September 20, 2008

Vino & Vittles at Enrico

My wife and I had the pleasure last Friday to join some friends for the first-ever wine dinner at Enrico Biscotti Company using Enrico’s recently launched Carlo’s Garage Winery line of vino.

The wines, Enrico’s very personable and very verbal – in a very good way – founder Larry Lagattuta explained, are made in the basement of Enrico’s, which used to be, you guessed it, part of Carlo’s Garage, where Carlo fixed cars and, you guessed it again, made wine.

If I heard correctly, the grapes for the Vidal Blanc, the lone white, come from Erie of all places, while the grapes for the three reds come from California. But don’t quote me on that.

Overall, it was a really nice event, the kind of night out you can’t get in many cities. Sitting back in the Enrico café, an assortment of small and large tables with simple white coverings, some slices of bread and small white bowls of olive oil and olives resting on them, the smell of the cracking brick oven: A very cozy, comfortable kind of place to eat a little food, drink a little wine, snicker and giggle and chomp your way through a relaxed evening.

The food was simple and, on the whole, well executed. The wines were very enjoyable, really exceeding my expectations, and, I think it can be safely said, those of our little group. And our hosts just kept pouring it!

My wife and I both felt that the star wine of the evening was the Vidal Blanc, which was very refreshing and had a welcome fruitiness without being sweet in the least. [Note: it’s against my personal beliefs, religion, etc. to describe a wine in any more detail.]

The menu:

First course – Fire-roasted jumbo shrimp in a citrus-hot pepper marinade accompanied by some napa cabbage slaw, paired with the Vidal Blanc.

Second course – Pork tenderloin with a blackberry compote (at least that’s what I’m calling it), paired with the Strip Blend Red Table Wine.

Third course – St. Andre triple cream cheese (from Penn Mac) with a honey laced fig on top of lavash (that is, a large cracker), paired with the Petit Sirah.

Fourth course – Lamb ragout over fresh parpadelle, paired with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Desert – Flourless chocolate cake and pistachio ice cream, paired with whatever wine you requested.
The best courses were the lamb ragout and the triple cream cheese/honey/fig. Both paired very well with their respective wines… well, after 4 or 5 glasses, plus an earlier drink at Kaya, at least I think they did.

In any case, I highly recommend contacting Enrico to get on the list for future wine dinners, as well as their usual “First Friday” dinners, which, as you may have guessed, are held the first Friday of every month.

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