On Thursday, I was invited up to London to the Carluccio’s in Covent Garden to discover wine at their Wine Explorers Showcase.
Until 1st October, you can try something new at Carluccio’s and get a bottle of Italian wine you may not have tried before for just £10 with your meal*. There are four wines to choose from…and we got to trial them all. It’s a tough life.
We were greeted on arrival with a Ferarri; not the car, but in fact a glass of very lovely Italian fizz poured by Mike, the International Operations Manager for Carluccio’s . He’s the man charged with going out to Italy, tasting a lot of wine and then deciding what to bring back to the restaurant. I’m not saying I’m qualified but I’d definitely have a bash at that job. He talked us through all the wines we tasted…
We started with the Lambrusco Vecchia Modena, Chiarli, Emilia Romagna.
I know what you’re thinking. Lambrusco is certainly not something I’d choose to have with a meal, or otherwise. The associations I have with Lambrusco are mainly teenage ones; but this is not the cheap, sugary plonk of my misspent youth. Instead this sparkling light pink wine which has a perfume of berries was the perfect accompaniment to the meat and cheese board which, because I had the foresight to bring a vegetarian along with me, I ate all on my own not quite grasping that we had three courses still to go.
Next up was my favourite of the evening; Villa Dei Fiori Pecorino, Abruzzo.
A fruity, citrusy white, named after the sheep who live there who nibble on the grapes. A very decent alternative to my usual Sauvignon Blanc, I could easily have finished the bottle. They served it with a delicious beetroot, butternut squash and and goat’s cheese salad. It would have gone equally well with fish or the perpetual whine of an overtired toddler.
This was followed by La Segreta Il Bianco, Sicilia Doc.
This was an extremely drinkable, aromatic, fruity white and it was was accompanied by a delicious dish of penne with courgette, chilli and garlic, served with fried spinach balls. I’m no veggie, but this was just delicious and the pairing was excellent; much recommended!
Finally, on to the red: Frappato, Caruso & Minini, Sicily.
I won’t lie, I do tend to favour white, especially when I’m eating Italian, but this cherry-coloured red (which is, according to Mike called the ‘Pinot Noir’ of Sicily) accompanied the lamb alla griglia we were served perfectly. Not too heavy, it was actually quite refreshing for a red wine.
I would say any (all?!) of these wines are well worth trying; there is something for everyone and you won’t be disappointed.
Because it just wouldn’t be right if some kind of mini-disaster hadn’t occurred, I lost my mobile including all of the pictures and notes (and everything else, woe is me) on my way home. So thanks very much to Kip who not only kept me company, let me eat all the meat, and didn’t lose his phone but also let me use his pictures of the evening.
Thank you so much to Carluccio’s for inviting me along.
If anyone I know is reading this, and fancies babysitting, I do fancy popping back for a bottle of the Pecorino…