Gene greeted us with an array of delicious Spanish and French cheeses along with the famous Spanish Ham, Patanegra (Black Hoof) Jamon from Joselito. Aged a minimum 2-1/2 years this ham is only produced from 100% purebred Ibérico pigs that are fed a daily diet of acorns. Gino, who visits Spain annually, always manages to find a way to sneak some out of the country as it is not available in the United States.
We enjoyed an excellent bottle of 2001 Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo with the appetizers. This was a beautiful white wine that is drinking at its peak. The wine begins with an enticing bouquet of fruit and flowers and exhibits a beautiful golden hue in the glass. On the palate the fruit, acidity and minerality are in perfect harmony. The finish is clean and lengthy.
Emidio Pepe is a great believer that Mother Nature is the best care-giver for the vines, thus 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 (usually for about 10 years) for continued development. Before release, the wines are decanted by hand into new bottles, and then labeled. An extensive stock of older vintages is kept at the cellar.
Dinner began with homemade cabbage soup in which in which gnocchi like potato dumplings floated. As a cabbage lover, this was fabulous and I readily devoured every delicious drop.