Wednesday, November 02, 2011
EXPLORING ITALY AT GIOCO
Imagine sipping elegant Italian vinos and savoring authentic Italian delicacies in a room with exposed original brick and plaster walls, an amber backlit bar, delicate silk fixtures and disguised doors leading to the back alley. Gioco’s Al Capone-influenced Speakeasy Room became the setting for our Mondiale opener this season. Gioco’s new Executive Chef, Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Honoraire Gaetano Ascione, matched our bottled gems from his native Italy with his brand of “brutally honest, simple, authentic, rustic and traditional Italian regional cuisine with a modern twist”. With his long association with Chaîne, Chef Ascione is very familiar and attuned to our high culinary standards and table camaraderie. We welcomed Gino Catalano of Kobrand Corporation and Chantelle Pabros, sommelier and wine consultant, to help us through the exciting wine journey through Italy’s wine regions. Specially selected wines, made by the country’s finest producers were presented and sampled in a single-blind tasting format. We tasted and savored high end whites and reds, appreciated the big flamboyant flavors of the young versus the elegant well-aged vintages and expanded our knowledge of the contrast of modern and traditional winemaking styles.
2003 Movia Puro Rosé Pinot Nero opened the evening for us served with traditional Italian antipasti. Made from 100% Pinot Nero, this elegant sparkler has hints of red fruit and mushrooms on the nose and exhibits a rustic expression, delivering significant complexity and weight on the palate. Well matched with the flavorful creations of Chef Ascione, we could not have imagined the better start for our Italian adventure. Once we moved to the Speakeasy Room, made available for our exclusive use, we were introduced to three grape varietals of 2010 Terredora di Paolo: Greco di Tufo, Falanghina and Fiano di Avellino. All three were served with winter shellfish salad on chick pea soup. It was an interesting experiment to taste the wine made of three different grapes with the same dish. We then moved to the next adventure of tasting the same wine, Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio, from different vintages – 2007, 2005, 2000 and 1999, served with amaretti and pumpkin stuffed tortelloni on a Parmigiano fondue. This followed by the extensive conversation and tasting of three different Brunello di Montalcino all from 2004: Angelo Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Rennina, Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Greppo and Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. These exceptional wines were served with Barolo braised veal cheeks on a truffled polenta and fried young leeks.
For a final taste we enjoyed 2001 Fattoria Felsina Vin Santo with Chef Ascione’s version of tarte tatin with vanilla gelato as we thanked the entire crew of Gioco and, of course, Chef Rôtisseur Gaetano Ascione for their true Italian hospitality. Vice Échanson/Caviste Mon Roldan also thanked our Italian vino tour guides – Gino Catalano and Chantelle Pabros for their wonderful commentary and the unforgettable evening!