The dinner was inspired by a trip Matt and his fiancé Kerrie took last year to Piedmont and Modena, Italy. Having had the opportunity to visit and taste the wines of Giuseppe Rinaldi and G.B Burlotto while in Piedmont, and than the 2005 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva of Gianfranco Soldera while dinning in Modena (where he proposed to Kerri…she said yes.), they decided to “recreate the magic with our own little Baroli/Soldera tasting here in NYC”. Matt goes on to say about this event, “I’m more convinced than ever that traditional wine-making is the key to making the most profound wines. Manipulating the process and slapping the lipstick of new wood and modern wine-making techniques only hides the terroir and tricks you into thinking you are tasting something great. Gianfranco Soldera said it best, “Striving for quality: that’s the point. There was a time when great care was taken in the search for beauty and excellence. Then the masses came to prefer the façade to what lies behind it.” I couldn’t agree more. I’ll take tradition and the least amount of intervention as possible over more modern techniques that may yield high scores with Parker and the like any time. In the end, these traditional wines will stand the test of time. They always have, and they always will. " It was a great event.
As Emil and I arrived an hour early we settled in at the bar and perused the wine list, which is under the direction of Sfoglia Sommelier Maria Rust. I was very impressed by her selections that included some of Italy’s most artisanal wine producers. We selected a glass of 2011 Zidarich Vitoska to sip while we waited for the dinner to start. It was a great way to begin the evening. This “orange wine” (skins remain in contact with the juice during fermentation to impart the color) is one of the few I had yet to taste. As a big fan of these type wines, I jumped at the chance to try it. Made with the Vitoska grape by Friulian winemaker and owner Beniamino Zidarich, it had a deep golden hue, as opposed to the more orange color of Gravner or Vodipovec wines. On the palate it displayed a pleasant stony minerality and pure fruit, but was a bit too cold to really appreciate. As it warmed it took on a bit more depth and finesse. These type wines should always be drunk at red wine temperature to fully appreciate them. This wine will benefit from a year or two of cellar time in my opinion. $30. Wine Searcher.
Antipasti della Casa
Clams, Chilis & Tomato
Burrata, Radishes, Sesame
Pappardelle alla Bolognese
Polenta Bianca, Spicy Sausage, Celery Root
Chicken al Mattone
Lamb chops, White Beans, Carrots, Lavender
Caramel Bread Pudding
TThe food was a terrific complement to the wines Matt selected and brought along. We began with two Italian whites from the Sfoglia cellar and selected by sommelier Maria.
2012 SP68 Bianco, Arianna Occhipinti. This Sicilian white is made from a blend of Albanello and Moscato di Allesandria. The wine is aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks and then bottled unfiltered where it ages for a further month before being released. SP68 refers to the road she must cross to reach her vineyards. The wine had very good acidity and balanced fruit but had much too much perfume for me on both the nose and palate. The perfume did begin to settle down after 30 minutes in the glass. $30. Wine Searcher.
2009 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Emidio Pepe. I am a huge fan of Pepe’s wines. He never fails to create amazingly complex age worthy reds and whites, that along with Eduardo Valentini are the standard of the region. The vineyards are located in the northern province of Teramo, with siliceous soil rich in lime and iron. The Trebbiano is foot trodden in wooden tubs in order to avoid the contact between the iron presses and the acids of the fruit. The resulting white wines are slightly golden hued, well balanced and complex.
The grapes are grown organically, hand-harvested, hand destemmed, naturally fermented and aged 18-24 months in glass-lined tanks. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, without added SO2, and aged in their cellar, in bottle, for continued development. Before release, the wines are decanted by hand into new bottles, and then labeled.
Tonight’s bottle was classic Pepe Trebbiano, rich, focused and full of finesse, however it did finish a bit short. In my opinion it is still too young to drink and needs a few more years cellar time. $70. Wine Searcher.
|Emil admires the Burlotto|