When Michele and I were in Rome in 2020, we had dinner at the apartment of an American friend who lives there. Among the guests were Maureen and Franco. We became friends and when the virus stopped us from travelling abroad, we became part of a group of friends both here and in Italy who met for regular Zoom visits.
Maureen informed us that she and Franco would be in US toward the end of August. Since Michele and I were in NJ with our friend Ernie, he invited Maureen and Franco to come for the day.
We started with Champagne
Champagne Nathalie Falmet Brut NV “Le Val Cornet made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from a single vineyard in the Côte Des Bar. The soil is Kimmeridian marl covered with Portland limestone. The champagne has hints of apricot, pear, apple and a note of almond.
Champagne Vilmart & C. “Grand Cellier” made from 70% Chardonnay and 30%Pinot Noir. Aging for ten months in used oak casks prior to blending for the second fermentation. The wine spends two years on the lees before disgorgment. It has hints of pear, apple, a touch of brioche and a hint of hazelnut.
Mozzarella and anchovies crostini.
We also had salmon rillettes, but I forgot to take a picture of them.
Tommaso’s Penne with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Prosciutto — A recipe from our late friend Tommaso Verdillo, chef-owner of Tommaso’s restaurant in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
Butterflied leg of lamb on the grill
Grilled leg of lamb ready to be served
Potato and Scallion Salad
Green beans with Salsa Verde
Brunello di Montalcino 1999 Lisini made from 100% Sangiovese. The are 3,300 plants per hectare in the old vineyard and 5, 400 plants in the newer vineyard at 300 to 350 meters. The grapes are hand harvested and a selection takes place. Fermentation and maceration is in stainless steel with skin contact for 20 t0 26 days. Aging is in large Slavonian oak barrels of 20 to 50 ha for 42 months. The wine is aged another 6 to 8 months in bottle before release. This is a traditional Brunello with hints of red and black fruit, blueberries and rasperries and a touch of violet. It was drinking extremely well.
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1999 Poggio Antico made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyards are at about 480 meters with a south/southwest exposure and are among the highest in the zone. The soil is rocky and calcerous with good drainage. A cold soak was done at 12°C for 2 days. The fermentation lasted 9 days with a peak temperature of 30°C, after which a long maceration was carried out. Aging: 1 year in 500L French oak tonneaux, followed by 2½ years in large traditional Slavonian oak barrels. The wine was refined in bottle 1½ years prior to release. This is a complex Brunello with hints of cherries, cassis, leather a touch of violet and a balsamic note. It is a wine the will last for another 20 years.
Our friend Susan Westmoreland brought the dessert.
Both black and green figs poached in a spiced compote
Spiced Fig Compote served with Almond Pound Cake was an excellent finale.