Sometimes you don’t think about the difference between a craft wine and a commercial wine until they are side by side. We were all excited to have another dinner with an old friend of mine, and now ours, The Wine Raconteur Jr. and his family. His was one of the first dates that we had to hammer down, because his schedule is the most precarious, because of his work. Since last year they hosted, it was time for us to host again, and the major concern was how were we to keep their children occupied after dinner, as we were pretty confident that we could keep the parents busy.
We started off the evening in the living room, and yes, we are one of those old timers that actually use our living room, and it is not a museum piece that you walk by to get to another room. We had munchies and appetizers arranged to nosh on, prior to the dinner. Appetizers can always be a hit or a miss, especially when you factor in children, but their children are perfect miniature adults with an attention span and that is so refreshing. The fresh shrimp with a cocktail sauce is always a safe bet. The other safe bet, or so I thought was baked Brie with almond slivers, and that was kind of OK, the almonds weren’t the hit we thought they would be.
It was the wines during this course that really surprised me, as we have had the wines before, but not side by side and they were both wonderful. We started off with Podere Ciona “Ciona Rosé” Toscana IGT 2016. Franca and Franco Gatteschi were looking for a place in the countryside to retire to and found this one-hundred-acre estate with a house from the 18’th Century that had been abandoned for about forty years. They purchased the property in 1990 and spent three years working on the main house. They also started planning a winery and in 1997 they had their first official vintage. They are located in the commune of Gaiole in Chianti Classico country. They had been making a Rosé for a couple of years using Sangiovese, the grape of Chianti and Cabernet Franc, unfortunately one year the local wild boars decimated the Cabernet Franc vines, so this particular vintage is made from pure Sangiovese, and was aged for three months in Stainless Steel. The entire production of this wine was a hundred cases of wine, and my local wine shop got the monopoly on the allotment of the United States quota. The wine had a nice dark salmon pink color, with a nose of fruit and herbs, with tastes of strawberry, and watermelon. It was a very easy drinking wine which just flowed along with the conversation. We ran out of this wine, but there was another rosé wine in the refrigerator that has become kind of a go-to for us from the Wagner Family of Wines. We opened up a bottle of Meiomi Rosé 2017 that was predominately Pinot Noir. The wine carries a California designation as the fruit came from Monterey, Sonoma and Santa Barbara Counties. It was cold fermented and aged in Stainless Steel. It had a pretty color and was very easy to drink. Now getting past the fact that the two wines were made from different grapes all together, the Podere Ciona was night and day superior on all counts and there was really no price differential between the two wines, but the craftmanship and texture was just amazing. As a side note, afterwards we had to go back and get some more of the Podere Ciona for the house.