Sagrantino cookies? Wine and cookies may seem like a strange combination, but just wait until you try them, they are actually a match made in heaven! Chef Simone has taken a traditional Italian cookie recipe and put his own Umbrian touch on them, by adding the Sagrantino grape in the form of wine. This is another recipe by Chef Simone that will not disappoint.
I recently started watching the Netflix series Stranger Things and I really like it. The show, which is set in rural Indiana in the 1980s follows a group of kids seeking to find their missing friend, and involves a secret government program that punches a hole through parallel universes in order to engage in some cold war spying, only to unexpectedly unleash an incredibly evil monster. Some great acting, especially from the kids, some creative writing and some compelling story lines. I would definitely say it is worth a watch.
I mention this because Via Umbria has been engaged in its own project to bridge parallel universes. And far from unleashing monsters, we have only spread deliciousness and joy.
Those two universes are, of course, Italy and America and we are engaged in an experiment to connect the two. We do that by creating an authentic Italian experience in Georgetown. And we do that by hosting American guests on semi annual food and wine tours at our farm house in Umbria, immersing them in the authentic Umbria that we have come to know and love.
On Saturday, we arrived in Umbria with nine guests in tow to kick off our fall Food and Wine tours, and less than 36 hours later, I dare say that they have already begun to understand and share our love of Umbria. Yesterday we introduced them to the wines of Umbria, the same Grechettos and Montefalco rossos and Sagrantinos we import and sell at Via Umbria. They met Elena DiFilippo at her organic and biodynamic cantina and drank wine with her, and will welcome Elena’s husband Roberto when he visits Via Umbria this spring. They dined on a homecooked dinner by Chiara Cicogna and heard her speak of her family’s cashmere business, and will join Chiara and us in Washington on November 16 when Chiara exhibits a selection of cashmere treasures at a special holiday trunk show at Via Umbria. This morning they experienced truffle hunting under glorious blue skies near Citta di Castello with our dear friends Saverio and Gabriella Bianconi, who are readying to ship the day’s spoils back to Via Umbria to take center stage at a pair of special truffle dinners coming up next week.
Nearly a year after reopening our doors as an Italian market, café, restaurant, enoteca and retail store, we are realizing our dream of truly connecting the worlds we inhabit in Washington and in Umbria. This week our food and wine tour group will dine at le Delizie del Borgo, a restaurant lovingly operated by our friends Simone Proietti-Pesci and Ombretta Ubaldi in Bevagna and next month Ombretta, a certified sommelier with an unmatched appreciation for Umbrian wines will return with us to Washington to host a series of special wine dinners at Via Umbria. Later in the month Simone will join us in Georgetown to cook alongside our outstanding executive chef Johanna Heilrigl. We can’t wait for these two to renew their acquaintance and to dazzle us with what they think up and cook up next. A tasting at the Tabarrini winery on Thursday will no doubt be a highlight for our guests, but a command performance in Washington is in the cards, with a special visit by the winery’s owners Giampaolo Tabarrini and his wife Federica Pietrolati for some memorable dinners and maybe a glass of wine or two.
Connecting our guests and our customers to the incredibly rich experiences that we have found in Umbria is what we do, regardless of place. Whether it takes place sotto il sole or under the sun, in Cannara or in Washington, these are the experiences that make up a life and we are proud to offer them to you.
To prepare for tomorrow’s Montefalco Rosso wine tasting class with visiting Italian sommelier Ombretta Uboldi, we met up with Sommelier and Chef Vickie Reh in the Via Umbria enoteca to learn about the Wednesday night wine line up. Here’s what Vickie had to say about what you’ll be tasting:
In the town of Montefalco in Umbria, they produce a Montefalco Rosso and a Sagrantino. One is not a lesser version of the other. Sagrantino is simply 100% Sagrantino, and the Montefalco Rosso is primarily a Sangiovese. Tomorrow, we’re featuring a selection of Montefalco Rosso wines.
It’s nice, I think, because the Sagrantino is a super deep, dark, extracted wine, and you can’t have something deep, dark, extracted, and tannic with every food. Sometimes you need a lighter wine, and the Montefalco is a lighter wine. It’s still by no means thin, but it’s something that can go with light pork dishes, chicken, vegetarian dishes, and cheese.
So that’s where we are tomorrow. Ombretta is going to show you wines from 4 different producers: Pardi, Tabarrini, Plani Arche, and Sololoro. Most of them are 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and then each one has a different combination of the last 15%. The Pardi is probably the lightest, and the Sololoro is probably the deepest and darkest. The Tabarrini and Plani Arche are more in the middle, even though they are on the darker side.
Two are organic, and two are sustainably farmed but not “certified organic.” To a certain extent, you have the same grapes in all of them, but some are fuller, some are lighter, some have different oak treatments, or different soil types and sites. Some are deeper and some are lighter. You really have to taste them side by side to get it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, because we think the best way to learn about these unique wines is to taste them for yourself. That’s why we’re offering several unique opportunities to learn about Umbrian wines in March with Umbrian food and wine experts Ombretta and Ernesto: three interactive wine classes and three dinners featuring Umbrian dishes perfectly paired with the wine’s you’ll learn about. Join us for a class, a dinner, or a combination of both for the ultimate Umbrian wine experience!
Friday evening marked the inaugural event in our upstairs event space at Via Umbria, a special winemaker dinner with Giampaolo Tabarrini, owner of the Tabarrini winery in Montefalco. Perhaps it was just a case of beginner’s luck, but the evening was magical.
Twenty something wine enthusiasts gathered in our ground floor retail space at 1525 Wisconsin Avenue at 7:30pm for cocktails and an opportunity to mingle and chat with the evening’s special guest. Prosecco (not Giampaolo’s) flowed and hors d’oeuvres were passed as the upstairs room was finalized and readied for the dinner by Corcoran Caterers, who would be providing the meal.
When the hour arrived the group headed upstairs to find the dining area dazzlingly set out with a long banquet table and lots of wine glasses. As the guests were seated Giampaolo was formally introduced to the group. A fourth generation winemaker, Giampaolo Tabarrini has brought the family’s estate international acclaim (Giampaolo was featured in this month’s Wine Spectator), as well as helping to put Montefalco and its most important wine – Sagrantino – on the map.
The evening’s featured wine, Giampaolo’s DOCG Sagrantino Colle Grimaldesco is part iron fist, part velvet glove. Garnering 95 points from Robert Parker it has won Gambero Rosso’s coveted Tre Bicchiere award for more than one vintage. Giampaolo led the group through a tasting of the Sagrantino as well as his unusual 100% sagrantino rose’ – Bocca di Rosa – and his justly popular Montefalco Rosso which is a blend of sangiovese, sagrantino and barbera grapes, the latter of which he argues is indigenous to Umbria, rather than it’s adopted home of the Piemonte. Each wine was matched with delectable course.
The treat of the evening was the raffle. For every case of Colle Grimaldesco purchased the buyer received an entry in the evening’s raffle to win an all expense paid Via Umbria wine tour in Umbria from March 26 to April 1 next year. Calling our tour Vinopalooza, the seven day, six night itinerary includes visits to 9 wineries, dinners and lunches with Montefalco winemakers (including a visit to Tabarrini winery and dinner with Giampaolo) and local sommeliers, visits to Montefalco and Bevagna and a special cooking class with a local chef. Needless to say there was a great deal of activity and at the end of the night our new friend Sue was chosen the lucky winner, to join at least three other winners at future Tabarrini wine dinners this December.
This amazing evening, which ended with a number of guests enjoying a cigar and a nightcap of Colle Grimaldesco in the second floor courtyard was anything but the result of beginner’s luck. With a great deal of planning and hard work we established proof of concept that Via Umbria’s second floor, which will be renovated and built out after the new year to include a demo kitchen, is a great space to hold special events.
And for those who were unable to join us last Friday, mark your calendars for December 4, 5 and 6 when we will be hosting three more Tabarrini wine dinners with special guest Daniele Sassi, Tabarrini’s head of sales and marketing. Or better yet, why not head to EventBright and get your ticket for one of the dinners while there are still spaces available. And in the meantime, visit our sister site – Experience Umbria Wines and buy a bottle of the Colle Grimaldesco today!