Welcoming November: roasted chestnuts

Dear friends, 

A quick post to share with you all, the best way (according to us) to welcome the first cold days of November. 

A delicious bunch of nicely roasted chestnut, and a nice glass of bold red wine. We always slice them on top really nicely and soak them in water or wine for about one hour or so, then we roast them for about 15-20 minutes in a 200° C oven. Delicious, hot, crunchy and flavorful. 

Oven roasted chestnut

We accompanied this nutty delight with a glass of a Cotes du Roussillon a vibrant french red.

Enjoy!

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A great glass of red : Gragnano DOC Wine

This weekend the sun was here and so were some spring weather and warmer temperatures. We have always preferred red wines over white one ( it’s a matter of personal taste of course) and drinking robust and bold reds with quite alcohol content when the weather is heading towards summer it’s not ideal. So we have tried and highly recommend for your al-fresco dining this amazing red wine from the Sorrentina Peninsula in Southern Italy. Gragnano DOC – Terre del Gragnano from a well known winemaker Iovine.

  
This bubbly red with a nose of spicy black pepper and red fruit, both tart and candied, on the palate it’s uplifting and fresh with flavours of red and black fruit, earth and spice. The fizz will also help cut through the fats in richer dishes and offer a pleasant contrast to cheese plates. Gragnano Rosso Frizzante Iovine is indeed an inky-red wine with purple highlights. Fresh on the nose with some bread notes and small blackberry nuances. A touch of sweetness to taste, with some smokey notes and concentrated red berries.

Due to its freshness and versatility this red was also mentioned recently by the New York Magazine as the best pairing with your favorite pizza.

  

Enjoy! Or shall we say Salute!

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No brand, big taste, just #Wine! 

Dear friends, you’re familiar by now with our wines review, and you do know how much we love to share with you, every time we try a new drink. Well tonight we are really pleased to give you an insight on this delightful red wine, that as you can figure from this post title has no brand, but is delicious indeed.

Almost everywhere nowadays, if you’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that has a trusted wine shop, you can get a decent and well priced bottle of wine “on the tap” which in Italy is known as “Vino Sfuso” that  you can by the liter. We are drinking some Primitivo di Manduria DOC, and we must say, a very good, interesting and above all well priced glass of genuine red wine. 

Primitivo di Manduria is a heavy, blunt red wine; an effect of the warm growing conditions in Southern Italy’s Apulia region.


  


The quality of Primitivo wine has been recognized in Italy for centuries. It was once mainly used for blending by more commercially successful wineries in Northern Italy. They relied on it to give their wines depth. Because of a general lack of commercialization in Apulia, Primitivo is still largely unknown outside of Italy. Small-scale producers have a hard time reaching the international market to compete on the same level as more famous Italian wine varieties.

The Primitivo grape is really close to California’s Zinfandel. Primitivo di Manduria DOC has to be produced from 100% Primitivo grapes and is characterized by an unusually high alcohol percentage which ranges between 12 and 14%. Wines made from Primitivo have notes of plum and spice, and due to the  growing soils and warm climate of the region where is mostly produced ( Apulia in Southern Italy) , the fruit character is less jammy that sweeter wines like Zinfandel and the structure more of similar character to old world wines, with rustic notes of earth and spice and tamed fruit flavors.

We are glad we had a glass of no-brand delicious wine, so tonight we’re celebrating what’s in the bottle and not it’s label! Salute!

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Celebrating Asprinio di Aversa wine! 

We did promise you a dedicated post on this unique white wine! 

So for those who enjoy great wines as we do, here you go. Tonight we’re celebrating the Asprinio di Aversa DOC ( we had the one from a local well known makers I Borboni).

Asprinio di Aversa is a DOC of southern Italy’s Campania wine region. Introduced in the early 90’s the title only is referred to white wines made from the Asprinio grape variety.The villages whose vineyards produce  Asprinio di Aversa wines are located mostly within Campania’s northern Caserta.

Asprinio is a white grape variety whose distribution is limited almost exclusively to Napoli and the surrounding provinces. This grapes are often used to make mostly sparkling wines in the Naples area.

The Asprinio di Aversa comes in two forms: still and sparkling. The latter is by far the most common and must, under DOC regulations, be made from 100% Asprinio grapes. The former is harder to find but only has to consist of 85% Asprinio. 

  


This wine has very particular viticultural and vinification traditions, this grape variety is grown on local poplar trees and can rise up to 30-45 feet in the air. The vines grow up the trees and then are bent onto wires that are strung between the poplars. This seems to be  an Etruscan technique. This system is what local wine makers called “Vite Maritata” (married vines). In order to pick these grapes, the growers have to climb on thin ladders called “scale napoletane” (Neapolitan ladders).

Salute! 

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Another interesting red wine: Rubrato #Aglianico. 

Our love and passion for red wines, tonight brought across an interesting glass of Aglianico.The one we are having tonight is called Rubrato and is a variety of this widely available grape in the Campania region, produced by the well known wine yards Feudi di San Gregorio, this particular one is from the part of the region called Irpinia. (Irpinia is a region of the Apennine Mountains around Avellino, a town in Campania, South Italy about 40 km east of Naples).

Quoting the description of the makers of this red : “Rubrato is a midlevel Aglianico that offers an easy approachable interpretation of one of Italy’s most powerful grape varieties. This shows accents of spice and dark fruit.” 

  

We appreciate its robust flavor and the fruity notes, with it’s intense and velvety aftertaste. As aforementioned it’s a really interesting drink and keeps staying so at every sip, with the different shades of flavor, such as all the fruits that could be found in the woods above all wild berries. We will definitely pair this one next time with one of our favorite pasta or meat dishes, or why not drink it while entertaining  with a selection of aged cheeses and cold cuts.

Salute! 

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#Easter weekend, the drink : “Nero D’Avola” #wine

For our Easter Sunday drink we’ve chosen a Nero D’Avola/Syrah wine, with 14% Alcohol content. This dry Sicilian red offers aromas of ripe fruit and spice on the nose whilst on the palate you’ll sense a medium body, with soft and thick tannins. Simply bold and delicious.

Nero d’Avola has been defined as is “the most important red wine grape in Sicily” and is one of Italy’s most important indigenous and appreciated varieties. It seems to be named after Avola in the far south of the island and its wines are often compared to New World Shirazes, with sweet tannins and plum and interesting peppery notes. This grape likes hot and arid climates. The districts around Noto and Pachino in the south of the province of Siracusa are indicated as the best  for the quality of their Nero d’Avola wines. This wine is also produced in the US ( mostly in California), Australia and Turkey.

  

Happy Easter and salute! 

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Organic Roasted #Chicken with potatoes,drinking  #Cabernet Sauvignon from #Veneto

Dear friends, let’s  be fair, Sunday nights are made for roasted dinners.

For us a roast dinner usually calls for some organic, delicious, and juicy chicken. Tonight’s dish has been in fact prepared using organic corn-fed chicken tights, seasoned with adobo, garlic paste, sweet paprika, black pepper, chilli flakes, and thyme. The chicken once seasoned has been placed on a bed of carrots, onions, and potatoes.

 The finished dish, some succulent cuts of dark meat, tender inside and roasted to perfection outside.The mix of seasoning has given it a hint of spice from the adobo and the chilli flakes, a bold taste of sweet smokiness from the sweet paprika and an aromatic, fresh and hearthy aftertaste from the thyme.

  

Tonight we decide to pair this dish with a bold glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Veneto region. The classic profile of this grape tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant and green bell pepper notes. 

While many of you might be familiar with this wine being from California or Chile. Cabernet Sauvignon has a long history also in Italian wines, this grape is in fact found in several Denominazioni di Origine Controllata (DOCs) and is used in many Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) 

Enjoy!

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Let a sip of Piedirosso DOC take you to the Island of Ischia

Tonight’s wine glass is indeed a tastefully Piedirosso DOC 2013 from the island of Ischia, in the bay of Naples in southern Italy.

  

The Ischia DOC is part of south-west Italy’s Campania region, located as mentioned on the island of Ischia (the largest of the Phlegrean islands) in the Bay of Naples. Its vine heritage dates back to 700 BC, and in Roman times the island was called Enaria, meaning land of wines. Despite many setbacks over the years, the wines made there have not lost their appeal, offering immense richness and aromatics that have distinguished them in international wine markets. Thanks to the well-drained, fertile volcanic soils, cool sea breezes which temper the heat, and the altitude (more than 600 feet), the vines are in their element. Although the island is fairly small and vineyards are generally located on terraces, the wine produced is of high quality.

The DOC wines which bear the name of the island are made in seven different styles: white, sparkling white, red, Biancolella, Forestera, Piedirosso .

Reds like the one we’re drinking tonight, are dominated by the Guarnaccia and Piedirosso grapes (the latter is locally known as Per’e Palummo, translated as pigeon’s foot because of the shape and color of the vine’s. The wines produced from this variety tend to have good tannins and alcohol content, and as they mature, they take on fragrant violet notes with some gamey overtones. Their pair wonderfully with red meats and cheeses that have been aged for long period of time. Whilst drinking this wine our memory also goes to an amazing trip to this beautiful island, we hopefully can take you there with some of the pictures we took and a sip of this delicious red wine.

   

     

Enjoy !

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Tonight : a glass  #Montepulciano DOC! 

Tonight we are having a nice glass of Montepulciano DOC from 2011. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red Italian wine made from the Montepulciano wine grape in the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo gained the  Denomination controlled origin (DOC) in the late 1960’s. The DOC region for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo covers a vast part of land in the Abruzzo region between the Apennines and Adriatic coast.The hillside vineyards planted on calcareous clay benefit from warm and significant sun exposure that is ventilated by dry breezes coming off the Adriatic.

Montepulciano is produced in all four provinces of Abruzzo–L’Aquila, Chieti, Pescara and Teramo ( this one is in fact from the Pescara area). The most favorable vineyards are in fact planted in the northern provinces of Pescara and Teramo with the later having it own DOCG.

These northern provinces benefit from having less fertile soils with more ferrous clay and limestone mix and higher elevations as the Apennines draw closer to the Adriatic. This creates cooler micro-climates that tend to produce more concentrated wines.

This lovely red is best paired with pasta dishes with meat sauces, grilled meats and any other rustic dish with earthy flavor. 

Salute!

 

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Fancy a glass of #Dolcetto? We do!

Dolcetto” is a black Italian wine grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region of Northwest Italy, mostly known as the Monferrato area and close by the city of Alba.

The Italian word “Dolcetto” means “the little sweet one“, however the name has no reference to the grape’s sugar levels,but it is possible that it derives from the name of the hills where the vine is cultivated. 

In fact the wines produced by this grape variety are nearly always dry,they can be tannic and fruity with moderate, or decidedly low, levels of acidity and are typically meant to be consumed one to two years after release. 

In fact the one we are drinking tonight is from 2012. This wines are known for black cherry and licorice with some prune and berry flavors, and a characteristically bitter finish reminiscent of nuts.

 We suggest pairing it with your favorite pasta dish, being indeed an overall red wine with its 12% alcohol content, ensuring it is served around 12/15 degrees celsius/ 59-59 Farenheith.

Salute! 

  

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