We kicked things off with some cheese and bubbles-- this time some prosecco-like, charmat method sparkling, 80% chardonnay/20% pinot noir, from Barboursville with a yeasty, fresh-bread aroma and tart acidity.
These classic Italian arancini are a delicious and whimsical way to start any meal- risotto balls stuffed with cheese and prosciutto, breaded and fried, then topped with a bay leaves to look like "little oranges" or, in Italian, "arancini."
Pollak Vineyards makes a great chardonnay vinegar and we used it to dress our blood orange and fennel salad!
We broke into this Barboursville sangiovese reserve and it was perfect with rustic mushroom soup.
Winemaker Luca Paschina does an amazing job with varieties from his native Italy, including sangiovese and nebbiolo.
Pollak Petit Verdot 2010 (Monticello, Virginia)
To pair with Braciole and Mac 'n Cheese we hit this big, bold petit verdot from Pollak Vineyards. The wine is small production, only 365 cases. Over the last few decades Virginia has experimented with hundreds of varietals, and two have strongly prevailed. Especially the Monticello AVA, cabernet franc and viognier reign, with some great Bordeaux blends livening up the mix as well. Petit verdot is sneaking up in popularity as some extremely high quality wines hit the market. This Pollak petit verdot was rich and balanced, with a serious amount of fine tannins, and rich aromas or black fruits and tar-- a wine practically made for braised meat.
It was a toss-up between who preferred the Barboursville sangiovese or the Pollak petit verdot.....
This little nephew of mine voted for the warm milk as his favorite
thing to drink... and wear.
Apple Cake Star of Zurich Cassata alla Siciliana
Then my favorite part came... dessert! We had several different kinds of traditional cakes from around the world. The Cassata alla Siciliana was my favorite, made "casalinga" style (homestyle, as opposed to pastry shop style). It has a fresh ricotta filling that is seriously addictive.
King Family Vineyards was one of the first wineries in Virginia to make port style wine, and after their great success many other wineries have followed suit. This "7" is a fortified merlot ruby, aged for 2 years in bourbon barrels. The Kings love polo, and "7" refers to the imaginary 7th chukker (they liken it to the "19th hole in golf..." as polo only has 6 chukkers).
The 7 is amazing, with great rich red fruit and chocolatey flavor, structure and definite potential for ageability. We had this with some local Charlottesville chocolates (Gearharts), which are some of the best I have ever had. In Manhattan, my favorite small production chocolatiers are Kee's and the former Bespoke for their incredibly fresh tasting chocolates with unique yet satisfying flavors, and Gearharts Chocolates can easily rival these.
The "7" wine paired great with the chocolate genache and the earl grey flavored chocolate.