It was a very hot day in August and we were at a friend house for a late lunch. I brought a sparkling wine from the Veneto that my friend had never tasted made from the Durello grape to go with the appetizers.
Durello 36 Riserva Extra Brut Metodo Classico DOC made from 85% Lessini Durello and 15% Pinot Noir Sandro Bruno. The soil is volcanic with basaltic rocks. The vineyard is 4 hectares with a southern exposure at 500 meters. The vines are 35 years old. The vineyards are cultivated without the use of pesticides. Manual harvest takes place the 3rd week of September. There is a selection of grapes followed by a soft pressing in a nitrogen saturation at a low temperature. Fermentation is in steel tanks for both grapes. After fermentation the lees are preserved by performing weekly batonnage for 8 months. Sugars 1g/l The wine remains on its own yeast for 36 months. It ages in bottle for 6 more months before release. This is an intense wine with mineral aromas. The wine has hints of white flowers, pear, almonds and a note of lemon.
Another starter was sauteed eggplant with cherry tomatoes on crostini topped with thin slices of Tuscan pecorino.
Our pasta was a summery version of pasta alla puttanesca. Michele tossed the hot, cooked mezze maniche pasta with room temperature chopped tomatoes, capers, olives, anchovies , parsley and mozzarella. The warmth of the pasta brought out all the flavors in the cool sauce. Perfect on a hot day.
Pasta in the dish
I had brought a red wine that can be served chilled to go with the pasta but to our disappointment the wine was not good. I asked our host what he had chilled and he said he had one of his favorite with wines. It was the best Falanghina he ever had and It was the perfect choice.
Beneventano Falanghina IGT Donnachiara made from 100% Falanghina. The vineyard is the Torre Cuso, the best location for Falanghina. The soil is volcanic, chalky clay, the vines are 16 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 2,500 vines per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed before pressing. Cold fermentation is in stainless steel and there is extended maceration. This is a crisp white wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors, nice acidity and good minerality.
Dessert was an improvised one. Sponge cake shells topped with Grand Marnier and orange marmalade marinated strawberries and freshly whipped cream.
With fresh summer produce and good wines, an improvised lunch turned into a feast.