Posted 10 July 2012 - 03:53 AM
With a very messy ragu of superannuated spring onion, garlic scapes, fennel, sweet red pepper, mixed mushrooms, and fantastic Brooklyn Larder pork-and-fennel sausage (is it made by Franny's, I wonder?) over bucatini (the real point being that the remainder of that ragu is going to get better over the next few days):
This is a wine I've been impressing dining companions with for years by ordering it at restaurants. So reasonably priced (under $20 retail, if I remember right) but so nice.
I've been saving my bottle at home. A good point about it was the acid that made it go well with food -- but I thought it might be even nicer when a few years of bottle age smoothed the acid down a little.
Tonight's bottle was like buttah.
Don't get me wrong: this is no Big Deal Wine. But with a modest pork-and-stuff ragu, it was wonderful.
This wine, from the Marche, is made from the Vernaccia Nera grape (or, as it's called in the Marche, Vernaccia di Serrapetrona). Who knew, before this wine began being marketed in New York a few years ago, that there was such a thing as Vernaccia Nera? Someone must know this, but I don't even know if it's even related to the famous Tuscan white grape. They don't taste anything alike -- but then, neither do Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. (Obviously, all I had to do was reach for Jancis Robinson's Oxford Companion to learn that they are unrelated: "vernaccia" simply means "vernacular", in the sense of "indigenous".)
Interestingly, the general flavor profile is kind of like last night's wine, the Nusserhof Elda: fruit (cherries, mainly), then some leather (absent from last night's), then a hit of licorice, then we sweep the forest floor for a very short while (unlike last night's extended exploration), and then lots and lots of pepper -- with less of a porkslap in the background than last night. All of which makes this agreeable wine sound more complex than it is. All those flavors are there -- but more as passing fancies than as deep taste experiences. Certainly this wine doesn't last. It's a quaffer, for God's sake.
Last night's Nusserhof Elda was deeper and more distinctive. But even so, I enjoyed this greatly -- even more with some bottle age than the younger versions I've been drinking with pleasure in restaurants over the last few years.