Sunday, July 8, 2012

#289 - Linguine Al Limone & Avocado-Kumato-Corn Salad With '10 La Spinetta Vermentino

Odd combo.

Delicious combo.

Essentially an antipasto and a primo (look at me!) made into a meal.

A Saturday night dinner on an unexpected night off that hurt financially but felt needed psychologically.

A 20-degree midday temperature drop yesterday without any rain developing made it impossible to not find ourselves in a good mood. And eating this food with that weather?

Happy. Happy, happy, happy stuff.

Food:  Pasta al limone & avocado-kumato-corn salad

The simple, basic, delicious pasta both of us were craving. A David Rocco recipe to boot (changed a bit) and yet another example of how the Italians get things so right.

Linguine with tons of lemon juice and zest, garlic, olive oil, the rest of the balsamic/juniper pecorino from a few days ago (sprinkled on top), parmesan (in the sauce), lemon thyme (added to the recipe) and parsley. Uncomplicated and straightforward pasta with perfect balance; the boatload of lemon in two forms cut through both cheeses at just the right level, leaving behind the best of both in our mouths with the parsley and lemon thyme then mixing in beautifully. Dumb in how good this tasted and it takes about 10 minutes to make start to finish.

Avocado-kumato-corn salad. A modified version of a salad eaten two months ago. New to us then and quite the brilliant little good-fat wonder last night. Avocados, kumatoes, corn, lemon balm and thyme and oodles of tarragon mixed together with a vinaigrette of lime juice, shallots and jalapeños. Fresh, herby and one of those times where a lot of tarragon works, serving to go down deep with the herbal edge while not drowning our tongues in herbs. Great touch. The fat in the avocado cut just right with the acid in the vinaigrette and kumatoes with an overall swirl of expanding deliciousness at every turn.

Pasta and salad but so much more.

Golly, that was Good.

And the wine was something pretty darn fancy.

Wine:  2010 Casanova della Spinetta Vermentino Toscana ($20 - Binny's)

La Spinetta, the Piemontese producer famous for Barbaresco, barbera, nebbiolo and moscato, bought a parcel of vermentino in Tuscany a few years ago. The 2010 is their second vintage of this wine.

It's just so...vermentino-y in the best sense. Spectacular length and nice but a touch more quiet acid than I expected with a texture and overall experience that simply sparkled. A real patient and confident wine that reveals itself at a great pace and gait. Seashore rocks and foam mixed with rosemary and pine to open with a pause then a exploding core of graceful minerals intermingling with lime, lemon and thyme, pausing again and ending with a floral-mineral finish. Refreshing and rather fancy juice.

Reminded me of the Do Ferreiro Albariño in ways. I'd had a few albariños before having the Do Ferreiro and loved them. Then I drank that and found a new level of fancy within that grape's spectrum. While I've loved many vermentinos from Sardinia, I'm afraid this might be the new benchmark for me.

Pairing: 92 All Italian with none of the bluster

So simple, so fancy. It was simple-fancy. When things are simple-fancy, it becomes a meal you remember.

Even with the ton of lemon juice and zest in the pasta and the lime with a touch heat in the vinaigrette, the more quiet acid in the vermentino had no trouble keeping up with the food. Never lost a step and even found itself expanding, becoming a wee bit darker with its minerals and fruit, yet always offering a bright lift and enormous length.

Versatile as all get-out. I'd love to try it with sea bass and fava beans. $5 more expensive than most vermentino on the market but worth every cent.

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