BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
Casa Vinicola Zonin hosted a second Italian Culinary Experience in New York City featuring SD26, Delverde Pasta and Zonin’s own Tenuta Ca’Bolani winery last week. Chef Matteo Bergamini from SD26, a native of Northern Italy himself, prepared a menu highlighting Zonin’s wines from the Friuli region known for its stunning whites.
Representatives from both Zonin and SD26 families were present, including owners Tony and Marisa May of SD26 (and the former San Domenico). Mr. May talked about his 50 years in the restaurant business, the careful consideration that goes into each item on SD26’s menu, and even his personal food preferences – a quality pasta being an integral part of any pasta dish. As a restaurant with one of the most impressive wine lists in New York City – all visible on a touch screen tablet – it was only natural that the SD26 and Zonin families came together to create a Friulian inspired culinary experience.
Zonin’s flagship prosecco was served upon arrival – an important part of any day, we learned, in Italy and was enjoyed alongside a simple cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, sprinkled with a classic Friulian frico, or cheese crisp.
A decadent steamed white asparagus first course was topped with hollandaise and a poached egg, only to set the tone for a rich and hearty rest of our meal. Zonin’s Pinot Grigio Superiore 2012 paired well with the dish, but was better standing on its own as a well balanced, fruity, fresh tasting wine.
Chef Matteo prepared a light, yet decadent, lemon risotto with periwinkles in front of us while Mr. May and Jelena Meisel of Zonin quipped about the use of butter and cheese in a risotto (our version was without). Zonin’s Sauvignon “Aquilis” proved to be an interesting pairing with notes of sage and grapefruit cutting through the risotto and causing me to return for bite after bite.
Our pasta course introduced the first Friulian red of the evening and with it the Delverde pasta boys who kept the women in the room more interested than they have ever been before in pasta. Delverde’s artisanal pastas are imported from a small factory in Italy made with top quality ingredients. Compared to other dried brands, Delverde’s slightly rough texture helps sauce stick to the pasta and a more pronounced yellow color comes from ingredients that are true to Italian pasta making – that being said, our wild boar ragu served with Delverde’s flagship pappardelle was stand out and also holds the spot for my favorite pairing of the night with the Tenuta Ca’Bolani winery’s Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 2011. The deep red wine tamed the acidic pasta sauce and complimented nicely the pickled raisins that garnished the ragu.
Our last savory course, a roasted quail with black fig with a light chicory pesto was accented by a Refosco, the “Alturio” 2007, a full bodied, spicy red.
For Dessert, the Brachetto – the only wine of the night from the Castello del Poggio Winery known for its sweeter wines – was slightly sweet, crisp, and a refreshing end to the meal only made better by an apple tortino that’d I’d love to enjoy again and again.
Once again Zonin and their partners hosted a lovely and informative night of fine Italian wine and food where almost, just almost I could close my eyes and transport myself out of New York City to the breezy plains of northeastern Italy.