Yes, we like our rum in these parts but we also appreciate a good wine, even better if said wine is accompanied by great food. Such was the case last night (June 14) when we were invited to the launch of the Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta range of wines in Trinidad and Tobago.
The venue was Fanatic Kitchen, an awesome space in Port of Spain where top local chefs prepare meals in real time at many foodcentric events. The launch of the Italian wine brand saw Chef Cristian Grini conjuring up a five course meal to pair with the range of wines. Chef Grini is the founder/head chef of Buzo Osteria Italiana restaurant which won the Restaurant of the Year, Best Decor and Best Service awards at last year’s inaugural Table Talk Awards in Trinidad.
A two-year old establishment, All Italian Fine Wine and Food hosted the launch, which featured a special guest, Riccardo Ricci Curbastro. current owner of the Franciacorta vineyards. Before each course, Riccardo regaled us with the process of creating each wine we were about to taste as well as a little on the history of the brand.
The range of wines that were served were: Franciacorta Brut, Franciacorta Extra Brut, Franciacorta Saten Brut, Franciacorta Rose Brut, Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero Gualberto and Franciacorta Demi Sec.
After his introduction in which Riccardo explained the ancient roots of the Franciacorta sparkling process, the first course was served: a baked gorgonzola polenta with goat cheese mousse and truffle honey. The combination of the cheese with the honey was a delicious explosion of flavour which was really enhanced by the Extra Brut, which is excellent as an aperitf. Made with 50 percent Chardonnay and 50 percent Pinot Noir, the Extra Brut was not as dry on the palate when paired with this meal.
The second course was arugola and parma prosciutto salad with cantaloupe melon tartar and raspberries. This was served with the Saten Brut, which is 100 percent Chardonnay fermented in oak barrels. Ideal with fish and white meats, this elegant wine was refreshing and blended well with the sweet and salty taste of the salad.
So, big confession, we LOVE Rose and the Rose Brut did not disappoint. Eighty percent Pinot Noir and 20 percent Chardonnay, it was not sweet on the palate though a bit fruity. Considered the Don Juan of Franciacorta, it goes well with all foods and certainly complemented the creamy and flavourful gorgonzola and walnuts Fagottini pasta with sausage and wild asparagus.
Winner of the Oscar for best sparkling wine of Italy by the Italian Sommelier Association, the Dosaggio Zero Gualberto, named after Riccardo’s father, has no sugar and is a fresh taste in the mouth. It went well with the truffle and porcini mushroom risotto with roasted garlic Tiger shrimp and figs.
Dinner ended with a caramelized almond creme brulee paired with the Demi Sec. Sixty percent Chardonnay and 40 percent Pinot Blanc, the Demi Sec is soft and slightly sweet, not too much to overpower the creme brulee. Riccardo said this wine is best enjoyed at the end of a meal.
Special thanks to Francesca of All Italian Fine Wine and Food and Riccardo for the wonderfully detailed book on Ricci Curbasto Franciacorta.