Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Campania Reds-A Great Success


Last Friday evening, the 30th of October, I attended a wine tasting that was a first of its kind. It wasn’t my first wine tasting at Ciao Vino in Varcaturo. It wasn’t the first wine tasting with owner Fabrizio Erbaggio, or wine experts Manuela Piancastelli or Vincenzo Di Meo. It wasn’t the first wine tasting where I had to translate, either. What was different about this wine tasting was that it was the first time that I hooked up with AIS Napoli (Association of Italian Sommeliers-Napoli) to co-host part one in a series of intercultural relations between American and Italian wine lovers in the Naples area.
The scope of the evening was that the event would be conducted primarily in ENGLISH. In fact, the evening was titled ‘5 Vini, 2 Lingue’ (Do I need to translate that?) Why? So that our Italian hosts could practice their English. Anyone who has traveled throughout the Campania region may have noticed that English is not widely spoken. I believe that Fabrizio is well aware of the importance to be able to communicate with ‘the rest of the world’ fluently and realizes that the best way is practice, practice, practice. So, the first event in our series was to focus on the red wines of the Campania region. I must admit that I was a little bias in my choice of the theme of the evening considering that I am a grande fan of Campania wines, particularly Aglianico. First up, Vincenzo Di Meo introduced his winery, I Vini della Sibilla, in Bacoli, and their Piedirosso dei Campi Flegrei. (Our group met Vincenzo in September for Campania Whites) Vincenzo is a young enologist. His shared with us his knowledge of the Campi Flegrei lands and climate, focusing on the correlation between the territory and the wine. His Piedirosso was one of the favorites of the evening. Next up was Manuela Piancastelli. I am proud to say that Manuela is a friend of mine and I am always excited to hear her speak of her winery, wines, as well as the history of the Pallagrello Nero and Cassavecchia grape. Manuela is a writer, journalist, and sommelier as well. Her enthusiasm for her and husband Peppe Mancini’s wine was well noted in each glass of Terre del Principe’s Centomoggia and Ambruco (which recently received Gambero Rosso’s 3 bicchierri recognition). Once again, Vincenzo was up to speak about a wine that many in the room, including the sommeliers (busy taking notes, and asking questions…in English) had never tried. This wine is called Marsiliano, a blend of a ‘forgotten’ marsigliese grape, olivello and Piedirosso. This wine is a ‘limited edition’ considering that you can only find it in the Campi Flegrei area and I Vini della Sibilla only produced about 1,000 bottles. It was a remarkable wine that impressed the bicultural audience present. Last but not least, the wine that I was waiting for ….aglianico. The Cantina of choice, Feudi di San Gregorio (!!!). 100% Aglianico, 100% happiness in a glass. Ok. We had our five wines, but the evening was not over. We headed downstairs to toast the success of the evening with spumante and gateau. Then back upstairs to relax and…finally…eat. I love Ciao Vino because you NEVER leave hungry. Fabrizio and his wife Cinzia are the perfect hosts. There was pizza from Stefano Pagliuca’s famous pizza (more on him in another blog), THE BEST finger food I have ever tasted by Ernesta Volo from Sciardac, and Cinzia Dal Monte’s amazing desserts. If you missed it, try to catch the next one….CIAO!!!!!

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