Wine and Friends

I have a plaque on my kitchen wall that states, Life is Like Good Wine.Best Taken with Friends.

It's a sentiment expressed frequently, especially in Italian culture. In the United States, these cultural values are easily followed when leisure time is readily available, notably during one's vacation or holiday. However, I'm afraid that this cliché is somewhat ignored when a family's time faces the constraints of modern American life.

I recently experienced an event that made me think of this issue. I had the opportunity to take a cooking class with some friends at the The Auburn Watson Culinary Arts Center.The chef in charge that evening was J.J. Richert of Torches Restaurant & Bar.

The plan was to have Chef Richert assign all of us to various cooking stations to help prepare a meal for the evening. All participants were to bring a "decent' bottle of wine to help us survive the rigors of executing the plans of Chef Richert.

The wines that were brought by all participants were mainly Italian. They reflected the individual tastes of all of the attendees. They represented five different regions throughout Italy:

  • 2007 Valle Dell' Acate Frappato from the D.O.C. Vittoria Frappato from Sicily... a tasty red wine that is best served with a little chill on it for the hot weather
  • 2003 Colpetrone Sagrantino di Montefalco from Italy's Umbria region...a very hearty, robust red wine
  • 1999 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura from Italy's Tuscany region.everyone knows about Brunello....and this single-vineyard example was spectacular
  • 2004 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro from Italy's Chianti Classico region in Tuscany...not your ordinary Chianti Classico...only the best grapes aged in oak for over 24 months
  • 2001 Avignonesi Desiderio, a merlot-based wine from the D.O.C. Cortona in Italy's Tuscany region..a new experience for me....never even knew they made a merlot
  • 1995 Sella & Mosca Marchese di Villamarina, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the D.O.C. Alghero in Italy's Sardinia region...another surprise...every other wine that I have ever tasted from this producer was white
  • 2001 Argiano Solengo, a Super Tuscan IGT wine comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah from Italy's Montalcino absolutely beautiful red wine...powerful, but cloaked in a silken glove
  • 1996 Tenuta dell' Ornellaia's Ornellaia, a Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine from Tuscany's famous Bolgheri area...of course, everyone wanted to make sure they tasted the don't taste too many of these in a lifetime.

 These wines would have been very good on their own, but with the accompaniment of good friends, they created a memory for me that will last a lifetime.


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