We started the evening with Proseccos (the Italian version of Champagne).
1. Zardetto Prosecco Brut: Made in the Prosecco village of Canegliano, there was a nose of apples, a whiff of clover honey and wildflowers. Crisp and dry tart-apple flavors are near bone-dry, with a lemony, acidic finish. Bright and refreshing, it's an appealing summer sipper, but good balance and crisp acidity made it a fine food wine, too.
2. Villa Carlotti Prosecco: This one was light, with nice bubbles, and mellow aromas of almond, pear and yeast. On the palate, it tasted of green apple, asian pear, and spice.
We enjoyed these sparkers with an antipasto spread of marinated olives, roasted red peppers and proscuitto, along with hummus and pita chips.
We then moved into they most popular Italian white varietal, the Pinot Grigio.
3. Casalini Pinot Grigio Veneto 2007: Intense, ample and persistent bouquet of fresh fruit and
flowers. The taste was delicate and elegant, with a crispy, dry hit well balanced by aromas of ripe fruits like golden apple and tropical fruit.
4. Campanile Pinot Grigio 2008: It had a nice pear taste with a crisp finish.
On to the Reds!
5. Carpineto Dogajolo Toscano 2008: This wine has been classified as a young “Super-Tuscan”, and is a blend of Sangiovese (mostly) and Cabernet Savingnon grapes. It had a surprising aroma of dark fruit, coffee and spice and a long, dry finish. It was an interesting wine, with the power and deep colors of a young wine and a fruity and fragrant bouquet. I bet this wine would probably age well and taste much better in a few years.... not that it was bad!
6. Rubentino Chianti 2006 (imported from Italy via Patti): This wine was an AWESOME addition to wine club... everyone loves a good, smuggled wine! The color was bright ruby to garnet red and had a generous bouquet of fruity, floral flavors, with hints of morello cherry and violet. It was reasonably dry, but well-balanced.
7. Layer Cake Primitivo 2007: This wine hails from Puglia, Italy and is their version of the Californial Zinfindel. Purple in color with black fruit, cherries and whipped cream on the nose. Extremely creamy and ripe fruit with spice and a bit of tartness on the finish. Bold, big reds aren't common to most Italian wines and it can be very difficult to find an inexpensive version, which this one is.
We had quite the spread of food, so much so that we were all too full to try the family's famous sauce (bummer!). In addition to the antipasto platter, there was tomato, basil, and mozzerella bruschetta, tiramisu, nutella with assorted fruits and cookies, and cheese (gorgonzola, parmesan, and asiago).
What a great evening! We enjoyed some seriously delicious food and wine, and those of us who have traveled to Italy shared our stories. I think many of us left that evening with a new appreciation for Italian wine, culture, and food... we all left about 5lbs heavier too!