Vintage amari tasting at Maialino

Although Patrick and I have to travel often for blr wine co., our sales and marketing consulting company for small wineries, we almost always manage to have a great time on the road.  We get to eat at some of the best restaurants and taste some of the world's best wines.  Usually we travel separately; last week we were fortunate to travel together to New York for business. After pouring at the Polaner Selections Portfolio Tasting last Tuesday, we headed to Maialino, Danny Meyer's fabulous restaurant in Gramercy Park.  

The wine list at Maialino is always a treat, deep in vintages of wines from benchmark producers from nearly every corner of Italy.  We were dining with Nathan Kandler, the winemaker at Thomas Fogarty Winery, and it happened to be Nathan's birthday.  Jeff Kellogg, the wine director, steered us to a 1964 Gattinara Riserva from Nervi (quite a few years older than the birthday boy).

1964 Gattinara Riserva, Nervi

1964 Gattinara Riserva, Nervi

Gattinara is an appellation in Piemonte, the lesser known cousin to Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo is the grape, and Nervi is most certainly one of the top producers of the region.  The Nervi, though over 50 years old, was full of life, showing tertiary aromas of leather, forest floor, but still holding some of the pretty rose petal flavors often associated with Nebbiolo. We expected it to deteriorate during the course of the evening but it held on, incredibly pleasurable from start to finish.  I've had the good fortune of tasting a few 1964 wines from Piemonte, and this was one of my faves.

After dinner, it was time for some amaro!  Lucky for us, Jeff has a list of vintage amari from a collector, dating back to the 1960's and 1970's.

We asked Jeff to put together a flight of amari for us.  He knows his list and program the best, so we were comfortable in his capable hands.

He chose three amari for the flight.  The Cinzano (left) and Fernet-Branca (right) were both from the 1970's, and the Ramazotti was from the 1960's.  Naturally, Patrick's favorite was the Branca; Fernet is his favorite and Branca is his "mother's milk" (his words, not mine).  Although I preferred the first two, the Cinzano slightly edged out the Ramazotti, the herbal and alpine notes striking a strong chord.

What a memorable meal and fabulous way to celebrate Nathan's birthday. I do love this business!