It had been several months since we had last seen our friends, wine and food writers Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow, so we were very happy to accept their invitation for an early dinner/late lunch this week.
To start, we had a pizza-like vegetable tart made with tomatoes, peppers and onions. Diane said it was a Spanish recipe and it was a good way to make use of the late season vegetables available in the market.
With it we had Champagne Boizel 2007 made from 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier. 3% of the wines were aged in oak casks. The wines were aged for 7 years on the lees. This is elegant Champagne with hints of apricot, biscuits, flowers, almonds and a touch of licorice.
For the first course we had Ravioli del Plin, a Piemontese specialty. The name means ravioli with a pinch and Tom had made a delicious Piemontese-style sauce with prosciutto, mushrooms and a little cream.
We drank Nebbiolo d’Alba 2017 Poderi Colla 100% Nebbiolo. The exposure is westerly and easterly and the vineyard is between 330 and 370 meters. The vines were planted in 1967, 1989 and 1999 and there are about 4,000 to 5,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is the 1st-10th October. Vinification is the same as above. Elevage is in Slavonian oak casks for about 12 months. This is a complex wine with hints of plum, red berries, dried roses and a touch of violet.
For the main course we had an elegant Neapolita-style saltimbocca. Thin slices of veal were topped with a thin slice of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and a light tomato sauce and baked until the cheese melted.
We drank Taurasi “Radici” 1995 Mastroberadino made from 100% Aglianico The soil is poor in organic substances but has a high content of clay, limestone, minerals and microelements. The vineyards are on two hills, Mirabella vineyard at 500 meters and the Montemarano vineyard at 550 meters. Because of its position on the hill and its altitude, the temperature at the Montemarano vineyard is much colder and the grapes are picked a little later. Harvest is from the end of October into the beginning of November. The vinification is the classic one for red wine, long maceration with skin contact at controlled temperatures. The wine spends one year in Slovenian oak barrels and two years in bottle, and can be laid down for 10 to 15 years. The riserva stays in medium sized 40 to 50HL oak casks for 2 years and 2 years in bottle. It can live in the bottle for 25-40 years. This is the way I believe the 1995 was produced. The wine was showing no signs of age. This is a full, complex wine with hints of black cherry, plum, spice, smoke and a touch of leather.
A variety of cheeses brought the meal to a savory ending.
Wine Barolo 1990 Prunotto This wine was produced before Antinori purchased the winery (1994). It was then owned by the legendary Beppe Colla and his brother Tino. The 2017 Nebbiolo d’Asti listed above was produced at the winery Poderi Colla by Tino in whose capable hands the winery is in now. This is a very traditional Barolo with hints of red fruit, licorice, tar, coffee and a touch of rose petals. It was the favorite wine of the evening, but I gave a slight edge to the Taurasi.
A seasonal dessert of spiced braised Italian plums topped with ice cream ended the meal.
Followed of course by an espresso and….
…one of my favorite Grappas “Capo di Stato” from Loredan Gasparini made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
What a joy to spend an evening with good friends.