By Rick Riozza

Well—there’s no better way to enjoy a grand finale than to showcase one of the most famous and greatest wineries in the world.  The family-owned 26 generation Italian wine company, Marchesi Antinori, will provide a stellar portfolio of world class wine to Master & Executive Chef Joel Delmond’s Abbondanza! Six Course scrumptious food pairing in Pinzimini’s final wine dinner series of the season, to be held this Thursday, April 30th, at 6:30

Located in the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa, Pinzimini Restaurant has provided the valley with some of the most authentic Italian dining around.  This column continually covers its special dining events and wine dinners with a great response from our readers who agree that Pinzimini is both an elegant and relaxing venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Lately, another signature item is the Antipasti Bar, which allows guests to choose from a variety of vegetarian items, seafood salads, cured meats, brick oven pizzas and the Chef’s special Grilled Rib Eye.

But please—let us linger with the idea and anticipated experience of savoring some of the best wine pairings to be offered in this, the last “Le Serate di Vino (Evenings of Wine)” wine dinner series for spring 2015.

Wine novices and vino-enthusiasts alike probably already know the name Antinori.  It’s been run by the Patriarch Piero Antinori for the last 49 years and he is gradually handling control to his three daughters who will continue to insure the Tuscan estate with land ownership around the world to remain as an international wine dominance.

And by the way, for you lucky travelers out there who will be visiting Tuscany, a must-see attraction is the Antinori Chianti Classic Cellar—a state-of-the-art facility just outside of Florence, where you can visit and experience the winemaking process and view their prized, centuries-old art collection.  The cellar was designed by one of Italy’s leading architects, Marco Casamonti, and is set amongst olive groves, vineyards and oak trees, almost hidden from view by vines, designed as sort of a temple to wine while preserving the Tuscan landscape.  And—of course, taste a variety of their wine! Andiamo!

Now that we’re getting in an Italianesque mood, let’s preview the Chef’s delectable approach of the evening’s six courses of food & wine pairings.  Incidentally, Chef Delmond is well known for his continued use of local and fresh seasonal sustainable farm produce in all of his dishes.

In the 1st Course, Chef immediately reveals his creative Veal Tartar prepared with tarragon, capers, and quail eggs.  A beautiful turn on a classic dish that will be paired with the 2013 Antinori Bramito del Cervo Chardonnay.

This Italian Chardonnay is clean and fruity, soft and well-balanced with excellent structure. I’ve just enjoyed this at a recent wine tasting and it is high quality. The Bramito Del Cervo [brah-Mee-toe del CHAIR-vo] will work well with the Tartar dish, with the tarragon and capers bringing out fresh nuances in the wine. Bramito is the mating song of the adult male deer which are plentiful in the hills surrounding the Antinori estate.

The next is the Garden Vegetable Salad Course that will showcase Chef’s love of fresh seasonal & sustainable veggies.  Of course a great selection of wine to match the salad will be the 2012 Roero Arneis DOGC, one of the great white wines from the Piemontese region.

In traditional local culture, the name Arneis is given to someone who is an extrovert, a bit of a rebel, original but with a certain charm. This fine white wine from the Roero hills, exhibits all the excellent qualities of its name, with a thirst-quenching bouquet of stone-fruits, minerals and nuts. The sandy terroir of where the grapes are grown provides this wine with a full intense aroma and great structure.

Third Course is Pig’s Feet Croquet with crab apple compote, Kabocha squash, and avocado gastrique.  Chef goes all out with an authentic Italian dish of deep-fried head-cheese of pig’s feet and accompanying foodstuffs. 

The pairing wine will be the 2011 Antica Cabernet Sauvignon, from Antinori’s Napa Valley Estate, that opens with a “gorgeous, beguiling bouquet laced with dark red cherries, cinnamon, new leather and mint. Floral and spice notes continue to develop in a soft, pleasing Cabernet Sauvignon that is built for near-term pleasure.”—Galloni.

The Fourth Course will be a Citrus Turbo of Tapioca pearls and herbs.  A wonderful cleansing break that will include the refreshing 2012 Castello della Sala Conte Della Vipera, Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon.  This is Antinori’s Umbrian take on a white Bordeaux blend. Robed in medium lemon yellow with green hues, it’s elegant and balanced with citrus fruit, green scents, stone fruits and floral notes.

Fifth Course will be a Roasted Squab with red quinoa, Cavatelli pasta & porcini mushrooms all in a Chianti reduction.  Incredibile!–A masterful move.  One can only imagine all of the aromas and savors stirring about.  It will be paired with the fabulous 2010 Col Solare.  This is a blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, and a touch of Malbec.  Winery notes: “Rich and full of flavor, this vintage of offers aromatics and flavors of crushed berries, cassis, black fruit, and tobacco along with a rich and silky palate and a lingering finish.”  This is a collaboration of Antinori and the famed Washington state winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The final course will be Hazelnut Soup with poached pear and Faro ice cream.  The dessert wine will be the Late Harvest Riesling.  Sogni d’oro!—Sweet Dreams!  Thanks Chef and staff for the great culinary year!

Pinzimini at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa 71333 Dinah Shore Drive · Rancho Mirage Ca.  Asap–Reservations Phone: 760.770.2150

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