Despite the difficulties this year, we were able to maintain a few holiday traditions. One that we always look forward to is having Christmas dinner at the home of Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow.
We began with a toast.
Brut Methode Traditional 2018 made from 100% Gringet, an endemic grape variety of Savoie France Domaine Belluard. The vineyard is at 450 meters and the exposure is south. The soil is chalky of the Chablais Mountains with little stones. Glacier sediments: yellow marls. Hand-operated harvest. There is a very soft pressing of the grapes. Traditional vinification with alcoholic and malolactic fermentation with native bacteria and yeast takes place. 60% of the vinification is carried out in an egg-shaped concrete vat. Rough filtration on egg whites. The wine has floral notes, pleasant fruity aromas and flavors, a hint of apple, and touch of minerality. The winery is located in the heart of the valley of the Arve between Geneva and Chamonix Mont-Blanc.
With the sparkling wine there were three appetizers
Stuffed Mushrooms with breadcrumbs and cheese.
We also had foie gras toasts.
At the table, we had
Irpina Aglianico 2016 “Memini” Az. Ag. Guastaferro made from 100% Aglianico. The wine bursts with sweet ripe fruit of cherry, raspberry, strawberry and pomegranate. It has a wonderful fruit filled finish and a very long aftertaste. It was a very interesting Aglianico and I have never tasted one like this before. Daniele Cernelli (aka Doctor Wine) in his book The Essential Guide to Italian Wine 2020 states: … In 2002 Raffaele Guastaferro inherited 10 hectares from his grandfather with over 100 year old vines trained using the old starseto (pergola Avellinese) method…creating a very interesting style for the wines that were also based on tradition.
Our first course was Pizza Rustica, a Southern Italian savory pie filled with ricotta, prosciutto and salame.
There are many versions and every cook, has his or her own interpretation. But Diane’s was outstanding for its balance of flavors and tender, perfectly baked crust. We asked for a generous slice to take home with us for lunch the next day!
On the plate
BBarbaresco 2001 “Roncagile” Poderi Colla made from 100% Nebbiolo. The vineyard has a south, south–west exposure and is at 240/280 meters. There are about 4,000/5,000 vines per hectare and the years of planting were 1970-1980-1995-2010. Harvest is manual and takes place the 5th to 15th of October. The grapes are destemmed and crushed and maceration with the skins takes place from 12/15 days. There is a complete malolactic fermentation before the winter. In the spring the wines goes into Slavonian oak bottles for 12/4 months. This is a complex wine with hints of blackberries, blueberries a hint of violets, rose petal and a touch of spice. I visited the winery a few years ago and liked all their wines.
To accompany the main course, we had escarole sauteed with garlic, raisins and pine nuts.
Our main course was a rolled, stuffed veal breast which made a beautiful presentation. The filling included greens and mushrooms.
The veal and escarole were served with roasted potatoes
Barbaresco 1999 Bruno Giacosa made from 100% Nebbiolo. The exposure is southwest; the soil is calcareous clay with a good percentage of sand. There are 4,000 vines per hectare. Fermentation and maceration is in stainless steel vats for 21 days. Malolactic fermentation is complete developed. The wine is aged for 18 months in 110HL botti casks of French oak and eight months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of raspberry, plum, blueberries a touch of violets and a note of tobacco
There were a few cheeses to finish the wine.
Dessert was a Tarte Tatin, made by Michele. We had creme fraiche on the side.
On the plate. I like every type of apple tart, but this has to be my favorite.
We finished this perfect meal with espresso and Marolo Barbera grappa.