Sea scallop and Culatello ham
Sea scallop and Culatello ham

Grapes of sheer joy

Art September 30, 2016 01:00

By Manta Klangboonkrong

The Nation

Enoteca matches its chef’s interesting creations with top quality wines from Sicily and Piedmont

Bangkok’s gourmets were recently treated to a truly Italian gustatory experience as respected restaurant Enoteca served up delicious dishes paired with wines from the north and south of Italy.
Established in 2004 to promote Italian wines, Enoteca, which is Italian for “wine library”, gradually became known as one of Bangkok’s most trusted establishments to enjoy fine wines and simple Italian dishes that preserved traditional flavours while adding a soupcon of creativity. 
Nicola Bonazza, second generation owner and manager, carefully curates a wine list of more than 400 labels including rare vintage wines, with a focus on regional Italian grapes, boutique producers and biodynamic wines. 
This time around Bonazza handed over to G Four Fine Wines and Spirits for a special wine pairing dinner that highlighted Italy’s unique terroir and flair. The dinner started with slightly pan-seared sea scallop served with black rice and shredded Culatello ham paired with Marco de Bartoli Cataratta Lucido Terre 2014 from Sicily. Made with Lucido grapes, a varietal of white grapes indigenous to the region, the pale yellow wine was fruity with vibrant green apple and lemon zest nose that complemented the rice, which was cooked in citrus water. The balanced and fresh palate made it a decent match with the slightly salty ham and the supple shellfish. 
Next up was foie gras served with smoked duck breast and passion fruit ice cream. The wine was also from Marco de Bartoli – a Marsala Vigna La Miccia Riserva 5 anni from Samperi in the heart of Sicily. Made with Grillo grapes that are hand picked during the first week of September, the amber wine has a rich and intense fruit character, resulting from four years of ageing in oak barrels. You wouldn’t think a white wine could handle such a robust dish, but this one managed wonderfully thanks to its high acidity and perfumed fruitiness that offset the gamey aroma of the duck, cut the fattiness of the foie gras and complemented the passion fruit ice cream.
The tasting then headed north to Piedmont with 2011 Angelo Negro Bric Bertu Barbera d’Alba whose warming, slightly spiced palate was a perfect match for the rich homemade umbrichelli with quail ragu and pecorino cheese. Cleansing with long persistence, the wine cut the grease and the richness of the sauce while the perfumed black fruit nose enhanced the aroma of the dish and accented the creamy cheese. 
Another Piedmont wine, Gaja Sito Moresco DOC 2012, was paired with the main course, Fassona veal in hazelnut crust and black truffle. The dish’s unusual combination of flavours and aromas – gaminess, nuttiness and earthiness – was brightened by the refined and elegant bouquet of red fruits. Harmonious and fresh with smooth tannins, the wine is a blend of nebbiolo, cabernet sauvignon and merlot and very pleasant to drink even on its own. 
Then it was back south to Sicily for Carlo Hauner Malvasia delle Lipari DOC 2010 served with the dessert, steamed cookie with orange compote and white chocolate cream. This winning pairing brought out the best of the sweet delight, balancing the creaminess and tang with its fresh, zesty and lingering medium sweet palate. While most dessert wine is intensely fruity, this one had the balance just right, with slight hints of earthy fig and underlying thyme anchoring the fruity side, making it quite a versatile wine to match with various dessert dishes. 
Italian by design
>> Enoteca is on Sukhumvit Soi 27. Call (02) 258 4386.