My sister invited my wife and I to her Greenwich Village apartment for a classic Italian American dinner party. This was, in fact, her first dinner party. She loves food and wine, but had yet to cross the bridge of entertaining for herself. We were to be her first guests.
She is surrounded by many Italian specialty shops, wine stores, cheese purveyors and even more Italian bakeries. I was excited to see what she put together. We started with stuffed spicy peppers, marinated bocconcini, Piave cheese, rosemary crackers and roasted red peppers. She picked all of these up at Faicco’s Pork Store on Bleeker and they were all delicious. Next came an arugula salad with beets, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. Finally, she served a simple lasagna of spicy marinara and ricotta cheese. All of the ingredients were simple, and stereotypically Italian American, but when combined, it was an amazing dinner.
My job was to bring the wine. I stopped off at Le Vigne, an artisanal Italian wine shop on Greenwich Avenue, where I picked up a 2009 Dolcetto d’Alba and a 2008 Barbera d’Asti. Both were excellent wines, but the hands down favorite was a 2006 Carema Classico. It is no wonder why we loved the Carema best; it is made from our favorite grape, Nebbiolo. We’ve tried our fair share of Barolo and Barbaresco, but this is the first time we tried Carema, which comes from the Northern reaches of Piemonte. It definitely won’t be the last time we enjoy a bottle of this special wine.