Friday, September 6, 2013

Not Quite Via Tevere

I'll admit, I'm rather jealous of our neighbours, K-Pop and Baby Mama's, weekly pizza making dinners with the kids. I've only tried a couple of slices but I know they've mastered the dough bit to a fine art. I saw some frozen pizza dough at our favourite Italian deli, Cioffi's, and thought we could give it a go. Not as successful as the neighbours though. Indeed, our fave pizzeria, Via Tevere, has nothing to worry about. It was, however, a good excuse to open a big Italian wine that we'd stashed away awhile back.

1413.  2004 Ioppa Santa Fé Ghemme (Ghemme DOCG - Piedmont - Italy)

This bottle kinda goes to show how little I know about Italian wines. The bottle was a gift from Boss and, as such, neither the winery nor the regional appellation meant anything to me. For no particular reason, I'd assumed Ghemme was in the South and that this was a new school, high end producer. The wine certainly comes in one of the heaviest bottles I've ever lifted. Turns out, however, that Ghemme is a sub-region of North-East Piedmont.

For all I know, Boo and I might have driven right through the region when we toured Italy and I just have no recollection of the name.

I was rather excited though when I saw that the wine was made of 80% Nebbiolo and 20% Vespolina. I've never heard of the latter and I was hoping for a new addition to my Wine Century Club tally.  The new grapes don't come quite so regularly nowadays, since I've passed 150 varieties. That joy was rather short lived. Vespolina is the local Piedmontese name for Croatina and I added that grape to the list some time ago - not that you find that one in countless bottles of wine worldwide.

Ah well, I had to setter for the first whiff of nose from the Ghemme and it was wonderful - bright and full of dark fruit and depth. The unfortunate thing was that the nose just seemed to dissipate after that first glass was poured and it wasn't to be enjoyed again.

We both found the wine to still be very harsh on the tannin. It must have been that the Nebbiolo still needed time to mellow. Boo actually found the wine to have strong "green" overtones as well. There's no doubt that the wine needed food and I don't think our pizza was necessarily up to the task. This baby called out for plenty of Italian-inspired meat.

We rather hoped that the wine would open up as the evening moved on - and it did to some extent - but the wine never reached any level of approachability on its own and our one course pizza dinner just didn't do it justice.

So, I guess it's back to the books to bone up on my pizza dough skills and my recognition of Italian wines and what best to serve them with. Heavy sigh. Just so much to learn.

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