Attempting to get together with The Caller is harder than finding a smooth road in Michigan. Since, the moment that he and his charming wife both retired, they may have to hire a full time Social Secretary. We actually made our next dinner get-together and it is in May of next year, we were meeting them, at Ciao Amici’s in Brighton, which is about half way between both of our houses. I was also acting as a courier or delivery person, as he really enjoyed a wine at our house the last time, and asked if I could get them a six pack of the wine, so knowing my brain, I carried the six pack into the restaurant and put it in our booth, so that we made sure that they took it home. Also, during our conversation, I had to remind my Bride that she had some money from one of her girlfriends that asked her, if she would purchase a gift certificate to the restaurant. All duties were completed and we were all able to have a nice leisurely dinner.
When we get together, meals are a long affair and thankfully we started early at the restaurant, because by the time we left, the restaurant was hopping. We began by getting a couple of appetizers for the four of us to share. We had an order of Calamari that were flash-fried and served with a fire-roasted red pepper puree. We also had a platter of Mussels Arrabiatta that were sautéed with onions, Hungarian peppers and garlic in a spicy tomato basil sauce. This may be our new appetizer, as I am sure that if we had four platters of this dish, there would have still been demand for more, the sauce was just perfect. We started off with a bottle of Franco Serra Gavi DOCG 2018. Franco Serra is produced by the Sperone family who has been making affordable wines for four generations. In 1920 Antonio Sperone opened a wine shop in Torino selling local bulk wines to consumers, but his concern of selling a better product, compelled him to start his own winery in Puglia. His business was destroyed during the bombings of World War II which caused his grandson to open a new facility near Milan where they produced vermouth, sparkling wines, spirits and wine. In 1965, the family purchased seventy-five acres of prime vineyards in the Piedmont and built the current winery in the small town of Mombaruzzo near Monferrato. Gavi or Cortese di Gavi DOCG is the white wine jewel of the Piedmont. It is one of the most important white wines in Italy and one of the most popular that it exports. The DOCG status was awarded in 1998 and with that award are all the rules that must be followed and obeyed. The Cortese grape is an indigenous grape from the Gavi region and has been recorded since the 1600’s. The wine had a soft floral nose with a touch of sweet fruit, it was a bone-dry wine with bright acidity with a tinge of cucumber and a nice medium finish of the mineral terroir. It worked very well, even with the tomato sauces of both dishes.
After our salads, both of the wives had the Lamb Shank Lombardia on a bed of Parmesan risotto with a natural braising reduction. The Caller had Chicken Gorgonzola with roasted red peppers, Gorgonzola cheese in a garlic sauce. I had Scallops which were pan seared and served with a bacon and spinach risotto and finished with a Port wine reduction. I might add that all of the dishes were excellent. Our Brides were asking for a big red wine to pair with the Lamb Shanks and I wanted something more unique for them to try, and finding one that would work with the chicken, and I would make it work with my scallops. We had a bottle of Bodegas Alto Moncayo Garnacha 2017. Bodegas Alto Moncayo was founded in 2002 in Campo de Borja DO in the Aragon region of Northern Spain; and Campo de Borja DO was granted in 1980. While it was recognized fairly recently the area was recognized for wines back in the times of the Roman Empire. The winery is a partnership of the Andalucía winemaker Jorge Ordenez, the Australian winemaker Chris Ringland and Bodegas Borsao one of the largest and most influential producers in Campo de Borja. This is a big Grenache (Garnacha) wine that shows off the forty- to seventy-year-old vines and Grenache is the flagship of the winery and it is the King of grapes for this region of Spain. This wine was aged for twenty months in new barrels and it is a heady 16 proof. I think that I was the most smitten by this wine, but then I have found over the years that not everyone is a fan of Grenache, which is bit harder to appreciate compared to a Cabernet or a Merlot. The wine was offering both a nose and taste of dark fruit with a tinge of Chocolate and a great medium to long finish of terroir. A great dinner until we get a chance to meet again.