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Food, Wine & Friends Page 255

It was a cool winter evening in 2014 and Kareasa and Ralph hosted an Italian-themed evening.

We were looking forward to a grate meal...

...and, sure enough!

Connie took care of pouring the bubbly...


Mark took care of putting the finishing touches on some crostini.


La Ferghettina is a good producer of Franciacorta and we began with a bottle of their Satèn, a Chardonnay-based sparkler which is slightly less bubbly than the normal sparklers.
Think of Satèn as an Italian version of Champagne's Cremant.
Ferghettina's is made entirely of Chardonnay, though Pinot Bianco is also permitted as part of the blend.

 

Connie took care of opening a second bottle of a Satèn sparkler, this one having the Enrico Gatti label.

The Enrico Gatti base wine saw a bit of oak for its primary fermentation and was matured for about 6 months in wood before they turned it into bubbly.

 

Both wines were of good quality, though I felt they were a bit expensive at roughly $45 and $60 respectively.  This is a typical challenge for wines from Franciacorta...they are often more costly than good bottles of Champagne.

 

 


Connie and Mark brought a salad for a starter course...


The salad features paper-thin fennel slices with shallots, walnuts, blood orange sections (and/or grapefruit sections, tangerine or whatever you'd like in citrus) with a hint of fresh mint.

The white wine is from Italy's Lipari island just north of Sicily.  The wine is made by the Castellaro winery...it's called Bianco Pomice and is made of Malvasia and Carricante.  There's a minerally, stony quality to this wine with vaguely fruity, floral notes.  I thought it might pair handsomely with the salad and it was a nice accompaniment.

Back in the kitchen, Kareasa had her eye on a pot of vegetables and Ralph provided a measure of muscle in wrestling with a cauldron full of Polenta...

Kareasa then flexed her muscles and took a few turns on the Polenta pot.

 

Kareasa then drained the pot of "rapini" (or Broccoli Rabe, if you prefer).

Connie then heard Kareasa say she was "going for a wok," but Connie beat her to the punch.

The pork had been roasted in the oven...and now was out in its "resting" phase.


Polenta & Pork...a nice combination!

We opened a couple of lightly chilled reds...

Both these reds are based on the Schiava grape and both are from Italy's Alto Adige.

The Abbazia di Novacella Schiava is perfectly fine, but it sure was over-shadowed by the sensational Waldgries Santa Magdalener (maybe 92% Schiava and 8% Lagrein).
The Walgries had the fragrance of a seriously aromatic Beaujolais, showing a basket of ripe red fruits.  Cherries and berries abound in the glass and it's a smooth, beautifully dry red of immense charm.



Here's the main plate, nicely assembled:

Kareasa made a Chestnut Sauce to go with the roasted Pork...very good!



Mark went stylish on us...

...Much to the amusement of Mrs. Mark.

 


We then opened a bottle of Franz Haas Lagrein...quite nice, but the Waldgries was still the Wine of the Night!

Kareasa was a bit surprised when she found a bottle of some sort of Korean-styled marinade from her favorite TV Chef, Guy Fieri.

"Where did this come from?" Kareasa demanded to know.

After a good laugh, Kareasa then set about presenting dessert...


Almondo's Brachetto, called Fosso della Rosa, is a nicely fizzy, moderately aromatic, berryish sweet wine and it was nicely paired with a jammy, fruity pie.

 

 

A splendid evening and a major discovery with that wonderful bottle of Waldgries Santa Magdalener!

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