Michele and I visit our friend in NJ every week or so where we enjoy great food and wonderful wine. Since we all miss Italy so much, we decided to plan a meal with the food and wine of some of the regions we have visited. We started with the food and wine of Sicily.
Michele did most of the cooking except for the arancini from a local shop.
We ate the shrimp with bruschetta topped with tomatoes and basil.
Michele made Pasta Ericese which we first had at a little trattoria in Erice, Sicily, a number of years ago. The sauce is a pesto of almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic and grated pecorino, topped with cubes of fried eggplant. When we had it in Erice, the cook had also added rounds of fried potatoes, but Michele decided to forego them this time.
Moscato Sicilia DOC “Mosca” Barone Sergio made from 100% Moscato Bianco. The soil is of medium texture, mineral and calcareous. The vineyard is 70/80 meters and the system of cultivation is espalier. Harvest takes place the first week of September. The grapes are hand harvested. There is criomaceration for 24 hours followed by a soft pressing. Then cold clarification of the must followed by fermentation in steel at a controlled temperature. The rest is in stainless steel tanks on the lees for 6 months. This is an aromatic wine with hints of peach, sage and white flowers.
Donna Angelica DOC Sicilia 2018 made from 100% Lucido (aka Cataratto Bianco Lucido) Assuli Production area Mazara del Vallo (northwest Sicily). The soil is clay with limestone, organic elements and nitrogen. The vineyard is at 200/250 meters and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. The training system is vertical trellises. Harvest is from the end of August and the end of September depending upon the weather. There is an extremely soft pressing of the grapes with a membrane press, followed by static clarification of the must and fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks. The wine spends 8 to 10 months on the lees with batonnage. The wine is in bottle for 3/4 months before release. This is a wine with a fruit bouquet, a touch of white flowers and hints of apricot and white peaches.
Our main course was Swordfish with Caper and Fresh Herb Sauce. The fresh swordfish was lightly poached with wine and aromatic seasonings, then topped with a cool dressing of mint, thyme, lemon and capers. This is a recipe from “The Heart of Sicily,” by the late Anna Tasca Lanza.
Passito IGT Sicily “L’ECRÙ” 200 Firriato. Moscato and a small amount of Malmsey from the Tenuta Borgo estate in the Trapani countryside. The soil here is of medium texture; mostly clay and the vineyards have a north-south exposure at 250/400 meters. There are 5,500 vines per hectare and the training is cordon spur pruned/guyot. The harvest takes place the first week of September and the most mature grapes are hand harvested. The rest remain on the vines until they reach full maturity. Soft pressing of the grapes and the fermentation takes place at controlled temperature lasts for 4 weeks. The wine is aged in bottle for 4 months before release. This is a very elegant dessert wine with aromas of candied orange peels, dried figs and dates. It has a clean but long finish and wonderful aftertaste.