Join APimento’s Chef Gay Beery and Chef Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farm and wine guru Robert Harllee for yet another stellar Valentine’s Day Dinner. Details TBA. But a magnificent time will be had by all. We do not have a menu yet.
$75.00. Call APimento at 434-971-7720 for Reservations.
Tentative Wine List. We may not do all of these, but we are working from this list.
Gailliard, Cremant de Loire Brut “Clemence de Guery”
(70% Chenin Blanc, 30% Chardonnay; Loire Valley, France)
This wine of the week hits all the buttons for us: estate-grown and produced; biodynamic – one of the rare sparkling wines made this way (Raventos I Blanc, Rolet), bubbly (we love bubbles here), bang for the buck, and we love the importer/distributor (Roanoke Valley Wine Co). Cremant is sparkling wine made in the method of Champagne (Method Champenoise) but outside Champagne. We love this ones aromas of brioche and honey, with floral and citrus notes. All quite subtle though. Salut!
Benito Santos, Godello Monterrei 2016
“Benito Santos is a central figure in the modern history of Albarino and the Rias Baixas D.O. He began working in his grandfather’s vineyards in the 1930s and made wine for serving in his bar – wines that repeatedly won prizes in the annual Fiesta de Albarino in Cambados. He was instrumental in the creation of the Rias Baixas D.O. in the 1980s. San Franciscan Todd Blomberg worked with Benito Santos and took over after the latter’s death. Todd now farms three vineyards in the Val do Salnés subzone of Rías Baixas, each of which is next to and named after an ancient church: Saiar, Bemil, and Xoan. Todd bottles each of the three vineyards separately in order to preserve the distinctive terruños of each. Benito Santos is among the few producers in the D.O. who’s making, real, unconfected wines – wines that taste like Albariño and express their terroir. As Albariño has become fashionable, many producers have taken the path of making highly commercial, heavily manipulated wines. In particular, many producers use specific yeasts to get more tropical, fruity aromas and flavors. Benito Santos wines are salty, mineral, and structured. All of the vineyards are now certified organic – a rarity in rainy, mildew-prone Rías Baixas – and winemaking uses only native yeasts and minimal sulfur.”
Zind Humbrecht, Pinot Gris Alsace 2016
“Grapes come from a variety of Zind-Humbrecht’s top quality estate vineyards, predominantly Herrenweg. Zind-Humbrecht’s dedication to terroir expression guides all winemaking practices, which include extended pressing cycles, abbreviated clarification cycles (to retain natural yeasts and proteins in the must), natural malolactic fermentation and extended aging on the lees. The wine is aged 8 months in 40-year-old French barrels. The nose shows typical limestone influence, with nice nutty, toasty and slight mineral hints. The palate is powerful and dense and aeration brings out some honey character as well as ripe fruits. The finish is quite velvety.
FOOD PAIRING: Creamy pasta, smoked foods, chicken or rich seafood dishes.” –importer
Balgera, Rosso di Valtellina 1999
(85% Nebbiolo, 15% other local varieties like Pignolo & Rossola Nera; Lombardy, Italy)
“The Valtellina is a very small wine-producing region in the mountains north of Milan, just south of the Alps that border Switzerland. The predominant grape variety is Nebbiolo, usually referred to here as Chiavennasca, and this is (along with the Barolo/Barbaresco area and the string of appellations in northern Piedmont, such as Ghemme and Lessona) one of the best places for this classic variety. The Valtellina valley runs East-West, and the steep slopes on the northern face of the valley are terraced for grapevines in what the Italians call ‘heroic viticulture;’ the amount of work involved in establishing and maintaining the terracing alone is hard to imagine, never mind working the vineyards. The soils here are largely morainic, the climate distinctly cooler than the Barolo zone, and red grapes are grown at altitudes up to 500 meters or more, which is unusual in northern Italy. Notes: strawberry, minerals, fresh, long, amazing for the price.” –importer Oliver McCrum
La Rioja Alta, Rioja Reserva Especial “Vina Ardanza” 2008
(80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha; Haro, Rioja Alta, Spain)
La Rioja Alta sits in Haro, the capital of Rioja Alta, near the noted Lopez de Heredia and Marques de
Riscal wineries. One of the benchmarks for traditionally produced Rioja, the bodega uses only estate
grown grapes. All its wines are blends, there are no single estate bottlings. “Viňa Ardanza,” their middle
cuvee, is usually labeled “Reserva” except in exceptional vintages like this when it is called “Reserva
Especial.” (There have been three of these: 2001, 1973, 1964.) La Rioja Alta wines are notable for their
subtlety and complexity, not power and strength. This 2001 is an ageless classic with its aromas of
black cherry, spice, mineral, and earth. At ten years of age it has just entered that sweet spot where a
reserve-level Rioja reaches a peak and then holds on a plateau of excellence for years and years. Four
years in neutral American oak allowed it to mellow gracefully and added that Rioja spice note.
Elegantly styled and beautifully balanced, it displays a savory note amid the concentrated fruit and
exits on a long, long finish. It will hold on this plateau for a decade or more. Pair with braised veal
shank, grilled lamb, or mushroom pate.
I rediscovered this wine last year on a trip to Spain with importer Todd Ruby. On our last night we
dined in the Cafe de Oriente across the plaza from the royal palace in Madrid. They led the nine of us
to a private room in the corner of the cellar with a picture of King Juan Carlos prominently displayed
on the sideboard. As we sat at the large round table, the manager informed us that the king often dined
in this room, hence his picture. After a long, leisurely multi-course dinner with many wines, I looked
over at the mostly empty bottles on the sideboard and noticed a bit of Vina Ardanza left. Eagerly,
because this wine had lingered in my glass but was now almost gone, I blurted out, “Todd, save the last
Ardanza for me.” He did, and the night at the round table (and the trip) ended on a perfect note with the
Blandy’s, Madeira Malmsey 5 Year
From the winery: “Dark, golden brown with characteristic Madeira bouquet of raisins, toffee and nuts. Sweet with a rich, full bodied, honeyed and complex finish and beautifully balanced acidity. Blandy’s 5 year old Malmsey was aged in American oak casks in the traditional ‘Canteiro’ system. This comprises of the gentle heating of the wine in the lofts of the lodges in Funchal. Over the years the wine is transferred from the top floors to the middle floors and eventually to the ground floor where it is cooler. After this gradual ‘estufagem’ the wine underwent racking and fining before the blend was assembled and bottled. Blandy’s 5 year old Malmsey is fined and does not require decanting. It is a superb accompaniment to dessert dishes, especially fruit, cakes, rich chocolate puddings and cheeses. It has been bottled when ready for drinking and will keep for several months after opening.”
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