Sunday, September 25, 2011

La Vida Dolce in the Fall

Crinkly, dry fall leaves crunching underfoot always put me in the mood for fall. The seasons hover on the verge of change, but the lazy days of summer have been ushered out with the earlier setting sun and the onset of school schedules, grueling rush hour traffic, and daily work lives. The offices are now packed, everyone has had their vacations. Congress hammers away on Obama’s Job Plan—the economy and deficit ceilings fill the docket with the dismal stock market setting the tone for a volatile season ahead. As the leaves cling to their last shades of green, the temperature drops and the air electrifies with hustle and bustle before the year-end holidays impact the frantic, fall pace. This is the perfect time to turn your mind to more serious wines, wines with more soul, both red and white, before the Northern Hemisphere descends upon its great slumber.
With the change of nature’s clock, dusk comes earlier and the dinner hour demands more cozy cuisine. The fruits of summer wane, while the Brussels sprouts bloom into abundance with a final surge of asparagus, green beans, squash and root vegetables. Kitchens turn out cuisine dominated by earthy undertones and gamy meats. Time to turn to full-bodied whites with luscious weights underscored by bosc pears, sour apples, blasts of acidity, and bitter-almond finishes.  Rieslings, Rhone whites and Oregon Pinot Noirs exhibit the autumnal flavors. But, nothing cries out fall season to me more than Italian wines and Italian cuisine. Mushroom ragout compiled of exotic shrooms plucked fresh from the farmer’s market screams for mascarpone polenta gnosh; or a nice fish stew with butternut squash entices the palate for some aromatic Italian whites collected from the coastal towns of the Marche, or mountain-entrenched Soaves and Gavis from the Veneto and Piedmont regions, respectively.
My love for everything Italian—my partiality to fall and brilliant fire reds painted with burnt orange colors—inspires me for a new educational series at Red, White and Bleu Wine Shop during the months of September, October, and November. Venture out on a gastronomic Tour of Italy—pictorially, mentally, and sensory.  Once a month, learn how to eat, drink, and live the Italian lifestyle inspired by Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch’s guide: Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy.  We explore a different geographic region each month and dive into one specific food and wine culture. Last month, we explored Lombardy and the fashion mecca of Milan. Participants indulged in Nebbiolos, Barberas, Chardonnay, and Sparkling wines indigenous to the area, while they stuffed their bellies with regional cheeses, charcuterie, and main fare from the streets of Milan.
October brings even more delectable intrigues from a quiet, seaside village in the Marche province, tucked behind cliffs of the Monte Cònero massif. Scores of crudo (raw seafood) and porchetta (stuffed suckling pig) work their way to the Marche dinner table. We intend to sample cave-aged, sheep’s milk Pecorinos and savory prosciuttos sourced from the mountain village of Carpegna. The wines will abound from the towns of Jesi, Matelica, Pesaro, and Urbino, like Rosso Piceno and Rosso Cònero crafted from the Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes.

Come delve into Italian goodness at Red, White and Bleu Sunday, October 16th at 4:00pm, check out details online at the new website Live la vida dolce!