It was that spectacular meal consisting of twenty cheese varieties accompanied by four different wines, which I have already mentioned in some other posts. Mid-June, Piedmont was stormy and the warm but humid air was heavily scented by tea roses planted around the ‘La Torre’ restaurant in Brondello. The sun was appearing between the short breaks for intensive rainfall.
We were welcomed by Ivano Maero – ristoratore, formaggiaio, genio – in his restaurant lost somewhere in the Italian province. In fact, all good and not too fancy places to eat in Italy are difficult to find and for sure never at the main square of some touristic city.
The ‘degustation’ of the cheese took four hours – it’s a whole ritual with rules. You eat cheese with your fingers and without any cutlery – the pieces served are small enough. In Italy, even the cutting of cheese is an art and there is a competition for that. But back to the ritual: First, you press the piece slightly with your index finger and thumb to check the consistence, the structure of cheese. Then you smell it and break into two pieces directly under your nose so that the fragrant particles are freed and you may enjoy the first very intensive kick of this culinary poetry, which good cheese always is. After that there is the time to eat it or – to be more extravagant in the description – to make the poetry part of your body J
I was impressed and I still am. After such a ‘lunch’ (as it was lunch time), I was hardly able to move but satisfied with my condition I bought the wines we were enjoying during the meal. Pergiorgia is one of them and here some more details on its qualities, after a degustation in a circle of friends in Berlin…
The Hills of Saluzzo (Colline Saluzzesi) are situated in the Province of Cuneo in the southwestern part of Piedmont. In the annual report of the Italian observer for wine tourism (il Rapporto annuale dell’Osservatorio sul Turismo del vino), the whole province was recently honored for its highly developed food and wine culture. But astonishingly foreigners still haven’t discovered it. There is rather an Italian tourist here and there, but all this beauty is mainly enjoyed by the locals themselves. And what a beauty it is! The region is basically a corner between the Cottian Alps in The Northwest, the Maritime Alps in the Southwest, and the Ligurian Alps in the South – a picturesque hilly area wedged into the highest European mountain range. Big part of the European kiwi production comes from here, as the climate is suitable for diverse fruit orchards. The varieties allowed in this DOC of Colline Saluzzesi are Barbera, Nebbiolo and Pelaverga. The latter is a local grape variety, giving a rich flavor to wine and aromatic grappa of a very fine structure. Pergiorgia is a cuvee of Pelaverga and Barbera, offering accordingly a balanced body and alluring fragrance. The name of this wine comes from the daughter of the producer and Ivano Maero’s niece – Giorgia. ‘Per Giorgia’ means in Italian just ‘for Giorgia’, which was united here into one graceful word.
Giorgia was born three days after the grape harvest in 2001. The product bearing her name is from the village of Castellar. It has a deep red color, like black currant juice or red beet concentrate, or garnet among minerals, with light violet shimmer. There is slightly chocolate aftertaste, but hardly noticeable – felt just for a second. The aroma develops as wine is getting air and room temperature. It starts to release honey and then strawberry and raspberry notes, which in Germany would make everyone think of Rote Grütze, kind of red berry compote. The tannins are delicate and the wine seems ‘warm’ in mouth.
We could compare the charm of this wine with grace of little cheerful and fresh girl, couldn’t we? There is so much sun and energy in it! J
And pairing? Well, of course my first pick would be cheese, especially long-matured one.