Balsamic pearls (wow!) and an Oltrepò Pavese Charmat-method that impressed me

perle balsamic pearlsThe mosaic of Italian food and wine never ceases to surprise, delight, and thrill my senses and sensibilities.

One of my most marvelous discoveries at yesterday’s Taste of Italy trade event in Houston yesterday (where I served as the organizer’s official blogger) was this new expression of traditional balsamic vinegar from Emilia-Romagna, perle nere or black pearls.

Silvia Rossi, who reps the balsamic producer Guerzoni from Modena province, turned me on to these small and flavorless gelatin balls that are infused with aged balsamic.

They’re generally served as condiments to finger foods, she said.

I loved the texture and the gentle burst of flavor. Definitely a “wow” for me and great to taste Guerzoni’s Demeter-certified vinegars.

oltrepo pavese wineA delicious organic Charmat-method Pinot Noir from Oltrepò Pavese was another discovery for me.

I’d never heard of or tasted Castel del Lupo but was wholly impressed by the transparency of fruit and elegance in this wine, poured for me by Federica Doglio whose family owns the estate.

As far as I know, the wine is not available in the U.S. and I wonder if it would land here at a by-the-glass price.

But I loved its freshness and balance.

All in all, my afternoon at the tasting was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many Italian food and wine producers so excited about Houston and the Texas market.

I’ll never forget when I told a close New York wine friend that I would be moving to Texas back in 2008.

“But what will you drink???!!!” she said.

I’m happy to report that my palate is doing just fine.

Buon weekend, yall!

jeremy parzen houston

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