A new Italian restaurant is always interesting to me, especially when it involves someone like Rosanna De Michele, who is the chef of the newly opened Osteria Laura in Harlem.
Rosanna is from Abruzzo and I have enjoyed her food when she was the chef at another restaurant and at a friend’s home. A visit to the restaurant seemed like the perfect opportunity to get together with old friends Mary Ewing Mulligan and Ed Mc Carthy, co-authors of the Wine for Dummies Series, who live nearby.
We decided to share a number of appetizers including meatballs, fried calamari, grilled sausages with broccoli rabe, and fresh burrata imported from Puglia. This is real Italian food, at a very good price.
Henriot Cuvee “Des Enchanteleurs” Brut 1989 made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from six of the most prestigious Grand Cru vineyards. Ed was surprised that it was so ready to drink for a Champagne from the 1989 vintage. It is rich with citrus aromas and flavors and hints of peach, hazelnut, and a touch of honey. Aromatic with a great finish and aftertaste, it was wonderful.
Champagne Krug Grand Cuvée Brut NV made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35% Chardonnay–the percent depends upon the vintage. About 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages are blended and it is aged for at least 6 years in the cellars. All of the Krug Champagnes are aged in used small oak barrels. They are all prestige cuvees made from Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages and are aged longer before release. The overall rating for the vineyards is 98% with Krug’s own vineyards rating 100%. As Ed said obviously this is not just another NV Champagne. It is Michele’s favorite.
Schiava 2018 DOC Elena Walch made from 100% Schiava grapes from high side vineyards above Lake Caldaro at 1,312 ft. The soil is limestone and clay. There is temperature-controlled fermentation at 27°C in stainless steel tanks for 7 days of skin contact. Malolactic fermentation and maturation take place in traditional 8,000 liter Slovenian oak casks. This is a fruity red wine with hints of cherry and a nice bitter almond touch on the finish.
Pasta with Burrata and Artichokes – The day’s special, the chef used imported Burrata and top quality Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta.
Tagliatelle with Ragu Abruzzese – A classic ragu made as do in Abruzzo.
Chicken Rollatini with Mushrooms – Chicken breast cutlets rolled and stuffed with imported prosciutto, served with sauteed mushrooms.
With our main courses, we drank:
Dolcetto 1971 “Cru Nassone La Morra” Marcarini/Cogno made from 100% Dolcetto. I do not believe this label is used anymore. Back in 1971 the wine would have been aged in concrete or large oak barrels (botte) they did not have stainless steel tanks or barriques back then. For me this was a delightful surprise. The wine had hints of red fruit, black cherry with a touch of violets and almonds. It was showing no signs of age. Fantastic!
Recioto Valpolicella Amarone 1967 Bertani 70% Corvina Veronese, 30% Rondinella-this is the present blend.
Carefully selected grape bunches are hand-harvested in Bertani’s best Valpolicella vineyards in Fumane, Marano and the Novare Valley. Vines are cultivated using the “spalliera” method while pruning is done using the Guyot method with 5.000 vines/ha.
Unlike most leading Amarone producers, who buy grapes from outside growers, Bertani’s harvest originates entirely in the firm’s own vineyards. With marly-calcareous soil sheltered by surrounding woodland, these vineyards offer the ideal terroir for Amarone.
Harvest begins in early October and extends over a two-week period. After harvest, ripe, unblemished grapes from the uppermost portions of each cluster — those grapes richest in sugar and extracts — are painstakingly detached and laid out to dry on cane mats. The mats are stored on raised platforms in airy lofts, sheltered by a roof but otherwise exposed to drying breezes on all sides. By the time they are ready to undergo maceration and fermentation in February, they will have lost up to 60% of their water content (appassimento). A lengthy maceration period ensues, a factor responsible for Amarone’s tremendous body and structure. After a controlled fermentation, the wine was transferred into oak casks for a period of 5-8 years (the 1961, I believe, spent a longer time in wood) during which it was racked twice annually prior to bottling.
Dry, full-bodied, and amply structured with hints of cherries, red berries and spice and a rich aftertaste and long finish, a wonderful wine.
Affogato al Café – vanilla ice cream topped with hot espresso express over vanilla ice cream,
Osteria Laura is located at 1890 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, NY, NY. The phone is 917- 261-6575.
The Owner is Laura Testa.