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Food and Wine Pairing of the Week from Swirl Wines

Posted by bevo vino on 2007-05-14 07:27:55 (5972 views)

Shrimp Wrapped in Prosciutto Paired with 2004 Batianich Vespa Bianco

Provided by Swirl Wines

2004 Bastianich Vespa Bianco--The region where new-style white wines reign supreme is named Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and occupies Italyís easternmost territory. Both native and international varietals have been treated with modern technique in an effort to produce whites of exceptional distinction and equally impressive reds.

The two most prominent wine zones of this region are Collio and Colli Orientali del Friuli, both lying in the hills along the eastern border. Terraced slopes subject to Alpine and Adriatic currents have proven their natural suitability to viticulture, although the Isonzo plains also make this eastern region one of the nation's major wine-producing areas. The interplay between the Alps and the Adriatic creates a mild and somewhat damp and breezy climate that cools the vineyards in the hot summer.

One of the most dominant varietals is Tocai Friuliano (of no relation to Alsatian Tokay or Hungaryís Tokaji). Other local wines made from Malvasia, Ribolla Gialla, and Verduzzo are as interesting as those made from proven varietals like Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot Bianco and Grigio, and Riesling. The whites produced in this region embody characteristic freshness and are noted for their ample fruit and delicate perfumes. This perfection isnít easily achieved, and requires the combination of optimally ripe fruit from the vineyard and extreme attention to the finer details of vinification in the winery.

Most producers prefer not to soften their wines with malolactic fermentation or oak aging, although many of those wines that have been made in this manner have developed into deliciously complex products. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Nero, and Refosco are the dominant reds. Traditionally light and fruity, these wines, with the application of modern techniques, are also becoming wines of heightened structure and intrigue.

The cuisine of this secluded region is heavily influenced by the flavors of its Austrian and Slavic neighbors. Meat is prevalent in the diet. Prosciutto di San Daniele is a great source of pride, as are regional cheeses including Montasio and ricotta, which is often smoked and aged for grating. Soups are popular. Pastas include the ravioli-like envelopes prepared with unusual recipes such as spinach, rye bread, raisins, potato, mint, and sometimes brandy, chocolate and cinnamon. Breads are made with rye, barley flour, and pumpkin. The eastern influence is especially prominent in the stews and goulash of the region. Desserts of course are never forgotten, and include strudel, potato biscuits, and pumpkin fritters. Gorizia is world famous for its chocolate cake rolls called Gubana.

Azienda Agricola Bastianich is Joe Bastianich's estate located in a unique area of the Colli Orientali region of Friuli in Northeastern Italy, in the towns of Buttrio, Premariacco, and Cividale, in the province of Udine--1 hour Northeast from Venice. The Colli Orientali, and in particular Buttrio and Premariacco, is famous for being home to some of Friuliís best terroir and is renowned for producing wines of impeccable balance, finesse, and power.

Vespa is one of what Joe calls "Super-Whites," the blends that command the most respect in Friuli. The Super-Whites from Friuli are quite different from the whites of other Italian regions, beginning with the fact that they're blended. The grape varieties generally include Tocai (Friuli's most famous grape), Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.

This 6-time Gambero Rosso Three Glass winner is the flagship wine of the Bastianich estate. Vespa Bianco was created to showcase the power and evolution that a great Friulian white can have. Consisting of equal parts Sauvignon and Chardonnay with a measure of Picolit, Vespa Bianco becomes a sum of its parts, a wine of uncommon complexity.

Winemaker's Notes: A tightly wound balance of minerality and citrus, evolving over time into a more viscous expression of wildflowers, clover honey and mature pear. The palate sensations are more like those of a red wine. Its powerful tannic structure and acidic backbone lend it not only immediate impact but a long life. Vespa Bianco can be further aged up to 7-10 years after the vintage.

Gambero Rosso 2007
Superbly complex, and veined with cream and banana, it is lifted by fresh fruit to the heights of elegance. The supremely balanced, gutsy palate is textbook stuff, making this a particularly sophisticated Three Glass champion.
Tre Bicchieri - Gambero Rosso

Food and Wine Pairing:
Shrimp Wrapped in Prosciutto Paired with Batianich Vespa Bianco

I usually try to keep these recipes fairly simple, but a sophisticated wine such as the Vespa, deserves a more complex recipe!

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry polenta
  • 6 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 large shrimp - peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 6 (1/2 ounce) slices prosciutto
  • 2 fluid ounces hazelnut liqueur
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 green onions, with tops flared

  1. In a medium-size pot bring water to a boil. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Mix in dry polenta and let cook until thickened, approximately 8 minutes.
  2. When the polenta has thickened, gently blend mascarpone cheese into it. Remove the pan from heat. Spread polenta-cheese mixture to a 2-inch thickness on an oil-coated surface. When cool, cut a disk using a drinking glass as a cutter.
  3. Saute polenta disks in olive oil, in a non-stick skillet. Set aside. (Can be prepared in advance).
  4. Coat shrimp with hazelnuts and wrap each with a slice of prosciutto. In a skillet, saute shrimp carefully in remaining olive oil. Remove shrimp from the pan and keep them warm.
  5. Pour hazelnut liquor into another skillet (or the same skillet used to saute the shrimp, cleaned). When hazelnut-flavored liquor is hot (but well under the boiling point), carefully flambe (by touching the edge of the pan with the flame of a match or taper). Be careful and stand back when cooking with open flame! When flames die down, add cream and remaining hazelnuts. Lower heat and continue cooking until mixture thickens.
  6. To assemble, place a polenta disk in the center of a serving dish. Arrange shrimp around the plate. Drizzle sauce mixture on top. Garnish with green onions.

Swirl Sensational Wines
3143 Ponce de Leon Street
New Orleans, La 70119


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