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Tuscan wines from Castello d’ Albopla

Dwight Casimere | 8/15/2013, 3:21 p.m.
Roberto's Ristorante was the setting for an exclusive appearance by celebrated winemaker Alessandro Gallo, head winemaker at Castello d'Albopla, owned ...

Roberto's Ristorante was the setting for an exclusive appearance by celebrated winemaker Alessandro Gallo, head winemaker at Castello d'Albopla, owned by the Zonin family of Tuscany. Casa Vinicola Zonin is known for its fabulous wines worldwide. They are especially popular in the United States and Castello d'Albola is known for its award-winning wines, which reflect the beauty and charm of the rolling hills of Tuscany.

In a spectacular five-course meal, Roberto's team of chefs created a mouth-watering array of cuisine that showcased the excellent wines of Alessandro Gallo.

Albola 2011 Pinot Grigio, a crisp, dry, lemon-infused white wine, accompanied the first course of Oven Roasted Root Vegetables served with ricotta salata and micro greens. Pinot Grigio has a light herbal note of parsley and lemon grass, and the addition of the savory micro greens brought out this unique quality.

Porcini crusted Ahi Tuna arrived perfectly aubergine colored in the center, with the peppery sauce providing a velvety texture and contrast the slightly smoky flavor of the Porcini mushrooms. The smoky, earthy flavors of the mushrooms further enhanced the pungent black currant and pepper notes of the superb 2010 Albola Chianti, one of the most superb examples of this "King of Tuscany" wines.

My favorite dish whenever I am in Italy is Risotto. Here, it was given a treatment especially close to my heart, combined with Prosciutto and fresh peas, and tossed with Grana Padano cheese and served with a crispy prosciutto ham "wafer." It reminded me of the carbonarra dish experienced recently while visiting a winery in the Valpolicella in the hills above Verona. The Castello D'Albola 2008 Chianti Classico framed this delightful dish in a Ruby-colored avalanche of flavors redolent of dark red cherries, crushed red rose petals and pungent Madagascar peppercorns. The evening's culinary delights could have happily ended here, but there was more to come.

Castello D'Albola 2006 Chianti Classico, Reserve was the entree to a magnificent Chateau Briand with a Red wine and rosemary demi-glace made with the wine, surrounded by baby marbled potatoes and rainbow carrots. This was a show-stopping dish that not only brought out the brilliance of Roberto's chef, but the jewel-like faceted qualities of the wine, which seemed to deepen in flavor with every sip.

The fifth course of Le Ellere 2009 Chianti Classico with Grand Coppa Banana accompanied with housemade Chocolate and Hazelnut Gelato was a nod to a New Orleans favorite, Banana's Foster, but with a gourmet Italian twist. The Caramelized Banana Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Cream raised this culinary delight to a crescendo, only to be eclipsed by the piece de' resistance, a rich Vin Santo after dinner wine, a fortified wine that was like liquid gold.