Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adventures in Italy

We only spent one night in Rome and that was the gastronomic low point of the trip. Thinking we couldn't go wrong by picking the most crowded joint in the vicinity.... oops bad luck. We just could not understand why there were so many people. Maybe they served the leftovers to the tourists? The fish was stale and the lamb was pretty sad as well. Sub-standard food, expensive and mediocre service ( restaurant pictured below).




















One of the best places in terms of food was in the town of Lucca. Over lunch we went to this lovely little place called "Canuleia". The fresh vegetable salad with burrata cheese was lovely. Being quite creamy on the inside, the cheese liquids gets mixed up with the olive oil and vegetables outside resulting in a lovely dressing - I'm sure it was deliberate.

Last but not least, a lovely wine from Tenuta Campo di Sasso called Insiglio. You may not have heard of this outfit but this is where Lodovico Antinori went when his beloved Ornelia was sold. Seems that a few key staff went over with him. If Insiglio is their ordinary wine, I can't wait to see the premium offerings ( Supposedly it's out already and is called "Pino di Biserno"). The 2nd is '04 which was released in late '05 and the latest vintage '05 is supposed to be out ( I stand corrected). Give this about 45min of air - a decent wine for 20 euro ( at the restaurant) - 91 points and needs to go with hearty food ( roast lamb, beef stew etc...)


The next day we went on a tour of an estate called Valle de Sole which is an extremely small outfit, they make a lovely wine called Ebrius ( the 2 bottles to the left) which is their premium offering - 88 points. This was selling for 15 Euro. They also make a very good EVOO, by volume the price is the same as their top wine ( 10 Euro for 0.5L).



There was one other find which was not in Lucca but close to Montepulciano made by a small outfit called Palazzo Bandino. There they have a Nobile de Montepulciano called 'Il Morone' or old mill (I'm told). The latest offering is '03 and production is a small 5000 bottles. The price was 10 Euro which is a great value. Liked this a little better than the Ebrius. 89 points.