I recovered well from my night of Prosecco and anti pasti nibbles, but still had a bit of a fuzzy head the next morning, which I am blaming totally on the cold. However, I am worried now that I am developing a bad habit sitting in my flat in the heart of Paris ( with a market selling all varieties of French produce) with a risotto of gorgonzola and zucchini, as I have decided to snub the French once again by choosing an Italian wine over a native French one. Well, it is an Italian meal! Maybe I should select this one in honour of the First Lady here Mme Bruni Sarkozy and think of the fantastically arousing bag that she has successfully won her law suit over. She is, sadly, not playing Marianne for the boys.
The chill has not subsided but the wind has been up and is whistling down my road from the Seine making a hearty meal and a robust red wine all the more appropriate. Old window frames are rattling, though not only from the wind but from the heavy lorries that are going past. In this weather the age of the building seems to be emphasised by the noises from the apartment above, footsteps following the old beams from one side to the other, and the draughts coming from the corridor (and I don’t live in a slum!). So the low lights, slow rhythm of the jazz (my other love) and the gas ‘wood burning’ stove all give a warming and cosy feel to match the food and, more to the point, my wine selection.
I have chosen a Nero d’Avola, also known as Calabrese d’Avola, (Mandrarossa 2006, Sicily) which has had an enormous impact on Sicilian wine growing for several hundred years. It is probably the wrong choice to go with the gorgonzola (although the natural pepperiness of the Nero d'Avola does lend itself to the pepper from the veins of the cheese) but I am not going to be too much of a stickler when it comes to food matching. I can live with it!
The colour is a vibrant plum but not so intense that you cannot see your fingers through the glass on the other side. This is still a young wine and I suspect that the wine will still last a bit longer.
When it comes to the nose, I get a sense of buttery creaminess that I assume must come from the barrels that the wine is fermented in. There are some really sensuous elements of parma violet and dark cherries that tease the anticipating palate raising the expectation of something smooth and velvety.
The impatient palate is not at all disappointed. The wine is smooth, almost unctuous if not creamy in its texture. There are big prune flavours and an instant fix of stewed fruit. Tannins give the powdery element that fills the mouth with the perfume of parma violet clouds. And then the kick. Bam! The spice that Nero d’Avola is famous for, not dissimilar to Syrah in its ability to produce peppery flavours that linger on the tongue, and a light acidity that makes your mouth water after sipping, greedily wanting more.
While I am writing this I am getting reminders of Greece and their dark stewed fruit grapes like Agiorgetiko. Mmm. I may be tempted by a kebab tomorrow.