When Cork Poppers meet, we can count on several things. Good food, good company and good wine! The recent gathering focuses on Wines of Italy.
Each couple brought a wine to serve and explain. The day started out with a bit of history on Italian wines and the region.
OK -- let's be fair. The day didn't start with that -- we started with champagne (not Italian) and Prosecco (definitely Italian!).
Of course, in the good food category, you have to acknowledge the amazing pre-dinner treats for tasting, including crackers by me, bread by Rick, cheeses from Pat and Dick..
...and a great antipasto platter from Pat.
As usual, the reds won out in the quantity category, but the first wine from Jim and Dar was a lovely white -- a Pinot Grigio from the northeast area of Italy, not far from the Alps.It was an Attems Pinot Grigio 2012.
It was clean, crisp, dry and I found it an excellent white. While we didn't have the exact cost, it was estimated to be between $18-20 at Costco.
Pat was next witih the first of the Barbera wines we enjoyed. Barbera d'Alba 2010 by Stefano Farina was from a period in which the Barbera grape was particularly good (2010-2012).
Barbara is in the Italian Piedemonte in Northwest Italy. Barbera is a hearty grape, the third-most planted in Italy. It was quite tasty (Dick, in an effort to one-up Barb before she could say it, said "It was the best red we've had today!" -- and the first!). Cost: $14.99.
Roger was next with a Catina Zaccagnini DOC from Italy's Abruzzo area (between the sea and mountains). It was from the area of Montepulciano.
It had nice legs (the drippings down the side of the glass (and, as Roger noted, "Why else would I love it?"). Rick noted it had nice tanins, too. Roger got it on sale for $12.99 (regular price is $15.99) and Meridith noted of her husband, "I'm just proud because you spent more than five dollars!"
Mike and Barb brought the Petra Zingari Toscana 2009. It was described as a "generous wine graced with expressive fruit and a long finish." Dick called it "a nice everyday red." Barb (who brought it) said "I'm not crazy about the wine, but I'll have a little more."
Like Pat's Barbera, this, too, was from the 2010-2012 period where the grapes were particularly good and the wines of that region praised. It has a full berry fragrance and a wonderful finish. I paid $13 for it at the restaurant where I first had it; online I saw it for much less.
Anne and Clayton offered the Meliani-Chianti Borghi d'Elsa 2012. From Tuscany, the wine was a rich red, dry with slight tanins and a berry fragrance. Rick said "It's not bad" (rather enthusiastically) and Dick said "That's high praise from Rick!"
The cost of this wine was $12 but Clayton said that on sale you can find it for $10 or less.
We wrapped the tasting portion of the day with Dick's Leone d'Oro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2008 DOCG. This was from the Village of Montepulciano in Tuscany and is a special blend for the Sons of Italy, a society for Italian immigrants started in 1905.
It was rich and full, dry and with a smooth, long finish. Barb said she loved it and Rick said it was his favorite of the day,
coming in at $20.
Here's a good thing to remember -- we had a lot of decanted wines. A red -- even a relatively inexpensive red -- can be almost instantly upgraded with a half hour or so in a decanter.
It was on to the dinner portion of the evening. Keeping with the theme of the evening, the meal was Italian. Of course, Barb's table settings matched with wonderful dishes...
...and individual roses with our place cards which we got to take home, which of course makes me smile. (A tutorial for this is coming soon.)
Take a close look. She made these by simply gluing corks to small vases and vials to serve as a base. Elegant and simple.
Her centerpieces were equally simple and elegant.
Of course, we started with Meredith's salad...
...enjoyed the lasagna...
...and ended with delicious canoli -- perfect after lots of snacks and lasagna!
Another Cork Poppers over... and somehow, we can't wait till the next one!