Team Wine and Dine Dinner at Italian Village Chicago
I hosted a dinner at our regular roost, my mainstay wine and dine site, Italian Village Chicago. This is our go-to site for such occasions given its proximity to the office, extraordinary winelist, dependable food service from the three restaurants, kitchens, chefs under one roof, and long standing friendship with Wine Director Jared Gelband.
As is our custom, we dined in one of the private dining rooms, Seeking Italian varietal wines for the Italian cuisine, Jared selected the initial wine course from special selections off the extensive winelist, and I selected a second follow on wine. I mentioned Barolo as a starter wine and Jared pulled an aged ten year old 2011 vintage from the cellar. To follow suit, I selected from the winelist another 2011 release wine for a mini-horizontal. As is customary, I selected a 'bigger' more exuberant wine so as not to be overshadowed or overpowered by the first selection.
Aurelio Settimo Rocche Dell Anunziata Barolo 2011
For native Italian faire we selected Italian varietal and produced wines. I suggested Barolo, a delicious red wine from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy.
Barolo is made strictly from Nebbiolo grapes. The Nebbiolo grape does not travel well and is high maintenance, hence it has not been adopted by other regions and gained wider popularity beyond the Piemontese slopes of Northern Italy. It is much like another finicky or fickle grape varietal, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo is a reflection and expression of its terroir, and displays the subtleties of its environment.
The center of the universe for production of this varietal based world class exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo is the Barolo wine region. The region consists of five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages.
The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Barolo wines are known for their signature character profile: “tar and roses” aromas, a deceptively light garnet color, but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. A well-made Barolo wine will be complex and big with and aging profile that at its best needs 10-15 years before its ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.Jared pulled from the vast Italian Village cellar and decade old Aurelio Settimo Rocche Dell Anunziata. This is a single vineyard designated label, the flagship top label for the reputable producer.
This producer and label dates back to 1962. Long before that, Domenico Settimo settled in the hamlet of Annunziata in the area known as La Morra in Piemonte in 1943, in an old farmhouse built at the end of the 19th century. Up until 1962 Settimos were farmers, working the land (vineyards, fruit trees, hazelnuts) and breeding animals (hens, rabbits, cows). They produced some grapes that were sold to big local wineries except a small amount that they held back for the family to produce wine for themselves, friends and relatives.
In the late 1950s, Domenico began bottling some of the wine under the Settimo Domenico label. Son, Aurelio worked by his side and learned how special the land and its terroir were. After Domenico died in 1962 Aurelio decided to specialize solely on growing grapes and producing wine.
Allegrini Amarone della Volpolicella Classico 2011
We moved to a bigger bolder wine for the entree course, selecting another 2011 vintage release for a mini-horizontal comparison, a perfect pairing with spicy pasta and dark Marsalla sauces.
This DOCG Amarone della Valpolicella Classico from Allegriniis is always popular and one of the most awarded wines of its class and highest esteemed producers in Italy.
Drawing on more than six generations of Veneto winegrowing tradition and a long running serious of successful vintage releasesm Allegrini has received its 30th Tre Bicchieri (“Three Glasses”) award from Gambero Rosso in 2014, placing it among the top producers in Italy. Individually, Allegrini Amarone has received 16 Tre Bicchieri designations, more than any other Amarone.
Family owned and operated by the Allegrini family, which has had roots in the Valpolicella
since the sixteenth century, they have nearly 250 acres of
hillside vineyards in the Classico zone. All Allegrini wines are 100% from grapes grown in the Estate’s