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March 2010

We ventured to Belmont's wonderful Divino Restaurant after work on a Friday night...the place was packed and we waited about ten minutes for a table...

To start we had a nice bottle of Gigante's "Ribolla Gialla," a dry white wine from Italy's Friuli region.

CALAMARI : Vegetables Stuffed Squid with Cannellini Beans Purée and Broccoli rabe Tortino




Then we split a couple of pasta dishes...

The Pappardelle were silky smooth and the black trumpet mushrooms were wonderfully aromatic and flavorful.


And the Linguine con Vongole featured sweet, fresh clams and this had just the right amount of salt...

We enjoyed a 2007 Dolcetto from Ca'Viola...very nice...exuberantly berryish with mild tannins.

Next we had the staff decant a 1979 Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino.

 



The wine was magnificent!
It still retained reasonably youthful color and the bouquet was incredibly deep...woodsy notes, mild leather, smoke...exceptionally deep.  The acidity is firm and there's a moderate level of tannin.  This is still youthful and can be cellared, if you have any bottles, for another 10-20 years!


Ellen enjoyed a pork chop with a pistachio 'crust'.

Constance opted for a Venetian-styled Liver.

 

Mark chose a veal dish...

 

And I had their braised Short-Ribs with Gnocchi...

This dish arrived with a tomato sauce, quite different from earlier renditions.
Good, however...


These two are roughly the same age.
Both '79 vintage!

We then ordered a couple of desserts for all to share...

 



On Sunday night we booked a table at La Ciccia in The City.


We began with a sip of Prosecco to whet our appetite for a great meal at La Ciccia.


Lorella opened our two red wines...a Coppo Pomorosso 2004 Barbera d'Asti and a 1961 Borgogno Barolo.

Chef Massimo had procured a special Prosciutto (aged 17 months) from Italy...

This was really marvelous...not too salty and beautifully "sweet."

Lorella suggested a Santandi Vermentino from Sardegna to set up the red wines...


Calamari next...

And then Massimo's stellar Octopus stew...


We then tried the Barbera.
Pomorosso is one of the benchmark Asti-area Barbera wines and this 2004 is lavishly-oaked.
I was amused to read of some journalists and bloggers giving Piemontese producers of Barbera a hard time over the use of oak.
At a wine "show" called Barbera 2010, it seems The Critics are now allergic to a barrel.
Well, if any of those experts tastes this wine, at this stage of development (a 2004 vintage), they'd see a wine in a lovely phase...it's lost some of the sweetness of the oak and it's turning into a more complex red wine.  There were some red and black fruit notes, the woodsy, cedary notes and a hint of vanillin and then some underbrush or forest-floor sorts of tones.  This was a delight in its complexity.


Gnochetti


A seafood pasta.

Our decanted bottle of old Barolo arrived...


Lamb and lentils.

Ellen was delighted to see and taste a wine from her birth year...

Borgogno 1961.

She was even more pleased (to the point of tears) to see the wine had withstood the test of time (as was she).


And the wine was a delight!  Lots of truffley, earthy, leathery scents.  On the palate, it was mildly mouth-drying, lightly astringent and with red fruits and nice, snappy acidity.

We offered our server a sniff and taste of the Barolo.


Barbera on the left,
well-aged Barolo on the right...

Lorella and our delightfully professional server then arrived with some birthday desserts...


We made wishes and blew out the candles...then it was time for a quick ride home and a snooze.

___________________________________________________

Two marvelous meals...several truly memorable wines...

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