*Guest Post by Susan Garrett:
Hi, my name is Susan Garrett, a longtime resident of Saratoga, who grew up in the restaurant business which formed a permanent love of new foods and old wines.
I am fairly well traveled with a yearning to travel more…. to graze around the world and share those experiences.
My mind was set on Tuscan reds and plates of pasta as I headed to the Wishing Well for the Italian wine class, the fourth class in our tour of Euro wines. Boy, was I wrong and happily so! Our instructor Joe Armstrong took us on another incredible journey, this time through Northern Italy, the Balkans and Greece.
Our first flight of four wines was from the Trentino-Alto Adige region which boarders Austria. Italian is primarily spoken in the North while German is spoken in the South or Suditrol. I found it not so surprising that Joe had us try the first wine, Tiefenbrunner Feldmarschall Muller Thurgau IGT 2012 as it was similar to the German Rieslings, which is his passion.
The starter course was also influenced from the region. A traditional Spaetzle, sauteed in butter with leeks, tomatoes and Speck Alto Adige, which is a dry cured ham similar if not the same as prosciutto. Perfect with the two reds offered in this flight:
Tramin Hexenbichler Schiava DOC 2012 & Tiefenbrunner CasteTurmhof Lagrein DOC 2012
Now, let me tell you about the Pinot Grigio! If you drink this wine, you will never want a Santa Margarita again… Tramin Pinot Grigio Unterebner. Retails around $35.00 a bottle but so worth it! As Joe says, “when it’s grown in the right place, it makes all the difference”. I am nothing but a good student!
On to the Balkens….. Croatia, Slovenia, Albania and Serbia. My favorite of these wines was the Bruno Trapan Istrian Malvazjia Ponente. (Go ahead and try to say it!) It’s a floral, smooth, “easy-going” wine. Yep, the sit by the pool and sip kind.
The entrée small plate was a cabbage leaf “cigar”, stuffed with a slow braised pork belly over a creamy mushroom barley. To die for….. It paired well with the red Kantina Arberi Kallmet from Albania.
Now, the last stop on the tour, Greece and the all important dessert course! My favorite wine of this flight is the Thymiopoululos Vineyards Young Vines Xinomavro, “the X is pronounced Z”. Can you just see the wine sellers face when you ask for that one?! ? You really can just ask for the Wine of St. George and that should lead you in the right direction. $13.00 – $14.00 retail. A nice dry red.
Dessert was light, with a tangy creamy greek yogurt filling topped with a blueberry compote sandwiched between crispy butter basted phyllo and the added mint garnish gave it a fresh note. It was so worthy of sunny Greece and we didn’t have to buy a plane ticket.
It was such fun being a guest blogger for the SaratogaFoodFanatic! Thanks for having me…..
Remember, wine is a grocery, not a luxury so enjoy a glass of something different with your dinner tonight!