Category Archives: Tom & Diane

Another Wonderful Christmas Dinner with Tom & Diane

It has become a tradition  now  for a number of years that Michele and I trade holiday meals with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow.  Tom is a wine and food writer and Diane is a food writer and they both have excellent blogs.  We do Thanksgiving and they do Christmas.

As always we started with Champagne. Champagne Aubry Brut Premier Cru NV Aubry Fils made from 55% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 5% Arbanne and Petit Meslier ad Fromenteau. The assemblage is 50% base with 50% perpetual reserve dating back to 1998. The vineyard/ village: Jouy-les-Reims and Villadommange 1er Cru. It has hints of white flowers, green apple, lemon and a hint of toast.

With the Champagne we had  two little pastries, gougeres  flavored  with  prosciutto  and  cheese  and  pastry  pinwheels  filled  with  liver  pate.

Coullee de Serrant 2003 Nicolas Joly made from 100% Chenin Blanc from a seven hectare vineyard from old vines located on very steep slopes dominating the Loire Valley. Cultivation is by horse or hand. The grape harvest is done 5 times over a 3 to 4 week period to obtain the most colored, mature and the most grapes marked by botrytis. The wine is aged in 500 liter barrels, with never more than 5% new wood. The winery is biodynamic. The wine is bottled with a light filtration, no fining and a low amount of sulfur. The wine was showing its age but very drinkable with hints of passion fruit and honey.

With the white wine we had  baked crepes  filled  with bechamel,  gruyere  and  ham.  

Domaine Henri Georges Nuits St Georges 2003 made from 100% Pinot Noir. This is a complex wine with hints of dark red fruit, plum and blueberries, it was drinking very well and showing no signs of decline.

With this wine we had  a prime  rib roast which  was  perfectly  cooked.

The  beef  was  accompanied  by  green  beans  with  onions  and  a shiitake  and  potato  gratin.

Barolo 1989 “ Cannubi” Prunotto made from 100% Nebbiolo. !989 was a exceptional vintage for Barolo. The legendary Beppe Cola made this wine before he sold the winery to Antinori. This is classic Barolo at its best with hints of cherry, blueberry, licorice, and a touch of spice. A great wine in a great year!

A variety of cheeses to finish the wine.


The Chocolate Grappa Cake Michele brought for our dessert was a recipe that she had developed for an article in Gourmet Magazine some years ago.  Diane supplied the delicious cookies, peanut butter, chocolate chip and nut snowballs.

It was another wonderful holiday meal.  I hope you all ate and drank as well as we did.  Happy New Year!


Filed under Barolo, Burgundy, Champagne Aubry, Coullee de Serrant - Nicolas Joly, Lorie, Nuits st Georges Henri Georges, Prunotto Barolo Cannubi 1989, Tom & Diane, Tom and Diane, Uncategorized

Dinner with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow

It is always a pleasure to be invited to Tom and Diane’s home for dinner. Both are excellent cooks. Tom writes a wine blog 
Diane has a food blog
 Often I repost their articles on my own blog.

When Michele and I arrived, I saw that they were preparing one of my favorite dishes — stuffed fried zucchini flowers. In Rome I order them whenever I can.

. Tom was doing the frying and they were perfect. I ate them before I remembered to take a picture of them on my plate.

With the flowers Tom served a magnum of Fiano di Avellino 2000 “Erminia Di Meo Selection” 100% Fiano di Avellino

I tasted the 2003 with Roberto Di Meo when I was in Campania for the Campania Stories press trip and I was very impressed by the wine. Late harvest grapes were selected from a particular family parcel. There is a prolonged maceration with the skins at a low temperature followed by soft pressing and controlled temperature fermentation. A year after the harvest the wine remains in stainless steel with the “fecce fin” (lees) for 13 more years. It is an exceptional Fiano worth the long wait and proves that Fiano can age for many years. This is an elegant and complex wine with subtle hints of ripe citrus fruit and a touch of honey and smoke. It has a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste.

They also served as an appetizer Mortadella filled with lightly pickled vegetables.

Next was a delicious fresh tomato and onion soup with pasta

With this we had a Chianti Classico 1970 from Ruffino. The wine was most likely made from Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Colorino and Ciliegiolo, and was produced by using the governo method. The governo method, once common in Tuscany, is a secondary fermentation created by the addition of 10-15% dried grapes, or the must of dried or concentrated grapes.  Colorino was usually the grape of choice to be dried.

This was my wine contribution and unfortunately it was showing its age. Tom and I drank some of it but Michele and Diane had more of the white wine and moved on to the next red wine.

Then there was a stew made with lamb and bell peppers.

With it we drank the Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 DOCG from Castello di Cacchiano made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo, Malvasia and Colorino. The vineyards are at 380 to 400 meters with a southern exposure. Soil is Alberese (a gray calcareous clay) of medium consistency with a substantial content of crushed limestone. The older vineyards have 3,300 vines per hectare and the newer between 5,000 and 9,260 and the training system is spurred horizontal cordon. Harvest is at the end of September and beginning of October. Maceration is on the skins for 3 weeks. Aging in small cask, tonneaux and barriques all made with French Allier oak.

This wine was drinking very well and showing no signs of age. It has hints of ripe red fruit and a touch of violet.

Tom and Diane always serve a cheese course with very interesting cheeses.

With the cheese we had the Barbaresco 1998 DOCG 100% Nebbiolo from Bruno Giacosa.

This was the red wine of the evening with hints of red and black fruits, spice and a touch of leather. The wine was a perfect combination with the cheese, even holding up to the Gorgonzola.

Then there was dessert, roasted peaches stuffed with amaretti and cocoa, a classic from Piedmont.

As usually Tom made espresso and as always we finished with a grappa. I is always a great pleasure to be invited to their apartment for dinner


Filed under Tom & Diane