Yellow-fin tuna and salmon tartare with toasted pistachios, wild fennel and citrus dill oil
Ponti Wine Cellars recently held another Zenato wine tasting. The last time was at the Imperial Treasure Peking Duck Restaurant, where they paired various Zenato wines with Chinese food, which I don’t usually associate with wine, and found to my delight that wine enhances Chinese food as well. This time around, it was with more traditional Italian cuisine at Basilica in the Regent Hotel.
We started the evening with a prosecco – Lugana Metodo Classico Brut. Crisp and dry, this was a perfect way to end a Thursday night after work and to ease ourselves into the rest of the evening.
First course was a yellow fin tuna and salmon tartare with toasted pistachios, wild fennel and citrus dill oil, paired with the Lugana San Benedetto 2009. But food first. The tuna and salmon tartare was firm and sweet and we noticed that it was not even seasoned, leaving the additional flavours coming from the fennel (ho hum), the pistachios (a surprisingly fanastic pairing) and the dill (for me the strongest and best flavour with the fishes). The wine was certainly one of those you’d easily drink all evening, but seemed to lack any punch (like I would expect with a pinot gris) which I think would pair well with the more neutral flavours on the plate.
Wild boar and ricotta agnolotti with black truffles and baby artichokes
Second course was a wild boar and ricotta agnolotti which is similar to a ravioli, but rather than having two sheets of pasta and then sealing it, it is simply one piece of pasta folded over – a technicality to me. The pasta was served with black truffles and baby artichokes. Maybe because of the truffles, but the three squares of pasta filled with delicate, tender wild boar with just a hint of creaminess from the ricotta left us almost gagging for more. The thing I find is, similar to sashimi, there is a limit to the amount of really good food that you can eat, before it becomes too much, and I presume three is the limit, but gosh on the night we all felt like we could have eaten at least another serving each. Paired with a Cresasso Corvina Veronese 2005 (the corvina grape is the main grape in an amarone) this single grape wine was a good all-rounder, but nothing to write home about).
Roasted wagyu beef tenderloin 9+ with asparagus, ratte potatoes and roasted cherry tomato
The meat course was a roasted wagyu beef tenderloin 9+ with asparagus, ratte potatoes and a roasted cherry tomato. Ratte potatoes are from France and lay claim to being “the potato” by several high end chefs like Joel Robuchon, but for me, the single roasted cherry tomato held the best flavour that married with the tender melt-in-the-mouth tenderloin. The tenderloin was absolutely bang on perfectly medium-rare and ok I admit all three of the vegetables went well with it, but perhaps it was just so delicious that you could have stuck boiled brussel sprouts next to it, and they still would have been delicious. Paired with this was the Zenato Amarone Valpolicella Superiore 2007. We thought the Cresasso Corvina was good, until we tasted this and we shouldn’t have been surprised but you just can’t go back once you’ve tasted the amarone. Strong concentrated berry flavours hit your palate with hints of truffle in a gorgeously mellow wine.
Roasted peach with almond ice-cream and crushed amaretti biscuits
Dessert was a roasted peach with almond ice-cream, biscotti and crushed amaretti biscuits. And with this, I had for the first time, a red dessert wine – Zenari Reciota della Valpolicella Classico 2006. I always think of dessert wines as having a syrupy texture. This wine was dark cherry red in the glass, had lots of legs when you swirled it in the glass, and had all the sweetness expected with a dessert wine, but a surprisingly light and almost refreshing lightness in texture. Amazing stuff.
We are still such novices when it comes to wine, but we do know what we like, and D and I are planning our entire trip to Italy later this year around a visit to the Zenato vineyard. Each time I sample their wines, that trip is simply too, too far away for my liking.
Ponti Wine Cellars stock Zenato wines
G/F 204 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: 6733 0369
Basilico @ the Regent Hotel
Second floor, One Cuscaden Road
Tel: 6725 3232