Drinkin’ Wine

When I start a glass of wine, I see it through to the end. There was a house wine we had in Cosenza, Italy, that seriously tasted like gasoline. I finished it. We were given some apertif in Prague that was like drinking a pine tree. I took the shot. Tonight, I had a wine I could not drink.

I was making my way through a flight of Italian white wines.

Drinking my new favorite from @roccafiore!

A photo posted by sarah (@braisinhussy) on

Not this one, unfortunately. (This is my current favorite Italian white wine. It’s amazing. I will never be able to buy it in the U.S.)

Actually, the flight overall was sort of a failure as far as my palate went.

2015 Montetondo Garganega Frizzante (Verona): this was like soda, it’d be refreshing on a hot summer day, but there wasn’t a lot of there there
2015 de Tarczal Pinot Bianco (Trentino): this one sucked all the moisture out of my mouth
2009 Vigna del Malina Pinot Grigio (Venezia Giulia): CHRIST THIS WAS AWFUL. I took a sip, said “GAH,” and then took a second sip because I’m an optimist but NOPE. I was like “can you please pour this out and get me a fresh glass and also some water and maybe you should check if this wine has turned or something because seriously it is FOUL”
2015 Poggio al Tesoro ‘Solosole’ Vermentino (Toscana): this could have been fine, but by this point my ability to taste things was totally shot

Afterwards I was talking with some of the patrons and staff, and I mentioned I hadn’t really been feeling my flight, so they opened up a bottle of something much, much nicer and gave me a glass for free. I guess the half hour and two or three more glasses of water had helped reset my tongue, because this was nice and honey and acid and just such a relief after that Pinot Grigio. Big ups to the bartender for good customer service.

much nicer wine
much nicer wine

So not my most successful night at the wine bar. Didn’t find any new must-haves, but I had a pleasant evening talking to folks and (eventually) drinking a nice glass.


This is my favorite wine! So of course BevMo stopped carrying it last year. A few months ago, I was chatting with an internet friend who worked in the wine business. He said he also enjoyed Albariños, so I asked him if he could recommend a replacement. He suggested one from the Burgáns winery. I wasn’t able to find it anywhere until today!

[image: two bottles of white wine—burgans albariño and raimat albariño]
[image: two bottles of white wine—burgáns albariño and raimat albariño]

The Burgáns was in a special display, so then I went to check their regular wine section. I was able to find another bottle I hadn’t tried. At $12.99 and $10.99, it seemed like a reasonable investment to try and find a new favorite. I have tried a bunch of other Albariños since the Paco & Lola drought, but none of them have really caught my fancy. I’m hoping one of these will fit the bill.

(Bonus: screw-tops. I’m super-classy that way.)

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 marymom.com!