Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tuscan Wines from Cecchi

Andrea Cecchi ~ before he hit the jet-lag wall

The day started with a persistent gust of wind from the south. El Niño was pushing the cold weather back north. This was going to be a "Big Night" for East Dallas. Jimmy's was inaugurating their back room, their circolo, with Tuscan vintner Andrea Cecchi and a group of Italian food-and-wine-loving insiders.

Mercedes, Volvos and exotics line the parking spaces in this urban-fusion neighborhood. It's a part of Dallas that has some of the best Asian food, along with an encampment of several Italians, herb-brujo Tom Spicer, a community garden frequented by Cambodian and Vietnamese farmers and Latino and hip-hop locals who call this place home. Everyone gets along well, no one has major turf problems, and Dallas is a richer place because of it.

The day of the inauguration, the foodies started piling in early, Smart Cars and Dodge trucks alike filling in the spaces. Nervous proprietor, Paul Di Carlo, was working the phones to make sure all the folks who reserved were coming. Boxes and boxes of Cecchi wine were scattered and stacked high in the store.
Good-looking people and plates mingled with great wines from Tuscany. The food was homemade and rustic, delicious and fresh. This night was meant to expand the scope of the East Dallas neighborhood grocery store, specializing more in Italian foods and wines. Additional dinners and wine flights are planned for the future. With an Italian winemaking family from Tuscany launching the new space, Dallas was kicking winter back and making room for spring.

Andrea Cecchi's family has been making wine in Tuscany since 1893. They now have Castello Montauto in San Gimignano, Villa Cerna in the Chianti Classico zone, Val delle Rose in Tuscan coastal Maremma and Tenuta Alzatura in Umbria for the famous Sagrantino. A wonderfully Italian interactive map can be found at this link , laying out the properties and the wines.

From the light and delicate Vernaccia to the assertive Vermentino, the white wines were a contrast between themselves. The Morellino and the Chianti Classico Riserva provided counterpoint between the new frontier of the Maremma and the traditional classico area near Florence. A Vino Nobile then danced with a single-vineyard Chianti Classico Riserva, the Teuzzo. Finally we ended with a 2001 Sangiovese Super Tuscan, the Spargolo.

Before the night was over, folks were milling around, drinking real espresso and fresh-made Italian cookies. Cecchi was signing a bottle or two for this smart set of wine lovers before they loaded up their big (and little) cars for the ride back home.

Great memories are made from nights like this. There will be more.


Tracie P. said...

i think austin needs a place like this...

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that a small family owned-operated store, offering quality products and great customer service has survived over 20 years and the recent fire. Perhaps this is an example that quality may be more important than quantity even for, at least in some part, the US market.

I wish I had been there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all - I had a great time - entered knowing only Paul - made some new friends and the food and wine were outstanding!! - looking forward to the next event!Bravissimo

Unknown said...

Loved your initial description of the vino, as Paul didn't warn us in his email that it was boxed wine. But, I'm sure it was still good.

If my wife an I hadn't been 'wining' at the Preservation Dallas/Lake Cliff condo tour we would have been there fer shur. And we always have plenty of space in our Dumb Car for more wine...

Alfonso Cevola said...

Tracie- bring Gennaro back and open one up

David- get a car

Lori- we had fun, loved having you!

BK- bring your ugly car and fill up on sunday!

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