Rocca Giovani – Nebbiolo D’Alba 2019
Zeni Amarone “Barriques” 2015
I recently attended an Italian Wine Dinner at the venerable 103 year old
Monte’s Trattoria in Greenwich Village, New York. The wine dinner was organized by Chef Pietro Mosconi, his sone Peter Mosconi (GM), and representatives of Moinsiuere Touton Wines of New York.
The dinner began with reception at the bar of Monte’s, as we sipped Prosecco (Villa Joland) and ate a tasty assortment of Chef Pietro Mosconi’s h’orduevures, which included : fresh Mozzarella wrapped with Prosciutto di Parma, roast Asparugus Parmigiano, Shrimp Oreganata, and tasty little Meatballs. The crowd, sipped their prosecco and nibbled on Chef Pietro’s little treats, and engaged in spirited conversation before heading to the upstairs dining room, to sit down to 4 courses of Chef Mosconi fare.
Out came the first course of Baked Clams, Fried Calamari, and baked Eggplant. We were served
Zeni Lugana to go with the antipasti. Lugana is a lovely white wine from Lake Garda, Italy. The wine zone of Lugana actually is in two regions of Italy, which include both the Veneto on the east side of the zone, and Lombardia to the west. This is a bit unusaual, as wine zone are generally in on region, not two. Lugana is one of the exceptions to the rule. Lugana wines are generally mineral driven, with taste of Green Olives, a tad of salt, pears, grapefruti and green apples.
The Zeni Lugana lived up to general rules of this lovely wine, exhibiting good minerality, with faint saline notes, Peach and Pinapple fruits on the finsish. It was a good choose for the antipasti, going escpecially well with the Shrimp and Clams, and all items of this first course.
For the next course, we were treated to some of Chef Pietro’s famous homemade pasta, which in this case was Tagliatelle with fresh shaved Black Truffles. Needless to say, the pasta was devine, and all present savored its sublime flavors of the fresh egg pasta, butter and Tartufo Nero (Black Truffles). The Tagliatelle con Tartufo was paired with a wonderful Nebbiolo from the Rocca Giovani Estate, of Monforte d’ Alba in Piemonte, a premier area for Nebbiolo and great Barolo wines.
The Rocca Giovanni Nebbiolo was a great wine to pair with the Chef’s Truffle Pasta, as any Nebbiolo based wines, such as; Barolo, Barbaresco, or Nebbiolo D’ Alba such as this wine, Nebbiolo with Truffles (Tartufi) is one of the World’s Greatest of all food and wine pairings, and this was no exception. The Rocca Giovanni Nebbiolo was a a textbook Nebbiolo D’Alba, with a good stron g rubby color, smelling of Violets and Rasberries, and a hint of spice on the nose. The fragrance was quite lovely. In the mouth, the wine was full of Dark Cherry and Strawberry flavors, with a tad of Licorice and other faint spices. This was a classicly made Nebbiolo D’Alba, that made a perfect accompaniment to the Truffles and fresh pasta. “So, good. Thanks Chef Pietro.”
After our tasty truffle pasta with Nebbiolo, we relaxed for a few minutes, chatting about the dinner, the food and wines, and whatever other conversation were occuring around the room.
For the main course, their was a choice of either broiled Salmon, or Chef Pietros famous Braised Short Ribs of Beef with polenta. Now I can not figure for the life of me, why would anyone choose Salmon over the chef’s awesome braised Short Ribs, especially when Amarone was to be served with the main course. “OK, I get it. Yes, I realize there are people who don’t eat meat, thus opting for the salmon. Sorry guys, your loss.” As for me, you know I ordered the Short Ribs.
And so, a little while after finishing our pasta course, out came the main (secondo) and a gorgeous plate of braised Short Ribs of Beef, with sof polenta was set down in front of me. The wine guys had already poured Amarone into my previously empty wine glass, and it was “Let the games begin.” Yes, they had already begun almost two hours ago, but hey, here I was with my Chef Mosconi made Short Ribs and a glass of Amarone.
Well, I already knew how amazingly succulent and tasty Short Ribs of Beef cooked by Chef Pietro Mosconi are. I have had them dozens of times, and they are without question, one of my favorite things to eat in this whole wide World. And I’ve eaten at all of the great restaurants in the World, including in : Paris, Rome, Venice, New York, Florence, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Saigon, Verona, Havana, San Francisco, New Orleans, and? Need I go on. No, It’s quite hard to think of anything tastier than these tasty Braised Short Ribs. Well, Foe Gras at Polidor, maybe? I don’t know? Kind of close, but I’m goign to have to give the Short Ribs a slight edge.
Now, I’m eating the Short Ribs, and so you know, just how amazingly great they are? As great as anything could possibly be. Now how about the wine werved with them? The Amarone from the House of Zeni, Bardolino, Italy, on the shores of Lake Garda. Thsi wine is Zeni Amarone “Barriques” 2015 … And what an Amrone it is. From the very first sip, this wine blew my mind. It was phenonminal, and one of the best Amarones I have ever had, including the one that I hold as the greatest Amarone I ever drank, which would be the Zenato Amarone Reserva 1981 vintage that I drank in 2005, when that wine was 24 years old, and perfectly cellared in the cellars of Barbetta Ristorante on 46th Street in New York, NY …
Now that wine was much older, and you have a different experience with an older aged wine, than with a wine much younger. But all I can say, is that the Zeni Amarone 2015 was a wine that is in perfect balance, super tasty, and a absolute pleasure to drink. “I loved it.”
Now if you know me, you will know that if I say things like, “the wine was perfectly balanced, tasty, and that I loved it.” you will know that the wine in question is a wine that is just about a perfect wine, and I don’t need to go into a bunch blibber blabber, in describing the wine. But in addition to saying it was in perfect balance and that I loved it, I will tell you that it was full of wonderful black fruit taste, with hints of exotic spice, and Desert Dates notes. This wine was a gem, and I can’t wit until I drink it again.
After all that, I’m starting to fade. Chef Pietro treated as to a tasty poached pear with Mint Zabiglione Sauce for dessert. This lovely dessert was paired with a Moscato d’ Asti Santo Stefano 2020 from Ceretto. The Moscato was quite nice, with good acidity to balance the sweetness, and tasty peach and appricot flavors that dominated its wonderful flavor profile. And yes, it paired perfectly with the Poached Pear Zabiglione dessert from Chef Pietro.
So, the dinner was quite wonderful. A great menu from Chef Mosconi, wonderful wines from
M. Touton Wines of New York, good friends and conversation in one of the great Italian Restaurants of New York, the 103 year old and still going strong, Monte’s Trattoria, headed by Chef Pietro Mosconi and his son Peter. Thanks guys. We loved it.
… Daniel Bellino Zwicke, October 23, 2021
Gaetano Zeni, referred to as Nino by everyone, was the real innovator of the modern era of the winery: a number of small and big changes initiated by him lifted the winery to its level of today. It was Nino who decided to move the production in the 1950s from the small winery in the historic centre of Bardolino to its present location,with more space and improved practicality, in the hills above the village with a spectacular view of Lake Garda. In the new winery he also decided to establish the wine museum to promote the culture and the story of wine growing and wine making. The philosophy of the winery, which was implemented by Gaetano Zeni, is pursued today with the same enthusiasm and dedication by his children Fausto, Elena and Federica and includes in particular the meticulous selection of both vineyards and grapes. The separate vinification of the grapes from the different wine areas is today still one of the fundamentals of the winery, giving the wines local character and high quality. The continuous improvement both in the production processes and in the winery’s management enabled the winery to obtain the UNI EN ISO 9001:2000 quality certification.
Ceretto Moscato di Asti “Santo Stefano” 2020
POSITANO The AMALFI COAST
COOKBOOK / TRAVEL GUIDE