Friday Night Wine Oh's! *Italian*
Setting a specific criteria—a region, country, grape, etc.—we will focus on our criteria selection, in both food and wine choices, and report in our Friday Night Wine Oh's! blog. So while we were shopping, we decided on Italian night and then carried that forward to deem September Italian Month (starting now).
We chose 4 Italian wines. Three reds and one white. Two of the reds (2005's) and the white (2006) were blends (grape varieties not listed) from the region of Toscana. The other red was a Cabernet-Merlot-Sangiovese blend 2006 from Umbria. (Each wine will have it's own post for categorizing.)
Because we were tasting Italian wines naturally I thought of Mario B. and pulled out my new cookbook, Mario Batali Italian Grill. Friday at the office had been tiresome (this is the word I'm choosing to replace what I'm really thinking about it) so I didn't want to fix anything elaborate. I just wanted to relax and unwind with some nice wine. I flipped through the appetizer section and decided on Grilled Vegetable Salad Capri Style. I had most everything except the eggplant and I'd picked up prosciutto, mortadella, a hunk of Ilvillaggio Italian Fontal (a semi-soft cheese with a yellow rind) while I was shopping for wine at Specs.
I threw together the vinaigrette/marinade, which consisted of red wine vinegar, garlic, dried oregano, cumin, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, some OJ and olive oil, salt and pepper. We brushed some of the marinade on the vegetables and got to the grilling. Himself got in on the action and let his inner-pyromaniac loose in the kitchen. By the way, the house is still standing!
We also put together another decadent, heart attack of an appetizer from his book Fresh Robiola Wrapped in Mortadella and grilled. Yes, that's right, cheese wrapped in lunch meat and basically fried. Hey, it was served with some salad greens ok. This is a real recipe folks.
The thing is I couldn't find Robiola cheese because I couldn't remember its name. I kept asking the Spec's guy for Albarino—which is a grape from Spain and makes fabulous white wine. No wonder he kept looking at my like he wanted to say "are you sure lady?" I did pick up a bottle of Albarino, but had to settle for the Ilvillaggio Italian Fontal that my youngest daughter said smelled like @$$. (I started to wonder how she knew, but she is 20 so I decided I didn't really want to know.) The cheese actually tasted pretty good.
Anyway, it was only 77 degrees outside instead of 100+ so we spent the evening on the patio—Himself, me and the 4 dogs. The sunset was beautiful and the wine was relaxing. Sometimes you just take what you can get and enjoy it.
First up was the white Villa Antinori Toscana 2006. Grape blend of 70% Trebbiano and Malvasia, 30% Chardonnay Toscano and Pinot Bianco. This wine was under $10 and was really fabulous. Crisp, floral with just enough acid to stand up to the vinaigrette on the grilled vegetables. We each had one glass and corked it to save for Saturday. The Antinori family history states that the family has been making wine for over 600 years.
Next was Aia Vecchia Lagone Toscana 2005. Grape blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. The most expensive wine of the night at $14.99, Lagone was good but not the best red of the evening. This medium-bodied red wine got better with some air time. It had nice fruit and smooth tannins.
Then we tried Corte alla Flora Giuggiolo Toscana Rosso 2005. Grape: Prugnolo Gentile 100%. Under $10.00. Intense ruby red, fruity, soft and velvety. This was a very fresh wine and the best red of the evening and it was perfect with the Italian meats, cheeses and grilled vegetables.
P.S. I'm having hell with the photo uploader at blogger. Hopefully, I'll be able to load more photos and the pyro video later so check back.