is the highest category in Italy's wine-classification system. About 13,000 acres of vine of the 15,500 acres of the DOC appellation also qualify for DOCG.

There are 2 Soave DOCG appellations: The Soave Superiore DOCG and the Recioto di Soave DOCG.

The Soave Superiore DOCG production zone is in the hillside sites, outside of the communes of Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone. If aged for a minimum of 2 years, the wine can be labeled as Riserva.

Second, there is Recioto di Soave DOCG, which can come as Bianco (normale), Classico (from the classical zone) and Spumante. These are sweet-style straw wines, where the grapes are dried indoors in open plastic containers for from four to six months, during which they lose over 50% of their moisture, followed by a long, slow fermentation, often in small barrels.

Straw wines are typically sweet wines, capable of long life, but do not have to be sweet. For example, the straw wines from the blend of red wine grapes typical of Valpolicella can come as dry or sweet: If fermentation is complete, the result is a (dry) Amarone della Valpolicella; if fermentation is incomplete, the result is a (sweet) Recioto della Valpolicella. Fermentation may stop for several reasons including high alcohol.

Balestri Valda

Our first stop was at Balestri Valda, just over the hill from Soave, a small family estate, founded and managed by Guido Rizzotto. Balestri Valda has 20 hectares of land planted mainly with Garganega (70%) and Trebbiano di Soave (30%). The total production of Balestri Valda is about 50,000 bottles.

Picture: Laura Rizzotto

We were received by Guido’s daughter, Laura Rizzotto.

Wine Making Philosophy

Laura explained: “Our management practices are an expression of our respect for our vineyards and the environment. Pruning, thinning, bunch selection; everything conforms to the idea of living in harmony with the vine. We harvest by hand, as tradition commands, when the grapes reach their peak, a fleeting moment that is carefully ascertained by daily testing.

Pictures: Touring Balestri Valda

Then the focus of attention moves to the cellar. This is where our wines are created and gently age, where flavor and bouquet reach perfection. The "red" cellar is where ancient culture and modern technique meet and melt. So next to pneumatic presses that gently press the grapes, and steel fermentation and storage vats stand fine oak barrels and barriques.”

Wine Portfolio

SOAVE CLASSICO – Laura: “This is the true lord of this land. The "Classico" appellation gives it a special quality reserved only for the wines made from grapes harvested and vinified in the Soave and Monteforte d'Alpone areas.”

Picture: The Wines of Balestri Valda

LUNA LONGA – a white wine

SENGIALTA - from the Sengialta vineyard, aged for 6 months in large Slavonian wood barrels. Laura:”excellent with rice dishes and with grilled fish.”

SCALIGIO – named after the Scaligera family who governed Verona in the early 1300s.

RECIOTO DI SOAVE – A Passito from Soave. Laura: “Its name comes from the term "rece", which in the dialect of Verona means the "ears", i.e.e. the upper lobes of the bunch where the grapes are ripest.”

SOAVE BRUT - a brut sparkling wine.

RECIOTO DI SOAVE SPUMANTE DOCG – Laura: “it originates from the best and ripest bunches of Garganega, naturally dried until February. Thanks to it's delicate sweetness and characteristic almond taste, it's perfect with every dessert. Serve it cold, about 7-8°C.”

schiller-wine: Related Postings

The Wines of the 2010 Giro d'Italia

Italy's Top Wines - 2011 Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia Wine Guide

Meeting Winemaker and Owner Massimo “Max” di Lenardo from Friuli, Italy and Tasting His di Lenardo Vineyards Wines

In the Glass: 3 Easy Drinking Wines from the Soave Region in Italy

The Wines of casa 236 in Italy – Peter Schiller

In the Glass: 2010 Pinot Grigio, Venezia Giulia IGT, Attems, Italy

Kobrand’s Impressive Tour d'Italia 2011 in Washington DC, USA

The 2010 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna

Blogging, Wining and Dining at the European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC) October 2011 in Brescia, Italy – A Tour D’ Horizont

Wining and Blogging in the Soave Region, Italy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blogging for Organic Wine – New Ways of Wine Experience: The Organic Wines of Oekoweingut Hubertushof at Prowein 2012 in Germany

Picture: Ecovin Logo and Zeit fuer Biowein

Oekoweingut Hubertushof in Lieser in the Mosel valley belongs to the more than 200 wine makers in Germany who are members of Ecovin. Ecovin is an association of German wine makers who produce organic wine.

Picture: Oekoweingut Hubertushof Wines with Ecovin Logo

As part of the Prowein 2012 in Duesseldorf, Ecovin is doing a presentation of organic wines lead by Dirk Wuertz: “Dirk Wuertz and Friends: Blogging for Organic Wine – New Ways of Wine Experience.” I am honored to be one of the “friends” of Dirk.

Blogging for Organic Wine at Prowein 2012

Dirk Wuertz contacted his facebook friends asking who would be interested in tasting organic wines and writing about them. I responded and was assigned the wines of Oekoweingut Hubertushof. My posting and those of my 19 fellows bloggers are all released today and tomorrow. Dirk Wuertz is in the process of linking them up and they are figuring prominently, I guess, at the events of “Dirk Wuertz and Friends” at the Prowein 2012.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Dirk Wuertz at 2010 German Twitter Wine Awards

Dirk Wuertz is well known in the German wine scene. He has his own winery, which is very much export-oriented; I recently enjoyed oysters with a bone dry Dirk Wuertz wine at 10 Bells in New York City. Dirk is also the Betriebsleiter (General Manager of Operations) of the VDP Estate Balthasar Ress in Hattenheim, Germany. Last but not least, he is one of the stars of the German social media wine scene, with a very popular wine blog and occasional video wine shows in the internet, and the organizer of the German Twitter Wine Awards.

What is Organic Wine? Organic  and Other Green Concepts of Winemaking

Last year at Weingut Meinklang in Pamhagen in Austria in the stone cave below the winery with Werner Michlits, where Werner showed us his magic cow poop and other ingredients for biodynamic farming, I was really at the forefront of wine making with an ecological mindset. There are many others on this route. But these “green” winemakers come in different colors. I just tasted the Santa Julia wines of Familia Zuccardi, who produce mass wines in Argentina with organic grapes. Argentina, in general, is very well suited for organic wine making. “We practice sustainable agriculture in the vineyard” said Yann-Leon Beyer when I visited Domaine Leon Beyer in Alsace in France. The Donkey and Goat Winery in Berkeley produces wine according to the natural wine concept in the midst of the city of Berkeley without owning any vineyards. Researchers have found out that from a point of view of minimizing the carbon footprint, New Yorkers should drink Bordeaux instead of domestic wine from California. The following tries to shed some light on the different concepts of “green” wine making including organic wine.

Organic (Bio in German) generally means the use of natural as opposed to chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. The key is: no chemicals. Organic wines are changing the look of vineyards, literally. Whereas vineyards of the past commanded neat rows rid of all insects, rodents and weeds, organic vineyards are now replacing costly and damaging chemical sprays with environmental partnerships. Pesticides are giving way to introducing low-growing plants between vine rows that host beneficial insects that keep the pest insects in check.

Biodynamic is similar to organic farming in that both take place without chemicals, but biodynamic farming incorporates ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem, and also accounting for things such as astrological influences and lunar cycles. Biodynamic is an approach following the rules and ideas of Austrian philosopher-scientist Rudolph Steiner.

Sustainable farming means farming in a way that will allow for continued farming throughout the ages. In its broadest interpretation, sustainability refers to a range of practices that are not only ecologically sound, but also economically viable and socially responsible. Although nowhere defined by law, there are many certifications available for “Sustainable Wine.”

Natural: The idea behind natural wine is non-intervention and a respect for Mother Nature. Natural wines are hands-off wines produced with as little intervention as possible. Generally, the concept of natural wine relates more to what happens in the wine cellar rather than what happens in the vineyard. Again, nowhere is the term defined by law; it is left open to interpretation. Typically, only natural yeasts are used, the fermentation is slow, there is little or no use of new oak barrels; and there are no filtrations or cold stabilization.

Carbon Footprint: The carbon neutral label comes from a different angle: global warming. All economic activities have a carbon footprint, including wine making. Carbon neutral wineries are trying to make a contribution to the general efforts of reducing the emission of carbon dioxide. Belgrave Park Winery in Australia, for example, is a completely carbon neutral vineyard and winery.

Water Footprint: A new thing is water footprint, reflecting the concern that the planet is moving into a period where water becomes more and more scarce.

For a primer for "green" wines see: Organic, Sustainable, Biodynamic, Natural Wines … A Primer for “Green” Wines

Organic Wine Making in Germany: Bio Label

Germany introduced comprehensive organic legislation - and the Bio label - as part of an European effort in 2001. The Bio label is a hexagonal logo with the inscription "Bio". The Bio label is not a wine specific label, but a general food label.
Picture: Bio Label in Germany

As for wine, the German/EU regulations only provide rules for organic grape growing in the vineyard. The wine making part in the cellar is not covered by the current German/EU regulations and Bio label. Just a few days ago, however, the EU came out with a broadening of the legislation to also include the wine making part, which will become effective with the 2012 vintage.

Organic Wine Making in Germany: Ecovin Label

While the Bio label is a government and general food logo, the Econvin label is a NGO and wine specific logo. In the German-speaking countries there have been non-government organizations that had issued labels for organic food long before the advent of the EU organic food regulations and the Bio label. Their labels are still used widely as they significantly exceed the requirements of the EU regulations.

Picture: Ecovin Logo

When it comes to wine, the Ecovin label is – with the Demeter label- the most important one. The Ecovin logo is a stylized grape fruits with Ecovin on top. Importantly, the Econvin certification covers the whole process of wine making, comprising grape growing in the vineyard and wine making in the cellar.

Lotte Pfeiffer Mueller is the current President of Ecovin. I have visited her and her Weingut Brueder Dr. Becker and written about the wines of Weingut Brueder Dr. Becker: Excellency and Ecology: Weingut Brueder Dr. Becker, Rheinhessen, Germany

Oekoweingut Hubertushof

Ecovin member Oekoweingut Hubertushof is in Liesen in the Mosel valley. The Weingut has been run by the Botzet family for the last three generations. 70% of the vineyards is devoted to Riesling, Müller-Thurgau und Kerner. From the Oekoweingut Hubertushof web site: “On the remaining 30% we cultivate Blauen Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Domina and Pinot Meunier (also known under its German name of Schwarzriesling) and Dornfelder. Most of the ground can be called "steep slope" with gradients of up to 65%. The soil of our Terroir is derived from Devonian slate. Rich in humus and calcium, it stores the warmth of the sun and passes it on to the vines and the grapes.”

Why is the winery called Hubertushof? “The statue of Hubertus, the trademark of the Oekoweingut Hubertushof, dates from the year 1901. In 1923, Hubert Botzet, father of Hermann-Josef Botzet, received the statue as present on the occasion of his Communion. In his honor we have called our winery Weingut Hubertushof since 1979. Since 2008, Hermann-Josef works successfully together with his son Hubert, a certified winemaker.”

The Oekoweingut Hubertushof wine portfolio is a traditional Mosel portfolio with dry, fruity sweet and noble sweet white wines as well as red wines. But of course, all wines are organic wines. The most expensive wine is a 2005 Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese. The portfolio is broad. Entry wines start at Euro 7.50.

Mosel Wines

Germany's picturesque Mosel valley has been a prime wine-growing region since the Romans first planted there. The area is known for the steep slopes of the region's vineyards overlooking the river, up to 65° degrees. Blessed with abundant rain and sunshine, a long growing season and rich soil, the Mosel produces some of the finest Riesling wines in the world. The Mosel is mainly famous for its crips, low alcohol and high acidity Riesling wines with a hint of sweetness.


“Since we have always strived to cultivate the vines in a manner which treated nature with the greatest of care, we converted our production in 2007 completely to ecological methods and joined the largest institution for ecological winemaking, ECOVIN. Ecological winemaking exhibits the following aspects:

-    Integrated, holistic cultivation
-    Rejection of synthetic, chemical pesticides , herbicides and genetic engineering ( cultivation areas should be as large as possible )
-    Use of natural compost in place of artificial fertilizer
-    Encouragement of biodiversity and protection of beneficial plants, insects and birds
-    Creation of habitats for plants and animals e.g. sowing of clover in winter, blooming plants in spring and rape.
-    Building of trust through independent supervision
-    Quality achieved by low yields
-    Wines of character through the use of careful processing
-    Preservation of the cultivated landscape
-    Wide range of classical German vineyards

In comparison with conventional estates the cultivation in ecological estates relies heavily on manual work in all phases from the soil cultivation and pruning through to the processing of the grapes.”

The Wines I Tasted

I tasted the following 3 wines. The labels of the 3 wines includ the Bio logo and the Ecovin logo. In addition, the labels indicate: “Wein aus Trauben aus oekologischem Anbau – wine made from organically grown grapes”. 

Picture: The 3  Oekoweingut Hubertushof Wines

2011, Hubertushof Lieser, Blanc de Noir, Pinot Meunier, trocken, Fassweinprobe

Pinot Meunier (also known Black Riesling) is one of three main grapes used in the production of Champagne (with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay). Dark yellow in the glass, banana and ripe apple on the nose, mineral, crisp, refreshing acidity, dry.

2011, Hubertushof Lieser, Edition Nr. 1, Riesling Hochgewaechs, trocken, Fassweinprobe

Light yellow in the glass, pineapple and cherry on the nose, restrained acidity, fresh and fruity, dry.

2011, Hubertushof Lieser, Riesling Elite, halbtrocken, Fassweinprobe

Light yellow in the glass, grapefruit and green apple on the nose, restrained acidity, fruity, comes across as rather dry though labeled as off-dry.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

The Natural Wines of the Donkey and Goat Winery in Berkeley, California

Visiting Jared Brandt and his Donkey and Goat Winery – Natural Wines Made in Berkeley, California

Excellency and Ecology: The Wines of Gebrueder Dr. Becker in Rheinhessen, Germany

Wine Event: President Obama and the First Lady eat at the "Green" Restaurant Nora and have a "Green" Spottswoode Wine

The Millesime Bio 2010 in Montpellier, France: A Discovery of Organic and Biodynamic Wines at the one of a Kind Wine Trade Show

Benzinger Wines Served at the 2010 "Green" Annual White House Correspondents Dinner

The Natural Wines of Terroir in San Francisco

Skype and Biodynamic Winemaking - Winetasting in the US with Winemaker Werner Michlits, Weingut Meinklang, in Austria

At the Forefront of Biodynamic Winemaking: Visiting Werner and Angela Michlits and their Weingut Meinklang in Austria

Julia Zuccardi from Familia Zuccardi in Argentina Visited the US to Introduce New Santa Julia Wines

One of Oregon's Pioneering Winemakers - Myron Redford - with his Amity Vineyard Wines in Washington DC

Visiting Yann-Leon Beyer at Maison Leon Beyer in Eguisheim in Alsace

Organic, Sustainable, Biodynamic, Natural Wines … A Primer for “Green” Wines

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Visiting Wine Maker Doug Fabbioli and his Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Doug Fabbioli

I recently visited and tasted the wines of Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia. The visit was part of a one-day Virginia winery tour, organized by wine blogger Allan Liska for fellow wine blogger Lindsay Morris.

Allan Liska is well known in the wine world. He runs the wine blog CellarBlog, which focuses on wines from Virginia, where he lives, and on wines from Bordeaux, where he probably would want to live and frequently travels. CellarBlog is among the most influential wine blogs in the United States. Lindsay Morriss came to Virginia to present her MBA thesis and to lead a tasting of Georg Albrecht Schneider wines at the German Wines Society (DC Chapter), which I coordinated. Lindsay runs the wine blog Lindsay du Vin.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller, Doug Fabbioli, Allan Liska and Lindsay Morriss at Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia

The three of us have all reported on the day drip: Lindsay du Vin, Cellarblog and schiller-wine: Touring Virginia Wineries - Fabbioli Cellars, 8 Chains North and Breaux Vineyards - with Virginia Wine Expert Allan Liska.This posting focuses on one of the wineries we visited, Fabbioli Cellars.

Wine Producer Virginia

Virginia is the 5th largest wine industry in the US, with nearly 200 wineries and 2,500 acres of vineyards. Over the past 50 years, Virginia wines have experienced a tremendous development - to elegant and balanced, mostly European vinifera-based wines. Recently, Donald Trump bought a Virginia winery and AOL founder Steve Case is in the process of buying one.

As far as white wines are concerned, the European vinifera grapes Chardonnay and Viognier are the leading varieties today. Increasingly they are made “naked” or with little oak only, with the objective of retaining natural acidity and freshness. It appears Viognier is on its way to becoming Virginia’s official “signature grape”.

Picture: Virginia

For French-American hybrid varieties, Seyval Blanc is still popular, but resembles now the fresh and crisp wines from France’s South West. Vidal has become the backbone of the artificially frozen ice wine (cryoextraction), which I am not a great fan of.

The first ice wine was reportedly produced in Germany in 1794. Today, ice wines are highly prized wines that are made not only in Germany, but also in Austria and Canada as well as other countries, including the United States. Canada has experienced an amazing ice wine boom in the past decades. See about German and Canadian ice wine here. In the context of ice wine, some wine regions, including Virginia, are pushing cryoextraction. This is an approach, which kind of simulates the frost in the vineyard in the wine cellar. It was developed by the French. Instead of waiting for mother nature to produce frosty temperatures in the vineyard, the winemaker subjects the grapes to frosty temperatures in the cellar and presses them while frozen.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Doug Fabbioli

As far as red wines are concerned, there was a shift in top Virginia reds from straight varietal wines to blends. And blends have gone from being dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with a significant amount of Petit Verdot. There is an increasing focus on neutral oak and clean, vibrant fruit, mirroring the evolution of Virginia white wines.

Tannat, Uruguay’ signature grape from the South West of France, is showing up in more Virginia wines, usually as a blend. The only red French American hybrid which has performed consistently well in Virginia is Chambourcin, which, with its bright cherry aromas and flavors, crisp acidity and low tannin, resembles the Gamay grape of Beaujolais.

Finally, Claude Thibault, a native from France, has now been producing premium sparkling wines in Virginia. While respectable sparkling wines have been made in Virginia in the past, sparkling wines have been taken to a new level in Virginia by Claude Thibault. His NV Thibault-Janisson Brut, made from 100 percent Chardonnay, which President Obama offered his guests at his first state dinner, is as close as you can get to Champagne outside of France.

Fabbioli Cellars

Our day tour day began at Fabbioli Cellars, where Doug Fabbioli and his team were in the middle of crushing some Petit Verdot. But Doug took the time to sit down with us and have lunch with us, which I appreciated very much. Doug told us that before starting Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia, he spent 10 years working in California. “When we moved to California in 1987, we had in the back of our minds the idea that we could find a piece of land and grow some grapes” said Doug “Kids, life, careers, land prices, cash flow and family steered us back East in 1997.” In California, Doug worked at Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma with Anne Moller-Racke, who now owns and runs Donum Estate. Donum produces super premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines in very limited quantities.

Pictures: Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia

In early 2000, Doug and his wife bought a 25 acre parcel in Loudoun County in Virginia. The planting began in 2001, along with building the house. The main planting was Merlot with a little Petit Verdot for blending. 2004 was the first vintage.

Today, Fabbioli Cellars produces about 4000 cases. Three quarters of it is sold on the premise. Doug produces 60% of the fruit himself and buys the remainder from others.

Doug is a great person to talk about the Virginia wine industry and he is a great winemaker. “I am still learning” Doug said. “First I had to learn the climate. Now I am learning the soils”. He was very enthusiastic that Viognier has become the official grape of Virginia. “But I am a red wine house”.

Pictures: Crushing Petit Verdot at Fabbioli Cellars

“After spending 10 years in Sonoma at Buena Vista Winery, I worked at Tarara Winery and Doukenie, both in Loudoun County.I also worked with numerous wineries as a consultant when they started up including Old House Vineyards, Hillsborough, Corcoran, Sunset Hills, Bluemont, Northgate, Notaviva, 8 chains and Hiddencroft.”

Environment, Education and Economics

Doug Fabiolli on Environment, Education and Economics: “In trying to define the business and its greater mission, I have been focusing on three “E”s: environment, education, and economics. Environment encompasses the efforts I make to use sustainable agriculture practices, investing in our geothermal climate control system and generally follow good practices that will help us find the balance between Earth and man. The education aspect focuses on Fabbioli Consulting, interns, staff training, wine education programs and encouraging education on all levels to make us all a little better. The economics angle can be harder to explain. The business needs to make a profit and grow, but the larger picture of the wine industry and the local green economy is what I feel will help keep this land, western Loudoun County, in a healthy balance between houses and open space. Healthy industries can affect decisions. People who work on profitable farms will work to protect the land.”

Sustainable Agriculture

Doug on sustainable agriculture: “We have implemented many sustainable practices at the winery and are continually looking for new ways to do things in a more earth-friendly fashion. The following are highlights of some of the practices that have been put in place due to our emphasis on the environment and common sense about doing things right.

Pictures: Doug Fabbioli

One of the most important things we do is to be in the vineyard on a daily basis, monitoring the vines. The early detection of problems allows us to limit the pesticide sprays to spot locations, before more drastic measures would be required. This is a critical element of sustainable agriculture.
•    Cultivation and mulching of the raspberries keeps them healthy and weed free without commercial fertilizers or pesticides.
•    Non-irrigated vines help preserve our water supply and allow the vines to adapt more favorably to the true local climate.
•    Horse manure is blended with fermented grape solids and adjusted for pH to create a compost and mulch mix of all-organic matter that is used for fertilizer and weed control.
•    Fungicides used such as sulfer, prophyte, and oxidate are organic in nature and have a low impact on the soil and surrounding flora as well as reduced resistance development.
•    We have planted and continue to plant nursery stock to conserve the soil. Trees do a better job of conserving the soil than grasses. Also the trees will be transplanted to other areas of the farm or sold to customers for them to plant. We never can have too many trees.
•    A new winery storage area was created by burying used shipping containers to create a cellar with reduced need for cooling and heating. This is not only ecological, but notes have been taken and this method will be taught at seminars for other wineries to learn.
•    The winery/house uses a geothermal energy system for its hot water and for climate control.
•    A return and reuse program is being put into place for the Raspberry Merlot, Pear Wine and Rosa Nera wine bottles. This will save on shipping, printing, and glass. A dollar for each bottle will be returned to the customers for their help.”

The Fabbioli Cellars Wine Portfolio

2008 Fratelli - Cabernet Sauvignon

This big Bordeaux varietal makes a wine with balanced fruit, spice, and oak up front. This wine has a firm mid palate and a bold finish.

2009     Cabernet Franc

Red berry fruit, spicy and smokey.

2010     Chambourcin

Lighter with ripe red berry fruit, bistro wine.

2009     Tre Sorelle

Bordeaux blend. 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petite Verdot. Flagship wine.

2009     Tannat

Earthy, rich, and rustic. This unique varietal wowed a lot of people and garnered many fans in its debut year. Pairs excellently with rarer and gamier meats (think venison, bison, or pheasant) as well as the softer and more aromatic cheeses.

Picture: Fabbioli Cellars Tannat

2010     Paco Rojo

Paco Rojo is a blend of different cultures without losing individual character or respect. Cheers to America, the continent. It has aromas of black cherry with flavors of black plum, black cherry, and licorice.

2010    Sangiovese

The 2010 Sangiovese has a bright color and a nose of smoked cherry. The soft tannins allow flavors of dried fruits and smoked cherries to come forward. The toasted oak rounds out the body of this wine to make it a complex; food friendly; sipper.

2010     Rosa Luna

Dry and Crisp with notes of pink grapefruit

2010     Something White

Fabbioli Cellars’ newst addition. A blend of Traminette and Vidal Blanc. 


Red wine blend - smoked cherries, cloves, warmth, holiday spices, cinnamon, and cranberry. A wine to open Christmas presents with.

Raspberry Merlot

A combination of raspberry wine and Merlot.

Rosa Nera

Black raspberry wine. Half a pound of fresh ripe black raspberries goes into every bottle.

Aperitif Pear Wine

This wine comes from the Asian pear tree in the vineyard.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Extraordinary Art and Wines at Castello di Ama in Chianti Classico, Italy

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Marco Pallanti the Santa Maria Al Prato Convent in Radda in Chianti

Following the 2011 European Wine Bloggers Conference in Brescia, I spent 3 days in a beautiful and exciting location: In the Chianti Classico region in Tuscany, at the invitation of the Chianti Classico Consortium. We visited several wineries and tasted perhaps as many as 70 different wines from Chianti Classico producers, both big and small.

While in Tuscany, I dined and wined (1) with the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium at the Santa Maria Al Prato Convent in Radda in Chianti, at (2) Badia al Coltibuono, at (3) Castello di Brolio, where Bettino Ricasoli came up with the original Chianti Classico blend, at (4) Castello di Ama, where we saw an amazing Contemporary Art Collection, at (5) Vignemaggio, where Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was borne, at (6) Dario Cecchini’s Solo Cicca Restaurant in Panzano and (7) at Caparasa, with Chianti Classico niche wine producer Paolo Cianferoni.

This is the sixth in a series of postings. I have already posted:

Blogging, Wining and Dining at the European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC) October 2011 in Brescia, Italy – A Tour D’ Horizont

Wining, Dining and Blogging in Chianti Classico (#EWBC), Tuscany, Italy

Dining and Wining where the Royals Eat: Dario Cecchini’s Solo Cicca Restaurant in Panzano – the Butcher of Chianti Classico

Meeting Wine Maker Paolo Cianferoni at his Caparsa Estate in Chianti Classico, Italy

Wining and Dining at Badia a Coltibuono in Tuscany with Wine Makers and Owners Roberto and Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti, Italy

The couple of hours we spent at Castello di Ama were very special in so far as the focus of the winery visit was on the fantastic art collection of the winery, while the Castillo di Ama wines took a back seat. We also were able to get a glimpse of the vino santo production process. I had met the winemaker and co-owner of Castello di Ama, Marco Pallanti, right at the beginning of the Chianti Classico trip as he received us in his capacity of Chairman of the Chianti Classico Consortium.

Sienna, Florence and Chianti Classico

The Chianti Classico region covers an area of approximate 100 square miles between the city of Florence in the north and the city of Siena in the south.

Historically, the Chianti Classico zone is where the production of Chianti started. In 1716, Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, issued an edict legislating that the 3 villages of the Lega del Chianti, the village of Greve and a 2 mile hillside north of Greve as the only officially recognized producers of Chianti. This delineation existed until the 1930s when the Italian Government expanded the zone. Subsequent expansions throughout the twentieth century would bring the Chianti zone to cover almost all of Tuscany. The original zone of the edict of Cosimo III de' Medici would eventually be considered the heart of the Chianti Classico region.

Pictures: Castello di Ama in Tuscany

The Chianti Classico zone is a truly unending source of culture, scenery, architecture, gastronomy and wines. Here lie the lines of defense of the two Republics, Siena and Florence, which have scowled at each other through its woods and vineyards for centuries. Interspersed with the countryside are castles: some are still occupied by the noble families whose ancestors built them in the feudal middle ages; others - ruined, perhaps in battle centuries ago, and abandoned - still dominate their hilltops with proud arrogance. There are numerous hill towns and hamlets, villas and farmhouses, guarded by sentinel cypresses, by people who may make their living tending the vineyards, or have already made more than a living and have retired to beautiful old houses. Be aware that the British, German, Dutch, Swiss, French and Hong Kong have bought up much of the Tuscan landscape. They too have become wine makers with a vengeance.

Sangiovese - the Soul of Chianti

Sangiovese is the signature grape of Chianti. It is the soul of Chianti wine. The Sangiovese grape, like the Pinot Noir, is not an easy grape variety, but has the potential of producing world class wines.

Pictures: Wine Cellar and Vineyards of Castello di Ama

Since 2006, the use of white grape varieties such as Malvasia and Trebbiano has been prohibited in Chianti Classico. The share of Sangiovese can range from 80% to up to 100%, with the remainder either other native red grapes, like Canaiolo and Colorino, or international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Wines that do not comply with these rules – of which we tasted a number during the trip - cannot be sold as Chianti Classico, though produced in the same area.

Castello di Ama

Castello di Ama is one of Tuscany's pre-eminent wine estates, located in Ama, which is a small hamlet nestled among gentle hills, in the commune of Gaiole in Chianti, located 15 miles northeast of Siena. Castello di Ama currently comprises some 250 hectares, of which 90 are in vines and 40 in olives trees. Annual production - exclusively from the estate vineyards - amounts to about 300-350,000 bottles.

Pictures: Ama

Castello di Ama is owned and managed by wine maker Marco Pallanti and his wife Lorenza Sebasti Pallanti.

Lorenza’s parents, jointly with 3 other families, bought Ama in 1972. When Lorenza’s family bought the property, it did not look as good. Ama, then owned by absentee landlords in Siena, was left in neglect. The 4 families bought the place because they liked it, for a very good price. Then, they recognized that there was an opportunity to restart a great wine tradition and hired Marco Pallanti, who came on board in 1982.

Marco Pallanti

Marco grew up in Florence, where he studied agricultural engineering. He started at Castello di Ama as winemaker right before the harvest in 1982. Lorenza began working at the winery six years later and became general manager in 1993. The couple now owns Ama together. Marco and Lorenza have 3 children.

Picture: Marco Pallanti

Over the years, Marco Pallanti has become one of the most respected wine makers in Tuscany. In 2003, he was Gambero Rosso’s Guida Vini d’Italia Oenologist of the Year. Since 2006, he has been President of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico (see below).

Right from the beginning, Marco did extensive research with a view of introducing new training systems, improving clonal selection, and above all singling out the best vineyard plots for the traditional Sangiovese grapes as well as international grape varieties. Over the five years 1982-1987, some 50,000 vines were grafted over.

Another important area was looking for new methods of training the vines, all with the goal of improving fruit ripeness. In 1982, and for the first time in Italy, vines were grown with the foliage trained into V-shaped vertical canopies, known as the open lyre system, the result of trials in France for low-density vineyards.

Touring the Winery: Art and Wine

In 2000, Marco and Lorenza started the Castello di Ama for Contemporary Art project. Every year they have commissioned a modern artist from a different nation to come to Ama to design an installation. The piece must somehow integrate with the landscape or architecture of Ama itself, blending the modern and historic. Here are some of the art works which I found in particular interesting

2001 DANIEL BUREN Sulle vigne: punti di vista

French artist Daniel Buren built the wall of mirrors in 2001, placing a picture window–sized opening every few feet to allow people to look out onto the vineyards.

2003 KENDELL GEERS Revolution/Love

In 2003, South African artist Kendell Geers placed neon letters spelling NOITULOVER— “revolution” spelled backward—on the far wall of an ancient stone cellar underneath the house that is used as a barrel room.

2004: ANISH KAPOOR αίμα

One of the constants in the work of Anish Kapoor is the creation of openings on the crust of the world. Interestingly, whne you stand in fron tof it, the void inside that is perceived as surface.

2005: CHEN ZHEN La Lumière intérieur du corps humain

2006: CARLOS GARAICOA Yo no quiero ver más a mis vecinos

An installation of different walls by the Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa.

2008: CRISTINA IGLESIAS Towards the Ground

A water fountain installation.

The Wine Portfolio

Castello di Ama Chianti Classico

A blend of 80% Sangiovese 12% Canaiolo, 8% Malvasia Nera and Merlot from 30-44 year old vines, aged for 12 month in 20% new French oak.

Al Poggio Toscana IGT

Castello di Ama’s only white wine is a blend of Chardonnay, originally planted in the early ’80s, and Pinot Grigio. Forty percent of the grapes were fermented in oak, 50% of which was new and 50% one-year-old; the rest was fermented in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, 45% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation.


The terroir that yields Castello di Ama’s Rosé is the same that yields its Chianti Classico. The wine, 90% sangiovese and 10% Merlot, gains its considerable body from bleeding-off (saignée) lots that will produce Chianti Classico; for this reason, the resulting wine is closer to a young red wine than to a white. Excellent structure and good holding potential over time are its principal qualities.

Vigneto Bellavista, Chianti Classico

First released in 1978, Chianti Classico Vigneto Bellavista is a single-vineyard wine from clay-rich soils blending 80% Sangiovese 20% Malvasia Nera aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak and made only in exceptional years.

Vigneto La Casuccia Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico Vigneto La Casuccia is a single-vineyard blend of 80% Sangiovese 20% Merlot from an average 35 year old vines, aged in 50% new French oak; La Casuccia was first produced in 1985, the first wine to celebrate the nuptials of Sangiovese and Merlot in Chianti Classico. La Casuccia regularly produces the broadest, most international style of wine in the Castello di Ama stable.

l’Apparita Toscana IGT

L’Apparita became a cult wine right from its first vintage in 1985, and brought Castello di Ama to the attention of wine collectors throughout the world. An impressively-structured monovarietal Merlot, it is immediately recognizable for its truly extraordinary elegance. 100% Merlot from average 35 year-old vines aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak.

Il Chiuso Toscana IGT

A new wine, first released with the 2009 vintage. This is a fascinating, and very unusual, blend of older vine Pinot Noir and Sangiovese. 50% Pinot Noir planted in 1984, 50% Sangiovese.

Vin Santo

Vin Santo is a sweet wine made using the passito process whereby grapes are dried to concentrate the sugar and flavors.The grapes are hand harvested and carefully hung to dry in special nets in the drying room, the ‘fruttaio’. This drying process, called ‘appassimento’, gradually shrivels the grapes, concentrating the flavors and sugars. The grapes are checked daily for mold and rot, and dry until late the following year.

Pictures: Making Vin Santo at Castello di Ama

While Tuscany is not the only Italian region to make the passito dessert wine, Vin Santo (meaning "holy wine"), the Tuscan versions of the wine, are well regarded and sought for by wine consumers. The best-known version is from the Chianti Classico and is produced with a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca. When we visited Castello di Ama, they were just in the process of taking down the dried grapes in order to start the fermentation process.

The grapes that produce this Vin Santo were selected from the best Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano fruit from a total area of about 5 hectares in the Bellavista, Casuccia, and Bertinga vineyards. No more than 1-2 clusters per vine are suitable for producing this wine; such rigorous standards are necessary to ensure absolutely healthy, fully ripe grapes. Transportation in shallow boxes means that no grapes are broken open on their way to the drying-lofts.

The Wines we Tasted

During our visit the outstanding wines of Castello di Ama were a bit on the backburner. We tasted only 2 wines. The wines tasted were Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2006 and Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2007.  

President of the Chianti Classico Consortium

We did not meet Marco Pallanti at Castello di Ama, but – at the beginning of our tour - in Radda in Chianti at the Santa Maria al Prato Convent. This is the future welcome center of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium. Marco Pallanti is the current President of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium and he received the group in this capacity at the Santa al Prato Convent.

Picture: Marco Pallanti and Silvia Fiorentini from the Chianti Classico Consortium

If a Chianti has a picture of a black rooster (gallo nero) on the neck of the bottle, the producer of the wine is a member of the Chinati Classico Consortium. Since 2005, the black rooster has been the emblem of the Chianti Classico Consortium. With more than 600 members, of whom approximately 350 are bottlers, the Chianti Classico Consortium now represents 95% of the entire denomination.

The Chianti Classico Consortium – the first of Italy’s grape-grower/winemaker consortia - was established in 1924, when a group of 33 producers gathered in Radda in Chianti to create a consortium to protect Chianti wine and its trademark of origin. A first important step in this direction was the 1932 ministerial decree that identified seven distinct zones of Chianti wine production: the wine made within Chianti’s geographical borders was permitted to use the adjective Classico to distinguish it from the others. This concession acknowledged the wine’s territoriality, origin and primogeniture well before the denomination system was introduced. From that moment on, Classico meant “the first” or “the original.” Another milestone was reached in 1967 with the approval of a decree recognizing a single Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) for Chianti, within which Classico was regulated as a wine with more selective characteristics. Finally, concluding a 70-year legal itinerary, a ministerial decree in 1996 gave Chianti Classico its own DOCG, with production regulations different from those for Chianti wine. Since then Chianti and Chianti Classico have been two separate denominations, with different regulations and production zones.

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