Sunday, January 13, 2008

Piemontese Winemakers' Dinner

Well-paired wine dinners with regional themes are relatively common in Burlington. But opportunities to meet and dine with world-reknown winemakers and producers are far and few between in northern Vermont. That is why the Piemontese Winemakers' Dinner at Trattoria Delia this Thursday, January 17th is such a rare and special opportunity for those who love Italian wine and food. Restaurant guests will enjoy a five course meal accompanied by wine pairings from Broglia, Pecchenino, Ca Viola, and Damilano. Just as importantly, everyone will get the chance to meet the producers or winemakers themselves and to hear them describe their own wines and winemaking philosophies. With this star line-up of producers, dinner should be quite memorable. How could truffles and Barolo not be?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Begali Valpolicella Ripasso "Vigneto La Cengia" 2005

The usual suspects from Valpolicella: Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Aged in large, Slavonian Oak barrels for one year. Bright red fruits, plums, and pipe tobacco on the nose; chocolate-covered cherries & blackberries and subtle herbal qualities on the palate with a smooth, pleasant finish. Not heavy handed and well balanced with great tension. An elegant ripasso wine from fruit grown biodynamically.

In Vino Veritas

People frequently ask me if all I drink is Italian wine. The truth is that I enjoy drinking wines from all over the world and I take every opportunity to do so. However, as the manager of an Italian restaurant with an obsession for almost everything Italian, the majority of wines I drink are Italian. As a function of my profession and my penchant for drinking, eating, traveling, and driving "Italian style", I have developed a certain affinity for and familiarity with Italian wine.

As for the rest of the wine world, I am a big fan of many wines and producers from the Pacific Northwest, I am very impressed with the quality of wines coming out of Argentina and Chile, Spanish wines continue to amaze me, and I love the white scene in Germany and Austria.

For example, I still have three empty wine bottles from Thanksgiving sitting on my office shelf that I've been meaning to blog about for a while. Every year I marvel at how limited and myopic Thanksgiving wine recommendations usually are. Every year it is the same thing: Pinot Noir or a Burgundy, Red Zinfandel if you are going to be uber-American about it, or perhaps Beaujolais Nouveau or another Novello. Sometimes I feel that red wine is forced onto poultry, largely because big, barrel-aged whites have gotten such a bad rap from the extreme, flabby, buttery world of California Chardonnay. Despite my efforts to convince my family that we should drink a big, aromatic white with our autumn feast, Pinot Noir won out. We had three, excellent, California Pinot Noirs: Dutton Goldfield Russian River Valley 2005, Gary Farrell Russian River Valley 2005, and Hartford Court Land's Edge Vineyards Sonoma Coast 2005. While the wines were pretty remarkable and the food was exceptional, I still wonder whether or not the pairing was as successful.

Look out for a posting on Malbecs soon!