Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Italian Wine Dinners

Which is the one for you?

Soon, two wine dinners will take place, in the same town, on the same day, at the same time. They illustrate the different approaches. I think one works well; I think the other one is a stretch. Let’s take a look at them.

Italian Wine Dinner #1
  • With the owner of a major Italian estate, with land holdings in Tuscany, Piedmont and Sicily. All wines are estate grown and produced.
  • A top chef in town, who is about to open his own Italian Restaurant.

The wines (8) :
  • Brut Metodo Classico
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chardonnay
SuperTuscan duo
  • Sangiovese/Cabernet/Syrah
  • Merlot/Carbernet Sauvignon
  • Brunello di Montalcino
  • Single Vineyard Brunello

  • Dessert wine – Brachetto DOCG

Here's what's cooking (with the wine matches):

Reception with Brut Metodo Classico

First Course
Seafood Salad with White Beans & Arugula
Served with the Pinot Grigio and the Chardonnay

Second Course
Freshmade Tagliatelle with Pork Ragu
Served with the two Super Tuscan wines

Third Course
Braised Lamb Shank with Farro and Fall Vegetables
Served with the two Brunello wines

Fourth Course
Crespelle with Bittersweet Chocolate Fonduta
Served with the dessert wine – Brachetto DOCG

Additional: as a special gift for each attendee we will be giving you a complimentary bottle of Tuscan Red wine (a $40 value), which will be personally signed by the attending winery owner.

$119 per person + tax = $128.82 (no gratuity)

As well, this dinner has made provisions to buy any of the wines served at anywhere from an additional 15-20% off retail prices, so if you like the wines, you can buy them there and even get some of the bottles signed by the owner (which makes for unusual gift ideas, especially with the upcoming season).

Italian Wine Dinner #2
  • A family owned business for almost 100 years, but no mention of owning any land. Claim to fame is unique packaging and value driven wines. Showing up will be a young lady, who appears to be a family member and has the title of Vice President.
  • The restaurant no longer touts having a chef, although in the past this establishment had several very good ones.

The wines (5) :
  • Prosecco
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chianti
  • Merlot
  • Moscato

Here's what's cooking (with the wine matches):

Passed canap├ęs, arancini, crostini and tartlets.

Crab cake
Pinot Grigio

First Course
Pasta with sausage, wild mushrooms and toasted fennel cream.

Second Course
Roast filet of beef with potatoes

Gorgonzola and Taleggio with cherries almonds and honey drizzle

$75 per person + tax (no mention if gratuity is included or additional) with tax = $81.20, with tip $96.20.

I am curious which one you would want to go to? Is the free bottle of wine motivating? No tip? Ability to buy at below retail? Or would you prefer spending a little less on a night out in a place that is known for good food? I'd like to give some feedback to these folks, in light of the current economy and the ways to promote their business, and how friendly or alluring these kinds of events are for people who read this.

Last note: Dinner #1 sold out in 5 hours (60 seats). I don’t know about dinner #2 yet.

Thoughts, anyone?


Valerie said...

For some reason, I choose by the wines - Dinner #1. (For some reason, my mind defaulted to something Gaja-esque). Then I went back and looked at the cibo - Dinner #1! Although, does Signor Begnini come with #1 or #2?

Alfonso Cevola said...

thanks for the note, Valerie, I am following your journal, very interesting. Sorry, Signore Begnini wont be there ;)

Valerie said...

Shucks. Why thank you for following my silly journal - am having a blast. Funny, I was at VinItaly (in the Chianti Classico Consorzio) this year and I saw a gentleman sitting there all day Saturday tasting his way through every Chianti Classico (290+). One of the somms who was babysitting la stupidina ragazza Americana (me) asked who it was. I just whispered, "Credo e` un 'blogger' si chiama 'Italian Wine Guy'" - but later assumed ero sbagiata. Hoping to get back there this year ... but just for fun this time. Great pieces - enjoy reading them!

Alfonso Cevola said...

290 wines - ouch - no, that would not have been me. See you there next year!

Marco Mezzanotte said...

Oy, Donatella and Stef Germanotta side by side! I would go with dinner #2. Their food pedigree is more solid. Can I substitute a ribeye for the filet? If so, then I'll be on the flight out to twister country.

PS If the reds were not to my taste, I could always discretely bring a few of my ownr.

Marco Carlo Russo said...

I was just being dumb. Dinner #2. The menu appeals to me more and the wines seem well paired. It also offers greater value.

Do Bianchi said...

aw hell, Tracie P and I are going to Merlotte's that night!

Ben Clarfield said...

Would absolutely go to both... Not flattery at all...
I am just envious...
Up here in the (not right now) Frigid north in Toronto Canada... dinners like that are twice the price.

So I would go to both... why not

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