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The Mastroberardino family helped spark a quality revolution in the high hills of Campania
By Robert Camuto-- Wine Spectator Oct. 31, 2013
Mount Vesuvius looms over the vine-rich landscape of southern Italy's Campania region as a blessing and a curse. Violent eruptions from the volcano have periodically wreaked destruction on the countryside, including most famously the Roman city of Pompeii in A.D. 79. Yet the soils that issue from its lava and ash have helped create the uniqueterroir for the region's greatest reds, made from the late-ripening Aglianico grape, as well as some of its most flavorful whites.
By Robert Camuto--Wine Spectator March 31, 2013
You may never have heard of Italy's most significant sparkling wine. In fact, the name Ferrari may evoke images of fast cars rather than Cantine Ferrari, the winery at the edge of the northeastern city of Trento, surrounded by Alpine foothills planted with high-altitude vineyards of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
At 110 years old, Ferrari is Italy's largest, oldest and most celebrated producer in the Champagne style. In the past century it has grown from a boutique label started by a local agronomist to a pioneering, family-owned producer of about 375,000 cases, including vintage wines comparable to some of the most prestigious and more expensive names in Champagne.
Yet almost all of Ferrari's product has stayed in Italy.
By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator April 30, 2013
Oscar Farinetti, an Italian entrepreneur and the founder of Eataly, has created a worldwide chain of high-end temples to Italian food. But he's hungry for more.
In just six years, this son of a Piedmont pasta maker has built an epicurean empire. From its base in Turin, Eataly has expanded across Italy to New York and Tokyo, with 20 locations opened and 17 more on the drawing board. The Eataly format resembles a foodie-fantasy of an Italian village, complete with restaurants, cafés and market stalls. In each location, chefs and winemakers share their expertise in workshops and seminars.
By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator March 31, 2013
What a difference a new century makes. In little more than a decade, Bordeaux has undergone France's most dramatic makeover. The Garonne riverfront has been cleaned and reclaimed with popular parks, walkways and fountains. Its rows of majestic limestone buildings and monuments have been scrubbed and polished to their original luster. Once-clogged automobile lanes have been replaced with a sleek transit system of electric trams, which snake silently along the river and through town.
The city's chic pedestrian-only streets are bustling, while boutique hotels, restaurants and wine bars cater to a broad range of tastes. An influx of cooking talent has spilled over into the wine country, from Margaux to St.-Emilion.
By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator March 31, 2013
France's Mediterranean coast is best known for crisp rosés that pour like water in cafés and restaurants in summer. But just inland from the sandy beaches and fishing ports between Toulon and Marseille lie the hills of Bandol, where vineyards of Mourvèdre yield rosés of depth and seductive, ageworthy reds. These wines are full of Mourvèdre's ripeness and power, with aromas of spices, tobacco and the wild Mediterranean brush known as garrigue.
Comprising eight communes from the seaside port of Bandol to a ring of ancient hillside villages, the region forms a natural amphitheater with enough sea air to cool vines during the heat of summer and enough mountainous protection to mitigate the harsh mistral winds. The conditions are just right for the late-ripening Mourvèdre—a temperamental grape brought here from Spain centuries ago.
By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator
Russia's latest salvo in a long battle against alcohol abuse by its citizens is a sweeping ban on alcohol advertising in media outlets. It's likely to have an unforeseen victim: the country's small but booming wine culture... Read full article in the Wine Spectator online.
By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator December 15, 2012
Nothing quite prepares you for the sheer beauty of Portugal's Douro Valley. Terraced vineyards, precariously steep, twist their way down from the ridges and mountains that flank the Douro River. The complex landscape encompasses more than 100,000 acres of vineyards that fill the rugged terrain and spread to the horizon. This is as good as wine country scenery gets. The Douro is one of theworld's great wine rivers, flowing from Spain (where it is known as the Duero) across more than 120 miles of northern Portugal before entering the Atlantic at Porto, the bustling port city that gave name to the region's famous fortified wines.
The tradition of fine wine here dates to the mid-18th century, when the Douro became the world's first demarcated wine appellation—100 years before Bordeaux's famed 1855 Classification. But up until recently, the area was a hinterland with few opportunities for travelers to visit and taste the local offerings.
By Robert Camuto Cucina Italiana November, 2012
Elisabetta Foradori arrives at the top of a wooden staircase at the entrance to her family's 19th century home dressed in a fitted T-shirt and white pants, her straight salt-and-pepper hair loosely knotted behind an angular face. At 46, she appears far too stylish to be a winemaker who has worked the vines all her adult life.Her storybook-perfect winery and vineyards rest on the floor of Campo Rotaliano—the alluvial plain wedged between sheer limestone mountain cliffs in the once-Austrian Trentino. The view from here is a picture postcard of vineyards, mountains and blue sky. The Foradori estate, housed in a sprawling Tyrolean manor that is reminiscent of the home of 's The Sound of Music's Von Trapp family, lies at the edge of the village of Mezzolombardo, a small town of almost 7,000. It’s marked only by a discreet brass plaque on the front gate, which opens onto a large courtyard of period Alpine buildings draped with vines hanging from massive eave timbers...Read the full story in La Cucina Italiana
The Biondi-Santi estate stands as a bulwark of tradition against a tide of change
By Robert Camuto - Wine Spectator October 31, 2012
The historic birthplace of Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy's great red wines, lies at the end of a long, dirt road lined with tall cypresses leading to a centuries-old farmhouse. This is Il Greppo, an estate located just south of the small hilltop town of Montalcino and where generations of the Biondi Santi family have lived. Il Greppo is picture-perfect Tuscany, with its English gardens, walls covered with climbing vines and graceful wisteria, and expansive views over the rippling hills of the Val d'Orcia. Read full article in the Wine Spectator
Italy’s Mediterranean paradise offers stunning nature, fresh cuisine and a delicious variety of wines
By Robert Camuto -- Wine Spectator Oct. 31, 2012
If you were holding a cool glass of Vermentino and standing on a white-sand beach with an endless view of clear, turquoise sea, you'd be forgiven for not wanting to leave. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia's "Emerald Coast"—a 34-mile-long stretch of prime Mediterranean coastline developed in the 1960s by Prince Aga Khan—remains one of the world's most luxurious destinations, with suites costing up to $15,000 a night in high season and yachts the size of aircraft carriers a not-uncommon sight.
What you should really do if you're in Sardinia, however, is travel across the island to take in the region's equally magnificent natural treasures, from its pastoral, low-mountainous interior to its awe-inspiring 1,100 miles of coastline, which includes dramatic cliffs and caves as well as hundreds of wild, secluded beaches.
See the Video Trailer for PALMENTO on You Tube....
Robert reads from and discusses Palmento at McNally Jackson books in NY Sept. 2010.
Robert on radio