Christmas party so far…great to see a bright ’92 Hill of Grace in the glass.
- Balnaves the Tally 2007, Bandol 2008, Hill of Grace 1992, Pizzini Nebbiolo 2003
This was subsequently followed by more delicious offerings (although nothing will beat the highlight of the 1992 Henschke HOG):
2004 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz
1988 Henschke Hill of Grace (still OK, delicious, but not as good as the 1992. Stiff competition!)
2004 Grant Burge Shadrach Cabernet Sauvignon which was a real surprise for me and fricken unbelievable. Super dark intense fruit, focused drive and persistence, no rough use of oak. Sublime.
2008 Curly Flat Chardonnay, perfectly Macedon, reminds me of the Shadowfax version.
A Greenock Creek Seven Acres Shiraz that was faulty and had to be poured down the gurgler.
2003 Arras Grand Vintage Sparkling. Creamy, biscuity and delightful to start the evening with.
Ieri sera e’ passata la festa della vendemmia! We ate at Federico’s pizza restaurant and we were about 18-20 of us all up. We had a lovely meal set up for us with seafood salad, prosciutto crudo and crostini to start with, then I chose matriciana penne pasta which was delicious, and finally porcini atop scallopini. For dessert my end of the stick was a bit of a disaster. I’d made pavlova and:
1) I didn’t beat the eggs for long enough before adding the sugar so when mounted on the plate it was soft, and
2) it stuck to the aluminium foil I’d put underneath because in this house they don’t seem to understand the concept of baking paper! So when I attempted to pull the pavlova off I eventually had four individual pieces of meringue. But instead of making a mountain out of a molehill I said to myself, “ma chi se ne frega”, we’ll assemble it as per normal, pile on the cream and the fruit and we’ll see how we go!
Then, Federico, who prepared the final assemblage for me, chucked the mixed berries and their juices with the bananas and kiwis and mixed it all together…so basically in the end we had a purple mound of fruit atop my shitty meringue! Lucky I have no photos to post!
The winery crew congregated at 8am to take a large white bus all the way to Toscana for the two-day party that was going to celebrate the official opening of the La Spinetta Casanova winery. It took 3.5 hours to get there but that was compensated by stunning views (quick scenic snapshot of Portofino or Pisa for example) to pass the time.
The countryside here is beautiful and considering we’re not even in the Chianti DOC area I can only imagine how stunning it must be where the majority of wineries are.
The afternoon and evening were spent incredibly well-made food and drinking all Tuscan La Spinetta wines. They sure know how to through a party!
On the night of the second party just after midnight once the majority of guests had departed, Giorgio Rivetti, his brother Bruno and the head chef of the function decided to cook three huge T-bone steaks. The meat was cooked to absolute perfection, raw on the inside! Giorgio thinks I speak nice Italian too, which is good to hear.
So it’s Sunday and into my second week at La Spinetta where I’m doing vintage in Piemonte, Italy. The winery work has not begun to reach that state of chaos just yet though. Fortunately this gives me time to do other more local things!
Today Gianni took me out for an aperativo in Neive where we then went to the brilliant restaurant La Contea for a long lunch. It was set up in the town’s courtyard with rows and rows of long tables for all the guests. The first course had a couple of things on the plate, one being shreds of yellow capsicums with sardine paste on top, or a minced baby veal shaped like a tomato (salted and seasoned to perfection) and insalata russa.
- La Contea, Neive
Following the spuntino was the primi of small basil-sauced ravioli, then the obligatory second alternative of meat-ragu home-made pappardelle pasta.
The secondo was capretto (baby goat) in a rich sauce and the dessert was a stunning peach sponge cake with nocciola (hazlenuts) sprinkled over the top. You could have killed me with happiness then and there.
Wines we drank:
2006 Ugo l’Equio Langhe Nebbiolo from Neive
2005 Fratelli Cigliuti Barbaresco from Vigne Erte (younger vines than Serraboella)
2005 Ca Veja Paitin Bricco di Neive Nebbiolo d’Alba by Pasquero Elia