November 10, 2012

Alcoholics + alcoholic Italian wines = toast

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History has shown time and again that an evening out with the Alcoholics inevitably ends badly for me.   The bottle count at any of the gatherings with them will typically run above 1¼ bottles per person, which is above my tolerance level.  Not once have I woken up after one of these evenings without a hangover, and on occasion when the surroundings permit, I have fallen asleep during these dinners.  To sum it up: toast.

A couple of hours before dinner started tonight, I was in a mini-depression.  I had been dining out for 5 straight nights, and had consumed wine or alcohol on 4 of those nights.  Thursday and Friday had been particularly long evenings, and I woke up today feeling tired and with a slight hangover.  By this afternoon, my energy had not been recharged back to its normal level.  I really did not look forward to yet another evening out with lots of wine.  I had reached total palate fatigue, which is something that only happens once in a blue moon.

It would be bad form for me to cancel at the last minute, so I reluctantly dragged my ass out of the apartment, crossed the harbor to the Island side for the second time today, and joined the Alcoholics at Domani Ristorante.  This was an Italian wine dinner organized by Bordeaux Index, and while it was a BYO event, a number of bottles had been contributed by several Italian wineries.  I arrived to find bottles already on our table, and as we reached a full complement of 7, the bottle count got to 11.  Ohhhh boy…

As soon as I stepped into the restaurant, I was overwhelmed by the smoke in the dining room.  The restaurant has an open kitchen, and I don't know what happened… but it sure smelled like the kitchen was trying to burn down the place…  Not exactly ideal for a wine dinner.

Culatello e stracchino - not bad.  Stracchino is very mild with a light, acidic flavor profile.

Passata tiepida di pomodorini fiorentini, bruschetta rustica e latte di pecorino di Pienza - this was OK, but the portion was rather small.

I was in serious need of some food, so I resorted to some flatbread and olive oil…  I knew that without enough food, the evening could be over very quickly for me…

Spaghetti "Mancini" con cipolla, cipollotto, guanciale e pecorino - I was so happy when this arrived.  Finally, a sizable portion of carbs!  This tasted so delicious in my ravenous state… but I think it was, anyway!  The flavors from the guanciale and onions… yum.  The pasta itself had a good amount of bite to it.  I finished this in no time, then proceeded to wipe my bowl clean with pieces of flatbread…  I was a little disturbed that we were not provided with a spoon for this course, as it would have made things a little easier.

Costada di wagyu australiano alla griglia - holy cow!  This was a huge piece of rib eye!  By now I was no longer as hungry as I had been, and felt kinda full just looking at this.  So I waited till everyone's taken their share, and grabbed the bone along with a small corner piece.  Being a dog I'd always loved stripping bones clean with my teeth, and I've done it in every type of restaurant around the world.  This bone, though, was something else… Being about a foot long, it wasn't exactly a dainty little thing from a duck leg or lamb chop…  I think a few people at the other tables did notice… but I didn't care.

Crème brûlée - a tiny one with of roasted coffee flavor.  Pretty good.

…aaaaand let's see the damage in terms of wine.  We had one of the distributors from Italy sitting at our table, so naturally there were a few bottles from top producers he represents.

2003 Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore - smoky, plum, ripe, pine forest notes.  Very sweet on the palate.  Delicious.  The wine spends 4 years in large oak barrels, then another 2 years in bottle.

2005 Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino Piaggione - smoky, fruity, oaky.

1974 Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Riserva - nose of salty plum, savory, fermented soy bean (豆豉), sweet on the edges, smoky.  Interesting and lovely.

2010 Petrolo Galatrona - minty, so sweet and ripe, with vanilla, forest.  Still a little tannic on the palate, of course.

2009 Petrolo Torrione - nose of red chili pepper, maybe espelette?  A little savory.  Really interesting…

2001 Giuseppe Quintarelli Alzero - beautiful nose with full-blown forest notes.  Very smooth on the palate.  Massimo the distributor called it a "meditation wine", and I can close my eyes and imagine myself in a forest surrounded by giant trees.

1998 Salvioni Brunello di Montalcino - smoky, a little ripe, some fruit, slightly mineral on the edges.  Tannins were noticeable but velvety, and the body gained weight with a little more time.  Shared by a kind gentleman at the next table who apparently reads my blog and somehow recognized me.

2005 Soldera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva - smooth and surprisingly accessible.  Smoky with animal notes.

2006 Feudi di San Gregorio Pàtrimo - nose was sooo vanilla, really sweet, minty, spicy.  Alcoholic and very New World, but I like this Merlot.

2008 Roberto Voerzio Barbera d'Alba Riserva vignetto Pozzo dell'Annunziatta from magnum - nose was forward, very sweet, minty, a little sharp and alcoholic.

1990 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra - savory nose with soy sauce, stewed fruit, minerals.  Smooth on the palate.

1998 Sassicaia - minty, smoky, cedar and a hint of green pepper.  Very classic Cabernet nose.  My contribution.

2010 Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione - forest, pine, potpourri, sweet, ripe, a little alcoholic.

2006 Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino Piaggione - nice.  A little more tannic than the 2005.

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