Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Think Dante Was On To Something

“So I was at this wine tasting”.....This is my “once upon a time.” I mean, really, don’t all good stories start this way?
Anyway, so I was at this tasting over the weekend and, among the interesting samples, one wine stood out to me both for its production method and its character. It is not a wine I would normally care for as it does have that aroma of gauze (medicinal) that anyone who has tasted with me knows I pick up from some Italian reds. This is quickly overcome, however, by the “everything else” in the bottle. I knew I had to have it and I knew exactly what I was going to have with it.
The wine is Vernaccia Di Serrapetrona, produced by Alberto Quacquarini. It is a Vino Spumante Secco (dry red sparkling wine) made with Vernaccia Nera grapes, a local variety found only in this region of Marches. Rumor has it is also the wine referenced in Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. The wine is produced using triple fermentation. What this means is that half the grapes are made into wine in the traditional red wine way. The other half are left to dry, or raisin, on mats (recioto) and are then made into wine. The culminating two wines are blended and then the third fermentation takes place using the Charmat method to maintain the intensity of fruit. Aromas and flavors of raspberry and red plum are accompanied by bananas, earth and cured meats. Tannins are up there, but so is the acid to balance it out.

The result is an excellent aperitif or the perfect accompaniment to antipasti, which is exactly what I paired it with. As you know, most pairing discussions that take place involve finding that perfect wine to match with the food you are serving or the dish you will be ordering. The flip side of that is just as fun - finding food to match your wine. For this, I picked up some prosciutto, salami, mozzarella, fontina, focaccia and some selections from the olive bar. The duo was divine!
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