Friday, April 16, 2010

Wine Tasting---in Ristorante!

I mentioned a few blogs ago that I had a golden opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the wine biz by helping out in the Terre del Principe stand at Vinitaly. So, between my own personal appointments for my blog, I assisted in countless meetings with importers, restaurateurs, journalists, and curious wine enthusiasts. Discussing the grapes; Pallagrello Bianco, Pallagrello Nero, and Casavecchio. Discussing the wines; Fontanavigna, Le Serole, Rosato del Vulture (new), Castello delle Femmine, Ambruco, Centomoggia, and Vigna Piancastelli. Discussing the history of the grapes, the winery, the various vintages…After 2 days of a very hectic schedule, the opportunity came for another type of wine tasting. In ristorante!

Wine is meant to be enjoyed with a meal. So, in my opinion, the best way to degustare un vino is to have it, side by side, with a meal that is designed for that particular wine, that particular vintage. I had this chance at Vinitaly with Terre del Principe, Osteria Retro Gusto (see earlier blog) and about 10 international wine importers. ‘Meetings’ of this sort are important for a winery owner. This is the chance to present your wines to a finicky audience. Ten importers; from Singapore, Germany, U.S.A., and Norway plus their mediators from Greece, Italy and the US of A. A group of experts who taste wines from around the world, on a daily basis. An audience who, though looking for wines, may not be looking for your wine. You, over a casual dinner, have to convince them that your wine, your heart in a glass, is what they are missing in their portfolio…what they need…have to have.

Friday, April 9 around 9 pm. We arrived at Retro Gusto and began our evening.

The antipasto was a tris di prosciutti crudi: Prosciutto di Pol aged 36 months, Jamon Serrano Affumicato from Spain, and Jamon De Patanegra (!) aged 36 months from Spain. Paired with Fontanavigna 2008 (Pallagrello bianco). This wine is aged 6 months in stainless steel before bottled.

Afterwards, Le Serole 2007 and 2008 (Pallagrello Bianco…fermented in barrique, before placed in the bottle for 6 months). The same wine? No. It is important to let an importer try various vintages to see how the wine can improve with age.

Next menu item was our pasta-with a duck and cheese sauce. The pairing-Ambruco 2005 and 2007 (Pallagrello Nero). Six months in barrique, one year in the bottle.

Il secondo- carne salata (like a carpaccio, but thicker slices) served with Centomoggia 2005 and 2007. (Casavecchia).This wine also ages in barrique for 6 months before spending a year in the bottle. Followed by I formaggi. An international cheese plate; Toma di capra al muscadet (France) served with a strawberry marmalade, Piacentino Enness with saffron and pepper (Sicily), Tomino Piemontesse di mucca al tartufo served with a very spicy pear mustard, and verde di capra al passito served with honey. Paired with Manuela and Peppe’s pride and joy….Vigna Piancastelli 2004 and 2007. This wine is a cru, a blend of the best Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia grapes from Manuela’s vineyard (you know, the one she bought to show her devotion to Peppe). About 10 percent of the grapes are left on the vine until December; then Vigna Piancastelli spends a year in barrique and 2 years in a bottle before it is ready to come out and play.

Besides the food and wine, I really enjoyed listening to the comments made about the wines; poetry in motion. Walter, from Munich was particularly poetic. Le Serole was compared to light in a glass. Vasilis, our friend from Greece said that the wood practically caressed the wine. Vero….vero

I found it…my Campania white…it had been under my nose all the time.

Manuela and Peppe’s Le Serole 2008!

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