There are a handful of white wines from Friuli that I like to call my “guilty pleasure” bottles: high-end, international-styled expressions of bacca bianca viticulture from some of the region’s most manicured and pedigreed estates.
I’m talking about labels like Vie de Romans, Jermann, Miani… These producers often deliver bottles that step outside the parameters of strictly traditional Friulian winemaking, leaning toward a richer and more opulent style.
After dinner on Friday night at Tony’s in Houston (where I curate the restaurant group’s media), I’m adding a new winemaker to that list: Vignai da Duline.
I have known and followed these wines and I love their more traditional labels.
But this gently maloed Chardonnay blew me away with its depth and stunning balance of minerality and fruit.
It was so thrilling that our party of six ordered a second bottle.
The wine’s not cheap (importer David of AI Selections told me this morning that srp is $50) but worth every penny.
The wine was an ideal pairing for the Laughing Bird Shrimp topped with red-mullet (Sicilian) bottarga, one of the delightful “fusion” dishes that my friend Tony has been featuring on his tasting menu.
But the dish I can’t stop thinking about three days later was the Valdostana, stuffed with Fontina and Prosciutto di San Daniele. The veal melted in my mouth…
I love the way that Tony uses the Italian culinary canon as a paradigm. He constricts his chef de cuisine, the extraordinarily talented Grant Gordon, within Italian tradition. But then he hands him the keys to a Maserati loaded with the best materia prima available.
This dish was transcendent… Paired with a Monsecco 2006 Gattinara, a new addition to the Rosenthal book…