Tracie P likes to tease me using an age-old southern expression: my Jeremy P, she says, never meets a stranger. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I’m a “people person.”
When I met Federico “Fred” Marconi (above, with his truly delightful wife and fantastic cook Lucia) more than two years ago at Vinitaly, I knew that we were kindred spirits and that we were going to become fast friends. He’s an artist, he’s a rocker (a HUGE Ramones fan), and like me, he makes a living working in wine (as the export manager for one of my fav super old-school Brunello growers, Le Presi).
When Fred heard I was coming to Montalcino, he generously offered to let me stay in his parents’s apartment in Castelnuovo dell’Abate for a few days. And he and Lucia had me over for Sunday lunch this afternoon outside of Montichiello (one of the most well-kept Medieval hilltop towns in the Orcia River Valley). That’s the view of the Castello di Velona from Fred’s parents’s place.
Lucia dressed her mother’s homemade pici, the traditional long noodles of Montalcino (made with flour, salt, and water), with eggplant and nepitella, a sort of Central-Southern-Italian fusion dish, a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.
She outdid herself with her Indian-inspired chicken spiedini seasoned with mint. She also made a fantastic roast chicken with wild fennel and mushrooms — the perfect lunch for me considering the overwhelming number of heavy meals in store for me in the days to come.
We paired with this great Greco di Tufo by Benito Ferrara (Avellino), bright acidity, rocks, and (white) fruit. The perfect Sunday lunch before the onslaught of appointments that begins tomorrow (Alfonso and anyone else who works in the wine biz knows what I’m talking about).
Lucia and Fredman’s son Santiago is already catching rock ‘n’ roll fever — and the baby fever is catching too!
In other news…
Check out the grape porn that I posted today at one of my Austin client’s blogs.