Wine & Dinner, yum!

I had an opportunity to attend a wine paring recently at Nona’s Italian Grill in The Woodlands pairing wines from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery (FC) located in Sonoma Valley, California. Needless to say, I was very excited as Nona’s is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in The Woodlands and Ferrari-Carano is one of my favorite wine producers.

The wine-dinner featured a first course of a fresh watermelon and feta salad on a bed of arugula topped with a yummy balsamic reduction paired with a 2017 Ferrari-Carano Rosé. The second course consisted of shrimp and jumbo lump crab capri with capers bathed in a lemon butter sauce paired with a 2016 FC Tre Terre Chardonnay. Next we had a third course of traditional beef carpaccio, shaved Parmesan cheese, grated egg, capers, greens, infused olive oil, and grilled toast points paired with a 2015 FC Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Our fourth course consisted of a slow braised beef shortrib with herbed three cheese ravioli and natural au jus paired with a 2013 FC “Tresor” Blend. And for the “delizioso finale” fifth course we had tiramisu with house-made whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and fresh berries paired with FC’s “Eldorado Noir” Black Muscat dessert wine. Oh, my!

Not only was I definitely NOT disappointed in the delicious food prepared by Chef Juan Garcia and appropriate FC wine parings, but I made some new friends. Jaime Ramirez, Ferrari-Carano’s representative at the event, even invited me to comment on the history of Ferrari-Carano and offer my impressions of the wines. I also took advantage to speak about their wine club of which I am a member. I’ve explained in a couple of past articles how wine clubs work. In my article, “Happy New Year!”, I offered a detailed explanation and encourage you to read the article [click here] if you’re interested in learning more. I limited myself to a half dozen or so at any given time and rotate some periodically. My cellar is not as big as it used to be since I’ve retired and moved into a condo/apartment.

Oh, back to my original thought, I mentioned attending the fabulous wine dinner at Nona’s. Wine-Dinner parings are a great way to enjoy great food paired with great wines. Often, chefs will showcase new dishes and have their Sommelier or a wine rep select wines to complement their food selections. I have in the past at some of my themed (e.g., Italian) wine events gone the other way and had dishes prepared to go with the wines I’ve selected for the event. Either way, paring food with the appropriate wine or paring wine with the appropriate food, you can’t go wrong. Heck, peanut butter and a Rosé go good together. Just saying! Don’t believe me? Give it a try.

Why do I keep getting off the subject? Oh yeah, because I’m discussing wine. The conversations about wines are as complex as the wines themselves. Just like people each wine has its own personality. That’s why there are so many of them (both wine and people). And like I tell those that say to me that they don’t like wine, they just haven’t met the right one. Again, just like people. Have I mentioned that when I first met my late wife, Sandra, that I immediately fell in love and lucky for me she felt the same way? And two weeks later we were married! Talk about finding the right one! We were married for one month shy of 54 years before her passing. So, please forgive me when I go down a rabbit hole. I just can’t help myself, as I have so much to say about wine and love.

But, back to Wine Dinners. I encourage you to take advantage of them as often as possible. They are an excellent way to educate your palate and discover new dishes to pair with your favorite wines or the other way around. And don’t let the price intimidate you. If you consider the price of a four or five course meal along with wines to complement each course, not to mention a night of good conversation with old and new friends, you will discover that you are usually getting a bargain. It certainly was the case at the Nona’s/Ferrari-Carano wine dinner. Thank you Chef Juan Garcia and Jaime Ramirez for putting the wine dinner together. Grazie! Ben fatto! Bellissimo! Amore!

As you may have guessed, my wine recommendation this month is from Ferrari-Carano. It is the one we had with our first course to kick off the wine dinner, FC’s Dry Sangiovese Rosé. It was simply superb with the outstanding fresh watermelon and feta salad. I also recommend it as a delicious summertime poolside or picnic wine. Be sure and chill it good before you sit down in your lounger. You may even want to add a little summertime fruit in your glass (plastic of course around the pool) making it more of a sangria. Anyway you chose to serve it, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Try it and then drop me a note [click here] and let me know what you think.

And please, remember, always drink responsibly and stay safe. I can’t afford to lose a friend. Yes, that means You!

Until next time, Cheers🍷