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A Passion for Appassimento

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A Passion for Appassimento. Carlos Marques.

In the hills of Valpolicella north of Verona in Italy, there is a method of wine making called Appassimento: the process involves drying the grapes for as long as five weeks to concentrate the flavours prior to making them into wine. If that was not enough, the wines are then aged in oak barrels for three years.

Casa Dea winery has brought this method of wine making to Prince Edward County. The wines so produced are called Adamo and Eva, or Adam and Eve to none Italian speakers. At a hefty almost fifteen percent alcohol the Adamo is what I would call a heady wine. A bottle of this hundred percent Cabernet Franc will cost you $52.95 and is well worth it at the price.

If Cabernet Franc is to your taste you will love this wine. Ready for drinking now, it can be enjoyed ‘young,’ however, according to Piero Di Pietrantonio owner of Casa Dea, “It will age happily in your cellar up to five years.” And even beyond that, with proper care.

Presenting flavours of cherry fruit with hints of tobacco and chocolate balanced with some excellent spice, this wine is a wonderful pairing partner. Try dishes such as pasta with a hearty red sauce, pepper steak, roasted vegetables, mushroom ravioli, risotto, or roast pork with a fruit sauce. Adamo will also pair particularly well with rustic stews or braised beef short ribs, and pot roast beef braised in beer or red wine, such as Anna Olson’s recipe for Belgian Carbonnade.

Eva is a hundred percent Chardonnay and also packs a punch with again an alcohol level of almost fifteen percent. It too can be enjoyed ‘young’ but I believe will also age and improve over time; a bottle will cost you $48.95 and again well worth the price.

Concentrating the natural sugars and flavours, furnishes aromas of ripe peaches, apricots, and sweet floral notes which will complement rich dishes. Also serve Eva with mild, buttery or creamy dishes. Pairs well with firm fish like halibut or cod, and shellfish. Simply seasoned poultry and pork dishes work well too. Anna’s roasted pear salad should be an excellent partner.

Life is all swings and roundabouts: the upside of the Appassimento process is the delicious concentrated depth of flavour but there is unfortunately a downside: the yield is reduced by about fifty percent, which goes a very long way towards justifying the price. But for fifty bucks or so, it is still a steal.

 

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