Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stella’s Italian Wine Tasting Explores Piemonte

The focus of  the most recent wine tasting at Stella’s Restaurant in Perrysburg was Piemonte. This is one of the most important wine areas in Italy, known for the Nebbiolo grape and standout regions like Barolo and Barbaresco.
The wines of Specialty Wine Company were matched with appetizers and a five-course meal prepared by Chef Rob Campbell. The host for the evening was Claudio Salvador, winemaker at Firelands Winery and importer of great Italian wines.
Treviso Prosecco De Faveri, a slightly sweet sparkling wine, was matched with an anti pasto assortment of meats, vegetables and cheeses. It was just the right way to unwind after a long day at the office.
Another white was on the tasting menu next: 2012 Cayega Arneis Tenuta Carretta. Arneis is sometimes know as the “white Barolo” and its name in Italian means “little rascal.” This is an unoaked reflection of crispness and acidity that paired fantastically with a “zuppa” of smoked cod, spring peas, leeks, new potatoes, thyme and cream served in a Mason jar.
We were joined at the tasting by Glorious T and the Cabinator. Glorious T may have a new nickname, “Mama Nebbiolo” after our most recent tasting.
The 2009 Nebbiolo d”Alba Tenuta Carretta is smoky and balanced. It is an ancient grape that is oaked in the traditional way. Nebbiolo produces some of Italy’s greatest wines and often requires many years to soften. This Nebbiolo, however, was drinking beautifully and was a great pairing with risotto prepared with hazelnuts, artichokes and goat cheese. Mama Nebbiolo needed additional glasses to confirm that this was indeed an awesome wine. It retails for $25.
The Vitello Scallopine, featuring veal studded with wild mushrooms and arugula, was paired with “Bric Quercia” Barbera d’Alba Tenuta Carretta. The Barbera I have tasted before have seemed lightweight. This version, however, was polished, velvety on the palate with a snap, crackle and pop. Contrary to my preconceptions, this wine was much darker than the Nebbiolo. The Barbera goes for $22.
We wrapped up with panna cotta prepared with strawberry, rhubarb, vanilla and chocolate mint. It paired with the “La Sera” Red Ambrosia from Malgra. This was a red sparkler that had spritz and a pop of sweetness. The sugar of the dessert ratcheted down some of the sweetness of the wine – a very successful pairing.
Not only did we enjoy a divine tasting, we even had a chance to test our vocal skills. Led by Claudio we sang “Volare” (Oh, Oh, Oh) while our glasses clinked and we nibbled on cuisine Italiano. Bravo!
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