Wow – what fun flavor combinations we had for this Italian-themed cruise – as always, my cheese-expert pal David Bennett chose cheese from the same country as the wines – we tried to obtain traditional, ‘old-world’ style wines to express traditional Italian flavors – no Super-Tuscans in this tasting! Feel free to post questions and comments.
Zardetto – Prosecco Brut NV – Made by the Zardetto family about 30 miles due north of Venice in the town of Conegliano. Apple-ish aroma with slight floral notes. Flavors are crisp with light frothy apple followed by a light lemon zest bitterness on the finish. Some sweetness enters mid-palate despite the residual sugar of 12 grams per liter which qualifies as a Brut. Overall, a fine aperitif accompaniment and wonderful match for the Robiola Bosina Cheese. – A luscious, mild, creamy cheese made from the milk of Piedmont cows and sheep, making for a perfectly balanced set of flavors: mushroomy, salty, and sweet. You will love the silky texture and complex taste!
Ca Stella Pinot Grigio – 2009 – Fine example of Veneto classic Pinot Grigio from the North East region of Italy – citrus and fruity nose followed by a crisp and fresh wine that is light in all aspects. Light, slightly tart fruit flavors, light body with a crisp finish. A classic Italian wine matched nicely to the classic Italian cheese Piave Cheese. A cow’s milk cheese made in the Piave River Valley region of Belluno, Italy. It’s a hard cheese, slightly sweet, with a marvelous finish. An “experts” pick.
Montaribaldi La Consolina Barbera d’Asti – 2007 – Produced a few miles south of Torino with grapes from the historic town of Asti, this wine has dark berry aromas leading into a light to medium bodied wine. The wine is bright, with red berry fruit flavors like cherry and raspberry, backed by a wonderfully smooth smokiness. Typical to Barbera, the acidity makes a good food matching wine, especially at the finish. David’s cheese match for this wine proved fascinatingly complex. Fontina Val d’Aosta Cheese – Rumored to have been revealed to the early inhabitants of the Val d’Aosta by a mythical man called Sarvadzo. Italian cousin to the French Gruyère, made from unpasteurized milk.
Tenuta del Priore Montepulciano d’Abruzzo -2008** – Lovely purple color, this wine is lower in acidity than most Italian varietals, which makes it easier drinking when young. Medium bodied (light for most Americans) has rich flavors of blackberry and plum that flow smoothly to a well-focused finish. This wine matched (if I may say?) perfectly with the lush and gorgeous Dolce Gorgonzola Cheese –Younger, milder, version of aged Gorgonzola. Dolce is wetter and more ivory colored than Gorgonzola Naturale. Soft texture, marvelous flavor, classic cheese! **Remember not to be confused with: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (70% Sangiovese) which is a wine from a place (within Tuscany), rather than the wine of the grape named Montepulciano (up to 10% Sangiovese), which is what we had for this tasting.