Sunday, April 20, 2014

ANTINORI & NERO VIVO - ARBITERS OF ITALIAN PASSION AND PERFECTION


Dry and floral on the palate, a chilled glass of sparkling Montenisa Brut NV Franciacorta complemented by dainty canapés: foie gras, smoked salmon and oyster Rockefeller set the recent Antinori wine dinner at Nero Vivo off to an jovial start.
 
 Held in the cheery haven of Italian cuisine where chef Michele Cuozzo holds fort, the event saw  passionate Italian food and wine enthusiasts sharing an evening of convivial laughter and light-hearted banter with Vice President of Antinori Wine Albiera Antinori.
Before dinner started, Albiera touched on the rich history behind the Antinori family which has been involved in the production of wine for over six centuries since 1385. Now into its 26th generation, the firm remains a family-run entity headed by Marquis Piero Antinori with the support of his three daughters: Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia.

The evening's pace acquired a startlingly refreshing note thanks to the crisp, citrusy white Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala 2010. A blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Grechetto harvested from 15-20 year old vineyards, the elegant white bedazzled us with its straw gold tinged with greenish hue, faint floral-flinty bouquet and long, structured finish. Its persistent toasty and mineral notes were perfect counterpoints to the supple, matured richness of the roasted provolone cheese with cinnamon scented, red wine poached pears.
Tubular shaped pasta – a typical Neapolitan special – brimming with an indulgent amount of gooey, cheesy stuffing complemented by delicate pieces of bamboo lobster in fresh tomato sauce achieved sublime gustatory heights with Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2010. This Badia a Passignano Riserva is produced exclusively from the finest Sangiovese grapes of the property by the same name in the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany. Seductively voluptuous on the palate, the ruby red wine enthralled us with its ripe berry-cherry nuances and velvety liquorice spiciness. 
Artfully blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and PetitVerdot, the lush, dark red Guado al Tasso 2008 flaunted jammy plum and black currant notes mingled with coffee, toasty oak and spice overtones. Its soft, elegant tannins sustained a smooth, lingering finish that held its own against the deep-seated flavours of the roasted duck breast with asparagus, fig jam and balsamic vinegar sauce. 

Finger-licking great lamb chops with potatoes and mixed salad complemented Guado al Tasso 2004, an excellent tipple that boasted 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Syrah. Scored 92/100 by Wine Spectator, the ruby red wine with its complex fruity-toasty nuances of coffee and dark chocolate, balanced, soft tannins and lingering finish bore testament to the wine's strong regional character.
For the night's finale, we made short work of the luscious cake with almond paste and chocolate served with vanilla ice cream that went superbly with the golden yellow Castello delle Sala Muffato della  Sala 2007, a well-balanced wine with intense floral and honeyed aroma and taste, underscored by fresh, almost citrusy notes.

The Antinori wines are best savoured with sumptuous Italian cuisine like the specialities by Chef Michele Cuozzo of Nero Vivo. Depending on your choice, the wines are priced from RM65 to RM1,800 per bottle in Malaysia. For information on Antinori wines, visit  http://www.antinori.it/en

For reservations at Nero Vivo Restaurant, call Tel: +603-2070 3120. Address:3a, Jalan Ceylon,
Kuala Lumpur.

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