One thing I enjoy very much at nice restaurants is talking to the Sommelier. They are like a therapist for wine. You say what you like, what you hope and wish for, what your limits (price wise) are. And they do what they do best—and problem solve.
My son’s seventh birthday was a very special one. Seven years old is a big deal for us, and we wanted to celebrate in a way that meant a lot for my son. He got to choose how he celebrated and with whom, because we believe that 7 is the age of reason. He opted for a trip to Hong Kong with the obligatory Disney Land. He also threw in, requests for Peking duck. At the last minute, he remembered that he wanted to try truffles, as he had some (in the oil form) on a pizza one time and was curious to try more. Lucky for us, Otto e Mezzo had a white truffle special, so we headed there for a special birthday dinner. After we placed orders for a butter-cheese and white truffle tagliatelle for the kids, we got to the wine.
One thing I enjoy very much at nice restaurants is talking to the Sommelier. They are like a therapist for wine. You say what you like, what you hope and wish for, what your limits (price wise) are. And they do what they do best—and problem solve. So that’s what we did. After a couple of days of drinking German Pinots and champagne, my husband and I were in the mood for something bursting with body and flavor. The Som recommended an Amarone della Valpolicella. I remember having another wine from Valpolicella at a Northern Italian themed dinner. We told the Som it was our son’s birthday and I was about to give him a sip from my glass. The Som offered my son his portion of the wine in a glass of his own. This was the first time I was allowing my little boy take a sip from a real glass.
After he sipped, we asked him what it tasted like. He replied, “The vines and the grapes taste old.” I was floored. You see, Amarone is a process where in the grapes from the Valpolicella region in the Veneto are aged and allowed to dry up for four months before proceeding to the wine-making phase. Think of it as a raisin where all the flavor and sweetness are concentrated. This technique was developed to add body to the wine. The beautiful thing about Amarone is that its bouquet is so rich and jammy. The first few sips are also like a juice bomb, but unlike a new world Cabarnet that a lot of the times stay a big fat juicy fruit, this morphs into an earthy almost savory taste by the time you swallow and has a nice long finish. All this fermentation yields a whopping 16% alcohol percentage.
This dinner is still one of my son’s and my family’s fondest memories. It was my son’s first glass of his own, and my first time to try an Amarone of excellent quality. This has led me to seek out other Amarone della Valpolicella’s but have found they are hard to come by. I chanced upon one at Santi’s for around P2700 and found it to be quite good. This is an excellent option for when you can’t decide if you want an unapologetic fruit-flavored wine or a more sophisticated Bordeaux styled one. This kind of wine seems to marry the two well.