Italy: wine, food, history. What’s not to like? Denver wine impresario Ben Weinberg – also known as the Chief Wine Sherpa for his wine touring company, Wine on the Road – hosted a wonderful evening of wine and food from Campania, Italy, at Denver’s Il Posto Restaurant. Weinberg teamed up with Il Posto’s chef and owner, Andrea Frizz, to create a food and wine tour of this southern region in Italy.
Campania encompasses Naples, the islands of Capri and Ischia, the Sorrento Peninsula, Pompeii, Salerno, Agropoli, and Castellabate. Pizza and mozzarella cheese were invented in Campania – perhaps reason enough to visit!
A restaurant full of wine-and food-lovers gathered for the sellout event. Weinberg, also a sommelier and freelance wine writer for multiple publications, described the region and an upcoming tour he is leading to Campania, Italy, September 14-21, 2014. The evening’s courses reflected the tour:
*Mozzarella di Bufala with English Peas, Radish, Crisp Shallots, Rhubarb, and Basil, paired with Greco di Tufo d.o.c.g. Campania, Terredora Dipaolo “Loggia della Sera” 2002. The dish had a farmer’s market quality to it, as if the vegetables had been selected from the market only that afternoon. The clean crunch in the shallots and radish offset the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella. The sculptural dish was set on a bed of pea purée and rhubarb jelly. This dish was the doorway to a transporting experience.
* Tagliatelle Puttanesca with San Marzano Tomato, Anchovy, Black Olive, Capers, and Parsley, paired with Piedirosso d.o.p. Campania Ocone “Plutone” 2011. This dish had a kick to it, as well as seamless quality of where the food ended and wine began. The wine offered hints of strawberries and cream, with sun-kissed, ripe berries and high acid. Another tasty pairing.
* Maiale/Pork Shoulder, House Mustard, Tarragon Butter, White Asparagus, Morels, Ramps, and Dried Cherries, paired with Taurasi Aglianico d.o.c.g. Campania, Mastroberardino “Radicci” 1999. The wine offered hints of Red Delicious and Gala Apple on the nose and dark chocolate and coffee on the palate. The pairing brought out cherries and brightened the quality of the wine. Weinberg described Mastroberardino as the best winery in Campania, and said the 1962 vintage was John Gotti’s favorite wine.
* Dolce – Pastiera Napoletana paired with Amaro Lucano, Basilicata. The dessert of almond cake was paired with a syrupy wine with medicinal qualities. It smelled of root beer and ginger and offered a sweet conclusion to a lovely meal.
Contact Ben Weinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about his upcoming tour of Campania – where, as the evening’s food and wine indicated, a cornucopia of good wine and food awaits.
Until our next adventure in wine and food…