A friend’s 40th, a 1990 Vin Santo, and a bunch of awesome wine and food

Tuesday night we celebrated 40 years for our good friend Paolo Cantele in our home. Paolo was on the road “working the market” with his wines, as we say in the biz. And he just happened to be in Austin on his 40th birthday.

Tracie P outdid herself with this amazing strawberry cake. I wish yall could see just how beautiful she is right now. Truly aglow… :)

She also broke out her grandmother’s cast-iron skillet to fry up some lightly battered and delicately salted okra fritters. Man, when Tracie P starts a-fryin’, watch out! Delicious…

My contribution to the flight of wines poured was this 2001 Musar white that I had been saving. The oxidative style of this wine may not be for everyone but man, I would drink it every day (if I could afford it). Gorgeous wine, imho.

Barbecue and Burgundy? The 1993 Volnay-Satenots 1er Cru by Ampeau was excellent with Sam’s smoked lamb ribs. Awesome wine, thoroughly enjoyed by all thanks to Keeper Collection and husband Earl.

My “wine of the evening” could have been this 1992 Primitivo by Savese, generously proffered by Alfonso. This amphora-aged wine (yes, amphora before it got trendy) was on its last legs and we shared its last gasps of life. But, man, what gorgeous notes, laced with fruit and earth, emerged as it departed this world for a better one.

Dulcis in fundo… of all the great wines that were opened that night, the bottle that blew me away was this 1990 Vin Santo by Villa di Vetrice, one of my favorite producers in Chianti Rufina, perhaps more noted for their legendary olive oils, but always a solid producer of honest, real wine, however rough around the edges. Vin Santo is too often misunderstood in this country, where it’s served young and regrettably paired with cookies (as per your average Tuscan tourist trap). The acidity in this 21-year-old wine was brilliant and its layers and layers of flavor can best be described as a salty ice cream Sunday (think caramel, salty peanuts, apricot jam, etc.). I’ve had the good fortune to taste a lot of old Vin Santo from Chianti Rufina and it was a thrill to revisit this wine and this vintage. It paired beautifully with the cake but the winning pairing was the fresh burrata (lightly dressed with kosher salt and olive oil) that Alfonso had brought down from Jimmy’s in Dallas. THANK YOU, Guy!

I can almost hear Gene Wilder saying, “What knockers!” The burrata was outstanding.

Paolo had flown from Apulia to Texas only to find Primitivo and burrata — from Apulia! I guess globalization is good for something… And I sure am glad that Paolo was born. Happy birthday, mate!

4 Responses to A friend’s 40th, a 1990 Vin Santo, and a bunch of awesome wine and food

  1. Irwin says:

    all looks/sounds amazing!

    everyone– to Jar and Tracie’s for your birthday…

  2. I have no words guys, really. My 40ies birthday with you was the greatest gift I could receive. I will never forget. Specially the wonderful Tracie’s strawberry cake!

  3. Do Bianchi says:

    @Irwin man, when are you going to come visit us in ATX? Miss you dude!

    @Paolo it was such a great party and we were so happy to celebrate with you… So glad that you’re part of our lives. :)

  4. [...] Most of all we’re just happy to be reconnecting with our good friends at the Cantele winery. Too much time has passed since we last saw Paolo here in Austin when we celebrated his 40th birthday. [...]

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