Two glasses: Montepulciano and Pinot Noir

Sorely tempted to whip up a dinner and open a bottle of wine to wash the food down with. But I made sort of an informal pact with myself, that I’ll only buy a new case of wine after December 1st. So, in the meantime, I have to make do with a just a couple glasses of wine to go with dinner.

I had two glasses this weekend (well, three, if you count the half glass of Prosecco I shared on impulse). On Friday, I had a glass of Umani Ronchi Montepulciano D’abruzzo, an Italian wine from the Abruzzo region. Having no prior expectations, I was very impressed with the wine. It was lush and very fruity, from the nose to the mouthfeel, of cherries and blackberries. A simple, but deliciously full and smooth wine; and I was almost sad when I drained my glass. But I was sad when I forgot my leftover rigatoni and sausages and left it at the restaurant. Boo.

On Saturday, I checked out La Madia, a new pizza and wine bar downtown (On a side note, I’ve not ventured to new restaurants in a while, and I fear I may have gotten too lazy and comfortable, and no longer adventurous, boo). It was hellish finding parking downtown on a weekend night; I had known that from the start but loathe to take the bus/train. Finally, after driving around in circles for 20 minutes, I found a parking garage that charged the cheap price of $10 for 2 hours; the restaurant charged $12 (not including tips) for valet. Anyway, the Neapolitan pizzas were amazing, and brought back the happy and heady memories of Rome and Italy so many years ago now. Of late dinners where we lingered for hours over jugs of house wine all the while breathing in smoke from all the other diners’ tables (sometimes even from our own); of standing on a dark street corner outside our favorite pizza joint that’s down the street from our hotel, hastily wolfing down the fresh, hot slices so we could go check out the bars in the piazza down the hill; of Naples – that humungous villa where we stayed, the foggy Mt. Vesuvius, the tragically beautiful and beautifully preserved Pompeii. Just what we needed, was what we kept gushing throughout the dinner. Forget the rich and heavy Chicago style pizza that ooze cheese, cheese, and more cheese. I loved biting into the crunchy thin crust of my La Madia pizza, loved savoring the nuttiness the pine nuts brought out in the cheese, and the bitterness of the arugula against the salty prosciutto (yay, leftovers to enjoy today; can’t believe I almost forgot to take it with me again).

I was still thinking about that Umani Ronchi from the night before. Alas, I’d decided to try a different wine this time, a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, from Mischief & Mayhem. With a memorable name like that, I was almost certain I’d had it before, but I can’t find any records of it. Shrug. That was an almost disappointing glass (7 oz to be exact): the wine was thin, and sharp, and the tannins made it seem a little too astringent. I’m not sure if age would have helped mellow the wine, because it seemed too thin already. Where was my earth, mushroom and meat?

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