Italian Wine Tasting Dinner - Printable Version

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- Innkeeper - 10-03-2004 07:56 AM

We went to a great Italian Wine tasting dinner last night. It was at the Twilight Café in Belfast. It is owned and run by a terrific lady we have known as long as we have been here. She waited at just about every joint in the area, and through a series of fortunes and misfortunes managed to get her own place. It has become one of the premier up-scale restaurants in the region. It is right next door to The Clown Wine and Antique Shop. The event was hosted by both establishments and presided over by Martin Kolk who owns all three “Clowns” and the Vinilandia Winery in Tuscany. We received a four ounce pour with each course, and just about all were refilled two or three times! The prices are those for a full bottle at retail next door.

Reception: Bellei Spumante ($29.99). This is a “Methode Champenoise” from Emilia-Romagna! It turns out that the son of the family went to work for Krug for a while, and when he came home, looked at the lay of land, and said “We can do that here.” So he planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and went to work. The wine is made manually with manual riddling, and the whole nine yards. Not as good as Gene’s at Glenora, though.

Antepasta: Polenta bits with Gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, and pine nuts. Wine: Nicolis, Valpolicella Classico ($11.99). Very nicely done wine made Corvia and friends. Quite acidic with vibrant fruit.

Ensalata: Artichoke and Proscutto salad, with tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and basil with a honey Dijon vinaigrette and Brochetta. Wine: Scagliola, Barbera Frem ($14.99). If not the best wine of evening, and it could have been, it was definitely the best QPR. The winery is run by two brothers both of whose parents were named Scagiola who were born and raised in the village of Scagliola. The wine is a bold Barbera with lots of character, acid, fruit, and stamina. Had to have a couple of refills to be sure I liked it as much as I did. It was more like a Northern California Barbera than an Italian one. We like both styles, so this not a negative. Most importunately, it worked with the artichokes!

Pasta: Open ravioli with butternut squash, cheese, sage, and parsley. Wine: Baudana, Dolcetto ($21.99). The dish was the best of the evening; simply wonderful. The wine is made by a little old wine maker and his wife in Piedmont. The do everything by hand from vineyard to garage winery with barrels in the breezeway and kitchen. As you might deduce from the price, this is a huge Dolcetto. Yummy, jammy, fruit, subdued acid and chewy tannin. Lovely.

Primi: Cornish Hens Vesuvio, with leeks, mashed potatoes, and green beans almondine. Wine: Tramonti, Chianti Classico ($24.99). This is the proprietor’s (The Clowns’) own wine. It was very nice, but we’re still not in $25 Chianti game. The fowl was delicious.

Dolci: Poached pears with Marscapone Cream. Wine: Scagliola, Moscato Volo ($13.99 375 ml). Could also be called Moscato di Scagliola. Whatever you call it, it was a delightful dessert wine, with a rush of floral aroma on the nose, sweet fruit upfront, and subdued but noticeable acid across the palate, so it didn’t leave a sweet taste in your mouth. Since it only carries about 8% alcohol, you could sip away on this all night! The fruit was nice too.

All this cost us $50 apiece. With tax and tip the bill came to $128.50 for the two us. It doesn’t get any better.

- hotwine - 10-03-2004 11:45 AM

Nice indeed! Dang, I sure hate to drool all over the keyboard....

- tandkvd - 10-03-2004 12:09 PM

I'm full from lunch and it still made me drool, sounds wonderfull IK.

- wondersofwine - 10-03-2004 02:14 PM

The food sounds great--especially the salad and ravioli. Glad you could attend.

- Zinner - 10-03-2004 11:28 PM

Gosh, I spent the better part of today eating my way through an event that our council of independent restauranteurs puts on and I still wanted a bite of that pasta.

Sounds as if you have a gem in that lady.

- winoweenie - 10-04-2004 07:16 AM

Dy-No-Mite dinner there IK. Don't let that darlin' girl outta' yer sight. WW