Posts Tagged ‘Italy’
“Hey Dad…Dad…DAD! Isabella’s little sister is allergic to peanuts… the cafeteria sign said, ‘No peanuts allowed!’”
“Uh Dad, Dad, Daddy… Mom, Mom, Mommy I have something to tell you…”
Ah, the sweet melodic sounds of children repeating your name…over and over and over again.
It had been 3 weeks since we’ve had a Fancy Dinner Friday together as a family. Our sons spent the past two Fridays having fun with Grandmom and Granddad. We were all excited about having our familiar Friday night together.
“The tablecloth is on the table and I laid down all of the place settings.” my oldest son said. “Uh Dad, can I give everyone a fancy wine glass?” my youngest son asked.
The dinner table looked perfect and looked especially “fancy” this evening with the extra candles that our sons put around the windows. We were dining by candlelight this evening.
I can’t say enough how great this time is together. Our children know that this “fancy” dinner can be as short or as long as they want it to be. They feel comfortable to share with my wife and I as little or a lot of the things that are going on in their everyday world. It’s also a great way to end the work week and share some quiet time with your spouse – after the kids leave the dinner table, that is.
On this particular Friday night, we opened up what turned out to be a very special red wine from Sicily. The 2007 Cusumano Nero D’Avola Sicilia IGT was a perfect match for our Friday night spaghetti. It had a very good cherry and raspberry taste with a touch of sweet spices on the finish. My wife liked that this Italian wine that had no “alcoholly” taste to it. It was very smooth and easy to drink.
What made this red wine from Sicily go from being a very good spagetti wine to a truly special dinner wine was its packaging. I’ve tried many wines in my short wine life, but I’ve never seen a wine cork like this one before. Grab a bottle and see for yourself. It’s very different and gives one the feeling that they’re drinking a very expensive wine.
The verdict – I paid $13.99 for this 2007 Cusumano Nero D’Avola Sicilia IGT. It tastes like a 3 Star wine. However it’s unique bottling is truly something special. This wine has the ability to make a simple spaghetti dinner feel more like a special occassion. Just add a tablecloth and candles and you’ll see what I mean.
Barolo wine is a powerful and rich red Italian wine that is known as the king of wines in Italy.
An Italian Barolo is made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes (Nebbiolo is a native Italian red grape). Barolo wines have the ability to age very well and usually turn to an orange tinge as they get older. If a Barolo wine is aged for at least five years, the wine can be labeled“Riserva”.
Game 1: The “Pre-Valentine’s Day Date”
My wife came up with a great plan for the two of us to share Valentine’s Day together that wouldn’t cost us an arm and a leg. She suggested that we to take a vacation day from work and spend a quiet and relaxing day together. After getting our sons off to school, we took in a few more zzzzzz’s and got ready for our Pre-Valentine’s Day lunch date that she had planned for us. This proved to be a terrific idea. She made our lunch reservations at a nearby Inn. When we walked inside the restaurant, we immediately noticed that we nearly had the entire restaurant to ourselves. The dining room was intimate and very quiet. Since there was no one around us, we felt comfortable just talking about whatever was on our minds. It was pretty awesome not having a room full of lovebirds salivating over an over-priced fixed menu. To start, we each ordered a glass of wine. My wife ordered a 2006 French Chablis from Domaine Rayond Dupont-Fahn. I ordered a California Chardonnay from Sonoma Cutrer, which was also made in 2006. Both wines were very good but also very different. French Chablis is a white wine made from the Chardonnay grape but because of where this wine is made in France, the Chardonnay grape can really take on a life of its own. The Sonoma Cutrer is one of our favorite all-time California Chardonnays year after year. Sonoma Cutrer makes their Chardonnay in a French sort of way. It’s very rich and powerful Chardonnay but without the tree bark oakiness.
As for lunch, we shared a few grilled shrimp with a interesting, “smoky” cocktail sauce. We then moved on to a jumbo lump crab bisque soup, a field greens salad that was garnished with grilled vegetables and lemon vinaigrette, and a cute little mini grilled mushroom and roasted red pepper sandwich. The sandwich was delicious, but it was just slightly larger than a quarter (which turned out to be plenty).
All in all, lunch and our Chardonnays were both terrific. But alas, the day was still young, so we decided that we would cap off this fine romantic afternoon together at home with a new white wine.
On our way home from the restaurant, we stopped at our local wine shop and grabbed a chilled bottle of 2007 white wine that was from Pine Ridge Winery in Oakville, CA. This white wine was a blend of two grapes, which was 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier. This blended wine tasted nearly flawless. It was a very nice balance of spice, pear, and grapefruit. It tasted very fresh, and it had little to no oak on the tongue. We really liked this wine a lot and would highly recommend that you give it a try.
The Second-Half of this Double-Header
Our great day together ended with a Fancy Dinner Friday with our sons. They were very eager to share with us the great afternoon that they also had going to a movie with there friends.
For our usual Friday night fare of spaghetti and meatballs, we paired it with a 2007 Italian Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo red wine from Quattro Mani, (which means 4 hands in Italian).
This Italian red wine is the creation of four celebrity Italian winemakers. It was a very nice wine with our spaghetti and meatballs. It tasted like fresh dried cherries and strawberries. It had nice fruit with no alcohol aftertaste. My wife has said that many Italian red wines taste “alcoholly” to her. This one was pretty clean.
My wife really put together a terrific day for us that was both romantic and simple. And the fact that it was relatively inexpensive was an added bonus.
Rating the wines that we had today:
1.) 2006 Domaine Raymond Dupont-Fahn. French Chablis. We paid $11 for a glass of this wine. It retails for about $20-$25 for a bottle in the store. The wine was crisp with great apple flavors. To us, it was good just not knock you over the head good. We give it 3 Stars.
2.) 2006 Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay from Sonoma, CA. We paid $12 for a glass of this wine. It retails for between $20-$25 for a bottle in the store. This wine has it all for a Chardonnay. It tastes like an expensive French Chardonnay. If you’ve never tried this wine, we highly recommend that you do. It’s just consistently good year after year. We give it 4 Stars.
3.) 2007 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc and Viognier from Oakville, CA. We paid $11.50 for a bottle of this at our local wine store. This wine is terrific – nearly flawless. We highly recommend this wine. We give it 4 Stars.
4.) 2007 Quattro Mani Montepulciano D’Abruzzo from Italy. We paid $10 for this very good red wine. It was good, but not great. We give it 3 Stars.