I am on a two week stay-cation from my Job of Selling Wine. I learned a valuable lesson that I wanted to share. First, save up frequent flyer mileage so you won’t be stuck staying home for two weeks and spend your days posting on facebook and watching the Food Network. Related to Wine: Wine is not really that enjoyable by yourself. It takes on a whole new light when shared with friends and or family and paired with great food and great conversation.
I was invited to spend a couple of days with my Italian friend and her family and their friends and family up in Central Florida. If I closed my eyes and didn’t make the 3 hour drive, you could have convinced me I was on a 3 day vacation in Central and Northern Italy. For Food the Italian theory is Simplicity but using Fresh, Quality Ingredients. Homemade Focaccia. Pesto, Olive Tapenade, Grilled Veggies, Italian Cheeses like Taleggio, Salami, Homemade Pasta with Rich Duck Ragu (I requested to have this dish and it was amazing) and On the Lighter Side, homemade Meatballs Pulpette in Brodo Cooked in a light chicken broth with pasta cooked in the Brodo or (Broth) as well. These dishes were simple to prepare and you wonder why anyone ever opens up a jar of Store Bought Sauces?
The Wines were many that I have had before but once again the ambiance of great friends and great food made every single wine taste like a completely different wine.
Waiting for some guests to arrive we are munching on some Sauteed Asparagus. I never thought I would ever find a wine that Paired with Asparagus. Maybe it didn’t?? It was a wine from Verona and a white blend of Garganega and Sauvignon Blanc. The Wine was fragrant of white flowers and springtime and had soft acidity and fresh fruit that was THE PERFECT MATCH for Asparagus or was it the fact that I was enjoying the conversation with good friends and I had just learned all day how to make Pasta from Scratch and Duck Ragu??? I say 50/50.
I have had Collalto Extra Dry Prosecco one Million Times however this time before we dove into the Duck Ragu over Fettucine my friends thought a great non traditional Antipasta would be to pick up some Amazing Sushi Rolls from a local hotspot. I never enjoyed Prosecco so much as I did with Japanese Sushi especially one called the Ceviche Roll but then again it could have been that I was with friends and their families and I wasn’t sitting in my apartment in my gym shorts drinking Prosecco with leftover Chinese Food from the night before watching Bobby Flay on TV.
There she is folks. Homemade Fettucine With Homemade Duck Ragu. Whenever I suggest a wine or bring a wine for friends who drink so much Italian Wine, I like to surprise them with a unique pairing. I brought as a gift to SHARE a 2010 Wine From URUGUAY made with the main grape varietal from Southern France TANNAT In URUGUAY, Anything With Duck Is The Classic Pairing With TANNAT. Son Of A Gun, this Wine worked so good with this Rich Ragu. Again, I have had this wine with Duck, Skirt Steak, etc and I am very familiar with it’s flavor profile but that night it tasted like Chateau Lafite. Seeing the smiles on my friend’s faces loving the wine and describing the caramel/vanilla finish with hints of espresso and sharing it with this homemade meal, made the wine taste better!!!
How did I like the Duck Ragu You Ask???? A Picture Speaks 1,000 Words!
Finishing off the meal I brought the last bottle available in the State of Florida of a 1999 Vin Santo From Tuscany ( A Semi Sweet to Sweet Oxidized Wine Similar To Flavors Of A Sherry Or Madeira) Traditionally You Dunk The Biscotti In Vin Santo to soften the cookie and enhance the flavor but this Vin Santo made by La Rampa was perfect all on it’s own. A perfect ending to a perfect evening ending with a toast with our Vin Santo to good Friends.
My Friend Nadia and her husband Chris obviously knew about how important it is to share times like this with Wine and Food with Friends as it is THEIR Tradition to have their FRIENDS Sign And Date The Bottle That Ended The Meal. In This Case The Vin Santo.
As a Certified Sommelier and having been exposed to so many different wines from all over the world, I never would have thought I would be passing on a message on my Blog that my Mother and First Grade Teacher taught me 50 years Ago and Relating it To Wine……LEARN TO SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!!! CIN CIN!!