The wine list. SUD’s wine list. A complement to chef Marianna Vitale’s highly acclaimed menu featuring Campi Flegrei and Campania. A collaborator, a comrade, a friend. And a crucial part of the dining experience that SUD does not take for granted. I stopped by SUD one afternoon to talk to co-owner Pino Esposito and get a closer look.
Entering into SUD, my eyes went directly to the shelves that cover the entire right side of the restaurant. A wall covered completely with wines. My eyes habitually go straight to the Campania labels, and here I saw many familiar faces. Pino tells me that about 40 % of his 300 wines are from Campania. A point that is important for him and his restaurant. I reached for the wine list. A list that Pino is in the process of revising, something that he does from time to time. That afternoon, in fact, his wine consultant, Fabrizio Erbaggio and SUD’s sommelier, Francesca Martusciello were there to talk about just that, as well as satisfy a few of my questions.
Campania thrives at SUD. And it should. It is a region rich in wines and wineries that compliment Marianna’s menu without overpowering it. A dinner guest at SUD would be offered, then, a glass of a sparkling Asprinio D’Aversa as a benevenuto, a welcome. If they wanted to stay in the Campania region, here they’d find a wide variety of white and reds from large wineries and small. I saw a diverse selection of Aglianicos, and Taurasis (made with Aglianico) who proudly rein in the region with their dark ruby red coloring, dark red fruit aromas. My eyes skimmed over other deep reds such as Primitivo from Caserta which produce some really smooth Falerno del Massicos. Rich full bodied reds such as Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia. All reds that would stand up well to dishes rich with Neapolitan ragù sauces. I saw Campania whites such as Pallagrello Bianco and Fiano di Avellino who have lovely aromas and are a popular choice with chef Vitale’s menu, Francesca shared with me. Flavorful Falanghinas and Greco di Tufos were along for the ride. Popular choices to pair with fish dishes such as baccala (cod).
Talking with Pino, Fabrizio and Francesca, I learned that wines from Tuscany are also what guests are looking for. Many women diners want to relax at the table, so they’re looking for wines with fresh fruity or floral aromas. Francesca often suggests Pinot Nero, Sangiovese, or Caniolo Nero (which has an enchanting aroma of roses). What else shines at SUD? Verdicchio di Matelica,a white from the Marche region which pairs well with a menu based on fish, crustaceans and shellfish. The same for Soave from Veneto. Also wines from Fruili…from Piemonte.
International wines? Right now, France is featured in the sparkling wines section with their champagne. But what is interesting about this young restaurant’s wine list is that it is a ‘work in progress.’ An international section will be added to enrich the carta dei vini in about 15 days.
A carta dei vini...a wine list whose goal is to work side by side with the chef. To be its right hand, so to speak. And SUD's list takes you through Campania...throughout Italy...and soon...beyond.
Via Santi Pietro e Paolo,