Of paisans and Italian sparkling wines

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Last night, like normal, I was enjoying the Friday Night Flights down at Panorama Ristorante. The night itself brought back some old acquaintances in both wine and people as well as some new ones also.

Ottavio Ruggieri, the International Sales Director of Terranova, an importer of Italian wines (they also distribute the best and smoothest Tempranillo that I have had, Country Roads Tempranillo which is made in California, but the winemaker actually hails from New Jersey) was hosting the event, and I also met his business partner.

What he brought with him were seven sparkling wines; two were Prosecco and the others were all Franciacorta.  Franciacorta is a lovely sparkling wine made using the Method Champagnoise, which must be termed the "traditional method," or metodo classico in Italian. It uses Chardonnay, Pinot Nero/Noir and Pino Bianco grapes to make it, being much like the types of grapes restricted to making champagne.

The actual wines were: Prosecco Brut Spumante "Veneto" Ca-Vi-Ti, Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Brut, Franciacorta Brut, Franciacorta Brut Rose (2003),  Franciacorta Saten (2003), Franciacorta Brut Millesimato (2000) and the Franciacorta Brut Secolo Novo (1999).

I had the fortune of tasting all of these wines before, and actually winning a bottle of the Franciacorta Satèn at the annual Fizz fest which was held just a couple of months prior. However, I must say that I actually tasted them differently this time, as well blown away by the Franciacorta Brut Millesimato (2000) and the Franciacorta
Brut Secolo Novo (1999).

While there, Cosimo Tricarico, the Owner of Caffe Valentino, showed up with a couple of friends. I met Cosimo last year when Ottavio brought in the Country Roads wines, and have had the fortune of enjoying one of his restaurants and his
joviality on several occasions. After meeting the rest of the people there, we all joked around in various subgroups and another bottle of Franciacorta was ordered.

From there, we all migrated to Del Fresco, a lovely restaurant at 15th & Chestnut Streets, in drips and drabs and while they enjoyed cocktails, I simply partook in two glasses of a simple chardonnay.  It was another great time of hanging out with them, the new people that I had met, as well as reconnecting with a number of people also hanging out and having dinner, working there, or just enjoying drinks at the bar.

Summarily, I would highly recommend these sparkling wines, as they can easily compete with some of the more moderately priced champagnes quite easily. My favorite was the Brut Millesimato, and so I will get getting some by the end of
the month.

Well, tonight has me with them again at the private opening of Union Trust, a new restaurant that will undoubtedly steal a lot of thunder, and patrons, from Delaware Avenue up to 12th Street quite easily.

P.S. I would recommend my favorite for any women out there that you might be interested in.

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Our Mission: The Black Winer strives to expose African Americans [and others] to wines, without the flair, stuffiness, and airs of elitism and snobbery that you get from sommeliers and high level wine enthusiasts. We believe in finding something that you like the taste of, outside of the basic brands that you have been force-fed over the years through a combination of ethnically targeted advertising, and what people in your family have historically been drinking.

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