John writes: Poseidon Cooks! loves to challenge The Wine Guy (as I’m affectionately nicknamed) and this pairing was a real challenge. Linda went “overboard” with two pastas, two fillings, three sauces and a variety of side dishes. A wide variety of ingredients fresh from our farmer’s market – and an equally wide variety of tastes to affect my choice of wines.
We experimented with four wines: a Peju Provence (a Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Colombard blend); a Peju Thalia Bordeaux; a 2012 Verdicchio De Matelica; and a Gris de Gris – Corbieres, Domain De Fonsainte.
The Thalia was simply too full for the cheeses and the Provence much too sweet for the beef filling. It also clashed with the tomatoes. These are, of course, two very pleasant wines in their proper environment, and perhaps we short-changed the Provence by not chilling it. For these reasons, the reds were no oggi, grazie.
The two whites, however, were proprio giusti. The French Gris de Gris was the more versatile. We loved the minerality, crisp freshness and the mouthfeel. The grape complemented the meat ravioli, accented the spinach and charmed the heavy cream sauces. This wine also worked well with the cheese ravioli.
The Verdicchio di Matelica boasts a beautiful color, deep nose and a lingering finish, particularly for a light white. It transported me back to Italy where my maternal grandfather, Carlo Cossa, was born and grew up. He made his verdicchio on the family farm in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. His was the most desired verdicchio from the Matelica area. As very young kids on route from Africa to the U.S. we stayed with Grandpa for six months. At harvest time, the entire family came together to pick, crush and barrel the wine in the basement of Grandpa’s home in Cerreto D’Esi. At the end of the day, he allowed the kids to taste the juice, not yet wine of course, and the neighbors would stop by to taste the real stuff from Carlo’s barrels.
These moments with Grandpa probably set me on my life’s wine journey. He had a way of smacking his lips as he tasted that made everyone laugh. He told us how he had learned it from his dad: the louder you smacked, aired and slurped the better the wine would become.
To this day, I love to smack my wine.