Arcari + Danesi 2011 Franciacorta Extra Brut 100 percent Pinot Noir disgorged May 2015

Just had to share a tasting note for this wine by my bromance Giovanni Arcari and his partner, another one of my best friends in Italy, Nico Danesi.

Giovanni and I were still a little blurry on Sunday after an epic day partying lakeside near Salò on Lake Garda the day before. But a late-morning start didn’t stop us from a quick visit to Giovanni and Nico’s cellar in Coccaglio (on the southern border of the Franciacorta appellation, below).

Giovanni generously hooked me up with a bottle of their 2011 Franciacorta Extra Brut for me to take to dinner on my last night in Italy. I was heading to Milan to meet one of my best friends from my University of Padua days, Stefano Spigariol, who’s also celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend. Our mutual friend Gavino Falchi, a Milan based architect and designer, was in charge of the menu.

The wine was made from 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes and was disgorged in May 2015.

Gavino was worried that the wine wouldn’t have the weight to stand up to the richly flavored Guinea hen that he had braised with porcini essence, olives, and nutmeg (note the vintage Richard Ginori plate he brought to serve this superb dish, below).

But, man, the chewy ripe red fruit character of the wine sang with the earthiness and fattiness of the fowl. We were all blown away by how the delicate fruit notes on the nose were transformed into such robust flavor in the mouth. And all the while, the wine’s freshness hadn’t been diminished a bit by the more than 24 months that had passed since being disgorged.

Giovanni and Nico have shared so many memorable bottles of their wine with me and my friends. But this was one of the most remarkable in terms of its glowing, brilliant fruit character. What a wine!

I’m so proud to count Giovanni and Nico among my closest friends: I’ve been giving them a hand this year marketing their wines in the U.S. and they should be coming to Texas by the fall.

I’m also blessed to have found such a great friend in Stefano so many years ago (nearly 30!). He and I share so many interests in literature, music, and critical theory. And our discussions with Gavino are always lively and thought-provoking as we enjoy Gavino’s superb homey cooking.

All in all, between teaching all week at the university in Bra, a dreamy day of eating and drinking by the lake with my Franciacorta crew, and an excellent confabulatio spent with my Milanese comrades over Giovanni and Nico’s wine, it was a pretty swell trip.

And dulcis in fundo, Tracie P and the girls are coming to pick me up this afternoon at Bush airport back in Houston.

Thanks for being here and see you on the other side…

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