Above: the Spuntino Reggiano at Centovini (photo by Winnie).
Last night began with a Spuntino Reggiano at Centovini with my colleague Winnie. The Spuntino Reggiano (a “snack in the Reggio Emilia style”) is a dish inspired by a visit I made with our colleague Jim Hutchinson to Correggio where we discovered the Lambrusco of Vini Lini. The snack consists of grilled mortadella wedges (which were awesome) and erbazzone (called “torta di verdura” here), a Swiss chard and Parmigiano-Reggiano pie which benefitted from chef Patti Jackson’s amazingly light and tasty pie crust. We paired — of course — with a glass of Lambrusco Labrusca Rosso 2006 from Lini. The fresh wine tasted great after a way-too-hot day in NYC.
From Centovini, I walked over to Il Buco where I met my good friends Mitzi and Flip.
Flip is one of the world’s greatest luthiers (not kidding… see below): he and I met through our mutual friends, the band Hello Stranger, with whom Nous Non Plus has done a lot of shows in NYC as well as touring.
Despite her concern that the wine would be too oxidized for our palates, our waiter brought us a bottle of Rosado 1995 by Lopez de Heredia. I can understand her reluctance: old rosé from Spain is not everyone’s cup of tea and does not have the fruit forward mouth and nose that blush lovers expect. I do find it strange however — and this happens a lot — that waiters and sommeliers tell people the wine is “oxidized.” I know what “oxidized” means and I like oxidization in certain wines (when it is intended by the winemaker). But I can’t imagine that the term means much to unititiated wine drinkers. Couldn’t she have said something like “the wine won’t have the fruit that you might expect from a rosé”?
I love Lopez de Heredia and drink and buy the wines when I can find them. The 12-year-old rosado was bright and full of life, had structure, and a rich nose. It went well with the octopus and potatoes — a favorite dish there.
The wine director at Il Buco, Roberto Paris, and I have been friends many years and he always surprises me with the bottles he opens for me. He had given us my favorite table, where we had a great view of Sandra Bernhard‘s table (I’m a fan and couldn’t help to do a little star-gazing). We were thinking about doing the 1987 Rioja from Lopez de Heredia but Roberto promised he had something special that he knew we would love.
He disappeared and came back a few minutes later with a wine that “no one orders because they don’t know it”: Heredad Corinda Gran Reserva Rioja 1970 (embotellado por Bodegas Herbasa) — yes, 1970!!!. Flip and I particularly enjoyed the nose of this wine and in the mouth, it was rich but so light. Roberto’s wine knowledge is fantastic and we were all blown away by the wine, paired with some goat’s and cow’s milk cheese and prosciutto.
By the end of the night, the conversation had turned to Flip’s work and the many famous guitars he’s worked on over the years. I had been waiting to ask him about Paul McCartney’s 1963 Hofner bass, “the most famous guitar in the world,” as Flip put it. He worked on it some years ago.
“They flew it out to NY on the Concord,” he said. “It had it’s own seat on the plane and its own bodyguard,” who, evidently, remained in the guitar’s presence the whole time Flip worked on it. Flip also recommended seeing Will Lee’s Fab Faux Beatles cover band, which, he said, plays amazing versions of tracks from the White Album.