Averno Amaro Siciliano

averna

An invigorating harmony of bitter and sweet flavours, fantastic after a meal, with dessert or as a mixer in cocktails.

Estate: The Averna family has been producing Amaro since 1859 when the herbalist monks of the Convent of St. Spirito’s Abbey made a gift of their secret elixir recipe to Salvatore Averna, who was a benefactor of the abbey. In 1912 Vittorio Emanuele III bestowed the “Company Averna” the right to print the royal coat-of-arms with the inscription “Royal Household Patent” on the label, which remains to this day. It was the first licensed spirit in Sicily, and has grown to become the second largest bitter brand in Italy today. On April 15th of this year, it was announced that the global Italian drinks group Campari purchased Fratelli Averna.

Spirit Making: Averno Amaro is crafted from an infusion of aromatic herbs, dried flowers, roots, spices, and licorice.

Tasting Notes: Dark brown with copper highlights, radiating intense aromas of aromatic herbs, tree bark and bitter orange. Woodsy forest, mediterranean herbs and lemon elements softened into a lengthy, velvety finish of spicy licorice, dark chocolate and hints of caramel.

Italy
Produced and Bottled by Fratelli Averna S.P.A.
29% Alcohol
$24

Meletti Amaro Liqueur

After two superb bottles of wine and a wonderfully rich dinner, we had zero room left for desert. However, not wanting us to leave a such a splendid dinner incomplete, Natalie, one of the fantastic sommeliers at Otto Enoteca, brought over Meletti Amaro Liqueur to our table. Silvio Meletti founded the Silvio Meletti Company in 1870, today it still is owned and run by the Meletti family. Meletti Amaro is made from a secret, ancient family recipe of a proprietary blend of aromatic herbs and botanicals, with the unique additions of saffron and caramel.

Rich amber in colour with aromas of mint and cinnamon. Smooth flavours of apricot, summer hay and baking spices evolved into sweet honey and traces of slightly bitter tree bark that lingered invigoratingly between each sip. On the lighter, more subtle side of many Amori, this is a fantastic digestif that contributes a wonderfully refreshing component at the end of a meal.

Le Marche
Italy
Produced and Bottled by Ditta Silvio Meletti s.r.l.
32% Alcohol
$18 [average price]

Forgotten Grapes at Otto Enoteca

Last Saturday I attended the “Forgotten Grapes” Wine tasting at Otto Enoteca in NYC. It was a fantastic tasting and class led by Sommelier Dan Pucci that focused on a handful of wonderful yet rare, obscure Italian grapes. One of the featured grapes was Schiava [or Vernatsch] which is one of my favourite grapes, another was Pigato, a grape I had never tried and now have fallen in love with and will scour the shops for more. Following are the truly amazing bottles we had, for the Schiava, Gumphof Südtiroller Vernatsch click here.

Alberto Tedeschi Col Fondo 2010
Emilia Romagna
Col Fondo is a made in the traditional manner, bottle-fermented, lees-aged Prosecco. The wine is natural, unfiltered, with only natural yeasts used and no sulphur added.
Cloudy, opaque pale yellow [it spends a lot of time with the yeasts] with a fizzy apple cider-like flavour and a funky, earthy, bitter finish. [What I would imagine if Prosecco and Hefeweizen had a kid.]

Poderi Foglia Falanghina 2010 $20
Campania
Produced from old vines with sunny aromas of lemon and hay, flavours of lemon zest and apple blossom run atop a bright acidity, all supported by a smoky, basalt mineral base.

Poggio dei Gorleri ‘Cycnus’ 2011 $22
Liguria
Pigato is distinct to Liguria and is thought to be the cousin of Vermentino. The steep hillside vineyards are located just to the east of Provence on French-Italian border.
Almost creamy honey and sea salt minerals cushioned angular flavours of green papaya and mango, whilst clean vegetal notes and honeysuckle comprised the crisp finish. Fantastically easy drinking, a wonderful companion for shellfish and light summer dishes.

Snapseed-84

San Francesco Ronco dei Quattroventi Ciro’ Rosso 2005 $23
[Gaglioppo] Calabria
Brick garnet in colour with dates and baked black cherry flavours merging into a spicy finish of black pepper, licorice, and tobacco. With a light body, this is an excellent red for summer.

Podere il Palazzino Grosso Sanese Chianti Classico 1998 $37
Was intended for immediate enjoyment, yet it still displays a sound acidic backbone and has aged wonderfully. A well balanced undercurrent of barnyard and forest supported dense raisin and baked plum flavours, whilst warm leather and traces of smoky oak comprised the plush finish.

Caffo Del Capo Amaro $23
Calabria
Crafted from an ancient Caffo family recipe using traditional methods, Vecchio Amaro del Capo is produced with 29 different Calabrian aromatic herbs and roots, such as juniper, chamomile and bitter orange, many known for their tonic and digestive properties.
Hearty, earthy notes of autumn woods, fresh herbs and baking spices, with sweet honey, cinnamon bark and bitter orange lingering invigoratingly between each velvety sip.

Gianni Gagliardo Barolo Chinato [NV]

 

 

To continue on with my fantastic, “off the beaten path” wines I enjoyed throughout dinner, I diverged from the standard digestifs and selected Gianni Gagliardo Barolo Chinato [NV] to accompany macchiato and gregarious conversation. Barolo Chinato was conceived in the 19th century by pharmacist Giuseppe Cappellano and intended as a medicinal digestive drink. He infused Nebbiolo da Barolo wine with quinine bark along with other roots herbs and spices such as clove, cinnamon and wormwood, sweetened with cane sugar and barrel aged. Today it is a Piedmont delicacy, considered a wonderful after meal sip, and especially fantastic with chocolate.

The origins of the Gianni Gagliardo estate date back to 1847 when the Colla family established vineyards in the Langhe region of Piedmont. Throughout the years the family purchased vineyards in the heart of prime Barolo appellations of Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga. Today the estate is run by the 6thgeneration of sons; Stefano, Alberto and Paolo. In order to protect “what Mother Nature produces in the vineyard” they manage the vineyards based on respect of the vines and soil. They do not add selected yeasts during fermentation, nor do they filter their wines.

Aromas of lemon zest, cherry, tree bark and menthol emerged from the inky dark garnet. Black cherry, clove, lavender and sweet autumn woods comprised the full body. Dense cherry, smoky cedar wisps and hints of menthol lingered between each plush, velvety sip.

100% Nebbiolo
Piedmont
Italy
Estate bottled by Gianni Gagliardo, La Morra
17.5% Alcohol
$40 [average price]