Our Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club held its first wine dinner of 2016 at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk in Elkhart last Thursday evening (January 28th). It was great to see some familiar faces, such as Jeff and Tish Wilsey, Judge James Rieckhoff, and Don and Gayle Parker to name just a few of our guests.
This was the first wine club event for Matt Hiland, McCarthy’s new Chef. He did an outstanding job of preparing the evening’s dishes, all of which were Italian, paired with our Italian wine selections. Here is a list of the wine and food pairings:
Starter: Bortolin Prosecco Extra Dry
Course One: Charcuterie Board. Hot Capicola, Salami, Prosciutto, Pickles, Mixed Olives, Duck Liver Pate and Italian Cheeses Served with Italian Bread — Paired with the 2011 Fabbri Olinto Chianti Classico
Course Two: Butternut Squash Ravioli. Pureed Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffed in Handmade Ravioli, Served with Housemade Brown Butter and Sage Sauce — Paired with the 2012 Salvano Barbera Piemonte
Course Three: Baked Meatballs. Housemade Meatballs of Veal and Pork Smothered with Marinara, Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese Served with Italian Bread — Paired with the 2009 Podere Canalino Brunello Di Montalcino
Course Four: Crispy Parmesan Roasted Rack of Lamb: Lightly seasoned, breaded with panko and Parmesan cheese then roasted to a perfect medium rare — Paired with the Legenda Aurea Primitivo Cabernet
Dessert: Ricotta Cheese Quenelle. Served with Fig & Mix Berry Preserves – Paired with the Marrone Tartufo Bianco
I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of Old World wines, especially Italian and French, is far less than it is of New World wines. Since I have expanded the Italian wine offerings at Tiedemann Wines I figured I better start educating myself on these wines Old World favorites.
Allow me to share some of my research and education with you. I think it is good stuff. For example, I didn’t know that Italy is the second or third largest producer of wine in the World, behind only France and Spain. Italy has been producing wine for more than 2,000 years.
The Italian government has divided Italy into twenty primary wine regions. Each of these has sub-regions as well. There are three significant regions when considering both quantity and quality of Italy’s wine: Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto.
The Tuscany region, located in central Italy on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, is one of the most notable of the three regions. The most popular wines produced in Tuscany are:
- Chianti Classico
- Brunello di Montalcino
- Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
The Piedmont (Piemonte) region is located in the northwestern corner of Italy. The most well know and popular Piedmont wines are:
The Veneto region is smaller than Tuscany and Piedmont and is located in the northeastern corner of Italy. The notable wines from this region are:
- Soave (White)
- Prosecco (White)
My Italian wine importer friends are always talking and telling me about the Italian wine classification system. The system, designed by the Italian government, is primarily a four tier classification system that controls the quality and quantity of wines produced in Italy. The main quality categories of these standards are:
- DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). This is the highest and strictest classification of Italian wines. This classification controls the production of the wine, the permitted grapes varieties, the quality (DOGC wines must be blind tasted by appointed experts), and wine making procedures. You’ll know you have a DOCG wine by checking to see if the required government seal or label is around the neck of the bottle.
- DOC/DOP (Denominazione di Origine Controllata/Protetta). This is the main tier of the various classifications. The DOC classification covers almost every traditional Italian wine style. When DOC wines consistently show high quality standards they are promoted to the highest classification of DOCG.
- IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica). This category was introduced in the early 90s for wines that didn’t qualify for the DOCG or DOC categories. It doesn’t mean the wines are bad or of lower quality, just that they were made from grapes or blends that didn’t fall under the DOC/G laws. The ITG classification focuses on the region of origin rather than the grape or wine styles. An example of this would be the Super Tuscans.
- VDT (Vino Da Tavola). In Italian, Vino Da Tavola means table wine. This is the lowest category (basic level) and typically represents the bulk or “jug” blends. These wines may come from anywhere in Italy and most don’t list a vintage
There are three more terms I want to mention (hoping not to confuse you even more):
- Classico: A Classico wine is produced in any prestigious sub-region of a major wine region (Chianti Classico), often the oldest and perhaps the original part of a region whose boundaries may have been expanded at some point.
- Riserva: This term usually indicates a wine that has been aged for a longer period of time than the basic wines of the same designation.
- Superiore: Wines labeled “superior” are aged longer or have a higher alcohol content and greater concentration than other wines of their region.
There are certainly a lot of good wines in each of these four categories so you don’t always have to purchase DOC/G wines. I recommend tasting wines from each category, letting your personal palate be the judge of what’s appealing to you. So get out there and start tasting to find out what you like.
As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below.
Until next week,
Adler Bear Carris Update:
Thanks to all of you who have asked about my grandson Adler’s condition. As I noted in last week’s blog, Mrs. Tiedemann and I were in Chicago with Adler and his mom and dad for his quarterly MRI at the Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital. This was a very significant trip. In addition to having the MRI performed, the doctors also removed the port from his chest. The doctors remain confident that after 53 chemo treatments he will not need any more in the foreseeable future, so it was time to remove the port.
The results of the MRI were very positive in that his cancer remains stable and has not changed in the last three MRIs. The doctors are overjoyed with his condition. Of course they can’t predict how long his condition will remain stable. It could be three months, three years or forever, they just don’t know the answer. So we all continue to take life one day at a time and hope and pray for the best. Thanks to all of you for your concern, kind words, support and prayers. We appreciate them more than you know.
Mark Your Calendar for these Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club Upcoming Events:
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Uptown Kitchen Valentine’s Wine Dinner featuring Italian Wines
Starts at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $65 per person + tax & gratuity. Wine Club Members: Only $60 + tax & gratuity
Reception. Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore
Antipasto. Paired with the Marrone Tartufo Nero
Pappardelle Pasta, pesto, shaved parmesan. Paired with the 2012 Salvano Barbera Piemonte DOC
Bacon-Wrapped Scallop with sautéed garlic spinach, white wine beurre. Paired with the Marrone Tartufo Bianco
Shiitake and Wild Mushroom Risotto. Paired with the 2012 Salvano Maestrale Barbera d’Alba DOC
Steak Vesuvio. Paired with the 2014 Manara Valpolicello Classico DOC
Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni, Marinara, Béchamel. Paired with the 2012 Salvano Trabuch DOC
Tiramisu. Paired with the 2012 Cantina Di Casteggio Moscato
Call Uptown Kitchen at 574-968-3030 for Reservations.
Other Upcoming Wine Dinners
February 18, 2016 – McCarthy’s Wine Dinner featuring White Oak Wines
April 7, 2016 – McCarthy’s Wine Dinner Featuring Three Clicks Wine