Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Dinner in the Veneto Style

This week I had the good fortune of experiencing a traditional Venetian themed dinner and wine pairing at the home of my friends Eric and Deborah. Eric and I have had a few conversations about risotto, and how unsuccessful I was in my 3 attempts to make it. So this evening was an education for me... I was able to watch his process from start to finish, and for me, hopefully the 4th time will be the charm.

While Eric made the Risotto we had a glass of Riondo Prosecco, with delicous fragrances of orange blossoms, apricots and ripe peaches.

The first course was Risotto ai Funghi di Bosco, an AMAZING Risotto with mushrooms (crimini and shitake), shallots, sage and butter. This was paired with the Pieropan Soave Classico 2002 I brought that I think might have been just past the curve... but it did have a few interesting qualities like aromas of Vinsanto/Moscata, melon, cantelope, apple compote with over-ripe fruits. The color was an amber yellow, a bit darker than it probably should be, but strangely enough worked with the course.

Next was Fegato di Vitello alla Veneziana con Radicchio Rosso di Trevisi Al Forno, Calves Liver and Sauteed Vidalia Onions over Baked Polenta encircled with Radicchio, paired with Masi, Campofiorin Rosso Del Veronese 2005 (brought by Allan). Deep ruby colors with rust around the edges painted this baby Amarone with ripe cherries, powdered sugar, aromas of cassis, currants, a bit of bacon... and flavors of delicious intense ripe cherries and black fruits like plums and blackberries. The great balance of acids and tannins matched the rich flavors of the liver while contrasting the savory bitterness of the radicchio.

Next course was Formaggio e Frutta, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggioano con Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, Ciliegia di Marostica, Cherries, soft Gorgonzola, Reggiano, aged Balsamic Vinegar paired with my favorite wine of the evening, the Nicolis, Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico, Ambrosan 2001. Blue ruby colors paint this with INTENSE wood aromas, sour cherries, chocolate, black cherries cough syrup, unique, pruny and velvety... with a kick... 16% alcohol! I loved this wine.

And for an after dinner wine Eric brought out a bottle of L'Arco Pario a Valpolicella Ripaso made from Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and, in very small percentages, Croatina. On the nose a fruity sweetness, black pepper, and flavors of ripe cherries, while the residual sugar makes this a chewy mouthful of fun.

There's an expression I once heard Mario Batali say, "If it grows together, it goes together." This night was the ultimate illustration of those 7 words of wisdom.


Eric G said...

Hey Dave, it was a really great time. Loved your description of the Amarone. I enjoyed this wine quite a bit myself. I think it was only the freshness of the Pario that placed it slightly ahead in my book. One of the draw backs of hosting these evenings is that I have less time with the wine and so first and lasting impressions are what stay with me. Too bad that was my last bottle of Nicolas, I may source one more to give it another check in three to five years. Aged Amarone can be really good. I also ended up buying some more of L'Arco's wines, Rubeo (mainly Cab franc) and their Amarone. Hopefully I'll have the chance to share one of these with you in the future.

So what region should we hit next time I'm inspired to do this?

Dave Trieger said...

Thanks again for a great evening... it was fun watching a classically trained chef work in his home kitchen.

As far as regions, I'm partial to Tuscany, but Sicilia might be really fun to try, especially with the tasty Nero d'Avolas available and a culinary history that's influenced by so many other cultures.

Eric G said...

Hmmm? Sicily.

Now that would be a challenge but one I think I'm up for. I happen to have an, off the boat, family of Sicilians lining next door that I could probably get some tips from. The greatest thing about Sicily is that there are so many different climates on the Island. There are certain themes to their foods and one of my childhood favorites is a pasta dish from the Island. I think this may be a good idea. I'll give it some thought.

Dave Trieger said...

My friend's mom made a Sicilian version of meatballs with raisins and pignoli nuts, and even a pinch of nutmeg... wild, but good.