|The Lineup of Venetian Beauties!|
The evening featured the Venetian wines of Masi paired with the delicious cuisine of Executive Chef Chris Miracolo. We were also very fortunate to have the charming Tony Apostolakos, US Director of Masi joining us for the evening. Tony was kind enough to share the very interesting history and tradition behind these wines which have been referred to as, "modern wines with an ancient heart." With its roots in Valpolicella, one of Italy's best known wine regions, Masi makes quality wines that are an expression of the values of their territory of origin. Today, Masi is recognized as a leader in the production of Amarone and is well-known for their use of the Appassimento technique in the production of their wines.
Brimming with flavor, structure and balance these wines beautifully showcased the variety and potential of the Venetian wine region. As is the case with the majority of Italian wines, these wines were also perfectly suited for pairing with fabulous cuisine and in the extremely capable hands of Chef Chris Miracolo - our guests were definitely in for a real treat! A few weeks before the dinner I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines with Chef Chris who subsequently built each dish around the nuances of each wine. I am very happy to share with you the delicious results!
As guests arrived they were greeted with flutes of Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvée Brut NV, a sparkling wine from the Lombardy region of Italy crafted from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero. Paired with this lovely sparkler were beautiful trays of George Blanc Potato Clouds with Lemon Creme Fraiche and Paddlefish Roe. The saltiness and citrus of the Potato Clouds were a fabulous match for the crisp acidity and refreshing effervescence of the Franciacorta. I could've eaten ten of them (actually, I might have!).
|Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Mango & Micro Basil!|
|Ricotta Gnudi with Morels, Cacciato Tartufo & Pea Emulsion!|
|A Study in Duck!|
|Seated Diver Scallop with Shortrib!|
|Braised Lamb Shoulder & Tomato Risotto!|
Next we moved on to the legendary Amarone! This wine is the product of the wine making method well known to the Romans as "appassimento" - the process by which grapes are dried in order to concentrate the wine's sugars and flavors. At the end of September or beginning of October, the best clusters of grapes from hillside vineyards are picked and laid out on bamboo racks in special lofts equipped with a “natural appassimento” control system. At the end of January the grapes weigh 35% less and have very concentrated sugars. The resulting wine as demonstrated by the 2007 Costasera Amarone is full-bodied, rich and complex and chock full of aromas and flavors of juicy black cherry, plum, smoke and spice. With it's food friendly acidity and supple tannins this delicious wine was the perfect accompaniment for the flavorful Braised Lamb Shoulder, Tomato Risotto, Cerignola Olive and Pickled Mirepoix.
|Chocolate Pot Au Creme, Morello Cherries & Chocolate Biscotti|
Our second Amarone of the evening was the 2004 Serègo Alghieri 'Vaio Armaron' Amarone Classico hailing from an historic vineyard whose name has such a coincidental similarity to the name "Amarone" that some scholars believe it to be the original source. Since 1353 the noble Serègo Alighieri family, descendants of the poet Dante, has cultivated its estate in Valpolicella with great passion. The resulting wine is extraordinarily rich and complex and capable of long term aging. The 2004 was showing beautifully with mouth watering notes of Morello cherry, dark chocolate and spice. This full-bodied wine had beautifully integrated tannins and in addition to its lovely richness, was also very well-balanced. It created a memorable and delicious synergy paired with the heavenly Chocolate Pot au Creme, with Morello Cherries & Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti!
A big thank you to Tony Apostolakos for joining us for our first "Savor the Summer" dinner and sharing the fabulous wines of Masi. I think we all came away with a new found appreciation for these special wines from Italy's Venetian wine region. Another big thanks to Chef Chris Miracolo, General Manager J. Kevin Fegan and the amazing team at Max's Harvest for creating such a wonderfully delicious evening. I'm already looking forward to our next "Savor the Summer" dinner on Wednesday, July 11th featuring "Wines that Pair with the Fabulous Flavor of Summer" - hope to see you there! For more information or to make a reservation please call 561-381-9970 or click here.