Italo Pietrantonj Pecorino 2008

Italo Pietrantonj Pecorino 2008

Sunday, Unstructured

There are few things in my life which resist change as much as our tradition of Sunday dinner with extended family. But, today is an exception.

I am unprepared for the anomaly of Sunday without pasta, long-simmered red sauce, slow-roasted meats, of many faces at table.

Let us strategize a recovery: something to eat … easy, fast and good. Speak comfort to me, friend. OK: spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and anchovy.

And the wine, then: one to fill the void, to overcome this dreary day….

pietrantonj-pecorino-2008AND SO IT WAS that Italo Pietrantonj Pecorino 2008, a wine from one of the oldest wineries in Abruzzo, found its way to an unusual Sunday table, transforming a simple meal and raising spirits with its elegant good taste and personality.

Made from 100% varietal Pecorino grown in medium-texture clay soil at approximately 340m altitude, fermented in stainless steel, this interesting, complex white from Pietrantonj shows incredible value for money.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Straw yellow with emerald highlights. An elegant, delicate perfume of banana, pear, citrus, flowers. Expressive and vibrant in the mouth, the wine conjures flavors of grapefruit, green tea and a hint of cinnamon on a creamy palate underscored with fresh, balanced acidity. Finishes with licks of sea salt, almond, and herb. An exceptionally good food wine.

Note: Serve chilled, though slightly warmer than most whites.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Fish / Seafood: Mahi mahi, Tuna, or Swordfish, recommend Tuna steaks with nicoise olives, capers in a light red sauce; Meats: cooked white meats and cured meats such as prosciutto and salami; Soups; hearty soups, recommend Pasta e Fagioli with pepper flakes or Boulliabiasse; Pasta; spicy pasta dishes such as the classic “Puttanesca”; Vegetarian: salad of potato, beet, endive, and walnuts; cold sesame noodles served with sliced radish and cucumber; rigatoni pasta with cauliflower, garlic, olives, pine nuts and raisins.

Asian food fans: try this wine with Japanese hand cut rolls of spicy crab; Chinese Ma Po Tofu; “rice bowl” dishes flavored with salty fish or vegetable.


La Valentina Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2009

La Valentina Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2009, DOC

After four hours of yard work the electric shrub trimmer, telescopic saw and tree pruner had become temporary extensions of my physical anatomy.

I reflected upon the plight of Edward Scissorhands.

Sweat and dirt combined with copious amounts of SPF 50 sunblock to trickle impressive rivers of funky mud down along my arms.

In a primal voice I called out to weeds, bushes, trees, and wife:

“That’s it…enough”.

la-valentina-cerasuolo-montepulciano-dabruzzo-2009Major refreshment required: a cool shower…pizza from a local legend…and a bottle of chilled Cerasuolo that reminded me of how wine things are looking up in Abruzzo.

Fattoria La Valentina is a leader among a group of producers responsible for some top quality bottlings of Abruzzo’s indigenous Montepulciano d’Abruzzo varietal.

Established in 1990, the estate, owned by Sabatino Di Properzio and located in the hills around Pescara, follows a naturalist production philosophy that approaches Hippocratic oath:

We interfere as little as possible in the land’s natural processes, adhering to the idea that “The premise for the DOC is the mark the vine leaves on its grapes”. Our wines are made by nature and our work should not inhibit the expression of the vine. We seek to respect the fruit of our land both on the vine and in the bottle, and to practice winemaking that allows for the fullest expression of our region’s special qualities.*

La Valentina’s Cerasuolo is a rosè made from 25 – 35 year old vines belonging to 30 hectares of vineyards around Spoltore. Vinyards lie at 150 – 350m altitude with south – southwest exposure, planted in medium textured clay soil.

Multiple grape selections are carried out during harvest time and just 18 hours of skin is allowed. A bleeding of the must and light fermentation is carried out in stainless steel where it remains, refining until bottling.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Simply beautiful water-color rose with faded raspberry reflections. Superbly clean, intense aromatics of cherries and strawberries on the nose. Watermelon on the palate. Finishes with luscious berry essence, hints of tobacco, almond, anise. A lively, fresh, and immensely refreshing wine at a value for money price point.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

MEATS: burgers, spareribs, barbecued meats, etc; chicken or veal “alla cacciatore”; FISH: bouillabaisse; seafood paella; tuna steaks cooked with capers, black olives, red onion, roma tomatoes; grilled salmon served with aioli mayonnaise; PASTA: spaghetti “alla puttanesca”; penne with eggplant and sweet peppers; VEGETARIAN: a hearty Panzanella or Nicoise salad; Eggplant Provencal; or the penne pasta with eggplant and sweet peppers, or spaghetti “alla puttanesca”; CHEESES: recommend Chevre, Feta, or Spanish Mahon

* From La Valentina website