My goodness! Tracie P and I have almost four cases of wine stacked up in our samples corner!
That’s not a bad thing: I’m always game to taste wines I’m unfamiliar with and always geeked to taste new vintages of wines that I know and follow.
Luckily for us, the Texas summer is already here and it’s too hot to ship wine. And we have plenty of bottles that I need to sort through and taste in coming months.
The other night we opened the Bastianich Adriatico Ribolla, sent to us by my friend Wayne who works as the Bastianich “special ops” man in Friuli.
Of all the Bastianich wines, I tend to like the entry-tier the best. They are always fresh and food-friendly and relatively inexpensive.
The Sauvignon Blanc is always an affordable winner at my table but the wine I really like this year is the Ribolla.
So many young wine professionals in the U.S. only know Ribolla through its most extreme expressions: the skin-contact “orange wines” from Friuli that have enjoyed a lot of attention in recent years.
Few know that when you travel to Friuli and Slovenia, Ribolla is most often vinified as a light, inexpensive, and easy-to-drink white wine, with balanced fruit and minerality. Nothing extraordinary. Just right. Ribolla, just plain Ribolla.
And on a night when I craved my cafeteria-style penne al pomodoro, it was just the right wine to complement the zinging acidity in the passato brand we use (Central Market, one of Austin’s local gourmet market chains).
I call it “cafeteria” penne because it reminds me of my early university days in Italy when the cafeteria-line servers delivered a ladleful of pomodoro or ragù over your pasta and you had to mix it in yourself.
On most nights, I fold the pasta into the sauce in the hot pan (with some of the pasta’s cooking water) so that the noodles will absorb as much flavor as possible.
But some nights, I just want to be transported back to those early years in Padua (although back then, they served Pinot Bianco from a spigot at the cafeteria).
Here’s the only link I could find with an image of the Via San Francesco Mensa (from the ESU, the University Students Association).
Buon ponte a tutti! as they say in Italian. Happy long weekend, yall!