by Tony Ventura
It started out innocently enough.
I bought a pork tenderloin on sale at the local grocery store. I had this recipe that I had meaning to try. The port and blue cheese sauce sounded like it would be pretty tasty drizzled over the pork medallions.
The only ingredient that I lacked at home was the port. A quick trip to my local wine merchant to purchase a bottle of port for about $15 should be no problem. I had some vintage port at home, but I couldn’t bring myself to use that in the recipe. I knew that I could find a port in the $15 range that I could use, as well as drink a glass during some future cold winter evening.
Upon entering the store, I immediately noticed a bottle of Arneis from the Piedmont region. It reminded me of the simple al fresco lunch that I had a few years ago in the town of Alba during their white truffle festival. That glass of Arneis sure sounded good…I bought it.
And then I saw the most recent vintage of La Mozza I Perazzi’s Morellino di Scansano (Mario Batali’s winery). I know that I had tasted the 2005 and 2006 vintages, but this was the first time I had seen the 2007 vintage on the shelf…I bought it.
And then I saw one of my favorite Tuscan producers (Avignonesi) had a Rosso Toscana on the shelf. I had various vintages of their Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. I also had their Vin Santo, but wasn’t familiar with this particular bottle…I bought it.
And then I noticed that one of my favorite Sicilian producers (Cusumano) had released their new Nero d’Avola…I bought it.
I bought a few more bottles on my way to the Spanish and Portugal section where I knew that I would find my $15 port.
I was almost at my destination, when I noticed a wine of which I had never heard. I knew the producer well. I have mentioned Riccardo Cotarella’s Falesco many times in previous columns. Every wine he produces is well made, true to its terroir, and reasonably priced. His wines include Vitiano, Montiano, Marciliano and Ferentano. The wine that I was unfamiliar with was a dessert wine (a passito type) called Passiro. It was a dessert wine with a Lazio IGT designation. I had never tasted a Falesco dessert wine before….I bought it.
I was finally successful in finding my $15 port after my detour through the Italian section of the store. Total bill was $203. That pork tenderloin better taste mighty good!!!