Yesterday, following our performance on the Miller Lite stage at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (as part of the College Music Journal festival… that’s me on the far left), Nous Non Plus joined friends Jenny and Daniel Margolis at Lolita in Cleveland.
While many wines were consumed that night, the highlights were a Castellblanch Rosado Seco NV and a Struzziero Acuto di Soprano 1999.
The Rosado Seco is a traditional-method (i.e., double-fermented in bottle) Cava rosè, made, I read on the winery’s site, with Trepat (a grape commonly used in Northeast Spain for light reds and rosés) and Garnacha (a varietal akin to Grenache grown in Southern France and the Southern Rhône and Cannonau from Sardinia). The wine was bright with balanced fruit and gorgeous fizziness. It was a perfect pairing for the housemade charcuterie that Lolita serves (the most impressive part of the menu, although the mezedes (the traditional "small plates" of Greece, served similarly to the tapas of Spain or the cicchetti of Venice) were also fantastic, especially the seafood.
I’ll confess that I didn’t know the Acuto di Soprano and when the waiter recommended it. The wine was excellent and although I had heard of the producer Struzziero, I had never heard of a label with this proprietary name. Taurasi is made from 100% Aglianico grapes, the noble varietal of Southern Italy, grown in Campania. Its most famous producer is Mastroberardino, a favorite of mine. Although Mastroberardino virtually created and holds a monopoly over the appellation Taurasi, there are a few other producers who make it. As it turns out, this wine was created for HBO by Struzziero to sell as a souvenir from the Sopranos (something about Anthony Soprano’s lineage and a wine he discovers in an episode of the show). The wine had no oak on it and was made in the traditional style. Excellent juice and at a reasonable price, too. Surprisingly good for a "gimmick" wine. (Although I’ve never tasted it, they say that the so-called "porn star" wine, Sogno Uno, is a respectable blend of Cesanese, Montepulciano, and Sangiovese).
The service at Lolita was good, the waitstaff and chef highly knowledgeable about the dishes they prepared and served. I’m not so crazy about the Riedel stemless stemware (see photo above, a conundrum indeed) but the evening ended with us all singing and smoking in the courtyard over some excellent dried-grape Muscat.