Saturday is rapidly becoming one of my favorite days. Yes, it's everybody's favorite, I know. But Saturdays are when Del Posto holds its 5 for $5 classes. Beautiful space, delicious wines, and a relaxed atmosphere; what's not to like?
This week's topic was about sommelier Luke's favorite wines from the Del Posto list. He selected wines, with the exception of Champagne, that fall within the $60 - $70 range. It's a smart way to find accessible, yet affordable, wines as a starting point to navigating a list. What I also appreciate, in addition to the education about the wines, is the discussion about food pairings, which is always a lively and hunger-inducing conversation. I've added the ideas below for your eating pleasure.
Per tradition, we started the class off with champagne. Agrapart et Fils "7 Crus", NV is from the southern Champagne region and is comprised of 90% chardonnay/10% pinot noir. The 7 Crus in the name refers to the 7 plots of land where the grapes are grown. A little higher in residual sugar than other champagnes, the nose portrayed pear, honey, lemon and a eensy amount of yeast. The palate, though, had a gorgeous texture and more citrus fruits. Still dry, still delicious. Pairing: anything!
We moved on to the J. Hofstatter Pinot Blanc "Barthenau Vigne S. Michele", Trentino, IT, 2005. Guava, mango and passionfruit were immediately obvious on the nose and when drinking, a bit of honeysuckle and sweet almonds came out. There was a richness to the texture and the somm pointed out the nuttiness and other notes of aging that slowly came through. Pairing: cheese plate.
Next up was the Marco De Bartoli Zibbibo "Integer," Sicily, 2008. The somm told us how the producer is famous for his marsala wine and is a champion is moving that wine from a bulk-produced, low quality wine into an artisanal product and Zibbibo, an indigenous Sicilian grape, is the next project of his offspring. The wine sees a little bit of grape skin contact so it's slightly darker in color with a veil of cloudiness. It also spends a little bit of time in oak, giving it a completely unique quality. Honestly? Hated it. If I ever ordered this, I would think it's corked and send it back. It was nearly devoid of fruit except for a prickly rhubarb note. Very earthy and salty, I had a rough time getting through it. This is one that maybe would fare a lot better with food, but I couldn't imagine sipping on it solo. Pairing: Briny, umami-rich seafood pasta, such as squid ink fettucine with uni.
Onto the reds. He next poured us the Canalicchio di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany, 2011. Rosso di Montalcino is 100% sangiovese, but what distinguishes it from a Brunello (it's famous sibling) is it spends much less time aging, which produces a more fruit-forward wine. Blackberries, raspberries and cherries were very obvious as well as pepper and spice. There was a very slight floral essence that also came through, almost like a freesia. There was quick a bit of acid and some structured, but not ovewhelming tannins. Pairing: pasta pomodoro.
For the finale, the somm served us a Cappellano Dolcetto d'Alba "Gabutti", Piedmont, 2009. Story has it the winemaker would only let critics taste his wines if they didn't rate it on a point system when reviewed. Gotta love these strong personalities. This Dolcetto, a simpler wine to the region's famous Barolos and Barbarescos, had less fruit than the Rosso di Montalcino and what did come through were darker, plummier fruits. Earthiness and a slightly sour muskiness were also in the blend, along with a tingling spice. Structure-wise, again there was a high amount of acidicty and more noticeable tannins than previous red. This was a red that could definitely work with meat. Pairing: lamb ragu.
I love Saturdays...