The Wide World of Wine: Fattoria Le Pupille Wines of Maremma Tuscany
Dwight Casimere | 3/12/2020, noon
Winemaker and Owner Clara Gentili braved corona virus fears to travel to the US to showcase her reserve wines from Fattoria Le Pupille of Maremma Tuscany, a region that is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets.
Tucked away in small, secluded region of southern Tuscany, Maremma doesn’t appear on any of the popular tourism guides, and perhaps that’s a good thing. Italy is going through a painful time right now, but once its health and travel restrictions are lifted, you can bet that the wine-loving world will beat a path to its door to taste the exquisite wines of Fattoria Le Pupille.
Maremma is one of the few territories left in Italy that remains true to its ancient peasant roots. The reserve wines that were presented in particular, exemplified the rustic authenticity that glorifies the rustic culture and cuisine of the region.
Chef de Cuisine Antonio Mermolia and GM and Wine Director Dario Vigil of Miami’s Le Sirenuse Restaurant at Four Season Hotel at the Surf Club, Miami, presented a pairing menu par excellence.
An Amuse Bouche was presented in the Champagne Bar of Le Sirenuse of Beef Tart with Caviar (Tart di Carne e Caviale) paired with a Magnum-sized bottle of Gentili’s newly minted Poggio Argentato 2017. The wine was so newly bottled that the label was a bit askew, perhaps a result of rough handling in transit. No matter, the wine showed magnificently.
Argentato is a fragrant, fruity dry white wine made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Petit Manseng and Gewürztraminer. The spiciness of the Gewurtz rang through just as the wine lingered long on the palate.
The second Amuse Bouche, Neopolitan-styled meatballs were a nice segue to the ensuing meal.
Morellino Riserva 1985, elegantly poured from the basket by our Sommelier, was a treat to be savored on its own before diving into the first course of Appetizer of Beef Carpaccio, with rucula and a sprinkling of Grana Padano Cheese (Carpaccio di Manzo-rucola e grano paired with a second bottle of the Morellino Riserva which, for some inexplicable reason, had a richness and depth that far surpassed the experience of the first bottle.
The pasta course of Agnolotti alla Scarmoza, Chantarelle e profumo di Casa (Piemonte-style pasta dumplings with wild mushrooms and a rich house-made veal and white wine broth) with Saffredi 2015. This was the most food-friendly of all of the wines, pairing magnificently with the rich sauce with its fruit-forward taste and soft tannins.
The main course of a house-smoked Filet Mignon with roasted Italian Eggplant (Filetto di Carne e Melanzana) was the standout of this or any meal. The incomparable smoky, mineral flavor of the meat seemed to be enveloped by the velvety texture and gentle oak spice and peppery back notes of the wine.
The chef pulled out all the stops with a Hazelnut Semifredo, a dessert specialty from the town of Alba in the heart of Piemonte. Alba is the home of that beloved hazelnut and chocolate confection Ferrero Rocher. To this day no one is allowed to witness exactly how that little hazelnut if wrapped inside that carefully crafted ball of chocolate wafer on the factory tour in downtown Alba. Chef Mermolia created a deconstructed version that paired wonderfully with the delightfully jammy-fruit and spice Saffredi 2017 (30th anniversary).
With the cancellation of Vinitaly, the world showcase of Italian wine in April due to the world health pandemic, the opportunity to taste these exquisite wines in the company of their creator with exceptional cuisine was a rare opportunity that I will savor.