Vincanto and Ben Ryè

Ben Ryè
[image: a half-bottle of Ben Ryè, a sweet Italian dessert wine]

This wine, man. THIS WINE. But let me start at the beginning…

I was absent from the blog for a couple weeks because I was in Italy! I love Italy. Generally I tend to stick to the north, the Florences and Venices and whatnot, because man oh man do I love visiting churches. But this time my parents and I flew into Rome and headed south. We stayed in Pompeii for a few days, doing the ruins there and in Herculaneum as well as visiting Mt. Vesuvius and Naples and Capri.

Our hotel happened to be about two or three blocks from this restaurant, Vincanto. We ended up going there twice because we had such a good time and the owner, Yuri, was excellent at making us feel welcome. Before we visited the first night I had read up on some reviews online, and they suggested talking to Yuri and letting him choose. I was able to convince the parents to go along with this plan, and we had such a lovely, lovely dinner. Vincanto is ostensibly a wine bar, but they’ve got plenty of small plates, and honestly, a bottle of wine and some munchies are all we need to be happy in this world.

Our first course was a potato and salumi croquette, which had explosions of salt. Next there was a wee eggplant parmesan, which had smoked cheese in it and was so good. The eggplant tasted incredibly sweet. Let’s see, then there was a panini we split that was made on “ancient” bread (I think it was spelt or farro? some olden-style grain) that had amazing cured meats and cheeses again. The last savory course was a round of vegetables and THESE WERE OUTSTANDING. There were these wheels of spinach and a soft cheese which I loved, a fennel salad, and a golden tomato bruschetta that blew Mom’s mind (“How did they get tomatoes that taste this fresh this early in the season?!”).

But what stuck in my mind the most was one of our after-dinner drinks. Yuri had brought over three dessert wines, and the best of these was the Ben Ryè from Donnafugata. It tastes like late afternoon in summer, if the sun were an apricot. It’s so delicious. I decided that I must, MUST find this in America.

Easier said than done. But I did it! I was able (after several emails and phone calls, and if you know me, you know this must have been liquid gold since I hate hate HATE talking to people on the phone) to find a local(ish) place that sells it. I have an event this weekend I’ll be bringing it to so I can share it with friends. And they better like it, or… well, or else I’ll get more to drink. Win-win, really.

So yes! If you’re in Pompeii, go to Vincanto and say hi to Yuri. And check out their Facebook page too, Yuri posts a lot of photos from the restaurant. I want that place to succeed wildly! Great service, great meal. I’d eat there again in a heartbeat.

P.S. Check out my mom’s blog entries on our trip at!