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Food, Wine & Friends Page 222


April 2012


This is a "friend of a friend of a friend" story.
by
Gerald Weisl


A fellow who knows a Bay Area wine industry mogul asked her about some sort of internship for a a moderately distant relative's daughter.  The Mogul said she'd contact me as I "know everybody" in the wine business in Italy.
(Hardly.)

A while later, then, a young lady comes to the shop to introduce herself and we had a nice chat about a strategy to obtain an internship someplace in Italy.  The budding enologist is a recent graduate of the enology program at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California.

I put out some feelers and, unfortunately, as this initial meeting was part way through the summer, no "nibbles," as wineries already had interns lined up.  Many European cellars who take on such interns, have inquiries from not only the USA, but Australia, South America and South Africa.

The following year, the young lady, Danielle Freschet, stops by the shop, indicating that she's still interested in being an intern at a winery in Italy and, lucky for her, I was just heading over there.

Well, I thought of a particular cellar as a potentially good site for both the family at the winery and for Danielle.  One thing leads to another and the decision is made to accept Danielle as an intern at Barolo's prestigious winery of Luciano Sandrone.

And things, according to all accounts, worked out beautifully for one and all and now Danielle is part of la famiglia Sandrone.

Fast forward to April of 2012...Barbara Sandrone is coming to the USA on a wine-promoting marathon and one stop is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Danielle's parents would like to host some sort of dinner as a small measure of thanks to the Sandrones.

Danielle, of course, being a "flying winemaking intern" is nowhere in the area!  She's off in Australia, providing some energy to the famous Torbreck Vintners in the Barossa Valley.
So while Danielle is learning to speak Australian, her parents are busy coordinating a possible "Evening With Barbara Sandrone" in Redwood City.

Now the words "organizing" and "Italian" are two which are not usually connected in grammatically-correct English sentences, but somehow the stars and planets fell into just the right alignment and, ecco!, we were going to have dinner in Redwood City, California!!!

And so, on an unusually warm April evening, Barbara Sandrone arrived at the Castello Freschet!


And, even better, Danielle's sister Noelle was there along with all the grandparents (a couple of whom had been in Italy during the internship and they even ventured to Barolo for a few days of visits, meals and wine-drinking).

So, once all the introductions were made, we opened a magnum of a special bottle of bubbly to celebrate this momentous evening.


Everyone hoisted a glass and we had a nice little brindisi.


Lucy noticed Luciano (Barbara's father) was not joining us, so she had his flute of bubbly!

 


A bowl full of seasoned nuts was might tempting (and addictive, too).


Paula, Barbara and Richard.

The weather for Barbara's visit was perfect and along the lines of a warm June day in Barolo.
We then sat outside in the courtyard to enjoy some more bubbles, a few little starters and some conversation.

 

 

 


I brought along my book "Amici del Piemonte" and everyone had a nice little "tour" of the Langhe region with a long 'stop' at the pages featuring the Sandrone family.



 

Barbara & Paula then engaged in some typical Italian-speak: with their hands.


Meanwhile, inside Castello Freschet, la tavola was ready for dinner...

And so the Freschivities continued!
*****

In the kitchen, the primi piatti were being prepared...



With the artichokes and prosciutto, we enjoyed a well-chilled glass of Pierce 2010 Albarino from the San Antonio Valley in Monterey County.

Some of us enjoyed two glasses!

 

And so we had another toast, so if the ears of Danielle Freschet and Luciano & Mariuccia Sandrone were 'ringing' at this moment, this explains precisely why!

A while later I found Paula & Richard in the kitchen doing some sort of Iron Chef ritual...


Richard was busy tagliando the tagliata.

And they assembled the main plate...

 

And the house, by the way, is remarkably artistic...

 

 

In addition to the tagliata, there was a platter of culinary artistry in the form of roasted potatoes...

Richard took care of serving everyone...


And we enjoyed a couple of Cal-Ital wines.

Barbara indicated earlier in the day that she would be curious to taste a California Nebbiolo, so I brought a bottle of 2009 "Giornata," a wine from the Luna Matta vineyard in Paso Robles.
And we had a 2009 Seghesio Barbera from Sonoma's Alexander Valley.


The Giornata Nebbiolo was a hit!  

Barbara Sandrone was pleasantly surprised (or shocked) to find a wine of such elegance and finesse and, yes, it was along the lines, she said, of a good Nebbiolo from the Roero region.
We thoroughly enjoyed that bottle with the tagliata, radicchio, arugula e patate!


"Mamma Mia, Che Buon Vino!"

Another surprise was the Seghesio Barbera, as you can easily see in this snapshot.

"Dio Mio!"

But what would dinner be, in California, without Zinfandel?

2009 Green & Red Chiles Mill Zinfandel...

 

We all took turns in having our pictures taken.

And good wine brings with it good conversation.



 

And then it was time for a little dessert and a bit of dessert wine...


What?  Grignolino Port???

Then things got serious when Nonno brought out a bottle of Grappa...

Upon tasting this, I guessed it to provide somewhere between 10 and 15 miles to the gallon, but he confided in Barbara that 20 was more like it!

She said, "Oh, I think I'll stick with the Zinfandel."

And then Lucy joined the festivities, too.

And then a few items made their way out of my magic bag...
Including this little gem...

Danielle "Chips."

OMG!

Yes...Indeed!

At this point, Richard invited us downstairs for a look/see.

Huh?  What?

Yup, a little wine cellar...


Well, then we had a look at the clock...


"Oh my, it's late!  What day is it today, anyway?" asked Barbara (hop-scotching across the country will do that to you...Montreal, Miami, New York, Chicago and San Francisco in just a few days!).

As we prepared to motor up to her hotel in The City, the grandparents were busy looking at their prospective rides home.
I wasn't sure if the bicycles were a good idea at this late hour, but as they left their horses at home, well...


A big


to the Freschet Family for hosting such a grand evening.

Barbara said she fell asleep immediately once back at her hotel room and the following morning awoke having had a very grand dream...but then she realized it wasn't just a dream!  
It was the fantastic night in Redwood City, California!

Next time we hope Danielle, if she's not busy making wine somewhere in the world, will join us.

Thanks again, Richard and Paula, for hosting us.




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Barbara's Daughter Alessia Arrived in July of 2012 for a Stay With the
Sicard Family.

Barbara's Daughter Has a Backyard BBQ
At the FitzJensens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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